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What to Eat This Weekend In L.A.: Puerto Rican Plantain Sandwiches, King Oyster Mushroom French Dips, Baja Abalone Fritto Misto, and Lamb Mandi In Westwood

Plus fancy French soft serve Magic Shell sundaes, Yemeni whole fish, "fish fries," and a South Korean coffee shop giving Quentin Tarantino a run for his money.

A French Dip sandwich made with king oyster mushrooms

A king oyster mushroom French dip sandwich at CouCou West Hollywood. Photo by Nick Walker


A red bowl of menudo with garbanzo beans
Menudo at Ay Wey Tacos and Grill. Photo via Ay Wey Tacos and Grill/Instagram.

Ay Wey Tacos and Grill is now open and serving Commerce Center with tacos and quesadillas on handmade corn tortillas, featuring asada, chorizo, chicken, and al pastor. The taco truck also serves burritos, quesadillas on flour tortillas, tostadas, Saturday menudo, and baked potatoes stuffed with beans, onions, cilantro, melted mozzarella, and your choice of meat. 

5680 Whittier Blvd. Commerce, CA 90022. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 18 - "Whittier/Gerhart."

West Hollywood

A white plate with steak frites and a cup of ketchup
Steak frites at CouCou West Hollywood. Photo by Nick Walker.

French-inspired bistro CouCou, which has a popular location in Venice, is now open in West Hollywood under chef Jacob Wetherington, an alumnus of Thomas Keller's Bouchon. Pull up at the marble-topped bar or hit the retractable glass-covered patio for martinis and fresh oysters, escargot pizzette, wood-fired prawn cocktails, fried merguez stuffed olives with preserved lemon labneh,  steak frites, king oyster mushroom French dips, Wagyu burgers, and one damn good Strauss soft serve sundae with a chocolate hard shell.

9045 Santa Monica Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 4 - "Santa Monica/Doheny" or Bus Lines 10, 16, and 105 - "Santa Monica/San Vicente."

Long Beach

An open faced plantain sandwich
A jibarito at La Casa de Iris Comida Boricua. Photo via La Casa de Iris Comida Boricua/Instagram.

La Casa de Iris Comida Boricua is cooking up Puerto Rican classics in Long Beach. We're talking mofongo with chicharrones and mofongos rellenos stuffed with meats, slow-cooked pernil, carne guisada, pastelitos, pinchos (skewers), and pressed jibarito sandwiches, which use plantains in place of bread. That's what we're talking.

12 pm - sellout. 3170 Cherry Ave. Long Beach, CA 90807. Closest transit lines and stop: Long Beach Transit Lines 21, 22, 23, and 131 - "Cherry/33rd."

Los Feliz

A milky coffee in a glass
A Camel latte at Camel Coffee. Photo via Camel Coffee/Instagram.

Quentin Tarantino's new Pam Grier-themed coffee shop has a little competition in the form of Camel Coffee, derived from South Korea's Camel Cafe chain and newly opened right across the street in Los Feliz. In addition to flat whites, vanilla-tinted cream cups,  and orange-chocolate lattes with their own patented cream (vegan version available), its menu includes milk tea and matcha lattes, plus pastries like butter croissants, pain au chocolate, kouign-amann, and ham-and-cheese croissants. 

4459 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro B Line and Bus Lines 182, 204, 206, 217, and 754 - "Vermont/Sunset Station" or Bus Line 2 - "Sunset/Virgil."


Caviar-topped spicy bluefin tuna on crispy rice
Caviar-topped spicy bluefin tuna on crispy rice. Photo via Mother of Pearl.

Mother of Pearl is now open in Downtown's Level 8, owned by brothers Mark and Johnnie Houston. Its menu is created by our brother, Josh Gil, the chef-owner of Miráte. An oyster and fine champagne bar with platters of raw seafood at its core, the menu also features fritto misto with Baja abalone, spicy bluefin tuna on crispy rice-topped with caviar, an aguachile made with heart of palm, and a squid ink spaghetti with lobster meatballs. If you're not feeling the Dom, Cristal, or Taittinger on offer, you could always have something like the High Tide cocktail with gin, blue spirulina, pineapple, and yogurt boba. 

1254 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90015. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro A and E Lines - "Pico Station" or Bus Lines 30, 81, 460, and J Line (910/950) - "Figueroa/Pico."


Two bubbly hot shrimp empanadas in styrophome containers
Shrimp empanadas at Perico's Seatacos. Photo via Perico's Seatacos/Instagram.

Perico's Seatacos sets up on Wednesdays at the Farmers Market in Northridge, as well as Saturdays at the 818 Night Market. The stand sells fish and shrimp tacos (including a version for carbo-phobes with a lettuce wrap "tortilla"), bubble-encrusted shrimp empanadas, and fish strips stacked with French fries, cheese, and salsa. Good name!

9301 Tampa Ave. Northridge, CA 91324. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 242 - "Tampa/Prairie", Bus Line 166 - "Nordhoff/Tampa", or Bus Line 167 - "Plummer/Tampa."


Several Yemeni dishes including lamb mandi on a yellow bed of rice
Lamb mandi and other dishes at House of Mandi. Photo via House of Mandi.

Zach Brooks of Midtown Lunch puts us on to the Westwood opening of Anaheim's House of Mandi, a monument to Yemeni cuisine and culture. Mandi are dishes featuring fall-off-the-bone meats served over spiced rice, cooked in a pit, and hailing from Hadhramaut. 

Assume your seat on the floor and share a massive platter, perhaps with whole young lamb, lamb haneeth, or grilled chicken. Or get an entire mova fish or bowl of mussels a la Aden. Or get a lamb kebab in Sana'a style. Either way, get it.

1083 Gayley Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90024. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 2 and 761 - "Westwood/Weyburn", Bus Lines 20 and 720 - "Wilshire/Westwood", or Bus Line 602 - "Westwood/Kinross."

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