“The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small.” Woody Allen
As natives of Los Angeles, we know a thing or two about both eating on a budget during the workday, as well as knowing where to find those hidden gems offering cheap eats. Our first stop in the past when we ourselves were temping in the towers of downtown had always been Grand Central Market. Believe us,our love of Grand Central started long before our working years, with our parents holding our young hands as we were guided through the maze of kiosks and killer produce that one could pick up at a fraction of supermarket prices. Sadly, those days are long gone. All that awesomeness is but a dimmemory thanks to douch-ie, more touristy friendly names and themes that have gutted the character of the market and pushed-out the little guy in the last three years.
However, we still know our way around, and as Official Temps, we like to share lunch-eats information with our brethren (and sista-ren) in the downtown area of Los Angeles, so here are three of our favorite places that will keep you well under your lunch budget and with you swearing you’re eating in an exotic location – sort-of.
727 No. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
This great Chinatown walk-up draws a weekday neighborhood crowd that is feeling the pressure of skyrocketing rents and luxury apartments being built nearby, which is really a shame, as we hope they can hang on. Believe us, you aren’t going to find an entirely cooked fish wrapped in banana leaves served over a bed of perfect rice anywhere in downtown for under $11. This meal is truly amazing and leaves you totally satisfied.
La Mascota Bakery
2715 Whittier Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90023
Okay, this one used to be an easy shot east from downtown over the 6 th Street bridge, which would then turn right into Whittier Boulevard where this little treasure is located, but you can just as easily get there going through the Arts District, taking the 4 th Street bridge, and shooting down Soto. This Boyle Heights hideaway has some of the beast tamales in the city, not to mention an amazing bakery for quickmorning pickups of chilindrinas and insanely cheap, specialty coffees.
314 W. Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Okay, aside from not a single item on the menu being over $10., the food here, created by Chef Jason Harley, is insanely delicious – from the free-range fried chicken to the artisan donuts, it’s absolutely amazing. They offer a menu of American classics with a full-throttle modern twist, and stay open 24- hours on Friday and Saturday nights. How good is that?
Sea Salt Fish Grill
812 West 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA, 90017
If you’re a fan of poke – go here. We’ve ventured up and down Melrose Ave and none of those poke stops make the cut. However Sea Salt, whether you get poke with their chips or brown rice, each dish is sure to make your palette extremely happy.
1820 Industrial St #260
Los Angeles, CA 90021
This is a gem hidden in an alley of the booming Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles. This place offers a piece of what being in New York City feels like – lots of bricks. You can never go wrong with any of their egg dishes and you’ll love the feel of the strung out patio lights during the day.
Zinc Cafe & Market
580 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
An Official Temp may occasionally want to do some work during their lunch hour, which we would advise against, but if you must, Zinc is a great spot. Their food is light, delicious and affordable. There’s plenty of seating for you to take out your laptop and work and they’ve even got Bar Mateo for that impromptu happy hour.