The Healing Powers of Puppies and Food Trucks

Pain took me out of the blogging game for most of last week.  I had been walking, unknowingly, on a sprained ankle for three weeks.

I woke up one morning with intense pain in my leg. At first, I thought it was a leg cramp but it wouldn’t go away. When I got to work I was in pure agony and ended up asking to go home because I couldn’t concentrate on anything.

Due to fly the next day, I went to a doctor to make sure it wasn’t something more than a bad cramp.  At one point when the doctor was examining me, I wondered out loud if it was actually a sprain and not a cramp.  He literally told me it was not possible and that it was just cramps and that if I wore socks to bed they wouldn’t happen again. I asked him if I could have something for the pain and he refused by saying that I could take Aleve and it would take care of it.

Fast forward three weeks and after a short period feeling okay, I woke up in the night with the same intense pain. I suffered throughout the night and took myself to urgent care first thing in the morning. This doctor took me a little bit more seriously and gave me a pain shot in my backside and sent me for a x-ray. When the results came back she said that I had some swollen tissue around my ankle but not a fracture and sent me home.

Several hours later, I was still in the same level of pain and all I could think to do was go to the emergency room. The emergency room doctor felt around my foot and took a brief look at my x-ray from earlier in the day before telling me that I had a sprained ankle.  As a result, I am now on crutches and high level pain killers. My ankle still hurts a lot but not the insanity levels of the past few weeks.

After all of this pain, I needed something to make me feel good. When I heard about the No Kill LA (NKLA) pet adoption event at La Brea Tar Pits, it sounded like just what the doctor ordered. I mean, puppies AND food trucks?  Throw in Chris and Spotify and that sounds like my idea of heaven. So, I drugged myself up and headed on over to the event.

No Kill LA Adoption Event

As soon as I walked through the gates of La Brea Tar Pits park, there were dogs everywhere.


I decided to start out with some food from one of the food trucks. Both because of hunger but because it would give me some time to sit down and rest my ankle before walking around the dogs.

There were several food trucks at the event. The only one I  had seen before was the Grilled Cheese Truck. I’ve eaten from them before but with as hot as it was, the idea of hot melted cheese wasn’t really doing it for me.

Hang 10 Taco truck

Hang 10 tacos

Instead, I decided to try out the Hang 10 Tacos truck. There menu was made up of a variety of interesting sounding tacos. Each of which was named after a different Los Angeles area beach. All of them, including the vegetarian tacos, sounded interesting and I knew I was going to try more than one. So, I took advantage of their three tacos and a drink for $10 deal.

Hang 10 Tacos menu

My taco trio was made up of The Manhattan,The Huntington and The Laguna.

Hang 10 Tacos trio

The Manhattan was made from charbroiled steak,cheese, cilantro and pico de gallo.


The Huntington taco was pretty much the same thing but with pulled pork instead of the steak and with guacamole added.

pulled pork taco

The Laguna taco, which as the one I was looking forward to the most, had battered scallops, cabbage, jalapeno cream sauce, guacamole and pico de gallo.

scallop taco

All of the tacos were good but the scallop taco was the best. The light battering  meant not having to fight through breading to get to the tender scallops.  I was happy that the jalapeno cream wasn’t spicy.  In fact, none of the tacos I had were at all spicy. Which is prefect for me but I would imagine a lot of taco fans would have wanted a bit more fire.

dog in line

rescue dogs

With my foodie side satisfied, I headed into the main event to check out the dogs that were hoping to find new homes. Events, such as this NKLA event, make me both hate and love humanity. On one hand, there were hundreds of dogs at the event. Many of them had been abandoned or neglected but their original owners. As a dog lover that really frustrates me.

On the other hand, the NKLA event was full of people that volunteered their time because they know shelter animals face death if they donn’t find homes. That has to be the source of some hope.

Not to mention those folks that adopted a dog or a cat at the NKLA event. All around the park there were people cuddled up with their new family members.

dog adopted

A big part of me wishes that I could have been one of them. There were certainly a couple dogs that I would have enjoyed getting to know better. However, part of being a responsible dog lover is knowing when you aren’t ready.  I had to leave two dogs behind with my ex-husband when I left the UK.  I am still not really over the guilty feelings I have from that. That, combined with my small apartment and busy work schedule has me convinced that it is best that I show my support in other ways.

I had a particularly strong bond with my pug that I left behind in the UK.  I loved both of my dogs but she really was my baby.  I’ve been trying to channel those feelings of sorrow and guiltby giving a little bit to the Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles. I do this by linking my Ralph’s card to them which means that Ralph’s gives them a percentage of what I spend.  I you want to learn how to do that, Pug Nation Rescue explains the process on their donations page.

Pug Nation Rescue

Rescue Pug

By far, the most common breeds I saw at NKLA were pit bulls and chihuahuas. Seriously, if you live in LA and buy or breed in order to get a chihuahua puppy then you are committing an act of cruelty against the huge number of strays that will be put to sleep because they couldn’t be found a home.

Dog Rescue

By the time I had finished walking around and meeting dogs, my ankle was starting to hurt again. In fact, it is throbbing with pain right now. It was worth it though because each time I saw a tail wag, or had some puppy kisses on my hand, I had a few moments of feeling better.

adopted dogs

Nothing felt better though than going past an empty cage and seeing the adopted notice hanging on the door. Congrats to all those dogs that, thanks to NKLA, are spending their first night in their forever home.


Food trucks and people watching at Ktown Night Market

If the folks behind this weekend’s Ktown Night Market had been wondering if they had managed to get the word out then their questions were answered by the ginormous line of people waiting for the gates to open. I arrived only an hour after the 4pm opening time and already the line was at least several hundred people deep.

Predictably, it was the promise of foodie adventures that got me to show up. That it was being held within a five minute bus ride of my apartment didn’t hurt either.

The Seoul Sausage food truck won the Great Food Truck Race within a month of when I moved to Koreatown. Yet, I have never had the chance to try their food. Their bricks and mortar shop is in a different part of Koreatown and whenever I have seen their truck in my part of town it has been closed.

Seoul Sausage truck

When I heard that they were heading up the Food Truck Alley portion of the Ktown Night Market, I figured it would be really bad foodie form to miss the chance to finally try them. The pot was sweetened when it turned out that they were bringing two other Great Food Truck Race winners,Grill ‘Em All and The Lime Truck, with them to the event.

Clearly,I was not the only Los Angeles foodie that didn’t want to miss out because, after waiting all that time just to get into the Ktown Night Market,I then joined another mega line to order from the Seoul Sausage truck.

Ktown Night Market food truck line

Positioning the headlining truck at the entrance to the food truck area did create a bit of a bottleneck. There were barely any lines for any of the other food trucks but the behemoth line for Seoul Sausage made it appear that the whole of Food Truck Alley was a cluster of intimidating lines. Yet, the foodies filed behind each other to get their fix.  It was fun playing ‘spot the other food bloggers’ game with myself while I waited.

Seoul Sausage Great Food Truck Race

Once I did finally get up the ordering window, I was a bit bummed to see that the Galbi Beef sausage was already sold out. Since it was only an hour into the Ktwon Night Market, I’m hoping that was a case of it never being on offer that day in the first place rather than having planned that poorly.

With the Galbi Beef Sausage unavailable, the only straight out sausage available was the Spicy Pork. As I frequently mention, I am a spice heat wimp but I had waited that long in the line for the chance to try something from their truck and it felt like if you were going to have one thing from the Seoul Sausage truck that it should be an actual sausage. So, I took the risk and ordered the Spicy Pork Sausage.

Seoul Sausage Spicy Pork

I would love to be showing you great food porn shots of the sausage but my camera flaked out and took weird double images of all the shots I took.  Which is a pity particularly because it would have been good to be able to show the deep red color of the inside of the sausage. It looked like it really should be mega spicy.

As it turned out, there was certainly a level of heat brought to the pork sausage from the Korean spices but it was just enough to tingle my tongue rather than blow my head off. Pairing the sausage with an apple cabbage slaw was a good choice. The sweet and slightly tangy slaw was delicious and both complimented the flavors of the sausage and tamed the heat.

I wanted to try their rice balls too but there were other food trucks to explore.

The Lime Truck

My next stop was The Lime Truck.  After waiting nearly an hour to get to the Seoul Sausage truck, it felt great to walk right up to a window and order. Though, it did make me wonder how they felt about the imbalance of the lines. I suppose they knew that the Korean fusion slanted trucks were going to have an advantage.

Lime Truck Food Truck

Foodie circles have praised The Lime Truck’s Carnitas Fries. So, I decided that would be the dish I tried from their truck.  The dish is a pile of fries topped with pulled pork, crema, guacamole,chipolte honey slaw and cotija cheese.

All of the toppings were very yummy indeed. The fries themselves were pretty nondescript but I suppose with that much going on on top of them they didn’t have to be doing too much of the work. A bit of seasoning on them would have been good but even with that said, I’d happily order them again.

Carnitas Fries Lime Truck

I feel a bit like I left my foodie side down but not trying anything from Grill ‘Em All.  Creative burgers that are named after musicians? Yeah, that kind of has me written all over it. The problem was though that they were a cash only truck and at $9 a burger that would have wiped out most of my cash. Apparently there were ATMS at the Ktown Night Market but I didn’t see any in the Food Truck Alley  area. Something which cost Grill ‘Em All a sale and me the chance to taste those great sounding burgers.

Grill 'Em All truck

Another thing that was missing from the food truck area was anywhere to sit to eat. Which would have been fine if there wasn’t a big dining tent on the other side of the fairground with the junk food stalls you see at every public event.

It did make for some interesting people watching though as folks tried to find the easiest way to eat their food truck delicacies in some sort of comfort.

Ktown Night Market

Ktown Night Market

Ktown Night Market

Ktown Night Market

Ktown Night Market

Ktown Night Market

If they keep the selection of food trucks interesting, I’ll be sure to be at the next Ktown Night Market event too. Though, I will probably try to be there as soon as it opens so that I don’t have to stand in that huge line to get in.  A line which, by the time I left, had easily grow three times the length. Yikes but job well done to the Ktown Night Market publicity team.


I went to LA Weekly’s Essentials 2014. May belt loosening commence.

Pardon me as I crawl out of my food coma to report back from my visit to today’s LA Weekly Essentials foodie event.

Last year’s event, then called Plate, was where my journey as a LA foodie began. Having only lived in Los Angeles for a few months, I had heard of a few restaurants but hadn’t really started to go out and explore them. When I saw LA Weekly announce an event where you paid a flat fee and then got to sample dishes from a plethora of LA area restaurants, It sounded like a good way to test the city’s foodie waters.

Myself and the friend that attended the event with me, had a great time tasting dishes from a bunch of Los Angeles restaurants. By the end,we were so stuffed that,had we not been in public, trouser buttons would have been relieved of their duty. Seriously, I barely ate for a couple days after last year’s event.

As a result of attending last year’s LA Weekly food event, we became regular patrons of a few of the establishments we discovered that day. Nickel Diner and Fred 62, in particular, became favorites.

When this year’s event, now called LA Weekly Essentials was announced, I immediately bought a ticket.  It suppose it is part of the foodie nature to want to have as many new food experiences as possible. Events such as this one allow us to have a series of them in one afternoon and decide which ones we want to go back and have again in greater abundance.

LA Weekly Essentials 2014

Just as was the case last year, I went for the VIP pass.  The general admissions ticket for LA Weekly Essentials was $50 and the VIP was $65. For the extra $15, you get a swag bag and,more importantly,the ability to be let into the event an hour before the general admission ticket holders. Take my advice for next year and buy the VIP pas. Just let me get mine first, okay?

I was about the fifth person in line when I arrived at 11am. By the time it opened at noon for VIPS, the line was stretched around the block. Standing in a long line is annoying at the best of times but in today’s strong sun, I am doubly glad that I only had to be out there for an hour.  When I left the event, there were still people lined up around the block waiting to allowed to enter.

LA Weekly's Essentials

That extra hour may not sound like much but it makes all the difference. Generally, it means that there aren’t lines at the booths. Once they let the general admission ticket holders into the event, you can be waiting in a line for a decent length of time. If you had the VIP ticket you probably just walked by and grabbed a plate and kept moving.

Another factor is that the restaurants that are exhibiting at the event bring a limited amount of ingredients with them. So, they can only produce their dishes so many times before they are ‘sold out’.  Which means that anything other than a VIP ticket is increasing the likelihood that you will have paid $50 and missed the chance to try the more popular dishes.

Oh, and if you are going to be drinking , you can get at least several pints in before there is an insane line at the Stella stand.

stella glasses

They let you keep the glasses. Isn’t that cool? I am not embarrassed to admit that I now have several of them in my cupboard.

As good as the beer and wine is, it really is all about the food for me. Once I was inside, I got started with my tastings.

I’ve made a rule for myself when I go to these foodie events. Since I paid good money to get in, I am going to get the most for it and try everything. That means challenging my spice levels or trying something that I previously thought I didn’t like. Taste buds do change, after all.

Sometimes, it works out great and I discover a new foodie love. Other times, as was the case with the lamb tartare from Lucques, I find my opinion stays the same.

lamb tartare

I love lamb and it certainly looked pretty but I reconfirmed that, no matter the quality, raw meat is not for me. My mouth just says no and stops chewing. Still, I can say that I tried and that feels better to me than just assuming I won’t like something without trying it first.

There was plenty of food that I did enjoy though. Sometimes because of the taste alone and sometimes in combination with the presentation.

HomeState, certainly hit both notes with their Frito Pie in a Bag. Inside the the Fritos bag there is a yummy chili con carne, cheddar, lettuce, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, pickled red onions and, of course, Fritos.

homestate frito pie

Apparently the presentation wasn’t just a gimmick for event,it is how it is served at their restaurant too. Certainly a different and tasty way of recycling packaging that would otherwise go straight into the trash.

Of the nearly forty different dishes that I sampled today at LA Weekly Essentials 2014, there were were a few that made my list of favorites.

Angelini Osteria’s beef and spinach lasagna was the first dish that really made me stop and go ‘mmmm’.  In addition to its rich meaty and cheesy goodness, it was helped by being a contrast to all the tacos and salads that I had been served up until that point.

Beef and spinach lasanga

Who doesn’t like good Italian?  Yet, I don’t see much of it at the Los Angeles foodie events. Last year’s event introduced me to Little Dom’s. So, maybe it is going to be a tradition that each LA Weekly Essentials I discover one really good Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. I can live with that.

Next on my list was the chicken liver mousse with onion jam from Father’s Office. Before I lived in Europe, I couldn’t have predicted myself even trying anything like a liver mousse. I must have gone a bit native because now I love a good pate.

chicken liver father's office

Over there, you will find pates in every supermarket. Here, not so much. Which has made something such as this chicken liver mousse even more of a treat.

If I am honest, Superba Snack Bar hasn’t been on my foodie radar. At least it wasn’t until today when I tasted their fried chicken. I am a sucker for restaurants that take comfort foods and kick them up a notch. These guys certainly did that by giving their fried chicken a red wine vinegar glaze and sprinkling it with pickled chilies & parmesan.

Superba Snack Bar fried chicken

I’ll admit to being a bit concerned when I saw the chili but the sweetness that comes from the pickling and the red wine vinegar glaze balances them out and makes it more tangy that spicy. So, good!

Unlike Superbra, it would be a falsehood to say that I hadn’t drooled over a few photos from The Oinkster over the last year.  I’m not somebody that has to have an abundance of meat in their diet but there are some types of meat for which I have a weakness and properly cooked pastrami is high up on that list.

oinkster pastrami

The Oinkster’s house cured pastrami was going to have to be an epic fail for me not to love it. Happily, I can report that no fail was experienced. The pastrami sandwich with a thin layer of deli mustard was incredible. So much so that I had to stop and send a photo to Chris. That was the only dish of my day at LA Weekly Essentials where that happened.

I am both excited for my taste buds and frightened for my waistline, to have learned that The Oinkster will soon be opening a Hollywood location.

If a doughgasm is a thing then a meatgasm can be too, right? At least I think that is what happened when I saw the Chi Spacca booth. Not only did they treat us all to some beautifully smoked meats but they brought what may possibly have been the show stopper of the entire LA Weekly Essentials event.


Pork butter. Yes, a spreadable ‘butter’ made out of pork fat. Incredibly indulgent? Well, duh. Crazy good? You know it!

meat butter

The final entry on my list of favorites from LA Weekly Essentials 2014 is Horse Thief BBQ.

Only fellow foodies will understand when I let you all into this secret. On more than one occasion,myself and Chris have spent an evening  watching barbecue porn together. We sit on the sofa watching food television presenters visit barbecue joints. There might actually be drool. Most certainly there are audible sounds of desire. There are few foods we enjoy more than really good barbecue.

Being a Los Angeles foodie, of course, I have heard of Horse Thief BBQ but until today I had never tried their barbecue. Silly as it may sound, I want to experience that with Chris but until he is living in Los Angeles we have limited time to go out and explore restaurants together.

After tasting the smoked pork belly they served today, I  know for sure that we need to move them to the top of our LA Foodie bucket list. If the mouthwatering combination of a crispy seasoned crust and succulent pork is representative of the rest of their BBQ, we may be in for a spiritual experience when we finally do get there.

Horse Theif BBQ Smoked Pork Belly

As if I had not had enough to eat already, I finished up my time at Essentials 2014 with a quick stop at the McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams booth. There weren’t many sweet items on the menus today. So, if was a nice way to refresh my palate after all the richness of the day’s food.  I know that they had several flavor of ice cream available but once I saw ‘double peanut butter chip’ I was blind to the rest.

peanut butter ice cream

Onward I go into another year of exploring the LA area restaurants that I was introduced to at this year’s LA Weekly food event. At least I will once I have digested enough to move off the sofa.

P.S. Next year, can somebody have toothpicks at their booth? Just saying.