I’ve lived on the east side of Los Angeles for nearly 7 years now and loving every new discovery along the way. It’s amazing even after hundreds of countless weekends exploring the tiniest of huts I’m still finding city-gems that woo me and my love for this city grows more than I thought possible. I know what some of you are thinking – Los Angeles is lame. I even think parts of it can be. I’m not saying it’s the best city on the planet, but what I do know there is great variety to dig through. The secret being to find the little nook that suits you best.

Once you do…I’m telling you, it’s magic.

This weekend I spent a little extra time in the nearby  neighborhood of Highland Park and boy did I discover some new favorites along the way. Bookmark these three quick bites for your next visit and more importantly for food stop options once the Southwest Museum of the American Indians fully reopens in 2013. Excitement! Any by excitement I mean you get to enter the museum through an Indiana Jones portal.

You can’t tell me you did not just got pumped.

EL MAR AZUL: Well hello little blue truck! You and I are about to become summertime besties. Easy to find, this little mobile gem is always parked on Figueroa at the center of the Sycamore Grove Park. Matte blue, majestic and sporting a slightly off hand painted Little Mermaid holding a margarita…or is that a ceviche cocktail? It doesn’t matter. If you are too scared to get raw seafood from a truck you haven’t lived – these guys do it right. I’ve never had octopus so tender. Pull up, make sure you order a few things to share, take a seat in the park and don’t forget to try the homemade hot sauce action. Squirt bottles never produced so much flavor love.

 

TACO FIESTA: I’ve flirted with our meeting for a while. That cute little dude hanging out on their signage is almost enough to make you pull your car into the parking lot. The tacos are good…I imagine they would be even better at 3am. As would perhaps the sight of the gentleman’s personal super moon on display one table in front of me. Wow. It’s got a special kind of ambiance – just don’t look around too much and you’ll be fine. Years of high school graffiti engravings on the tables, people watching for hours along side a semi-decent lemon drink and apparently a weekend healing corn dog….this place has something special going on. And by special, I mean come prepared…cash only.

 

BIONICOS LA PALAPA: Passing this place was one of those rare LA moments when you literally scream “hit the breaks and find parking IMMEDIATELY”! Maybe it was the Polynesian themed hand painted sign, maybe it’s my love for fresh juice and all things agua fresca. But Wow, you’re in for a treat. I immediately gravitated to El Vamprio, only because why on earth would you name a drink after a blood sucking villain? Oh, it’s really looks like blood? Awesome. Also, it’s amazing: Beats, carrots and orange…Te Amo creature of the night. You are tasty! Secondly, they will make you anything off the menu. If they have it, they will juice it. And they have a lot to choose from. I hopped on a watermelon fresca that was life changing in terms that it could quite possibly fill the void of my air condition-less summer. Oh yes…fresca indeed.