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What We Eat: A Look into L.A.’s Distinctive Foods

Candace Yee, Entertainment Editor

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Los Angeles is a city of diverse cultures and tastes, and Pali students are no stranger to L.A.’s many food fads and trendy joints.

Windward Juices

Spencer Kleyweg
Windward Juices

Pressed Juices  

In a quiet back alley behind the Venice Beach Boardwalk, there’s a small brick storefront with a button and sign that reads “Press For Juice.” Windward Juice, founded and owned by Pali senior Spencer Kleyweg and his father, offers Clover Juice, Better Booch’s kombucha tea and a reprieve from one of Venice’s busiest streets. The colorful bottles are stored alongside boxes of Vans, as the shop’s space is the back of a Venice vintage clothing store, Animal House.

The shop’s opening in Venice seems to follow the trend of cold-pressed juices and juice cleansing that has hit Los Angeles and, according to Kleyweg, was spurred by the lack of healthy juice shops in the neighborhood.     

The Clover Juice website itself advertises that each bottle contains three pounds of an assortment of cold-pressed ingredients ranging from apples, pineapples and pears to camu camu, wheatgrass and turmeric.

However successful the shop is, running Windward Juice has not been without its challenges. “Managing a shop is tough on its own but it is especially difficult in an environment like a Venice beach alley, with the large quantity of tourists and wacky characters,” Kleyweg said.

The shop, according to Kleyweg, and its photogenic ivy-covered façade has garnered a lot of attention. “It’s really cool seeing big Instragram shoots and engagement photos taken in front of the shop all the time.”

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Avocado Toast

With over 200,000 pictures of avocado toast on Instagram, it’s safe to say that the avocado-smeared, open faced breakfast sandwich is one of the more popular health food trends. Although avocado toast usually consists of a slice of toast, mashed avocado and a dash of salt and pepper, it can cost upwards of $10.

Some of the most expensive varieties of avocado toast can be found in New York City, costs $20 at some restaurants and can include toppings such as smoked salmon and fried eggs, according to Refinery29.  

Avocado toast is also made frequently at home. People across the internet have shared their own recipes of the popular dish, and ingredients including miso, dukkah, tahini, sweet mango and black sesame have all found their way on top of the sliced avocado.

In L.A., Groundworks Coffee and Sqirl are two of the most popular eateries for avocado toast.

“I get avocado toast at Groundwork,” senior Carly Weitz said. “The toast is my favorite part because it’s buttery and the flavors just blend together.”

The East Hollywood café Sqirl was crowned with the best avocado toast title by L.A. Magazine in 2015 and their famed avocado toast is said to be “topped off with pickled carrots, za’atar and green garlic crème fraîche.”   

Blue Star Donuts

Elise Angelich
Blue Star Donuts

Donuts

In the heart of Koreatown, a 24-hour bakery known as California Donuts sells a variety of eccentric and unusually-flavored donuts. The retro-looking donut shop displays dozens of gourmet donuts in their glass display cases, with flavors including Blueberry Toast Crunch, Chocolate Bacon and the popular Panda donut, an Oreo topped donut that resembles the face of a panda.

Pali students have flocked to their counters to try their deep-fried pastries.

“I like California Donuts because of how cute and original the donuts are,” Weitz said. “I had never had a Froot Loop donut before.”

Following the trend of gourmet donuts in Los Angeles is the opening of Portland’s Blue Star Donuts in Venice, California. According to the Blue Star website, a French brioche recipe is used to make the dough from scratch, and the dough alone takes a total of 18 hours to make.

This, along with their distinctive flavors such as blueberry bourbon basil, Dulche de Leche Hazelnut and Cointreau crème brûlée, has helped to make this new L.A. donut shop a popular one.    

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Burgers

In-N-Out Burger has long been hailed as an icon of west coast fast food, and to many Pali students, it still remains a staple of their diet. Time has even gone as far as to name the In-N-Out cheeseburger as one of the best burgers in America.  

According to Vice, one of the chain’s most distinctive features is the lack of microwaves, heat lamps or freezers in each restaurant. Rather than advertising the “fast” essence of fast food, In-N-Out has had a history of making sure that people know their ingredients are fresh. Many Pali students, however, enjoy In-N-Out because of the taste.  

“Their burgers are distinctive because they taste good,” senior Jonathan Yasharel stated. “My friends and I have gone so many times post yarm [sic] that it’s become a tradition.”

“In-N-Out is the classic California burger,” junior Sam Slavkin said. “There’s a good reason why people fly in from all around the world to have one.”

Joining the list of popular burgers in L.A. is the Eggslut Cheeseburger. Eggslut started out in a food truck, and soon expanded to downtown L.A.’s Grand Central market, according to the L.A. Times. Today, Eggslut has opened up in places including Las Vegas, Venice, California and Glendale, and remains a popular eatery for many in the L.A. area.   

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What We Eat: A Look into L.A.’s Distinctive Foods