Summertime date night in Echo Park

Low on cash but want to impress that special someone? I highly recommend grabbing a few tacos and drink from a taco truck in Echo Park (my truck of choice is Tacos Arizas on Sunset and Logan Street). With food in hand, walk down Logan to Echo Park.

Top: Echo Park at dusk. Bottom: Tacos from Tacos Arizas.

Top: Echo Park at dusk. Bottom: Tacos from Tacos Arizas.

Ever since the Echo Park reopened in June, there been new energy and life in the neighborhood. More people having picnics, kids on bikes – and the smell of delicious BBQ subtly making it’s way through the air. Plus, there are some great benches to sit and enjoy each other’s company. Happy date night!

Cheap eats: Jaragua Restaurant

On Beverly Boulavard in LA, there are a lot of hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve up some of the best El Salvadorian food in town. One of these gems is Jaragua Restaurant.

You can order a carne asada steak, rice and beans, and empanadas; but for me, I go there specifically for their pupusas. For those who don’t know, pupusas are disk shape and made out corn flour dough and is usually filled with cheese, beans, pork etc. Usually it’s served with a side of curtido, a tangy cabbage slaw.  It’s a great compact meal that fills you up on the cheap.

Their bean and cheese pupusa is my pick for the best pupusa. One of my eating companions said “the bean and cheese pupusa is the reason I go!” Couldn’t have said it better myself. The pupusa has a nice crunch when you bight into it and the melted cheese and black beans retain their flavor and isn’t soggy with grease.

I can’t for the curtido. I think last time I was here, I had to ask for more because I couldn’t get enough of it. I love to put it on top of my pupusa so each bite has some tangy flavor and crunch from the curtido – it works well with the salty taste of the cheese from the pupusa. It reminds me of a cold slaw and kimchi hybrid.

And last but not least, here is the ensalada. No, it’s not a salad, it’s a refreshing drink made from fresh fruit like mangoes, pineapple, apple, and also some fresh mint leaves. This stuff isn’t from a can – they make it fresh daily and it’s nice to wash down your savory meal with this cold sweet drink.

Why is this a cheap eat? This sit-down restaurant meal consisting of two pupusas with a side of curtido and an ensalada was around $10 (without tip and tax). There’s no need to spend a lot of money for good food. I’ll try to post some more cheap eats in the coming weeks. Stay tuned…

Tip: Don’t just order the ensalada. The ensalada is super sweet and I recommend ordering a savory dish to go with it.