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When I informed my social circle that my Thursday afternoon plans would involve alcohol, I was met with skepticism. “What’s the occasion?” they all asked, as though one needs an excuse to go midweek drinking. But if anyone had expected me to scrounge up a reason beyond, “… Thursday?”, I would’ve had one in hand. The plan was to try out Barbara’s at the Brewery, one of the drinking establishments nestled in the Brewery Arts Complex in Lincoln Heights–just a quick hop from Downtown LA.
Barbara’s is the kind of bar that you have to quest for. Once you wend your way into the heart of the art colony, good luck picking one unassuming warehouse out from another. Had I not been led to the doorstep of Barbara’s by someone in the know, I would’ve lost at least ten minutes to aimless wandering. Rest assured, though: your efforts will be rewarded.
As a member of the Very Introverted set, I liked the low-key, early Thursday afternoon atmosphere of Barbara’s just fine, not to say that those of a more extroverted slant should shy away. The interior is split into two spaces. One of them is a windowed cafe-like space, the other is the bar, which is lit only by a motley collection of neon sculptures and signs and lined with beer tap handles, most of which appear to have been out of commission for ages.
Summer heat gives you the right to indulge in ice cream at least every other day, right? You’re lucky, too, because there are so many great ice cream shops on this side of town, most of them making beautiful ice creams, gelato, and frozen yogurt on the premises. Here are three great beat-the-heat-icy-sweet saviors from an ice cream fanatic (me):
Tejuino Los Reyes: This Lincoln Heights ice cream shop is really just a storefront where people line up in droves for nieves—there’s no seating, minus a bus bench. You can choose from ten or so flavors of this Mexican-style ice cream, with either a leche or agua base. Milk-wise, the chocolate has a rich cocoa taste, a light, airy texture and the occasional chocolate chip while the pistachio is outrageously nutty. Mixing a milk-based flavor like creamy coconut with a water-based one such as tart lime or subtly sweet mango is a good move. The medium gets you four scoops in a big styrofoam cup. Tejuino Los Reyes 2707 N. Broadway.
Disclaimer: This picture is awful, but it looks much more appetizing in person.
You might as well know right now, I didn’t get a huarache. Yes, I know, this place is called the El Huarachito, but I was craving Mexican breakfast, and the other diners were all eating delicious looking egg dishes. I would have been too jealous, even if the huarache was spectacular. And I’m sure it would have been, judging by what I did eat.
I went for the Chilaquiles Rojos con huevos, over easy. I’m not opposed to saucy chilaquiles, but I prefer them to be a bit dry and dark, so that you know the sauce has been thoroughly absorbed into the tortillas. This really allows all the flavors to be distinct, instead of everything just blending together in a big mushy mess. El Huarachito’s are pretty near perfect and the rest of the plate followed suit, including beans were too delicious not to have been refried in lard and potatoes that tasted like meat.
In a good way.