Food & Drink

Seven under-the-radar spots you need to know about on the Eastside

Published On 05/19/2013 Published On 05/19/2013
Echoplex

Complain about gentrification all you want (do it! DOOOO IT!), but the hipster takeover of Echo Park means crazy-unique businesses that'll offer you everything from spots where you can listen to actual LPs, to places that show you how to travel back in time to buy 'em. Speaking of which..

The Only Place Where You Can Buy Anti-Cloning Fluid: The Echo Park Time Travel Mart 1714 W Sunset The Echo Park Time Travel Mart's a bizarre storefront that stocks you-must-be-kidding supplies for your next trip through time, from centurion helmets (if you go backward) to robot milk (if you go forward). The whole thing's actually a fundraising front for Dave Eggers' kids-should-be-reading nonprofit 826LA, which means you can feel good about buying not one, but two cans of Mammoth chunks. Be transported in 3... 2... 1...
Subject The Bar To Your Dad's Bread Records: El Prado 1805 W Sunset The tiny beer bar El Prado's got a record player, which, according to the Internet, is that thing that people listened to music on before computers/cassettes were invented; sometimes, they even let patrons sign up to play their own, which means... um... now you gotta find some. Which's easy, if you head across the street to... Play DJ, over here
Buy Your Dad's Old Bread Records: Origami Vinyl 1816 W Sunset Origami Vinyl's a tiny boutique music shop that stocks new and used records, puts on free shows from now-famous bands like Silversun Pickups and NO, and -- pro tip -- sells tickets to shows with no service charge. Start spinning right this way
The Only Spot Where You Can Get A Tamale For Free: 1642 1642 W Temple Not just a really, really incorrect answer to "What year did Columbus sail the Ocean blue?", the dark, jazz-influenced 1642's a beer bar on the Echo Park/Silverlake periphery, but, in any case, you should get over there for this deal: on Thursdays from 6-8p, order a beer and get a totally free tamale, a deal that's pretty...hot. Depending on when you eat that tamale, or whatever. Just beware of the ghosts...
Feel Like You've Been Transported To Portlandia: The Machine Project 1200 N Alvarado This anything-goes workspace for this bizarro collective hosts random-ass... er... everything, from Bulgarian singing workshops (!!) to interactive shipwrecks (!!!) to yodeling performances (?). Click here to get weird
Eat Like You're, Like, Judging Top Chef: Allumette 1320 Echo Park Ave This totally nondescript restaurant's blasting out crazy dish after crazy dish from a savant-ish chef making food with ingredients you didn't even know existed (kanzuri/beluga lentils/xiu mai). The drinks get overlooked but they're top notch, too, with insanity like the Gentleman's Breakfast, a Scotch number topped with candy-infused bitters. You fancy, huh? Right this way.
Eat Like There's No Way You Could Afford The Food On Top Chef: No-Name Taco Trucks All Over The Place Seriously, the best food in Echo Park's probably being cooked on the street: there're a ton of taco trucks off Sunset that all have stellar corn-tortilla-wrapped, cilantro-and-onion-topped asada tacos that'll stuff you for less than $10 and make you wonder why anyone pays more than that for kanzuri, anyways. Tacos on tacos on tacos: click here

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1. The Echo Park Time Travel Mart 1714 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

From writer and all-around-good-dude Dave Eggers comes the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a bizarre store on Sunset that's stocking everything you could need for your next time-travel adventure. The whole thing is really a fundraising front for Eggers' amazing 826 National, the nonprofit writing and tutoring center for children and teens he began in 2003 that has expanded to cities across the country. So, go ahead and buy a few things you don't need, it's for a good cause.

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2. El Prado 1805 W Sunset Blvd, Echo Park, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

This little unique bar houses a rare, ever-changing beer selection, offers simple snacks, and sets the mood through an old-school record player.

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3. Origami Vinyl 1816 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

This boutique music shop houses a dense collection of new and used records, puts on free shows, and even sells show tickets without the obnoxious service charge.

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4. 1642 Beer And Wine 1642 W Temple, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

This hidden-away neighborhood joint is a go-to spot for a great Cali micro-brew, some live music, and endless free peanuts. Find yourself there on a Thursday night and you'll be treated to the happy hour special: free tamales!

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5. Machine Project 1200 D North Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

This wild arts/lecture/random-strange-things space houses an ever-rotating selection of fantastical art projects, many of which are interactive. Past events have included an enormous indoor shipwreck installation, classes on everything from yodeling to miming, and a lecture on Ping vs. Pong whose direction was controlled by the audience playing a legit 1975 Pong machine. Seriously.

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6. Allumette 1320 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (Echo Park)

Located in Echo Park, Allumette is the brainchild of Chef Miles Thompson, with owners Charles Kelly and Bill DiDonna expanding on the idea of "apartment dining". Ignore the lack of decor and focus on the food, which could single-handedly trump just about every Top Chef there ever was.

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