Huevos Rancheros: Bunker Hill Bar & Grill


Most Downtown spots seem geared for the 9-5 weekday crowd, cuz there’s lots of working stiffs up in them tall buildings. Come the weekend, there’s hardly any place to eat, much less so if yer trying to avoid the Tourist Trap that Grand Central Market has become. If you are in the mood to deal with a gaggle of Urban Explorers venturing out from their suburban OC dens, then you might be interested. But if you just want a meal for your lunch break without the BS, avoid GCM, seriously, at all costs. It’s urban LA as imagineered by Disneyland, in the worst possible sense.

On some random weekend that brought me downtown and needed lunch, I ended up at Bunker Hill Grill because I knew they had a decent vegetarian soy-chicken sandwich. Plus, they happened to be open!

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Eastside 101: ELAC Swap Meet

November 17, 2007 at 10:21 pm in East Side

The ELAC Swap Meet was a very unique gathering, a bunch of buyers and sellers trying to eke out a living, all taking place on the parking lot of our local community college. After I did some follow-up posts on LA Eastside, we kept getting emails, for years, by people that wanted to sign up for a spot. It was pretty funny.


I’ve been slacking off on my Eastside 101 posts, but that doesn’t mean I’m putting down my guard against the newbie usurpers. Over at Curbed LA they are running a “definitive poll” to determine the location of the Eastside and its dividing line, but their system is rigged: I suspect they purged the voter rolls. How else to explain the fact that the east-of-the-river option is in last place? Maybe the “it’s a state of mind, ese” option (the current favorite) was used to confuse Eastsiders ala the Butterfly ballot in Florida. Because being from the Eastside is a state of mind, it’s an overwhelming awareness that the rest of the city has no clue or interest in what happens over there in the Mexican quarters. And despite your ignorance of us, we are well aware of you. It reminds me of the Eastside punk scene; everyone knew of the shows happening elsewhere in the city, but nobody else seemed to know about the backyard gigs happening in our neighborhoods. Whether it’s intentional or not, ignorance of the Eastside is nothing new. When you finally move back home, in a tacit acceptance that your fantasy career in the film industry isn’t going to happen, the Eastside will still be here, ready to be ignored by the next crop of newbies.

Since Westsiders seem to take a special interest in shopping places, this post is dedicated to them. Come take a look at our fabulous ELAC Swap Meet!

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Latest Sign-os!


About a decade ago I did a post about typos on signs, aka sign-os. Here’s a random update just cuz I noticed these today as I was hanging around Chinatown. The first example above I noticed cuz I happened to be eating a nice bowl of noodles with tofu at Oleego and decided to look around the room. “Seansoned” and “Favorit” showed up on the wall, truly a disaster if you are a sign maker and didn’t bring along your 99¢ dictionary. Unforgivable for your profession.


Then I spotted this beautiful specimen down the street. Instead of Camarones they spelled it “Camalones”, which wouldn’t be that big a deal as another sign-o but c’mon, this plays into that whole pronouncing /L/ instead of /R/ stereotype of Asian languages. Kinda funny tho.

Bonus! Bonus! Bonus!


Look at this doozy. “IF UR LiFE SUX, you Suck”. Nevermind the misspellings, this is a way more complicated disaster.

Why the need to life shame people? Some of us have succumbed to going to work to pay the rent, thus why life sucks. Can’t you shame work itself and those that have built it into our daily framework for making our collective lives suck? I think that should be the target of your critique, not the poor folk that have to suffer at a sucky job just to to earn some sucky wages. To then be told you suck for not being content with the way things turned out, that just seems cruel.

Wot a fucking dick.


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Eastside 101: Murals of Estrada Courts

July 24, 2007 at 3:15 pm in East Side

This post was easily the hardest Eastside 101 post I did, going back to an area that scared the shit out of me as a kid, to try and document it properly as an adult. Everything was fine but the ghosts of the past sure do haunt you.


This next installment of Eastside 101 takes us to the Boyle Heights corner of Olympic and Lorena and into the housing project known as Estrada Courts. Though there’s a sign on the corner of one of the buildings that warns it is not open to the public and you need to ask permission to enter, I don’t think anyone will notice a quick visit. At least that’s what I’m counting on. But it’s not the housing authority I’m worried about, it’s the local gang that will keep me looking over my shoulder. I’m going to squash my gut instincts as there is something about Estrada Courts I want to show you: the walls.

(Warning: lots of pictures)

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Eastside 101: El Mercadito & 5 Puntos


FYI, these republished Eastside 101 posts are old posts from that lost their photos, just trying to keep them alive on the internet. Carry on.

June 9, 2007 at 12:55 am in East Side

For this second installment of Eastside 101, we take a trip to El Mercadito, that one-stop shop for all your south of the border needs! Even though the place is actually named El Mercado, everyone knows it as El Mercadito (the little market) because its so big, relative to most other shopping places on the Eastside. It’s one of my favorite spots to take out-of-towners since they can be entertained gawking at all the weird stuff while I get to stock up on some essentials. Want to see what this place might have for you? Well hop into the virtual ranfla and lets take a ride to find out!

(Warning! MANY crappy, out of focus pics ahead! Warning!)

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Eastside 101: Hollenbeck Park

June 3, 2007 at 12:41 am in >East Side


This was the first of the Eastside 101 posts.

Ed Fuentes of View from a Loft pointed out a new publication to hit LA, a monthly that imagines itself as “a meaningful upscale magazine” for the Eastside. A quick look at their site and it suddenly feels more like a slap; their Eastside is nowhere near to the one I grew up in, that vast expanse of mostly Latino humanity on the other side of the river. Ugg. Here we go again, the re-imagining of our city in a historical vacuum. A cultural demarcation by terms. Just have a damn flag planting ceremony already, make a few decrees about the new Easternmost territories held by the Westsider Cultural Empire, declare East LA to be inconsequential (until further notice) and call this vision the new LA. At least that way we will have something to work with, or something to fight against.

I’m tired of this “debate” since it mostly consists of Eastsiders fighting to preserve a semblance of place, informing newcomers from the far off West or beyond that we, on the other side of the river, do exist, and that (at least to ourselves) we do matter. Before I raise my army for the coming culture wars, and before the divide between the two LA’s gets even wider, I figured I’d do some preliminary bridge building: I’m going to embark on an occasional series of posts to highlight aspects of the Eastside that I know. Mostly it’ll be about places you can visit but sometimes there’ll be posts that are based on the map of memory. Maybe it’ll help some out there to take us seriously. (Ha, ha!) But even if it has no effect, and people still insist on erasing our identity, it’ll be a record of the Eastside that actually means something to me, the place I call home.

For our first lesson, turn to the page marked Hollenbeck Park!
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