The 11 in 11 is the annual Novemberial food marathon thrown by Mark, Jason, Noah and Jeff. You may remember last year’s that ran from 11pm to 11am. This year it was reversed, during daylight hours. They decided to use the Gold Line this year because LA has a subway, in case you didn’t know.
I wasn’t going to do the whole 11 in 11, so I started my marathon with a pastrami sandwich at Langer’s.
Don’t tell anyone, but it was my first time.
The sandwich easily lives up to the hype. Exile Kiss’ review is a must-read and is the map for an all-Langer’s marathon in the future.
Back to the 11 in 11. Mark’s planning was impeccable. He factored in multiple restaurants per stop, lag time for a group of 30, proximity to subway stops and every other possible hiccup a marathon could encounter. I commend him for planning and executing a flawless marathon.
We met at California Plaza, took the Angels Flight down to Union Station, boarded the Red Line, transferred to the Gold Line and headed to Mariachi Plaza. The first stop actually had 4 restaurant options within a half mile of the subway.
I leaned towards La Placita del DF, as it didn’t seem like it was as filling as Birriera Jalisco (I’m also planning a Jalisco food marathon featuring Mariscos Jalisco, Taqueria Jalisco, Birriera Jalisco and others).
The menu offers street food from Mexico. We opted for a delicious crunchy chicken quesadilla,
huitlacoche quesadilla (that’s corn smut/fungus),
and platter of tacos. Guava aqua frescas washed it all down.
Michael Jordan (yes, the best name on the marathon) also grabbed a taco from Apaches for us to sample.
Less than a mile away we descended upon Al and Bea’s. The tiny burrito shack is famous, as later proven by the local that confirmed its exceptional flavor and quality over novelty (achem, El Tepeyac).
I didn’t need a local to tell me this place was good.
We devoured the lot, including a cholesterol-filled chicharron burrito that could have stopped the marathon in its tracks.
On we went, towards an odd, county fair type stand. Original Raspados serves deep fried Oreo’s, funnel cakes and their specialty snow cones.
The decor is artful. That’s the dining patio to the right under the Firestone sign with the rooster cooing in the back.
The snowcones are served in bathtubs, for $7.
The crowning culinary achievement of the day came in the form of a hybrid chili pie. They slice the side of a Fiery Hot Cheetos bag open and pour chili and cheese in, to create the pot of gold at the end of the gold line.
It’s just a shame they don’t dump chili and cheese on buckets of Cheetos too.
Back on the subway to the next stop, El Pollon. This Peruvian restaurant is a solid choice for chicken and other staples.
The group ordered a lot. Chicken,
shrimp and rice,
We re-boarded the subway and headed back to Little Tokyo. The group split between mochi-goers at Mikayawa and beer-drinkers at Wurstkuche.
Having a beer connoisseur in the group is helpful at a bar. Jason directed me to a light Gouden Carolus, while he had a Duchess.
From Little Tokyo to Chinatown, we rejoined the group to get Vietnamese sandwiches.
Buu Dien’s banh mi are average-at-best. It’s worth the extra drive to the SGV to get good ones.
At this point I headed back home, not even full but with other plans for the night. As always getting a group of food-minded strangers together yields infinite fun. Thank you organizers for making it happen.