Wednesday, August 5, 2009

LA's Sidewalk Cafeteria: Breed Street

In what can be seen as Los Angeles’ cafeteria, Latino families from all over the southland come out to Breed Street in East Los Angeles to open their kitchens to the community and serve some street food at insanely cheap prices. This gathering happens on a nightly basis, but it is bustling on Fridays and Saturdays. Jocie, our new pal and Breed Street tour guide, organized a get-together with other food bloggers one of those Fridays and gave us the low-down on Breed Street.

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs

Going through the tour was not easy. Everything looked so good and we couldn’t get our dollar bills out till after we have been torturously teased by the food. But the wait was worth it! The first item we tackled were the Pupusas, handmade, thick fried corn tortillas stuffed with pork, beans, and cheese with some shredded cabbage drizzled with a spicy sauce on the side. The pupusas, made by a lady from Guatemala were delicious. The dough that encased the fillings was chewy, but slightly crispy and the hot sauce gave it a spicy and slightly sour bang.

That spicy bang left Evelina running to one of the many Horchata stands. At $2 a cup, she winded up gulping down another round of the sweet rice water later on.

Like we said, choosing what to eat was hard because everything looked so delicious. What wheeled us in to the Pamboza, though, was the show a woman was putting on by simply preparing the dipped sandwich. She didn’t speak English, but we could tell by her concentration and from the praises of the people around her that these sandwiches, dipped in a slightly spicy red sauce, were going to be juicy and good. To add to the flavor the sandwich also had shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, potatoes, and sour cream.

Next, we headed to the Barbacoa stand, where two men dressed in blue aprons and white hats happily chopped up Hidalgo-styled pit roast mutton for tacos ($3). We put a lot of cilantro, onions, and lime on our tacos plus a red sauce for Wesley, which is supposed to be really spicy and a green sauce for Evelina. The meat of the mutton is tender and somewhat fatty. The red marinated mutton had a horrible bitter taste to Evelina, but Wesley insists that it was good. We later learned that that taco's meat consisted of lamb intestines. Otherwise, the other lamb meat taco was satisfying. The green sauce actually turned out to be spicier so back to the horchata stand Evelina went!

Our last meal before our desserts was Huarache ($2.50), which is like a blown up fried quesadilla, from Nina’s Catering. Nina’s is very popular on Breed Street. They have the biggest stand, the most extensive menu, and the longest line—we waited twenty minutes for this chicken huarache. The wait was worth it, though, because it was the tastiest item we had that night. Jocie told us that Nina was also very famous for her sauces, so we top it with a smooth guacamole-based sauce. Delicious.

For dessert we had churros and a crepe. We watched with our eyes widely opened as the crepe lady added a block of cream cheese on the crepe and rolled it up. The crepe was nothing to rave about at $5. Looking back, it was pretty gross that we consumed a BLOCK of cream cheese on top of the sugary fruit cocktail and whipped cream.

What saved the dessert portion from being a disaster were the Churros. Shaped and fried in front of our eyes, these churros were crispy with just the right amount of sugar.

We were definitely looking for a food adventure that night, and we found it at Breed Street, where those familiar ABCs are nowhere to be found. Yes, these street vendors are not regulated by the Health Department, but we didn’t have any fear of getting sick. Competition between vendors is very high on Breed Street, so if any customer got sick, that would mean the end of the vendor’s street food career at this community-organized gathering. None of us got sick that night and the food was great, so we’ll definitely be making more trips down for some authentic Mexican/Latin American food.

Street Food on Breed Street
At Breed Street and Caesar Chavez Blvd.
East Los Angeles, CA

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  1. I still think about those churros at least once a day. How do they get the innards so incredibly custardy?

  2. Me thinks the custardy interior has something to do with lard.

    Great write-up! Has me craving another huarache! (With a horchata and churro on the side...)

  3. Awwww, love the revamp of the site. It's so cute! Man, it's too bad I missed this, I could use some churros right now. Next time! =D

  4. Didn't get to try pupusas, which I regret a lot. Maybe not the block of cream cheese crepe, though! :P I love cream cheese as much as the next, but wow.

  5. OMG, that is almost like walking on the streets of Mexico, :-p I love it! I haven't had churros in a LONG time. If I had a churrera I'd set my own churreria outside my house :-p

  6. Cathy: those churros and the huarache (minus the long wait) are calling us to go back.

    Diana: I'm glad you had your first cup of horchata and we were there to witness the moment. We really enjoyed the huarache but the wait was bad.

    Jackie: Thanks! The text header was getting a bit boring. Let us know when you want to go.

    Marie: The crepe was good but that block of cream cheese did throw things off. At $5 thats was by far the most expensive item that night. One cream cheese crepe or four tacos? We'd choose to latter.

    Ben: You should check this place out - we would'nt have known about this either and it truly is a hidden gem.

  7. I'd like to try Breed St. Let me know the next time you go. Looks yummy! And I \'m with Wes on the barbacoa!!!

  8. What great pictures!Makes me wish I was there, I love churros!I followed you from the foodieblogroll and I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind. All you need to do is add this foodista widget to this post and it's all set to go. Thanks!

  9. ugh the crepe looks terrible but the churro looks awesome! sigh- makes me want to go back to the OC County Fair for mexican funnel cake!