From a steal of a taco deal to a nostalgic Frito pie, you’ll love these modestly priced meals in Playa Vista
By Angela Matano
Lunch can be a lot of things: rushed, cheap, nonexistent, or a slapped-together PB&J from home. Sometimes, though, something better is called for — something nutritious, filling and delicious. Whether you are looking for a healthy choice or a caloric splurge, here are five options under $15 to grab and go or sit down like a civilized person and eat. Bring a friend.
Tocaya Organica’s Taco Combo
You really can eat good Mexican food without any diet guilt. For just $9.65 you get two tacos (any style), a side and a drink. The way the menu works, you choose a taco that appeals to your senses and then add the protein and queso of your choice. Chef recommends adding achiote chicken and queso cotija to the Cali Taco (avocado tomatillo salsa, onion) or filling the Barrio Taco (roasted tomato salsa, avocado, diced red onions, cilantro) with beef chorizo and jalapeño jack. Other options include chicken tinga, vegan mozzarella or the catch of the day. A cucumber mint agua fresca and shaved Brussels sprouts salad make for the perfect light lunch.
12150 Millennium Drive, Ste.101 | (424) 289-6105 | tocayaorganica.com
Frito Pie in a Bag at HomeState
A grownup indulgence with a whiff of nostalgia baked in, the Frito Pie in a Bag at HomeState is reminiscent of school days and impossibly addictive. The melt-in-your-mouth chili con carne mixes beautifully with the crunchy Fritos, shredded orange cheese, lettuce, sour cream and chopped up tomatoes, and it’s elevated just enough with the addition of pickled jalapeños and pickled red onions. Served in an actual Fritos bag, this meal is a steal for $7, and there is a vegetarian option as well. If you don’t have to hurry back to work, indulge in a refreshing spicy Paloma cocktail — a combination of grapefruit, chili and tequila.
12105 E. Waterfront Drive, Ste. B | (213) 296-2383 | myhomestate.com
Spicy Yellowfin Tuna Poke Bowl at Da Kikokiko
Poke bowls have got to be one of the most satisfying lunches around. Just filling enough to satiate, without being too heavy, the spicy yellowfin tuna bowl at Da Kikokiko melds flavor, crunch and just the right amount of kick. Scallions, shaved serrano peppers, smelt eggs, furikake (Japanese seasoning), spicy mayo and tempura crumbs mix perfectly with the fish and rice so that every bit works together harmoniously. Healthier options, such as a grain blend or kale and cucumber salad, can be substituted for the white rice; lime shoyu (vinaigrette) can be subbed for the mayonnaise. If you’re in the mood for something fruity, order up a Dole Whip Float — they taste just like the ones at Disneyland!
12746 W. Jefferson Blvd. | (424) 835-4192 | dakikokiko.com
The Classic Burger at Gulp
OK, this one comes in at just over $15 at $15.95, but we’re talking about a gourmet tower of beef, lettuce, tomato and white onions that’s worth the extra cents. Seriously, the bun needs a toothpick to keep everything together. The patty (a blend of short rib, brisket and chuck) bursts with juicy flavor and a scrumptious bit of char. You could absolutely share this burger; although, let’s be honest, you probably won’t want to. Fries are included, either regular or sweet potato — or, if you insist, a side of salad might make you feel a little more virtuous. Then again, for a buck or two more you can layer on cheese, bacon or avocado (and feel less guilty about splurging on the extras).
13020 Pacific Promenade, Ste. 1 | (310) 496-3966 | gulpbrewco.com