Have you had a chance to try out the new Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension? If not, I encourage you to try it out soon.

And if you need any suggestions for things to do along the new extension, Juan and I have some tried-and-proven suggestions, per our latest Transit-Oriented Food Adventure, this time with his parents and our good friend Will Trevor (and fellow UCLA dental student ’10) earlier this month.

Juan’s parents  had heard about these transit-oriented adventures, and asked that we take them on one.  The following map shows where we went!


View Transit-Oriented Food Adventure to Chinatown, East LA: 11/22/2009 in a larger map

We started the journey near our home in Santa Monica by taking the Metro Rapid 720 (Wilshire) to connect with the subway about 12 miles away. (Tip: We loaded two $5 day passes onto some spare TAP cards for Juan’s parents. Even though a senior fare is $0.25 per ride, we wound up boarding so many buses and trains that having a TAP card loaded with fares made our day so much easier.)

At Wilshire/Vermont, we switched to the subway, which we took all of the way into Union Station, about a five minute walk from our first stop, Yum Cha Cafe.

Yum Cha Cafe is a fast-food restaurant which serves dim sum and sells roasted ducks. They have enough tables to seat about 30 people, but you have to move fast to get a seat.  The emphasis is on cheap. We ordered nine different entrees for $11 .  I really enjoyed the hai gao  and fried shrimp balls that had these won ton speckles on it that were interesting to eat. Juan likes ordering steamed pork buns wherever he goes, and well, they weren’t that good, but the price was right ($1.39 for 3 buns).

Lynne, Juan’s mom, had expressed a request for shrimp and fish tacos, so Juan led our group onto the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension to El Seven Mares near the Soto Street station in Boyle Heights. I thought the tacos were delicious; the flavor of the fried fish was just right, and the tacos were so big that I had to use a fork and knife to cut the food up into pieces.

And how convenient was it that we passed King Taco at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Soto Street on our way back? Juan and Will Trevor scarfed down three tacos (al pastor, carne asada, and el res). Maybe as a testament to their taco truck roots, the shack is painted to look like a taco truck. ::shrugs::

We stopped at El Mercado briefly before heading back West, first to Little Tokyo, where we went to Mikawaya for some Japanese mochi. Mmmm, delicious! The mochi were $1 a piece, so I got two pieces: one with green tea ice cream and a second with mango-flavored ice cream.  I’m not a food critic, but I can tell you that I found it all very satisfying.

All in all, it was a pretty darn awesome adventure; the cash outlay was pretty reasonable; and it was a wonderful way to spend a beautiful day.

For Your Information

  • Yum Cha Cafe, 638 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Hours: Mon-Sun. 6:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • El Seven Mares, 2729 E. Cesar Chavez, Los Angeles, CA 90033.
  • King Taco, 2400 E Cesar E Chavez Ave,Los Angeles, CA 90033. Hours: Sun-Thurs, 8:30am-12AM; Fri-Sat, 8:30AM-3AM.
  • El Mercado, 3425 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90063 (323) 768-3295.
  • Mikiwaya, 118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012
  • GoMetro TAP Card (Thank you UCLA Transportation)