From a healthy falafel bowl 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, non-existent, 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.
The Classic Burger at Gulp
We’re talking about a tower of beef, lettuce, tomato and white onions. 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.
13020 Pacific Promenade, Ste. 1 | (310) 496-3966 | gulpbrewco.com
Tocaya Organica’s Taco Combo
You really can eat good Mexican food without any diet guilt. For just $9.95 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 protein and a queso of your choice. Right now the Zuma taco is the seasonal option, brimming with a radish citrus slaw and vegan chipotle crema. Tomatillo shrimp and queso fresco are recommended additions. Other options include achiote chicken, beef chorizo, jalapeño jack, and vegan mozzarella. 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
The Pita Platter at Rodini Park
According to The New York Times, sticking to a Mediterranean diet can help a person avoid heart attacks and strokes. Rodini Park makes you want to eat Greek with their yummy, homemade pita platter. For your protein, choose falafel — a heady mix of garbanzo beans, celery, carrots, lentil and parsley. Add a flavorful sauce or two, like cool tzatziki or fresh hummus. Finally, augment with vegetable toppings like red cabbage, pepperoncini and Kalamata olives. Scoop it all up with soft, warm pita. If you still have an appetite, the bakery beckons with a plethora of goods baked daily. Coconut Galaktoboureko (honey custard cake), salted caramel butterscotch baklava, and a magical creation called a flourless chocolate bomb are just a few of the delectable options.
12181 Bluff Creek Dr., Ste. A | (310) 282-8500 | rodinipark.com
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 feeling frisky, order up a Dole Whip Float — they taste just like the ones at Disneyland!
12746 W. Jefferson Blvd. | (424) 835-4192 | dakikokiko.com