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What Does the Eastside Taste Like?

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Before we begin, let's just agree that for the sake of discussion, "the Eastside" includes Los Feliz to Echo Park. I know some of you just started bleeding from your eyeballs. Handle it.

Anyway, this weekend food festival "Taste of the Eastside" returns to Barnsdall Art Park, filling the lawn with stands and trucks from all manner of restaurants and purveyors based in the area, from Guisados to Good Girl Dinette to The Park to Golden Road Brewing.

Those are all really nice restaurants. But only one of them is on the west-of-the-river section of the Eastside. It's strange: given that Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park are currently wearing the L.A. Cool crown, there's really a dearth of excellent eating in the area.

I live in Silver Lake and plan on sticking around for a while, but for dinner, I almost always head to Koreatown or downtown or the SGV if I want something memorable. Food is a huge part of the current yupster scene, but my neighborhood is way behind on this one.

Having said that, there is finally culinary hope on the horizon. Blossom, the downtown Vietnamese restaurant, has opened a Sunset Junction location with a wine bar. It's not the best Vietnamese in all of Los Angeles County, but we'll take it. The team behind Melrose's Village Idiot is taking over the former Black Cat, and if a historical location had to change, I'm glad it's turning into a restaurant with a full liquor license. That's still a ways away, though, so my actual, extant favorite of this small crop of interesting neighborhood restaurants is The Park's Finest, Filipino-influenced barbecue joint that will seriously knock you on your meat-loving butt.

Photo courtesy The Park's Finest

The barbecue sauces at Park's Finest have a lot of natural sweetness from fruit, the meat is pretty hippie-friendly, and the sides, like grilled apples and veggies and cornbread bibingka (rice cake) have great flavor profiles that are going to be new to a lot of palates.

The restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday. Add it to your play schedule.

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