FOODIE FEASTER: At-Large about Town
From absolutely delicious barbecued turkey burgers and breakfasts, to exciting mixed-fermentation Belgian-style beers
A selection of menu items from Locol Watts. Photo: welocol.com
Tantalizing aromas wafting about town leads Foodie Feaster to Watts ‘Locol,’ then to quenching thirst at Brouwerij West
By FOODIE FEASTER
AT-LARGE IN URBIA — According to proper etiquette, while dining, it is impolite to smack, speak with a mouth full of food, or lick one’s fingers while dining, and after a meal. But on this day of foodie feasting, all that went out the window. With regard to “finger licking” and some particular epicurean delights, a napkin just won’t do. Why waste all that sumptuousness on a napkin?
If there is one restaurant fitting that bill, shaking up the world of fast food recently, it’s a relatively new diner in Watts called, well, LocoL. Conceived by chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, LocoL’s ethically driven fast-food concept opened its first location in Watts. (It also just launched a food truck.) Focused on bringing prosperity to the neighborhood and providing more nutritious, affordable food options to a community in the middle of a food desert, LocoL is a model of what fast food could — and arguably should — be.
At LocoL, Choi and Patterson have created a menu void of French fries, full of more nutrient-packed takes on classics such as an absolutely delicious barbecued turkey burger or the LocoL “burg,” a healthier take that uses fermented grains, kombu, and fish sauce to amp up the flavor. With their approach, nothing is wasted; veggie scraps are used to make sauces or thrown in to flavor braises.
There’s also breakfast, featuring egg-in-the-hole–style sandwiches, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, and one of the best coffees ($1 per cup) in the entire city, a blend created by Tonx just for LocoL. Beyond the food, what makes LocoL special is the care it takes in fostering community and creating a support system for the staff, uplifting and strengthening from the inside out. LocoL has gone on to open in Oakland, with plans for more locations in other states to come.
Next, for the thirsty, there’s a new brewery called Brouwerij West. With new breweries opening in Los Angeles County at the same rate as taco trucks, it’s hard not to get jaded by the onslaught of above-average pale ales and West Coast IPAs. But when a local, Belgian-loving contract brewery that’s had bottles on shelves since before #LAbeer was even a thing finally gets a 72-year-old decommissioned Port of Los Angeles warehouse to call its own, it’s enough to perk up even the weariest of palates.
San Pedro’s Brouwerij West, which, in addition to having a breathtaking space to park its brewhouse and tasting room (think: exposed wood beams in an airplane hangar), also makes some of the most exciting mixed-fermentation Belgian-style beers around. The Brilliant but Lazy, Get Back and My First Rodeo are made by mixing multiple microorganisms — usually the ever-evolving house yeast and some tart-making bacteria — into an otherwise “clean” brew. The end results are sour, funky, fruity and highly nuanced creations, many of them made with specialty grains from small farms, that pair well with the three things Brouwerij West offers every weekend: food, punk shows, and fresh ocean air.
Finally, in the tradition of editors who never quite shut down the engine, my daughter, Jaslyn, served me breakfast, Saturday, Oct. 15, at the editor’s desk. One hand worked the fork, the other stroked the computer keypad for this very story you’re reading right now. Now, that’s dedication.
Love, thanks, and kisses to you, Jaslyn.