The plan this particular evening was to grab an early dinner at Magnolia and then head over to the Lakers/Clippers game, but due to traffic and other logistical challenges, the group moved dinner to post game. Things worked out, because when I arrived at my choice for dinner, Lazy Ox Canteen, I saw this:
The bäco was on the menu. I'd heard about it. I read reviews about this thing, but I had never encountered it until tonight. It'd been a long day and I was tired, so my intention was to order the food to go, but I ran into Michael Cardenas, owner/partner of Lazy Ox Canteen, who convinced me into having dinner at the bar. It was worth it.
Choosing what to eat wasn't easy though. My first choice was the Ox burger because I'd heard good things about it. Further inspection of the chalkboard also showed a few other items of interest: the crispy pigs ears and pork belly rillettes, which I tried on a previous visit, as well as the pig trotter and lengua, which I had not yet tasted.
After some thought, I figured it was time to slay the mythical beast.
So what exactly is it? It's part taco, part pizza, part crack. It's fresh made pillowy flatbread, a spicy aioli concoction, deep fried pork belly, all of it topped with arugula. The bäco packed a ton of flavor and texture with each bite. I knife and forked it and was chastised (in jest) by Michael for not picking the thing up with my hands and scarfing it down like street food. Next time, I will.
Along with the bäco, I had an order of Kennebec fries and St. Bernardus Tripel. Tony Chen, aka: sinosoul, says that "they are perhaps the best fries in Los Angeles" and I would say he is right, assuming you like the In N Out style of fries. No need for ketchup or aioli to go along with these bad boys.
So while the Lakers may have lost (they certainly deserved it because the Clippers showed up to play), the night was easily saved by my virgin bäco experience.
With its close proximity to my office, Lazy Ox Canteen is quickly becoming the neighborhood bar for me to stop by after work for a quick drink or meal. It's certainly much better than "Club 21" near my house in Monterey Park.
Lazy Ox Canteen
241 South San Pedro Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012