hodori: cheap quick korean basics

*revise 1.0, per the comment of illewminator*

cheap quick korean basics you say? yes. just head to HODORI, at the southwest corner of Vermont and Olympic. okay. i have to say...not real razzle dazzle...not a lot of subtelty...but just good, cheap home cookin' style korean staples without the fuss, at very reasonable prices. an additional plus is that they are pretty quick on the to-go orders. i mean come on, what is usually the pain when it comes to saying "let's eat some korean food!"? well it often means paying at LEAST, at LEAST 14 bucks for something decent. in this case, i just had three dishes this evening (shared with an eating partner) for the total cost of $21.50...for those with quick division in the brain, that's about 7 bucks a dish.

i had duk mandu guk (rice cake ovals and meat/veg dumpling in soup), duk bulgi with fish cake (rice cake rods with kim chi and fish cake pieces in red spicy and sweet sauce), and yuk gae jiang (spicy glass noodle soup w/ rice). this came with four panchan's or little side pickled dishes/cold dishes that you can have with your hot and spicy food.

other items (a multitude of basics) are on the menu. nae myun (cold noodle soup) and its different varieties, bi bim bap, mandu (pan friend potstickers), and tonkatsu (okay, not so korean). some dishes that include "bacon" (don't really know what that means) went upwards to 12 bucks...but basically prices are between 6 and 13 dollars. the space itself if dining in is well-lit, spacious and no fuss.

let's be honest: the food is nothing to write home (or grubclub) about. not subtle but does its job. but really, this is absolutely the CHEAPEST korean food place one can find if you want convenient, no fuss, lower priced and BASically good korean food! we don't HAVE to gorge ourselves with pricey korean barbequed meats to get that korean palette on the tongue! and what's better is the fact that they never close (apparently post-party post norebang/karaoke kids like to go there).

so enjoy...and don't say this is a TRUE culinary adventure...just some basic grub that should be added to the cheap standbys when your in the mood for a 7 buck korean meal.


Supermarket Dining

vallarta tacos
Originally uploaded by illewminator.
If you're in the vicinity of Burbank airport and are looking for some good, cheap, and fast grub, look no further than the Vallarta supermarket on Lankershim, north of Vanowen, just next to the takeoff/landing strip.

Housed in part of a former Costco, this Vallarta is not your average neighborhood Mexican grocery store. As you walk in, head past the panaderia and bolillos to the right of the entrance to the mini food court area. There's a full menu of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, tortas, etc, most of which are $5 or less. You can also get breakfast -- the day I was there, you could get a breakfast plate for $2.99 (pictured below).

There's also a decent salsa bar, with pico de gallo, salsa roja and salsa verde, pickled carrots/onion/jalapeno, as well as roasted jalapenos and grilled onions.

They also have a number of aguas fresca: horchata, tamarindo, jamaica, and cantaloupe, pineapple, and strawberry juices. I got the strawberry, which was a perfectly light and sweet (but not syrupy) complement to my tres tacos (carne asada, carnitas, and that red chile marinated pork -- I forgot what it's called... ) plate.

My mom got the cuban torta with carnitas, which was a humongous sandwich -- she only ate half. Dad, the original supermarket dining aficionado and the one who told me about this great "find," got the $2.99 breakfast pictured below, which he supplemented with a big pile of grilled onions and jalapenos from the free salsa bar.

And after you're done, get some bolillos and carnitas to go so you can make sandwiches at home!

vallarta breakfast