On Black Friday, the tables will be turned on neighborhoods like Sherman Oaks, La Brea, Hollywood, and Santa Monica as “shopping rage” and mall parking lot jacking threaten the calm of Los Angeles. The Grove, the Galerias, and malls of suburbia will be ground zero for folks willing to trample their fellow man over a flat screen, or a new Xbox.
The perimeter of central Los Angeles will look like the shopping-zombie apocalypse at the Wal-Marts, Targets, and Best Buys that will wreak havoc on Panorama City, South San Gabriel, and Leimert Park.
If you’re looking to escape the madness and save a few dollars for Saturday and Sunday, when the prices and collective sanity are back to normal, try these megastore-free neighborhoods for some affordable street food.
Cenaduria Gumacus: Here is where you go to experience the delights of the state of Sinaloa like a hearty, mouth-watering chilorio, or seasoned shredded pork, with pork lard-reinforced refried beans. Red chilaquiles with a fried egg is just the kind of comfort to insulate you from the sirens and screams coming from the big box stores in Bell Gardens. > 8646 State St, South Gate, 323-566-5522.
Tacos D.F.: Mexico City style antojitos, like quesadillas stuffed with huitlacoche, and tostadas of pickled pig’s feet on a quiet stretch of Tweedy Bl. will make you glad you weren’t trampled running for the last Mac Book Air. > 3342 Tweedy Bl., South Gate, 323-564-3221.
Mi Ranchito Salvadoreno: Want to escape to another world on this most harrowing of days? Here you’ll get a taste of El Salvador with excellent pupusas; a satisfying breakfast of beans, cheese, cream, and plantains accompanied by loud, distorted karaoke to drown out the rabid sounds of Black Friday commerce. > 14529 Vanowen St., Van Nuys, 818-782-7096.
Puro Sabor: There’s not much shopping around this neighborhood, unless you count bail bonds and notary republics. Kick back and find solace in savory anticuchos, or saffron scented Peruvian tamales at the best Peruvian cuisine in the Valley. > 6366 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, 818-908-0818.
BOYLE HEIGHTS/EAST L.A.
Homegirl Café: Lunch time is the right time to arrive for a post-Thanksgiving turkey, chipotle and mango torta made on the excellent house bread, or the Mexican-American classic chile relleno grilled cheese sandwich. And, if things get really crazy out there, don’t worry, Father Greg Boyle has your back. > 130 W. Bruno St., Boyle Heights, 213-617-0380.
Lupe’s #2: The only present I’ll have wrapped on this most ignoble of holiday shopping promotions is a husky beans and red burrito at one of the institutions of East L.A. cuisine, where any 3rd generation Mexican uncle named Pete, Mike, or Ray could tell you, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore. > 4642 E. 3rd St., East L.A., 323-266-6881.