Friday, January 14, 2011

HFF Quickie: Pelayo's Burgers - Long Beach, CA

Because of its mix of density and sprawl and its position as the birthplace (or at least homeland) of modern American fast food, not even the biggest fast food chains can penetrate every corner of Los Angeles. As a result, there are many unusual local mini fast-food chains and one-off restaurants. Often they're idiosyncratic (Cowboys & Turbans, anyone?) and often they're quite excellent for the price.

I visited such an establishment down in Long Beach this week, Pelayo's Burgers. It's an archetypal LA burger joint/taqueria hybrid located on PCH right where Signal Hill meets the LBC. Was it great? No. Was it good? Yes. Was it fresh? Yes. Was it cheap? Absolutely.

I had the Huevos Rancheros and it was a delightfully trashy mashup of refried beans, rice, respectably good eggs, a crisp-fried tortilla and a very good spicy homemade ranchero sauce. A few dashes of Tapatio and some additional tortillas and it was hangover-curing heaven. It was also less than six bucks and rivaled any bourgie brunch version I've had for twice the price.

The Boss Man had a half roast chicken with beans, rice AND french fries for not much more than $6 and by all reports it was delicious. Did the fries come pre-cut from the freezer? They did. But that's not always a bad thing in the world of cheap eats.

So it was nice to support a local business and get a fresh, filling meal for two for well under $20. And we were in, out and on our way in about twenty minutes.

So here's to ethnic dives, neighborhood one-offs and taco trucks. They're the best thing about LA dining.

Pelayo's Burgers
2300 E Pacific Coast Hwy
Long Beach, CA 90804

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