2103 Templeton Gap Road, 352-5491, humblecoffee.net
Not unlike Third Wave sit-down spots, where barista proficiency, elaborate gadgetry and multiple bean options might distinguish one spot from the next, coffee kiosk culture has seen refinement toward a gourmet edge. But with so many places using the same purveyors for syrup shots and the like, dramatic distinction can be rare.
Humble Coffee (all drinks $2.50 to $4.50) marches to its own beat by sourcing from Roast magazine's 2014 Macro Roaster of the Year, Denver-based Coda Coffee. Its deep espresso notes play beautifully with nutty-sweet peanut butter and chocolate essence in the heavy Debonair mocha breve. And an array of milk subs (rice, soy, almond, coconut and hemp) lends diversity, too. Hemp adds its own lightly nutty finish to the Wildflower, a fun vanilla-honey chai latte that needs more balance: My chai spice was buried under too much bee sap. — MS
Arceo's Mexican Family Restaurant
1605 S. Nevada Ave., 442-2626, arceos.biz
It's hard to undervalue the vibe thrown off by a busy restaurant. When just getting lunch becomes an entry into something bigger, then you're doing it right. Arceo's was slammed in this way one random weekday lunch, and you get the feeling that it usually is. Maybe it's the daytime menu, where nothing tops seven bucks.
Or maybe it's the runny, fresh salsa or the cabbage pico that was halfway to kimchi. Maybe it's the tostada ($5) dripping with bomb-tastic lime juice, a cream-sauce base and smothering of avocado and white chunks of halibut. Or the fish tacos ($6.50), two tortillas full of steaming, breaded cuts of tilapia on a plate you'll burn the hell out of your hand on, covered in clean-tasting beans and soft rice. Or it could be the tacos al carbon ($5.75), two grilled tortillas filled with glistening bites of juicy steak topped with guacamole and sour cream. It's something, anyway. — BC
Oscar's Tejon Street
333 S. Tejon St., 471-8070, oscarstejonstreet.com
Like the $2-taco deals at McCabe's Tavern and José Muldoon's, Oscar's — it of the oysters, drawn-on dollar bills and built-out back patio — brings a Tuesday special to play: $1.99 chili dogs and pints of PBR. After having downed two of the former and washed them away with a pint of the latter, I'll offer you a piece of advice: Eat something else first. Or drink first. Just lay down a base, because these babies don't play. Nacho cheese drenches beef-and-bean chili, meaning every dog collapses in much the same way your arteries are about to. "This cannot be good for you," I think while eating the bun from my fingers.
Fine deal, though, and the beer's cold. Service was hit and miss — meaning we dearly missed our server when he disappeared right after we asked to check out — but, you know, you're there to down chili dogs, so forget about the moral high ground. — BC