Editorial – A renewed sense of sports is in the air. With the virtual NFL Draft a massive success, their, yet-to-be canceled season, around the corner. In addition, the saga of the 1998 Chicago Bulls, The Last Dance, has the excitement for sports on high. While we still await word on the future of the 2020 MLS season, the foodie truck rolls on. The Los Angeles Foodie Club has reached stop four, on its tour of the LAFC squad.
The Los Angeles Foodie Club: Part Four
Eddie Segura: MILK (Dessert / Ice Cream Bar)
For many, offense in sports reigns supreme. Whether its a touchdown in football, a 3-pointer in basketball, or a goal in soccer, points breeds passion. However, put me down in the small group that adores defense. If the game is a full course menu, for me, defense is the sweet dessert.
While dessert might be the last thing you think about when going out to eat, like defense, a poor one, can ruin the whole meal. In Los Angeles, one of the best dessert spots is MILK. It’s the go-to place when you want the classic scoop, or three, or something with a little more flair, like the fruity pebble ice cream sandwich.
If ice cream isn’t for you, firstly, how dare you? Second, they also serve as a bakeshop with a wide assortment of delicious cookies and cakes on standby. With delivery options, two locations, and the temperature rising, a sweet treat is only a call away.
If defense is the dessert, then Eddie Segura is MILK. The player who’s game is as smooth as one of their signature shakes. He does everything the classic centre defender does, with the flair that comes with the modern game.
If you think fruity pebbles and ice cream is an incredible combination, which you should, you’ll appreciate a defender who can make an impact in attack, and still recover enough to make a goal-denying play in defense. Not so much the cherry on top, he’s more like the chocolate fudge that flows all over, with blanketing defense, with still some left in the dish at the end. Like cookies for breakfast, watching Segura play is a treat.
Eduard Atuesta: GUELAGUETZA (Mexican)
Guelaguetza has resided amongst the must-visit restaurants in LA since opening in 1994. The family run restaurant is most down for their mole, but the home-style, Oaxacan flavored favorite serves up so much more. Revered as a restaurant at the forefront of true authenticity, with everything from the chips and salsa, to the barbacoa roja, filled with the love and passion for tradition that permeates throughout the lively locale. With live music, great service, incredible food and an inside more vibrant than the bright orange exterior, Guelaguetza is a can’t miss while in Los Angeles.
For me, Guelaguetza is a restaurant that I ensure any visiting family and friends pay a visit to. It’s exactly like when talking about LAFC, I make sure everyone, and anyone who listens, keep their eyes on midfield maestro, Atuesta. He doesn’t bother with unnecessary flair, rather, he has perfected the basics so well, that his attention to detail is the added sauce on the side. He is just as good at preventing build-ups of opposing attacks, as he is pulling the strings in LAFC’s own attacking front.
Like Guelaguetza, if you’re looking for the boring, simplistic part of the game, Atuesta isn’t that. Next time LAFC take the pitch, pay extra attention to number 20, it won’t take long before you realize how great he is.
Kenneth Vermeer: LANGER’S (Deli)
As good as it is to venture outside the box, exploring flavors and expanding palettes, it’s equally important to remain centered, balancing life out with basic. It’s why a loaf of bread and deli meat will always be on your grocery list in some form. In LA, sandwiches don’t get more classic, or tastier, then at Langer’s. Especially the pastrami, it’s their specialty and the best not just in LA, but possibly on the entire West Coast.
That same simplistic approach can be found in sport. For instance, LAFC has done well to assemble an All-Star group, with talent at every position. However, for all the star power and flash its sometimes the player that just does their job that ends up the perfect piece of the puzzle, the sandwich of the group. F
or LAFC, that player is GK, Kenneth Vermeer. While having only played a handful of matches with Los Angeles, his veteran presence and goal-stopping prowess has been on display. His lack of risk taking, and patience may come across as boring on the pitch, but the fact he is a player you can consistently count on speaks volumes. With the rise of Pablo Sisniega, it was hard to imagine anyone else between the sticks, with Vermeer looked at as just possible depth.
However like a Langer’s pastrami, he surprised, and ended up being far better than imagined. While its way too early to declare him the best, it sure looks like Vermeer is another veteran establishment primed to win the hearts of Angelinos.
Tristan Blackmon: RiceBox (Modern-Cantonese)
Not to be confused with Holbox, mentioned in part two of this series, RiceBox is a grab-and-go, modern twist on Cantonese cuisine. A place striving to break free of the, unhealthy Asian food, stigma. Succulent pork belly, braised brisket, a variety of veggies and incredible rice all highlight this Spring Street shop. The real draw of this shop is the in-and-out nature of the setup. While it has a few seats, it is mainly a Cantonese kiosk, allowing you to get your box of rice goodness, and get on with your day. No muss, no fuss, and great food, a rising hallmark of LA food.
Defender, Tristan Blackmon, brings that same type of energy to LAFC. Also on the rise in LA, Blackmon has been earning more and more playing time as his continued to improve. While he is a great crosser in attack, he won’t be the first defender to bring a ball up the length of the pitch. And he knows that’s an okay thing.
Like RiceBox, he doesn’t bother doing more than he needs. More often than not once he makes a defensive stop, he gets the ball to someone who can do more with it, or he clears it out of danger himself. He’s a player that’s precise, confident in his abilities, and knows that sometimes staying true to yourself, is the best thing you can do.
What restaurants would you compare LAFC players to? Leave your comments below. For all things LAFC, food, or to debate silly comparisons, follow me on twitter, @trebtracy. Part five of Los Angeles Foodie Club will be coming soon.