Excerpt: The Werewolves’ Guide to Fine Dining-Chapter 1 New Meat

I can see the expression on your face right now. What the hell does a werewolf know about food? Aren’t they supposed to be like dogs anyway? So what’s this part going to be about? Dumpster diving? Look, buddy, I know folks have issues but bear with me. If the dogs had opposable thumbs and basic rights, they’d be sitting next to their owners in the fancy-pants places. It really is that simple. Humans treat their wolf-cousins like crap. We know this. You know this. So cut us some slack and learn a little.

Here’s the werewolf way.

Let’s start with the greatest single innovation of all time for the cities. Street food. Daddy works his ass off to buy a cart; Momma comes up with all the good cheap cooking and bam, you have a winner. You want these cheap eats? Talk to a werewolf and you’ve got a direct line to the best roadside places to eat.

That used to be illegal in Los Angeles.

Yup. You heard me right. Street ‘vending’? Not legal. Would get your ass chased off by the cops. Every. Single. Time. Didn’t stop people from doing it though. From bacon-wrapped hot dogs to tamales to tacos to those awesome little fruit carts. All illegal. Thanks, L.A. City Council. Appreciate that. But the times they were a changing! The Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) fought like hell to get those laws off the books and, in combination with the L.A. Street Vendor Campaign and Los Angeles Food Policy Council, they actually won.

Score one for our side. Probably. There’s still some idiot laws that need to be dismantled to really let the street vendors fully return.

So street vendors aside, you’ve still got some choices.

Food trucks. Ignore the fancy ones, unless you’re swimming in cash, and even then, most of them are souped up stupid stuff like hipster grilled cheese. Your plain standard taco truck might be heaven on earth or it might be a cockroach-infested hell but there’s an easy way to sort it out. Watch them for a couple of days. What are the people like who go to it? Are they looking forward to eating at the place? During the meal are they talking with the people around them? Afterward, do they got that post-meal glow? You know what I mean. You’ve had that glow before. I’d bet on it.

Same applies for any small shop. Don’t go for the generic crap. Go for the ethnic. Go for the small. Back of Indian food stores, bunch of them have a lunch counter. Only about a half-dozen foods and some fresh chai but it’s totally worth it. Same applies to some Asian markets, but those are usually grocery size, like, huge. They set up shops around the main store, so you get your food in the big part but you can get fresh bread in another store on the edges, and then medicine, and then lunch.

That little hole in the wall taco place (yeah, I have a thing for tacos. Sue me), have they got lengua? Buche? You’ve got to move out of your carnitas phase if you want the good stuff. Going to that Thai place? Are they serving blood soup? You’ve got to pay attention to these things if you want to find the really good food in L.A.

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