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Tour of restaurants along extended Gold Line

February 4, 2010 12:57:47 AM PST
Metro has extended the Gold Line from downtown Los Angeles' Union Station to the eastside. With eight new stations, there's a whole new world of food possibilities you may want to explore.First stop, Little Tokyo! Next to the Japanese American National Museum and a famous local jazz club, there are so many delicious choices. There's sushi and inexpensive Japanese, Chinese and noodle houses, Cuban, Middle Eastern, and Frances Bakery, a sweet surprise.

Owner Minoru Shintadani has been creating French delicacies right in the heart of Little Tokyo since 1981. From flaky croissants to candied chestnuts and elegant petite cakes, it's a great place to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Back on the Gold Line, passengers will cross the Los Angeles River in comfort and glide past the Aliso/Pico Metro stop.

The third stop is the Mariachi Plaza, where you've got musicians for hire and some of the best food in Boyle Heights.

Beautifully designed, the Mariachi Plaza station gives Metro Gold Line riders easy access to a local treasure, La Seranata de Garibaldi. From the moment you walk in the door, prepare yourself for a relaxing and indulgent experience.

Right across the street is legendary Al and Bea's Mexican Food, where people from all over come for the burritos.

"I like the bean and cheese burritos and the combo burritos. They're really good," said loyal customer Mark Velasco. "We came all the way from Monrovia to come and eat here."

So what's the secret that keeps the crowds coming back? Tanya Velasco of Monrovia says it's the sauce.

"It makes it so scrumptious, it's just very good," she said.

Al & Bea's owner Albert Carreon credits his wife with the secret recipe and adds, "If you came in 1946, and you came in today, you get the same identical recipe we started with."

The next stop, riders emerge from underneath the Boyle Heights neighborhood at the Soto station. Within walking distance is a beloved neighborhood treat, Otomi, better known as Otimison.

Owner Yayoi Watanabe says the art of Japanese cooking has been carried on here since 1956. What is the popular dish on the menu?

"Usually tempura, chicken teriyaki, you know, sushi, California roll, don katsu," Watanabe said.

Metro employee Jose Urribe says it's Otomi's tradition that keeps the locals coming back for more.

All Metro Rail lines run regularly between 5 a.m. and midnight, seven days a week. Limited service on particular segments is provided after midnight and before 5 a.m. There is no rail service between 2 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Exact times vary from route to route. Check Metro's Web site for more information.

Frances Bakery
404 East 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-4899

Al & Bea's Mexican Food
2025 East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 267-8810

Seranata de Garibaldi
1842 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(323) 265-2887

Otomi Japanese Restaurant
(323) 526-1150