Bike Bender #2: East Hollywood

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Food Tour Los Angeles

We convened at the Vermont/Sunset Red Line stop and set out for east Hollywood flavor.

There was never any doubt, but bikes, beer and food most definitely mix. On October 25, Pat Saperstein (Eating L.A.) and I built on the May success of May’s inaugural Bike Bender by co-hosting Bike Bender #2 in east Hollywood. We rode through Little Armenia and Thai Town, showcasing a slice of the neighborhood’s culinary range, both indoors and out.

Sasoun Bakery
5114 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, 323 661 1868

Artisan baker David Yeretsian has owned Sasoun Bakery for over two decades. One of L.A.’s top Armenian bakeries now has branches in Glendale and Reseda.

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We sampled a few of Sasoun’s signature items, beginning with a stack of lahmajunes, cracker-thin ground beef flatbreads.

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Sasoun makes two varieties of cheese boereks. We opted for the longer torpedo shaped pies, which are spicier from chile flecking. The smaller triangular pies are sweeter and incorporate mint.

We were hoping to try maneishe, a puffier flatbread topped with a zatar spice mix that includes oregano, sumac and thyme. Sadly, there wasn’t a single maneishe in Sasoun Bakery. Instead, we opted for the tangy spinach and onion triangle known as a spinach boerek.

Sahag’s Basturma
5183 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood, 323 661 5311

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Next, we hit Harry Tashyan’s Armenian deli, a 25-year-old Little Armenia institution that his cousin Sahag founded.

Tashyan is from Kasseri, Turkey, but is quick to point out that the best basturma makers are of Armenian descent, like him.

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Tashyan still returns to Kasseri to procure spices like fenugreek, which give basturma its distinctive flavor and smell.

We passed around plates of the thin-shaved dried, spiced beef with an almost pepperoni-like rind.

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Tashyan also provided two platters of house-made sausage, starting with soujouk, a spicier beef sausage loaded with garlic and spices.

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Maaneg is a milder veal sausage flavored with a proprietary blend of 70 spices, including nutmeg.

Bhan Kanom Thai

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No Bike Bender is complete without dessert, so we stopped at “the house of Thai sweets,” which Ron and Tip Petcha have owned for over a decade.

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Women grill Thai “tacos” and grilled taro cakes on twin griddles. Panchi – the grilled taro cakes – are flavored with corn, shredded coconut and sugar.

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We also enjoyed custardy, grilled coconut cups and two kinds of Thai “tacos,” one topped with sweetened egg yolk, the other with salted coconut.

Blue Palms Brewhouse

Our bike tour culminated with two beers apiece at Blue Palms Brewhouse, one of L.A.’s leading beer bars. Proprietor Brian Lenzo had just hosted Marin Brewing for an L.A. Beer Week event, so their beers were in full effect on the always-changing menu.

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I chose Marin Brewing White Knuckle IPA (pictured) and Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. The latter was on cask, so the IPA was creamier, warmer, and less carbonated.

Thanks to all the riders who helped to make Bike Bender #2 a success. Since people are gearing up for the holidays, Pat and I are holding off on Bike Bender #3 until January, when we’ll invade Alhambra and San Gabriel to enjoy some Chinese culinary treasures. Everybody who rode on the first two Bike Benders will get a $5 discount.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Once again a great Bike Bender! Each stop had its own fun, uniqueness and the owners at each stop were so warm and welcoming! I can’t wait for #3! You and Pat are the perfect hosts. Thank you.


Thanks for the kind words. You’re well on your way to a free Bike Bender considering your perfect attendance and great attitude.

Thank you! You often write very interesting articles. You improved my mood.

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