Editorial – If you couldn’t tell from part one, these comparisons won’t be easy. The Los Angeles Foodie Club will not compare Carlos Vela with tacos, or Mark-Anthony Kaye with Poutine. Food, like athletes, have layers. If you let it, it can inspire, provide comfort, and bring you joy. It can turn bad days, good, frowns into smiles, and is always better with friends and family. Just like LAFC.
The Los Angeles Foodie Club: Part 2
Danilo Silva: TIERRA MIA COFFEE (American)
Now, more than ever, people are appreciating the small things. Those tiny actions you once took for granted that you, at present, aren’t allowed to do. Whether it be a trip to the movies, a night out at the taco truck, or a cup of coffee from your local shop to get your day started off right.
It’s in light of that newfound appreciation, that I direct your attention to LAFC defender, Danilo Silva. The 33-year-old Brazilian is arguably one of, if not outright, the most under appreciated player on the squad. During the inaugural season, he stepped in after the shocking departure of then captain, Laurent Ciman. While he only featured in seven total matches in 2019, he not only filled in well at CB, but had a not-so-inspiring, match at RB.
With the rise of trendier names, and other players set for minutes in the defense, Silva is looking at another year primarily on the bench. However, much like that dependable cup of coffee, Silva will always be there when you need that pick-me-up. Which is why he is mostly like a coffee shop, specifically, Tierra Mia.
Since 2008, the LA based coffee chain has used El Salvador sourced coffee, providing a latin twist on the morning cup of brew. The only place you can find an Horchata or Rice and Bean frappe, or for the more traditional, Cafecito Cubano. Much like the small things we have taken for granted, perhaps Silva will be viewed with a renewed appreciation when LAFC return.
Bryce Duke: BURRITOS LA PALMA (Mexican)
There is something pure about the perfection in the simplistic. Not masking mediocrity with unnecessary flair, and well-lit instagram angles. One of the best at perfecting the simple in LA, is Burritos La Palma. They prove false the notion that a great burrito needs to be the size of a baby whale.
For scale, close to three burritos can fit in Kawhi Leonard’s palm, Shaq would consider two bite-size and nobody has ever deemed just one, enough. A crispy tortilla exterior warmly wraps around a small serving of stewed beef, still dripping in its spiced sweat. Speaking from personal experiences, they are better than you expect, and yes, more than three is okay.
For me, the obvious LAFC equivalent would be the youngest addition to the squad, Bryce Duke. The 19-year-old has impressed in his limited appearances to start the 2020 season. Not the type to wow you with over-excessive skill moves, he does what you need him to, and makes it look simple. Defends well, great passing, and until the abrupt stoppage in the season, he was starting to find his stride in the attack.
It’s hard to call an alum of both the Real Salt Lake and Barcelona academies, a pleasant surprise, but that’s exactly what Duke is. In a midfield as talented as LAFC’s, nobody expected a 5’7″, 19-year-old to standout, but he has, and will most likely continue to once play resumes. Much like Burritos La Palma, Bryce Duke is further proof, size isn’t everything.
Adrien Perez: HOLBOX (Mexican/Seafood)
It’s hard to breakthrough when you have popular siblings. Both Holbox and Adrien Perez have that in common. For Holbox, it not only compete with the unassuming exterior of the market in which they reside. It also has to contend with popular sister restaurant, Chichen Itza.
However the last several years has seen a rise in popularity, and appreciation, for the casual stall, tucked inside Mercado La Paloma. Known for their unique twist on ceviches, wood grilled seafood tacos, all made with ultra fresh ingredients. The walk-up seafood stand not only provides you with a view of your meal being made, but the window into the back shows you just how fresh your octopus tacos are.
In the case of Perez, his popular siblings, are his teammates in attack. While he may not be the household name, much like Holbox, those who follow LAFC, know just how valuable he is. After 12 appearances in 2019, Perez was set for more responsibility, and a chance at becoming more of a household name.
Unassuming, Adrien tends to find himself open, with space, in the perfect position to either go for goal or set-up a sitter for a teammate. After netting a handful of goals during preseason, head coach Bob Bradley was prepared to use Perez more in 2020. If he can find his lane, and provide his own twist on what success is within the LAFC attack, he, like Holbox, will find admiration amongst the crowd.
Mark-Anthony Kaye: DAIKOKUYA (Ramen)
This was one of the few comparisons that really came easy. For me, when I think of Mark-Anthony Kaye, I think of soup. Sounds boring, but think about the characteristics of a really good soup. Its hearty, comforting, fulfilling, often the go-to food when its dreary outside or when you want to feel safe. The best of the soups, ramen, and the best of the ramen, would have to be Daikokuya in Little Tokyo.
Not just the best, Daikokuya is the standard, with ramen filled with chewy noodles, rich broth, and otherworldly gyoza. Its one of those places that no matter how many good things you hear about it, the first bite is always infinitely better than you imagined.
Mark-Anthony Kaye is one of those players that embodies the heart of LAFC, he is definitely the heart of the midfield. Like the rich, ramen broth, Kaye’s game is silky smooth. His ability to go from a wall defensively, to key cog in the attack, is seamless. His 6’2″ stature and slender frame even gives him a noodle-like appearance on the ball, in the most effective way possible.
Then, there’s his confidence in not just his abilities, but in the team as a whole. While not arrogant, he isn’t afraid to let it be known that if LAFC play at the top of their game, what the opponent does won’t matter, they can’t be stopped. In addition, “the whoa,” he hits in celebration always felt like the hard-boiled egg on top. The same way ramen puts me at ease when I am feeling some type of way, having Kaye in the starting XI makes me feel the same, indescribably confident that everything will be just fine.
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 three of Los Angeles Foodie Club will be coming soon.