The tacos are great at El Paisa, but if you’re in it for the meat, the al pastor torta is the way to go. Load up the moist, tangy pork with salsa, jalapeƱos, and a good squeeze of lime and get eating. Then, halfway through, ditch the bread, dump the toppings on those crispy spuds, and dig into the second course: al pastor fries.

Al Pastor Torta at El Paisa in San Diego

For lunch, it’s easy to fall back on a sandwich, but discovering a hidden gem is much more satisfying. La Mirage, an unassuming restaurant on F Street, is that kind of place. There’s lots to choose from, including chicken shawarma in salad, wrap, and even pizza form, but for variety and value, go for the chicken shawarma plate, which comes with basmati rice, hummus, and a house salad for $8.99.

chicken shawarma plate from La Mirage

Finally, there’s another spot to score pizza by the slice in Little Italy. Napizza specializes in Roman-style pizza, made with dough that’s proofed for a full 72 hours before being baked for over 30 minutes. They’ve got the standard pepperoni and margherita, plus more inspired options like pizza topped with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers… but so far, my favorite slice is the Bapo.

Bapo slice from Napizza

When I’m setting out to review a burger, my mental checklist is as follows: camera, memory card (crucial!), and a back-up battery. Other things, like my ID, sometimes get left behind. That’s exactly what happened on my last review, at Starlite. Luckily, the manager was more than understanding and ushered me in anyway. It’s a good thing, because I had gone too long without sharing the good news about their Brandt beef burgers and kick-ass mules.

ej-eats-starlite-burger

Growing up, Harvey’s was a big part of my childhood. If memory serves, it was one place where (miraculously) my sister and I didn’t fight, and the burgers were pretty good too. On my latest visit to Toronto, I did my due diligence and dropped in to review a cheeseburger and poutine for Serious Eats.

Cheeseburger from Harvey's in Toronto