Minimal money, maximum fun for a night out in Los Angeles

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Task: Explore the neighborhoods surrounding Occidental to see what local restaurants and events Los Angeles has to offer for one night under $15.

Dinner: El Huarache Azteca

Cost: $5

Location: Highland Park. About one mile from campus – an easy walk or bike ride away.

Amidst the stretch of Mexican-style restaurants along York Boulevard, El Huarache Azteca stands out for its authentic huaraches and welcoming atmosphere. Decorated by a large billboard advertising tacos and huaraches, the restaurant offers an intimate arrangement of indoor and outdoor seating. The aroma of fresh fried bread wafts from the open kitchen located adjacent to the entrance. Surrounding the walls of the restaurant are framed newspaper reviews highlighting the restaurant’s outstanding delivery of authentic Mexican food.

The expansive menu is divided by breakfast, appetizer, lunch and dinner options and is complete with photographs of the meals such as fajitas, burritos, and enchiladas. The most noteworthy category of the menu is the antojitos, or snacks. All antojitos are under $5 and are plenty filling for dinner. Among the antojitos are the huaraches, a Mexican dish that consists of a fried, masa
base with a variety of toppings such as carne asada, salsa, cheese and
onions.
Meat and vegetarian options are available, as well as additional toppings of corn, pumpkin flower and potatoes with jalapeños.

For those wishing to fill the Mexican food void without the typical addition of carne asada, the huarache vegetariano is a scrumptious choice. The plate consists of a shoe-shaped fried, homemade masa, topped with mushrooms, sweet corn, melted cotija cheese, a creamy green mole and cilantro. With the addition of salsa, onions and peppers from a toppings bar in front of the kitchen, the plate is chock-full of delectable bursts of corn and dashes of peppery salsa.

Drink options include aguas frescas, fruit- and flower-flavored beverages combined with water and sugar. Visible through the open back of the toppings bar are jugs of the six different flavors. Alongside the milky horchata and orange melon waters, the agua fresca de jamiaca stands out in its deep red hue. Made from Hibiscus flower, the lightly sweetened juice is a soothing compliment to the creamy mole and spices from the huarache.

Next stop: The Comedy Palace
Cost: $0 – There is no cover charge and no drink requirement.

Location: Los Feliz area, about six miles from campus, fifteen minutes away.

A weekly comedy show, The Comedy Palace is situated above a Chinese restaurant (The Palace) in Los Feliz. The show offers free entertainment from a varying list of entertainers, which often includes comedians from Comedy Central, “The Chelsea Lately Show,” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

Providing an intimate setting, the show offers audience members a close connection with each performer. The stage is defined by red curtains, a shining spotlight and a singular microphone stand. The nontraditional ambience of the show is exemplified by the Chinese lanterns and floral designs lining the walls.

Comedy Palace’s most recent show on Thursday, Feb. 20 included performers such as Demetri Martin (“Important Things with Demetri Martin”), Louis Katz (“Comedy Central Presents”) and Brody Stevens (“The Hangover”). The two-hour show was filled with constant laughter from the welcoming crowd. Each comedian presented their own farcical outlook on topics such as hipster style, the sexual orientation of Will Smith and the ambiguity of tomatoes.

The dining room chairs fill up quickly as first-timers and frequenters alike come to experience a night of free laughs.

Living in the Los Angeles area can get pricey, so restaurant and entertainment options such as the two highlighted here are important for college students. The variety of dining and shows ranges far beyond those listed, and extends throughout the greater L.A. area.