Top off campus dining options

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Los Angeles fosters a vibrant and diverse culinary scene, offering everything from classic American fare to inventive fusion dishes. Trying it all is likely impossible, as there are more than 20,000 eateries in the area, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It may, however, be feasible to hit all the best spots in Eagle Rock, which is home to dozens of hidden gems. These five spots—listed in no particular order—are a great place to start.

Blue Hen
1737 Colorado Boulevard
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Hours: Monday-Friday: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., 5:30-9:30 p.m. (Fridays open until 10 p.m.), Saturday: 5-10 p.m., Sunday: 5-9 p.m.
The menu is simple but well-done and the atmosphere is laid-back. The food is fresh, organic and bought locally whenever possible, according to their website.
Cost: The price of an entree is about $10, but the portions are sizable.
Occasion: The relaxed nature of Blue Hen makes it perfect for a casual lunch with friends.
Recommendation: Start with the fresh spring rolls and follow up with the Vietnamese noodle soup with beef stock.

Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli
1726 Colorado Boulevard
Cuisine: Italian
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday: 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
This is a classic Italian-style bakery, offering everything from freshly-made sandwiches, to cannolis, to tiramisu for dessert. There’s no seating, so it’s all grab-and-go.
Cost: You won’t spend more than $10 for a sandwich.
Occasion: Their food is great for a quick bite or study break.
Recommendation: It’s hard to go wrong with any combination of their freshly-made sandwiches, particularly with the soppressata. And the chocolate-dipped cannoli’s are incredible.

Good Girl Dinette
110 North Avenue 56
Cuisine: Vietnamese-American
Hours: Tuesday-Friday: 8 a.m.-3 p.m., 5:30-9:30 p.m. (10 p.m. on Fridays) Saturday: 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
This is the second Vietnamese restaurant on the list, actually located in nearby Highland Park, but it’s definitely worth a mention. There are breakfast, lunch and dinner options and the food is varied: dishes include roasted pork hash for breakfast and chicken pot pie and pho for lunch or dinner. The place is more casual and the vibe is pretty hip. In fact, it’s not uncommon to run into a professor a two when dining there.
Cost: Starters are around $6 and entrees are about $12.
Occasion: This place is great for a Saturday night out with friends or a weekend breakfast.
Recommendation: For breakfast, the black pepper pork confit with coddled egg wins rave reviews on Yelp. The slow-roasted pork bánh mì sandwich, made with a fresh baguette, is a solid option for lunch or dinner.

Four Cafe
2122 Colorado Boulevard
Cuisine: American
Hours: Monday-Friday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
This place is all about sustainability. Everything is locally sourced and fresh, the menu is seasonal and the food is made with recycled equipment, according to the cafe’s website. The eco-friendliness here is almost tangible, which may have something to do with the reclaimed materials they use for the decor.
Cost: The main menu items range from $9-13 dollars.
Occasion: The cafe has the perfect atmosphere for a sit-down lunch. And the speedy service is good for customers who need food to go.
Recommended: It’s hard to name one item, as the menu is constantly changing with the seasonal harvests, but Four consistently serves up good soups and salads.

Cacao Mexicatessen
1576 Colorado Boulevard
Cuisine: Mexican
Hours: Tuesday and Wednesday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thursday: 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sunday: 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Cacao is more upscale than many of the other Mexican food places around Eagle Rock. That’s not to say it’s too formal for the average college student—customers order at the counter—but the menu deviates from traditional hole-in-the-wall taqueria options of burritos and tacos. Chocolate is a staple ingredient in many of their main dishes and they offer a wide selection of breakfast items.
Cost: The average price of an entree is around $10.
Occasion: Lunch and dinner with friends are both solid options.
Recommendation: Try any one of their gourmet wet burritos, or the fried duck skin tacos for more adventurous eaters.

Taco Trucks
Colorado, Eagle Rock and York Boulevards
Cuisine: Mexican
Hours: Vary, although typically from midday to 1 or 3 a.m.
It would be borderline blasphemous to mention food in Eagle Rock without giving a shout out to its taco trucks. Half a dozen or so operate within two miles of the campus, offering quality food for low prices. The menu is fairly consistent at each one: burritos, tacos, quesadillas and sometimes nachos. Picking the best taco truck is impossible, though. Occidental students regularly get into fierce debates with their peers about which place offers the best carne asada or chicken. But regardless of which taco truck the burritos or tacos comes from, be it Sonia’s, La Estrella, El Pique, Leo’s or Rambo’s, they will be delicious.
Cost: You won’t spend more than $10 for a couple of tacos or a burrito, or a combination of the two.
Occasion: Late-night munchies are easily satisfied with at trip to the taco trucks.
Recommendation: The burritos are decent, but the tacos take the cake, particularly if you order them with al pastor or carnitas.

Little Beast
1496 Colorado Boulevard
Cuisine: American
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, Sunday: 5-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday: 5-11 p.m.
Little Beast is the most upscale restaurant on this list. It’s in a former single-family residence, so it has a cozy, intimate feel. Adding to that vibe is the menu, which the website describes as “progressive American comfort food.” This translates to burgers, steaks and BLTs.
Cost: It’s not cheap. Entrees top $25.
Occasion: This place is perfect for date night.
Recommendation: The peaches and burrata salad and the Little Beast burger makes for a well-rounded two-course meal.