White Oak Communications

The must-try dish is topped with fresh avocado, pickled onions and jalapenos, avocado salsa verde and a fried egg.

July 10, 2017

What if I told you there is a restaurant that is next to a yoga studio and serves carnitas fried rice, chili fried rice and loco moco fried rice? What if I told you people come over after yoga class for vegan shakes and fresh-fruit slushies but also sometimes end up going carb-crazy by ordering fried rice, avocado “toast-adas” made with crispy blue-corn tortillas and maybe even a fluffernutter for dessert?

Would you be at all surprised that this restaurant is in Los Angeles?

Hot Hot Food is a fun new restaurant in Silver Lake that focuses on what it calls L.A. fried rice.

“It’s basically Chinese fried rice with Mexican street-taco flavors,” says Hot Hot Food co-owner Coly Den Haan.

The fried rice here is topped with fresh avocado, pickled onions and jalapenos, avocado salsa verde and a fried egg. It’s a gluten-free dish that can be made vegan if you skip the egg. And if you’re really looking to preserve your yoga body, you can have your fried rice made with cauliflower rice.

Or don’t count calories and just indulge in one of the “fancy” options like the pork fried rice made with crispy carnitas or the chili-topped fried rice bursting with brisket and hominy. The Aloha fried rice with its rich brown gravy along with a grass-fed burger patty isn’t gluten-free, but Hawaiian food isn’t exactly about dietary restrictions. Hot Hot Food co-owner Dean Harada was born and raised in Hawaii, so he understands that a good loco moco is a gut bomb.

“We thought it would be fun to do an homage to his childhood,” Den Haan says.

Hot Hot Food, which also has fried rice with chicken or shrimp or kale, is an easy place to hang out. There’s a retro vibe with big and comfortable blue booths, an old popcorn machine (serve yourself, it’s free), a jukebox, disco-stripe decor and a shelf with vintage items, like a boombox, an Indiana Jones statue and a pink phone, that came from Den Haan’s home.

“I wanted to create something a little different than most of the new crop of restaurants around L.A.,” Den Haan says. “So I tried to go with kind of a throwback diner situation. I didn’t want to be too dainty or frilly.”

Den Haan also plans to open her Vinovore wine shop down the street in July. It will largely focus on wine from female producers and also be an easy way for diners at Hot Hot Food to BYOB. Hot Hot Food plans to eventually get a license for serving alcohol. But in the meantime, Vinovore will be where you can find a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer to pair with some L.A. fried rice.

So what pairs well with carnitas fried rice? Den Haan, who’s a certified sommelier, says orange wine and rose are great options.

Hot Hot Food has been attracting a wide swath of the neighborhood with its flavor-packed food and chill setting.

“We’ve been getting a lot of hipsters, of course, and also families that I think have been in the neighborhood for a long time,” Den Haan says. “The menu’s super kid-friendly. It’s kind of for big kids, stoner food.”

Hot Hot Food’s fluffernutter, a sandwich with peanut butter, banana and marshmallow fluff, comes with a chocolate-ganache sauce. Den Haan suggests pairing this dessert with some moscato.