Saturday, June 7, 2014

'Hood #37: Pacoima for "Mural Mile" & an Awesome Kabob Plate

Pacoima is considered by some to be the armpit of the San Fernando Valley, and the LA Times once described it as "somewhat depressing—" but this is a 'hood that may be poor, but it has pride.

Today I went there with my Aunt Marcy to check out what's known as "Mural Mile" and then grab lunch.

The story behind Mural Mile is that—in an effort to rejuvenate the neighborhood—a local artist, Levi Ponce, in 2012 at his own expense painted 12 murals along a one-mile stretch of Van Nuys Blvd. (between Foothill and San Fernando). Other artists then followed suit, and now many murals brighten an otherwise pretty dreary strip of check-cashing outlets, pawn shops, taco joints and auto repair shops

We decided to walk vs. drive to really get a good look, but we walked nearly the entire mile and only saw three murals. We started to get discouraged... only to turn around and see how many we missed.  And then as we drove to get food, we saw a lot more—maybe a couple dozen in total? (It's actually more like "Mural Two Miles," but that doesn't have the same ring to it.)
This is one of Levi Ponce's murals, signed in the corner.

Another Levi Ponce - can't miss this driving down the street.

This is actually deceptively cheery—books in the mural include "Rethinking Columbus" and "Pedagogy of the Oppressed."

Antonio took excellent care of us!
For lunch we went to a little hole-in-the-wall called Antonio's Tacos and Kabob, a Mexican-Lebanese place in a strip mall on Van Nuys Blvd. that served absolutely delicious, homemade, fresh food.  Antonio himself took our order and recommended the chicken kabobs—which we decided to split with an order of grilled veggie kabobs.  It included a side of shirazi and hummus, a bbq tomato & jalapeno (all absolutely delicious!).  They started us off with a basket of chips and quite possibly the best salsa I've ever had. 

1/2 chicken and grilled veggie kabob plate for under $8!

The entire afternoon was one of those happy surprises and nowhere I'd ever have gone if I hadn't specifically been looking for something (anything) to do in Pacoima.

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