When I worked downtown, I occasionally ate in the dining room of Little Tokyo Towers on East 3rd Street. Outsiders were welcome, and lots of people lined up to collect the day's menu on a tray, then take it to long tables in the dining area.
Lunch was generous--a main dish, pickles, tea, dessert--at least that's how I remember it. When I went in the other day, No one was around. The seniors had eaten at 11 a.m and were gone by 11:30.
Whatever was left was packaged in styrofoam boxes tied up in plastic bags. By the time I arrived, just three of these boxes were left. I bought one, for $2.50. You can see it at the top.
Inside were noodles stir-fried with chicken, bamboo shoots, cabbage, carrots and bean sprouts, and a few zucchini slices cooked Asian style. Dessert was a banana. The beverage was milk--nutritious to be sure. Tea was gone, so the two women working as volunteers gave me water, and one of them handed me a hard candy from her purse.
Outside, the gardens are beautiful. How many eating places have as appealing an entrance as this one? Afterwards you can linger on benches there to enjoy a peaceful moment far removed from the traffic nearby.
Little Tokyo Towers, 455 E 3rd St. #101, Los Angeles, CA 90013.