Could This Be The Best Sports Venue Food In L.A.? The Fields LA Food Hall at LAFC's Banc of California Stadium - C.J. Boyd's Fried Chicken, Piccolo Antico Pizzeria, Burritos La Palma, Coni' Seafood, Barbara Jean, Ms. Chi and more [Thoughts + Pics]


#1

A new Food Hall recently opened, connected to LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club)'s Banc of California Stadium. And by “Football” it means “Soccer” for all of us Americans on the board. :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

Known as The Fields LA, it contains the LAFC Team Store and as you walk out, you can walk right into the stadium for the latest LAFC Soccer Match. Normally stadium / arena / sports venue food is not really anything to get excited about, and it’s rather limited (available when you’d drive to get to a game), however what makes The Fields LA noteworthy and worth a consideration to stop by when hungry is that:

  1. It’s open Daily from 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
  2. There’s Free Parking (and rather easy parking) right next to the Food Hall(!). :open_mouth:
  3. They managed to entice some new food concepts helmed by noteworthy restaurants / chefs around L.A.

Give all of that, and @Dommy’s excellent initial reports on the venue and food, we decided to give it a try (and it coincided nicely with our Fried Chicken Journey recently). :wink:

Walking into The Fields LA, it is probably the cleanest, nicest venue to eat at for a sports venue.

There are currently 9 different food vendors set up at The Fields LA (with more slated to open up later). First up…

C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken

C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken’s claim to fame is its pedigree in Chef-Owner Tim Hollingsworth (formerly of The French Laundry and now running Otium in Downtown L.A.). If Chef Johnny Ray Zone (also classically trained chef under some of the greats) can do it with Howlin’ Ray’s, perhaps C.J. Boyd’s might find similar success?

Looking over the menu, it is all a variety of Fried Chicken Sandwiches, with no Bone-In Fried Chicken options unfortunately.

Iced Tea:

Tasted like a pre-made mix Iced Tea. Still it was refreshing and a good drink for this visit.

Otium (Aji Verde, Shishito, Onion, Tomatoes, Soy, Lime):

The first bite of the Otium yields a satisfying crunch. :slight_smile: It is thankfully crunchy, freshly made Fried Chicken. The addition of Waffle Fries in the Otium Fried Chicken Sandwich was a nice touch. The combination of Aji Verde, Shishito Pepper, Onions and Tomatoes worked, and made it a distinctive “fancy tasting” Fried Chicken Sandwich.

K-Town (Chili, Ginger, Cabbage, Daikon, Sesame Mayo):

This was less successful. The Chicken was still crunchy and freshly fried, but the flavors did not scream “K-Town” at all. Sure it had some Pickled Daikon and Cabbage and it was spicy, but to think that that alone is sufficient to call it “K-Town” and evoke that taste & feeling is a bit naive. This just tasted unbalanced (too tart overall).

Seasoned Waffle Fries:

The Seasoned Waffle Fries were hot and slightly crisped and delicious for the first few bites. Then after that, I started to notice how salty they were and it got saltier over time.

2nd Visit:

We wanted to try more of the options so we came back for a 2nd visit.

East LA (Salsa Macha, Cabbage, Cilantro, Lime Crema):

This was our 2nd favorite from the C.J. Boyd’s menu. Crunchy Fried Chicken patty, perhaps a touch too salty, but with a delicious Salsa Macha (spicy, nutty, aromatic), slightly cooled off by the Cabbage and Lime Crema.

The weak link is the slightly dryish Bread.

C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken stand turned out to be a solid Fried Chicken Sandwich option for this part of the city. Certainly better than The Crack Shack and some of the other options we have. While the dryish Bread and unbalanced flavors in some of the options (like the K-Town) throw things off, the Otium and East L.A. Sandwiches are much more balanced and interesting.

C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken
(at The Fields LA food hall)
3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Ms. Chi

Opened by Top Chef finalist Shirley Chung, who was recently interviewed by the L.A. Times and is here to teach us about real Chinese food (@ipsedixit @JeetKuneBao @bulavinaka @J_L @PorkyBelly @paranoidgarliclover and others), I had a feeling I was asking for trouble, but our group wanted to try out Ms. Chi to see how great Chef Shirley Chung’s real Chinese food might taste like.

(Note: Just to see a totally blank view on this place, we invited a couple of friends in our group who’ve eaten with us on some of our San Gabriel Valley trips, but had no idea who was behind Ms. Chi (we didn’t tell them on purpose (and told our other friends to keep quiet).)

Shrimp & Pork Wontons (Ginger, Soy Sauce, Chili Oil):

There was shockingly no Avocado Cream Cheese or other fancy topping Chef Chung was hinting at for this dish. It was her take on Szechuan Shrimp & Pork Wontons in Chili Oil (Hong You Chao Shou).

First, it should be noted about the portion size: The above pic is zoomed in, but we were served 5 small Wontons for $9 (+ tax & optional tip (it’s a food hall you serve yourself)). We had to order 2 for everyone to try.

Taking a bite, thick, gummy Wonton Skins. The inside Shrimp & Pork filling tasted OK, but nothing special. There was no numbing (Szechuan Peppercorn) mala flavor at all. :frowning:

All of our friends said the same thing: The Wonton skins were too thick and it tasted kinda “doughy” or “gummy.”

2nd Visit:

Steamed Chicken Jiaozi Dumplings (Ginger, Scallions, Soy Sauce):

It should be noted (as with our 1st visit) that both times, our food came out in about 1 - 2 minutes! :expressionless: I wasn’t able to see where they scooped these Wontons and Dumplings out of, but clearly they were made ahead of time and maybe kept warm in a steamer?

These were way too salty, just totally doused in Soy Sauce. We’ve become accustomed to dabbing Dumplings in our own ratio of Chinese Black Vinegar (or White Vinegar) and Soy Sauce as shown by our friends from Taipei and Hong Kong over the years.

But looking past that: Thick, gummy, overly chewy Dumpling Skins. :sob: The Chicken filling was so generic it tasted like store-bought. In fact one of my best friends (who’s pretty discerning and as unbiased as possible) blurted out, “Are these frozen dumplings?” :frowning:

We have had store bought Frozen Dumplings from 99 Ranch Market that tasted better than this (and I’m not being hyperbolic). :frowning:

We looked at the Vegetable Fried Rice and the Hong Kong Minced Beef Gravy Rice that someone else had ordered as it came out and it looked so sad and unappetizing that we couldn’t bring ourselves to order those, especially in light of these 2 visits’ dishes.

Maybe Chef Chung will personally be cooking every dish at her next restaurant so we’ll get to try that real Chinese food for reals? But in the meantime, Ms. Chi is a definite skip.

Ms. Chi
(at The Fields LA food hall)
3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Barbara Jean

Opened by Chef Jason Fullilove (Campanile, Patina), this is probably the one stand I was most interested in. We had always wanted to go try Chef Fullilove’s pop-up, but never made it, and when he opened up Barbara Jean in a more permanent spot, we still weren’t able to make it due to schedule, timing, etc.

According to the website, Barbara Jean is the chef’s take on market-driven, elevated American Soul Food with a Cajun-Creole twist.

Jambalaya (Shrimp, Chicken, Andouille Pork Sausage, Onions, Celery, Tomato, Steamed White Rice):

This tasted like a lighter, more delicate version of Jambalaya than we’ve ever had. It was also a bit too watery, but maybe that’s his style?

It wasn’t “bland,” but it was definitely not heavy, nor too salty (thankfully). The Shrimp, Chicken and Andouille Sausage tasted bright and fresh (not leftovers), and the flavors were fine, but there was no heat. I’m not an expert on Jambalaya (@CiaoBob) but this might’ve been a bit too light and liquidy.

On our 2nd visit, we wanted to try their Oyster Po’ Boy but it was sold out! (Along with their Hummingbird Cake, so sadly, we just moved on to try other stands.)

Barbara Jean
(at The Fields LA food hall)
3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Burritos La Palma

Originating in Jerez, Zacatecas, we loved our visit to the original U.S. location of Burritos La Palma last year, with their wonderful Handmade Flour Tortillas. They made the best Flour Tortillas we’ve tried in L.A., and their Deshebrada (Stewed Beef with Potato) Burrito was our favorite. Sadly, this new outpost of Burritos La Palma doesn’t serve the Deshebrada, but they had the Birria de Res here, so we gave that a shot.

Birria de Res Burrito (House Specialty Shredded Beef):

The staff here might’ve used a bit too much oil to toast up the Burritos (compared to their original El Monte location), but the Handmade Flour Tortillas were still soft, almost fluffy and so much better than most Flour Tortillas we have locally.

The Birria de Res was flavorful Shredded Beef, lightly spicy and a nice match with the Flour Tortillas.

We like their original El Monte location more, but this is solid and even better considering it’s a sports venue food stand. :slight_smile:

Burritos La Palma
(at The Fields LA food hall)
3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Coni’ Seafood

The (in)famous Coni’ Seafood, whose history was intertwined with FTC’s most well-known chef, Sergio Penuelas, has opened a location at The Fields LA as well. We were excited to try this outlet, even though Sergio was nowhere to be seen (boo!). :slight_smile:

There is sadly no Pescado Zarandeado (the amazing whole grilled Snook Fish over charcoal that Sergio made famous years ago at Mariscos Chente and then Coni’ Seafood and then other locations that he bounced around at).

Tacos de Pescado (Lightly Battered Fried Fish, Cabbage, Tomato, Onion, Dressing, Chile):

I loved the Tacos de Marlin at Mariscos Chente back in the day. I was hoping for something similar, but visually these were more like a standard Baja-looking Fried Fish Taco with some Cabbage and Crema on top.

Sadly, these were no bueno! :frowning: The Fish they used (the cashier had no idea what it was) tasted muddy, like uncleaned Tilapia or Catfish. :cry: It ruined the entire dish.

Even if the Fish was of better quality, it wasn’t fried very well at all, lacking any crispiness. Avoid at all costs.

2nd Visit:

Coctel de Camarón (Shrimp, Clamato, Chopped Cucumber, Tomato, Onion, Pepper, Cilantro):

Serving Nayarit-style Cocteles and Ceviches, this was much better! Fresh, zesty and so bright, the Camarones (Shrimp) were inherently sweet and meaty, but even better was their Pulpo (Octopus) which is something @Dommy called out as a standout from Chef Sergio years ago at Mariscos Chente. Their Pulpo was meaty, tender, and not rubbery at all. :slight_smile:

Add in their freshly made Chips and Salsas and this was one of our favorite dishes at The Fields LA and it pretty much blows most Sports Arenas / Stadiums’ food stalls out of the water with this one dish. :blush:

The only other item they serve is their Shrimp Ceviche Verde, which we’ll try next time.

Coni’ Seafood
(at The Fields LA food hall)
3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037

Piccolo Antico Pizzeria Focacceria

This was probably our other most anticipated food stall to try at The Fields LA, opened by Chef Chad Colby, former Executive Chef at the FTC and @Nemroz @PorkyBelly beloved Chi SPACCA. Piccolo Antico is Chef Colby’s take on Roman-style Pizza and Focaccia Sandwiches, with all of the Focaccia made fresh in their wood-burning oven right at the food stall(!). We couldn’t wait. :slight_smile:

As we’ve seen now with Il Romanista and Triple Beam and a few other places, this Roman-style Pizza is made in large squares and cut into individual pieces when you order (and heated up briefly at Piccolo).

They had a variety of the Pizzas on display:

We tried 2 of their offerings on our 1st visit:

Pepperoni Pizza (Tomato, Mozzarella, Spicy Salami, Chili Pepper, Grilled Pepper):

Baked on a thick Focaccia base, there was a noticeable crunch as we bit down into the Roman-style Pepperoni Pizza. I liked the Tomato Sauce base (deeply delicious, umami, tart-sweet, but not overly tart), however there was a strange aftertaste that I couldn’t put my finger on. 2 of our other friends noticed it also, but the other 2 didn’t taste anything strange. Perhaps it’s the type of Oil used to bake this Focaccia base? Or something, but it threw off the taste for me slightly.

White Pizza (Sausage, Sage, Mozzarella):

This White Pizza also had that distinctive crunch from the toasted Focaccia underneath. The Pork Sausage was herbal, zesty and had good salinity. The Sage and Mozzarella combo was also fine. But that strange backnote hit my palate again for this slice. It wasn’t “bad” but just something different that didn’t quite gel with the rest of the Pizza.

Porchetta Sandwich (Provolone, Giardiniera):

I had to try their Focaccia Sandwiches for @Ns1 who’s been on the lookout for great Italian offerings for a while now. :wink:

Their Focaccia Bread makes an amazing Sandwich: Crusty, crunchy, but fluffy on the inside, it was a great alternate take on the usual Bread found in various Italian Sandwiches around town.

However, this Porchetta Sandwich was too salty for me. :cry: The Focaccia is salted. The Porchetta is salted. And the Giardiniera is salty, as is the Provolone. Together, it’s just too much sodium for my tastes, but otherwise this was a great Sandwich overall (for the ingredients and flavor combo outside the Salt).

2nd Visit:

Margherita Pizza (Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil):

Just like our 1st visit, we loved the crunch of the Focaccia base. The Margherita flavor combination is beloved and classic for a reason, and the Basil herbal notes were evident throughout, along with a balanced Tomato base. The Mozzarella was sufficiently oozing and delicious. The weird backnote was still present for me on this visit, but not as prevalent. I’m guessing at this point it’s the type of Oil they use for cooking that Focaccia? But it’s not noticeable at all in the Sandwiches, only in the Pizzas.

Salami Sandwich (Peppers, Arugula):

Now this was more like it! Perfectly salted (not overly salty), this was a glorious Sandwich! :heart: The Housemade Focaccia Bread was once again wonderfully crunchy on the outside with a soft interior. The Salami was so beautifully fragrant in its porcine flavors it would make @PorkyBelly smile! :grin: Forget beefiness. Porkiness is where it’s at here! :slight_smile:

The Arugula added a much needed and perfect slight bitterness and green, and the Peppers were sweet and stewed down. @Ns1 worth a try. :blush:

I’ll leave it up to lapizzamaven and all of our FTC Pizza experts to see how it compares to the other Roman-style places (we haven’t tried the others yet), but for now Piccolo Antico Pizzeria Focacceria is another successful food stand here at The Fields LA. Delivering fresh-baked Roman-style Pizzas and Focaccia Sandwiches for a sports arena? Crazy. Even as a standalone place, it delivered some nice Pizzas (although with a strange aftertaste (for me)), but the Salami Focaccia Sandwich with Housemade Bread is stunning and delicious and probably my favorite food item at The Fields LA.

Piccolo Antico Pizzeria Focacceria
(at The Fields LA food hall)
3939 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90037


#2

WOW!!! What a round up!! It’s so close to us, we are there all the time. This morning I was on the roof taking a Yoga class. The hours. The vendors, the portions, the prices, the free parking and events, They really are doing lots of efforts to make it successful.

The taste you got from the pizza, is from the oil they coat they coat the pans with. I LOVE IT. But I’m the type who drizzles pizza with oil to begin with.

We really like the Jambalaya. It’s great with the wide selection of beers they have at the bar (which is a main reason we go) There are hot sauce bottles which can zip it but overall, we enjoy the flavors of the meats which are not over done including the delicate crab.

My new favorite thing there is the Tostaditas from Conis. They are one of the most expensive items there but they have mounds of shrimp and octopus. Could this dish be better at Holbox? Perhaps. But Holbox doesn’t offer $5 Hard Agua Frescas…

I also recently tried my first desert there. A Lemon Meringue Bar. I LOVE Lemon Bars, most are terrible. This one hit all the right notes. It had a thick crust, a good layer of balanced and tangy lemon curd (Not too eggy. Not too sweet or tart, not too gel like) but the best part was the meringue topping. It was true meringue, almost marshmellowey, not foamy at all


#3

Hi @Dommy,

Thank you again for the recommendation to try this place in the first place. :slight_smile:

Oh wow, I didn’t know they had hard aguas frescas! How are they? What did they spike the Jamaica with? Tequila?

I was eyeing the Tostaditas from Coni’ Seafood, so I’ll try that next time. The cashier said that it was basically the Coctel but served on their Tostaditas rounds, but it looks wonderful. :slight_smile:

And which stand was serving the Lemon Meringue Bar? Was it the case next to Piccolo Antico’s Focaccia Sandwiches? Thanks.


#4

Thanks again for your tremendous reviews.

I love this place. It is not train-friendly compared to Grand Central Market, as the venue is a good 15 minute walk from the nearest Expo station. But there is free parking. I enjoyed the burritos from Burritos La Palma, pizza from Piccolo Antico and the chicken sandwich from CJ Boyd. I will look for that lemon bar Dommy mentioned.

I was wondering whether anyone has tried Akko Port or Al Pastor. Glad I skipped Mrs. Chi; it didn’t look promising.


#5

Hi @ogawak,

Thank you! :slight_smile: For Akko Port, we wanted to try it, but literally no one was ordering from Akko Port the entire time we were there. :sweat: So we took that as a sign and held off. Curious if it’s any good, or we may try it next time.

For the generically named “Al Pastor” food stall, we passed because they didn’t even bother having the trompo (vertical spit) working. So like Leo’s Tacos, if you don’t see the trompo, keep driving. :wink: (It was sad: Both visits, the trompo wasn’t out.)


#6

Like Chowseeker… I’ve also noticed the Trumpo off more than on. Nevertheless, I did try the Gringas and they were pretty good. I LOVED the flour tortilla and the portion inside was generous and well spiced! As good as Leos… NOPE.

We tried Akko and the flatbread is WONDERFUL. The fillings are okay… not bad… but we got the short rib in hopes of fluffy toum as it was on the menu and it was more like Garlic Mayo. Plus, but when you have Dune and Madcapra… not too far… this pales…

As for Ms. Chi… we have a total soft spot for her Vegan Mapo!


#7

Thanks for the info on Akko and Al Pastor @Dommy, good to know. :slight_smile: At least the flatbread itself sounds great, so we’ll give it a try next time. :wink: Thanks.


#8

I got the short rib laffa at Akko Port. I thought it was REALLY good. The short rib was very tender and it was a little, kind of, caramelized/sweet on the outside. And there were big hunks of it. And I liked the other stuff in the laffa as well. That’s all I’ve tried so far at The Fields LA but I liked it a lot…


#9

Coming soon on November 9th: Chef Shirley Chung’s Mac & Cheese Wontons.


#10

This is what happens when marijuana is legalized.


#11

I hate to admit this, but I actually love cream cheese wontons, so I could totally get behind this.


#12

I’m with you on the crab meat Rangoon’s, but these Mac and cheese wantons just sound way too heavy


#13

Birria burritos from Burritos La Palma were very tasty! We also really enjoyed the fried chicken sandwich from CJ Boyd’s and the chicken shawarma from Akko Port.

Free Play upstairs looks really cool. May have to check it out once all the students are gone for the summer.


#14

yay sportsball


#15

Thanks for the report back @Bigmouth. :slight_smile: Good to hear that the Chicken Shawarma from Akko Port was enjoyable.

Which Fried Chicken Sandwich did you get from CJ Boyd’s? (And yah, the Burritos La Palma offerings were good for us last time as well.)


#16

I believe it was the East LA. My friend ordered it so I only had a bite, but it was really good. Not Howlin’ Ray’s good obvs, but a step above competitors like Crack Shack.


#17

Empty when we went today. Tumbleweeds empty.


#18

Do they not have tvs streaming the games?


#19

Hi @Bookwich,

When we first visited The Fields, they definitely had TVs all over the food hall broadcasting the latest LAFC game (with a bunch of fans cheering, etc.). Not sure what they broadcast in the off-season? Lakers or Rams games maybe?


#20

Darn. Per Eater LA, it seems Chef Chad Colby and his team are not renewing at The Fields for Piccolo Antico. :frowning: They’re focused on his new brick and mortar. A sad loss for The Fields (loved that Focaccia Sandwich).