Skip touristy Olvera Street and soak up Mexican culture in Boyle Heights, with its smoky taquerias and street murals depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe and Aztec history. Ask for tortillas hecho de mano at one of the family-owned mercados, like the utilitarian Los Cinco Puntos (3300 E. César E. Chávez Ave.; 323-261-4084; Metro: Indiana), where a trio of elderly women hand-roll thick corn tortillas (twelve for $2.79) and serve up tender pork carnitas (7.99/lb) and thick guacamole ($3).
Visit a remnant of the area’s Jewish past and pay your respects to the Three Stooges at the Home of Peace Memorial Park (Metro: Maravilla), the oldest Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles. Curly and Shemp are both buried here, as are Louis B. Mayer of MGM and three of the Warner brothers. Though the cemetery doesn’t have a map of the graves, the front office will helpfully give you directions.
Squeeze into one of the last Japanese vestiges in the neighborhood at Otomisan (2506 E 1st St., 323-526-1150; Metro: Soto), a tiny restaurant opened in 1956 in what was once an ice cream parlor. Sit in one of the three booths, order a spicy tuna bowl ($8.45), and take in the mishmash décor of linoleum, pleather, and Kabuki masks.