On Sept. 5, Los Angeles celebrates its 228th birthday. Like so many of her residents, the old girl must have had some work done because she looks great.

To celebrate the city’s birthday, there will be a nine-mile walk from San Gabriel Mission, the fourth of California’s 21 missions, to the El Pueblo Historic Monument, a living museum at the mouth of Olvera Street where 44 settlers of Native American, African and European heritage established a farming community in September 1781.

Nine miles? Just thinking about it makes me hungry. Strap on your walking shoes and work up that appetite because at the end of your pilgrimage is a glimpse at the City of Angels of yore.

Known as the birthplace of Los Angeles, Olvera Street, the quaint, shop-lined alley surrounded by 27 historic buildings and a traditional Mexican plaza, offers a walking tour of Los Angeles’ heritage and Mexican roots, as well as embroidered blouses, one dollar surprise grab bags, fake Louis Vuitton purses and marauding mariachi bands. Best of all, there are some damn good spots to grab a cheap bite.

Be warned, most of the stands along Olvera Street are cash only, so come packing the green stuff and don’t be tempted by the larger, higher-end, more expensive, sit down restaurants like El Paseo. Yes, they offer a comfy seat to cool those barking dogs, but they also serve items like hamburgers, New York Cheesecake and calamari, and have the audacity to charge $12.25 for two tamales. If you want to keep it real, stick with the more authentic fare sold by smaller vendors.

Velarde’s Fruit: On the south end of Olvera, located on the outskirts of the plaza, you will often find a small, mobile fruit cart serving chopped vegetables, fruit, milkshakes ($3.75), agua frescas ($2.50), smoothies ($3.75), frozen bananas ($2) and bionicos ($4.75) – a sort of sundae comprised of fruit, granola and shaved coconut, topped with your choice of yogurt cream, mango, guava or strawberry sweet cream.

La Luz del Dia: Serving combo plates priced from $5.93 to $6.94 piled high with options like chicken verde, beef stew and picadillo, alongside salad, rice and beans, any taste bud can find its soulmate at La Luz del Dia. But the real draw here are their light-as-air handmade tortillas and tamales, either pork ($1.72) or sweet ($1.03). Note: Many of the workers don’t speak English, so be ready to bust out your best mime impression if you have questions about the menu and aren’t bilingual.

Mi Dulce Amor: Fall in love with rapturously smooth milk candy ($1.25), a sugary treat similar to Vermont and Canada’s maple candy that melts on your tongue and delivers the most intense sugar high imaginable. Cactus candy ($3), a pure reduction of cactus and sugar reminiscent of gnawing on sugar cane, milk-pecan balls ($1.25), milk candy topped with chopped pecans with a slightly more intense caramel flavor and coconut candy ($1.25), a Mexican macaroon comprised of reduced milk, sugar and coconut, are also good bets. If one of those doesn’t power you through nine miles, nothing will!

Cielito Lindo: Located at the north entrance of Olvera, Cielito Lindo has been serving their “world famous” taquitos ($3) smothered in warm guacamole sauce since the early 1930s. After almost eight decades in business, they’ve got their act done to a delectable science.

Mr. Churro’s: In the cage match between donuts and churros, churros win every time. But for a serious beat down, bite into one of Mr. Churro’s sublime creations filled with either custard, cajeta (caramel) or strawberry. And the winner, by knock out …!