Visiting New Yorker Wants What Angelinos Do Best
Hi there. I'm coming to LA for a long weekend and would love some recs for some food that's not done so well in NYC -- preferably Mexican, Korean, and Vietnamese food (I'm already hip to good Thia and Japanese spots in the area). If there's anything else you think folks in LA do way better than New Yorkers, by all means, let me know.
Oh, and one more thing -- I'm staying in Silver Lake, and would also love a place for breakfast nearby (I usually go to the Coffee Table when I'm in town, but am looking for something different).
it's been said before, but langer's hand-cut pastrami sandwiches are better than katz's - not a unanimous opinion but one shared by many, so you might want to check it out and judge for yourself, especially as a new yorker.
if you're in silverlake, go to gingergrass for their viet sandwiches and spring rolls (just don't bother with their pho).
wednesday farmers market in santa monica, or hollywood on sunday.
for what angelinos do best i would say mexican food.
roast to go in the grand central market, el sauz in glendale, yucas on hillhurst, tacos baja ensenada on whittier blvd. el taurino on hoover. in silverlake for breakfast i really like the huevos rancheros at fluer morena on rowena.
i think asanebo on ventura blvd is pretty special also for japanese
as for san gabriel
mission 261 or new concept for dim sum 888 for the experience
din tai fung or luscious dumpling for dumplings
vietnam house or golden deli for vietnamese
all the above koreatown recs are great.
i would also recommend a trip to Tony's on the Pier in Redondo beach for a drink upstairs and a step back in time to the weird beach town atmosphere that california has lost. sunday they usually have good music too.
cholada on pch in topanga for thai food is my favorite
Harold and Belle's on Jefferson for creole
Well, if you're staying in Silver Lake, you will want to try Square One and Cha Cha Cha for breakfast.
Cha Cha Cha in Silver Lake is very "LA", busy decor with tons of fruit lights, milagros, and latin music. Just had their banana french toast, which was decadent and delicious. They may serve breakfast only on the weekends - call ahead.
Square One is fairly new but getting a lot of attention. Chef used to be ith Charlie Trotter and they're very into slow food, farm-fresh and organic ingredients. Not really anything in the area like it.
The best Vietnamese places are in Orange County, but it's not hard to find some really good pho (famous Vietnamese noodle soup) around LA. I like Pho 79; they have a place on Broadway and one in Alhambra. If you haven't tried pho before it's a good place to start. And if you bring a friend, have them order the vermacelli and spring rolls so you can try that too -- it's absolute heaven with the spicy fish sauce!
I can't second the La Casita rec highly enough. If you want to avoid going to Little Saigon in OC for Vietnamese (which is a trek) I suggest Golden Deli in San Gabriel. For Korean BBQ, I suggest Soot Bull Jeep (cheaper, real charcoal, rowdy atmosphere) or high end (CHosun Galbi or Tahoe Galbi). This is a useful Koreatown guide- though it is a bit old and there are some new places like Honey Pig worth trying.
I also second Wat Thai temple and the wonders of Regional Chinese in San Gabriel Valley.
I'd suggest a simple lunch at Beverly Soon Tofu (dubu) at Olympic just west of Vermont. Go in, order one soon tofu and choose the piquancy level, and whether you want oysters, or beef, or other stuff in it. Then eat it. Have the waitress crack the raw egg into the soontofu and then spoon the boiling broth over the egg to get it to cook and set.
BEVERLY SOON TOFU
2717 W OLYMPIC BLVD #108
I can't second Beverly Soon Tofu enough. I walked in late a couple of weeks ago and the owner sat us down anyways (they close at 10:30). Because of our late seating, we held up the closing process until midnight. I felt bad but the tofu is so good. It's richer and more flavorful than any soon dubu I've had. The combination with kalbe is great. The kalbe ribs were thick, tender, and flavorful. She's celebrating her 20th or 25th anniversary soon.
Also, Din Tai Fung is far beyond what NYC offers in dumplings (NGB, Joe's, etc).
Try dim sum also. That's another LA strength over NYC.
Philippes for history and great french dipped roast beef (pork's not bad either) sandwich.
Fish tacos at Tacos Baja Ensenada in East LA (5385 Whittier Blvd., (323) 887-1980). The fish and shrimp tacos here are friggin' awesome; one of the best, if not the best, in the greater LA area for this type of food.
If you want a little, out of the way, homestyle Korean place, you might give Maru (356 S. Western, # 201, (213) 300-2966) a try. I wrote a more complete description here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/77642.
Another possibility that comes to mind, particularly if you don't mind driving a bit, is La Casita Mexicana. Very good, high-endy sort of Mexican. Their website is here: http://www.casitamex.com/english/home....
Hope you have a great trip.
re: David Kahn
exactly. having been in the NY Metro area for nearing a decade, I miss nothing more than excellent mexican food. And nothing more than tacos baja ensenada. It's worth a flight just to go there.
Also, la casita is also good.
Another thing I think LA does well is japanese/sushi and korean places. So Maru is a good nod. Or Koreatown in general.
While NY has phenomenal sushi at the very high end, I find many LA places to a similar quality not nearly as expensive as those few super high end places in NY (does that make sense???). It's been a while so others would have to lend a hand on what the current best places are...
anyhow, just a few thoughts.
Langers deli for pastrami. Share it an then get some desert tamale's and coffee across the street at Mama's hot tamale's. Then maybe walk it off on a stroll around the pond.
You can take the train to McCarthur Park but's it's very close to Silver Lake.
Just skip breakfast and have two lunches, one early and one late, than a late dinner.
re: Hershey Bomar
I'd be hesitant to recommend pastrami - even langers - to a new yorker, since (in my opinion) katz' deli is just so wonderful, nothing else compares. Langers is a different kind of pastrami, so very interesting to someone wanting a different style.
anyhow, not trying to start a debate... just a thought offhand...