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i need to make someone fall in love with LA/OC

I'm from the LA/OC area, but i haven't been back in 2 years. I'm coming home for a couple weeks and i have a special person coming to visit me. i need make him fall in love with this place so i can move back...where should we eat?

in LA, i wanted to go to places that are unique to LA, they can be nice or just hole in the wall great places to eat, just special...i was thinking anything from pink's, the counter, spago, roscoe's, katana, matsuhisa, soma...we'll be here a couple days, i would love any ideas...and i'd prefer to stick to mid-wilshire, west-LA, and south. thanks!

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  1. On Third Street Promenade, Monsoon for the gorgeous, comfy, romantic island decor and pretty good food (especially tuna deckers appetizer - and good drinks).

    Taverna Tony in Malibu (at Cross Creek) or through the canyon to Saddle Peak Lodge game restaurant in Calabasas.

    Try to drive the pretty routes, not the ugly ones. When in doubt, hug the ocean or the Santa Monica range.

    1. In Orange County:

      Beachcomber Cafe in the Crystal Cove State Park (North Laguna Beach). Literally steps from the sand on a scenic beach, with rather good food to boot. Can't think of a better place to sip a drink and stare off at the water.

      Thanks for reminding me I need to post photos and write about it on my blog.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Professor Salt

        Prof- Can you give me some more details about this place? I've been meaning to check it out but the logistics of parking, finding it, etc etc have kept me away. I know its at the base of the Shake Shack, but that's about all I know. Also, what are the prices like?

        1. re: MEalcentric

          Here's another link to recent discussion on Beachcomber's. There's a reference to a website which you can check out the menu. I am planning to check the food out during our January stay (the location is pretty scenic/romantic).


        2. re: Professor Salt

          yes, drive down the coast to this place. the coastal drive is amazing to someone from the east coast.laguna beach itself is gorgeous on a sunny day which we have a lot of.

          1. re: choctastic

            hello, on the theme of the south OC coast, we're not from the area but visit OC regularly. The nicest excursion we took was through Laguna Beach and Dana Point, lovely public beaches, flowering trees and shrubs, a great contrast to the urban sprawl which might appeal to the 'tarheel'. Ended up in San Juan Capistrano, strolled the mission grounds and gardens for an hour, and had the best lunch of the vacation at the Ramos House, in their pleasant patio next to the old house. They do Calif-inflected Southern classics with home grown ingredients, if the 'tarheel' should miss the home grub. have a great winter, friendly 'hounds of LA/OC!

        3. Don't forget to take a long walk on the Santa Monica beach and then liqour them up at the Ivy athe Shore. Putty in your hands...

          1. Dine at the Getty restaurant for an incredible view of LA and a unique museum experience.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chica

              Here are the things that non-LAers have like most in my experience:

              > View from the Getty (but avoid eating the mediocre food)
              > Malibu (From Pepperdine you go across the street there is a nice park to picnic with dramatic ocean views... you can do a very short hike from there to the ocean & walk in a secluded beach among some pretty fabulous houses)

              > Hollyweird is always a good attraction (how can you not move to place with Batman walking in the streets)... along the same vein the Venice Boardwalk (stop at a couple of the nice hotels for drinks)

              > Sawtelle Blvd for Japanese
              > Mar Vista Oaxacan & Taco crawl
              > The Grove Farmers Market (The shredded beef taco from Loteria Grill alone would convince most people to move to L.A... or at last that is what Bon Appetit thought when they declared it one of the 5 best dishes in North America)

            2. No specific ideas, but it might help to make it "theme'd". A tour de... well, something! ;-P That way you can showcase a few goodies and use the traveling time between stops to lay the groundwork for the "Big Move" back to socal (hopefully walking not driving)! Some beach thing would be great, so that atmosphere is incorporated into the eating experience. There ARE lots of hole in the wall/mini mall monstrosoties that serve great food. But you're selling the area too. Give it a theme and let loose!! Have fun, let us know what happened!

              1. thanks for the great ideas, i like the theme concept...i think i will do daytime at the ghetty and night at either santa monica or malibu...thanks for recommending the beachcomber, i forgot about that place and good to know the food is decent too. i'm definitely trying to time everything to miss the LA traffic...i'll keep you posted!

                1 Reply
                1. re: californialoving

                  Take them through the San Gabriel Valley for some of the best Chinese dishes in the world--start with dimsum at Sea Harbor, 888, or Triumphal Palace and end at New Concept in Monterey Park or Mission 261 or Newport Seafood in San Gabriel for dinner. Make sure he speaks Chinese though!

                2. This might not work for someone who's not an avid cook, but I fell back in love with LA when I walked through the Wednesday Santa Monica farmers market. So much color and variety, with the ocean just two blocks away and the pretty (but real looking) people buying equally pretty (but real nutritious) food.

                  1. but you forgot to mention from where you (and your said someone) are coming. if you're in another 'great' city (like new york, for instance), the task might be difficult. i say focus on the eats and experiences that you can't get wherever you currently are living. kickin' korean food (unless you're in korea). tacos al pastor. ya know ^^

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: rameniac

                      sorry, i should've been more specific. i'm in washington d.c right now, which i feel really lacks in good food. of course you can get a good meal if you pay a lot for really fine dining, but after that there is almost nothing. he's from the south, specifically NC. i love asian food, but he's less adventurous. and he loves mexican food, which LA has plenty of. i think everyone's right - take in the views of the city and some cultural experiences...

                      1. re: californialoving

                        on that note, are there any southerners living in LA/OC who love it there? why and what do you like about it? he's really skeptical about moving to "LA" which i think gets a bad rap

                        1. re: californialoving

                          I have to be honest that what made me fall in love with LA was moving to the Valley. Not that the Valley is all kinds of wonderful, but I found the people there to be a bit more "real" than the actors/models/whatevers when we lived in WeHo and Santa Monica.

                          The Valley's where a lot of the "real working" people of LA live, and the restaurant scene is an ethnic cornucopia the likes of which are nowhere else in the LA area... Mexican, Salvadorean, Peruvian, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Armenian, Lebanese, etc. etc.

                      2. Well since Im a big fan of ramen and noodles, I would recommend either a trip down to the South bay to Hakata/Shin Sei Gumi for Ramen, which is quite a fun environment sitting at the counter and watching the noodle guru go at it, prepping your meal -OR- a trip down to Little Tokyo to Daikokuya for a delicious hot bowl of ramen or Haru Ulala for Izakaya.

                        You had mentioned the Counter earlier but I would prefer the burger at Father's Office and I strongly believe every individual living in this town needs at least one FO's experience. Their fries and dips are fabulous.

                        Then a stop over to ChoSun Galbee in Koreatown for a delightful evening with some Korean BBQ then for dessert stop by Paris Baguette and Pinkberry.

                        1. Try 888 in Rosemead for a dim sum brunch. Visit the Huntington Library in San Marino. Check out Old Town Pasadena--perhaps catch a movie. Then go to Babita in San Gabriel for some good Mexican food (I've never been to Babita, but I've heard rave reviews from people I usually agree with). Even though it's a bit chilly now, cap off the evening with ice cream at Fosselmann's in Alhambra.

                          1. Maybe this recent post would help: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/344968

                            Titled "My 2 years in LA"

                            1. Take them to the Farmer's Market at the Grove. So much good food to chose from (esp Loteria!) and it's fun and colorful. I'd also take them to Pace in Laurel Canyon. It's a gorgeous drive and reminds them that LA is a city, but that there are places to escape and feel like you're outside the city. In that vein, I'd also take them for dinner and drinks at the Chateau Marmont. It's so gorgeous and peaceful. You feel like you're in old Hollywood from back in the day. Makes you really appreciate the best in LA.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Newkie

                                Pace and the Marmont are very L.A. But the Grove? For reals? The Grove's a generic shopping mall grafted on the rootstock of the old Farmer's Market, or what's left of it. I'll concede that the food options are better than your average mall's food court, but otherwise, it's hardly distinct from any mall, anywhere.

                                1. re: Professor Salt

                                  I didn't recommend going to the Grove, but only the Farmer's Market, which I don't think is anything like a mall food court. Out of towners always get a kick out of it, it's historic and pretty fun (esp the karaoke in the evenings), not to metion it has some of the best inexpensive food options in LA (Loteria, Bob's Doughnuts, Moishe's, Singapore's Banana Leaf, Bennet's, etc.). But hey, you're entitled to your opinion.

                                  1. re: Newkie

                                    i like the gumbo pot at the farmer's market. not great, but best you can do in the area. then again, that's southern food lol. maybe take him to garden grove/westminster for some vietnamese louisana crawfish boil? my friend from n'awlins says that they don't even really do it like that down there and he wants to try this one...

                              2. Since you're only going to be back a couple of days, it's not really possible show the vast choices. So I would focus on what he likes and demonstrate that we have it here, only better.

                                So what does he like?

                                1. I think the other thing to consider here is what types of places make you and him feel at home, or feel right. What kinds of restaurants do you prefer? What ambience, scene, no scene, loud, intimate...? I'd say to head for restaurants and areas that are "you guys." A previous poster mentioned moving to the valley and getting out of the scene. I live in Brentwood, and love that scene... less scene than Hollywood, but a different scene. Of course, West Hollywood has a lot of the high energy, over-stimulating places, but if that's your gig...

                                  If you really want him to fantastize about moving here, show him what life could be like. If it were me, I'd stay in the general area I'd want to live, show him the neighborhood eats, show him the lifestyle he'd be getting, and that the types of places he gravitates toward are not only here, but better than D.C.! The trips to see scenery are good too, but in reality, one can visit scenery... I love Tahiti; it's ridiculously beautiful and fish aplenty, but no matter how many times you cycle me around the island, I can't picture moving there, but I certainly will continue to visit. Show him that moving is better than visiting here, and that your lives won't ultimately change that much, but merely get better in every facet ;)

                                  2 Replies
                                    1. re: Cinnamon

                                      That's great advice because LA is a MUCH better place to live than it is to visit. I don't mind living here, but I have a harder time entertaining guests here than I ever did in San Francisco.

                                  1. I echo Emme's sentiments. There are plenty of good suggestions, but taking them all into consideration it paints a picture of what is truly wonderful about this city; there is something here that appeals to everyone. Ethnic neighborhood joints? Check. Business expense luxe for the Finance titans? Check. Homey Cafe for the country cousins? Yup. Gorgeous cocktail lounges for the beautiful crowd? Again, check.

                                    This city doesn't greet you with open arms and an easy to follow travel book ("Go here! Stay away from here!") Los Angeles was created by people leaving their towns to reinvent themselves. So whatever you're searching for, it's here. The joy is in the journey.

                                    Good luck to you both on your own adventure.

                                    1. After your late lunch at the Beachcomber Cafe on the way down to Laguna (it is all about the setting here - the food varies - don't get the Crab Louis whatever you do, the 2 ahi dishes - a salad & I believe a sandwich are pretty good - again it's all about the setting.

                                      Then blow his socks off with sunset drinks & appetizers at Rooftop in the Hotel de la Casa de Camino in Laguna. Open roof patio on the top floor of this charming old hotel - absolutely amazing views & killer mojitos. If he doesn't agree to stay after that, he's crazy!

                                      1287 South Coast Hwy.
                                      Laguna Beach, California 92651
                                      Information / Reservations: 1.949.376.9718

                                      The restaurant downstairs was Savoury's, but has changed names - I Googled & can't find out the new name, but look for the hotel...