what foods do you miss most when you leave LA?
i started a similar post on the NY boards due to an upcoming visit and it made me wonder how LA hounds would respond. here's the post: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/370520
this is not a question about your favorite foods or restaurants as a dose of homesickness can often render cravings for surprising things. it's "home" food.
my list (in no particular order):
burritos from el taurino and carnitas michoacan
chicken cutlet curry and chicken pasta at hurry curry
soontofu from sokongdong
dongchimi gooksu from the corner place (gil mok)
jja jjiang myun (noodles with black bean sauce from any chinese/korean restaurant)
berry blossom cake from susina
fried potato balls from porto's
feast from the east chinese chicken salad
california chicken cafe salads
breakfast burritos at lucky boy
dumplings and veggies from din tai fung
oh and i'd still appreciate any NYC recs. i figure it's a more appropriate question to ask on a non-NY boards but i think against the Law.
Sigh. I moved from L.A. a while ago and the food favorites I miss most are:
Senor Fish's Fish Tacos
El Pollo Loco
Outdoor Grill (Washington Place, Los Angeles)
Good Mexican food
Buster's (South Pas)
caffeine free Diet Dr. Pepper (hard to get in Northeast markets)
dongchimee gooksu from gilmok/corner place
din tai fun
boba/bubble tea from life market (never found its equal anywhere; in fact, now i'm questioning if i even like boba or if i only like the life market's version)
gyushintei shabu shabu (torrance) - extra marble
janchi gooksu (market noodles?) from california market on 3rd and western
furaibo fried chicken
dduk bossam (bbq with thin rice cake)
chadol-baegi (thin beef bbq) from shigol-ssambap on western north of beverly, with their free cheap but addicting ice cream
samgaetang (korean style chicken soup) from the food court in Galleria in ktown (no restaurant here seems to be better than this tiny food court place)
soondae (korean pork sausage) from Seoul Soondae on 6th and Alexandria
chik-neng-myun (buckwheat noodles) at yoochun on 6th and alexandria (while this is a chain and there's a branch on the east coast, for some reason it doesnt taste the same)
I never realize how much good cheap Mexican food I eat until I leave LA. I'm used to being able to order any unusual combination of food (so many people here on weird diets that it takes a LOT to make a waiter blink here). And like SauceSupreme, I agree that I miss having lots of choices in any neighborhood, except for maybe Manhattan Beach.
That said, I miss:
Taco trucks La Oaxacena and La Isla Bonita
Mitsuwa Marketplace food court
Asian food in general (it's usually bad/non-authentic in most other cities)
Being able to get sushi everywhere
Santa Monica farmers markets (3rd street on Wed/Sat)
When I leave LA: good Chinese food, good Mexican food, good sushi that's affordable, fresh and affordable produce, Dodger dogs.
When I leave NY: bagels, great bakeries every few streets. Not exactly "home food," but I also miss the great and affordable bar dining and fixed price lunches at high-end restaurants.
SUSHI! I just can't bear it back east. When I go away for more than a week, I start craving it and sometimes have to give in...and then remember that Bristol Farms has better sushi than 99% of the good places on the East Coast. There are exceptions in NY, of course, and Morimoto in Philadelphia, but the fish is just different (is it Atlantic Salmon vs Pacific Salmon?), and it's appreciated differently for sure.
Vegetarian food is also lacking in less health conscious cities. Sometimes I want a veg day and there are only so many places that serve good tofu!
HOWEVER, I do like the general dining scene better in Philadelphia- even with the thematic Stephen Starr restaurants, it's more about the food and not the scene. menus actually vary from place to place, restaurants try different things out AND places tend to stick around for a while. People actually seem to enjoy food and wine and the experience.
Soon Dobu-Beverly Tofu
TOMMYS Double Sausage & Cheese & Egg Sandwich
Oki Dog- Pastrami Burrito
New Seoul Korean BBQ Buffet
Double King Burger Combo- Best Burger
Breakfast Burrito Combo- Dinos
Chicken Chili Verde Tamales- La Mascota Bakery
Hollenback Burrito- Eltepeyac
Caldo De Pollo- Llamarda
Cream Puffs- Beard papas
Soul Food- Chef Marylins
Soul Food-Aunt Rosa Lees
Soul Food RIP Stevies on tha Strip 'SHAW ........... Crenshaw Wooo wOOOOOO!!!!
A few more......
fried Shrimp- Jonnies Shrimp Boat
Sushi-Daikichi Sushi- Mitusawa Market
Roast Beef Baguett- Lee's Sandwichs
Cafe Su Da- Lee's Sandwichs
Pastrami Sandwich- Coles
Carne Asada Burrito- Carnitas Michocan
Albondigas Soup- Lupitas "Roach Coach"
polish Sausage &Egg Breakfast Sandwich on Armenian Bread-lupitas roach coach
"SPECIAL" Massias Grill- Glendale Galleria
Beef Chili Verde Dinner- Ramonas
Fried Chicken-EL POLLO CAMPARO
And MORE I Can't EVEN Think of right now..... I LOVE LA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Since I have moved away from LA and back again three times I can vouch for myself on these:
Ricardo's El Ranchito flour chips - La Habra
Gondola's Pizza - La Mirada
Masaba - Westwood
Thai Chicken Pasta from Huntington Beer Factory
Golden Spoon which is soooo much better then Pink Berry ;)
Tony's Little Italy Sausage Stuffed Pizza
Mole in Long Beach
Tommy's Chili Cheese Burgers
Dodger Dogs on a Saturday afternoon or warm summer night at the ravine
Burrito's from Pedro's Tacos
Fish Tacos from Wahoo's
Pad Thai from Renu Nakorn!
I concur with sushi.
I once had despiration sushi in Kansas City. I'll NEVER do that again. Also, the fact that we can get sushi in gorcoery stores. It may not be Asanebo, but Gelson's sushi is LIGHT YEARS better than anything than most mid-west or central Sushi restaurants have.
I also miss our supermarket salad bar (Gelson's, whole foods, etc). It's odd to go into a supermaket elsewhere and see no or a rotten salad bar. We complain about ours, but still.
I miss Rahel Ehtiopian,
Good Indian, such as Woodlands.
Good Vegetarian or health food, such as Follow Your HEart, The NAtural Cafe, Native Foods and more.
Avocados from anywhere.
assuming that i'm not flying outside the country, too many to count but in general:
local choclolates like kron's truffles.
the dim sum
the good and relatively cheap sushi
the l.a. korean food and all the nagging korean ladies.
good indian food in artesia
pho in westminster
langers handcut pastrami on rye
The only time I was away from LA for a large amount of time was when I lived in Norway/Sweden for a little over a year when I was in my teens. I missed the same things that have already been mentioned... Taco Bell, In-N-Out, Tommy's, Root Beer (but then we took a school trip to Sweden and I found Dr Pepper, so I bought a lot of that!! Interestingly, no one that I offered it to liked it; oh well, more for me!), all the wonderful hot-weather fruits and veggies that we take for granted living here!
All the cheap and great Mexican, especially tacos, al pastor, huevos rancheros, and Yucatecan cuisine
All the amazing and inexpensive Korean (especially BBQ), Thai (pad kee mao), Chinese (dim sum), and Vietnamese (banh mi and pho)
Pastrami at Langer's
French dips at Bandera and Phillipe's
Los Angeles-style hamburgers
All the excellent citrus and avocado that literally grow in our backyards
When I leave LA I miss Trader Joe's. Even when I'm in a Midwestern city that has a Trader Joe's, it's not the same as TJ's in LA. The selection is way smaller, and many of the great local products TJ's carries here they just don't carry in all of their stores. Here TJ's is my grocery staple, in Midwestern cities they are more a place to go for a few specialty items. I also miss year-round farmers' markets. From my home base in West LA I have options of nearby farmers' markets 4 days a week, year round. It really is incredible, and something I don't always appreciate until it's not available. Midwestern farmers' markets can be great in the summer for Michigan cherries or Indiana tomatoes, but it's such a short season.
Tonny's chile verde
Macau Street special crab
Golden Deli rolls & banh mi
Caroussel maaneh and soujuk
Ma dang gooksoo and everything at Sa Rit Gol
Senor Fish ceviche scooped up with their seafood quesadilla
What may be more interesting (and is certainly a lot more of a challenge) is to contrast this list with "things that I miss and can't get good versions of in Los Angeles" (or not without driving for 45 minutes). That would include inexpensive Brazilian (Burlington, VT, of all places), proper Cajun eateries and Eritrean food (DC -- can't throw a rock in Addams Morgan without hitting something like Meskerem or Bardia's New Orleans Cafe), and 2-pound burritos from El Farolito in the Mission District (SF) at 4am for $3 with 2 quarts of free salsa aquacate. I've taken to making the latter stuff at home out of quiet desperation...
Mochi from Fugetsudo
Suehiro grilled mackerel lunch
Chinese steamed rice cake, Wu Gok, Sesame Seed Balls at Dim Sum lunch
Thai Food- Green Papaya Salad, Spicy Chicken salad. eggplant dishes
Korean BBQ buffet,
Korean supermarkets, rice cake snacks
green chile cheese tamales
Chocolate Malted Krunch Ice Cream from Thriftys
Plaza Inn Broasted Chicken
Cheap and good chicken meal chains: Baja Fresh, Pollo Loco, Zankou Chicken
Back yard fruit and veg swaps-Avocados, citrus, persimmons, plums, peaches, passionfruit, guavas, tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves!
Phillippe's French-dipped sandwiches
Decent burritos and tacos (and don't believe all the hype in the NY Times -- even though there has been an influx of Mexican nationals to NYC, they're all in the boroughs. Manhattan Mexican still stinks)
Really good dim sum (again, our Chinese trumps their Chinese)
Really good sushi (and again, our Japanese trumps their Japanese AND ALWAYS HAS)
Regular homestyle Japanese food (see above)
Cuban food -- oddly the Cuban food in NYC sucks.
Hawaiian local food (yeah, ours isn't as good as the crummiest place in Honolulu, but it's better than nothing, and some of it is actually good)
In N Out Burgers (ha HA)
Teacakes from Martino's
Fosselman's ice cream (particularly the peach, mango or peppermint stick ice creams)
Hot caramel sundaes at Twohey's
And I know some people will take issue with this, but I think our Indian food is better than theirs (certainly closer to what you get in London)
Pffft! So there. :P
Since I moved from WeHo to Long Beach AND gone from working professional with income to Full Time student... I've gone through some serious withdrawl... and I know, Long Beach is still IN LA County!
but I mostly miss: Canter's Deli (Fairfax), Yoshi's Sushi (SM blvd), Elixer (Melrose), and all the good, NON-FAST FOOD lunch choices in Beverly Hills and W. LA.
this topic is making me homesick. i agree with alsmot ALL of the above but hands-down it has to be mexican food. there's nothing like the mexican food in la (and the bay area). everytime i go back to ca, i have to make a pit-stop at mexico city, loteria, la estrella, la cabanita or el arco iris.
Are you moving to NYC? I made the move a few months ago. Here's what you'll miss:
- In-N-Out (NYers will tell you about Blue 9 burgers. Don't believe it. It's a joke)
- Taco trucks
- fish tacos
- Thai Town
- decent Chinese food
- Taiwanese food
- Chinese markets like 99 Ranch
- hash browns (I discovered that today)
- Hawaiian food
- bahn mi
- a Trader Joe's where you can be in and out in less than 5 minutes
- BBQ joints on Crenshaw
You don't know how good and inexpensive food are in LA, until you moved to, say Australia. One could only eat lamb and fish and chips so many times before I got sick of them.
- Chinese take-out food in places like XiaoMei
- Korean, Japanese, Thai, Indian... Any kind of Asian food
- BBQ joints
- A good sandwich (spreading butter instead of mayo on the bread just wasn't the same)
What about all the fantastic Asian restaurants there? Vietnamese, Malaysian, Japanese, Thai etc etc Practically every pub is a gastropub, too. It sounds as if you haven't visited for quite some time or only went to remote locales. I agree it's pricey -- I was just there last month.
I moved to San Francisco four years ago so I still get In-N-Out but, even living right next to SF's Japantown, I think the Japanese food in Gardena is far superior. I especially miss Shin-Sen-Gumi. Shockingly, there are NO yakitori restaurants in San Francisco where you can't throw a dead cat without hitting a Japanese restaurant.
I also miss the mediocre German restaurants in that little Old World Village. Something about the fact they immediately serve rye bread with butter AND liverwurst!
Zankou chicken and Philippe's French dips are obvious misses, but I also miss the amazing Cuban roast pork with black beans and rice from Versailles. Last month, before taking an international flight, I deliberately flew in several hours earlier just to drive to the one in Manhattan Beach for a long-missed fix.
I'll be there next month for a week and am looking forward to Zankou and another missed restaurant, Katsu-Ya - the first sushi restaurant I went to that had foie gras.
Specific things that I missed when I took a long weekend in Idaho last week were Mexican food and sushi. There was one tacqueria in town and it amazed me that they had lengua and al pastor on the menu, but trying it out, it just didn't quite right. Carnitas weren't bad.
And believe it or not, I ran into more sushi houses than tacquerias. I am steering far far away from that one; I know for a fact that they aren't shipping fish fresh daily into the this time zone unless it's Denver, Phoenix or Las Vegas.
I grew up in LA and left Los Angeles in 1995 -- have only been back a few times but here are some things I CRAVE every time I think of home:
1. El Pollo Loco
3. Carl's Jr.
4. Green Burritto (When I left they hadn't mixed the two yet).
5. King Taco
6. All the local taquerias
7. Yoshinoya Beef Bowl (I spotted one in Tokyo this year and went running for it!)
9. Jack In The Box (ecoli shmecoli)
10. Not really fast food -- but the Claim Jumper was an awesome restaurant.
11. The Hat (AWESOME Pastrami's)
12. North Woods Inn.
13. Tommy Burgers
I thought reading all these answers would put a smile on my homesick face, but, alas, it only brought a tear. Been gone 13 months.
Casita Tacos al carbon
Pepe's breakfast burritos
buying California produce IN California.
burgers with 1000 island
picking lemons/oranges/grapefruit/avocados/pomegranates off a back yard tree
Tony's Little Italy (seriously folks, his pizza is waaay better than Chicago pizza in Chicago!)
Getting tacos or agua fresca or alote anywhere anytime
mom and pop donut shops
oh, and Pioneer giblets
am heading for new york in a week and so will miss in order of severity:
el burrito jr for chicken enchilada redondo beach
rice things for chicken teriyaki/calif. roll in redondo beach
local place for kalua pork in gardena
sakae sushi for take out sushi in gardena
philippe's for pork french dip la
langers and labels table for pastrami la/beverly hills
sam woo for roast duck/wonton etc monterey park
pho hana for pho/etc in rancho palos verdes
shisengumi for hakata ramen in gardena
neil's for seafood risotto in san pedro
flemings for an occasional steak in manhattan beach
martha's for a good breakfast in hermosa beach
uncle bill's for another good breakfast manhattan beach
big mike's for philly cheesesteak in hermosa beach
aunt kizzy's for some southern cooking marina del rey
so much more but these are the ones i miss when i am gone for an extended time....i have my equivalents in ny but not yet for all......am slowly building it up though.
>>you can't throw a dead cat without hitting a Japanese restaurant<<
There's a Korean joke in here somewhere...
Whenever I leave Los Angeles, I miss things like the carne asada burrito at El Nopal, the "special" at Ma Ya in Santa Monica, the Ethiopian district on Fairfax, Irv's Burgers in WeHo, Fatburger (any location), Ranch 99, the carnitas dinner at Vallarta (corn tortillas to die for), Porto's (everything), the roast chicken at Versailles, Damiano's, Canters, Brent's, Won's Coffee Shop, Sherman Room, Billingslys, dim sum at Empress on Sunday mornings, the WeHo Astroburger fried tacos (deadly delicious), Tommy's, Phillipe's beef double-dipped with bleu cheese and a pickle, and, last but not least, Don Antonio's on Pico in WLA.
Luckily, I don't travel out of state too often these days.
I've been in Portland for about nine months now and here are the things that I miss about LA:
Sushi (though I did find a sushiya in Seattle that would be comparable to Zo and Ike)
Specific restaurants I miss:
The Hungry Cat