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first time in LA, but only for 24 hours

My husband and I will be in LA for 24 hours and are looking for suggestions for a lunch and a brunch, and maybe a delicious snack (a donut perhaps?). It is our first time in LA (unless you count my trip as a 2 year old when I picked a mushroom, ate some, and stuck up the rest up my nose).

This is sort of what we are looking for:

Saturday lunch somewhere between LAX and downtown LA (we are staying at the Omni)

Sunday brunch that is good for hangovers somewhere between downtown and roads that point north (We are driving to Carmel that afternoon, so something convenient to the 5 might be good) )

Sunday snack (donut?) north of brunch also on the 5?

We are poor, and are the kind of lax vegetarians that don't ask if the beans were cooked with pork or the soup with chicken stock. Places that are excellent people watching are a plus. maybe vietnamese or latin american?

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    1. re: Servorg

      For brunch on the way out of town on Sunday I am recommending Twin Palms in Pasadena. Ordinarily I wouldn't say dinner at this place but I think the brunch is an excellent value and the setting is very nice:

      http://www.twin-palms.com/catering/su...

      1. re: Servorg

        Do you know the price for the sunday brunch buffet? Couldn't find any prices on the website.

        1. re: Josh90004

          It was $20 pp but you might want to double check that with them by phone.

          1. re: Servorg

            I just checked with them. $19.95 for adults (if you want unlimited champagne and / or mimosas you need to add another $7 to that).

    2. you're poor but are staying at the OMni?
      I second Rahel...really yummy and a good buffet.
      To get to Carmel from LA, you're better off going up the 101 and having a prettier, more scenic drive up the coast through Santa Barbara.
      pasadena really isn't on the way-you'll take either the 405 or the 5 to the 101.

      If you are on the 101 in the San Fernando Valley, you can get brunch at:
      Universal Hilton's Buffet (on weekends)
      Le Pain Quotidean in Studio City

      Dupar's in Studio City

      Panera Bread in Studio City

      Belwood Bakery Studio City

      El Torito (yeeecch Sherman oaks)

      The Studio City Farmer's market on Ventura Place in Studio city (great fruit, veg, cheese, crepes, pastries, tamales, breakfast burritos, grilled corn and more!

      Gelson's Hot Bar in North Hollywood

      Jinkey's Sherman oaks

      Leda's bake Shop Sherman oaks

      Marmalade Cafe Sherman Oaks

      La Frite Sherman oaks

      More than Waffles in encino

      Gelson's in encino

      Sona's in Encino

      Cici's cafe in Tarzana

      Bea's Bakery/and the attached deli in Tarzana

      they're all good places for a snack, too.

      I know there's more, but I forget.

      1. Beware, I-5 is bereft of dining opportunities other than fast food, or Denny's, a quicker drive than U.S. 101, but in my book not chowish and more stressful than 101. Post a query on the California board for recco's north of L.A. county up to and including Carmel.

        If you take the 101, you could jog over about four miles east at the Buellton exit and pay a visit to Solvang, an ersatz Danish village, and OD on Danish pastries (that and other opportunities can be found on the California board).

        1. You could have dim sum for Sunday Brunch at Ocean Seafood, in Chinatown, which is both close to the Omni and the 5 fwy.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bob Brooks

            For dim sum in Chinatown, I'd go to CBS or Empress Pavilion over Ocean Seafood. CBS is at Spring and Ord. It has a parking lot, too. I'd get there before 11.

            1. re: hpcat

              I used to favor Empress Pavilion but quit it completely after the last two visits were characterized by items that were cold and greasy. Much hotter and fresher at Ocean Seafood.

              FWIW, I think you need to be at Empress before 10 if you don't want a ridiculous wait.

          2. Totally OT, but you really need to take the 101 instead of the 5. To get to Carmel, it's better to stay towards the coast and the 5 goes WAY inland. Plus, the 5 is boring and ugly. ;)

            If you take the 101 N, you get to pass my neck of the woods, and we have some FABU restaurants in the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo areas. Diner's paradise ... and SB/SLO are just off the freeway. In Santa Barbara, the infamous La Super Rica Taqueria (Julia Child's fave Mexican) comes to mind off Milpas.

            But while in LA, I would say it would be fun to do sushi (so huge in LA) and Pinkberry.