- Barry Strugatz
For want of a better decription there are certain foods the can be described as LA Natural/healthy (no catcalls please)style. Stuff that they seem to do best in LA. Where can I find great Chinese chicken salad...ahi, turkey and chicken burgers...avocado and cheese sandwiches?
Also, what do they call the breakfast homefries that resemble straw that seem to be an LA specialty?
Chinese chicken salad is available almost everywhere in Los Angeles--even at places like The Grill on the Alley that specialize in steaks and other traditional American grill dishes. The Mandarin at 430 North Camden Drive lays claim to inventing the salad, and still serves its version with a spicy mustard dressing. The Mandarin's claim to inventorship is disputed by another claimant, New Moon at 102 West Ninth, whose salad is flavored only with sesame oil and includes fried rice sticks. A third claimant for inventorship, Madame Wong, has a recipe in her "Long-Life Chinese Cookbook." Her version is supposedly now served at the Chin Chin chain. Feast From The East in West Los Angeles claims to have the best Chinese chicken salad in Los Angeles. I'd give first prize to Chinois on Main, but it's only open in the evenings for dinner. If you want something even more eclectic, try the "Not So Far East Wrap" at one of my favorite places, the Hollywood Hills Cafe. This is a Chinese chicken salad in a flour tortilla with a little hoisin sauce. Welcome to Los Angeles!
Ahi is equally ubiquitous. The trick here is to pick a place that carefully selects and cares for its fish, since the basic quality of the fish is everything. I'd suggest any of the good Japanese restaurants in the Sawtelle area of West Los Angeles or downtown in Little Tokyo with kitchens that serve hot food (like R23 in Little Tokyo). I've had seared toro at R23 that was divine.
For an avocado and cheese sandwich, I'd suggest Say Cheese on Hyperion in Silverlake. They use La Brea Bakery bread, and are adjacent to a decent cheese shop, so you can have both great bread and your choice of a good cheese.