Crusty Bread in LA?
I'm no expert on LA, but there's a well known book (several years old) on bread baking by Nancy Silverton, owner of the La Brea Bakery in LA. If the bakery is still around, I'm sure it has the type of bread you're looking for. Her book tends to focus on sourdough products though.
La Brea Bakery, as already mentioned, has the best I think. Now that LBB is off the teamster's fecal roster one can satisfy the jones without crossing a picket line. My co-worker told me about the strike and a picket he saw at a Ralph's and I thought he making a very, very cruel joke. See the current LA Weekly for the update.
Cafe Figaro on Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz has superb offerings, and gives two-for-one after 6:00 pm, I think. And the Whole Foods bakery has a nice selection, and there are always samples.
L.A. is now abundantly supplied with good, crusty, European-stylebreads.
La Brea Bakery began the trend and now supplies many styles all over town. Best places to get them are at Trader Joe's (locations all over town) and Costco.
Another choice is Buon Forchetta, available, but rather pricey, at Whole Earth Food Stores.
Finally, Il Fornaio restaurants sell a variety of their breads, both at their restaurants and at Costco. Their ciubatta is definitive.
Lastly, putting aside snob appeal, Ralph's markets has also made a creditable attempt at providing some artisinal breads in European styles. Some loaves are more successful than others.