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Jan 24, 2008 09:21 AM

Eat Your way through LA

So some friends and I are looking to spend a day experiencing as much cheap gastronomic goodness as we can find. The loose rules are we are looking to spend probably no more than $20 for each meal and they should either be LA landmarks or local to LA. Thoughts so far are :

Breakfast - The Pantry
Lunch - Pinks, Canters, Phillipes
Dinner - Titos Tacos, Senor Fish, Roscoes.

Chains are ok if they are LA only chains such as Roscoes. Any ideas for snack places are also welcomed. We are located mostly on the west side so would probably like to end up that way but are open to most anything in the Downtown / Santa Monica / West Ho / West LA area.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.

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  1. The pantry ain't all that.

    I reccomend John O Groats on Pico, or The Griddle.

    Forget pinks, the dogs suck. Go for an Oki Dog if you want a real LA only hot dog. Or, for the best Pastrami in the country, go to Langer's for a #19 or a Pastrami paltter.

    Senior Fish is well-liked on here. Titos is overblown (like Pinks)

    Other Chowish options are :
    Sabor A Mexico
    Lots of Places in the Original Farmer's Market on Fairfax
    Rahel's AYCE Ethiopian buffet for lunch (also on Fairfax, further south)
    Dim Sum in the San Gabriel Valley for lunch-try a sit down place or Yum Cha Cafe

    A burger and Pie at Pie N Burger in Pasadena.

    Inda's Sweets and Spices for the lunch buffet

    Diddy Reese for cookies

    The Godmother at the Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica

    Leda's cupcakes for mini cupcakes and cookies (San Fernando Valley)

    Skaf's Grill in Glendale or Van Nuys/Studio City

    The Father's Office Burger (I hate Father's Office, but the burger is an LA fave, an expensive burger, though)

    Churros from a vendor on Olvera Street

    Cheese from The Artisan Cheese Gallery (good sandwiches, too) or Silverlake Cheese

    Potato Balls or a sandwich from Porto's

    A chocolate croissant from europane

    Pastries from Nata's in Sherman Oaks (near Leda's)

    Ice Cream at Scoops. Go Across the street to Pure Luck for a good beer and vegan pub food.

    Sushi or Fro Yo from Farm Boy Market

    A trip down "Thai Gulch" in North Hollywood.

    Hummous Bar in Tarzana

    Chocolates from Comparte's, Boule, K's, Chocolate

    Gin Patisserie on Abbot Kinney

    3 square on abbot Kinney

    A pice of Tres Leches cakes from Vallarta

    Udon at Santokua, daikokuya (sp?) or just ask Rameniac for his fave.

    Mochi from Fugestsudo in Chinatown.

    Much more out there..LA is such a big place.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Diana

      Just a couple of thoughts on a nice list from Diana:

      I'd recommend an ice cream sandwich at Diddy Reese. $1 or slightly more for 2 warm cookies and a scoop of ice cream. Great bargain.

      I believe Fugetsudo is in Little Tokyo.

      You want ramen at Santouka or Daikokuya or Shin Sen Gumi or Asa, not udon.

      Other than that, I only have a couple of recommendations:
      a chicken plate from Dino's (so deliciously bad for you)
      Pink's is fine for the experience, but I really only get a spicy polish there
      Kyochon fried chicken
      Grand Central Market in Downtown LA

      1. re: MeAndroo

        oop, you are right, Little Tokyo. Brain fart.

      2. re: Diana

        I would get a hickory smoked burger from Apple Pan and their banana cream pie rather than going to Pie N Burgers, if I were you.


        1. re: burumun

          HICKORY CHEESEY WITH FRIES.... then anyone can die happily.

        2. re: Diana

          It really is funny all the hating Pinks gets. It's not like great dogs with natural casings are common. Plus it is a fun L.A. experience.

          Of course I like Tito's as well, so I guess my taste is suspect. Don't forget Phillip's, although I always prefer to go before a game at Dodger stadium

          1. re: AAQjr

            Pinks are not "great dogs" and in LA, Natural Casings are easy to find. Go to The Stand. Better dogs and links, less of a stupid line, and WAY better tasting.

            1. re: AAQjr

              Are you talking about Phillips BBQ around Crenshaw?

              1. re: AAQjr

                Carny's chili dog...Apple Pan Hickory Burger, Fries, Dr. Pepper, Pecan pie and vanilla ice cream (both homemade)

              2. re: Diana

                Not much to add, but my eight cents...

                Farm Boy is not a must, in any stretch of the imagination... it's good frozen yogurt, but it's just frozen yogurt.

                Mashti Malone's for rosewater ice cream

                Tacos Por Favor or Tacomiendo

                Monte Alban

                Sanam Luang or Jitlada for Thai

                Definitely the Griddle for decadent breakfast fare; John O'Groats ain't nothing special IMO

                Aunt Kizzy's for fried chicken, sweet potato pie

                Cynthia's for blackberry cobbler

                Amandine for a choc croissant

                Zankou if you're interested in the garlic spread

                Urasawa for a sushi adventure, or Zo or Wa or Echigo

                Al Gelato

                Michel Richard Patisserie

                1. re: Emme

                  Urasawa?? WAAAAAAYYYYYYY over OP's $20 per meal budget.

                  1. re: fdb

                    i totally missed that... oops, but i do love the place ;)

                  2. re: Emme

                    emme's right about farm boy.

                    the only fro-yo place worth the trip is Sno:LA.

                    1. re: Emme

                      oooh, I love Mashti Malone's. Ginger Rosewater is my fave. They do a good mango and also faloodah.

                      Emme, you have to go to John O Groats with me one day. If tey let you put caramel on the pumpkin pancake...bliss. Although I have yet to myself go to the griddle-I eat pancakes once a year as a treat, and I always crave biscuits with them for a carbo overload. The Griddle does not do biscuits, and the monster cakes sot of would make it impossible to eat biscuits with them!

                      No one could get out of Urasawa for the "$20 a meal" criteria the OP has!

                  3. Don't be provincial; go to the SGV for dim sum for breakfast; it's four/five off-ramps past downtown, and way better bang for your buck than the Pantry (and if you're driving, parking will be nominal; NOT true at the Pantry...).
                    Grand Central for Mexican street food.
                    Chichen Itza (probably must be for lunch to hit your price-point)
                    Almost anywhere in Thai-town for dinner; Yai, Jitlada, and even Palms Thai (what is more iconic for LA than Thai Elvis?!)

                    which will, of course, put you near Scoops for ice cream

                    1. One thing that might get the OP better responses is to narrow the search to three types of cuisines or maybe three areas of town and then ask for responses based on that. As it is, people likely aren't responding because it's just such a broad request.

                      1. An order of wings at Pann's - get'em as a plate entrée, because the waffles are kinda boring, and this is too fine an example of fried chicken to waste it on a gimmick. Get the real live mashed potatoes and gravy, and sorry about the boring steamed veges. For starters, you gotta have the pea soup.

                        I've not been to the Apple Pan, mostly because the descriptions of their food have not compelled me to go there. I like my burgers with only lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard and cheese, and I love the ones at Pie'n'Burger. The tuna sandwich is an excellent alternative.

                        For ice cream, Fosselman's in Alhambra. Could be the best in the world, certainly the least expensive of that quality.

                        Grits and eggs and bacon at Square One.

                        And you MUST have pastrami at Langer's.

                        1. Try squeezing in a slice of pizza from Vito's between lunch and dinner :)

                          I also second/third skipping the Pantry. I just don't get it. John O'Groat's is far better, as is Toast, BLD, 101 Coffee Shop, and The Griddle. The Griddle is probably best as far as how you are looking for places local to LA and kind of "institutions." Or perhaps Pacific Dining Car downtown - I believe all the breakfasts there are under $15 and I'm not sure if it's an official landmark, but it's been there since about 1921.

                          I also suggest you end your day with a martini at Lola's, the purported inventor of the apple martini.