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Mar 12, 2008 07:47 PM

Walking distance, Wilshire & Fairfax recos?

Hi all - just moved to the Wilshire/Fairfax area and I want to get to know what's good and in walking distance.

I already know about Mani's, most of the chain stuff, and a few of the Farmers Market offerings, as I worked in the area several years ago. Most of all I'm curious as to what's new (< 2 years old or so), and even more so, what's overlooked. Bonus points to anybody who can tell me about that Frank's Breakfast place on Fairfax :)

Also - any quiet little neighborhood bars around here? The non-scene-y, grown-up, wine bar variety would be my preference, if there is such a thing.


- The poster formerly known as Garvanza Girl,
(who doesn't eat sugar, Italian, sushi, sandwiches, bread, rice, or noodles)

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  1. Franks is great! it's mexican and i've had amazing burritos there. very cheap and very good. not much else there on fairfax... farmers market, i always pick singapore's banana leaf. you can probably get a rojak salad, beef or chicken sate, or the tuna sambal and still stick with the no sugar/etc diet. if you get the tuna sambal or any of the curries (or beef or chicken rendang!) ask for a side of the salad instead of the rice. it's never a problem.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Clyde

      Thanks, I'm totally checking out Frank's this weekend. And I didn't know about the salad sub at Banana Leaf - I always just say "no rice" and get this "you're crazy!" kind of response, but subbing salad has never been offered :)

    2. If you ate bread, I would send you down fairfax t (south) o the quaint Little Ethiopia to Rahels Veggie Ethiopian cuisine. Of Course, Injera, the lovely, spongy giant sour Ethiopian pancake is worth eating bread for.

      Rahel cooks all of her food with olive oil instead of the usual Ethiopian butter. She uses no meat. Her long simmered stews, fabulous bean ad pea dishes, amazing lentils and moer are not to be missed, but the Injera is the eating utensil, one uses a piece of the pancake to scoop up the luscious, delicious food. Injera is made from buckwheat , not wheat flour, and is amazing and pretty much healthier than other breads.

      There are no noodles, and I think Rahel uses agave nectar and not sugar.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Diana

        Thanks Diana, looks like I'll have to add Ethiopian to the list of cuisines/foods that are impossible for me to navigate :(

        My meals have to be animal-protein-centric. But it sure sounds delicious!

        1. re: Vaya Con Carne

          Mind me asking why? Don't tell me you're doing that silly Atkins diet, which was originally invented by surgeons needing to get weight off of surgical candidates in a hurry and never intended for long term permanent weight loss. In fact, its downright dangerous! Just FORGET atkins. Long term ketosis is dangerous!

          IF you are meat centric (hopefully not red meat, and how do you handle all the fat?) It's too bad you won't wat sushi. Well, sashimi, which has no rice, it's just the fish.

          Also, if you are into meat, have you tried fogo del chao? Brazilian BBQ is way meat centric. I think ther is a brazilian place in the original farmer's market! Not Fogo del Chao, but good.

          1. re: Diana

            Two things: I'm pre-diabetic and following the Bernstein diet, which has allowed me to manage my condition without meds for years now. Also, I have a condition called fructose intolerance in which I can't digest sugars.

            I don't worry about naturally occurring dietary fat, but I avoid trans-fats like the plague.

            And thanks for the Brazilian suggestions - been wanting to try one of those places for a while now!

            1. re: Vaya Con Carne

              Gosh, that sounds rough! What a cross to bear.

              Definitely try the brazilian barbecue places, they are great, and you can go all meat and safe things for you from the salad/sides bar.

              Can you eat legumes/beans/nuts?

              I would be careful with bars and mixed drinks, which actually contain tons of juice, sugars (beer uses sugar to feed yeast, so it has a lot, too) or other type of glucose. Can you just not digest fructose, or is it all sugars?

              1. re: Diana

                Nah, it's no big deal :) I have a built-in aversion to sweet things, so all I really miss are breads and savory pastries (which, under different circumstances, could be my favorite food group!)

                The only boozy things I drink are wine and straight liquor, in which the sugars have been converted to alcohol already.

                Legumes & beans are ok as side dishes - again, no vegetarian. Nuts are fine with a few exceptions.

                The only sugar I can digest is glucose, but unless it's a trace ingredient in something (ham, for instance) I don't bother - all sugars are bad for diabetics.

        2. re: Diana

          i, too, adore rahel's.
          i believe that she makes her injera with teff, not buckwheat.

        3. Welcome to the neighborhood! I live in this area too, and often walk to places to avoid having to park the car.

          For bars, try Whisper Lounge at The Grove. Tasca has also gotten good reviews here, but I've never been, so I don't know exactly what goes on in there as far as the bar scene goes. Life on Wilshire/Crescent is decent for happy hour drinks and food.

          If you'll eat Indian, Surya on 3rd is pretty good.
          Celadon on 3rd, just west of Fairfax has very good food that should accommodate your dietary restrictions (oh, and a nice bar area as well).
          I'm not sure if you say you don't Italian because of the pizza/pasta factor, but Rocco's on Wilshire/Crescent Heights will make a ziti without pasta in it: sauce, sausage and cheese. They also have a good antipasto salad.

          I'm suddenly needed at a meeting, but I'll post more later!

          2 Replies
          1. re: ITurnedOutTV

            You nailed it - parking is such a bear that once I'm parked, I don't want to drive again until it's absolutely necessary!

            Thanks for the suggestions, especially Indian - one of my favorite cuisines. As for Italian, besides the pizza/pasta thing I also can't eat tomatoes, which makes it really difficult to navigate.

            1. Regarding: Also - any quiet little neighborhood bars around here? The non-scene-y, grown-up, wine bar variety would be my preference, if there is such a thing.

              It's not exactly walking distance (2-3 miles away), but I think Larchmont Village might fit the bill.

              5 Replies
              1. re: andytseng

                I happen to live pretty much on that corner and the local bars are limited to Life (which, I have said before and I will say again, is one of the worst places I have ever given my money to, food wise, service wise, music wise, and on) Molly Malones (Ive never been) and Tom Bergins. The Grove is a one mile walk, but on the way, that Spanish wine bar (Bodega something) is fine (if small, and lacking food). In other words, I hate to say it, but I find this neighborhood to be a complete downer when it comes to walkable food or drink. (And again, I am pretty much on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, so I am not talking about 1 mile north/south/east or west), since I dont walk that far. Sorry to be such a bummer.

                1. re: rachaeln

                  You & I are totally neighbors!

                  Thanks for the warning re: Life - I've been wondering about that place. Too bad.

                  Sadly, that Bodega something seems to be closed, to reopen as something else - we'll see how that turns out.

                  1. re: rachaeln

                    I'm curious about what you hated so much about Life (specifically)? I went once when it first opened and found it to meet my needs for a place to have a few happy hour drinks and snacks without worrying about driving.

                    1. re: ITurnedOutTV

                      I've been about eight or nine times (I really do live across the street) and am constantly amazed at the bad service and weird vibe. Every time Ive been I have had problems with the check (constant overcharging), very strange waitressess, (actress wanna be's who won't stop talking or go away) and terrible food. We got a grilled cheese once that was on moldy bread, and another time we ordered the french fries and they came partially frozen. I also had a bit of glass in my drink once and their practice of charging extra for martinis to be served in a martini glass (check your bill, there will be a $1 surcharge for "premium" even if you order "well" which is explained as being for the glass...) is beyond odd. I could go on and on. I REALLY wanted to like it (thus the repeat visits) but just cant. The owner is SO nice, but that's the best I can say...

                      1. re: rachaeln

                        Hmmm, that's too bad. We haven't returned since our first visit months and months ago, so I guess we weren't that impressed (though we don't drink outside the house much anyway). We've been frequenting Green Apple for frozen yogurt a lot since it opened. I'm partial to Yogo Tango on Highland for my yogurt fix, but you can't beat walking-distance dessert!

                2. Not walking distance, but head over to Sante La Brea on duh La Brea.

                  Tasca for wine... okay, not walking distance either.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Emme

                    Tasca is actually a very reasonable walking distance from Wilshire and Fairfax.