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Apr 30, 2008 07:20 AM

In LA for a few days -- suggestions?

I'll be in LA for about a week and am looking for simple, good food. I'm not interested in sighting celebrities or going to exclusive places. Tacos, pizza, burgers, casual French -- I'm up for anything.

Looking forward to your suggestions.

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  1. LA is enormous. Where are you staying, what area?

    1. Well for "simple, good food" that's excellent in L.A., there are a ton of places. Do a search on this board for Langer's Deli for great sandwiches, great Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley, and awesome Taco Trucks throughout Highland Park and East L.A., and Ethiopian food off of Fairfax.

      Some quick suggestions / links:

      * Amazing Al Pastor Tacos (my favorite) off El Pique Taco Truck in Highland Park:

      * Great Handmade Dumplings at 101 Noodle Express (Alhambra, CA)

      * Sea Harbour for Great Dim Sum (Rosemead, CA


      101 Noodle Express
      1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801

      Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
      3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA

      1. French: Chez Mimi, La Cachette

        Burgers: the Stand, Father's Office, Lucky Devil's

        Pizza: Casa Bianca, Red Ballz, Mozza

        Tacos: Sabor A Mexico

        Dim Sum: hit the San Gabriel Valley or go to Chiatown and hit Yum Cha

        Korean BBQ :Park's BBQ

        Upsacele wonderful: Providence, Grace, Spago, Luques

        Hot Dogs: The Stand, NOT Pink's, Oki Dog

        Sushi$$$$: Urasawa

        Sushi $$$: Asanebo, 4 on 6

        Sushi$$: Sushi go 55, House of Taka,

        Sushi $: Midori All You Can Eat.

        Breakfast: 3Square, John O Groats, The Griddle, Joe's on Abbot Kinney

        Non Sushi Japanese small plates: Musha

        Japanese Mochi : Fugetsudo

        A great place with lots of differnt options: The original Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax

        Ethiopian: Rahel, Messob

        Uzbeck : Uzbekistan

        Moroccan with bellydancers: Mou of Tunis

        Falafel: Shamshiri Grill

        Pho: Pho 999

        Cheese Shop: Artisan Cheese Gallery, Cheese Store of Silverlake/Beverly Hills

        Coffee boutique: LA Mill

        Treats: Leda's Cupcakes, MAshti alone's Ice Cream, Scoops Ice Cream, Boule, Jin Patisserie, Comparte's Chocolates

        A Fun Morning: Wednesday or Saturday Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Arizona. Sunday Hollywood Farmer's Market

        By the Sea: Neptune's Net in Malibu. Quality Seafood Redondo Beach

        Beer: Lucky Baldwin's, Naja's Place, Lucky Devil's, 3rd Stop, Father's office

        Wine bar/small paltes: Upstairs 2

        Steak: Cut, West, Musso and Frank's

        Sandiwiches: The Godmother at Bay CIties Deli

        12 Replies
        1. re: Diana

          Awesome - thanks so much. I'll be all over the place, really, and very willing to drive. I'll report back.

          1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

            I don't know, your view might change once you realize how hard it is to get from the Westside to SGV in the peak of rush hour traffic. Having a recommendations close to where you plan on being will help out, at the very least, to help form a plan.

            Staying near Hollywood? Have some Thai. Westwood? Persian. South Bay? Japanese. And so on...

            It might also help to look at other people's "visiting LA for a week" threads. The most recent gold mine came from a SF Bay 'hound, and while Boston and SF are two different cities in terms of availability of cuisine, it'll help provide insight into where you might want to go. Because even if you eat out every single meal for a week, that's still only 21 restaurants. You wouldn't be able to escape the Farmer's Market area at that count, let alone all of LA.

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              In the mid day time, a trip to the SGV isn't awful.

              1. re: Diana

                Over an hour with no traffic is pretty bad! Even more so on an empty stomach. It's the reason I suck it up and deal with westside dim sum.

                1. re: hrhboo

                  Does it take you an hour? My drive from the SFV in not rush hour traffic is about half an hour, maybe 40 minutes

                  1. re: Diana

                    I live near the water in Venice, about as far west as it's possible to get. I'm not sure where High Heels and Frijoles will be staying so it will probably take her less time. In any case, it's certainly worth the drive for a visitor, even if it takes a while.

              2. re: SauceSupreme

                I'm staying in Beverly Hills but have friends in West Hollywood and a sibling that lives around LAX. I really am willing to drive -- or rather, my husband is, as I'm a horrible, horrible driver. We picked out a few restaurants based on 'hound suggestions (thank you all!) and friends' recommendations, and we've done research and jotted down a few extra places. Spots I'm really interested in going to: Lotería, Monte Alban, AOC, Father's Office, Pizzeria Mozza, and Let's Be Frank Dogs. I think we're leaning towards more casual food at this point, trying to avoid reservations and over-scheduling.

                1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

                  Seven lunch spots:
                  Father's Office, Vito's Pizza, Loteria, Monte Alban, Kiriko, BLD, The Hungry Cat

                  Seven dinner spots:
                  AOC, Mozza, Musha, Shamshiri, Joe's on Abbot Kinney, Fraiche, Melisse

                  Boy, talk about just scratching the surface.

                  Here's the Ultimate LA Restaurant 2007 poll:

            2. re: Diana

              To add:

              Mexican: Monte Alban

              Breakfast: Primo's or Amandine for a quick buttermilk bar or chocolate or almond croissant, respectively

              Casual French: Lilly's French Cafe in Venice

              Persian: Javan

              Homey Fare: Nook Bistro

              Thai: Jitlada, Sanam Luang

              Small Plates: Tasca

              Italian: Angeli Caffe, Pecorino, Palmeri,

              Treats: Nata's Pastries, Chocolatt, Vanilla Bake Shop

              Beer/Pub: Ye Olde King's Head

              1. re: Diana

                Do you think Park's is better than Honey Pig? I've heard differing opinions.

                1. re: Diana

                  Great list, Diana... one thing might need a little clarification.. Joe's on Abbot Kinney is lunch and dinner service during the week... brunch is on weekends...

                  Rameniac's recent post on Yakitori Bincho might be added between your, "By the Sea" and "Beer" categories. If I were in Redondo Beach, I could easily see doing a mini-crawl to Quality, Bincho, and Naja's...

                  Again, great list, Beer Goddess...

                2. Hands down few of my favorite restaurants in LA

                  King Taco - you can look it up for different locations

                  Korean - you should try to all you can eat BBQ places, around $17 - can't beat that, in Koreantown - Ma Dang Sae, Manna, etc

                  Japanese - Midoria in the Valley - all you can eat Sushi

                  2 Replies
                  1. THANK YOU for all the rec's -- I wound up going to: Monte Albán (twice), Lotería, Honey Pig, Amandine, La Paella, The Counter, Pizzeria Mozza, Luna Park, Trattoria Amici, a Thai place whose name I don't remember, and a hot dog cart in downtown. I wish I could've eaten more! Loved Honey Pig and Monte Albán and Lotería, but I have to say that my bacon-wrapped hot dog with pico de gallo and avocado, etc.etc., was the highlight of my trip.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

                      Glad to hear you had a great time. I'm especially curious as to what you got at all those places. Descriptions of dishes and reports of your experience will help others who are also planning trips to LA (as well as locals who are simply hungry).

                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                        Let's see now -

                        At Honey Pig I had pork belly and thinly sliced beef -- make sure you request rice to go along with the beef. The waitress recommended it and she was absolutely right - it was much more delicious that way. The rice is mixed with the beef and whatever else is left on your grill, be it kimchi-coated cabbage and bean sprouts, bits of pork belly, or octopus. The portions are EXTREMELY generous -- I had two orders of pork belly and one of beef and that was more than enough for myself and three men.

                        At Mozza I had several appetizers: bone marrow (excellent - but DO ask for more bread; you'll need it to sop up the marrow and garlic oil, besides which it is absolutely delicious); meatballs (only so-so); and stuffed zucchini blossoms (by far my favorite. The blossoms were delicate and fried perfectly, the crispness giving way to warm ricotta).
                        Of course, several pizzas were ordered: funghi misti with taleggio, prosciutto with rucola, and my favorite, egg with guanciale and bagna cauda. The crusts were crispy and chewy, the ingredients straightforward and perfectly seasoned. All in all, a great meal that lived up to the hype.

                        Monte Albán: For breakfast you can't go wrong with the enfrijoladas. Believe me, I KNOW beans, and these were sensational. Enfrijoladas are strips of corn tortilla smothered in a bean sauce that's somewhere between soup and refried bean - not too thick or too thin, just dense enough to bring piles of tortilla together. Top these with two eggs, sunny-side up, and it is the breakfast of champions. Coffee is served black and already sweetened and has a very subtle hint of cinnamon that is everything Starbucks is not. For a real treat, order the hot chocolate.
                        At dinner (yes, I went twice) I sampled a variety of appetizers, including tamal with mole negro, zucchini blossom quesadillas, molotes (a tortilla turnover of sorts, deep-fried and filled with potatoes and chorizo), and fried chicken tacos. The mole was true to it Oaxacan roots. If you've never tried mole or have had a bad experience with it before, this is where you should eat it.

                        I had Mexican once again at ¡Lotería! at the Farmer's Market on W. 3rd St. I had a sampler platter that had a miniature version of every taco on the menu, ranging from nopalitos to pollo en pipián rojo (chicken in a peanut and pumpkin-seed sauce). It's tough to decide what to get here, so the sampler platter is a good choice. It's not terribly filling which is actually a good thing because you can choose your favorite and order the normal-sized version. My dad had enchiladas rojas (in a guajilo sauce) that were arguably the best dish we ordered - spicy, but in an earthy, pleasant way - and my husband ordered chilaquiles with eggs - ideal for breakfast or lunch...or dinner. I like eggs anytime. Oh! The aguas are refreshing and varied -- try the jamaica (hibiscus) which is delicate, fruity, and floral.

                        The Counter: Burger lovers rejoice! Top your burger with WHATEVER your heart and tummy desires. There are almost TOO many choices on the menu -- I had grilled pineapple, caramelized onions, cheese, and bacon.

                        La Paella: Great appetizers, especially if you're a garlic lover. Try the escargots and octopus. The actual paella was really well seasoned, but it was lacking in crunch. The restaurant is cute and cozy and wait staff very friendly. I'd pay a second visit.

                        Luna Park -- hmm. Fun, but food only OK.

                        Amandine: Go for the danish. I liked the croissants, but the ones at Clear Flour Bakery here in Boston are far, far superior.

                        Finally, as I mentioned before, th bacon-wrapped hot dog. EVERYONE needs to have one. I'm going to try to replicated it at home. Wish me luck!

                        1. re: High Heels and Frijoles

                          3 Square Bakery and Cafe in Venice - The Hall at the Palihouse Hotel on Holloway in WEHO for french bistro style menu- it's new and pretty good