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May 20, 2008 11:20 AM

NY Hound seeking itinerary advice

My friend and I will be in LA for three full days and one half-day in June. We are two fairly adventurous eaters from NYC, looking for a unique-to-LA foodie experience. We will be staying in the LAX area, which I'm told is slightly inconvenient for chow, but we're willing to drive a bit. I'd appreciate it if anyone could look over our tentative itinerary and offer suggestions, constructive criticism, or let us know if it's too ambitious. Here's what we have planned so far:

- Universal Studios Hollywood
- Dinner at Asabeno
- Bar hopping on the Sunset Strip - any suggestions on late night eats or nightlife?

- Breakfast at Roscoe's
- Melrose Avenue shopping
- Lunch in Santa Monica/Venice area? Father's Office?
- Venice Beach
- Santa Monica Beach
- Korean BBQ

- Fishing at Redondo Beach Pier
- Lunch at Quality Seafood
- Beverly Hills
- Hollywood
- Dinner at AOC Wine Bar

Any suggestions on one last meal we can eat before catching a flight at 2:30pm out of LAX? Think we can fit El Taurino in here?

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  1. Well I'd skip Universal Studios; it's going to be a teeming hot hydra of youth on a Saturday. But if you must do the tourist thing...

    As for the Strip, I live two blocks from Sunset Strip; but you'll find that the better, hipper clubs (and probably better food) are now on Hollywood Blvd. between Highland and Vine. You could drop down to Social Hollywood for drinks, and/or the Cat and Fiddle. They're both about a mile east of the Strip on Sunset Blvd, and will both be hopping on a Saturday night. If you're on the Strip, I like Bar Marmont.

    Your Sunday is a nightmare. From LAX to Hollywood, back to Venice, back to Koreatown (where you should have your Korean BBQ) and then back to the hotel on three huge meals and a lot of sun? Not gonna happen. I'd consider putting more of your coastal stuff -- Venice Beach, Santa Monica Beach, Redondo Beach, Quality Seafood -- on the same day (probably Monday... less beach crowding, unless you want the full people-watching show) and all the Hollywood stuff -- Roscoes, Beverly Hills, AOC, Koreatown, etc. on another (probably Sunday -- less traffic).

    And if not El Taurino, be sure to go for Mexican food somewhere! That's essential. El Taurino's a long haul for pre-flight. Someone here will no doubt suggest a good Mexican breakfast closer to LAX.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jesstifer

      jesstifer, thank you for the suggestions. I'm not too keen on Universal Studios myself, but my friend has booked us a tour there already. You are right - Sunday does sound like a nightmare when you put it like that. What do you think of this proposed itinerary instead?

      - Breakfast at Jar
      - Melrose Avenue
      - Lunch in Venice Beach/Santa Monica area
      - Venice Beach & Santa Monica
      - Dinner at Kiriko

      - Universal Studios
      - Dinner at AOC Wine Bar
      - Sunset Strip

      - Redondo Beach Pier
      - Lunch at Quality Seafood/Pacific Fish House
      - Hollywood
      - Korean BBQ

      1. re: stumpie

        Jar serves brunch only on Sundays; otherwise, just dinner. Campanile does a nice Saturday breakfast, if you need.

        1. re: stumpie

          Looking better... But since Jar isn't open for breakfast and you don't seem to have any Downtown/San Gabriel Valley on your itinerary: have you considered doing Dim Sum for Saturday brunch? If you get to Empress Pavilion in Chinatown, early-ish (before it's an hourlong wait for their huge dining room), you'll get better Dim Sum than you can find anywhere in NYC; a true LA Foodie experience. You could spend that morning downtown, and check out Olvera St., (get some taquitos at Cielito Lindo for a snack) MOCA, Disney Concert Hall. Then head back to the coast. You could then move your Melrose Ave. shopping to Sunday before AOC. They're just a few blocks apart, I wouldn't do them on separate days. One question, though, if your Universal tour's already booked, is it for Sat. or Sun.? You've had it on two different days in your two different lists.

          1. re: jesstifer

            I agree with jesstifer regarding the DimSum option for breakfast on Sunday. However, Empress Pavilion in Chinatown, though a fairly solid choice for an average weekend, would not reflect the best of the LA Dim Sum scene. Since there won't be any traffic in that direction on a Sunday morning, I suggest going an addtional 10-15 minutes east on 10 to the heart of the San Gabriel Valley.

            LA has the traditional cart style that you are familiar with, however, this city is on the cutting edge of the new wave dim sum houses that serve exclusively from menu. Elite is probably one of the best of these style right now. Again, a quick search will give more than enough info.

            If this is something you are interested in doing, just search for Dim Sum, there is usally a new, and fairly detailed Dim Sum thread each week.

      2. Stumpie,

        Unless you have some deep sentimental attachment to Roscoe's, I'd skip it- I've never understood what all the noise was about. In the same area (Hollywood/WeHo) you could grab brunch at Jar, or if you're coming from the LAX area, look for a place down there for Japanese or Mexican(no suggestions).

        For Santa Monica/Venice lunch- consider the Counter for burgers or Border Grill for fancy pan-latin food, or if you want something authentic Sabor a Mexico.

        For Korean- I'd recommend Sa Rit Gol. Don't miss the black cod and daikon braised with miso.

        Tuesday- you're probably better off sticking down by the airport- maybe something Japanese in Redondo Beach?


        1 Reply
        1. re: AndrewS


          Thanks for your recs. No attachment to Roscoe's, just heard about it from many people and thought I'd check it out. As a Korean-American, I'm a big fan of the black cod and daikon dish so I will definitely try to check out Sa Rit Gol while I am in K-Town.

        2. “a unique-to-LA foodie experience” are the key words in your post. Here are three taste you will not find as good n any other place in the world

          Tommy’s (P) But only for a Breakfast sandwich, Sausage, Chili, egg, cheese, onions, pickles, tomato & mayo and request it all inside a large English Muffin. All of these items together may sound crazy but it works well and to visit LA and not have one is like going to NYC and not hav’n a slice)
          170 North Hill St
          Pasadena, CA.
          (626) 792-5971

          Tommy’s 1900 Lincoln Blvd.
          Santa Monica, CA
          (310) 392-4820
          California Chicken Café (Must have a Chinese Chicken Salad – say no pasta but extra almonds
          )6805 Melrose Avenue (between LaBrea & Highland at the North/West corner of Mansfield)
          Los Angeles, CA 90038
          (323) 935-5877
          (several locations including also
          2401 Wilshire Boulevard
          Santa Monica, CA 90403
          (310) 453-0477
          Monday - Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
          Saturday: 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
          Sunday: Closed

          El Parian Restaurant (Near Downtown L.A.) Maybe the best Carne asada,in town. Go for Lunch, not at night --- near Staples Center).
          1528 W. Pico Blvd.
          Los Angeles
          (213) 386-7361
          Just West of the Harbor Fry. (They LOOK as if they are closed because of the bars on the windows but open the door and walk inside)

          1. Another advantage of doing all the Hollywood stuff on Sunday: Hollywood Farmer's Market.

            2 Replies
            1. re: SauceSupreme

              Definitely... and graze on breakfast there. You could even leave your car in Hollywood and take the Red Line to Universal Studios if you don't want to pay the ridiculous parking fee, since meters are all free on Sunday.

              June is a fantastic time for a SoCal farmers' market -- peak cherry season here, as well as other stone fruit (peaches, etc.), the beginning of the end of the best strawberries, raspberries, as well as the first crop of fresh figs.

              Tuesday before your flight you could head to Santouka Ramen in the food court at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance/Gardena... I think they'd be open in enough time, but call to make sure.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                I think strawbs were just starting to hit their stride - the weather has been back and forth though so at worst, they'll be very good. I've been seeing some very nice avocados as well. Hollywood farmers market can easily be an adventure in itself with not only the great produce but the great prepared food booths as well. That suggestion for parking in Hollywood and taking the Red Line is genius. You could take the money spent on parking at Universal and put a down on a car.

                If they're coming from parts north of LAX, they could hit up Santouka in the Mitsuwa food court in Mar Vista as well, and split a Hamburg plate from China Table. On second thought, that might be overdoing it... stick with the natto and rice...

            2. hi...i like a lot of the suggestions here...i'll add a few...i've lived in both NYC and LA for many years each...

              -- for late-night Hollywood food, consider going to the eastern part of Hollywood Blvd for Thai's better than anything you'll get in NYC (other than Sripraphai)...personally i like Palms Thai w/ the Elvis impersonators, which makes it a truly LA night

              -- i agree that if you've gone down to Venice and SM that you should have dinner gets wonderfully cool in the evenings, which will be nice after a long day of sightseeing and beaching...while it's maligned a bit here, you might grab a mint julep and crabcake appetizer at Ivy At the Shore...and/or a casual seafood meal at the Reel Inn (the one on PCH)...

              -- also fun if you are hungry for something cheap and delicious while in East Hollywood: Zankou Chicken is at Sunset/'s one of the few things i've missed since i left LA...

              -- i am also a huge fan of Dan Tana's...many things on the menu are so-so, but the caesar salad, shrimp/lobster fra diavolo, and martinis are fantastic and it's great cozy clubby little place (you might be sitting with Magic Johnson on your left...a couple regular barflies at the bar to your right, and billionaire Sumner Redstone a couple feet away)...just don't expect much from the's also open quite late...

              -- Roscoe's is amusing at the very least...

              -- a few other places to consider: Sushi Ike (reasonably priced and always fresh), Il Sogno (pleasant cafe in Pacific Palisades), and somewhere for Mexican seafood...