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Where to take visitors from Indiana?

Some of my co-workers from Indiana will be in town a few weeks from now. They want to do the Hollywood sightseeing deal: Mann's Chinese, see some movie studios, and drive down Sunset.... We're going to grab dinner in the area, but don't want to spend more than $20/person. They are very meat and potatoes, not very adventurous. I was thinking something chill like Father's Office or Langer's (haven't been). Any other suggestions for a unique experience with food they will be familiar with?

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  1. You won't be able to do dinner at Langer's as they close at 4 PM.

    ADD: Maybe something like Fred 62? While not the greatest food in the world it is an interesting, very LA type of place with affordable options. http://www.fred62.com/ or maybe 25 Degrees or Lucky Devils?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check them out.! I'm from OC, so I'm shooting in the dark a bit since I'm not so familiar with the LA scene.

      1. re: groover808

        i was gonna suggest 25 degrees and lucky devil's.

        i'll also toss in the 101 Coffee Shop, Loteria Grill (if Mexican isn't "adventurous"), Lou on Vine (might be too expensive and not quite to taste)...

    2. I can't resist: What about Tommy's at Beverly and Rampart? Say around 9 or 10pm for a late night snack. That ought to shake up the Hoosiers!

      1. I have friends from the midwest that probably wouldn't like anything a Chow would recommend. So with that (and I know I sound like a food snob), take them to a place they will be familiar with: Applebee's, Outback Steakhouse, Sizzler, etc. I've been in your shoes and you can't win with these type of people. They don't want good food, they want familiar food. It's the same reason there are lines outside of an Olive Garden in Manhattan, even though there are a hundred great Italian joints, they want something they know.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Johnny Pastrami

          Neither Lucky Devil's nor 25 Degrees is going to have our Hoosier guests feeling like stranger's in a strange land. And both places would be so far preferable to Outback or Sizzler (Sizzler - how we tell our visitor's "don't ever come back") or Applebee's that it would be a crime against humanity to make them "Visitor's in Chains."

          1. re: Johnny Pastrami

            What a strange response - perhaps they ARE ready for 'good' food. And not all food in the Midwest is boring, or 'familiar'. Adventure is good!

            1. re: Johnny Pastrami

              I think they would be fine with something definitely non-chain or a place they can't find in Indiana. I would just absolutely love to take them to korean bbq, vietnamese, or thai but that's out of the picture. It just has to be non-exotic flavors.

              If they were the type of folks you were talking about, I would seriously reconsider going, hehe!

            2. How about Farmers Market? It is a tourist attraction on its own, and the adventurous could check out Malaysian curry or Brazillian food (or, as suggested previously Loteria Grill), while the less adventurous could go for pizza or roasted chicken. No splitting up the bill required--and if it is too cold or too late, you could always walk through Farmers Market and eat more midwestern fare at Maggiano's.

              1. A unique food experience with food they will be familiar with is a bit of a stretch. How about Korean grilled meats, like at Soot Bull Jeep in K-Town? Should be good for hours of reminiscences back in Kokomo.

                1. If you want a break from 'adventurous' take them to Philippes or Original Pantry for a taste of old school Los Angeles. Musso and Frank might be pushing the budget a bit. If you're up in Burbank, Chili John's would be a somewhat similar experience.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DiveFan

                    musso and frank would be pushing the budget a LOT more than a bit--
                    the op doesn't want to spend more than $20/pp.

                  2. While Langer's will be closed, Canter's on Fairfax is definitely within your budget. They'll find food they are familiar with in a classic LA atmosphere.

                    Canter's Fairfax Restaurant
                    419 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                    1. Dan Tana's


                      Pizzeria Mozza

                      M Cafe de Chaya


                      1. If you need their good will and your colleagues are from anywhere near Chicago, I'd take them someplace honest and simple so they can get in and out of town without realizing the amount of pseudo-sophisticated Euro-Asian food we consume. Yuca's would be my top choice, then La Casita and the Grill on the Alley.

                        If you hate my hometown and, for some reason, want your friends to hate us, too, go to the ultra-sushi places where people balance books about how to eat sushi properly on their noses. Or, perhaps I should say, balance on their noses books about how to eat sushi properly. Alternatively, take them for what Southern Californians call "pizza" -- called "garbage" almost everywhere else. Choose any of the latest, bestest places from Web reviews. (Be sure to wear your Casa Bianca T-shirt, so you can say, "Oh, Casa Bianca is much better, but it's closed tonight.")

                        On the other hand, if you're Freudian to semi-Freudian, then get your friends down to the Original Pancake House, Portillo's, etc., where they can say, Doesn't Los Angalus have its own restaurants? Do you hate your mothers, too?

                        Finally, if these are good and decent people -- like almost everyone I knew in my Chicago years -- and you're just guessing with your "meat and potatoes" put-down, then I highly recommend Yuca's, La Serenata (the original in Boyle Heights only), Pie 'n Burger, or, in another direction, Stonehill Tavern. In this scenario, stay away from pizza, Greek, and the Bake 'n Broil.

                        1. TGI Fridays's (sorry...too easy).

                          Especially if you're around Hollywood, I'd definitely go with Loteria. Perfiect price, atmosphere and crazy ethnic edge! Will make them see that "Mexican" ISN'T Taco Bell.

                          And I'm kidding about Fridays! Definitely DO NOT take them to something they're used to. They're here to see LA...not Indiana. Show them what makes us great. Let them decide if it's their cup of tea or not. Cue in inspirational music...

                          1. I took my Hoosier brother several places on his visit here in LA. His favorite places were Phillipes and In N' Out. But I would also recommend Lucky Devils. Yum!

                            1. You know, there's a bunch of Thai food that gringos, even Hoosiers, just love once they've tried it. Consider, just by way of comparison, the way a whole bunch of first generation Latino immigrants have latched onto Thai food; check out many of the "Ocha" locations, or the Vermont "Vim" some Friday night. Spicy, crunchy, salty, , what's not to like?

                              Don't think Issan papaya/crab salad, or nose-hair-singeing So Thai fresh turmeric curry; think BBQ chicken, pad thai, and mee krob (anyone actually still serve mee krob?) . . . . and besides, Palms Thai has Thai Elvis! What could be more middle-American than Elvis impersonators!

                              1. I always take my out of town guests to C&O Trattoria in Marina Del Rey...their food is average at best (for most chowhounders, I would assume). The real draw is sitting in the outdoor patio area - great atmosphere and around 8:00 or 8:30, they do a "That's Amore" sing along - they pass out lyric sheets, everyone sings, the waiters parade around and clink glasses. It's very charming and my guests always love it.