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Coming to LA for fresh bao, where else to eat?

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Ok, so I know I'm strange but there is a reason behind this. I won't write it all out but just understand that my husband and I are coming from western Canada to LA for 1 night (the 13th) and plan to eat at the Noodle House in Monterey Park. We're staying near LAX and renting a car. We know Monterey Park is a bit of a drive but we're up for it.

After reviewing this board it looks like Cafe del Ray would be good for Saturday brunch and maybe Nichol's or In-n-Out for dinner after the bao. Yeah, I know some people won't share my touristy love of In-n-Out but they do fries light and nowhere else seems to.

Am I correct that these places are close (ish) to our hotel? Do I need to make a reservation for Saturday brunch? Any other suggestions given that you know we're weird? We like the hole in the wall type of Mexican place that LA does so well, are there any around where we'll be?

We could drive a little for dinner on Friday but I don't see us eating much after the bao feast. On Saturday we need to eat in a somewhat timely fashion as we have a plane to catch.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. You could go to Mariscos Chente... that's not horribly far from LAX. There's an In-N-Out two hundred feet from the runway, at the intersection of Lincoln Blvd. and Sepulveda Blvd. Cafe del Rey is maybe 10 minutes from the airport.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      Marisocs Chente, for sure! If anyone is seafood averse, they're screwed because a fish has splashed in every pot. It's really fantastic, a little pricy for "hole in the wall Mexican" but that's because you're paying for fresh seafood.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Sounds interesting. Where is it?

        1. re: sharonanne

          Mariscos Chente place link will be in the next post since I forgot to click on the link to add it to this one... Doh!

          1. re: Servorg

            And now - the place link!

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            Mariscos Chente
            4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

      2. If you're speaking of Nichol's in Marina del Rey, it's a pretty basic coffee shop-type place. The food is good, the service is friendly and efficient, but since you folks are here for such a short period, I would think you could choose something more unique.

        In-n-Out makes a pretty decent burger for a pretty decent price, but I personally find their fries to be pretty bad. Have you considered other burger options, or is In-n-Out on the list due to its proximity to LAX? Father's Office is located in north Santa Monica but recently opened another bar in east Culver City/Palms area. Their food is far superior, they have great beers and drinks, and is closer to LAX, particularly if you go there via La Cienega. You could also hit it off of the 10 freeway coming back from Monterey Park.

        6 Replies
        1. re: bulavinaka

          In-n-Out is kind of a tradition when we go to the states, I was in Las Vegas in Feb with daughter and husband may want his turn. It's the fries light. Can't get em anywhere else. Drinks are not such a big draw for us.

          I only mentioned Nichol's because it came up on this board when I searched for Marina del Ray. It sounds like a diner and I thought that might be fun but I am open to suggestions.

          1. re: sharonanne

            I think Mariscos Chente would be much more interesting. Nichol's is fine, but nothing memorable at all and not really even fun. It feels almost like an IHOP but with better food.

            1. re: sharonanne

              Can't knock tradition - just don't tell some of these posters. :)

              Servorg and Mollyo are giving you great advice on Mariscos Chente (where's Westside Gal?). The place is a typical hole-in-the-wall on the outside, a little dated and stale on the inside, the menu is in Spanish, but the seafood is exceptional and in a style that most aren't familiar with. You might try reading through a couple of longish but informative threads on the place. They should seal the deal for your visit here.

              This post is the most recent by Thi Nguyen - he is a regular contributor to the LA Times, and justifiably so:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/601186

              This is the original post by Streetgourmetla that started it all:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585332

              This is a very thorough review by poster exilekiss - his reviews are exceptional:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/597458

              This is one of many posts by Westside Gal - probably - no - undeniably Mariscos Chente's most honored eater:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585334

              1. re: bulavinaka

                Wow! This is why CH is so good. Hope we can get in.
                Thanks

            2. re: bulavinaka

              Have you had the fries ANIMAL style? OMG, so GOOD!

              1. re: Burger Boy

                I will make a point of trying the fries Animal style the next time my kids drag me there. It may change my mind about the place. Thanks for the tip!

            3. 26 Beach does some great french toasts for brunch. I had a tirimisu french toasts there the other day, OMG! www.26beach.com

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              26 Beach
              3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

              3 Replies
              1. re: Burger Boy

                Adding that to the list, thanks. Love animal style burgers but not the fries, just like em plain and undercooked. Each to his own.

                1. re: sharonanne

                  This is the closest In and Out to LAX.. Its pretty cool there you can eat on the small patch of grass and watch the planes land if thats something to you. I would pass on Nichols its nothing special Sharonanne you had mentioned that you are staying close to LAX however no mention where.. That may help if you care to name the cross streets.

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                  In-N-Out Burger
                  9149 S Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                  1. re: Foodandwine

                    We are at the Renaissance Montura which is at Airport Rd and 96th. I have a mapquest with In-N-Out marked already. LOL

              2. Thanks everyone, the list looks great. We'll have to stay longer next time.