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Going to LA for 2 weeks, essential foodie recommendations?

gobblegobble May 12, 2009 06:12 PM

I am going to LA for 2 weeks, and am looking for advice on the essential places i should not miss. absolute foodie, looking for the best places i shouldn't miss, markets, restaurants, trucks, stores, local specialties etc. I don't mind the most obscure or adventurous cuisine either. Any and all recommendations are welcome. Thanks...

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  1. Servorg RE: gobblegobble May 12, 2009 06:22 PM

    Here is a nice list that should give you some solid ideas.


    I do note however that you have only this post and one other from 2007 in which the hounds in St. Louis gave you some pretty nice responses to your question on the dining scene there, and they never heard another word from you about where or what you ate on your visit.

    1. o
      ozhead RE: gobblegobble May 13, 2009 11:26 AM

      If Oaxacan food is few and far between where you are (or even it 's readily available there), I'd recommend Monte Alban -- Santa Monica Blvd. between Barrington and Bundy, in West LA (not far over the LA/Santa Monica dividing line). My particular fave there is the barbacoa de chiva, a terrific chunk of braised goat in a dense, spicy-but-not-particularly-hot red broth, served with a plate of chopped herbs and onions to mix in. Just a great dish -- but the same can be said of most of their dishes. Wonderful moles.

      I also am very high on Puro Sabor, a small Peruvian restaurant on the north side of Van Nuys Blvd. just south of Victory Blvd. I have never had anything there that was less than excellent.

      People are of course going to recommend the Santa Monica farmers market, and they will be correct. My problem with that market is that it too big and crowded for me to really enjoy; I always feel as if I'm being swept along with the crowds. I am pretty fond of the Calabasas farmers market on Sat. morning, which is not nearly as big as the Sta. Monica market but still plenty big enough, and has a good mix of vendors. But there is no shortage of farmers markets in Los Angeles County; here is a good list, with links out the various markets' websites: http://www.farmernet.com/events/cfms.

      Finally, if you're up for the shlep (depending of course on where you will be staying), I would suggest Sunday brunch at the Saddle Peak Lodge in the Santa Monica Mountains: http://www.saddlepeaklodge.com. Sit outside on the patio if it is a nice day, or inside -- particularly in the main room downstairs -- if it's not (indeed, even if it is). SPL is like no place else in Los Angeles, and is well worth the drive. Afterwards (again, if it's a nice day) you can drive down Malibu Canyon Rd. to the ocean, and spend some time at the beach -- maybe turn right, drive up through Malibu and past Point Dume, then turn right off PCH and head through the fields into Camarillo. I believe you'll find a number of places to buy extremely fresh (i.e., just-picked) produce through there, and this time of year I'm guessing you can find a number of varieties of strawberries that will knock your head off. When you reach the Ventura Freeway (rte. 101) in Camarillo, you go south back into Los Angeles, a surprisingly short drive from that point.

      Have fun in southern California, and please post a report.

      1. ipsedixit RE: gobblegobble May 13, 2009 11:37 AM

        "Essential" is a weird word. Means different things to different people.

        But whatever, you used it, so you might as well start here: http://www.laweekly.com/2008-11-13/ea...

        1. a
          attran99 RE: gobblegobble May 13, 2009 12:14 PM

          Depends on where you're from, if not D.C., the Bazaar or Saam (both located at the SLS hotel) could be a destination point for you. I think Jose Andres is only in the DC area. There have been some great reviews.
          There are mixed CH reviews on the Kogi korean taco truck, but I still think it's worth a try. I know it's not available anywhere else, but New York. But don't get the chicken tacos or burritos, I'd go with the short ribs and the pork. Check www.kogibbq.com or Twitter for locations.
          Mariscos Chente is also a darling on the CH LA board. Great mexican seafood!

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

          The Bazaar by José Andrés
          465 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

          1. g
            gobblegobble RE: gobblegobble Jun 5, 2009 02:45 PM

            Ok, my LA journey is now behind me. I am working up a comprehensive review of many of the places i hit, will post when i'm done with it. A sample of a few of the places i hit up: Inaka (macro-biotic vegan friendly japanese), M Cafe De Chaya (another healthy, vegan friendly ecclectic spot), Pizzeria Mozza, Stone Fire Pizza (amazing happy hour prices for Laker games, ie: $5 beef carpacio, whole grilled artichokes, handmade meatballs, etc.), Moonshadow's (seaside in Malibu), La La's Argentine Grill (mmmm, sweetbreads), Mishima (japanese sushi/bento/bowls), Tomato Pie, 8oz. Burger Bar, Real Food Daily (vegan), Pink's Hot Dogs, Cactus Taqueria (yum Beef Tongue and fish tacos), Phillipe's (french dip), Soot Bull Jeep (korean bbq), Daikokoyu (ramen shop), Rock,'n'Fish(seafood off the Manhattan Beach), Brittania Pub (british), Little Next Door (authentic french breakfast/brunch), pinkberry, Larchmont farmer's market, some others, will have the rest when i finish the journey review.

            6 Replies
            1. re: gobblegobble
              Servorg RE: gobblegobble Jun 5, 2009 02:48 PM

              I am eating my words in my post above with relish and look forward to your full report when complete. Thanks for the preliminary check in (and it sounds like you did some serious chowing on your trip).

              1. re: Servorg
                gobblegobble RE: Servorg Jun 5, 2009 04:14 PM

                I'm already remembering some others i forgot, I tried to grab menus or relics from each place if at all possible. A few i forgot (not to mention the bevy of bars and clubs etc. for drinks) were Porto's (phenomenal cuban bakery in burbank, tons of pastries, breads, tarts, empanadas, potato croquettes, cakes, cuban sandwhiches etc.), In'n Out, Tere's (mexican on melrose), Larchmont Village Wine and Spirits and Cheese (great spot for sandwhiches or cheeses, go for the baguette with turkey/gruyerre or salami/manchego, finished with a little bowl of cornichons. proper), Mao's Kitchen (interesting updated chinese joint), El Guapo Mexican Bar and Grill(burgers and tacos and nachos, went there for beers to watch Laker games, along with hundreds of other laker fans, i'm a celtic fan though), Khun Dom (cheap thai right near a neat Bangkok Market), Daphne's (greek fast food diner type thing), Arclight Cinerama theatre (real butter on the popcorn, perfect for a slightly drunk summer movie night of Terminator: Salvation), Philly Pizza and Grill (cheeseteaks and a pretty good slice of pizza), a BBQ place in the valley i can't remember the name of (really tiny spot, mainly ribs and chicken, with collard greens, mac'n cheese, fries). I know there's a few others, i'll get them in the big review. Some places i just stopped in while walking around for a snack, just to sample a place but not kill the budget. I was staying at the Ravenswood, just off Vine and Melrose, near Larchmont. Did a lot of strolling up and down Melrose because it was in walking proximity. The Larchmont district is awesome too, lots of little shops and coffee places and restaraunts. And I bought a ton of stuff at the Sunday farmers market to fix for my brother and his wife. I'll try and throw in some info on those things too. LA is a good town, i'm already missing it. There were tons more places i would have like to hit, but i figure next time i have that much more knowledge of where to go and what to seek out.

                1. re: gobblegobble
                  Das Ubergeek RE: gobblegobble Jun 5, 2009 07:48 PM

                  Re: the barbecue place... Uncle Andre's? Mom's? The Swinging Door?

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek
                    gobblegobble RE: Das Ubergeek Jun 5, 2009 08:12 PM

                    I went researching after i posted that last one and found that it indeed was Uncle Andre's. Me being from Kansas City, i have a bit of a different judgement of barbecue. It was pretty decent though the service was painfully slow, and we had called it in a good 45 minutes before. The greens and mac'n cheese were good, the chicken too. I did hear of a Kansas City Barbecue Company in LA when I was there, but didn't end up hitting that one. Have any of you had both Uncle Andre's and KC BBQ Co. ? Is there a comparison?

                    1. re: gobblegobble
                      Das Ubergeek RE: gobblegobble Jun 5, 2009 08:15 PM

                      KCBBQ by several hundred miles. Uncle Andre's does have good sides but they pre-cook the meat and it just doesn't measure up.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek
                        gobblegobble RE: Das Ubergeek Jun 5, 2009 08:18 PM

                        I noticed that while I was waiting for the order to come up. We had an order for like 6 people or so, and they had maybe 4 of them done, and it took them 20 minutes to do the rest. I stood there watching the guys throwing the precooked stuff on the grill and then basting it. As I said, being from KC, I felt a bit taken aback by that. Still, with some beers and whatnot, the meal was decent enough.

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