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LA suggestions for New Yorkers?

My fellow New Yorker friends and I are going to spend three days in LA this September and I'm looking for suggestions on terrific LA eats that have no comparison in New York. We're open to all kinds of cuisine, but nothing too expensive or high-end. Some of the places we're considering are:

-Apple Pan, for the burgers (we've had In 'n Out and really like their burgers. Are Apple Pan's better?)
-Stan's Donuts (what's the most popular flavor?)
-Kogi taco trucks
-Philippe's, for the French Dip
-Grand Central Market
-Fugetsu-Do Confectionaries (I love mochi and read they have a good selection)
-Bulgarini (is this the best gelato?)
-Langer's Deli (is the pastrami better than Katz's in NYC?)

Any insights and recommendations are appreciated! Thanks!

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  1. Where will you be staying? You obviously have a car to get around (based on looking over the places you're considering) so that will simplify things. Here is a thread you should take a look at for ideas: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635003

    Hamburgers are a huge topic of conversation here (as you can see from just one of the numerous threads http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/338345 - this one stretches from 2006 up to the present). The Apple Pan causes more wars on this board than just about any other place (outside of Tito's Tacos) that you could name. It's a unique place for sure.

    23 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Here are some recent threads on recommendations for visiting New Yorkers:


      Of the places you mention:

      - Apple Pan: worth it, but not the best burger around. It's a great LA institution though.

      - Stan's Donuts: good, but not worth a detour; I think Randy's is more detour-worthy. If you're around the Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax, Bob's is very good, too. For the ultimate doughnut experience, there's the Donut Man in Glendora, but that's a good 45 minutes without traffic from central LA.

      - Kogi taco trucks: more of a ``happening'' than a culinary highpoint. It's fun, if a little six-months-ago. If you want an authentic LA experience you might try one of the taco trucks; the "Taco Zone" truck in Echo Park is a perennial favorite.

      - Bulgarini - really, really good but pretty far out of the way, unless you happen to be in Pasadena. Overall I prefer Scoops.

      - Langer's Deli - outstanding, and in my opinion the equal to Katz. Unfortunately they have much more limited hours (closed Sunday, close at 7pm). In one of the threads above there's a discussion about how interesting Langer's is for visiting New Yorkers.

      - Geoff (who lived in NYC for 10 years)

      1. re: Peripatetic

        I totally disagree about Stan's, the best doughnuts in LA and worth a special trip for any doughnut-nut. Get the regular raised, glazed and one of the several chocolate peanut butter varieties. Randy's and Bob's are both good but don't compare to Stan's.

        I'd skip Apple Pan as pretty unremarkable.

        If you want gelato, hit Scoops in East Hollywood.

        And yes, Langer's is better than Katz', in my humble opinion anyway.

        1. re: sku

          I will have to give Stan's another try. I visited several times when I first moved here two years ago and thought it was good, but not worth the automotive gymnastics required to find parking in Westwood Village, especially as there's not a whole lot else that's destination-worthy in WV.

          1. re: Peripatetic

            Stan's is right next to 2 hrs free parking structure. No validation required.

          2. re: sku

            Stan's doughnuts are good but New York has the Doughnut Plant.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek

              That's a lot like saying Langer's is good, but NY has Katz's. The answer is "so what." If you read the NY boards, you'll find that Doughnut Plant has its place like the Apple Pan has on the LA boards. It's a very divisive topic. I never fail to get doughnuts when I'm in LA because you just can't get it like those in NYC. For the OP, yes, absolutely, get doughnuts in LA. Stans, Primo's Bob's, Randy's, etc., and savor them. Get apple fritters, old fashioned donuts, and maple bars, since these don't exist in NY. I've been pondering this donut black hole on these boards for about a decade.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                LA is more of a dougnut town than NYC, imo. Also, Doughnut Plant is more of an artisan doughnut, like Doughnut Man in Glendora, rather than Stan's. Personally, I'd go to Primo's on Sawtelle.

                1. re: a_and_w

                  Speaking of Primo's... I'd been a pretty good boy for a couple or few months, meaning I've hardly even looked at a donut for that long. I decided to break that donut fast and headed to Primo's this AM. As a rule, I get a dozen, with at least six of the 12 being buttermilk bars. I'm so used to seeing just the glazed in their case, but they actually had four kinds this morning. Besides glazed, there was the much-vaunted chocolate-iced (thanks Servorg!), a plain, as well as a cinnamon-sugar version. I'm glad to say that all were worthy of having a place in Primo's case. In particular, that cinnamon-sugar was really good. I think they let the bar cook a little longer giving it a slightly crisper outside, and then rolled it around in that cinnamon-sugar like a lottery winner rolling around in a bed of c-notes. It was superb.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    I just saw the cinnamon-sugar variety for the first time yesterday morning on my weekly pilgrimage but didn't try them. Thanks for "taking one" for the board (it's a dirty job but someone....). ;-D>

                    1. re: Servorg

                      I'd be more than glad to take this one for the board again and again... :)

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        How do Primo's stack up against Bob's Doughnuts at Farmers Market?

                        1. re: coffeebrownies

                          I just had a Primo's Buttermilk Bar this weekend, still warm, and it was heavenly. Haven't tried the same at Bob's so I couldn't compare, but Primo's is DEFINITELY worth hitting ... their other doughnuts looked amazing as well, but I did not want to start off my day stuffed to the gills with fried dough.

              2. re: sku

                You are crazy, nothing compares to Katz : P

                Also nobody has said Chinese? Sea Harbour? Definitely worth it for dim sum.

                1. re: A5 KOBE

                  There were some recommendations for Chinese in one of the threads I mentioned above, notably from UG. I added this recommendation for Luscious Dumplings:

                  "Also, it's been a while since I lived in NYC, but I don't remember anywhere like Luscious Dumplings there: a minimal place with a short, focused menu (dumplings, noodles) that they execute really well. The only caveats are that their hours are short (Tue-Sat 11am-2pm, 5pm-8pm; Sun 11am-2pm), and they are often out of many of the choices well before closing. But, to me, they are one of the quintessential SGV (San Gabriel Valley) culinary experiences."

                  1. re: Peripatetic

                    Link. You also won't go wrong with either Elite or Sea Harbour for dim sum.

                    Elite Restaurant
                    700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                    Luscious Dumplings
                    704 W Las Tunas Dr, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                    Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
                    3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                    1. re: Peripatetic

                      I would get to both Sea Harbour or Elite early, the lines are crazy as well.

                      Especially if you have to wait in this blazing heat we have been getting.

                    2. re: Peripatetic

                      Customers are literally lining up outside of Luscious Dumplings waiting for the door to open for dinner. The pan-fried dumplings go quick - they only make so many for each meal service, so if you go, go early, and order two orders of those...

                  2. re: sku

                    i concur with sku about apple pan

                  3. re: Peripatetic

                    I like Randy's only first thing in the morning, like a Dunkin Donut! Also loved Fritelli's in Beverly Hills who made the best peanut butter and jelly donuts (so good!) but I think they are no longer in business. Haven't tried the others mentioned.

                    Apple Pan is an institution! Father's Office is a good choice too for a burger!

                    Try Korean and Thai here, both are really worth trying in LA.

                    Sushi in LA is hands down so much better than NY!

                    1. re: Penne4YourThoughts

                      "Sushi in LA is hands down so much better than NY!"

                      Maybe on the low/medium end in terms of variety. But in terms of high end sushi, the best of NYC beats the best of LA in terms of quality, variety, skill of itame, and sushi rice.

                      Otherwise, the Korean and Thai recommndations are spot on.

                  4. re: Servorg

                    We're staying at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on the Avenue Of The Stars, and yes, we will have a car.

                    1. re: KiwiGirl625

                      For Kogi tacos, go to the Alibi in Culver City - this is where to get the original Kogi tacos, but not have to stand in the street, in line.

                      Also be sure to visit Monte Alban and Musha.

                      Alibi Room
                      12236 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                      1. re: KiwiGirl625

                        Father's Office in Culver City.

                        Father's Office
                        3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

                    2. Is Oaxacan food readily available in NYC? If not, definitely give it a shot while in L.A. My suggestion is Monte Alban, on Santa Monica Blvd. between Bundy and Barrington. You would take Ave. of the Stars north to SM Blvd., turn left (west), and drive maybe 10 minutes -- the restaurant will be on the right (north) side of the street, in a strip mall. You can park in their little lot, or on SM Blvd. (metered), or on the side street. It is homey and inexpensive, with good service.

                      My favorite dish there is the barbacoa de chiva -- a chunk of braised kid, tender and not in the least gamy, served in a dense, red, spicy but not hot broth, with a plate of stuff to mix in (onions, herbs) and tortillas. A great dish, among a menu of great dishes. Their moles (red, black, red, green) are excellent.

                      After your visit, please report on where you went and how you liked it.

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: ozhead

                        I heartily agree with this post. Monte Alban is an LA treasure. I went there recently, had their barbacoa (goat) taco, nopalito salad, molotes and flan. It was all great, and the meal was cheap for what we had.

                        1. re: Ogawak

                          Totally agree -- if I were staying in Century City, there's no way I would miss Monte Alban. It's as good as Mexican gets on the Westside, with the possible exception of Mariscos Chente, which I've not tried yet.

                          Also, if you're looking for a good place for breakfast within walking distance of the Hyatt, I highly recommend Clementine.

                          Also of interest to the East Coast visitor: there's a branch of See's Candies in the Westfield Century City Mall (near the Hyatt). See's has something of a cult status, similar to In-N-Out. Their chocolates are not in the same league as, say, Leonidas or Maison du Chocolate or Manon, but they have their own distinctive charm. Suggest ordering a-la-carte from their paper menu flyer.

                          1. re: Ogawak


                            Monte Alban
                            11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                            1751 Ensley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

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

                            See's Candies
                            10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                            1. re: Ogawak

                              This may be blasphemy but I'm going to recommend Pili's Taco across the street from Monte Alban for barbacoa de chiva. I haven't had the Monte Alban version to compare BUT the Pili version had 3 pieces of goat--rib, shank, and neck. The difference in texture and fat content between these 3 pieces is impressive in the stunningly fragrant and flavorful broth. I'm wondering if Monte Alban takes the same care as Pili does in providing 3 separate cuts of meat in each bowl.

                              1. re: Porthos

                                I gotta disagree, Porthos. I find both Monte Alban and El Super Taco are generally superior to Pili''s, though I admit I haven't tried the goat at Pili's.

                                Besides Monte Alban, I'd recommend Tacomiendo on Gateway at Pico for some ridiculously tasty taqueria food. I love their tacos, which come on tortillas made freshly in house. The pickled onions in the salsa bar are the perfect accompaniement for the seared meat.

                                1. re: a_and_w

                                  Try the cabeza (meat around the face) and lengua meat fillings for the soft tacos. Phenomenal.

                                  The barbacoa de chivo at Pili's is also spectacular.

                                  Not sure if you can compare the 3 directly because each have different strengths.

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    Thanks for the tip. Have you tried the lengua and cabeza at Tacomiendo? I really think it's the best taqueria on the West Side.

                                  2. re: a_and_w

                                    The OP will probably want to know that the building Monte Alban is in suffered a fire last week. It's unclear whether Monte Alban will open again by the end of September.


                              2. re: ozhead

                                Oaxacan is pretty much non-existent in NYC (well... there is a yuppie-fied place in Brooklyn, but I'm not counting that), so that's a great suggestion. Further, any regional Mexican besides Poblano food would be great for the OP to try. Places like Mariscos Chente or other SInaloan/Nayarit seafood might be even better. Or Tacos Baja Ensanada or Taco Nazo or other Baja style places for fish tacos, since NY is weak on that front. Chichen Itza or other Yucatecan would be another style of Mexican that one doesn't find in NYC. Or perhaps finding a local birrieria or carne asada like at El Parian, or even LA style burritos with some stewy chile verde or machaca, or getting some taquitos at Cielito Lindo on Olvera St, or a visit to El Tepeyac might give a NYer some insight on some typical LA Mexican food. I wouldn't even try to talk the OP from trying Tito's Tacos if they were so inclined (cuz that's as Mexican-American as it gets).

                                However, you can find barbacoa de chivo at literally hundreds of Mexican joints around the city, so I wouldn't send the OP somewhere to get that one dish. Nor would I send a NYer to get a cemita poblana, since we've got all kinds of that in NYC.

                                1. re: E Eto

                                  "However, you can find barbacoa de chivo at literally hundreds of Mexican joints around the city, so I wouldn't send the OP somewhere to get that one dish. Nor would I send a NYer to get a cemita poblana, since we've got all kinds of that in NYC."

                                  When I wrote "the city", I meant NYC. In short, I wouldn't send a NYer to get Pueblan food in LA.

                                2. re: ozhead

                                  monte alban has had a fire.
                                  will not likely be up and running again for quite some time.

                                3. I would not say apple Pan burgers are "better" than In & Out. They are mainly a nostalgic diner, the burgers are okay.

                                  If you want to try Kogi tacos, you can get them at the Alibi room in Venice. Otherwise you will have to chase the truck all around the city, then wait in line at least an hour. Some report it's not worth it.

                                  I wouldn't think Langer's is better than any place in NYC. If you want to go to an old style Hollywood place, stick to Musso & Frank's.

                                  And definitely check out the Mexican food. Here's where we shine. There are so many types to choose from, and more knowledgeable CHers here who can give you specific recs.

                                  And try the Thai food, too. Jitlada is the best, IMHO.

                                  5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                  Musso & Frank Grill
                                  6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Phurstluv

                                    IMHO Langer's is better than anywhere I've ever had pastrami in NYC except Katz and, maybe, the old Pastrami King in Kew Gardens.

                                    1. re: Peripatetic

                                      Ok, a little surprised tho. From what I read, it's different, not better. But, to each his own.

                                  2. Bulgarini's gelato is very good, but I don't find it worth a special trip to Altadena. It's also hella expensive.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: gnarlex

                                      Maybe Al Gelato in Beverly Hills since the OP is staying in CC?

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Again I forgot the link (the missing link!):

                                        Al Gelato Continental Desserts
                                        806 S Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                                    2. -Try Umami Burger or The Counter instead of Apple Pan. You'll be more satisfied.
                                      -Avoid Pink's
                                      -Have a solid plan B for Kogi as they usually run out of food or just move without notice depending on where they get more business.
                                      -LA is known for some of the best Mexican food around so give Carnitas Michoacan, El Parian, or King Taco a try... or the taco trucks mentioned in an earlier post.
                                      -Bulgarini is indeed some of the best gelato around. While you're in the area (just a block down on Lake Ave), check out CJ's Wing Cafe where they serve hot wings in Boss sauce... very tasty with a BBQ twist on hot wings.
                                      -Pizza... well, I'm not even gonna start this discussion up again. Vito's seems to be the place.
                                      -Stan's Donuts... peanut butter donut. 'Nuff said.
                                      -The Griddle... get their eggs benedict served over crsiped potato skins... mmmmm.

                                      Have a great trip and enjpy the city!!!!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: mrshankly

                                        The Counter is excellent, and I suspect they'll be appearing in NYC soon. (They're already in Connecticut).

                                        Umami Burger is controversial, but mostly because of their really amateurish service. I think the burger is outstanding, though their sides are hit-and-miss. But I recommend it for a up-to-the-minute, quintessentially LA experience, more so than Apple Pan.

                                        I agree with the recommendation to avoid Pink's. You'll stand in line for 45 minutes with mostly other tourists for hot dogs that Papaya King (or even Gray's) would be embarrassed to serve.

                                        The Griddle is fun (I live near it). Good food but great atmosphere! Looooong waits on weekends. Only open open for breakfast and lunch.

                                        I think that, for New Yorkers, Mozza is _the_ place to go for pizza. It is the best realization of the Ed LaDou revolution, more so than Spago or Caioti are today.

                                        Okay, I'll stop courting controversy now . . .

                                        1. re: Peripatetic

                                          My NY friends do enjoy Mozza, but I have a hard time recommending the place to NYers given how many amazing pizza places in NYC. For example, I'd take Otto over Mozza any day of the week.

                                        2. re: mrshankly

                                          If you can't make it to the Kogi truck, there's always the Calbi BBQ trucks in Santa Monica. Much shorter wait as well.

                                        3. Just my two cents:

                                          Apple Pan is good. Is it better? Yes, but also 2-3 times more expensive. It's worth a visit, though. Always crowded and you have to wait for a counter spot. There's no line. Just stand behind someone. Better to go off hours.

                                          Stan's Donuts in Westwood are very good, but you can also try Diddy Reese just down the street for their ice cream sandwiches and cookies. Also for donuts I recommend Randy's in Inglewood, especially their chocolate.

                                          Philippes is legendary and for a downtown spot there is free parking. I like the lamb even better than the beef.

                                          Grand Central Market is a real experience. Pretty good Mexican places. I wouldn't try anything else there.

                                          Fugetsu Do in Little Tokyo is probably the best mochi. But Mitsuwa has imagawayaki which is like mochi/manju except more pancake like.

                                          Langers is a fantastic pastrami.

                                          LA has good Mexican, Korean and Vietnamese. They would also fit within your budget. If you do searches on these topics, you'll find some great discussions.

                                          Just for starters, on the Westside I would steer you to La Isla Bonita taco truck for tacos and the Angelica truck in Culver City for cemitas poblanas (special Mexican sandwiches. I like their Milanesa. But others on this board have greater experiences than I on Mexican.

                                          The Vietnamese I most frequent are in San Gabriel, notably Vietnam Restaurant for their 7 courses of beef. I also like their vermicelli.

                                          1. From your list and based on your hotel location in Century City, here are my thoughts:

                                            -Apple Pan. Skip, it's expensive and more nostalgia than good food. For a good burger near where you are try Golden State www.thegoldenstatecafe.com

                                            -Stan's Donuts. Get the buttermilk, or any oneo f the Peanut Butter varieties.

                                            -Kogi. It's ok, dunno if the wait is worht it though.

                                            -Philippe's. Like Apple Pan, it's a bit more about nostalgia than food nowadays, but if you're in downtown LA it's a nice place for a cheap and generally tasty lunch.

                                            -Grand Central Market. Again, if you're in downtown a worthy place to visit.

                                            -Fugetsu-Do. As another mochi fan, I agree this is a must visit.

                                            -Bulgarini. As others have said, it's a bit out of the way. Try Scoops, it's not gelato, but really, really good ice cream.

                                            -Langer's. I'm not a pastrami fan, so I can't really speak to this one. Probably a good idea to go just to compare to Katz.

                                            Enjoy your visit.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              Agreed on Golden State. Try the Old Rasputin Beer float with the brown bread gelato by Scoops. It's a little closer in West Hollywood and will save you a special gelato trip.

                                              1. re: LiMiLa

                                                Ditto. And while it may not be L.A.'s most creative burger, it is definitely (detractors aside) one of it's best.

                                            2. Allow me to clarify a few things...

                                              Langer's isn't better or worse, it's different. A whole other bread of pastrami that you won't find in New York -- or anywhere else in L.A. So yes, check it out.

                                              Apple Pan is great for the atmosphere. The burger is fine but not worth a visit in itself. Consider trying our famed and much debated Father's Office burger instead...it's a more unique to L.A. option...as is the new Umami Burger suggestion. Given your parameters and objectives, The Counter burger would not be worth crossing the street to try.

                                              Kogi is definitely worth a taste and getting it at the Alibi is a much more convenient way to fly, unless you want the whole chasing the truck and waiting in line for an hour experience. But hasn't Kogi already landed in New York? Just saying.

                                              Philippe's and Grand Central are definitely worth the visits.

                                              Musso & Frank's is great for the history & atmosphere, and certainly worth visiting for that alone. Not sure how much is on the menu that you wouldn't find in many old New York haunts.

                                              Don't bother with any pizza. No one is doing anything here that isn't better back home.

                                              And yes, all the Mexican suggestions above are worth due consideration.

                                              Oh and yes, please don't fall for any Pink's hype. A huge waste of your time.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                I agree, I would even pay to see that!!

                                              2. Thai Patio on Hollywood to give a nice overview of ThaiTown (be sure to stop in the Thai dessert place a few doors down). Great for out-of-towners. (And for gelato, I prefer Pazzo Gelato on Sunset in Silver Lake).

                                                1. Bulgarini - yes, far but if you do go, definitely get some granita - blood orange, if available, & grapefruit are incredible.

                                                  1. In the South Bay you can get all kinds of Japanese food:

                                                    Mitsuwa has Santouka Ramen, my favorite.
                                                    GaJa for self-made Okonomiyaki (next door is Patisserie Chantilly which makes really great pastries. Love the Choux aux Sesame and bought a cake for my birthday last year!)
                                                    Sanuki no Sato for Udon
                                                    Torihei for Yakitori and Oden
                                                    Musha for Japanese bar food (My staples are Ebi Mayo and Buta Kakuni)
                                                    Tama-en for Yakiniku, Japanese-style Korean BBQ
                                                    Il-Chianti for Japanese-Italian fusion
                                                    Ichimian for Zaru Soba, great for summertime
                                                    Komatsu for Tenpura
                                                    Sakuraya for Mochi

                                                    (wow, I can't believe I eaten at all those places)

                                                    Also make sure to get some fish tacos. I personally prefer the ones at El Taco Nazo but that's all the way in Rosemead.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                      1. re: kainzero

                                                        I've been to Santouka, Sanuki no Sato, Torihei and Sakura-ya, most of them on the strength of ExileKiss's reviews:


                                                        I would add Otofuku Noodle House to this list.


                                                        There's also a Santouka in the Mitsuwa food court on Centinela -- that's much closer to Century City.

                                                      2. "I'm looking for suggestions on terrific LA eats that have no comparison in New York. "

                                                        If Peruvian food is not readily available in New York, you might want to try Puro Sabor. Everything I've had there has been good; I'm particularly fond of the ceviche, Be cautious with the green sauce in squeeze bottles on the tables; it may be green, but it's red hot.

                                                        Puro Sabor is on Van Nuys Blvd. just south of Victory Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley, on the east side of the street. A bit of a schlep from Century City, but worth it unless you're trying it at rush hour. From Century City go west on S.M. Blvd. or Olympic to the San Diego Freeway (405), north over the hill to the Ventura Freeway (101), east to Van Nuys Blvd. -- which is the first or second exit after transitioning to the 101 -- left (north) at the end of the exit ramp, and maybe, hmmm, 4 miles? The restaurant will be on your right, i.e., on the same side of the street that you are driving on. There is a teeny parking lot in back, accessible by an alley that parallels Van Nuys Bv., but I have never had any problems parking on the street.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: ozhead

                                                          Mo Chica might be a more convenient choice for Peruvian, although it probably will not qualify as "only in LA",

                                                          Stan's is most famous for the chocolate peanut butter but I've always been fond of the blueberry.

                                                          3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                                          1. re: mlgb

                                                            As a born and bred New Yorker, I firmly believe that there are 3 types food that a typical New Yorker should try when coming out to L.A. for the first time: Mexican, Thai, and Sushi.

                                                            I'll throw out 3 solid suggestions in parts of town that you'll probably be going to anyway: Sushi/Sushi (Beverly Hills), Border Grill (Santa Monica), Sanamluang (just east of Hollywood).

                                                            1. re: 2ndAvenue

                                                              Agree re Mexican and Thai, but high end Sushi is comparable in NYC.

                                                              1. re: 2ndAvenue

                                                                2ndAvenue hits the nail on the head! Sushi,Thai and Mexican. SUSHI for sure! and I would add Korean too.

                                                              2. re: mlgb

                                                                My go-to donut at Stans has always been the raisin buttermilk bar, but that's just me.

                                                            2. Kogi gets a lot of buzz - I haven't tried it so I don't know if it's worth it to you or not. But this whole phenom of Kogi is just an example of a growing trend for specialized lunch trucks that are vying to offer some great and/or unique eats at street level. And this group of trucks is just a subset of a long-existing lunch truck culture in LA that is predominantly of Mexican cuisine.

                                                              I would suggest that if you're interested in this whole thing and are spending any time around the Venice area, you might consider a lunch truck crawl. Just along Abbot Kinney on any given day (like today), you might find three of the trucks mentioned in this article below:


                                                              "Marked 5," "Barbie's-Q", and one that's new to me - Dosa -something - were all on the street this afternoon. "Green Truck On The Go" is on Abbot Kinney pretty regularly as well - they were good enough to be chosen by the quirky but very finicky Joe Pytka (of Bastide) to cater a recent art installation. The trucks are setting up camp for the the evening crowds that are looking for some good eats on the go. Most brick&mortar eateries along this now-severely gentrified street get very crowded, aren't cheap, and score low in the quick and transportable categories.

                                                              Traditional Mexican lunch trucks are well represented here as well. The La Isla Bonita lunch truck is on Rose and 4th during the day, and La Oaxaquena is on Lincoln south of Rose in the evenings.

                                                              Cemitas get a lot of play on this board - some of the best come from a lunch truck parked on Venice Blvd and Motor - right in front of Smart & Final. He's only there from about 11-4 - those hours are only rough estimates - but if you get a chance, go. Those cemitas poblanas are some of the best sandwiches in town.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                If you are wanting to try the Korean BBQ tacos, but don't want to deal with all the hype and waiting that is Kogi, you can check out Calbi BBQ (truck). They are basically identical to Kogi, without some of the specials.

                                                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                  I was just on Abbot Kinney today to pick up some wines at Elvino (great shop with reasonable prices), and noticed a bunch of food trucks parked in the lot next to The Brig. I was driving by and saw Fishlips for sure, but didn't catch the others. Has this been going on a lot during the weekends?

                                                                  1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                    I think I saw Kogi there, too--I don't recall any being there last Saturday when I was en route to Sauce. Perhaps a summit to discuss who get the prime spots along AK?

                                                                    1. re: New Trial

                                                                      The chronic camping-out of the food trucks is starting to p-off the local businesses - it's pretty obvious that parking is almost always an issue along and around this street. Bart at Elvino has counted up to five along Abbot Kinney at night. I think that location today is a good form of detente while also creating a sort of synergy that food courts and hawker centers do in places like Singapore and Malaysia.

                                                                2. On the doughnut debate--I honestly don't eat many doughnuts at Stan's so I couldn't give you a taste test, but I do know this: Bob's doughnuts are great, and the orginal Farmers Market is certainly worth a stop for any out of towners. There isn't anyplace like it in NYC. Add to your doughnuts some coffee from the Coffee Corner, maybe a fruit bowl from Farm Boy, and for the non-doughnut eaters, a crepe, and you have a lovely morning experience.

                                                                  1. As a former New Yorker, my suggestion would be to skip the Apple Pan and Kogi, which is pretty much "stunt food" and focus on eating things that aren't readily available in the northeast.

                                                                    Hit Taco Zone in Echo Park for stunningly good suadero and cabeza tacos. The salsas at this place are worth the trip alone. The also make a fantastically good chorizo quesadilla. Head out to the San Gabriel Valley for awesome dim sum (try Capitol Seafood 755 W Garvey Avenue in Monterey Park) - better than anything in NYC Chinatown or go to a hole in the wall like 101 Noodle Express (1408 E Valley Blvd in Alhambra) for amazing northern chinese food. Try the pumpkin and shrimp dumplings and the sole and leek dumplings and you've gotta have the beef roll - totally drool-worthy eats!

                                                                    Try Pupusas - something I don't remember having access to in New York. I like Los Cobanos, which is in Silver Lake on Sunset Blvd. The combination of gooey cheese and vinegary, crunchy cabbage is awesome. There's also Best Fish Taco on Hillhurst in Los Feliz and Jitlada, which was already mentioned, for great Southern Thai food.

                                                                    Oh, and Langer's can't hold a candle to Katz's in my opinion. I lived a few blocks away from Katz's for nearly ten years and it's one of the few things I still truly miss when I think of New York. One tip for Langers - if you do go, ask them to hand slice the pastrami. It makes a huge difference.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JeMange

                                                                      There are plenty of places to get good suadero and cabeza tacos in NYC as well. As long as you get out of Manhattan (or go to the right places in Manhattan). There are also several places to get pupusas in NYC, so I don't see a need to seek these items out. N

                                                                      To respond to another poster, NYC also has great Peruvian places, so it's probably not worth the effort to go out of the way to find it in LA.

                                                                      What NY lacks that LA has might include:
                                                                      -good Persian food, like you find around Westwood Blvd, Glendale, among other places.
                                                                      -regional Mexican, as I mentioned before
                                                                      -regional Thai
                                                                      -Korean crab hotpot like at Ondal/Ondal 2. I've been seeking this out around the Korean section of Flushing, and haven't found a place. Besides that, I would recommend a place like Yongsusan for Korean court cuisine.
                                                                      -Responding to another poster upthread, I would recommend two pizza places to NYers: Zelo in Arcadia for a surprisingly good and novel style of pizza; and Tony's Little Italy in Placentia for Chicago style pizza.
                                                                      - While there are some Lebanese places in NYC that can take care of my craving for Armenian food, I'd recommend finding some good Armenian places in Little Armenia or Glendale.
                                                                      - So after all this talk of Kogi, it might be worth a visitor to check out Oki-Dog, the original fusion fast food wrapped in a tortilla.
                                                                      -Cambodian food like all the places in Long Beach.
                                                                      -the variety of Vietnamese food that you'll find in Little Saigon.
                                                                      -Dino's for the bright orange chicken plate
                                                                      -LA has a good number of Cajun/Creole places that's sorely lacking in NYC.
                                                                      -Breakfast. I just find breakfast in LA a much better quality meal in LA than in NYC. I can't seem to get out of LA without a trip to the Original Pancake House.

                                                                      1. re: E Eto

                                                                        >>- So after all this talk of Kogi, it might be worth a visitor to check out Oki-Dog, the original fusion fast food wrapped in a tortilla. <<

                                                                        This should be asterisked with a comment that Oki-Dog is not for the half-hearted nor half-healthy. :)

                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                          HaHaHa Oki Dog is "The Gut Bomb"

                                                                          After I ate that damn thing I wasn't hungry the rest of the day.

                                                                          I found it to be quite salty though, never again!!!

                                                                        2. re: E Eto

                                                                          DEFINITELY try some Persian while you're here.

                                                                      2. Burgers- go to Hole in the Wall Burger Joint best homemade burger or Father's Office in Santa Monica.
                                                                        Samosa House for Indian food - hole in the wall place with very cheap, very good vegetarian Indian food; check it out!
                                                                        Tacomiendo is excellent dive Mexican- very good, very cheap

                                                                        1. I would take my NYC guests to:

                                                                          Bhankhoman Thai (sp?) in Thai Town and one of the Thai restaurants in that plaza.
                                                                          Park's BBQ
                                                                          Veggie Grill
                                                                          Elite Restaurant
                                                                          a good izakaya in Torrance
                                                                          Hanoi in Westminster (okay I know this is OC but true food crazies don't mind the drive)
                                                                          Radjhani's in Artesia
                                                                          The Farmer's Market/The Grove
                                                                          An actual farmer's market, like Santa Monica, or Hollywood. NYC produce is meh, sorry.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: choctastic

                                                                            DEFINITELY take them to a farmer's market. That's a great suggestion!

                                                                            1. re: a_and_w

                                                                              I think choctastic was saying take them to "the" farmers market (3rd and Fairfax) and don't take them to "a" farmer's market...

                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                Per choctastic: "An actual farmer's market, like Santa Monica, or Hollywood. NYC produce is meh, sorry."

                                                                                1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                  Right. Which means "don't take them to the 'meh' place" (as far as my parsing skills can make out) but rather take them only to the permanent Farmers Market that is next to the Grove (but per choctastic - skip the Grove part).

                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                    Choctastic can clarify for you, but it seems pretty cut-and-dried: he meant go to an actual farmers' market where actual farmers sell, not the permanent thing on 3rd and Fairfax which is more a tourist zone and restaurant area than an actual working farmers' market.

                                                                                    The suggestion -- of an actual farmers' market -- is a good one.

                                                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                      I've looked again and he / she appears to actually suggest BOTH the permanent Farmers Market/The Grove on 3rd Street AND a once a week farmer's market (like Arizona Street in Santa Monica) are good suggestions.

                                                                                      I some got the "NYC produce is meh, sorry" confused with the recommendation for an actual farmers market.