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Stuck in LA

I'm in LA on business on a day trip and because of poor scheduling i'm now stuck taking the red-eye back to New York. The bad news, I won't be able to put my son to bed. The good news, I have a dinner to eat in LA. But i'll need to be relatively close to the airport. Very open on cuisine, but would love to find something i don't have ready access to or can't finda good version of in NYC.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

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    1. re: albatruffles

      imho, there is not enough special about a fast-food burger. . .
      ground beef served on a white-bread bun can be found everywhere in the country.

      1. re: westsidegal

        true, but it's a good burger... and will be my lunch (forcing the co-workers to go there). not necessarily blow me away better than what we have here in NYC, but it's still a darn good burger.

        1. re: westsidegal

          I find that the buttery bun and then execution of grilling the bun is what makes the burger.

        2. re: albatruffles

          PLEASE do not go to In-N-Out burger - it's awful. Seriously, it's not only not good, it's terrible. I have no idea why native Californians like it, I suspect it's a defective gene or something, but it's embarrassing how bad it is. Overcooked dry meat and limp fries. What a treat.

          1. re: OC Mutt

            >>I have no idea why native Californians like it, I suspect it's a defective gene or something<<

            Wow - talk about xenophobic - I didn't realize that I liked In-N-Out. I suspect that this defective gene runs in many native fill-in-the-blanks as well that have decided to move to or at least visit my home state. Take it easy, bro - no need to slam your hosts.

            1. re: OC Mutt

              uhhh....I'm going to have to disagree.

              1. re: OC Mutt

                Many, many (including me) would disagree with you about this.

                A double-double, animal style, is a So Cal treat IMO.

                As for the fries, I do agree they can be limp, so it's recommended to order them extra-crispy.

                1. re: mikester

                  I also must emphatically disagree. In-N-Out is the best fast-food burger I've ever had anywhere. It's right up there with the soda-shop burgers of my youth, when they hand-formed patties and cooked them on the flat grill. The only reason I don't eat them more often is that ungodly long line at every one I drive past.

              2. re: albatruffles

                So who else sides with In-N-Out? They yays are in good company:


                1. re: bulavinaka

                  I think In N Out is the best fast food burger. But I rarely eat fast food. Though I kind of have to be in the mood for In N Out, and sometimes, I just prefer Carl's Jr. Love me some bacon.

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    In-N-Out is the best fast food burger. People who don't get that must have a "a defective gene or something" and the fries grow on you.

                    1. re: PurpleTeeth

                      the whole world has street food that's great. We're stuck with corporate institutions serving up as low a quality of food as they can get away with. In N Out might be the best of those but it still doesn't taste like food to me. What's defective is a culture where suddenly the best of the worst deserves praise.

                      1. re: epop

                        In N Out is not corporate. They are a privately owned chain. They use only fresh stuff never frozen. It's a different style of burger then a steakhouse but IMHO really good. I am pretty picky about quality of food as well. If you can see what is good and special about the burger well that's your loss but please don't lump them in with all the other fast food joints.

                        1. re: PurpleTeeth

                          Jumping on the pro In-N-Out bandwagon, I think they really do have the best fast food burgers in town. Also, when I'm not feeling the meat, I get a grilled cheese with extra grilled onions, tomato, lettuce and extra thousand island. Two things that suck, though-THE FRIES!!! I just can't seem to like them! I still order them, but cover them in ketchup. Also, my local franchise is Sunset/Orange, and there is ALWAYS a huge line-sometimes I just give up.

                          1. re: schrutefarms

                            Try them well-done. Or if you're able to get them to execute properly, the holy grail is lightly well-done IMHO.

                            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                              Just found the whole "secret menu" online, and it turns out they offer fries "animal style". That might be worth checking out.

                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                They're very good and a meal all by themselves.

                          2. re: PurpleTeeth

                            Precisely, Purpleteeth. I couldn't have put it better myself. If you can see what is good at In N Out then it is your loss. Funny.

                            1. re: epop

                              I lose because I get to eat a yummy burger?

                  2. 26 Beach Restaurant in Marina Del Rey / Venice Lincoln & Washington. www.26beach.com

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Burger Boy

                      you think a NYer can't get good burgers & salads at home??

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        I was thinking along the lines of a good coke or ice tea. Dude, some of the burgers are very unique, The Bombay, The Billy, PB&J, The Caeser, I Love the Veggie as are some salads or french toasts. Just trying to show some love. Instead of hating why don't you recommend.

                    2. DOn't know if you have time for this, but NYC food critic put Fraiche on the map It is in culver city, a few miles from LAX. Could be 30 min in traffic tho. Fantastic charcuterie, pastas, seafood, great wine list, more. THey have a nice happy hour.

                        1. re: wienermobile

                          Second this. It would be unusual to find anything like this in NYC.

                          Also, a reasonable drive from LAX is Mariscos Chente, on Centinela one block north of Culver. Unbelievably good, fresh, well-prepared Mexican seafood. Any shrimp dish or the pescado zarandeado, get a beer or two, kick back. There is noplace like it in NYC, because you can't get the Mexican fish (as in, bought in the harbour at Mazatlán and brought to the restaurant) in NYC.

                          Between the two I'd go to Chente, hands-down... but if a custom burger and a beer is more your thing, go for it.

                        2. also Teresa's Mosaic Cafe in El Segundo Home made tortillas. Good mexican food minutes away on Sepulveda Blvd..

                          1. Everyone on this board is raving about Mariscos Chente on Centinela.

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

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Phurstluv

                              second Phurstluv's marsicos chente recommendation.
                              when i lived in NY there certainly was nothing at all like it.
                              absolutely sublime regional seafood from sinaloa and nayarit.

                              also, very straight easy shot to LAX from there.

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                i'd read some posts on this previously and forget until now. sounds great. how far from LAX in the late afternoon?

                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                    It's about six miles and from less than 15 but no more than 20 minutes one-way on average. Late afternoon is rush hour - somewhat unpredictable.

                                    I'd go Sepulveda-north to Lincoln-north (at the split by In-n-Out), take the Culver Blvd transition which will take you east, turn left on Centinela, and MC will be on your right side after two short blocks, at Green Ave.

                                    Unfortunately, you can't go back retracing your original route. Take Centinela-south to Jefferson, turn left on Jefferson, stay in the slow lane which will transition you to Centinela Ave - stay on Centinela Ave for less than a mile, turn right on to Sepulveda, and stay on Sepulveda which will take you directly back to LAX.

                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                      "Unfortunately, you can't go back retracing your original route. Take Centinela-south to Jefferson, turn left on Jefferson, stay in the slow lane which will transition you to Centinela Ave - stay on Centinela Ave for less than a mile, turn right on to Sepulveda, and stay on Sepulveda which will take you directly back to LAX."

                                      Just go the above route to and from. No reason to go so far East out of your way on Lincoln. Sepulveda to Centinela L to Jefferson L to Centinela (you actually end up on Inglewood Ave. as you reach Jefferson and have to jog a little to the L [west] to pick up Centinela again) and R on Centinela to Mariscos Chente (3 short blocks / streets north of Culver directly on the south-east corner of Gilmore and Centinela).

                                      This is all assuming that you are coming to the restaurant from LAX. If not, all bets are off... ;-D>

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        The "to" route I suggest is much faster to MC, but yes, the OP can take the Sepulveda route to and from, of course.

                              2. Since NYC generally lacks good Mexican places, you may want to try Border Grill or La Serenata. They are both sort of Westside, upscale takes on Mexican food.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: houndofmusic

                                  fwiw, if it were me, i would not want the lincoln blvd trudge from santa monica to LAX in front of me after dinner. sometimes it's ok, but other times it's a form of torture.
                                  the alternative, the 10 east to the 405 south to century, is no more appealing.

                                  (also, the food at mariscos is absolutely more authentic than that served at border grill.)

                                  i've been happy with the food at la serenata but, imho, the trip to the airport from there can turn out to be too tough right before getting on a red eye.

                                2. Haven't been there, but didn't the Buggy Whip get best steak in LA a few years in a row? That can't be more than 3 miles from LAX.

                                  1. And also, the fried chicken at Panns?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: schrutefarms

                                      so my inbound flight to LA yesterday morning was late, so i skipped lunch and went straight to my meeting. then, my meeting ran over, so i skipped lunch / dinner and went straight back to the airport.

                                      good times. spent 15+ hours in transport for 1.5 hour meeting and i didn't get to eat anything but airplane food...

                                      but definitely planning to try the seafood joint when i come back next.

                                      1. re: FattyDumplin

                                        After we went to all this trouble for you?!?!?

                                        OK, OK. But next time, you owe us a full report.

                                        1. re: ozhead

                                          i promise! trust me, not a fun day. my rump is sore from sitting in a plane all day. 4Am wakeup call to catch the flight out to la, landed at 1:30AM. this am back in new york cut me a small break :)

                                          1. re: FattyDumplin

                                            All is forgiven after that ordeal.