Help me eat something good...PLEASE!
I'm one of those people who work constantly, am totally underpaid, and truly enjoy some good eats. In fact, good eats are generally the highlights of my day. So this Sunday I'm taking the day off in celebration (or mourning depending on your outlook on life) of my bday. My plans are to sleep and then eat pretty much all day. I need some foodie and/or gluttunous suggestions of where to go. I live in OC and there are few places here worthy of a trip so my friend and I plan to trek out to LA and see what's up. We like hole in the wall type places, although those are hard to find in such a trendy town. So we're not looking to go to the newest hottest celebrity chef flash in the pan type places. We just want good eats (ie waffles, tacos, ice cream, soul food, cheese shops... the good stuff). I miss living and eating in NYC & SF! Can my fellow chowhoundsters help me out? I've been trapped in the OC too long!
for mexican seafood in the style of nayarit and sinaloa, go to MARISCOS CHENTE.
there are many chowhound threads on this place.
for japanese izakaya (small plates) go to musha in santa monica.
open only for dinner.
they take reservations.
for neopolitan pizza (extremely thin crust--you will need a knife and a fork to eat it), go to ANTICA PIZZARIA in marina del rey.
the owner comes from naples and imports his flour from italy and takes the whole undertaking very seriously. uses top flight ingredients.
not very cheap, but not high-end either. this is a sit-down restaurant with table clothes.
"... We like hole in the wall type places, although those are hard to find in such a trendy town..."
If you're referring to L.A. - Are you kidding me?! You HAVE been in the OC too long! We overfloweth with hole in the walls here in L.A.!
Example #1: Wakasan in Westwood, for excellent Japanese homestyle cuisine - Even better than Musha izakaya.
Example #2: Raffi's in Glendale, for awesome kebabs & Persian food.
Example #3: Cafe Angelino, near Cedars-Sinai, for outstanding Italian pizze.
Example #4: Scoops, near Melrose, for inventive original ice cream flavors.
All examples above: No celeb chefs, no attitude, just great food...
My personal favorite celebration/mourning trifecta involves the Blue Palms, Jitlada, and then Scoops (in that order). But that combo will leave you pretty stuffed, and only take about 2.5 hours, not the whole day.
(I hear that Scoops is now open, with very limited hours, on Sunday. ICBW.)
You could cruise down York in Eagle Rock. Make sure not to miss El Huarache Azteca (for huaraches), El Pique (for al pastor, carnitas, and asada), and My Taco (for fried potato tacos). If you get full, head over to Galcos and browse until you're hungry again, buy yourself some sodypop as a souvenier, and then finish up down the street at Oinkster.
Or make a very slow pass through Thai Gulch. If you pace yourselves and order sparingly you should be able to visit a good four places before you're stuffed. Don't forget to finish up by splitting the khao sawy at Sri Siam.
If you happen to end up on Westwood Blvd. a bit south of UCLA, great, cost-effective Persian is Shamshiri Grill. Get the lamb fesenjan, and the panir o' sabzi, and the rose ice cream for dessert.
Nearby, just a bit south on Westwood Blvd. is Rose Market... wonderful hand-scooped locally made rosewater ice cream (and orangewater, and some others).
1922 Westwood Blvd
1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
1922 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
You might consider:
* Torihei - Simple, humble, but oh-so-good, Kyoto-style Oden (variety of Stewed Vegetables and Proteins in homemade Broth) and delicious Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Skewers).
* Ichimian - Handmade, cooling, refreshing Soba Noodles in a little, quaint hole-in-the-wall. My favorite summer dish. :)
* Animal - OK, so it may seem a little trendy, but order anything with Pork Belly or Foie Gras here and revel in the luciousness... it's SO good! (^_^)
And then you can walk across the street and enjoy a Beer Float (or just try some amazing micro-brews by themselves) at Golden State. :)
Good luck and enjoy!
Expensive, but worth it is Say Cheese on Hyperion in Silverlake. Amazing cheese, and really nice sandwiches. Also Phillipes downtown for some double dipped french dip and a baked apple, Farfalla on Hillhurst for spinach ravioli with sage and marscopone sauce, Bay Cities in Santa Monica for a Godmother with all the trimmings, and a brown cow at the ice cream place in the Farmers Market. Maybe not in that order-that's a lot of driving :)
What, no love for OC here? I guarantee you that OC is *full* of holes-in-the-wall where you can eat like a queen for an amazingly low price -- you just have to go ethnic for the most part. Others have given you great suggestions in LA, so here's a small sampling in OC for the next time you need to chow down and don't want to hack the 405:
1. Thai Nakorn (Beach and Chapman in Stanton; Garden Grove Blvd and Palm in GG). One of the top Thai restaurants in all of California. Read the "house specials" menu and order from it and be amazed, not only by the taste but by the low, low prices ($6-$10 a dish). GG branch has a full bar, too.
2. Mas Islamic Chinese (Orangethorpe between Lemon and Raymond in Anaheim). Go in and have a feast on cumin-scented lamb, five-spice beef with leeks, dough-slice noodles with any protein you like (no pork, it's Islamic), sizzling fish... and don't forget to order their sesame-scallion bread. I prefer the thin rounds, others prefer the thick, but one order will feed a huge number of people.
3. Cham Sut Gol (GG Blvd. near Magnolia St. in GG) for Korean barbecue. They have set dinners that include beer or soju, or you can choose the all-you-can-eat option. The meat is better in the set dinners, though. Another KBBQ alternative would be Shik Do Rak, also on GG Blvd., where they serve rice wrappers and thinly-sliced radish for you to wrap up your meat in, and don't forget SDR's fantastic naengmyon, which is icy-cold beef soup with buckwheat noodles plus various add-ins, and you put vinegar and mustard in to spice it up a bit.
4. Pagolac (Brookhurst and Hazard, Westminster) for bo bay mon (seven courses of beef). Beef grilled on a hot plate... beef soup... beef rolls... and it's about $13 a person. So, so delicious. Another choice, just as good, is Bo 7 Mon Thien An on Harbor and Trask.
5. Xanh (Brookhurst and Edinger, Fountain Valley) for homestyle Viet cooking in a nice, English-speaking, calm, upscale environment. Prices are high by Little Saigon standards but not that high -- $10-$15 per entree.
6. Shinsengumi (Brookhurst and Ellis, Fountain Valley) for yakitori -- a fast-paced, high-volume, experience. Take the server's recommendation on sake and beer and then order stuff on sticks grilled to order. Absolutely unbelievably delicious.
I have more if you want it. Just say the word.