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NY Hound with Questions for Trip To LA

  • f

My boyfriend and I are coming to LA late Tuesday night and driving to San Diego Thursday. We are staying downtown and will have a car with us.

We plan on hitting In & Out Tuesday night when we land. Wednesday we will be on the USC & UCLA campus during the day. Wednesday night we are having dinner near Bel Air with friends. Any suggestions on good but not too pricey lunch/dinner's for Wednesday? For lunch we will probably have time to sit down but won't want to spend more then $40 for lunch. We would even do an amazing cheap lunch as well. For dinner someone suggested a restaurant called Q or The Lobster? We want nice but not to expensive again. Max $50 a person. We love food so we are open cuisine. I would even eat at a food truck if it was worth it.

Thursday we will drive from LA to SD. Any suggestions on where to stop, possibly grab a bite? I was told Laguna is a good spot. Thanks for your help.

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  1. For the Wednesday dinner I would go to Animal http://www.animalrestaurant.com/ on Fairfax and split 4 appetizers and get a carafe of wine to go with them. I would order:

    Foie gras, biscuit, maple sausage gravy $22

    Barebeque pork belly sandwiches, slaw $10

    Pig ear, chile, lime, fried egg $10

    Poutine, oxtail gravy, cheddar $15

    and with a carafe of wine for $22 you come out after tax and tip at $102.

    But that's just me.

    435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    1. Hi fein,

      Welcome to L.A. :) Here are some suggestions:

      * Animal - Decadent dishes with Pork Belly, Foie Gras, and more. Fair prices that should fit in your budget (if you don't go crazy with alcohol :). Plus you can walk across the street (literally) and enjoy the amazing creations of Scoops (so many crazy flavors) and/or enjoy an excellent microbrew Beer at Golden State.

      * Izakaya Bincho - This humble little Izakaya run by a husband-and-wife team from Tokyo makes some of the best Japanese Small Plates dishes around town. And their prices are very fair to make it within your budget. Be sure to order their wonderful Agedashi Tofu, Buta no Kakuni (Slow Braised Pork Belly), Yu Rin Chi (Fried Chicken with Green Onions and Sesame Oil) and Zosui (Chicken Rice Stew) all made-from-scratch by Tomo-san. :)

      * Torihei - wonderful Kyoto-style Oden and Yakitori / Kushiyaki (Roasted Meat and Vegetable Skewers) all very fairly priced.

      435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      Izakaya Bincho
      112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

      1757 W. Carson Street, Torrance, CA 90501

      1 Reply
      1. re: exilekiss

        I will have to second Izakaya Bincho, it is one of my favorites, a bit hard to find but well worth it!!!

      2. Wednesday, go to Mariscos Chente on Centinela near Culver. The best Mexican seafood you'll have in the US, and absolutely not a thing like it in New York. It's a dive -- plain formica tables and folding chairs -- but the food is outstanding. Get the pescado zarandeado, which at last check was $18 a kilo, so figure that a 2 kg snook will run you $36 and will definitely feed you and your boyfriend. If you bring friends, get some of the shrimp dishes as well -- camarones borrachos, for example (shrimp dishes are about $12 each and generally have 10-12 very large shrimp).

        Drinks: either soda or beer. Get a cubeta (bucket) of beer.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          what is the bucket of beer? containers of beer in a bucket or actually beer served in a bucket? or neither. this reminds me of thailand and sounds exciting.

          1. re: dtud

            A bucket of ice with five bottles of beer (or so) stuck in it, business end up.

          2. re: Das Ubergeek

            I second Mariscos Chente, boy have I had great meals there!

          3. You might want to post your last question specifically on the California board where you'll get better replies. The suggestions you've received so far for LA are terrific.

            1 Reply
            1. re: barham turner

              Still on topic for the LA board in San Juan Capistrano (and about half way to San Diego) I recalled this very inexpensive and delicious sounding option courtesy of "lil mikey": http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/634155

            2. when you get to SD, i highly recommend the linkery. they also usually have great specials/ special pairings on thursdays

              1. Depending on your Thursday drive schedule, you might consider stopping at the sweet and lovely El Segundo Farmer's Market for a late lunch or early dinner at Big Mista's Barbecue ( http://bigmista.com/vending ), which on Thursdays doesn't open until 3 p.m., unfortunately. From my recent experience, it's the best BBQ place in California and in the same ballpark as the best in the South. (It's also far superior to that dinosaur joint from Syracuse that you New Yorkers seem to love.) Then continue down the Pacific Coast Highway a couple of miles to Glacier Ice Cream ( www.glacierhomemadeicecream.com/manha... ) for an outstanding dessert -- try the plain coffee ice cream in an excellent homemade waffle cone.

                By the way, if you don't get in too late on Tuesday, I strongly recommend thinking about inexpensive Pann's ( www.panns.com ) with its fine homey meals, friendly waitresses, and charming googie architecture, instead of the so-so cult burgers and awful fries at In-N-Out. (Pann's has an excellent beef short-ribs special on Tuesdays -- be sure to get the best biscuits in LA.) To us drivin' fools in Southern California, it's only a small detour on the trip from LAX to Downtown, but you might think differently.

                1. I'm not sure what you would eat in Laguna, frankly. Depending when you go, you could go to Break of Dawn in Laguna Hills, right off the 5 freeway. For dinner, maybe stop in Little Saigon?

                  1. FYI, there's a good distance between USC and UCLA. Getting from one to the other might take a good part of your day if you hit traffic, have trouble finding parking, etc. Some places I would suggest near USC are the food stalls in Mercado La Paloma (http://www.mercadolapaloma.com/restau... ), or La Flor de Yucatan. Going westward (I'm assuming you'll be on the I-10/Santa Monica Freeway), maybe stop at Harold & Belle's for cajun/creole food, which is severely lacking in NYC. Or maybe try Father's Office in Culver City for their famous burger. You might want to stop by Primo's donuts for an afternoon snack as well. Mariscos Chente is just slightly out of the way, but close enough for a detour. Also, 1 kilo of robalo along with a camaron dish is probably good for two.

                    Harold & Belle's Restaurant
                    2920 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

                    Mercado La Paloma
                    3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                    La Flor De Yucatan
                    1800 S. Hoover Street, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                    2918 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

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

                    1. thanks everyone. keep the ideas coming.

                      the bbq place is dinosaur. i've been here for 5 years and still haven't been. i always talk about going but everyone says it is the best.

                      i am not set on eating in laguna. we were told that is somewhere we would want to stop to look around. we'll eat anywhere. we don't have to stop in laguna it was just a suggestion.

                      a bucket of beer is an actual bucket filled with bottles of beers. most places in ny serve the mini beer bottles in them.

                      1. Dinner (near West LA / Bel Air): Try the fabulous omakase ($35 per person) at Wakasan, on Westwood Boulevard. They're open quite late.

                        Lunch: Go to Father's Office in Culver City (sorta halfway between the UCLA & USC campuses), and have the famous FO burger and sweet potato fries with a Tripel Karmeleit beer.

                        I would grab a Zankou chicken order "to go" for the road for the SD trip (go to the Hollywood location). OR, you could grab some Persian food (barg or Javan combo plate) from Javan in Westwood.

                        Along the way, in Newport Beach on PCH is a famous cliffside milkshake stand at a viewpoint (I'm not sure if it's still there) which served awesome date shakes.

                        In SD, the pricey $$$$ option is Sushi Ota, in Pacific Beach. The SD uni is unlike any other uni I've had before, and I doubt it's available in NYC. They also have kinmedai.

                        Bon voyage!