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Suggestions for Grazing with 2 Teen Girls in LA

I'll be in LA (staying in Santa Monica) with 2 teenage girls for 5 days. I'm a bit of a foodie and want good eats for all. Modest budget, no pomp except if they can see some celebs :)Burgers, Asian, and everything in between. I'm open to all suggestions!

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  1. Strongly suggest taking them to Mozza for Pizza. They will love it.

    1. The Farmer's Market and Grove at 3rd and Fairfax. When I had a 20 year old wanting to see celebrity relative visit us, I was surprised at how excited she was to go there. I got to eat Loteria, she got feel like she was in the know.

      With all the photos on Perez Hilton, it's a pretty recognizable place. (Also, I spotted Pete Rose in Nordstrom's shoe department!)

      3 Replies
      1. re: cjla

        That restaurant at Fred Segal on Melrose would be fun for a couple of teens. Celeb spotting is probable and the shops are fun to look at.

        1. re: cjla

          Thanks for the suggestions...what's Loteria? I'm not familiar.

          1. re: BFoodie

            Loteria is a Mexican eatery in the market. Definitely try the potato tacos if you end up going.

        2. They might like Ketchup on the Sunset Strip for burgers and that teen Hollywood scene.
          http://www.dolcegroup.com/ketchup/

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          Ketchup
          8590 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069

          4 Replies
          1. re: wienermobile

            I was at Ketchup once. This was definitely not a "teen hollywood scene." Actually, there was no scene at all. This was at lunch several months ago and the place was nearly empty. The burger was good.

            1. re: maudies5

              I thought Ketchup had closed? If not, it's definitely been on the deathwatch for a long time. I wouldn't put that on a to do list for visitors. My one meal there was a big disappointment, and like you maudies, the place was empty.

              Almost anywhere else on Sunset would be a better call. As are the recs for Fred Segal and Robertson. Though like most of the posts so far, those are more geared at pointing you toward celeb sightings than toward any kind of "foodie" food.

            2. re: wienermobile

              Don't know about the scene.. but they'd love the menu! Thanks

              1. re: BFoodie

                Bring just enough $$ for your meal. Otherwise, those girls will drive you nuts as the shopping at Fred Segal is pretty fabulous, particularly in their age group. Restaurant prices are reasonable. Even without a lot of money, it is fun to peruse all of those little shops. Good entertainment factor.

            3. I don't know if I've ever gone to Cafe R+D on Montana in SaMo and not seen a celebrity. Maybe a fun place to grab lunch and browse the shops on Montana. It's owned by the Houston's restaurant group and the salads are really delicious.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mollyomormon

                Good suggestion. OTOH, I had a pretty crummy lunch at Blue Plate, just up the street, and was literally 2 feet away from Patrick Dempsey. As there is no guarantee of a PD. sighting, I agree with the recommendation of Cafe R+D on Montana and all of the prior recommendations.

                1. re: maudies5

                  I think midweek on Montana there's a pretty decent chance of a celebrity sighting. I am with you; would love for Blue Plate to be better than it is, but it is consistently mediocre and sometimes just plain bad.

                  1. re: maudies5

                    funny i've seen dempsey at Blue Plate maybe 4 or 5 times!

                2. For burgers or brunch near you try 26 Beach. www.26beach.com

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                  26 Beach
                  3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292

                  1. Also, in Santa Monica at around Fourth and Wilshire there's an izakaya called Musha. I take visitors from out of town there all the time and it's always very fun and incredibly reasonably priced. I also happen to know it's a favorite of Luke Wilson's since I've seen him there multiple times.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      What's an Izakaya? Sounds like others like this too.

                      1. re: BFoodie

                        It's a great place. Basically small plates that are meant to go well with beer and sake, although this is definitely a restaurant, not a bar, so it won't be a problem that your teens are underage. I really like the spicy tuna dip, cheese tofu, pork belly, and kabocha croquettes, but I don't really think you can go wrong ordering there.

                        1. re: BFoodie

                          Here's a primer from Wiki:

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izakaya

                          Musha might be considered by some to be somewhat nontraditional for an izakaya. Some of their dishes are outside of the realm of traditional (e.g., parmesan risotto prepared in a wheel of parm) but no one has ever accused the Japanese culture of trying new things, particularly when it comes to food. The izakaya business can be very competitive, so innovation is one of the keys to differentiating themselves...

                      2. for eats near you, try Musha on Wilshire. not star-studded but fun and good.

                        Urth Caffe on Melrose in WeHo or in Santa Monica has some star sighting potential.

                        Go to Robertson to see stars at the Ivy, but eat at Newsroom Cafe across the street (you may see a celeb or two there).

                        if you want to spend the $$, Katana and Koi are celeb sushi spots, along with Katsuya. of the first two, food-wise, i prefer Katana.

                        you might also consider having lunch on the top of Barney's at Barney Greengrass in beverly hills.

                        1. I lead food tours at the Farmers Market (3rd & Fairfax) and along W. 3rd Street. We see A-list celebrities on this route all the time. Try the Farmers Market early in the morning and have a donut at Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts (you won't be disappointed). Along W. 3rd Street, Joan's on Third and Toast are two celebrity hotspots as is the Kings Road Cafe on Beverly Blvd. Have fun!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LMScalia

                            I agree about Joan's on Third, Jake Gyllenhall goes there quite a bit. Also agree on Barney Greengrass, though the food is pretty pricey and they're not likely to appreciate the quality of the chopped liver or smoked fish.

                          2. the places i've seen the most celebrities are the grove and the arclight movie theater. i've NEVER been to the arclight without seeing at least one A or B list actor. also urth caffe on melrose. the food there is great. i'd also hit up a couple of the local cupcake spots for goodies and celeb sightings - dots, sprinkles, and susiecakes are good bets.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: tastycakes

                              Nate ' n Al's in Beverly Hills on any weekday morning will guarantee a Larry King sighting:)

                              1. re: maudies5

                                I've seen Joe Schnorer umpteen times.

                                1. re: maudies5

                                  I see him often at dinner too with his young son!

                              2. Heck, I'd take 'em to Duke's. Funky but clean, lots of history, long menu and it won't kill your pocketbook. On the Sunset strip, next to the Whisky and close to the Roxy, Rainbow, etc.

                                http://www.dukeswesthollywood.com/

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Muskrat

                                  Bet they would love The Griddle Cafe on the Sunset Strip
                                  http://www.thegriddlecafe.com/

                                  1. re: maudies5

                                    how could I forget Griddle? great suggestion!

                                    just be prepared for the wait.

                                  2. re: Muskrat

                                    Is Dukes the "Old Hollywood" place that I've heard of?

                                    1. re: BFoodie

                                      Duke's--and Toi on Sunset (Thai) are old music industry hangouts--cheap food. Duke has long family-style tables and big breakfasts. You are probably thinking of Musso and Franks--which is very old Hollywood. Unfortunately for your crowd, the drinks are better than the food--which is stuck in a kind of mid-60s time warp with canned vegetables, etc.

                                      I can tell you that when we had teenage girls visitng recently, they loved Farmers Market and The Grove--and if you are literal about "grazing", Farmers Market allows you to each choose a different kind of food. Since it isn't sit-down food, most of the food is also fairly reasonable when you factor in that you don't have to pay for service and you are eating at a tourist attraction.

                                      If your kids are into hip, I recommend that you take them to Cafe 101 in Hollywood. My kids frequently spot indy rock musicians there, and my 19 year-old finds it so appealling that he and his college classmates will drive in from 45 minutes away just for their milkshakes.

                                      Since you are in Santa Monica, if you want to show them Hollywood-types, you might want to go to Patrick's Roadhouse--more on it is elsewhere on the board.

                                      1. re: coffeebrownies

                                        No. Definitely not Patrick's Roadhouse. They apparently have closed.
                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/675343
                                        You might also want to consider the Brentwood Country Mart at 26th and San Vicente. Interesting variety of food and huge celeb-watching factor.

                                  3. Agree with many of the recs above. I'd also suggest THE COUNTER for burgers (create your own). Teenagers seem to love it there. Hit Sawtelle Blvd between Olympic & Santa Monica Blvd for a street full of Asian eats.

                                    1. Any great bakery recs also welcome.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: BFoodie

                                        Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills. Yum.
                                        http://www.sprinkles.com/
                                        And Milk on Beverly Blvd.
                                        http://www.themilkshop.com/

                                        -----
                                        Sprinkles Cupcakes
                                        9635 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          not to get OT but I think Sprinkles sucks. Their cupcakes seem dry to me. I don't get it.

                                        2. re: BFoodie

                                          Amandine, Le Pain Du Jour and Huckleberry are all in or close to Santa Monica.

                                          Le Pain Du Jour is on the south side of Pico just east of Lincoln, and has excellent French-style breads, croissants and pastries. Nothing fancy inside - a couple of tables inside as well as on the sidewalk.

                                          Amandine is on the north side of Wilshire a couple of blocks west of Bundy (right near the east border of Santa Monice), and has excellent French-style pastries and cakes with a slight Japanese influence. Their food from the kitchen is pretty good as well. They recently did some minor remodeling that makes eating there more comfortable.

                                          Huckleberry is also on Wilshire just east of 10th Street. Their pastries, cookies, breads and biscuits are excellent as well - more Americana with European influence than the other two mentioned. Their food from the kitchen is also very good. Of the three mentioned, Huckleberry is the newest, and they keep getting better as time goes by. And of the three, Huckleberry is the most crowded.

                                          1. re: BFoodie

                                            I really like 3 Square Bakery (for Austrian style pastries) and Jin Patisserie (for a really fun setting for tea and macarons), both of which are on Abbott Kinney in Venice, another cool street to stroll for strolling and shopping.

                                            1. re: mollyomormon

                                              Second mollyo's recs on Abbot Kinney. 3 Square is owned by Hans Rockenwagner, who also has a bakery storefront on Arizona and 3rd Street, off the Promenade in Santa Monica. I prefer 3 Square because you have both the baked goods sold in the storefront, and the cafe, which is very good as well.

                                              If you decide to try out Abbot Kinney, coffee has been elevated to a high level on this street. Intelligentsia has opened a slicked out shop at 1331 Abbot Kinney, and Equator Books at 1103 Abbot Kinney opened up a coffee counter at the back of the store. They serve Blue Bottle coffee. Both places have some pretty darned good pastries and treats as well. They're not made on site but are supplied by very reputable sources.

                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                Yes, both the coffe recs are great! Blue Bottle has Cake Monkey pastries which are adorable and tasty. Also, if you happen to be on Abbott Kinney on a weekend afternoon, you can often find one or more of the cities' food trucks which might be fun to sample.

                                                1. re: mollyomormon

                                                  Since we're on the subject of consumables on Abbot Kinney, Elvino Wines, is just a few of shops north of Jin. Bart is a really nice person and usually has at least a couple of bottles opened for wine tasting. Reasonably-priced wines are the rule there - on Abbot Kinney? Yeah, pretty amazing given the general nature of this street now.

                                                2. re: bulavinaka

                                                  third the 3 square recs.

                                                  also agree with Amandine.

                                                  not a huge fan of Sprinkles. actually prefer SusieCases in Brentwood.

                                            2. What about Taco places? RFT?