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LA Weekend Opinions (2 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinner)

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Hello LA Hounds,

I will be up down to visit Los Angeles from January 14-16 to celebrate my 26th Birthday (main reason) to look at some museums and art. As a side note, I will be staying in Westwood and will have access to a car with GPS but don't want to travel too far away to get some good grub (I really hate traffic). However, my main reason for coming is the food so without further ado here is my potential food/restaurant list. All places are subject to debate except for Friday's dinner at Melisse.

Thursday Lunch (up to $10-15pp): Square One
I will be arriving in LA around noon straight from Fresno and will be in serious need of food. I am leaning towards Square One (or Alcove, Aroma, or Auntie Em's) because they will be serving both breakfast and lunch so I will have a wide range of choices. My partner in crime that will be with me likes savory and I can go either sweet or savory.

Thursday Dinner: Mitsuwa Marketplace for Santouka or Yai Restaurant (up to $10-20pp)
Very, very hard call on this dinner. I want to eat something Asian-influenced and love sushi (nigiri or sashimi, don't like rolls too much because of the sauces) but am planning to blow the budget at Melisse the following night. I like ramen (we have NONE in Fresno) and Thai food as well but don't know which to pick. I can handle spicy (not "Thai" spicy) and like small, local, neighborhood type places that serve good, authentic food.

Friday Breakfast(up to $10-15pp): John O’Groats
The last time I was in LA I fell in love with the pancakes and have vowed to eat my way through the pancake listing. I love the lemon curd and pumpkin the most, thinking blueberry or applesauce this time.

Friday Dinner: Melisse Restaurant
As I previously mentioned, this is the one reservation that is unchangeable since it is the "big" birthday dinner. I have read some really good reviews about the rotisserie chicken and know for sure that I will be ordering that as my main. Originally, I had reservations at Providence but a well-cooked chicken is probably one of the great joys in life and it sounds like Melisse knows how to do one right. I would appreciate suggestions on appetizers and desserts though.

Saturday Breakfast (up to $10-15pp): Urth Café in Santa Monica
I have heard a lot about Urth and the menu looks very good. My rationale for picking Urth in Santa Monica is that the menu offers a variety of portion sizes depending on how we are feeling the morning after Melisse (can go small, coffee and pastry or big like an egg dish) and is close to the ocean.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations, suggestions, or feedback.

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  1. You've GOT to go to Langer's period. Probably the best pastrami in the US, the closest you'll get is Katz in NYC, some say Langer's is better... They're open 8-4, closed on Sundays. Been to Square One, I would say Langers definitely trumps it! Remember to specify HAND CUT.

    If you don't have an amazing bakery where you are Anisette is in Santa Monica is good. Grab some of those fantastic morning pastries (croissant and raisin thingy) and walk to Santa Monica Pier via the bridge over PCH.

    If you want some amazing Thai, Jitlada is good for their Southern specialties, head straight for the back of their menu. Only been once, you can do some searches on what to order.

    2 Replies
    1. re: groover808

      I second Langer's. I went there for lunch today for a New Years Eve treat and it never disappoints.

      1. re: wienermobile

        Damn, can't think of a better way to celebrate the New Year. I'm off to Mastro's in a few hours and I'm envious!

    2. dunno where you'd fit it in,
      but for mexican seafood done in the style of sinaloa/nayarit,
      go to MARISCOS CHENTE in mar vista.
      take bundy south and it will become centinela.
      there are a million chowhound threads on this place.
      call before you go because it's a mom and pop place, and they don't have backup players.
      310-390-9241
      they are normally open seven days a week continuously between lunch and dinner.
      most dishes, except for the butterflied barbecued snook are about $16 all in, the snook would be about $26 all in for a kilo of fish.
      my favorites, in addition to the snook which is sold by the kilo, are the mojarra frita (sp?) and the camarones a la diabla.

      know that this is really only a place for seafood.

      3 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        agree Mariscos is a worthy option, as is MONTE ALBAN.
        it looks like the OP has no Friday Lunch scheduled, so maybe one of them would work there.

        another breakfast idea for sheer decadence is GRIDDLE CAFE http://thegriddlecafe.com assuming you like sheer decadence.

        for your asian-influenced dinner, i'd also consider the izakaya MUSHA in Santa Monica, or maybe an affordable sushi place like MORI. for southern Thai, consider JITLADA.

        happy birthday, and have a great trip!

        1. re: Emme

          i agree that mori serves terrific sushi, but 'affordable' is absolutely not a word that i would associate with it.

          1. re: westsidegal

            i meant to rec Sushi Masu... blame it on '09,

      2. Happy New Year Everyone!

        Thanks for the recommendations so far, they are really appreciated. I am definitely considering Langer's now to replace Square One since I love ruben sandwiches and pastrami too. I have eaten at the Griddle and must say that while they serve good food it just isn't for me. I think that John O'Groats has more flavorful pancakes and come at a much more reasonable serving size. Plus, I found that Griddle's pancakes tend to just be overly dense, mushy, and not as flavorful.

        I am also going to look more in depth at Jitalda since Thai food is great. Please keep the opinions and recs coming! (P.S. I usually don't eat lunches on days with big breakfasts since I am good with just an apple at midday until dinner time).

        2 Replies
        1. re: gmk1322

          I would replace Urth Caffe for breakfast at Square One so you can do Langers for lunch on Thursday. And replace dinner at Mitsuwa for Jitlada for sure.

          1. re: bruinike

            Agreed! I've only been to Square One from your breakfast list, so my swap for Langer's suggestion is only based on that. If others say skip Urth for Square One, go for it, loved the grits and that hearty toast there (Square One).

            Please do report back when after your trip!