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LA/OC - What not to miss in three days?

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OK, before I start, I wanted to apologize for the broad scope of this post and for the fact that I'm sure similar questions have been asked hundreds of times. I tried searching in the boards, but the "best of" threads were usually about specific locations, specific cuisines, or specific food items/dishes, and I'm really looking to give my friend a wide range of places and foods to pick from.

This is her first time in LA and California, so what would you say are the "can't miss" places? No restrictions on price, location, cuisine, or type of establishment (we're interested in delis, cafés, food trucks, restaurants, taco stands, whathaveyou), except she is from Chicago so she's probably had her share of excellent steaks and sausages there.

If a post like this already exists, I would appreciate it if someone could point me in the right direction.

If you feel like weighing in anyway, here's what I have so far:

Phillippe's
Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles
Mashti Malone's
Asanebo
Urasawa
Musha
Orochon
Shinsengumi
Indian (the restaurant in San Gabriel)
Class 302 (for shaved ice)
A.O.C.
JiRaffe
Library Alehouse
Providence
Lilly's
Il Pastaio (BH)
Real Food Daily
Le Saint Amour
Café Blanc
In & Out
Apple Pan
Umami Burger
Europane

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  1. My list in no order:
    Gjelina
    Park's BBQ
    Pizzeria Mozza
    Osteria Mozza
    Langers Deii
    Spago
    Sea Harbour
    Santouka Ramen
    Sweet Rose Creamery
    Saddle Peak Lodge
    Kogi
    Animal
    A Frame
    Umami
    Son of A Gun
    In n Out
    Neptune's Net
    Mariscos Chente

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    Park's BBQ
    955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

    Spago
    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    Langer's Delicatessen
    704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

    Saddle Peak Lodge
    419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

    Neptune's Net Seafood
    42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

    Santouka Ramen
    21515 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

    Santouka
    3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

    Animal
    435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    Mariscos Chente
    10020 Inglewood Ave, Lennox, CA 90304

    Pizzeria Mozza
    641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    Osteria Mozza
    6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    A-Frame
    12565 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

    Gjelina
    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    3 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      Definitely Park's BBQ

      Philippe's is more of nostalgia than substance, I would pass. Same goes for Apple Pan.

      Definitely In n Out and Umami for burgers.

      1. re: A5 KOBE

        Man, I love Apple Pan though! But if what people are saying is true, perhaps my love for it will be replaced by Umami when I finally try it...

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        Apple Pan
        10801 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

      2. re: wienermobile

        Thank you for your feedback :)

      3. Based on your post:

        +1 on Phillippe's, more nostalgia than can't miss
        never got the chix & waffles thing
        Urasawa will run you >$300 p.p.
        Providence has the best fish/seafood tasting menu in town

        Yes, try In & Out and Umami b/c they are so LA.

        My picks:

        Lazy Ox Canteen
        Animal
        Gjelina
        Primitivo (next to Lilly's)
        Catch or One Pico
        Parks BBQ
        WP 24
        Rivera

        -----
        Urasawa Restaurant
        218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

        One Pico
        1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

        Primitivo
        1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

        Lazy Ox Canteen
        241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

        Gjelina
        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        1 Reply
        1. re: Phurstluv

          Thank you!!!!

        2. Because LA/OC are so spread out and you only have a couple days, it'd almost be easier to give you recs based on your location....

          9 Replies
          1. re: OCAnn

            I'm actually in Riverside, so I'm far from everything! But what I've been doing so far is roughly grouping the places she is interested in by geographical area (one for each day).

            1. re: EmmaKnightley

              Good idea! A couple closer options off the 91 (in Anaheim Hills/Yorba Linda closer to Riverside) is Rosine's Mediterrenean (91 off Weir), Yosuke for a good neighbourhood sushi, Slater's 50/50 (if you like burgers, they make their patties with half beef, half bacon) and Original Pancake House if you're okay with a solid (albeit a chain) breakfast.

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              Slater's 50/50
              6362 E Santa Ana Canyon Rd, Anaheim, CA 92807

              1. re: OCAnn

                Thanks for the recs! I'll have to check those out, even if it's by myself. Although I have been to Rosine's once and wasn't really impressed (it was a while ago though).

                1. re: OCAnn

                  I'd suggest Canyon as well. And Señor Baja in the same plaza as Rosine's.

                  That said, you really do have to have a taco acorazado from the pink truck on Cubbon half a block west of Main in Santa Ana, outside the Northgate market.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Wow, that's quite a specific recommendation. Is that truck always there? At what times?

                    1. re: EmmaKnightley

                      I believe they usually park at 11 or 11:30 or so in the morning and I think they leave around 8 p.m., every day. They'll be missing this Wednesday evening because they're driving up to Fullerton to a clustertruck being put on by Gustavo Arellano. You really can't miss it—from southbound Main Street, turn right on Cubbon (one block north of McFadden) and it's this big pink truck.

                      Once you get there, though—that taco is amazing. A big, thick, fluffy, corn-y homemade tortilla with rice, then topped with breaded-and-fried-to-order milanesa de res, nopales, tomato, onion, avocado, pickled jalapeño and grated cotija cheese. You can also get griddled jalapeño if you like, and there are three sauces sheathed in ice in a reach-in (from the outside of the truck, toward the front). I like the green-brown one (it's the spiciest) but most people go for the red.

                      It's a huge amount of food. Eat one and 16 hours later you'll just be hungry again... and it costs $4. You won't get anything like it elsewhere, though if you want dessert, Hans' Homemade Ice Cream is just down the street and a few blocks over.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        Thanks for the details. That taco sounds amazing!

                        ETA: A "clustertruck" sounds like the most awesome thing ever, heh.

                        1. re: EmmaKnightley

                          There are tons of them—the scene has sort of morphed into a series of small-to-midsize clustertrucks that go to different (and willing) places on private property. A lot of them are called "Din Din à Go-Go", so you'll see OCDDAGG (Orange County) and LosAlDDAGG (Los Alamitos) and HPDDAGG (Highland Park), etc.

                          The local axis of loncheras—the old-school, primarily Mexican food trucks, which are just as good if not better—is Main Street between 1st and about McFadden in Santa Ana, half a block down the side streets on either side. Seafood cocktails, roast elotes, tacos, tortas ahogadas, al pastor, etc. etc.

                  2. re: OCAnn

                    Yosuke Sushi is horrible for sushi and way overrated. Decent decor, but fish and service was horrible. Ordered their sashimi plate, took literally a hour to come. Seriously, sashimi! You just cut up the fish, don't even have to cook it.

                    And when it arrived, the sashimi was horrible. Tuna was pale with freezer burn. Salmon tasted like flavorless blocks of protein. The sushi at all you can eat buffets is honestly better.

                    Most patrons seemed to order their cooked dishes, and while they looked ok, I can't say how good they were. But beware, stay away from their sashimi and sushi if you really want good sushi! Don't trust the reviews on yelp!

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                    Yosuke Sushi
                    136 S Fairmont Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92808

              2. Mexicali - good grub. Random corner that you have to drive to but the guys running the cart are friendly and you get a nice night time view of LA's err skyline.

                Other trucks to try: Tamix for al pastor. Hermanas Torres for deep fried quesidillas.

                These are all LA sports but Das Ubergeek is very true about that stretch of Main in Santa Ana if you're going to be in that area.