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The usual question...but (hopefully) more challenging

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So, I'm taking a trip to LA...staying in Santa Monica, but perfectly willing to drive (I'm planning on a pilgrimage to Orange for one meal in particular). Where would you suggest I eat?

Here's the rub:
No fine dining...it's just not what I'm looking for this trip. (unless there's someplace relatively new and would be a peer of places like Roberta's Pizza in Bushwick or Relae in CPH). Also, personally just not that into L the pop-up king or Jose with his little bit of LV in LA.

My goal is not to gather a "Best of LA" list, just a "soooo LA" list. If it's a place that you personally go crazy for, feel free to suggest it. If it's something you can't find anywhere in the world outside of LA, all the better. If it's someone doing something special, but not getting nearly enough recognition for the work they put in...I'm all for it.

No 2.5 hour waits in line...sorry Kogi!

I've been quite a bit in the past, but it's been a while so I'm looking for fresh recommendations....Pretty confident I could find decent korean in K-town, chinese in SGV, or make the burger/ramen roundup on my own. So I think I'm fine in those respects. Also, I've always had a soft spot for the sawtelle j-joints. On the other hand, I don't know anything about butchers, bread bakers, pastry shops, delis, or Ethiopian in LA...

And if that doesn't get your creative recs going...here are some explicit questions:

Excellent house made noodles? (Whether,buccatini, lamien, jajamyung, ramen or wonton mein, I'm down)
Crispy skin and delicious meat? (Porchetta, peking duck, suckling pig)
Who makes the most amazing vegetable dishes? What are they? (whether it's just a good plate of garlic sauce pea sprouts, or Jeremy Fox's peas, macadamia, white chocolate, I'm in)
Burned rice...I love the stuff, whether it's at the bottom of a paella pan or dol sot or toasted over open flame.
Frozen treats....I go crazy for it...my favorites at home are The Penny Ice Creamery, Scream Sorbet, and Pizzeria Pico (Soft Serve)
And if after all of that you still can't hook me up with a rec, feel free to suggest some great chowhounders who I could estalk (i.e. read backposts) or an LA based food blog.

Anyway...start suggesting away, and be sure to tell me *why* you think it would be for me.

Thanks!

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Kogi
Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

Ice Creamery
6880 Caballero Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620

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  1. Where in Orange? Have you decided?

    1. Malan Noodles in Hacienda Heights -- unassuming place that hand pulls noodles to order, great chew, amazing elasticity. I love their spicy chicken noodles.

      Porchetta Panino at Mozza2Go -- Crazy delicious. Nancy Silverton bread (enough said, but I'll go on), with a slab of heaven tucked inside. Juicy Fatty Porchetta with a rim of crunchy skin. You'll be eating it on a bench on Melrose, but you won't be sorry.

      Bulgarini Gelato in Altadena -- If a piece of fruit could spontaneously combust into creamy smooth gelato, it would land at Bulgarini. This guy knows his ingredients. Pistachio, Olive Oil with Sea Salt, Pear... They're happy to give you a "tour" and let you taste everything before you decide. A don't miss experience.

      Tah Dig at Javan in WLA -- Crunchy toasted rice topped with amazing persian stews. I like the walnut/pomegranet Fesenjen and the eggplant bademjan topped version they do at Javan.

      So much food, so little time, hope you enjoy your trip.

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      Bulgarini Gelato
      749 E Altadena Dr, Altadena, CA 91001

      Javan
      11500 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

      Malan Noodles
      2020 S Hacienda Blvd, Hacienda Heights, CA 91745

      1. Frozen treats...Sweet Rose Creamery is just a few miles from you in Brentwood. Some of the best ice cream in town. The fresh mint chocolate chip just pops in your mouth. Really Good stuff.
        http://www.sweetrosecreamery.com/

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        Sweet Rose Creamery
        225 26th St #51, Los Angeles, CA 90049

        2 Replies
        1. re: wienermobile

          Some of Sweet Rose's July summer flavors are Fig Jam swirl with goat cheese and toasted walnuts, Apricot, Peaches n' Cream and Sweet Corn

          1. re: wienermobile

            Oh, I can't wait. Hope they don't run out of any of those in the next three weeks.

        2. Who makes the most amazing vegetable dishes?
          Try Gjelina in Venice (Thumbelina Carrot with Cumin Yogurt, Orange, Sesame & Cilantro or
          Seared Okra with Black Olive Tomato) also Fig (Peas with Mint and Parsley) and Rustic Canyon (Fried Cauliflower with garlic, lemon capers and bread crumbs) in Santa Monica. All 3 are great!
          http://figsantamonica.com/
          http://www.gjelina.com/
          http://www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com/

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          Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
          1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          Gjelina
          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

          Fig
          100 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          1 Reply
          1. re: wienermobile

            OCEllen, I'm just going to be having lunch at an old friend's place...

            Thanks for the recs so far...out of all of them, I've only heard of Gjelina. So it sounds like I've come to just the right place. Thanks! and keep them coming. I can only apologize in advance that I won't be able to try every rec that I get here.

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            Gjelina
            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

          2. The Bulgarini suggestion is prime. On a simpler note, Thrifty ice cream at Rite Aid is a bargain. The non-fat vanilla and non-fat chocolate frozen yogurt at Penguin's is good. I like the egg salad sandwich at either Europane. The Tucci's Special pizza at Tarantino's goes well with beer or wine.
            The Southern Thai at Jitlada, of course.
            Not sure if it's fine dining or not, but Shiro does some interesting stuff at Orris.
            Tacos and burritos at Yuca's.
            And if you want some good won ton soup or some macadamia nut pancakes, try Aloha Food Factory in Alhambra.

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            Jitlada
            5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            Yuca's
            2056 Hillhurst Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

            Orris
            2006 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

            Euro Pane Bakery
            950 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106

            Tarantino's Pizzeria
            784 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91101

            Rite Aid
            5575 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

            Aloha Food Factory
            2990 W Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91803

            1 Reply
            1. re: mc michael

              I second Jitlada's Southern Thai menu. This would get my vote for the most exciting food in LA.

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              Jitlada
              5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027