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First time in LA- List in post: Which restaurants would you recommend?

m
MrsDRock Oct 22, 2011 08:44 AM

My husband and I will be in LA in a week. We will have a rental car. We will arrive next Sunday around midnight and leave again the following Sunday early morning. We're staying in Culver City. Husband wants to join me for lunch for I'm a little worried about LA traffic to make sure he gets back to work on time (he's @ conferences). We look forward to LA's food scene and ethnic food as well. For what it's worth, we both do not drink but love trying new and unique foods.

We'd like to have 2 "nice dinners" while we're there. The list we're contemplating is:

- Animal

- Providence

- Spago

- Rustic Canyon

If you can help me narrow down this list (and if you've got any entree recommendations), that'd be helpful.

We have a list of casual eateries we're looking forward to try. Not sure when/how, but we're going to try our best!

- Langer's Deli (pastrmi sandwich)

- Pizzeria Mozza

- Daikokuya or Orochon Ramen

- Phillipe, The Original (french dip sandwich?)

- Pink's Hot Dogs

- Porto's (not sure what to order here)

- Umami Burger (truffle, so-cal, or port & stilton) or Father's Office burger

- Bar Bouchon (happy hour)- just looking for appetizers

- First Fridays @ Venice Beach- can't wait for food trucks

- Sprinkles Cupcakes (red velvet) or Joan's on Third cupcakes (chocolate coconut cupcake)

- Diddy Riese cookies

- Bay Cities Deli- Godmother sandwich

- Wood Spoon- chicken pot pie

- Gjelina

- Park's BBQ, Chosun Golbee or Kogi- Korean BBQ ribs

- A Frame- Fried apple pie with Cheddar Ice cream

-----
Father's Office
1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Daikokuya
327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Spago
176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Orochon Ramen
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St Ste 303, Los Angeles, CA 90012

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

Kogi
Los Angeles, CA, Los Angeles, CA

Umami Burger
850 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

Wood Spoon
107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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

Gjelina
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Bouchon
235 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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  1. J.L. Oct 22, 2011 09:20 AM

    First of all, impressive planning! Here are my picks & pans:

    Upscale: Animal, Spago & Providence

    Casual: Langer's (best pastrami in the U.S.) Pizzeria Mozza, Philippe's the Original (French dip sandwich), Porto's for dessert (guava pastries!), Father's Office (FO burger), Diddy Riese (ice cream cookie sandwich), Bay Cities, Gjelina, Park's BBQ

    Skip: Daikokuya (gone downhill; replace with Santouka for ramen), Pink's (go take a picture of the line, though), Umami (unless you just go for their onion rings), Sprinkles (all hype; easily substituted with any supermarket cupcake; replace with Beard Papa's for super cream puffs)

    Suggest: Scoops Ice Cream (near Melrose & Heliotrope), Kiriko (on Sawtelle) for sushi, Sea Harbour (in Rosemead) for dim sum, Bar Marmont (West Hollywood) for drinks (beat those paparazzi back with a stick!)

    Thank goodness you have a car. Happy eating!

    -----
    Father's Office
    1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

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

    Daikokuya
    327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Pizzeria Mozza
    6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

    Spago
    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    Kiriko
    11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

    Bar Marmont
    8171 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

    Santouka
    3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

    Gjelina
    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    65 Replies
    1. re: J.L.
      wienermobile Oct 22, 2011 09:38 AM

      Sea Harbour is definitely worth the trip for their wonder Dim Sum.

      -----
      sea harbour
      3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

      1. re: J.L.
        m
        MrsDRock Oct 22, 2011 09:46 AM

        Thanks for your reviews.
        BTW- We don't drink alcohol. I'd love to try Bar Marmont though- could we just get soft drinks and an app?

        -----
        Bar Marmont
        8171 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

        1. re: MrsDRock
          J.L. Oct 22, 2011 09:59 AM

          Soft drinks instead of cocktails at Bar Marmont? Sure, why not?! It's all about the scene, anyways.

          -----
          Bar Marmont
          8171 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

        2. re: J.L.
          westsidegal Oct 22, 2011 09:57 AM

          re: JL's suggestion of Langers: since your husband has time constraints, and Langers closes early (4pm), i'd suggest going to Langers on Saturday for lunch

          re: Pinks. I COMPLETELY CONCUR with JL on this: skip entirely. Take a picture if you must.

          re: Scoops ice cream, the closest one to where you are staying is on Overland in West LA: i'd go to that location rather than drive to Melrose and Heliotrope.

          1. re: westsidegal
            m
            MrsDRock Oct 22, 2011 10:04 AM

            Thanks.

            We were looking to do the Dim Sum @ Sea Harbour on Saturday for lunch. We don't have good dim sum in Cincinnati (where we live), but we've had a good one in Chicago's Chinatown area. Does this dim sum differ at all or pretty much the same as all the other dim sum?

            Also- What makes Scoops so good- are there unique flavors? Or, is it just another ice cream shop?

            1. re: MrsDRock
              wienermobile Oct 22, 2011 10:15 AM

              " Does this dim sum differ at all or pretty much the same as all the other dim sum?"

              Sea Harbour, in my opinion has the best dim sum outside of Vancouver. ( as I have not yet traveled to Hong Kong).

              1. re: wienermobile
                m
                MrsDRock Oct 22, 2011 10:28 AM

                Ok. I think we'll do Sea Harbour on Saturday for lunch, and I'll do a take out order or Langer's pastrami sandwich and bring it to my husband's work. Hope it still tastes good as take out.

                BTW- Are there any good bakeries or desserts worth noting in LA? I have been looking into A Frame's Fried Apple Pie with Cheddar Ice Cream, but looking for other options as well.

                1. re: MrsDRock
                  n
                  ns1 Oct 24, 2011 04:34 PM

                  Porto's is actually quite a nice cuban bakery. I also would skip Pinks, and Philippes.

                  Both of these "LA institutions" generate very polarizing opinions.

                  1. re: ns1
                    m
                    MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 04:40 PM

                    It's true- some people say you've got to go to Phillipe's while others have told me to skip it. I really like french dip sandwiches, and I've also heard of Cole's as well. Not sure which one I'll end up going to.

                    1. re: MrsDRock
                      n
                      ns1 Oct 24, 2011 04:41 PM

                      Yep. I gave it two tries and that was enough. If you MUST go, lamb > beef, and the potato salad is actually quite good.

                      if you only have 1 sandwich in LA, I'd opt for Langers over Philippes (and it's not really a fair battle)

                      BTW, if you're a french dip lover, you need to know @ Philippes there is NO AU JUS ON THE SIDE. NOT EXTRA, NOT INSTEAD, FLAT OUT NO AU JUS ON THE SIDE.

                      Caps because I was so angry when I heard that.

                      1. re: ns1
                        m
                        MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 04:58 PM

                        Interesting... thanks for the heads up.

                        1. re: MrsDRock
                          Peripatetic Oct 24, 2011 07:36 PM

                          The best French dip I've had was at Dal Rae in Pico Rivera, which is a bit of a drive from Culver City, but a worthy pilgrimage for the French-dip obsessed. Second best was Houston's, then Lawry's, then Jolly Jug in El Monte. Philippe's and Coles are well back in the pack. Phillipe's is sort of interesting as a slice of old LA, but it's hardly a chow-worthy destination.

                          1. re: Peripatetic
                            m
                            MrsDRock Oct 25, 2011 03:25 AM

                            That seems to be the vibe... Thanks.

                            1. re: MrsDRock
                              scottca075 Oct 30, 2011 09:24 AM

                              Philippe The Original invented the French dip sandwich that appears on menus all over the world. It is more than worthy as a Chow restaurant.

                              The lamb double dipped is great and not a sandwich you get most places.

                              1. re: scottca075
                                n
                                ns1 Oct 30, 2011 11:56 AM

                                ...polarizing opinion incoming:

                                being the first =/= being the best.

                                if being the first means coming up with the asinine rule of no au jus on the side, I don't want any part of it.

                                1. re: ns1
                                  scottca075 Oct 30, 2011 01:44 PM

                                  No one said it was the best, but it is the original. Cole's can claim whatever they like, but they didn't even claim to have invented it until well after it was already on Philippe's menu.

                                  My family has been eating dip sandwiches at Cole's, Philppe's and the now gone Coliseum French Dip since they all opened and in the 1930's there was no controversy over who invented it.

                                  Eating at Philippe the Original is a worthwhile stop and I would eat there any day over pretenders like Father's Office with its bad attitude and service to match. Ditto for the other Emperor's New Clothes establishment of Rustic Canyon.

                                  -----
                                  Philippe the Original
                                  1001 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                  1. re: scottca075
                                    Servorg Oct 30, 2011 01:58 PM

                                    Having never experienced either bad service or attitude (along with consistently excellent and creative food and beer to match) at Father's Office over the years I have trouble with blanket assertions that don't even remotely begin to fit my experiences there.

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      wienermobile Oct 30, 2011 02:07 PM

                                      Servorg: Diddo about Rustic Canyon. In all the times I've been there never an attitude and always great service and food.

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

                                      1. re: wienermobile
                                        scottca075 Oct 30, 2011 02:20 PM

                                        Ditto for Rustic Canyon.

                                        Ask to have to have the cheese left off the burger.

                                      2. re: Servorg
                                        scottca075 Oct 30, 2011 02:18 PM

                                        Ask for your burger without cheese.

                                        1. re: scottca075
                                          Servorg Oct 30, 2011 02:20 PM

                                          I know they have a no changes policy. I don't mind that (especially since I knew going in that that was the case). Having a policy and living by it is not the same thing as having a bad attitude or poor service.

                                  2. re: scottca075
                                    n
                                    New Trial Oct 30, 2011 12:11 PM

                                    Cole's would dispute that claim: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/mar/...

                                    -----
                                    Cole's
                                    118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                                    1. re: scottca075
                                      b
                                      bulavinaka Oct 30, 2011 12:14 PM

                                      I have to agree. Setting aside my personal issues with this place (not going into detail but they're severe), I think maybe Phillipe's falls more in the category of noteworthy places for their historical value relative to a food item, and for its kitschy feel of old LA. Chow-worthy is debatable - essential for certain other reasons might be more defensible.

                    2. re: MrsDRock
                      westsidegal Oct 22, 2011 11:58 AM

                      the appeal of scoops is, in fact, their flavors.

                      also, on another issue, unless one of you went to UCLA and has a nostalgic feeling about Diddy Reise cookies, i'd skip them too. They are just very sugary cookies made from commercial ingredients that UCLA students learn to love because they are so cheap. For an adult who has not had that experience as a student, and who HAS had the experience of eating cookies made with real butter that are not overwhelmed by artificial flavor and unbelievable amounts of sugar, they are not so special. . . . .
                      i'm sure that you could find many cookies in Ohio that are superior to those sold at Diddy Riese.

                      if you are going to pursue "Cheap Thrill" eating experiences in LA, i'd rather you go to any of the good Mexican/Central American eateries than waste time on those cookies.

                      (i'm now about to be murdered by every UCLA grad on this board for my blasphemy)

                      1. re: westsidegal
                        m
                        MrsDRock Oct 22, 2011 12:05 PM

                        Thanks for the honest feedback. Looks like we're skipping this.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          J.L. Oct 22, 2011 05:27 PM

                          Here is a random sampling of some recent flavors spotted at Scoops (Heliotrope location). The offerings at Westside Sccops is a bit more sparse:

                          Cherry + Kasteel beer (Belgium)
                          Yuzu + Coconut + Pineapple
                          Earl gray tea
                          Durian
                          White chocolate + Peanut butter
                          Hemp (yes, hemp)

                          You can decide if Scoops is worth a taste...

                          As for the infidel blasphemer (yes, that's you westsidegal), watch your back... hehehe :-) Yeah, I suppose Diddy Riese is a purely sentimental favorite these days...

                          1. re: westsidegal
                            f
                            frannieface77 Oct 24, 2011 12:19 AM

                            Hey, I go to UCLA and I agree with you perfectly! Not gonna lie, I do like a Diddy Riese cookie, but they aren't worth going out of your way for- overly sweet and commercial, I agree. When they're around, I crave them, otherwise, I can make better myself. So you aren't blaspheming, and I won't murder you. :)

                            1. re: frannieface77
                              m
                              MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 03:19 AM

                              Great- thanks for replying. One less choice from a list of many!

                              1. re: MrsDRock
                                a
                                AAQjr Oct 24, 2011 02:43 PM

                                Just to be a contrarian, I'd take diddy reese over scoops any day! Their admittedly interesting and well done flavor combinations don't make up for the icy ice cream base IMO.

                                Actually I'd go for the foie gras and hazelnut ice cream sandwich at Father's Office or some Sweet Rose Creamery instead. YMMV.

                                -----
                                Father's Office
                                1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

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

                                1. re: AAQjr
                                  m
                                  MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 04:41 PM

                                  ... You had me at hazelnut ice cream sandwiches. Oh yum.

                                  1. re: MrsDRock
                                    b
                                    bulavinaka Oct 24, 2011 05:01 PM

                                    Don't forget to add, "foie gras" into that flavor of ice cream...

                                    1. re: bulavinaka
                                      m
                                      MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 05:16 PM

                                      Oops, forgot to include. Have you tried it? If so, how is it?

                                      1. re: MrsDRock
                                        b
                                        bulavinaka Oct 24, 2011 05:23 PM

                                        No I haven't - I draw the line at meats in my ice cream. :)

                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                          m
                                          MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 05:28 PM

                                          LOL. I'm going to have to try it. I'll report back with my thoughts in my blog. I previously posted that I have a food blog, but I think I'm going to post the food pictures and thoughts on my travel blog.

                                          I have a feeling I'm going to eat even when I'm not hungry b/c there are just so many places to choose from. Sigh. It's a good thing I'm working out this week!

                                          1. re: MrsDRock
                                            wienermobile Oct 24, 2011 06:06 PM

                                            If you are looking for ice cream sandwiches Coolhaus is opening their first build your own ice cream sandwitch store (at the moment they are only a food truck) in Culver City on Nov. 1st. Take a look at these flavors including their BROWN BUTTER W/CANDIED BACON, BUTTERSCOTCH W/ ROSEMARY, PISTACHIO TRUFFLE and NUTELLA TOASTED ALMOND plus dozens of others at their link:
                                            http://eatcoolhaus.com/los-angeles/pr...

                                            Coolhaus
                                            8588 Washington Blvd.
                                            Culver City. Ca. 90232

                                            1. re: wienermobile
                                              westsidegal Oct 24, 2011 06:21 PM

                                              i just looked at the link you posted.
                                              i will definitely be going there.
                                              if it were open now, i'd already been en route.

                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                wienermobile Oct 24, 2011 06:23 PM

                                                I'll be right behind you.

                                                1. re: wienermobile
                                                  m
                                                  MrsDRock Oct 25, 2011 03:30 AM

                                                  Added to list, thanks!

                        2. re: westsidegal
                          Mr Taster Oct 24, 2011 10:56 PM

                          We LA Chowhounds would be remiss to not mention that the Pink's line can easily be avoided at off-meal weekdays. Say, 3:30 on a Tuesday.

                          It's worth stopping for a hot dog if there's hardly anyone at the counter, although I'd avoid getting in line if there are more than 5 people ahead of you, as the lines move unbearably slow.

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster
                            wienermobile Oct 24, 2011 11:03 PM

                            No lines ever at the Pink's in LAX on the second floor of the Tom Bradley International Terminal. You don't even have to go threw security for a chili dog.

                            1. re: wienermobile
                              m
                              MrsDRock Oct 25, 2011 03:30 AM

                              So why is PInk's such an LA institution? Are the hot dogs there unique? Are they even good?

                              1. re: MrsDRock
                                wienermobile Oct 25, 2011 08:45 AM

                                In the past few years Pink's has become a major tourist attraction because of The Food Network and the web. I like their dogs but definitely not worth the over hour line (and some times longer) and that line moves very very slowly. Carney's on Sunset Blvd. in the train car is much better if your are just craving a darn good chili dog.

                                Now Ricky's Fish Tacos in my opinion is worth it's line.
                                http://twitter.com/#!/rickysfishtacos

                                -----
                                Pink's
                                709 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                                Carney's Restaurant
                                8351 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                Ricky's Fish Tacos
                                1400 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                1. re: wienermobile
                                  m
                                  MrsDRock Oct 25, 2011 09:06 AM

                                  Got it- thanks for the clarification.

                                  1. re: wienermobile
                                    Mr Taster Oct 25, 2011 10:12 AM

                                    Totally concur re Pinks. While their hot dogs do not approach the greatness of a griddled Nathan's dog from Coney Island, they're really fine with the snappy skin. It's a proper hot dog. The problem is really the line and the horribly inefficient way they fill orders. As a result it's become quite fashionable over the years to bash Pink's, which is not entirely fair. Their hot dogs are fine. It's the line that's the problem. But as I outlined above, there's a ridiculously simple way around this problem.

                                    As for Ricky's, my one and only visit to his stand was not up to snuff. What I'm looking for in a fish taco is an intense CRUNCH that holds up to the wet salsa and crema, and a well-flavored batter (great fish tacos in Ensenada meet these criteria). Ricky's tacos came up a distinct 3 out of 5 in each of these categories, and I left feeling quite disappointed.

                                    I'd like to give Ricky's a second shot, but the problem (once again) is the line. Do I really want to spend another 30 minutes waiting in line for a taco which has already disappointed me once before? Not really.

                                    Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada has consistently excellent fish tacos, with a well flavored batter and a CRUNCH that holds up over several minutes (not that my tacos tend to last that long). They fry them to order and then you top them yourself, just like at the stands in Ensenada (this is a missing element in most fish taco stands in LA). It's by far the closest experience to actually being in Ensenada that I've experienced in LA.

                                    I've been to the Los Feliz location several times and it's been consistently good. Didn't know until just now that he'd branched out to Boyle Heights and Glendale(!?)

                                    http://www.bestfishtacoinensenada.com...

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                      n
                                      ns1 Oct 25, 2011 10:20 AM

                                      MrT- I've been to BFTiE and RFT dozens upon dozens of times each, and RFT is usually crunchier than BFTiE. You went on an off day, plain and simple. I hate waiting that line too, so you gotta time your visit to be at the beginning or tail end of the lunch rush...

                                      I understand that first impressions mean everything, but for chowhound faves I ALWAYS give them at least 2 shots in case I went on an off day. I didn't write off Pillippes or Pinks until the second visit ;)

                                      1. re: ns1
                                        Mr Taster Oct 25, 2011 10:28 AM

                                        So if I give him another shot, what time specifically do you recommend? Do people begin queuing up even before his cart shows up? Basically, if you could outline "A Beginners Guide to Not Waiting for Ricky's Fish Tacos" I (and I'm sure many others) would greatly appreciate it. I was under the impression that he's open such limited hours that it simply wasn't possible to easily get a taco-- that once the twitter feed goes out, the lines are out there even before he shows up. Please prove me wrong.

                                        Mr Taster

                                        -----
                                        Ricky's Fish Tacos
                                        1400 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                          n
                                          ns1 Oct 25, 2011 10:34 AM

                                          Weekdays 1-130 is the best time because you want to avoid the 12pm Kaiser rush.

                                          Weekends are a crapshoot.

                                          I go to RFT during my lunchbreak from Burbank and it's about ~75 minutes round trip - 20 minutes each way and 35 minutes to eat.

                                          I personally feel like the hype for RFT has died down quite a bit.

                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                            Mr Taster Oct 25, 2011 10:35 AM

                                            And here's my original account of my RFT experience, with commentary from streetgourmetla...

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6766...

                                            Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                              n
                                              ns1 Oct 25, 2011 10:41 AM

                                              Which location was this btw? Virgil?

                                              In my dozens of visits to RFT I've had a handful like yours (can't always bat 1.00)

                                              1. re: ns1
                                                Mr Taster Oct 25, 2011 10:57 AM

                                                It was at Sunset Junction. Around the corner from Intelligentsia, if I recall correctly.

                                                I did a search and found yet another post where you offering me similar advice to give Ricky another shot...

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7504...

                                                Is he still open on Fridays?

                                                Mr Taster

                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                  n
                                                  ns1 Oct 25, 2011 11:02 AM

                                                  I personally believe that his batter formula changed when he moved from Sunset to Virgil, and when I asked him he said he used basa. I remember Sunset being a more straight up batter, whereas Virgil has a more heavily spiced batter.

                                                  His "normal" hours are Wed - Sun during lunch.

                                                  Now, I understand different strokes for different folks blah blah blah, but I think as a hound you're doing yourself a disservice by giving him a one and out. Two and out, I completely understand.

                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                    Mr Taster Oct 25, 2011 11:35 AM

                                                    Fair enough. I think enough time has gone by that I can muster another potential wait in line :)

                                                    Mr Taster

                            2. re: J.L.
                              ipsedixit Oct 22, 2011 12:59 PM

                              Let me just build on what J.L. said and add a few comments of my own based on the OP's list.

                              Skip Orochan.

                              Instead of Sprinkles or even Bear Papa's go to Fugetsu-Do for mochi. http://www.fugetsu-do.com/

                              I would nix Rustic Canyon from your list.

                              I would consider Saddle Peak Lodge. Great food, beautiful setting, esp. this time of the year.

                              For ice cream, in addition to Scoops, I would consider Bulgarini or Mother Moo.

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

                              Fugetsu-Do
                              315 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                              Mother Moo
                              17 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre, CA

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                m
                                MrsDRock Oct 22, 2011 01:03 PM

                                Thanks...

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  wienermobile Oct 22, 2011 04:09 PM

                                  My favorite ice cream in Los Angeles is Sweet Rose Creamery in Brentwood (near Santa Monica). Wonderful house made seasonal flavors like Caramel Apple Ripple with Granola .
                                  http://www.sweetrosecreamery.com/

                                  If your are in the Malibu area Grom has great gelato and it's the same Grom as in Florence Italy. Flavor of the month is Dark Chocolate with candied orange peels.
                                  http://www.grom.it/eng/gusti_mese.php

                                  +1 for the one of a kind rustic setting of Saddle Peak Lodge and their great game meats.

                                  .....and ipsedixit why the nix for Rustic Canyon? It 's one of my favorites.

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

                                  Grom Gelateria
                                  3886 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

                                  1. re: wienermobile
                                    ipsedixit Oct 22, 2011 08:32 PM

                                    RE: Rustic Canyon.

                                    Mediocre food, overpriced, loud room.

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      wienermobile Oct 22, 2011 08:45 PM

                                      I do agree about the loud room.

                                      1. re: wienermobile
                                        ipsedixit Oct 22, 2011 08:54 PM

                                        And it's not a place that's unique to LA, or certainly shouldn't be on a list for a first-time visitor.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                    c
                                    crystaw Oct 23, 2011 09:48 AM

                                    You may want to check out Mother Moo, Carmela (another artisanal ice cream shop), or Bulgarini the day you have lunch at Sea Harbor. Mother Moo and Carmela get compared to each other, but I think you would be more comfortable at Mother Moo since they have places to sit and easier parking (also unlike Carmela, they accept credit cards). Plus, it's in the teeny town of Sierra Madre-a town I find rather charming. If you do go to Scoops-do try the brown bread flavor!
                                    Since you mentioned that you'd like to try some bakeries, maybe you could check out some Chinese bakeries like JJ Bakery, Cloverleaf, or Cathy's Bakery since there are quite a few that aren't too far from Sea Harbor. I don't know much about Cincinnati but I thought these sort of bakeries might be scarce there!

                                    -----
                                    Cathy's Bakery
                                    708 E Las Tunas Dr, C San Gabriel, CA

                                    Mother Moo
                                    17 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre, CA

                                    1. re: crystaw
                                      b
                                      bulavinaka Oct 23, 2011 10:01 AM

                                      Hi crystaw, I'd appreciate more info on Mother Moo, Carmela, Cloverleaf and Cathy's Bakery. I find myself in the SGV quite often and would like to add these to my somewhat habitual rotation - TIA.

                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                        c
                                        crystaw Oct 25, 2011 11:07 AM

                                        Here are the websites for Mother Moo and Carmela:
                                        http://www.mothermoo.com/
                                        http://www.carmelaicecream.com/
                                        I believe you can also get Carmela at the South Pasadena Farmers Market on Thursday.

                                        Cathy's Bakery is in San Gabriel and they also have a branch called Ellie's Bakery in the Arcadia Supermarket Plaza. It used to be where we would go for Chinese pastries and bread when I was younger before there were so many Chinese bakery options! My mom and her friends like their cakes with puff pastry layers (and one with pudding, taro, AND puff pastry layers). I'm not a fan of puff pastry or taro so I can't vouch for those! Cloverleaf is in Temple City on Las Tunas-I've never been into the store itself but have heard that their bread is comparable to 85 degrees. I had this many layer cake from there that was very tasty!

                                        -----
                                        Cathy's Bakery
                                        708 E Las Tunas Dr, C San Gabriel, CA

                                        Mother Moo
                                        17 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre, CA

                                        1. re: crystaw
                                          n
                                          ns1 Oct 25, 2011 11:08 AM

                                          You can get Carmela @ domaine547 wineshop

                                          http://domaine547.com/

                                          1. re: crystaw
                                            Peripatetic Oct 25, 2011 12:01 PM

                                            > I believe you can also get Carmela at the South Pasadena Farmers
                                            > Market on Thursday.

                                            They're also at the Hollywood Farmers Market.

                                    2. re: J.L.
                                      scottca075 Oct 23, 2011 09:14 AM

                                      I agree with a lot of JL's choices, but I am not a fan of Gjelina or Father's Office for similar reasons.

                                      Gjelina, while it has some good food the "no changes" policy is the tip of the ice berg on what I think is a bad attitude at the restaurant. I don't like waiting 30 minutes when I have a reservation. When I get there at 5:55PM for a 6:00 reservation, I shouldn't be seated at 6:25PM. When I make the reservation, tell me nothing is available and tell me to come at 6:30, I could live with that.

                                      Father's Office is the same thing, it is like a SNL skit, "no hamburger, cheeseburger". 'Sorry if you are lactose intolerant or hate blue cheese, we are putting it on your burger anyway'. L.A. has too many good burger places to tolerate that. I'd sub in Mo's in Toluca Lake for a burger and head to Porto's for dessert.

                                      I also think Melisse Restaurant should be under consideration as well, probably over Spago, but maybe because I am just Spago'd out.

                                      1. re: scottca075
                                        Peripatetic Oct 23, 2011 09:27 AM

                                        Disagree about Father's Office. I won't attempt to rehash the longstanding debate here, but suffice it to say it's a polarizing institution. Personally, I love their burgers, the beer selection is great, and the atmosphere at the Culver City location is great (particularly if the OP is coming from a colder climate). The OP will be staying in Culver City, so I think she might want want to give it some serious consideration.

                                        Edit: saw that the OP mentioned that they don't drink, so that probably lessens the appeal of Father's Office.

                                    3. c
                                      coffeebrownies Oct 22, 2011 11:28 AM

                                      Where is your husband's conference, and where are you from? These 2 pieces of information would help to set up your tour. Some places, like Portos will be difficult to navigate on a lunch hour unless his conference is somewhere like Universal City (in which case some of these other selections are impractical). And, if you are from Miami, it wouldn't be worth your while to seek out Cuban food (Portos), while, if you are from the Northeast, you will think that the Godmother at Bay Cities is just a fairly good sub, etc. Thai food and Korean food in LA are extraordinary and not easy to find in many other cities....

                                      20 Replies
                                      1. re: coffeebrownies
                                        m
                                        MrsDRock Oct 22, 2011 11:41 AM

                                        Our hotel and husband's conference is in Culver City. I plan on dropping him off in the morning and then exploring LA area. I know he'd like me to meet him for lunch, but I feel like I'll be battling LA traffic to get to him from where I'm planning to explore (mostly downtown LA area).

                                        We're from Cincinnati OH and good ethnic cuisine is hard to come by.

                                        1. re: MrsDRock
                                          westsidegal Oct 22, 2011 01:49 PM

                                          if you want to try a good japanese restaurant that also has a good sushi bar, located in Culver City, open for both lunch and dinner (but not continuously open between lunch and dinner), very broad menu,
                                          try K-Zo on Culver Blvd.
                                          self parking in the parking structure that also houses Trader Joes

                                          -----
                                          K-Zo
                                          9240 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

                                          1. re: MrsDRock
                                            c
                                            coffeebrownies Oct 22, 2011 05:44 PM

                                            Well, I travel a lot and I would say that, IMO the things that are unequalled in the northeast are our thai food and our regional Mexican food. Also, for ice cream, youi might want to go to Saffron and Rose in Westwood--Persian style ice cream and they are very generous with offering samples, so by the time you are done ordering, you could have tasted every flavor. You might find yourself nearby if you are visiting the Hammer museum or enroute back from the Getty or from Santa Monica.

                                            1. re: coffeebrownies
                                              m
                                              MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 05:07 PM

                                              What is "Persian-style ice cream"? Just noticed this when I was re-reading my post...

                                              1. re: MrsDRock
                                                b
                                                bulavinaka Oct 24, 2011 05:21 PM

                                                Rosewater and/or saffron are the two most notable flavorings in Persian ice cream/ice treats. Pieces of clotted cream might be found in some of the ice creams as well - you might mistake them for "defects" in the churning process. Many potential eaters might balk at rosewater - eating flavors that might remind them of perfume or flowery scents might be a turn-off, but the rosewater (and saffron for that matter) play well against the ice cream base. Other flavors like cucumber, cantaloupe, orange blossom and pistachio are common as well.

                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                  m
                                                  MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 05:29 PM

                                                  Got it, thanks for the clarification. I'm not a fan or rose water.... but I will try it out if I get a free day (have already Scoops and Sweet Rose Creamery lined up in my agenda).

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

                                                  1. re: MrsDRock
                                                    J.L. Oct 24, 2011 09:51 PM

                                                    Actually, there is a Chow-worthy stop (5-10 minutes of your time only) in Westwood, at Persian Ice Cream, near the corner of Westwood & Wilkins.

                                                    The reason: Cucumber ice cream!!! It is just fantastic.

                                                    Yes, their rosewater ice cream ia great too, but since you're not a fan...

                                            2. re: MrsDRock
                                              b
                                              bulavinaka Oct 22, 2011 05:51 PM

                                              Since you'll be based in Culver City, the best "ramen for lunch" experience would be at Santouka. They're located in a food court that is attached to the Mitsuwa Japanese grocery store, which is located at Centinela and Venice Blvds in the Mar Vista area (adjacent to Culver City). For another great ramen option that is in Culver City, Ramen Yamadaya is on Washington Blvd, just east of Sepulveda. While Santouka is more "tenured" in the area, Yamadaya is worthy as well.

                                              Another option would be to go to the South Bay for more ramen options, but the two already mentioned would be included - Santouka and Yamadaya are in Torrance as well. The other two that I think worth visiting are Asa Ramen on Western Ave in Gardena, and Mottainai on Redondo Beach Blvd, also in Gardena. Since it appears that you have a sweet tooth as well, you could hit up Bonjour French Pastries in the same shopping center as Asa (great cream puffs/Japanese/French yummies), or head to Patisserie Chantilly in Lomita (IMHO better than Bonjour - black sesame cream filled puffs but further drive). If you go to the Santouka in Torrance (also located in a food court adjacent to the Mitsuwa in Torrance), you could also go to the newly constructed J Sweets, a collection of premium Japanese confections. It's a rarity even in LA to see so many premium offerings from Japan like this. Just their collection of mochi creams alone is amazing.

                                              Another dinner option you may want to consider is n/naka. While I have yet to go, veteran poster J.L. (who has already given you some great recs) has recently been and has posted on his experience there:

                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/801429

                                              I think given that they are relatively close to Culver City, that they will offer a very unique dining experience for you (any Kaiseki in your home town?), and you can hit Scoops Westside afterwards (if you still have room), n/naka is a worthy candidate for a nice dinner consideration.

                                              http://www.n-naka.com/

                                              First Fridays on Abbot Kinney is a zoo. Parking is difficult on a good day in this area. Please factor this into your visit here (factor in additional time for finding parking or consider other travel options), as well as to Gjelina, as it is also on Abbot Kinney. And Gjelina does do brunch on the weekends (open at 9AM and parking is wide open on Abbot Kinney at that time, as is Gjelina's seating). They also have GTA (Gjelina Take Away) right next door - you can hit them up from breakfast to supper, so consider dropping by there either during your First Friday visit and/or as a more casual and brief option to Gjelina if necessary. Add in another great dinner option that is in this area - The Tasting Kitchen.

                                              http://www.thetastingkitchen.com/

                                              Porto's has a great quality/price ratio, but IMHO is not worth visiting from Culver City unless you tie in something else with it (maybe Mantee in Studio City area?). Glendale and Burbank are long hauls considering you'd be visiting just one place. While Cuban-style pastries are hard to come by in the general LA area, I personally feel it's not worth the effort in this case. What Cuban is to south Florida, most other cuisines are to LA - but not Cuban. Maybe a "bakery crawl" (or bakery schlep) in this general area would be an alternative: Porto's in Glendale, Euro Pane (the original location at 950 E. Colorado in Pasadena - egg salad sandwich for lunch), and maybe JJ Bakery in Arcadia (located adjacent to Din Tai Fung for elementary xiao long bao experience, but that changes the dynamics again).

                                              Sea Harbour for dim sum is worth the effort IMHO. Personally, I'd shoot for "brunch" instead of lunch - you are going on the weekend, right? if you leave from Culver City by 0915, the drive will be about 35-40 minutes. The drive time will exponentially increase about every 15 minutes later. They open at 10AM, and by 11AM (if you make it by then - traffic), you will have a line to wait in. The wait time will be erratic since I'm guessing it will be a party of two. You may be seated immediately, or have to wait who knows how long. We always show up either before 10AM, or slightly after that, and are immediately seated. The format for dim sum there is going over a pix-included menu and checking off what items you wish to order on a list - no carts. The waitresses will occasionally drop by with trays of appetizing items that may or may not be on the menu - don't feel compelled either way. And don't feel compelled to order everything you want at one fell swoop. Otherwise, everything will come out - in random order - and you might be overwhelmed. If you want to go earlier than 10AM for breakfast instead, consider Elite in Monterey Park - they are in a virtual tie with Sea Harbour for dim sum favorites on this board (I'm in the Sea Harbour camp), they open at 9AM and they are about 10 minutes closer from your Culver City (same ordering format, dining area is less preferable to Sea Harbour IMHO).

                                              Langer's is a must if you appreciate great pastrami or great sandwiches. Langer's is located directly adjacent to Downtown LA - so is Phillipe's. I don' t know if you plan to make repeat trips to the general area, but traffic is everything in LA, and I can't see eating both Langer's and Phillipe's on the same day. If that's the case, go to Langer's. Some may argue it's apples and oranges. If so, I'd say Langer's is a very special apple, while Phillipe's is an orange from the discount bin. Langer's is in a neighborhood that's a little rough around the edges, but I'd walk barefoot over a mile of broken beer bottles for their pastrami. :

                                              )

                                              I don't know the status of ice cream in Cincinnati, but it's quite diverse in LA. I don't know if any are the best in the region, country or world, but they are good. There's Persian ice cream (Super Sun and Saffron and Rose - both on Westwood blvd; and Mashti Malone's on La Brea); Sweet Rose Creamery (traditional in feel but exceptional in taste/quality/flavors) in Brentwood/Santa Monica; and Scoops/Scoops Westside (very unique flavor/flavor combos). These are within a reasonable distance from Culver City. Mashti and the original Scoops would be pushing it in terms of drive effort and time, but Scoops would be within range if you do Park's, and Mashti if you do one of the Mozzas. While going to Malibu for gelato is too far to go IMHO, you would probably appreciate a nice drive up to the coast and maybe a visit to the beach as well - this would be a great excuse to go to Grom.

                                              Father's Office would be a better dining experience IMHO compared to Umami, but since you don't drink alcohol, and FO is technically a bar, you may find Umami a better choice. FO has their own set of rules that may or may not be off-putting, and both places do get quite crowded - go to the location at the Helms Building if you do go. It's much closer (literally on the border of Culver City and Palms), it's not as impacted, and the outdoor patio area worthy on a nice evening. Great beers on tap, but that will be a non-consideration for you folks.

                                              In a similar breath, A-Frame is also a bar, with great beers, and the food is very interesting and unique as well. My favorite seat would be the outdoor patio tables. You're from Cincinnati, so freezing to me will be cool or just right to you - but if you go in the evening, and you sit outside, there's a firepit, heaters, and they will offer you comforters as well - we Westsiders are allergic to any temps below 60 (frozen solid) or above 80 (I'm melting... melting). :) Also on Washington, right across the small side street (Wasatch Ave) is Waterloo and City. Nice place to have various charcuterie - offal made not awful - seriously.

                                              One more place to consider for dinner (nice or otherwise) is Picca on Pico in West LA. Peruvian small plates - also consider the sous vide ribeye if offered.

                                              -----
                                              Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                              1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                              Patisserie Chantilly
                                              2383 Lomita Blvd., #104, Lomita, CA 90717

                                              Father's Office
                                              1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                              Santouka
                                              3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                              Bonjour Cafe
                                              24633 Del, Prado Dana Point, CA

                                              Centinela Cafe
                                              4800 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                              Mantee
                                              10962 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                              Asa Ramen
                                              18202 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90248

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

                                              Waterloo and City
                                              12517 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90066

                                              Ramen Yamadaya
                                              3118 W 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504

                                              Scoops Westside
                                              10640 Woodbine St, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                              Tasting Kitchen
                                              1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

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

                                              Gjelina
                                              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                              n/naka
                                              3455 S. Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                westsidegal Oct 22, 2011 11:03 PM

                                                completely agree with bulavinaka re: portos.
                                                imho, it is not "drive-worthy"
                                                the prices are low, and the pastries look pretty, but the taste imho is not worth driving for. . .

                                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                                  m
                                                  MrsDRock Oct 23, 2011 03:34 AM

                                                  WOW, thank you so much for your detailed review! This has been truly helpful.

                                                  1. re: MrsDRock
                                                    b
                                                    bulavinaka Oct 23, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                    My pleasure. I think I can speak for all in that I hope you can report back to this thread on your trip. It's always nice to hear a visitor's perspective not only on our local food but on our recs as well. You mentioned below that you have a blog, as do many Hounds. You can either copy and past your blog post to here and/or link your blog site's post as well... Thanks!

                                                2. re: MrsDRock
                                                  z
                                                  ZoeZ Oct 26, 2011 10:56 AM

                                                  Great hole in the wall Indian food with Kerala specialities and wonderful spongy injera like bread. Absolutely delicious food in an unexpected location at Motor and Venice. A real find for an ethnic surprise.

                                                  1. re: MrsDRock
                                                    l
                                                    L.A. Jay Oct 26, 2011 09:24 PM

                                                    When exploring downtown, check out Grand Central Market. You'll have your choice of a number of great places to eat, but my fave is Sarita's for El Salvadorean food (namely, Pupusas). Never been to OH, but I'm guessing you don't have too many El Salvadorean restaurants there.

                                                    I think Porto's is worth the 20 mile drive from Culver City. You can mix in some shopping at the Americana. Your husband will be so thankful for the buttery and crazy-flakey pasteries you bring him (my faves are the cheese rolls, pear danish and scone). They have awesome savory items, as well. Their cuban sandwiches are great but the potato balls and croquettas as the stars of that show.

                                                    -----
                                                    Grand Central Market
                                                    317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                                                    1. re: L.A. Jay
                                                      m
                                                      MrsDRock Oct 27, 2011 01:28 AM

                                                      Thanks to both. We are making the trip to Porto's.

                                                      1. re: MrsDRock
                                                        Peripatetic Oct 27, 2011 07:52 AM

                                                        I'm among the dissenters about Portos. It's good for the area(s), but I'd be disappointed if I made a special trip.

                                                        1. re: Peripatetic
                                                          n
                                                          ns1 Oct 27, 2011 09:20 AM

                                                          I go to Porto's weekly and I'm with Peripatetic - killer bakery if you're in the area, but 20 mile detour just for Porto's = no.

                                                          Porto's is a worthy stop if you're in Burbank for whatever reason (WB studio tour, Conan, etc)

                                                          1. re: ns1
                                                            m
                                                            MrsDRock Oct 27, 2011 09:40 AM

                                                            We will be at the WB Tour so that's when we plan to go to Porto's (for lunch).

                                                            1. re: MrsDRock
                                                              n
                                                              ns1 Oct 27, 2011 09:43 AM

                                                              Excellent call!

                                                              Medianoche, some cheeserolls, meat pie..

                                                              desserts I'm particular to the parisian and the carrot cake...and Porto's make the best versions I know.

                                                              1. re: ns1
                                                                Peripatetic Oct 27, 2011 04:45 PM

                                                                I do like their medianoche, even if it's a shadow of the ones I've had in NYC (and of course Miami).

                                                                Agree with ns1 -- it's one of the best options in the vicinity of WB studios.

                                                  2. re: coffeebrownies
                                                    m
                                                    maudies5 Oct 22, 2011 11:42 AM

                                                    Suggest skipping Diddy Reise cookies. They are not all that special and surely not worth a trip to Westwood.

                                                  3. n
                                                    New Trial Oct 22, 2011 12:40 PM

                                                    While I love the food at Animal, and you should definitely try it, "nice" it is not--more scruffy (but in a good way). Providence and Spago are great "nice" choices, though Melisse and Osteria Mozza are also worth considering. For casual, from your list, my recommendations would be Langer's, Pizzeria Mozza, Father's Office, Porto's (I like the cubano sandwich), Bay Cities, Wood Spoon, Gjelina, Park's and A Frame. I concur with J.L.'s suggested eliminations and replacements but also offer as equally worthy alternatives Yamadaya for ramen (just opened a branch in Culver City where you are staying [Washington Blvd. East of Sepulveda]] and easier seating than Santouka) and Elite for dim sum. A few "new" casual additions to consider: Monte Alban (Oaxacan food), Waterloo & City (gastropub in Culver City), Spice Table (Southeast Asian) or Lukshon (pan-Asian). For bakery items, add Huckleberry and Bouchon Bakery to the list.

                                                    -----
                                                    Father's Office
                                                    1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                    Pizzeria Mozza
                                                    6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                                                    Spago
                                                    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                    Monte Alban
                                                    11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                    Elite Restaurant
                                                    700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                                                    Wood Spoon
                                                    107 W Ninth St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

                                                    Santouka
                                                    3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

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

                                                    Wood Spoon
                                                    107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                    Huckleberry Cafe
                                                    1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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

                                                    Osteria Mozza
                                                    6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                    Waterloo and City
                                                    12517 W Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90066

                                                    Lukshon
                                                    3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034

                                                    The Spice Table
                                                    114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

                                                    Gjelina
                                                    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                    Bouchon
                                                    235 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: New Trial
                                                      m
                                                      maudies5 Oct 22, 2011 06:23 PM

                                                      Lucques should be on the list. It is a great restaurant with a legendary chef at the helm.

                                                      -----
                                                      Lucques
                                                      8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                                                    2. c
                                                      chezwhitey Oct 22, 2011 11:25 PM

                                                      I'm going to guess you guys haven't tried Peruvian food? If not, check out Mo Chica, that's definitely worth your time. You can thank me later.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: chezwhitey
                                                        m
                                                        MrsDRock Oct 23, 2011 03:35 AM

                                                        Thank you, everyone, for all your help. This has been incredibly helpful narrowing down my options. I will definitely be blogging about my experience in my food blog. Thanks again :)

                                                      2. m
                                                        maudies5 Oct 23, 2011 12:26 PM

                                                        Suggest adding WP24 to your list. Downtown Los Angeles on the 24th floor of Ritz Carlton. Spectacular views. Go for cocktails and appetizers. Really special.

                                                        -----
                                                        WP24
                                                        900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: maudies5
                                                          J.L. Oct 23, 2011 06:47 PM

                                                          But for goodness' sake, DON'T step foot into the dining room and order their entrees!

                                                          1. re: J.L.
                                                            m
                                                            maudies5 Oct 23, 2011 07:56 PM

                                                            I thought that my post was clear. I suggested going for cocktails and appetizers and the view.

                                                            1. re: maudies5
                                                              westsidegal Oct 23, 2011 08:02 PM

                                                              you probably meant to go just for appetizers since here is part of the original post:
                                                              <<For what it's worth, we both do not drink>>

                                                              (don't know that i'd want to be hanging around cocktail lounges if i didn't drink, even if said lounge offered a great view)

                                                              that said, any idea of how much the parking would cost there? at the Ritz in MDR, even if you eat, and drink there, and have your parking ticket validated, you will still be paying a hefty amount for parking.

                                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                                m
                                                                MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 03:21 AM

                                                                Oh good point about parking.... I'll need to check into that.

                                                              2. re: maudies5
                                                                m
                                                                MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 03:20 AM

                                                                Does WP24 have happy hour (like Bar Bouchon)? Would I need to make a reservation or just go to the bar? I hesitate going to nice restaurants for appetizers b/c I feel as though the wait staff looks down on us since we both do not drink alcohol (H doesn't drink, I am allergic).

                                                                -----
                                                                WP24
                                                                900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                Bouchon
                                                                235 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                                1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                  m
                                                                  MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 11:57 AM

                                                                  I called both QP24 and Bar Bouchon.

                                                                  WP24- They have happy hour in the Lounge Mon-Sat from 5-7p, and will validate $10 per car for valet parking. They have a "small plates" for apps and entrees for $24pp.

                                                                  Bar Bouchon has happy hour from 4-7pm Mon-Fri in their Wine Bar. Parking underground is $6, and valet is $8.

                                                                  Of the 2, which would you pick to go to?

                                                                  -----
                                                                  WP24
                                                                  900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                  Bouchon
                                                                  235 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                                  1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                    m
                                                                    maudies5 Oct 24, 2011 12:09 PM

                                                                    If it is a clear night I would go downtown to WP24 as the view is so spectacular. If it is not clear, I don't see the point. I love Bar Bouchon. Food and service are great and it is a terrific people-watching spot.

                                                                    -----
                                                                    WP24
                                                                    900 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                    Bouchon
                                                                    235 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

                                                                    1. re: maudies5
                                                                      m
                                                                      MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 12:29 PM

                                                                      Thanks. Did have a question on WP restaurants. I know he has a few in Las Vegas. Are they the same quality, food menu as the one in LA? This is the one thing that's keeping me from going to a Puck restaurant in LA b/c I can go when I head to Vegas.

                                                              3. re: J.L.
                                                                J.L. Oct 23, 2011 11:00 PM

                                                                Sorry, just making sure the point was driven home...

                                                            2. f
                                                              foodiemahoodie Oct 24, 2011 01:25 AM

                                                              For your "nice" meals I'd go with the two best fine dining restaurants in L.A. - Melisse and Providence. I'd space them out (two many Michelin stars in a row can be a bit mind-boggling). Get the Carte Blanche menu at Melisse and the Chef's menu at Providence. Don't try to pick which restaurant you prefer - it's pretty overwhelming.

                                                              I'd skip Spago. It's very good, just not as interesting as Melisse and Providence. And the design of the room is kind of low-key-awful.

                                                              For fun there is plenty to choose from - Animal, Picca, Mozza Hosteria (this might be a "nice" place, and it's upscale and lively.)

                                                              A Frame is fun, pretty casual, no, make that very casual. Communal seating and not terribly comfortable. Open late though which is always a perk. The restaurant next door - Waterloo & City is better (and fair warning - generous portions). The chefs have a some serious culinary pedigree. It's a casual restaurant with some haute chops backing them up.

                                                              If you don't love pastrami I'd skip Langers. But if you do love pastrami, do not miss it.

                                                              Gjelina is fun all around - but I think Tasting Kitchen has better food. (and a little more formal).

                                                              If you want to see celebs - Giorgio's in Santa Monica Canyon (on West Channel) is probably your best chance. Madeo's (weeknights are better) is also good - excellent traditional Italian. I love the scene there. Older and younger Hollywood.

                                                              And no one has mentioned Urzawa. A little pricier than Melisse and Providence. I'm not going to say it's worth more (I don't), but it's an enourmously entertaining culinary experience.

                                                              .

                                                              -----
                                                              Spago
                                                              176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                              Madeo Restaurant
                                                              8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                              Tasting Kitchen
                                                              1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

                                                              Gjelina
                                                              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                              Picca
                                                              9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                                                m
                                                                MrsDRock Oct 24, 2011 03:26 AM

                                                                Thanks- I've been hearing great things about Melisse and Providence. Thanks for your suggestions... too many choices and not enough time!

                                                                1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                                                  Delucacheesemonger Oct 26, 2011 12:51 AM

                                                                  If you do Providence, and you should try to fit it in, the cheese course is obligatory.

                                                                2. Discokill Oct 24, 2011 07:14 PM

                                                                  Just chiming in to say that while a couple of people have mentioned it on the side, no one seems to highlight that the list is missing the thing LA does best - Mexican.

                                                                  A couple of near Culver City picks I'd recommend. Much more chowish folks than me can chime in with others:

                                                                  - Mariscos Chente is a major Chowhound fave and a quick drive from Culver. Check the 100+ or so posts on it but make sure you hit the right one. Westsidegal will be chiming in to point out the right one in about 5,4,3,2....
                                                                  - I love Taco's Leo for late night eats. It's a truck on the corner of La Brea and Venice, there about 8pm on on Fri, Sat and Sun.
                                                                  - Loteria at the Farmer's Market is a good standby as well.

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Mariscos Chente
                                                                  4532 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Discokill
                                                                    westsidegal Oct 24, 2011 08:43 PM

                                                                    the correct Mariscos Chente's is:

                                                                    310-672-2339
                                                                    3544 west imperial highway
                                                                    inglewood ca 90304

                                                                    this is a mexican SEAFOOD restaurant that cooks in the style of Nayarit and Sinaloa.
                                                                    they do not serve beans
                                                                    they don't have meat dishes on the menu.

                                                                    some of my favorites are:
                                                                    the Pescado Zarandeado
                                                                    (butterflied and barbequed snook--takes about 20 minutes to prepare)

                                                                    many of the camarones (shrimp) dishes--basically i like all the camarones dishes that aren't prepared with dairy (haven't even tried those because i've never liked that combo)

                                                                    mojarra frita ( a whole, scored, deep fried tilapia)

                                                                    all their ceviches

                                                                    if it's cold out, get some fish soup

                                                                    be aware that the shrimp arrive with their tails peeled, but with their heads on (unless you get the shrimp coctel, in which case the peeled and beheaded shrimp will be served in a shrimp broth).
                                                                    also the pescado zarandeado and the mojarra frita both are served with their heads on and bones in.

                                                                    this is a family owned restaurant that closes at 8 on weekdays.
                                                                    a paper napkin kind of place.

                                                                    their fish is beyond fantastic imho, but i admit to being a long-time regular,
                                                                    i've followed this chef around as he's rotated among the various restaurants that the family owns.
                                                                    Sergio, the chef, is the special ingredient. If you can't get to the location where he is cooking, it will not be as good.

                                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                                      m
                                                                      MrsDRock Oct 25, 2011 03:36 AM

                                                                      Thanks WSG! I put it on the list, great review

                                                                  2. b
                                                                    bg90027 Oct 25, 2011 02:31 PM

                                                                    You've received mostly very good recommendations so far.

                                                                    I'll second adding Mo Chica to your list of lunch stops. It's wonderful casual Peruvian in the Mercado La Paloma food court just south of downtown. As such, they close early so it is probably a lunch stop. Richard Zarate was named one of Food & Wine's best new chefs. Picca which someone else recommended is his other restaurant and is more fancy and more fusion/small plates as opposed to straight Peruvian. Go to Mo Chica and get some ceviche or taradito and perhaps either the oxtail risotto or the seco de cordero.

                                                                    I don't want to seriously dissuade you from Phillipes as it is an LA institution but they make a good not great sandwich. It's more notable for its history than it's food being really chowworthy. You can decide for yourself whether its some place you want to see/try, but it's not a place I'd put high on the list for the food. I feel somewhat the same about Langer's for the opposite reason. It's really good Pastrami but there is nothing quintessentially LA about it, and if you make trips to NY you can probably get a better deli experience on those trips. I'd substitute one of the mexican places others have recommended or maybe Guisado's for tacos made with stewed meats.

                                                                    I love Providence and would encourage you to eat there and get the tasting menu provided that spending most of the night in the restaurant is an experience you are up for. Sometimes when I travel, I'd just as soon order off a menu and get out in half the time and see/do other things. That doesn't seem to be your motif but worth considering. Along the same lines, if you are into adventurous menus, keep an eye on whether Laurent Quenioux is going to be doing a pop up restaurant at Starry Kitchen the week you are in town. He is an amazing chef and his tasting menus are incredibly creative and a bargain.

                                                                    Finally, I might think about replacing Woodspoon's chicken pot pie with the curry chicken pot pie at Good Girl Dinette, a casual Vietnamese/Diner fusion place in Highland Park, just north of downtown. I've never been to Woodspoon (it's on my own list) but I can't imagine that their chicken pot pie is better than the chicken curry pot pie. I can't go a month without craving it. Get their vietnamese coffee too. It's not open for lunch unfortunately except for fridays.

                                                                    I also love Scoops and thoroughly recommend their gelatos if you are nearby their eastside location. I've heard their west la is much smaller with less of selection. Don't go on Sunday though because they close early so they only make 1/2 as much.

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

                                                                    Good Girl Dinette
                                                                    110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                                    Starry Kitchen
                                                                    350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                                                                    Guisados
                                                                    2100 E. Cesar E Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90033

                                                                    Picca
                                                                    9575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

                                                                    21 Replies
                                                                    1. re: bg90027
                                                                      n
                                                                      ns1 Oct 25, 2011 02:58 PM

                                                                      "It's really good Pastrami but there is nothing quintessentially LA about it, and if you make trips to NY you can probably get a better deli experience on those trips"

                                                                      I went to NY and beg to differ.

                                                                      Langers > Katz ($40 detour just to check out Katz + Russ & Daughters, NOT including the cost of food)

                                                                      1. re: ns1
                                                                        b
                                                                        bg90027 Oct 25, 2011 03:39 PM

                                                                        I didn't think that most thought it was better than Katz's but I'll admit that I'm not a big pastrami fan and am completely unqualified to judge. Even if it was though, I'd recommend Mexican over it for someone visiting from east coast/midwest. I just can't imagine coming to LA and not having Mexican.

                                                                        1. re: bg90027
                                                                          n
                                                                          ns1 Oct 25, 2011 03:46 PM

                                                                          The pastrami was a crap shoot, they were both good, just depends what you're used to (or looking for)

                                                                          It's the actual sandwich where Katz fell apart. The bread was srsly terrible, and for this hound the #19 is perfect.

                                                                          1. re: ns1
                                                                            Mr Taster Oct 25, 2011 04:34 PM

                                                                            Having eaten both many times (and once having done a bi-coastal 24 hour comparison which was well documented elsewhere on Chowhound- search for Mr Taster AND pastrami and you'll find a cavalcade of posts) I can tell you that both are equally tender although the spice rub at Katz's slightly (SLIGHTLY) edges out Langer's. But Katz's uses rye from a plastic bag which doesn't compare with the much more freshly baked stuff from Langer's.

                                                                            So, Katz's for the meat itself, but Langer's for the whole sandwich. (Which is to say pastrami on rye with a little Gulden's), fries on the side. A little coleslaw. Done.

                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                              wienermobile Oct 25, 2011 04:43 PM

                                                                              You are truly my hero to have done Katz's and Langer's in one day.

                                                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                n
                                                                                ns1 Oct 25, 2011 05:03 PM

                                                                                I'd go back to Katz if I was in the area, just to see if I was "missing something", but I sure as hell won't make a detour for it again.

                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                  westsidegal Oct 26, 2011 09:13 PM

                                                                                  ha ha!
                                                                                  i once did a 24 hr bicoastal comparison between Nate 'n Als and Second Avenue deli.

                                                                                  great minds think alike! (also, at that time i was employed as a road warrior, so i was zig-zagging across the country on a regular basis),

                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                    Mr Taster Oct 26, 2011 09:58 PM

                                                                                    Are you just going to tease us, or do we get to hear the results?? :)

                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                      westsidegal Oct 27, 2011 05:13 PM

                                                                                      Nate 'n Al's won.
                                                                                      the combination of the bread being served correctly (slightly warmer than room temp, crispy crust, soft inside with the starch NOT set up), and the tenderness of the pastrami, the correct temperature of the pastrami (the pastrami at 2nd Avenue deli was served too cold), and the fact that the pastrami was less fatty than 2nd Avenue, gave the edge to Nate 'n Al's.

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster
                                                                                        westsidegal Oct 27, 2011 05:26 PM

                                                                                        Nate 'n Al's won.
                                                                                        the combination of the bread being served correctly (slightly warmer than room temp, slightly crispy crust, soft inside with the starch NOT set up), and the tenderness of the pastrami, the correct temperature of the pastrami (the pastrami at 2nd Avenue deli was served too cold), and the fact that the pastrami was less fatty than 2nd Avenue, gave the edge to Nate 'n Al's.

                                                                            2. re: bg90027
                                                                              Mr Taster Oct 25, 2011 03:25 PM

                                                                              OY

                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/799243

                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                              1. re: bg90027
                                                                                m
                                                                                MrsDRock Oct 25, 2011 05:43 PM

                                                                                Thanks for this detailed post. I have Mo-Chica planned for a weekday lunch and am excited to try it. Never tried Peruvian food- What makes it unique? Any order suggestions?

                                                                                I just went to NYC last year but I am really excited for some delicious pastrami. BTW- what is the different between pastrami and a corned beef sandwich?

                                                                                We're still on the fence about Providence. We love good food but we don't want to spend a whole night at a restaurant when we have such limited time (especially my H who only has a few hours each night), and he wants to do some sightseeing post-dinner.

                                                                                I've tried Vietnamese once (banh mi, to be exact) and I just couldn't stomach the sandiwch- but like I said before, it could have just been the place. I'm up for trying it again. So now, it's b/w Wood Spoon and Good Girl Dinette. HMMM.... What did you order at GGD that is so chow-worthy?

                                                                                You know what is so funny? I am constantly updating my custom LA Google Map and my LA Restaurant excel sheet (sorted out by day and by restaurant to try by meal). Now I need to go back and start reading about what I should order at all these restaurants you guys are recommending. Unless, you want to give me some of your top entrees/dessert choices... :)

                                                                                -----
                                                                                Wood Spoon
                                                                                107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                                                                                Good Girl Dinette
                                                                                110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                                                Mo-Chica
                                                                                3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                                                                1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                  c
                                                                                  crystaw Oct 25, 2011 05:52 PM

                                                                                  I like Good Girl Dinette, but it's more of a modern twist on Vietnamese food in case you're looking for something more traditional. You might want to check out some banh mi places when you're in the San Gabriel Valley. Our go to place is Banh Mi Che Cali in San Gabriel (on San Gabriel Blvd & Las Tunas Drive). These sandwiches are pretty inexpensive so even if it confirms that you are indeed not a fan of banh mi, at least you didn't have to pay much to figure that out!

                                                                                  -----
                                                                                  Good Girl Dinette
                                                                                  110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                                                  1. re: crystaw
                                                                                    m
                                                                                    MrsDRock Oct 25, 2011 06:01 PM

                                                                                    Great, thanks for the update. Have you eaten here (or were you the one who recommended me this to me)? Sorry if you are- I've read so many posts I forget who says what...

                                                                                    1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                      c
                                                                                      crystaw Oct 26, 2011 12:02 PM

                                                                                      I'm not the one who recommended Good Girl Dinette but I have eaten there and enjoyed it! The person who recommended this place raved about the curry chicken pot pie which I think is worth checking out.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Good Girl Dinette
                                                                                      110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                                                      1. re: crystaw
                                                                                        m
                                                                                        MrsDRock Oct 27, 2011 01:29 AM

                                                                                        OK. Yes, I put that down as a must-eat if I go to Good Girl Dinette.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Good Girl Dinette
                                                                                        110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                                                  2. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                    b
                                                                                    bg90027 Oct 25, 2011 06:12 PM

                                                                                    I'm not really a fan of Banh Mi sandwiches either. Good Girl Dinette is Vietnamese comfort food - a fusion of traditional vietnamese cooking with american diner food. I was really recommending it for their chicken pot pie which is a pot pie made with chicken in curry sauce and a thick biscuit crust. It is delicious.

                                                                                    This isn't my blog (I don't have one) but you can read more and see more details here:

                                                                                    http://eatingla.blogspot.com/2010/04/...

                                                                                    They also offer other things like Banh Mi and Pho which I would go somewhere more traditional for if you wanted to try those. I saw that you were planning to go to Woodspoon for their chicken pot pie and was just recommending this instead. The spicy fries are very good too though and I love their coffee. For the record, I've never tried Woodspoon's but I just love Good Girl Dinette and can't imagine that it would be as good.

                                                                                    I'd recommend that you get whatever the ceviche of the day is at Mo Chica and either the Oxtail Risotto or the Seco de Cordero which I believe is essentially braised lamb shank.

                                                                                    If you do the tasting menu at Providence, you are in for several hours. You don't have to do the tasting menu but I think most people do and it's what really makes Providence special imo.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Good Girl Dinette
                                                                                    110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                                                    1. re: bg90027
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      MrsDRock Oct 25, 2011 06:20 PM

                                                                                      Thanks for the detailed review and the blog. At Mo-Chica, I was planning to get the Aji De Gallina- have you ever tried it? It was listed as one of the "Best Foods I Ever Ate" on FN.

                                                                                      -----
                                                                                      Mo-Chica
                                                                                      3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

                                                                                      1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                        b
                                                                                        bg90027 Oct 26, 2011 08:45 AM

                                                                                        I have not had their aji de gallina but I have had aji de gallina in other good Peruvian restaurants and didn't care for it that much. It's basically just shredded chicken in a thick cheesey sauce that is rather bland by Peruvian standards. I've worked my way through the entire menu at a Peruvian restaurant that is closer to me than Mo Chica and the aji de gallina was my least favorite dish. Peru is known for their ceviches. I'd still recommend you get the ceviche of the day and one of the other dishes I recommended: either the oxtail risotto or the seco de cordero.

                                                                                      2. re: bg90027
                                                                                        b
                                                                                        bg90027 Oct 26, 2011 11:07 AM

                                                                                        I should re-emphasize that Good Girl Dinette is only open for lunch on Fridays. If you happen to be in the vicinity of downtown that day and were looking for a place to eat lunch and open to a detour a few miles north for lunch it would be a good option given that you seem to be a fan of chicken pot pie. There would be little other reason to visit Highland Park and it's not a quick stop though as it takes them 30 minutes to bake the pot pie after you order it. I wouldn't really recommend you go for dinner as getting through downtown at dinner time is difficult and there are lots of other options that would be easier.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Good Girl Dinette
                                                                                        110 North Avenue 56, Los Angeles, CA 90042

                                                                                        1. re: bg90027
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          MrsDRock Oct 27, 2011 01:33 AM

                                                                                          Oh good to know- I didn't think they were open to lunch on Fridays...

                                                                                  3. f
                                                                                    floppy fish Oct 25, 2011 09:02 PM

                                                                                    Mrs DR, there are a lot of great suggestions already mentioned, but I think what no one has said is how far away and how long you have to drive to get to all these places. LA is a big city with really bad traffic. A navigation system cannot tell you the real time it takes to get anywhere in this city, especially during rush hour. It sounds like you and your husband are on a very tight schedule most days. The idea that you would drive from Culver City to Langer's Deli to pick up a sandwich to go for your husband is absurd, it does not matter how good the pastrami is (it's awesome).
                                                                                    You are better off having lunch near your husbands conference place. Look for places around Culver City, there are already many great suggestions but I like Father's Office, Fraiche, Ramen Yamadaya, Lukshon (expensive), and Chego. But I don't think it will be good for you or your husband to have you waiting for him every day to have lunch together. I have been to conferences with my wife and honestly, it is much better if you have meals with the other attendees instead. You can smooze and network with other attendees during meals which is the whole point of conferences. It is going to sound really silly if you tell them every day that you would love to talk some more, but you have to run to meet your wife.
                                                                                    If you and your husband want to enjoy this trip, my suggestion is that you have a nice breakfast with your husband, drop him off, then go sightseeing. You can meet up with him for dinner. That way you will not be in a rush to get back to Culver City for lunch. Go to LACMA, have lunch at Farmer's Market (Loteria or that Brazilian place), and do some shopping. Check out the Getty Center and take some nice pictures of the hazy LA skyline, have lunch in the cafeteria. Go to 3rd Street Promenade, get a bite at Blue Plate Oysterette, and enjoy a walk on the beach.
                                                                                    For dinner, go with your husband and other attendees to some place close by like Fraiche.
                                                                                    Do you really want to drive 2 hours in LA rush hour to have dinner in the San Gabriel Valley? There are many interesting Middle Eastern, Thai, and other Asian restaurants close by. If you want to go to some place special, do it on Saturday when the traffic is more reasonable. Driving in LA is a nightmare and if you don't know where you are going it could be a disaster. If you are trying to go to Mo Chica and you take a wrong turn, watch out (even if you take the right turn, watch out). Stick to the places close by and convenient for you. Don't tell your husband that you have to go to Din Tai Fung in Arcadia because someone recommended it you. You will be just as happy enjoying a burger and cold beer at Father's Office.

                                                                                    -----
                                                                                    Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                                                                    1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                                                                    Father's Office
                                                                                    1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                    Fraiche
                                                                                    9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                                                                    Getty Center
                                                                                    1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                                                                    Blue Plate
                                                                                    1415 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                    Chego
                                                                                    3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                                                    Ramen Yamadaya
                                                                                    3118 W 182nd St, Torrance, CA 90504

                                                                                    Lukshon
                                                                                    3239 Helms Ave, Culver City, CA 90034

                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: floppy fish
                                                                                      westsidegal Oct 25, 2011 09:22 PM

                                                                                      second floppy fish's sentiments here.
                                                                                      the traffic in LA can be unbelievably bad and unbelievably unpredictable.
                                                                                      my drive from santa monica to westwood at the same time every day, normally takes under 20 minutes, but at times it takes an hour and twenty minutes for no discernible reason.

                                                                                      1. re: floppy fish
                                                                                        J.L. Oct 26, 2011 12:02 AM

                                                                                        Yes, some distances are quite considerable.

                                                                                        Although I have been known to drive from West LA to Glendora just for a Donut Man peach donut.

                                                                                        But then again, I live in L.A. and am usually not under any time constraints to chow as much as I can. Usually...

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Donut Man
                                                                                        915 E Rte 66, Glendora, CA 91740

                                                                                        1. re: floppy fish
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          MrsDRock Oct 26, 2011 02:21 AM

                                                                                          I had always heard LA's traffic is horrendous but I thought it was generally during rush hour from 4-7p. We're not positive we're going to do lunch every day (I mean, heck, I want to be able to get out and do things too and not feel time constraints that I need to get back other than to pick him up at the end of the day).

                                                                                          I think we're going to see how much time he gets for lunch and what I have planned for the day. If I'll be in Culver City, then we'll do some lunch- I had a few of your r'rants written down (Yamadaya, FO, Santouka, Waterloo & City, and In N Out). Thanks for the reco for Chego- this could be a dinner option (they don't seem to serve lunch).

                                                                                          FF- that's exactly what I was thinking- we'll have breakfast and then I'll drop him off before I pick him back up when work is over.

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Santouka
                                                                                          3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                                                          Chego
                                                                                          3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                                                          1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                            westsidegal Oct 26, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                                                            i respectfully disagree with any recommendation of Chego.
                                                                                            here is the link to my experience there:
                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/802579

                                                                                            long wait--you stand in line to give your order
                                                                                            not clean
                                                                                            communal uncomfortable tables
                                                                                            paper plates/disposable utensils
                                                                                            horrible parking situation
                                                                                            then, to top it off:
                                                                                            meh food.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Chego
                                                                                            3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                              f
                                                                                              floppy fish Oct 26, 2011 11:59 AM

                                                                                              Come on WSG, you had one dish there. A salad, no less. But your right the atmosphere sucks, parking is horrible unless you get there early/off hours. I usually get take out and add more rice to it because of the over abundance of flavors and saltiness. However, you have to admit that it is a unique menu.

                                                                                              1. re: floppy fish
                                                                                                westsidegal Oct 26, 2011 12:25 PM

                                                                                                "unique menu" doesn't begin to compensate for all the other faults, imho.
                                                                                                simply too many "deal-breaking" faults.
                                                                                                there are too many other really good restaurants around.

                                                                                          2. re: floppy fish
                                                                                            b
                                                                                            bg90027 Oct 26, 2011 09:00 AM

                                                                                            I agree in part with this sentiment. You can try to do too much and floppy fish is certainly right that your options are limited to the areas around culver city if you want to do lunch with your husband and he's on a tight schedule. Even a place like My Father's Office might be hard to get in and out of in under an hour even though it's close by. If you are planning to eat lunch on your own, then you are much less limited. Traffic indeed can be bad but Culver City has good freeway access and you can get to many places just via surface streets if the freeways are crowded. If you have a sense of adventure and a gps, you can get around. I do agree with the idea of not letting the food completely dictate your schedule. There are good restaurants in almost every neighborhood. If you find that there is a restaurant that you are considering but you have no other reason to be within 7-8 miles of it, I'd replace it with something else more convenient.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Father's Office
                                                                                            1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                          3. westsidegal Oct 26, 2011 04:31 PM

                                                                                            re: Gjelina,
                                                                                            keep in mind that the lunch service ends at 3 and dinner service is from 5:30 to, i believe, about 10:30.
                                                                                            from 3 to 5:30 and after the dinner service, they offer an abbreviated menu of salads, pizza, and charcuterie.
                                                                                            this information is NOT divulged on their website.

                                                                                            -----
                                                                                            Gjelina
                                                                                            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                              m
                                                                                              MrsDRock Oct 27, 2011 01:36 AM

                                                                                              I did look at the menu at Chego, but I think I am planning on going to Park's BBQ instead. I have tried a reputable Korean restaurant here in Cincinnati, but didn't care for it. However, I am willing to try it again in LA.

                                                                                              Thanks for the side tip info about Gjelina...

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

                                                                                              Chego
                                                                                              3300 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                                                              Gjelina
                                                                                              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                                                              1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                                Servorg Oct 27, 2011 09:04 AM

                                                                                                Another excellent place that no one has mentioned here that is in/across the street from Culver City for Mexican and Nicaraguan food is Gloria's Cafe. It's a family run place that will give you plenty of great food and at very reasonable prices. Recently remodeled.

                                                                                                -----
                                                                                                Gloria's Cafe
                                                                                                10227 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                                                                                                1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                                  n
                                                                                                  ns1 Oct 27, 2011 09:21 AM

                                                                                                  +1 to Park's, can't go wrong there.

                                                                                              2. l
                                                                                                L.A. Jay Oct 27, 2011 09:32 AM

                                                                                                Since you'll be meeting with your husband for lunch in Culver City, you might want to head a couple miles west to the Westside Food Truck Lot. You can get lunch there Mon-Fri and will normally have your choice of 5-6 trucks. This is really a great way to find unique eats and is truly an "L.A. thing".

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: L.A. Jay
                                                                                                  Servorg Oct 27, 2011 09:39 AM

                                                                                                  I thought the lot (which had been at Washington Blvd. and Overland) had been closed by the powers that be in Culver City? Or are you talking about some other location?

                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                    x
                                                                                                    Xhale12 Oct 27, 2011 09:44 AM

                                                                                                    Spago is a MUST. Truly a memorable culinary experience.

                                                                                                    I would also check out il pastaio if you like italian food.

                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                    Spago
                                                                                                    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                      L.A. Jay Oct 27, 2011 10:37 AM

                                                                                                      Across from Sony Studios, right? They're still going. Actually haven't been in a few months, but the web site has a current schedule.

                                                                                                    2. re: L.A. Jay
                                                                                                      m
                                                                                                      MrsDRock Oct 27, 2011 09:42 AM

                                                                                                      Thanks for the recommendation for Gloria's Cafe.

                                                                                                      Yum, I'll check out Westside Food Truck Lot. Is there an address?

                                                                                                      1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                        L.A. Jay Oct 27, 2011 10:36 AM

                                                                                                        http://www.westsidefoodtruckcentral.com/

                                                                                                        1. re: L.A. Jay
                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                          MrsDRock Oct 27, 2011 10:43 AM

                                                                                                          Perfect thanks!

                                                                                                    3. a
                                                                                                      anotherfatcow Oct 27, 2011 03:36 PM

                                                                                                      Agree with Spago's , Animal ang Gjelina.

                                                                                                      Here are some dive's that locals go to. For Mexican food. Gilberts on Pico and 26th Street in Santa Monica. It's been there for over 50 years, family owned. All the volleyball players and lifeguards go there, and for Breakfast - Patrick's Roadhouse on Pacific Coast Hwy - large portions, irish influence. I haven't seen either mentioned on this list, but I've been going to both since I was a kid.

                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                      Spago
                                                                                                      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                                                                      Patrick's Roadhouse
                                                                                                      106 Entrada Dr, Santa Monica, CA 90402

                                                                                                      Gjelina
                                                                                                      1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: anotherfatcow
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                                                                                                        foodiemahoodie Oct 27, 2011 09:44 PM

                                                                                                        I don't think we should be recommending dives - where the only thing they have going for them is longevity. Food is awful at Patrick's (Irish influence? Besides the Kelly-green exterior and clover - where is the Irish influence in the food?

                                                                                                      2. c
                                                                                                        chezwhitey Oct 27, 2011 04:06 PM

                                                                                                        Do you guys like chinese food? LA has the best real chinese food in america, only vancouver can compete with this town in north america. I recommend Chang's Garden in Arcadia or mei long village.

                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                        Chang's Garden
                                                                                                        627 W Duarte Rd, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                                                                                        18 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: chezwhitey
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                                                                                                          MrsDRock Oct 27, 2011 05:06 PM

                                                                                                          Oh yum thank you for the recommendation!

                                                                                                          1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                                            westsidegal Oct 27, 2011 05:19 PM

                                                                                                            driving to arcadia from culver city can be like the bataan death march.
                                                                                                            all depends on the gods.. . . .

                                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
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                                                                                                              chezwhitey Oct 27, 2011 09:38 PM

                                                                                                              MrsDRock is coming to us from Ohio, I think she owes it to herself to get the full LA experience no(food and traffic)? I actually don't think the traffic in la is as bad as DC or NY or Boston based on my unscientific observation.

                                                                                                              1. re: chezwhitey
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                                                                                                                ns1 Oct 28, 2011 09:33 AM

                                                                                                                oh man, if she's coming from Ohio she needs to get some real asian food! Asian food in Ohio is AWFUL.

                                                                                                                1. re: ns1
                                                                                                                  westsidegal Oct 28, 2011 01:36 PM

                                                                                                                  so does Japanese food, which is available in culver city, in a pretty and comfortable restaurant, not qualify as asian food?

                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal
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                                                                                                                    ns1 Oct 28, 2011 01:41 PM

                                                                                                                    Never said it didn't, just said that asian food in OH is awful (chinese / vietnamese / thai /japanese, whatever)

                                                                                                                    Based on her travel itinerary, I don't think anything but Japanese/Korean would be feasible for her.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ns1
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                                                                                                                      bulavinaka Oct 28, 2011 07:24 PM

                                                                                                                      Got eye fatigue so I'm not going to reread the previous posts, but I think the OP mentioned that she had gone to Japan before. If that's the case, Korea Town sounds in order.

                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
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                                                                                                                        MrsDRock Oct 29, 2011 02:43 AM

                                                                                                                        Correct- We still have a home in Japan and I used to go back every year (including this year when Husband and I went for 3 weeks- it was wonderful)!.

                                                                                                                        My father's family resided in Toronto (dad was born in Vancouver) and have visited Toronto many times.

                                                                                                                        My mom is an excellent cook (Japanese). Luckily for me, we don't live far from a major Toyota plant, and there is a fantastic authentic Japanese restaurant (not Asian fusion here!) that we like to go to, where the majority of the customers are Japanese businessmen from Japan visiting Toyota.

                                                                                                                        1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                                                          Tripeler Oct 29, 2011 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                          Owing you your close familiarity with Japan, it's likely that you wouldn't find Korea Town or most Japanese style places in LA of much interest. I would suggest good Mexican seafood. Westsidegal is the real expert in that area.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Tripeler
                                                                                                                            westsidegal Oct 29, 2011 09:19 PM

                                                                                                                            my bad

                                                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                                              Tripeler Oct 29, 2011 11:44 PM

                                                                                                                              Not at all. Your posts are always very helpful, and your recommendations of Sergio are highly appreciated by many. Since it turns out the OP has lived in Japan (and has a house there still), I thought she would most appreciate Mexican seafood, which is essentially non-existent in Japan (with the closing of La Sirena in Tokyo some 20 years ago or so). When I think of Mexican seafood in LA, I think of Mariscos Chente, and you seem to be the most knowledgeable person about the place.

                                                                                                                              Of course, I am still not sure the OP would be interested in Mexican seafood. But if she is, WSG is the best person to listen to.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Tripeler
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                                                                                                                                MrsDRock Oct 30, 2011 05:30 AM

                                                                                                                                I still crave good Japanese food, especially ramen. I am so excited to get some while we're in LA. I appreciate any restaurant recommendation!

                                                                                                                                I cannot thank everyone who has responded enough. My itinerary is filled with restaurants and snack shops to try. I will be taking lots of pictures for my blog, thanks to you guys :) We leave tonight!

                                                                                                                                1. re: MrsDRock
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                                                                                                                                  bulavinaka Oct 30, 2011 08:52 AM

                                                                                                                                  Ramen will be easy for you to do. I don't know where you folks are staying in Culver City - three good-sized hotels are around the intersection of Centinela and Sepulveda - but you're no further than a 10-minute drive from both Santouka and Yamadaya from just about any point in Culver City.

                                                                                                                                  The next closest options would be around the "Little Osaka" neighborhood of Sawtelle and Olympic - 10 20 minutes depending on traffic and your route. The newest addition is Tsujita - haven't tried it but a little research might be fruitful - they are supposed to take a more artisan approach (tsukemen and katamen roll right off of their vernacular). The old standbys in this neighborhood (Ramenya and Asahi) are less worthy IMHO but would be gold in a neighborhood with no other ramen offerings.

                                                                                                                                  South Bay is the motherload of Japanese food. Assuming you folks are staying around Centinela and Sepulveda (an area where there are some larger hotels), you are about 20-30 minutes away from a wide array of Japanese eats. I know you won't be able to do lunch with your husband considering the commute time alone, but keep this area in mind for dinner/weekend eats, and of course for trips on your own.

                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                  Tsujita
                                                                                                                                  2057 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                                                                                                                                  1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                                                                    J.L. Oct 30, 2011 10:42 AM

                                                                                                                                    Close to you: Santouka (get the premium pork broth #7)

                                                                                                                                    A bit further afield: Mottainai in South Bay

                                                                                                                                    Skip Daikokuya.

                                                                                                                                    -----
                                                                                                                                    Daikokuya
                                                                                                                                    327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                                                                                                                                    Santouka
                                                                                                                                    3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                                                                                                    1. re: J.L.
                                                                                                                                      wienermobile Oct 30, 2011 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                                      +1 for Mottainai. Add the flavor bomb (White Bomb しろRicher! Red Bomb あか Spicier and also the Corn with Butterもろこしバター). So good. My favorite ramen.
                                                                                                                                      http://mottainairamen.com/

                                                                                                                                      -----
                                                                                                                                      Ramen Mottainai
                                                                                                                                      1630 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Suite #9, Gardena, CA 90247

                                                                                                                                      1. re: wienermobile
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                                                                                                                                        MrsDRock Oct 30, 2011 01:06 PM

                                                                                                                                        Thanks for the recommendation. I have both Santouka and Yamadaya on my list (not sure which one, will decide when I'm there).
                                                                                                                                        We leave for the airport in 20 mins- excited!

                                                                                                                                        -----
                                                                                                                                        Santouka
                                                                                                                                        3760 S Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                                                                                                        1. re: MrsDRock
                                                                                                                                          otis Mar 7, 2012 06:28 AM

                                                                                                                                          So how was your trip? What did you eat and what did you think?

                                                                                                            2. re: chezwhitey
                                                                                                              J.L. Oct 27, 2011 05:27 PM

                                                                                                              Vancouver and Toronto.

                                                                                                            3. n
                                                                                                              NYCfoodie1234 Dec 7, 2011 09:15 AM

                                                                                                              asia de cuba

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                                                                                                                benila Apr 29, 2012 12:21 AM

                                                                                                                Updates from MrsDRock ??

                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: benila
                                                                                                                  Servorg Apr 29, 2012 04:51 AM

                                                                                                                  It was a "hit and run" on both threads...(adios mother f*ckers)... ;-D>

                                                                                                                  1. re: benila
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                                                                                                                    MrsDRock Apr 29, 2012 05:02 AM

                                                                                                                    Hi there, I completely forgot to update back on here! I did do blog posts on it, but I'll provide an update this afternoon. I'll have to go back to my blog, read through it, and come back here with where we went!

                                                                                                                    1. re: benila
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                                                                                                                      MrsDRock Apr 29, 2012 09:50 AM

                                                                                                                      First off- I apologize for not posting a review of the r’rants we visited in LA. It was only made possible based on all of your helpful suggestions. I did do blog posts on all the places, famous faces, and eateries we visited, but here is my recap on them!

                                                                                                                      Day #1- Arrive in LA at 11:30pm PST. Tired, exhausted, but happy to be in LA’s warm weather

                                                                                                                      Day #2 (Halloween)- Visited Tim Burton’s exhibit @ LACMA, visited The Grove just as they were opening and met Maria Menounos and Mario Lopez, and had lunch at Santouka @ Mitsuwa Shopping Center. We loved this Japanese center! We had just visited Japan for 3 weeks in June, so to be able to visit this shopping center- it brought back some memories of being in Japan. We loved seeing all the different foods as a visual menu (just like in Japan), and we both ordered the shio ramen. It was definitely crowded, and a popular place to have lunch. I went to the neighboring grocery store and got some Mitsuya Cider (love)- I was ecstatic. The ramen broth was good, the pork was flavored well and incredibly moist and tender. I picked up a few snacks at the grocery store, dropped off the BF back to his conference, and I got some Pomegranate-Blueberry iced tea (refreshing) at The Coffee Bean. I then visited Surfas, and shopped around a bit. I loved all the gourmet foods and cookware! I wanted something sweet to eat, so I headed to Joan’s on Third to get myself their famous Chocolate Coconut Cupcake. Loved the ambiance and deco of the bakery. The cupcake? While it was delicious, I probably could have made a better one at home without the hefty $3 price tag. Then went to the Original Farmer’s Market, saw The Ivy (though could barely see it due to all the ivy present), picked up BF from work and we jetted off to Hollywood Blvd to see the Jimmy Kimmel show! There were so many people in costume n Hollywood Blvd- lots of fun to see. We had a great time at the JKL show, and stopped at Beard Papa’s for a cream puff (delicious) before heading back to the hotel. Definitely stopped at In N Out on our way home.

                                                                                                                      Day #3- For lunch, I picked up some Godmother with the Works sandwiches from Bay Cities Italian Deli (thank goodness I placed our order online, it was packed when I arrived), and barely found a parking spot. The sandwich was very tasty, but I felt the bread it was made on was really crusty and a bit hard. For me, I wish the bread would have been a bit softer and then it would have gotten a 9/10 rating from me. After picking up the BF from work, we visited the 3 Modern Family homes (we love the show), and then went to Father’s Office for dinner in Santa Monica. We loved the place. Dimly lit, upbeat, and fun. D got the Office burger (holy cow amazing) with a side of their delicious fries (their garlic aioli that comes with the fries was ah-mazing), and I wasn’t too hungry so I ordered the hazelnut-foie gras ice cream sandwich. It is sandwiched b/w 2 oatmeal cookies, and has a slight taste of foie gras. I thought the ice cream sandwich was great. Of course, as we were leaving, I was just starting to get hungry so we stopped by Yamadaya, and picked up a few things to go: Rice with char-siu pork (didn’t care for it/bland tasting), Chicken Karaage (YUM), Spicy ramen (I ordered a spicy level 2/medium and it was dang spicy! Good, but not memorable), and Gyoza (have had better).

                                                                                                                      Day #4- I dropped off the BF at work, drove all the way to Langer’s Deli to get their famous #19 pastrami sandwich. Dang LA traffic, it took me roundtrip 2 hours to get there and back to BF’s office for lunch. Thank goodness I had a GPS and the entire morning to kill. Geesh. Langer’s is definitely not located in a nice part of town, and quite frankly, I was kind of scared to even get out of my car. Thank goodness they offer roadside service. DANG- terrific pastrami. Soft, tender, flavorful, and loved their “Russian-style dressing”. After work, we drove past Pink’s Hot Dogs, visited High Voltage Tattoo Shop (and saw Kat Von D- beautiful), and decided to visit Hollywood Blvd and visit some shops on the main strip before our reservations at Animal. While we were randomly visiting a souvenir shop, we literally bumped into Damian McGinty (who won The Glee Project Season 1 and is now on the cast of Glee) and Cameron Mitchell (another Glee Project finalist). OMGawd, I was in heaven. I had a major high school crush on Damian. Both were so nice and friendly, we talked to them, and got their pictures. When we left the shop, I was literally jumping up and down from excitement. Mann’s Chinese Theater was being set up for Harold & Kumar’s Christmas movie premiere, and we went up and down looking at shops. We also passed Casey Abrams (American Idol), and made our way to dinner at Animal. Loved the minimalistic, demure atmosphere at Animal, but the compliments ended there. We tried: Chicken Liver Toast (confirmed I still do not care for liver), Pork Belly sandwiches (loved these and the BBQ sauce, but you must love pork belly), Foie Gas, Biscuit, and Maple Sausage Gravy (again, I could barely stomach this since I don’t like liver), and the Bacon Chocolate Crunch Bar with S&P ice cream (loved the uniqueness of this dessert). I know this r’rant came HIGHLY rated, but I think it was the food choices I made where it just didn’t impress me. Oh well. We then stopped by In N Out since we barely had any of our dinner. I’m such a FAIL!

                                                                                                                      Day #5- Shopped at Little Tokyo and neighboring shops, had some mochi at Fugetsu-Do (good), and wanted to eat at Daikokuya but a) ran out of cash, and b) the line was getting really long! So I stopped at Umami Burger to get BF and I some lunch- we went to the one attached to the Fred Segal store and I think it had just opened. We ordered the onion rings, So-Cal burger, and the Port & Stilton burger. The onion rings were amazing- thick rings and great batter. Port & Stilton burger was yummy but you definitely need to love Stilton to get this burger, and the BF ordered the So-Cal burger which I had a bite and loved it. We both agreed we liked Father Office’s The Office burger better, but this was a good close 2nd. Both burgers were a bit greasy. After work, we visited Griffith Park, the Observatory, took some pics of the Hollywood sign, and headed out to Pizzeria Mozza for dinner. We loved the orange/vibrant colors and yet it had a calming vibe to it. We loved sitting at the bar since we were able to see all the pizza chefs work their magic and make homemade pizzas right in front of us. We ordered the Bianca Pizza, and BF ordered a pizza with fennel sausage, caramelized onions, and scallions. They smelled amazing, and the taste was phenomenal! We rounded out our meal with a vist to Scoops ice cream- I ordered Brown Bread (loved it) and Red Velvet (just ok), and the BF got Brown Bread (he thought it was “interesting”) and Strawberry-Pomegranate. The ice cream was incredibly creamy and soft and delicious. No brain freeze or tooth aches here.

                                                                                                                      Day #6- It was our first rainy day, so I just hung out at the hotel and caught up on blogging and relaxing. We did get our first food truck experience for lunch! We had Grill ‘Em All, and ordered: Witte burger (creamy delicious), Behemouth burger (we both agreed this was our fave), and their legendary cheesey tots ($1 per tot and worth every dollar).

                                                                                                                      Day #7- Still need to blog about this day, but we visited the Warner Brothers tour and had a GREAT time. We loved it! Went to Porto’s Bakery for lunch.

                                                                                                                      1. re: MrsDRock
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                                                                                                                        benila Apr 29, 2012 12:13 PM

                                                                                                                        if I stopped at one, Porto's or Father's Office, which would you suggest? Obviously both are very different.

                                                                                                                        1. re: benila
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                                                                                                                          bulavinaka Apr 29, 2012 12:50 PM

                                                                                                                          Porto's is a large-scale bakery/cafe that offers good value. It has a few pastry and sandwich highlights. Setting aside the price/quality ratio, the quality in general is average but the selection is broad. Two locations: Glendale and Burbank - go to Glendale.

                                                                                                                          Father's Office is a bar that offers an extremely well-selected list of beers on tap backed by a very competent kitchen that has a high degree of sourcing quality ingredients. FO is known for its signature burger as well as a menu of small plates and sides. The rules are written in stone, r.e. no changes/subs, but most would find the food "as is" to be fine. Quality far outweighs quantity. Two locations: Santa Monica and Culver City - go to Culver City.

                                                                                                                          I can easily find better examples of most things that Porto's offers, but they do have some Cuban items that are good to very good (to me), and their guava-filled pastry is very good if you like that flavor/ingredient. The place normally is very crowded and borders on frenetic.

                                                                                                                          I cannot easily find the set of factors under one roof that FO offers. I'm all about their beer, and their broad yet selective beer list on tap coupled with their food is a very nice experience. Both locations can get very busy, but the Culver City location is easier to find seating and has a pretty good patio area as well.

                                                                                                                          Regardless of driving, I'd easily choose FO over Porto's on any given day. I don't consider Porto's to be a destination stop, while I feel FO does fall in the destination stop category. But it depends on your priorities - obviously.

                                                                                                                          1. re: benila
                                                                                                                            m
                                                                                                                            MrsDRock Apr 29, 2012 12:51 PM

                                                                                                                            They really are different eateries. If you like craft beers, I would pick Father's Office. I really enjoyed the Office burger, but what sent me over the top was the garlic aioli that came si the fries. I really enjoyed Porto's bakery, especially since we do not have a Cuban bakery, so it was fun to try lots of new things. If I were going for dinner, I would choose FO. If I were going for inch, I would choose Porto's. Just my opinion!

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