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How far do LA chowhounds drive - for anything edible?

I'm a born-n'-bred LA native, living in Europe. When I tell British and French friends that Californians drive MILES to get a meal they crave - whether cheap and comforting, or more expensive and "worth the journey" - they can't believe it. They WON'T believe it. No one here depends, or indeed lives - in their car like CA/LA foodies do. What is the ultimate distance you would drive for a hamburger/taco/pizza/club sandwich/tuna melt? For a meal in a million??

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  1. I don't live in LA now (just visit) but when I did 25+ years ago, my now-ex and I would drive from the San Fernando Valley to Hermosa Beach for pizza at Pedone's and to the Original Pantry for breakfast early on Sunday mornings. So that's at least 30 miles for Hermosa and I forget--15? miles to the Pantry. I don't remember driving that far for any other place. But yeah, we'd drive at least a few miles, maybe 5-10 for regular meals we didn't have a craving for.

    Original Pantry Cafe
    877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

    1. I live in the SF Valley and regularly drive down to Ricky's Fish Tacos for my fix. I have also driven downtown for Mexical Taco and Co. Both of these places are a heck of a lot closer than Rosarito, right?? ;)

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

      1. Are you kidding? I've driven to Tijuana just to get quesatacos. As in, drive to Tijuana, eat at Tacos Salceados, drive home. 185 km each way. In the more usual scheme of things, though, it's not even slightly unusual for me to drive 35 km—in fact, every week I go to the Irvine farmers market which is about 32 km away.

        I go to Little Saigon at least a dozen times a month, and that's 14 km each way.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Seriously, what's a little distance when there's great food involved? I just organized a Bludso's BBQ lunch yesterday for my colleagues. 2 huge party trays. A colleague and I drove 45 miles round trip to pick it up. BBQ was top notch and lunch was a huge success. Praise all around for the white boy that knows where to find good BBQ. What's the problem, exactly?

          Mr Taster

          1. re: Mr Taster

            I understand.....I drive from SGV to Bludso's when I crave really good BBQ!

        2. LOL! I live in Arcadia and have driven to San Diego for fish tacos, Tijuana for dinner with my friend and her new hubby, Wrightwood for pizza, Ventura and Redondo Beach for Joe's Crab Shack, Julian for apple pie, etc. If I have the time, then I will drive pretty much anywhere for a good meal.
          <EDIT> AND the valley for Cupid's, Sabroso's or Las Fuentes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: WildSwede

            Live in Aracdia too but unfortunately my friends are not foodies, they won't drive to downtown LA unless the words Korean and All You Can Eat BBQ are involved.

            The furthest I have gone in the pursuit of good eating from Arcadia was to Santa Monica and Torrance both roughly the same distance. Only on weekends or if I can leave around 10AM and come back before 2PM to avoid the traffic since I'm currently not working.

            I've made trips for Father's Office, Bludso's BBQ, and Mitsuwa Food Court for their yearly ramen special.

          2. We drive about 35 miles each way from the South Bay to Rosemead for Sea Harbour's wonderful Dim Sum or the 20 mile trip for Langer's Deli world famous Pastrami. Both are well worth the reward at the end of the drive.

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

            sea harbour
            3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

            2 Replies
            1. re: wienermobile

              It depends on the time, mood and level of inspiration. There was a time in my young life when we would get off work at Disneyland at 1:30am and road trip to Tommy's at Beverly & Rampart for a Tommy burger and the closer Tommy's wouldn't do, it had to be Beverly & Rampart.

              Ever since Kaplan's closed in OC, Langer's is one of the few places I'll get pastrami, but usually I am at work in downtown so that doesn't really qualify as an OC trip to 7th & Alvarado.

              I do get wild hairs when I have to have Hawaiian and will drive to Gardena from south OC or downtown to get a lau lau, Kalua pig fix. In the same way some times I just have to have a Manny's special and drive over to Evergreen for El Tepeyec. Few might call Bruddah's or El Tepeyec Chow worthy food, but who can explain cravings and the whole experience like waiting at Manny's is part of the craving, ditto for King Taco in ELA.

              1033 W Gardena Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

              1. re: scottca075

                In high school I also would make the midnight trek from the SFV to Tommy's Double Chili Cheese Burger on Rampart quite often.

                Tommy's Original World Famous
                2575 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057

            2. I once had a boyfriend who burted.... "It must be really hard to predict the exact half hour before you are actually going to get hungry..." For that reason I actually married the guy who was willing to drive to from Culver City to Guisados in Boyle Heights yesterday for dinner...



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

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dommy

                Dommy, I'd say that's an excellent litmus test for a long and happy life together.

                Mr Taster

              2. I read about the Marshall Store's BBQ oysters in the LA Times and drove to Tomales Bay... we did stop for the night in SF though :)

                On a more regular basis, I will drive from LA to Rowland Heights and other Valley destinations (SGV or SFV) for good eats. :)

                Dongbu Live Fish is a good example. I wish I could eat there every week but it's a little too far!

                Dongbu Live Fish
                18785 Colima Rd, Rowland Heights, CA 91748

                1. Just a friendly reminder, Folks, this board is about where to find great chow in the L.A. area, replies that do not mention local venues where chow can be had are out of scope for the board.

                  1. There's a Coleman thermoelectric cooler riding around in our car that I bought so that I could shop for fish in San Gabriel, buy those giant thick pork steaks at Marconda in the Farmer's Market, or try hitting some farther-afield markets for specialized produce and stuff without worrying about getting home in a hurry on a hot day. I have made up excuses to go to Culver City or down to Pann's for lunch (I live in Pasadena), or downtown, or out into the Valley for Fab's hot dogs. Or I used to. With the Subaru getting under 20 mpg and gas at $4, and me without that nice publishing gig I had, I pretty much have to make such trips when I was going there anyway, or do it by other means. On the Saturday after TG, for instance, we're taking the train with friends to Ventura and back. They all think we're going for the ride and the museum and stuff, but I'm going for the patty melt at the Busy Bee.

                    Busy Bee Cafe
                    478 E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001