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NYC -> LA in June: Tell Me What I'm Missing

Hi all,

I'm coming to LA in June for four days. I'll be visiting with my boyfriend, who has never been to southern California. I lived in Newport Beach for awhile, but haven't spent much time in LA proper for the last 2-3 years. We're staying in the Hollywood Hills, if location matters for any recommendations.

Here's my itinerary so far:

June 6: Dinner at Red Medicine
June 7: Breakfast at La Brea Bakery, looking for recs for lunch either near the Getty Museum or up in Malibu (Neptune's Net, maybe?), dinner at Animal or Son of a Gun
June 8: Open for breakfast and lunch, dinner at Animal or Son of a Gun (whichever we didn't go to the night before.)
June 9: Brunch rec in Hollywood? (Friend's wedding in the evening.)
June 10: Light lunch close-ish to LAX before our flight out?

We like great cocktails (either at bars or restos with good programs) and while we're not looking for any super-formal dining experiences this trip, money isn't really an issue. I hope that my flexible plan above gives an idea of what we like.

As you can see from my itinerary, I need some good breakfast recs. Doesn't even need to be a full sit-down; we love great coffee and pastries too. My boyfriend is really into coffee, so if there's anything like Blue Bottle or Stumptown, we'd be all over that.

For June 8, I was thinking about lunch at A Frame or if someone could guide me toward the best taqueria, I'd love that.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Note that the original La Brea Bakery on La Brea has no indoor seating, and limited (and not very pleasant) outdoor seating. I don't know about other locations.

    Lunch near The Getty: maybe Clementine or Milo and Olive:

    Milo and Olive
    2723 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403
    - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/820974
    - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/828265
    - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829830

    1751 Ensley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

    4 Replies
    1. re: Peripatetic

      The food at the restaurant at the Getty Center is acturally very good in a beautiful mountain view setting.

        1. re: westsidegal

          I've only been to the restaurant at the Getty for dinner, but it was excellent, and has an amazing view.

          1. re: Peripatetic

            The restaurant at the Getty Center is only open for dinner on Saturday nights.

    2. Hmmm, maybe lunch in Brentwood on the way to the Getty in Malibu , Brentwood Country mart would be a good choice. I would go to brunch at Campanille on the 9th know there have been some downhill reports but IMO they still do a nice brunch and move the b'fast on the 7th to Joan's on Third.

      On the 10th you could score a reservation at Gjelina before heading out to LAX. I like the beer, limited cocktails and food at Father's Office in Culver City. For Coffee LaMill is still one of the best in LA, but there is a growing coffee scene including the new Handsome Coffee in Downtown to the Japanese roaster/Cafe Cafe Tomo on Sawtelle (Search for one of the super long coffee threads!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: AAQjr

        I don't think Gjelina takes reservations for weekend brunch (June 10th being a Sunday).

        I'm not sure when the OP's flight is but the 1 hour-ish wait for brunch might make things a bit tight...or be perfect if the flight is late enough.

      2. Angela's Coffee on Sunset Strip opened a few months ago and has Blue Bottle. Depending what part of the Hollywood Hills you'll be staying in, that that might be your closest "third wave" coffee shop.

        Handsome is the most serious place of the moment. Founded by three Intelligentsia alums (Including Michael Phillips, who was the 2010 World Barista Champion), they are serious to the point of not having sugar available in their shop: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/839008

        Handsome Coffee Roasters
        582 Mateo Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013

        Angela's Coffee
        8539 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

        2 Replies
        1. re: Peripatetic

          I love Handsome Coffee... and I don't take sugar in it... but when I see places that refuse to put it out it rakes my back fur the wrong way.

          Also, bear in mind—some people have a Thing about this—that Handsome is located in an unimaginably un-scenic part of Los Angeles (but is fantastic for commuters from south LA County/Orange County who can jump off the 5).

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            I like sugar, but I do understand the places that don't put it out—and will tolerate it for a cup of good coffee.

            I looked up Handsome on the map and "walked" around on street view. Definitely not picturesque LA, but like I said, we're in it for the coffee!

            Thanks to all for the thoughtful advice so far.

        2. Thanks so far! Exactly what I'm looking for.

          Just realized that Hollywood Hills is vague/non-specific; we'll be north of the 101, off of Canyon Dr. Our flight out on Sunday should be pretty late; I'm shooting for around 5:30 p.m. so a brunch wait hopefully won't be a problem.

          6 Replies
          1. re: loratliff

            > we'll be north of the 101, off of Canyon Dr.

            Then you'll be closer to LAMILL and the Intelligentsia at Sunset Junction. LAMILL is great (they still have Clovers, and good food, too). I worry about them, though: on my last visit a few months ago all the china was chipped and the furniture was looking worn. I don't think they've replaced anything since they opened in 2007!

            LAMILL Coffee Boutique
            1636 Silver Lake Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

            1. re: loratliff

              The beer bloody mary at Gjelina is pretty darned delicious brunch fare. You should be fine if you get there by 1130. Wait goes exponential after.

              Since you like cocktails, you should try the the ones at Red Medicine. If you cab it, I also recommend a Riesling with dinner. They have a nice reasonable selection.

              1. re: loratliff

                Venice/Abbot Kinney is a nice area to walk around while you wait. Caffe Cielo about a mile away is reaally good as well (and they do the kyoto style drip iced coffee which you might want in June). And of course Chicago's Intelligencia is a block or so away from Gjelina (not a fan personally but many people like it).

                1. re: loratliff

                  if i were driving to LAX with my car full of luggage, i'd not feel comfortable parking that car in any of the unattended parking locations available on abbot kinney (i.e. gjelina, et al).
                  if you plan to eat first THEN load your car with luggage, that would be a different story.

                  would, instead, go to the brunch at Cafe del Rey in marina del rey (double check the hours that they serve brunch). they have an ATTENDED parking lot in which your luggage will be safe and it is located very close to LAX. brunch includes unlimited bubbly/mimosas.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Is it really *that* bad? I mean, not sure what kind of rental car we'll have, but there's just two of us for four days so I'd imagine everything would be in the trunk and out of sight. I've been in Venice before and never thought twice about my car being broken into. Just seems a little fear-mongering to me.

                    1. re: loratliff

                      You're in much greater danger from choking on one of Gjelina's brussel sprouts from inhaling one, while trying to draw a quick breath to point out to your wife that Lindsay Lohan just tried to run out the front door with the tip jar, than you are of having your luggage stolen while you enjoy dinner on Abbott Kinney.

                2. On June 10th on the way to LAX if you are into ramen I would recommend trying Tsujita LA as their tsukemen is amazing. Have yet to try their ramen but I'm sure it's good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Johnny L

                    N.B. Lunchtime only for the tsukemen at Tsujita LA (11AM-3PM). You can also go across the street to try a very different bowl of tsukemen at Miyata Menji.

                  2. For a fairly decadent upscale brunch I'd suggest The Tavern in Brentwood. Check it out.


                    Not sure which Getty you're talking about - but it's the one on the hill (NOT Malibu) - it has a very good restaurant. I'd go more often if I didn't have to travel up that inspid tram and the parking weirdness.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: foodiemahoodie

                      Do you still have to make parking reservations? That was always so weird to me.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        i haven't reserved a parking space at the getty in a long time. you just...drive in. oh, and skip the tram and...um...walk.

                          1. re: linus

                            You do not need reservations for the Getty Center. You still do need reservations for the Getty Villa.

                      2. Any input about A Frame? Also, taco recs?

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: loratliff

                          Ricky's Fish Tacos in Hollywood. Authentic Ensenada Style Fish & Shrimp Tacos Just a stand, but oh what a stand. Lunch only Friday-Sunday and sometimes Thursday. Always check his twitter before you go. Not open when it rains.

                            1. re: loratliff

                              A-frame is better for dinner foodwise IMO, the menu is much bigger but its more crowded. Ambiance for lunch If its a nice day, is really good. I like their fish tacos which I think are on for lunch only..they also do vietnamese style drip coffee (I believe its Cafe Du Monde) which is good. They also have really nice cocktails there.

                              One thing I like doing on saturdays is getting a coffee at Intelligensia on Abbott Kinney and an egg sandwhich at Gjelina 2 Go, then go down to the Farmers market in Santa Monica and browse around/shop. A-frame would also work since its not far.

                              I'd consider Manhattan Beach post too. Really good stuff there, I haven't been for brunch but I hear its good.

                              And Lunch near the Getty, I'd go to Farmshop over Tavern. Brentwood country mart is great to walk around too.

                            2. I just wanted to say that I don't feel like going to dinner at Animal and Son of a Gun is a great plan. LA has such a wide variety of things that you haven't addressed. This itinerary to me barely scratches the surface. I feel like the extreme/slipperyslope version of this is, what would you say if my plan for a trip to NY was to go to Babbo, Del Posto, Eataly, and Esca.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: andytseng

                                "I just wanted to say that I don't feel like going to dinner at Animal and Son of a Gun is a great plan."

                                I believe it was "OR" and not "AND" - ("dinner at Animal or Son of a Gun")

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  1 night is 1 of them, and the following night is the other 1

                                2. re: andytseng

                                  Yes, we will probably eat at both just because we're interested in what that crew is producing. As far as not scratching the surface, I assume you're referencing the lack of ethnic food on our itinerary? If so, I've lived in OC and eaten much of that and that's not really what my travel partner (who has never been to LA) is wanting for this trip. It's a quick in and out for wedding, but those two were on the must-eat list for us.

                                  (FWIW, I don't think there's anything wrong with doing Del Posto, Babbo, Esca and Eataly on one trip—all of those are very different.)

                                3. Good list. I'm going to second the either/or on Animal and Son of a Gun. Also, Ricky's Fish Taco's is essential and a quick hop down the hill. As far as you're larger taco hunt goes you should be prepared to travel to the east side to get anything memorable (I'm sure servorg's recs will suffice).

                                  On the cocktail front I wanted to suggest trying Las Perlas - as far as I know there aren't any mezcal bars in NY - if you go on a Monday night most of the menu is an all night happy hour. Also, during the summer Villain's on Santa Fe by the river is one of my favorites - the best manhattan I've had in LA and a lively scene on a warm evening. There might be a line if you go late.

                                  As far as Malibu goes I frequently take visitors on a short hike up to the Escondido Falls off Winding Way and then hit up Malibu Seafood for something very basic like fish and chips. The food is nothing to write home about but on a beautiful day with great weather it tends to be memorable. Anyway, the quality is interchangeable with Neptune's Net.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: mrgreenbeenz

                                    El Carmen is really nice on a slower night or early. Great tequilla/mezcal and sangrita. Taco's aren't half bad. great atmo with paintings of masked wrestlers and Pre 1950's mexican movie posters.

                                  2. Hey, good to see you on this board. My husband and I almost eat out more in L.A. than we do in NYC since we come at least 3-4 times a year, stay for two weeks at a time, and eat out every single meal - so here's my two cents :)

                                    I agree w/ other posters that I wouldn't do Animal and Son of a Gun on a same trip - they're pretty similar. I'd choose Animal over Son of a Gun if you haven't been to either. But it sounds like you have your heart set on it, so...

                                    Definitely do brunch at Gjelina if you can swing it before your flight - there may be a bit of a wait, but it's easy to kill time in that neighborhood (as I'm sure you know) and you can stop by Jin Patisserie a couple blocks away for their delicious pastries and chocolates.

                                    I have fond memories of Reel Inn in Malibu, though company may have clouded my judgement - Malibu Seafood is also good for basic fish sandwiches. I haven't found anywhere that blows me away food-wise in Malibu, honestly. It's more about being seaside, looking at pretty waves. Drinks at Moonshadows could be fun.

                                    I'm not a cocktail aficionado, but check out the Roger Room - I like the place and think the cocktail menu is pretty cool.

                                    For brunch in Hollywood - maybe Hungry Cat? I like that place a lot. I also like BLD on Beverly for breakfast. If you like Eggs Benedict, you'll enjoy their variety. Yummy pancakes too.

                                    I'd check out what Laurent Quenioux is doing. We absolutely loved Bistro LQ while it was in existence (despite bad service.) What about ink.? The Bazaar is fun if you're into that kind of thing. And Shunji's new place - I haven't been to his new place yet, but I went to his old place on Melrose 3x in one trip, 2x the next. I know you didn't mention sushi, but he's not strictly a sushi chef either, so...

                                    That's about it, off of my head. Hope you have a great trip! I love, love, love chow-ing in L.A.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: uwsister

                                      Ok, ok, BF and I have talked and we'll scrap Son of a Gun. I trust all of you and hope that I'll be equally as satisfied by doing Animal and somewhere else. ;)

                                      I absolutely agree with you about Malibu—it's definitely more to just sit on the beach than to eat something amazing, but I think it's a must for someone who hasn't been to southern California.

                                      Thanks for the reminder about ink. No prices on his menu though—what's the tasting cost vs. an average dinner for two there?

                                      1. re: loratliff

                                        tasting menu when i went was $85, which i think was for 6 courses (may have been additional courses/amuses/etc... that i was unaware of). I went in a party of 4 that got us the entire menu minus 2 items, and we spent $80 pp. In a party of 2, it's worth consideration. Sorry, not a lot of help.

                                        1. re: andytseng

                                          Nope, that's tons of help, Andy. I seriously had no idea what the range was at all, so that gives me some idea. Thanks!