LA Cheap Eats Food Tour--Any More Suggestions?
So, my brother and some friends are coming into town May 3-7. We are gonna to do a total LA Cheap Eats food tour where we drive around and hit as many good eats as possible. Most of these things range from $5 to $10 and are pickup/carryout stuff (versus having to sit down at a restaurant with waiter service). This is so we can hit as many as possible.
I've made a map of them:
Below I've listed them all (it's the same places that are on the map). You should note that I know we are not really gonna hit all of these places in this period of time, but it at least lists all the possibilities that are available (and it's loosely arranged geographically).
My question is if you guys have anything you think that I've missed (and I acknowledge I'm a little weak on my offerings west of the 405). Or if you vehemently disagree with something on my list. And the places that have *** next to them indicate the must-stop places for me. Also, I know I don't have the San Gabriel Valley on there, but that's just because we are not gonna have time to hit it.
Thanks for your help,
LA ”CHEAP EATS” FOOD TOUR
***Dino’s Chicken and Burgers ($5.50 half-grilled chicken + French fry plate
)2575 West Pico Boulevard (2 blocks west of Vermont); M-Thu 6am-11 pm, F-Sat 6am-12am, Sun 7am-11pm
Papa Cristo’s (gyro sandwich)
2771 West Pico Boulevard (at Normandie); T-Sat 9:30am-8pm, Sun 9am-4pm
Jeon Ju (Bibimbap—Korean rice bowl with meat and vegetables)
2716 West Olympic Boulevard (just west of Vermont), (213) 386-5678
***El Taurino (carne asade & al pastor tacos)
2306 West 11th Street (1 block south of Olympic just east of Hoover); M-Thu 8:30am-3am, F-Sun 6am-6am
Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars (Mexican Ice Cream & Paletas)
1250 South Vermont Avenue (just above Pico) (213) 738-7288
4222 West Pico Boulevard (just west of Crenshaw) (323) 931-5500
4929 Sepulveda Boulevard (a few blocks south of Culver Boulevard) (310) 313-7625
***Langer’s Deli (1/4 pound pastrami or pastrami sandwich)
704 South Alvarado Street (7th and Alvarado) M-Sat 8am-4pm, closed Sun, free parking one block east on 7th
Grand Central Market
317 South Broadway (between 3rd and 4th)
Sarita’s Pupuseria (Pupusa con Loroco, Empanada Solo w/Banana + Milk)
Lupita’s Fresh Seafood (Shrimp Tostada)
Bäco Mercat (“the original” with pork belly, beef carnitas, smoked aioli and salbitxada)
408 S Main St—opens lunch M-Sa 11:30-2pm, dinner M-Sa 6pm to close, closed Sun—213 687 8808
Big Man Bakes (mini cupcakes)
413 S Main St (just south of 4th street, 2 blocks east of Broadway) (free 15 minute parking in adjacent garage)
M-Thu 11am-8pm, F 11am-12am, Sat 10am-12am, Sun closed
327 E 1st Street (two blocks west of Alameda)
Mikawaya (mochi ice cream)
118 Japanese Village Plaza (1st street, two blocks east of Alameda)
Wurstküche (Rabbit, Veal, & Pork Sausage and Rattlesnake & Rabbit Sausage)
800 East 3rd Street (just east of Alameda)
625 Lincoln Blvd (PCH) in Venice (between Rose and Venice Blvd.)
Mr. Churros (churros)
15 Olvera Street
La Luz del Dia (champurrado—Mexican hot chocolate-type drink)
1 Olvera Street
Phillipe’s (lamb or beef French dip with blue cheese, double-dipped)
1001 N Alameda St
Bahn Mi My Dung (Bahn Mi: Vietnamese sandwich)
314 Ord Street---closes at 3:30 pm
Buu Dien (Bahn Mi: Vietnamese sandwich)
642 N Broadway (just south of Ord)
Family Pastry (Chinese char siu pork buns)
715 N Spring St (just north of Ord)
Yang Chow (slippery shrimp)
819 North Broadway (just north of Alpine)
Mexicali Taco & Co. (vampiro taco [quesadilla-like with garlic sauce] & cachetada [tostada])
702 N. Figueroa St., (north of the 101 and Sunset/Cesar Chavez) (213) 613-0416
Mariscos Jalisco Food Truck (shrimp taco & ceviche)
3040 E Olympic Blvd (on 10, get off at Santa Fe, go east on Olympic) 9am-5pm everyday
[there is an impostor truck nearby—the correct one has large bright letters red, blue, and green letters]
Guisado’s (taco sampler)
2100 E Cesar Chavez Ave (just east of the 10/5)
Antojitos Carmen (fried quesadilla, pambazo, walnut atole, toasted seed salsa)
2510 E Cesar E Chavez Ave. (just east of Soto Street)
***El Atacor (crispy potato tacos)
3520 North Figueroa Street (exit 26b on 110)
My Taco (barbacao lamb tacos)
6300 York Blvd (east of Figueroa, just west of the 110)
Galco’s Soda Pop Shop (rare sodas)
5702 York Boulevard
La Estrella Tacos Truck (carnitas taco)
York Blvd. and Ave 54 (about 5400 York Boulevard)
Huarache Azteca (huarache [flat, hard taco] with al pastor)
5225 York Boulevard
Cacao Mexicatessen (duck carnitas)
1576 Colorado Boulevard
***Casa Bianca Pizza (sausage + eggplant pizza or pepperoni pizza)
1650 Colorado Boulevard (323) 256-9617—opens at 4pm, closed Sunday and Monday
Oinkster (ube shake)
2005 Colorado Boulevard (3 blocks east of Eagle Rock Blvd)
Auntie Em’s Kitchen (red velvet cupcake)
4616 Eagle Rock Blvd (a few blocks south of Colorado, north of York)
***Elena’s Greek Armenian Cuisine (falafel)
1000 South Glendale Avenue (just north Chevy Chase); M-Sat 11am-9:30pm, closed Sun
Baklava Factory (baklava)
1415 E Colorado St (just east Verdugo)
***Porto’s (cheese roll, guava cheese strudel, coconut strudel, medianoche sandwich with pickles)
315 North Brand Boulevard (just south of the134)—Sunday closes at 5:30pm, other days at 7pm
3614 West Magnolia Boulevard, Burbank (at Hollywood Way)—Sunday closes at 6pm, other days at 7:30pm
Village Bakery (donut muffin)
3119 Los Feliz Blvd (just east of the 5)
Tacos Villa Corona (breakfast burrito with papas [potatoes])
3185 Glendale Blvd (a few blocks west of the 5);
opens 9am T-F, 8:30am Sa & Su; closes 3pm T-F, 8pm Sa, 5pm Su
***Ricky’s Fish Taco’s (fish and shrimp tacos + agua fresca drink)
1400 N Virgil (a few blocks W. of Vermont, N. of Fountain, S. of Sunset); look for white tent in parking lot on east side. Thursday through Sunday: noon-ish to 4-ish: check twitter.com/rickysfishtacos
Mush Bakery (lahmajun [Armenian pizza])
or Sasoun Bakery or F&J Bakery
Mush: 5224 W Sunset Blvd (just west of Normandie)—closes at 7pm
Sasoun: 5114 Santa Monica Blvd (and Normandie)—closes at 6:30pm
F&J: 5410 W Adams Blvd (just east of Hauser)
***Sapp Coffee Shop (Thai boat noodles)
5183 Hollywood Boulevard (just west of Normandie)
Sahag’s Basturma (soujouk [Armenian sausage] sandwich)
5183 Sunset Blvd. (just west of Normandie)
Bhan Kanom Thai (Thai desserts)
5271 Hollywood Blvd (just west of Normandie)
China Express (taro boba drink)
1907 N Hillhurst Ave (at Franklin)
Pazzo Gelato or Scoops (unique gelato/ice cream flavors)
Pazzo: 3827 West Sunset Boulevard (323) 662-1410—(just south of Santa Monica)—11am to 11pm
Scoops: 712 North Heliotrope Drive (323) 906-2649—just N of Melrose 2 blocks East of Vermont
3400 Overland Ave (just north of Palms) (323) 405-7055
Berlin Currywurst (paprikawurst with Level 3 sauce)
3827 W. Sunset Boulevard (just south of Santa Monica) Mon-Thur open til 10pm, Fri-Sat open til 11pm, Sun open til 8pm
Lark Silverlake Cake Shop (chocolate wafer icebox cake)
3337 W. Sunset Boulevard
***Zankou (tarna [chicken schwarma] sandwich, extra-crispy bread with extra garlic sauce
and mutabbal [baba ghanoush])
5065 W Sunset Blvd (at Normandie) 10am-12pm (also soujouk at this location only)
1716 S. Sepulveda Blvd. 10am-11pm
1415 E. Colorado St., Glendale 10am-11pm
901 W. Glenoaks Blvd., Glendale 10am-10pm
1001 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank 10am-10pm
10760 Riverside Dr., North Hollywood 10am-10pm
1296 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 10am-10pm
5658 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys 10am-10pm
Koo's Sweet Rice Pancake Ho-tteok Cart (Korean dessert rice pancake)
4317 Beverly Blvd (2 blocks west of Normandie)—behind the California market; M-Sun 10am-10pm
The Trails (Assorted Pies)
2333 Fern Dell Dr. (just east of Western, north of Los Feliz) Tue-Sun 8am to 5pm
101 Coffee Shop (Waffle Brownie Sundae)
6145 Franklin Ave (between Gower and Vine) open until 3am
Skooby’s (barbecue-spiced Fries with Red Pepper Aioli)
6654 Hollywood Blvd. (east of Highland)
***Lucky Devil’s (chocolate cake shake)
6613 Hollywood Blvd (between Cahuenga and Highland)
Street (Kaya Toast)
742 N. Highland Ave (just north of Melrose)
The Foundry (Grilled Cheese with Tallegio, Raisin Bread, Apricot Puree and Short Ribs)
7465 Melrose Ave (a few blocks east of Fairfax)
7290 Beverly Blvd (a few blocks west of La Brea)
Animal (Poutine with Oxtail Gravy and Cheddar Curds)
435 N. Fairfax Ave (a few blocks north of Beverly)—323 782-9225—opens at 6pm (sitdown)
Coney Dog (Detroit-style chili dog)
8873 Sunset Blvd. (at San Vicente); free parking on roof—closes 12am Mon-Thurs, closes 3am Fri-Sat, closes 10pm Sun
Millions of Milkshakes (milkshakes)
8910 Santa Monica Boulevard (just west San Vicente)—open until 2am
Bob's Coffee and Donuts (glazed donut)
6333 W 3rd St (Farmer's Market @ Fairfax)
Umami Burger (Manly Burger and Truffle Burger)
850 South La Brea Avenue (between Olympic and Wilshire)
1520 North Cahuenga Boulevard (just north of Sunset)
4655 Hollywood Boulevard (just east of Vermont)
500 Broadway, Santa Monica
12159 Ventura Blvd, Studio City (just west of Laurel Canyon)
***El Chato Taco Truck (al pastor and carne asada tacos)
Southwest Corner of Olympic and La Brea (Mon-Thurs: 9pm-1am; Fri-Sat: 9pm-3am)
Flavors of Belize (chirmole soup)
1271 South La Brea Ave (just north of San Vicente—between Pico and Olympic)
M-Thur 11am-9pm, Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 8am-10pm, Sun 8am-8pm; (323) 931-4840
***Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n’ Waffles (fried chicken and waffles)
1514 N Gower St (just north of Sunset) 8am-12am
5006 W Pico Blvd (just west of La Brea) 8am-12am Sun-Thurs, 8am-2pm Fri, 9am-2pm Sat
Oki’s-Dog (Oki Dog: two hot dogs on a flour tortilla, covered with chili and pastrami)
5056 W Pico Blvd (3 blocks w of La Brea) M-T 9am-10pm, F-Sat 9am-12am, Sun 9am-11 pm, (323) 938-4369
Sky’s Gourmet Tacos (seafood tacos)
5408 W Pico Blvd (at Hauser, a few blocks west of La Brea); M-Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 9am-7pm
Tacos Leo ($1 al pastor tacos)
Corner of La Brea and Venice (76 Gas Station); Su-Thurs 6:30pm-2am; Fri-Sat 6:30-3am
JNJ Burger & Bar-B-Que (chopped pork or chopped beef sandwich)
5754 W Adams Blvd (just east of Fairfax)
Phillips Barbecue (baby back ribs—mild or mixed sauce on the side)
4307 Leimert Blvd (just north of Vernon)
2619 Crenshaw Boulevard (at Adams)
1517 Centinela Avenue (east of La Cienega)
Versailles Cuban Restaurant (famous garlic chicken)
1415 S. La Cienega Blvd. (just south of Pico); Su-Th 11-10, F-Sa 11-11
10319 Venice Blvd, Culver City (just east of Motor)
Sinai Kosher Market or Elias Kosher Market (Persian koobideh kabobs)
Sinai: 8680 West Pico Blvd (a few blocks east of Robertson)
Elias (in back): 8829 West Pico Blvd (a few blocks west of Robertson)
Crazy Fish (unique California-style sushi—Spicy Tuna Kinta roll)
9105 West Olympic Boulevard (just West of Doheny)
Bouchon Bakery (kouign-amann [caramelized buttery pastry])
235 N Canon Dr, (just north of Wilshire, 1 block east of Beverly, 2 blocks east of Rodeo)
Diddy Reese (ice cream cookie sandwich)
926 Broxton Avenue
Attari Sandwich Shop (Persian Kuku sandwich)
1388 Westwood Boulevard (on the south side of the building in the courtyard)
***Father’s Office (burger and sweet potato fries)
3229 Helms Avenue (just South of Venice east of Robertson)
M-Thu 5pm-1am, F-Sat 12pm-2am, Sun 12pm-12am
Let’s Be Frank (hot dog with grilled onions, Devil sauce, homemade pickles)
Helms Ave (between Venice Blvd & Washington Blvd)
Wed-Fri 11:30am-3:30pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-4pm
Bulgarini Gelato (pistachio gelato)
8686 Washington Blvd. Culver City (inside Tea Forest Café) between Robertson and La Cienega
Coolhaus (ice cream sandwiches)
8588 Washington Blvd., Culver City, between Robertson & La Cienega; 310 424 5559
T-Th, Su 9am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm
Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken (biscuit and fried chicken)
9537 Culver Boulevard (a few blocks west of Robertson) M-Thur, 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat, 11am-11pm
***Cemita Truck AKA Angelica Food Truck (milanese cemita [Mexican sandwich]—ask for papalo)
In front of Smart & Final at 10113 Venice Blvd just west of Clarington (near Overland) closes at 2:30pm
Also, may be open for dinner on Monday and Wednesday
Samosa House (samosa)
10700 Washington Blvd (just west of Overland); M-Sun 11am to 9pm
11510 West Washington Boulevard (a few blocks west of Sawtelle); M-Sun 11am to 9pm
Spudnuts (apple fritter)
11285 Venice Blvd (Sepulveda)
3001 South Figueroa Street (above Jefferson)
4949 West Slauson Avenue (just east of La Cienega)
Primo's Donuts (Buttermilk Bars)
2918 Sawtelle Blvd. (at National)
See’s Candy (free sample—California brittle)
Assorted locations (3431 S La Cienega Blvd—just below Jefferson)
10250 Santa Monica Blvd (Century City Mall)
1227 Wilshire Blvd (12th Street in Santa Monica)
3760 South Centinela Avenue (at Venice Blvd.); M-Sun 11am-8:30pm
Santouka (#7 Special Pork Ramen)
Hamada-ya Bakery (chicken curry doughnut)
Baby Blues BBQ (beef rib)
444 Lincoln Blvd. (Venice) or 7953 Santa Monica Blvd (just west of Fairfax)
Brian’s Shaved Ice (Hawaiian shaved ice with ice cream and condensed milk)
11301 W Olympic Blvd (actually, on Sawtelle, just north of Olympic); M-Sun 12pm-11pm
Blockheads Shavery Co. (Taiwanese snow cream [shaved ice cream])
11311 Mississippi Ave (just off Sawtelle, 1 block north of Olympic); M-Th 12:30pm-10:30pm; F-Sat 12:30pm-11pm, Sun 12:30pm-10pm
Churros Calientes (Spanish-style churros)
11521 Santa Monica Blvd. (between 405 and Barrington) T-F 5:30pm-10:30 pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am-10:30 pm
Huckleberry Bakery & Café (maple bacon biscuit)
1014 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; T-F 8am-7pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5pm; closed Sun
Bay Cities Italian Deli (Godmother Sandwich)
1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica; T-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 9am-6pm, closed Mon
Cha Cha Chicken (Coconut Fried Chicken)
1906 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica (at Pico); M-Th 11am-9:45, F 11am-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-9:30
Dolce Monachelli (Italian butter rum bundt cake)
Tuesday 3pm to 7pm: Culver City Farmer’s Market, 3834 Main Street (between Culver & Venice Blvd)
Wednesday 12pm to 6pm: Westwood Farmer’s Market, 1083 Broxton Ave
Thursday 3pm to 7pm: La Cienega Farmer’s Market, 1801 S La Cienega (a few blocks south of Pico)
Sunday 9am to 2pm: West L.A. Farmer’s Market, 1645 Corinth Ave. (just south of Santa Monica Blvd)
***Big Mista BBQ (brisket, pulled pork, pig candy [caramelized and smoked bacon])
Sunday 10-2 pm: Atwater Village Farmer’s Market—3250 Glendale Boulevard
Thursday 3-7 pm: El Segundo Farmer’s Market—400 Main Street (at Pine Avenue)
***Bludso’s BBQ (Texas sampler, brisket, and ribs)
811 South Long Beach Boulevard, Compton, CA 90221 (310) 637-1342
Open Tue-Thu 11am-8pm; Fri-Sat 11am-10pm; Sun 12:30pm-7pm
Portillo’s (chocolate cake shake and Italian beef with hot and sweet peppers & extra jus on the side)
8390 La Palma Ave, Buena Park
Jack in the Box (ice cream shake)
Assorted locations (8605 W Pico Blvd)
In ‘N’ Out (burger with extra grilled onions)
Assorted locations (9245 W. Venice Blvd. & 9149 S Sepulveda Blvd, 13425 Washington Blvd)
Su-Th 10:30am-1am, F-Sat 10:30am-1:30am
Kogi Truck (Korean short rib tacos)
Or available at Alibi Room, 12236 Washington Boulevard (between Inglewood and Centinela),
The Grilled Cheese Truck (cheesy mac and rib grilled cheese)
(Bacon wrapped hot-dog)
A couple of comments: With Bludso's and Big Mista's on your list, you definitely don't need to bother with Baby Blues (which isn't at all cheap) or JnJ's (which isn't to the level of the first two.
If you want to hit Diddy Riese, which is really fun, you can go to the In'n'Out a block west on Gayley in Westwood Village. That way you can park once, or if you can't find a place (sorta difficult in Westwood Village) you can use the In'n'Out drive-thru and one can circle the block while the other picks up from Diddy Riese. Don't forget to pick up some extra cookies -- just 3 for a buck -- and they crisp up a bit if you put them in the fridge or freezer.
Best and least expensive quality croissant in SoCal is at Amandine bakery, on the north side of Wilshire a block and a half west of Bundy, in West L.A. (Brentwood neighborhood).
Coney Dog is nothing special. A chili dog at Carney's, nearby in West Hollywood on Sunset, in the refurbished train car is a much better dog and L.A. experience, and they also have parking.
Carnitas Michaocan, on the N/W corner of No. Broadway at 19th, above Chinatown and below Lincoln Heights proper, is my favorite taqueria. Good carne asada, better al pastor from a spit, but the bomb here is the hot sauce -- brick red, thin, smoky, complex, spicy -- it is amazing! You'll want to buy extra to put on all the other Mexican or Latin food you have on your list. Open 24/7.
Be SURE to report back.
I know you didn't star it but Daikokuya is not generally considered LA's best ramen place. Plus the wait can be hellacious. Gardena has many better options like Mottainai, Shinsengumi, etc.
Very well researched list!
My favorites (from your list):
- Mexicali Taco
- CaCao Mexicatessen
- Ricky’s Fish Tacos
- Berlin Currywurst
- Bay Cities
- Big Mistas BBQ
- Bob's Coffee & Donuts (doughnuts only -- get coffee from Single Origin instead)
- Father’s Office
- Daikokuya -- better ramen nearly everywhere now
- Phillipe’s -- historical interest only
- Jeon Ju -- better dolsot bibimbap at Seongbukdong
- Casa Bianca -- meh
- Auntie Em -- meh + indifferent attitude
- Diddy Reese -- bleh
- Baby Blues BBQ -- very mediocre
- Lark -- meh
- Zankou -- okay, but nothing special. Stick to the Hollywood location if you go.
Oinkster can sometimes be good, but kitchen is very uneven.
Also, note that the poutine at Animal is $18 -- not exactly cheap eats.
Finally, I'd add:
- Pa Ord Noodle (Thai Town)
- Natas Pastries (Sherman Oaks)
- Brents (Northridge)
- Seobu Gamjatang - gamja tang (pork bone soup) (K-Town)
- Falafel Arax (East Hollywood)
Based on your picks, it looks like you want to stay west of the 710 and north of the 105; otherwise I could add dozens more recommendations.
Second all of these recommendations and suggest Skaf's Grill instead of Zankou. Zankou still has great garlic sauce, but their signature chicken has been way too dry the last three times I have had it. Instead of Phillipe's and Baby Blues BBQ I would hit Jim's Fallbrook Market's parking lot barbecue on the weekends for a tri-tip sandwich - or ribs - or chicken - or hot links...or all of them.
Its a really great list though. I'm copying it. Have a wonderful tour!
Thanks for your comments. I pretty much agree with most 'em (e.g., even though some things are on the list, like Daikokuya, we're not likely to go there, and, yeah, Phillipe's isn't the best food-wise but people still do seem to like to go there--if you get the sandwich with blue cheese it's not bad; otherwise it's just totally boring--and, yes, Animal is more expensive than the other stuff on the list and as a practical matter we're probably not gonna make it there).
I do have to say, though, that Zankou is definitely one of my favorites!! Remember, I'm not talking about the rotisserie chicken but rather the chicken schwarma. With extra garlic sauce and some extra-toasted pita, it can't be beat!!
Once again, I do appreciate your taking the time to give me your thoughts on everything...
> I'm not talking about the rotisserie chicken but rather the chicken schwarma.
That's my favorite there, too. I may have downgraded it mentally due to my disappointment with the Pasadena branch. As you probably know, different branches are owned by different family members, and can be wildly inconsistent.
BTW, I notice you have Marouch and Zankou listed as favorites in your profile. You should definitely check out Falafel Arax -- I think it would be your kind of place.
I cannot disagree more about Phillipe's. I am a bit biased because I probably ate there a dozen times a year growing up but for me nothing in the world is as satisfying as a double dip with potato salad that cheap, artificial lemonade. I probably view Phillipe's the way Chicagoans view Billy Goat Tavern: if you close your eyes and ears the food maybe doesn't pass muster. But when you walk down those steps and see the lines of people and the wood shavings on the ground, it's just, home..
In short, if your brother has never been to LA it is an essential stop.
Wow what a list! Good research!
I am in Glassell Park - by Eagle Rock and Glendale so I can give tips for my general area.
Portos - well what kind of sandwich do you like? Their cuban is classic, their medianoche very nice - but I have folks who moan out loud at the pork with garlic sauce. A stunning lush sandwich.
For ice cream - I adore scoops. I'd send you to Fosselman's as well, but that's a bit out of your area. Scoops is dirt cheap for the quality and totally unique. Well worth a visit.
Versaille's cuban chicken is awesome, and I just had Dino's chicken for the first time. Totally different than Versaille - and just as amazing in it's own right.
If you go to Dino's, get the fries well done.
You don't need to go to Diddy Reise. It's nice but the biggest thrill is the price for the area. The cookies are good - but so are porto's chocolate chips. If you need to hit a place in westward village go to Stan's Doughnuts. Killer. For purity - never been but followed it lots - Primo's. Stans does elaborate naughty donuts very well - Primo's - the pure buttermilk bar.
Well-done fries at Dino's eh? Interesting. Although, of course, in general I always want my fries crisp, I had just accepted that at Dino's they were not gonna be that way and just accepted them the way they are. But I will have to give 'em try well-done. Thanks for the suggestions...
First off, I wanna come, I wanna come!! What a great list!!
At Dino's DEFINITELY get the fries well done. You can also ask for them on the side... or like when I was there last week (Azusa location) they brought them to me on the side, with extra sauce on them. Sheer heaven. Be sure to ask for extra sauce!! They know I want mine swimming in sauce! It is THAT delicious!
Personally, I agree with Peri for the most part. Agree with his req regarding Casa Bianca, but not so much with the skipping of Phillipe's and Zankou. I, personally, love their chicken (although not as much as the chicken from Dino's!!).
OMG - Oki dog?!
And I've had them. And the pastrami burrito.
Unique and historic, sure. Worth bumping off some of your other choices off the list? No.
Better to hit Bay Cities for the Godmother. Get it cut in half, one half each will be more than enough, especially if you are planning to eat three full meals a day.
Yeah, I acknowledge that an Oki Dog is relatively disgusting but at the same time, there is something kind of good about it. It's definitely more for the novelty and the fun of it than purely for the taste or whatever. But chances are we won't be going there anyways (but, it's always possible...)
What a great list.
Only thing I'd change is Auntie Em's for red velvet cupcakes.
Doughboy's on 3rd is much better.
Whew. I'm tired just reading this.
A few comments: Substitute the tuskemen at Tsujita LA and the Santouka #7 for Daikokuya (both are west of the 405).
Avoid Crazy Fish like the plague. Skip See's Candy. The kaya toast at Street is meh.
Add La Espanola in Harbor City for their takeout paella (Saturdays only; order by phone on Friday)
Add Naan Hut in West LA for their freshly made sangak (Persian bread)
Add Scoops (Heliotrope location) for ice cream
Add Saffron & Rose Ice Cream on Westwood Blvd. for cucumber ice cream
Add Cafe Angelino (by Cedars-Sinai) for their thin-crust pizze funghe
Add Zam Zam, in Culver City for biryani (must call first)
Drop Millions of Milkshakes and add Fosselman's Ice Cream in Alhambra (REAL good milkshakes)
Add The Donut Man in Glendora for their strawberry doughnut (peach too if they got 'em this time of year)
Add TiGeorge's Chicken for Haitian cuisine, in Echo Park
Add Nyala's on Fairfax for Ethiopian
Add Class 302 (Rowland Heights) and/or Pa Pa Walk (San Gabriel) for shaved SNOW (not ice), particularly the mango shaved snow at PPW.
Add Dean Sin World (San Gabriel) or Din Tai Fung (Arcadia) for xiao long bao (AKA XLB)
Add SinBaLa (Arcadia) for oily rice (yeow fan)
Add 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza in Westwood Village
Add Joe's Pizza in Santa Monica or Sunset for a NYC slice
Add Porto's in Glendale for their Cuban baked goods (guava pastry!)
Add Nickel Diner in Downtown for the bacon doughnut
Add Frances Bakery in Little Tokyo for the Souffle Cheesecake
Add Colori Kitchen in Downtown for the Tagliatelle All Bolognese and their ricotta cheesecake
Donut Man (Fresh Strawberry Donuts, Fresh Peach Donuts and Chocolate Bavarian Cream Donuts) in Glendora is a great suggestion.
One of my favorite meals is the Half Chicken Plate at Dino's Burgers in Azusa and Donuts at Donut Man in Glendora for dessert.
Note to Film_Score, Dino's Burgers in Azusa serves its Half Chicken Plate in a plate with real metal eating utensils while Dino's Burgers Pico (the original location) serves its Half Chicken Plate in a styrofoam container with plastic eating utensils. Also, order Dino's Bugers Half Chicken Plate with extra "Juice."
La Espanola in Harbor City is a great place to go on Saturdays. Not only is their paella excellent, they make great sandwiches that go well with the paella and the marinated olives that go well with everything.
The OP should also consider the recs on this current thread, "Best gourmet ice cream and patisserie?" Just about every rec has lots of $5-10 options.
We can't go to Porto's without leaving with a box of the guava pastries and the papa rellenos.
It's the Oxtails at Versailles form. Sticky, unctuous and oh so good!
Oki dog is a once a year experience for me. I think the challenge of finishing a pastrami burrito, fries and a shake (the shakes are better down the street at Capitol Burger) is greater that the actual taste. Do it once and be satisfied.
Well if you do make it to Trails Cafe order a lavender cookie.
Also since your there you might as well go up to the observatory and enjoy the view over your food kingdom. The view is free.
Add: Pollo a la Brasa (whole chicken with fries and rice and aji)
Add: Pie n Burger (apple pie, banana cream pie)
Just my .02, but where does one start with the SGV recs? Okay, here's five off the top of my head:
101 Noodle Express for the beef roll.
Banh Mi My Tho for the #8 roast pork banh mi.
Din Sin World for xlb and any pork dumplings
Beijing Pie House for the lamb pie, pork/fennel pie, or meat pancake.
Lucky Noodle King for the dan dan mian or twice cooked pork
My suggestions are: First, go to langers, bay cities, Father's office and santouka for sure, because all these places are unanimously awesome if not best in class. Not a single person on here will rec against any of these. Second, trucks in general are not even close to worth the hype, they are something of a craze at the moment but in general the restaurants make the same food better and cheaper, except maybe Ricky's tacos. Third, if you go to Thai town and only get Sapp's boat noodles, you're nuts. You could throw a dart at a thai restaurant there and I bet you it's gonna be amazing. So I suggest you go to at the very least 2 thai restaurants and if they have a "thai menu," order off that.
Definitely do Korea town.
Definitely do more Latin American food and less Mexican. Mexican food in LA is good but LA is a place where you can get the Peruvian (highly rec'd) Salvadorian (Ditto) and Cuban, Argentinian, etc You'd get a wider variety of flavors and dishes by exploring these cuisines that are more unique to LA.
Last thing, there's a "Kosher District" near Pico and Robertson I believe with a plethora of places to get middle eastern and israeli food. I personally love the laffas at Nagila Meeting Place, they're like Israeli burritos. I also recommend you try sangak bread, a delicious Persian flatbread covered with sesames fresh baked at Naan Hut and Sangak bakery Cafe. I'd rec these places bigtime over Zankou for sure.
Basically you have 4-5 days, that's not a lot of time. If you manage to eat
Langers (their corned beef is IMO the best, and in a side by side taste test w/ pastrami 5/6 also chose CB, FWIW)
Pizza from Milo and Olive, Stella Rossa or Mozza (split it and it's cheap, right)
Then you'd be eating like a GOD
Dessert wise, I think coolhaus has good and creative ice cream sandwiches, much better than the shlock-pile that is diddy reese. I'm a Bruin (hence the name) and I've eaten enough DR to know that it sucks.... on a good day. I'm not a big dessert guy, sorry.
Your list is great!
If you consider Umami & Father's Office cheap, please try the hamburgers at 26 Beach Restaurant.
The Bucket in Eagle Rock, hamburgers.
Fosselman's Ice Cream in Alhambra
Rolled Tacos & Machaca Burritos from Alberto's on Peck in El Monte
Chorizo & Egg or a Chile Relleno Burrito from La Azteca on Ceasar Chavez, their asada taco is also good.
Bacon Wrapped Dog from The Hot Dog Man outside B&B Hardware in Culver City
Bill's Original House of Tacos on Martin Luther King near San Pedro, not like any taco you have ever had, kind of like Tommy's meets a taco, very good.
Jalapeno Dog from Pink's, hold the chili, just mustard & onions
Fab's Hot Dogs in Northridge
Burritos from Lupe's #2 on 3rd Street
Burrito's from Al & Bea's
Brownie's & other stuff from Sweets for the Soul in Atwater
Pizza Slices from Vito's
Pizza from Petrillos in San Gabriel
Bahn Mi from Banh Mi My Tho in Alhambra
Beef Roll from 101 Noodle Express
I got more but I need to go get my coffee! Ciao
The masala dosa at India Sweet House (5992 Pico Blvd.)--only available on weekends. I don't know if there are better, greater masala dosas out there--but this is my Sunday afternoon--let's negate all the benefits of the workout--indulgence.
That's a pretty ambitious list. where are your brother and friends coming in from? That should affect this list, for instance if he is coming from new york, does he really need to try pizza and burgers? If they are coming from texas, do they need to have LA bbq? if you can get through 10% of that list, I'll be impressed. Anyway, if you are in the pasadena area, I'd try the europane egg salad sandwich. For Arcadia, I'd go to the beard papa on baldwin(south of huntington) and get the strawberry cream puff, available only on weekdays. In san gabriel, pan fried dumplings at nt dumpling house and pork pump at mei long village next door. For near DTLA, swing by mo chica for cebiche and ox tail risotto, over your price limit, but if you have a bunch of guys, just split the cost since you really aren't going to be hungry at this point. I'd also google jonathan gold's list of things to eat in l.a., it's a good resource to cross reference with your list.
Another for Euro Pane's egg salad sandwich. I don't like boiled eggs but that open-faced lovely eclipses any prejudice.
If tying in a trip to Arcadia with other things to eat, Beard Papa would probably be okay. If not, I'd use my travel time to hit up Chantilly in Lomita instead. The cream puffs are superior, plus Chantilly is in the same strip as Gaja (okonomiyaki) and across the street from Kotosh (great Peruvian-Japanese cuisine).