Tourist Chowhound Food Crawl
Let's say you have friends visiting LA for Memorial Day Weekend.
Let's say they want to visit all the notable tourist (food-related) spots that's made LA what it is.
Let's say you have no interest in accompanying them.
Let's say you've agreed, however, to give them guidance.
So, then, what say you ... what would your itinerary look like?
> Let's say they want to visit all the notable tourist (food-related)
> spots that's made LA what it is.
This is a trickier question than it might seem at first. Do you mean:
- places that influenced the LA dining scene, e.g. Spago
- places that are food museums, e.g. Philipe's, Apple Pan, Du-Pars, Musso & Frank
- places that are tourist icons, but are generally derided on this list, .e.g., Mel's, Canter's, Pinks
- architectural icons with decent food, e.g., Pann's, Randy's
- Entourage-y places like Urth?
Since it's you asking, ipse, I assume you're looking for more than a cookie-cutter answer.
P.S. Unless they're vegivores, I'd almost certainly put the Pasadena In-N-Out (Foothill Blvd location) on any list!
I would really try to break something like this down into "neighborhood food crawls" that grouped each day by geographic location that hit the culinary "highlights" of each of those neighborhoods. Highlights can be cheap or middle or upper income spots. They just need to give you a good cross section of what each area has to offer in the way of "good eats."
I leave the parameters up to you (and the Chowhound community).
Perhaps, if I rephrased it this way: "If someone visiting from outside the U.S. asked that you take them on a tour of all the food-related attractions that makes LA is what it is, where would you take them?"
If you think "cookie-cutter" is the right way to go -- e.g. Pinks, Pantry, Canters, etc. -- then so be it.
If you think it's something else, then let's hear it.
This seems somewhat futile w/o knowing much about the visitors. Nevertheless, here are some places I'd suggest to visitors from Taiwan who I thought were somewhat like-minded to me, but not as obsessive about food:
- Langer's Deli
- Pizzeria Mozza
- Father's Office (Culver City-adj location)
- Urth Caffe (Melrose Ave location)
- In-N-Out (Pasadena Foothill Blvd location) or Apple Pan
- Tacos Leo or Kogi BBQ or Ricky's Fish Tacos
- Musso & Frank
- Oki's Dog (Pico Blvd location)
- The Fountain Coffee Room (at The Beverly Hills Hotel)
- Cacao Mexicatessen or Mexicali Taco
I can't in good conscience include El Cholo/Titos OR omit Mexican food entirely, hence the recommendations for Leo/Cacao/Mexicali, even though they're not touristy. And sorry, I can't include Pink's -- it's just wrong.
Because of the historic, old-school, dual-drive-thru design. I know there's other similar historic locations (e.g., Rosemead), but Pasadena is probably more convenient.
Sure, you can go to any In-N-Out, but the newer locations lack character. Is it worth 30 minutes on the 110 or 134? Maybe, maybe not. Just be sure to brief them on the secret menu.
If they are open to ice cream/gelato, it seems the general SGV area has had a recent bumper crop of great places to enjoy. Fosselman's, Bulgarini, Carmela and Mother Moo. This recent "best gourmet ice cream and patisserie" thread might help as well:
Donuts are a SoCal staple - how about a run to The Donut Man for strawberry-filled donuts?
These are all great suggestions, but (besides maybe Fosselman's and Donut Man) I'd have a hard time saying they're "notable tourist (food-related) spots that's made LA what it is". As of yet, at least. In their place I would probably propose Scoops (at Heliotrope or maybe at Golden State), Bob's, and/or Milk.
The reason I'd hit up these ice cream places is you can see the evolution of ice cream in LA, from Fosselman's (old school/traditional done right but with Asian-likeable flavors as well) to Bulgarini (Europe has finally hit the shores), then Carmela and Mother Moo ("artisan," sourced ingredients, more unique combo flavoring, etc.). Scoops et al have a place in there too, probably next to Bulgarini, but I'm assuming it's pretty easy to do the four I mention because they're all SGV, and I'm assuming Ipse's Taiwanese guests might be starting from around there as well.
The Hat for pastrami chili cheese fries
Intelligentsia for coffee
Bludso's for ribs
Magnolia for banana pudding
In n Out
CUT for bone marrow flan and steak, Mastros for old school steak
Portos for guava cheese and cuban sandwich