Entertaining a picky foodie from New York
I am a hosting a very particular foodie this week from New York. He pretty much eats the following:
Pizza (cheese pizza only)
Chicken (nothing fancy in the way of sauces)
Dry Turkey sandwiches
vanilla ice cream
donuts (plain donuts glazed)
As you can imagine given his limited choices he has a very discerning palette regarding the items he does eat. My question for you all, what options are available in LA that will be better, or at least rival, his New York options given his restrictions? Price is not a factor, location can be anywhere in the LA/Orange County area.
Hmm...accepting at face value that your friend is a "foodie" with "a discerning palette" who's well-versed in NYC's best versions of all that you seek, here are my suggestions that "will better, ot at least rival, his New York options given his restrictions":
Steak: NYC has the best steak houses in the world. Cut in Beverly Hills may or may not be "better", but its excellent and a different version of a steak house than exists in NYC.
Burgers (plain): The best LA burgers, in my opinion, are all about the perfect balance of meat, bun, and fixings/condiments. Since your friend only eats them plain, that eliminates most of the city's best and I'd go to Short Order in the Original Farmer's Market for Nancy's Backyard Burger holding everything but the bun. Otherwise, go back to Cut and get the Kobe sliders in the bar, which are plain and worth a second trip.
Pizza (cheese only): None, but a margherita at Mozza is a different dough recipe than what he's tried in NYC.
Chicken: Since price is not a factor, go to Melisse in Santa Monica for the rotisserie chicken for two. For what they charge, your tableside carver ought to keep a straight face when you ask for the cream sauce on the side and for the truffles to be reserved for your plate only.
Dry Turkey Sandwich: Philippe's downtown where you'll get a beef double-dipped and your friend will enjoy the turkey dip with no dip.
Vanilla ice cream/cherry turnover/apple pie: None compared to the best of NYC, but you could go to either the Apple Pan or Pie and Burger (but see above note about LA burgers) for burgers holding everything but the bun followed by good (but not Little Pie Company/NYC good) pie a la mode. Also, the LaBrea Bakery used to have a really nice cherry pie on weekends, but I don't know if that's still true.
Donuts: None, although at least you didn't say "Bagels".
Also, although I wouldn't consider any of them culinary destinations per se, your friend might enjoy Musso & Frank, the Pacific Dining Car downtown, or The Grill in Beverly Hills, all of which are classic LA-specific restaurants that do simple dishes (steaks included) well.
re: Ciao Bob
re: Ciao Bob
El Pollo Inka in Torrance is average imho, but the one further north in Lawndale utilizes the wood-burning rotisserie oven. Their chicken was quite good but I haven't been back in a long while - five years or more. Their aji was a watery mess of mostly iceberg lettuce - it was an utter turn-off.
was there last week (lawndale location), nothing's changed. Good chicken. Good seco de cordiero. Poor aji (even poor aji still tastes good though, for the record).
Made me miss Inka Deli in a bad way. They really were the best. Hopefully they get up and running in a new place. Until then, Pollo a la Brasa on Western is the best in the vicinity.
Thanks folks. I understand that we may have a difference of opinion about the use of the word foodie. I suppose the definitional difference is contingent on whether one views being a foodie as requiring breadth or depth or both of food love.
My friend is one of a kind, and dives deeper into the small class of food he loves than anyone I know. That, to me, qualifies as a foodie but your mileage may vary.
For steak you might consider Park's BBQ, some of the best cuts of beef cooked at your table with great Korean flavors. Great service too.
Good AYCE Brazilian steaks and a wonderful salad bar at Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills.
Since you said price is not a factor you might want to check out Wolfgang Puck's Cut in Beverly Hills for Steaks. Expensive.
They have a very tasty free range roasted chicken at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica (they also make a great burger).
or good roasted fast food chicken at Zankou. Numerous locations.
One of my favorite burgers in Los Angeles is at The Golden State on Fairfax Blvd. Made with Harris Ranch beef and they will make it any way you'd like it including plain.
For your dry turkey sandwich Bay Cities Italian Deli carries may types of turkey including Maple Turkey, Mesquite, Turkey Pastrami, Pepper, Roasted and Sausalito (turkey breast coated with a blend of jalapeño peppers, onions, cilantro and sun dried tomatotes.) all served on their wonderful fresh baked Italian Bread.
They still hand carve fresh turkey for sandwiches to order at the last Koo Koo Roo on 20th & Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.
given that list,
somehow or other, i find it hard to believe that this person is really a "foodie." i do believe, though, that he may be picky.
that said, for one of the items: if milo and olive or huckleberry is carrying an apple pie when he is here, that would surely satisfy any real foodie.
also, for any real foodie, i'd avoid the apple pie that victor benes carrys at gelsons.
for dry turkey sandwiches, if the "foodie" can stomach having the sandwich made with jewish rye bread, either nate 'n al's in beverly hills or brents in the sf valley should work.