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Guidance needed for week-long LA visit


I'm going to be visiting LA with my husband this September. I've been doing some research (on this site and others, as well as published guides) into the LA restaurant scene, and have discovered that there are so many great-sounding options that I'm now more confused than ever. So now I'm hoping that Chowhound's local experts might be able to give me a steer...

We're not necessarily looking for fine dining restaurants - we're more into good cooking, great ingredients and a buzzy atmosphere. That's not to say we're averse to spending money - the one restaurant we've already booked is n/naka, having read nothing but glowing reviews about the place.

I'm not hugely interested in exploring, for instance, the perfect French bistro or great classic Italian food - we've got lots of those restaurants in London. What we're after are great LA restaurants, those doing their own eclectic thing.

So far my shortlist includes Trois Mec (if I can get a table), Animal, Ink, Fifty Seven, Maude, Red Medecine, Gjelina, Lucques, AOC and Hinoki and the Bird.

We're going to be based in W Hollywood, but are happy to travel a bit, if necessary (apart from anything else, we're going to be touristing all over town).

We're going to be getting our fix of Mexican food on our trip down to LA, so that's not a priority (although I know there are some great Mexican places in LA too...)

Can anyone help me whittle down my shortlist? Is there anything that should be on the list that I've missed?

Thanks, in advance, for any advice and suggestions...


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  1. You probably should add one Korean and one Chinese meal to your list (Parks BBQ http://parksbbq.com/ is a good bet) and one San Gabriel Valley Chinese (Sea Harbour http://www.yelp.com/biz/sea-harbour-s... wouldn't be a bad choice at all - for either dim sum or dinner, both are quite excellent).

    When you said you were going to get your Mexican fix you probably meant to say perhaps San Diego instead of LA again?

    15 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      Thanks. Korean is a good idea - we don't see much of it in the UK. Chinese, on the other hand, is widely available here in London...

      1. re: NatashaH

        I imagine the Chinese you get in London is very, VERY different from the Chinese available in the UK.... I refused to eat Chinese food when I was in London last yr (to which the posters on the London board agreed), but my impression from a trip (> 10 yrs ago) was that London's Chinese food is heavily influenced by HK (and possibly by an HK from several decades ago) and, truth be told, probably by what the Chinese population in London thinks Westerners will tolerate. That isn't the case in San Gabriel Valley. We have several *cities* filled w/ Chinese; you're not going to find that even in London, I think.

        I've been to Lucques, AOC, Gjelina, and Animal and think they're all very good. I'd definitely do AOC. Gjelina is very popular here on the board (I liked it but was not blown away).

        Are you sure you don't want to do Mexican here in LA? We have lots of great stuff.....

        Walking along Sawtelle for Japanese might be fun. I like Tsujita for ramen, but the wait is generally really, REALLY long.

        What is Thai like in London?

        1. re: paranoidgarliclover

          Chinese food USED to be very Cantonese-based, but in recent years we've had an explosion of interest in dishes from other regions. We're particularly good at Szechuanese food, partly because we have a great food writer and consultant (Fuchsia Dunlop) who's based here, but has spent time living and training in Szechuan province. We've also got terrific dim sum restaurants. Shame I didn't see your post, as I might have been able to give you a steer...

          Anyway, most of our Thai food is same old same old, but there are some exceptions. We used to have a David Thompson restaurant (his first outside Australia) but that closed a couple of years ago. Some of the chefs who worked with him, though, have set up by themselves and are starting to make waves. Particularly notable is the Begging Bowl, which is located in an up-and-coming suburb of south London...

          1. re: NatashaH

            That's okay. The purpose of the visit was more sight-seeing than eating. I have to admit I'm constantly in awe of the visitors who post on this board who have clearly done *so* much reading and searching! The few times I've tried it, I get overwhelmed very quickly and then give up! ;)

            Do agree w/ Ciao Bob that the current itinerary is a bit, er, homogenous. And do think that Haeldaur made some very nice recommendations.

            Hope you enjoy your visit!

        2. re: NatashaH

          Then Roy Choi's POT is well-worth a visit.

          1. re: Ciao Bob

            I'd go to Park's BBQ over POT. While POT would be a fine choice, I think Park's is more of a Korean experience while still being somewhat gentrified. Also I think at any given time I would just rather have the food at Park's.

            1. re: thefatknightrises

              POT seems to run more towards the type of place the OP seems interested in AND it has excellent creative and old-school food in a hip, fun environment.

              If the OP wants Korean BBQ, Park's is great. Park's was my go-to spot for K-BBQ for years but now that everyone (and their cardiologist) know about about it, it has lost its glow for me - I think it has been "whited" and I know I can do better elsewhere if I want beef. Anyway, I prefer Ham Ji Park for pork neck and potato soup and pork ribs when I want a meat fest in Ktown.

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                whited? what a load of crap. la is as multicultural as it gets in the USA and this spot reflects that.

                1. re: jessejames

                  seems accurate though, when you go to park's it's very multicutural compared to other more uhm...ethnic...k-town spots where you can't even find an english speaker.

                  1. re: ns1

                    what's wrong with that? multicultural is a different term. what's wrong with diverse people enjoying Korean bbq? you think parks says, oh, look we're getting popular outside the neighborhood, let's make the beef shittier? you think white folks should just stick to expensive ham and wonder bread? should we be apartheid foodwise and is that somehow preferable by some? sounds like it, except for them, who they consider chameleons unlike everyone else

                    1. re: jessejames

                      i never said anything was wrong with it

                        1. re: ns1

                          Nor did I.
                          As I clearly wrote Park's "has lost its glow FOR ME." Nothing is wrong with that - lot's of places do, for one reason or another. I would guess McDonald's was once the most unique thing for miles and miles around San Bernardino, if not in all of SoCal. Parkdonald's may be that one day for Korean BBQ. By "whited" I meant no offense to anyone. Perhaps I should have used different terminology...but, Discovered and Overrun by Non-Koreans from Huntington Beach to Simi Valley is cumbersome. Most times, (again) for me, going to K-Town is meant to be a meal AND a Korean adventure rather than a place just to get a great Korean meal. As K-town gentrifies (rapidly) that experience is getting harder to find, so I shy away from places like Park's for reasons other than a darn good BBQ joint (as well as excellent Beef Tartare with Asian Pears, and fine cold noodles).

                      1. re: ns1

                        Just goes to show that good food has a rainbow effect...every color likes it.

          2. Your list is very solid - if a little Johnny-One-Note. By that I mean these are the current LA Food-iverse headline-grabbing chefs and restaurants in town; for sure they each have their own spin but, on the whole, do tend to do things that are not all that different from each other (Farm-to-Table with Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences). Which, I guess, makes sense since you are trying to whittle it down. Before whittling though I think you may want to consider adding Bestia to your thoughts as well as Providence.

            Agree that n/naka is unique (though I prefer Shunji's to mix the Kitchen Kreations with the best sushi and sashimi).

            For me, I would take Trois Mec - Red Medicine - Gjelina over AOC - Hinoki - Luques - ink - Maude. Do not know 57.

            Would skip animal - it's been copied all over the world and isn't, IMHO, what it was since foie gras got banned here.

            Hope that helps.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Ciao Bob

              funny i agree on the one note point but different picks for me. I would say red medicine and gjenlina are foodie bullshit and super annoying in their own unique ways, haven't been to ink, but think trois mec, animal and aoc are solid, with luques being pretty good.

              completely agree with other posters here to try Korean, thai, Mexican Chinese etc.

              1. re: jessejames

                +1 on all these and CiaoBob's sentiments. To me, an itinerary like the original one is why a lot of people travel here and don't think much of the food scene. There are restaurants like these popping up all over the country and none of them comment on much about what is going on that is unique to LA.

                1. re: jessejames

                  <foodie bullshit>

                  What a great term.

                    1. re: jessejames

                      jessejames: you and i are practically reverse indicators for each other.
                      on monday i took a group to gjelina and they all loved it.

                      n.b., though
                      gjelina, imho, what really shines at gjelina are their vegetable dishes.
                      we ordered 6 vegetable dishes for 4 people in addition to "normal" main dishes.

                      if you appreciations really don't encompass VEGETABLES, this may not be the best restaurant for you.

                      also, i was happy that we did much of our drinking before going there as their wine-by-the-glass list is just "ok" to my palate.

                      also, re: reservations there.
                      if you don't have a reservation, you can generally walk in at 2:30 on a weekday and get seats at the communal table. be aware, though, that between about 3 and 5:30 only an abbreviated pizza and charcuterie menu is available.

                  1. As someone who lived in London, and now lives in LA, I think I can help. Essentially, I understand your post to be looking for unique culinary experiences you don't have in London, but you're not interested in hole-in-the-wall diving. Here are some musts.

                    1. Night + Market (West Hollywood). There is no thai in London like this. It is going to be extremely unique in flavor profile to you, and it's one of LA's best restaurants. It's also near where you're staying. Must-orders include the Startled Pig, Shrimp Paste Fried Rice, Isaan Sausage, Khao Soi (if it is on the menu), Larb Gai, and drunken noodles with short ribs.

                    2. Chi Spacca. You can get meat in London, but it's really not like this. Go and split the bistecca, the foccacia de reccio, charcuterie, and a salad.

                    3. AOC or Gjelina. These are both quintessential LA experiences. Neither is the best food you've ever had, but they're beautiful places to eat, with beautiful people, and the food is quite good at both. As an out-of-towner, I'd say go Gjelina.

                    4. Mexican Taco Tour. Ok, this is the most adventurous thing I'd suggest for someone traveling from overseas who isn't interested in plumbing holes in the wall. In coming to LA from Europe of all places, you want to experience the Mexican food. My suggestion is to make a morning of it and do it in one fell swoop. Start at Ricky's Fish Tacos at 11 a.m. and get 1 baja fish taco. Drive to Guisado's on Sunset, have 1 cochinita pibil taco (don't get higher than a 3 on the spicy scale or it will probably ruin your day), drive to Mariscos Jalisco and have 1 or 2 tacos dorados (shrimp tacos), and perhaps a poseidon ceviche.

                    5. For Peruvian, I think you'd like PICCA. Tasty food, definitely a buzzy atmosphere.

                    6. For Korean, I would recommend Soban. Make sure to get the spicy short ribs and the raw soy sauce crab. This is pricy for Korean, but the cooking is excellent. Also, while you may have some korean BBQ places in London, I'm pretty confident you have nothing like this.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Haeldaur

                      Thanks, all, for the feedback - I really appreciate it, especially the steer that I was going a bit one-note. Some of the suggestions you've all made sound terrific, and I will definitely explore them further. I'm looking forward to my trip to LA (the first for about 30 years!) even more now...

                      1. re: NatashaH

                        Well Natasha, we're excited that you will be visiting our city and look forward to hearing your reviews during your trip or after you get home.

                      2. re: Haeldaur

                        Great post. I second big time adding Night + Market.

                        Also agree with adding Korean food somewhere.

                        Also agree with Gjelina over AOC even though AOC will be temptingly close.

                        Also consider adding Shunji or Mori for a sushi experience and Tsujita (original branch during lunch) for their tsukemen. Make sure you get it with their egg.

                      3. Your list is pretty great. Ink is exceptional, Red Medicine's desserts are mind blowing you could even stop by just for dessert, Animal is a great choice as well.

                        To get the LA experience, you should definitely get Tacos and Korean BBQ in there. If you like Buzz, Roy Choi (Legit famous, he's on Top Chef as a mentor/judge, was in the end credits of the film Chef) has a new Korean/modern gourmet interpretation place called POT in Koreatown. The lobby bar is also a big scene there. To go more traditional, Park's or Soot Bull Jeep or I have bookmarked from Eater LA Kang Hodong Baekjeong.

                        I think Tar and Roses is superior to AOC or Luqcues, if you want another california/small plates option.

                        I'm also obsessed with the burger at Plan Check and pretty sure you are not going to eat a burger that delicious in London.

                        Where are you getting your mexican before LA? Becuase LA has much better Mexican food than most american cities. And tacos are such a part of LA culture! You could also have great fun visiting a place like Central Market downtown which is a foodie market/food court scene.

                        Dumplings perhaps at Din Tai Fung?

                        1. Hey you want some Pastrami for lunch? Langer's
                          Or how about some Fish Tacos? Ricky's Fish Tacos

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: wienermobile

                            2 ubiquitous recs that should be on every visitor's list.

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              Langer's is a great call, and definitely something I never tried anything close to when I lived in London. That being said, fair warning to OP, it is in a real shitty area.

                                1. re: Haeldaur

                                  in the grand scheme of things, that exact corner isn't that shitty.

                                    1. re: jessejames

                                      i miss pinatas.

                                      fake ids won't help me now….



                                      i wonder if they sell fake badges ??????? those could seriously come in handy…. just joking'.

                                    2. re: ns1

                                      Very true. And even if, got to try it once if you are an adventurous eater.

                                    3. re: Haeldaur

                                      I have been going to Langer's for over 40 years and I have never been murdered yet. They close at 4pm and are closed sundays.

                                      1. re: Haeldaur

                                        Not real shitty in terms of your safety. Shitty in terms of the ambiance - it ain't Beverly Hills. Its in a working class Mexican immigrant area. It's fine during the day.

                                      2. re: wienermobile

                                        I'd love a comparison between Langer's pastrami and some London salt beef!

                                      3. I wouldn't bother with a dumpy old Jewish deli or a fish taco stand in Hollywood, unless you are going to be in the area, but there's no real reason to be in MacArthur Park. And for Ricky's, you have to follow his twitter feed to see if he's open for business.

                                        I would get over to PCH in Malibu and have lunch or an early dinner at Nobu's. it right on the sand and has the best atmosphere in all of LA.

                                        plus 1 for Tar & Roses. But it's small and loud, you 'll need a res, nowhere to really wait. But if you find yourself shopping in Santa Monica, it's worth a stop there for dinner.

                                        Gjelina is a better bet than Lucques or AOC. The whole Abbott Kinney Boulevard is a great walking and shopping/people watching street. Very close to the Venice Boardwalk.

                                        Night +Market would be a good Thai bet. Make sure you are into the ingredient of choice for Maude, as it will be in every course on the menu.

                                        You may want to look at downtown LA and the arts district, lots of cool new places to find and is close to Koreatown to the west.

                                        Know that all of these places plus the ones on your list are very spread out in the city, and our public transportation is okay in some spots but does not reach all areas of LA. Enjoy your stay!

                                        30 Replies
                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                          I wouldn't bother with a dumpy old Jewish deli or a fish taco stand in Hollywood, unless you are going to be in the area, but there's no real reason to be in MacArthur Park. And for Ricky's, you have to follow his twitter feed to see if he's open for business.
                                          Know that all of these places plus the ones on your list are very spread out in the city, and our public transportation is okay in some spots but does not reach all areas of LA. Enjoy your stay!

                                          Well when you sell it like that I wouldn't bother either.

                                          Of course, I would say you should go to Langer's for the best pastrami this side of the Mississippi, and RFT for the best fish tacos this side of the border.

                                          Both spots are walkable from the redline too.

                                          1. re: ns1

                                            dirty -- love ya but ill take these joints over anything on abbot kinney 8 days a week. believe it or not the shopping around langers is quite interesting -- bet you don't have a wolf poncho...

                                              1. re: jessejames

                                                I know you would JJ but I don't like to steer visitors to the seedier side of the city. That's me. And a dumpy deli is not worth it, again to me. I just call 'em how I see 'em.....

                                                1. re: jessejames

                                                  Let's also be clear, for out of towners, that the deli itself is not dumpy at all.

                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                        that's how I like it -- add horseradish and swiss!
                                                        love the cold crisp kraut at langers.

                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                    I respect your perspective, Dirty, but don't you really think it depends on the visitor?
                                                    To automatically assume everyone is going to love Abbott Kinney isn't exactly accurate. It's expensive, hipster and surely not for everyone and certainly not every out-of-town guest is going to love Langer's.
                                                    I've spent days on end in Mission in SF, became bored and all I wanted to do was explore all the shops on Haight.
                                                    It just depends on the person.

                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                      funny, when I was at langers yesterday and walking around the hood there, I thought about the time I lived in the mission in the early 90s when it looked the same way...

                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                        Isn't it crazy?
                                                        Night and day since the early 90's.
                                                        A cab driver and I had a long discussion about the mission and how it's changed. The theme of the discussion was 'what is a hipster?'.
                                                        It was just a few months ago, in the Mission, when I got tired of spending the money I did on artisan chocolates, artisan coffee and anything else that was marked up to the ridiculous hipster prices I experienced. Boring.
                                                        A little off subject, sorry.

                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                          i hear ya.

                                                          though i do thoroughly miss bombay ice creamery.

                                                          1. re: JAB

                                                            is that the woody allen sandwich, double pastrami ???????

                                                2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                  The arts district? I'm sure London is lousy with the same types of boring hipsters that congregate around $8 coffee shops. But why hate on Langers, when there's nothing like it in the UK? The OP is looking for LA places, and Langers surely qualifies.

                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                    My personal opinion is that it's a really sh*tty area, and still totally, TOTALLY worth the trip.

                                                    To the OP, make sure to order your fries extra crispy. =) And don't bother to order anything else there (not that the other stuff is bad.... It's just that the pastrami is so, SO good).

                                                    1. re: paranoidgarliclover

                                                      what you can also do if you want is you can get the curbside service, and order a couple pastrami sandwiches without dressing and cheese, so it don't get soggy, and take your treasures to maybe dtla and munch real well at the great park over there. or wherever you can take it to.

                                                      or you can grab about 2 or 3 lbs of pastrami, packaged for your curbside, you don't even get out of your car, and then haul the goods to wherever you want though before you get them you can munch on like a half pound of the goods before your get to your ultimate destination.

                                                      now that's some good and potentially safer eating if you happen to some slight trepidation about hitting it up but you still really really really really want to hit that shit up.

                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        Curbside service? Good to know!

                                                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                      I do recall your saying that you would not go to a Suzanne Goin restaurant (or words to that effect), so I take your recommendation for Gjelina above Lucques or AOC with a great big bitter grain of salt.

                                                      1. re: maudies5

                                                        I've been to AOC multiple times, Lucques 3 times, Tavern twice, and Gjelina around 6-8 times. I too would take Gjelina over AOC and Lucques easily. And I happen to like AOC and Tavern.

                                                        1. re: maudies5

                                                          Um, okay. I'm not sure what you mean.... Are you implying I've not gone to any of them? I happen to like Gjelina more than AOC & Lucques.... But I'd go back to AOC to try that turkey focaccia sandwich you talk about. I just don't like the FOH at the Goin establishments. Not sure why that's a problem for you.....

                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                            Mea Culpa, DWEO. It was another poster (I haven't seen here for some time) who made the remark that she would never dine at a Suzanne Goin restaurant. Sorry for the confusion. I did a search and did see where you commented on some FOH issues.
                                                            Again, my apologies.

                                                            1. re: maudies5

                                                              Oh no problem maudies.... Happens to all of us. I was a little confused, though, to say the least! But even with the FOH issues, I'd still go to AOC (where the staff was perfectly friendly) and Tavern again. Just not interested in going back to Lucques anymore...too many good places to try anyhow.

                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                Bet your boys would love the Lucques Ribfest this Sunday. Really good. Did it once and that was more meat than I consume in a year, but it sure was good. Lots of happy children there.

                                                                1. re: maudies5

                                                                  Good to know, thank you! I'll have to look that up! But number one did just get his braces on so..,.. Maybe too much of a tease....

                                                          2. re: maudies5

                                                            one visit to Lucques was enough for both me and my dining partner. Although we both liked it, that was all. just liked. (My dining partner later said to me, "EVERYTHING was covered in oil: the nuts, the vegetables, EVERYTHING" i couldn't disagree

                                                            Gjelina, otoh, is a repeat, repeat, repeat, and repeat restaurant for me and is requested every time my dining pal comes to town.

                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                              Maybe Gjelina's secret is they keep things simple. Many items on the menu but no modifications. Pizza (excellent and light), veggies, salads, some small plates and large plates that for me are superfluous. Butterscotch pot de creme a superlative dessert.

                                                              Not as exhausting as a lot of sharing restaurants.

                                                              Convenient to LAX. This is the first restaurant I think of to fit visiting friends and family.

                                                          3. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                            Folks, we removed a bunch of arguing here about the safety and/or dumpiness of the neighborhood around Langers. It got pretty unfriendly, and although it's nice that some of you later made up, that's one of those topics we ask people to avoid, because it really never goes well. Thanks.

                                                          4. add Tana's to that list and you're good to go (just joking). :)

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                              It's actually not a bad idea. While Tana's isn't new, it is, in a certain way, quintessentially "LA", will probably yield a star sighting or two, and is unquestionably a good time. Is it a one night only type of place? Probably not, but worth including on a longer trip. All depends on how long the OP is in town.

                                                              Night & Market, one or two from Animal/Trois Mec/AOC/Gjelina/Alma/Bestia/Chi Spacca/Bucato/Superba/Salt's Cure, a sushi outing (n/Naka in this case), and Tana's would be a good cross section for OP's wish for "good cooking, great ingredients and a buzzy atmosphere...great LA restaurants, those doing their own eclectic thing."

                                                              There are many good choices all over town, but Natasha it might help if you told us how long you are staying, and some semblance of your itinerary. All of these places are very good, so to some extant it's about picking and choosing between what makes sense for your trip, rather than arbitrarily driving all over town to go to specific places that in the grand sense are somewhat interchangeable.

                                                              1. re: VealParmGuy

                                                                Hi, I'm staying for a week (as per my original question) and have no particular itinerary in mind while in LA... However, all of these answers are helping to flesh out the eating part of the visit!

                                                                1. re: NatashaH

                                                                  Hi Natasha,

                                                                  Didn't see your timeline in your original post, a week is plenty of time to get some variety in. I would start by picking one or two places you really want to try like n/Naka, and build from there. If you are staying at the W-Hollywood, you are a quick Uber ride from many of the places you mentioned and have access to the Metro to get downtown. Are you renting a car? That will widen where you can travel too, and while some places will be worth getting in the car for, in many cases there may be an equal version close by.

                                                                  For the "hotter" restaurants you may need reservations at least a week in advance (if not more), but during the week many places will have same-day or next-day availability to give you some flexibility in making plans.

                                                            2. If you can get into Maude (the hardest reservation in Los Angeles at the moment) please please go. Will not disappoint! An entire evening of chowhound bliss.

                                                              1. Hopping in with a recommendation here...
                                                                It looks as though you'll be in the Downtown area a bit. While London has exceptional options for Japanese food I don't think you have anything like our Little Tokyo's b.o.s.
                                                                Fergus Henderson's St. John through an Asian filter.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: FranklinJefferson

                                                                  Little Tokyo's b.o.s? More info, please!

                                                                    1. re: NatashaH

                                                                      Bos is an excellent suggestion. Fried tripe is delicious. If you have a large enough party you can order the whole oxtail in advance.


                                                                  1. Wow, did this post add 100+ comments overnight?

                                                                    58 Replies
                                                                        1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                          why not a thousand ?????

                                                                          that would be a record.

                                                                        2. re: ns1

                                                                          you live up in Burbank noho area yes? time to check out


                                                                          I will gladly make the trek and join up if we can get the golden ticket, or pink ticket

                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                            10 pounds each to go.

                                                                            is the goods ready to eat if you go to RC provisions ????????????

                                                                            1. re: kevin

                                                                              if you ask nicely, they'll take you on a kitchen tour at Lawry's and you can see the prime ribs just stacked up full bore. it's pretty awesome. maybe RC could get a silver medal.

                                                                            2. re: jessejames

                                                                              It's right across from the Burbank costco, I see it and comment all the time. Is the joint only wholesale/factory or are they offering tours or something?

                                                                              1. re: ns1

                                                                                I just filled out the contact us page -- we'll see... (yes busy day)


                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                    sounds like an old fashioned field trip.

                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                      ...as a kid growing up in LA we used to go on food field trips all the time including Hostess & Wonder Bread Beverly Hills, Good Humor Hollywood & Schlitz in Van Nuys. All gone now...

                                                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                        we went to dunkin donuts but Schlitz sounds better!

                                                                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                          Schlitz! Wow, there's a blast from the past, haven't heard that name in agessssss.......

                                                                                  2. re: jessejames

                                                                                    Are you friggin kidding me???? After all of that langers doesn't even make it's own pastrami in house??????? Good lord, the way you guys worship that place, I thought they were slaughtering and curing the kosher cows right there in the back.....with the dang rabbis on call..... Wow.

                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                      I don't have a problem with that -- it's a lot of beef -- they don't run out like some and serve tons and tons literally every week. but it's worthy of investigation my friend! ive done some recon and going to do some more...pastramigate mach 3 is coming.

                                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                        Wexler's makes their own in-house and CH rails on that

                                                                                        Langer's buys from RC and then casts a magic spell on their pastrami to great success.

                                                                                        in-house isn't everything.

                                                                                        1. re: ns1

                                                                                          supposedly its the proper steaming of the goods.

                                                                                          i think i'm overdue on a visit soon.

                                                                                          seeing as i beyond love pastrami.

                                                                                          and that ain't no joke.

                                                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                                                            Thank you for bringing that up! I was thinking the exact same thing..... Lets review, shall we? Please, I know y'all will correct me if I'm wrong, so what *exactly* does Mr. Langer do to his purchased pastrami? Steams it and hand slices it, am I missing anything else???

                                                                                            Also, I've got more props for someone like Micah Wexler who is trying to be an artisan and is making and curing his own from scratch. Didn't umami-boy do the same thing with his joint downtown??? And that was one helluva pastrami sandwich, iirc, according to jgold himself.....

                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                              Umami boy and Micah Wexler are one and the same I believe. so yep if you liked the pastrami at the old Umamixemxcation then you might just enjoy Wexler's too, though i think at Wexler's he changed the recipe somewhat i think.

                                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                                No I thought umami-boy was Adam Fleischman..... Where's wienermobile, he's up on this shit.....

                                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                  It's Micah Wexler, so he basically moved camps.


                                                                                                  J. Gold's review of Umamicatesen's Pastrami from last year..."The sandwich itself, designed by Micah Wexler of Mezze, is fairly spectacular, reimagined as a kind of steak sandwich. The meat is sliced at least a quarter-inch thick, laid out in orderly rows instead of being arranged into the customary wedge on the rye bread, and seasoned with seeded Dijon mustard instead of the customary splash of the brown stuff. I'm not saying it is the best pastrami sandwich in Los Angeles, but it is the first sandwich I have encountered in a lifetime of pastrami eating that might keep Norm Langer up at night."

                                                                                                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                    Adam Fleischman owns Umami, but Micah Wexler did do a run at Umamicatessen after his restaurant Mezze closed. He did some Dead Chefs themed dinner (exploring dishes from famous, deceased chefs) and he also added items to the regular menu, including the pastrami. So the pastrami at Umamicatessen is an ancestor to the pastrami at Wexler's Deli (assuming he's refined his pastrami between then and now).

                                                                                                    1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                                                      ah ic. thx for the correction.

                                                                                                    2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                      Wexler ran the deli (Cure) at the late Umamicattsen. They served his thick pastrami and he also served it at his own wonderful Mezze. To me they never got the rye bread right.

                                                                                                  2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                    so what *exactly* does Mr. Langer do to his purchased pastrami? Steams it and hand slices it, am I missing anything else???

                                                                                                    beats me, but whatever it is it's fucking magic.

                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                      Proof is in the taste not the effort. But as I said stay tuned for pastrami gate Mach III. Who says rc provisions aren't artisans? But to your point and a little teaser the nosh of bh uses the same stuff. Their sandwiches pale. And russaks which used to own rc I think or something like that sells to labels. Not as good but still good.

                                                                                                      Steaming for a while and the 2x cooked bread makes a better sandwich.

                                                                                                      But the stuff about handslicing hand selecting is a crock of shit. It doesn't f'ing matter so long as against the grain which everyone does.

                                                                                                      I'm glad it's not a hard thing to do and rare isn't a good thing for me. My favorite in la still greenblatts tho on the meat alone. Where do they get theirs or make it ?? These and other mysteries will be answered.

                                                                                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                        according to HuffPro:

                                                                                                        "We have been getting our corned beef and pastrami cured and smoked from the same local supplier in Burbank for some 40+ years. The secret is what we do with it after we get it... the pastrami comes in two-to-three pound chunks which are then steamed in our custom-designed tank for at least two-and-a-half to three hours, bringing it to the perfect point of tenderness. Our version is less spicy and smoked lighter than the heavier New York style, which wouldn't go here."


                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                          I may be wrong, but I think I read somewhere that even though Langer's pastrami is not made in-house, it's cured according to Langer's own recipe. If that's the case, it's more than just steaming and slicing.

                                                                                                      2. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                        and Dirty, if you can believe it:

                                                                                                        Langer's is Jewish-style, not kosher.

                                                                                                        You are right.

                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                          Have you ever had a Langer's plain, thick cut pastrami on their rye with a little mustard? No, not the Number 19. If you haven't, then all these protestations about rabbis etc. are sort of comical.
                                                                                                          You should try it sometime. Then, you will either agree or you will be secure in your negative assessment. Let's not forget it was praised by the late Nora Ephron and by Mr. Gold.

                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                              Diff'rent strokes. Maybe your taste buds have been numbed by all those 'tinis.

                                                                                                              1. re: mc michael

                                                                                                                now if Langer's served martinis with their pastrami that would be something else.

                                                                                                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                      or whatever, i don't mind it in a high-ball glass.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                        but that's canter's.

                                                                                                                        hmm, there's a kind of divey bar two storefront's down from Langer's i think ????????

                                                                                                                        gets me thinking.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                          yet, it is part of canters (with separate and adjoining entrances) and you can have your pastrami and martini there.

                                                                                                                          not sure of another dive bar there at this time

                                                                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                            I think he's talking MacArthur Park area?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                              got it...there's a few dive bars there...tango room looks like it used to be the kibbitz room analog.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                this is the diviest bar i've seen near Mac park, though too dicey perhaps even for me to grab some drinks there:

                                                                                                                                and i always seem to pass by it driving along 7th, no joke.


                                                                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                  awesome yelp reviews evocative of the epic "Smell the Glove":

                                                                                                                                  "A big adventure in a tiny box.
                                                                                                                                  Don't bring your valuables."

                                                                                                                                  "Man, this place would be SO AWESOME if it didn't smell so heinously of garbage."

                                                                                                                                  "Pansexual robosexual transsexual trysomesexual YOU BETTER WORKSEXUAL."

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                    "Pansexual robosexual transsexual trysomesexual YOU BETTER WORKSEXUAL."

                                                                                                                                    i have no clue what that even means.

                                                                                                                                    but i have a guess that it's pretty dicey even my my standards. er lack of standards.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                      As someone might say: ???????????????????

                                                                                                                      2. re: mc michael

                                                                                                                        Or maybe I just don't like the consistency of pastrami that reminds me more of corned beef. I'm an east coast girl, I like thin sliced pastrami better. And with some fat, not too lean.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                          Greenblatts all the way -- no martini for you, but nice beer and wine list. extremely nominal corkage when you purchase at their shop there too.

                                                                                                                          i think you're right about slicing fatty pastrami more thinly than langers or katz too -- it sort of spreads the love.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                            Yes, I'd try either greenblatts or Brent's. just not in the area too much for Brent's but maybe once my sons' club teams start up again, as they often play at CSUN.... Trick will be convincing the hubby to go along. Not a fan at all.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                  i have the same challenge in my house but i started my baby girl on the good stuff early! 2 against 1 now.

                                                                                                                                  bet he was stoked with your southern food fried chicken and grits smackdown tho!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                    Hahaha, smart! He was already ruined for it by the time I came along.... Too many outings to langers & cheap Chinese joints with bosses while he was an intern downtown. But ya, he loves the southern food, fo sho!

                                                                                                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                              yeah brents similar and i loved it when i tried it for the first time last month or so. that joint is solid. but Greenblatts just has that extra oily glisten of fat throughout.

                                                                                                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                                                                  you're right that looks a lot like brisket or roast beef ??????

                                                                                                                                  or is that what they mean by black cut reubens over there ???????

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                                                                                    that's brisket in the pic...i had the black reuben (awesome) and it just refers to the black edge of the pastrami. man was that sandwich good.

                                                                                                                                    best brisket still at labels.

                                                                                                                1. NatashaH, I'd also like to apologize here and now for hijacking your thread of a simple request for guidance to our fair city. However, I do not bear full responsibility since if some hounds had left my initial remarks alone and took them as my sole opinion, as they were originally intended, you'd probably only have a 65 post thread at this point in time. Again, though, my apologies. But I can be a tenacious pit bull when I'm cornered ;)

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. Skip Hinoki and the Bird and do Night Market instead.

                                                                                                                    You are completely insane if you don't do Mexican in LA. Granted, if you don't like Mexican...skip skip skip! But even if it is not a priority as you mentioned, you need to go to at least one place. I'd recommend Chichen Itza. I almost want to suggest Taco Maria to you but it's a bit of a drive! (Superb Mexican tasting menus in the style of the restaurants you seem to prefer.) If you are driving to San Diego it is essential that you go to Taco Maria for dinner.

                                                                                                                    I don't think you need to go to two both AOC and Lucques. Would you like to visit Venice? IMO Gjelina is not a destination restaurant but it definitely worth it if you're in the area.

                                                                                                                    What about downtown? There was an interesting NY Times that suggested downtown LA was the 5th best place in the world to visit in 2014!!!!! Mainly because of the food scene. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20...

                                                                                                                    Definitely consider Alma. Tasting menu and all that fun stuff. Hyper-local cuisine.Bon Appetit called Alma the best new restaurant in the country. Then you can walk across the street to ACE Hotel and their bar.

                                                                                                                    Bestia as a few others have suggested is great. I think Bar Ama and Baco Mercat could interest you. Certainly not the kind of food you'd find in London.

                                                                                                                    I don't think it would make sense to go to 57 over Alma or Bestia.

                                                                                                                    Go to Shunji. Ink is worth it.

                                                                                                                    1. Your short list could be even shorter: MAUDE would top my list (definitely make reservation NOW!) Fifty Seven, Lucques and possibly Gjelina.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                                                                        Personally, I would swap Fifty Seven with Bestia (right next door).

                                                                                                                      2. I'd remove Gjelina from short list, food has gone down hill. But...

                                                                                                                        If you're near the beach, perhaps wandering around on Abbot Kinney anyway, Gjelina Take-A-Way, right next door to restaurant is good lunch spot. Strictly take away, the only available seating is in a small space, under an 'arbor' of tree branches with milk crates for seating (which isn't as bad as it sounds).

                                                                                                                        Also nearby Superba Snack Bar on Rose Ave embodies the LA food ethos (one caveat - they rigidly enforce their no substitutions policy). They also have Superba Food + Bread for a popular 'toast' snack.

                                                                                                                        Grand Central Market - good for grazing & sampling, breakfast, lunch or early light dinner.

                                                                                                                        Two best dinners I've had in the last six months:

                                                                                                                        Night + Market - Lots of people telling you to add this - it's not an LA style place - it's really delicious authentic northern Thai street food. Casual and not pricy.

                                                                                                                        Picca - Peruvian with asian influence. Bright, balanced, modern flavors.


                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: whycook

                                                                                                                          You realize that the take away utilizes the very same kitchen as the restaurant, right??

                                                                                                                          Please do tell how the food has gone downhill.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                            If you get food to go and drive down the California incline....

                                                                                                                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                              excellent point - you win!
                                                                                                                              now my explanation -
                                                                                                                              1. i have lower expectations for my lunch time cold-salads and sandwiches and baked-treats than i do from multi-plate cooked dinners (that said, 2 weeks ago 2 friends were served slices of pizza that were not just charred a bit - the crusts were actually so burnt, they couldn't eat the crust at all.
                                                                                                                              2. having been to gjelina many times over the years (every time friends visit from anyplace east of lincoln (from los feliz or new york or berlin) they want to dine there). In the last 6 - 8 month I've had multiple instances of hot dishes served cold, burnt veggies, overly salted (intense over salting not just a touch) and overall lack of consistency. at least the butterscotch dessert remains unscathed.

                                                                                                                              1. re: whycook

                                                                                                                                Hmmmm that's very disturbing. And what did they tell you when you pointed this out to them??

                                                                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                  Generally polite, but unapologetic and my friends didn't want to make a fuss. Therefore when restaurant selection is in my hands, I choose to dine elsewhere.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: whycook

                                                                                                                                    So was it so burnt or salty as to be inedible?? And they didn't offer to replace the dish or take it off the bill?? I find this very strange.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                      I had the same issue with burnt veggies when I went and just figured that's how they wanted them to be...not my bag...I like the butterscotch just fine but think better at jar and pizza mozza

                                                                                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                                                        Perhaps the kitchen is becoming lackadaisical.... Happens at lots of places where the food was originally phenomenal, then starts to slide downhill as the chef focuses on other things....Lucques, I'm looking at you!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                                                                                                                          I dunno, I was just there last month. Everything was still very good. Better than my first visit to Gjelina when they first opened.

                                                                                                                                          Lucques I was never impressed by be it last year or 5 years ago.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                                                            Well, I for one, trust your judgment. I'll have to get back down there and see for myself....