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LA "Musts" Tailored to a Strategic New Yorker

Love, love LA. We've been a bunch of times but not in the last couple of years. Really did my HW and have had a great time reading through these boards over the last few weeks; particularly loved the Detroit 'hound's query and all the ensuing responses. Very grateful for all the help picking a nice brunch (ugh) spot for a Saturday. Only have four full days with my husband and son in So Cal. Of course, I want to eat everything.

Thinking Chego before our Dodgers/ Mets game Friday night (obsessed with Roy Choi! Probably will be chasing the Kogi Truck for my 10-year-old chowpup. Like the menu at Chego more than A-Frame etc by the way) Gjelina for dinner with some cousins from Santa Monica, a Saturday brunch at One Pico with our Long Beach family ( chose ambiance over other menus that I like better only because I'm treating and wanted it to be extra nice. If it were just the three of us I would've gone to Sunny Side) Eggslut for a bfast, Ricky's Fish Tacos and Guisado's for snacks (heavy ones; we don't play) Lucques or Nobu Malibu for something snazzy. Briefly flirted with a Osteria Mozza but Batali and crew have such presence in New York City and we've been to all his places here many times. Seems like it might be a bit redundant for us even though Mr. Gold would probably disagree. We **have** to stop into Din Tai Fung because for a few years they would come to Flushing, Queens where I live, and set up shop at the local Sheraton and do their crazy ass XLB magic for a long weekend ( my XLB-obsessed kid swears he still remembers them and says nothing else has come even remotely close since. He was three at the time!) Hollywood's Night + Market also looks like something I would love, but we have some crazy good Thai back at home in Elmhurst. Not sure. Same deal with Langer's which looks scrumptious; I can go to Katz's and get something that's not so different. Animal doesn't really interest me. Neither does Providence. Spago's been done in the past just because it's iconic (happened to have an incredible meal there with my kid in a carriage between us. Chef Puck came out and greeted us. Jack Black and the crew from Saturday Night Live were behind us. Definitely memorable.) Will probably suck it up and take my kid back to Pink's because he loves it. And will try to find a way to stop into Scoops.

So even though I read through all of your passionate responses to our Detroit friend, I'm wondering if your advice would be any different for a food-savvy New Yorker. If not, no worries. If so, set me straight. I welcome the direction. BTW, We'll be staying at the Mirimar and doing all the touristy stuff so if you happen to think of things that are near particular destinations, please don't hesitate to share. My biggest nightmare involves being at some place like Mann's Chinese theater and feeling ravenous and not knowing where to go and begrudgingly ending up at some generic place ("My blood sugar is plummeting!" ) and then finding out two hours later that I was around the corner from something that was truly outrageous. You know you know what I'm talking about ;)


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  1. Trying to parse out your schedule from above:

    Friday: Chego early (pre-game) dinner, then Gjelina (post-game) dinner?

    Saturday: One Pico brunch, and Eggslut bfast (two breakfasts?), RFT/Guisado lunch/snack, Lucques/Nobu Malibu dinner?

    Sunday: ?

    Monday: ?

    I think I got some of the timings off.

    2 Replies
    1. re: TheOffalo

      Wednesday when we arrive from Santa Barbara (first half of the trip is driving the coast from San Francisco) it's Gjelina for dinner. Thursday nothing yet. Friday before the Dodgers game, Chego. Saturday brunch at One Pico. That's all so far in terms of definitive. Flying out Sunday morning. Lots of grazing all throughout the day. Sorry for any confusion.

      I'm not above double breakfasts and dinners, by the way ;)

    2. A few pointers to get you started:

      1. If you like Roy Choi, then definitely try POT and/or Commissary at The Line Hotel in K-Town.

      2. Hit up Nobu Malibu for the quintessential Pacific view / starf*cker (parden my French) L.A. experience. Do it for lunch (N.B. They turn off that fab ocean view for dinnertime, after 8PM). But if you want to take that tourist photo with Chef Nobu himself, your best bet would be to dine at the original flagship Matsuhisa on La Cienega (and grab a seat in the private room).

      3. >>Same deal with Langer's which looks scrumptious; I can go to Katz's and get something that's not so different.<<

      Wrong - The rye bread at Langer's is several orders of magnitude better, and elevates the pastrami sandwich by several notches, IMHO.

      4. If you're off to the San Gabriel Valley, do the XLB at J&J instead of Din Tai Fung, if you dare. Heck, forget the XLB altogether and delve into the beef roll at 101 Noodle (even the one at Peking Tavern in Downtown will do), or order the pork hui tou at Hui Tou Xiang (yes it has its detractors, but I myself am a big fan). But if you do hit DTF, then also try the Taiwanese sausages and shaved snow at SinBaLa next door.

      5. Skipping our high-end fine dining is excusable. Gotham's got that one on lockdown.

      6. In the Hollywood-esque area (in case you really do need something Chow-ish after posing with panhandling Spider-Man at Mann's Chinese) - Eat the Jade Noodles and Boat Noodles at Sapp Coffee House.

      7. If, after your JPL tour, you feel a sudden lust for gelato, get thee to Altadena for Bulgarini.

      8. Father's Office (if you have babysitting, cuz it's age 21-&-over only) for the FO burger - Go to the Helm location. Mid-afternoons are the most chill.

      9. Pink's? Really? Oh, the things we endure for our kids...

      Happy Chowing, and report back!

      p.s. >>I'm not above double breakfasts and dinners, by the way ;)<<

      You are MY kind of gal.

      14 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        I will reconsider Langer's thanks to that rye bread bit. I have to be completely honest with you. The menu at POT doesn't do it for me. I live in Flushing, Queens. I own a Korean/Chinese business. I eat straight-up home style Korean three times a week. In restaurants and made by sweet Korean ajuma. The thing I like about Chego is is that it seems like more of a mashup. East Meets West Collision Food. Casual. I love that.

        1. re: ZenFoodist

          "The thing I like about Chego is is that it seems like more of a mashup. East Meets West Collision Food. Casual. I love that."

          Have you ever been to Bäco Mercat? Seems quite likely that you would enjoy it if the Chego aesthetic is up your alley.

        2. re: J.L.

          Nobu Malibu is one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever dined in...

          1. re: J.L.

            i still prefer the beef roll at flavor garden across the street from the alhambra branch of 101 noodle express. but i had one recently from the arcadia branch that was better than the ones i had at the alhambra branch.

            1. re: barryc

              I have a new favorite place for beef rolls.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Is it bigger than a bread basket?

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  My favorite is still from JTYH / Heavy Noodling II

                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    How funny. I've been to JTYH a decent number of times, and I don't think I've ever had it there! Will have to try it soon.... Was rather sad to hear that the downhill alert for the beef roll at the Alhambra 101 Noodle Express....

                2. re: barryc

                  The beef roll and pork sung egg roll at Chef Hung are pretty damn tasty.

                3. re: J.L.

                  Unfortunately or fortunately, the ChowPup just got saw an episode of Unique Eats that had Lee Ann Wong waxing poetic over the smoked bucatini carbonara at a place called " Superba Snack Bar" in Venice. He is insisting we add it to the list. I might just use it as a bargaining tool to get out of Pink's.

                  1. re: ZenFoodist

                    Superba Snack Bar is actually really good. I don't think California-style Italian will necessarily be all that interesting to people from NYC, but at least the food is tasty. And that block is a fun place to people-watch (it's very LA).

                    Would definitely skip Pink's for Superba. Honestly, I think Pink's is more interesting as a drive-by late at night to see the crowd.

                    1. re: ZenFoodist

                      That is my favorite dish there… the pasta is smoked in house.

                    2. re: J.L.

                      Skip Pinks and go to Carneys on the Sunset Strip. Pink's is really really slow and touristy and annoying.

                    3. I'd skip Sunny Spot. It's a nice patio but the food is not remarkable.

                      1. As for hot dogs and very good fries, I'd skip Pink's and go to Skooby's on Hollywood Bl not far from the Chinese Theatre. It's a nothing fancy stand but the food is good.

                        1. I don't recall your mentioning specific dates, but IIRC you are here on a Saturday. If you want to taste the best food Los Angeles chefs offer (as well as chefs from other cities) and if you are here on September 20, please consider going to Alex Loves Lemonade Benefit which features great food and your money fights childhood cancer. It's a wonderful event and will be held at UCLA this year. I'll post a link so you can see the restaurants and chefs and vintners. Kids also love the event. Admission free for kids under 12http://www.alexslemonade.org/static/l...

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: maudies5

                            Dodgers are playing the Mets 8/22 thru 8/24, so it looks like next weekend.

                            1. re: TheOffalo

                              Yep. The 20th through the 24th. And sadly Langer's is out. Hot damn. Figured we'd swing by on the way to the airport. Alas, no Sunday hours.

                              1. re: ZenFoodist

                                Stop by Langer's BEFORE the game starts. Langer's closes at 4PM, and Westlake ain't that far from Chavez Ravine.

                                1. re: J.L.

                                  Langer's has curb side service, call ahead and they will bring your order right in front to your car. The Dodger's do allow food into the stadium but not beverages.

                          2. You may also want to consider visiting Petty Cash Taqueria. Mmm pig ear nachos, mmm uni chicharrones guacamole, mmm al pastor tacos... Though I imagine if Animal doesn't interest you then perhaps neither will Petty Cash.

                            I'm a huge fan of Night+Market, though, so I would heavily reconsider. I guess it depends on what you like out of Thai food. LA, of course, has more Thai living here than anywhere other than Thailand.

                            And WHEN you go to Langer's, you can order the sandwich-whose-number-i-wont-repeat like everyone else. For me, I'm all about the #6: pastrami and chicken liver.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: SauceSupreme

                              Night + Market looks seriously good. I need to figure out how to get all this stuff in. In four days. I would have gotten the Number 19 and a matzoh ball soup by the way. Sorry ;)

                              1. re: ZenFoodist

                                #44 sub Swiss cheese and an order of pastrami chili cheese fries is the order.

                                  1. re: A5 KOBE

                                    The #44 with Swiss cheese is great, but I actually like it with the (default) nippy cheese better!

                                  2. re: ZenFoodist

                                    Night + Market is most likely the best Thai place on the West Coast, and almost certainly one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles.

                                    Which is saying something. Just the regular "every day" Thai food in LA is pretty incredible. In LA's Thai town there are multiple restaurants that are just average for LA that compete with the best Thai restaurants anywhere else: Ruen Pair, Sapp, Jitlada, Wat Dong Moon Lek, Pailin, etc... these places are pretty much on the same level as more famous places elsewhere (thinking of Pok Pok in Portland/NY, or Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas).

                                    Night + Market has somehow managed to take it up another level from the already extraordinary offerings.

                                    Also, you should select which location you want to go to, the experiences are actually somewhat different, if in subtle ways. For example, at the West Hollywood location you can get whole fried or salt-crusted fish, and beef tendon panang curry, a whole braised pork hock, and various others things like beef short rib khao soi and some utterly indelible ice cream sandwiches that you cannot get at the Silver Lake location.

                                    The Silver Lake location in turn has spicier curries, more unusual specials that pop up (like fried chicken with crushed water bug dip, or Pad American i.e. ketchup fried rice), lots more blood in the dishes (literally a straight blood soup), and a completely unique and fantastic vegan khao soi (also a chicken version).

                                    I've actually enjoyed myself more at the Silver Lake location because the even more adventurous food there just sparks my taste buds. But upon a recent revisitation to the West Hollywood location I would also say the Silver Lake location has far superior acoustics. Meals there have always been pleasantly quiet, no shouting, no straining to hear dining companions. The acoustics at the West Hollywood location are atrocious in comparison. The room is an echo chamber, and gets very loud so that you can't quite hear each other without leaning towards one another. Though you may be too engrossed in the food to care that much.

                                  3. re: SauceSupreme

                                    >> And WHEN you go to Langer's, you can order the sandwich-whose-number-i-wont-repeat like everyone else. For me, I'm all about the #6: pastrami and chicken liver.

                                    That's a good sandwich, but you forgot to tell her to hold the Russian dressing :)

                                    Seriously, as a New Yorker, hopefully "ZenFoodist" doesn't need to be told to hold the Swiss cheese, cole slaw and Russian dressing. That's the unfortunate default at Langer's. And they will try to sell you that motherfucker from signage even before you step through the door.

                                    Also, they might give you French's if you ask for mustard. Seriously. But don't worry, they have Gulden's. If it's not on the table just ask for it.

                                    Last bit of advice-- on two occasions in the last 18 years, I've gotten a dry pastrami sandwich. If your pastrami is in the least bit dry, send it back for a juicier cut. They will do it cheerfully and without hesitation.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      i know "different strokes" but the thought of chicken liver & pastrami grrrrosses me OUT! Oy vey, what a mess! keep 'em separate!

                                  4. Just a suggestion, if take your kid to Pink's there is a sandwich store right around the corner called All About The Bread that has pretty good sandwiches. The meatball sandwich is better than anything you will get at Pink's.

                                    Grab a sandwich and woof it down waiting in line at Pink's. :)

                                    1. Seems like you have to do more Mexican than just Guisados. My defacto rec is Chichen Itza. Sublime Yucatan style cooking. Mr. Gold agrees it is sublime. According to him, first time he had Chichen Itza, he immediately booked a flight to Merida.

                                      I also really enjoy Coni Seafood for Mexican fish dishes but that's a bit outta the way depending on where you're staying.

                                      No offense to Elmhurst but you don't have Thai like LA has Thai.

                                      Why don't you go to Night Market Song before the Dodgers game? First seating at Night Market Song--you'll be outta there by by 6:30 and then you can take the less crowded way into the stadium. The food is wayyyy better than anything at Chego. Or do a Thai Town noodle crawl.

                                      Rustic Canyon or Tar and Roses are both good choices.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: set0312

                                        Save the plane fare. We can now get food here as tasty as that in Merida. Mexico City, maybe not.

                                        1. re: mc michael

                                          Where else do you like for yucatan?

                                          1. re: mc michael

                                            Are you saying Chichen Itza is as good as anything in Merida, or something else?

                                          2. re: set0312

                                            Absolutely seconded.

                                            Heck, I think they could skip guisados altogether for Chichen Itza!

                                          3. When you leave Dodger Stadium on your way back to Santa Monica you have two really good, quick options: Almost due east of the stadium on North Broadway above Chinatown below Lincoln Heights, very near the interchange with the 5, is Carnitas Michaocan, a 24/7 taqueria. Reason to go -- the best salsa roja in SoCal, brick-brown, thin, smoky, complex, hot and delicious. Invest the extra buck or two and buy some extra. Good carne asada, better al pastor from a rotisserie spit. Tacos are very small, burritos a good deal (I get mine without beans), they do a good quesadilla special with meat and guac on top, special nachos with cheese and meat on top, or a covered fries that is huge and awesome again with meat and jalapeños on top. Not the best nighttime neighborhood but with heavy traffic after the game should be fine. N/W corner of No. Broadway at 19th, parking in back.

                                            More like midway on your return you can easily get to Tacos Leo, a hot favorite on this board maybe 6-12 months ago, for al pastor tacos fresh-cut from a real trompo (sic? correct word for al pastor grill or person cutting from it with the pineapple on top?). Take the Harbor Freeway (110) south away from Dodger Stadium past downtown on the east and take the Santa Monica Freeway (10) back towards Santa Monica. Get off on La Brea north (right) past Washington to Venice. Tacos Leo is on the N/W corner of La Brea and Venice in a large gas station lot. Enjoy as many al pastor tacos as you all can eat -- last I checked a buck apiece.

                                            Only other rec coming away from Dodger Stadium heading back to Santa Monica would be late-night Thai in Thai-town (I know you say you have good Thai, but do you have a Thai Elvis? Speaking of which, does anyone know if he is still performing at Palms Thai or has the Thai Elvis left the building?) or maybe some Korean BBQ in K-town. Actually, another late-night on-the-way-back option would be In-n-Out Burgers and Diddy Riess cookies and ice cream in Westwood Village. Oh, now that I think of burgers you could hit the original Tommy's Burgers on Rampart on the way home... One dish leads to another...

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: nosh

                                              Thai Elvis was having health issues the last I heard (which was a while ago)...

                                                1. re: mc michael

                                                  No Thai Elvis?!?! I'm canceling the whole effing trip.

                                              1. re: nosh

                                                Ahhhh. I love all the small places on the fringe that the savvy locals frequent. I wish we had longer. I'd need a full month to bang LA out the way I'd like to. Such a vast area with so many ethnic enclaves. K Town and Thai town really interest me. I pretty much live in K-Town in Queens, but I would love to get a taste of LA's nonetheless. And Southeast Asian is probably my fave cuisine after our native Sicilian/Mediterranean, so a jaunt through Thai town sounds mandatory. The noodle crawl sounds perfect for my carb-loving self.

                                                How would you guys organize the outings? Wednesday night arrival (dinner in Venice at Gjelina) Friday njght Dodgers game. Saturday morning brunch at One Pico. That's the only stuff set in stone. Sunday morning departure. Possibly Universal during the day on Saturday after brunch ( trying to discourage this as we've been there before and will be at the Florida one in the Winter. All that time trapped in a theme park could be so much better spent checking out some of these places!)

                                                1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                  Looking for something in Koreatown I really recommend Park's BBQ. Some of the best meats in LA cooked at your table. Wonderful food and Wonderful service and open late.

                                                  If you must go to Pink's there are two at Universal Studios. One inside the park and one in City Walk and the lines are an hour less than the La Brea location.

                                                2. re: nosh

                                                  We do NOT have A Thai Elvis in Gotham. But we DO have a naked cowboy ;)

                                                3. "Briefly flirted with a Osteria Mozza but Batali and crew have such presence in New York City"

                                                  Mozza is much different that other Batali restaurants due to Nancy Silverton's take on the food. It is worth a trip especially for the mozzarella bar.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                                    I've never even been clear...what is Batali's influence on the place exactly? Is he ever even at the place?

                                                    1. re: Eudoxus

                                                      Not really since the opening years ago...

                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                        Yeah, so...what influence does he even exert on the place?

                                                        Isn't he basically just an investor?

                                                        1. re: Eudoxus

                                                          His group owns the restaurant but Nancy runs it.

                                                  2. On your day in Hollywood stop at the Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax. Like a taste of LA. Good hot dogs for your son at Fritzi Dog and the best English Toffee ever at Littlejohn's Candies.

                                                    1. A-Frame has a nice patio and great food. it's my favorite Roy Choi restaurant and very close from Santa Monica. The beer can chicken is wonderful. POT is also wonderful. Families are there in afternoon and early evening.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                        weiner--you must love eric Clapton's you look wonderful tonite

                                                      2. You already got a lot of good advice. I will only add

                                                        -- Luques is not too snazzy anymore. Solid and a bit dull. If you want to try the Suzanne Goin/Carolyn Styne empire and want to feel a bit snazzed, go to AOC.

                                                        -- Spago has rebirthed itself several times since you went last time and may fit your desire to do something fancy that is more "LA" considering you don't want Providence.

                                                        -- For Choi, to me, POT is so much better than A-Frame (which is just OK) or Chego (which I found cheap and gross)

                                                        -- Agree with your plan of skipping Mozza, you've got their best work in NYC

                                                        -- Agree w/JL about SGV ideas though I love Din Tai Fung

                                                        1. I have no idea why you would want to go to any high-end dining in L.A., since NYC does it at least as well if not better. There's not much new under the sun here.

                                                          How about Guelaguetza for moles that you probably can't get nearly as well in NYC? I see you listed Guisado's for tacos and burritos, that's a good start.

                                                          And I definitely have no idea why a New Yorker would go to Nobu, even if it is in Malibu.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: moreplease

                                                            At Nobu It's more for the location than the food. Most beautiful sunset ever….

                                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                                              Exactly. The food at Nobu Malibu is pretty much lost on me as I don't eat seafood, but I will go there any chance I get for the setting.

                                                              1. re: J.L.

                                                                Pacific Ocean House
                                                                Dim Sum
                                                                84 Manhattan Ave
                                                                Brooklyn, NY 11206
                                                                b/t Mckibbin St & Boerum St in East Williamsburg

                                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                                  Smartass... :-)

                                                                  Oh, and Babs is in Malibu now, not NYC.

                                                              2. re: moreplease

                                                                I have no idea why you would want to go to any high-end dining in L.A., since NYC does it at least as well if not better.

                                                                There's no Urasawa in NYC.

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  But... There is Masa... Which was Urasawa before Urasawa was Urasawa...

                                                                  1. re: FranklinJefferson

                                                                    Masa - in terms of food and style - is not the same as Urasawa.

                                                                    Don't get me wrong, I like both. But both are different.

                                                                    Putting food aside for a minute, at Masa you feel like a stranger in a strange land. At Urasawa you feel like grandson at grandma's table.

                                                              3. Some random thoughts (some might be redundant):

                                                                Would definitely skip Pot for someone that's willing to be more adventurous.
                                                                Would try Night+Market. I haven't eaten Thai in Elmhurst in 10 years (used to spend my summers there), but I really can't imagine it being the same experience. Especially considering how NY has flipped out over Pok Pok.
                                                                Like others have mentioned, if you have an extra meal, trying Langer's will show you how bread can take a pastrami sandwich to another level.

                                                                Not exactly a CH-favorite, but I would go to Philippe's before the Dodgers game for the tradition of it. And Chego is open late, so you can grab that afterwards. But I guess that might be tight if they're doing Friday night fireworks and the kid is pooped.
                                                                If Chego is closed, I would get some tacos. Everyone seems to have their own favorite truck/stand, so it just depends on what area you're in. I'm partial to the one on Arlington Ave. and Washington Blvd in the Chevron station. I know you're doing Guisados also, but it's just a very different experience.

                                                                Din Tai Fung is a great place. I think if you asked 10 people for their favorite dumpling place, you'd get 10 different answers, but for me, DTF is always consistent.

                                                                Not as big of a fan of Eggslut as others here are, but I don't really have an alternative for you.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: andytseng

                                                                  Just because there's always dissent about Phillipes, I'm going to second the rec. Order lamb with swiss or blue cheese, double dipped.

                                                                  1. re: whatsfordinner

                                                                    Or the pork! Haven't ordered the beef dip (had a bite or two of my wife's or kids' sandwiches if they get one) in probably 10 years.

                                                                    1. re: TheOffalo

                                                                      For first visit with family, order one of each of beef, pork and lamb. Share then compare and contrast. Their killer mustard is house made.

                                                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                                                        When you are in Brooklyn you have to check out Brennan and Carr and Roll and Roaster :)

                                                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                                                          just now
                                                                          When you are in Brooklyn you have to check out Brennan and Carr and Roll and Roaster :)

                                                                          | Edit Thanks for posting! 0

                                                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                                                            I'll dissent. Can't see any out of towner being blown away by Philippe's.

                                                                            1. re: ns1

                                                                              As a local, I actually prefer Cole's.

                                                                          2. Great variety planned.

                                                                            I suggest skipping Chego, you'll be dissapointed. Divey location without good food to compensate. Consider Mariscos Jalisco, Mariscos 4 Chente or Taco Baja Ensenada or even Birrieria De Don Boni instead. I agree with previous posters, LA is a great city to hit Mexican spots. If must do Choi, A-Frame or Kogi over Chego. Just fugeddabout Chego.

                                                                            For a splurge, perhaps consider N/Naka in place of Nobu/Lucques. But I think if you want a wonderful view but ok with overpriced food, Nobu is still a good bet.

                                                                            You mentioned SE Asian as a favorite cuisine. I think Night+Market is great recommendation for Thai. How about Vietnamese? IMO this is where LA shines the brightest for SE Asian.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Sgee

                                                                              IMO this is where LA shines the brightest for SE Asian
                                                                              not a lot of divey options w/o driving to 626 or 714, just FUB vietnamese.

                                                                              1. re: Sgee

                                                                                I really like Chego. Don't know about the new location, I went when he was still in culver city/palms/rancho park area. It's tasty stoner food and actually the mash ups are quite successful, and a decent value. The ooey gooey fries are addicting, and the chubby pork belly bowl is outstanding.

                                                                              2. If your going to hit up Chego on your way to the see Los Doyers
                                                                                save room for a taco if you can...
                                                                                Your going to drive right by Guisados on Sunset about a mile from the stadium.
                                                                                .You can knock out two places before the first pitch.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: burntwater

                                                                                  Thanks for the head's up. This logistical stuff is just what I need. Might also get some Langer's too and hope there is a cardiologist in the house!

                                                                                  1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                    If you do Langer's to go, please forgo the #19 (with the superfluous cole slaw and cheese and russian dressing, which will not travel) for the plain pastrami on rye. With several of you, I'd just bulk order warm pastrami and a loaf of sliced twice-baked rye and construct at your leisure.

                                                                                    1. re: nosh

                                                                                      if there's multiple might as well get a #19 and a plain w/ mustard and split...

                                                                                    2. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                      A point about Guisados on Sunset: every dodger game I go to, I get a tray of Guisados tacos and bring it into the game. It is right on the way into the entrance, and you just need to call 20 minutes or so in advance to put in an order. Cheaper and light years better than any food at the stadium.

                                                                                      1. re: Haeldaur

                                                                                        Probably worth mentioning in case the OP doesn't know...
                                                                                        Dodger Dogs are the worst. Just get one for the kid if he insists, and you can try a piece of that one.

                                                                                  2. I think you should add some down-home, no-frills Mexican to your itinerary (everyone else has pretty much covered your other bases).

                                                                                    Chichen Itza
                                                                                    Birrieria Tlaquepaque
                                                                                    Ricky's Fish Taco
                                                                                    Taco Baja Esenada
                                                                                    Birrieria De Don Boni
                                                                                    Tacos Punta Cabras

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. Some thoughts.

                                                                                      After the dodger game, I would go to Marugame Monzo in Little Tokyo. Avoid the hipster dishes (uni!) like the plague. Get the Oroshi Soy Sauce udon, a cold udon with one of the most explosive flavor profiles I've had. It's just great.

                                                                                      I heavily recommend a meal at Ciro's in East LA. Get the flautas. The free avocado salsa is wonderful. This is precisely the kind of Mexican you don't get in New York too.

                                                                                      I think Night + Market is a must, unless you regularly go to Pok Pok in New York.

                                                                                      If you are going to go to K town, do not go to POT. There are literally more than 50 better places for Korean food. My favorite recent jaunt in Koreatown is actually to go to Pollo a la Brasa for Peruvian chicken, and then walk over to the entrance of Assi (the supermarket), where there is a small cart serving the most delicious korean desserts. That place is magic.

                                                                                      If you're going to do Egg Slut (and I think it's really good), do the double header with G&B coffee. Spectacular cappucino.

                                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Haeldaur

                                                                                        2nd Ciro's for a truly authentic East Los experience. I like the milanesa and the steak picado.

                                                                                        1. re: Haeldaur

                                                                                          I don't think PokPok is on par with N+M.

                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                            I've not been to Pok Pok NY, but comparing the Portland location, I think N+M hits for higher average and 2Pok hits for more power. My favorite dish that Ricker makes is no longer available (it's in the cookbook though).

                                                                                            In my mind, they're 1a and 1b, and there's room for both in your life.

                                                                                            1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                              Maybe. I don't think I would ever recommend eating at Pok Pok to anyone from LA though.

                                                                                              It's not a bad option, but there is far more interesting food to be had if you are in Portland (or NYC).

                                                                                              Seems to me like the cooking at Night + Market is on another level compared to Pok Pok. Maybe Ricker's just spread too thin now...

                                                                                          2. re: Haeldaur

                                                                                            Love Korean desserts. We have an Assisi here in Flushing, Queens. Big Ayada fan in Elmhurst, NY. Can't deal with the crowds at Pok Pok. The oroshi soy sauce udon sounds fantastic! My fave dish in Flushing is a cold liang pi noodle at Biang that is dressed so beautifully with a bracing mix of vinegars, chili oils, cilantro, wheat gluten and cucumber. There is nothing I enjoy more on a hot summer day!

                                                                                            1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                              I love a good cold noodle too. Another excellent one is at Naegohyang at 8th and Western in K-Town, where they serve all kinds of cold noodles and a great buckwheat pancake. The spicy yam noodles (cold) are great, as are the cucumber noodles.

                                                                                              That being said, the Oroshi Soy Sauce Udon is like the Michael Phelps of cold noodles. I think it's secretly one of the very best dishes in LA.

                                                                                            2. re: Haeldaur

                                                                                              << 50 better places for Korean Food >>
                                                                                              That may be true - in fact it is, but please just give me just one that has a full bar AND better food.

                                                                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                I'll concede that I know of none--mainly because I don't know any places with food and a full bar in K town. That being said, I'm usually perfectly happy to eat that food with beer, and again it's probably more than 50 if you're happy with beer and Korean food.

                                                                                                1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                  the prince has interesting food and a full bar...i want to try pot

                                                                                                  1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                    Yup, full bar, good call jj - and the food is "interesting" but not very good. Even the much lauded chicken is pretty awful, unless you are totally shitfaced.

                                                                                                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                      some good items: fried squid, wings, pigs feet, sweet potato fries...but yes, bottle of johnny walker black and bucket of ice probably their best dish. totally shitfaced at the prince isn't a bad place to be.

                                                                                                      does chosun galbee have a full bar? Seem to recall maybe, but could be just the soju etc... they have a great menu not just BBQ and a nice setting.

                                                                                                      1. re: jessejames

                                                                                                        Chosun has a full bar.
                                                                                                        Mdang 621 has a full bar.
                                                                                                        POT has a full bar.
                                                                                                        EMC Seafood has a full bar.

                                                                                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                                                                          EMC is a great call! You can get some popular Asian preps of lobster and crab all under 1 roof. The steamed crab with spicy lemon pepper sauce and lobster lightly batter fried or charbroiled. I like to drizzle the sauce from the steamed crab into the abalone congee. Excellent eats.

                                                                                                          I pass on the oysters personally which are okay but not great.

                                                                                                        2. re: jessejames

                                                                                                          Do people still smoke like chimneys at the Prince?

                                                                                                          1. re: burntwater

                                                                                                            I didn't notice any smoking when I was there last except for outside. I'm def not a fan of cigarette smoke.

                                                                                                2. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you all with regard to our recent California trip. We arrived back home to NYC and non -stop back to school and sports activities and errands consumed our life causing me to wish I could return to my little seat at Nepenthe and gaze out at the Pacific all day! It was an excellent trip overall and the meals we enjoyed from San Francisco to Santa Monica (another post, another time) were all carefully selected thanks to the passionate advice from fellow 'hounds. Thank you all so much. My 10 year old has already told us he will be moving to your lovely state after college, which by the way, he has decided will be Pepperdine. We’ll have to start looking for condos in Malibu since he’s our only child. Ahh, but I digress…
                                                                                                  Our grand entrance into SoCal was made at Nobu Malibu. Even though we've dined at the NYC Nobu and Next Door Nobu quite a few times in the past, it seemed like a "glamorous" choice to begin our SoCal adventure. I called that morning from our hotel in Santa Barbara and was told that a 1:30 lunch reservation was available. We pulled into the little shopping center across the street so the guys could change into unwrinkled Polo shirts (no celebs at the Malibu Mart which we had been told was the “epicenter” of celeb sightings) and then made our way over to the restaurant. Ten bucks for valet parking irritated me, but considering we were going to drop 300+ on lunch, I didn’t dwell on it. The view sure didn’t disappoint, the buzz and “energy” was very “LA” or at least what this New Yorker imagines that to be, and the service was excellent. The food was all top notch for sure, but nothing blew me away; if truth be told I was hoping we’d stumble upon an oft-heralded In N Out on the drive to Santa Monica. Every single table seemed to be ordering the rock shrimp (looked like the “bulkiest” offering by FAR) and when we did not order it and asked if by not doing so we were committing some sort of cardinal culinary sin, our server actually complimented us as she deemed it “pedestrian”. Ha. The meal is a blur, but I will upload photos later and you can figure out what we had. The yellowtail sashimi with jalapeno was delicious as was the ribeye with truffled butter and the artichoke salad and the king crab tempura. **Everything** was very good but not worth almost 4oo bucks. I knew it going in, though. I had opted to go heavier on the scene than the food, and I got what I had sought. That night we met our Santa Monica cousins at Superba Snack Bar for dinner. Within seconds of being seated, Taylor Kitsch (had no clue who he was, but my “Friday Night Lights” obsessed husband and son went bonkers!) walked down the block. I wouldn’t be caught dead asking ANYONE for photo or an autograph, but considering he wasn’t eating or engaged in an activity, my husband and son ran after him and snagged a photo which got like 200 “likes” in 10 minutes on my son’s Instagram. Ka-Ching! My kid had seen Superba on Unique Eats and the smoked pasta carbonara was something he really NEEDED to have on this trip. It did not disappoint. My own caccio e pepe, a dish I make at least twice a month, was divine and the addition of miso brought it over the top. My husband’s wakame spaghettini was OUTSTANDING. The pickled jalapeno and uni gave it such a unique flavor. We plowed through the whole menu, and everything was excellent: the cavolo nero salad, the rainbow carrots, the charcuterie board, fried chicken etc. The highlight of my meal, and a dish I will forever associate with the trip was the peach and ricotta pain au levain with stone fruit jam, vin cotto, and mint. I’ve grilled peaches, had many a peach cream pie from Long Island’s legendary Briermere, but all were second fiddle to this beauty. It tasted like summer. I saw similar incarnations on other menus throughout town, but didn’t order any of them. That first time was so perfect; I didn’t want to jeopardize the memory.
                                                                                                  Our second day in LA began leisurely and we ate the cake that had been left on our bed by the Mirimar staff. They always ask if we are celebrating something when we make the reservation, and we always say “Mais Oui!” This time it was my son’s birthday…three months in advance. Hence, the cake. It was a great start to the day. We strolled the beach at Venice as we have many a time before, but it seemed extra smarmy, and after about an hour of navigating Medical Marijuana ‘doctors’ and dodging fistfights, we decided it was time to hightail it out of there and walk down Abbot Kinney instead, possibly my favorite block of the whole trip ( loved the kooky housewares shop, Bountiful!). Which brought us to what I can now say in hindsight was my favorite meal of the trip: Gjelina. We waited for almost 45 minutes, something I never do in NYC. Ever. But here I was a tourist and had limited time and couldn’t be so difficult. The upside of waiting pressed up against the brick wall was that I got to see almost every dish come out of the kitchen. And by the time we were seated, I wanted to order every one of the dishes I had seen. Which I did. Almost. Our server had lived in Queens, NY and it was a love at first sight kind of thing. We all hit it off. She had the bubbly, energy of Kelly Ripa in the best possible way if that makes sense, and she made sure everything came out the way we had ordered it, sequence wise. Lord, I loved this meal. When I think of California, I think of surfboards and avocados. And the Reed avocado, with radish and lemon and sea salt was just perfect. It was an avocado epiphany for me. Seriously. The kale salad with breadcrumbs (something I make at home) was perfectly executed. Julienned with care and definitely massaged- it was so tender. The tuna conserva was perfect. The grilled radicchio with bagna cauda, braised meatballs, squid ink chittara, Hawaian amberjack, and smoke mozzarella pizza with bottarga and lemon were all delicious. And the butterscotch pudding for dessert was just decadent. I was super happy after this meal. I would come back time and again if I lived in the area. I’m still annoyed I didn’t order the grilled nectarines, burrata, terviso and prosciutto. I will be back. Trust me on this. That night for dinner after an exhausting day of driving around the entire city (the traffic is no joke and it’s not hyperbole when I say we drove around the ENTIRE city) we decided to cruise around Thai Town and then head to Night Market + Song. You guys are going to hate me, because it was the type of place in the type of neighborhood I wanted to gush about, but it was just okay. Left me totally underwhelmed. Again, we ordered a big assortment form the menu. Too lazy to look back at my photo. Party wings, startled pig, larb, greens, noodles…just to start. Everything was so, so salty. There wasn’t a depth of flavor that I have come to associate with the “hard core” places here in Elmhurst and Woodside. That fresh multi-layer flavor explosion etc. It just did not do it for me. It felt very one note. One VERY salty note. Very tough to get my rings off the following day.
                                                                                                  Day three we woke up and went to Urth Café. God, I love this place. I’m not even a coffee person but the iced Spanish Latte was awesome. Ended up here every single morning including right before the airport. LA friends told me to swtich it up with Inteligentsia, but I loved all the savory stuff. Never even cared about getting to Eggslut after finding Urth. Or the kale sandwich at Zinque about which a friend waxed poetic. The eggs verde. The Farmer’s Salad. Simple, fresh, total lack of pretension. The orange pound cake kicked some major ass. I was convinced I saw Halle Berry in an Adidas hat and a surgical mask, but my husband who really seems “To Know” Halle Berry was adamant it was not her. I prefer to think it was. Just keep those Spanish Lattes flowing. The tarte tatin looked magnificent but I live in constant fear of developing Type Two Diabetes and what with the sugar from the latte and pound cake decided to do my A1c numbers a favor. Next time. After Urth we hit up Universal. Forked out the extra cash for the Front of the line shebang. Might have been the best money we spent all trip. Did all the big stuff within three hours and even scored a cheesy, literally and figuratively, Pink’s hotdog since we weren’t going to schelp back to the original location that we had visited years ago. Kid had to cross it off his list. I’m not the “Fun Amusement Park Mom” type, this is my husband’ s territory, but I have to say I found the new Despicable Me and Transformers rides awesome. On to the Dodgers game for “Gay Fireworks Night”. I knew about the awful Dodgers dogs and (Man, did they SUCK. Sorry LA, friends. We are talking major terrible here) and we wanted to eat before the game. We only had about 45 minutes and I knew I had to experience the food of my chef crush Roy Choi. The Kogi Truck was never where we were going to be, I was never in the environs of Commissary, POT, A-Frame etc, my brunch had been decided so no Sunny Spot, so I thought Chego even though a few ‘hounds had deemed it “Meh”. Let me tell you, I loved it. Honest. Delicious. Cheap. In some weird food court with tranisents using public bathrooms. Hip hop on sound system. The menu translated in Viet and Spanish on the door. Everyone eating at communal picnic tables. Black, White, Asian, Hispanic. Reminded me a bit of some of my beloved food malls in the Flushing Underbelly here in Queens, NY. Everything I tasted hit the spot, but the Chubby Pork Belly bowl (my son’s pick) was my fave. The adobo chicken bowl was a bit soupy but still delish. The Beefy T was great. And the lady who sat next to me ordered some prime rib and horseradish bowl that for 10 bucks looked like a steal. The sriracha bar and tres leches were just okay. I’d come back for the Chubby Pork Belly any day. I’m sure Roy is doing much more exciting work at his other places, but this type of humble, accessible place was just what I craved before the baseball game. Also found some awesome flea market type place across the street that was selling off the rack women’s clothes at 70 percent off. After the game and fireworks ( beautiful stadium, great crowd) we thought about Langer’s and some of the tacquerias many of you recommended, but there’s only so much we can eat and being in the presence of toned, taned, glistening people who sport yoga-wear all day is a bit humbling.

                                                                                                  Day four brought us to One Pico for brunch. We were treating my uncle and his partner, and I wanted somewhere that was beautiful. I thought the ambiance was indeed lovely and the service okay (they didn’t have my reservation when I called to confirm that morning. Thankfully they had space for us and made a new one) but the food was almost institutional. Oh wait! I was in a hotel. 310 bucks for the five of us. It was a pleasure to treat them and the company was fantastic, but nothing stood out. The lobster sandwich was actually pretty gross. Soggy and wet. Serves me right for ordering a “Maine” lobster BLT on the West Coast. Nothing appealed to me though. Afterwards, we went to the Sweet Rose Creamery which a friend had raved about. It was solid but nothing outrageous. Note to any entrepreneurs: the Third Street Promenade is in desperate need of an ice cream shop (Yogurt Land and Red Mango do not count; sometimes one needs FULL FAT). I suggest a McConnell’s which we had drooled over in Santa Barbara. OMG. Now THAT was great ice cream! That Turkish coffee! The fact that they let you split scoop flavors. Yes! A place where indecision is actually rewarded. Not Sweet Rose. Afterwards we drove through WeHo and the Ethiopian neighborhood and the Grove . Loved the Farmers’ Market there. The Cajun place in the back looked like it was putting out some serious chow. If I were hungry, it’s where I would have gone for sure. Alas…That night was our last in LA and we got back to the Mirimar at 5pm just in time for Figs at 5 when the entire menu is 50 percent off. My inclination is to NEVER eat in a hotel if I can help it, and considering we had dined at One Pico for lunch, I really wasn’t in the mood to set any records, but our cousins who live in LA said “Figs at 5” was great and considering we had a 100 dollar food credit, we did it. It was really solid. Very enjoyable. Delicious grilled romaine salad, olives and manchego, massive prawns ( not cooked through) sautéed lion’s mane mushrooms, brisket with cherries, stuffed squid, stuffed dates…we were on a mission to use our entire 100 dollars and what with the 50 percent off, we really got a lot of bang for our buck. What we didn’t eat we’d give to the homeless people we saw everywhere  We ended up eating…everything. Well prepared, excellent ingredients and artful presentation. Overall, a great option at 50 percent off.

                                                                                                  Super bummed I did not get to Din Tai Fung, but LA is so so SO sprawling and the traffic is so crazy that to drive 25 miles (every time I said I wanted to go, we’d throw the address into GPS and we’d be 25 miles away) and back could have been an extra two hours. Would have loved to have gone to Lucques again, but my friend said it was totally mediocre and she went the night after we flew back. Guisado’s. Son of a Gun. Langer’s. K-Town. Ciro’s. Osteria Mozza. Fathers’ Office. They were ALL on my list, but four days was not enough. Which means one thing: I need to come back to LA again! Thank you all so much for helping to make our visit to your gorgeous part of the world “epic” as my 10 year old likes to say! Let me know if I can help you out when you are in NYC.

                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                      Woo Hoo - another happy customer - come back soon!

                                                                                                      I agree Gjelina is very special. If we all could just walk in, sit down and eat - without being bothered by waits and noise - there would not be a peep out of the anyone.

                                                                                                      1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                        chego is actually my fave of choi's places. sounds like you missed the ooey gooey fries. like animal fries on crack.

                                                                                                        1. re: cdub

                                                                                                          I intentionally missed the fries. I was going to be seated at a baseball game right after and was scared I'd be annoying if I had to keep getting up and down for the bathroom. Wasn't sure anything ooey and gooey and dairy would be the right thing. The prime rib horseradish dish was the thing I really am still wondering about. It looked outstanding!

                                                                                                          1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                            Not to rub it in, but I think the prime rib bowl is one of the best things there, and it's not super sauced up like the other bowls.

                                                                                                            The SO is pretty sensitive to salt and she's never had an issue with it at n+m, so I might chalk that up to an off night, but I don't think you need to give it another shot.

                                                                                                            1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                              Nice report! Don't worry you did the right thing by skipping the ooey gooey fries because you would be still dreaming about them....and ordering the chubby pork belly bowl, it is outstanding and a mishmash that really works well.

                                                                                                          2. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                            Thanks for reporting back. You hit several of my favorites. I'm especially happy/relieved that you "got" Gjelina. Some folks find it unbearably annoying, but I love it.

                                                                                                            1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                              What a great report back. I enjoyed reading every word.

                                                                                                              Gjelina, Superba, Urth Cafe, Chego - Nice L.A. combo! Sorry our traffic sucked (hey, we're famous for it!)

                                                                                                              ... and our California summertime peaches are the star ingredient in many a dessert around town - Glad you could partake.

                                                                                                              1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                                So glad you enjoyed most everything. Too bad about night market. Must have been an off night.

                                                                                                                I hope to someday raise a child like yours. He sounds "epic" for lack of a better word!

                                                                                                                1. re: set0312

                                                                                                                  I can't believe Night + Market failed so bad.

                                                                                                                  I have never experienced an off night at either location, so I hope this isn't the beginning of the end.

                                                                                                                  I will say that one dish was too salty on my last visit, but I assume that the salt-crusted fish is supposed to be brackish in that way.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Eudoxus


                                                                                                                    Don't get me wrong; it was a solid meal. The ingredients were fresh, the service was excellent, a lot of care clearly went into the menu. It just wasn't as "epic" as it was hyped up to me. Maybe it was an off night? The overall saltiness really killed me. Waterbugs are unique. Stip-club rice with "flower weiners" sounds cool. There's definitely a "different" thing going on, but it didn't translate to "excellent" for me. I feel like I have had exponentially better Thai meals here in Queens, NY. I regret I didn't have time to really delve into Thai Town because I am absolutely certain I would have found some truly transcendent dishes there. Next time.

                                                                                                                    1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                                      "I regret I didn't have time to really delve into Thai Town because I am absolutely certain I would have found some truly transcendent dishes there. Next time."

                                                                                                                      I don't think so. If you didn't like Night + Market you will probably be pretty disappointed by LA Thai in general. Having eaten my way through LA's Thai town, I would say things only get saltier from Night + Market.

                                                                                                                      I guess the Thai food in Queens must be sort of a hidden gem that no one here knew about when we recommended Thai food.

                                                                                                                      At this point I would say you should skip Thai food altogether on future visits to LA.

                                                                                                                      There's too much other stuff here to waste time on stuff your home town does better. Hopefully the Mexican scene, for example, might hold more promise for you.

                                                                                                                      Have you ever been to Bäco Mercat?

                                                                                                                      1. re: Eudoxus

                                                                                                                        There's some really solid Thai in Queens, Ayada in Elmhurst being my fave. The Pok Pok transplant in Brooklyn is also really yum. Full disclosure: for the past 17 years I've owned an exclusively Asian business and I have awesome little Thai, Burmese, Malaysian,Viet grandmas cooking for us all the time. I cook a lot the same dishes, too. Many Thai friends etc. After our native Italian/Sicilian, Northern Chinese food and Thai are the most eaten in our home.

                                                                                                                        West coast Mexican is definitely better than the vast majority of Mexican we get back in Gotham. I'm actually not a huge NYC Mexican fan having lived in Mexico for a spell as a child (dad is a retired Spanish teacher) but I feel that if I had had more time I would have def scratched the surface more with the South of the Border offerings. Would have loved to have hit up more taquerias. Carbon and pastor are my faves. We had really good Mexican in Santa Barbara at Los Agaves (Super Rica was closed, and I am Julian Child fan) and it sated my rare yen, so I didn't make it a priority during our four days in LA. Next time for sure.

                                                                                                                        Baco Mercat looked outstanding ( I had looked at the wesbite/menu) but alas, there just was not time.

                                                                                                                        1. re: ZenFoodist

                                                                                                                          Yeah...I think you should pretty much avoid any cuisines at restaurants that you have regularly cooked for you by grandmothers from the tradition. Just seems like people always say that restaurants can never compete with that kind of cooking. Most of us are not so lucky though, so for us Night + Market is the grandmother we never had.

                                                                                                                          The thing about Bäco Mercat is that 90% of the people on these boards hate it (but downtown LA locals, and often visitors love it). The only reason I would recommend you try it out is that it is quite unique, and you like Chego the most out of Choi's places. Bäco Mercat, at least in terms of the actual Bäcos, are quite like Chego in terms of their "flavor bomb" natures. Meanwhile, the vegetable dishes tend to be somewhat reminiscent of Gjelina, which you seemed to like a lot.

                                                                                                                          But it's no guarantee. There have been some consistency issues because of how popular it is.

                                                                                                                          I think it would be a good place to try for someone who really loves Chego, but I could be wrong.

                                                                                                                          Also, possibly it would be a bad idea to listen to me because I have always loved Night + Market, so that could mean we have very different tastebuds.

                                                                                                                          But if you thought the menu looked good, you should probably at least consider penciling it in for the next trip.