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Aug 13, 2014 09:02 PM

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 12

                          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.