FOOD

Inspired by a link to Tedman’s blog I found on LA Blogs, I decided to come up with a quick list of my own favorite restaurants in L.A. and what I remember (not looking at menus, so if I’m wrong, sorry) as my favorite dish.
In alphabetical (hence no particular) order:
Chez Melange, 1716 South Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach
Great, imaginative upscale food in a motel restaurant on a nondescript commercial street a mile from my house. Discovering this place made moving to the South Bay from Venice a lot easier. Come for the Sunday brunch, eggs and smoked salmon sound boring but they make kind of Platonic version of them.
Chinois on Main, 2709 Main Street, Santa Monica
Seems like it’s been here since everyone in L.A. had a BMW and a coke habit; the food is more than good enough – you won’t think it’s original, but along with the much-missed Restaurant Lyon, it defined California pan-ethnic cuisine. Catfish, duck…
Four Oaks, 2181 North Beverly Glen Boulevard, Bel-Air
Beautiful, quiet, slightly better-than-decent food, but an amazing date restaurant when you’re old enough to want a quiet, romantic evening. Salmon cakes.
Gallo’s Grill, 4533 Cesar E. Chavez Ave
Awesome Mexican grill. Get the arrechera asada. Cheap, superb, if only they had beer. Well worth the drive, even from our place..
Geoffrey’s, 27400 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
When people visiting from out of town ask for a ‘quintessential L.A. restaurant,’ I suggest this one, secluded in a canyon above the beach in Malibu. The food and service are not quite as good as they used to be (but try the tuna tempura); but it’s such a pleasant place to eat that I still enjoy it. Plus a bunch of my friends were in a movie there…there’s a key scene in the movie ‘The Player’ that takes place there, and the cycling team from Ernie’s was in the shot.
Gutter, 5621 North Figueroa Street, Los Angeles
The anti-Geoffrey’s. A perfect restraurant for a great old punk venue located in a bowling alley (Mr. T’s). Try the hippie scramble, and the homemade ketchup.
Hal’s, 1349 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
High-end yuppie comfort food. When I lived in Venice, we used to try and walk there once a week…one advantage of being an armed liberal. Great food, comfortable atmosphere, great grown-up bar scene.
Hide Sushi, 2040 Sawtelle Boulevard, Los Angeles
No atmosphere, no rock n’ roll, no attitude, just amazingly good sushi at semi-reasonable prices.
Hu’s Schezewan, 10450 National Boulevard, West L.A.
At the corner of National and National (really!) is this great neighborhood Chinese restaurant. try the Schezewan dumplings, and save the garlic sauce to pour on your rice. Then General Tso’s chicken.
Mimosa, 8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles
I want to resent this hangout of the beautiful people, but I can’t because the food is so damn delicious. Old-school French, with the intensity of flavor that I remember from France. Cassoulet!
Ocean Seafood, 3209 North Broadway, Los Angeles
The dim-sum mother ship. Try the crunchy shrimp in salt…all feet and eyes.
Paco’s Tacos, 4141 South Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles
Homey local Mexican chain. Hand-made flour tortillas, do I need to say more?
Phillip’s BBQ, 4307 Leimert Blvd., Los Angeles
Burnt ends. Hot links. No seats, just carry-out. I never make it home, so we just eat at the side of the road.
Riviera Mexican Grill, 1615 South Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach
Funky surfer reinvention of a Mexican restaurant. Nothing authentic at all, but damn good. Smoked chicken burritos…
Tacos Delta, 3806 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
As authentically Mexican as it gets. Amazing carne asada gorditas.
Taylor’s Prime Steaks, 3361 West 8th Street, Los Angeles
I keep looking for Jack Vincennes. The culotte steak, slightly more than medium. Straight out of Ellroy’s L.A.
The Pit, 5309 South Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles
Brisket sandwiches, ribs. Oh…and burnt ends. You can sit and eat here, so even though I like the BBQ at Phillip’s a bit more, I can get a more immediate fix here.
The Shack, 185 Culver Blvd. Playa del Rey
Shack-burger. Polish sausage and a cheeseburger; why didn’t someone else think of this? Don’t go to the depressingly yuppified Santa Monica location; head down to the beach at Playa.
Woo Lae Oak, 623 South Western Avenue, Los Angeles
Korean BBQ. My martial-arts school used to have banquets there; whiskey and kimchi weren’t designed to be consumed together. The kinchi/scallion pancake is memorable, as are the short ribs.
Zankou Chicken (all over town)
Armenian roasted chicken…the garlic paste…the garlic paste…
That’s just off the top of my head…I’m sure you’ve got some suggestions to leave in the comments…

11 thoughts on “FOOD”

  1. My taste runs towards good and cheap. Also, note that I’ve been away for 6 years so call before you go:
    Cafe Brazil, in Culver City
    Headlines, in Westwood
    Magic Carpet on Pico near La Cienega (Yemenite Jewish food)
    El Tepeyac, in East LA (You’ll see more LAPD cars in their parking lot than there are in the whole West LA division)
    And you got The Shack. My favorite is gone, though — Yummy Pita, on Robertson near Pico.

  2. For Cuban food, go to Versailles, in Culver City (10319 Venice Blvd), Encino (17410 Ventura Blvd) and a few other locations. Not too pricey and truly excellent food. Shame they don’t carry that Cuban beer anymore.
    For the best fried breakfast in town, go to S&W Country Diner (9748 Washington Blvd) in Culver City. There’s always a line out the door on weekends but it’s well worth it. I personally love their homemade corned beef hash, and their grits are about as good as you’ll find outside of the South.
    For upscale Italian food at bargain prices, go to Gio Cucina (15826 Ventura Blvd) in Encino. Roberto, the chef, is a truly gifted man. Try the bresaola ai fagioli (paper-thin sliced cured beef with white beans and some kind of chopped herb), the insalata caprese (paper-thin sliced cured ham, buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes) or the tortelloni di zucca al profumo di salvia (melt-in-your-mouth sweet butter pumpkin tortelloni in a sage sauce). Everything on the menu is excellent. This is the restaurant where I take all my visiting friends.
    For Persian food in the Valley, go to Shirin, at 21826 Ventura Blvd, and try to ignore the abysmally bad keyboard player while you eat incredible barg and fesenjan, among other things. In West L.A., go to Javan (11500 Santa Monica Blvd) for a much better atmosphere and equally good if not better food.

  3. This is in response to a recent post at Winds of Change regarding a conversation at a party with a “journalist”. Couldn’t get the letters thing-a-muh-bob to work there, so…here I am.
    1. One problem in having a conversation with a journalist, especially the opinion journalist variety, is that their normal mode of operation is to talk at people. In many cases that is why they became journalists…Woodward and Bernstein, anonymous sources, unnacountable power and all that. For the most part blogging is inherently interactive and that is why many bloggers blog…to talk to other folks and do the ineractive network thing, the sum being greater than the parts etc. Different perspectives and expectations entireley and he was probably way out of his comfort zone when actually confronted with a cogent argument and someone who challenged his “king-maker” status.
    2. In my current life (my previous one being an Airborne Ranger qualified Infantry Officer)I am a process and project management consultant. One of the things we have learned is that the quality of processes and methodology can only account for about 50% of post production defects in software code. That is because 50% of post production defects in code are directly dependant on who wrote the source code. If we extrapolate that to journalism (and there doesn’t seem to be any reason we shouldn’t) then we would expect that at least 50% of “fairness” issues cannot be prevented by even the most rigorous editorial process. On the other hand an inherently “fair” blogger (or journalist) is, well, inherently fair. What you call the interactive nature of blogging functions a lot like peer reviews of scientific and technical writing and is in that way superior to the editorial process. Unfair bloggers get relegated to partisan web sites and the market ruthlessly selects those who have the greatest creditability. Any “journalist” who rests his fairness or competance arguments on the editorial process can only claim a 50% a potential reduction in errors. Of course, if the editors themselves introduce or encourage errors (a la Raines, or it seems the LA Times) then all bets are off. The “journalist” would be better off arguing that he personally is fair and competant and that his organization goes to great lengths to weed out unfair and incompetant writers and that he looks forward to the competition with bloggers since he is and his cohorts are all squared away and the truth will out in the great competitive give and take. Of course, most won’t do that since they know it is not true….no wonder the guy was uncomfortable

  4. If you’re going through hell, keep going.Everybody is a star with the potentiality to shine in the infinite sky of eternity.

  5. Best french restaurant in town is Taix (1911 Sunset Blvd, close to downtown). It’s country french food, with soup served in white ceramic tureens. Mmm, split pea soup. Reasonable prices, excellent wine selection. Some of the wait staff appears to have been there since the place opened in 1927. Lots of francophones hanging around.

  6. I am going to taixfrench.com tonight, because on Sundays the “Special” is roasted pork tenderloin, so un-chic, but I LOVE IT!!
    I wil tell you if it is good.

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