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LA next weekend: help requested


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hi all, I just read back about a year's worth of the LA titled topics and I'd like to refine some currently vague dining plans for 4 wide open days next week (coming from PHL). I haven't spent any time in LA at all (although I once drove around it on the way from Laguna to SFO) and I've only just started checking out maps of the area. I'll be staying in the Palms area from Wed afternoon-Sunday eve with a friend who's in grad school and unfamiliar with LA (she's been there 3 weeks and isn't so food oriented) so probably I'll only have access to a car on weekend nights and the weekend when she's not in class. Also, I am not afraid of public transportation and people keep telling me not to walk anywhere in LA. Also no expense account (boo, academia) so I'd mostly like to keep entree costs <$20s (exception: sushi).

Places on the shortlist:


Joe's in Venice


Chandni (b/c my friend is Indian+vegetarian (and doesn't cook))

Mori Sushi (since it seems close)

In n out I forget the correct punctuation. I walked by one in SFO but didn't actually get to eat there.

(not food) the Getty museum, probably on my own one of the weekdays

the kinds of suggestions that I'm looking for:

* moderate (<$40) sushi- I'd like to have sushi at least once a day but I can't afford fancy transcendental sushi (you know what I'm talking about) more than once

* smaller neighborhoodie places- byo <40seats open kitchen is the latest restaurant trend here

* low key brunch places that have good home fries and interesting waffles/pancakes/french toast/omelettes beyond what you'd expect at a regular diner. Eg: an omelette w/ green tomatoes, goat cheese, caramelized onions and couscous (note that suggestions don't have to be this weird).

* regular breakfast/diner suggestions also welcome.

* french fries. I love fried potato products (latkes, roesti, tater tots) so any variant is appreciated.

* things to do that I'm not going to find looking online

what I'm not looking for:

* hipster scene and fancy pants.

* Thai/Chinese. (I've had a lot of both)

* Korean bbq. Actually, I would personally REALLY LOVE to go to korean bbq but it's better with groups and it would be sad if I suggested it to my vegetarian friend. SO, if ppl want to go for lunch thurs/fri that would work out but other than that, sadly no.

thanks, kt

PS: if anyone wants anything from an East Coast Trader Joe's let me know, I'm already bringing stuff

Edited by katbert (log)
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Hi there!

I had a couple of thoughts while reading your post. As a recent (as of mid-May) transplant here, I dont have an extensive list of dining suggestions, but a couple places come to mind that I would reccommend.

1. Gypsy Cafe - 940 Broxton Ave. Westwood Ca, 310-824-2119

This place is located near the UCLA campus, dont go on a weekend night if you want to avoid crowds. Its small, with some tables outside in front when busy. It serves middle-eastern-type cuisine mainly, along with some pastas. Inside you can rent a hookah (just scented smoke as far as I can tell) in various 'flavours', and a large screen tv plays a constant stream of foreign music videos and bellydancing-beauty contests. A definite 'quirky charm' atmos.

The best reason to go is they have the Best falafel I have ever tasted. Crispy outside, moist and flavorful inside. Really greatstuff.

2 If you find yourself in the Manhattan Beach area, there's a cozy diner at the corner of Highland and Manhattan Beach Blvd called "The Kettle" - they do *yum* breakfasts - great omelettes - and the nonbreakfast food is pretty good too. They're open late, and seem to be a neighbourhood hang - very casual.

Both of these establishments are in the mid-cheap range for price. Both are in neighbourhoods worth taking a walk through also.

Hope this helps. do post how the visit goes :smile:

the tall drink of water...
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(not food) the Getty museum, probably on my own one of the weekdays

don't discount the getty for food. they have a really fine restaurant (even tho' it is called "the restaurant"), but their self-serve cafeteria is also above par.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."


Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Some suggestions based on your criteria:

Mori is a good choice for a higher end meal.

Hide Sushi - there's a little Japanocentric neighborhood on Sawtelle Blvd, north of Olympic. There are several places along that strip. Hide is probably what you're looking for. Most people think more highly of it than I do, but it's quite serviceable. I think it's cash only.

California Roll & Sushi Fish - on Wilshire and Westgate in West LA - not for the purist, but this place offers mostly rolls with modern combinations (for instance, lots of spicy tuna and avocado), squiggly sauce decorations, and so on. Tempura tends to be a little greasy, but overall it's reliable and tasty. It's about $25 per person.

While not sushi, you might try Yabu on Pico near Barrington, or Musha on Wilshire and 5th. They serve Japanese small plates, with a decent number of vegetarian choices.

I'll second John O'Groats for breakfast.

I also like Cafe Brasil is on Venice and Westwood for casual dining, but the vegetarian offerings are slim.

Falafel King is Westwood has decent food, but they make these battered potato chip things that are unhealthy and addicting.

Good luck.

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If you're in Palms, you'll not be far from John O'Groats on Pico Blvd. near Rancho Park Golf Course.  Awesome breakfasts.  Get there early or be prepared for a wait.


John O'Groats

10516 Pico Blvd

Open 7am


Traveling to LA this weekend and this is a for sure stop as it has been in the past.

"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"
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Sushi Masu

Bread and Poridge - great breakfast/brunch

Brent's Deli


Tlapazola Grill

Father's Office - for Burgers

also - Mori sushi is really good and more traditional than most LA sushi (ie no spicy tuna) put I perfer Takao which is a little further away from Palms in Brentwood. Mori is also a pretty expensive place.

Also, you could substitute Josie for Joe's

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I would second Philippe's for a REALLY good French dip sandwich. This place has been around since the 19 teen's, and still has 5 cent coffee. LANDMARK.

For breakfast, Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles or Fred 62 (it's kinda hipster, but it's a diner - what're ya gonna do?). Fred 62 makes their own pop tarts (they call 'em punk tarts), has all kinds of other (all delicious) non-standard diner fare, and is open 24 hours.

If you're in the mood to browse a HUGE cooking supply store, check out Surfa's in Culver City. Think giant wherehouse filled with pots, pans, gadgets, commercial appliances, knives, etc... and great prices.

If you're an early riser, you might check out the farmer's market on the 3rd St. Promenade (I believe it's on Wednesday) in Santa Monica.

Have fun! Good to see another non L.A. hater. Give it a chance!

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i highly recommend mori sushi for sushi. yes, it's not cheap. however, if you want a great deal, go for lunch and order one of the sushi lunches. it's a fixed selection, so you can't make individual selections. there are 2 or 3 options, ranging in price from around $12 to around $16, and each comes with a green salad and miso soup. you can't beat it. now, if you want to go for dinner, be prepared to pay $50-75 per person.

goo luck!

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thanks for the responses so far, I really appreciate it. I know I edited the original topic once but I seem to have lost the edit button. I'd like to add in requests for:

* places to go for dessert/pastry (I personally like bakeries that offer some regular low key muffin/danish/croissants alongside crazy fancy pastries with curliques and drizzles) either bakeries to take out from or places to sit down and have dessert+coffee

* ice cream or gelato

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I have been in LA for a couple of months on business, and had an amazing brunch at Asia de Cuba. When you look it up, it is going to look hip and fancy pants. But the brunch, I assure you, is not. Just casual, an amazing location overlooking LA, and great food. My wife is still talking about the huevos rancheros months later. Also, had dinner at AOC, a small plates restaurant with a terrific wine list. A very good value for some quality food (mmm...pork cheeks).


Edited by DCatty (log)
Save Pale Male <--- GO HERE!
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  • 2 weeks later...

hi, I wanted to say thanks again for all the suggestions- something mysterious happened to me where I didn't manage to eat nearly as much as I wanted to, possibly having had something to do with the time change. However, I did make it to the following:

Fairfax farmer's market: I was excited if overwhelmed by the options. I had some decent cod fish & chips from the place w/ all the seafood salads in their counter case, felafel & chicken shwarma from another place, a giant cinnamon puff pastry palmier cookie, and I loved all the different pop in bottles at the little old school soda stand. mmm, cream soda.

Guelaguetza: interesting menu but they were out of blossoms. I tried the cactus- warm green smooshy. The chips w/ mole? and crumbly cheese? were addictive.

John O'Groats: I loved the great neighborhoody character and liked the mango+macadamia nut coconut pancakes w/ whipped cream. The first time my home fries came out our server noted that they weren't very crisp and suggested returning them to the grill, which I appreciated. The three triangles of french toast were creamy custardy good, although my friend wanted something decorative on the otherwise empty plate.

Luna Park: Very hip and trendy scene; we walked in and checked out the menu which was reasonably priced and interesting although they didn't have (m)any vegetarian options. Then we realized there was a 45min wait and bailed in favor of

Hide Sushi: scallops, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, pickled (?) gourd, those rice filled tofu skin dumplings. Very busy, high turnover, 20min wait. I like the customer self management of the whiteboard wait list and no nonsense atmosphere.

Bread & Porridge: my friend preferred the cute ambience here much more than John O'Groat's and enjoyed her fluffy blueberry pancakes. LOTS of blueberries. My goat cheese+spinach+onion omelette was stuffed high with filling and was especially good with the fresh salsa that appeared unexpectedly on the table. Yum!Decent homefries. I found the maple breakfast sausages bland; despite a noticeable maple flavour, there wasn't enough savory seasoning to bring out the pork goodness.

La Brea Bakery: ok, I didn't quite go here but we drove by it and I was like- hey! but we didn't stop. :/

In n' Out: I like the fresh and natural concept, but sadly I was underwhelmed. I wish my fries had been crispier. I was surprised to see that they were chunking the potatoes by hand one by one b/c one of the diners in PHL has a machine where a bucket of potatoes goes in one end and fries shoot out the other side.

Some place by Venice beach: $1.50 fries which turned out to be big slices of cooked potato subsequently deep fried to a slightly greasy crunchiness. Excellent windy empty beach food. The seagulls are very patient stalkers.

Magic Castle: I only had a fruit tart off the dessert tray. Pretty.

I didn't get to the Getty and I'm sad that I didn't go to more sushi. Next time. I liked the Japanese pavilion of the LACMA, the mostly empty beach, the tarpits, and that drivers are really determined to stop for pedestrians. I was not into the strip mallness atmosphere. My sense of LA is that you mostly have to know where you're going before you go out; there aren't many areas where you can just walk around and explore/discover interesting places. Also kudos to the MTA for ease of use.

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Hey Chris, I resemble that remark.  Katbert sent me a very nice PM about how well the buses worked.

. . . and they say there is no public transit it LA!

hear, hear--my first 6 years in los angeles were car-less. i used to take the bus from first westwood and then santa monica to downtown l.a, and all parts in between.

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