As some of our regular readers and all of our Instagram Followers know (www.Instagram.com/montemathews), I have been on the road. I mean really on the road. In the coming weeks I have a lot to share with you. I first went to Bali where I immersed myself in both Balinese culture and cuisine and the complete luxury of not one, but two Four Season’s Hotels. In Bali, I boarded
Silversea’s Flagship, Silver Muse, quite the most deluxe of cruise liners, for a phenomenal culinary adventure called S.A.L.T. It’s the acronym for Sea And Land Taste and it will yield some amazing culinary discoveries I can’t wait to share with you. We sailed from Bali to Borneo and from there to Romblom Island in the Philippines and on to Manila where we ended our adventure with a Filipino dining experience that was simply out of this world. All of this I will share with you on multiple occasions. And I will share it on www.Travel-Wise.com, the incredibly fast-growing web presence where I’ve been named a Correspondent.
With all this travel, you can imagine how much I appreciated it when one of my fellow authors at www.Travel-Wise.com, Liana Minassian, stepped in and volunteered this wonderful guide to what’s happening on the Food scene a lot closer to home: Los Angeles. The city has a well-deserved reputation for creating some of the most memorable food in America. And Liana has delved deep into it all from where to find LA Classics like the French Dip to its very latest–and likely the most stylish–Vegan restaurant. So take it away Liana!
“Visiting Los Angeles requires a special kind of planning — it’s a massive, sprawling city that’s made up of a bunch of different neighborhoods. Each of these neighborhoods has its own personality, as massive numbers of immigrants tend to cluster together and build a community around their culture. There’s Thai Town, Little Armenia, Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and even Little Ethiopia, as well as a general diversity that comes from decades of transplants trying to make it in the entertainment industry.
As such, you can find almost any food your heart desires while in Los Angeles — this alone makes it one of the best places to visit in the US. Each neighborhood has its own foodie favorites, but there are a few specific foods that are quintessentially LA. If you’re planning a trip to the City of Angels, do yourself a favor and check out our foodie guide to Los Angeles with some of the most iconic LA foods and the best places to eat them.
Tacos in Los Angeles are serious business. Venture out in almost any neighborhood, particularly Hollywood and Echo Park, and you’re bound to find a taco truck, taqueria, or street vendor selling authentic Mexican tacos. Aside from trying one of the random taco trucks you’re likely to come across, if you’re looking for someplace with seating, you can’t go wrong with any of the Cactus Taqueria locations. And while you can surely find typical beef or chicken tacos anywhere, part of the Los Angeles taco experience is choosing something a little outside the box. Where else but Mexico can you try varieties like al pastor (spit-grilled pork), lengua (beef tongue), or cabeza (cow head)? Bonus points if you can order your tacos in Spanish!
Avocado toast devotees are rampant in Los Angeles. Restaurants have taken the open face sandwich elevating it to a higher art form. Most brunch spots will carry their own
take on it.switching up the bread variety as well as the toppings. At Sqirl, a hip cafe in the Silverlake neighborhood, you can get one of the best avocado toasts of your life piled with hot pickled carrots, garlic crème fraîche, and a housemade za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend). Or get fancy over at Dune in Atwater Village, which has tomato confit, radishes, and greens with optional 8-minute egg or Bulgarian sheep feta on top of toasted sourdough bread and avocado.
For a taste of Los Angeles history, there’s nothing better than a hot French Dip: roast beef, cheese, and onions on a French roll served au jus. Created in the early 20th century, several delis from that time period still stand, perfecting their recipes with each generation. Both Philippe The Original and Cole’s French Dip in downtown LosAngeles claim to have invented the French Dip. And while you can’t go wrong with either, the former comes already au jus (either single-dip, double-dip, or wet), while you can actually control how juicy you want your sandwich at Cole’s by dipping it in the jus yourself.
There’s an overabundance of donut shops in Los Angeles, but it’s the local Los Angeles-born shops that really take the cake (or donuts). If it’s the classic flavors you’re after, a trip to the iconic Randy’s Donuts in Inglewood will satisfy your cravings for glazed, raised, twists, crullers, long johns, and jelly-filled donuts. However, if you’re the adventurous type, the donuts at Donut Friend in Highland Park or downtown LA feature flavor combinations like peanut butter, strawberry jam, coconut bacon, and sriracha sauce (Srirachosin) or lemon glaze, fresh mixed berries, and fresh mint (Polar Berry Club). Plus, they even have DIY donuts, meaning you can customize your donuts, toppings, and fillings to your heart’s content. (At right, Banana Kill by Donut Friend)
A relatively health-conscious and eco-conscious city, Los Angeles has a huge vegan population. And while ‘vegan food’ is more a genre rather than a specific food, there’s an abundance of it here, which is pretty rare. To satisfy these meat-free masses, there are a number of excellent vegan options spread throughout the city. For Mexican food, there’s the more health-conscious, plant-based Gracias Madre in West Hollywood. Doomie’s NextMex in regular ol’ Hollywood serves more of the traditional nachos, tacos, and burritos. Right next door is Doomie’s original restaurant, Doomie’s Home Cookin’, which serves veganized, greasy spoon-type diner food. There are also tons of farmers’ markets and pop-ups around the city with vegan street food vendors, and if you happen to be in North Hollywood on a Sunday, check out the free Vegan Street Fair for everything from vegan desserts to vegan Thai food.
Well-known burger chain, In-N-Out Burger, should definitely be a foodie stop for meat eaters in LA. Their burgers are never frozen, and you can customize them to your heart’s content with extra secret sauce, extra patties, and extra cheese. However, the award for one of the best burgers in Los Angeles goes to Father’s Office, which has locations in Culver City, Santa Monica, and downtown LA. Enjoy a juicy hormone-free burger on a non-GMO bun with caramelized onions, bacon, gruyere, blue cheese, and arugula. And for those that like a little history with their burger, be sure to check out one of the original Bob’s Big Boy restaurants in Toluca Lake, where you can dine on double-deckers and drink milkshakes straight out of the 1950s.
Los Angeles has some of the best Korean food outside of Seoul in its K-town neighborhood. Hit up any of the strip malls in the area, and you’re bound to come across a Korean BBQ place or classic sit-down restaurant with traditional banchan or small side dishes that come with a meal. If you’re not sure where to start, you can’t go wrong with BCD Tofu House, known for their soft-tofu soup and bibimbap. You’ll also find Korean-Angeleno fusion food trucks like Kogi Korean BBQ where you can get bulgogi tacos, or Rice Balls of Fire which serves pork belly kimchi tater tots.If you’re having trouble deciding on one thing because there are so many options, there’s always one of the local food halls where you can sample multiple dishes and food types. Grand Central Market in downtown LA is a foodie’s paradise with items like vegan ramen, wood-fired pizza, currywurst, and plenty of tacos to go around. ROW DTLA also has things like Japanese fried chicken and an oyster bar along with hosting Smorgasburg LA, a weekly Sunday market.
No matter what you’re craving, you’ll find it in Los Angeles, a true foodie’s paradise.”
Many thanks Liana!