I had the great pleasure of meeting the author of today’s piece, Jade Broadus, earlier this year and knew right away that I had met a fellow foodie. In spite of the hectic schedule with her own site Vagabond3, Jade graciously agreed to share some of her food expertise in this mouth watering post.
This just in: Los Angeles has delicious food. I know, I know. You don’t expect it- with all the skinny actresses and crazy reality show diets, it is amazing that Tinsel town allows anything but low carb, low fat, stale crackers through its shiny gold gates, but somehow great chefs continue to make their way to Los Angeles and whip up some incredible food.
If you were my friend, and since you’re reading this, you are now, I’d highlight 12 hours of the best food in LA so you could shove your face until you boarded your flight home- fat and happy.
Since no one looks his or her best until after 11am, let’s start with brunch. Brunch is sacred in LA, with veggie stuffed omelets and BLTA (avocados are a must on everything here) on every menu. But the organic veggies and apple wood smoked bacon at Square One Dining in Hollywood elevates these traditional staples to a whole new level. If you like to start your mornings off with something a little sweeter and maybe a pick-me-up, dive into the “Eyes Wide Open” espresso and chocolate chip pancakes from The Griddle Cafe, near West Hollywood.
Walk, or hike, all those calories off with†a trip to Griffith Park or Runyon Canyon. The photo ops of the Hollywood sign, The Griffith Observatory and Downtown LA make these two spots multi-functional before continuing on our foodie tour.
Not quite starving yet, you need a taco stop; the perfect sized snack to tied you over before Happy Hour and fill your belly with something delicious. My favorite taco shops are on opposites sides of the “hill” but both offer superb tacos. Frida Taco in West Hollywood, is the sister shop to Frida Taqueria in Brentwood, serving up simple, juicy carnitas and carne asada tacos with a salsa bar to load up on and top as you like. Don’t leave without trying some of their spicy (like will burn the insides of your stomach if you aren’t careful) peppers and onions, because when mixed with the guacamole just right, it will be the best taco you’ll ever have. The other choice is Hugo’s Tacos located in Studio City. Hugo’s is a small, eat outside, taco stand with a honey chipotle salsa that has visitors craving it before they’ve even finished licking their lips. That sweet and spicy combination is good on their tacos, burritos and even as a dip for chips.
Next up and we are off to the ocean, as no trip to LA would be complete without a stop by Santa Monica and the perfect West Coast sunset. Walk around the Santa Monica Pier, while it is always crowded, there may be no better people watching this city has to offer, plus the views of the ocean and Catalina Island are some of the best. Before the sun gets too low or you are offered a spot in the circus at the pier, head 4 blocks from the ocean for the best Happy Hour in the city.
Border Grill has something that everyone is searching for in Los Angeles, star power. From Bravo’s ‘Top chef Masters and Food Network’s ‘Too Hot Tamales’, head chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger serve up traditional Yucatan and Oaxaca Mexican food for the masses. For $20 bucks during Happy Hour, you and all your friends can drink sangria and fill up on tacos, ceviche, tamales and taquitos.
Don’t even think about heading back into the city at this time. Skip the traffic and accompanying headache and get back to the boardwalk and take a leisurely stroll down to Venice. You’ll see iconic lifeguard stations similar to those in Baywatch, the pier lit up at night and the sun slowly setting over Malibu. The walk is about 30 minutes, totally doable on a concrete path for any fitness level or if you’re carrying around a little extra weight in your gut after your day so far. Luckily, it is just enough time to want to sit back down again, preferably in the open air, lit by candlelight at C&O Trattoria, while munching on the most garlicky garlic knots you’ve ever tasted and sip on a glass of the house red. The place is cute- there really isn’t another word that does it justice, but don’t let cute deter you from some delicious Italian food. The portions are huge, as in four people could easily share one of their “Gargantuan” pasta plate. My pick would be the heavenly fettuccine with seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto and garlic in a light sun dried tomato cream sauce. It will make your Italian grandmother jealous that she didn’t come up with that recipe herself.
Hoping you aren’t too full for dessert, drive up to UCLA for a little snicker snack to end your day. Diddy Riese is a fun little shop in this college student hang-out that creates the most decadent ice cream sandwich your lips have ever tasted. They make the cookies everyday and let you choose which flavor cookies, you can mix and match, and which ice cream to create a truly unique dessert. The choices of homemade cookies range from rich white chocolate macadamia nut to a classic cinnamon sugar. Oh, and the best part- they are only a buck fifty. After paying for parking everywhere you go, that is the cherry on top.
After this ultimate foodie tour of Los Angeles it might take you a few days to recuperate, so call in sick on Monday and relive the best 12 hours of your life.