I’m seriously smitten with Los Angeles lately, especially the food. (And don’t even get me started on Manhattan Beach. I’ll post about that surfer hangout turned foodie hub next.) For now, I want to share with you a few of the plates, bowls, pie tins, and coffee mugs that keep popping into my mind whenever I feel a hunger pain or need a pick-me-up, which I must say happens quite frequently throughout the day!
First, check out this adorable pie from The Pie Hole in LA’s trendy Arts District. I am not a crazy dessert lover, but this cherry pie feels like a big hug from your grandma who, btw, I met hangin’ out in the edgiest part of town. And just look at how she serves it in this scratched up old pie tin. It’s seriously delicious and you deserve a slice. Btw, the Pie Hole has five locations: Pasadena, Orange County, Glendale, Hollywood, and Tokyo. Yep, Tokyo. Yo g’mom gets around. lol.
If you’re thinking about visiting the cool, contemporary Broad Museum (btw, Broad rhymes w/ “road”) located in the now-bustling Downtown, or “DTLA” as the hipsters call it, don’t forget to book your free timed museum tickets online far in advance and make a rez at Otium while you’re at it! This warm, rustic restaurant is right next door and the atmosphere is right up my alley, and up the Grand Avenue Corridor, too.
When Dr. Scout and I visited the other night, he asked our waiter for a recommendation to start and the waiter suggested these roasted carrots, which honestly sounded pretty Meh to me. Well, I was pleasantly surprised! This perky pippin, avocado, cilantro “pesto” was fresh, zippy, and inspiring, one of those unique twists that I’ll be trying hard to replicate in my Midwest kitchen this summer. Another stand out at Otium was the creamy, al dente rigatoni made with smoked pecorino, guanciale, snap pea and tellicherry berries. But then again, when isn’t bucatini with salt-cured pork jowl good? P.S. Mr. Scout highly recommends that you order the PB&J cocktail with Botanist gin, peanut butter, pomegranate, Campari, and egg white. Sounds disgusting, but it’s delicious.
I’ve raved about Egg Slut in Grand Central Market before, but the name and the food deserve one more mention. It’s that good. Go if you love eggs, urban history, gourmet food emporiums, or if you simply need a hi-cal hangover remedy. You’ll find Egg Slut in Venice Beach, Glendale and Vegas, too.
After my mild coronary at Egg Slut, my savvy, in-the-know friend from @homagetodesign ushered me across the street to one of her favorite cafes, Blue Bottle Coffee, a spot she knows well from her hipster home base in San Francisco. The airy, modern ambience at Blue Bottle is as sublime as the freshly-roasted, painstakingly-prepared coffee.
Get a load of these sophisticated, contemplative hipsters sipping coffee and pondering fair trade, latte art, and the retailer’s use of interior wood and white space. Cool, right? You’ll find Blue Bottle Coffee in the Bay Area, NYC, Tokyo, and even some elusive pop-ups, so keep your eyes peeled for that smart little icon.
Joan’s on Third is another hot spot, worth a visit next time you’re in LA. Kyra Sedwick was browsing the deli cases filled with stuffed artichokes and BLT wraps while my friend and I soaked up the LA vibe at this family-owned gourmet market. The food is top-notch and the bright market is buzzing with agents, new moms, and a sprinkling of silver screen stars. You can also find a Joan’s in Studio City. Check out these handy BLT wraps made with crispy fried onions! I’m making those at home this summer. So much easier and tidier than toast, and the onions see to it that the BLT still has crunch. Btw, next time I go to Joan’s, I’m getting Joan’s Chinese Chicken Salad. Yep! I’ve already got it planned.
For fab Southeast Asian fusion, follow me to Cassia in Santa Monica. This soulful spot serves up a peppy Laksa, made with rice noodles and spicy coconut seafood soup. Guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart.
Last but not least … ChaCha Chicken! On the final day of our week-long trip, our plan was to stop in for a relaxing lunch at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, but then we drove past kitschy ChaCha Chicken and remembered how much we love this laid-back, Jamaican shack, especially when it comes to a super casual, al fresco lunch! Go here to chill on a chirpy patio with locals and eat jerk chicken with sweet, yummy, sticky plantains. Nearby Shutters is fab too, of course, and but that’s a completely different planet.
For more on Los Angeles, check out my posts on Grand Central Market