If you were to evaluate the quality of a given period of time in terms of the concentration and diversity of flavors that you can cram into it, the afternoon I spent cruising up and down Valley Boulevard in the 626 area code east of LA would rank high. In fact, it would count as some of the best time I've spent on this planet.
'Los Angeles' on Serious Eats
There's no better place to find Chinese food in the US than Los Angeles, and there's no better place in L.A. to find dumplings than in the San Gabriel Valley, a huge collection of largely-Asian ethnoburbs in the eastern part of the county. Armed only with our empty stomachs and a modest dining budget, we traversed the highways and avenues in search of the area's very best dumplings.
Quality hot pastrami is increasingly hard to find in New York as its delis disappear and its standards crumble, leaving a few pastrami sages surrounded by pre-packaged meaty mediocrity. But in LA, pastrami as cuisine is more alive than ever.
Tucked off behind a bank of freezers in a Thai restaurant supply store in an industrialized area north of Chinatown, the lunch counter at LAX-C is easy to miss. It's dwarfed by towering shelves laden with fifty pound bags of rice, its entrance often blocked by piles of woks as big as kiddie pools. It's the Thai equivalent of a food court in a suburban Costco. And it's home to some of the best Northern Thai food in Los Angeles.
Korean cuisine is only getting bigger in America, and LA is one of its headquarters. The city's sprawling Koreatown has everything from braised short rib stews and crackling rice cooked in stone bowls to 4 a.m. platters of fatty barbecue after all-night karaoke, and it all rarely disappoints.
"We're coming to visit you." It's those five short words that few 20- or 30-something-year-olds are dying to hear from their parents. And yet, the arrival of summer always seems to bring with it a wave of relatives to entertain. With everything from beaches and beautiful weather to movie stars and shopping, Los Angeles has something for every brand of tourist. But what about the food? Where can you take guests that will give them a taste of old Hollywood glamour (and prove to your mother that you have a handle on your life)? Forge onward for our top picks!
From Japanese standouts in Little Tokyo to sausage and beer halls in the Arts District to buzzy fine dining, these days there's no end to the possibilities in Downtown L.A. Here's our guide to where to eat in the revitalized neighborhood.
Karen and Quinn Hatfield of The Sycamore Kitchen and Hatfield's share their top picks in Los Angeles for breakfast and brunch, from a scenic spot tucked away in Griffith Park that pours Stumptown coffee to a French bakery in Pacific Palisades that they swear serves the very best croissants and pain au raisin in all of Los Angeles.
It's nearly impossible for me to imagine a world without burgers and only slightly less difficult to envision one without reviewing them here on A Hamburger Today. Sadly, the latter imagining is about to become a reality: I'm relocating back to my hometown of New York City and thus ending my Los Angeles burger column.
The pastry chef for Lucques, a.o.c., and Tavern/The Larder shares some of her top picks for sweets and desserts in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles has the highest population of Mexicans in the United States, with the eats to prove it. When you're done completely redefining your regional Mexican food palate by taco touring your way through this sprawling city, there may come a time when you will want to start experimenting with your very own carne asada and long-braised lamb barbacoas at home. When this time comes, you can rest assured that the hundreds of Mexican markets, corner stores, and even some major local supermarket chains will have your back. Here's where to go for the best tortillas, produce, meats, dairy, and more.
SoCal favorite Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee serves doughnuts in flavors ranging from Huckleberry to Bacon Maple to Green Eggs & Ham. Obviously someone had to try the whole menu, and that someone was us.
With its funkily-spelled name and occasional high-minded concoction, Sqirl can sometimes feel like the sort of place that gets Los Angeles put on the map for all the wrong reasons. But at the end of the day, there's no denying that Jessica Koslow's sweets are top-notch—so we gave them all a try.
It pains me to say this as a New Yorker, but I'll just be real here: LA's Mexican food scene is about a thousand times better than New York's, in terms of depth, breadth, and sheer scope. Every time I'm in LA, I go on a serious Mexican marathon, scrambling desperately to cram all of the city's tacos down my throat in one fell swoop. This has lead to some great gastrointestinal discomfort, but also an ever-expanding roster of favorites, and not just in the taco category. Every time I visit, these are the places I plan my trip around.
A new player has entered the LA food-fusion market, offering $3 rounds of glazed and fried dough in such unique combinations that the city is rubbing their morning eyes and taking notice. That shop is Glazed Donut Bistro.
Sunny Blue's excellent rice balls come in flavors and fillings that suit just about everyone. And at just $3.15 to $4.95, there's no reason to skimp on your order...which is why we decided to take on the full dozen they had in stock. See them all!
Forget ice cream cake. Take a behind the scenes look at how to make the strawberry laden Custard Crema gelato cake at Vitaly.
After a lengthy dinner-only run, République's morning pastry program is quickly make its own name inside this vaunted space.
It's almost springtime on the West Coast! From an Italian Passover meal in Los Angeles to a foraging trip near Seattle, we've rounded up some of the region's most promising food and drink events to help you celebrate the season's bounty.