Equipped with the Los Angeles Edition of Saveur courtesy of Joe, and a ton of Internet references including Jonathan Gold - Laweekly, (Pulitzer Prize winner and the man who wrote Nate Dogg's Eulogy), Chowhound, Grubstreet and various other references we set out to sample the best the city has to offer.
The Chowhound forums with confirmation from the La Weekly directed us in our breakfast search to Square One for buttermilk pancakes which were extremely light and fluffy and also to Nickel Diner for some country biscuits and gravy.
LA is about three hours north of Mexico and the large latin population is clearly evident when walking the streets which means there are going to be some fantastic food spots and trucks. We had our local Mexican friend take us to her family favourite spot in east LA. Mariachi bands welcomed you as you entered and one lady stood behind a booth making fresh corn tortillas using a wooden press. We ordered some flautas and a dish which was essentially a stone bowl sarlacc pit containing beef, chicken, cactus and cheese (Molcajete). Amazing, the fresh corn tortilla makes such a difference. The next day we wanted more Mexican food so we used our GPS to get back into east La to eat at La Estrella taco shop. Inside we were the only non Mexican people and the staff didn't even speak English. We butchered some words and finally managed to order a couple of glasses of horchata, an assortment of tacos and some taco durados. All fantastic and cheap. They even had cow brain to eat but I had to pass and enjoyed the beef tongue.
LA's Koreatown, is massive and vibrant. Here we ventured out and had some double fried chicken wings from Kyochon and some Korean BBQ at Parks. I smelled like Korean food but still ventured on for some comedy at Upright Citizens Brigade.
Celebrity Chef Restaurants
The eating highlight of the trip was the stop at two sister restaurants, Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza, which are owned by Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton and Joseph Bastianich. At Osteria Mozza, I had to check my lactose in tolerance at the door and I went to town on some burata imported from Puglia, an amazing pasta and a porcini crusted 24 oz steak. The pasta had such an amazing complement of flavours and the crust on the steak was remarkable and put every steak I have previously had to shame.
Loving our meal so much, we made sure we went back to try out the Pizzeria Mozza. We ordered the squash blossom pizza with burata ($23) which had an exceptional crust thanks to the recipe created by bread queen Nancy Silverton. I must say though that the sauce from Nicli Pizzeria in Vancouver may be more to my liking but the crust at Pizza Osteria was definitely the star of the show.
We visited a few other spots like In N Out Burger, Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream, Pinks for some chili cheese fries and a hot dog and Urth Cafe with hopes of seeing Vincent Chase or at least one of the broads from the show. Unfortunately, the kogi bbq taco truck and Langers escaped me (the traffic was too much).
With all the cheap fares on Allegiant Airlines, and the ability to rent a car for ten dollars a day on Priceline.com, a quick trip to LA can really satisfy some of your food cravings for a reasonable price.