If I have to choose one of the things I love the most about Los Angeles, my answer is simple: FOOD!
My fiancee and I are self-proclaimed foodies. We try not to be pretentious, but definitely have standards and long discussions about the restaurants we have frequented and the chefs who have created the dishes that tickled our palates.
The thing that is so great about the food scene in LA is that there is such a range. LA has some of the most amazing fine dining in the country, but anyone would be remiss to ignore the hole-in-the-wall joints, food trucks, awesome brunch places, and range of cultures represented here.
Great hole-in-the-wall places are always exciting finds, and for us the best have been word-of-mouth discoveries. If you are looking for a great burger, I would recommend trying the turkey burger on the pretzel roll at Hole in the Wall Burger Joint. It really is amazing (and in my opinion even better then the regular beef burger), but know they are a cash-only joint. Sometimes you have to be willing to take a drive, which sounds silly when you live in a city where anytime you get in your car, there is an expectation that you will be in it at least a half-hour, whether you are driving across town or around the corner. When I say a drive, I mean without traffic you are talking 40+ minutes, which given the likelihood of traffic, is quite a commitment. A great example of this is Brent’s Deli, which is in the valley. If you are looking for a really good Reuben (although my better half had the Monte Cristo and loved it), it is definitely worth the trip.
With food trucks, you get everything wrapped in one neat package. You have every culture at your fingertips for minimum cost and can find inventive and creative creations that you might not find in a restaurant because there are less rules and less overhead to worry about. There are far too many to delve into at this point, but I would suggest tracking them by location. You can do so on a website like Find LA Food Trucks. Then you just find a good little hub of them and have yourself a smorgasbord.
Brunch is a religion in this city. No matter what the day of the week, the best brunch places are always packed, and I would say many of them are worth the wait. I am someone who flat out refuses to wait in any line to get into a bar or club, but dangle Sunday brunch in front of me and I will wait over an hour. I do have my favorites, but the great thing about LA is that there are so many of them, so you can continue to discover gems each week.
I had my first experience with Armenian food about 10 years ago when I first moved out here, and that might have also been my first encounter with eating raw meat. Since then, I have dined on Peruvian, Indian, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Italian, Japanese, New American, French, Mediterranean, and Spanish food, and even had the chance to experience some molecular gastronomy. The list goes on and on and on.
Dining in LA has made me a more adventurous person. I am the type who freaks out when a bug flies too close to my face, but one meal at The Baazar and you have to throw caution to the wind because if you don’t, then you aren’t experiencing all there is to offer. I eagerly consumed cotton candy foie gras and an olive that isn’t really an olive, but is made to look and taste like one. The “olive” pops in your mouth with a burst of liquid, and you will never know what is actually made of (and trust me, I went back for more). And let’s be honest, when you are eating at Animal, the bacon chocolate crunch bar is the least surprising item on the menu, and you are going to try it because, hey, it’s bacon!
I am not saying that you have to be willing to eat a pig ear to get a good meal around here; on the contrary, there is something for everyone. But how would you ever know if you like it if you don’t try it? I mean, come on, there is more to life then the Cheesecake Factory.
And in Los Angeles, there is so much to try!