To Live and Dine in L.A.
January 14, 2008 7:45 AM   Subscribe

I'll be spending the next week in L.A. I'm from the Midwest, unremarkable smallish town with zero culinary culture. Help me find places to to eat during the trip, but they have to be quick/take-out places.

It's a business trip, my partner and I will be very busy, so we're not interested in sit-down, gourmet dining. This will have to be done quickly and on-the-run.

We will mostly be in Anaheim with a couple of jaunts to Hollywood/Beverly Hills.

Any regional chains, ethnic hole-in-the-walls, tamale carts or the like you could recommend?
posted by sourwookie to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The first thing that came to my mind is In-N-Out Burger.
posted by zsazsa at 7:49 AM on January 14, 2008

Absolutely try the In-N-Out
posted by mmascolino at 8:05 AM on January 14, 2008

Zankou Chicken.
posted by brujita at 8:05 AM on January 14, 2008

Or Fatburger. I don't think that's in the Midwest.
posted by smackfu at 8:05 AM on January 14, 2008

zsazsa beat me to it. It really is the best burger there is. Double-double, animal style, diet be damned.
posted by notsnot at 8:05 AM on January 14, 2008

2nding Zankou.
posted by crinklebat at 8:16 AM on January 14, 2008

and yes, Donny, we'll stop by the In-n-Out Burger on our way back ...
posted by LilBucner at 8:17 AM on January 14, 2008

Done the In-N-Out. It was very good. Will do it again.
posted by sourwookie at 8:17 AM on January 14, 2008

Zankou Chicken sounds intriguing.
posted by sourwookie at 8:34 AM on January 14, 2008

Read the reviews of the Anaheim restaurants here:

He includes Zankou Chicken.

For Mexican, check out:
posted by seymour.skinner at 8:50 AM on January 14, 2008

I don't have experience with LA specifically, but Cali and the southwest do have great taco trucks. Hopefully someone will come along with specific suggestions (here's a chowhound link just in case).
posted by mullacc at 9:34 AM on January 14, 2008

El Tepeyac Cafe in East LA. I haven't eaten there in a while but it is an institution.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 9:50 AM on January 14, 2008

Garden Grove is just south of Anaheim. I highly recommend you get Vietnamese food, specifically pho at one of the many thousands of pho restaurants. Here's a listing of them on Yelp sorted by rating. You can get it take-out but I recommend eating in so it's fresh. A good spot can bring out your order as fast as McDonald's.
posted by junesix at 10:15 AM on January 14, 2008

And if you like crawfish, Garden Grove has amazing Cajun-style crawfish restaurants. I like The Boiling Crab. Eat in or take-out, it's spicy crawfish by the pound in a bag with corn on the cob and sliced sausage. I recommend getting a pound per person with the She-Bang seasoning plus 1 or 2 corn + sausage to soak up all the juicy, spicy goodness. This is a must-have every time I'm back in Orange County visiting the folks.
posted by junesix at 10:29 AM on January 14, 2008

Another vote for Zankou. Their garlic paste is one of the two or three greatest foodstuffs on the planet.
posted by scody at 10:55 AM on January 14, 2008

Seconding Fatburger. I prefer it to In-n-Out.

You also might think about trying Bossa Nova - they offer takeout.

Baja Fresh is a decent Mexican takeout chain.
posted by puritycontrol at 11:30 AM on January 14, 2008

While you're in Beverly Hills, take a quick detour to Poquito Mas on Sunset Blvd. It's a good burrito. Not the best burrito, but a darn good burrito. While on Sunset, head a bit east to Carney's for a good burger and/or hot dog. It's the train car parked on the side of the road. There's also an amazing cafe between them that serves gelato to die for and gourmet sandwiches, but the name eludes me at the moment. Deluxe? Supremo? It has a griffin or lion rampant as its sign and is worth the visit.

In Hollywood, check out Sharky's for another awesome burrito, In-N-Out for a killer burger, and if you can appreciate a good sloppy joe, Tommy's is classic LA fare.

Also, not strictly in Hollywood but not far away are Pink's, a classic hot dog stand, less than 100 feet away from M Cafe de Chaya which serves amazing organic and macrobiotic foods.

Also in various locations you may be interested in Chipotle for more burritos. In West Hollywood again, there is Boule for chocolate that will ruin your palate for all other chocolate. And there are more places in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood in general than you can shake a stick at that meet your criteria, but seriously take some time aside to visit a nice restaurant like O-Bar, Koi, Yamashiro, Electric Karma, or one of the hundreds of other top-quality eateries that just can't be replicated in small towns.
posted by MaxK at 11:46 AM on January 14, 2008

If you'll be anywhere near the Valley, stop into Amir's Falafel in Studio City (on Ventura). The food there is seriously delicious, and you can call ahead and order to cut down on wait-time.

Also seconding Poquito Mas. It is the best quick-mexican food in Los Angeles. I literally dream of their veggie burrito.

If you'll be in Orange County at all, call in and place an order with China Palace (menu and phone number on the website) for the most delicious chinese take-out I've ever eaten, anywhere. They also have a sushi bar that serves yellowtail sashimi that is to die for.
posted by numinous at 12:15 PM on January 14, 2008

For excellent vegan (that also does take-out) hit up Real Food Daily, either in Santa Monica or Beverly Hills/West Hollywood.

Aside from that, I can give you ten little places in my neighborhood that are great eats (and that will save you from just eating at chains), but I don't really know their official names (like, the Indian grocery store about half a mile down on Venice has some AMAZING cafeteria-style foods, and I think it's called Foods and Flavors, but that might just be what the sign says, y'know?).
posted by klangklangston at 12:42 PM on January 14, 2008

(To clarify, I realize that Anaheim is part of Orange County, but it is unclear whether you'll be taking day-trips to explore Orange County, or whether said day-trips are set aside for exploration of LA).

If you're in LA and hankering for some ice cream (and are in an adventurous mood), stop by Scoops. The proprietor offers a number of imaginative and intriguing flavors that he concocts daily.

If you wind up in Pasadena (which I would recommend above and beyond Beverly Hills, but I've previously lived in LA for years, so I am speaking with an obvious bias), check out Wheatberry Cafe (not be to confused with PinkBerry - which might also be of interest as the chain has received a bit of national attention in recent months). The salads are great, the sandwiches are made on fresh, artisan breads baked daily, and their desserts are delightful.

I have a number of taco trucks/stands that I'd love to recommend, but most of them are open late at night (to cater to those out and about at bars and clubs around LA), so as you're staying in Anaheim, I don't know how interested you'd be in them.
posted by numinous at 12:55 PM on January 14, 2008

Stan Donuts in Westwood was on the Food Network's "Top 5" show for one of the top donuts in the country, although I haven't tried it.
posted by sharkfu at 2:59 PM on January 14, 2008

Neither have I -- instead, go to Bob's in the Farmer's Market on Fairfax. Amazing donuts.

Seconding Fatburger. I prefer it to In-n-Out.

Agreed. You can get In-n-Out anywhere, and they make a fine burger; but the Fatburger is bigger and better.

And yeah, Zankou. Yummy!
posted by Rash at 5:03 PM on January 15, 2008

Zankou: Check
Poquito Mas: Check
Scoops: Check and check--wow!

Also hit up Plum Tree Inn And Pick-up-Stix. Even your chain Asian is better than our best, despite the fact that Springfield at one time had the highest number of Asian restaurants per capita in the country. It's just that the Springfield take on asian foods is well-known for being kinda comedic.

Thanks, all!
posted by sourwookie at 9:44 PM on January 21, 2008

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