6 Foodie Hot Spots to Try On Your Next L.A. Getaway

[ 0 ] March 31, 2014 |

Looking for amazing, yet off-the-beaten path places to eat during your next trip to L.A.? Here are some hot spots that not only score big with local foodies and celebrities, but the chefs go above and beyond to make their diners happy

When I think of Los Angeles, I think of the Steve Martin movie, L.A. Story, where a high-maintenance woman orders a complicated coffee; a half double decaffeinated half-bentoboxcaff, with a twist of lemon. And then everyone else at the table adds a twist of lemon to their own outrageous order. This is similar to what happens with restaurants in L.A. when they open. Everyone tries them, loves them, flocks to them, tries to top them, or rip them off, then rips on them, criticizes everything they do and they disappear quick; while diluting the purpose of food in the first place – to nourish. Anything you can imagine, you can find in L.A., which is why most restaurants must specialize in one thing or reinvent themselves in order to survive the murky waters of becoming a bantering novelty.

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My daughter was interviewing for colleges, so I decided to go with her. My Mom came out from Texas to help us eat our way through L.A. in a few days. We found common trends with each of the restaurants we visited (menu items like kale and bread pudding) – some are new and some are iconic. If you’re in the L.A. area, no matter how quick the trip, you have a great opportunity to try some of these gems and get out of your comfort zone.

Man Eats Piranha

The first stop on our food journey was Paiche, one of the signature restaurants of famed chef Ricardo Zarate. Named by Food & Wine as “Best New Chef” in 2011, he blends his Peruvian roots with Japanese technique that he acquired in London. I was excited to try his global fusion cuisine. Paiche has a comfortable atmosphere that is part fishing village, part boardwalk with a funky urban vibe. After a dog eat dog day afternoon, what better way to unwind than to eat piranha?

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The Pacu Ribs are made from the Amazonian fish, Pacu, kin to the piranha. Embraced by a zapallo puree and anticucho lima miso, this crispy dish was one of our favorites. It paired well with the Oaxacalifornia Love, a cocktail made with Espolon tequilia and mescal. Next, we devoured the Amaebi, made with crispy filo wrapped sweet shrimp with Serrano ponzu dressing and edible flowers. The short ribs were tender and sweet with a Korean BBQ sauce. Thankfully, it was a tapas-style restaurant so we could share many plates, including the beautifully presented Kampachi, served on a Himalayan block salt rock. The most popular item (also my daughter’s favorite) was the Chaufa de Langosta, or lobster and mixed seafood fried rice. The ceviche is created sashimi style and sliced (not traditional cubes) over a sweet sauce that serves double duty as an aphrodisiac and a hangover remedy.

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virgincafeThe Virgin Vegan

Another celebrity-spotting mecca, M Café, recently opened its newest location in Brentwood, in addition to its two other locations on Melrose and in Beverly Hills. M Café’s consulting chef, Lee Gross, created the unique and eclectic menu utilizing nutritionally, environmentally, and energetically balanced food that tastes great in a casual, chic, European-style café and deli. Contemporary macrobiotics is cuisine made without the use of refined sugars, dairy, eggs, meat, or poultry, with an emphasis on eating whole, natural foods that are in season.

Orlando Bloom, Jessica Alba, Reese Witherspoon, and Gwyneth Paltrow are all regulars and huge fans of M Cafe. But would my Mom like it?

This blog is part of a series that is posted in its entirety on the Barclaycard Travel Community site, in partnership with genConnect. Click here to read about more L.A. foodie hotspots you need to try on your next trip

Follow Melanie Warner, aka “Wander Woman” and her travels on Facebook at MelanieWarner777

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Category: Food & Wine, Lifestyle, Travel

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About Melanie Warner: Melanie Warner (aka Wander Woman) has served as the founder, publisher and editor of magazines and newspapers over the last 20 years - including: The Hollywood Monthly Magazine, The City Guide, Inside Clovis, Inside Fresno, [...]
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