Thanks so much to all of the LA Chowhounds for their awesome suggestions, and very active board. I'll do a brief recap.
Friday: Marisco Chente-the disappointment of the trip. No, not the restaurant, the damn car rental GPS sent me down to the 605, and after driving for an hour, I lost the will to live, and headed to Venice.
Barnsdall Art Park-things took a decided turn for the better after discovering that Cool Haus and Let's Be Frank were at the Art Park, with great LA views, and fun food truck food. The curry on the 'Hot' Dog was a nice touch, and Chipotle Chocolate Ice cream always warms my heart. The cookies were ho-hum, however, but I'm looking for overall creativity from the trucks, and Cool Haus delivered.
Cafe 101-LA loves its diners I have determined. Went here after the Dodger's game, and very much enjoyed the people watching. The food was pricy, the service slow, but the bacon and the hipsters were excellent.
Saturday: Inteillgentsia in Venice-Seriously, the highlight of the trip. Sublime coffee, though I still think Blue Bottle in SF is my favorite.
La Playita, Santa Monica-a nice Yelp find, with great and cheap shrimp tacos and ceviche.
Urrth, Santa Monica-seriously overrated, probably an unfair comparison after Intelligentsia.
26 Beach, Venice-LA Chowhound's own Exilekiss has an exhaustive, and perhaps obsessive, review of the best gourmet LA Burgers. I enjoyed the service and atmosphere, but just never feel right paying $15 for a burger.
Sunday: The Griddle-Another Hollywood suggestion from my friends there. Gargantuan servings doesn't begin to describe the massive amounts of food served here. I was in a coma the rest of the day, so no lunch, which was good because dinner was...
Animal-Yeah, I loved it. There are places here and there in Austin that focus on the needs of the carnivore (the pork belly sliders at Odd Duck!), but none so dramatically as Animal. Rabbit Loin and Quail dishes were both surprisingly filling. A nectarine panna cotta finished things off perfectly. The prices were reasonable, and the service was impeccable.
Monday: Langer's-Some places are so resistant to change that it's beautiful, and Langer's is one of those. It definitely reminded me of the Frisco shop here in the ATX. Meaning that while the food was ok, the restaurant's committment to the ordinary somehow makes me all weepy.
Thanks again LA Chowhounds!
3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292
3306 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
718 S San Jacinto Ave, San Jacinto, CA 92583