Hi LA Hounds,
I'm back from 4 days in LA with a side trip to Santa Barbara--here's my report.
I don't think I found any culinary gems, but I'd love to get your feedback to see if I did end up picking some good one for future reference.
I found that on the whole, the prices were very reasonable, on par or cheaper than NYC, esp in SB (which might be like comparing Long Island restaurants to those in NYC, I'm not too sure)
Friday night: I arrived and was taken to La Taquiza for a snack. I had something that was similar to a quesadilla, it started with an 'm' (my memory escapes me) and a tamarind juice. These were great, fresh and tasty. We really don't get good mexican food in NYC--it's always smothered with cheese and just too big!
-the Original Pantry. I had to do it. NYC is a brunch town and I had to see how this would compare. I was stuffed. Not quality food, but large portions and awesome sourdough bread. I had the hotcakes/bacon/eggs combo (the #4?). I liked the bacon alot, it was nice and crispy. I also really enjoyed the hotcakes, they seemed to have a slight lemon taste and were very fluffy. Good value for a noon meal to get me through the rest of the day.
-Stopped by the Farmers Market on Fairfax and 3rd for a crepe. Nothing spectacular, not on par with the one in Paris, of course. This is a nice market though, the fruit looked really nice.
-Dinner in Thai town. We went to Palm Thai restaurant, where we waited for about 50 minutes. This is the one with the singing Elvis and it was hilarious. I would go back again for the entertainment. The food was decent (we has the pinapple fried rice, green curry, glass noodles w/ beef(?), and a large pot of the hot and sour soup (if I can recall correctly--it has lemongrass, shrimp, cilantro). I liked the soup and the $3 beer the best (the liquor prices are super cheap in LA compared to NYC). Thai food is thai food when you are in the cheap to moderate price range I found. Oh, I also stopped next door to the Thai bakery and got some goodies- a taro cake, a thin pancake with a white sweet topping and egg yolk shreds. These were interesting, not the best asian dessert ever though.
Sunday: Santa Barbara day trip (sorry for the digression!)
-Coffee from 7-11 and we were off!
-We made the journey to La Super Rica. Obviously, the line was long, but the wait was worth it. I didn't know how much to order, so I got too much. Luckily, I was with two other people who helped me out. I stuck mainly to the specials board. From the specials I got the pork pozole, which was good, but not exactly my thing (too meaty/fatty). Also from the specials...the shredded beef tacos with an avocado cream sauce. These were the winners, simple and fresh. yum. I also got an order of gaucamole, which I though was a little plain, not salty/spicy enough and the chorizo tacos which I also enjoyed alot. I got to taste the tamale with has corn, zuchinni and potato.
-Dinner at Pascucci. Decent pastas, cheap and varied wine list. (I has a KJ Johannisburg Riesling for 4.25, nice!). Don't know if this is a destination or not, but it was pretty packed.
-Also, toured the Jaffurs winery, met the winemaker, lots of fun. Tasted right from the barrels too, what a treat!
Drove up Pacific Coast Highway #1. so nice! Don't know if this place gets packed in the summer but we had lunch at Neptunes Net. I liked this place because it was a great mix of people: surfers, bikers, workers, tourists. I was going to get fried shrimp until I saw the option for steamed peel and eat shrimp. We got a pound of shrimp, fries and onion rings for two people. This was a fun, relaxing meal, just nice and fresh and great views of the beach.
-Dinner at La Loteria at the Farmers Market before a movie at the Grove. I had the enchilada suizas--they were ok, standard mexican food. Nothing super here, although they claim to be one of the best places on many city guides...(?)
Breakfast at The Griddle Cafe on Sunset. HUGE portions, could only eat like 1.5 pancakes. Also has a side of bacon, which was also very crispy, just how I like it. Here, they have a french press style of coffee, which I love. I had the banana pancakes-yum! Then off to the airport!
I hope the next time I come to LA I find some more great places, but I think I got off to a good start!
thanks again for all the advice!