I am moving back to NY at the end of the month.
This was confirmed only very recently, and since then, my culinary agenda has asserted itself in new and instructive ways.
At various times over the past 7 years in LA, my default restaurants (for different occasions) have included Authentic Cafe, Zen Grill, Water Grill, Parkway Grill, Pacific Dining Car, Dan Tana's, Taylor's, Serenata, Sushi Gen, Sa Rit Gol, Full House, AOC, Lucques, Bandera, Ita-cho, Ammo, & the Palm.
I have paid a farewell visit to Sa Rit Gol, Water Grill, and Dan Tana's, but don't feel compelled by the others, or their many counterparts (although I will probably indulge again in Chichen Itza's cochinita pibil, and --if I can get there early enough next Friday-- calamar en su tinto).
I am on a quest to make up for my incredible negligence here, and have so far logged first visits to:
1) Babita, for chiles en nogada. I was excited to find it still available when I had understood it to be over until November. As it turned out, not my sort of dish, as I don't like sweet in any circumstance much, and prefer my fruit solo. If I have to eat an oatmeal cookie (please, don't!), I segregate the raisins. This is not the dish to order if you share this peculiar taste. Nevertheless, the ethno-culinary adventurer in me was glad to have had the experience. (Not that the dish was challenging, per se). I am going to try to get back for the shrimp topolobampo before I go. The place and the chef and service were absolutely delightful. Incidentally, I did make a reservation for 6:45 on a Tuesday. We were there until maybe 8:30 and only four tables the entire time. Wish I were around longer to encourage patronage;
2) Ocean Star, for dim sum. My first visit to San Gabriel. I am such a loser, but I just didn't get that San Gabriel, which is another city, is closer to downtown than Santa Monica, which is...another city. Anyway, we got several dumplings, har gow, hacked duck and mock duck, which I haven't had since...New York. Very tame selection but very delicious and I will be a better person not to say chowhound when I move back to LA again.
I am having lunch at Thanh My in Westminster tomorrow. I would appreciate menu suggestions.
Otherwise: I figure I am going to miss Korean, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese (though I will be doing a lot of work with Japan so travel etc should mitigate), Hollywood FM (I won't be here for heirloom tomatoes and best strawberries....), and Persian; while I will pick up Spanish, Cuban, Dominican, French (bistro, brasserie etc) and Greek. Along with the whole spectrum that the 'Grills' and Goin restaurants (above) occupy. Can't wait to be a regular at Pearl again.
The itinerary of my last suppers is driven primarily by recommendations remembered, imagined, and newly discovered, on this site.
I would be grateful for other final must-trys-- with the caveat that I will be looking for experiences I cannot approximate in NY. Also don't think I can afford Urasawa now. Though at 2/3 price of Masa....
And thanks to all for encouraging great food & great eating in LA.