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Old 10-07-2014, 10:29 PM
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,479 posts, read 7,711,641 times
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Basically exactly what the title says.

My friends and I will be in Los Angeles for a couple of days in December (December 18-21 to be exact). I am not at all that familiar with Los Angeles but I think the best people to ask are obviously those that live there.

What would be your top nine recommendations for choice in cuisine and restaurant? Three for breakfast, three for lunch, and three for dinner. What are some interesting places (non-touristy) that you would recommend for us to see? I've already seen Disneyland as a kid and then Hollywood (both the sign and the Walk of Fame area / Kodak Theater, so on) as a kid and then as a teenager and those were quintessential tourist sites. I want to see more of the city of Los Angeles that locals know.

Suggestions for nightlife, we are trace / electronica / house / dubstep sort of people for what it's worth. Some cool state or national parks in the area for us to see? Also is it a hassle to plan a day in any of the Channel Islands or fairly convenient?

I was thinking about just messaging RaymondChandlerLives, probably one of the best posters on City-Data in general but thought I should start with all inquiries here first.
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Old 10-07-2014, 10:42 PM
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As far as bad weather, ain't nuthin gonna happen but some rain if that even okurs. So you can do about just anything you want outdoor wise. As far as cuisine, we don't know your budget. What are you looking for? Ethnic foods? Price and type you prefer would help. Otherwise you can just look at a Zagat's or Michelin guide.
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:04 PM
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,479 posts, read 7,711,641 times
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We're going on a 28 day trip in December and January across the country. We will be in Los Angeles specifically December 21 - 23, 2014. We will be staying in Downtown Los Angeles, figuring that it's the best commercial neighborhood for us to stay in if we want to ditch using the car for rail transit. So a central location with a line to the most relevant areas of the city would serve in our best interest in terms of moving around the region. Of course we also have Uber and are more than okay with occasionally using taxis if we decide to drink at night.

I don't think suggesting the Michelin Guide is really all that great of an idea. It's pretty impractical to look to Michelin rated restaurants as a source for food breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three days. No other food suggestions? I can get Asian, Mexican, and African foods where I live but I am specifically looking for food that is "Los Angeles." Something that I wont be able to readily find anywhere else in the country. I want to try food that Los Angeles is locally known for, if that makes sense.
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Old 10-08-2014, 04:53 PM
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Breakfast: Le Pain Quotidien
Lunch: Lemonade
Dinner: Sugarfish, Nobu, Nikita, Cliff's Edge, Manhattan Beach Post

Channel islands are really far, it would take an entire day but I guess you could do it. If you want to hike, go to Will Rogers in pacific palisades, or Topanga state park, which is a little farther west. Both have great views and very few tourists, especially Will Rogers. I run in Will Rogers a few days a week and rarely see tourists. Do not go to Runyon, which is really crowded with tourists - overflowing, you might even say. So many that it's hard to find a place to park within 5 blocks. Personally, I love going to the Getty - nice views of the entire city, great art collection, good food (and wine). There are tourists there, but it's never overcrowded, and hey, it's a great place so I don't blame them for going. It's not like Hollywood, which doesn't live up to the hype in any way whatsoever. I'm not sure why any tourists even go there. You could take a flight tour of LA out of Van Nuys and could probably get a deal on groupon.
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:24 PM
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I suggest the SGV for some real Chinese food not the Panda you probably eat at. Bypass Chinatown. And also Koreatown for their BBQ. Also, Roscoes Chicken and Waffles in Hollywood is something unique to EL A. Not really soul food but something different and ethnic.

Nobu is an experience. But you will leave the place saying you could have bought a widescreen HDTV instead after paying your check. I would check out the Japanese restaurants around Little Osaka around Sawtelle on the Westside. Bypass Little Tokyo for food as Little Osaka is much better IMO.

Lawry's Prime Rib is iconic and a good place for you to visit.

Pinks Hot Dogs in Hollywood is also a must visit place. Very famous and I know of no Angeleno who has not been there. Same goes for Tommy's on Alvarado Downtown for burgers and tamales. In and Out Burger is also great.
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Old 10-08-2014, 06:10 PM
Location: SoCal
559 posts, read 1,075,526 times
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In general, there aren't really winter-specific events aside from the outdoor skating rink in DTLA and viewing Xmas lights. Most things go on year-round.

Catalina Island is the closest island but it'll still eat up an entire day.

Check Chowhound; I'm sure there are multiple threads on "where to eat in LA."

DTLA has some of the hottest restaurants right now so that's a good place to start. What price range are you thinking?

Philippes and Cole's are both in Downtown and have long feuded over which invented the French dip sandwich. Both worth a stop for a taste of old LA.

Maybe also the Pantry; Clifton's if it's reopened by your visit.

In-n-Out Burgers
Tommy's chili burger
Pink's hot dogs

Note - I'm not saying the above are necessarily the best but they are quintessentially LA.

Some things that LA excels in since it has the largest ex-pat population in the US if not the world:

Korean - Koreatown is a mindblower for a first-timer and it's a short subway ride from DTLA.
Armenian, Filipino
Mexican - look for restaurants that specialize in the cuisine from specific states (e.g. Nayarit, Sinaloa, etc), not just best taco or best burrito.

I second BeatAngMoh's suggestion to check out the San Gabriel Valley (SGV) for probably the most vast collection of Chinese restaurants in North America. Unfortunately, there isn't any rail to much of the SGV except one arm of the Gold Line to Pasadena and the other to Monterey Park.

Since you are going to stay in DTLA, I'd shuffle over to Little Tokyo for Japanese. Sawtelle/Little Osaka is a good bit of a trip unless you happen to be in the Westside. Torrance in the South Bay also has a lot of Japanese if that's really what you want.

Might as well hit up the Kogi truck since it launched the food truck craze.

I think you're going to have to give us some idea of what interests you. Architecture, art museums, cars, aerospace, cinema, criminal history, music history, nature, puppet shows, etc. Otherwise, there's too many things to do in 3 days.

Some random LA stuff:

Check out the Garment district in DTLA for the spectacle and to get some cheap duds.
Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center
Griffith Park and the Observatory
La Brea Tar Pits (nothing like this in the US); LACMA is next door.
Magic Castle
Museum of Jurassic Technology
Venice boardwalk
Battleship USS Iowa in San Pedro

I read that LA is on fire right now for EDM but I don't know anything about it. Hope someone else chimes in.

Have fun.

PS: I quasi-edited to reflect that I saw BeatAngMoh's post while drafting mine.

Last edited by drunk on kool aid; 10-08-2014 at 06:17 PM.. Reason: reword
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:52 PM
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,479 posts, read 7,711,641 times
Reputation: 7295
I'm looking into suggestions for some of these California cuisines actually; California Fusion, Cal-Mex, and Los Angeles "diner" and "cheeseburgers".

I'm actually Asian, born in Singapore and have lived in a total of two Asian countries before. I eat Asian food (Thai especially) nearly every single day of my life. I'm good on the Asian food, I'm looking into avoiding it (unless it's apart of fusion cuisine). I'm also good on the authentic Mexican food, but really want to try this "Cal-Mex". It sounds fascinating. I want more "Los Angeles specific" type of foods.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:21 PM
Location: LBC
4,155 posts, read 4,295,786 times
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Originally Posted by Red John View Post
I'm looking into suggestions for some of these California cuisines actually; California Fusion, Cal-Mex, and Los Angeles "diner" and "cheeseburgers".
Pann's and the Apple Pan.

Tony's on the Pier in Redondo, if only for a mai tai upstairs.
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Old 10-09-2014, 08:44 PM
Location: Philadelphia
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As far as food goes, you definitely don't wanna miss out on the Armenian, Persian, and Mexican food. These are MUSTS, in my opinion, for LA tourists. And I read that you're used to eating a lot of Asian foods, but the sushi, Thai, and Korean is just so fantastic there, that you might want to try it.

And as for Catalina, it gorgeous. It will be a whole day, but IMO it's worth it. Beautifully-clear, calm ocean, and splendid hiking trails with views of the beach and the rest of the island. You might even want to snorkel--a wetsuit is an option for staying relatively warm in the cold sea.
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