When in LA
There was something about LA that immediately had me seeking out a green smoothie, massaging kale and reaching for a coconut water. Amongst all the concrete, SUV’s and Hollywood glitz, these self conscious Californian’s know what’s good for them. I was surrounded by tasty salads, abundant seafood, hipster coffee and sleek restaurants. And I’m not going to lie, I also managed to exceeded my body weight in freaking good Mexican.
For lunch, Los Angeles’ institution The Ivy is fun for potential celebrity sightings, very tidy service and in a garishly floral setting. The food is good too. Shrimp tacos with all the trimmings, washed down with a spicy bloody Mary. A lobster club sandwich with truffle fries is one not to pass up on.
Abbot Kinney Boulavard in Venice is ultra cool. Boutique clothing shops squeezed with well known brands, great cafes, juice bars, design stores and even Robert Downey Jr’s abode. For the best coffee, green smoothie and small bites head to Gjelina Take Away, at the top of Abbot Kinney. This small take out always has a queue out the door and the smell of fresh sourdough from their open oven is enough to lure every passerby.
Mexican whilst in LA is a must, and it’s pretty unavoidable. I was all over the taco trucks and little street side vendors. In Silver Lake we came across Tacos Delta and got our fix of fish tacos.
For good Mexican and flaming margaritas in a very cheesy setting, El Compadre on Sunset Boulevard is the place. The guacamole and salsa were particularly memorable and being serenaded by a live Mexican band at your table. Be warned the portions are huge and the margaritas potent.
Another LA landmark is Canter’s Deli on Fairfax, which has been serving up their famous pastrami sandwich since 1931. The decor is something in itself, the kaleidoscope ceiling tiles had me mesmerized. The grilled pastrami reuben was oozing with Swiss cheese and lashings of sauerkraut, with giant pickles on the side it was one of the best I’ve had.
For a dinner spot with a little more edge try Red Medicine in Beverly Hills. A well composed menu which invites you to try just about every dish. Claiming that they are ‘not a traditional Vietnamese restaurant’ is somewhat of an understatement. I couldn’t identify anything vaguely Vietnamese about the menu. There is however a slight Asian slant and each dish was beautifully presented with well balanced flavours. The pork cheeks with a red currant jus was a very tasty pairing. A stunning dessert of green strawberries in a shortbread case with sorrel curd, might have been the highlight of the night. The cocktails are also worth a mention, it’s difficult to stop at just one.
Sleek design and inviting courtyard seating, a.o.c. is a great spot for a long lunch. Small plates and tasty salads go well with the extensive wine list, served mainly by the glass. A lightly grilled spiced tuna, lemongrass sambal, raw bok choy and mizuna salad was fresh and zesty, perhaps too healthy for my insides. But rest assured, a taco truck can be found just around the corner.