in case you live in LA or are visiting from out of town — i love collecting a list of my favorite spots. enjoy.
square one get the bourbon pecan french toast. seriously. eat al fresco on a warm day.
blu jam cafe get here before 10am if possible to beat the rush on the weekends. if not, it’s worth the wait. everything is really great.
comme ca a quirky and beautifully designed french brasserie. ouefs and a whole menu of bloody marys.
lamill great coffee, great food – i love all their egg dishes, beignets & lattes … and the decor makes me really happy.
bottega louie the most lovely restaurant i maybe have ever seen. even the bathrooms are beautiful. more flavors of macaroons than you thought possible greet you when you walk in and it’s all uphill from there. i love the apple danish & baked eggs.
figaro cafe i am not going to lie and say this place has the best food overall — but after going to france, this french cafe is just as french as any place in france. did i mention france? sit outside and eavesdrop on the people sitting inches away from you while having a bowl sized cappuccino and the best croissants next to france.
larchmont wine & cheese shop tucked inside the small wine shop, two sisters in an assembly line making the best baguette sandwiches ever. order the salami sandwich on baguette and get there before 2pm or the bread isn’t as fresh (and they run out around 3)
kyochon deep in koreatown, it’s like an amazing and more expensive KFC. they have 2 types, soy garlic or hot and sweet. order both! the frying on the chicken is insane. it’s like biting into a glass christmas ornament
tere’s mexican grill a little mexican hole in the wall in hollywood with really fresh ingredients. order the steak torta
hugo’s tacos a couple locations around la. great crispy tacos and tamales
fish grill a kosher spot i love for lunch – really fresh grilled fish filets, tacos, and coleslaw (closed on saturday)
cacao mexicatessan great mexican food — a huge array of unique dishes.
lucques the restaurant was once harold lloyd’s carriage house, and is so so charming. the bittersweet chocolate torta with marscapone might be one of my favorite desserts ever.
kiwami by katsuya it’s in studio city, but totally worth the trip. it’s my favorite sushi in the city — order the specials!
animal lots and lots and lots of meat. like serious meat. serious delicious meat. the menu changes pretty frequently, but everything is great.
son of a gun the seafood equivalent by the same guys as animal. fun nautical themed decor. my favorites are the chicken sandwich, lobster roll, shrimp toast and linguini with clams.
angelini osteria a perfect little date spot with perfect northern italian food. it’s pricey, but really a special romantic night.
red o we go here for most of our special occasions actually. it’s fine dining mexican – and the food is insanely good. we love the margaritas, ceviches, and they have this goat cheese cheesecake that is AMAZE.
LESS FANCY DINNER
the hungry cat great seafood and great cocktails. the crab cake with pork belly is insane. also, order the chocolate bread pudding is a must.
pace tucked away off laurel canyon, perfect for a candlelit drawing on tables date. sometimes with live music. best romantic date spot.
cliff’s edge totally hidden off sunset and behind large gates, you walk through and are inside the most intimate backyard. the ambience is better than the food, but the vibe here is so one of a kind, i recommend this place to anyone on a warm night (or day, they have brunch on weekends)
jitlada authentic southern thai. a hole in the wall with the walls painted in awards. order the plaa pear (deep fried red snapper fish fillets with dried coconut and curry sauce topped with crispy basil). so so good.
l&e oyster bar a really cozy neighborhood spot with a huge array of daily oysters and a perfectly tiny menu of entrees and appetizers. the daily dozen oysters, clam chowder, oyster po boy and the whole branzino are my go-tos.
pho cafe i love going here on a chilly night and eating a bowl of deliciousness the size of my head. it can be kind of scene-y, but the food is good enough to wait for. i love the #17 : a warm bowl of noodles, steak, shrimp and egg rolls. and the banh xeo crepe is a must-order. cash only!
SIGHTS + ACTIVITIES
runyon canyon i’m not much of a hiker, but on the rare occasions that i will actually venture up, it’s the most incredible views of the city. this is a must for visitors.
the parker palm springs for the perfect weekend trip outside of la, go to palm springs and stay or at least visit the jonathan adler designed hotel. it’s like staying in an elite 1960′s country club where you drink lemonade cocktails and play croquet. then have a swanky dinner at their restaurant mister parkers. best (expensive) weekend ever.
the huntington botanical gardens stroll around the gardens and escape the city.
cinespia during the summer, the hollywood forever cemetery plays classic movies on the grass while you picnic on weekends.
the dresden don’t eat here — just go for drinks in the retro lounge and watch marty and elaine perform your song requests.
la descarga you walk through an armoire down the spiral stairs into a cuban canteen, full of burlesque dancers, cigars, and live music.
hollywood bowl even sitting in the nose bleed seats, you get a panoramic view of the entire city and feel so far away.
upright citizens brigade theatre this little comedy theatre never charges more than $5-$10 and they have tons of good shows and big names. and byob.
museum of jurassic technology the weirdest exhibits you may ever see. this place is kind of like a spoof of museums.
the magic castle if you can get an invitation, the magic castle is like walking through a time warp into a mansion full of card tricks and trap doors.
cirque berzerk not sure when they’re coming back (summer?), but this downtown annual event is like a low-brow old timey sexy circus. after the show, you can walk around the hay area with drinks and live music.
broome st. general store it’s a tiny little boutique stacked with goodies that i’ve actually spent hours browsing through. so much good stuff here. you can also get coffee & food and eat it out front on their cute little deck.
new stone age my go-to for unique wedding gifts for young couples, this place is full of quirky stuff and home goods.
yolk my other go-to for gifts. great gifts for anyone and really good prices. lots of cute baby stuff here too.
squaresville i’ve been shopping here since i was a kid – a thrift store that’s curated well and i always find something fun here.
wacko a shop / art gallery you can spend hours browsing around for weird gifts and books.