Since school is over, the packing has intensified, although I'm also trying to enjoy my time in LA. There are so many things I will miss when I leave. Of course we will be coming back often to visit our Grandmas, but it won't be the same.
In honor of my love for LA (19 years ago, I would have considered that sentence to be treason!), I give you my Los Angeles favorites. These are the places I frequent regularly and, on afternoons as I travel home on BART from some yet unknown job in the City, I will long for endlessly.
I have lived without Tito's Tacos before. I can do it. [Repeat until I believe it.]
The bacon, egg, and cheese at EggSlut is so delicious, I've never tried any of their other sandwiches!
Saturday only eggs Benedict at Clementine, I will miss you. Their Hollandaise sauce is so perfect: light, creamy, and only slightly tangy.
The teriyaki wings at Chicken Day easily overtook Kyochon to become my favorite Korean fried chicken. I MAY have developed a weekly habit. Like, the owner knows my phone number and knows what I'll order when I call kind of habit.
I couldn't find a more recent photo of Kotoya ramen. I know I had one on my phone from a few months ago. They added butter as a topping to their white tonkotsu ramen so I took a photo of it. Oh well. Kotoya is my favorite ramen in LA. It was right by my house and I never had to deal with horrible parking, unlike at all those places on Sawtelle. I loved their white tonkotsu, but the black garlic was also delicious. They had the best hanjuku tamago/soft boiled egg every time. At one point I was eating there every Wednesday as a reward for going to the gym, but they stopped doing take out. (That's how I got all those chopsticks in the photo.) I will miss all the wonderful ramen choices in LA. There aren't so many in the Bay Area. Well, at least not so many excellent options in one place. Only a few decent ones and a whole bunch of mediocre ones. Here's my original Kotoya post.
The baklava at Sunnin Bakery in Westwood is the best that I've had, besides the one Shaked's aunt from Tel Aviv made for Steph's bridal shower (and wouldn't give me the recipe!). I haven't decided if the walnut, pistachio (pictured), or cashew is my favorite. You should call first because the lady doesn't make it every day. She usually has it on Wednesdays. And she's so nice. She always gives me samples of her other baked treats. They also sell it by the piece at Sunnin Lebanese Cafe across the street if she is sold out and you are desperate, but it's more expensive.
The maple custard pie at Pie Hole is my favorite pie. The custard is so smooth and silky and the crust is flaky. Marc brought a whole pie to my going away party. I got his mom and dad addicted to it too!
Put the French dip sandwich from Roast in Brentwood on my "I wish I found it sooner" list. I only discovered it a few months ago, but it became a fast favorite. Every other French dip in LA is so overcooked and bland, but not at Roast. You can see it's a beautiful medium rare and the meat is tender. It comes with coleslaw or potato salad, but you can request tater tots instead. I went next door to Lemonade for my drink: guava limeade.
For a while, the pho tai (rare steak) with a 3 piece egg roll from Nong Lá Cafe was my go-to Thursday dinner. I ate it every week until my blood pressure got a little high, so I took a break and only ate it once every few months. It was easily the best pho on the Westside. Thank goodness there are a ton of pho places in Oakland.
I don't like boba drinks, but the mixed fruit tapioca from Phoenix is my favorite drink when I go to the SGV. (They opened one in the Marukai Pacific Square shopping center now too!) It is coconut milk, small white tapioca pearls, small diced fruit (usually melons), and a scoop of shaved ice on top. It's cool, creamy, and not too sweet. Yum.
The fish taco combo plate at Tacos Baja in Whittier is Grandma's favorite treat, and I love it too. The lightly battered fish is always perfectly fried and fresh. They let you take all the limes you need. Just add some Tapatio and drink a horchata and it's the perfect lunch.
I love a lot of the flavors at Sweet Rose Creamery in Santa Monica and Brentwood, but my #1 favorite is the melon chiffon ice cream. Boooo, I left before they offered it this year. It's the ultimate summer flavor (along with their summer corn flavor). So light and fresh, but also floral and sweet. They make awesome monthly sundae specials, too.
My original post on Brian's Shave Ice wasn't that positive, but I ended up loving it and I went once every few weeks. OK, once a week. The parking guy at Olympic Collection (parking is validated) stopped asking where I was going and just handed me the ticket with a nod. I love to get Fosselman's macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. I try to get different flavors every time. They have Groupons sometimes, so it's a great deal.
This isn't the bacon fried rice from Kau Kau Korner inside the Marukai on Artesia and Western, but theirs is similar. (The picture is from a restaurant I didn't like, so I don't want to say where it's from.) At Kau Kau, you don't get tsukemono with it, and you would have to pay extra for the scrambled egg on top. The owner is the nicest lady. She also knows my order and puts it in as I'm walking towards the cash register. They don't give as much rice as the Loft on Artesia and Van Ness, but there's bacon in every bite. There is very little Hawaiian food in the Bay Area, much less good Hawaiian food. Sigh.
I don't go here as much as I used to, but Diddy Riese in Westwood, along with Tito's, is my original LA favorite. These ice cream sandwiches provided fuel for studying through college and grad school, and whenever I drove by and there was parking. I always get two cinnamon sugar cookies with vanilla ice cream. Once I got one cinnamon sugar and one chocolate chip with nuts. Just once. They used to be $0.75 but now they're $1.25. Not bad at all.
Honorable mentions: I will miss the Persian food in Westwood, especially the chicken koobideh kabab at Shamshiri Grill. I will also miss having a Nijiya market nearby to get prepared Japanese foods like my favorite chashu don rice bowl and SPAM musubi with scrambled egg. Luckily, there's a Korean market near our condo that can provide the Asian foods, just not all the ones I want.
[July 29, 2014 EDIT] I'm adding the cemita milanesa from Angelica's Cemitas Originales to this list because I was craving one today and the one lonchera that sells them in Oakland was nowhere to be found. (Seriously, I drove to three places where it has been known to park, including in East Oakland, and it wasn't there.) This lovely sandwich with a soft, sesame seed covered bun, fried beef, and Oaxacan cheese wasn't something that I anticipated missing, but I do! I used to get one every few months from it's daytime spot in front of the Smart and Final. The last few times it was a different truck, but it tastes almost as good. They're $6 now, too. My original post here.