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Guide to L.A. - Part 1

Posted July 30th, 2009

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I've only lived in Los Angeles for four years, but in that amount of time, I've compiled a pretty solid list of things to do in the city. I contributed a few of those favorites here, but I thought a more in-depth series would prove useful. To kick things off, here are some of my favorite restaurants and why they shouldn't be missed. Breakfast Where to go when you're hungover: The Griddle Cafe. Known for their plate-sized pancakes in flavors like "Banana Nana" (brown sugar-baked bananas) and "Hear Me Roar" (strawberries and frosted flakes), this has a fantastic blues-y feel with exposed brick walls and an intimate setting. Don't miss their french press coffee, but if you're looking to get the "Addicted to Noisella" (french toast made with nutella), insist on sharing. Nobody can handle that much chocolately hazelnut spread. Place that won't derail your diet: Urth Caffe. As I've noted time and time again, everything you order at Urth is clean, organic and ridiculously tasty. This comes with quite a price tag, but since their lattes are so addicting, I somehow justify spending $4 a cup. Their bread pudding is equally as fantastic (and I'm not even usually a fan) as is their oatmeal with homemade granola, berries and milk. Will make you feel like you're in your mom's kitchen: Grub. Nestled in a residential area in Hollywood, this unsuspecting little restaurant is as cute as it is delicious. Bowls of dry cereal are put on the table when you first arrive so you can snack on Fruit Loops while you wait for your order. All of their egg dishes are great, but their appropriately named "Friggin' Amazin' French Toast" is just that (especially if you go with the Croissant). Lunch Where to spot a celebrity: Toast Bakery Cafe. Squeezed between trendy boutiques on 3rd Street (I'll be dishing my favorites in a future post), this place is always packed and with good reason. Their salads are hearty, the Arnold Palmers are perfectly sweet and tart and I keep going back for their Hummus Falafel. Try to find a seat outdoors for good people-watching, but don't forget to head inside on your way out. They have the best red velvet cupcake in the city. Feels far from L.A.: Sur. After an afternoon spent walking around Robertson Blvd, Sur is the perfect follow-up to pushy tourists and overpriced shops. The decor is undeniably sexy, with a breezy patio, all-white curtains and wonderfully intricate chandeliers and a simple menu. The 'Fantasia Salad' (arugula, blue cheese and a grapefruit vinaigrette) is my favorite with a glass of their too-strong-to-go-back-to-work-afterward sangria. Place to meet a good friend: Clementine's. The parking and table situation can be a little hairy, but the their homemade seasonal food is well worth the wait. I almost always get the 'Rare Roast Beef Sandwich' (with a horseradish mustard dressing, marinated onions on rustic bread) and their fresh limeade. On my to-do list: their BBQ Fridays for summer fare and a fun, casual atmosphere. Dinner Sushi that will knock your socks off: Sasabune (so small there's not a website). My boyfriend first took me after a particularly tough day and promised the best sushi I'd ever tasted. He was not lying. Though it sounds intense (there are no menus), the signs on the wall that say"Trust Me" are telling the truth. The fish melts in your mouth and has the most unbelievable buttery texture you'll ever experience. The decor isn't much to write home about, but I swear you won't even notice. Best experience you'll have eating at the bar: Pizzeria Mozza. As a self-proclaimed pizza fanatic, I order it whenever possible. With combinations like "Fennel Sausage, Panna, Red Onion and Scallions" and "Squash Blossoms, Tomato and Burrata" you can't go wrong. They also have a nice wine list that doesn't break the bank and appetizers that are refreshing and unique. Casual meal close to the beach: La Grande Orange. The vibe in this newly-opened restaurant is surprisingly relaxed with fun sections on the menu like "Things We Put On Chips" (Shrimp Ceviche and Tuna Tartare) and "Very Special" (Dixie Pan-Friend Chicken and Turkey Meatloaf). Plus, they have an entirely separate menu for dessert (always a good sign in my book) and a warm brownie with ice cream that is other worldly. image via Flickr
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