Monday, February 26, 2024

Stuck On LA? Perfect Spots to Take Out of Towners

August 8, 2011  
Filed under Global Spotlight

hot spots in la

Clockwise:The Association; Point Dume State Beach; Cool Haus; Umami

You have friends visiting from out of town and they’ve never stepped foot in Los Angeles. It’s your job to play host but, oh where to take them? Avoid the touristy trap and stick to what the locals do. It might be hard to cover a city that stretches over 4,000 square miles made up of over 80 sub-cities, but quintessential LA can be summed up in four experiences: burger joints, food trucks, beaches and, of course, the Hollywood Bowl.

Gourmand burgers

We take our burgers seriously. Gourmet burger joints have been popping up one after another and you’d be amiss not to try any of the following: Umami, The Fix Burger, Father’s Office or The Counter. Your guests will be tempted to scarf it down after one succulent bite. But if they’re more into gourmet hot dogs and beer, take them to Wurstküche, a hip, German gastropub, for their juicy, exotic sausages and crispy Belgian fries.

Trendy food trucks

Food trucks have always been aplenty in LA, but not the kind that is branded, food specific, tweets about their whereabouts and shows up at all the hip venues around town. The food truck explosion in LA began soon after Kogi BBQ’s Korean fusion tacos became a crave-worthy hit. Since then, hundreds of unique food trucks have opened up shop and it’s getting even tastier on the streets. Don’t let your guests leave without trying the former, as well as Rebel Bite and their “dirty spaghetti tacos.” For a breakfast/brunch truck, track down Buttermilk for their velvet chocolate chip pancakes. As for cold desserts, artisan funky-flavored ice cream sandwiches served in edible wrappers (made from potato and soy) are a must-try at Cool Haus. However, if you and your guests are not willing to truck it, they have a brick and mortar store opening soon in Culver City. To wrap up the whole experience into one, head over to the Outdoor Cinema Food Fest where a list of food trucks are lined up to cater to your picnicking needs, or the Downtown LA Artwalk that occurs the second Thursday of every month. To track down the most popular food trucks, visit


Plenty of swanky restaurants abound in LA, but if you want a gorgeous view of the city, opt for Takami Sushi & Robata Restaurant on Wilshire. The food may be a bit steep in price but you can still enjoy a round of drinks. To catch a glimpse of the typecast Hollywood elite or industry execs where the paparazzi may be lurking outside—and for good people watching—Fig & Olive or Koi will fit the bill. If you’d rather dine at a hip and lounge-y venue that serves up good wine minus all that Hollywood hype, consider The Village Idiot. And before you head on out of the area to try a completely different culinary experience, stop by Bottega Louie for their macarons and desserts and a view of their eye-catching interior with high ceilings, stark white décor and glass windows. Now to give your palates an Eastern kick, head on over to Koreatown’s Moodaepo II for an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ experience aimed for a young and diverse crowd, and Din Tai Fung in Arcadia for the best soup dumplings you’ll ever taste in LA.


The Association in downtown LA is where the locals go. A hidden spot with no signs to direct you to the entrance, this speakeasy-esque lounge is rumored to have highly skilled mixologists. Ask them to whip up a few concoctions and you see why. For unique and gourmet drink concoctions with Hollywood glamour, the Library Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel won’t disappoint, though a few too many drinks can make a dent in your pocketbook.


Point Dume State Beach in Malibu is one of the best beach alternatives for avoiding crowds. Clean and quieter than most LA beaches, Point Dume also has rocks to climb on and a chance to peek at gray whales—if you happen to catch them at the right time, during the December to March migration period.

Music venue

Hollywood Bowl defines the summers of LA. Whether it’s classical music or a rock band in concert, out of town friends will definitely enjoy a night picnicking under the stars and a blast of fireworks afterward (not every night).

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