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June 20, 2007

eating is good

i was tagged by Maven de Mucho herself to name my favourite local eateries. she listed chains and independents, but i'm going to have to change that a bit. i don't eat often enough at chains -- not snobby, just blessed to live in Los Angeles, where many fine eatieries abound. so i'll list my top five indies, and then, since this is a blog meme, promote some of my fave food blogs.

HadashiWorld likes to eat at:
1. Tokyo 7-7. 3839 Main St Ste. B, Culver City, CA 90232 (310) 204-5728. oh Tokyo 7-7, how do i love thee? i was first brought to this tiny lunch/breakfast coffee shop by one of my best friends from college. he was living in the neighbourhood, and discovered it by accident -- it's not visible from the street and you have to access it through a parking garage and an alley. he was almost giddy as he ushered me in the door -- "you're going to love this!" he gibbered. i was initially unimpressed -- the decor looked like it hadn't been changed since the seventies, and the atmosphere was decidedly greasy-spoon. however, one look at the menu changed my mind: i could get a root beer float and sunamono. fries and gyoza. a tuna melt and yakisoba. a cheeseburger and green tea. cole slaw and curry rice. i was totally in love.
now, years later, i live within walking distance of Tokyo 7-7 (pure coinicidence, i assure you!). it is almost a weekly breakfast pilgrimage for T.T. and me (when i first brought T.T. here, when we were dating, i knew if he didn't "get" the place and like it, we would be over. he claims he was totally unaware this could have been a dealbreaker.). the Japanese owner, and the three wee oba-chans who serve as waitresses, have been there for over twenty years. here's hoping for twenty more, despite Culver City's recent bizarre metamorphosis into an L.A. foodie destination. if Tokyo 7-7 goes under due to rising rents, you bet there will be an uproar.
2. A.O.C.'s cheese bar. 8022 W 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 653-6359. while A.O.C. is a deservedly "it" restaurant that serves an incredible menu of tapas and wines by the glass, it is not the reputation that i go for. no, it is the spontanous community of the cheese bar, which is a first-come, first-served bar at the back of the restaurant where the chartecurie and cheeses are prepared. since A.O.C. is very much an impress-your-date-slash-clients-and-be-seen-doing-so type place, most people are vying for (probably already reserved) tables, so the cheese bar doesn't always have lots of competition. you always become friends with the server behind the cheese bar, and almost always with the people sitting next to you...especially after a large glass of Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape. this is the de facto celebration site for all occasions with the fabulous Ms. Jen.
3. Sushi Zo. 9824 National Blvd Unit C, Los Angeles, CA 90034 (310) 842-3977. this is, hands-down, the best sushi i have ever eaten. chef/owner Keizo has the best omakase (chef's choice) around, and although it's definitely not a cheap eats experience, it is remarkably fairly priced, and absolutely an experience. when T.T. and i need to celebrate and can pinch enough pennies (or when the generous sushi aficianado Uncle Richard comes to town), this is where we go.
4. Renu Nakorn. 13041 E. Rosecrans Ave., Norwalk, CA 90650 (310) 921-2124. back when i lived too close for comfort to Norwalk, this was the place i first began to learn the joys of Thai food. i had no idea it had a stealth following as the "best Thai food in L.A." i'm wary of any restaurant that is the best of anything in this town, especially ethnic food. in any case, it's the site of many good eating memories, and even if your idea of Thai begins and ends with pad thai noodles, those are pretty darned good too. sadly, it's been closed for building renovations for some time now, and i bet a whole lot of people are desperately waiting for it to reopen. i am.
5. El Camino Real. 303 N Euclid St., Fullerton, CA 92832 (714) 447-3962. i started going to this family-run Mexican eatery years and years ago, back when my food budget forced me to spread $.99 store spaghetti sauce on outlet bread, put it in the toastie maker, and call it pizza. El Camino had about the same budget, i think, because they were a take-out counter with incredibly delicious yet stunningly affordable burritos, tacos, etc. weekends there were tamales. now El Camino takes up three adjoining mini-mall spaces, and the lines are out the door. however, the food is still stunningly affordable and of course, still delicious.

HadashiWorld likes to read about eating at:
1. Triplecreme -- good source for eating around my 'hood. Bree is not afraid of pastries, or trying new things, which is huge plus.
2. Eating L.A. -- Pat's got the hookups all through L.A. but keeps her blog chatty, conversational, and non-snobby. lots of ethnic food reviews, and good food gossip.
3. Chowhound's message boards -- not so stoked on the recent redesign, but it's an excellent source for finding new -- and rediscovering old -- places based on cuisine or neighbourhood.
4. OMG Food! -- love the title. love the snarky writing. love the blog post titles. plus, i often agree with Tina, a.k.a. PoetKitty, so of course i have to lurve her.
5. Mr. Breakfast -- this site for all things breakfasty. i have an odd emotional attachment to good breakfast -- possibly its connotations of leisure, relaxation, and conviviality -- no, that's just overthinking it. i just heart most "breakfast" food. bonus: he sends me a monthly newsletter with new recipes.
(you can find all these blogs under my blogroll to the right, or visit them directly from this post.)

though i like being "tagged," i usually don't "tag' others...but i would be extraordinarily interested in what anyone else's opinions might be about what makes a fave eatery just that. comment please. opinions definitely NOT limited to SoCal.

Posted by hadashi at June 20, 2007 2:11 PM

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