Los Angeles offers an abundance of elegant, luxurious dining options, whereas the surrounding countryside is equally rife with farm-to-table restaurants where locavores can feast in comfort. The best of both worlds, however, can be found every Sunday in Hollywood, where the Hollywood Farmers’ Market blooms between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Easily accessible via public transportation and consistently filled with farmers and foodies from all over the region, this is one farmers’ market not to be missed.
Naturally, those looking to cook their own lunch will find everything necessary for a fine meal, from locally caught fish and free-range chicken to every kind of produce. Others will do well to enjoy breakfast on-site, with dozens of stands offering pancakes and biscuits. For sightseers and tourists, it’s an excellent stop on the way to some of Hollywood’s famous locales; the Hollywood sign itself hovers over the market, while the Walk of Stars is adjacent. Others will want to stay and soak up some of the incredible local culture, as the Farmers’ Market also serves as a meeting place for cooking classes, a stage for street musicians, and a center for kids’ activities.
Crab cakes are a delicate food that should highlight the flavor of the meat with a minimum of breadcrumbs and other fillers. In Los Angeles, most people will agree that the best crab cake is found at The Palm. These large crab cakes are well seasoned and boast a light, crisp texture. Diced mango and a micro basil salad provide the perfect accompaniments.
Outside of The Palm, however, several other restaurants also serve some great renditions of the crab cake. The Grill on the Alley prepares an old-fashioned crab cake that sits in a rich, buttery sauce with a fresh lemon to brighten up the dish.
A-Frame offers a cake made purely from Dungeness crab. The thin cakes come with a fantastic sear and some wonderful, simple condiments, including a crème fraiche infused with lemongrass.
While diners may not think to order crab cakes at a sushi restaurant, K-Zo in Culver City pairs its lightly fried crab cakes with a red pepper and tomato coulis, as well as its version of tartar sauce. The combination of sweet and tangy flavors perfectly complements the tenderness of the crab cake.
Old Towne Orange has long been a beloved destination for everyone from sightseers and college students to Hollywood directors and location scouts, and its gorgeous architecture, friendly culture, and excellent food make it a wonderful place to tour, whether one is a first-time visitor to California or a Los Angeles resident who has only driven through Orange on the way to Disneyland. Luckily for those unfamiliar with the area, groups like Old Towne Orange Walking Food Tours make it easy to get an inside look at this wonderful town. Founded by Italian sisters with a passion for food, especially the Northern Italian cuisine of their family, Orange Food Tours offers a number of options for those looking to explore California’s largest National Register District.
Some tours focus on the historic, such as the Vintage Orange Food Tour, which begins at Ruby’s Streamline Lounge at the restored Orange Depot and stops at the historic Chapman University Film School, as well as a chance to see the Orange Home Grown Farmer’s and Artisan Market and enjoy a seasonal cooking lesson. Other tours focus on new gourmet dining options in Old Towne, like the Orange TasteLAB Tour, which provides historic information and cooking demonstrations alongside food from some of the hottest new restaurants in town. All of the tours last roughly three hours, and the guides suggest bringing comfortable walking shoes along with a healthy appetite.
Located at the Flores restaurant on Sawtelle Boulevard in West Los Angeles, the Ladies’ Gunboat Society offers a unique Southern seasonal menu for diners seeking bold flavors and good old-fashioned country cooking. The restaurant is anchored by Chef Brian Dunsmoor, who previously plied his trade at The Hart and the Hunter at the Palihotel. The Ladies’ Gunboat Society represents something of an anomaly on Sawtelle, which has become known primarily for its Japanese restaurants.
For brunch, the Ladies’ Gunboat Society offers a wealth of Southern-inspired entrees, from buttermilk biscuits with dark chocolate gravy and sorghum pecan sticky buns to cornmeal pancakes and fried rabbit with waffles. Customers can also sample one of the many brunch cocktails, such as the black velvet or bloody beer.
At suppertime, the Ladies’ Gunboat Society serves up chilled Laguna Bay oysters, chicken-fried rabbit, and grilled hanger steak. The dessert menu contains a number of tantalizing options, including a maple blueberry crème brulee and cornbread pudding with crème fraiche ice cream.
Los Angeles is home to a number of iconic restaurants, one of the most popular of which is Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles. Founded in 1975 by Herb Hudson, the restaurant has expanded beyond its original location in Long Beach with several different spots around the city. After Hudson opened the restaurants, he developed a strong network of friends on the Motown scene, including Natalie Cole, who quickly spread the word among other celebrities. Over the years, both The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times have hailed the restaurant as an iconic part of Los Angeles. The Hollywood location remains very popular among celebrities.
While Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is most famous for its namesake dish, fluffy waffles served with crispy fried chicken, the restaurant serves a number of other, more traditional dishes. The Jeanne Jones Omelette, which features cheese and fried chicken inside a light omelette, is a popular choice. The Big Mama Special also has many fans. The dish combines scrambled eggs with potatoes and gravy. The restaurant serves several delicious Southern-inspired side items, including grits, mixed greens, and cornbread.