Gourmet Live and BlogHer Road Trip: L.A. Restaurants

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Los Angeles Restaurants
As part of our monthly collaboration with Gourmet Live, we're hanging up our aprons and heading to Los Angeles to find local bloggers' favorite LA food hangouts.

Los Angeles Restaurants

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Bloggers' Favorite L.A. Restaurants
A Nutritionist Eats
West Hollywood: fresheast
Fresheast is one of my favorite places to eat in LA. I like Fresheast because it is a fully customizable restaurant -- you have the option of brown rice, quinoa, greens or noodles with any dish -- and it can appeal to both vegans and omnivores alike. The five-spice salmon with brown rice and asparagus is one of my favorites. The food is so satisfying and delicious and a great place to visit if you are looking to stay healthy but want more than a salad.

-- Emily, A Nutritionist Eats

Maria Niles
Mid-Wilshire: Providence
Chef Michael Cimarusti's two-Michelin-starred fine dining experience, housed in the former Patina space on Melrose, is thoroughly delightful. Service is warm and friendly without being overbearing; similarly, the space is elegant -- though, with its touches of marine whimsy, not uncomfortably stuffy. The décor reminds you of the most important reason you're here: the seafood-centric tasting menu -- technically inventive, very impressive, and magically delicious. Let the knowledgeable sommelier guide you through the enormous wine list for the perfect pairing. The nine-course tasting menu with wine pairing is pricey -- but worth every penny of the splurge!

-- Maria, ConsumerPop

Mona Gable
Eagle Rock: Fatty's Café
Owned and run by painter Kim Dingle, this vegetarian/vegan place discontinued my favorite dessert, a chocolat fondant, when Kim learned how the chickens were caged and stopped cooking with eggs. But there's plenty of "monstrous little plates," entrees, salads, pizza, and dessert to keep me coming back. Two of my favorites are an incredible macaroni and cheese (cheese and milk are still on the menu) and a vegan mousacca of chickpeas, lentils, mushrooms, eggplant and mashed potatoes with Provencal flavors. There's a major list of "heart-gladdening wine," too; she's an expert. But this place, housed in a historic Art Deco building that was converted from an auto shop, is very family friendly, too.

-- Mona, monalgable

The818
Studio City: Belwood Bakery
Fancy Ventura Boulevard bakeries have tried and tried again to unseat it, but the Belwood Bakery stands firm in my mind as one of the Valley's epicurean treasures. The Coldwater Curve's culinary stronghold remains my go-to spot for artisan sandwiches, delectable pastries and the best damn pretzel bread this side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Family and freelancer friendly, the centrally located spot is a local favorite but easy to miss if you don't know where to look. Sundays were made for Belwood -- this tiny bakery will be catering my brunches for years to come.

-- Morgan, The 818


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Los Angeles recipe:
Nitespa
Culver City: Father's Office
Not only do they serve one of the best burgers you'll ever eat (no substitutions on their signature dish!), but simple vegetable tapas like Spanish mushrooms and Brussels sprouts taste sublime. The French fries are to die for, and I would recommend exploring whatever the chef cooks up for the ever changing daily specials. An L.A. institution, Father's Office does not take reservations, and you order your food from one of the myriad expert mixologists. They're also known for the 99-plus bottles of beer on the wall, and I hear those beer geek bartenders also make a mean cocktail (though I can't seem to make it past the Belgian beer display). Last time we tried the most (literally) intoxicating dessert: housemade dark fig ice cream served in individual a la mode dishes with a bottle of incredible dark beer that you pour over the frozen treat. I've never tasted anything like it. Everything about Father's Office will haunt you with its exquisite subtle delights.

-- Julia, Nitespa

Inadvertent Gardener
If you're in the mood for an old-school French dip sandwich, stand in line to talk to one of the carvers behind the deli-display counter at this classic that's over a century old. Whether you go with traditional roast beef (Philippe's got claims on the invention of the French dip in 1918 or one of the house-roasted alternatives like lamb or pork, you're going to get an incredible meal. Don't miss the signature hot mustard (you can even buy a jar to bring home with you). I'm also a big fan of their eggs pickled in beet juice and spices, as well as their housemade kosher-style pickles.

-- Genie, The Inadvertent Gardener

Julie Ross Godar
You know you're somewhere interesting when the dinner menu's full of enchanting options like sweetbreads with fennel pollen and whole roasted branzino -- but everyone you ask raves about the butter lettuce salad. A throwaway at other spots but transcendently arranged here with tarragon and Pt. Reyes blue cheese, this dish embodies the simple-but-startling aesthetic of Beard Award nominee Chef Casey Lane's restaurant. Excellently located on Venice's eclectic-chic Abbot Kinney Boulevard, trees (and candles upon candles) grow in the lively downstairs courtyard, while shelves of cookbooks line the walls of the quieter upstairs loft. Skip the uninformative menu and dive right into the chef-chosen tasting menu, which showcases Lane's mix of rich tastes and textures (pork rillettes, pici pasta with walnut cream) with tart and bitter flavor profiles (lentils with rapini, that salad) -- keeping your palate awake through the meal. The vibe of surprise continues to the wine list, a selection of mostly Italian bottles chosen to harmonize with the food while giving you something new to taste. Don't miss the cocktails, either -- they're as purposefully composed as any dish from the kitchen.

-- Julie, BlogHer Executive Editor

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