Los Angeles

As the home to the best Mexican food in my life and my home for four years of college, the Los Angeles culinary scene will always hold a special place in my stomach. Covered for many years by the late Jonathan Gold, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for waxing poetic about tacos, Los Angeles has a multi-faceted food scene. Gaining recent acclaim for its high-end cuisine (which still tends to be a bit more casual than other cities), L.A. is the home of the taco truck, Korean fusion and long Instagram brunches. Decorated by diverse ethnic enclaves all over the city, Los Angeles has food from all over the world as a result of the large immigrant populations that have flocked to the city. A vibrant Little Tokyo, Koreatown and San Gabriel Valley (home to some of the best Asian food outside of Asia) are just some of the highlights. El Salvador Corridor is another one. A particular emphasis on the Instagram aesthetic of food plays a big role too, maddening to some eaters and a highlight to others. Quality ice cream and donut shops can be found across the city.
Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee – Cinnamon Sugar Donut
When in Los Angeles, make sure you try Mexican food, if nothing else. A street taco from a pop-up taco stand is a must. Vegetarian options for tacos are also quite good, from Guerilla to Revolutionario. Similar to Portland, there are a lot of vegetarian options as well as excellent coffee. San Gabriel Valley, if possible, is renowned for Chinese and Taiwanese food with many good Vietnamese and other Asian options as well. It’s about a 30 minute drive from downtown without traffic but well worth it. A downside of the LA food scene is that it’s pretty spread out and much is only accessible by car, whereas other cities might have more concentrated food hubs. Spots like the Far East Plaza in Chinatown (Chego, Howling Rays, Lasa, Scoops, etc) are exceptions rather than the norm.
Howlin’ Rays – Howling-Level Fried Chicken Sandwich @ Chinatown Far East Plaza