Eating Out in LA & Oregon

I didn’t think it was going to be that difficult to travel without a laptop, and post blogs. But the west coast didn’t prove to be as cyber-friendly as I had hoped. That, and I wasn’t trying too hard because I was on vacation, and was very, very busy eating out. For the record, I didn’t go out there to check out Kerry Simon’s new LA restaurant or the Wolfgang Puck Express, but I went to LA to visit my grandfather, and to Oregon, for friends.

In the end, such as my last meal at the airport between flights, I was reminded of how not fun it can be to rely on whatever food options are available at a certain area. But in between, several highlights are pictured in this belated photo essay below.

Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market was a multi-ethnic gastronomical circus.

Everything was really cheap, like these beautiful Mexican dry spices:

A Cuban sandwich my brother ate with lime and three kinds of pork:

And on the less beautiful side, these fried fishies:

My mom refused the famous In-N-Out Burger joint after going in, and then out, burgerless.

The Caprese Burger at the otherwise brilliant cafe at the Getty Villa in Malibu. The burger patty managed to wipe out everything that’s delicate and fresh-tasting about the caprese trio, and it could have used a touch of pesto or aioli instead of all that plain mayo.

My uncle wins a coveted award for the evening. This photo was taken during a 2-hour walk through Hollywood trying to find somewhere to eat which wasn’t a swank hotel or a Quizno’s. Then I realized, “industry” people don’t eat. They drive, or tan: drive to go somewhere to tan, or tan as they drive. But eat?? (No offense to anyone who lives in Hollywood.)

LA’s Chinatown didn’t have too much to see, but it did have some really nice dumplings that we took to my grandfather’s house to boil for dinner.

At a typical Cantonese restaurant, our meal opened with a seafood-studded wintermelon soup.

And ended with a sweet black sesame dessert soup.

We liked it so much we came back again, and the next night the dessert soup (on the house) was peanut.

Crispy hot pepper stir-fried shrimp lose the battle.

On the Oregon Coast, Northwestern coffee snobbery worked just fine for me. I drank five cups a day and actually felt good about it. Back at home, I have a sentimental attachment to the guys who freeze in coffee and bagel carts for New Yorkers all winter long and buy their watery coffee now and then. But they wouldn’t survive a day in Oregon.

A visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and I still have no idea what makes cow’s milk curds turn into cheddar and what makes it other kinds of cheese. They were all pretty tasty, though.

A New York-themed bagel place in Portland called Noah’s had a pretty nice potato starch and cracked peppercorn bagel pictured here. I don’t know of any real bagel place in New York that makes one.

A cute diner in Portland’s Pearl District where I got the Mt. Salad at the top of this post.

Rows and rows of Asian pear trees fill the orchard in Ben’s parents’ property, bearing more luxurious fruit that any creature in Washington state can squirrel away. Yeah, I know, I should be living there instead of New York.

5 Responses

  1. Sue

    Hi there, just started reading you from Smitten Kitchen. I can’t believe that you managed to miss so many great places to eat! LA is a great foodie town. I realize that this is a few months too late, but really, do a search on LA before you visit again, or even just watch Anthony Bourdains recnt Travel Channel Food show where he visits LA – LA is all about food. We have the highest Thai population outside of Thailand, our little Thai town is in Holywood just a few blocks from where you were taking in the tourist things. And NY has nothing on LA in terms of sushi or Mexican food (for obvious reasons). You can eat cheap or $$$ but yu can eat very very well here. And most laces are cheaper than NYC. Just pick up a Los Angeles Magazine or an LA weekly (aka our V. Voice) next time you are in town to get the goods on the best places to eat.

    The best tip I can give you is that some of the cheapest and best food can be had in rather non-descript looking mini malls. Strange but very true. Geez, you can even just email me and I will give you some places. I feel badly that you missed out and stuck to the tourist traps.

    Me = Originally from NY, in LA for over 10 years now

  2. Sue

    Sorry for the many spelling errors – my laptop has a v small keyboard and when I type quickly = havoc.

    And…You really should try an in and out burger next visit, there is a reason the line is always long – order it “animal style”. Or go to te Apple Pan in West LA. Also should swing by Pinks (melrose) for a dog.

  3. Tri

    I just found your blog – fun! I cook *all* of the time. I’m from Portland and live in Seattle – I’m so glad you got to stop at the Tillamook cheese factory. It’s the only cheddar I buy, although I’ve had a few delicious Wisconsin and English cheddars. Come to Seattle some time where there’s a good restaurant practically everywhere you look.

  4. Amanda S

    Commenting usually isnt my thing, but ive spent an hour on the site, so thanks for the info

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