I recently got back from a work trip in Los Angeles and though I didn’t get to really experience Hollywood at its finest, I did manage to eat my weight in food. Now, whether I’m traveling or not, I’m not a huge fan of chain restaurants, there isn’t anything special about chain restaurants, they’re all the same…unoriginal and mass-produced, but that’s just my opinion. Now, having said that, I’m not opposed to local chains, I support local businesses. Unfortunately, I stayed in the L.A. Live area of Los Angeles, which is surrounded by chain restaurants, so there were numerous occasions that I had no other options. The only bad meal I had was at Rosa Mexicana, but is that really surprising? The only great thing about Rosa Mexicana is the guacamole and pomegranate margaritas, everyone knows that.
The two best meals were at Perch and Cucina Rustica . Perch’s ambiance was amazing, we dined al fresco in 40 degree weather with a slight wind, but the view was amazing and heaters that were placed around the table helped a bit. We found that the more wine you drank, the warmer you got, so we stuck to that plan. I tried my co-workers buffalo frog legs, which were amazing, and I shared my mini baked brie with apple and fennel. My main meal was seared scallops with saffron-artichoke risotto, I’m a sucker for risotto and this did not disappoint, I just wish I had more of it. Our party ordered a lot of the very limited menu, most of which was good, however, if you’re a caesar salad lover, I would not recommend ordering it here unless you’re a fan of raw, shredded kale…not tasty.
Now, if you’re in the mood for Italian, Cucina Rustica can fulfill your craving. We ordered a variety of appetizers, including calamari fritti (I loved this because they included the tentacles, which is hard to find sometimes and they’re my favorite), bruschetta, one with goat cheese (this was good, from what I hear but I don’t like goat cheese so I took their word for it), plus we all ordered salads. I’ve been telling everyone about the Insalata Tricolore that I ordered, it was so good, I could eat it every day. The salad consisted of a row of sliced tomatoes, mozzarella, and sliced avocado with a balsamic glaze. I’m sure I could recreate this, I’ll try soon, but though it sounds simple enough I’m sure it won’t be as good as the one I had at the restaurant. The entrees were also delicious, lots of food that I don’t think anyone at the table finished, which was sad because I would have loved to take home the leftovers of my roasted chicken risotto (I told you I love risotto).
So, if you’re in the downtown LA area and want to try out some new places, try Perch for sure, even if it’s just for a cocktail on the roof it’s totally worth it, and Cucina Rustica for Italian comfort food. Before I forget, there is one other place I would recommend for a cocktail, the Hotel Figueroa. It may look like a run down, sketchy hotel, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Once you enter the hotel and take in the architecture of the building, make your way down the long corridor towards the pool. Here is where you will find a very cool, hip, moroccan inspired bar. Even if you just stay for a drink or two, it’s worth it, trust me.
Next time I’m in LA I’m making it a priority to stop at an In & Out. I feel like my trip wasn’t complete because I didn’t get a chance to eat at this iconic burger joint…next time, hopefully soon, for a real vacation, not a work related trip.