L.A. is suddenly on every critic’s “best food cities” list, but locals will tell you that it’s always been a great place for culinary adventures. Everyone has their weird snack of choice: Kombucha, bacon-wrapped matzo balls, Korean-Mexican hybrid BBQ tacos, homemade kale chips. Special dietary requirements are expected – the more stringent, the better – but yet greasy Mexican street food is everyone’s 3 a.m. go-to. And raw food gets its own three-day expo. From new to classic, here are 10 food experiences that are, like, totally L.A...and we love them.
Vegan Soup Delivery Specialty food startup Soupelina’s premise is: gourmet vegan soups, and only gourmet vegan soups, delivered to your door. Chef/founder Elina Fuhrman makes “soups with a purpose” from the finest farmers-market produce. No soy, no dairy, no gluten…Is it any wonder Hollywood starlets and CAA agents are clamoring for daily delivery? If you’re not quite ready for that yet, look for soups like The Fennel Hurrah! (for weight loss) and Sweet Coconut Thai Oh My! (for anti-aging) at L.A.-area Whole Foods.
Organic, Biodynamic Cocktails Of course the craft cocktail movement would go to this extreme in L.A. Not only do consumers love a healthy/diet-conscious trend, but the weather allows for great produce year-round. Mixologist Marcus Tello got big buzz for creating a cocktail menu that incorporates organic or sustainable ingredients into almost every drink, at newcomer FEED Body & Soul. Meanwhile, Natalie Bovis, author of Edible Cocktails: From Garden to Glass, has teamed up with vegan cooking school Spark Foods to teach “Vegan Cocktail Party” workshops to those who would do it at home.
Bottomless Breakfasts Not all L.A. cocktails have gone fancy, though. Because so many people are underemployed actors and/or students, they don’t have the money for craft cocktails…but they have the time for day drinking. Hence, the popularity of bottomless brunches and various other all-you-can-drink specials. The Waffle in Hollywood is the early bird that gets the morning degenerates, offering Bottomless Mimosas or Bloody Marys for $12, from 7 a.m. till closing Saturday and Sunday.
Local, Sustainable Affirmations There are two ways to order your food at Café Gratitude: The way you’ve always ordered food–i.e. by its name. And the way they want you to do it – with affirmations. If you can tell your server, “I Am Connected, and then I Am Generous without chopped cilantro,” and not feel self-conscious, then this place was made for you. It’s vegan, organic, relentlessly cheerful, and (possibly because of how many Westside women frequent it), it actually has a nice little wine list.
Sweet Rose + Caffe Luxxe How much do Westsiders love their single-origin, artisanal hand-crafted espresso drinks? As much as they love their small-batch, seasonally driven ice cream hand-spun from organic cream. Which is to say, they’ll pay just about any price, visit several times a week, and the new-in-2014 partnership between Sweet Rose Creamery and Caffe Luxxe is like the best/worst thing regulars have ever heard. Because YUM, but...calories.