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Wednesday, 25 July 2012 17:53

The Eclectic Gourmet Guide to Los Angeles, 3rd Edition

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The Eclectic Gourmet Guide to Los Angeles, 3rd EditionBy Colleen Dunn Bates

Menasha Ridge Press

ISBN 978-0897322973 www.globe-pequot.com

$12.95

the eclectic gourmet-guide to LA 

California is thought of as the state where seemingly few people are natives. People in California want to enjoy a taste of home, which could be almost anywhere else and probably is. The climate and the work of California farmers produce so many foods that all sorts of plain and exotic foods are available. What is not grown can become available through commerce. Los Angeles with its vast population and numberless restaurants is a great place to taste this treasure trove of food and drink.

Over 15 years ago I came to Los Angeles from Chicago to visit a couple of friends who are Chicago transplants living in Pasadena, a Los Angeles suburb. A few years later I moved to the Pasadena area. Now once again I go to Los Angeles as a visitor. Having dealt with trying to find good restaurants and being limited by the morass that is Los Angeles area traffic I can recommend this book.

Finding the right restaurant in LA can be a daunting task for a resident let alone a frequent visitor or the first time tourist. As Ms. Bates observes, LA offers myriad styles from all over the world—from American diner food to Shanghai-styled Chinese. In what other city can you find a restaurant with Korean flank steak and a selection of tapas?

Ms. Bates has written a guide that displays and encyclopedic knowledge of what is available in LA and where and how you can find it. She makes keen observations and easily appreciated comments about the best dishes and wines. Her wit shines through in asides such as describing the ambience of one place as "Mafia meets your packrat Aunt Mildred . . .," presumably with no offense meant to capos, aunties or the rats.

The author identifies restaurants by name, cuisine, star, price, quality, service, friendliness and value ratings and zone. Areas of Los Angeles and Orange Counties are divided into zones, which are listed in the text and shown on an included map. Each reviewed restaurant’s hours, reservation policy, credit card acceptance, dress, phone and address are listed. Separate lists allow searching by cuisine or zone. With all of that very useful information given you are missing only a companion to dine with and a driver to get you there.

Imagine wanting a steak or a burger or a taco or Sino-Italian food and being able to find them and have a knowledgeable person to tell you how good they will be and how much they would cost. This is a useful book that should help many people make sense of eating well in LA and environs.

 

--Reviewer Mike Petersen is an attorney employed at the state capitol who travels whenever he can to try new foods and wines in California and Europe. He especially enjoys cooking and eating Italian, Spanish, French, German and other dishes that he has sampled with the locals here and abroad. Mike is a founder and chair of Mr. P’s Wine Club, a no-load wine club whose members love trying new wines and foods. He also searches for Chicago-style, kosher hot dogs wherever he may be.

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