What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

LA downtown Picmonkey

TASTE News Service, June 6, 2016 – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board (L.A. Tourism) President & CEO Ernest Wooden Jr. have announced that Los Angeles welcomed a record 45.5 million visitors in 2015, an increase of 2.8% over 2014 levels, breaking visitation records for the fifth consecutive year.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015 17:19

New Museums and Exhibits Slated for L.A.

broad museum diller scofidio renfro 5Architectural rendering of The Broad Museum

TASTE News Service June 17, 2015 - Los Angeles is one of the world's most dynamic cities, constantly evolving and expanding. Even frequent visitors and longtime residents who think they know L.A. can usually discover something new in this exciting metropolis. Though the city exudes a flashy pop-culture, it has weightier offerings, too. Here are some of the latest attractions and experiences the City of Angels is offering this year:

Los Angeles will welcome a spectacular new museum of contemporary art September 20, when The Broad opens on Grand Avenue in Downtown. The $140-million museum designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro creates a 120,000 square-foot, three-level facility with 50,000 square feet of gallery space, plus a lecture hall, public lobby with display space and a museum shop. Upon entering the lobby, visitors will travel up a 105-foot escalator, through the second-floor concrete vault, and enter the third-floor gallery, which features 23-foot ceilings and 318 skylights that filter in diffused sunlight through the building's exterior exoskeleton (aka “the veil”). The museum will offer free general admission to all.

The Broad's inaugural exhibition is entirely focused on the renowned contemporary art collection of Eli and Edythe Broad. Organized in a roughly chronological timeline, the exhibition will begin with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg in the 50s and continue to the heart of the collection, 60s Pop Art by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Roy Lichtenstein. The exhibition concludes with 70s and 80s works by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons.

Located directly south of the museum, a 24,000 square-foot public plaza features 100-year-old Barouni olive trees, an open lawn, and enhanced landscaping and improvements along Grand Avenue. On the western end of the plaza, restaurateur Bill Chait is developing a free-standing restaurant featuring chef Timothy Hollingsworth, former chef de cuisine at The French Laundry in Napa Valley.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) celebrated its 50th anniversary in April 2015 with a remarkable exhibition of 50 works from numerous private collections. Since its inception in 1965, the museum has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography, in addition to representing L.A.'s uniquely diverse population. Today LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes over 120,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. The works - including an early Double Marilyn by Andy Warhol - are gifts that have been promised to LACMA. The exhibition will include several works from the collection of billionaire philanthropist A. Jerrold Perenchio, who recently announced his agreement to bequest the most significant works of his collection to LACMA. The distinguished collection includes paintings by Claude Monet, LACMA's first painting by Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso's early drawing Tête (Head of Fernande) (1909), and René Magritte's seminal painting Les Liaisons dangereuses (1935).

Widely regarded as one of the world's leading cultural venues for emerging artists, the Hammer Museum in Westwood celebrates its 25th anniversary in November. The museum was founded in 1990 by Armand Hammer as a venue to exhibit his extensive art collection. The Hammer houses a permanent collection with masterpieces by Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Sargent, as well as one of the world's finest collections of works on paper. Admission to the museum and its public programs is always free.

Steven Koblik Visitor Center at the Huntington LibrarySteven Koblik Visitor Center at the Huntington LibraryThe Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino opened a new Education and Visitor Center in early 2015. The $68-million Steven S. Koblik Education and Visitor Center opened its northernmost section in mid-January, where visitors can experience the new ticketing area, coffee shop and a substantially expanded gift shop. The rest of the Education and Visitor Center – including a new auditorium, café, classrooms, meeting space, orientation gallery, and 6.5 acres of new gardens opened in April. The project also includes the addition of more than 40,000 square feet of underground storage space for The Huntington's growing collections of rare historical research and other materials.

The A+D Architecture and Design Museum is moving from Museum Row to a new home in the Arts District of Downtown L.A. A+D continues to be the only museum in Los Angeles where continuous exhibits of architecture and design are on view. The new A+D location is a 8,000 square-foot, one-story brick building located on East 4th Street at Colyton Street. The relocation is scheduled for completion in summer 2015. The new Arts District location is a return to Downtown L.A. for the museum, which opened in January 2001 in the landmark Bradbury Building. The museum's current location on Wilshire Boulevard is being replaced by the Wilshire/Fairfax station as part of the Metro Purple Line expansion.

The Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War preserves the cultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to inform and inspire a broad understanding of the period and its enduring legacy. The museum's extraordinary collection of 100,000 items contains artifacts, personal histories and archival documents that record life, expression and political developments during the Cold War period from 1945 to 1991. The wide-ranging collection includes design objects, works on paper, ceramics, paintings, sculptures, posters, furniture, textiles, films and books. In 2015, the Wende will move to the former Culver City Armory, tripling its exhibition galleries and adding to a mile-long cultural corridor with numerous permanent public art installations, live music venues, theaters and museums. The Armory property nearly spans an acre and includes open land that will be converted into a community gathering space. A sculpture garden will eventually feature the museum's 11 Berlin Wall segments.

Slated to open in 2015, the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles (IAMLA) is the only museum in Southern California dedicated to the Italian American experience. IAMLA is located in the historic Italian Hall, adjacent to Olvera Street in Downtown. The now-restored Italian Hall was constructed in 1908 as a social and cultural center for the Italian community, in what was then the core of L.A.'s Little Italy. The interactive museum documents the history and continuing contributions of Italian Americans with vintage photographs and memorabilia, an oral history and research archive. In addition to featuring exhibitions, the museum will host events and cultural-educational programming.

Editor’s Note: If you’re planning a visit to Los Angeles, you may want to first check out Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to Southern California Wineries and Craft Beer Purveyors.

Region: Los Angeles County     City: Los Angeles     Contact: www.playboyjazzfestival.com

Region: LA County     City: Los Angeles     Contact: www.cowboyfestival.org

Region: Los Angeles County     City: Los Angeles     Contact: www.losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com

Spanning a massive 470 square miles, Los Angeles offers what may be the most dynamic grouping of individual neighborhoods of any city in the U.S. In fact, in an attempt to get a handle on the sheer mass of the City, the Los Angeles Times recently counted no fewer than 114 individual neighborhoods within the City limits alone. And, while places like Downtown, Hollywood and Brentwood may be world famous — or infamous — here are a few districts that are lesser known but no less alluring.

 

Pair of Aces: Los Feliz/Silver LakeLE  Oyster Bar Silver Lake PicmonkeyL&E Oyster Bar on Silverlake Blvd.

These two older neighborhoods, which sit side-by-side about halfway between Hollywood and Downtown and are home to about 70,000 people combined, have grown in notoriety among locals but still can garner a blank stare when mentioned to an out-of-town visitor. Curiously, a lot of early filming history, including the opening of Walt Disney's first studio, took place here. Los Feliz is the slightly more stately of the two, with gorgeous homes dating back to the 1920s lining the hills of its upscale Oaks section next to Griffith Park. Its two primary shopping districts along Vermont and Hillhurst Avenues are heavy on local cafes and boutiques and light on chain stores. Silver Lake, named for its 127-acre reservoir, has long been a mix of artists, gays and young families and has more recently attracted a group of gastropubs and local-flavored eateries.

Quick Vibe: Los Feliz's Skylight Books on Vermont Avenue is a rare breed: a thriving, independent bookstore that's supported by locals and is known for its author readings. The Alcove Café & Bakery on Hillhurst will give anyone sitting on its patio a quick primer on the local community. Silver Lake is known for its music scene, so indie record store Rockaway Records and music clubs Satellite (formerly Spaceland) and Silver Lake Lounge are great for the uninitiated. And, more recently, Sunset Triangle, a pedestrian plaza created from what had been part of Griffith Park Boulevard, offers as good a daytime local vibe as anyplace and hosts two Farmers Markets a week, while Intelligentsia Coffee reflects a neighborhood on the upswing.

 

Low Key, High Rent: Pacific Palisades

Will Roges on Polo Pony PicmonkeyWill Rogers played in 1920's.Don't let the some of the country's highest housing prices fool you. Pacific Palisades is actually a very low-key, family-friendly community with a small-town feel. Boasting some of the best weather in the city — the community is bordered by a bluff overlooking the Pacific — the Palisades dates back to the early 1920s, and its commercial district covers just a few blocks on either side of Sunset Boulevard. Nature lovers can hike to a waterfall in Temescal Canyon, while polo aficionados (we know you're out there) can rejoice at the chance to attend weekend matches at Will Rogers State Park from April through September.

Quick Vibe: Pacific Palisades' relatively out-of-the-way locale ensures that its Sunday morning Farmers Market is almost exclusively a local affair, while Palisades Park is always full of families looking to take advantage of top-notch facilities mixed in with an ocean breeze. Village Books has been serving the literary set since 1997 and, while the Palisades has little nightlife to speak of, lots of folks hit the Southwestern-influenced Café Vida for breakfast and lunch, especially on weekends

 

 

 

Still Funky: Highland Park

As the gentrification fairy makes its way from Los Feliz and Silver Lake up into Eagle Rock, Highland Park remains a hodgepodge of sorts. Hemmed in by Glendale, Eagle Rock, Mount Washington and the Arroyo Seco Freeway, Highland Park consists of longtime Latino families mixing it up with artists and students at nearby Occidental College. The local art scene has more recently gotten a boost by way of NELAart (Northeast Los Angeles Arts Organization) Second Saturday Night, a monthly event where art galleries along York Boulevard and Figueroa Street keep their doors open late. And, of course, there's always the Lummis Home and Garden, the century-old home that writer/poet/photographer Charles Fletcher Lummis built out of beams, river rock and other assorted materials.

Quick Vibe: On Figueroa, Mr. T's Bowl & Nightclub is exactly what it says it is and has become a fixture for local bands trying to move up. Nearby, the Good Girl Dinette offers an innovative take on Vietnamese cuisine. But the dichotomy of Highland Park is most clearly reflected on a two-block stretch of York Boulevard, where The York gastropub serves a somewhat upscale clientele and wouldn't look out of place in New York, while El Huarache Azteca #1 goes down home with its namesake Mexican dish of giant proportions.

 

Valley, and Proud of It: EncinoRyan and Friend Toast at The York PicmonkeyOwner Ryan Ballinger shares a moment with a friend at The York

Yes, yes, pop culture vultures will probably associate Encino with title character in the early-'80s Frank Zappa hit "Valley Girl," but there's plenty more going on there aside from shoe emporiums and pedicure salons and, heck, the Galleria is actually on the other side of the 405 in Sherman Oaks. Ventura Boulevard is the main strip, with a ton of places to shop and a healthy hodgepodge of restaurants, including good breakfasts (More Than Waffles), sushi (Daichan Kaiten Sushi), Cuban (a local outpost of the Southern California chainlet Versailles) and Jewish (Jerry's Deli).

Quick Vibe: Encino may wear its suburbanism on its sleeve, but it also includes one of LA's natural treasures. The 2,031-acre Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area includes a wildlife preserve full of ducks, geese and egrets, as well as Lake Balboa, not to mention golf courses, a cricket field, bike paths, an archery range and a Japanese Garden.

 

Soul from Struggle: Leimert Park

Leimert Park is the ultimate, little-known LA story, having formed into its present version largely when writers, poets and musicians moved there after the 1965 Watts riots. The World Stage best illustrates how the neighborhood evolved, from the jazz of Ella Fitzgerald and R&B of Ray Charles to the more contemporary sounds of its educational and performing arts gallery. Phillips Bar-B-Que is a local and well-respected institution known for its spare ribs, while Ackee Bamboo serves generous proportions of Jamaican food.

Quick Vibe: Two words: drum circle. That's what happens every Sunday afternoon at 43rd Place and Crenshaw Blvd. And every June, the community puts on the Leimert Park Village Book Fair, which attracts more than 5,000 people, as well as more than 200 authors, poets, spoken-word artists and performers.

 

Rising Sun: Sawtelle

West Los Angeles' Sawtelle district is usually overshadowed by nearby, tonier communities like Brentwood, Westwood and Santa Monica. Heck, it's not even the best-known Japan Town in LA. Downtown's Little Tokyo takes that award. Still, the strip just west of the San Diego Freeway where Japanese and Japanese-Americans started settling in the 1910s remains a compelling place to visit, complete with its nurseries, sushi bars, noodle houses and even the magazine-cum-comic book store Giant Robot (there are actually two in the area). Some have even taken to calling the neighborhood Little Osaka.

Quick Vibe: Food wouldn't be a bad place to start. Hide Sushi is a Sawtelle stalwart, with fresh, no frills, fairly priced sushi, while folks looking to try Tokyo barbecue can check out Manpuku. Or, depending on time of day, you could skip the meal and check out one of the half-dozen nurseries that still dot the boulevard.

 

TravMedia sources contributed to this article.

 

Editor's Note: Planning to visit LA? There are links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. Also in the directory is our new section for beer-centric establishments throughout the state.

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.

This summer, Melting Pot Food Tours celebrates its fourth year as the original food tours provider for Los Angeles. The company has pioneered walking-tasting culinary tours of the city's best restaurants in the most historic neighborhoods.

Their three tours--The Original Farmers Market and 3rd Street, Old Pasadena, and East LA Latin Flavors—are chock full of stories of local color, introductions to merchants, and exotic tastings of world cuisine.

Melting Pot Food Tours was founded by native Angeleno sisters Lisa and Diane Scalia, who share a passionate desire to put Los Angeles on the map as a world-class epicurean destination. Their aim is to acquaint locals and tourists with extraordinary neighborhoods and the foods that make them so special and unique.

"Starting a LA-based food tour company just as the economy tanked in 2008 wasn't precisely our plan," mused Lisa Scalia, who changed careers mid-life to start the business with her sister Diane, who happens to be a chef. "But we knew we had a winning concept, and our continuing success in a down economy has certainly proven our instincts to be right."

The sister team is supported by a vibrant group of tour leaders, who share their passion for LA's diverse neighborhoods and the special international cuisine that helps define the City of Angels.

LadiesSalad-Joans SMALLTrying a bite of the signature Chinese Chicken Salad from Jones on Third."Los Angeles is incredibly blessed that immigrants came here and brought their foods with them. They're sharing a very important part of who they are," gushed Diane, who considers herself a gourmet storyteller. "We're so lucky to have amazing international cuisine around every corner. Foodies visiting LA really deserve to experience these special cafes and restaurants, some of which are hidden gems."

The flagship Melting Pot Food Tour launched in July 2008 at The Original LA Farmers in mid-city Los Angeles, and along adjacent 3rd Street. Guests sample a taste of Japan, India, Mexico, France, Brazil, and also savory and sweet American fare. Merchants add their personal anecdotes to the tour leaders' narrative, familiarizing guests with this neighborhood that holds allure for celebrities, tourists, and locals alike.

Harriot Manley of Sunset magazine heralded this tour as, "A great way to take a big bite of the Original Farmer's Market—especially for a first-timer like me. Lisa Scalia gave us intimate insights and a chance to enjoy it all in an efficient and enjoyable way."

Jessica Gelt of the Los Angeles Times stated that this tour is, "Not just for tourists, but for Angelenos looking to learn more about the splendid flavors of the city they love."

Simon Todd, publisher of Essentially America, the UK's leading consumer magazine about travel to the US and Canada, positively cheered. "Great tour guides. Great food. Great fun! Highly recommended."Olive Oil Tasters SMALL 433728Try a comparative olive oil tasting in Pasadena at Beyond the Olive.The Old Pasadena Tasting Tour, offered on both evenings and weekends, was added in July 2009. Guests explore back alleys and secret throughways while filling up on delicious tastings from the Middle East, Mexico, France, Peru, Italy, and Asia. Visits to an artisan chocolatier, unique handmade soap kitchen, and a California olive oil boutique round out the itinerary.

Orange County's Coast magazine writer Denise Adams commented, "There is no better way to see the area than with Melting Pot Food Tours. The Old Pasadena food tasting and guided walking tour was the highlight of our stay."

LA's Latin core district at the eastern end of downtown, including Boyle Heights, is the site of the East LA Latin Flavors Tour since winter 2010. Adventurous tour guests savor both time-honored and contemporary Central American and Mexican foods whilst learning all about their origins, including birria (goat stew) that dates back to a century-old recipe.

Hungry visitors to Los Angeles interested in learning more about these tours may visit http://www.meltingpottours.com.

TravMedia.com contributed to this article.

 

Editor's note: This article also appears in the Chefs and Restaurants section of the Eat category. Visitors to the Los Angeles area will find links to hundreds of lodging and dining options in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

This summer, Melting Pot Food Tours celebrates its fourth year as the original food tours provider for Los Angeles. The company has pioneered walking-tasting culinary tours of the city's best restaurants in the most historic neighborhoods.

Their three tours--The Original Farmers Market and 3rd Street, Old Pasadena, and East LA Latin Flavors—are chock full of stories of local color, introductions to merchants, and exotic tastings of world cuisine.

LadiesSalad-Joans SMALLEnjoying a taste of signature Chinese Chicken Salad from Jones on Third.

Melting Pot Food Tours was founded by native Angeleno sisters Lisa and Diane Scalia, who share a passionate desire to put Los Angeles on the map as a world-class epicurean destination. Their aim is to acquaint locals and tourists with extraordinary neighborhoods and the foods that make them so special and unique.

"Starting a LA-based food tour company just as the economy tanked in 2008 wasn't precisely our plan," mused Lisa Scalia, who changed careers mid-life to start the business with her sister Diane, who happens to be a chef. "But we knew we had a winning concept, and our continuing success in a down economy has certainly proven our instincts to be right."

The sister team is supported by a vibrant group of tour leaders, who share their passion for LA's diverse neighborhoods and the special international cuisine that helps define the City of Angels.

"Los Angeles is incredibly blessed that immigrants came here and brought their foods with them. They're sharing a very important part of who they are," gushed Diane, who considers herself a gourmet storyteller. "We're so lucky to have amazing international cuisine around every corner. Foodies visiting LA really deserve to experience these special cafes and restaurants, some of which are hidden gems."

The flagship Melting Pot Food Tour launched in July 2008 at The Original LA Farmers in mid-city Los Angeles, and along adjacent 3rd Street. Guests sample a taste of Japan, India, Mexico, France, Brazil, and also savory and sweet American fare. Merchants add their personal anecdotes to the tour leaders' narrative, familiarizing guests with this neighborhood that holds allure for celebrities, tourists, and locals alike.

Harriot Manley of Sunset magazine heralded this tour as, "A great way to take a big bite of the Original Farmer's Market—especially for a first-timer like me. Lisa Scalia gave us intimate insights and a chance to enjoy it all in an efficient and enjoyable way."

Jessica Gelt of the Los Angeles Times stated that this tour is, "Not just for tourists, but for Angelenos looking to learn more about the splendid flavors of the city they love."

Simon Todd, publisher of Essentially America, the UK's leading consumer magazine about travel to the US and Canada, positively cheered. "Great tour guides. Great food. Great fun! Highly recommended."

Olive Oil Tasters SMALL 433728Do a comparative tasting of olive oils at Beyond the Olive in Pasadena. The Old Pasadena Tasting Tour, offered on both evenings and weekends, was added in July 2009. Guests explore back alleys and secret throughways while filling up on delicious tastings from the Middle East, Mexico, France, Peru, Italy, and Asia. Visits to an artisan chocolatier, unique handmade soap kitchen, and a California olive oil boutique round out the itinerary.Orange County's Coast magazine writer Denise Adams commented, "There is no better way to see the area than with Melting Pot Food Tours. The Old Pasadena food tasting and guided walking tour was the highlight of our stay."

LA's Latin core district at the eastern end of downtown, including Boyle Heights, is the site of the East LA Latin Flavors Tour since winter 2010. Adventurous tour guests savor both time-honored and contemporary Central American and Mexican foods whilst learning all about their origins, including birria (goat stew) that dates back to a century-old recipe.

 

Hungry visitors to Los Angeles interested in learning more about these tours may visit http://www.meltingpottours.com.

 

TravMedia.com contributed to this article.

 

Editor's note: This article also appears in the Drives and Destinations category of our Visit section. Visitors to the Los Angeles area will find links to hundreds of lodging and dining options in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

 

Monday, 28 May 2012 12:01

LA's Game Changing Culinary Gold Rush

LA Sidewalk Diners  lacvb90 SMALLA popular sidewalk cafe. There's never been a better time to eat well in Los Angeles. LA faces the Pacific Rim and straddles the gateway to Latin America; and it has long been a destination due to its weather, topography and opportunity. Those diverse groups from distant lands have all helped to weave a collective culinary fabric that makes LA one of the most exciting places to dine on Earth. Northern California had the Gold Rush in the mid 1800s. Now the rush is on to be a part of LA's culinary scene, with chefs, artisans, brewers, coffee roasters and more descending on our metro area and driving our flavorful cause forward.

A big reason for LA's rise has been the concentration of international cuisines. Los Angeles boasts the largest populations of Korean, Chinese, Mexican, Thai and Persian people outside of their respective motherlands, leading to vibrant gastronomic pockets, complete with foreign signage, that could easily lead to people think they were overseas. Other cities might preach "melting pot," but we have unique enclaves like Thai Town, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, and the Sino-centric San Gabriel Valley that deliver regional specialties, some of which don't exist anywhere else in the U.S.

Even though LA is at its heart a desert, it's also an area with rich agricultural history, and that goes well beyond the once vibrant orange groves. Surrounding Southern California counties like Ventura and Santa Barbara provide LA chefs with a seasonal stream of produce and livestock that puts the rest of the country to shame. And they're not just settling for staid plating. They're adding imagination and creativity to complement that creamy avocado, crisp lettuce, or heritage breed pork. Local, seasonal and sustainable are no longer aspirational keywords for LA chefs. They're the baseline for a more exciting, fresher way of eating. They're also the basis for close-knit relationships between chefs and farmers that yield invaluable collaboration and frequent farm-to-table dinners. Yes, farmers are celebrities in LA in the era of Big Agro. Imagine that.

Of course, food doesn't speak for itself, and Los Angeles has cultivated its share of advocates, perhaps none more influential than Wolfgang Puck. The charismatic chef set the Sunset Strip on culinary fire in the early '80s Wolfgang Puck at 2010 Academy Awards 220px-Oscar Official Chef Wolfgang PuckChef Puck at Academy Awards. by opening Spago and has since built an empire that now impacts cities like Dallas and Minneapolis. He recently retooled the iconic dining room at The Hotel Bel-Air. And this May, he accepts the James Beard Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City. Clearly, Puck isn't slowing down, and those on the East Coast are finally realizing what we already knew about his outsized talents.

Puck isn't the only local chef earning national attention. For the fourth straight year, Food & Wine magazine selected an LA toque as one of their 10 Best New Chefs in America. The Spice Table chef-owner Bryant Ng, who cooks the kind of pan-Asian food that captures the imagination of so many Angelenos, is their latest pick.

LA is on a hot streak, and they're building all of this buzz without relying on old-school methods for measuring success like the Michelin Guide. Out here in Southern California, they're innovating and setting trends and never looking back.

 

(TravMedia.com contributed to this article.)

 

Editor's note: Links to the websites of hundreds of lodging and dining options in the Los Angeles area can be found at Taste California Travel's Resource Directory.

Page 1 of 2

Copyright © 2005 - 2017. Taste California Travel. All rights reserved. | Phoenix Website Design by CitrusKiwi