Michael John Dunaway Lifestream

October 1, 2008

LA suggestions from The Internet? Anyone?

Filed under: Uncategorized — michaeljohndunaway @ 6:51 am

Come on, The Internet, let’s harness the power of interconnectedness! My cousin messaged me today saying he was going to LA for the first time tomorrow and, knowing I very briefly lived there (twice), asked me about experiences, especially restaurants and bars, that I would recommend. Below I’ve pasted my top-of-the head comments (I deleted his replies and some chatter irrelevant to the purpose of the post). What have I missed? What are your favorite LA experiences?  And how cool is this photo (after the jump) of the Hollywood sign?  (It’s by Ted Van Cleave, please check out his uber-awesome photography here)

Please forgive the capitalization, punctuation, and grammar…it was, after all, a chat:

me: ha! def have some suggestions…will email you tonight…what neighborhood are you staying in?
Sent at 3:33 PM on Tuesday

me: one of my favorite burger places in the whole world will be right near you — the apple pan in westwood
10801 w pico

Sent at 3:58 PM on Tuesday

me: my favorite burger place in the world is also in LA…Astro Burger on Santa Monica, get the avocado bacon cheesbeburger…will change your life

And of course, In-n-Out has the greatest fries in the world…but they have those now in more than just LA
Two of my favorite places to hang out are just around the corner from my old house in W Hollywood — Standard Hotel and lobby of Chateau Marmont
Standard downtown is pretty awesome too, great rooftop deck

me: their burgers (in out)are good, but their fries are otherworldly
their potato slicers are set up straddling the oil, so the potatoes get like 1/20 of a second of air hitting them after they’re sliced

me: Are you on an expense acct? Koi in WHoll is pretty unbeatable for combo of great food and people watching, but very expensive

me: There’s a Ralph’s in WHoll, believe it or not, that I always recommend to people…it’s on Sunset and people call it the rock and roll Ralph’s because of all the celebrity sightings there
Ditto the coffee bean and tea leaf on sunset in w holl
can you tell i liked my old neighborhood?

me: definitely walk the pier at venice beach, that’s a lot of fun

me: take a nice long time to drive through hollywood hills

me: great sushi place in santa monica called (believe it or not) the hump — also celebrity sightings but definitely more low key and definitely great food
there’s an incredible chinese place called sam woo’s, but it’s divey, and not even in a charming way…the tofu there is spectacular
if you can believe i typed that sentence

me: never been to grace for dinner, but i hear amazing things
Sent at 4:12 PM on Tuesday

me: there’s a great little block in hollywood i call my favorite block in LA…it’s right across the st from the big scientology center…there’s a GREAT coffe shop/bar called The Bourgeois Pig, a great restaurant called Birds (all hitchcock decor, great roasted chicken), a cool bookstore, another couple of bars, etc
you could go to philippe the original where they originated the french dip sandwich…very old school

me: spago if you’re on a serious exp acct
Sent at 4:15 PM on Tuesday

me: def go see marty and elaine at the dresden room (from swingers, very cool)

me: viper room and whiskey a go-go for the history
Sent at 4:17 PM on Tuesday

me: ah, here’s one of my faves you won’t find in the guidebooks…el carmen, a mexican-wrestling themed dive bar with over 300 tequilas…AWESOME!
if they have a t-shirt, grab me an XL and i’ll pay you back

me: ha
barney greengrass, ciudad, the lobster (a bit cheesy but great location and great food)

me: drive around silverlake and find a cool coffeshop to hang out in
or a bar
there’s some bistro there that has awesome steak frites, but I’ll have to text Lisa to get the name
Sent at 4:22 PM on Tuesday

me: i wish i was going there with you…not only so i could be there but i have some friends out there that would show us an unforgettable time
Sent at 4:26 PM on Tuesday

me: oh! another great budget option…zankou’s chicken (multiple lcoations)…best roasted chicken i’ve ever paid less than $20 for.



  1. You rock! I printed these out and I’ll check back here when I get there.

    Comment by matt — October 1, 2008 @ 7:12 am | Reply

  2. Le Brea tar pits is as amazing as any place I have seen in the middle of a city. Basically imagine going to downtown new York and seeing 10,000BC through a window:)

    Comment by paul schottland — October 1, 2008 @ 7:23 am | Reply

  3. One of my all time fav places to eat breakfast is Kings Road Cafe. An alternate is Toast, but Kings Road has the best strongest cup of Coffee and food!!

    8361 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 Tel. 323.655.9044

    Comment by D CLAWZ — October 1, 2008 @ 10:55 am | Reply

  4. As a San Francisco resident, the things I most associate with Los Angeles are poor air quality, extreme narcissism, ridiculous traffic and violent crime. However, the Getty Museum doesn’t suck. The building itself is a work of art, and the permanent collection is excellent. And Malibu is lovely, from above or below.

    Comment by Jonathan Bass — October 1, 2008 @ 11:35 am | Reply

  5. How ’bout Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles in Hollywood. Mmmmm…. Roscoe’s.

    Comment by Josh — October 1, 2008 @ 6:15 pm | Reply

  6. Here are a few more places to check out:
    Father’s Office in Santa Monica: great burgers and one of the best beer selections in LA.
    Diddy Riese in Westwood: this cookie store in Westwood is an absolute institution; ask any UCLA alum. Somehow they haven’t heard about inflation – they have barely raised prices in 20 years.
    Tommy Burger in Van Nuys: this is the original LA burger joint. A burger mecca.
    Paradise Cove Beach Cafe in Malibu: fantastic brunch spot; great place to spot celebrities and enjoy the beach view
    Cinnamon Roll Fair on Balboa Island: not quite LA but if you make it down to Orange County, this place has the best cinnamon rolls this side of heaven.
    Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles: do I really need to say much about this one?

    Comment by Will Hinton — October 1, 2008 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  7. I agree with The Getty Center for art. If they’re into shopping or just people watching, The 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica is very nice. Apple Pan is great burgers and Father’s Office’s beer selection is indeed grand. If the timing works out, check out http://www.tvtickets.com to be in the studio audience of TV shows. Plus there’s always The Tonight Show and The Price is Right.

    Comment by Daniel — October 1, 2008 @ 11:21 pm | Reply

  8. Hey Michael,

    I seem to recall spending about six-years in Southern California during the black hole years of my life that I now to refer to as “graduate school.” Although it all seems like a blur now and the memories are fuzzy at best, here are a few of the tastes, smells and sounds that are coming back to me as I strain to conjure up the past.

    Taste- In And Out Burger! This is a Southern California staple and a necessary indulgence to anyone forced to live within those concrete confines. The delicious greasy burgers and fries literally melt in your mouth.

    Smell- Citrus trees in bloom. If you’ve never been near orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit trees as they bosom, your nose is still a virgin. It is worth making the drive to the outskirts of L.A. or Orange County to go for a walk along side one of the huge orchards that double as aroma volcanoes.

    Sound- Waves crashing on the beach while you sleep. If you’ve never pitched a tent on the beach you’ve likely missed out on this soothing sensation. My three-year old son has a sound machine that we play for him at night to help him get to sleep. One of the settings is waves on a beach, but it just doesn’t do the real thing justice. There are several state park camping grounds just north of Malibu where you can have fun playing in the surf by day and sleep like a baby by night.

    Comment by Patrick Hopp — October 3, 2008 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

  9. I’m in full agreement with Will (Comment #6). Diddy Riese will satisfy any sweet tooth and Father’s Office has to die for gourmet burgers. Some additional Angeleno favorites include, a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, a Dodger playoff game this weekend, and the “experience” of LA MILL Coffee in Silver Lake (http://www.lamillcoffee.com/). Enjoy!

    Comment by Diane Rodriguez-Kiino — October 3, 2008 @ 5:38 pm | Reply

  10. Best meal I ever had at a restaurant– chef’s tasting menu at SONA on La Cienaga
    Coolest downtown restaurant/bar/nightclub design– The Edison on 2nd St. (check the website at edisondowntown.com)

    Comment by Michael Emerson — October 5, 2008 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

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