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So, for reasons of the heart, I shall be returning to LA for a couple of weeks over the New Year.


I got to meet a few splendid people last time including The Scream and Monkey May and would love to hook up with some more this time if anyone has the time and/or inclination


I suspect that my chum already has some plans for me, I know I am cooking for people on NYE, but any other suggestions would also be welcome for an impoverished writer on a tight budget.


I know for certain I am eating a hot dog at Marty's and chicken giblets at Roscoe's





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Phillipe's Home of the French Dip is a Los Angeles must-try and an old standard.


Whatever you do, don't be tricked into believing that because most go for the beef, you should too. THE sandwich to get is the lamb with blue cheese.


I would also heartily recommend Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori in Gardena (they are widening their empire ramen and shabu-shabu houses, but this was -- I believe -- their first and best location). That is the first place I eat every single time I return to LA. Seriously; I usually plan my trips so that I arrive just in time for lunch. The variety is not as wide at lunch, but the food is bountiful and fabulous.


And lastly, when I was living in L.A. (and quite, quite poor), the other best bang-for-my-buck was Empanada's Place at 3811 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles (near Venice). I have since traveled to Argentina and outside of the that country, I have not had empanadas as well-prepared. My Ex and I could eat there and be full for under $20.00.

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Some old standards.


Langer's pastrami sandwich. Tell them you're from out of town and maybe they'll give you a bigger pile o' meat. That sometimes used to work for me. Otherwise, it can be kind of skimpy, and the sandwiches are like $11. It's the best though, so that's why I think it's a bargain. And make sure to request hand-sliced because sometimes when they're busy, they'll just slice it on the machine without telling you.


Scoops. Cheap, awesomest gelato place ever. I get the one scoop for $2.75, but then request all 4 vegan flavors, and they give me half scoops of all of them. They use reusable glass cups if you're eating in, not those terrible plastic ones. You can even get a refill for $1.75. hahaha I love this place with all my heart.


If you can get a bunch of people together, go to Elite Restaurant in Monterey Park, for dim sum. I've never had it run more than $20 a head, and that's when we order all the expensive stuff. I think it is the best dim sum in the LA area, though there are other decent ones too.


I think the best ramen (about $7-8) is at Santouka, on the Westside. Actually the best Santouka is the one in OC, in Costa Mesa, but you aren't going down that far. My best buddy thinks Daikokuya has the best ramen (Japantown).


I don't eat meat these days, so I miss out on all the good Mexican places popping up. Some good cemitas joints, a bunch of good bbq joints, etc. They tend to be really cheap. Do a search for Erik M on chowhound. He hits those places a lot.


Also, there are some decent banh mi joints, to the east. A sandwich is like $2-3. I like Banh Mi Che Cali because it has a good combination of cheapness and goodness. When I was in LA, I went to the one in Alhambra, which is close to downtown and has really good turnover. Across the street is Kiki's Bakery. This particular branch of Kiki's has the fluffiest buns I think I've ever had (and I've had me some fluffy buns). Don't got to any other Kiki's.


I wouldn't say no to the dollar dim sum at Yum Cha Cafe. It's in Chinatown, near downtown, has its own parking, and you can't beat the prices. Dim sum is not Elite, but for the price I think it's pretty good.


Thai Town is pretty cheap. You can get a really good bowl of noodles at Ord Noodles for like $4.


--the main problem with these recs, and LA in general, is that they require driving all over the place.

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Will you have a car or access to one? Do you know how to drive?


Yep, I have access to a car and know how to point and steer one


The real problem with suggestions of asian food is that my chum is filipino and her friends are a motley asst of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Thai, so any suggestions on my part are met with a polite rebuff that equates to "piss off whitey"


Still the dipped sarnie was one thing missing last time I was there although I walked into Phillipe's after lunch at The Nickel when I was stuffed and cursed my solitary stomach



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The real problem with suggestions of asian food is that my chum is filipino and her friends are a motley asst of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Thai, so any suggestions on my part are met with a polite rebuff that equates to "piss off whitey"

Ah so, you're going to be around Asian folk who think they know everything. I'm surprised we haven't met.


Oh and yeah, I finally tried the roast beef sandwich at Phillipe's. What a waste of stomach space. I think you must have to specially ask them for jus or something because my roast beef sandwich was dry as a bone. The most interesting thing I remember at Phillipe's was the transgender notary talking to me during lunch. Afterwards I was told by various people that I was an idiot for not getting the lamb with blue cheese.


There are a lot of good burger joints around here. May be out of your budget, but the Bowery has a fully loaded burger for $11: grilled onions, blue cheese, bacon, english muffin for a bun. Also, this place has one of the best selection of liquors around. Crazy selection of vodkas, for instance. There are plenty of cheaper burger joints though. Chowhound has this huge thread on favorite burger places.


Also, I see a lot of writers at the Starbucks on Hollywood and Western. There's free parking underground for customers. And since it's a Starbucks, they don't kick you out.


If you really want to see your friends roll their eyes, tell them you want to go to the vegetarian Filipino place in El Segundo. i repeat, vegetarian Filipino place. Papillon, I think is the name... I love LA. It has everything.

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I love LA. It has everything.

Now, now. We're a little short on one-eyed biracial dwarfs.

Be that as it may, the place with THE best selection of whiskey is Seven Grand at 7th & Grand downtown.

The place with the best happy hour ambience is the Edison also downtown. Probably a good place for your Cosmopolitan fix.

What kind of food are you looking for? Chances are we've got it.

A propos of nothing, there's some pretty good BBQ stuff and Chinese lunch specials at U2 Cafe on Valley Blvd. in Alhambra but make sure you go on the East (Chinese) side though.

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Impoverished writers used to get their agents to take them to Musso and Frank's for breakfast.

Opening at the sensible hour of 11:30 am, I recommend a Saturday morning eating Eggs Benedict, skillet hash browns, and flannel cakes washed down with spicy Bloody Marys made by the 72 year old bartender. Not a cheap date, and a hit or miss menu - stick with the grilled meats - but you can rub elbows with Hollywood ghosts and professional waiters whose median age is 65 and wonder at which booth Faulkner and Fitzgerald used to pass out. Very old school Hollywood and very LA.

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Well, I am reliably informed by S that I shall have to entertain myself during the day while she is busy defending the public good.


I have to do some of my own work on some days, but would love company on any othes. I will have a car.


On kind MF'er has already suggested a taste off between Phillipe's and Coles.



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