Interior of Industriel
Culinary tourists love to learn which restaurants are favorite haunts for locals, rightly guessing that long-term residents always know where to find the best food. As a chef myself and native of Los Angeles, let me share some of my favorites where the highest quality garden-to-table cuisine is served.
Chef Pati Zarate’s Homegirl Café was founded as a way for at-risk and gang-involved young women to “serve tables instead of serving time.” Homegirls (also now, homeboys) are trained to grow, prep, and serve local and organic food. Their contemporary Latina fare with a healthy twist includes Mango-Upside Down Cornbread and Red Mole Chicken.
Industriel is Provencal Urban Farm Cuisine by Armen Hakobayan and Chef Joseph Antonishek, of Old Pasadena’s Green Street Tavern. Downtown, at this elegantly reconstructed, former two-story Carl’s Jr., all artisan ingredients are crafted in-house if possible. Nearby farmers markets’ treasures assist to create amazing dishes like Crispy Soft-Poached Egg, Escargot Panini, and Chocolate-Caramel Pretzel Tart.
Chef Corina Weibel of Canele’ LA, says, “I love that as I take inventory of the items in our refrigerators, I can name the farmer who grew the produce and tell you where he is located.” Her sweet neighborhood haven serves exquisite farm-to-table cuisine, like Burrata with Sweet Pepper Ragout. Their Baked Pancake with Meyer Lemon Custard is a must for brunch.
Post & Beam is the pride and joy of Chef Govind Armstrong, whose many fans include Oprah Winfrey. In the off-the-beaten-track neighborhood of Baldwin Hills, a true LA jewel is planted – quite literally. A resident,“ultra-groovy and retro-inspired” garden adds to local growers’ and artisans’ contributions, inspiring their superb wood-fired pizzas and refined southern specialties like Long-cooked Greens with Smoked Ham Hock.
Those visitors hungry for the best and freshest LA has to offer deserve to experience these outstanding spots that we locals call our own.
Diane Scalia is a restaurant chef and the founding partner of
Melting Pot Food Tours, the original walking-tasting food tours company
in Los Angeles. Hungry, adventurous visitors to LA may learn more about
how to dine well while exploring the City of Angels by visiting http://www.meltingpottours.com. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MeltingPotFoodTours!
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photo: Diane Scalia/Melting Pot Tours