The Best Of SoCal
Hitting the Greater Los Angeles area! SoCal is my hometown, born and raised and I love it! Sharing my favorite places... I ♥️ L.A.
Ventura, CA
restaurants
Boatyard Pub
Nice restaurant from breakfast until dinner in the harbor village. If you are looking for hearty breakfasts this is a great place. Be sure to order some of their house made salsa!
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Ventura, CA
restaurants
California Pizza Kitchen at Ventura
CPK offers good pizza for dine in or delivery. They have great special pizzas like their Original BBQ Chicken or their Thai Chicken pizza. The mushroom, sausage and pepperoni (photo) is pretty bomb too!
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Ventura, CA
lodging
Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort
Located by the Ventura Boat Docks, the Sheraton is a casual hotel that has updated rooms overlooking the harbor. It is about a 20 min walk or 5 min drive from the Harbor Village.
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Ojai, CA
destination • experience • shopping
Ojai Certified Farmers Market
Ojai Farmers Market has some of the best products and fresh produce from the surrounding areas. I love the vegetable selection, as well as the fun products like the granola or coffee sold. Don't forget to bring your big market bag!
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Ojai, CA
bar • cafe • restaurants
Jimmy's Pub
Another favorite restaurant inside the Ojai Valley Inn. This casual restaraunt servers upscale but casual pub food and drinks. Some of my favorites are the Lavender Lemonade, the Waygu beef tacos, brussel sprouts or sandwiches- so good!
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Port Hueneme, CA
cafe • restaurants
Manhattan Bagel
Nice bagel place in Oxnard with a good assortment of bagels, spreads and sandwiches. I especially like the Nova Lox on a Sesame bagel- Yum!.
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Ventura, CA
bar • restaurants
Margarita Villa
Margarita Villa is a fun and casual Mexican restaurant in Ventura Harbor Village. The Shrimp Enchiladas are pretty good as well as their cocktails! Prices are fair for the location and the service is friendly.
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Ventura, CA
bar • restaurants
Brophy Bros.
Located in Ventura Harbor Village, this is one of the popular restaurants for their food and drinks. The clam chowder is great as well as their seafood. If you like Mai Tai's, they make a great one!
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Ventura, CA
bar • destination • experience • restaurants • shopping
Ventura Harbor Village
Fun place to dine, shop and rent kayaks or pedal boats. There is free parking and a lot of clean restrooms too.
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Ventura, CA
cafe • shopping
Top This Chocolate
Create your own chocolate bar - Yum! Choose from either white, milk or dark chocolate. Then top with whatever you like, they offer a plethora of toppings. They will process it in about 8 minutes- it's so fun and delicious!
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Long Beach, CA
restaurants
Sura Korean BBQ & Tofu House Restaurant - Long Beach
This neighborhood Korean restaurant is terrific! Their bibimbap and spicy tofu soup are definitely delicious. Sura is open for lunch and late night bites.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Original Tommy's Parking
Opened since 1946. It goes without saying that Tommy’s was what teenagers ate in L.A. and until now they still do! There are many locations but Rampart is the original. Hollywood’s Elite and locals have stood in line here for a chili burger and fries. It is messy a The greasy but it is legendary!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Tres
Tres by Chef José Andres is located inside the SlS Beverly Hills. Delicious upscale dining is served from breakfast until dinner. Tres also puts on a fantastic Afternoon Tea with a fun take on classics. Well anything created by José Andres is always interesting and delicious. Enjoy! *Reservations recommended
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Los Angeles, CA
destination • experience • outdoors • shopping
Venice
Venice Beach has a long history of being eclectic and over the top. It is one of the best places shop, grab a bite and of course- people watch! Check out Muscle Beach, play on the workout equipment and watch the Hussle of the street performers. It is the greatest show on Earth!
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Los Angeles, CA
experience
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
One of our favorite places in LA. That's my kid and nephews in the picture! :) There are wonderful pieces of art from Picasso to Pollack. I have also seen fantastic temporary exhibitions from local artists to big names like Ted Button. Check their schedule for current exhibitions. You might be surprised to see what is at LACMA!
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Beverly Hills, CA
destination • experience
Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills is exactly what you think it is. Expensive! The stores, the restaurants, the countless plastic surgeons and the beautiful homes all come with an impressive price tag! If you are not looking to shop or get a lipo, a drive through BH is fantastic. The residential area around Sunset Blvd, throughout Wilshire and people watching around Rodeo is a nice way to spend a couple hours.
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Santa Monica, CA
destination • experience • outdoors
Santa Monica
Santa Monica is on everyone's So Cal to do list. Reason being is that there is so much to do! There are plenty of great restaurants, bars, shopping, fun for the kids on the pier, the beach and it is just a cool place to be!
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Downey, CA
experience • restaurants
McDonald's
Opened since 1953. I honestly do not do McDonald’s anymore but I have been to this location before because it is the oldest running McDonald’s in the world! PS... That is me standing in line to the right! ;)
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Glendale, CA
cafe • restaurants
Porto's Bakery and Cafe
Since 1973 Porto's has been a local's Favorite. This Cuban bakery empire originated in this location, Glendale! Favorites are the potato balls, guava rolls, croquets, flan and any other items. So good!
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Los Angeles, CA
destination • experience • restaurants • shopping
Farmers Market Place
The Farmers Market is a historic piece of Los Angeles. It first opened in the 30s and has been a strong attraction since. The over 100 vendors sell everything from produce, specialty foods to let's eat meals!
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Los Angeles, CA
destination • experience • restaurants
Downtown
I am a fan of Downtown and it's evolution over the decades. DTLA is actually my choice of locations when I go back to my hometown. I don't even need a car, since I Uber it around. The metro system also has several stops in DTLA. This district in LA is full of luxury hotels, Airbnb, boutique hotels and inexpensive stays. There are plenty of great dining choices, bars and shopping. DTLA is one of the oldest original parts of Los Angeles. It is where life of the city started until 'talkies' movies with sound moved everything out and into the burbs. That is why you will find older architecture, theatres with beautiful marques and closer quarters. It is very different from the other neighborhoods in LA and should definitely be explored. D
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Los Angeles, CA
destination • experience
Hollywood
Yeah. That's me hanging out in Hollywood. I was at my friend's birthday party a couple years ago at Loaded. It was pretty outrageous! Hollywood is the city that I was born in, Kaiser on Sunset to be exact. Although I was raised in the city next door, Glendale, I have a soft spot for this crazy town. There is a lot of history to Hollywood and you really should venture into it. When you are done with Hollywood Blvd, check out the restaurants and neighborhoods around it. Go into West Hollywood which is a different culture. Depending on how much you want to explore and have fun, you will find that there is a lot more to the Hollywood tourist scene. It's more of a lifestyle!
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Beverly Hills, CA
shopping
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills
To walk out with one of these green shopping bags of fromage is epic for the cheese obsessed. This place is definitely worth the visit if you are cheese obsessed. I am cheese obsessed. I love this place. The imported cheese selection is impressive as well as the knowledge staff. I came home with wedges of German Blue, the last bit of a wonderful French brie and other gourmet food products. I even got to try 15 year old aged Canadian Cheddar! Dear Gawd. Cheese dreams come true here!
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Glendale, CA
destination • experience • restaurants • shopping
The Americana at Brand
Located in the city that I grew up in, The Americana is the anchor of the downtown shopping hub. The Glendale Galleria I & II plus Brand Blvd surrounds the lively Americana. Walking around this little neighborhood (considering the apartment living of Americana) you will find fashionable shopping and restaurants within a lively outside atmosphere.
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Los Angeles, CA
destination • experience
Los Angeles
This is my hometown. Well I grew up in Glendale, same thing really ;). I am a BAR (Born and Raised) Angeleno and I date back from the early 70s. I have seen this city change and evolve. It has been a wild trip! One thing that I love about LA is the kick back nature of the long time locals. They are not into the hype but into the lifestyle and the food is one of the best things of LA. The beaches, mountains, shopping, Hollywood life, the different neighborhoods and ethnicities- the culture of LA is what makes it a unique and intriguing city!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
The Oinkster
When Oinkster opened we were obsessed! I used to bring back sandwiches to Vegas for people in a cooler. It is that good! I'm still down for Oinkster's house cured pastrami! My favorite is the Oinkster Pastrami with red cabbage, caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese. So dang delicious!!
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Universal City, CA
experience
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios dates back over 100 years and the Los Angeles location is where it started. This is an active studio, so the tram ride will bring you through original filming locations, props and a bit of movie magic. I found that more intriguing than the rides! If you are into thrill rides, well Universal Studios has that too!
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Burbank, CA
restaurants
Bea Bea's
Bea Bea's serves up incredible breakfasts and lunches in Burbank and Glendale! An enormous variety of pancakes, crepes, waffles and French toast are on the menu. If you are looking for egg dishes they offer an amazing selection of omelettes and eggy items. Plus salads, sandwiches, burgers on their lunch menu!
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Glendale, CA
restaurants
Big Mama's & Papa's Pizzeria - Montrose
If you happen to be in the 'blink and you'll miss it' town of Montrose and want a quick bite, BMPP offers delicious slices in a casual atmosphere. You can choose ready made slices, create your own or try one of their specialties. BMPP also serves calzones, sandwiches, salads, small bites and pasta.
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Los Angeles, CA
experience • restaurants • shopping
The Grove
The Grove is a fun place for people watching, shopping, grabbing a bite, catching a movie or just hanging out. It is next to the old Farmers Market which is also a great place to check out. Classic LA next to modern LA!
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • destination • experience
Hollywood Walk of Fame
One of the most visited Los Angeles attractions. I have seen it in it's days of 'For the love of all things Holy, don't go there when the sun goes down' to the now 'All day and night party and tourist haven'. It is always evolving. The significance of this Blvd is more than the streets lined with stars, the restaurants, tourist stores and clubs. There is incredible Hollywood history here from Musso and Frank's, the Egyptian Theater, Pig and the Whistle, old apartments that housed classic stars, etc. My suggestion is to do a bit of research before walking the Blvd like a regular tourist. Just saying ;)
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Los Angeles, CA
experience • shopping
The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore is a favorite for myself, daughter and friends- book and music nerds! Besides the amount of books, comic books, records, etc the space is incredibly creative! The book window, the old bank vault that holds the horror section, the two stories with open space and so on. You can spend hours here, we have!!
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CA, United States
destination • experience • outdoors • restaurants • shopping
Santa Catalina Island
The first time I came to Catalina was in 1984 for Camp Fox, I was in 6th grade. Since then I was hooked on this small island off the shores of Los Angeles. A trip to Catalina Island can be a quick day trip to Avalon, a weekend, camping or however long you like. To get here you can take a ferry from the main land. Or if you have a boat, you can bring it into the harbour. There are also helicopter and small planes that will bring you to the island. Enjoy!
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Los Angeles, CA
experience
The Broad
The Broad is a Contemporary-Modern art museum in DTLA. It houses the Broad Art Collection and top traveling exhibitions. Check their schedule for exhibitions and purchase your tickets online! The line is very long to get in, so save time and pre-purchase!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
Yes!! Gus's is a must for the fried chicken lovers! This casual checkered cloth tabled restaurant serves up crispy crispy chicken with soul food sides. Total Win-Win situation!
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Los Angeles, CA
experience
Hollywood Bowl
Catching a concert at The Bowl is truly a legendary experience. Snuggled within the hills of Hollywood, the acoustics are incredible. Many great artists play here as well as cinema sing alongs, the philharmonic and an amazing 4th of July concert with fireworks!
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • restaurants
Firefly
One of the hottest dinner restaurants in Studio City! They offer both Prix-Fixe with Wine Pairing and a regular dinner menu.
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • restaurants
Far Bar
Far Bar is such a great place for food and drinks. They have an incredible Happy Hour which is also available ALL DAY on Sunday! Whut? Yes! They also serve delicious Modern Asian dishes for dinner. Can't get enough!
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Beverly Hills, CA
restaurants
The Stinking Rose
Do you like garlic? I mean DO YOU LOVE GARLIC? Yes, The Stinking Rose located in BH has been a culinary staple for awhile. Garlic is king here and all the dishes are so good. One of our favorites! Don't forget about the Garlic Ice Cream for dessert!
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Pasadena, CA
cafe • restaurants
Dots Cupcakes
Delicious and sweet Boutique style cupcakes that have been noted as some of the best in Pasadena for a decade! Super cute and super yummy!
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Los Angeles, CA
destination • experience
Watts Towers Arts Center
"I build the tower people like". Simon Rodia, an Italian immigrant built these towers by hand, solo for 30 years from 1921-1954. Some people thought he was for crazy building and climbing the towers to create something. Others, like myself, think he was genuis!
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Pasadena, CA
experience
Norton Simon Museum
One of the best art museums in Southern California that dates back almost 100 years. This private collection is phenomenal and one of the best in the world. This is one man's collection of European Masters and South/ Southeastern art. I have not seen so many Degas in a private collection as this one!
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San Gabriel, CA
experience
San Gabriel Mission
Built in 1771, the San Gabriel Mission is one of the 21 Spanish Missions in California. It still has it's original facade and it is a nice place to walk in quiet.
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San Marino, CA
experience • outdoors
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
One of my favorite places in So Cal for decades. The Huntington Library is a cultural oasis in the middle of Los Angeles. The original Pink Lady and Blue Boy paintings are housed here as well as many other works. The gardens are truly incredible as there is both a Chinese and Japanese garden.
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La Cañada Flintridge, CA
destination • experience • outdoors
Descanso Gardens
I have been enjoying Descanso Gardens since I was a child and it gets more beautiful every visit. These gardens are tucked away along the mountains of La Cañada/ Flintridge. This is a wonderful activity for all generations.
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Long Beach, CA
destination • restaurants • shopping
Long Beach
Long Beach has a lot to offer! There are great restaurants, bars and the Waterfront Scene. Several cruises leave from Long Beach so this may be your overnight stay for that cruise to Mexico.
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • restaurants
The Woodman
The Woodman is a comfortable Gastropub serving yummy modern takes on classics. They also serve cocktails, wine and beer. Great place in the valley!
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Burbank, CA
cafe
Romancing the Bean
This adorable coffee shop is family owned and a neighborhood favorite! The coffee is very good, the pastries amazing and the atmosphere quite charming!
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Beverly Hills, CA
restaurants
Matsuhisa
One of the original sushi restaurants opened by Nobu Matsuhisa in the 80's. If you are familiar with Nobu or love Japanese food/ sushi, this is a must go to! It has been a true LA favorite!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen - Little Tokyo
A favorite of mine as well as family and friends! The ramen is incredible as well as all the add-ons to top your noodz!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
The Original Philippe
Opened since 1908. This Deli is the home of the original French dipped sandwich. Cole’s also claims the same thing! Only difference is Philippe’s actually dips the roll prior. This process was created by accident when the roll was dropped into a pan of hot dripping and a police officer said he would take it. That officer returned the next day with others asking for another dipped sandwich. This was back in 1918, ten years after they opened so I suppose they are the originators of the “Dipped “ sandwich. It is delicious all the same!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Pioneer Chicken
Pioneer was a chicken chain that we all grew up on in SoCal. It rivaled the Colonel and I liked it much better. It is an orange colored batter, deep fried and so delicious . There are one or two left in L.A.- Thank God!
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Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
destination • experience • outdoors
Abalone Cove Shoreline Park
One of my hidden favorite places in Los Angeles. This shoreline park is for those who want a relaxing moment from Los Angeles. It is a very special place located in PV.
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Gardena, CA
restaurants
The Pan Restaurant
This is one of my father's favorite breakfast places and it became a favorite of mine. If you are in the area and want to eat here, take note there will be a line. Get there early and wait in line, you are going to wait anyhow. It is that popular of a place!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Du-Pars Restaurant and Bakery
Opened since 1938. This was an L.A. chain American diner and only a few remain. This is the original location at Farmers Market and has been a favorite of my cousins. We breakfast here when I am in town.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Pink's Hot Dogs
Opened since 1939. I don’t know what they do their hot dogs but I swear they are great! There is always a line but it moves fast. Hot dogs are named after celebrities and you might see one standing in line here.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Miceli's
Opened since 1949. A favorite Italian restaurant and the oldest in Hollywood! Great pizza, Chianti, pasta and atmosphere!
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Long Beach, CA
bar
The Falcon
The Falcon is a fun dive bar in the LGBT community of Long Beach. Great people and good drinks- Fun times for everyone!
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Long Beach, CA
lodging
Residence Inn by Marriott Long Beach Downtown
Residence Inn in LB is a nice choice if you are wanting more room than a regular hotel room. The suites have a sitting area and full kitchen. It is close to all the action that Long Beach has to offer!
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Pasadena, CA
restaurants
Mint Leaf Indian
One favorite place that my friend and I enjoy! Mint Leaf is a neighborhood Indian restaurant that serves nice wines with their dishes. Their curries and delicious and they offer healthy options too.
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Long Beach, CA
bar
Sweetwater Saloon
This is a LGBT bar but what does that matter? This dive bar is fun, friendly and serves inexpensive drinks!.
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Long Beach, CA
restaurants
Spicy Sugar Thai
Located in the LGBT community of Long Beach, Spicy Sugar is a great place for late night eats. This is a neighborhood Thai restaurant and serves delicious favorites. Their Pad Thai and chicken wings and quite delicious!
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Los Angeles, CA
cafe • restaurants
Bottega Louie
One of the loveliest places to eat in DTLA! This Bottega serves fresh favorites, beautiful desserts and yummy macarons! A true fave!
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • restaurants
Hill Street Bar & Restaurant
Delicious flavors and cocktails at Hill Street? My favorite- the Miso Salmon Salad and Coconut Fizz cocktail. Makes a great combination!.
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Burbank, CA
bar • restaurants
El Criollo Cuban Bar & Grill
Tucked away in a Burbank strip mall, El Criollo serves up tasty Cuban casual dishes. Their roasted chicken with rice/ beans and plantains are great. They also serve s good Cuban Sandwich too!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Jitlada Restaurant
Jitlada has remained one of LAs best Thai food restaurants for a long time. It has been noted in many travel mags, write ups and TV featured. Yes, that good! It is Southern Thai and the menu is delicious! My favorite is pictured, Mel Mint Leaf Prawns. It's the best!
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Los Angeles, CA
lodging
Hilton Garden Inn Los Angeles/Hollywood
Located blocks from Hollywood Blvd and The Bowl, this Hilton is a perfect place if you are wanting to stay in Hollywood. It is comfortable, modern and friendly.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Northern Thai Food Club
A locals secret and fave. Northern Thai Food Club is a small, casual and authentic restaurant in Hollywood. Very good curry noodles with beef (see photo).
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air
Fancy pants people check it out! Or if you are a Wolfgang Puck fan then you are in for a good meal! This WP is located inside the beautiful and hidden Bel Air Hotel. The menu is delicious as well as the cocktails. The service is excellent as well as the location!
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Santa Barbara, CA
restaurants
McConnell's Fine Ice Creams - Santa Barbara
This is where it begins! If you are familiar with McConnell's or an ice cream snob, this is a delicious place to be. One scooter is actually two scoops and I swear the ice cream is at perfect temperature!
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Santa Barbara, CA
cafe • restaurants • shopping
Santa Barbara Public Market
The Public Market is a delicious place for a variety of food! From Asian to local seasonal, there is something for everyone!
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Burbank, CA
cafe • restaurants
Porto's Bakery and Cafe
Porto's is a locals Favorite for decades. This Cuban bakery originated one city over in Glendale. Favorites are the potato balls, guava rolls, croquets, flan and any other items. So good!
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Santa Barbara, CA
destination • experience
Old Mission Santa Barbara
The Mission system in Southern California run from the South to the North. It is part of California history that CA natives grew up with. This mission is one of many from the Spanish times and should not be missed if you are in the area!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Milk
Delicious desserts for ice cream snobs! The hand dipped ice cream macarons are outstanding! Enjoy!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Musso & Frank Grill
Opened since 1919. A true Hollywood Classic that has outlived other restaurants along the Walk of Fame. This is a favorite of mine due to the old Hollywood history, the hard cocktails, the vintage atmosphere and a great menu of old school classics.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
The Boiling Crab
I swear my hands and clothes smelled like the sauce for 24 hours! It is that good! The Boiling Crab is a family favorite that is located in K town. A lot of tasty food to eat with your hands!
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • lodging • restaurants
Chateau Marmont
Chateau Marmont has been a favorite of mine for over a decade! This classic hotel on Sunset has a lot of Hollywood history. I have seen several celebrities in the elevator and restaurant but I don't come here to star gaze. I respect their privacy and so does the hotel. I honestly come here to have Brunch or lunch! It is one of the quietest and comfortable places to have your first meal of the day, or second! Make reservations!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Carnitas Michoacan
I have been coming to this hole in the wall Mexican place for over 30 years. It is one of my food stops when I visit my Homeland of SoCal. The carne asada burritos are the best with the added hot sauce. Can't get enough!
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Glendale, CA
restaurants
Crab Avenue
West Coast Creole food! This popular seafood place in Glendale serves bag boils or classic dishes. If you are not wanting a bag boil, their jambalaya with salmon is good. Also order a side note their tasty garlic bread!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Ramen Maruya
One of my favorite places to eat inside the Japanese Village due to the delicious variety. The numerous times I have been here, my friends and family have always found something great! Their chasu ramen is crazy big! They also offer bento boxes, sushi and Japanese curry plus a lot more!
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Malibu, CA
restaurants
Cafe Habana
Delicious Cuban food in Malibu! The plantains are delicious as well as the Cuban beans. The Mexican corn is to be ordered as well! Delish!!
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Pasadena, CA
restaurants
Dog Haus Biergarten Old Pasadena
These just aren't hot dogs, these are Haught Dawgs! Elevated dogs with creative toppings all on Hawaiian rolls! Yummm
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • restaurants
Venice Ale House
Located on Venice Beach, this gastropub serves organic/ free range menu items. Plus great beer and wines!
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Pasadena, CA
restaurants
The Hat
Opened since 1951. This pastrami joint offers greasy and salty huge pastrami sandwiches that are legendary!
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Ojai, CA
cafe • restaurants
Revel - Kombucha Bar
Highly recommended for those looking for a healthy food option. They have an impressive selection of Kombucha on tap as well as delicious Açaí bowls. All are fresh, healthy and quite delicious!
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Ojai, CA
bar • cafe • restaurants
Azu
One of the best local hot spots in Ojai! The atmosphere is casual but with a hint of upscale. The appetizers and food are fresh and very SoCal. The beer selection is very good and you can do a flight to sample local brews. I am a cocktail girl myself and was very impressed by their creations. One of my favorite places in this town!
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Ojai, CA
cafe • restaurants
Bonnie Lu's
Bonnie Lu’s is a very popular place for breakfast. It is a family friendly restaurant with a retro diner atmosphere. The food here is well portioned and very hearty. They do offer low carb options which I enjoyed. Get there early on a weekend because the line can be out the door. Like I mentioned... a very popular place!
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Ojai, CA
experience • shopping
Heavenly Honey Company
Hey Hun! This is a charming little honey shop if you are into local honey. Ojai is known for their honey considering the bees pollinate around the area with local flowers and lavender. Heavenly Honey offers a tasting if you are interested in tasting what the local bees do.
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Ojai, CA
experience • lodging • restaurants
Olivella
Fine dining in Ojai! This restaurant located within Ojai Valley Inn is just incredible. You don’t have to stay at the Inn to enjoy dining here, just make sure you make reservations. The food is upscale dining and offers a wine pairing, which is perfect. The menu offers prix fixe or menu entrees. If you are in the mood for splurging, I suggest doing the prix fixe with wine pairing.
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Ojai, CA
destination • experience • lodging • restaurants
Ojai Valley Inn
In my opinion, if you are going to stay in Ojai this five star resort is the place to stay. Just ask the long list of celebrities who have stayed here over the decades. This is a full resort that promotes relaxation with a golf course, a full spa, pools and a golf cart that brings you to other locations in the resort. There are several delicious restaurants in the resort so you really don’t have to leave... ever! ;)
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Ojai, CA
destination • experience • lodging • outdoors • restaurants • shopping
Ojai
Ojai is a relaxing little town that is hidden in a valley close to Ventura and Santa Barbara. The highlights of Ojai is the laId back lifestyle with fresh organic cuisine, local lavender, honey and olive oil. Plus the Five Star resort that is a frequent for Hollywood’s celebrities. *Check out my other recommendations for your perfect Ojai trip!
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Ojai, CA
destination • experience • outdoors • shopping
Ojai Olive Oil
One of the coolest things in Ojai, especially if you enjoy the culinary life. This is one of the oldest olive tree groves in the area and it provides a tour of how they process their oil. I was very impressed by their ethics and product quality. At the end of the tour you can sample different olive oils as well as purchase them. My faves are the garlic olive oil and the basil!
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Ojai, CA
restaurants
The Oak
Located inside Ojai Valley Inn, this restaurant has a beautiful view of the golf course. It makes for a splendid brunch or lunch amongst the Oak Trees. The food and cocktails are top notch using natural ingredients to create a special meal.
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Palmdale, CA
restaurants
Boom Boom Chicken
You put the Boom Boom into my heart! Yeah Yeah! Boom Boom has a love for making crispy, tasty chicken wings in a variety of flavors. You cannot go wrong with whatever you order. On my visit, we ordered the Louisiana rub, sweet chilli and soy garlic all we're solid! Of the three, I will admit my favorite was the Louisiana rub. They were plump, crispy and flavor popping. Actually all of the wings we tried hard a lot of flavor and cooked perfectly. The restaurant is casual and counter order but they bring you your meal. The service is friendly and the place is clean. This place is a Great choice in Palmdale for wings and fried things! Boom Boom into my heart! Yum Yum yum
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Redlands, CA
cafe • restaurants • shopping
Mideastern Bakery
What an awesome little bakery in the Redlands! I came in with a friend who was familiar with this bakery and I was truly impressed by this little gem. It is a simple bakery but filled with tasty Middle Eastern delights. They had everyting from Kunafa (my favorite), different baklavas and pastries. I picked out several items like the colorful gel nougats that were so delicious! Some had nuts, some had florals and all were fantastic! The kunafa is great but something you need to heat up and they will let you know to pop it up in the microwave for 35 seconds. If you are not familiar with kunafa it is a cheesy dessert topped with rose syrup to add a bit of floral sweetness to the cheesy pastry. I had it while in the Middle East and has been a favorite of mine since. The Cheese mamoul was very nice too. I honestly did not realize that mamoul came with cheese inside, I was only familiar with the date version. What a delicious surprise for me :). They also do beautiful party trays for those wanting a lot of baklava and other treats for an event. I really do like this place for the wonderful friendly service and all the little baked items that remind me of my time in the Middle East. Enjoy!
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Lancaster, CA
cafe • restaurants • shopping
Best Of Europe
I am sure that most of you know that I am a Europhile! I love Europe, the food, people and everything about it. So finding Best of Europe to fulfil my Europhile needs was wonderul! Not only does this place serve made to order sandwiches both Euro and American inspired, they also have a little market with European food items. While here, I ordered the Parisian sandwich and it was good. It filled with brie and on the spot bladed ham, served in a baguette style roll. My friends ordered a caprese open sandwich and currywurst! When I saw my friend's dish I said "Oh my god, they have currywurst here?" I should have ordered that but I was pretty happy with my choice. As for the European food selection it is small but if you want items to make spätzle, currywurst or beans for your UK or Irish breakfast they will have it here. They also have a nice selection of British sweets, spices and refrigerated items. While here, I picked up a few items that I loved when I was in Europe. Such as a Mozart ball that I had in Austria, Hungarian Paprika that I tried on dishes in Budapest and Heinz beans for a good old UK breakfast! I also picked a little bar of Niederegger Marzipan which is from Lubek, Germany. I ate at Niederegger in Lubek and the marzipan is pretty solid. The prices are good for imports and the service is very friendly. You can order your sandwiches to go but there is also a small amount of seating inside and out. Enjoy!
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Glendale, CA
restaurants
Tep Thai Restaurant
If in Downtown Glendale, Tep Thai is a nice little place for Angelic Cuisine . FYI- During lunch time they offer great lunch specials that are tasty and filling. On that note, I came in for lunch while I was staying at the new Hyatt next door. Upon entering the restaurant looks very Zen Modern, clean and very comfortable. I really liked the ambiance especially for a little lunch place in downtown Glendale that is not on Brand Blvd. I decided on the Salmon Panang Curry and brown rice. It was delicious! There was a lot of salmon in the red curry, it was definitely worth it. The curry was very good, not spicy which is understandable but you can always turn up the heat. I added little chillies to my curry to add heat, which I really liked. The service was friendly and attentive. I was not rushed which was nice considering it was lunch time. I do believe if I end up at Glendale Hyatt again, I will come back in and try other dishes.
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Glendale, CA
lodging
Hyatt Place Glendale/Los Angeles
Glendale has changed!! I grew up in this city so every time I return there is something different. The Glendale Hyatt Place is new and I honestly do not remember what was torn down in order for it to be built. Anyhow, it is nice to see a Hyatt Place in Glendale. I always stayed at the Glendale Hilton but this location is more convenient. The Hyatt Place is close to everything- The Galleria, Americana, Brand Blvd and PORTO'S! I am a Hyatt member and if you are too, your perks are great. I used my points to book a free room, received bottled water every day, got a room upgrade and free breakfast. Use your points! This is a valet only hotel, which is common in L.A. It does cost extra but it is very convenient to text for your car with a response of an ETA. Then get in your car and go There is a nice gym and pool at this location. The rooms are clean, spacious and comfortable. They are what you expect for a Hyatt House, a room with an added sitting area. The breakfasts are good here, complimentary or not. A lot of hot food items, cereals, juices, etc. There is also a bar that offers your typical beer, wine and cocktails. Something that I needed when I arrived! Honestly, this is now my choice for a hotel when I come back to my hometown. The location is very important to me and the perks are too!
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Los Angeles, CA
cafe • restaurants
Health Winner
The Health Winner is just one of several counter style restaraunts inside the Bonaventure. On a Sunday afternoon, the choices are even slimmer because most of the restaurants are closed. For myself and others this was a great choice, it seemed busy while the other restaraunts were empty. I can see why it was busy. Most of the people during lunchtime seemed to want something non greasy, not heavy or non junky. The Health Winner offers a more healthier approach than the other restaraunts with fresh sandwiches, wraps and salads. I ordered the Tuna Avocado wrap which took about 10-15 minutes to make. The girl behind the counter let me know and I walked around for a bit and came back. When I came back, I watched her make it with fresh vegetables and scooping the avocado out of the skin. Unlike some places that use squeeze tube guacamole passing it off as avocado. I really liked my Tuna Avocado wrap, It was very filling that I couldn't finish it all. I did not feel guilty after eating it although I was stuffed! That is a good thing! ;)
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Los Angeles, CA
lodging
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles
My room was very comfortable and simple with a heavenly bed. I didn't want to leave it so I ordered room service and ate my breakfast wearing the white robe provided. Then I dragged myself out of the room to hit the hotel gym! Have you ever been to the Bonaventure? It has 1970s architecture written all over it but the good part of the 70s! The interior is open with ceilings that do not seem to exist. There are winding steps, bridges, little seating balconies and those glass elevators that just slide up and down with ease. It is a beautiful hotel, the architectural details are incredible for the time but was common in larger cities. I still love this nostalgic hotel. My curiosity as a 70s-80s kid got the best of me and it still does!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Lakeview Bistro
Located on the lobby floor of the massive Bonaventure hotel, Lakeside Bistro is convenient and tasteful. There are other places to eat in this hotel but they are either counter service or you have to take elevators, climb stairs and cross bridges to get there. If you want somewhere that you can easily find, it is this bistro. The atmosphere is open and seems upscale although it is casual. The breakfast and lunch menu items are a bit pricey but it is fine if you consider your time and quality of your food. I opted for something light and my server was very knowledgeable and suggested items that I already was considering. I opted for the tomato and burata, it was delicious! Everything was fresh and the presentation was beautiful. It was a perfect portion considering I just needed something to tide me over until dinner. When I was dining, it was quiet but you could hear the water features around so it made my lunch very Zen and enjoyable.
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Los Angeles, CA
destination • experience • restaurants • shopping
Little Tokyo
I have been going to Little Tokyo for a long time. I remember in 1991 going on a college date to a restaurant here. That restaraunt and boyfriend relationship no longer exist but the whole Little Tokyo lives on! There is a lot to see and eat here. You can easily spend a day shopping, checking out the museum and being epicurious in Little Tokyo. I have bought some great items in LT- a kimono, jewelry, pastries and most recently a pretty sweater from a boutique. For food there are so many ramen places here, they are literally next to each other. If ramen isn't your thing you have your choices of tepanyaki, sushi, tea houses, bakeries, etc. Great glutenous behavior can be had here. Parking is inexpensive for LA, you can park on a Saturday night for around $7 flat rate. You can also take the Metro since there is a Little Tokyo stop.
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Los Angeles, CA
cafe • restaurants
85C Bakery Cafe - Downtown Los Angeles
85 C is a favorite of mine whether in So Cal or Las Vegas! They have different delicious treats like cakes, pastries, savories, sweet items and breads. This is an Asian style bakery and you choose your items with a pair of tongs! Enjoy
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Los Angeles, CA
lodging
Sheraton Grand Los Angeles
This Sheraton is located in the middle of DTLA and a very convenient location. The hotel is very comfortable, modern and a bit luxurious for a Sheraton. The Club Lounge is worth it if you are a Bonvoy Marriott member.
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • restaurants
DISTRICT
DISTRICT is a great place to do happy hour, drink and eat a tasty meal. Their cocktails are wonderful and their HH appetizers delicious. I recommend their Crab Salad on Squid Ink Bread, the Brocolini Bruschetta or the Arugala Hummus.
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Glendale, CA
cafe
Kafn Coffee
Located in the residential area of Adams Hill in Glendale, this little cafe serves serious coffee and tasty morning bites. I recommend their Nitro Brew Coffee accompanied with one of their croissants.
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Ventura, CA
bar • restaurants
VenTiki Tiki Lounge & Lanai
A legit Tiki Bar in Ventura serving amazing Tiki Drinks and a great happy hour! They offer tiki mugs to purchase with your drink if you want. Their Chi-Chis and Mai Tais are Tiki-tastic!
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Santa Clarita, CA
cafe
Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders
Great coffee house! Everything is great from the comfortable atmosphere, the robust coffee and their tasty pastries. Try out their Housemade Pop Tarts- so addictive!
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Pasadena, CA
lodging
Sheraton Pasadena Hotel
The Sheraton Pasadena is a smart choice if you are looking for a comfortable stay in Old Town. It is a block behind Colorado Blvd, which is the main road. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes and shopping in the area. There is a pool, a restaurant and room service available in the hotel.
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Los Angeles, CA
bar • restaurants
Best Girl
Chef Michael Cimarusti's Best Girl is located in historical DTLA. This wonderful bistro is one of my favorites in the area. Best Girl's changing menu uses seasonal ingredients, is very creative and absolutely delicious! They offer full day dining, drinks and desserts. So good!
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Beaumont, CA
destination • experience • outdoors • restaurants • shopping
123 Farm
How come I never knew of this place during my first 29 years of living in So Cal? Well I am older so the events here probably were not happening in the 80s. Anyways, 123 Farms is so lovely! It is located in Beaumont, California and is a relaxing little getaway from the rat race of L.A. They have their own olive grove and lavender fields, plus they make gourmet food items from their own farm. On my visit here, I checked out the Olive Festival which was held last weekend. Apparently, they hold several festivals such as a lavender and sausage fest that in the future I would love to check out. There is also a sourdough making class that I am interested in as well. So many fun food events here at 123 Farms. My friends and I arrived at the time the event began and we brought our own water and chairs. There is seating but we brought our own for the freedom of putting them down where we wanted to. We found a lovely spot under an olive tree with wood tables made from tree trunks. The weather this past weekend was mild and we had a lovely time mingling, eating and drinking. There were a few food vendors at the event serving different gourmet epicurouis items. There was also a bar serving lavender champagne and lavender margaritas plus other nice cocktails. The ice cream served was phenomenal. My favorite was the goat cheese and fig. I had blue cheese ice cream in London once and this goat cheese ice cream mirrors the same concept. It really is a wonderous dessert! For my meal, I decided to go with the charcuterie but what else is new? I purchased the $20 charcuterie plate that allowed me to choose five different cheeses or meats. It also came with a little box of Carr's Crackers. I loved the concept of choosing my own charcuterie as I was given a check list and waited in line to try the different cheeses and meats. I chose from there and handed in my list to have my personalized platter made. The cheeses were domestic but also imported. Everything was great! 123 Farms is definitely a SoCal place that has left an impression on me and I want to return to. Hope to see you there!
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Glendale, CA
cafe • restaurants
Plate & Petal
This delicious cafe and bakery in downtown Glendale serves brunch, lunch and dinner. Plus wonderful coffee drinks and and lovely pastries. Check out their tasty menu on line and make a reservation.
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Los Angeles, CA
cafe • restaurants • shopping
Maya's Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets
One of my sweetest obsessions! Maya creates incredible brigaderio from a passed down family's recipe. She uses all natural ingredients and offers a range of classic to updated flavors. So delicious!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Won Kok Restaurant
Opened since 1976- one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in Chinatown. My family used to come here a lot. It is opened late so it was a great place to go after concerts.
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Glendale, CA
restaurants
Foxy’s Restaurant
Opened since 1964. A little A-Frame restaurant next to the enormous modern Americana Mall. I still come here for breakfast with my friends when I visit and have one of their Bloody Mary’s!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Folliero's Italian Food and Pizza
Opened Since 1968. I used to eat here once or twice a week when I was a teenager. The lasagna is great and has spoiled me to where I cannot eat lasagna from other restaurants. The pizza is fantastic here too.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Cielito Lindo
Opened since 1934. One of the oldest restaurants on the oldest street in Los Angeles! This is a little Mexican food stand with legit tacos and burritos.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles
West Coast Chicken and Waffles before it was popular! There are several locations in the LA area, I preferred the Pasadena one because it is less crowded. Great soul food options here.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Astro Burger
Opened since 1974. This is a retro burger place on Melrose that now serves Greek food. You can still get a burger and fries just to kick it Old school.
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West Hollywood, CA
bar • restaurants
Rainbow Bar & Grill
Opened since 1972- The Bow on Sunset has been a widely popular hangout for Hollywood’s locals and celebs. Fun place to people watch!
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South Pasadena, CA
restaurants
Shakers
Opened since 1971. This restaurant was a chain of American comfort food. The interior still has that 70s feel. Shakers was a favorite of ours growing up in SoCal!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
House of Pies
Opened since 1969- This vintage restaurant never gets old. Their pies have been popular since the start and offer a coffee shop menu.
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Glendale, CA
restaurants
Scarantino's Italian Inn
Opened Since 1967- A local Glendale favorite growing up. Not much has changed inside and the food is pretty old school.
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Glendale, CA
restaurants
Dinah’s Chicken
Opened since 1967- Another vintage Glendale restaurant! The interior and exterior still has that 60s charm and still serves great fried chicken!
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Pasadena, CA
restaurants
Pie'n Burger
Opened since 1963. Another great L.A. diner from the 60s. Great food and legit retro atmosphere.
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Burbank, CA
restaurants
Castaway Burbank
Opened since 1963. Located up above Burbank with great views, this restaurant was the place of places back in the day. It still is a charming place for all day dining within a nautical themed restaurant.
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Glendale, CA
restaurants • shopping
Mario's Italian Deli & Market
Opened since 1961. This charming little Italian delicatessen has survived. I honestly believe for their sandwiches! Sometimes we still talk about the meatball or other deli cut sandwiches. “Remember Mario’s? “ ... “Yeah, Mario’s!”
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Astro Family Restaurant
Opened since 1958. There are not to many Googie Architecture buildings left, let alone an original restaurant inside a Googie. This diner has changed names in the past but has kept “Astro “ from the mid 70s. Delicious diner food from morning till night.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
NORMS Restaurant
Norm’s was a 1950s chain that we grew up with. The Googie sineage was always welcoming! This location is the oldest in L.A. and you can find a few here and there around SoCal.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Art's Delicatessen & Restaurant
Opened since 1957. This traditional Jewish Deli had always been a hotspot when I lived in Studio City for awhile. Great sandwiches, very legit Jewish Deli!
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Burbank, CA
restaurants
Bob's Big Boy
Opened since 1949. A classic hamburger place that originated in Glendale circa 1936. This is the oldest remaining Bob’s and is noted for their “Original Big Boy” burger. Brings back memories!
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Los Angeles, CA
cafe • restaurants
The Original Pantry Cafe
Opened since 1924. Open 24/7 and has never closed their door for almost 100 years! The Pantry serves large portions of American Classic Diner food in DTLA. Great breakfasts here!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Cole's French Dip
Opened since 1908. This is one of the oldest restaurants in Los Angeles and home of the classic French Dip. I love the location of this restaurant as it is on the lower floor of the old Pacific Electric Building. Their sandwiches unlike Philippe’s, the other originator, offers the au jus on the side which is the classic way to eat one of these sandwiches. Dip and eat!
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Pasadena, CA
restaurants
Du-par's Restaurant & Bakery
The Du-Par's restaurant are a SoCal chain of diners that are some of the oldest. This Pasadena location is a newer updated one and great for late night bites. It is also good for anytime of the day especially if you are looking for comfort and!
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Pasadena, CA
restaurants
Mi Piace
Noted as one of the best Brunch places in the area, Mi Piace in Pasadena is a delicious choice all times of the day! It has been a favorite Italian restaurant of mine in Pasadena for decades!
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Beverly Hills, CA
restaurants
The Polo Lounge
Opened since 1941. This has Hollywood history in its walls! The lounge is lovely and located inside the famous Beverly Hills hotel. Brunching with Bellinis here are outstanding!
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Glendale, CA
restaurants
The Great White Hut
Opened since 1947. I honestly cannot believe this place is still here! It is a piece of post WWII Americana that you need to experience. The Great White Hut is a little outdoor burger stand with bar stools around it. Growing up Glendale, this was a staple for us youth. This city is changing and you need to experience this type of dining before Glendale changes too much!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Cindy's
Opened since 1948. Cindy’s is a legendary retro coffee shop in Eagle Rock, which is in between Glendale and Pasadena. Delicious American diner classics in a very retro diner.
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Canter's Restaurant, Bakery, Deli and Bar
Opened since 1931. Canter’s is a famed Jewish delicatessen that has served Hollywood’s Elite for decades. It is located on Fairfax which is in a Jewish neighborhood, outside of Beverly Hills.
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Buena Park, CA
restaurants
Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant
Opened since 1934. This restaurant was the start of the amusement park “Knott’s Berry Farm”. Even if you don’t go into the park, you can still down some fried chicken and berry pie. Yeah, I love their pie!
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Los Angeles, CA
restaurants
Tam O'Shanter
Opened since 1925. A favorite for almost 100 years for Hollywood’s A-List of yesteryear. Walt Disney, John Wayne and Mary Pickford to name a few. The exterior is very sweet as it was designed with by a Hollywood set designer to resemble something out of a storybook.
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Burbank, CA
restaurants
Chili John's
Opened since 1946. Known for their chili on top of spaghetti noodles which they have been serving since the day they opened!
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West Hollywood, CA
restaurants
Barney's Beanery
Opened since 1927. This restaurant is a legend. If you are looking for a restaurant that was visited by Old Hollywood’s Elite as well as Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, it’s Barney’s. There are now a few more locations but Santa Monica Blvd is the original location and it does not compare to the newer ones.
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