You may not be cheap, but our picks for the best dates are.
El Prado and Taco Zone
Hit up this beloved Echo Park spot for the carefully edited, well-priced beer and wine list, dim lighting, and great music selection. When you’ve sipped enough, get into the Zone across the street. We recommend the suadero, al pastor, and lengua (tongue). If you’re into off-menu terrain, ask for the mulita and get your choice of meat and cheese between two fried corn tortillas. Parting words: DIY salsa bar.
Museum of Jurassic Technology
Accepting that — spoiler alert — dinosaurs are never coming back is hard. Paying a suggested donation ($5) to see questionably scientific, quantifiably artistic, and certainly unclassifiable objects and exhibits is not. Check out anomalies like a horn that grew out of a woman’s head, a pair of mice on a slice of toast, and pictures of dogs that went to space with the former Soviet Union’s expeditions. Discuss over cookies in the tea room.
You can learn a lot about someone over $8 smoked alligator and pork andouille sausage. The downtown spot also has less exotic options like bratwurst, bockwurst, and vegetarian smoked apple sage, all of which come on a fresh roll with two toppings (caramelized onions, sauerkraut, sweet or spicy peppers). There are also 24 beers on tap (eleven Belgian and ten German varieties) and fries with a ton of dipping sauces — but that’s got nothing on the locals.
The Trails Cafe
Fuel up before heading to the hills with vegetarian and vegan options under $7. After all, you’ve got 53 miles of trails to pick through, like the one leading from the observatory parking lot to the summit of Mount Hollywood. We love the avocado and sprout sandwich with fake bacon bits and tomatoes, and the veggie chili with vegan blue sage cornbread. Most everything is baked on the premises daily. Don’t leave without snagging some pie.
An institution since 1958, the Net provides good budget eats and a homey atmosphere right on the ocean. Dig into fish and shrimp tacos, fish ’n’ chips, burgers, dogs, and tons of fresh seafood available by the pound. Wash it down with the always-classic Bud Light or heavy. Then hit up the beach — you might be able to carve out a couple more bikini-worthy days. Otherwise, a long stroll is always a delightful (free) alternative.
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