Friday night used to mean epic, dusk-till-dawn sprees sampling the city’s vast smorgasbord (one ambitious evening found us sipping Mexican cocktails in Torrance, slurping ramen in the Valley, and belting out late-night karaoke in Little Osaka).
These days we rarely venture beyond our own zip code.
So we recruited four, in-the-know locals to lure us out of our
urban malaise comfort zone with their favorite neighborhood spots.
Kevin West, Savingtheseason.com author, journalist, and blogger
Warm-up: I like to start at The HMS Bounty, one of the last great unreconstructed bars. There’s not a craft beer in sight nor anything that was brewed, distilled, grown, raised, harvested, or caught within a 200-mile radius. The smart money here is on the Wise Man Special: a shot of whiskey and a can of beer for $5.50.
Main course: For dinner, I head to Taylor’s Steak House, a red Naugahyde booth kind of place, where you eat either beef or rare beef accompanied by a Molly wedge salad and several Gibsons. I order prime rib — the bloodier the better. For a cheaper date, stroll a few blocks west to Pollo a la Brasa Vermont, which serves rotisserie chicken sizzled over a roaring hardwood fire. How this place passes muster with the health department is a mystery, but the chicken is basically perfect.
Next level: Speaking of questionable legality, I wonder how there can be such a thing as all-you-can-drink draft beer, but that’s what is on tap at HangOver, Ktown’s answer to spring break. When the next day dawns too bright, stumble down to Hangari Bajirak Kalgooksoo for a bowl of mild, nourishing oyster-and-rice stew, reputed to be a hangover cure.
Heather Taylor, Heather Taylor Home designer/Taylor De Cordoba gallerist/L.A. in Bloom blogger
Warm-up: The night begins with one of my favorite cocktails from seafood-focused restaurant Son of a Gun. I order the smoked mahi dip and a bowl of linguine and clams, while enjoying the intoxicating aroma of fried chicken sandwiches being delivered to neighboring tables.
Main course: I head to the ArcLight for the most comfortable moviegoing experience in Los Angeles and try to resist the urge to buy the house-made caramel corn.
Next level: En route home, I swing by Mashti Malone’s, a Persian ice cream shop that is an L.A. institution. I order a small faloodeh (the rosewater ice dessert) and pick up a quart of Orange Blossom ice cream, peppered with pistachios, to go. After all, I have the whole weekend ahead of me.
Nicole Cari, Band of Outsiders senior director of marketing and communications
Warm-up: After a walk around the reservoir with my best buddy or better half, I finish off the sunset with a glass of champagne and a dozen oysters on the sidewalk at L&E Oyster Bar.
Main course: For a casual dinner, I head to Speranza. Cozied up under a blanket, I dig into a giant bowl of homemade pasta, always saving room for the free Italian cookies that come with the check.
Next level: If I’m in the mood for a beer and some music, I’ll stroll down to Hyperion Tavern. Or if I have a taste for something stronger, like a dirty martini, I’ll cruise over to Cafe Stella. The scene is straight-up trendy, but when it’s not too crowded, it’s a nice place to lounge and get loose.
Amanda Chantal Bacon, Moon Juice owner
Warm-up: I’m not much of a night owl since I have a toddler, but on Saturday, I’m going nonstop. Before 9 a.m., I like to ride my bicycle to GTA for a matcha latte with almond milk and a little treat on the side (avocado toast or an egg sandwich with braised greens and hot sauce on an English muffin).
Main course: Even when I’m not working, I head over to Moon Juice midmorning and fill my bike bag with canyon greens (unsweetened organic green juice) and Quinton (electrolyte and mineral supplements harvested off the coast of Spain) to power my day of riding around town.
Next level: Late afternoon, I meet up with girlfriends for lunch at Axe, where I get the shaved radicchio salad, a bowl of broth, and some strong ginger tea. Sitting outside at a beautiful table with loved ones, bumping into friends and neighbors who are stealing a late lunch, always leaves me feeling satisfied in both body and heart.
Photos: Courtesy of Annie Sornprasitti / HMS Bounty; Courtesy of Son of a Gun; Courtesy of Cafe Stella; Emily Hart Roth / Courtesy of Moon Juice