When Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections alluded to opening restaurants and building out her concept beyond sweets, we didn’t know how fast and furious she was going to get with expanding her brand. She now has two restaurants, one in Echo Park and one in Grand Central Market—and there will undoubtedly be more. While visiting the new Downtown foodie destination that is GCM, you can easily miss Valerie there. It’s located on the Northeast end of the store and may be eclipsed by the always unbearable line that has formed at Eggslut. They have a cute diner counter and a glass display of sweets…but can they really do brunch? What about lunch? Are they worth stepping out of line somewhere else for? Yes, they are—if you can get a seat at the counter.
Art imitates life, life imitates art, what have you. The recently opened Line Hotel in the heart of Koreatown desperately clings to a downtown LA aesthetic. Well, not really downtown. Koreatown. With a deft idealistic touch, they gave control of the restaurant, bar and cafe to some guy who apparently has done a lot for the way Angelenos eat now adays. From rubbing shoulders at A-Frame, brunch and reggae at Sunny Spot, patio rice bowls at Chego, and a persistent drip of taco juice on your kicks at Kogi, Roy Choi’s restaurants are central to where Angelenos take a break to eat some damn good grub. Gliding through the Line Hotels lobby, a neon sign will point you to his newest joint: Pot.
If you have been to Los Feliz’s Little Dom’s, you have probably seen the postcard signs for their Monday Suppers. They advertise fifteen dollar meals of three courses along with $15 bottles of red and white house wine and three dollar PBRs. It’s a fancy feast for those on a budget: it’s a special way to spend a Monday night.
It also feels like a Los Angeles—or at least Los Feliz—tradition. If you’ve lived in the area, you have been to the restaurant and you have seen the signs. Even if you went to the furthest end of what some may consider “Los Feliz,” to sister restaurant 101 Coffee Shop, you could find these signs as well. As a n00b Angeleno in 2008, I stopped into the Coffee Shop on a Monday night hoping for this dinner only to find that it is only at Little Dom’s: it is certainly a thing. So, how is it? Quite nice, actually. It certainly is unrivaled in being one of the best budget meals in the city.
LA is to tacos what New York is to pizza, Chicago is to hot dogs, and Santa Fe is to green chili. Each city can’t claim to inventing the dish but they have certainly made it their own. Everyone has their favorite and, to some extent, that’s ok. You’re allowed to like what you like, even if there are “better” ones out there.
But who has a stamp on breakfast?
We’ve stayed at The Saguaro in Palm Springs two times. People always ask how it is, hoping to solve some sort of desert puzzle that they’ve yet to open themselves. We say it’s fine, not the best, but good. The walls in the rooms are thin and, while the execution of color is brilliant, at points it does feel like a fancy Holiday Inn (Ahem, the bathrooms.). It’s decidedly not suffocatingly scene-y and the pool area is quite nice. It’s probably the most dog friendly hotel in the city, too.
The biggest reason to go to The Saguaro isn’t because of anything related to actually staying in the hotel, though: it’s for the food, specifically the Mexican treats at El Jefe. The restaurant and bar is the casual dining concept at The Saguaro located on the Southeast side of the lobby. It’s entry is through an exposed wall bookshelf filled with Southwestern tchotchkes and Saguaro related items. It’s never crazy in there and everything is surprisingly authentic and good. Who knew there was a Mexican destination in the middle of the desert?