TASTE | A TOUR OF LA

If you find yourself in L.A. and in need of something to eat, look no further ...

GJUSTA
320 Sunset Avenue, Venice
+1 310 314 0320
Best deli & bakery on the west side of LA, with an extremely laid back and casual vibe - you can either do take away or order up front, then have a seat to eat on their shaded patio. Don't miss the Heirloom Tomato Madame & The Porchetta Melt. And they also have a great selection of treats to take home. Our fave is the homemade Gjusta hot sauce - a must buy! Great to keep at home or wrap as a gift.

GJELINA
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice
+1 310 450 1429
The sister restaurant to Gjusta, Gjelina is a favorite of both locals and tourists. And it’s one of those rare restaurants where all meals — breakfast, lunch or dinner — are equally good. Not only that, it’s great for a pit stop, for oysters and a glass of rose, or a full meal. Our favorite dishes here include the Spinach Heirloom Tomato Salad, Pork Meatballs and Squash Blossom Pizza. And leave room for a dessert - the Salted Butterscotch Pot De Creme is not to be missed!
*Insider tip: If you can, plan ahead for Gjelina. They begin taking reservations a month ahead -- book then if you can. Otherwise, arrive really early and nab a spot at their communal table. You won’t be disappointed either way.

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CASSIA
1314 7th Street, Santa Monica
+1 310 393 6699
Cassia is a new local hot spot. Cassia is best known for their fresh, vibrant flavors of Southeast Asia, striking a unique balance of ancestral cuisine and a California sensibility. Must haves off the menu: Vietnamese "Sunbathing" Prawns, Raw Spicy Scallops, Kota Farms Chickpea Curry, Vietnamese Pot Au Feu and the Charcuterie Fried Rice. And the drinks! Don't missthe spicy margarita.

SOUTH END
2805 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice
+1 424 228 4736
Nestled at the far (south) end of Abbot Kinney, this hidden gem feels like a rustic wine tasting room and has the BEST pizza in the city. The Neapolitan pies are rustic, with a thin crust that is crispy, light and chewy at the same time. The wine list is original and affordable and a great opportunity to discover new favorites. Hospitality is everything here, so it makes sense that a communal L-shaped bar dominates the restaurant, giving it a cocktail party vibe. And the best part? If you really love the pizza, chef Mario Vollera will teach you how to make it at his private pizza school down the road.

SANTA MONICA FOOD TRUCK LOT
On nights we run to dinner with the kiddos and family friends a local favorite spot is the food truck lot on Main Street in Santa Monica. (You can find the exact location and list of participating trucks by following @SMFoodTruckLot). Every Tuesday night, about 15 food & taco trucks line up in a huge parking lot in Santa Monica. Kids can run around and play when they're done eating. We especially love the wide variety of cuisines representing various cultures from around the world. A guaranteed crowd pleaser!

FAVORITE FOOD SHOPS

Living in a city like L.A that has such a variety of cultures, our cooking secret is to shop at the cultural markets instead of the more mainstream stores whenever possible. For Japanese, Nishi Market is the go-to for unique spices and vegetables, and when I'm feeling Italian, I go to Guidi Marcello in Santa Monica — it's as close to you’ll get to Italy on this side of the world.

Right now, our favorite cookbook is Polpo.  Inspiring. 


OUR FAVE RECIPE


OUR FAVORITE RECIPE

A fresh, spicy jalapeño margarita is a staple when entertaining at home. I have tried countless recipes and the below is my favorite! It makes one party-sized pitcher

WHAT YOU NEED

■      3 cups good (plain) tequila

■      1 cup Grand Marnier

■      1.5 cups fresh lime juice

■      1 cup simple syrup (or sub agave syrup to taste)

■      ice

■      lime & jalapeño slices for garnish

■      salt for the glasses, optional

jalapeño infused tequila:

■      1 cup tequila

■      ½ a sliced jalapeño

WHAT YOU DO

1.     Make the jalapeño tequila. Add the jalapeño to the tequila and let it sit at room temp for a few hours or up to a day.

2.     Remove jalapeños and pour into a small serving glass. Serve on the side so guests can add as much or little spice as they like.

3.     Mix together the margarita ingredients.

Add a few drops of the spicy tequila, to taste, to finished margaritas. (it's very spicy - start with less, you can always add more)