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Where Else to Eat in LA: Garden-to-Table
fresh garden salad
Diane Scalia
Diane Scalia
August 11, 2012

Where someone I love is cooking my food

When asked which are my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles other than those on our food tour stops, my answer is usually a unique one.

“Where someone I love is cooking my food, or is responsible for who is cooking my food. I love feeling like I've come to someone's home for dinner."

Please. Allow me the joy and pleasure of sharing a little about where else I most love to eat, usually with Lisa, in our City of Angels.

I love, and love recommending, these restaurants because they all care deeply about adding a personal touch that defines their unique menus. Their attention to the exceptional quality of their ingredients, preparation, and hospitality are all things that inspire me to be my best at BarComida.

Old Pasadena is graced with Green Street Tavern. Our friends and the brilliant gentlemen behind it, Armen Hakobayan and Chef Joseph Antonishek, now bring us French Provencal Urban Farm Cuisine at Industriel, newly opened downtown. This former two-story Carl’s Jr., elegantly reconstructed, is a beautiful marvel to behold. It's hard to describe how I felt to be there, except that when I sunk into an oversized chair, I mused about wanting to just move in.

All artisan ingredients are crafted in-house if possible

All artisan ingredients are crafted in-house if possible, like handmade breads, house-cured olives, house-made sausages. They are the only restaurant we know that serves their own Goachetta. Like at Green Street Tavern, their loyalty to nearby farmers markets yields amazing results on the plate!

We ate Industriel’s Vegan Chocolate Pudding for dessert and asked for a rubber spatula to finish every speck of it. Owner Armen told us that he could have opened 3 months before he did, but he took that time to train his staff. Lisa and I ate there when they’d been open just a few weeks, and everything was ... flawless!

My beautiful friend and inspiration, Chef Corina Weibel of Canele’ LA , says, “I love that as I take inventory of the items in our refrigerators, I can name the farmer who grew the produce and tell you where he is located ... I would much rather support a small family operation rather than a faceless corporation whose farming practices may be questionable. It's that simple."

Tucked in Atwater Village

With her open-kitchen line of cool, talented cooks, she brings her philosophy to plates, in sublime ways. Tucked in Atwater Village, her sweet neighborhood haven serves exquisite farm-to-table cuisine, like Burrata with Sweet Pepper Ragout and Tomato Confit, and seasonal Duck dishes. At weekend brunch, amazing, handmade cinnamon-pecan rolls call your name from the counter. I adore this restaurant. I'm privileged to have guest-cheffed there twice for their Friends Cook Tuesdays.

Post&Beam is the pride and joy of Chef Govind Armstrong , whose many fans include Oprah Winfrey and me, ever since I styled food for him years ago. This true LA jewel is planted in the off-the-beaten track neighborhood of Baldwin Hills - quite literally. A resident,“ultra-groovy and retro-inspired” garden adds to gifts from local growers and artisans to inspire their superb wood-fired pizzas, and refined southern specialties like Long-cooked greens with Smoked Ham Hock. I dream about their house-made ricotta!

Simple, unpretentious, and off-the-Richter-scale delicious are three very special qualities that all of these restaurants have in common.

I cannot joyfully sing their praises enough, but I can tell you that everyone deserves to experience how fabulous they are. That surely includes you and yours!

Stay tuned for more of our "expert" recommendations; I will feature this topic regularly in future posts.

Until then, I remain ~

Your Chef and Tour Maestra,

Diane Scalia

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