Where to find the best waffles in Los Angeles

If you know me, you know one of my favorite things in this world is waffles. I love them oh-so-much, that I think everything would taste better if it were waffled… or served on top of a waffle… or sandwiched between two waffles… or includes a character who’s also obsessed with waffles.

Just ask Mike, nothing ruins my day more than a bad waffle. Seriously, there will be tears and a sad George Michael/Charlie Brown walk home afterwards.

Therefore, much like our Deeply Important Avocado Toast Quest, is our Search to Quench Megan’s Ever-Present Waffle Craving.

So here are our top places to go when I wake up and desperately need a waffle in LA…

Sweet Chick

Living right down the street from Sweet Chick place has been a blessing and a curse. Every single day I have to fight the urge to have breakfast, lunch, AND dinner here because they’ve combined my three favorite things: waffles, fried chicken, and cherries. (Yes, they have a dried cherry waffle.) But they also have a TON of different waffle flavors. You must go (and bring me with you)!

The Waffle — Hollywood

No big surprise here — an entire menu of waffles in any style. AND, if you can’t decided which one to get, you can order half orders of two different kinds!

Bru’s Wiffle — Santa Monica & Beverly Hills

One of my life’s goal is to order every waffle on the menu at Bru’s Wiffle. Only then will I be able to die happy.

Hayden — Culver City

Hayden‘s cripsy buckwheat waffles are absolute PERFECTION! You know a waffle is amazing when you take one home, eat it cold and plain and love it as much as you did when it was slathered with yumminess. Hayden has several different waffle flavor pairings to choose from. I’m obsessed with their white-miso butter + stone fruit waffle — hell, I’d love their white-miso butter on any kind of waffle. They also have a great savory waffle with prosciutto di parma, honey butter, and a soft egg.

Shaky Alibi — Fairfax District

If you’re a fan of the “liege waffle” style, then you’re going to flip over Shaky Alibi. These waffles are dense and chewy on the inside, lightly caramelized and crunchy on the outside, and there’s many ways to eat them. My favorite is the one covered in berries, but The Elvis (with peanut butter, crumbled smoked bacon, bananas, and a drizzle of honey) is great too!

Marcel Waffles — Food truck

I once walked a Very Long Distance in the blazing Santa Monica sun, just to find the Marcel Waffles food truck to cheer me up on a stupendously bad day. It worked.

More than Waffles — Encino

Yes, there’s more than waffles at More than Waffles… but why eat anything else? The waffles are perfect! (Fun fact: It’s right down the street from my dentist. So this is how Mike bribes me to get me to actually go to the dentist.)

Fratelli Cafe — Fairfax District

Our favorite neighborhood breakfast place is Fratelli Cafe, and they just happen to make a kick-ass waffle in four different combos: basic, banana and Nutella, berry, and savory (topped with two eggs).

Home Restaurant — Silverlake & Los Feliz

Home has a solid-ass good waffle. Especially when you’re hung over. (Might be speaking from experience.)

Animal — Fairfax Distric

For something a little different, Animal makes a delicious cornmeal waffle.

What are YOUR favorite spots to get waffles in LA?

Heaven on Earth exists, and it’s called The Taste

Our very first time at The Taste in 2015.

It was probably somewhere around hour two of our second night at last year’s The Taste event, when I realized “oh my god this exactly my version of heaven.” It was a perfect crisp Los Angeles evening under the glittering strands of lights that criss-cross the fake city streets of Paramounts‘ backlot…

We were slightly buzzed from free whiskey drinks, and more than halfway to painfully full from all the samples from the best of LA’s food scene. I hadn’t felt like that since, well, our first time at The Taste together — as a couple just falling in love — with oxytocin coursing through our veins and butterflies and food joyfully mixing in our stomachs. Everywhere we looked there were booths full of delicious food and drinks, and the “streets” were filled with awesome people who were also having the time of their lives…

We bumped into Phil Rosenthal and his family in a line for epic BBQ, we caught up with fellow foodies we recognized from Instagram…

…and bonded with total strangers about our favorite bites. For three evenings a year in Los Angeles, everything feels right with the world, and we’re never more happy than when we’re at The Taste.

And we can’t wait to go back to heaven on Earth this Labor Day weekend. Wanna join us?

September 1 – 3, the LA Times Food staff and acclaimed chefs and bartenders from all over Southern California are joining forces for five individual events over three days. Tickets are ON SALE NOW: latimes.com/taste

Go on and get your tickets to heaven on Earth, and if you see us walking around be sure to say “hi!”

The best date restaurants in Los Angeles (that even pickiest of eaters will love)

Photos from Mud Hen, Petit Trois, and Pizzeria Mozza -- all on this list and more!
Photos from Mud Hen, Petit Trois, and Pizzeria Mozza — all on this list and more!

Recently, a friend texted me:

I need a few good restaurants for a date in Los Angeles, for $50-$100 for two people, that also have a good vibe.

And, though he just asked for just a few, I sent him my top 8 choices for LA restaurants that, if you order right, give you a lot of bang for your buck — culinarily, aesthetically, or experientially. And they’d make for great date places. (Most of these places are in the Hollywood area, because that’s where we’re based.)

One more thing… the friend that texted me is extremely picky, so I catered a bit to his tastes. Which means that these restaurants are great choices if you don’t really know your date’s food tastes. There’s nothing TOO crazy on this list, but even the most “challenging options” have at least one or two recognizable things on their menu. And, if all else fails, the places themselves are all worth the trip…

1. Mardi

The best restaurant for a date in LA that NO ONE has heard about. Seriously, why isn’t this place more popular? It’s a hidden gem, with a gorgeously decorated outdoor space, and incredible food. Whether it’s for brunch or dinner, Mardi is sure to impress. And, added super-perfect date night bonus: If you get cold, you can wrap yourself up in one of their provided blankets and snuggle up together!

2. La Assiette on Melrose

I feel like this place is made for a fun and easy date night. The restaurant is dark and romantic, and the menu is pretty much only steak and fries. They also do this cool thing where they give you “seconds.” While one order of “Steak Frites” — steak + fries + side salad — is $27, if you split it (and, based on my experience you totally don’t need two orders) they add an extra $10. Which is still super-affordable for steak and fries for two! Finish that dinner up with a walk to the 31 Flavors down the street, and you just won date night.

3. Pizzaria Mozza on Highland

This is part of the “Mozzaplex” which consists of three restaurants so good, that Jonathan Gold included them ALL on his list of the best restaurants in LA. Pizzaria Mozza is the affordable one, but that doesn’t mean it’s less delicious! HOLY SHIT, the pizza is fantastic. Get a pizza and a 250 ml carafe of wine — which is basically a third of a bottle — for $35. (FYI: The wine list may freak you out, but if you want a red, according to this post, you should get the La Mozza Morellino di Scansano “I Perazzi.”)

4. Estrella on Sunset

I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve been to this place, both for brunch and lunches that kind of turned into early dinners, because we end up ordering EVERYTHING on the menu. (I highly highly recommend going for brunch, because there’s the king of all brunch orders: The Rolling Stone. But that’s a post for another day.) There’s also that peanut butter and banana toast that kills me. No wait! The mac n cheese! Gah! No matter when you go, the place has got an amazing vibe, as well as an outdoor fireplace, ooh, and succulents everywhere. If you go for brunch, you can split 3 or 4 things plus a french press coffee to share for $50.

6. Mercado on Cahuenga and on 3rd st

I wish this place had a punch ticket for every visit, I’d have a free meal, or at least a free blood orange margarita, by now! It’s what I call a “hipster mexican” restaurant, but don’t hold that against it! It’s really fucking delicious. I recommend their guacamole, enchiladas, and carne asada — all of those are easily split-able.

5. Jon & Vinny on Fairfax

View this post on Instagram

Fantastic #meatballs at #jon&vinnys Welcome to the neighborhood!

A post shared by Mike (@whatsmikeeatingnow) on

This is what became of Damiano’s. Go for brunch, lunch, or dinner — no matter when, the menu is insanely good. Great pizza, great pasta, great salads, great desserts, great EVERYTHING. It’s just a super-solid little joint that’s sure to please everyone.

6. Petit Trois on Highland

It’s a TINY French place, in the same strip mall with a dry cleaner and a Yum Yum donuts. It’s the smaller, cheaper version of one of the fanciest French places in town (right next door under the “Raffalo’s pizza” sign). Petit Trois doesn’t take reservations, and, since the place is so small, the waits can be epic. Either pop in for an early dinner, or put your name in, then go down the street for a drink at Mud Hen while you wait. Even though it’s suuuuper French — escargot et al — their “Big Mec” has been voted the best burger in LA by, like, everyone — including me. Split a burger, fries, and some wine, while you squeeze yourself, side by side, at their counter. It’s pretty cramped, but very romantic.

Okay, fellow Angelenos… what are YOUR favorite restaurants that give you a lot of vibey bang for your buck?

Awesome AND comfortable dog friendly restaurants in LA

dog-friendly-restaurants-in-la

We got a dog! That’s our girl Pita up there. (Of course she has a food-themed name.) That means we’re now constantly on the lookout for dog friendly restaurants in Los Angeles. Fortunately we just happen to live in a hotbed of wonderful restaurants that allow dogs. Here are our favorite places to dine with our pup that aren’t just a squished collection of chairs and tiny tables, in direct sunlight, outside of the actual restaurant.

Fratelli Cafe — Melrose

Fratelli is almost entirely outdoor seating, and so dog-friendly that they have organic dog treats and even a sweet restaurant dog that’s usually hanging out.

Local — Silverlake

This place is entirely outside, but entirely covered and massively dog-friendly.

Larchmont Bungalow — Larchmont


This place has MOSTLY outdoor seating. So you can definitely find a table for you and Fido.

Sycamore Kitchen — La Brea


With mostly outdoor seating, and Jonathan Gold list-worthy eats, Sycamore Kitchen is a dog and food-lover’s dream.

The Fat Dog — Fairfax & North Hollywood

So dog-friendly, dog is even in their name! But bring some sun screen, because the shady spots will probably be taken.

Swingers Diner — Beverly Blvd

There’s copious amounts of outdoor tables, and copious amounts of dogs actually sitting on the chairs at those outdoor tables.

Sandbox — Melrose

fullsizerender
They have a HUGE covered outdoor space (that also has skeeball and Giant Jenga). They’ll also bring you water for your pup.

Wirsthaus — La Brea


You and your dog are welcome to enjoy Wirsthaus’ outdoor “Biergarten.” Extra points for taking a photo of you and your mutt like the one above!

Estrella — Sunset Blvd

This is probably the fanciest place on the list to bring your dog. Estrella’s outside patio wraps around the whole restaurant, is amazingly decorated, and well-behaved dog-friendly.

Home Restaurant — Los Feliz & Silver Lake


The patios at BOTH Home Restaurants are freaking massive with some shady spots, so you’re sure to find a comfortable place to sit. Plus, from the looks of Home’s Instagram account, there are yummy treats for all!

What are your favorite dog friendly restaurants in LA?

The best avocado toast in LA (aka. “Our Deeply Important Avocado Toast Quest”)

the-best-avocado-toast-in-la-treatsandgeeks

Like many Californians, we love us some avocados. And Mike and I are constantly on the hunt for the best avocado toast in LA. Or as we call it, “Our Deeply Important Avocado Toast Quest.” So far, here are our top picks for avocado toasts, the places that were “close but not the best,” and the places we still have on our list to try…

Continue reading “The best avocado toast in LA (aka. “Our Deeply Important Avocado Toast Quest”)”

Bites, bears, and Badmaash-ups: The Best of The Taste 2016

The Best of The Taste 2016

What happens when you buy a weekend pass to the LA Times’ The Taste food festival? You gorge yourself on some of the best things you’ve ever tasted from some of the best restaurants LA has to offer morning and night.

We spent three dinner times, and two brunch times strolling through ALL the booths of 2016’s Taste of LA, and here’s our roundup of the very best bites…


Top 10: Savory

1. Baldoria‘s Chicken and waffle taco

2. Badmaash + Guisados‘ Carnitas/Vindaloo Mash-up

3. Aqui es Texcoco‘s Lamb barbacoa taco

4. Maple Block Meat Co‘s Brisket

5. Halal Guys‘ Gyro + chicken bowl

6. The Cannibal‘s Pork Pate Chaud

7. MB Post‘s Veal Liver Ragu Toast

8. Public School‘s PBJ slider

9. Chichen Itza‘s Beef and Pork Salbutes

10. Dog Haus‘ “Tiny Swiney” Pork Belly Hot Dog


Top 6: Sweets:

1. Ensaymada Project’s Ensaymadas

2. Jeni’s Black Cat Espresso Ice Cream

3. Hinoki and the Bird‘s Smore Ice Cream Sandwich

4. Kavalan Whiskey‘s Bear Cake

5. MB Post‘s “The Elvis”

6. LaMill‘s Warm Brioche Donuts


Honorable Mentions:

Spring‘s Vegan Ceviche

Little Pine‘s Broccoli Aroncini

118 Degrees’ Pistachio Pesto with Zucchini Noodles

10e‘s Lamb Chop

Belcampo Meat Co.‘s Beef Tartare

Taco Maria‘s Tostadita de Ceviche

Simbal‘s Chili Grilled Pork Ribs

Terrine‘s Country Terrine

Knead & Co. Pasta Bar‘s Meatballs and Polenta

Lalibela‘s Sambusa

Herringbone‘s Ono Sashimi

Manhattan House‘s Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Toast

Anyone else go to The Taste? What were YOUR top dishes?

6 dessert mashups that make life worth living

I have a sweet spot for stuff that are two things at the same time — like seaplanes and labradoodles — which means desserts that combine two awesome things absolutely make my life worth living.

If you’re in the LA/OC area, these are the six dessert mashups that you absolutely need to try…

The “Pie scream sandwich”

Play Provisions in Playa del Ray has a dessert that is two pie crusts, filled with bourbon-soaked blackberries, sandwiching vanilla ice cream. I made the same face as that dolphin when I saw it.

The Puffle

The Puffle at Cauldron Ice Cream is a blend of an ice cream cone, puff pastry, and a waffle. AND, when you order the S’more puffle, you add yet one other dessert into the mix!

Cereal-covered Ice Cream Macaroon Sandwich

One of the best/worst things to ever happen to me was moving within walking distance of Milk and their ice cream macaroon sandwiches. When they started covering them with cereal, I started coveting them daily.

Mochilato

Mochilato is gelato-filled mochi, and Mikawaya in Little Tokyo has several flavors of these delightful little balls of awesome. While you’re there, try their pomegranate chip ice cream too.

Warm Brioche Donut Holes


Not brioche, not yet a donut… These are fluffier and airier than regular donut holes. And, paired with La Mill Coffee‘s Madagascar vanilla cream, you’ll just about lose your damn mind.

Sprinkles Sundae

Do you sometimes feel like having a cupcake, but it’s also kind of hot outside, so you feel like having ice cream too? Sprinkles to the freaking rescue with either their Sprinkles sundae — ice cream between a cupcake top and bottom — or their Sprinkles Shake — two scoops of ice cream blended with a cupcake.

7 quick, good, and cheap places to eat on Melrose

So you live/work/find yourself on Melrose Ave during lunch or dinner time, and you need to eat on the cheap and quick. Here are the best places to grab a quick but also still delicious meal for cheap. I’m talking $10 and under on Melrose…

1. The Poke Shack

Stop by the newest Melrose cheap eats addition, The Poke Shack, and say “welcome to the neighborhood” with one of their Lil Daddy poke bowls for $9.50. Don’t feel like fish? No problem, you can substitute tuna or salmon for tofu, or get on of their acai bowls for $7.50!

2. Shefa

We’re basically obsessed with Shefa’s Mediterranean cuisine that’s made fresh daily (they even have gluten-free, kosher, and vegan options). This food is fresh, healthy, delicious, and more than expect, as they’ll bring out their Rainbow Platter, which is an assortment of veggie salads.

3. All About the Bread

All About the Bread is the sandwich place that replaced In & Out as #1 on my parents’ “must-eat while in LA” list. And their meatball sandwich is on MY “things to eat before you die” list. Every insanely delicious regular-sized sandwich is only $8.75.

4. Kawaba Rice Ball

This place is perfect for either a full meal on the cheap, or to grab a quick snack when you’re hungry and on the go — their rice balls start at $3.75!

5. Love Baked Wings

I’m not going to say that chicken wings are a healthy eating choice, but at least Love Baked Wings are baked instead of deep-fried… so there’s that. You can choose wings (5 for $7), big drumsticks (2 for $6), boneless (4 for $7), or their vegan chickpea wings (24 for $9!). Then pick the flavor, and the dipping sauce. Although the best thing on their menu, in my opinion, is their carrot fries!

6. M Cafe

When we need a healthy and quick lunch, we always get M Cafe‘s three salad combo for $12. But you can get their two salad combo, or a few of their delicious grain bowls, for under $10. I highly recommend their tuna salad — I don’t even like tuna salad, and I crave theirs, THAT’S how good it is.

7. Chipotle

I don’t really need to tell you about Chipotle, do I? It’s on the corner of Melrose and LaBrea — easy, quick, cheap, yummy.


What are your favorite cheap places to eat on Melrose?