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‘Discoveries’

Derrick’s Jamaican

WHY For Caribbean specialties that are a cut above the usual hole-in-the-wall fare. WHAT Yes, Derrick’s offers the traditional beef patties, oxtail and a mean jerk pork. But at this stylishly decorated spot there’s more emphasis on seafood, lean chicken and fresh veggies: marinated grilled shrimp flamed with barrel-aged Jamaican rum, spice-infused grilled rainbow trout [...]

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Bleecker Street

WHY Because there’s nothing like it in Tarzana: an upscale but casual spot serving the kind of food we like to eat. WHAT A couple of smart restaurateurs (they own 22 places around the country) opened Bleecker Street late in 2009, in affluent but restaurant-challenged Tarzana, and it took off like a rocket. The two-story, [...]

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Atwater Certified Farmers’ Market

EatLA-1617

WHY A low-key, compact market that’s easy to navigate, well priced and doesn’t start until 10 a.m., so you can sleep in. WHAT Less of a scene than the nearby Silver Lake Saturday market, this market (from the same nonprofit that runs the great Hollywood one) has gained fans for produce from the South Central [...]

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Anzen Hardware

EatLA-1616

WHY Knowledgeable service and some of the best professional-grade knives in the city. WHAT Knives are the big draw—Wolfgang Puck, the Border Grill gals, Joe Miller and Gino Angelini are all customers. You’ll find everything from $50 starter santokus to $3,000 handmade sushi knives. Anzen, which means safety in Japanese, was founded in Little Tokyo [...]

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4th Street Vine

WHY Generous pours of good, modestly priced wines in a very cool Retro Row shop, with $3 glasses on Thursdays and often-terrific live music. WHAT Almost every afternoon and evening, bartender Evan mans the small, living-room-like wine bar in back of the store, and regulars stop in to ask him what he’s pouring and to [...]

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Buttercake Bakery

WHY For tender layer cakes and cookies that are the stuff of childhood dreams. WHAT Home-style cakes, cupcakes and mini-cupcakes done to perfection: German chocolate, coconut, red velvet, and of course, vanilla buttercake. You’ll also be tempted by criss-cross peanut butter cookies, bundt cakes and creamy cheesecakes that taste like they were baked in your [...]

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LAX-C

WHY A remarkable selection of Thai ingredients, packaged foods, cookware, even furniture. WHAT Part supermarket, part Costco-style warehouse, this shabby place is the go-to destination in town for everything you could possibly need to cook Thai food, all at very low prices (including produce). You may have to buy in huge quantities, so consider sharing [...]

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Tin Roof Bistro

EatLA-1609

WHY Excellent and affordable cocktails and wine by the glass, a killer burger and farmers’ market produce. WHAT Mike Simms has hit a home run with this indoor-outdoor bistro that rises above its shopping-mall setting. Skip the undercooked pizzas and too-small crab cakes in favor of the terrific curry spinach dip, caramelized brussels sprouts, thick [...]

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Central Park

EatLA-1604

WHY A convenient, moderately priced café just south of the Old Town madness—with free parking! WHAT Part of a small local chain that also owns Wild Thyme, this place feels generic, and yet it fits the bill in many ways. The short-rib hash, Thai beef salad, pizzas and brick-flattened chicken are of the moment and [...]

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Adagio

EatLA-1595

WHY Upscale Italian food and service of a higher caliber than you’d expect from such a modest-looking place, at prices that are more than fair. WHAT A real find in the west Valley, Adagio is all about comfort: a cozy but not too fancy setting, solicitous but not too formal service, and well-prepared Italian food [...]

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