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‘Discoveries’

Phillips BBQ

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WHY Pork ribs and rib tips, a bit chewy, properly smoky and full of flavor; try the mixed sauce. WHAT This local chain of South L.A. takeout-only rib joints has its rabid followers and ornery detractors; we’re somewhere in the middle, believing for one thing that even so-so ribs are still a gift from the [...]

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Vito’s Pizza

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WHY Vito’s has L.A.’s best crust. WHAT Carefully crafted, hand-tossed, New York—style pizzas with top-quality ingredients; try the signature white pie or the Terra Firma with the works. 846 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310.652.6859, vitopizza.com. L & D daily (to midnight on weekends). MC, V, AE. Type: Food That’s Fast Region: Central City [...]

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Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop

WHY Teriyaki chicken and bacon fried rice … need we say more? WHAT A down-and-dirty bowling-alley coffee shop with authentically good and cheap Hawaiian food. 15707 S. Vermont Ave., Gardena, 310.532.0820 B, L & D daily. MC, V. Type: Restaurant Region: South Bay to South L.A. Neighborhood: Gardena Features: Breakfast, Dinner, Kid Friendly, Lunch, Value [...]

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Gerlach’s Grill

WHY For kebabs and fresh seafood dishes to take home or back to the office (or eat in your car). Try the salmon tacos, mahi mahi burger, falafel or lamb kebabs. WHAT A tiny hut next to Gerlach’s Liquor (which stocks a surprisingly impressive collection of wine) turns out delicious and inexpensive food with Middle [...]

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Hot Dog on a Stick

WHY For one of the guiltiest pleasures of all: a low-class corn dog on a stick, washed down with super-sweet lemonade. WHAT Now found in malls across the nation, this simple, goofy chain started right here on Muscle Beach in 1946. A good amusement when you have out-of-town guests. WHO Tourists, bike-path cruisers and little [...]

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Joe’s Pizza

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WHY Very good thin crust, New York—style pizza (just enough sauce and cheese, no crazy toppings) for eating in or to go. WHAT Joe Vitale of the Joe’s Pizza on Bleecker Street found success with this Santa Monica location, his first branch, and now he has another in WeHo. Sit down at one of the [...]

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Carney’s

WHY A tasty turkey burger, good hot dogs and all-around decent fast food served until 3 a.m. on weekends at modest prices—in a high-priced neighborhood. Oh, and free parking! WHAT An L.A. classic on the Sunset Strip, Carney’s is a standard fast-food joint in an atmospheric old train car plopped in a parking lot. The [...]

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La Estrella

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WHY Fried (Baja-style) fish tacos, ceviche and al pastor tacos and burritos. WHAT A vividly colorful stand that looks like it should be in a Mexican beach town, La Estrella has a crowd day and night. We prefer the meat dishes at El Taquito Mexicano, but the fish tacos are winners. WHO High school kids, [...]

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Vicente Foods

WHY Excellent prepared and deli foods, pretty produce and a butcher that carries four kinds of beef: Kobe, Midwestern prime, certified Black Angus and hormone-free Angus. WHAT A family-owned market that’s kind of like a small Whole Foods (and Whole Foods is just down the street), Vicente Foods has L.A.’s best selection of products (preserves, [...]

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Marconda’s Meat

WHY Andouille, chorizo, Marconda’s ready-to-bake meatloaf mixture and butterflied legs of lamb. WHAT Want to grill bistecca alla fiorentina? Come here to get a custom-cut porterhouse for that, along with anything you might want in the way of pork, lamb (aged three weeks) or sausage; consider the Montana-grown Piedmontese beef from a breed of cattle [...]

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