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The Green Temple

The Green Temple Redondo Beach

WHY Vegetarian and vegan meals in a bucolic garden setting. WHAT The board of changing daily specials at this serene, Buddha-filled indoor-outdoor eatery may offer sweet white corn chowder or a nut-strewn salad. House dressings include balsamic-virgin olive oil vinaigrette and sesame-tamari-lemon. And the delicious house favorites, enchiladas and the kamut spaghetti with a rich [...]

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Max’s of Manila

Max's of Manila

WHY The chicharrón de pollo (deep-fried chicken skin) sets the gold standard. WHAT Mildly seasoned chicken, fried whole to keep it juicy, is the house specialty at this branch of the Filipino chain. You can order it spicy, too, and the palm vinegar dip that accompanies both versions is garlic-studded and terrific. 313 W. Broadway, [...]

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North End Caffé

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WHY The best takeout coffee in the area and, if you have time to sit down and eat, very good food, too. WHAT This is not really a place to sit with just a cup of coffee and linger—the people waiting for a table for breakfast or lunch will look daggers at you—but it’s a [...]

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Congregation Ale House – Pasadena Chapter

Congregation Ale House Pasadena

WHY This Pasadena ‘Chapter’ offers myriad lively suds (both on draft and in bottles) as well as modernized pub grub, just as the Long Beach and Azusa locations. WHAT Congregation may take its religious shtick too far—stained glass windows, Catholic school uniforms, Monday ‘mass’—but it’s one of Los Angeles’ essential beer bars, with a commendable list of [...]

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Let’s Be Frank

Let's Be Frank

WHY Because there’s no guilt—well, almost no guilt—involved in enjoying these all-natural, grass-fed beef hot dogs with organic accoutrements. It elevates the hot-dog cart to a haute level. WHAT Even a Prius-driving liberal Democrat can feel good about this swank cart parked near the old Helms Bakery building at lunchtime. Not only are the hot [...]

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The Kettle

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WHY A 24/7 godsend for insomniacs, students and night-shifters. WHAT The food’s fine, but the real value of this ’70s-woodsy coffee shop is that it’s open 24 hours a day, a rarity for a large, full-service restaurant anywhere in L.A., let alone a beach town. Regulars get the muffins, crab cake Benedict, burgers and egg [...]

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Beijing Pie House

EatLA-1750

WHY For golden-crusted north Chinese pastries, flaky flatbreads, meat pies, stuffed buns and dumplings. WHAT Probably the first xian bing (meat pie) place in SoCal, this tiny café makes irresistible versions, filled with beef, lamb or veggie mixtures—like leeks with egg or wild mushrooms. Don’t miss the multi-layered homeland meat pie—filled with juicy seasoned beef, [...]

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Jack’s Classic Hamburgers

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WHY Great bacon-chili-cheeseburgers, classic burgers sparked with fresh jalapeños and slightly healthier turkey burgers (which we fatten up with bacon). WHAT In a parking lot next to the 170 Freeway is the best burger stand in the Valley, home to fresh, quality hamburgers, crispy skinny fries, good onion rings and tasty chili. 11375 Riverside Dr., [...]

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Penang Malaysian Cuisine

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WHY For hard-to-find Malaysian classics, from satays and curries to coconut rice and icekacang, a red-bean shaved-ice dessert that’s more delicious than you might think. WHAT This plaza café turns out Indian griddle breads (roti canal) and scalding Indo-Malayrendangs, long-simmered chicken, lamb or beef cooked in a thick coconut cream infused with massive quantities of [...]

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Mario’s Peruvian & Seafood

EatLA-726

WHY Ceviche, the seafood platter and the chicken or shrimp saltado, a stir-fry with red onions and tomato served with a heap of very good fries (potatoes come from Peru, after all). WHAT There’s usually a wait at Mario’s, and for good reason—its food is drop-dead delicious, and inexpensive to boot. The strip-mall setting is [...]

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