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The Spice Table

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WHY The perfect place for a Downtown dinner date, where modern Vietnamese food meets seldom-seen Singaporean specialties in the middle of Little Tokyo. WHAT A vintage brick building has been transformed into two rooms of rustic style, with filament bulbs in Vietnamese birdcages in the dining room and a buzzing bar scene up front. The [...]

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Mo-Chica

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WHY Because you’ve never had Peruvian comfort food before—at least not like this. WHAT Mo-chica is Ricardo Zarate’s take on Peruvian comfort food, once in a nonprofit food court but now served in a modern setting that transports you to the streets of South America. Tables are always filled, so make a reservation. Once you [...]

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Sushi Go 55

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WHY High-quality sushi that’s a bargain at lunch—the $11.50 special gets you miso soup, five pieces of sushi and a blue-crab hand roll; many regulars opt for the chirashi sushi box for $17. WHAT Owned by a pioneering family who started the second sushi bar in the U.S. and has been running restaurants in Little [...]

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Wat Dong Moon Lek

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WHY For a taste of au courant Thai cooking followed by fine-dining-caliber desserts. WHAT A stylish storefront noodleteria where noodles are just a start. Thekap klâem—bar-snack-like small plates—reflect the urban Thai culinary trends inspired by owner Billy Jalanugraha’s visits to his native Bangkok. Don’t miss the house version oflarb tod: the fried ground chicken and [...]

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Cafecito Orga‡nico

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WHY A mellow alternative to Silver Lake’s over-caffeinated coffee scene. WHAT Housed in a faux-lighthouse building on none-too-gentrified Hoover Street, this place started selling organic fair-trade beans at local farmers’ markets before opening the café. With free WiFi, a large covered patio and baked goods from Echo Park’s Delilah Bakery, it’s a funky and calm [...]

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Mama’s Hot Tamales

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WHY Indulge in these tamales not only because they’re delicious, but because they’re making L.A. a better place. Good coffee, too, and a gallery showcasing local artists. WHAT Sure, the tamales from every region of Mexico and Central America are wonderful, and yes, the café is a vividly colorful community center, but this nonprofit is [...]

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Gingergrass

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WHY Vast bowls of delicate noodles crowned with flowering basil tops and mint; char-grilled meats arranged over hillocks of raw greens; shrimp rolled around sugarcane sticks; sweet-tart jackfruit salad with pickled lotus roots; and more such crowd-pleasing dishes. WHAT Vietnamese cafés are hip and happening—the light, intensely colorful, vividly flavorful food perfectly suits the L.A. [...]

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Central Library Culinary Collection

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WHY One of most extensive cookery collections in the entire country is right in our backyard, and it’s free. WHAT More than 18,000 cookbooks, from 14th-century manuscripts, the first Spanish-language cookbook, and 1,000 California cookbooks to Nathan Myhrvold’sModernist Cuisine. Plus a vintage menu collection, advertising ephemera, periodicals and photos. WHO Serious scholars to the average [...]

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Oaxacalifornia Juice Bar

WHY Delicious, fresh licuados, smoothies and juices. WHAT In Mercado La Paloma, a nonprofit community center with restaurants, shops and meeting spaces, this Oaxacan stand makes very good juice drinks that go beautifully with the food from the famed Mo-Chica and the excellent Chichen Itza. Homemade ice creams, too. WHO Latino families and USC students [...]

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L.A. Cocktail Classic: Sophisticated Sip

Given the prevalent cocktail culture in the City of Angels, it’s hard to believe that Los Angeles has never had a Cocktail Classic. Leave it to Drink Eat Play to right that particular wrong. On Friday, June 8th, the former St. Vibiana’s church in Downtown L.A. will become L.A.’s Cathedral of Cocktails with the inaugural L.A. Cocktail [...]

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