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Insider Travel Guides

Moveable Feast on Location: California Dreamin’

Chef and restaurateur Jeffrey Saad takes us on a tour of L.A.

February/March 2015 Issue
Photographs by Todd Porter and Diane Cu
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Jeffrey Saad spends a lot of time traveling, but when he’s home in Los Angeles and can get away from his Mexican restaurant, La Ventura, he always makes sure to visit his favorite spots. In between takes while filming his episode of Moveable Feast, he tipped us off to some of L.A.’s can’t-miss places, including an off-the-beaten-path enclave for Southeast Asian food, an up-and-coming hip dining destination, and the best surf spot in Malibu. L.A. is a big, sprawling city, but with Jeffrey’s suggestions on the following pages, you’ll be able to navigate it like a local.See an interview with Jeffrey Saad.

What to eat

“Downtown L.A. is a cool, artsy, industrial area with great restaurants. The best place in town right now is Bestia. Chef Ori Menashe is doing traditional Italian food to perfection in a huge warehouse space with an open kitchen. The homemade pasta and veal tartare crostini are fantastic.

What’s cool about L.A. is you can take one turn and feel like you’re in another country. There’s a Southeast Asian neighborhood in Van Nuys, and I love to go there to Pho So 1. My wife and I always get No. 53—bun thit nuong (grilled pork noodles)—with crispy egg rolls on top. Another area for authentic Asian food is Sawtelle Boulevard in West Los Angeles. That’s where the local foodies go. There are all these strip malls with great Japanese and Korean food, and food trucks on the weekend.

For serious California-style pizza with charred, bubbled crust, you’ve got to go to Pizzeria Mozza. They use fresh, homemade mozzarella and burrata that just collapse into a pile of white dairy heaven.”

Bestia cures more than 60 types of charcuterie and makes bread with its own wild yeast.

Inside Bestia

Another area for authentic Asian food is Sawtelle Boulevard in West Los Angeles.

“Silverlake and Los Feliz are cool little areas with great shopping. I love going to McCall’s Meat & Fish Company, which is a fantastic butcher shop. The butcher’s wife bakes excellent pastries and bread, too. There’s also the Spice Station. It’s like a candy store for cooks. Across from that is The Cheese Store of Silverlake, which has wonderful olive oils and spreads, plus great cheeses, of course.

Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice is a trendy shopping strip. You can go to Nick Fouquet Hat Maker—that’s the guy who did Pharrell’s big Grammy hat. Plus there’s lots of pop-up retail there where you can get custom jeans and cool handmade things. There’s a great Japanese home goods shop, Tortoise General Store, with neat pots, pans, and tabletop pieces, and really stunning knives.”

Where to stay

“Hotelier Chip Conley was one of my mentors. He’s got a place on Venice Beach, Hotel Erwin. The service is fantastic, and it’s got a great rooftop bar. There are so many hip hotels on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. If you want the classic Hollywood experience, stay at Chateau Marmont, where the celebrities go.”

Where to play

“You must go surfing. There’s nothing like crashing through a wave. I go to Paradise Cove in Malibu. It’s mostly stand-up surfers there. For people who want to take lessons or rent a board, go to Becker Surfboards. Ask for Travis.

San Vicente Mountain Park has great hiking and mountain biking. There’s an old military base for a bit of history and views of the mountains, the ocean, the traffic crawling on the 405. It’s all of L.A.”

Don’t miss

“Malibu is so amazing, even if you’re not into surfing. It’s not quite the big money Hamptons, it still feels a bit wild, but you’ve got the mansions on the beach. I love to hang out at the Lumberyard. It used to be a working lumberyard, but they renovated it into a shopping center and food court. My favorite gelato is there, at Grom.”

The guide

• Bestia, 2121 E 7th Pl., bestiala.com, 213-514-5724213-514-5724
• Pho So 1, 6450 Sepulveda Blvd., Van Nuys, phoso1.com, 818-989-6377818-989-6377
• Pizzeria Mozza, 641 North Highland Ave., pizzeriamozza.com, 323-297-0101323-297-0101
• McCall’s Meat & Fish Company, 2117 Hillhurst Ave., mccallsmeatandfish.com, 323-667-0674323-667-0674
• Spice Station, 3819 W. Sunset Blvd., spicestationsilverlake.com, 323-660-2565323-660-2565
• The Cheese Store of Silverlake, 3926 W. Sunset Blvd., cheesestoresl.com, 323-644-7511323-644-7511
• Nick Fouquet Hat Maker, 1629 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, nickfouquet.com, 310-310-2315310-310-2315
• Tortoise General Store, 1208 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, tortoisegeneralstore.com, 310-314-8448310-314-8448
• Hotel Erwin, 1697 Pacific Ave., Venice Beach, hotelerwin.com, 800-786-7789800-786-7789
• Chateau Marmont, 8221 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, chateaumarmont.com, 323-656-1010323-656-1010
• Paradise Cove, Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
• Becker Surfboards, 23755 Malibu Rd., Malibu, beckersurf.com, 310-456-7155310-456-7155
• San Vicente Mountain Park, 17500 Mulholland Dr., 310-858-7272310-858-7272
• Malibu Lumberyard, 3939 Cross Creek Rd., Malibu, themalibulumberyard.com, 310-456-7395310-456-7395
• Grom, 3888 Cross Creek Rd., Malibu 310-456-9797310-456-9797


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