You already know L.A. is the best food city in the country. It’s not even much of a competition: The chefs keep coming, the produce is here and our cultural diversity is second to none. But for those who love to eat, we’ve hit a problem: There’s actually too much good food. We’re overwhelmed by all the newness to explore and old favorites to revisit.
And it gets worse: Elusive bites have now become a trend. Across this palm-lined, salsa-stained concrete sprawl we call home, restaurants are offering special menu items with limited time frames, making it that much harder to keep your L.A. belly up to speed—which is why we’re here to help. These are the best elusive bites (and a drink) to snag right now.
Pizza Night at Vincenti
San Vicente’s slice game is on the rise, and in ways Brentwood’s CPK-faithful never thought possible in their wildest Chicken Tostada Pizza dreams. But it’s happening, and LeBron, Apatow and pretty much anyone else living west of Sepulveda has Vincenti and their one-night-a-week pizzas to thank for planting the flag. Owner Maureen Vincenti and executive chef Nicola Mastronardi toss dough in Westside air to ring in every new week and serve sizzling discs like the house-made sausage, potato, onions and mozzarella (the Salsiccia); and artichokes, burrata, zucchini flowers and prosciutto (the Bianca). Once you witness the downpour of giant black truffle flakes storming the Porcini pie, you’ll be dying for a case of the Mondays.
Magnum Mondays at Good Measure
For another Monday-night special, look to combination restaurateur/sommelier/wine director Matthew Kaner, who’s been the standard of liquid cool for years with drinking hangs like Bar Covell and Augustine Wine Bar. At Atwater Village’s Good Measure, Monday nights offer the opportunity to experience a unique wine available for that one night only, and it comes all pimped out in a magnum bottle. Past weeks have included a 1990 Château Bel-Air Lagrave Moulis-en-Médoc from Bordeaux, and a future week might present a 2010 La Rioja Alta Viña Alberdi Reserva from Rioja. Order a glass or two from the double-size helping of grape, or party like Miles, Maya and Jack in Sideways, and take down the entire eight six-ounce glasses of the double-bottle big boy.
The Thursday Sandwich Special at Wax Paper
Sandwich dreams are realized every day of the week—except Sundays—at this tiny tin can of a Frogtown sandwich shop, where gourmet and farmers’ market ingredients meet food-fanatical mouths. Given this, Wax Paper’s quickly become L.A.’s must-have lunch. You may have other favorites across the city, but no one in their right ‘wich-mind will dispute the quality, nor the scratch-made craveability. The one complaint? Its limited menu of seven items. But that’s what Thursday’s ever-changing daily special cures. Think: heirloom tomatoes, a burrata and white cheddar mix, smoky aioli and peanut pesto on Bub and Grandma’s ciabatta. Think: potato and egg salad, an “essence of ranch,” crispy onions, and curried raisins on King’s Hawaiian sweet bread. Think about spending a Thursday afternoon at Wax Paper as soon as your lunch schedule allows. But get there early—they’re known for selling out.
Burrito Nights at Sonoratown
Over the two years that co-owners Jennifer Feltham and Teo Rodriguez-Diaz have been Sonora-style pressing flour tortillas—grilling the region’s famed carne asada and rolling mini bean and cheese burritos and braised meat chivichangas—a proper, full-sized burrito has eluded fans of their DTLA creations. That time is finally here, and those fans are now thanking guacamole gods and charbroiled-meat goddesses. The once dinner-less establishment is now open at night, offering their most substantial menu item yet: a dinner-only carne asada, guacamole, pinto beans, Monterrey Jack, and chiltepin-salsa burrito featuring a house-made flour tortilla, and it’s got everyone lining up.
The Weekend Oklahoma Onion Burger at SOCA
Author and burger expert George Motz, a leader in ground-red-meat thoughts, considers Oklahoma the buckle of what he calls “the burger belt of America”: the belly region of the country, which is producing some of our best meat-meets-bun offerings. At SOCA, the restaurant in (and acronym for) Sherman Oaks, California, meat master chef Aaron Robins has created the Better Than “OK” Burger, his ode to Oklahoma’s signature onion burger. A blast from the Depression-era past is prospering today in the San Fernando Valley, cranked up for 2018’s booming-economy appetites. Here’s the catch: If you want the NBA palm-size pile of thinly sliced white onion, hunks of melted cheddar, third-pound of prime beef, Robins’s “1500 Sauce” (a Thousand Island dressing kicked into high gear), and the house-made bun barely holding it all together, get your mouth to Ventura Boulevard during weekend brunch hours, or miss out.
Sat, Sun; 11am–2pm
Ruth’s Grilled Cheese at Pizzeria Mozza
Late-Night Grilled Cheese at Pizzeria Mozza
There aren’t many places to score top-of-the-cooking-line dishes past 11pm in Los Angeles. It’s one of our few food deficiencies. Luckily, one of the most talented chefs in the city wants to change that. Nancy Silverton is now serving a bar-only menu during the last two hours of Pizzeria Mozza service, featuring an Italian take on fried chicken wings and a half order of her namesake chopped salad. But the clear star of the new late-night Mozza menu is Ruth’s Grilled Cheese. A stack of three mini, pressed aioli-greased baguettes with extra sharp Tillamook cheddar, shallots, green onions and the option of crumbling bacon, if you enjoy your pork levels cranked. This ode to the dinner-party specialty of Nancy’s friend and food-world icon, Ruth Reichl, is bringing L.A. diners back to the good old days of grilled cheese night at long-gone Nancy haunt Campanile. And it’s bringing back the crisp cheese-pulling joy past your usual bedtime.