The 11 Best Things I Ate This Year in Los Angeles (In This Economy Edition)

The 11 Best Things I Ate This Year in Los Angeles (In This Economy Edition)

Another year. Another ton of food in my belly. Before I take part in my yearly New Year’s purging ritual – a pastrami sandwich every New Year’s Day whether it makes my gentle stomach upset or not – I thought I would share the eleven things I enjoyed most in 2009. There are two simple parameters. First, 2009 had to be the inaugural year in which I consumed the food item. And, secondly, the item needed to be priced low enough that former bankers could afford them.

Chicken Club
Westside Tavern (West L.A.)

As a noted chicken sandwich connoisseur amongst my friends and parents it is safe to say I know my shit. And the Westside Tavern, probably my favorite new restaurant of 2009 overall, does the chicken sandwich right. The bacon is awesome. The sourdough is awesome. The chicken club is awesome. [Photo from]

Mushroom and Peppers Pizza
Nicky D’s (Silver Lake)
There’s a reason I’ve convinced multiple Westside buddies to venture to the outskirts of the desert (a.k.a. Silverlake) for Nicky D’s. Simply put, The Best Pie in Los Angeles. Try it with mushrooms and peppers – you won’t be disappointed. If you are, go back to Papa John’s, you fucking idiot.

Border Grill
It also almost feels like cheating categorizing Border Grill amongst their fellow food truck pedestrians. That’s the way it goes though. Everything is good: the fish tacos, the carne asada quesadillas, the butternut squash soup. Tip: I once found a free coupon for a taco literally under the menu board. [Photo from]

Best Bread Pudding, Best Fish and Chips, Best Morning Muffin, Best Israeli Couscous, Best Drink, Best Garlic Bread, Best Cake and Best Breakfast Potatoes below.

Chocolate bread pudding
Huckleberry (Santa Monica)
A while back a friend of mine made me try his bread pudding at Huckleberry. I refused. He insisted. I pouted. He remained persistent. So, I tried it. And loved it. And ordered it over and over again since. The Huckleberry bread pudding is the closest thing to heaven in LA not in the back room of a Thai massage parlor.

Neptune’s Net (Malibu/Ventura)
I long associated fish and chips with the English: crooked and unsavory. That is until I made the trek down PCH to Neptune’s Net. The Net welcomes an odd array of characters from Hell’s Angels to Omaha tourists, but don’t let the long lines fool you, the fish and chips are certainly worth the wait (and drive). [Photo from intrepid Yelper Yubert F.]

Green Tea Muffin
Urth Caffe (Santa Monica)
The only reason I even tried the Green Tea Muffin was because they were out of everything else. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s not for everyone–it has an odd almost herbal taste–and I like it that way. I would go as far to say it’s the second best muffin in town to the Zucchini Carrot at The Conservatory in Culver City.

Couscous at 4 o’ clockBEST ISRAELI COUSCOUS
Lemonade (Venice)
Joan’s on Third has good Israeli Couscous. Lemonade has great Israeli Couscous. After all, it has everyone’s favorite secret ingredient, truffle oil. And we all know truffle oil is like your little brother – it doesn’t hurt a thing. [Photo from]

Pumpkin Smash
Jamba Juice
I really wanted to put an alcoholic beverage in this slot, but, honestly, I did not have one cocktail in Los Angeles County the entire year that was better than the Jamba Juice Pumpkin Smash. It’s probably not good for me at all and I know that. Nonetheless, it tastes like pumpkin pie in a straw – perfect for extended hospital stays.

Alejo’s (Venice)
When an Italian place sits between a donut shop and a 7-Eleven at the corner of a major intersection you know it must be good. They provide bread and a garlic dipping sauce, but trust me, order the garlic bread as well. It will give you the strength to walk back to your car in that dark sketchy alleyway behind the restaurant.

Chocolate Chip Cake
Mrs. Beasley’s
Have you ever dreamed about marrying a cake? No? Oh. Me neither. Ever since I first met this chocolate chip cake at a friend’s engagement party a few months back it’s all I think of. I say this only half-kiddingly.

North End Caffe (Manhattan Beach)
The true gauge for any breakfast spot are the potatoes. A great breakfast spot must have great breakfast potatoes. Without the potatoes, might as well be Trimana Grill. It’s no surprise that North End Caffe, home of the best fries in LA, serves the city’s best morning potatoes. Tip: ask for a dash of Chipolte Mojo on top.