A version of this post originally appeared on August 13, 2022, in Stephanie Wu’s newsletter, “From the Editor,” a roundup of the most vital news and stories in the food world. Read the archives and subscribe now.
I’m often asked how I plan my meals when I’m traveling, and the truth is, like anyone else, I start by reading our Eater city site. I was in Los Angeles for work last week, and my first steps were to review Eater LA’s 38 essential restaurants, followed by the hottest new openings. After I booked my hotel in Koreatown, I browsed the recent posts about the neighborhood, in case there were any conveniently located spots to put on my list. This intel formed the basis of my planning, though when I’m lucky enough to be dining with a local, I’ll always still take their lead. I love getting a glimpse of a city’s restaurant scene, popping into places both new and classic, even if I’m only visiting for a short amount of time. Here are the best things I ate on my most recent trip.
Milk cream bun at Mil Bakery: When I saw this cream-filled pastry on Mil’s Instagram page, I knew I had to have it. It lived up to my expectations with a fantastic cream-to-pastry ratio, flavors of fresh milk, and pillowy-soft dough. A fork and knife will go a long way, but it’s so much more fun to just get messy with it.
Duck lu rou fan at Kato: I splurged on the (very worth it) Taiwanese- and Japanese-inflected tasting menu at Kato, and the sleeper hit for me was a side of lu rou fan. Instead of the traditional braised pork, it’s made with shredded duck and served with duck breast, the final savory course. It reminded me slightly of duck confit, but was filling and comforting and a great way to top off the meal before heading into dessert.
Cochinita pibil at Guisados: A friend and I decided to grab tacos at Guisados after drinks at nearby Thunderbolt. The cochinita pibil taco looked simple, but the combination of the stewed pork, corn tortilla, and bright pickled onions was pitch-perfect. I went with the default three-pepper spice level, and will absolutely ask for a little more heat next time.
Chile relleno at LA Cha Cha Chá: This rooftop spot in the Arts District gets a lot of love for its stunning space, but the food deserves just as much attention. I was a big fan of the chile relleno, which was filled with cheese and quinoa, with a blanket of tomato sauce draped lovingly over the pepper.
Key lime tart at Republique: I shouldn’t have been surprised at the line snaking out the door of Republique when we wrapped our breakfast at 10 a.m. on a weekday. The classic dishes, like the shakshuka and ricotta toast, are menu standbys for a good reason, but the pastry I can’t stop thinking about is the Key lime bar — well-balanced sweet and tart notes, with a dollop of fresh cream to keep things interesting. I wish I could have packed a couple of these for the flight home.
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