The best time to visit any DMV is first thing in the morning to beat those Soviet-esque lines. But before you enter that special purgatory, you’ll need some sustenance. And when you’ve made it out the other side, with the afternoon sun high in the sky, and your patience worn thin, you’ll likely need some comfort food (and/or a stiff drink). In this DMV Neighborhood Survival Guide series, we’ll show you how and where to enjoy yourself, before or after your visit to that special section of Hades called the Department of Motor Vehicles. This week, we'll explore Hollywood:
DMV Field Office: 803 Cole Avenue, Hollywood, 90038
Tere’s Mexican Grill || 5870 Melrose Ave. at Vine
A colorful lunch counter, Tere’s Mexican Grill serves all the standards with excellence, and offers breakfast all day. The Machaca con Huevos (an egg scramble with shredded, braised skirt steak served with warm tortillas) is rich, savory, and filling. It will hold you over for hours.
Café Americano || 5770 Melrose Ave. at Arden Blvd.
On the corner of a drab strip mall, Café Americano is easy to miss, but once you’ve tried their Brazilian pour-over coffee, you’ll be sure to bookmark this spot in your smart phone map. They also recently launched a waffle menu, featuring dessert waffles with berries and nutella, and savory sandwich waffles. Delectable.
The Oinkster || 776 Vine at Waring
The Oinkster, previously only in Eagle Rock, is the stuff of barbecue legend. The Hollywood location, which opened just last month, had all central meat-loving Angelenos squealing with excitement. We recommend the Oinkster Pastrami or the BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich. The onion rings are excellent, and the truffle aioli oh so delish. With a decent list of craft beers on draft and an ample patio, it’s the perfect place to unwind after the DMV. And it’s only two blocks away!
Lunch for Vegetarians
Café Gratitude || 639 N. Larchmont at Melrose
Not into eating piles of meat? Head over to Larchmont Blvd, just a few blocks east of Vine, and sit among leaf-eating celebrities at Café Gratitude. A meal at Café Gratitude will take a bite out of your wallet, but with entrees named for self-affirmations and a policy that all customers must order by saying “I am” (I am LIBERATED” for the kelp noodle pasta; “I am FORTIFIED” for the sautéed vegetable bowl), it should leave you feeling, well, liberated and fortified.
Three Clubs Cocktail Lounge || 1123 Vine St. at Santa Monica
Just four blocks from the beige and bland DMV, Three Clubs is dark, retro, and very cool. Happy hour runs until 9pm, and includes a few dollars off of well drinks, wine, and beer, but their bartenders sling an excellent martini. Grab a seat at the curved, classic bar and recover your dignity after paying hundreds of dollars in parking ticket fees.
Osteria Mamma || 5732 Melrose Ave. at Lucerne
Arguably the best Italian in the city. It’s hard for us to write about it without drooling. Small and fancy, with an excellent wine list and a nice little bar if all the tables are taken, which they usually are, so make a reservation. The Bigoli del Calabrese is heavenly, the Pappardelle al Fumo unbelievable, and the Linguine alla Carbonara to die for a thousand times. After slumming it at the god-awful DMV, you’d be wise to treat yourself to some of Mamma’s cooking.