It comes with the territory. As the magazine’s dine editor, I regularly get hit up for restaurant recommendations during my off hours. I receive text messages from friends in the evenings, phone calls from family members on weekends, and—my personal favorite—the casual backyard barbecue sneak attack. (I’ve had three beers, but sure I can tell you where to eat for your anniversary!) Despite the title of this post, I’m always truly happy to help. But I insist every inquirer give me a few guidelines first: a) what part of town, b) price point, c) desired vibe, d) style of cuisine, or the name of a restaurant they already like. Here, I share my off-duty advice.
Who: A longtime subscriber.
Method of inquiry: Random office phone call—my favorite…
Scenario: Our loyal reader is taking her new boss out to lunch, along with another colleague. Needs to impress.
Where: Here’s the rub: the lunch must be in or around the City of Industry. So far, all she’s found are chain restaurants. And nothing impresses a new boss like an Awesome Blossom.
Price point: Didn’t come up.
Vibe: The place doesn’t need to be high-end, but it shouldn’t be too shabby, either. Preferably the waiters don’t wear pieces of flare.
Type of cuisine: Anything goes, though her boss did express an interest in something “healthy.” Mexican or Asian is fine, she says.
I said: The City of Industry was a real challenge. I’d never been asked about the area before and, truthfully, I was stumped. I finally asked if Whittier would be too far and she said no. In fact, the colleague they were dining with was a Whittier assemblyman. Score! From there, the answer was easy: Bizarra Capital. Chef Ricardo Diaz was named one of Los Angeles magazine’s Chefs of the Year thanks to his polished Mexican pub grub, and the almighty Jonathan Gold gave the restaurant a rave in the Times a few months back.
She went to: Um, the one place I suggested.
The Verdict: From an email: “WOW! Bizarra Capital is that funky hole in the wall people DREAM of finding. Everything is fresh and delicious. We had the ceviche mixta, guacamole, chicken sopes, and the panna cotta. Nothing was greasy, heavy, or overwhelming. Beyond the food I also loved the ambiance, service, and plenty of convenient free parking (a huge consideration in L.A.) Thank you so much for you recommendation. I have already called three people about the restaurant and 100% plan on going back. “
…so, you liked it?