Best of LA: 2012
At their still-unmarked Fairfax enclave, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo have maintained—even honed—their knack for rejiggering comfort food into balanced, thoughtful dishes that leap with spurts of acid and fat.
“Restoration requires not only technical ability—it’s an art,” says Barry Amiri, co-owner of the Antique Rug Co.
Scrambling for a last-minute gift to satisfy the boss’s Ruscha fetish or scouting inspiration for your nine-figure blockbuster…
Neighborhood: Culver City
When your former best bud, DJ Sticky Fingers, has split with your cans and you need a pair quick, run to the Turntable Lab in the Fairfax District for gear that can cost as little as the change in your couch or as much as several Franklins.
If you want to understand why cars end up in museums in the first place, motor to the Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, where docents take guests for a Sunday spin in one of the 130 restored vehicles from the collection.
Neighborhood: El Segundo
For decades Elysian Park’s Avenue of the Palms near Dodger Stadium has been home base for the city’s lowrider scene.
Neighborhood: Echo Park
Josef Centeno’s umlaut-bedecked flagship has all the Moroccan bistilla and Provençal brandade you could want, and the menu weds Catalan, Italian, and Abkhazian ingredients.
At Baxter-Northup Music, an L.A. institution since 1906, owner Ed Walker can hook up tone-deaf parents with name-brand vintage instruments.
Neighborhood: Sherman Oaks
Part cookie, part cake; sort of Jewish but kind of Italian—the black and white is a New York deli favorite that has enthusiastic fans in the west.
Watching the waves crash during a session of Beach Yoga with Brad, you’ll forget you’re on the busy border between Santa Monica and Venice.
Neighborhood: Santa Monica
Build granitelike glutes and take in the landscape as you hike the public staircases notched into the city’s hillsides.
Neighborhood: West Los Angeles
It’s pretty fancy-schmancy, and lots of interior designers shop here, but don’t be intimidated by Between the Sheets. Unlike at big-box or department stores, the staff is happy to clarify such mysteries as thread count and cotton types.
Neighborhood: West Hollywood
Downtown’s most popular breakfast, lunch, and dinner destination is an Italian restaurant, high-end patisserie, and cocktail dispensary rolled into one.
Only at the original Carousel will you find such an authentic take on this Middle Eastern salad—a mélange of snappy vegetables and fried pita bread.
Neighborhood: East Hollywood
At Burbank’s family-run Chili John’s, the generous bowls of red are of the most elemental Texas variety: nothin’ but high-quality beef suet, garlic, and a proprietary spice blend that favors cayenne’s stiff kick.
Silver Lake’s candlelit grotto recently brought on James Beard-nominated chef Benjamin Bailly (Fraîche, Petrossian), whose farm-fresh menu is tasteful but doesn’t punish the pocketbook.
Neighborhood: Silver Lake