Photograph courtesy Stacey Sun
The next dineLA Restaurant Week is almost here! Between January 21 to February 1, more than 250 Los Angeles restaurants will offer prix fixe lunches priced at $15, $20, and $25, and dinners at $25, $35, and $45… whiiiiich is pretty darn awesome. But who’s responsible for this weeklong celebration of bargain-priced culinary joy? None other than the director of dineLA, Stacey Sun. Here, she shares a little about her duties and where she likes to eat and drink around town.
(For full details and a list of participating restaurants, visit the dineLA Restaurant Week web site.)
Full name (including middle)?
Stacey Eugenie Sun (Randy…that’s just straight up mean making us include our middle name.)
Hidden talents or superpowers?
My crazy sense of smell and better than perfect hearing.
How long have you lived in L.A.? How long have you been the director of dineLA?
Born and raised in L.A. (the 626) and I’ve been the director of dineLA for 1.5 years.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts about your job?
My favorite part of the job has been the people. I know it’s cliché to say but everyone I’ve met has been so great to work with and passionate about what they do, especially the chefs. The least favorite part of my job has been constantly practicing self-control with food. It’s hard to take just one bite.
Why do you feel the dineLA’s Restaurant Week is such an important and loved event for Angelenos?
dineLA’s Restaurant Week is an important event because it showcases L.A.’s great restaurants and their diversity. People love dineLA’s Restaurant Week and look forward to it every winter and summer because they’re able to try new restaurants at a good value. There’s also a sense of community when you’re at a restaurant during Restaurant Week. Complete strangers will start chatting about the dineLA menu and what they ordered. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy when I see that happen.
What are some of your favorite places to eat around town?
I’m loving The Hart and Hunter and their biscuits… oh their biscuits. Sushi Gen is my go-to lunch spot during the week because their sashimi lunch special is the best deal in town. I’m obsessed with croissants and am enjoying Sugarbloom’s creative pastries at Taza Coffee in Arcadia (weekends only).
How about places to drink? Cocktails, beer, wine, coffee, tea… pick your poison(s).
Call me a teenager but I like going to CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice [at Olympic and] Sawtelle. I’m normally not the biggest boba drinker but their version is really good because they use real fruit. For the adult in me, my go-to bar is the Tasting Kitchen [in Venice]. Their drinks are some of the best in town and the vibe is great.
How are you in the kitchen? Anything you’re particularly good (or bad) at making?
I went to culinary school so my cooking skills are pretty decent. I have a knack for cooking meat, especially prime rib and rack of lamb. I have a lot of fun making ice cream and coming up with the flavors is the best part (think salted dark chocolate whiskey).
Any favorite markets?
I’m a big farmers’ market shopper and frequent the Saturday Santa Monica one. I’m obsessed with the dried fruit stand. Trader Joe’s is my favorite “traditional” market since I’m lucky enough to have three within a two-mile radius of my house.
What do you feel is the most exciting thing happening in the local food scene right now? I’m really enjoying that a lot of restaurants are embracing “housemade”. It elevates the menu and the food feels (and tastes) more thoughtful.
What would you want your final meal to be? And what would you want to drink along with it? Any music playing in the background?
Another standard answer but I would want my final meal to be my mom’s cooking. She makes a mean braised ox tongue and ox tail stew. As for the music and drinks, my main focus would be the food so the other things aren’t as important.
Visit the dineLA Restaurant Week web site for more details and a full list of participating restaurants.