Your Excuse-Proof Guide to Staying Up and Eating Late

Not everyone’s a night owl. But you can at least learn to enjoy food like one

Does time even exist in Los Angeles? With celebrities who never age, seasons that never change, and entertainment industry jobs that make normal 9-to-5s look like after-school paper routes, we’re the city that time forgot. That applies to our eating schedules, too (and it’s why we dive into after hours eating in our September issue). Some live that rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and dig into “fourth meal” around midnight, while others hit the proverbial hay much earlier thanks to kids, early mornings, and suspect advice from that trainer at your gym.

You may have been a late-night nosher in college, but those days are long gone. Now the prospect of eating past seven scares the Bieber out of you. So how do you cope with that nocturnal meal option? Follow these five rules and you’ll be just fine.

1. File a Restraining Order Against Your Bed
If you don’t go near your bed, you can’t fall asleep in it. To make it all the way to that 10:30pm reservation you snagged at Bestia, you need to get your Dorothy on and pretend like home doesn’t even exist anymore. You can stop over to change clothes or feed Toto, but if you’re there for more than an hour, you may fall victim to the siren song of your Tempur-pedic. Stay on the go and you’ll make it all the way to that magical plate of charcuterie you woke up thinking about.

2. Make It Special
Nobody wants to stay up late just to have a grilled cheese. Turn your midnight snack into a midnight feast and hit up a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. Thai Town favorite Ruen Pair is open until 3am every night and Red Medicine is open until 2am. Animal doesn’t close up shop until midnight on the weekend. Plan a post-dinner dinner that you know you’re going to love and you’ll be happy to stay up well past your bedtime.

3. Don’t Think That Late Food = Junk Food
Just because fast food has cornered the late night market, doesn’t mean you’re stuck with clowns, kings, and businessmen with ping-pong ball heads. Use the later hour to take you out of your comfort zone and into L.A.’s incredible ethnic pockets. Koreatown doesn’t really get going until 11pm anyway and those hidden gem taco tables in East LA? They’re not there for afternoon snacks. Use the cover of night to explore the far reaches of this incredible city and you might just start eating late every night. Plus no traffic! 

4. Pace Yourself
Let’s face it: there are few people in this world who can go from a 12pm lunch to a 12am dinner with nothing in between. If you’re going to make it until midnight without turning into an empty-stomach zombie, you need to stem the rising tide of hunger with a few mini-meals. Right before your normal dinnertime; load up on some protein-rich snacks (almonds or other nuts are always a good bet). Protein takes longer to digest than carbs and it’ll stave off those “FEED ME!” signals your stomach is sending out until you can chow down on some after-hours grub. 

5. Let the Lure of the Late Night Deal Motivate You
This town is rife with late night dining specials if you know where to look. Late night happy hours can be found all over the city: WP24 (Downtown), Stella Barra (Hollywood, Santa Monica), East Borough (Culver City), Plan Check (Mid-City), Mohawk Bend (Echo Park), EMC Seafood (Koreatown). After 10pm, the Croque Monsieurs come out at Petit Trois and what’s better than a $1 taco from Tacos Leo or a $3 danger dog outside of the club? Wait until the witching hour to eat and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with a significantly lower price tag.