Comedian and actor Aziz Ansari is more likely to use his Twitter feed (1.3 million followers and counting) to promote sushi in the Valley or mini tacos in East L.A. than the latest episode of Parks and Rec. Since moving here from New York City three years ago, Ansari has become one of L.A.’s most committed culinary adventurers, exploring the city’s funkiest reaches to tweet about an “amazing doughnut downtown” or a turkey sandwich that is “nuts.” He was a natural choice to tell us how to be a foodie tourist in your own town.
“As a touring comedian, you’re in a different city every couple days,” says Ansari. “Finding good places to eat is a way to keep the road exciting.” Aside from his online presence, he has teamed with fellow comedians Jason Woliner and Eric Wareheim to form the Food Club, a nautically dressed trio who storm L.A. restaurants to award chefs with plaques. Ansari even tossed his hat in the ring for the vacant New York Times restaurant critic gig (via Twitter, of course), although he later admitted, “I would probably drop way too many F-bombs in my reviews.” As practice we asked Ansari to reveal his favorite L.A. eateries.
A friend took me here, and we ordered the sampler, which has six different mini tacos. They’re completely different from any tacos I’ve had in L.A.
I’ve become really close with Jazz, the chef-owner—she’s so sweet. [Holds up a picture of the two with a Photoshopped border of dolphins and ocean waves.] She always has a new Thai dish that she wants me to try.
People often think of their heavy dishes, but Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook make some really excellent lighter ones, like the hamachi tostada. If you balance the two, you won’t have to go home and pass out afterward.
You almost feel bad putting your fork into these gorgeous dishes and messing them up. The quail with charred onion, banana polenta, and sorrel cream was terrific.
This place is in Tarzana, but the black snapper alone might be worth the drive. We shoot around here for Parks and Rec, so it’s good for some after-work sushi.
Delicious and totally unique. My usual breakfast order is a green tea doughnut and Hong Kong milk tea.
Ricky’s Fish Tacos
The fish tacos are so unbelievable, and Ricky’s the nicest guy. Everyone comes up and says, “Hi, Ricky!”
Taco Zone Truck
This was the first taco truck I started going to when I moved to L.A., and even with all the trucks that have popped up and gotten Twitter accounts, I still hit this one up for their suadero mulita whenever I can.
Photographs courtesy (in order): Justin Stephens, guisados.co/, Aziz Ansari, quarrygirl.com, mvink.com, mysushispot.com, syorithefoodie.com, twitter.com/rickysfishtacos, yelp/tim c.