My LA to Z: James Ellroy

The writer, who lives within pistol shot of the Hancock Park neighborhood he roamed as a youngster, tells us about his “confidential” L.A. spots


In his “L.A. Quartet” novels, James Ellroy’s midcentury L.A. harbors a seductive underworld where criminals speak in clipped prose and get clipped. His latest, Blood’s A Rover (Knopf, $29), completes the Underworld USA Trilogy.


Arroyo Chop House

It’s very clubby. It’s the best steak place in Los Angeles. They know me there. I over-tip and buy love. I like the fish.

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Arroyo Parkway 76

[It] offers 100 octane gas, which is good for my car. I have a [BMW] M5, and it’s a big gas guzzler. It’s right where the 110 freeway ends on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. They have good Slim Jims and Fritos. I also don’t have a cell phone, and I can use my Rite Aid calling card there if I have to make a phone call.



The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows

It’s extremely elegant. I can’t afford to live there year-round, but I love going in there when the air conditioning goes on the blink in my apartment.

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Little Hong Kong Deli & China Bistro Plus Sushi

They deliver to my place fast, and I over-tip them so it’s extra fast.



healing hands


Healing Hands Wellness Center

I’m extremely tense and I sleep poorly, and they pound my back and it makes me feel good.

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Jay Huffaker, DDS

I find my dentist’s office very relaxing. We have good discussions about things while he’s prepping utensils.

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Kate Mantilini

I know the personal stories of the waiters. They have 110 items on the menu. About 75 of them are good. The clientele there is so old it makes me feel young.

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Le Pain Quotidien

On Larchmont. I had my first assignations with my girlfriend there over espresso.

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Pacific Dining Car

If worse comes to worst I’ll go to the Pacific Dining Car downtown. The food is not as good as it used to be.

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Wilshire Branch Library

I went there as a kid, and it’s still there. Intact.

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Read The Ladies’ Man, Amy Wallace’s September 2010 profile of Ellroy.

Images courtesy of (in order): (1) Flickr/ZagatBuzz, (2) Flickr/roadsidepictures, (3) Flickr/THoffarth, (4) Flickr/ricw, (5) No credit, (6), (7) Flickr/DonnaGrayson, (8) picasaweb/lindsaykaden, (9) Flickr/willonawoods, (10) Flickr/KlaraKim