My LA to Z: Lisa Ling

Lisa Ling’s investigative reporting may take her around the world, but she calls an energy neutral house (the city’s first!) in Santa Monica home
The host of OWN’s Our America with Lisa Ling loves jogging with her husband, Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley, and “dirt cheap” massages

Temescal Canyon

It’s this easily accessible piece of nature in the midst of a frenetic city, and my husband and I love to race up to the top of the canyon. He usually wins, but only because his legs are longer. I’m not slower! His legs go on forever. We try to go once a month.




The Ford Amphitheatre, Greek Theatre, and Hollywood Bowl

I adore these outdoor theaters that you can go to all year round. They are just jewels. I’m going to miss the Grease Sing-a-Long at the Hollywood Bowl because I’ll be out of town, and it’s killing me. Seeing Grease would be like—I can’t even talk about it.



It’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Studio City. It’s home-style Japanese and it’s my addiction. I always order the seafood soup, which is abundantly rich in seafood. When I’m in town I have to go there once a week. I’ll probably go there tonight.




The omakase there is the best in the city. It’s one of the few restaurants in L.A. with a Michelin star, and it’s in a strip mall. I’ve spent more birthdays there because that’s all I want—just take me to Asanebo!



Ocean Ave.

My husband and I love to jog on Ocean Ave. To me, it’s the quintessential L.A. kind of luxury to be able to jog on this beautiful strip overlooking the ocean 365 days a year. I try to jog at least four times a week. The great thing about jogging is you can do it anywhere, but few places are as beautiful.



The Farmers’ Market on Main Street

We ride our bikes over and spend the morning. We’ll have omelets or crepes and then buy all our produce there. There’s a vendor that sells all these amazing dry fruits that we always hit, too. Sometimes we just chill and listen to the live music.

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Din Tai Fung

The San Gabriel Valley has the best Chinese food outside of Asia hands down. My favorite is a dumpling place called Din Tai Fung. It’s Taiwanese and world-famous. I discovered it for the first time in Taiwan. It was the only place I waited two hours to get into, and it was not a disappointment in the least. I think there are three in Taiwan and only one in the U.S.

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Chinese Ancient Foot Massage

You can get a one-hour foot massage with a ten-minute back massage for $20. It gets crowded on the weekends, so I suggest people go during the week if they can, but they stay open until 11. It’s dirt cheap but they give amazing, amazing massages.



Hunan Chilli King

I love the spiciest food possible, and here you can chose from different levels of spiciness. I don’t do the highest level, but I’m working my way there. I like to torture myself.

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Wi Spa

You could literally spend all day there; it’s open 24-hours, it’s wireless, and you can eat there. They have a hot rock room, a couple different saunas, clay rooms, and Jacuzzis. Also, these little Korean women in their underwear will scrub you down with a scouring pad, and you leave softer than a baby.

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Melrose Ave.

When I was a kid my mom would work during the day and she would drop me and my sister off on Melrose. We’d make beaded necklaces and then sit and sell them on the street, and we’d make hundreds of dollars. I think I was 15 and my sister was 12. I started making jewelry again when I was on The View because I was flying so much and it was a good thing to do on a flight, but after Sept 11, the airlines stopped allowing sharp objects on planes. That sort of killed my jewelry career. 



Corner Fruit Stands

I love the fruit stands that are set up sidewalk corners, the ones with the rainbow umbrellas. I get the sliced fruit with lime juice and the spicy seasoning on it. It’s an L.A. staple.


Images courtesy of (in order): OWN (1) Flickr/Michael Oh, (2), (3) Yelp/ Michael H, (4) Yelp/Helen Y., 5) Flickr/DominusVobiscum, (6) Flickr/ kthread0, (7), (9) Yelp/Shriley C (10), (11) Flickr/eric_chet, (12) Flickr/stu_spivack