Welcome to EAT THIS CITY, your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
This week, join us in Tinseltown — where we’ll be running right past the stars of the stage and screen, in favor of celebrating the stars of the plate and bars. Our guide to the best the neighborhood has to offer is Hollywood’s beloved Chef Valerie Gordon, owner of the renowned Valerie Confections. Since 2004, Chef Gordon has been supplying Los Angeles with sweets decadent enough to make Vianne Rocher jealous — her chocolates are rich and glossy, her cakes are splashed with champagne and dusted with gold, and her mignardises are bedecked in flower petals. This is dessert as an art form.
Today, with three brick and mortar locations and an online market to boot, Valerie Confections has only picked up steam since opening day, winning accolades from Vogue, In Style, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine, while Valerie herself has twice appeared as a guest judge on Top Chef: Just Desserts. Have a sweet tooth? Then you owe it to yourself to check out the chocolates voted the best in Los Angeles, the petit fours featured on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, and the cakes lovingly recreated to honor the pastries of Hollywood’s bygone era (the Brown Derby’s Grapefruit Cake? Chasen’s Banana Shortcake? Sign us up!)
Ready to grab a bite? Let’s check out Chef Valerie’s favorite restaurants in Hollywood!
DeSano’s. I’m a huge fan of DeSano’s . It’s on Alexandria and Santa Monica. What I love about them is that their pizza is uncomplicated. It is not “gourmet” pizza. It’s PIZZA. It’s in a super casual, family friendly setting. It’s delicious. When you think in your head about what pizza should taste like, it tastes like the pizza from DeSano’s.
Guisados on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. They have really, really luscious tacos. They’re sort of small to medium-sized. If you get two you have an incredible meal. Their use of spice is very aggressive. So good.
Pine & Crane, also on Sunset. I love them. I’m half-Chinese and getting good Chinese food in the Hollywood/Silverlake area is tricky. Pine & Crane makes the freshest, most modern Chinese food, and it feels very homemade. It’s like the Chinese food that you would eat at home, rather than from a restaurant. It’s not greasy, it’s incredibly fresh, they have delicious beef bowls, their three-cup chicken is phenomenal, their salads are great. I crave Pine & Crane. And then we have to mention the ambience. It really feels like 1990s SoHo. It has a really cool vibe, with concrete doors and black and white photos. It’s awesome.
When I see a Kogi truck, I feel a rush, I have to say. And I’m on the lookout for a local truck. The thrill is not diminished for me, with Kogi, even though this part of Roy Choi’s empire has been around for quite some time.
Forage has some really excellent pastry. They serve a really good coffee cake.
It’s an experience, and I think what you want from fine dining is an experience. It doesn’t want to feel like something you could or should eat every day. It’s an event. Also, Spring. Spring is gorgeous, really pretty.
Jitlada is a huge favorite of mine. I go a little crazy there—Southern Thai cuisine. Oh, and Night + Market Song is phenomenal! I love the wings. And for super-casual, I would say Dune. The beet* and egg sandwich is luscious. Their hummus is incredible, their chutneys are very spicy and have a ton of personality.
I would go to Elf Cafe. It’s owned by the same people who owned Dune, it’s middle-eastern food, done in a very market driven way, and a super-beautiful way. The setting is quite intimate. It’s gorgeous.
Sawyer is pretty. I like the variety of seating areas, it feels very fresh, and very happy. I like the breakfast sandwich on the black bread. It’s just ridiculously chic.
The In-N-Out Double Double!
I like spicy for hangover food, and for that I go to Chengdu Taste. Get the toothpick lamb and the mungbean noodles. I also really enjoy Korean barbecue.
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We're thrilled to be nominated for "Most Iconic L.A. Bar" by Time Out Los Angeles! We're celebrating with one of our Old Fashioneds. Who's in?? Thanks @timeoutla 🥃#timeoutbarawards2017 #timeoutla #losangeles #cocktails #mussos #mussoandfrank #mussoandfrankgrill #oldfashioned #hollywood
The Musso & Frank Grill in historic Hollywood. Their cocktails are served in very small, old-timey glasses. I love the bar at Musso’s. It’s wonderful.
RESTAURANT RUN BY A FRIEND
Canele. It’s run by Corinna Weivel. It’s very sexy, market-driven, Mediterranean food in Atwater Village. Love, love, love her food.
Thank you, Chef Gordon, for taking us on a culinary tour of Hollywood!
Stay tuned for more EAT THIS CITY — where each week we’ll feature a premier chef in a different city sharing their insider eating tips! Missed a week? Check out Return to Miami, Return to Las Vegas, Manhattan, Oakland, Paris, Portland, Tampa, Durham, Toronto, Baltimore, Monterey, Vail, Lexington, Bentonville, San Antonio, Warsaw, Kansas City, NYC, Washington DC, New Orleans, Cleveland, Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Sydney, Portland, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, New Orleans,Providence, Memphis, Orange County, Boston, and Detroit.
See you next week!