After growing up in NorCal for 17.5 years of my life, moving to Washington DC for one year, and now living in SoCal for the past nine months, I (more or less) have an identity crisis. When people ask me where I’m from, it’s hard to say. Sometimes I say I’m from the East, sometimes I say I’m from the North, sometimes I just say it’s complicated.
Don’t get me wrong, I love California, but there are a lot of things I miss about my former East Coast home and sometimes I just wish I could combine the two worlds. Luckily for me, and for you, these East Coast favorites have made their way West to California. So if you’ve never been East, here’s what you’ve been missing out on.
1. Shake Shack
Shake Shack finally opened in Los Angeles this week and life could not have gotten any better. Seriously, In-N-Out has got nothing on the Shack Stack: a combination of the cheeseburger and the ‘shroom burger. So if the oozing cheese doesn’t make your taste buds explode then their world famous frozen custards and milkshakes definitely will.
Thanks to Carrie Bradshaw, this Sex and the City icon has been labelled as a must try place for their cupcakes but the real gem at Magnolia Bakery is their banana bread pudding. And yes, it also comes in chocolate now for all you chocoholics out there.
3. Halal Guys
Two words: white sauce. Your order will taste amazing no matter what, but whatever you order and drench in their white sauce will be exceptional. So don’t miss out on the legendary chicken and rice from the Middle Eastern masterminds at Halal Guys.
While most DC natives would never wait in the absurdly long line on M Street for Georgetown Cupcakes, especially with Baked & Wired just down the street, these treats are definitely worth the wait and a must-try District icon.
If you’ve ever gone to ShopHouse, you might think that it reminds you a lot like a Southeast Asian version of Chipotle and that’s because it is owned by Chipotle. Much like the Mexican eatery, you get to customize your own bowl with a base (rice or noodles), a protein, vegetables, sauces, and garnishes.
Lady M has been on my bucket list for years partly due to their world renowned mille-crepes cakes and partly due to the fact that I am also Lady M(elissa). So if you get the chance, check out this upscale cafe for the dainty delights that will leave your tastebuds in the clouds and you feeling like you’re royalty.
Although most salads may not seem like the treat yo’ self kind of meal, treat yo’ body right with the salads and the bowls at sweetgreen. The kale caesar salad is to die for and their complimentary buckwheat bread always comes warm. Trust me, you’ll still feel like you’re indulging and you won’t regret it afterwards.
Rita’s Italian Ice was a daily outing during my summer camp in Baltimore, Maryland four years ago. Their icy treats were always a refreshing break from the hot and humid summer nights in the Northeast but now we can finally pick one up on our way to one of SoCal’s pristine beaches.