Summer is prime time for going on spontaneous road trips. But road trips should never mean sub-par fast food hamburgers and soggy fries. Luckily, if you happen to be around Los Angeles, we’ve got you covered.
From Little Tokyo to late night poutine, comforting doughnuts to afternoon coffee, here is a rundown of when, where, and what to eat in the City of Angels.
12 pm: California Donuts
Let’s say that you’ve just cruised down the last stretch of Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, and you’ve had enough of the scenic beaches and surfers. You’re tired, your legs are cramped, and you just want something sweet to munch on before embarking on your LA food marathon.
This is where California Donuts comes in. From your standard glazed, frosted, and powdered creations to the more enticing specialities like Frooty Loops and Maple Bacon Bar, the hardest part about stopping here is not buying everything.
Our distinguished tasters enjoyed the Matcha frosted and the Reeses Peanut Butter donuts, and would also recommend the Snickers Bar.
2 pm: Daikokuya Ramen
Now that you’ve finally pulled yourself away from the doughnut display case, it’s time to have some real food. Fortunately, Little Tokyo is just a quick drive away, and Daikokuya Ramen is where you need to go.
They have three broth options, and the ramen bowls are completely customizable with add-ins like soft boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, and nori (seaweed). Their combos are also a steal, and come with a salad and a rice bowl with your choice of stir fry or sashimi.
Hopefully you’ve explored the city for a bit, and you’re ready for a late afternoon shot of caffeine to pull you through the rest of this food fest. Head over to Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and make your way to Javista Organic Coffee Bar.
It’s a tiny little cafe that pulls expert shots of espresso for all your basic drink needs. They have a variety of coffees, teas, and even sandwiches and pastries, but we suggest that you save your appetite for…
5 pm: MILK Ice Cream Parlor
With so many sundae and milkshake options, it helps to bring a friend (or several) here so you can sample everything. You can even choose from pre-made macaron ice cream sandwiches or make your own from their freshly baked cookies and your choice of ice cream.
Or you can get three scoops of ice cream to just try their flavors, from coffee toffee to blood orange sorbet to nutella…the choice is yours.
6 pm: Koreatown
Ready for dinner? Time to head over to Koreatown for bulgogi (grilled meats) and jjigae (stew). Don’t let the names or lack of English scare you. Just follow the pictures and “Korean BBQ” signs on the windows to any sit-down restaurant of your choice and prepare to feast.
Expect sparse menu descriptions like “Beef spareribs with spicy sauce” and fewer options than most typical restaurants. A traditional Korean meal is an experience in itself. First come the banchan, which are side dishes that usually include pickled vegetables and kimchi.
Next is the soup and rice, and lastly, the main dish. This is a meal meant to be shared and slowly savored, and it’s the perfect time to relax.
9 pm: Smoke’s Poutinerie
Once you’ve finished making your rounds exploring Hollywood, it’s time for the final hurrah: Smoke’s Poutinerie. Never had poutine? Never even heard of poutine? You need to make a stop here.
Poutine is the older and more mature brother of your standard drive through chili cheese fries. It’s like sipping a fine cognac versus chugging a cheap beer. A regular order of poutine gets you a pile of french fries topped with cheese curds that melt under a blanket of gravy. But why stop there?
Their pork, chicken, beef, and vegetarian toppings range from sausage to Montreal smoked meat to sauteed mushrooms. Load up your car with your poutine-to-go box and make sure you have plenty of napkins for the ride.
Epic road trip? Check. Impending food coma? Check. If you only have 9 hours in LA, use it wisely.