Being a tourist on the West Coast, specifically in L.A., Las Vegas and Laguna Beach, all I could think about was one thing: what food places I wanted to try. Because food tourism is the best tourism, right? 

I went to a number of delicious places, some spontaneous and some (heavily) planned, and below is a list of dishes that now, eight months later, I still dream about. If you're lucky enough to either live in or travel to one of these destinations, I would highly recommend doing your tastebuds a favor and trying these foodgasmic fares out. 

1. Spaghetti & Meatballwich 

meat, tomato, vegetable, chicken, cheese, sauce
Marie Chantal Marauta

Served at the renowned specialty sandwich shop The Carving Board, this sandwich comprises of sliced beef meatballs covered in freshly-made marinara and gooey, melted mozzarella served in a parmesan-spaghetti bun. That's right, the bun is made out of pasta, and it was the most exciting thing in the world. The crunchy spaghetti bun contrasted with the soft, warm meat filling, making the entire experience a delicious explosion of tastes and textures. 

2. Spinach Quesadilla 

cheese, vegetable
Marie Chantal Marauta

The Kayndaves Cantina in Culver City serves this unique quesadilla, made with a delicate spinach tortilla. The filling was made with spinach, mushroom and onion, and it was served with a side of guacamole and sour cream. (I, of course, I asked for extra guacamole). The distinctive flavor of the spinach tortilla set this quesadilla aside from anything I'd ever eaten, and it's crunchy texture merged perfectly with the cool, creamy guacamole. A must-try for those who are adventurous, but not a fan of spices. 

3. Butterbeer 

Marie Chantal Marauta

The fictional drink became a reality at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (at Universal Studios Hollywood). Though the books portrayed Butterbeer as having an intoxicating effect, The Wizarding World serves a non-alcoholic version. The foamy top makes way for a cool, fizzy drink below, although the drink's exact contents are a mystery. However, people have speculated that it's cream soda topped with butterscotch-flavored whipped cream. Either way, it was refreshing and delightful. 

4. Avocado Toast 

salad, lettuce, toast, sandwich, vegetable, bread
Marie Chantal Marauta

Though avocado toast is now a staple, The Great Maple in Los Angeles created a variation that made my mouth water. First of all, the type of avocado purchased on the West Coast is much softer and tastier than anything I've ever eaten on the East Coast. Furthermore, The Great Maple put mashed avocado atop warm, toasted brown bread, and topped it with basil strips and sea salt. Served with warm grilled chicken, it was the perfect energizing start to a long day as a tourist. 

5. Caramelized Onion & Leek Soup 

meat, onion, bread, cheese, parsley, soup, vegetable, french onion soup
Marie Chantal Marauta

Driftwood Kitchen at Laguna Beach serves this creative twist on a classic onion soup. It's made with caramelized onion and leek, topped with melty gruyere cheese and cooked in rich oxtail broth. The mélange of flavors was subdued by the warmth of the broth, making for a tasty but not too overwhelming dish. 


chicken, sweet, onion, onion rings
Marie Chantal Marauta

The best onion rings I've ever tasted are served at Tom Colicchio's Heritage Stake at The Mirage in Las Vegas. The only details given about these rings is that they are "spicy" and served with white BBQ sauce. The rings, for once, were not overly-oily, and just the right amount of crispy. Furthermore, their spicy, dusty coating tickled my tastebuds, and got me hooked on onion rings for life. 

7. Creative Cookies 

goody, oatmeal, pastry, cake, sweet, cookie, chocolate
Marie Chantal Marauta

The L.A.-based Cookie Good makes a range of inventive cookies that can truly make one's day. From their caramel-pretzel-chocolate chunk cookie and their ice cream sundae cookie, to their peach cobbler cookie, this original bake shop is capable of surprising you with the deliciousness of a mix of ingredients that one wouldn't intuitively put together.   

So, there you have it. A list of 7 places that I wish I could go back to on a daily basis. Try any of the above, and I can guarantee that you won't be disappointed. 

For more about food on the West Coast, check out the following articles: 

The Best East Coast Equivalents of Your Favorite West Coast Restaurants

15 Must-Try Juice Bars on the West Coast

These LA Donut Shops Are Anything But Basic