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Eating Off the Beaten Track
In and Around Los Angeles

by Jeff Fried

Editor's Note: After a two-year hiatus, Native Philadelphian
and current Floridian resident, Jeff Fried returns to some of his
favorite off-the-beaten-track culinary haunts in the City of Angels.

os Angeles is not a city short on great food; reputation and internet research can surely lead you the way. But if you want to experience something different . . .

Otto's love for music!
Photo credit:
Otto's - Import Store & Deli

2320 West Clark Ave.
Burbank, CA 91506

(818) 845-0433

Burbank: I asked Otto to hold the pickles but when I got my sandwich, guess what was on it? Pickles. Guess what immediately came off the sandwich? Pickles. Fortunately, he held off the mayonnaise. Even in California, it is unacceptable for an East Coaster to eat a hoagie with mayo and pickles. Otto's European and Hungarian Import Store and Deli is an unassuming neighborhood grocery store that makes one of the best Hoagie's in Los Angeles. Each order usually comes with a mini comedy act by Otto himself. If time permits, Otto might even break out his accordion.

9128 West Pico Blvd.
LA, CA 90035
(310) 278-0122

Beverly Hills Adjacent: That's what realtors call the area between Pico and Olympic and Robertson and La Cienega. If you're thinking of moving there, you should know that your city address will be Los Angeles. You might get Beverly in your address if you live on Beverly Drive, but really the only good thing about that is your proximity to the Beverlywood Bakery. This classic Jewish bakery on Pico makes the best rugalach in the United States. I've had rugalach from Miami to Philadelphia to New York and nothing comes close. The only drawback is they seal their pastry boxes really good, so if you think you might want to sneak a few in the car before arriving at your destination, then just have them keep a few out.

3456 S. Glenmark Dr. Hacienda Heights,
CA 91745
(626) 961-9697
Hacienda Heights: About thirty minutes east of downtown is the Hsi Lai Temple, one of the largest Buddhist temples in the Western Hemisphere. Seven days per week they serve an all you can eat vegetarian lunch for just five dollars. Don't let that price fool you, there is a salad and fruit bar, at least five different dishes, soup and hot tea. The main dishes vary regularly and can include vegetables, noodles, tofu, seitan and veggie ham. The temple grounds are beautiful and include the Hall with Ten Thousand Buddha's, a garden with the Eighteen Arhats, a museum and book store.

767 Deep Valley Drive,
Rolling Hills Estates,
CA 90274
(310) 265-0914

Palos Verdes Peninsula: Hip and upscale, yet cozy with very friendly service and fantastic food sums up what I found at Bistro 767. Even though I was spending the night in the area, it would have definitely been worth the twenty mile drive from West Los Angeles. The bistro salad with sherry vinaigrette was fantastic and the filet mignon was cooked to perfection. They have a great martini and wine selection. The desserts were out of this world.

3125 Los Feliz Blvd.
LA [Glendale],
CA 90039

(323) 345-0360

Glendale: On Los Feliz Boulevard is India Sweets and Spices. A great vegetarian Indian food restaurant and market. There are no servers that come to your table. Just go up to the counter and tell the servers what you want and what size. Their pakoras, chan masala and saag were top notch. They have a large variety of dishes to choose from and the staff is very friendly and helpful. They have seven other locations throughout Los Angeles.
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Hilarious piece on your trip to Otto's Hungarian Deli. I thought I was the only non-Hungarian In Southern California who knew the joint, tucked into some little non-descript neighborhood in Burbank. Very true, he makes the best sandwiches is the world, but it is essential to be in there in person - as opposed to ordering over the phone - so that you can ride herd on him with your instructions for the condiments. He is known to get caught up in some obscure conversation about Hungary and completely forget. The best way to enjoy his sandwich is to talk him into playing is accordion while you wolf one down. Let's face it; nothing goes better for lunch than an Otto's Hungarian sandwich with an accordion accompaniment. As Jay Leno would say: 'Only in Burbank."

Charlie Shotton
Sherman Oaks, CA

Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix

Troldhaugen Villa in Bergen, Norway
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

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Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch #20)

Irish sunset

The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.

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John Clayton's travel blog/review
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places in Europe. Here's Why.

Culzean Castle, Scotland
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium. Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.

go there

Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's Gold Country

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

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Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Lake Charles’ Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras

dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

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Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought, "Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part – I'm not a morning person – so I had no problem leaving those early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their red snapper for dinner.

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Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
Relaxing at The Inn at Laguna Beach

Greg at Huntington Beach

There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas to the ocean.

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Bev Cohn's travel blog
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom

Tim Robbins

Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.

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