By Chelsea Pelchat
Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula
[3.5 minute read]
One of my favorite ways to explore a new city is by taking a deep dive on Yelp and trying out as many food places as my bank account allows for. From frequenting late-night taco stands to celebrating the end of midterms with Korean BBQ, exploring the LA food scene has been a major highlight of my college experience. Since the start of my time at USC, I’ve been avidly documenting my favorite dining experiences in a list on my phone’s Notes app. I wanted to share a few highlights from this list:
- Yeastie Boys Bagels: If you’re like me and you love grabbing a good old fashioned bagel for brunch, this place is for you. The bagel trucks are located on Sunset Blvd, Ventura Pl, and Melrose Pl between the hours of 8 A.M. and 2 P.M. I promise this one’s worth getting out of bed for. From what I’ve seen, the two most popular orders are the “Game Over” (consists of a cheddar bagel with scrambled eggs, bacon, tomato, and jalapeno spread), and my personal favorite, the “Lox Deluxe” (consists of a sesame bagel with smoked salmon, tomato, red onion, capers, and a scallion spread). Be sure to check out their Twitter for updates on hours and location!
- Joan’s on Third: Although a bit far from campus, this family-owned space has a short rib sandwich that is to DIE for! I had been hearing about Joan’s for months before I stopped by, and let me just say that it truly lived up to my expectations. During the pandemic, Joan’s had a great to-go order system set up with plenty of outdoor seating as well. Besides the short rib sandwich, other popular items from their menu include the Chinese chicken salad and BLT.
- KazuNori: This one tops the list as my all-time favorite. Picture a sushi bar, but with a fast casual atmosphere. It’s affordable, convenient, and pretty much just a more relaxed version of Sugarfish. Upon walking in, you will be seated at a long bar and given a pencil to check off your preferences on the menu. KazuNori serves exclusively handrolls, with each round brought out in timely intervals (5-10 mins). Once served, the dining experience goes by fast. Most people are out after 45 minutes, an hour at max.
- Tatsu: My favorite place for ramen. Alongside their efficiently streamlined dining experience (featuring a lineup of iPads replacing waiters and waitresses), Tatsu offers some of the best ramen dishes in LA. Their signature ramen is the Soul Ramen, which derives its unique flavor from Tonkotsu broth, black garlic oil, and sweet umami sauce. As someone who loves a bit of spice in their meal, my personal favorite is the Bold Ramen (with extra red pepper flakes of course). Tatsu also caters to the vegan crowd with their Hippie Ramen. To avoid the dinner rush and lengthy wait times, be sure to get there at 5 P.M. or earlier!
- Mulberry Street Pizzeria: During the past few semesters, my friends and I would often grab a pizza from Mulberry’s and head over to the Palisades to catch the sunset. I know, quite a picturesque dinner location. Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, this franchise makes one nostalgic for New York pizza, and dare I say, may even rival it?
Although brief, this list represents what I love most about LA’s food culture: a unique spread of flavors reflecting the many different communities in the region, and unbeatably efficient dining experiences. Hope this helps and happy dining!
Chelsea is a junior majoring in Business Administration. She grew up in the Bay Area before moving to Southern California for college. As a member of the Exchange Students Supporters club, she enjoys helping International students develop their English language skills in both conversation and writing. In her free time, she loves listening to new music and catching the sunset at the beach.