Foodie Friday is a chance for a guest foodie to take the reigns and shout out to some of their favorite eats around the LA area. This week I chatted with writer, Anna Keizer.
Anna is a freelance copywriter and blog writer. Her blog is thechicagodispLAcement where she writes comical and thoughtful musings about what it’s like to be a Chicago-LA transplant navigating her way “through this foreign land of smog and movie stars.”
The thing I love most about her blog is that it’s so relatable. Especially so for mid-westerners who find themselves feeling a bit of that all too familiar LA culture shock.
Anna and I talked about where she goes to get that warm and fuzzy “Chicago feeling,” what inspires her around her local Culver City hood and where she goes to satisfy her vegetarian food cravings.
Anna and I compared notes over dinner…
Backyard Bite: Anna, you suggested that we dine tonight at Rush Street in Culver City. Why Rush?
Anna: It feels very much like a Chicago Bar. This is by far is the bar/restaurant I have frequented the most. It’s probably a psychological thing, just the connection… the name. Whether the food or the ambiance really is “Chicago-like” it’s a matter of opinion, but it has a mid-west essence. Honestly, I don’t think that there are any truly authentic Chicago-style places in LA because well, LA is so LA. I don’t mean that as a slam. Chicago is just Chicago and LA is just LA. They are very different. I will say that I do love that Rush lacks the pretentiousness of most LA gastropubs. The ambiance, the exposed brick walls, the heartiness of the meals – it just feels very “Chicago” to me.
BYB: When I first moved here, I ate at a bunch of places that “claimed” to have authentic Chicago-style deep dish. Have you had a good deep dish out here that you think comes close?
Anna: I like Masa in Echo Park for deep dish. I find the dough a little sweeter in taste than say, Lou Malnati’s or Giordanos, but it’s good. The ambiance there is a little grittier, more blue-collar maybe. As far as pizza places in general, I love Village Pizza in Larchmont. It’s more thin, New York style.
BYB: Any other quintessential Chicago spots?
Anna: I actually love that there’s a Portillo’s in Buena Park. It’s not that close, but I like that there’s one nearby.
BYB: Good choice! They are so classic to Illinois. It’s pretty random actually that they are out here in California, but I feel lucky to get to have one (sort-of) nearby. I’ve actually trekked out to Buena Park a few times just to get my Chicago dog fix. Took about an hour to drive from LA, but it was worth it… Wait a sec, aren’t you vegetarian?
Anna: Yes, I am! Back in the day, I loved their Italian beef sandwiches. Now I can only enjoy the fries and glorious smell (of the food).
BYB: Where do you like to veg-out around here?
Anna: I highly recommend Vardo in Venice. It’s a wine bistro and gypsy café. I went with a friend recently and I loved it. It has some great vegetarian options and beautiful décor.
BYB: Oooh, that sounds interesting. Where else?
Anna: Hmmm… I also love Thai food in general. One of my favorite places to go is Bulan Thai on Melrose. I like their sate, summer rolls and pad woon sen, which I get with veggie shrimp.
BYB: I go to the M Café on Melrose just up the street from me in West Hollywood! They’ve got good macrobiotic food. I love their Salmon wrap!
Anna: Okay, I should also mention that I LOVE sushi! The Yen Sushi up the street on Pico is probably the location I frequent the most. The outside doesn’t look like much. It’s kinda divey but it’s very comfortable, low lighting and casual; A good local gem.
BYB: Thanks for the tips Anna!
Bulan Thai (West Hollywood)
Masa (Echo Park)
M Café (Culver City)
Native Foods Café (Culver City)
Portillo’s (Buena Park)
Rush Street (Culver City)
Yen Sushi (Culver City)
Subscribe to Anna’s hilarious blog thechicagodispLAcement where she posts weekly! She’s also available for hire for freelance writing gigs and copywriting assignments. Go writers!