With unprecedented cooler temps and rain this winter, nothing has been able to warm me up like comfort food. While Los Angeles may be known has the veggie-centric, gluten-free health mecca, it also boasts some incredible restaurants and dishes catering to the other side of the spectrum. Here are a few recommendations to warm your cold bones until SoCal sun comes back out.
I can’t stop dreaming about Chef Minh Phan’s porridge (think verrry creamy risotto) at her first standalone location, Porridge + Puffs. The short rib porridge and the poultry/mushroom porridge (add the seasoned egg) make me purr. Frankly, I’m convinced there isn’t a porridge I won’t love when produced by the hands of Phan. There is a reason Jonathan Gold loved this restaurant. It’s the perfect cozy meal full of flavor, beauty and fermented and fried bits that keep us all coming back for more.
Carnitas, carnitas tacos, carnitas in any form from Chef Jose Acevedo (Executive Chef and Partner of Cocinas y Calaveras restaurant group) feed my belly and my soul. His carnitas might be the best in town. Plus he’s brilliant with vegetables and seafood; even his guacamole is memorable. According to owner, Jesse Gomez, it happens to be the 10th Anniversary of Yxta Cocina Mexicana on February 26th. To celebrate they are offering 50% off food for lunch and dinner so go fill up on Chef Acevedo’s carnitas and you’ll see firsthand what the fuss is all about.
Nothing says comfort like Italian food. While there are some fantastic places to go in LA, Rossoblu should be on your radar. On a cold day, I want a vat of their Minestra Nel Sacco – elegant broth with Parmigiana Reggiano bread dumpling flavor bombs. As for the Pasta Bolognese fans out there, this dish is as authentic as you’ll find in Bologna – lacquered with meaty ragu, light on the tomato. The only drawback is that you’re not curled up in front of a fire eating it, then drifting off into a carb-induced satisfied slumber. (Don’t say fire inside the restaurant either, Chef Steve Samson is still a little on edge after the Sept ’18 incident!).
And just across from Rossoblu is another current favorite: Dama. Granted, the owners are friends of mine so it tends to be top of mind, but that aside, the food and the ambiance really do whisk you away to another (Latin) land. On a cold, rainy day earlier this month, we found ourselves bellied up to bar listening to Cuban music, drinking cider punch, noshing on Chef Antonia Lofaso’s whipped beans with crispy pork, and clams and chorizo without a care in the world. I’m not sure if it was the rain, the rum, or the food, but we washed away our worries for the night.