Expert Interview Series: Ben Waters of LA Foodie on Eating in the City of Angels
Ben Waters and his wife Lisa run L.A. Foodie, a food blog devoted to seeking out the best eats in the world's craziest foodie paradise, Los Angeles. We recently checked in with Ben to get his picks on where...
Ben Waters and his wife Lisa run L.A. Foodie, a food blog devoted to seeking out the best eats in the world's craziest foodie paradise, Los Angeles. We recently checked in with Ben to get his picks on where to go and what to eat in the City of Angels. Here's what he had to say:
What do you love about eating in L.A.?
L.A. does not care what people think about it, which is kinda awesome. When you've got no pretensions, hundreds of cultures rubbing up against each other, and a huge population of hungry people with an open palate -- amazing food is bound to happen.
Why is it important to you to spread the word about eating in L.A. and beyond?
When I taste something crazy delicious for the first time, there's a moment that's like seeing a flash of the credits at the end of the movie; I get a sense of the hours of training, experimentation and refinement that all went into making this. We love seeing people that dedicated to their craft succeed, and great food brings everybody together and makes them happy -- who wouldn't want to be a part of that?
Can you describe L.A.'s food scene? What should visitors definitely make sure to try?
People in Los Angeles love their classics - the #19 at Langer's, the Original French Dip at Phillipe's, Hickory Burgers at The Apple Pan - but they're always eager to check out the newest culinary mashups and food fads too. Roy Choi, poster boy of the L.A. food scene, serves up the goods at several places across town, but the Shortrib Burrito at Kogi Taqueria is my current favorite.
What are your favorite spots in L.A. to grab:
... Breakfast Pacific Dining Car
... Lunch East Borough (the Banh Mi French Dip served w/a Pho sidecar is genius)
... Dinner If I'm buying, burgers at Father's Office. If you're buying, I hear Bestia's great.
... Dessert Atticus Creamery & Pies
... A cocktail The bar at the Magic Castle
What are some of the most interesting food trends you're following in L.A. right now?
From Shake Shack to Van Leeuwen's Ice Cream, there's been a huge influx of great casual-but-upscale restaurants from New York, Portland and San Francisco recently. As more and more commercial areas derive almost their sole income from restaurants, the appetite for unique, high-quality, proven quantity establishments has ballooned.
What are your favorite So-Cal dishes to make at home?
When I'm cooking for myself, I keep it pretty simple, but putting a couple slices of fresh California avocado on a grilled cheese sandwich doesn't need to be complicated. Also, I'm originally from the midwest and didn't know about tamales at Christmastime until I moved to L.A; Now we make some for the holidays every year.
What are staples of So-Cal cooking?
Southern California cooking covers a pretty broad spectrum. You've got homemade tortillas, incredibly fresh produce of all kinds, Sriracha sauce, Thousand Island dressing on cheeseburgers, pastrami on anything... and nothing's more So-Cal than finding a way to make all of that work in one dish.