I am a serious food lover. From organic, farm-to-table fare to greasy lengua tacos of suspicious origin, and all things in between, I search the globe for great food like it’s my job. I stole this line from Padma Lakshmi, but it applies completely: I’m the kind of girl that talks about dinner as I'm finishing up lunch. And what I love about living in LA right now is that we Angelenos have access to incredible food on an everyday basis—between the myriad ethnic food options, the food trucks that are now ubiquitous, the fast-food style health food restaurants that are cropping up, and the ambitious young chefs who are going out on their own and offering surprising, inventive food at affordable prices, we don’t have to save up anymore to have a truly inspirational culinary experience. We just have to know where to look. So I’m sampling restaurants across the city, from San Gabriel to Santa Monica, Northridge to Manhattan Beach, and coming back with my favorite cheap eats spots. I won’t write about places I find to be so-so; I’m really striving here to present a diverse, satisfying and exciting list of eateries that will not only save you money but also delight your taste buds.
In short, the premise is: spend $20 total on lunch and dinner in any given day. You’re on your own for breakfast. I’ll tell you how much my favorite dishes cost and where to find them.
Now I’m going to be honest, I don’t eat on $20 every single day. I like to splurge on a good old-fashioned fine dining experience, and I promise I’ve been to just about every temple of haute cuisine you can think of. I’ve eaten at the French Laundry in Yountville, Momofuku Ko in New York, NEXT in Chicago, Gary Danko in San Francisco, Manresa in Los Altos, and all the hot spots here in LA (Hinoki and the Bird is my favorite right now). So if you’re looking for something a little more upscale for a special occasion or a date or just because you have some money burning a hole in your pocket, feel free to leave me a comment or email me at LAon20aDay@gmail.com with your price range and interests and I will promptly return with a personalized restaurant recommendation. You know those Yelp reviewers who are like, “I haven’t eaten here but the website said it would be open and when I got there it was closed! One star!” I would never do that to you. So don't hesitate to ask, I'll be awaiting your requests.