There are plenty of fancy shmancy restaurants to check out while you're in LA, but for quick, casual or just-delicious dining in the area, I give you...The Postcard. We would have loved to have followed Mr. Sietsema's advice to visit Pizzeria Mozza, but unfortunately (fortunately for Mr. Batali, though) reservations need to be made a few months in advance. Set goals for your trip. My #1 goal was to eat avocado every single day. What can I say? I reach high.
Some of the places we'd "heard about" to eat in Santa Monica were unfortunately closed for lunch. We hunted for that juuust right snacky sandwichy lunchy cutesy place. Enter Jack 'n' Jill's (of Beverly Hills, but with this SM outpost). Sandwiches, soups, baked goods (including fabulous looking cupcakes), and most importantly, breakfast. All. Day. I enjoyed the House Scramble, an omelet with goat cheese, basil, avocado, spinach, and sun-dried tomato, with a plateful of still-hot mini blueberry muffins. Spectacular. J had the Chicken Pomodoro panini, with mozzarella cheese, gouda, tomato, and basil on rosemary bread. Iced green and tropical teas were both notable.
Jack 'n' Jill's
510 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Nestled in the village of Westwood with UCLA is a cookie shop with no web site. While I usually am skeptical of such establishments, Diddy Riese cookies has my blessing regardless. It's simple--pick two fresh-baked cookies (I chose one peanut butter and one chocolate-chip) and an ice cream flavor (I went with espresso chip) and the quick staff makes you an ice cream sandwich for $1.50. There's a constant line, and I understand why. Cheap and decadently delicious, our unexpected stop at Diddy Riese was a highlight of our week-long trip.
Diddy Riese Cookies
926 Broxton Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese doesn't look much from the outside. Too-few tables in front of what looks like a tiny, cave-like wine shop. Luckily, we were with someone in the know, cousin A, who showed us the way it works. You get on (a sometimes LONG) line and pick one of the 6 sandwiches before paying around the corner (made up of shelves of wine). While waiting you can look around at the fun imported candies and chocolates and pick your beverage and chips. I got a turkey sandwich with avocado (by request) sun-dried tomato spread, greens, Swiss gruyere, balsamic, and oil. You can get a half or whole sandwich on either ciabatta or baguette (get the baguette). Sit outside and enjoy your nosh before walking over to the cute local stores (and ignoring the Pinkberry).
Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese
223 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
In-n-Out is the Five Guys of the west coast, with these differences: INO has inferior fries, FG has a larger menu (including HOT DOGS), INO has shakes, and of course INO is famous for its "secret" menu. I personally enjoy the hamburger animal style, although for hungry hippos out there, it's rumored you could ask for up to an 8 X 8 (that's Meat X Cheese)--but don't get that, it's gross. Don't leave the west coast without visiting In-N-Out, please.
Various West Coast locations
I hope you've enjoyed the iPhone picture stylings in this post.