By Tien Nguyen
7274 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Back in 2012 when he was at Lazy Ox Canteen, chef Perfecto Rocher hosted a weeklong paella celebration that became something of a local legend; when he left Lazy Ox, fans of his paella mourned. Now, thankfully, you can find the Valencian-born chef (and his paella!) at smoke.oil.salt, his new wine bar and restaurant on Melrose off of La Brea. The paella is served on Sunday and Monday nights, so plan accordingly. The rest of the week, you can find other Valencian and Catalan-inflected dishes like olives am bitets (olives, toasted almonds and manchego), terrific braves trencades (fried potatoes with ham, chunks of chorizo and a fried egg) and all sorts of wood-fired meats (steaks, house-made sausages, Iberico pork with xato sauce and so on). As for drinks, the list features, unsurprisingly, a choice selection of mostly Spanish wines, beers and ciders.
1855 Industrial Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
The Netherlands is home to Heineken and Grolsch, and while it’s relatively easy to find those beers at most any bar in town, it would be well worth your while to seek out the brews coming out of De Koningshoeven Brewery. Located in Berkel-Enschot, this would be one of the only Trappist breweries outside of Holland, and its beers appear with some regularity at Little Bear, that terrific, brick-lined craft beer bar in the budding Arts District of Downtown. The beers here rotate often, but there’s always a good chance that a Koningshoeven beer will be on tap. Little Bear also has a full food menu, meaning that between the game, the beer and maybe a waffle for dessert, you can have your own version of Total Football.
4354 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
the big sign hanging on its storefront will lure you into Rincon Chileno’s deli. It promises, in bold, tall letters, “empanadas”. You’ll park somewhere around Melrose and Heliotrope, pop your head into the small Chilean spot and be greeted first with baskets full of sweets like alfajores (cookie sandwiches packed with a dulce de leche filling as thick as a hockey puck). Then you’ll notice another counter, this one filled with what beckoned you here in the first place: empanadas. There are several different varieties, but the one to get is the “grande,” a tasty mix of ground beef, onions and mashed hard-boiled eggs all tucked in an empanada roughly the size of a woman’s clutch bag. For a full meal, grab a churrasco to go or, for a sit-down experience, head into Rincon Chileno’s restaurant next door.
714 S. Los Angeles Street, CA 90014
If you’ve been on the hunt for a coffee shop that will make you a proper flat white that has just the right amount of foam, head immediately to Bronzed Aussie. A bright, airy shop tucked in an alley off of Los Angeles Street where you can order a flat white without anyone looking at you askance. The coffee menu also includes that other Australian classic, the long black in addition to the usual caffee shop fare. While you’re here, you may as well order at least one meat pie. The one on the menu described as “satisfying the Australians since the 1900’s” would be the savory pie filled with ground beef, gravy and tomatoes. As for sweets, try an ANZAC biscuit or, even better, a square Lamington, a tasty angel’s food cake dusted with coconut.