Best Chomps & Romps

Good eats are good eats, but we feed off of atmosphere, too. We always prefer eye candy over dessert and we find that great scenery is a seasoning that goes well with any dish. Of course, L.A.’s got plenty of pricey froufrou foodie spots for rich and famous fat cats to choose from, but our faves satiate even if you — or your wallet — happen to be on a diet. Jones (7201 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-850-1727) lost its hot-spot luster a long time ago, but that’s just fine with us, ’cause it means getting a table is a snap. We love its gigantor salads, the old punk-rock club photos plastered about the place, the Jack Daniel’s drinks named after local nightlife heroes, and the soundtrack (AC/DC goes really well with a juicy steak).

Every carnivore loves a carne asada taco, and though there’s a bevy of trucks and stands to choose from, we always end up at El 7 Mares (3143 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, 323-665-0865). The fish tacos are fat and crispy, the ceviche is lip-smackin’ tangy, and the asada special (four yummy little corn-tortilla-encased clusters of beef and a soda for only $3.99) is the perfect quickie lunch. Sit in the awning-covered outdoor patio and watch cars fly down Sunset while ya nosh.

For more serious people-watching head down the street to The Brite Spot (1918 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, 213-484-9800), the place for Silver Lake/Echo Park scenester summits right now. The coffee-shop fare is pretty tasty, but that’s not what attracts the rock set — it’s whom you might run into. We especially like to go in for a hangover breakfast on Saturday or Sunday, no earlier than noon of course, and watch as bed-headed, baggy-eyed locals rehash their misadventures from the night before.

Eating after midnight is a sin, but ever since Hollywood Boulevard was invaded by armies of bacon-wrapped-hot-dog vendors a few years ago, we’ve been giving in to temptation a little too often. They’re outside clubs all around town, but in Hollywood, they’re as ubiquitous as the stars along the walk of fame, their seductive aromas reeling in helpless drunkards by their schnozzes. The people behind the carts (usually young Latino guys or gals) are as much a part of Hollywood after dark as traffic jams and velvet ropes these days. You can always tell who isn’t (and won’t be) hooking up by who’s huddled around the dog carts at 2 in the morning, slabbing on the onions and peppers. Indeed, such greasy bliss is worth going home alone for . . . sometimes.


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