In the future, pot smokers who get the munchies will have an entire automated support system designed to learn their pattern of consumption and predict their every need. Their iWatch will sense a change in their body temperature; their Google Glass will recognize that they’re watching an old DVD of Kids in the Hall, and an Amazon drone will automatically head towards their location, spilling not a drop of Mountain Dew as it touches down on their doorstop.
However until that future food-topia is realized, the stoners of Los Angeles have to rely on a friendly Lyft driver, an X-Pen Vaporizer, and this list of the 10 best places to eat when stoned.
The incredible availability of legal cannabis in Los Angeles may be rivaled only by the proliferation of creative, inexpensive and delicious snacks. If your eyes are red and your stomach is empty, here are our favorite destinations for stoney L.A. eats.
10. Top Round
Brought to you by the same folks who created 800 Degrees, Top Round is essentially an edible version of Arby's. It’s one of the cheaper new restaurants in L.A. and its commitment to fast food done right is quickly making Top Round a favorite amongst the more budget-conscious foodies in Midtown. Simplicity may be the key to the eatery's success, offering a stripped-down menu of beef sandwiches and curly fries, which, they are proud to tell you, are also deep-fried in beef fat.
Even the highest amongst us will be able to navigate the menu when approaching the window to order, and no amount of “pre-meal preparation” will make you forget to order their famous dessert concoction, called the Concrete. With names like the Elvis (bananas, salted peanuts, fudge) and the Turtle (caramel, praline pecans and brownies), the frozen custard favorites are so good, you might want to eat dessert first. Maybe do it anyway, so you won't forget that too. 1000 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-Wilshire; 323-549-9445.
9. El Compadre
If you’re in L.A. for one day and you want to try some delicious Southern California-style Mexican food, El Compadre is probably not the best place to go. However, if you’re higher than you’ve been in your life and you happen to be wandering through Echo Park on your way to some paddleboats, this place is your friend. Because nothing says “stoned” like nachos. Huge leather booths and Bat Cave-esque lighting make this place a great escape for those that are in no condition to enter a more high-pressure dinning environment.
There are combination plates and quesadillas, more fish dishes than you can count and even a Spanish-style tongue dish, but let's face it, you're here for the Nachos Supreme. Wash them down with a listless margarita, and how sweet life is. [This paragraph was changed after publication. See editor's note at story's end.] 1449 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; 213-250-4505; and other locations.
8. Blaze Pizza
First off, they named it Blaze on purpose. What the less-informed are calling the Chipotle of pizza is more accurately just another version of the aforementioned 800 Degrees. Are we complaining? No way. If there was cheap, delicious, and near-instantaneous pizza on every street corner in the city, we'd all be delighted. Diners can choose from one of the predetermined specialty pizzas, such as the protein-packed Meat Eater, the aromatic Green Stripe or the creamy garlic party known as the White Top.
Or if you’re one of those people who likes to get creative, you can go all out, adding on any combination of toppings until your pizza is pilled higher than you are. Perhaps a bacon and sausage with grilled chicken and BBQ sauce? Maybe an artichoke and arugula with goat cheese and olive oil? Either way, with gluten-free crusts and vegan cheeses available, everyone can find something to get excited about. And who wouldn’t be excited? Cheap, delicious, and served up so fast, you’ll be back on the couch before that 40-ounce beer gets warm. 667 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; 626-440-7358 and other locations.
7. 25 Degrees
Hollywood can be overwhelming when you're high, and sometimes you need to duck out of the bright lights and lay low. If you’re also in the market for a specialty burger and a Guinness milkshake, then 25 Degrees is here to help, any day, any time. Although stoners are often stereotyped as burnouts, lacking in class, taste and distinction, there are those amongst us who hunger for the finer things. Like a burger so good it should cost $100 — although it doesn't. It's actually $12.
At 25 Degrees, you’ll find just that. Ground sirloin, caramelized onions, Point Reyes blue cheese and crispy prosciutto are just some of the mouthwatering ingredients jumping off the menu — and quickly becoming stains on your T-shirt. One of their stoniest offerings is called the Half and Half, which means that with your burger, you’re getting a half order of fries and a half order of onion rings. But that might be a little misleading. With these portions, it’s more like a Full and Full. Get hungry. 7000 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-785-7244.
6. Pizza of Venice
Is there any pizza that isn’t, in some way, stoner pizza? Perhaps not. And yet, Pizza of Venice has made a particularly awesome art of the stoner pie, beginning with freeform pizzas (“each pizza is like a snowflake”), and extending to the toppings, which range from “expected” to “off the wall.” Once you get off the wall, you’ll find Korean-fried chicken pizza, or braised lamb with rosemary pesto and grape leaves. And it actually tastes great, whether you’re under the influence or not. Add to that the soundtrack to the sunny, outsider art-adorned Altadena shop, which is generally reggae of some sort, and you’ll see that Pizza of Venice has taken the promise of pot-powered pizza to whole new heights. 2545 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena; 626-765-9636.
5. El Atacor
If you made a fist and measured from your knuckles to your elbow, you’d almost be able to grasp the length of an Atacor burrito. Translated into English, “the attacker” is rolling them so fat it takes two tortillas to make it happen. Located next to Footsies on Figueroa, El Atacor's late-night offerings make it an Eastside hotspot for drunks and stoners alike. If you’re looking for something to straighten you up, or put you down for the night, the collection of ten Tacos de Papa, which completely fills a Styrofoam container, is unrivaled for fried potato goodness. Or there is, of course, the fabled “porno” burrito. (If you haven't already, check out the “size comparisons” on Yelp. Very fun if you're, well, the right mood.) Cheap, open late, and loosely decorated with arcade games and taxidermy, El Atacor is a virtual stone-acopia for the new wave of hipsters coming to Highland Park. 3520 N Figueroa St. Ste 4., Highland Park; 323-832-9263.
4. Nickel Diner
Previously featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, the Nickel Diner is most definitely a winner, winner, chicken dinner. Serving up hearty comfort food, like beef stew and catfish with corn cakes, this downtown destination combines amazing flavors with a laid-back atmosphere sure to put any paranoid patron at ease. After you eat your happy fill of a kicked-up version of an old classic dish, the tatted-up wait staff will come by with the real main event for the evening — the dessert tray.
With its in-house versions of Pop Tarts, Ding Dongs and ice cream sandwiches, Nickel Diner's sweet eats attract local stoners like flies to honey. The place does get a lot of attention for its bacon doughnuts, but frankly it’s time for a new over-the-top dessert to take center stage. To that end, Nickel Dinner has created a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting that's laced with crushed up Lays potatoes chips. It's lights out, bacon doughnut. 524 S. Main St., DTLA; 213-623-8301.
3. Mud Hen Tavern
Easily the classiest place on this list, Mud Hen Tavern is the latest creation from chef Susan Feniger, of Border Grill fame. When she’s not opening new restaurants or appearing on Top Chef Masters, Feniger must be at home tending to her “herb garden,” because this food will blow your stoney mind. Known for her creativity and international perspective, Feniger is always pushing the envelope to find new combinations and new flavors that will hit you like a college freshman hearing Dark Side of the Moon for the first time.
One such dish is the now-famous Kaya toast. Kaya toast is like something you’d MacGyver together in the middle of the night with no ingredients. Coconut jam, a fried egg, and um — soy sauce? The crazy part is that Kaya toast is so popular, when Feniger closed Street and opened Mud Hen Tavern, she kept the Kaya toast from the original menu. May it last forever. 742 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood; 323-203-0500.
2. The Lobos Truck
Food trucks all over town are getting creative with new far-out snack inventions — and the stoners are absolutely giddy with excitement. From Kogi to the Grilled Cheese Truck to the heavy metal-themed Grill ‘Em All, stoners are lining up around the block to try the latest in greasy, portable, curbside fair. However there’s one in particular that's so good, and so appealing to stoners, we’re afraid the cops are going to start following it around just to keep an eye on their customers.
The Lobos Truck serves the type of food Instagram was made for: dishes that make your friends jealous, and your arteries nervous. This place takes cheese fries to another level by employing criss-cutt technology, and loads of stoney toppings. The waffle fry nachos, or Wachos, come in a variety of combinations, but just like the Kush you’ll want to smoke before you hit this place up, the most popular strain is the OG. Find them at @TheLobosTruck.
With an entrance (in the Line Hotel) designed to look like the doorway of a dispensary and a name that isn't exactly subtle, it would be stoner sacrilege to pronounce any other place the best place to eat in L.A. while stoned. But apart from the obvious pot-friendly marketing, this is also a fantastic place to eat and hang out while high, not least of which is the fact that you might run into chef/owner Roy Choi and be able to engage him in a deep conversation about the awesomeness of his next-gen Korean cooking.
Don a flowery apron in lieu of a napkin, and chow down on the Beep Beep, an ode to crappy sushi rolls smothered in uni and yuzu-laced Kewpie mayo. Get a vat of silken tofu, shrimp, clams, mussels, pork belly and egg, and wash it down with one of the bar's throwback cocktails. On the way out, stop by the lobby's pastry case for a Ritz cracker chocolate bar. Duuuude. That's awesome. 3515 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown; 213-381-7411.
Editor's note: A previous version of this post referred erroneously to free nachos at El Compadre on Wednesdays. There are no such thing, as a commenter helpfully pointed out. What can we say? We must have been high. We still regret the error.