There's nothing quite like a drop dead deadline to inspire you to contemplate all the things you always wanted to eat in this city before it was too late. And so, with the apocalypse scheduled for sometime on Friday, we put together five food-related things to do before the Four Horsemen come galloping this way. Or, if you prefer, think of these as items to cross off on your L.A. bucket list. Turn the page.
5. Sit down without a fight at The Apple Pan.
The hickory burger at The Apple Pan is one of our favorite things, but getting to that burger is not. Because though seating at that classic horseshoe counter functions in theory on a first come, first served basis, you don't queue up in an orderly single file line, and you don't put your name down on a waiting list. Rather, you just wait and hope that everyone is working off the same rules of engagement as you are. Sometimes, it appears that you pick one side of the diner — left or right — and wait for a seat to open up in your area; other times, it seems as though the entire counter up for grabs. And on still other days, zone coverage is thrown out the window in favor something more man-to-man, with people hovering anxiously behind diners they think will finish the soonest. In any case, it would be nice to once, just once, plop down at the counter successfully, without argument or fisticuffs over proper seating etiquette.
4. Eat at that place you've been meaning to go to ever since you moved here.
The new and flashy often displaces the old and historical: Sure, you've checked out the new Stanley Kubrick exhibit at LACMA, but have you visited the Watts Towers? By the same token, the restaurants, coffee shops and bars that have opened over the last few years may have distracted you from the dishes and drinks you may have wanted to try before you even moved here. You know them: The pastrami sandwich at Langer's. Soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung. A drink at The Encounter. A tiger tail at Donut Man. The pescado zarandeado at Coni'Seafood. A leisurely lunch on the patio at Lucques. If there was ever a time to let go of the hype and just make good on a promise you made to yourself once, long ago, now would be it.
Because the post-apocalypse form of currency will surely take the form of cigarettes, lighter fluid and batteries, you may as well spend your coin on a great meal. Meaning, for example, sushi at Urasawa, the tasting menu at Providence, the Peking duck at Duck House or a grand affair at the reinvented Spago. Or maybe you can finally allow yourself that $24 plate of spaghetti at Scarpetta or the pricey but fantastic ricotta and egg raviolo at Osteria Mozza. You can stock up on cigarettes afterwards.
2. Comfort yourself with …
Red meat and wine for Julia Child, ratatouille for Anton Ego, lamb stew and dried plums for Katniss Everdeen. In other words, seek solace in your comfort food, whatever form it may take. The world may be ending, but a reassuring hug is just one bowl of ramen away.
1. Tacos, curbside.
Two carne asada tacos and one al pastor. Horchata. Salsa. Jalapeños. Radishes. To be eaten on a milk crate on the sidewalk next to the exhaust pipe of the taco truck. One last time.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. And follow Tien Nguyen on Twitter, too.