We’re not the type of publication to shy away from naming something “the best.” In recent weeks, L.A. Weekly has published lists of the best Korean barbecue spots, the best hip-hop producers of all time, the best new comedy stand-up shows, the best cooking classes, the 50 best L.A. music venues, the best movies of 2015 so far and the best L.A. albums of 2015 so far — in haiku form.

Have we exhausted ourselves? Not even close.

But why, you might ask, would we produce one great big Best of L.A. issue when we busy ourselves every other week of the year with best something-or-other? What makes this issue any different from or more special than the hundreds of other determinations we make all the time about what’s best?

We look at it this way: While in pursuit of so many bests throughout the year, we’re collecting the bits and pieces that allow us, here, to present the whole. The way in which we scour the city year-round is not unlike foraging for a bunch of stellar ingredients with the idea of crafting the perfect multicourse meal — ideally along the lines of Le Comptoir’s (Best Vegetarian Tasting Menu). Or maybe it’s like we’re thumbing through crate after crate of records looking for the most inspiring songs from which we’ll compose the ultimate DJ set — one that we can actually play for a like-minded crowd any Tuesday at El Prado (Best Excuse to Share Your Vinyl Collection). In a way, it’s as if we’re meticulously sourcing every piece of thread for a new fashion line — aspiring, like those smart folks at Reformation (Best Environmentally Friendly Boutique) to craft clothes as style-conscious as they are drought-conscious. It’s almost as if we’re mixing each custom color for what will become a sprawling painting, preferably with a message as powerful as that of Skid Row City Limits (Best Street Art Mural). Or maybe we’re just taking each step in 80 stairways stretching 35 excruciating miles (Best Stair Walk).

Well, we’ve finally reached the top of all those stairs. We’ve gathered the very best of the very best, and we’re pretty damn proud of it. So what now? It’s time to race back down the stairs and start climbing all over again.

—Mara Shalhoup

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly