AGEIST is located in one of the most difficult to understand cities in the world: Los Angeles. It’s a place where the best Chinese may be an obscure Szechuan place in a strip mall in the Valley, or the coolest pizza place is hidden down a blind alley in an industrial neighborhood, or your favorite Italian is on the second floor of a mall. In any other city of this scale, NY-London-Paris-Hong Kong, the locals will enthusiastically proclaim the hottest places a visitor must go. One may think of LA as the look-at-me culture, but when it comes to eating out, it is all about the hidden gems. It’s a Los Angeles paradox that continues as a puzzlement despite 10 years of living here.
If there is a most hidden part of LA, it is the vibrant, recently rebirthed downtown area, where AGEIST HQ is located. Now, we are talking truly obscure and known to locals only. Only for our AGEIST readers, we are going to give it up for where we go to get the best food.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it’s Manuela, located in the center courtyard of the massive Hauser & Wirth gallery. Get the deer burger and ask for the hot sauce — it only comes if you know to ask for it. Early in the week it’s a mellow sort of friends-and-family scene of famous artists who the gallery represents. Last week, we saw Mark Bradford goofing in front of one of his paintings with his mom. Precious. But beware: Friday-Sunday it is a very different scene.
For Friday night, it’s all about the quiet, pleasantly charming Rappahannock Oyster Bar, located in The ROW, the recently redone American Apparel complex. Great design, great staff and awesome food. I recommend the salmon. One of the best I have ever had. We get it with the avocado salad for a low-glycemic brain-food dinner.
Within this virtually secret restaurant is another hidden treasure. When you ask for the wine menu, you will notice it covered with stains, doodles and messages. In the lower right hand corner there is a message that reads: “Psst….the wine director has a secret wine menu….shh.” And, guess what, there is indeed a secret wine menu, which will only be shown to people who ask.
The menu arrives in a special wax-sealed envelope, printed on special pearl paper complete with very special wines and recommendations. The wines range from $30-$70 per bottle and if you are the sort who enjoys incredible off-the-radar wine finds, this is your moment to revel.
For those who enjoy a great meal in a hidden part of an incomprehensibly vast city complete with hidden treats, this is your Friday-night spot. Enjoy.
Read here for our review of Mark Bradford’s exhibition at Hauser & Wirth
Read here for our profile on wine entrepreneur Fred Williamson
Read here for sparking wine recommendations