La La Food

When I realized that I would almost 24 hours in Los Angeles before my next train left, I decided to follow a suggestion from Trip Advisor and take a food tour. The Six Taste walking food tour is top rated, and they have a Sunday tour in downtown LA from 11 am to 3 pm – perfect for my 6:10 p.m. departure.

The tour started at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, which was why I decided to stay there the night before. Most of the 15 tour participants were from the LA area, but others were from as far away as Rhode Island. Monica met us and gave a brief tour of the hotel. Then we set off for Grand Central Market. “Food court” doesn’t do it justice. It has a large variety of produce stands and food stalls. The Sunday brunch line to Eggslut surrounded the entire section.

Wouldn’t you know that our first stop was at Horse Thief BBQ, a restaurant started by two Texans to feature smoked meats of central Texas. Everyone in the tour group looked to me as the Texan on the tour for a report on its authenticity. I gave it a thumb’s up.

dsc01410Next we admired the lobby of the Bradbury building, known for its ornate ironwork stairs, featured in Blade Runner among other movies.


Just a block or two away was Maccheroni Republic, where we sat on a shaded outdoor patio and enjoyed two excellent pasta dishes and warm crusty bread. Apparently, you can eat here with your dog on your lap, too.

We toured The Last Bookstore, a labyrinth of an independent bookstore. It would be easy to spend an entire Sunday afternoon there and become lost in the process. It’s a delightful place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. You really should visit it.

In the Spring Arcade Building at the Green Grotto Juice Bar, we had Jamaican patties, with beef baked inside dough much like an empanada. That spicy bite was followed with wonderful gelato at Gelateria Uli for a palate cleanser.

We took a swing through the historic Clifton’s cafeteria (you step back in time) and headed for Chica’s Tacos, a small stand with a covered seating area in the parking lot. My beer-battered-fish taco covered with salad was one of the best I have had.

dsc01476-1Our final stop was at Bottega Louie, which Monica said is one of the busiest and most profitable restaurants in the city. We sampled their macarons, which were the perfect finale for the tour, which I highly recommend if you are in LA. They offer a variety of tours.

I still had time to relax in the Biltmore’s Rendezvous Court and check in with my sisters before heading to Union Station for the Southwest Chief, which left just after 6 p.m. Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge in LA doesn’t measure up to its newly refurbished cousin in Chicago, but it is still a nice place to relax until it is time to board.

After another good dinner on board, I watched a couple of episodes of Grand Prix Driver, a documentary on Amazon Prime about McLaren’s 2017 Formula One preparation, and went to bed. This will be my only two-night leg on this Amtrak journey.