Five Top Spots for Adventurous Eating in Los Angeles

From Michelin starred restaurants to a growing diversity of food trucks, Los Angeles offers delectable food choices for every diner's palette. But are there similar options for adventurous foodies? You bet. Los Angeles has some very eclectic restaurants in which to celebrate all types of food experiences. Here are five top spots for adventurous eating in L.A.

Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo's meaty Animal restaurant took the city by storm when it opened in 2008. Celebrating meat and offal specialties, Animal is a carnivore's dream. Here are just a sampling of Animal's adventurous dishes – Veal Brains (with Vadouvan, Apricot Puree, Carrot), "Mongolian" Sweetbreads (with Shiitake, Scallion, and Kochukaru), Pig Ear (with Red Chili, Lime, Market Egg), the Pig Head Terrine (with Cornbread, B&B Pickle Vinaigrette) and Veal Tongue (with Pickle, Salmon Roe, Black Mustard). The restaurant is a winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Excellence. Vegans are forewarned.

The Cannibal
With a restaurant name like The Cannibal, one might expect some adventurous dining. The New York based The Cannibal has recently opened a Culver City site. Known as a butcher's restaurant, The Cannibal is focused on using all parts of the animal – "nose to tail dining." So no surprise to find on the menu General Tso Pig's Head or a skewer of beef heart, or even Cannibal Dogs, which are made "tiger style," with spicy tripe chili, scallion and Chinese mustard. In addition to burgers, chicken, and pork chops, there's also "The Ole 96er" which is a 96-ounce, 60-day dry-aged ribeye – that's six pounds of meat, people!

Guelaguetza is one of the premier Oaxacan restaurants in Los Angeles and their mole sauces are divine. But for adventurous eaters, one can't go wrong with the Plato de Chapulines (sautéed grasshoppers in olive oil, salt and pepper), or the Chapulines a la Mexicana (sautéed grasshoppers with jalapenos, onions, and tomatoes, served with Oaxacan cheese and avocado). Insects aren't your thing? Then try Patitas de Puerco (pickled pig trotters, i.e., pig's feet).

Opaque at the V Lounge
It's said that taking away one sense, enriches the others. So embrace the "Opaque" idea of dining in complete darkness. Popular in Berlin, Paris and Vienna, "Dining in the Dark" has found a home in the Los Angeles area at the V Lounge in Santa Monica (Thursdays through Saturdays, dinner only). By eliminating your sight (and cell phones) and focusing solely on the food, the Opaque experience enriches your sense of taste, smell and touch. Waiters are blind or visually impaired and have been trained to offer guidance to diners. The dinner menu is planned and prepared by an acclaimed, sighted chef. (Also, don't worry security measures are in place to make your experience safe, friendly and memorable.)

Located at the Santa Monica Airport, the trendy Asian restaurant Typhoon offers over 70 dishes from the Pacific Rim, plus a glorious unobstructed view of the setting sun over the Pacific Ocean. In addition to more traditional fare like Mongolian Beef or Kung Pao Chicken or Shrimp, Typhoon offers a selection of insects on their menu. There is Singapore Style Scorpions on shrimp toast, or Tawanese Crickets that are stir-fried with raw garlic, chile pepper and Asian basil.

Author's bio: Lori Huck works in television development as well as writes on entertainment, travel and the arts. She's a fan of the vibrant arts scene in Los Angeles and is a member of various film, television, and arts organizations.

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