15 dishes that will blow your mind and your diet in L.A.


Sometimes you gotta treat yourself to a meal that your body will hate. The kind that you have to brag to your friends about eating because you're so impressed at the taste, or the fact that you managed to finish it all yourself. If you're in the mood for a real gut-buster (in the best possible way, of course), check out one of these.

Credit: Megan Cooper

1. Marmalade Cafe Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes with Salted Caramel Butter
You've been good and had oatmeal for breakfast all week. It's time to splurge. Marmalade Cafe's pineapple upside down pancakes with salted caramel butter can probably rival any grandma's pineapple upside down cake for best dish featuring the tropical fruit. It's very sweet, not cloyingly so, but you might get a sugar high. Go ahead and try it, I won't tell your grandma if you like these better.

2. Carney's Double Chili Cheese BurgerDog
When you come to Carney's, you better come hungry. You can't miss the place, it's in a bright yellow train car on the Sunset Strip, and the inside is just as kitschy. It's pretty easy to walk to, and you might need a post-meal stroll to recover from the wonder that is a burger with a hot dog and chili and cheese on it. It's like 3 meals in one. And no one can blame you if you want one for each meal of the day.

Credit: Megan Cooper

3. Zia Valentia Waffleshot con Panna
Starbucks' sweetest has got nothing on this sugary shot from Zia Valentina. It's nestled in the middle of the Farmer's Market, so you might have to look for it, but if you don't have time to guzzle a Frappuccino and are looking for something with a twist, this waffle cone coated in chocolate filled with espresso and topped with whipped cream is for you. It's got a smack-you-in-the-face sweetness you'll want to keep going back to. They have great variety, so if milk chocolate isn't your jam, maybe white chocolate with rainbow sprinkles is.

4. Loreley LA Käsespätzle
I'm a woman of simple tastes when it comes to pasta and cheese. Give me Velveeta and I'm happy. Then I went to Loreley LA, an authentic German biergarten in a fairly non-descript lot on La Brea. Now I don't know if I can get back to my trusty boxed mac. The Käsespätzle would be good enough with just gouda mixed in, but they went for the heart-stopper and added bacon. Wunderbar.

Credit: Megan Cooper

5. The Whisper Lounge Pork Belly Hash
The Whisper Lounge is sleek and beautiful. The kind of place you take someone you want to impress, or somewhere you go to celebrate. But hidden away on its Sunday Brunch menu is pork belly hash served with an over easy egg, peppers and fermented hot sauce. It's so good, it's easy to forget you're at a swanky joint and not an eating contest, but try and resist the urge to shovel this into your mouth with reckless abandon (like I almost did).

6. Animal Restaurant Foie Gras, Biscuit, Maple Sausage Gravy
If you're like me and you enjoy a good breakfast sandwich, you should try Animal's take on the dish. I was nervous to try foie gras, but I'd had pate and liked it, so this seemed like the next reasonable step. It was rich, almost too rich, but the maple in the sausage gravy is the saving grace. A hint of sweet in an otherwise savory sea of flavor. Animal doesn't open until 6 p.m., so it's not a lunch spot, but it's the perfect treat after a day of exploring all that Fairfax has to offer.

Credit: Josh Garvin

7. Smoke's Poutinerie Chili Cheesesteak Poutine
Chili Cheesesteak Poutine from Smoke's Poutinerie is comfort food straight out of your wildest dreams. When I took a bite of this, it was an experience. First, because it was a challenge to get a piece of everything on one forkful. But I had a fry, a cheese curd, a chili bean, cheese sauce and steak on there (it was a really big forkful). Second, because in taking that bite, I boarded a flavor train I'll never forget. The subtle smokiness of the chili hit me first, then the salt from the steak, and last was the cheese and fry, which beat out any I ever had at a ballpark. It was a ride.

8. The Pie Hole Cereal Killer Cheesecake
Sometimes I can't decide just what I want. Do I want cheesecake? Do I want pie? Do I want a little crunch from some Frosted Flake? The Pie Hole made that decision for me and the answer was: you want all three. Their cereal killer cheesecake is one-of-a-kind and a spring special. They sell it on the weekends until they sell out, and I was one of the lucky ones that got a bite. There's cereal in the slice and on the slice. Don't forget to add the whip cream. If you're going all out for your sweet tooth, you shouldn't leave anything off.


Credit: Megan Cooper

9. The Griddle Cafe "A Time to Love"
The Griddle Cafe basically always has a line outside. I hate lines. But I waited in this one because my friend said I should. And now I'm telling you, as a friend, to wait in this line and order "A Time to Love." It's a stack of pancakes filled with streusel, butterscotch chips and caramel. They top 'em with powdered sugar, homemade whipped cream and more caramel. You can add maple syrup if you want, but I left them as is. It ate nothing but vegetables the rest of the day, but these perfect pancakes made the broccoli and the wait so worth it.

10. Pink's Hot Dogs Poli Bacon Burrito
Pink's is a Hollywood institution. Their hot dogs are great, but their creativity with the standard dog is even more impressive. That creativity gave birth to the poli bacon burrito. They wrap a flour tortilla around a Polish hot dog smothered in chili, cheese and a lot of bacon. You can even get it with a second hot dog. So of course I did just that. I couldn't eat the whole thing, but I don't consider my gluttony a mistake. You only live once, right? If you visit, wear your sunscreen, Pink's usually has a line outside and there's only a few tents to cover you.

Credit: Megan Cooper

11. Loteria Grill Chicharron en Salsa Verde
I ordered this on a whim, hunger had taken over my brain and I needed to eat something right then. I could've gotten tacos, burritos, or an enchilada at Loteria (they're all delicious) but I wanted something salty, so I got the chicharron in salsa verde. It was the best possible choice I could've made. The salsa verde has just enough acidity to cut through the salt of the pork rinds. I used the queso as a way to tame the spice just a bit and next time I might see if they can give me just a little more.

12. Plan Check Southern Fry
Fried chicken is the epitome of unhealthy food. But when you cover it in smoked milk gravy, it reaches a whole new level and Plan Check does just that. It's accompanied by yam preserves and duck breast ham, two things I'd never have thought would pair well with fried chicken. I thought fries would pair excellently though, so I grabbed some of the sweet potato waffle fries. When I tasted them, there was something about the flavor that was speaking to me. It was the beef tallow. Give it a go, you won't be disappointed.

Credit: Josh Garvin

13. Fat Sal's The Fat Jerry
I love fried food and I love sandwiches. The Fat Jerry at Fat Sal's is fried food in a sandwich with cheese and bacon and a fried egg. I wasn't sure where to start when I got this, so I took the biggest bite I could. I couldn't get every morsel of the sandwich into my mouth but it was something. You won't need a side. Literally every side you could order (chicken fingers, fries, mozzarella sticks) is already on the sandwich. For that reason, I'd like to think that because I had a glass of water with it that it was technically a balanced meal.

14. The Belmont LA Original Belmont Crab Mac and Cheese
I went to the Belmont LA for a holiday party and a waiter gave me a dish of the crab mac and cheese. I took a few bites and found the same waiter to get another. It's part of their regular menu, so you can get it any time, and you should. They add crab and bacon, so you get two blasts of savory, salty goodness. The cheese sauce is something else, too. The second (and third, and fourth) times I had some of that mac, it had cooled a little bit but the cheese hadn't congealed it all. Was it magic? Maybe.

15. Terroni Arancini di Modica
When I went to Terroni, I was accompanied by a friend who knew Italian food rather well. He also knew of my penchant for anything and everything deep fried so he recommended the Arancini di Modica. It was supposed to be a dish we shared, but I ate the whole thing. Basically, it's cones of rice stuffed with meat and cheese and then deep fried. Terroni's were perfectly crisp on the outside but soft on the inside. And while I'm no expert, I thought the filling to rice ratio was primo.



Megan lives in Los Angeles and enjoys running and eating her way around the city. She's here to write, follow along on her website.