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One boy, one passport, one million dreams. Gas & Gander is a blog capturing the essence of the brands and companies I love, the cities and cultures I embrace, the food and drinks I enjoy and most of all, the travel I experience. Most of all Gas & Gander is a super fun & informative guide with an abundance of information. Come and join me on my adventures at Gas & Gander. Currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

DINING OUT IN LALA LAND

Blog

DINING OUT IN LALA LAND

Sean Loughran

As promised, I'm now bringing you a #foodporn related post. That's most likely my favourite hashtag on Instagram, it's one of the most popular, with more than 77 million people using it. After one week in LA, I've saved up quite the bank of food images, a few of which I'm featuring in this post. Christmas in California was all about revisiting some of my old time favorites, but also stepping outside the box and making time to experience a few unfamiliar eateries in the city. 

My gourmet dining experience started on Air Canada flight 775 from Montreal to LAX. I was seated bulkhead in business class, where I was offered an array of tasty (as tasty as it gets at 7000 feet) options. I decide on the Thai inspired salmon, steamed rice and vegetable dish for my main and a fruit platter for dessert. As much as I'd love to delve into the warm freshly baked chocolate chip cookie and vanilla bean ice cream, I decide to save my sugar intake for a more appropriate hour. 

On Boxing Day, I decide to walk to Fred Segal which is quite possibly the most trendy hipster joint in all of West Hollywood. I spent some time at the quant little Italian cafe, Mauro's, on my last visit, and was eager to return. The atmosphere at Mauro's is relaxed and fun, and the service is wonderful. It's been around for a long time, and still seems to be one of the top celeb spots. You'll usually see a few paparazzi creeping around outside.

Back to food, I order a prosciutto and mozzarella baguette sandwich. The bread is fresh, the slightly salted prosciutto is full of flavor and the mozzarella is the perfect consistency. I try to buy a full baguette to take home but unfortunately they don't have a bakery, so I return three times that week to get my fix. Mauro's never disappoints.

Throughout the rest of the week, I enjoy quite a few scrumptious breakfasts and brunches around the city. My favourite brunch spot on this trip was TOAST Cafe & Bakery on West 3rd Street. I usually order the steel-cut oatmeal here but it had been a while since I ordered eggs Benedict, and I'd heard that TOAST have one of the best benny's in West Hollywood so I decide to change it up a bit. I choose a side of well-done breakfast potatoes. My friend opts for his usual, the smoked salmon omelette. 

If you're looking for a hearty brunch, large portion sizes, and good prices, then TOAST is definitely worth checking out. Brunch is served every day of the week. 

Post-brunch, we head over to The Grove shopping mall just in time for a festive winter wonderland performance. There's no actual snow in California, so this kitsch movie set-like location puts on an hourly snow show. As we walk past the high end boutiques, cotton candy like material is shooting out from the buildings - it's a magical experience.

I pop into Dylan's Candy Bar for a great big bag of sugar candies. Those who know me, know that this is my most frequented location in the city, I even expressed my love for this store in a post during my summer vacation, which you can read here. I'm like a little kid as I wander around the store filling my bag with a variety of flavored gummy bears. 

On my last morning, I insist on a visit to Doughboys Cafe on West 3rd. It's been a favourite of mine since last year. It's one of the most innovative breakfast and brunch joints in the city, with an extensive menu offering all kinds of delicious bites. I spot polenta on the menu, which comes served with fresh figs and strawberries. Having never tried this Italian inspired meal, I decide to give it a go. The consistency is similar to porridge, and the taste is slightly sweeter. I'm impressed, but then again, this place knows how to make any dish taste good. Doughboys are best known for their red velvet cake, which is a favourite of Oprah Winfrey, and will be a favourite of yours too once you try it!

A few other eateries I visited during the week included the Corner Bakery Cafe, where I had some sweet peanut butter and brown sugar oatmeal, and Marie Calendar's restaurant where we indulged in some freshly baked cornbread and a grilled meatloaf sandwich.

Options are endless in this city, and with new places constantly popping up, you're never too far from good hearty food. Since getting back to Toronto, I've been on a health kick, lowering my sugar intake - it is the new year after all... Let's see how long this lasts!