Why my town
"Well, the farmers markets are a start, and then there are the ethnic influences—I have sous-chefs from Mexico, Korea, and the Philippines. Combine those two elements, and it's fun to see what happens."
Three markets that matter
"The Wednesday farmers market in Santa Monica is one of my favorites. Flora Bella Farm sells the world's most delicious organic produce, and I also go to the little Anisette stand for croissants—fuel for shopping! The Sunday market in Hollywood is funkier. You have to hit the jerk chicken stand run by this feisty Caribbean lady, and then Coleman Family Farms, which always has unusual stuff like epazote [a Mexican herb] and passion fruit. Then there's the Fairfax market, which runs daily. If you go, visit Du-par's inside—the pancakes are the best." Santa Monica Farmers Market, Arizona Ave. and 2nd St., smgov.net/farmers_market. Hollywood Farmers Market, Ivar Ave. and Selma Ave., farmernet.com. Fairfax Market, Fairfax Ave. and 3rd St., farmersmarketla.com.
"My kids are crazy about the Armenian-Lebanese food at Carousel in East Hollywood. We'll grab an order of minced-meat kebabs and muhammara and take it down the street for a picnic in Barnsdall Art Park." 5112 Hollywood Blvd., carouselrestaurant.com, kebabs from $9.50.
"My favorite order at the old-school Apple Pan: the hickory burger and the banana cream pie." 10801 W. Pico Blvd., 310/475-3585, banana cream pie $5.75.
Korean with attitude
"I love the bossy waitresses at Soot Bull Jeep, the way they come over to cut up your meat with scissors and without saying a word. I get tripe soup and spicy noodles with egg—they always think I don't know what I'm asking for!" 3136 W. 8th St., 213/387-3865, soups from $10.
Brunch with friends
"The brunch at Canelé is the best. It's all about the braised leek, bacon, egg, and romesco sandwich, or the French toast with prunes and mascarpone. Sundays get busy, but there's a communal table where you can usually find a spot." 3219 Glendale Blvd., canele-la.com, brunch from $7.50.
One to watch
"Travis Lett at Gjelina in Venice is doing amazing food. The last time I went, I ordered the mussels with chorizo, tomato confit, and garlic. It was so good I ordered a second helping." 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., gjelina.com, mussels $11.
"For a nice glass of wine, you just can't beat Lou, this supercool wine bar in a junky mini mall. Chat with Lou and he'll hook you up with a Touraine to drink alongside your charcuterie." 724 Vine St., louonvine.com, wine from $4.
At my place
"We change the menu all the time, but if you go to A.O.C., get the bacon-wrapped dates and, at Tavern, the pork burger (can you tell I love pork?)." A.O.C., 8022 W. 3rd St., aocwinebar.com, bacon-wrapped dates $6. Tavern, 11648 San Vicente Blvd., tavernla.com, pork burger $17.