Welcome to L.A. Week on First We Feast. As part of our continuing initiative to devote more coverage to Los Angeles, we’ll be running special features all week to explore the city’s ever-evolving food scene—from its most vaunted chefs, to its gritty underbelly.
“I’m the one spending an hour deciding on where we’re going to eat for lunch. All of the other musicians laugh. They’re like, ‘Why don’t we go and get a burger?'”
That’s from Grammy award-winning music producer Emile Haynie, who has made a name for himself with a handful of star-studded collaborations including Kanye West’s “Runaway,” Eminem’s Grammy-winning Recovery, and Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die. For the past year, the New York native has set up shop in the historic Chateau Marmont off the Sunset Strip to record his solo debut album called We Fall, which dropped earlier this week.
“The Chateau is a weird place in the best of ways,” explains Haynie, who describes the hotel as a mutual meeting ground for Hollywood creatives and coke-snorting douchebags trying to breathe in the scene.
Haynie’s not a complete stranger to L.A.. Over the years, he’s flown out to work with a variety of artists, including West Coast hip-hop pioneer WC of WC and the Maad Circle. “We would drive around in his souped-up pick-up truck, and he’d show me the best places to eat. It was amazing.”
True to his “crate-digger” mentality, Haynie has taken it upon himself explore the city’s ethnic dives and time-honored establishments. “I’m in the studio all day—I break the monotony by going out to eat.”
From a seedy dive bar tucked in the back of a 24-hour Jewish Delicatessen, to a Korean barbecue joint specializing in charcoal grills, Haynie reveals his 10 essential spots in the City of Angels—and reminds us of why old-school is always the way to go.
1. Soot Bull Jeep
Haynie says: “My favorite food is grilled meat and rice, whether it’s Asian, Latin, or any other type of ethnicity. Just give me that and I’m happy. The Korean barbecue is unbelieveable in Los Angeles. It’s miles ahead compared to NYC’s Korean Way. There are great spots like Park’s and Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, but I’m drawn to Soot Bull Jeep. They use real coals for wood as opposed to gas. I always get the short ribs. (Photo: Yelp)
2. Spicy BBQ
Haynie says: “It’s a hole-in-the-wall Thai place in Little Armenia. I always get the grilled pork, which comes out practically blackened. For 10 bucks it’s enough to feed four people. Jitlada is great too, but I like how the menu is super simple. I’ve been to Thailand a bunch of times, and L.A.’s Thai scene captures it better than any other place. (Photo: Yelp)
Address and phone: 2100 E Caesar Chavez Ave (323-264-7201)
Haynie says: “I love the OG one in Boyle Heights. These are the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life. I’m such a massive carnivore and I love the stewed meats. But I’m also a fan of the veggie ones. They have zucchini and squash. And there’s something special about the tortillas, too. You can tell they’ve been made a second ago. I’ll never again go to Gracias Madre. (Photo: Facebook)
4. Taylor’s Steak House
Address and phone: 3361 W 8th St (213-382-8449)
Haynie says: “The food isn’t fantastic, but the environment amazes me. The classic spots are a dying breed in NYC—for the most part, it feels like restaurants there are designed by a hedge-fund manager. When you walk into Taylor’s it feels like you have entered a time machine—I love the old school seediness. You can imagine what it was like to be part of the scene, put on your best threads, and sip on a martini. (Photo: Yelp)
Address and phone: 470 N La Cienega (310-657-8333)
Haynie: “I go here twice a week for eggs. The food isn’t anything special, but it’s in this beautiful mid-century building. It feels like you’re sitting there with the Jetsons. Sqirl and Animal are amazing places, but sometimes I don’t have the patience to wait for two hours. Just put me at Norm’s next to a table with a bunch of families. (Photo: Hyperallergic)
Address and phone: 11628 Barrington Ct (310-476-7379)
Haynie says:“It’s a weird, quirky vibe. There are all these crazy paintings hanging from the wall that don’t make any sense. It’s not authentic by any means like Angelini Osteria. It’s American-Italian. This place is another time warp spot. I get the chicken parm and meatballs.” (Photo: Peppone)
7. Chateau Marmont
Address and phone: 8221 Sunset Blvd (323-656-1010)
Haynie says: “I travel a lot, and most of the hotels nowadays are these new shitty, stark rooms, where everything is white, and if you spill coffee on the floor it all goes to hell. I like the Chateau because it’s this strange, faux-glam Hollywood scene set in a 1920s castle. The rooms look like they’re from the 1930s, and the furniture is 80 years-old. It feels lived-in. You’re allowed to smoke, and the drinks downstairs are really strong. It attracts a weird scene of creatives, writers, musicians, directors, and photographers. John Waters always writes in one specific room. Florence from Florence and the Machine is in the room upstairs writing new songs for her album. Lana Del Rey sang about her visit on her first album. For every douchebag who’s doing a cocaine party, there’s also a director coming up with his next film.” (Photo: Seeing-Stars)
8. Kibitz Room
Address and phone: 419 N Fairfax Ave (323-651-2030)
Haynie says:“In the back of Canter’s Deli there’s an old-school dive bar called the Kibitz Room. It’s a great idea. You can go get drunk and eat matzo ball soup afterwards. I always meet strange people there, like a crazy guy who wants to tell me my fortune, or some old rock engineer dude with stories about recording a hair-metal band in the ’80s. It’s perfectly seedy and bizarre. I like that part of Los Angeles: You can find a lot of weirdos here.”
9. The Last Bookstore
Address and phone: 453 S Spring St (213-488-0599)
Haynie says: “I collect old architecture and design books, and they have a fantastic selection of stuff here. It’s a huge space that also sells really great records. It’s like the Amoeba records of bookstores.” (Photo: Anna Delores)
10. Griffith Park
Address and phone: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr (323-913-4688)
Haynie says:“I smoke cigarettes and eat greasy food, so I’ve always laughed at the juice and hike thing. One time Lykke Li dragged me to Griffith Park. When we finally got to the top, the view of the city was one of the most strikingly beautiful things I had ever seen in my life. It overlooks the entire city and ocean. I don’t consider myself a hiker, but after this, maybe I could be. (Photo: Simpson City)
Read more L.A. Essentials here.