Tuesday, December 31st, 2013, 11:38 am
Previous trip reports with pictures:
-Trip Notes: Pesach in Palm Springs (2010)
-Trip Notes: Our SoCal Quasi-Mileage Run (2011) (Also includes Orange County and San Diego)
–Trip Notes: SoCal Luscious Spring (2012) (Includes Palm Springs)
–Trip Notes: Los Angeles (2013)
-And I still owe you guys a trip report from my trip last week…stay tuned 🙂
DDF forum threads:
–Los Angeles Master Thread (With Wiki)
–San Diego Master Thread (With Wiki)
-California Coast/PCH Master Thread
–San Francisco/No Cal Master Thread (With Wiki)
–Palm Springs, CA Master Thread (With Wiki)
The number one destination that people booked with the Delta glitch was Los Angeles. If people enjoy this post I can make similar quick guides to other places that people bought tickets to as well. There’s more detail that can be found via the trip reports above, but this will give a quick overview of the options.
If you’re flying to LA on Delta glitch with your family you should look into the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express which gets a free checked bag (a $50 round-trip value per person per trip) for up to 9 people on an itinerary with the primary cardholder!
Here are some quick facts about LA for kosher travelers:
The LA jewish community has 2 main areas in the city itself, the Pico/Robertson neighborhood and the Beverly/La Brea neighborhood. Traffic between the 2 can be heavy at times-it can take 5 minutes without traffic but up to 25 minutes with traffic. Then there are tons of other communities spread throughout the Valley and beyond.
-Where to eat, LA kosher edition:
-Tierra Sur At Herzog Winery (Oxnard): It’s well worth the shlep out to the finest kosher dining experience in North America. The menu is constantly changing but just about everything they concoct will rock your world. Buy this $40 Groupon and you’ll also get free wine tasting for 2. While you’re out in Oxnard look into water activities or dive into retail therapy at the gargantuan Camarillo Premium Outlets (and don’t forget to signup here for a coupon for a free VIP coupon book). You can take the 101 out here or drive up the ocean-hugging PCH for great views. If you take the PCH you can stop by the Getty Villa and Fish Grill along with hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains.
-La Gondola is an LA classic that lives up to the hype. It would be criminal to go without getting the Avocado Eggrolls. Duck eggrolls are also very good. The lunch special is a great deal for a Gondola Burger topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions or Steak Wrap with a soup or pasta included. Otherwise the ribs and Chai steak are famous as well.
-Beverly Hills Thai has lots of unique food that you won’t find elsewhere.
-Jeff’s has a cult following for their relatively inexpensive high quality fast food like a homemade polish dog, the off-menu wild western burger, and their delicious onion rings.
–Mexikosher is another relatively inexpensive eatery with a cult following. Definitely worth a try, flavors that you’ll either love or hate.
-PKD (Pico Kosher Deli) has a classic deli menu with a hot pastrami and cole slaw that’s worthwhile for any deli fan. The onion rings here are great as well.
-Shiloh’s and Pat’s are upscale steakhouses with mixed reviews, some people love ’em, others hate ’em. At any rate the bread pudding dessert at Pat’s is famous.
–Ditmas is brand new from the chef of La Seine. I was there on opening night so I’m hesitant to judge it based on the chaos of that night, but expect small portions and good flavors. Will review it further in my upcoming trip report.
-26 has converted over to a meat restaurant with a menu inspired by Todd Aarons of Tierra Sur fame. Decor is phenomenal but I was unimpressed by the food, full review to follow.
-Got Kosher? has got a mouth-watering Memphis style pulled BBQ beef sandwich that may just rock your world, full review to follow.
-Fish Grill is a classic and has locations on the main jewish drags of Beverly and Pico and as far out as picturesque Mailbu. My go to dish is the Grilled Salmon with Angel Hair Pasta and fries.
-Milky Way is run by Steven Spielberg’s mother. They make a great mix of food from mexican dishes like chimichangas and classic kosher foods like incredible homemade cheese blintzes. The restaurant hasn’t changed in decades. Luckily neither has their pricing which is now a bargain. Steven can often be found dining here and his mom loves to chat with everyone and show off his movie posters in back.
-Pizza Mayven has great plain pizza, the best in LA.
-Pizza Nosh is out in Agoura Hills, you can stop here for lunch when going out to Oxnard. Very good pizza and pasta dishes.
-Holy Cow is a new dairy place with ice cream sandwiched between delicious homemade cookies, onion soup in a bread bowl, and excellent paninis. More on this place when I write up a trip report from last week.
-Nagila Pizza has good stuffed-crust pizza.
-Meshuga for Sushi: Sushi has never been LA’s strong spot, only short-lived La Seine really excelled at it. It’s decent here but can’t compare to the goodies that can be found in Chicago, Miami, or Montreal.
–Trattoria Natalie has the old menu from the dairy 26. I haven’t made it here yet, but reviews seem promising.
-Cafe Elite: Crumb ring cake donuts: ‘Nuff said.
-Schwartz Bakery/Circa NY: Don’t miss the crumb cheese danishes and try a personal sized caramel cake. The Circa location on Pico serves breakfast.
-Delice Bakery: French pastry heaven.
-La Brea Bagel has the best bagels in town.
-Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s only Cholov Yisroel location in the world is on Beverly. The Iced Vanilla Espresso is something to behold.
-Abba’s on LaBrea offers good heimish shabbos food.
-PKD has decent shabbos take-out as well.
-Ralph’s supermarket on La Brea and 3rd has a massive kosher section with ready made food for sale like incredible succulent ribs you can buy over the counter. Wine is sold here as well. (Ralph’s down south in La Jolla also has an amazing kosher setup)
-The new Western Kosher on Pico near La Brea has a shabbos menu that you can even order from online.
-Schwartz Bakery has lots of great varieties of Challah, from plain to chocolate chip to pretzel dough.
-La Break Bakery sells good challah as well.
-The SLS Beverly Hills is an SPG category 6 hotel (20-25K Starpoints per night or 16K-20K points per night on a 5 night redemption) and is fantastic with modern rooms and a rooftop pool. It’s within walking distance of shuls and is perfectly located within a few minutes drive to all of the kosher restaurants in Los Angeles.
The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express earns 10K bonus Starpoints for spending $1 and 15K bonus Starpoints for $5,000 in 6 months which would give you a total of 30,000 Starpoints.
-The Hyatt Andaz West Hollywood is currently a category 4 hotel (15K Hyatt or Chase points per night) if you book it by 01/06. Category 4 hotels can be had on the cheap thanks to anniversary nights. On 01/07 it shifts to category 5 and will cost 20K points/night or 10K points+$125 per night. It’s a hike to get to a shul though it’s just a short drive to them and kosher restaurants.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns 40,000 Ultimate Rewards bonus points for spending $3,000 plus 5,000 points for adding a free additional user. It offers 2.14 points per dollar on all travel and dining expenses and has no foreign exchange fees. The Chase Ink Plus and Ink Bold each earn 50,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in 3 months, offer up to 5 points per dollar spent, have no foreign exchange fees, and come with free lounge passes . The Chase Freedom earns 20,000 points for spending $500 though that bonus will end very soon and go back down to 10,000. It offers 5 point rotating categories and 10% more points if you also have a Chase checking account. The Ink Cash card earns 20,000 points for spending $3,000. Chase points can transfer into Hyatt points instantly at a 1:1 ratio if you or your spouse holds a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Card card. Chase also has a Hyatt card which gives 2 free nights for spending $1,000 though the bonus categories on the Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like Sapphire, Freedom, and Ink are generally much more lucrative than the Hyatt card. Bear in mind that Ultimate Rewards points don’t expire and are transferable while the Hyatt nights must be completed within 1 year and are officially non-transferrable.
-The Sheraton Gateway LAX is a better than average airport hotel and is an SPG category 3 property (7K Starpoints per night or 5.6K per night on a 5 night reservation). Figure on a 20 to 30 minute drive to most shuls and kosher restaurants. Nice perk: You can often find free street parking behind the hotel on 98th street.
-The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza is a category 5 hotel (18K Hyatt or Chase points per night if you lock it in by 01/06, otherwise 20K points/night or 10K points+$125 per night) It’s walkable to the Westwood Kehilla shul and a short drive to kosher restaurants.
-The W Westwood is an SPG category 5 property (12K-16K Starpoints per night or 9.6K-12.8K per night on a 5 night reservation). It’s walkable to Chabad of Westwood and is a short drive to kosher restaurants.
-The W Hollywood is an SPG category 5 property (12K-16K Starpoints per night or 9.6K-12.8K per night on a 5 night reservation). It’s a hike to get to a shul though it’s just a short drive to them and kosher restaurants.
-Other hotels near shuls and kosher restaurants include Mr. C , Residence Inn by Marriott , Crowne Plaza, Best Western Plus Carlyle Inn, and Intercontinental Century City.
-The Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica is an SPG category 5 property (12K-16K Starpoints per night or 9.6K-12.8K per night on a 5 night reservation). It’s located near the beach and Santa Monica activities. It’s also walkable to Chabad of Simcha Monica. Without traffic it’s not too bad to kosher eateries though with traffic it can be a shlep.
-You can always use Hotwire or Priceline to bid on hotels in areas like Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, or the airport. I’ve nabbed the Sheraton Gateway LAX, Westin LAX, and Crowne Plaza LAX for $50 or less in the past.
-Theme parks (Universal Studios, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain, etc)
-The Grove is a fantastic outdoor mall with great shopping, celebrity spotting, and a train ride that runs through it. Parking is free for an hour even if you don’t buy anything or for 2 hours with FlashPark.
-The Beverly Center is an indoor shopping mall located next to the SLS Hotel.
-Santa Monica Pier and 3rd Street Promenade, the pier offers ocean-front rides, arcades, and walking paths. The Promenade offers pedestrian only streets of shopping.
-Hollywood & Highland is LA’s answer to Times Square. Doesn’t quite compare but you’ll bump into lots of characters and be able to follow the stars on the street.
-The Getty Center offers grand views of LA even if you’re not an art buff.
-The Getty Villa is equally impressive in its grandeur and architecture.
-There are lots of TV show filmings that you can be a part of, check out www.tvtix.com
-Beaches (Not really my thing in LA, but via the DDF Wiki: Malibu and Santa Monica are very popular, Hermosa and Manhattan are the prettiest, Marina del Rey is the emptiest as it’s in a residential area. Further south are great beaches in Orange county like Laguna Beach among many others).
-There are a plethora of hikes and drives you can take up the mountain for stunning views of the city.
-There are lots of Sporting events to attend even though LA has no NFL team. The Clippers, Lakers, and Kings all play in the Staples Center downtown. Have a Platinum Card® from American Express? You can even get free lounge access at a game!
-Taking the PCH down from San Francisco to LA is recommended because you get to hug the coast, but it’s still an amazing experience to drive up as well. Or you can use just 4,500 BA Avios to fly one-way from LA to San Francisco and drive down one-way. There are hotels like the highly regarded category 6 Hyatt Carmel Highlands that you can stay in along the way.
Of course you don’t have to stay in smog-filled LA:
-Serene Palm Springs is 2 hours east. Breathtaking mountains surround you and Joshua Tree national park is nearby. The Hyatt Palm Springs is just a category 3 hotel and the Hyatt Indian Wells Resort is a category 5 property. The Westin Mission Hills Resort is an SPG category 5 hotel. Every Thursday night is a lively street fair. There are also lots of fantastic homes with amazing pools for rent that can be found on sites like VRBO.com. If you’re staying for shabbos stay in the Twin Palms or Deepwell sections of Palm Springs and you’ll be able to walk to the local Chabad house.
-The Hyatt Huntington Beach drops from a category 6 to category 5 on 01/07 and is on the beach in Orange County an hour south of LA.
-Further south is the category 5 Park Hyatt Aviara about 2 hours of LA and 30 minutes north of San Diego.
-San Diego is about 2 hours south of LA and has tons of hotels, SeaWorld, LegoLand, their famous zoo, and have a couple kosher options as well.
-Santa Barbara is about 2 hours north of LA.
-Big Bear skiing is 2 hours east.
-Las Vegas is a 4 hour drive.
-Santa Catalina and the Channel Islands can be reached by ferry.
With thanks to Yehoshua for his contributions to the DDF Wiki on LA.
Have more tips? Hit the comments and share your thoughts!