I might be slightly biased, but Los Angeles easily ranks among America's greatest food cities, if not the world's. A Pacific Rim city with historic ties to Mexico and some of the largest ethnic populations of peoples outside their home countries, Los Angeles offers up a worldly feast. Whether you're looking for a budget Korean BBQ joint or a splashy menu for the 1 percent, the freshest produce, global palates, and innovative chefs are here to meet your needs. And I can show you how to taste it all in three days.
Although Los Angeles serves up more sunny days than most, a light jacket is smart.
If you only have time for one thing, make it Hollywood for a taste of everything.
With its "72 suburbs in search of a city" and 500 square miles, Los Angeles is tricky to navigate alone. To get a handle on downtown, the valleys, and beach towns, either take a tour or try a drive between Santa Monica and downtown LA on Sunset Boulevard.
Start downtown on Olvera Street and explore via car and on foot. Taquitos were reportedly invented on Olvera Street at Cielito Lindo, and nearby is the expansive Grand Central Market, Langer's Deli (try the No. 19 Reuben), and Philippe's historic French dipped sandwich.
Explore the beach cities, starting in Malibu, with an organic breakfast on the historic pier, and work your way to Santa Monica and Venice. You'll get a feel for the SoCal beach life and the quirks of the food scene. See if you prefer the New Age smoothies at Cafe Gratitude or the beloved overstuffed hoagies of Bay Cities Italian Deli.
Leave the afternoon for the beach—whether that be relaxing on a towel, learning to surf, or biking on the boardwalk. For seafood, try dinner at Marina del Rey's Dear Jane's, a sister restaurant to steakhouse, Dear John's.
Start the day with a hike through Hollywood and into the city's biggest urban playground, Griffith Park. You'll see the Hollywood sign and views of the city below. Stop for breakfast at the rustic Trails Cafe on your way to see Tinseltown.
Hollywood, in the heart of LA, is near some of the city's best ethnic eats, including in Thai Town, Koreatown, Historic Filipinotown, and Glendale, where Armenian food stops are plenty. Further out is the San Gabriel Valley for authentic Chinese food. Cap off the night exploring the vibrant bar scene.