Los Angeles Cult Recipes features Victor Garnier Astorino’s favorite 100 Los Angeles-inspired recipes following his time spent in the city and visiting local restaurants. Highlights include Mac & Cheese Pizza, Granola Breakfast Bowl, Mulligatawny Soup, Kimchi Nachos, Hawaiian Tuna Poke, Pork Ramen, Gluten-Free Lemon Cake, Vanilla Doughnuts, Muscle Beach Venice Smoothie, and more. I will also be sharing his recipe for Avocado Toast following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Murdoch Books in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Victor Garnier Astorino
Victor Garnier Astorino grew up in Bordeaux, France. He first became obsessed with the food of Los Angeles during his university exchange in 2010 and returned to France with a passion for hamburgers and photography. He opened Blend, a hamburger joint, in Paris in 2011 (now with 6 locations) and travels regularly back to the United States.
Los Angeles Cult Recipes
The chapters are divided according to area: Chapter 1 (West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Sawtelle), Chapter 2 (Downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown, University Park, Art District), Chapter 3 (Hermosa Beach, Inglewood, Huntington Park), Chapter 4 (Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Fairfax, Studio City, Burbank), Chapter 5 (Venice, Mar Vista), Chapter 6 (Ventura, Malibu, Pacific Palisades), and Chapter 7 (Silver Lake, Westlake, Highland Park, Los Feliz). The inside cover has a map of the LA neighborhoods covered in the book.
Victor has created these recipes to hold onto the memories of the foods he enjoyed while in Los Angeles. The focus is purely on the food. Each recipe is paired with photos of the dishes in the restaurants and additional photography of the scenery, sights, and people. Many of the recipes include little snippets of his travel memories (I personally would have liked a little more) along with highlights from that particular restaurant. Measurements are listed in Metric and US Customary.
This book is a great pick for those wanting to try a sampling of what Los Angeles has to offer at home. There is a little something for everyone with easy and complex recipes, gluten-free and vegan, and everything in between. Most of the ingredients are readily available in the the average American grocery store. Some that may need further searching include fresh yeast, liquid smoke, protein powder, Chinese broccoli, flat rice noodles, mirin, black sesame seeds, cake flour, chia seeds, agave syrup, crème fraîche, goji berries, açaí powder, flax seeds, orange blossom water, pork belly, wakame, udon, and kombu. I especially love how the index is categorized. In the back of the book, you can look up recipes based on chapter and ingredient. He also includes addresses for many of the food stops mentioned.
Inspired by DTLA Cheese in Grand Central Market, this version of Avocado Toast comes together easily with a wonderful combination of flavors to highlight the avocado. Slices of toasted artisan-style bread are covered with a chive ricotta spread and roughly mashed avocados. They are then topped with a sprinkling of paprika, cumin, and spring onion before serving immediately.
I have been to Grand Central Market a couple of times, but have yet to stop by DTLA Cheese. It is definitely on my list now. Victor says that if you are not a fan of avocado, another favorite is their grilled cheese. He has also included recipes for Avocado & Radish Toast and Avocado-Pesto-Ricotta Toast.
I also made the Chicken Breakfast Burrito, Strawberry Smoothie, Beef Udon, and Vietnamese Coffee.
I have become obsessed with breakfast burritos since moving to Los Angeles. One of my current favorites is from nearby Phanny’s in Redondo Beach. Victor’s recipe for the Chicken Breakfast Burrito was inspired by Cora’s Coffee Shoppe in Santa Monica. I haven’t actually been there, but this recipe was quite delicious with a filling of Mexican rice, shredded chicken, scrambled eggs, crème fraîche, avocado, and cheddar cheese slices. They also freeze very well for future easy breakfasts.
The Strawberry Smoothie was a favorite for Claire. Inspired by Paradise Bowls in Hermosa Beach (there are also locations in Manhattan Beach, Irvine, and Newport Beach), almond milk is blended with a banana, peanut butter, and strawberries for a quick and easy drink.
The Beef Udon recipe was recreated following Victor’s visit to Sanuki in Mitsuwa Market. I haven’t been to the one in Mar Vista, but absolutely love the one near us in Torrance. Having access to such a variety of Japanese products along with the food court has been incredible. It is one of the things I will miss the most when we move again.
It is now closed, but Victor made a Vietnamese Coffee (along with a Gluten-Free Lemon Cake) inspired by Mornings Nights Cafe on the edge of the Silver Lake Farmers’ Market. I love anything with condensed milk (and may have been slightly heavy handed in the pouring of it), so this was a big hit.
Avocado Toast Recipe
Excerpt from Los Angeles Cult Recipes
- 1 bunch chives chopped
- 120 grams (4 1/4 ounces) ricotta cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 avocados
- 4 slices artisan-style bread toasted
- Pinch paprika
- Pinch cumin
- 1 spring onion (scallion) white and light green part, thinly sliced
- Mix the chopped chives with the ricotta. Add a pinch of salt and 5 pinches freshly ground black pepper, mix, then add the lemon juice and mix again. Roughly mash the avocados.
- Spread the toasted bread with the ricotta-chive mix and cover the whole surface with avocado. Sprinkle with the paprika, cumin, chopped spring onion and a little salt and pepper.