Which girl boss excels in spreading the gospel of Oaxacan food and culture so well that the only food critic to ever win a Pulitzer award dubbed her the “Oaxacan princess” of Los Angeles?
Bricia Lopez, that’s who.
As the co-proprietor of Guelaguetza, the iconic Oaxacan restaurant in LA’s Koreatown neighborhood that won a James Beard Award in the “American Classics” category, she knows a thing or two about good food and great service. COCINA reached out to find out where she eats around LA herself because as we all know, being a Oaxacan food princess works up quite the appetite. Or as she calls them, “These places are my ride-or-dies.”
Pollo a La Brasa
“I’ve been eating here for over a decade. It’s my dad’s favorite and every single time he comes to visit us from Oaxaca, we know we are eating there. Make sure to ask for extra aji salsa. It is the best wood-fired rotisserie chicken in LA.”
“Lucques is my go-to place for celebratory events. I always come here for my anniversary, birthday, and any other special occasion. It’s such a solid restaurant that whatever you have there is going to be incredible. I’m a big fan of their Sunday Supper series. I love their wine list and cocktails. Coming to dinner here is like coming to a lavish supper thrown by a rich aunt who really, really knows how to cook. We go to their annual ribfest, too.”
“I love coming here in the morning for breakfast and pastries and it is a great place to go with a big group of friends for dinner. I take all of my friends who visit from out of town because it is the definition of LA Casual. It is really nice and Walter Manske is one of my favorite chefs. He puts a lot of love into the food.”
“I’ve been coming to this place for years. The decor and ambiance has evolved but the food has remained consistently great. This is another must-eat place we go to when my parents are in town. They still do full, hearty plates full of flavor, despite the trend of small plates. My favorite thing to get is the lomo saltado, fried calamari, and ceviche mixto. It makes me so happy to see them change with the times and stay relevant.”
“This is my favorite Mexican restaurant outside of Guelaguetza (obviously). It’s one of the few places I go out to eat Mexican food. It specializes in Yucatan food, so you won’t find burritos and tacos. I love their Poc Chuc, which is like the pork version of carne asada. I also go for their lechón tortas on Sundays. They cater our company party every year and they catered my sister’s baby shower. “
“This is a fancier place and the perfect place to take a date to. If you’re hanging out in West Hollywood, it’s a great place to stop in for drinks. Chef Diego from Baja cooks a ceviche that is out of this world. It’s one of the few places that make a really good flour tortilla, too. I know it’s in Hollywood, but it is one of the best places to just go and eat tortillas and beans.”
“This is the kind of place where I go with my husband and my kid for lunch. We try to get there at 11 AM to avoid all the lines. We usually have a light breakfast, then have a really huge lunch, and even take some stuff to go, so we can have it for dinner later. I love their sesame noodles and their spicy wontons. My son loves the pork chop.”
“This is an everyday type of place for me. I crave their hot stone bibimbap almost everyday and it is one of the best in Koreatown. Their tofu soup is delicious too. It’s another place where I bring people who visit from out of town or just know about Korean BBQ, because it is a little bit different. I should have eaten there today.”
Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong
“I know there are so many Korean BBQ places in LA but this is my go-to place. I love the corn cheese mixture that they put around the grill and the meat is really great quality. It’s totally packed and the wait gets long but it is definitely worth it. When I have Korean food, I go on a day where I know I’m going to wash my hair because your hair will smell like smoke after. Go with a big group so you can eat everything on the menu.”
Their little machaca torta is really good and it hits the spot when you don’t have time to make breakfast at home. It’s also a really cool spot to stop before going on a road trip for a torta and coffee, instead of fast food.