A spread of various dishes from Amiga Amore. Most of the dishes are colorful ceramic, and there is horchata in a glass with colorful spots.

The LA Winter 25

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The LA Winter 25

Sometimes it seems like the only tangible difference between July and January in LA is about fifteen degrees Fahrenheit and an increased chance you’re using the term “atmospheric river” incorrectly. But that doesn't mean SoCal is lacking in fun and unique things to do this time of year. Here are 25 hacks for making the most of the (slightly) colder months.

Sometimes it seems like the only tangible difference between July and January in LA is about fifteen degrees Fahrenheit and an increased chance you’re using the term “atmospheric river” incorrectly. But that doesn't mean SoCal is lacking in fun and unique things to do this time of year. Here are 25 hacks for making the most of the (slightly) colder months.

photo credit: Si! Mon


Never discount the power of posting a sunny patio pic in the dead of winter. This year, Si! Mon is the place to do it. Their lush Venice patio will make every East Coast friend question their life choices, while the Panamanian menu with tuna tostadas and banana-leaf-wrapped kanpachi will validate yours.

The sunny patio of Si! Mon with booth seating, trees and plants, and slate floors.

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Take your runny nose to Borit Gogae. This Koreatown restaurant does a $60 feast for two that includes three (yes, three) nourishing soups that’ll make you feel like a cute little baby learning to eat. Slurp scorched rice broth, creamy pumpkin puree, and a luscious perilla seed soup that tastes like a rotisserie chicken high-dived into Golidlock’s porridge.

A large spread of set menu dishes and sides in ceramic and metal bowls with wooden ladles on a wooden table.
A spread of set menu dishes in ceramic bowls, with wooden ladles. A person uses a ladle to pour tofu soup into their metal bowl.
Birdseye view of the full set menu table spread at Borit Gogae. There is a woven basket with sides, bowls of soup and rice and more on the table.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp


Granny's check barely buys a half-tank of gas, but she said, "Buy something nice." For us, that’s lunch at Lorenzo in Beverly Hills. Their gorgeous Florentine focaccia sandwiches are full of luxurious things like olive paté, onion agrodolce, and shaved mortadella. Just make sure to send Granny a pic after.


You’ve become 73% bean dip and cream cheese after attending eight end-of-year potlucks. Perilla will give you the flavorful microflora you need to become yourself again. Visit this tiny banchan shop in the hills above Chinatown to load up on collard green kimchi, kabocha squash jorim, and snappy sesame-coated green beans.


You’re trying to enjoy a Japanese funk record and the dude next to you is yapping about something Joe Rogan retweeted. It happens. At Gold Line in Highland Park, DJs spin vinyl directly next to the bar, which means no interruptions. Expect hot people in vintage denim grooving to indie trip-hop, played on speakers worth more than your car.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp


Valentine’s Day has been wreaking havoc on hearts, brains, and bank accounts for centuries. But whether you’re for this yearly display of over-the-top gestures or not, no one can deny the charm of a heart-shaped pupusa. The world’s most romantic molten corn cake costs $35 at DTLA’s La Pupusa Urban Eatery. Knowing your gift doubles as dinner for two? Priceless.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp


Pilot season is when actors descend on LA like locusts, shacking up with temp roommates in hopes of booking that new dramedy on the CW. If that’s you, consider Harvey's your second home. If not, enjoy the scene. This classic coffee shop in Beverly Grove has great drinks, lots of outlets, and a back room perfect for rehearsing lines (or having a good cry).

A jalapeno croissant and takeaway coffee cup on a table inside Harvey's cafe.  The coffee bar is in the background with two people sitting at barstools.


A flight to Munich is expensive. Solvang is far. They’re turning Alpine Village into an Amazon warehouse. Luckily, there’s still Red Lion. Glass boots of hefeweizen, sausage platters, and a beer garden that looks like the Deutschland section of Epcot are all things you’ll see at this Silver Lake tavern.


Vacations, shopping sprees, pet giraffes—all valid things to drop a sudden influx of cash on. Personally, we’d head to Sushi Note Omakase. A night at this basement sushi bar below Rodeo Drive involves vintage jazz plus 20 courses of appetizers, nigiri, and dessert for $190. If you want to get rid of even more money, the $150 wine pairing is equally spectacular.


Join fantasy football, they said, it’ll be fun. Not when half your team tears their ACLs. Cleanse the shame of your abysmal record by bringing Shlap Muan to the next watch party. This Cambodian wing specialist does flavors like orange habanero, jalapeño MSG, and spicy Cambodian Dirt, which tastes like lemon pepper spent a year kickboxing in Phnom Penh.

photo credit: Jessie Cohen


Trotting chow chows might turn a few heads, but nothing inspires jealousy during a walk on the sand like a weekend-only breakfast burrito from Tigres Fuego. These foil-wrapped bundles come with fluffy eggs, melted cheese, green onion, and crunchy tater tots that hold their own in a grilled flour tortilla. Even that unbothered purebred might sniff a little longer in your direction.

photo credit: Brant Cox


After a week of your aunt telling you the reason you’re still single is because of “the mainstream media,” it’s time for a spa day. You know Wi Spa, but Descanso Garden, located a scenic drive up the 210 freeway in Tujunga, offers the same thing, only with free parking, a fraction of the crowds, and the ability to eat bibimbap inside a cedar oxygen room.

A bowl of bibimbap and accompanying sides on a red lunch tray.

photo credit: Nicolas Zhou


Your vacationing relatives rented boogie boards, but can’t grasp that the ocean is currently freezing. So take them to Tony’s. This kitschy icon on the Redondo Beach Pier has a dining room that sits right above the waves and $11 Mai Tais with a cocktail glass you get to keep. It’s a better souvenir than anything they’ll find at the airport.


Wrought-iron chandeliers, medieval flags, roaring fireplaces, and inch-thick slabs of prime rib. Who cares that you’re not allowed within Buena Park city limits until 2027 (reasons undisclosed), you have The Tam. A carnivorous meal at this ancient, Disney-coded pub in Atwater Village beats predetermined stage combat any day.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp


Ordering ice-cold horchata might sound like a summer move, but in LA, this creamy agua fresca knows no season. Leave it to Amiga Amore to invent a not-too-sweet, Mexican-meets-Italian version that we didn’t know we needed, with toasted pistachios from Sicily and an extra dusting of cinnamon. We also love that it comes in a confetti glass tumbler.

photo credit: Sylvio Martins


If you want to eat fish from Big Bear Lake like a grizzly, that's your business. Us? We’re getting our sashimi fix at Tropicali. This tiki-themed Hawaiian spot close to ski resorts does tropical smoothies, spicy jerk chicken, and solid poke bowls. You can eat ahi tuna by the fireplace, and take in the sounds of a chill bro shouting, “Aloha Tim, your order just hit DA BEAAACH.”


Your peacoat makes you feel like a character in a Hallmark movie, but here’s the sweaty truth: palm trees and merino wool kind of clash. But if there’s one place where your double-breasted jacket is aesthetically on point, it’s Dunsmoor in Glassell Park. A live hearth fills the space with a warm glow, so you can pretend you're taking shelter from a blizzard outside.


The Thai Town Triple

photo credit: Jessie Clapp


A warm blanket improves everything, from cocktail weenie appetizers to bingeing Gilmore Girls on your couch. So it should come as no surprise that the thin slice of silky deli meat draped over the white slice at Shins Pizza follows suit. Their NY-style pies are solid on their own, but the rich, slightly sweet mortadella is an upgrade we can get behind.

photo credit: Steep After Dark


Is Steep a mellow cocktail bar that serves tea? Or a fun tea shop with cocktails? They’re not sweating it, so neither are we. Order a black-tea-infused martini (or an oolong cream soda), kick back on their lantern-lit Chinatown plaza patio, and snack on free Sichuan-spiced popcorn. You said you’d take it easy in the new year, and this is a good start.

A cocktail in a fancy glass sits on a metal table.


No one can truly predict what a night at Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneertown will entail, but the forecast calls for eating BBQ, dancing to bluegrass music, and Facebook-friending a Vietnam vet. When it comes to this historic watering hole and music venue outside Joshua Tree, the weirder it gets, the better.


NBC Seafood is one of the few dim sum spots that still does cart service on weekends. Steamer baskets of juicy siu mai and silky cheung fun will all roll by at some point, begging for a place on your table’s lazy susan. That’s why showing up with a big group is crucial. More hands means a higher chance of snatching the last plate of crispy turnip cakes before another table does.

photo credit: Brant Cox


That’s it, you’re done—with traffic, pollution, and the toxic urge to put exclamation marks at the end of every work email. People in Idyllwild still use computers from time to time, but they’re going to wrap up that watercolor painting first. Go here when you’re in the mood to hike, shop for artsy knick-knacks, eat a proper breakfast, and breathe in some crisp mountain air.

The exterior of Wooley's in Idyllwild. There is large cowboy hat statue on the awning.

photo credit: Jessie Clapp


Every piece of Donna’s lasagna rollatini is a “good” piece. The parmesan-crusted pinwheels at this Echo Park red sauce joint are packed in a pan like cinnamon rolls, then baked until the creamy fonduta and bolognese filling oozes out of the sides. We’ll take a circle covered in crispy edges over a basic square any day.


Arrive early at this Long Beach institution and you'll be greeted with some much-needed peace and quiet (also, strong iced coffee). Get the pork and shrimp house special with chewy egg noodles, a side of broth with a big soup bone, then go wild with the half-dozen condiments on the table. Who knows, you might even have time to read the newspaper.

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