Working out is essential. It helps your mind, your body, and everything else that keeps you afloat throughout the week. But there comes a point in every workout class when you wonder why you choose to wake up at 8:30am on a Saturday and drench yourself in sweat on an uncomfortable bike for an hour. When that moment arises, you need to arm yourself with those glorious restaurants that make everything alright in the world (and inside your head). Here are 11 comfort food spots to get you through the rough patch of spin class and where to head to once it’s over.
Check out the rest of our Guide To Being A Little Healthier, presented in partnership with Bai (a drink that helps us be a little healthier).
You’re on your second hill and you’re already over it. Take your mind down to Chinatown for some blazing hot chicken at Howlin’ Rays. The tiny spot in the Far East Plaza has lines pretty much all day everyday, but lines don’t exist in your sweaty fitness class fantasies. Whether it’s the chicken sandwich or just a box of dark meat and some fries, Howlin’ Rays comes through. Just know though, they mean business with those spice levels. Plan accordingly.
The sweat from your forehead is now officially in your eyes and everything burns. Start dreaming about the best Italian sandwich on the West Coast - the Godmother at Bay Cities. The Santa Monica deli/grocer is an LA classic, and while everything there is fantastic, you’d be living a subpar life if you didn’t walk out with that salami, mortadella, capicola, prosciutto, and provolone-stuffed beauty under your arm.
Dreaming of the best pizza by the slice in LA? Turn your attention towards Pizzanista. Located in the Arts District, this tiny little spot has everything from classic margherita to white to a mac and cheese pizza only served on Sundays. And everything is great. They also serve beer, but you can’t think about that right now because you’re currently sweating out the beer from last night.
The last-minute substitute teacher does not know how to turn the music down and all you want is a burger. Topped with caramelized onions, aioli, cheese, and a wine sauce rumored to have foie gras in it, Petit Trois’s double cheeseburger is a beautiful mess and puts all other double cheeseburgers in LA to shame. But you’re also a beautiful mess right now on that bike, and there’s no shame in drowning out horrible house music with dreams of that bad boy.
It’s been six days of this juice cleanse and you’re starting to see stars on the bike. Listen to your body, and go put as much meat as you can into it. There’s no easier way to do that than over at Bludso’s. The Hollywood BBQ spot (by way of Compton) continues to serve some of the best BBQ in the city, all in a space you can relax and get a little drunk in. If they haven’t run out yet, the pork ribs are next level.
This whole no sugar for a month thing just isn’t sustainable anymore. Make moves to our favorite dessert spot in LA - Magnolia Bakery. The NYC-transplant invaded 3rd Street a while back and gave us god's greatest gift to man - the banana pudding. And at $5.50, you’ll have a little extra in the bank for that overpriced surfboard aerobics class you’re obsessed with.
LA is doing that thing again where water falls from the sky and now you’re soaking wet before you even start sweating on your bike because you don’t own an umbrella. All you can think about now is a big bowl of Tsujita ramen after class. The Sawtelle spot is all about the dip ramen. Get there early as lines form quickly.
It’s rare we don’t find ourselves daydreaming about tacos for extended periods of time, but tacos with eggs in them? That’s our constant state of mind. And there’s nowhere else we want to be eating them than at HomeState, the Tex-Mex cafe in Los Feliz. Everything from the breakfast tacos to egg-scramble migas to the Frito pie in a bag is fantastic, and a great way to get your mind through the end of class. Don’t want to have to wait in line to get them? Call in a takeaway order on your way there.
The teacher just announced there are three songs left, but in your mind you were sure there was only one. You need some serious motivation, so let Fat Dragon be your guiding light. The stripmall spot in Silver Lake serves some fantastic Chinese food at affordable prices in the kind of casual space you could be at three times a week. The eggplant with spicy garlic sauce alone is enough to get you through that final song.
It’s 6:30am on a Monday, you’re covered in sweat, and the teacher is screaming again about setting your intentions. But all you can think about is pastrami. In particular, Wexler’s pastrami. The Grand Central Market stall is quite new compared to its other pastrami brethren, but that hasn’t stopped it from quickly becoming one of our city’s best. The menu is admittedly limited, but when everything from the corned beef to the bagel and lox is this good, you won’t be complaining.
You love Madonna. You really do. But back to back to back Madonna while you’re trying to figure out if you’re riding your bike correctly is not what you had planned for this morning. Take your mind over to Larchmont (or Venice or the Arts District) and dream of the best ice cream in the city, Salt And Straw. Don’t come looking for your vanilla and chocolate swirl either, it’s all about the black olive brittle and goat cheese here.