Where Joel Kim Booster Eats (& Parties) In LA

The star of ‘Chrissy & Dave Dine Out’ dishes on the places that get him dining and dancing.
the comedian joel kim booster in a tan suit

Though he might be better known for his Real Housewives hot takes than his restaurant ones, actor and comedian Joel Kim Booster feels right at home on the new Hulu show Chrissy & Dave Dine Out. Sure, his costars Chrissy Teigen and David Chang are, respectively, a cookbook author and chef, but Joel knows how to eat, and he knows how to pick a spot for a great night out. Here are his recommendations for the gay bars, hot dogs, and Italian subs (hot and cold) he considers LA's finest.

photo credit: Jakob Layman


Arts District

$$$$Perfect For:Outdoor/Patio SituationDate Night


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"This is one of the restaurants that we hit up in Chrissy & Dave and it has now become my favorite restaurant in LA, bar none. I think it's so unique. It is a Jewish deli with a Korean twist—or a Korean restaurant with a Jewish twist, I don't know exactly what the ratio is. I really connected with Kat, one of the head chefs and owners there, because she's also a Korean adoptee. She's doing a lot of the same things that I do in my own work, but with food. This fusion of her identities, you can feel it in the food. The ambiance is amazing. There's a convenience store in the restaurant that sells authentic Korean snacks. Ultimately I go because of the wings. The fried chicken wings there are the best I've ever had in my entire life. It's hard to even explain them, but they're just incredible. Kat also does a great matzo ball soup with a Korean twist that is really fantastic. It sounds wild, but the wings and the matzo ball soup is my ideal meal."

$$$$Perfect For:Dancing

"Akbar is the closest thing I have to my Cheers. As much as I say I'm not really into the bar scene anymore, I don't consider Akbar part of that. It is its own thing, its own institution. It feels like there's a sense of history there that I don't think any of the bars on the strip can replicate. There's a gravitas to the space. You see everyone you know, the most interesting people. I love the fashion, too. People are casually turning looks at Akbar on a Thursday night. There are a lot of different vibes that you can experience: [one minute you're] chatting by the jukebox, and the next, you can pop over to the other side and dance your face off to everything from disco house to Fall Out Boy."

"I love El Cid on Sundays, specifically their party called Hot Dog. Hot Dog is so lovely because it is a space where I could go alone and run into 17 people that I know and hang out with. It is such a lovely day party. It's the best day party in LA. It's got great music. It's indoor and outdoor. The vibes are immaculate and its namesake is appropriate because you should get the hot dog at Hot Dog. Be the gay guy eating at the party! I don't know what it is or what they's very humble. I don't think they do anything special, but the hot dogs there are great and I highly recommend them. You can get a great hot dog outside of Akbar most nights too but I would caution everyone to ask the price before you order the hot dog, because prices will vary. Depending on how f**ked up they think you are, the price will go up. But they are willing to haggle. Definitely a pro tip there."

"We have some of the best Thai food in the country here. It's just an embarrassment of riches. But Jitlada is like, 'Okay, you want like authentic southern Thai cuisine? Let's go to Jitlada. Oh, you don't know what that is? Wait for her to come out. She will explain it to you.' It's just the mainstay. It can be hard to get into, but not super difficult. It's very not pretentious. I always have so much fun there because I'm always eating something that I have never heard of. I don't always necessarily want to try it all again, but boy, have I eaten silkworms? Yeah, I have eaten the silkworms at Jitlada. And of course, if you're... basic, you can go and get your pad thai and it's amazing and dope there too. But I think it would be a mistake to go to Jitlada and get the pad thai because there's just such a wealth [of options]. It's like a Cheesecake Factory level menu in terms of size, with all of these different options of all of these things that they do so beautifully. It's a really great way to really expand your horizons as a Thai food eater and really get a sense of someone's culture. They know that we just want the pad thai and the crab rangoons. But this place is like, 'No, we're going to give you some authentic food that may seem a little weird to you. But guess what? This is what we eat and this is our culture and you're gonna love it.'"

photo credit: Jessie Clapp



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"Chris Bianco, the chef and owner, is a genius. The way he talks about food is so beautiful, and the food is unbelievable. We got a pizza, the Marinara: it's tomato sauce, oregano, and garlic, no cheese. I know it sounds insane to be like, 'Why would I order a pizza with no cheese?' But it's incredible. Every pizza is a slay. I think my favorite is the Rosa, which does have a few more ingredients on it than the marinara. It's got red onion, Parmigiano Reggiano, rosemary, and Santa Barbara pistachios. Again: this man is putting pistachios on pizza, and I loved it. Like, what universe am I in right now? But he's a genius. It's probably the best pizza I've had in LA. Listen: there's no substitute for a good quality dollar slice at 4 a.m. on the streets of New York. But if you want to go and have a restaurant experience of pizza, then Pizzeria Bianco is the place."

"This is a really special one. It's a tiny hole in the wall pizzeria and Italian place next door to my boyfriend's old apartment. When we started dating, we would order from Pace Joint constantly. I would order the hot Italian, not the cold one. This is not a famous restaurant by any means. It's mostly teenagers working there, in my experience, yet this sandwich is one of my favorite things to get because I associate it with the early days of dating my boyfriend, which are really wonderful. The current days are also wonderful of course. It's just that this is the sandwich that I fell in love with him over. We were getting to know each other and we would just sit and eat the sandwich and talk about how wonderful it is. It's perfect bread, hot Italian sausage, and mozzarella. The first time we ordered it, it was an accident. I wanted the cold Italian sandwich, but they gave us the hot. I've never had anything like it."

"So if you want a good cold Italian hoagie—exactly what you're picturing in your mind—Uncle Paulie's is the place. I make my boyfriend go there almost every Saturday. It's my favorite place, and he hates it. I think he hates the frequency with which I make him go, but it's our weird Saturday early afternoon ritual. I get my Italian sub. I make it spicy. They have this amazing Calabrian relish that they can put on a sandwich. I get a little mayo on it. They also have a wonderful selection of deli salads too, It looks nothing like a bodega, but it does bring me back to bodega vibes of getting a really dope macaroni salad that you're like, 'Oh, I don't know how long this has been out, or when this was made, but it tastes amazing and I've never gotten sick.' But let me just clarify: I love my Italian sub and my macaroni salad from Uncle Paulie's. And now it's one of the things that makes me feel most like, 'I live here now.' I have a spot that I make my boyfriend take me to every Saturday and I get the same thing and it never gets old."

"Since I couldn't put, 'Random Warehouse in Skid Row' on my list, I was thinking about the places that I actually have had a lot of fun going out at, and Catch One is a really special place. It's a Los Angeles landmark. It is one of the first Black safe spaces as a club in LA. There's such a rich history there. And it's also where I shot my Netflix special because I wanted to shoot at a place where I've partied with good vibes and energy and memories. It's very eclectic. I've seen Honey Dijon play there, and I've gone to Burning Man parties there. I think you'll notice a theme in a lot of places that I like to party: I need space. I did my time in New York. I know what it's like to be crammed into a small bar. If I'm going to be living in LA, I need to go to a place where there are multiple dance floors so that I never feel like I have to touch another person unless I really want to.

If people come to LA and are looking for a place to party and hear good music and dance, Catch One is definitely it—especially if you see a club called Rhonda is at Catch One. They do parties all over LA at different venues, but the ones at Catch One are the best. Rhonda is a mixed party. It is not exclusively queer, but it is predominantly queer. But if you're a straight person and you're visiting LA and you wanna party like me, go to Rhonda and you'll be comfortable. Everyone is welcome there and you'll see some looks, you'll hear some great music, and you'll get to explore this insane maze. It really does feel like the Hogwarts Castle there. Every time, I'm like, 'Wait, how did I get to this room? And where has this room been?' You'll wander down a random staircase and find a different DJ and a smaller dance floor."

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