24 Hours To Dine: Melissa Sin’s Guide To Modern American Fare
Classic American fare is synonymous with hamburgers, deep dish pizza and pancakes, but the scene has undergone a vibrant revival in the more discerning cities. Ever the intrepid foodie, Melissa Sin often bases her travels on where the food is found, fitting in visits to California and Las Vegas while on a trip to see Lady Gaga’s Vegas Residency Show — Enigma. She navigated the trendy eats of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and finally, San Francisco, which she fell in love with. From contemporary plates to classic comforts, do as Melissa does with this day-to-night dining guide.
What are the foods you associate America with?
It has everything, from American ‘guilt-free’ to ‘guilty’ food, snacks and desserts, to really special Mexican and Spanish offerings, as well as Asian dishes, for those who need a break. If I must choose, though, it’s got to be doughnuts and milkshakes!
What makes the culinary scene so vibrant in America?
I believe it’s the culture: LA and SF are big melting pots. It’s almost impossible to ignore the fusion dining scene in these cities, from the assembly of a meal with Spanish, Asian, American and Indian influences, right down to the cooking techniques. With their combined specialties, the scene becomes interesting altogether.
If you had 24 hours to dine, roundup top spots to eat, drink and snack in your city of choice…
It’s a tough choice, but here are my picks in LA and SF in a day. I know a lot of people who do this too!
- Breakfast in LA: Jon & Vinny’s / Eggslut / Salt’s Cure / Du Pars
- Noon in LA: Republique / AOC
- Dinner in LA: Animal / Carlitos Gardel Argentine Steakhouse
- Snacks in LA: Midnight In-N-Out runs
- Snacks in SF: Jane on Filmore (the walnut & fig toast is irresistible!)
- Snacks In Vegas: Newly-opened Best Friend by Roy Choi in Park MGM, for Korean BBQ
See also: 8 Buffet Etiquette Tips For The Modern Foodie
Of all the restaurants, what were the best meals you had?
We had so little time in LA so if you’re on a tight schedule, try the town’s best. At AOC, order the baked cauliflower with curry powder. It’s delicious, the name doesn’t do it justice. The flavours were explosive! Another favourite was the clams: the dish was simple but tasty, soupy and meaty at the same time!
At Animal, I absolutely love the boniato yam; composed of lemon crème fraîche, pepita, salsa verde and za’atar’. I regret not having the tres leches with dulce de tres leches for dessert. It was the MUST try in the house.
Interestingly, Jon & Vinny’s is a popular lunch and dinner joint and people tend to forgot they are open in the mornings. Well they do, and they make a mean breakfast pizza.
See also: 24 Hours To Dine: Eating Your Way Through London's Best Food Spots
For those craving comfort food, where's it at?
It would be Du-Pars or Carlitos Gardel Argentine Steakhouse. They both offer cosy but distinctive vibes. Du-Pars is homey to the point you know they’ll never get it wrong. On the other hand, Carlitos has old vintage and there’s something charming about enjoying good marbled steaks, dim lighting and lace table cloths. Du-Pars does classic eggs and steak or if you’re like me and love big, fluffy pancakes, go for the stacks. Although I don’t take beef, my other half loved it. Everything on the menu was good. Try their house special, rack of lamb. Besides retaining a savoury juiciness, the gravy was incredibly good.
- Photography Melissa Sin