As the holidays approach, perhaps the call of the big bad city to our south (that’s L.A., not Oxnard) will be too hard for you to pass up. If so, here are three wonderful eating options you should also not pass up. (And when in doubt, stay at the retro-hip yet not insufferably so Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills: avalonbeverlyhills.com). If French bistro food is your thing-and how can perfect pots of pork rillettes and foie gras, or the best possible Santa Barbara spot prawns adorned with their own roe or duck confit not be your thing?-then try Church & State (1850 Industrial St.,  405-1434, churchandstatebistro.com). Totally abuzz if in a semi-scary neighborhood, the restaurant features Chef Walter Manzke dishing up France nightly. If you prefer the cuisine of Germany, but L.A.’ed enough to settle into Venice’s artsy Abbot Kinney strip, then try 3 Square Cafe (1121 Abbot Kinney,  399-6504, 3squarecafeandbakery.com), the latest from famed chef Hans Rckenwagner. It’s particularly yummy at brunch, and yes, anything with a pretzel roll is recommended. Finally, despite all its hype, Pizzeria Mozza (641 N. Highland Ave.,  297-0101, mozza-la.com), the joint venture between Nancy Silverton and Mario Batali, is still cranking out pizzas to die for. Silverton, of La Brea Bakery fame, knows about crust, so each pie is a little masterpiece of balance and flavor. Plus, the appetizers and desserts-especially the caramel copetta with marshmallow sauce and salted Spanish peanuts (yeah, everyone likes the butterscotch budino best, but they’re wrong)-would make the place a must-go destination on their own.
Chowing Down the 101
Three of L.A.’s Culinary Kicks