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LISTEN: Savory Road Feature
  • Extended Interview with Andrew Tyree – Airbnb “Eat International” Experience LISTEN
  • Extended Interview with Chef Timothy Hollisworth LISTEN  

Living in Los Angeles most of our lives, we were looking for a truly unique experience – something new in our ever changing city. Fortunately, the gracious folks at Airbnb provided us with a perfect opportunity, an Airbnb Experience.  This new program provides travelers the unique occasion to connect with locals who have similar interests all around the world. The “Experiences” have many different themes: food, nature, sports, arts, and entertainment..

Los Angeles offers a huge range of Experiences from a day of surfing to DJ lessons.  What suited Jeff and I best was something based around food. Airbnb offered several experience options.  We choose “Eat International” with Andrew, involving three days of exploring the diverse culinary world of downtown Los Angeles.  Andrew’s background as the owner of Coast to Costa travel company and his jobs in the restaurant world made him an excellent host.
Starting with a delicious tasting menu at Otium, a new contemporary restaurant in the Bunker Hill area of downtown. Designed around an open kitchen we started off with a Chai Tea Milk Punch, handcrafted cocktail. Then ate phenomenal starters of  Amberjack, Hamachi, Cauliflower and an oxtail tart. We enjoyed two wine pairings with the starters.  Chef and owner,Timothy Hollingsworth has created a fresh flavored, interesting international inspired menu leaving us wanting to come back.
The following day we visited three historic and culturally diverse areas in the core of downtown.  Our first stop, Olvera Street, where the City of Angeles started.  We strolled down the colorful street eating scrumptious Mexican taquitos from Andrew’s family favorite stand Cielito Lindo and talking about this historical district. Taking a short walk further, we ventured to Chinatown to the Far East Plaza.  This 1970’s era shopping mall is now a foodie hotspot.  Andrew, introduced us to Chego, famous for Chef Roy Choi’s “L.A. soul in a rice bowl” cuisine.  We indulged in a taste bud delight the  “Beefy T.” A rice bowl with fried chili garlic beef, Thai basil, spinach, and shallots.
A short ride on the metro took us into the world of Little Tokyo.  Under the red lanterns decorating the main hub of Little Tokyo, we munched on tasty Japanese pastries at Mitsura Cafe .  Near by, Andrew took us to Marugame Monzo. while enjoying a savory bowl of Sanuki-style udon we watched chefs cut handmade udon noodles. A cup of sake topped off the fun experience.
On our third day we met Andrew back at Chinatown’s Far East Plaza for a unique dinner at a popup Filipino restaurant.  Lasa, Chef Chad Valencia and his brother Chase created a delicious menu of Filipino “Pinoy” fusion. Combining their second generation Filipino heritage with a modern tastes.  Our tasting menu started off with Pancit which is made with egg noodles, calamansi butter, scallions, patis cured egg yolk.  Next we enjoyed Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with kale laing, kamote, bagoong butter. Desert was Condensed Milk Ice Cream with black sesame polvoron paired with Kesong Puti Fritters with Muscovado cream glaze and market fruit.  With each bite our excitement grew for the culinary future of the brothers.  Within days we heard their venture will now be permanent at the Far East Plaza.
We would like to thank Airbnb for gifting us this truly exceptional “Experience” and Andrew for an excellent time. Thanks to Chef Hollingsworth for your time, interview and delicious food.
Radio Copy: (Narration Only) 

Hi it’s Jeff Baker. This week the savory road leads to Downtown Los Angeles. Its going through a major resurgence. People are living in lofts and others come to visit – all  enjoying theatre, arts, and yes – great food. Donna and I recently took a power tour of some great foodie spots. Courtesy of the newly launched program called AirBnB Experiences. We spent a weekend with LA native Andrew Tyree owner of Coast to Costa. When he’s not hosting tours of Cuba, Spain, and Mexico, he’s showing off the cuisine and culture of downtown LA. He explained one of the many reasons the food scene has exploded there, including cheaper lease rates. These allow chefs and hopeful restaurant owners financial access.

Andrew took us to Little Tokyo for handmade Udon, Olvera Street for classic Mexican taquitos, and Chinatown for chili-fried beef with Thai Basil. A converted strip mall on Broadway is now a hotbed for Korean, Taiwanese, and Filipino startups such as the Filipino food offered at Lasa restaurant run by Chino Hills natives Chase and Chad Valencia.  We enjoyed egg noodles with scallions, slow roasted pork shoulder with kale, and tasty Kesong Puti fritters for dessert.

Andrew lead us to Bunker Hill where next to the Broad museum in a small park sat Otium restaurant. In this finer dining experience we found no linen tablecloths or snooty waiters, rather an open kitchen and a welcoming faces. We found owner and head chef Tim Hollingsworth surrounded by a small crowd as he broke down a one-hundred pound blue fin tuna. He sat down with us. Tim refers to himself a small-town boy from Placerville. The James Beard award winner is a former Chef de Cuisine at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Napa and opened Keller’s Per Se restaurant in New York. He’s worked all over the world under the likes of

Michel Rostang  and Gordon Ramsey. He told us he chose downtown Los Angeles for his restaurant because it has such potential. Unlike New York or San Francisco, which are pretty much built out in his opinion, LA has relatively less expensive real estate to start a business. He also  discussed the variety of guests that dine at his restaurant. His food is considered “Modern American” and he enjoys cooking in his non-barrier open kitchen.

To hear extended interviews with Andrew and Chef Tim, visit I’m Jeff Baker