Los Angeles

Where to Eat and Drink Near SoFi Stadium

From a classic donut shop to fresh carnitas, Jamaican food, and more.

@carnitaselartista
@carnitaselartista
@carnitaselartista

Football season is in full swing, which is especially exciting for LA Rams and Chargers fans who can now tailgate and watch games live at SoFi Stadium. The brand-new stadium in Inglewood was finished in September 2020, but was closed to fans last season due to the pandemic. Even more exciting? Both of our home teams are actually faring well this season (so far), with four wins and just one loss each.

But after a year of ordering delivery while you watch the game at home, you might be stumped as to where you should fuel up before or after you hit the stadium. The concessions inside of SoFi come courtesy of LA mainstays Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Jon & Vinny’s, Animal, Son of a Gun), and are themed after different neighbourhoods. For example, you can grab a classic hot dog or a cheeseburger sub at Fairfax Ave, or burritos and crispy shrimp tacos at Olvera Street. But if you’re looking to avoid those long lines and inflated stadium prices, there are plenty of spots in the surrounding neighbourhood to choose from. Inglewood is an area that’s rich with the cultural traditions of its residents, showcasing cuisines that range from soul food and Caribbean to Mexican and West African. Since you can’t take any food inside the new stadium, take this opportunity to get a taste of what one of Los Angeles’s best neighbourhoods has to offer.

Randy's Donuts
Randy’s Donuts
Randy’s Donuts

Randy’s Donuts

Founded in 1952, and making countless TV and film appearances since (Get Shorty, Earth Girls Are Easy, and Iron Man 2 just to name a few), you’re likely familiar with the huge, emblematic donut that sits on Randy’s rooftop. But the rings that come out of this iconic donut shop are also worthy of your attention, especially if you’re heading to the stadium for an early game. Indulge in tried-and-tested offerings like a simple raised glazed donut, a Maple Long John with phenomenal shellacked frosting, or a deep-fried apple fritter with all the flavours of fall. Kids will love sugar-laden options like a funfetti cake with ganache or a Cinnamon Crunch raised donut. If you find yourself there during the AM rush, save time by ordering online and utilize the drive-thru.
How to order: Order at the window or online for takeout.

Carnitas El Artista Ch√°vez

Family-owned Carnitas El Artista is the newest power player in LA’s already-robust carnitas scene, recently making the jump from Hawthorne backyard pop-up to this brick-and-mortar location. Despite the glow-up, the operation hasn’t lost that humble family vibe and you’ll still find most of them working behind the counter cooking up carnitas Michoacan-style, which involves simmering the pork in oil or lard until it’s fork-tender. Oh and the carnitas themselves? Well, let’s just say the menu boasts a variety of supple cuts that you can enjoy in hefty breakfast burritos with beans, eggs, potatoes, cheese, and pico de gallo; smothered chilaquiles with green or red sauce; or by the pound for some top-notch tailgate action. If you’re heading to the stadium on one of LA’s rare windy days, take advantage of their hot steaming bowls of menudo that will no doubt warm you up.
How to order: Walk in or order online to skip the line.

@findyourhilltop
@findyourhilltop
@findyourhilltop

Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen

No trip to the city of Inglewood is complete without checking out at least one of the many Black-owned establishments seen on Issa Rae’s hit HBO show, Insecure. Those looking for their next caffeine fix will appreciate the expansive selection of offerings, like a Ethiopian drip-brew coffee with notes of nectarine, honey, and black tea, and a savory sweet potato latte. Hungry? Dive into their droptops, or thick-cut toasts topped with your choice of almond butter, smoked salmon, or avocado. Or maybe you’ll be more enchanted by their breakfast sandwich with a fried egg, cheddar cheese, bacon, and spicy mayo on a brioche bun. They’ve also got tiger shrimp tacos, a crispy chicken sandwich, and a tuna melt if you’re leaning more towards lunch fare. Whatever you do, save room for their beignets, deep-fried balls of dough that are covered in powdered sugar and give way to a plush and pillowy interior.
How to order: Walk in or order online for pickup.

Country Style Jamaican

Stop by this accessible takeaway spot for bold Caribbean flavors by way of Jamaica. Walking into the shop, you’ll be immediately greeted by the good vibes, from colorful green walls adorned with the Jamaican flag to the lively music that emanates from the kitchen. The hardest part will be choosing between protein options like oxtail, jerk chicken, and curried goat. Each entree is served over a plentiful bed of red beans and rice that delivers just the right amount of spice. If you want to get serious, grab a few of the superbly seasoned meat patties from the hot case-you won’t regret it. Wash it down with Jamaican grapefruit soda MVP, a carbonated fruit juice that acts as the perfect accompaniment to refresh your palate after each bite.
How to order: Walk in or pre-order on Yelp.

Veronica’s Kitchen

Specializing in Nigerian cuisine, this Inglewood mainstay is a great option for those seeking a sit-down experience before or after a game. Choose from staples such as various selections of egusi, a soup composed of leafy greens, ground melon seeds, and goat, which pairs well with fufu, or pounded yams with an almost mochi-like consistency that’s ideal for dipping. Feel free to get messy, they even set down a small bowl of water to clean your fingers mid-meal. The jollof rice, made with tomatoes, onions, and other spices, packs a serious punch, and adding an order of plantains is a no-brainer. To quench your thirst over the course of your meal, choose from a selection of palm juices or ginger beer.
How to order: Walk-ins only.

In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out

Look, we get it. Sometimes after the game (and especially after a loss), you’re just looking for some amount of comfort. You want a familiar experience that’s easy and won’t require trying something new. So pull up to the In-N-Out drive-thru or parking lot and appeal to those senses. There’s something about biting into one of their double-doubles (animal style with grilled onions, naturally) after a big event that feels ritualistic, especially when you’re sharing the drive-thru line with other hungry fans decked out in their team gear.
How to order: Pull into the drive-thru or mask up and walk inside.

The Serving Spoon

If you’re looking for a filling breakfast or lunch that won’t ever let you down, cozy up to the counter and pay your respects to this neighborhood institution that’s always spilling over with crowds. Breakfast staples include perfectly fluffy pancakes served with steaming heaps of grits, and french toast that’s perfectly griddled with lace-like edges and dusted with powdered sugar. Of course, you’d be remiss if you didn’t also opt for an order of the crispy fried wings containing equal amounts of crispy crunchy goodness and just the right amount of seasoning. Also, don’t forget to add a side of the delectable salmon cr√≥quettes to complement your meal.
How to order: Walk-ins only.

106 Seafood Underground

Perhaps your goal is to grab a bite in an environment that’s as far away from the stadium setting as possible. Look no further than 106 Seafood Underground, which you’ll find nestled in a residential neighbourhood between Inglewood and neighbouring Lennox. Here, Sergio Pe√Īuelas, former chef at nearby Coni’ Seafood, has transformed his backyard into a Sinaloa-style mariscos paradise. You’ll also forget where you are, with the exception of the low-flying planes en route to nearby LAX. But truthfully none of that matters because when your food arrives your attention will be solely focused on what you’re about to consume. Heaping plates of marinero arrive at your table quickly, featuring succulent shrimp covered in a soy sauce-based salsa and bits of mango that deliver an almost heavenly bite of fresh, sweet, and umami goodness. Another solid option is their phenomenal aguachile, which comes with a sizable amount of full-sized, head-on shrimp drenched in their not-for-the-weak salsa verde. Bring your friends to feast family style.
How to order: Call 310-980-3893 for reservations.

The Wood Urban Kitchen & Sports Lounge

It’s hard to resist the groovy sounds wafting from this sidewalk space that comes to life every day (except Mondays) around noon on a well-trafficked section of Market Street. Do yourself a favour and order the brisket‚Ķ and the hot links‚Ķ and the ribs-in fact, just go with a group so you can try a little bit of everything. The tender slabs of barbecue sauce-smothered meat melt in your mouth instantly, and pair perfectly with sides like mac and cheese, baked beans, and street corn. You also can’t go wrong with a side of the fresh greens, with sizable chunks of pork. The Wood also represents one of your best options for getting a brew or cocktail before or after a game.
How to order: Walk in or order takeout on Yelp.

Sunday Gravy
Sunday Gravy
Sunday Gravy

Sunday Gravy

Opened just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in LA in late 2019, this family-run restaurant specializes in both Italian and Italian-American classics like spaghetti and meatballs. Siblings Sol and Ghazi Bashirian took over the space from their father who operated a restaurant here for 42 years (first as Ahmady’s and later as Jino’s Pizza & Deli). Sunday Gravy proudly sources their handmade pastas from nearby Florentyna’s and ciabatta for its craveworthy garlic bread from local bakery, Cadoro. It’s the perfect place to feast either before or after a game.
How to order: Via Chownow

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Gab Chabran is a contributor for Thrillist.

Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.

Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.