Los Angeles

Nyesha Arrington's Day Off in Inglewood Is a Time Machine to the ‘70s

The 'Next Level Chef' mentor reveals her favorite neighborhood haunts for a little taste of nostalgia.

Thrillist/YouTube
Thrillist/YouTube
Thrillist/YouTube

Nyesha Arrington didn’t grow up in Inglewood, but she might as well have. “You can’t talk about LA if you’re not talking about Inglewood,” said the celebrity chef and Next Level Chef co-host.

When she discusses Inglewood, Arrington’s mind travels back to her dad’s stories of a radiant Los Angeles day in the ’70s, with kids riding their bikes to the corner store and adults hanging out at the mall. “Whenever I think about those stories,” she said with a smile, “I always picture it being like the perfect LA sunny day.”

While she might not be an Inglewood native herself, Arrington knows her way around like a local. She was born and raised in and around Los Angeles, after all. In our new video series “Ride With Me,” Arrington guides us through her childhood memories, showing us Inglewood as an endearing, nostalgic neighborhood. From sitting in the backseat of her parents’ car and seeing the cartoonish donut of Randy’s Donuts from the window, to eating at the Serving Spoon while reminiscing about the Saturday morning breakfast ritual at her parents house, Arrington shows us what makes the neighborhood a piece of her heart.

The real heart of Inglewood, she explains, is its community. “I’ve seen the community grow and build to become self-sustaining,” Arrington said. “I think that Inglewood is very aware of not wanting to be appropriated, but really just building itself for itself, celebrating and uplifting the voices of the heart of Los Angeles.” She added, “It’s like the communities [are] getting stronger, not necessarily outsourcing, but coming up with their own record labels, their own brands, CPG goods, amazing craft beer programs and candle makers and artists-I just see that really being such a beautiful integral foundation for the city.”

Arrington’s Inglewood is buttermilk bars that will melt in your mouth, truly authentic soul food, whiffs of barbecue ribs at the park, and sunny LA days. Get ready to travel back in time with her-and don’t forget your sunglasses.

Places to Eat & Drink

Randy’s Donuts
Arrington first laid her eyes on the iconic donut outside Randy’s when she was a child, and hasn’t stopped thinking about it since. “That was one of my first childhood memories,” she said.

Like every respectable regular at a famous spot like Randy’s Donuts, Arrington has a few pro tips to make the most of the experience. First, make sure you’re not going there during rush hour. “[From] 6:30 to 10 you really don’t go anywhere in LA,” she said. “After 10, you could try to zoom and you can get anywhere in like 20 minutes-so I would say after 10 is the money spot.”

Second, as soon as you get your hands on a donut, you have to stuff your face with it. “When I go to Randy’s Donuts, I shove that thing in my mouth as quick as possible,” she laughed. “Eating a fried pastry-anything is such a treat, so I’m trying to eat that as quick as possible.”

Her go-to order? Randy’s bars. “They have specifically these buttermilk, creme-filled chocolate bar situations that are freaking amazing,” she said.

Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen
Thanks to an appearance in Issa Rae’s HBO show Insecure, Hilltop quickly became an iconic Inglewood location. “It’s the vibe,” said Arrington. “There’s so many creatives and artists there. Hilltop has such a beautiful, easy energy and vibe. Everyone’s in a good creative space, and the culture is amazing.”

Arrington’s coffee order, much like her personality, is sweet and creative. She gets a simple dirty chai latte-but the well-thought-out process is what’s special about it. “I get half water and have steamed almond milk, which hopefully doesn’t sound too complicated,” she said. “But I just love the spices and the spice undertones of the chai because they’re really good for warming the belly and good for gut health. And then the almond milk is delicious, but I don’t need all my milk. I’m a tea person, so I feel like it’s the best of both worlds.”

The Serving Spoon
Nothing hypes Arrington up like talking about The Serving Spoon. “Girl, it is really, truly, some next-level eats,” she said with a big smile on her face. It’s a mix of childhood memories and the authentic flavors of delicious, buttery soul food.

“The first time I went there I really felt like I was sitting at my childhood dining room table,” she said. “And it felt like my mom’s cooking, or my dad’s-both my parents cooked coming up.”

Breakfast was a big part of weekends spent with her family, and the old-fashioned dishes are sealed in Arrington’s memories. When she eats at The Serving Spoon, all those beautiful moments come back through food. “The food is so real,” she said. “Sometimes we go to diners and it doesn’t taste fresh, [but at The Serving Spoon] I just felt like someone made it for me right then, and the vibe is amazing.”

Among the must-try dishes, Arrington recommends the selection of braised food-“things that you would get from your mom’s,” as she put it. Also, the pancakes, grits, scrambled eggs, and “high-quality, thick, delicious bacon.” They even do a Champagne brunch.

Things to Do

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is a huge space, but luckily, we have the perfect tour guide. Arrington knows how to navigate the park to find the perfect spots, whether you’re looking to set up a casual picnic or organize a proper barbecue cookout.

“When you get to this location, it exudes peace and harmony,” she said. “[When I first visited the park], it just filled my heart to see kids flying kites and throwing footballs. So I really wanted to bring you here to show you how amazing this place is.”

Arrington even organized a family barbecue here. And in case you’re wondering, of course she cooked something. Her go-to barbecue specialty? Ribs. “Everybody loves a good rack of ribs at a barbecue!”Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Los Angeles

Marcus Scribner's Day Off in Crenshaw, LA Is a Tour of BBQ, Fried Chicken & Soul Food

The ‘Blackish' actor takes us to his favorite restaurants in his hometown of Crenshaw.

Thrillist/YouTube
Thrillist/YouTube
Thrillist/YouTube

Without tooting his own horn, Marcus Scribner likes to say that Los Angeles made him into a well-rounded human being. It’s all thanks to the city’s diverse mix of experiences, people, and culture.

“What I love most about LA is I feel like we have so many different biomes and people from different backgrounds,” the Blackish actor said in a recent interview with Thrillist. “I would just hop all around town all the time and get all those different experiences.”

Crenshaw, though, holds a special place in Scribner’s heart. It’s kind of like an oasis of peace and community for him. “It’s still a predominantly Black neighbourhood,” he explained. “Which is pretty dope to see in the centre of Los Angeles.” His dad used to say that getting into the neighbourhood feels peaceful and quiet, but as soon as you step out, it’s like, “Welcome to the jungle!”

Besides the tight-knit community, there’s another main thread in Scribner’s Crenshaw: fried chicken. While guiding us to the discovery of his neighbourhood in our series “Ride With Me,” Scribner realized that every single spot he took us to offers really good fried chicken. “It says something about me, I think,” he said. Scribner knows all the best fried chicken spots around town, and we’re definitely here for it.

The best breakfast spot in the world, Los Angeles staple chicken and waffle joints that even President Obama goes to, and delicious, Black-owned soul food restaurants are only some of the many Crenshaw gems Scribner shares with us.

Get ready to taste the best soul food LA has to offer. We’re going to Crenshaw.

Places to Eat & Drink

Jacks N Joe
Scribner doesn’t care what anyone else says, this is the best breakfast spot “on planet Earth.”

According to Scribner, their pancakes are amazing, and they come with maple butter syrup. But his favourite dish is the hash browns. “You can get the hash browns extra well done,” he suggested. “It’s over, it’s over. You’re having the best meal of your life.”

Roscoe’s House of Chicken N Waffles
President Obama stole Scribner’s special here-or at least that’s what Scribner will tell you.

“I’ve been ordering that, [and] all of a sudden they changed it to Obama Special when he popped out the cut,” Scribner said. No disrespect to Obama, but Scribner’s order has always been the Obama Special, which includes three wings with a waffle (or potato salad or fries). Scribner just adds an extra waffle to the mix, and that’s his all-time favourite order.

Phillips Barbecue
Scribner is aware he’ll get a lot of flack for saying this, but that’s okay. “Phillips Barbecue is hands down my favourite barbecue location,” he said.

“The meats are pretty good quality and the meats themselves are delicious and I love them,” he explained. “But it’s the sides and the sauce that just hit.” Their baked beans and macaroni salad are incredible, and you should put them right on your barbecue sandwich.

Just be careful: Their sauces are spicy, and the highest level is just too hot according to Scribner. His advice? Get the mixed sauce, and you’ll receive mild and hot together.

Alta Adams
This Black-owned soul food restaurant looks amazing, and it tastes even better. The setting is high-end, and their dishes are authentic soul food. They have “the best fried chicken,” according to Scribner.

“I like it because the chicken is moist, but it’s not too moist,” he explained. “This is some real chicken, which has some good moisture and the skin is perfect.” If you’re not in the mood for chicken, their oxtails are also a great choice. You shouldn’t miss out on the cornbread, either.

Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken
This place is so good that it started in Tennessee and eventually expanded into LA.

“It’s just the bomb,” said Scribner. “The fried chicken is so good and spicy, which I love.” Their collard greens and baked beans are both must-trys as well, and Scribner would be the one to know. “I love baked beans,” he said. “I used to just eat straight up Bush’s baked beans out of the can, bruh. I’m wilding. I’m about that life.”

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Tiana Attride is a former associate editor at Thrillist. She cares a little too much about the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack.

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