PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Esther Hahn”

As is customary on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we’ll profile a random reader to get their recommendations for the best spots to lunch near their work. This week it’s Esther Hahn, a pro surfer/Yale grad/freelance food writer who is looking for somebody to dim sum it up with her today in the SGV.

Name: Esther Hahn

Age: 24

Occupation: Freelance Writer / Pro Surfer

Where in L.A. do you Work?: Write in Hancock Park / Surf (mostly) in Manhattan Beach

Favorite Kind of Food: Japanese, Italian, Mexican, and Korean (in that order)

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Green onions – I don’t mind them flavoring a dish but I hate actually eating them

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Hancock Park: The “Big Macro” burger with a side of chili-lime sweet potato fries at M Cafe de Chaya (7119 Melrose Avenue); the shrimp pad thai at Kamin Thai Fusion Cuisine (7275 Melrose Ave); the “Kot Sal” (prime boneless short ribs with all the Korean fixings) at Genwa Korean BBQ (5115 Wilshire Blvd); the uni and the California roll (with real crab meat) at Noshi Sushi (4430 Beverly Blvd); the “Calamari Diavolo” at Larchmont Bungalow (107 N Larchmont Blvd). Manhattan Beach: The “Bali Bliss” burger with avocado and sweet potato fries at Veggie Grill (720 South Allied Way); the chicken tacos at El Tarasco (350 N Sepulveda Blvd); the “Turkey Club” at Sloopy’s (3416 Highland Avenue).

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? If I’m in Hancock Park and in an indecisive jam about where to lunch, I usually end up at Sushi Eyaki (5040 Wilshire Boulevard) for the Hawaiian roll — it’s spicy tuna on top of a California roll. It’s definitely not great sushi but it’s cost-efficient and filling and something I can always be in the mood to eat. In Manhattan Beach — I hate to admit it — but I will usually duck into a Chipotle for a vegetarian burrito bowl, which, at least, comes with free guacamole.

The farthest place you’ll drive for lunch on a normal day? I feel pretty lucky to be close to some really great ethnic eats, but the San Gabriel Valley can’t be beat for the Chinese food — especially dim sum. If I had enough hearty lunch eaters with me, I would have no problem battling the 10 East for dim sum lunch at Elite (700 S Atlantic Blvd).

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? The East Village in NYC for the countless ramen shops and for Otafuku. I constantly crave Otafuku’s squid takoyaki and okonomiyaki.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers in L.A.? Does anyone know where to find good takoyaki and okonomiyaki in LA? And does anyone want to lunch? I’m feeling like some dim sum.

Love Otafuku! And totally need a L.A. replacement. Anybody have a takoyaki/okonomiyaki rec for Esther (and me!) Put it in the comments. And, as always, if you want to be next week’s Profiled: L.A. Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me-



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