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As I’m nearing graduation, I’ve realized that while I’ve done a fairly good job of exploring things in LA, I’ve done an awful job of documenting the things I’ve done. This semester, I vowed to change that by chronicling my experiences (especially my food-related ones) through photos. The result: a chronicle of this past month in food. Hopefully these recommendations are helpful!

Like any sentimental seniors, my friends and I started the semester off with one last trip to our freshman year haunt: the Parkside dining hall (AKA the best dining hall). It was definitely an odd (and somewhat embarrassing) experience to pay to enter the dining hall as a senior, but in all honesty, the food was worth it.  Rating: 10/10 (for dining halls), 6/10 (general rating).

Next up was my foray into Indo-Italian food: I tried curry pizza with paneer from The Curry Pizza Company in Stevenson Ranch. It wasn’t my first time ever trying curry pizza, but it was my first time trying it with white sauce instead of red. The verdict: I’m not a fan of white sauce on pizzas, but the paneer was pretty good. Rating: 4/10 (because of the white sauce). The red sauce curry pizza I had a while back was a solid 9/10.


Afterwards, my friend and I hit up Blu Jam Café in DTLA for a cute brunch moment. The highlight of the meal? Fried French toast coated in corn flakes. It was honestly delicious for the first couple of bites but became overwhelming pretty quickly (wayyy too much fried food for one sitting). Rating: 6/10.


Next came the highlight of my February: attempting the spice challenge at Orochon Ramen in Little Tokyo (as seen on Man vs. Food). It was on my LA bucket list—if you polish off a bowl of their Level 2 Spicy ramen in 30 minutes, you make it onto their wall of fame. Word to the wise: do NOT eat before attempting this challenge. I ended up being able to tolerate the spice, but embarrassingly enough, it was the quantity that ended up taking me out—I made it a little over halfway before I had to tap out due to having literally no space left in my stomach. But don’t worry—I’ll be back soon to redeem myself. Rating: 11/10 (for the experience). The food was a solid 7/10 (not the best ramen I’ve had, but pretty good regardless).


February was a month of firsts—I tried hot pot for the first time at Shabuya with some friends! It was honestly so fun to cook and eat everything myself and experiment with different kinds of noodles, vegetables, and sauces. If you’re vegetarian, though, I would definitely recommend it only being a one-time visit because it’s definitely pretty pricey if all you’re eating are noodles and vegetables (totally worth it for meat-eaters). Rating: 10/10 (experience); 4/10 (price).


Next up was a throwback to freshman year—my friend and I went to the McCarthy Dining Hall solely for the crepes. I got a crepe with chocolate chips, Nutella, strawberries, blueberries, and ice cream on top. As always, eating it made my entire day. In my opinion, the crepes are definitely the highlight of the McCarthy dining hall (the actual food is mid at best). Rating: 7/10 (crepes), 4/10 (dining hall).

As midterm season hit, I leaned on my favorite comfort food: a paneer tikka burrito from 23rd Street Café. I genuinely could eat one every day and never get tired of it. The best part: it’s only a couple of minutes away from campus! Rating: 11/10 (always).

Finally, I closed out February with drunken noodles from Season Thai Cuisine before I flew out of the Burbank airport to head home for the weekend. This was honestly the worst of the meals I had this month, so it’s probably best that it’s all the way in Burbank. I’d hate if it was delicious and far away—good thing 23rd Street Café is right next door 🙂 Rating: 3/10 (could also just be what I ordered that wasn’t great).

So that was my February in food! (Or at least everything I remembered to take photos of). I hope these recommendations help if anyone’s looking for places to eat in the USC area or in LA!

Neha Yadav