Best L.A. Fast Food Joints
It's said that the drive-in burger joint was invented in L.A., probably to meet the demands of an ever-mobile car culture. Burger aficionados line up at all hours outside In-N-Out Burger (www.in-n-out.com, multiple locations), still a family-owned operation whose terrific made-to-order burgers are revered by Angelenos. Visitors may recognize the chain as the infamous spot where Paris Hilton got nabbed for drunk driving, but locals are more concerned with getting their burger fix off the "secret" menu, with variations like "Animal Style" (mustard-grilled patty with grilled onions and extra spread), a "4 x 4" (four burger patties and four cheese slices, for big eaters), or the bunless "Protein Style" that comes wrapped in a bib of lettuce. Go online for a list of every "secret" menu item.
Tommy's is best known for its delightfully sloppy chili burger. Visit its no-frills original location (2575 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles 213/389–9060)—a culinary landmark. For rotisserie chicken that will make you forget the Colonel altogether, head to Zankou Chicken (5065 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood 323/665–7845 www.zankouchicken.com), a small chain noted for its golden crispy-skinned birds, potent garlic sauce, and Armenian specialties. One-of-a-kind-sausage lovers will appreciate Wurstküche (800 E. 3rd St., Downtown 213/457–7462 www.wurstkuche.com), where the menu includes items like rattlesnake and rabbit or pheasant with herbes de Provence, while health nuts will devour the cuisine at Lemonade (9001 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood 310/247–2500 www.lemonadela.com), which is known for its seasonally driven menu, pulled straight from L.A.'s farmers' markets.