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Chefs love to travel — for inspiration, to experience the cuisines of other cultures or just to get away from the heat of their own kitchens. When they return, we hit them with some questions — where’d they stay, what’d they do and WHAT DID THEY EAT?! Jenn Louis was recently named as a Food & Wine Best New Chef for her work at Portland restaurants Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern. She writes in to tell her about a recent trip to Los Angeles.

Where are you just back from?
We just got back from a great four-day trip to Los Angeles to visit family and friends and, of course, to eat our way through every inch of the city.

Business or pleasure?
Pleasure, mostly. We had had a long but incredible weekend participating in Feast Portland [Edit: we were there as well and spotted Louis at many of the late-night bacchanals] and wanted to get away to celebrate my birthday. Los Angeles sounded like the perfect escape. A bunch of our colleagues were in town too: Marc Vetri, April Bloomfield and Amelia and Erika of Lindy & Grundy. It was fun making the rounds to see everyone and try all the new restaurants that have been popping up in LA.

What was the highlight?
All I wanted to do for my birthday was shoot a gun. So the highlight was shooting a 9-millimeter handgun at the Los Angeles Gun Club. It was my first time shooting and I hit the bull’s-eye!

We would choose the one weekend the 405 was closed, which made for a bit more traffic than we would have liked, but we made it work.

What airline did you fly and how was it?
We flew Alaska Airlines and it was great. Wi-Fi in flight!

Where’d you stay? Give us a mini Trip Advisor review…
We stayed at the Hotel Chamberlain in West Hollywood. It was really comfortable and spacious. The hotel was, at one point, condominiums, so the rooms are pretty large. You can’t beat the location or the rooftop pool.

OK, so what was your best meal on the trip?
This is a hard question because we ate a lot of outstanding meals on this trip. A few highlights were the fish tacos at El Siete Mares in Silver Lake, a truly memorable lunch at Son of a Gun, where Vinny Dotolo cooked a special meal for us. Also, Animal and Baco Mercat.

Did you bring anything back and if so, what?
We brought back the targets that we used at the shooting range. I got a bull’s-eye so naturally I’m getting them framed!

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