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Five Terrible Things From Vice's Misguided 'Guide to Los Angeles'

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The hipkid brand doesn't exactly nail it.

An aerial shot of Los Angeles
Los Angeles
flickr/tom hart
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

If you've been clicking around online the past couple days, there's a decent chance you've stumbled across this article from Vice, wherein the New York media megabrand tries to shotgun out a bunch of Los Angeles stereotypes and call it an insider's guide to enjoying L.A. The results are as scattershot as you'd expect.

From wrinkled old lines about Hollywood to dive bar recommendation misfires, Vice's Guide to Los Angeles is about as off the mark as you can be, without someone curving back around and getting close again. Here are five of the most misguided mentions in the whole thing.

"People love to hate Los Angeles." That's the opening line, and boy is it a doozy. What a premise! It’s also a largely inaccurate one, as even East Coasters are starting to agree that living and eating in Los Angeles is pretty incredible. But hey ... at least they didn't grossly misquote the price of a sunny two bedroom apartment in Echo Park like some other snow-shovelers we know.

"Technically, it's Little Osaka, and some even call it Japantown." Well, technically — and that's if we're using the word correctly — it's Sawtelle Japantown, at least by official decree. What's worse: the neighborhood breakdown section for this West LA stretch mentions some 'experimental restaurants', but doesn't name a single one. No Tsujita, no nothing. Just another dig at Eastsiders and not one but two offhanded snark grenades that invoke L.A.'s freeways.

Who made this list of 'Where To Eat' restaurants? Sure there are some quality options listed — who doesn't love the old school decadence of Dan Tana's? — but dropping in Cactus Taqueria (and the location in the Valley, at that) instead of a number of other fantastic taco spots feels like a low-level crime. It's bad enough that Vice just says 'Every Taco Truck' is worth eating at (they aren't, and that also excludes specific references to so many of the city's mind-blowingly great trucks).

Bonus round: saying that people (read: assholes in Vice parlance) refer to Grand Central Market as "foodie heaven." That's just weird and uncomfortable.

And those bars. Just about every drink spot on the list is a dive bar which, fine, those are great, and Los Angeles does them well. But that also discounts and discredits the city's stellar cocktails, including world-class, genre-bending options like The Walker Inn. Instead they're repping Smog Cutter and Hotel Figueroa, the latter of which won't even be open again until sometime this summer. Man, that's going to really annoy the one guy who reads the article, takes it to heart, flies to Los Angeles, and makes his first stop a closed-up bar ten feet from L.A. Live.

Want to hang out in town? Leave. Literally the first recommendation for how to spend a day in Los Angeles is to leave. They call it a 'day trip' and suggest the desert, but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement for such a vibrant city, where art and culture and the outdoors all exist (and often overlap) in every single neighborhood in the city. Maybe spend a day in the San Gabriel Valley if you're so desperate to hit the road. Oh, wait, the word 'Chinese' appears in the article exactly zero times. So much for recommending worthwhile food or cultural activities that are currently enjoyed by everyone else who already lives here.

Ultimately, there's little about this Vice piece that feels particularly relevant, let alone important. The story manages to name drop a few museums and nightlife stops worth checking out, and it's always fun to see BCD Tofu House get a nod, but if man (or woman) lived only on this guide alone, he (or she) would either starve to death or die of boredom. For the rest of us, watch out: our collective eyes might roll right out of our faces and down Sawtelle.

PS: All those photos look like a 12 year old couldn't stop playing with the saturation slider on their iPhone camera settings.