Welcome (back) to Dining Confidential, a series in which Eater discusses restaurant recommendations by well-known personalities around town.
Hannah Hart (My Drunk Kitchen) and Grace Helbig are large names by any estimation. The two carry millions of Instagram followers and YouTube subscribers, and currently star in their own show Electra Woman & Dyna Girl on Fullscreen. They're also LA-based pals with an eye towards doing lots of good in the food world, even if they occasionally Postmates Sqirl for breakfast.
What are some places you two really love around Los Angeles?
Hannah Hart: I mean Sugarfish, right? They actually do a really great job with their delivery, too, though it’s obviously not the best real experience.
Grace Helbig: I know, I’ve been so spoiled by Postmates. I order a lot from Sqirl, because it's like stupidly convenient. I did it this morning, and got like the fried rice bowl. I’m clearly doing fine, thanks.
Hart: Valerie Confections is really good. I go to the one in Echo Park. I love their salmon toast, and their owner Valerie is so nice. She actually wants to be on My Drunk Kitchen, but all of her goods take like 12 to 14 hours to make, if not multiple days. I’d love to have her on but, like, what are we going to make?!
Any LA classics you can't get enough of?
Helbig: I love Taix, that French restaurant. I haven’t been in so long, but when I first moved to L.A. I lived nearby. I just love schtick restaurants like Tam O’Shanter or Cheesecake Factory. Taix has a little schtick, but the food is really good. And it’s either people our age or old folks celebrating a birthday in the banquet room in the back.
Hart: It’s a healthy mix. I’ll say it’s probably 70% the elderly, and that’s great.
Helbig: Oh, yes. That’s why The Smoke House is one of my favorite restaurants. That orange garlic bread is an absolute favorite.
Have you guys ever had a dining experience that really made you feel uncomfortable in LA?
Helbig: Oh, I’m sure. I repress those memories immediately.
Hart: When I first came to LA and was getting into the Hollywood scene, it was my first time ever eating raw foods like oyster. I actually convinced myself that I was going into anaphylactic shock on a few occasions, but was really just having a panic attack about the whole thing. I’d just go to these fancy, fancy places with these fancy, fancy people, and unbeknownst to my repressed 2012 self, I was just starting to freak out a little bit. And it would manifest at restaurants.
You two both have such personal storytelling backgrounds, and you often tell those stories through food. What is it about that connection that appeals to you?
Helbig: I think for me, I’m not musically inclined. And so food is a really universal language. We all eat, we all have social experiences based around eating.
Hart: I agree. It’s both active and passive. It’s a community, a shared experience. Everyone has memories around food. But as a passive experience, it’s also really intimate. If you eat food that someone has prepared for you, you’re taking a part of that person into your body. We’re all tasting this shared intimacy around a dish.
I know with your Dysh app, you two have a social good element where you’re giving meals away to those in need. Do you guys feel comfortable with where you are in your lives, and taking on those bigger conversations around food?
Helbig: I think I’m still forming my worldview about things like that. I took a lot for granted living in cities, where everything is available and there isn’t always much discussion about how things got on my plate.
Hart: I think one of the biggest dangers of our modern world is that detachment. We are disconnected from so many things in our lives. But for people who get the power to be change-makers, there’s a way to modernize the way we view social good. For as many advancements as we’ve made in the past 25 years, we haven’t advanced our charity.
You can see Hannah Hart and Grace Helbig now in Electra Woman & Dyna Girl on Fullscreen, or June 7 as a full-length feature from Legendary.