Local Cuisine


Today’s blog post is brought to you by one of our admission counselors, Alejandra.



As a Los Angeles native, my favorite thing about this city is the diversity. Los Angeles is an ethnic and cultural hub that allows us to have access to wonderful art museums, musical venues, and my personal favorite, delicious food! I am known in the office for being a food aficionado and am constantly surprised by what Los Angeles and the local USC neighborhood has to offer in this regard.

One of my favorite USC neighborhood establishments is Mercado La Paloma (The Dove Market), a mini food court within walking distance of campus. La Paloma features cuisines from around the world including my two favorites, Chichen Itza, which offers food from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and Mo-Chica which features gourmet Peruvian food at a reasonable price. Mo-Chica was voted 4th best restaurant in Los Angeles by LA Magazine in 2010. This marketplace is definitely a hidden gem in our community.

Every summer, once per week, our admission counselors take a long lunch at a local restaurant and then explore what our community has to offer by visiting local galleries and museums. Last year one of the biggest hits was the 23rd Street Café which is accessible using the USC Tram. It is a fusion of Indian-Mexican food, with some of the most mouthwatering chicken tikka masala quesadillas.

Chano’s, a USC institution, is located a short walk from campus. Besides the fact that it is open into the wee hours of the night, you can find some pretty good Mexican food there. Surrounding Chano’s is almost any and every fast food restaurant known to man. Our office favorites include Five Guys, Free Birds, Chipotle, and Chick-Fil-A all within walking distance!

In addition to some off-campus favorites, I would like to highlight the excellent food options we have on campus. Our new Ronald Tutor Campus Center also has a lot of options for students including Panda Express, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, California Pizza Kitchen, and Carl’s Jr.  Lemonade, a Los Angeles boutique café, has local and organic foods and is also one of the best healthy food options on campus. They also have 4 different flavors of fresh lemonade every day, my favorite being blueberry-mint. If you’re looking for an all-you-can-eat experience, the dining halls on campus, such as Parkside Residential Dining Hall, offer a variety of cuisine ranging from pizza to international specialties.

Recently in Los Angeles there has been a food truck phenomenon, boasting some of the most innovative, delicious, affordable, and quick food around. Last week we took a lunch trip to the food trucks. In the picture you can see us getting ready to chow down on Filipino style tacos and good old American burgers. They are on campus daily and can be tracked through Twitter.

Well, as you can see I can talk about food for hours on end, however I encourage you to not only experience what our school has to offer on campus, but also get to know our neighborhood.  Who knows?  You may run into one of us at lunch one day!

Music & Los Angeles

          I once had an applicant describe Los Angeles as a “magical place” where one can do just about anything that meets their interest. With a plethora of entertainment options, USC students never fall short of something to do in the city of LA. One of my favorite things to do in Los Angeles is to go to concerts, so I will often highlight the eclectic music scene in LA in my USC presentations.  I love being able to tell prospective students that if they have never had the opportunity to see some of their favorite performers live in concert, they will have that opportunity in Los Angeles. LA is almost always on a performer’s tour schedule and sometimes it’s the only stop!

          USC has a number of concerts held on campus throughout the year. Early this year I had the opportunity to see Esperanza Spalding at  Bovard Auditorium just days after she won the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist.  Last Tuesday, I saw Portishead at the Shrine Auditorium , which is located directly across the street from USC. The Shrine Auditorium historically was the home to the Academy Awards and still hosts a number of award shows, graduations, proms, musical performances, and other events.

          Just three miles north of campus is the Nokia Theatre, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Staples Center. The Staples Center is where the NBA LA Lakers and Clippers, NHL Kings, and WNBA Sparks play. The Staples Center is also a large music venue for some of the biggest touring artists of the day. Last fall I saw Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd) perform “The Wall” at The Staples Center.

          In Hollywood there are countless other historic venues such as The Wiltern, The Music Box, The Hollywood Palladium, and the grand daddy of them all the Hollywood Bowl . The Hollywood Bowl is a massive outdoor amphitheatre that holds nearly 18,000 people. I have personally seen John Mayer and Radiohead there. The Bowl also hosts a number of performances by the LA Philharmonic, musical sing-alongs, as well as an annual concert by film composer John Williams. Williams has composed some of Hollywood’s most memorable films, including Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Jaws, and Star Wars.

          Ten miles north of campus is Griffith Park. Griffith Park is a very large municipal park and home to amazing hiking trails, the LA Zoo, Griffith Observatory, and my personal favorite, the Greek Theatre. The Greek Theatre is a rather intimate outdoor amphitheatre that is most active during the spring and summer months, but hosts concerts year round. I have had the pleasure of seeing Florence and the Machine, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lykke Li, and Adele at the Greek.

          I am sure that I left out countless other musical venues in Los Angeles, but as I explained earlier, there is simply too much to cover about music in LA.