Culture | July 8, 2016 9:00 am

A Day of Underground Eats With One of LA’s Best Chefs

Where the Providence Chef Michael Cimarusti eats when off duty

Give us a day, we’re going to eat (or drink) at least five times: breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, dinner.

Five meals, five choices. In a town as sprawling as ours, ruts will be carved (looking at you, rosemary chicken salad at Paper or Plastik). Which is why you’ve gotta switch things up and follow someone else’s grooves from time to time.

So we talked to a guy who knows what’s what: Michael Cimarusti, the toque whose venerable restaurants Providence, Connie and Ted’s and Cape Seafood & Provisions plate seafood as fresh as the day is long.

Here, Cimarusti shares his favorite places to eat when he’s not manning the galley.

Breakfast/Coffee: Cafe de Leche

“I’m not much of a breakfast person, but I can’t remember a day in my adult life that didn’t start with a cup of coffee. I keep it local and convenient. Cafe de Leche is near my house and on my way to work. Long before it became cool to be in Highland Park, Cafe de Leche was brewing Blue Bottle Coffee and catering to an ever hipper crowd.”  

Brunch: Connie & Ted’s

“Again, not much of a brunch person, but if I was going out and if I made a habit of dining in restaurants that I am associated with, I’d be going to Connie and Ted’s. I’d be ordering a Nor’Easter Breakfast sandwich, drinking a Michelada and for dessert, a Blondie, of course.”

Lunch: El Huarache Azteca

“I’d be staying close to home again. I would start out with a Super Huarache, with both sauces and a Jamaica to wash it down and a handmade tortilla formed into a squash blossom quesadilla.”

Drinks: Casa Dragones

“My favorite place to drink is the back porch of my home in South Pasadena, especially in late fall. The holidays are upon us and the yuzu tree that I’ve been nurturing for nine years has just been harvested. My wife, Crisi, has made a Margarita mix with the fruit and we are mixing it with Casa Dragones Joven Tequila before pouring it into salt-rimmed glasses.”

Dinner: Pok Pok

“For dinner I’m going to Pok Pok. I love the food that Andy (Ricker) and his crew are cooking. It is consistently delicious, fiery and well executed. The chicken wings are a must. If I’m with my kids we’re definitely ordering the shrimp chips. I never visit without ordering the Sour Pork Riblets and the Boar’s Collar and the charred Eggplant dish. If they made only the Charred Eggplant Dish I would still be a fan. This dish features layer upon layer of flavor; it’s smoky and full of textures, acid and a fish-sauced-sluiced funk.”