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COVER STORY

Starring as your hometown

The L.A. area has stood in for other locales in countless film and TV productions. It can do it for you too.

January 24, 2008|Chris Barton, Mindy Farabee, Liam Gowing, Pauline O'Connor, Enid Portuguez, Margaret Wappler, and Allison Hope Weiner

Los Angeles rivals New York City when it comes to transplants. And one thing all transplants share is a list of gripes about what was better about home. For New Yorkers it's bagels and pizza. For Austin, Texas, natives, BBQ. For Chicagoans, jazz. For Bostonians -- everything. But just scratch the surface and there's a little bit of everywhere in these United States of L.A. Read on and beat the homesick blues.

AUSTIN

BBQ worth the accompanying arteriosclerosis

Flaunt Magazine music editor Trent Buckroyd was unable to locate good Tex-Mex-- "Californians just don't like that much cheese"-- but the native Texan found good "Tyler, Texas-style" barbecue at Dr. Hogly Wogly's in Van Nuys (8136 Sepulveda Blvd., [818] 780-6701), and smoked meats worthy of Austin's beloved Salt Lick at JnJ's Burger and BBQ (5754 W. Adams Blvd., [323] 933-7366).

Music venues so intimate

you can smell the, um, funk

Austin transplant Jenny Sperandeo cites the El Rey, Spaceland and the Troubadour as venues worthy of Austin's close-knit music scene but suggests McCabe's Guitar Shop (3101 Pico Blvd., [310] 828-4497), "if you really want to appreciate a singer-songwriter in an intimate setting like the Cactus Cafe."

Best places to get

on a horse or off a bull

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday, January 29, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 46 words Type of Material: Correction
Country music radio: An article in Thursday's Guide section about transplants to Los Angeles finding reminders of home said that L.A. does not have a country music radio station. In fact, Go Country 105 -- KKGO-FM (105.1) -- is an L.A. station dedicated to country music.

Without so much as a dedicated country radio station, L.A. is no cowboy mecca. Approximate a Lone Star state of mind by hitting the horse trails at the Sunset Ranch Hollywood (3400 Beachwood Drive, [323] 469-5450). If it's mechanical bull riding you're after, take your pick of Saddle Ranch Chop House locations in West Hollywood (8371 Sunset Blvd., [323] 656-2007) and Universal CityWalk (1000 Universal Studios Blvd., [818] 760-9680] and Union Cattle Co. in Hermosa Beach (1301 Manhattan Ave., [310] 798-8227).

BOSTON

Get Your Red Sox On

It's genetically impossible for a Bostonian to be anything but a Sox fan. The base of operations for what's been dubbed "Red Sox Nation West" is Sonny McLean's (2615 Wilshire Blvd., [310] 449-1811) in Santa Monica. Ostensibly an Irish pub filled with Boston sports memorabilia, Sonny's hosted the World Series trophy after the allegedly cursed team finally won the 2004 championship, thus making the ultra-devoted fans of the once perennial losers insufferable. (We kid!) "I love Sonny McLean's," says "ER" star and Boston transplant Maura Tierney. "The Red Sox Foundation had a fundraiser where I bartended for one of the games. It was a blast."

For that special brand

of Bostonian arrogance

"Bostonians are certain their superiority is obvious enough that talking about it would be unnecessary," says Boston's Michael Brodeur. "But they're also completely afraid of each other. That's the biggest difference between us -- you guys actually talk to each other there." In L.A. such misanthropy can be found, oddly enough, at the Burbank karaoke den Dimples (3413 W. Olive Ave.), a place where Boston types can simultaneously have fun while ruthlessly mocking others.

It's Spucky to you

For a Boston-styled sub sandwich, Dave's Chillin-and-Grillin in Eagle Rock (2152 Colorado Blvd., [323] 490-0988) can't be beat. The handmade meatball spuckys are so popular they often sell out by the end of lunch hour. Boston-born owner Dave Evans won't hesitate to share the ways he obsesses over the quality of meat and bread he serves -- all in that unmistakable, vowel-enhancing accent.

For the all-powerful Boston clam chowder, Tierney digs Malibu Seafood. (25653 Pacific Coast Highway, [310] 456-3430).

Swanning around in a boat

While there is little that can match the Boston Public Garden's iconic Swan Boats for pure rite-of-spring kitsch, the paddle boats of Echo Park Lake (751 Echo Park Ave., [213] 847-3281) and MacArthur Park (2230 W. 6th St., [213] 368-7390) offer our city's no-less-charming take on self-powered watercraft. And they don't close for winter.

NEW ORLEANS

Cajun cooking? Good luck

Finding victuals as tasty as in the Big Easy? It ain't easy. "Most L.A. places pale in comparison to back home," says Eric Witmeyer, who moved to L.A. in 1987. For decent gumbo and beignets, he recommends the Gumbo Pot at the Farmer's Market (6333 W. 3rd St. No. 312, L.A.; [323] 933-0358). "For chicken, red beans and rice, go to Popeye's (at Melrose and Rossmore). I've had fried catfish with poached eggs -- we call it Egg St. Charles -- at Kokomo Cafe (6333 W. 3rd St. No. 120, [323] 933-0773). I've never seen that dish outside of New Orleans. If price is no object, the crab cakes at Ivy at the Shore (1535 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, [310] 393-3113) taste like crab cakes back home." For a heaping Po' Boy sandwich, head to Uncle Darrow's (2560 S. Lincoln Blvd., Marina Del Rey, [310] 306-4862) and try the "Zeek."

Where to celebrate Mardi Gras

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