Dinner With Friends

Some of the best meals in Los Angeles are created by home cooks.

James Oseland

Meals at my friends Ruth Honegger and Marino Pascal's house, in LA's Glassell Park neighborhood, sum up for me what home cooking in this city is all about. On a recent fall evening, Ruth (who is Swiss) prepared hortopita, phyllo packages filled with Swiss chard and fennel (see** Fennel and Herb Phyllo Pastries) she learned to make from her husband, Marino (who is Greek), along with a savory eggplant spread with tomatoes ( see ** Eggplant Spread) from their garden. Marino set out fresh Middle Eastern breads—paper-thin lavash, cheese boreks, and lahmajun, a flat bread topped with ground lamb—that he'd picked up at a bakery in Glendale. There were marinated octopus, Armenian soujouk sausage, and slivers of fresh jicama from the local Super King supermarket, all of it drizzled with olive oil and Meyer lemon juice. It was a delicious, interesting mix, an expression of the cooks' heritage, cravings, and love for the foods of their city.