America has a serious love affair with food. Huge, delicious, steaming portions of almost everything imaginable that seem to ooze a certain tastiness that's seldom found anywhere else in the world.
It doesn't even have to be your stock-standard 'American' fare, either. From Korean to Mexican, German to Japanese - the US of A has mastered the culinary scene with such aplomb that it makes any trip to the 'land of the free' a constant war on weight.
But banish the scales for now because you're going to want to savour every last bit of the delectable buffet on offer. Your only problem should be that with so many options available, how can you be sure to choose the right one? Or the best one? Or the newest one? Or the quirkiest one?
That's where local knowledge comes into play. We stayed in an Airbnb smack in the middle of Hollywood and looked to our host, Michael, to guide us through the veritable smorgasbord that is Los Angeles. Here are some of his top local tips.
Junk right in
Nowhere on the planet does junk food like the US. On almost every street corner in the City of Angels you can find some form of quick, calorific goodness - be it McDonald's or Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Carl's Jr or Chick-fil-A. But none invoke the kind of fast-food fervour quite like In-N-Out Burger.
A firm favourite of our Angeleno host, In-N-Out dishes up the kind of burgers you're likely to dream about. Plump, fluffy buns hold together delicious, handmade meat patties that are so tender and moist you'll be eyeing the counter for round two before you've finished your first sitting.
Add to the mix their 'Not So Secret' menu and suddenly you can transform an 'ordinary' cheeseburger into a 'four by four' 'animal style' beast (which roughly translates to: four mustard cooked beef patties, hand-leafed lettuce, tomato, In-N-Out's secret spread, four slices of American cheese, onions, all stacked high on a freshly baked bun).
Rattle and snake
Truth be told, if you've just demolished the monster above you're not going to be hungry for a week. But this is LA - so loosen the belt buckle and head Downtown to seek out Wurstkuche (800 E 3rd St). This place is an exotic bar and grill that specialises in serving wacky sausage sandwiches with Belgian fries. Grab hold of a Rattlesnake and Rabbit sausage topped with jalapeño peppers - and wash the fiery (but delicious) creation down with one of their 24 imported tap beers.
Speaking of sausage, Pink's Hot Dogs in Hollywood (709 N La Brea Ave) is a Los Angeles institution that shouldn't be missed. Serving the city for 76 years, lines of hungry locals lead the way to what's been rated as one of the best hot dog purveyors in America. Don't be surprised to see stars like Brad Pitt or Bruce Willis waiting patiently in line until it's their turn to order a famous chili dog (rumour has it Orson Welles once ate 18 in one sitting).
Mr C is in the house
LA isn't just about fast-food and takeaway. In a city flush with money, fine dining certainly stakes an important place at the table. And while it would be criminal to eschew the incredible meat and martini offerings from STK or BOA, Mr C's Restaurant in Beverly Hills (1224 Beverwil Dr) is one place well worth a splurge.
As the only Cipriani restaurant on the west coast, Mr C has all the signature dishes of its more famous New York (and Italian) cousins. To start, sample a signature bellini beside a plate of decadent beef carpaccio. Then move onto the drool-inducing baked white tagliolini with ham, and add a baby artichoke avocado salad as the accompaniment. If there's any room for dessert, have a quick glance up to the bar to see what might take your fancy or just dive right in and order the Vanilla Meringue Cake. Exquisite.
In a town full of celebrities, it's only fitting that a celebrity run establishment is making some serious foodie waves - and West Hollywood's Au Fudge (9010 Melrose Ave) is doing just that. Actress Jessica Biel is a part-owner of this hot, new family-centric spot that churns out fun and satisfying dishes and cocktails.
The 'deviled egg-lets' are sensational, the vegan caesar salad (of quinoa, avocado, golden raisins and pepitas) is a luscious homage to healthy living and the house burger drips with deliciousness. Pair it with a Jessica Rabbit's Rabbit cocktail (which involves tequila, mezcal, agave, jalapeno and black volcanic salt) and you won't be leaving anytime soon.
The best bit? Not the stairs to the secret children's cubbyhouse hidden behind a bookcase but the fact that they stock Australia's Vittoria coffee, a big tick for serious coffee aficionados.
For other little slices of home in LA - Aussie Amanda Archer runs the newly renovated Cannon Club in Beverly Hills (340 N Canon Dr), Downtown gives you the superb Bronzed Aussie pie shop (714a S Los Angeles St) and Goldie's in West Hollywood dishes up antipodean goodness (8422 W 3rd St).
A couple of other notable additions from our local in the know are Tatsu Ramen in West Hollywood, the tomato soup from the Bourgeois Pig, and the El Matador Taco Truck on Western Blvd. Or for the biggest burrito you're likely to ever lay your eyes upon - head out east to El Tepeyac.
The writer stayed in Los Angeles as a guest of Airbnb