The Man Behind Otaat Goes on an L.A. Food Binge

What’s eating Albert Chu.

Albert Chu of the super-slick leather label Otaat tends to have mad cravings. For him, it’s about the impulse, the indulgence, and the absolute ridiculousness of it all. Curious where he goes to get a food fix? Check out his eight favorite destinations around Los Angeles—but, unless you’re Kobayashi, space this stuff out. —jackie varriano

Before you fall into a food coma, score Albert’s delicious (looking!) leather cardholder.


La Brea Bakery
“This may be the one healthy craving I typically have: the marinated artichoke heart sandwich from La Brea Bakery’s original location. Black olive bread is spread with a touch of pesto, then stocked with soft ricotta cheese, topped with marinated artichoke hearts, and sprinkled with a bit of arugula for that slight crunch and bitterness. It’s so great.”


El Chato
“When working late nights, I always get at least two chorizo tacos as a starter and one burrito al pastor as the main. It’s the perfect meal for saturating your taste buds and for stocking up on salts and electrolytes for exercise. Ha!”


Café Gratitude
“I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, so what’s better than having it in liquid form? The vegan smoothie has Vitamineral—I don’t really know what that is, but it sounds healthy. Plus, the drink is called ‘I Am Cool,’ so it’s a funny little ego-boost.”


M Café
“The fries from M Café are drool-worthy. When I’m in the mood for a quick snack of salted, nori-tinged, starchy goodness, this is what I get—and that’s more often than I care to confess.”


Clementine
“These are probably my favorite chocolate chip cookies in Los Angeles. The texture is simultaneously crunchy and chewy—I always get at least two. They remind me of my mom’s chocolate chip cookies from childhood.”


Half and Half Tea House
“I refer to the drinks at Half and Half as ‘boba crack’—sweet, milky, and caffeinated jitter-inducers. I always get the iced milk drink with grass jelly.”


Proof Bakery
“One body part that I always want to protect is the tuft of gum behind my front two teeth, so baguette sandwiches are usually seen a dangerous threat. Not so with the ones from Proof. Their sandwiches—I love the ones with beets and goat cheese—are made with their trademark thin, just-the-right-crunch baguettes sprinkled with sea salt, and they are texturally fantastic!”


Crow Burger
“Sure, their duck-fat fries are craving-worth, but really, what gets me to drive across county lines is their chocolate milkshake (pistachios optional). It’s got a throwback flavor—to a time when milkshakes were made with chocolate ice cream, instead of chocolate syrup. So what if a waitress said that they are 1,000 calories? It’s both a snack and a meal!”