So I never found water buffalo's milk in the end -- although like someone in the thread said there is water buffalo mozzarella in California. Perhaps one day I will go to the farm and ask for the milk to make the gaimar. My mom makes gaimar from cow's milk and it's still very delicious, but my parents have spent my whole life talking about Iraqi Gaimar from water buffalo's milk that I fear I'll never be able to try it given the current situation. Perhaps if I travel to India?
You are probably no longer in LA but I thought I'd reply in case you come back! What makes the LA food scene different from NY or Paris is its size and diversity. Unlike Pari you can't simply walk down a boulevard in LA and easily find hundreds of restaurants or cafes, you have to find them -- but I assure you they are there! For many New Yorkers that can be a put off, but that's what I personally love about LA -- it doesn't give away its love so easily. Sure, it has a stereotype just like NY or Paris, but we know those stereotypes are so far from the reality of a city.
I recommend looking for restaurants by neighborhood. Each neighborhood has its own personality. People from NY tend to like Downtown, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Echo Park, Atwater Village, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Koreatown, West Hollywood, and even Santa Monica (which isn't technically part of LA). However other neighborhoods have their own gems.
If you are coming from NY/Paris then you should definitely try the little Mexican food restaurants out here -- I've had Mexican food in NY and it's usually very Americanized. Highland Park has particularly good Mexican food.
Another tip is that the best restaurants aren't usually going to be the upscale, expensive ones -- they are going to be the little hole-in-the-walls.
LA has different kinds of food scenes, which is why it's exciting. Research not only by neighborhood but by type. There is currently a big gastropub and food truck scene, but that's only part of it.
There are so many great places to eat in LA that it's difficult to make recommendations!
Here are a few of my favorites...
Most of these restaurants have a website so you can check their menu to see if you'd be into it.
I really hope this helped someone.
Thanks for your help, everyone! There appears to be two nearly impossible hurdles living in the U.S.: 1. pasteurization and 2. a lack of water buffalos. Sigh. I have tried the cow's milk/pasteurized kaymak/gaimar and it's still very good :)
Is there someone out there who has made an effort to find REAL gaimar in the States? Water buffalo only. Help me please. This is one of those important delicacies a person cannot be happy without...
The closest we've found so far:
Yes, I know it can be difficult for people from out-of-state/country to even want to appreciate Los Angeles -- considering it beyond the stereotype of "Hollywood" -- but the great thing about this city is that it is an intricate and multifaceted labyrinth. Our city isn't as easy as most, and you can't cover it in one day. And because this city is so vast and diverse, you will find most anything -- BUT you have to earn it by discovery. That's what I love about Los Angeles. It becomes yours after hard work. You have to find what you love here, and create the city for yourself. With that said...
What I Find to Be Excellent Coffee in Los Angeles:
Gelato Bar and Espresso Cafe - Studio City and Los Feliz - great beans, brew, environment
San Francisco's Blue Bottle beans are being manually drip-brewed at DripBar coffee cart, of which you can follow at www.dripbar-la.com.
Hope this was helpful! And good luck creating your own LA!
Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
Jones Coffee Roasters
Groundwork Coffee Company
LA MILL Coffee
Gelato Bar and Espresso Cafe