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It’s (almost) summertime, and the living is hungry. This month, get creative custom-crafting your own quinoa or noodle bowl in Venice or go crazy in Mid-City by finishing off your fried-chicken sandwich with maybe the city’s most baller dessert, a gold-encrusted doughnut. Check out these five gotta-try spots.

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Birdies

It’s the diner you needed at 2 a.m. last weekend, but it’s also so much more. Think: spicy chicken sandwiches served alongside doughnuts that are fried fresh every hour. Everything’s less than ten dollars--except the crazy-cheffy cream cheese-Champagne-dipped doughnut that’s covered with flakes of edible gold. That’ll run you $100.

314 W. Olympic Blvd.; 213-536-5720 or birdiesla.com

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Tocaya Organica

Organic Mexican food with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options is what this new Venice spot’s serving up. Customize your own bowl with things like quinoa, avocado, fried egg and sweet chipotle salsa or opt for the can’t-miss chipotle-rubbed mahi-mahi tacos. Oh, and good luck choosing between house-made ginger-mint, cucumber-lime or strawberry-watermelon lemonades.

1715 Pacific Ave., Venice; 424-744-8692 or tocayaorganica.com

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Trejo’s Tacos

Echo Park native and actor Danny Trejo has opened that rarest of eateries, a celebrity-backed restaurant that works. It’s got authentic flavors (tomatillo sauce, chipotle cream) juxtaposed with novel presentations, like fried-chicken tacos served “protein-style” on a lettuce leaf instead of a tortilla, and--wait for it--a vegetarian tofu with Serrano chiles, scallions and cilantro.

1048 S. La Brea Blvd.; 323-938-TACO or trejostacos.com

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Yellow Fever

Here you'll find DIY bowls of rice, noodles or field greens topped with everything from filet mignon to Spam with egg, and your choice of pickled veggies, green onion and ginger chips. But we’re most partial to the fries dusted with Parmesan and Asian spice furikake.

2560 Lincoln Blvd., Venice; 310-301-7810 or yellowfevereats.com

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Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Brooklyn, represent: Your star ice creamery opened a new spot in Culver City where everyone in your group can have something cold and delish. There’s an old-school recipe made with fresh milk, cane sugar and egg yolks and vegan options using house made cashew milk and organic coconut milk. Salted caramel in both formulations might be worth two scoops.

8850 Washington Blvd., Culver City; 424-341-0850 or vanleeuwenicecream.com

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