Saturday, April 9, 2016

sunny los angeles

But nothing beats the weather, eh?

L.A., nice weather, most of the time, sure. But I am beyond tired of talking about it. Honestly, I'd prefer more rain (not just because of the drought); and, my gosh, I dream of a legitimate wintery chill. Basically, I miss the rejuvenating nature of seasons. Pun intended. What's more, I balk at the implication that clear sunshine is Los Angeles' most redeeming quality. It's dreary today, for the record.
{The Last Bookstore, for instance}
A friend of mine from the Midwest once told me he reveled in the misguided disdain that tries to characterize this city. What he meant, I think, is that it's a pretty incredible privilege to have gotten to know a place so quickly misunderstood. Los Angeles is not easily defined, neither literally nor figuratively, and it's sure as hell challenging to get a ahold of. This whole nother beast might as well be our beautiful little secret.

Before my time in New York, I saw City of Gold. It was fantastic for all the reasons above; and because, in telling Jonathan Gold's story, it celebrated the democratization of food criticism as well as the pure wealth of "culinary adventure that, he argues, are unique to the area in their proximity and commingled global influences." It reminded me of how much I appreciate L.A. for being L.A. And with that, I give you an introductory guide I created for a colleague who recently relocated to establish our DTLA office...

DINE
Best group meal: Korean BBQ (Koreatown)
Eat more ramen: Mitsuwa Marketplace (Mar Vista) or Silverlake Ramen (Silver Lake)
Local date spots: Barbrix (Silver Lake), Cliff’s Edge (Silver Lake), Little Dom’s (Los Feliz)
My favorite “L.A. restaurant”: Eveleigh (West Hollywood)
Restaurants worth the hype: Birch Restaurant (Hollywood), Bestia (Arts District), Faith & Flower (DTLA), Pok Pok LA (Chinatown), République (Mid-City/La Brea), Sugarfish (multiple locations)
Tacos, part 1: Guisados (Echo Park); Tacos, part 2.
The best in Mexican-American burritos: Al & Bea’s (Boyle Heights)
Try the original French-dip sandwich at: Cole’s (DTLA) or Phillipe’s (Chinatown)
P.S. If you go to Cole’s, consider the speakeasy in the back with great cocktails and live jazz
For your bf: pancakes.

DRINK
Best hipster cocktails: Tenant of the Trees (Silver Lake)
Best beer & wine in the neighborhood: Bar Bandini (Echo Park) / El Prado (Echo Park) / 1642 Beer and Wine (HiFi) —have I mentioned how much I love close-to-home beer & wine bars?
Drink beer and play board games: Sunset Beer Company (Echo Park)
Drink beer and play arcade games: Eighty Two (Arts District)
Get to know tequila & mezcal: El Carmen (Mid-City) or La Cuevita (Highland Park)
Have a martini at an “Old Hollywood” bar: Bar Marmont, Formosa Cafe, Musso & Frank Grill
Priceless DTLA views (& pricey cocktails): the Ace Hotel and Perch
Stay caffeinated.

HIKE
Elysian Park: West Loop, Angels Point
Griffith Park: Ferndell Trail, Mount Lee Trail, etc.
Malibu: Tuna Canyon,Corral Canyon, etc.

DO
Add to your library with gems from our neighborhood bookshop: Stories & Books Café (and Skylight!)
Best view of L.A. on the East Side: The Griffith Observatory
Best view of L.A. on the West Side: The Getty Center
Bike in Santa Monica; in Long Beach
Check out local live music: The Echo and Echoplex
Go to a cheap comedy show: Upright Citizens Brigade
Museums worth the drive: The Autry (Griffith Park), LACMA (Mid-City/Miracle Mile), Natural History Museum (South L.A.), Petersen Automotive Museum (Mid-City/Miracle Mile), The Getty Villa (Malibu)
Pick your beach. My favorites: Cabrillo Beach (San Pedro), El Matador (Malibu), Manhattan Beach
Rent a boat or go paddleboarding: Marina Del Rey
Reserve free tickets: The Broad (DTLA)
Shop at the best farmers markets:
Monday-Thursday: The Original Farmers Market
Stroll the Venice Beach Boardwalk (because, weird) and dine at Gjusta ($) and/or Gjelina ($$)
Spend an afternoon in Pasadena: Huntington Library & Gardens, Norton Simon Museum, Magnolia House
Walk/shop on the East Side: Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Highland Park

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

what it adds up to

At 27, I've been to twenty-seven countries, though I'd never say so out loud. Such statements are silly. Because, here's the thing: the world is most definitely not my oyster—and neither my experiences nor anyone else's can be quantified. What matters in travel, I think, is that one is curious and daring and open enough to explore the world in the first place. Forget the checklist. In my case, doing so has granted me the privilege to know the warmth and generosity of an Ecuadorian, a Chilean, and multiple French families; to be humbled by the beauty of the Amazon, Stroker geyser, Atacama Desert, as well as the genius of Roman, Mayan, and Moorish architecture; and, perhaps most importantly, to fully appreciate how few "right" ways there are to live and love, to satiate and enjoy...

danielle abroad has spoken ;)
I'm blogging from Los Angeles (home), after spending the past two weeks in New York. I worked from our offices in Williamsburg, at the Piers, an Upper East Side private school, a museum downtown. It felt surprisingly normal, almost as if I were living in the city again. And yet, that time in my life feels so far away. I think that's why I'm feeling especially reflective and grateful. I remember so much from that period (when almost everything familiar was stifling) and so much has taken place since, mostly elsewhere.
Time and time again, I've heard women praise their 30s. That magical combination of becoming financially stable and satisfied with careers, relationships, et cetera has propelled many to an exceptionally important point: being completely secure with who one is and what one wants/needs. And though I'm not quite there yet, I'm starting to understand how this phenomena can be true. I'm managing to become at ease with my whereabouts—reveling in a routine, trusting my evolution, accepting that I'll always seek more... whether that's a Northern Lights sighting, an evening at the Bolshoi Theatre, or a South African road trip. All in good time, my friends.

P.S. This is my 1210th post. For greater perspective, here is my 1st one (when I was a mere babe [8 years ago]). Oy.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

cafuné

A couple weekends ago, I found myself dancing to Britney Spears in a Silver Lake dive bar with a friend and her neighbor. In my carefree state, I commented (compassionately) on the insecurities of the noticeably younger crowd—I felt my age, in a good way.
Please excuse my flowery language when I tell you my soul has ripened in the past few months and weeks; and as such, claiming to feel "wiser" is probably more accurate. I didn't make a list of what I learned last year because the lessons were hardly quantifiable. My circumstances and choices forced me to confront fears, flaws, and deep-seeded truths I'd spent years ignoring or trying to suppress. I've become stronger, more solid, self-aware. I've discovered that no matter how tempting it may be to celebrate "making it to the other side", it's much more valuable to recognize the ongoing mindful process, to appreciate, and to continue.
I chopped off my hair two weeks ago. It was a sudden decision. Sarah had just finished given me the trim I'd asked for when she mentioned a bob "Only $70 for a whole new chance at life?" I'd jokingly responded when the time came to pay. I might still be getting used to it (haven't had my hair this short since 6th grade!) but it feels right. How important it is to feel better physically, too.
There's most certainly travel on the horizon (New York, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Vancouver, hopefully Paris, maybe Rome), but to be honest, for now, all truly is well in Los Angeles.