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...

Best group meal: Korean BBQ (Koreatown)
Eat more ramen: Mitsuwa Marketplace (Mar Vista) or Jinya Ramen Bar (Mid-Wilshire & other locations)
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.

Best hipster cocktails: Tenant of the Trees (Silver Lake)
Best beer & wine in the neighborhood: El Prado (Echo Park) / 1642 Beer and Wine (HiFi)
Best rooftop bar: Mama Shelter (Hollywood)
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.

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

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; and 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