City of Angels Infodump

I have compiled a list of recommendations from my L.A.-savvy friends which I will reproduce here so I can look it up easily and thank/berate them later. So far, I think this is what will happen based on Gojira’s unfailing advice/edict:

the farmer’s market in hollywood
lacma the restaurant and the museum
venice canals and/or promenade
brunching at eveleigh and cooks county
dinner at izakaya katsuya and son of a gun and laurel hardware
cafcaf at coffee commissary amongst all the scriptwriters and actors
joss whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing at the arclight

From my LA-adoring buddy:

1) Since you mentioned Redondo Beach…and since you mentioned a friend, that’s a good excuse to visit the Korean Friendship Bell in San Pedro which is not too terribly far from redondo. The bell itself is housed in a truly ornate pagoda…and the most JAW-droppingly gorgeous views of the pacific are from those bluffs near the rancho palos verdes area. Voila le linkeroo:
2) Hungtington library & gardens. I cannot say enough about this place. A big chunk of my childhood memories are here. In June it will be simply GORGEOUS with so much in bloom:   If you make it, try to go to the tea lounge there…I hear their afternoon high tea is not to be missed. I’ve actually never had a chance to try it, but it’s supposedly transports you to England. My favorite gardens there are the zen garden and the classical garden.
3) Let me tell you about Guisado’s in Boyle Heights. You may never ever have a chance to get fish tacos anywhere that are as authentic as at this restaurant… or , or chilaquiles…or burritos…or jamaica…or, you get the idea:  2100 East Cesar Chavez Ave.
4) This is not a place but rather an event’s venue AND you are in luck as this event “Grand Performances” only runs during the summer and they’ve already begun their season! It’s the biggest free outdoor music festival in Los Angeles. I highly highly highly recommend it. It’s so much fun. and such a cool vibe…They have some awesome international and local artists who perform there. Here’s the link for the schedule and location…It’s in downtown the California Plaza. It’s good to go with someone rather than alone:
5) L.A. Central Library & The Millenium Biltmore hotel right across the street. Two veritable GEMS in the downtown los Angeles area. I would not leave L.A. without seeing them if I were you. The architecture alone is worth the visit, and my favorite area is the children’s section with its wood paneling and storytelling area. It feels like a haven.
6) Islamic Center of Vermont. This place is history…and mostly herstory… herstory of me and I can’t think of that first masjid of L.A. without feeling pretty emotional. It’s been there since ’79 at least. It is a beautiful tranquil spot in one of the most hectic crazy busy neighborhoods of the city…and it looks almost 100% exactly as it did when I was a little girl…except for the newly re-done bathroom and wudu area, which literally look like they’re from a 5-star resort/hotel, complete with designer sinks and such. Please check it out, and across the street is a Pakistani or Bengali owned halal restaurant whose food will make you forget woodlands even exists. Yes. that good.
7) Exposition rose garden and surrounding museums (Natural History Museum, Science Center)….this is where I literally grew up..not far from downtown L.A. and if you go to the rose garden on saturday or sunday you’d be sure to catch a mexican wedding party in full regalia going there for photoshoots. It’s also just a few blocks up the street from Masjid Omar Ibn Al-Khattab…a beautiful building. This is also in the USC area and if you’re inclined to just stroll through the campus it’s a beautiful place too and  wouldn’t take too long to walk across (a half hour at the very most?).
Those are just some of the first things to come to mind. I tried to keep them all in the downtown L.A. area if that’s where you’ll be. If not, then let me know where you’ll be and I’ll point you to some other cool spots. 🙂  Nothing I love more than showing off the city of angels!
p.s. I will tell you something. Never have I tried out more ethiopian restaurants than in DC and never have I met more ethiopians than there, but the ethiopian restaurants in L.A. are simply unrivaled. this conclusion comes from a near empirical search of DC for good ethiopian food.. If you don’t believe me, try “Awash”…an ethiopian restaurant on Pico ave. It’s a hole in the wall, but the most frequent customers are ethiopian (which to me signals trust in its authenticity), portions are large, food tastes WAY fresher, and usually served hot, prices are affordable, and the wait time is not as gut-grinding. 🙂 🙂  it’s usually packed, so avoid on weekends. There are lots of other restaurants on Fairfax blvd. but they’re only okay from my experience.
also. two other food items:
SHAMSHIRI persian restaurant on westwood blvd. in Westwood area. Incredible.
Diddy Riese Cookies in westwood neighborhood right outside of UCLA (i forget the street name. jeez it’s been that long). BEST GOTTAM cookies you will have in your life. I have searched high and I have searched low. Nothing as flavorful or as awesome and if you wanna really go all the way in, get their ice cream sandwich made with two cookies of your choice. They’re also fairly cheap.
Response from her sister
Baji, sorry you did say five days I read too fast :o) anyways, I actually was going to say she would keep you more central with her suggestions, I tend to prefer the westside but she thinks it is too boogie 🙂 I guess I had my fill of the downtown areas when I worked there.. btw, the central library is def worth a stop, and it’s very close from all those art galleries. she’s totally right about it being a nice monument of LA and I think they do tours as well.
I actually was going to suggest you do a road trip to Santa Barbara and visit the mission and beaches there.. so beautiful and peaceful, a truly relaxing getaway. glad you already thought of it!
PS: WHY did you have to mention chilaquiles?! now I’m hungry and missing good mexican food again!! I spent my first year in doobers missing mexican food. thanks a LOT for bringing back the hunger pangs!! 😛
PPS: baji, the farmer’s market in Santa Monica is a better waste of time than the one in Fairfax / the Grove, because it’s a real organic produce market + baked goods + arts & crafts, and it’s near the beach and it’s massive. the one in the Grove is more of an indoor/outdoor food stalls type place. still worth a stop tho if you have time.
btw, redondo prob has their own farmer’s market, I’m sure. just not sure when / where, or if it’s near the beach areas.
another buddy

i don’t really go into LA anymore when i visit, so i’m not sure what’s good anymore!   i LOVE the getty museums…the old one is smaller and charming (they reopened it so i’m not sure what’s inside), but it’s such a nice area, it’s on PCH near malibu.  malibu is cute too.  the new getty is nice and not sure if you’re going with the kids, but my mom told me that LACMA had a really great program for kids there.  restaurants are fun in west LA…and of course sunset blvd.  will you be IN LA?  or close?  you can check out UCLA campus, lol.  i LOVED the school…there are a bunch of great movie theaters in westwood, but it’s college town.  hmm…i will think some more.  OH santa monica is fun!  It has 3rd street  promenade – which is full of shops and interesting people.  I used to work there and people watch all the time!!  a few crazies, some street performers, but it’s cleaner than venice.  venice is always fun too, but to me that always felt like it was full of druggies 🙂  fun to see though..maybe just once.  the beach isn’t very nice there either.

There’s a million things, but here’s some. Put everything on a map and plan to do things nearby on the same day…

see a movie:


All quite close to each other:

Downtown:  <———– *THIS*


3 responses to “City of Angels Infodump

  1. With the Ethiopian recommendation alone, I think you may have mended the rift between Peter and his mother, who lives in Santa Monica, and whom he hates to visit only because he hates LA. I keep trying to tell him, LA is like Queens in terms of food and people, but he hates cars. But I think he’d be willing to get in one for Ethiopian food approved by real Ethiopians. (We’re lacking it in NYC too, as far as I can tell.) Thank you!

    Sounds like you’re going this month? We’ll be there second week in July.

  2. i’m so happy to have been a part of any alleged or potential reconciliation! did he ever go to any ethiopean restaurants in dc while he was in b’more? we lived within walking distance to several and enjoyed each – since my friend is bad-mouthing those above, i can only assume that the one she recommended is phenomenal.

    i hate cars too and was very close to siding with cherlina and her ‘don’t get a car, we can get by without it’ suggestion but with her busy at work while i’m there and factoring the cost of transportation to and from LAX, i decided to go along with my BIL’s ‘it would be ludicrous to visit LA without a car’ advisory/admonishment.

    i’m going tomorrow! rats, woulda been cool to have met up there (even though we’re only like four hours away from each other here). ha!

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