I'm sitting here in sunny old Sydney (and by 'sunny' I mean a revoltingly sticky 40-odd degrees, which is just over 100 if you're in the fahrenheit world) and working through the last of my pictures from our trip. Trying to file and organise them and work some order into my life and onto my computer. I'm kind of liking it, because it means I get to go back to LA - in my head, anyway. LA was a city I wasn't certain about when we embarked on our road of plenty, a city I didn't expect to like, but it has grown on me considerably. We landed there back in October, spent weekends there between our east coast and west coast drives in November, said goodbye to the year just past there in December, and managed to see a whole lot of wonderful there in January. It's one hell of a town.
It's also one big, sprawling, dirty and busy town, but kind of wonderful between all that. I have known a lot of friends to visit LA and say how awful and ugly it was, how difficult and overwhelming they found it. Which I get. But I'm certain that with a car, a GPS, a little time and some of the gems on the list below most people would fall a bit in love with it too.
Happy LA-ing folks...
- We had a pretty big and wonderful night with family and friends and several jugs of sangria at Jordy's local favourite, Cha Cha Cha - super relaxed and homely, with killer jerk chicken and yummy plantains.
- Heywood is heaven for grilled cheese - all kinds of cheeses grilled up juicy and oozy with a side of thick tomato soup, making for a wonderfully indulgent mid-week lunchdate (not to mention they serve huckleberry soda - I didn't even know that was a thing).
- We had one of our best dinner's of the trip at Son of a Gun on 3rd St with some dear friends and quite a few cocktails - it's super cute and the quality was amazing. We feasted on mussels, oysters, king prawns and crab rolls very happily.
- The Gjelina take away bar (GTA) on Abbot Kinney is a real charmer of a spot - we had a late lunch of ginger beer, Brussel's sprout salad and a spicy pork meatball sub thingy in the lovely shade of their courtyard.
- Jordy and I had our last meal of 2012 at Saito's, a small and unassuming sushi restaurant behind a carpark in Silverlake - I can't tell you how amazing, fresh and delicious it was. The chef is a very sweet and old Japanese man who knows his stuff.
- Ricky's Fish Tacos are probably the second reason I want to move to LA - it was our very first stop after we landed there in October and it changed my life. I'll never look at a food stand in a parking lot the same way again, or a taco for that matter. Ricky sets a standard that is hard to beat, fresh, full of flavour, spicy and so cheap. This place is a MUST...
- I loved the Egg Slut food truck, which we sampled downtown near Mateo Street. So simple, so creamy, so eggy, so good.
- In-N-Out Burger is my one concession to fast food and a delight at that. It feels like 1950s California and tastes like a burger should taste - enough said.
- Proof is a sweet little bakery cafe with about the best croissants I've had outside of Paris, and dreamy and creamy lattes. Intelligentsia at Silverlake and Venice treated me well, as did Sqirl, Lamill and Handsome Coffee Roasters (who, FYI, are lovely and professional and make a brilliant latte but don't serve tea or juice, JUST coffee, which I found rather pretentious - it was mighty good coffee and I do appreciate the idea of doing one thing and one thing well, but a cold juice wouldn't go astray some days).
- I loved the odds and ends at Mohawk General Store in Silverlake - eclectic, warm and full of far too many sweet things I wanted.
- Reform School was a fun place to buy presents and browse quirky finds - such brilliant displays, too.
- I bought some lovely things for my little nieces Harriet and Daisy at Tomboy, including a wonderful book by a local artist which just happens to be their new favourite read.
- I'd been haunting the Clare Vivier website for a long while, so almost burst at their beautiful collection of handmade bags and purses in the flesh.
- Steven Alan is another online favourite that I loved in real life, especially the floral silk dress I picked up at their Venice store on super-reduced sale.
- Madewell is all over the country, but a must-mention because I love about everything they do. Bold colours, stripes, spots, prints, and denim make me happy.
- Sadly I didn't make it to Creatures of Comfort (though I've ordered from then online to great success) or Dream Collective but both are quite wonderful.
- Poketo is in downtown and another fun place to browse for gifts and interesting things. I fell in love with their ceramics, but (due to the long flight home) just left with some stationery and a paper aeroplane kit, as you do.
- We hit LACMA on the last day of the year and while it was busy, we had a ball taking in both the Kubrick and the Caravaggio exhibitions (the former I usually find intense, though appreciate the mastery and scope of his work after this show).
- The Getty is a whole other world and one of the best things we did in town. Aside from the epic and sprawling collections (we saw 15th century French tapestries alongside Robert Mapplethorpe photographs) I'd happily go for the grounds alone - the view of the city and the coast is spectacular and the gardens are ripe for picnics and wandering.
- The only true touristy thing I managed was a walk in Griffith Park on new years day - feeling a little tired and delicate from the night before, this was a lovely way to kick off 2013 right. I love how the park is relatively raw - the paths are rough dirt and the wilderness is mostly left to itself. We hiked the 'other' side, away from the Hollywood sign where the evening was quiet and the sunset was golden.
* Image from our afternoon at Handsome Coffee Roasters...