folks get a lot of mileage out of hating on l.a. one of the many mellow-harshing conversations that tim had to endure at the hot springs in tecopa, ca , for example, was basically some dude yammering on and on about los angeles’ many and varied faults. blah blah traffic; blah blah hollywood; blah blah etc. and this highly discerning connoisseur of urban life was from las vegas. yup, that’s right, beautiful idyllic las vegas! huh.
to be sure, los angeles has a long list of well-documented downsides. i admit that i don’t know how well i would do if i had to live and work there full-time. the prospect of a daily 3-hour commute on l.a.’s screwy freeway system is enough to give me the shakes. but for an 8-day visit — which happens to be exactly how long the three of us spent there — the city of angels is practically perfect in almost every way.
here, then, in no particular order, are the things i loved about the much-maligned city of angels.
1. la comida ~ yes yes yes, i know, there’s good food to be found everywhere. portland has its whiffie hand pies and random order cafe and all-you-can-eat ethiopian buffet. san francisco has delfina and the ferry building and that little tiny place on 14th and valencia (or is it 17th?) that serves the best falafel sandwiches ever. hell, even hemet, ca has carne asada tacos that have made me groan with pleasure. so what about l.a.’s gustatory offerings made me stand up and take notice?
the dulce de leche cake from the coffee table cafe.
ethiopian vegetarian combo at messob.
for one, there is just so much of it! l.a.’s sprawl might make your daily commute a living hell, but it also means that there is a seemingly endless supply of places — big, small, fancy, filthy, and everything between — serving an endless variety of food. our week-long food party included vietnamese bun, dim sum in chinatown , ethiopian veggie combos , a traditional brazilian buffet , a japanese curry house , american brunch classics , down-home mexican, home-made ice cream, fresh vegetable juice medleys, and a place that was devoted solely to cream puffs. oh yes; and one regrettable late night dinner which started with deep-fried macaroni and cheese balls and ended in tears. and all this eating barely scratched the surface of what l.a. had to offer. we didn’t have any sushi or korean bbq or lebanese or umami burgers; we didn’t eat anywhere specializing in raw, vegetarian or macrobiotic food. it wasn’t for lack of trying! paul, one of our hosts, kept shaking his head at us and saying, you guys are out of control! no, paul YOU’RE out of control. now let’s go eat.
2. la clima ~ some folks complain that l.a.’s weather is too nice; too consistently wonderful. to this i say, puhleeze. find something real to complain about.
3. la estación de tren ~ this truly distinctive landmark somehow manages to capture both the soaring aspirations and deep cultural roots that define southern california. part spanish mission, part art deco hood ornament, it’s glamorous and romantic; the kind of place where double agents are hunted and hard-boiled detectives fall in love with platinum blondes. tim and my visit was far less dramatic. first we oohed and aahed at the tilework and heavy-boned furniture and then we used the public bathroom. what can i say; we’re tourists!
4. avistamientos de celebridades ~ nuff said.
5. nuestros amigos e familia ~ of course, we wouldn’t have known about the cream puff place or the dim sum house or the joys of topanga canyon’s eagle rock; we wouldn’t have found the beautiful fig tree or ethiopia-town or the farmer’s market; we wouldn’t have had as much fun or laughed quite as loud or received so many hugs, if not for our friends and family. so massive gratitude and thanks to everyone who made time and space to see us on our whirlwind through socal.
to paul, who let us crash at his place for a very long time at the risk of alienating his housemates and exhausting himself, and who never got upset when we flailed on late night plans. i’m reading your script and will give you notes soon! promise!
to ruthie, who broadened our horizons and gave us space for healing, contemplation and wicked good conversation. may our paths cross again soon, if not here, then in brasil!
to sara and tony, who host the most awesomest monthly party in the northern hemisphere and who introduced us to kitsu and whistler. may the inspiration you’ve given be returned to you ten-fold.
to marty and pj and matt and jim, who brought us to muscle beach and encouraged us to drink. may the screeching never end.
to tim’s wonderful family, the whole happy hilarious gang. next time, we all have to go rollerskating!
to matt, heather and calan, who brought us to eagle rock to watch the sun
set and whom i lamely did not even photograph. may the wind be at your feet and may you walk in beauty.
viva los angeles! next time, we promise we’ll go out dancing, re-enact key scenes from xanadu, and get more brazilian food. until then, see ya later, gang!
Posted by Wordmobi