October 21, 2005
I lived in LA for 10 years. For 8 years I hated it, comparing it unfavorably New York. I would say annoying and pretentious things like "there's nothing sublime in LA" and spent way too much time being miserable. But then just as I was leaving I got it. I'm not sure why or how, but suddenly the place made sense to me... Now I often find myself missing the place and pitching it to skeptical New Yorkers... but it's a hard pitch, because LA is at least for me is all about private spaces, little pockets of magic hidden from public view... hanging around someone's pool on a hot summer night watching some minor movie starlet doing cannonballs in the deep end... Hard to explain.
But that's another post.
A buddy of mine asked what to do in LA when he visits. Here's a very partial list compiled with the help of my friend (and master seeker-outer of all that is fantastic) Julien Nitzberg:
Uzbekistan @ 7077 Sunset Blvd - go at night when all the Russian gangsters are there
Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles the one on Gower- fantastic fried chicken, open late. I prefer it to the equally legendary (non-fried) Zankou Chicken (some LA folk complain Roscoe's is too touristy, but for me that's part of the fun).
Hirozen - Delicious Japanese. Cucumber sunumono salad. Yum. 8385 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, 90048
Thai Elvis at the Palms -one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. A Thai Elvis impersonator sings nightly. The food is spicy and delicious.
Chung King in Monterey Park - double spicy and double delicious and you get to check out Monterrey Park.
Ktown Restaurants - I particularly
love the Prince @ 3198 1/2 W Seventh for it's lounge lizard off-kilter oddness.
Nanbankan on Santa Monica Blvd (a few blocks past the 405) - My #1 favorite restaurant in LA. People come from Japan for the bacon wrapped asparagus.
And if you want more good eats, pick up Jonathan Gold's Counter Intellegence: Where to Eat in the Real LA. It, and the associated column in the LA Weekly, are indispensable starting points for diving into LA's culinary stew. He writes about food with such enthusiasm that I inevitably would find myself heading out on an adventure after reading his reports.
Free brunch at the Police Academy in Elysian Park on Sundays
Catalina Island - Often overlooked, but a a fun day or overnight trip.
Magic Castle - Where all the kids who wanted to be magicans (and some actual magicians) hang out.
Museum of Jurrassic Technology
Horse Riding in Griffith Park
Black Facts & Wax Museum- 3742 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Los Angeles, Telephone: 323.299.8829 call to make sure they are open, but don't miss this.
Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale - 5110 San Fernando Road, Glendale, CA 91204-1006
Marty and Elaine - Still cool despite their popularity.
Silent Movie on Fairfax - Try to catch some Buster Keaton.
RoseBowl Swap Meet 2nd Sunday of every month
Barbata's Steak House 20001 Ventura Woodland Hills 91634 818-340-5914; geriatric swing band on Fridays and Saturdays. Dancing 9-2a
The Derby - Non geriatric swing
Club Los Globos - 3040 W Sunset Blvd, This place will blow your mind. Dress sharp. Be prepared to dance.
SEEDY BUT WONDERFUL
Cindy Club Thai Restaurant - (4273 Beverly Blvd., Koreatown, 323-906-1640)
La Lucha Libre - In East LA you can sometimes find Lucha Libre matches fought in parking lots and backyards. Ask around the Luchaworld boards to find out where/when.