To be honest, Los Angeles isn’t my favorite city. The lack of history, the strip malls, the traffic- oh dear god, the traffic- combine themselves in a way I find to be overwhelming. But on this visit to the city of angels I had an absolutely amazing time due in no small part to the company: my travel buddy Victoria, as well as our host, Ben, one of my best friends from high school.
While Los Angeles may not be my favorite city, here are some moments from the weekend that I absolutely loved.
Waking up to Mexican Food
Like any self-respecting gringa, I love me some TexMex breakfast food: from breakfast burritos to chilaquiles to huevos rancheros. Though I was on a strict pre-Asia spending fast, I made room in my budget for a daily Mexican brunch, preferably involving guacamole.
Feeling like a Local in Silver Lake
Ben, our host for the weekend, hangs up his hat in Silver Lake, a young and trendy neighborhood just east of Hollywood. From stumbling upon street art murals to checking out bean-to-cup coffee shops, I really enjoyed feeling like a local in this up-and-coming neighborhood.
Nibbling on Bread and Cheese at a Weekly Wine Tasting
Photo credit: Jaclyn Joyce
As many long-time readers know, there are few things that bring me more joy than picnics: the combination of sunshine, friends, wine and fresh bread just makes my heart sing. So I loved the local wine tasting we attended atop Barnsdall Park.One downside- Victoria and I were crying silent tears when we forked over $28 for a loaf of bread, round of cheese and sausage- in France we used to buy similar picnics for about 5 euros. (And why in god’s name would a loaf of bread ever need to cost $8?)
Here is the link to the wine tasting if you’d like to attend- it’s $25 and held every Friday!
Sunning on top of the Hollywood Tower
On Saturday one of Ben’s friends in town invited us over for a day of strawberries and sunbathing at the Hollywood Tower (also known as the hotel that inspired Disneyland’s Tower of Terror.) Once we had our fill of the pool, we rode a decidedly haunted elevator to the top of the Hollywood Tower where we were the only rooftop guests! We happily frittered away the afternoon snapping pictures of the Hollywood sign and listening to Sublime.
And when we spotted a huge chessboard with a few missing pieces, we subbed in for the bishop and knights and played human chess à la Harry Potter. My friends are, needless to say, awesome.
Savoring the Meal of my Life in Koreatown
Being the not-so-closet foodie that I am, my only request for our L.A. weekend was dinner in Koreatown. For our epic meal we settled on Soowon Galbi KBBQ Restaurant, which must have set a yelp record with 4.5 stars out of more than 1,200 reviews.
We started off with grilled skirt steak as well as a myriad of side dishes, followed by the best, crispiest riced bi bim bop I’ve ever had in my life.
It was such a fun dining experience- I loved cooking our own meat the table! And even better? The meal was less than $25 a person including beer and tip.
Spotting my Favorite Stars in Hollywood
The Harry Potter cast’s handprints at the Chinese theater!
Okay, honestly I didn’t really enjoy this activity because I hate crowds and tourist sites but it was something “we had to do.” But I did see some of my favorite stars on the boulevard, like Vivien Leigh, James Franco and Scarlett Johansson.
People-watching at Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a photographer’s dream- how can one boardwalk pack in so much crazy? On our 30-minute promenade we witnessed a group of fanatical street preachers as well as a topless parade protesting the fact that women legally have to cover their breasts in public. Oh, Venice.
Overall it was an absolutely incredible weekend- thanks so much to Ben for having us and showing us such a great time!
Are you a fan of LA? What do you like to do when you’re there?