Yes, LA does have a lot of traffic. Yes, some parts of the widespread city and its suburbs do get deathly hot in summer. Yes, many people here are overly concerned with their appearance. But LA is a great place to live, and a great place to visit.
by hobogirl923 on August 3, 2006
Santa Monica is a great place to escape the summer heat. You can spend a whole day visiting the shops on Third Street Promenade or exploring the pier. When it comes time for lunch or dinner, you have many choices. Among them is The Lobster. Situated near the land end of the Santa Monica Pier, many of the tables boast ocean views. While The Lobster is somewhat expensive, it is worth it for a special occasion. The waiters are friendly and personable, and the food is delicious. The crab cakes are almost as good as ones you find in Maryland (which are the best of the best). Families are welcome.
by hobogirl923 on August 8, 2006
Philippe's, located in Downtown just a block or so from Union Station, is an ideal spot for a hearty, budget friendly lunch. Their speciality is French dipped sandwiches, although I suppose they aren't actually dipped. Instead, the au-jus is poured on each side of the puffy white roll, which, by the time you reach the end of your sandwich, is deliciously soggy. Make sure you get a french dipped sandwich if you go there. It seems almost sinful to go to such an institution only to order a hamburger. They have some great sides and desserts. My mom loves their coleslaw and I think their slices of pie or tapioca pudding make a perfect end to a meal. Don't forget the $.60 lemonade (homemade, or at least it tastes like it). Expect a line if you go around lunchtime on a weekend.
No wonder people in Santa Monica look so healthy! Every Wednesday and Saturday, the farmers market is full of fresh produce, flowers, cheese, and baked goods. The market is not at all overwhelming. It runs mainly along a single strip, with organics in one section. For tips on what is best at the market that week, I suggest listening to Good Food on KCRW (89.9 FM) at 11am on Saturday. The host of the show walks around the farmers market talking to the sellers and sampling their goods. If you listen to her show before you go, you are sure to get some great produce. Don't be afraid to try something new; the vendors will be glad to give you cooking tips.
When I told a friend of mine I was going to Watts Towers that weekend, she laughed "why would you want to go there?" True, Watts Towers are not in the best of neighborhoods, but fear should not deter anyone from going to see this Los Angeles landmark. There is a security guard, and the whole place seemed perfectly safe. The towers themselves are handmade of re-bar, chicken wire, and a type of cement. Originally, every surface of the 100-foot tall towers was covered in tiles, pottery shards, glass, stones, shells, and other forms of decoration, but now some parts are left blank because the old section fell apart and had to be replaced. Below the towers is more beautiful tilework. There is a "birthday cake" and a "cactus garden," both covered in tile and other materials, as well as the remains of the artist's house. All in all, Watts Towers are well worth the trip. To see them, one must go on a short tour which costs $7 a person, which might seem pricey until one considers how much maintenance has to be done to keep the site looking as good as it does.
by hobogirl923 on August 11, 2006
The Grove is one of those master planned, Disneyland-esque shopping centers that are popping up all over the country. This one is in the style of some kind of village or town center. It has a fountain that sprays in tune with music as well as a trolley that runs through the center of the shopping center. The center tries to cater to every one's tastes, with stores ranging from Pottery Barn to Tommy Bahama to Anthropologie. Although the shopping center is entirely artificial and isn't actually any kind of a town center, it is still fun to walk around there. If you want an escape from the pristine manufactured environment, visit the Original Los Angeles Farmer's Market, which is right next door.
This farmers market is quite different than those that pop up in parking lots on Saturdays and Sundays. This one, located right next door to the Grove shopping center, is permanent and built in. There is also less of a focus on produce and more focus on dining. My favorite place to eat at the farmer's market is Du-Pars, but there are many other options where you just order at a counter and go eat at any of the tables around the market. If you are in a hurry, ¡Lotería! Grill offers great Mexican food. Besides just food, there are mini shops inside the market. One I always visit is the sticker store called Sticker Planet. I can't name everything offered at the Los Angeles Farmers Market here, but if you want to read more about it, check out http://www.farmersmarketla.com/index.shtml.
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