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Monday, June 11, 2012

Los Angeles - City of Angels

Downtown LA in the distance
I have a serious romance with Los Angeles.  I lived there many years ago and hope to again some day; so, for the time being, I travel there as often as possible.  I'm quite fond of the food, laid-back vibe, weather, and in my opinion, the uniqueness of it.  I think L.A. gets a bad rap because of the glitter and glamour of Hollywood, but there is so much more to the city than that.

One of the things I love about L.A. is the food, so let's start with restaurants.  I have some staples that I always go to, as well as discovering at least one new place on every visit.  My regulars are Hugo's on Santa Monica Blvd., Swinger's on Beverly Blvd. and Lucky Devils on Hollywood Blvd. (wow, that's a lot of boulevards).

Tofu Saute and a Kir Royale at The Kitchen
Hugo's has delectable and interesting food that is organic, super healthy, and includes unique monthly specials.  The menu is never-ending, but some of my favorites include the go green frittata, the lentils & leafy greens as a casserole, the create-a-plate, and the avocado-hummus wrap.  I always leave there feeling invigorated and ready for a power walk.

Swinger's is just what the name might imply, fun!  It's a hip, old-school diner that goes above and beyond the typical diner menu.  I sometimes just order from the plethora of tasty sides, or get the vegan wrap or tofu saute, which are to die for.  Swinger's also has divine shakes and smoothies.

Cha Cha Lounge
The main reason I go to Lucky Devils is for their fantastic beer selection, which includes local favorites, German and Belgian selections, and best of the USA.  There is window or patio seating on Hollywood Blvd. for some great people watching.  Their organic whole grain salad is out of this world, as well as the grilled organic broccoli, veggie burger, and sweet potato fries.

The outdoor area of El Cid restaurant

I also really like Toast Bakery Cafe, Buddha's Belly, Sharky's Mexican Grill, Caffe Primo, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, El Cid for their flamenco dinner show, and The Kitchen.  My wonderful discovery in February was Truly Vegan, also on Hollywood Blvd.  This place is vegan heaven!  I dined there on 3 occasions in the same week.  Two of my fave dishes are the grilled lentil loaf and the protein salad.  They also have delicious breakfast combos.

Grilled lentil loaf at Truly Vegan
There are many bars/music venues to go along with all of these great food options.  Some that I really like include The Echo, Cha Cha Lounge, The Troubadour, Cactus Lounge at the Standard Hotel on Sunset, Rainbow Bar & Grill, The Well, The Roxy, El Rey, and House of Blues on Sunset.

A book signing of the "The Whip" by Karen Kondazian (read this book)
Other general recommendations I have for the Los Angeles area include Amoeba Records on Sunset for music (ginormous selection and free mini-concerts), the stunning Getty Center, Venice Beach for great people watching and interesting wares for sale, Grauman's Chinese Theatre and ArcLight Cinema in Hollywood for indoor movies, the Groundlings Theatre for comedy, Book Soup bookstore, hiking and yoga in Runyon Canyon, The Grove,  and Eat/See/Hear for outdoor movies.
Beauty at The Getty

 The Getty at night
The Grove is an incredible open-air complex that has it all - an amazing farmer's market, movie theatre, shopping, bars, restaurants, entertainment, and Mario Lopez and Maria Menounos.  These two beautiful people tape the show Extra here live M-F between the hours of 9:00 and 3:00.  Eat/See/Hear is a unique experience that is an absolute blast.  It consists of a movie on a huge outdoor screen, food trucks and local bands (hence the name) shown at different venues all summer long.

A gorgeous place to hike - Runyon Canyon
I hope this post makes you want to explore and see "my LA", as it has this to offer, and more.

Very cool house hidden in the hills of LA


  1.'ve really made the city sound interesting and with a personality that's distinct from Hollywood!

    1. Thank you so much Mala! That was my goal.

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  3. Thank you Ripe Tales! I'm sorry that you "used" to be able to find good information:)