LA Beyond the Art
As the song goes: “LA is a great big freeway…”
and an Angeleno’s favorite pastime is to get really territorial about the neighborhood they live in. It’s East vs. West out here in the great frontier and you’ll constantly hear people who live on the West Side of the city say they’ll never go East and vice versa. Don’t be like them. Flex your driving privileges and go exploring. Because the secret to LA is that it doesn’t all come to you… you have to go to it.
Here is a little mini-guide for Superfine! attendees to enjoy: LA Beyond the Art…
Downtown Los Angeles gets bigger every year, with more outposts from other cities (mainly NYC) that are constantly cropping up across its diverse metropolis. Ace Hotel, Freehand, and The Nomad Hotel all have locations in LA with their own quaint restaurants and café’s (if you’re really missing NYC, Café Integral is at The Freehand).
Opened in 2012, Bestia is some of the best rustic Italian food you can find in all of Los Angeles. You need their pasta and you need reservations. If you’re looking for another good meal downtown, Botegga Louie offers hip and casual fare. For fast bites, there are locations of Sweetgreen and Shake Shack. And if you want a fun Mediterranean treat, try Bäco Mercat— always a unique and changing menu with lively atmosphere.
From Superfine Co-Founder, Alex Mitow: “For the best quick bite in LA, I love popping over to Grand Central Market, just five minutes from SFLA. The juxtaposition between classic local purveyors and new, innovative vendors is what makes it the pinnacle of food markets in the US. You can’t go wrong with any of the taco stands, but if you’re feeling like a lighter bite: indulge in a dozen oysters, a shrimp cocktail, and a glass of rosé at The Oyster Gourmet.”
Highland Park was a previously a neighborhood that you never really had a reason to visit unless you lived there, but now it is the place to be. With new and revitalized establishments located up and down the main Figueroa Street, you can take a stroll and just pick a place.
Homestate Tacos is Austin come to roost in SoCal: yes they have Migas and their tacos are truly addictive. Be prepared to go there at least once a week. That’s what I do.
Civil Coffee is locally owned and offers not only a nice place to work, but interesting coffee concoctions. Try the Figueroa (it comes with a cookie) or the Arroyo (it has homemade lavender syrup), both named after the neighborhood’s main streets.
Owned by the founders of Stone’s Throw records, the recently opened Gold Line Bar is a cocktail and music-lover’s dream. With a friendly staff and a giant wall of records that DJ’s pull from to play on the spot, it’s a real vibe.
HiPPO restaurant is hip, it’s true. But it’s also a delicious dining experience with a great wine list.
Tucked away from the main areas of Highland Park is Amara Kitchen, a quaint café serving a menu of breakfast and lunch that is worthy of daily visits.
Silver Lake / Echo Park / Virgil Village
Before the revitalization of Highland Park, there was the gentrification of Silver Lake, which is like the Williamsburg of LA. While in the neighborhood, don’t miss Intelligentsia Coffee in the Sunset Junction- and for an extra buzz, order their off-menu signature drink, the iced quad-shot Angelino.
The best lunch on this side of town is Sqirl. You’ve probably heard of their incredible homemade jams. The restaurant’s menu is equally as wonderful. I highly recommend the Crispy Rice Salad.
The best Happy Hour in Silver Lake is probably The Black Cat with really great food and drink specials every day from 4pm to 6pm.
For fancier dinners, try the French bistro, Café Stella, or the outdoor California eatery, Cliff’s Edge. You can also venture down Sunset Blvd. to Echo Park and get some truly incredible New American cuisine at Ostrich Farm. I recommend the Herb Roasted Chicken.
Speaking of Echo Park, something weird and wonderful to see is the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a non-profit organization thought up by author Dave Eggers that sells everything you might need for a trip through the fourth dimension. Proceeds from all sales go to funding a literacy tutoring center that is located in the back.
From Superfine Co-Founder, Alex Mitow: “When I’m in Hollywood and need a coffee and snack, I pop over to Aussie-styled Paramount Coffee Project on Fairfax. Their latte with homemade macadamia nut milk (I’m dairy free) is second to none and I’ve spent months trying to recreate their signature English muffin with eggs and bacon, which is also a great deal.”
Yes, LA Art Week is taking place mostly on the East Side. And yes, with rush-hour traffic sometimes a trip to the other side of the city can take over an hour— but did you read my intro paragraph? Venture out. Go west, my friend.
Abbot Kinney was a developer and a conservationist, but it is also the name of one of the main streets of Venice, California where you can spend day and night shopping, eating, and drinking.
Like Bestia (mentioned above), Felix Trattoria is another amazing place for rustic Italian. Chef Evan Funke built a special temperature-controlled pasta making room within this restaurant to ensure that all the pastas are perfect: and they are.
If you can’t get into Felix, The Tasting Kitchen also offers yummy pasta, but more on the Mediterranean side. Another great spot on the main drag is Gjelina for New American, and their artisanal bakery, Gjusta.
If you need to cleanse, a very LA experience is Moon Juice with yummy organic cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and nut milks.
If all the eating and art-ing is weighing you down, then look no further than the Self-Realization Fellowship to chill out. With locations in both Mount Washington and Pacific Palisades, these city retreats are free and open to the public and offer beautiful gardens, a lake shrine, and mediation areas geared towards helping you recharge.
From Superfine Co-Founder, Alex Mitow:
“Any time I’m in LA, I’m all about the hiking. They say nobody walks in LA, but everyone hikes! My favorite easy to get to hike is the Runyon Canyon trail. If I’m in a hurry I’ll just walk the fire road, and still feel like I’ve gotten some nature in for the day. Another really unique hike with completely different scenery is Bronson Canyon, where you can see the original Batman cave. Last, walking the Venice Canals is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon admiring houses and wishing you’d bought them twenty years ago. I’ve been with friends on gorgeous days and only seen 1-2 other people out walking their dogs, it can be a very tranquil relief from the Abbott Kinney bustle.”