Monday, March 12, 2012

Los Angeles Favorites

Upon moving to Los Angeles, I was shocked at its monumental differences from...well, most cities I have ever experienced. LA is extraordinarily spread out and originally developed as distinct neighborhoods. Its downtown was created in the beginning of the 1900s, consisting mainly of banks and law firms. The addition of cultural institutions, restaurants, cafes, and general signs of city life came rather recently, something long-time LA natives consistently remark upon. Generally speaking, these experiences usually take place outside of downtown and require time and transportation (private, as public is limited).

That being said, there are many places and things to do in Los Angeles that I have come to love!

Little Tokyo is walking distance from downtown and features some of the best sushi and ramen houses in Los Angeles. My favorite is undoubtedly Hama sushi, which serves authentic-style sushi and sashimi in an intimate space. Unless you are with a party of four or more, seating is at the sushi bar and orders are requested directly to the sushi chefs.

Photo credit: kevinEats

Right down the street from Hama is Four Leaf, a cafe that features specialty teas, crepes, and whimsical deserts, such as earl grey creme brulee. My personal favorite is their lavender milk tea.

Photo credit: Four Leaf

My absolute favorite coffee in downtown is at Urth Caffe, where their Italian cappuccinos and Moroccan mint lattes are made not only with exquisite flavor, but also with adorning designs.

Italian Cappucino

Pazzo Gelato in Silverlake is perfect for a quick, midweek break and rotates their unique flavors on almost a daily basis. Some of my favorites are almond fig, white chocolate lavender, coconut macadamia nut, fresh mint chip, and blood orange. Pazzo also purchases as many of their ingredients as possible from the local farmer's market. Win-Win.

Photo credit: LA weekly

Though Los Angeles boasts the huge, flashy Getty center for its visual art, I prefer the smaller, more intimate collection at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. The series of petite Degas sculptures is seemingly endless and the museum houses one of my favorite pieces of visual art (Van Gogh's 1889 Mulberry Tree), not to mention the beautiful lily pond on the grounds.

Obviously SoCal is famous for its beautiful beaches, and it lives up to the reputation! Some of my favorite ways to experience the beach include hiking and biking. Biking between Santa Monica and Venice Beach is beautiful, especially at sunset. Some of my favorite hikes include the Temescal Canyon ridge in Santa Monica and Point Dume in Malibu.

Photo credit: Experiencing Los Angeles

Finally, my cupcake bakery of choice is the original: Sprinkles in Beverly Hills! The cake is unbelievably flavorful and has the perfect texture (not too dense but not crumbly, either) and their frosting is so good that they actually offer frosting shots on the menu! My favorite cupcakes here are the classics: black and white and red velvet.

From bottom left: red velvet, coconut, black and white, dark chocolate

Needless to say, being a musician is extremely time consuming. When I do have a moment here and there, these are some of my favorite things to do.

Until next time,

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