Monday, June 26, 2006

Walking, eating, shopping, more in L.A.

Agh, so much to blog about, so little time. Here are highlights from my last trip to L.A.

(BTW, much of my L.A. trip involved a LOT of walking and shopping. Oddly enough, very few of my L.A. friends drive to work; several telecommute, and one of them doesn't even have a driver's license.)

  • Downtown L.A.'s Garment District
    (aka Fashion District) My friend Angie was an excellent tour guide, showing me a fantastic bead store, where I got this pretty crystal necklace (pictured) for a criminal bargain.

    She also picked up some felt samples at a fabric shop called Michael Levine. Finally we walked the famous Santee Alley, where you can find knockoff bags and all kinds of cheap stuff. I picked up 2 pairs of flip-flops for $5 and giant white 70s sunglasses for $5.

  • Downtown Culver City: Fried chicken
    There's a popular soul food restaurant called Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. But this time I tried a tasty place called Honey's Kettle Fried Chicken. We got a party pack that fed 8 people with fried chicken, macaroni salad, potato salad, fries, hot sauce, and biscuits served with honey, ALL for less than $40! Awesome!

  • Abbott Kinney Shopping
    (Venice, California) KT also was an excellent tour guide, taking me shopping along Abbott Kinney. We found a great little giftshop called Firefly, where we both bought cute summer hats. She picked up some adorable greeting cards, and I found some cute gifts for kids.

    We had afternoon tea outside at Jin Patisserie, a favorite bakery shared among my friends. KT raves about their caramels, but I haven't had those. Everything there is yummy and pretty.
    We also browsed at Tortoise, an enchanting gift store filled with beautifully designed, mostly Japanese, minimalist ceramic and wood items. A French family walked in, with a glamourous teenage daughter who kept gasping at everything and gushing, "J'adore!", in disbelief, like:
    "Zhah. Door."
    "ZHAH. DOOR."
    "Zhah. DOOR!"
    "C'est AHN. Croyable!"

    I also found a reversible floral-patterned skirt at another boutique, that had a sort of 50s apron look, like something from Anthropologie, but on sale! (We also picked up some super-cute undies at another boutique, but I won't get into that.) I also love Brick Lane, a boutique that carries all my favorite British labels, like Orla Kiely, Ben Sherman, etc. Sadly, they are not the cheapest items.

    Later that evening, KT brought me back to a bar on Abbott Kinney called "The Other Room", where they have fruity-flavored Belgian beers among their vast menu. The raspberry one was tasty!

  • Venice Canals, CA
    I've been here before, but it's always fun to visit and peruse the variety of Craftsman, Spanish or Modern-styled houses. There are cute ducks, walking bridges, and people walking their dogs. It's like a little piece of Europe, where people can rowboat (or paddle boat) over to their neighbor's awesomely modern house... or to the other crazy house decked out in Flamingos.

  • Silverlake Shopping
    Quynh showed me around her new hipster neighborhood. We had lunch at Good, a microbrew restaurant, where we shared a tasty chicken & mole sauce, with a hazelnut malty beer called Rogue.

    Despite my mistake of shopping in Silverlake on a Monday, when half the stores are closed, I managed to snag a cute pair of shoes and a very attractive, floral, vintage-styled (and affordable!) summer halter dress. There was a great wine shop, a cheese shop, several fun gift/clothing boutiques, and a great sneaker shop called Kicks.

  • Tricycling to 3rd Street in Heels
    (...and dresses.) My friends Angie & Jo love to tricycle together in L.A. They are the most gracious hosts, that they let me borrow Jo's trike. So Angie and I took a ride from their apartment to Santa Monica. I wore the halter dress I just bought in Silverlake, and it was actually really comfortable to bike in. It was hot and sunny, so the dress was refreshingly airy.

    (I got some funny looks from people, but something about being 30+ makes me not too concerned about that anymore. I'm going to be a goofy old lady, and people are going to have to deal.) Once we got to 3rd Street Promenade, we shopped around, only to realize that my heels were not great for walking very far. But juuuust before we rode the bikes back, Angie spotted a great 10-dollar dress in a window, which fit me really nicely. She pretty much made me buy it.

  • Arcadia: Tasty dumplings
    "Xiao long bao" translates literally to "small dragon dumpling." These delicious little hot morsels are Taiwanese dumplings that are steamed and somehow contain deliciously juicy, hot broth inside. This particular restaurant chain, called Din Tai Fung, is world reknowned for this dumpling. They have a branch in Taiwan, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Arcadia. It's pretty much in the boonies for L.A., but Arcadia is known for the Chinese community and food.

    I am told that Din Tai Fung's secret to the dumpling juiciness is that they put a broth ice cube inside each dumpling, so that when it steams, extra juice stays inside. But it's unclear how their dough remains so thin yet resilient enough to not pop open when picked up by chopsticks. Anyhow, they were yummy! Definitely the basic pork version reigns supreme. The other variations (w/ veggies and crabmeat) are okay, but the basic one RULES. And the potsticker-shaped ones had meticulously pleated tops!

  • Westside: Japanese bar food & Omakase
    KT is always great at recommending restaurants. For our long-awaited reunion with our 1993 college dorm roommate, we indulged in an Omakase dinner at Takao, in Brentwood. Definitely the sashimi dishes were the highlights, especially the truffle and sesame-seasoned salmon slices.

    Another evening, KT and I enjoyed Musha, a Santa Monica restaurant known for Japanese small plates, considered something like bar food. It's a fun way to try lots of different dishes. Of course, I had more fried chicken there. (What's a vacation without some gastronomic indulgences!?)

Well that's all I had time for today! Tune in next time for the Noe Shopping Report!

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Blogger me@co said...

yay! glad you had such a fun time down here, you shopaholic you! incentive to move down here sooner???

12:21 PM  
Blogger copykat said...

yum. reading your recap makes me hungry all over again!



2:32 PM  
Blogger the.nicole.harvey said...

ach, I cannot believe my old slum has a microbrewery. but right on with the thirty year-olds wave their hands in the air like they just don't care. really, we are lucky to live where we live because for the most part, nothing we do raises eyebrows. if anything, I'd smile and wish I was on a trike if I saw you.

I don't suppose you noticed if come to mama was still in the basement of tsunami? that was one of my great secrets in the lakes o' silver...

11:55 PM  

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