LA Lately

September was a birthday and back-to-school month well-spent (with plenty of brunch) getting newly acquainted with undiscovered parts of LA. Or, at least, undiscovered by me. Before I had a car, most of my travels around Los Angeles involved specific destinations, always having an endpoint and game plan in mind. And before I was 21, it’s safe to say that most of what the City of Angels had to offer after-dark was off-limits, or at least not quite as fun.

Now that those dark days are behind me, and a new school year, and year of life, were just waiting to be celebrated, I was more than ready to finally see for myself some of the mythical LA landmarks and buzzed-about destinations I still hadn’t had the chance to get to, and to stumble upon a few hidden gems I’d never even heard of at all.

From brunch and books to high-art and my beloved LA street art, September was a cultured month to say the least. Here are a few of my favorite finds and sights from a city that is nothing if not interesting:

  • Between catching up with friends and loading up on carbs after a night of birthday festivities, brunch was a favorite September past time. The Larchmont Bungalow is a perennial favorite for both savory and sweet fare, as well as satisfyingly strong coffee and perfectly sour lemonade. Some new discoveries also included The Hart and the Hunter, an adorably, vintage-vibed restaurant hidden away in the Palihotel on Melrose, which I tracked down specifically for its fried green tomatoes (and where I spotted, and restrained myself from fan-girling over, Aziz Ansari out to brunch, as well.) I also paid a vist to BLD, where the smoked salmon eggs Benedict, homestyle potatoes and fresh coffee, delivered to the table with French Press and all, definitely hit the spot.
  • For my incessant sweet tooth, the decadent waffles, milkshakes and coffees at Syrup Desserts downtown (where USC students seem to hang out in droves but I’d somehow never been) were certainly a treat, though one which should definitely be indulged in sparingly. Other after-dinner detours included margaritas at the Yxta Cocina Mexicana (great food, too) and the rooftop bar at The Standard (pricey, but you may just make back the money you spend on a cover and drinks if some guy pays you $100 to give up your lounge chair.)
  • Another LA bucket list location that I’d had yet to visit was The Last Bookstore, a hipster-y, steampunk-y, book lover’s paradise, two entire floors chock full of books old and new, vintage vinyl records, and even art galleries. I didn’t buy anything because I, admittedly, don’t have much spare time to do recreational reading, and even more shamefully, when I do read, it’s typically an e-book. But the atmosphere was cozy and a bit quirky, and I’m sure if I’d had a little more time to poke around, I probably would’ve walked out with am armful of books, and probably from the Horror, Crime, Law & Weirdness section which especially caught my eye. Oh, and LACMA; that was a first this month, too: I’m more into street art than museum art, but I usually take in at least a museum or two in every city I visit, so I figured it was about time. And as an added bonus, LA residents (including students) get in for free!
  • I also had the chance to poke around a part of Downtown Los Angeles that is rapidly gentrifying, and in particular a tiny little street called Winston, tucked in between San Pedro and Main and spanning just two blocks, where a small little vintage shop with no signage out front, called More Thanne, is bringing a really cool new sense of style, and community, to the area. I wrote about it for Neon Tommy, and I had such a great time photographing the shop too; the shop has such a cool aesthetic!
  • Speaking of writing, I put together a few pieces for the inaugural issue of LA Downtowner, a new monthly circulation which aims to highlight the places, people and events which are revitalizing Downtown Los Angeles. The piece I wrote on the Historic LA Flower Market was featured in the September issue, and it was really cool to see my writing hanging around some of my favorite downtown spots like Urth Cafe, Bottega Louie and Ozero Tea and Desserts.

All in all, September was a memorable month full of good energy and new discoveries, and though autumn in Los Angeles doesn’t quite offer the same atmosphere as fall in the Pacific Northwest, even if the weather seems to stay the same, there’s always something new to discover in LA.

All photos taken with Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

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