Los Angeles feels like a hodgepodge of disparate towns, mashed into one giant, perennially sunny, palm tree-studded city. It’s got glittering beaches and boardwalks, lush mountains, jammed freeways, and towering skyscrapers. There’s old Hollywood glamour and new Cali cool. Taco stands are ubiquitous and famouses roam wild. Writing this during quarantine, I miss it all. So here’s a little love letter to L.A., featuring recs from some of our favorite BUST-y Angelenos. This piece is also a practice in manifestation (so very L.A.): hopefully as you’re reading it, Los Angeles will have glimmers of its formerly bustling self, and all of these incredible spots will be welcoming us with open doors.
Start the day with a cappuccino and beignets at the bright and airy Hilltop Coffee + Kitchen in Inglewood, the new spot co-owned by actor Issa Rae. Hopefully it’s the second Sunday of the month, so you can head to the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, the sprawling mother of all vintage markets with several thousand vendors shilling all kinds of wares. Continue the shopping spree at The Plus Bus in Glassell Park where owners Jen Wilder and Marcy Guevara-Prete offer plus-size fashion from colorful mod dresses to sequined crop tops to a rack curated by Gabi Fresh. And pick up the utilitarian jumpsuit that looks good on everyone from the rainbow of colors at tiny clothing shop Big Bud Press in Echo Park.
Emily V. Gordon
Screenwriter and podcaster
Eat: “Jitlada in Thai Town! This unassuming Thai restaurant is intensely spicy, incredibly delicious, often has a long wait, and is completely worth it. I get the Pumpkin with Crab Meat.”
Drink: “I love the Turmeric Almond Macadamia latte at Go Get ’Em Tiger. I usually go to the one in Los Feliz because it’s an outdoor patio restaurant. Having enough time in the afternoon to meet a friend there is a real luxury.”
Chill: “The ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood. I miss and love the communal experience of everyone coming together as a unit to enjoy a movie. The ArcLight is my favorite place to be.”
Eat: “ixlb DimSum Eats in Hollywood is a new favorite. I could eat there every day!”
Shop: “Every time I am on the Eastside I stop by Otherwild in Los Feliz.”
Chill: “Topanga State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains has always been a sanctuary for me.”
Take your post-shopping appetite to Kismet in East Hollywood where chefs/owners Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson serve up modern Mediterranean eats in a soothing, neutral-colored space. Oh, you want dessert? Magpies Softserve in Silver Lake it is! Pastry chef co-founder Rose Schwartz makes all the flavors—like Ube Coconut and Roasted Strawberry—from scratch. Next, indulge your inner desk-supply geek at Shorthand in Highland Park, where owner Rosanna Kvernmo stocks an inspiringly curated collection of stationery sundries. Next, grab a bottle of wine from Vinovore in Silver Lake, a wine shop focused on female winemakers, and a steamy book or two from The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, a romance-only bookstore run by sisters Bea and Leah Koch.
Mandy Harris Williams
Writer, Artist, WCCW programming director
Eat: “El Siete Mares in Silver Lake—my favorite fish taco in the city for approaching 10 years.”
Drink: “Silverlake Coffee in Silver Lake. Three words: Espresso Banana smoothie.”
Shop: “Painted Bird in Silver Lake. I know it’s risky to share your favorite vintage store, but here we are!”
Chill: “Upstairs at Ace Hotel Rooftop in DTLA. I throw a conversational event series at the Ace called SALON. We dive into a critical topic (like the need to recognize Afro Latinx artists) and then go upstairs for a decompression (skinny dipping in the heated pool has definitely happened).”
Hot for Food host and vegan cookbook author
Eat: “Joy on York in Highland Park. I’m obsessed with the vegan Dan Dan noodles.”
Drink: “Crossroads Kitchen in Beverly Grove. The vegan food is amazing but I can also work my way down the cocktail list!”
Shop: “I like browsing and shopping on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice because there are some hidden gems mixed with mainstream stuff.”
It’s time to put on your best martini-sipping lewk for some old-school glamour at Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood, which has been serving movie stars steak and shrimp cocktail since 1919. Then on to the Filipina-owned Genever in Historic Filipinotown; this small, dimly lit bar is Art Deco femme personified. Welp, you’re drunk; it’s time for street tacos—head to Taco Zone in Echo Park, a taco truck mainstay in a grocery store parking lot. If you eat meat, the suadero is insane, but the veggie burrito is an excellent nightcap.
By Lisa Butterworth
Top photo: The Getty by Emily Schur
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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