a Week in LA

During the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I was in Los Angeles taking advantage of visiting friends before they returned to Japan.  (thank you Hikaru & Mayuko!) It was a chance not only to hang out with them, but also see LA almost for the first time – if you don’t count when I went to the Disney and Knot’s Berry Farm theme parks when I was 12, and countless books/films/movies.

I have additional images in my flickr set and here are a few highlights :

santa monica pier

Early on we visited Santa Monica Pier, the original Muscle Beach, and walked the 3rd Street promenade.  Dinner was at Katana Robata & Sushi Bar to celebrate.

houses of Manhattan Beach

Then we had did a long scenic drive though Manhattan Beach, down to Palos Verdes and Point Vicente then final over to the port of Los Angeles (huge!) and, in Long Beach, the Queen Mary passenger liner (interesting), the the excellent Aquarium of the Pacific (bioluminescent jellyfish, sharks and more!).    Dinner was at the excellent Antonio‘s (7470 Melrose Ave ) : not fancy but large helpings of good Monterey and Mexico City food at reasonable prices.

We had lunch then next day at Torafuku (10914 W. Pico Blvd) : BEST JAPANESE FOOD EVER.  (consider use of blinking tag here…) The food -  grilled fish, “Kamado” cooked rice, etc – was amazing but at a fraction of the price i would expect to pay.  It was so good we talked about it for days and went back for a equally good dinner (including tofu I liked, and I don’t like tofu!) on our last night.  I we ever move to LA it will be because of this.
Torafuku grilled fish

That afternoon was all about the Getty : the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, which is an amazing art collection in an amazing building, in a (yes) amazing setting. and it only cost $10 for parking!

The next day was involved the Llttle Tokyo area in Los Angeles (including the best ramen at Daikokuya) getting lost in Beverly Hills and checking out Rodeo Drive (if you can’t tell that’s the Prada store you can’t afford it!) and having a sweet attack at Sprinkles Cupcakes (with it’s line up, it is still worth it!).
sprinkles outside

That night we ate Ethiopian at Meals By Genet in the near by little Ethiopian. It was friendly and good!

another day (and more food!) : checked out UCLA and IN-AND-OUT Burger (didn’t try the “secret menu”). Also went to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). A art collection as good as and as big as the Getty!! after five o’clock its “pay what you can” and they have a free Friday Night Jazz concert. We saw the a fraction of want they have but I recommend the “The Pavilion for Japanese Art”.

We ate Italian (Dolce at 8284 Melrose Ave), and despite being a celebrity restaurant the food and service is very good. You can also get the food for half price on Monday’s, but you need to reserve in advance.

Griffith Park Observatory

On our last day we went up to the Griffith Park Observatory, saw the show and then the sunset, then raced to Little Osaka, to visit the main Giant Robot store (this makes 3 in a year including San Fran and NYC), before going a few blocks away to that final dinner at Torafuku.
Giant Robot LA

All in all a very good time! (as can be told from the 5+ pounds I put on.) It’s a strange spread out city, with friendly people, good food, lots of art and culture and too many cars.  The weather was warm (33 degrees canadian or 91 degrees foreign-heit), and very very sunny.

A few things and place still to visit or revisit, but I got a good sense of LA and will be re-reading/viewing some favorite LA based stories to repaint those mental pictures.
panarama from Griffth south to La

One Reply to “a Week in LA”

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