random observations from the first full day of the Los Angeles mini-sojourn:
- Atlanta tends to be my frame of reference with Los Angeles due to what I had heard from friends who had experienced both. I did not see the bucolic Atlanta a hell of a lot, so that showed in my first entry. However, there are a couple of ways that Los Angeles and Atlanta are a LOT alike. One is the traffic and massive roads – though LA has a curious lack of turn lanes considering the traffic. The other of the areas is in how small the downtown actually is. Today, we took to exploring LA’s downtown – the amazing thing is how it actually really only amounts to a couple dozen blocks (granted the blocks are large). We started in Little Tokyo but went to Pueblo de Los Angeles and Chinatown and really did not take up much time.
- LA’s Chinatown, the inspiration for Polanski’s classic of course, is actually a bit of a disappointment. Chunking Plaza holds a lot of young artists galleries and showings, and the work varied the way that all artists could vary – typical bell curve sort of thing. However, the mom and pop restaurant thing – largely underwhelming and (granted this was Thursday afternoon) curiously deserted.
- LA’s Little Tokyo on the other hand, was pretty cool. A contrast to the tourist knick knack silliness of Olivera Street – ok, not a contrast, there was tourist trap Hello Kittyness – the Japanese section was legitimately cool and interesting. In particular, we went and got lunch at Sushi-Gen, a highly recommended sushi joint in the area. You knew it was a special place given the Disney-World sized line that was forming at 11 AM (we got in the front). Also the menu was lacking in chef’s rolls – the fish was the star. I got the Sushi Combination special – which came with a salmon skin and green salad which was a tasty start. The sushi was lovely – I thought the “taste the difference” thing with California was a wives’ tale, but with the tuna, it just melted in your mouth. It was just so much fresher as to render East Coast Sushi silly. The eel was similarly lovely. The Tamago/Japanese Omelet I just don’t think I like generally. (food porn below)
- Dinner took us to the Kogi truck – which was at UCLA. UCLA campus driving through was ok, but did not fill me with yearning to not have been a Brown graduate :). Kogi itself is a Korean-Mexican mashup food truck. I got a Kogi dog, a hot dog with a Korean spicy slaw (with cabbage, bean sprouts, kimchi spices) – the best Slaw Dog I have ever had. Also shared in a Kimchee Quesadilla which was delicious, crispy, cheesy and spicy. This was the best food truck I have experienced, not even close. Dessert a cookie sammich at Diddy Riese. Normally, cookie ice cream sammiches are awesome – when the cookie is hot, so much the better. Good Humor this was not
- Attended a Dennis Hopper exhibit at the Geffen at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Very modern, conceptual – the notion of taking a common piece, calling it art and suddenly, it’s art! Warhol pictures abounded. It was interesting, but without photographing the works, hard to discuss further.