Saturday, August 16, 2014

Two Things Worth Doing This Weekend - Ramen and Tacos

Just a quick how do you do to tell you two fun things going on in case you're looking for a good time. Both having to do with food. Of course.

First of all, if you like tacos, and if you don't, I don't know you, you might want to check out The LA Taco Festival happening today in Boyle Heights.
To benefit homeless youth, there'll be mariachi music, art, community outreach and TACOS. That's from 2-8pm, at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. It's Cash Only at the door. And you can take the Metro to get there.

Another option - this one happening today and tomorrow in Little Tokyo as a part of Nisei Week is a Ramen Festival.

Honestly, the last time I ate Ramen I think I was in high school, but earlier this week my cute friend, Heather, called and I never heard her so excited. She not only found out about this festival but learned there'll be a gluten-free Ramen option. I mean don't panic, there'll be a lot of gluten there for "normal" people, but there will be an option for those who can't eat the gluten and yet crave the ramen.

The idea that if they have so many options they actually have gluten-free Ramen leads me to believe there'll be A LOT of choices. So with an icepack around my neck to keep me cool, I am very willing to eat hot soup on an August day.
Because that's the kind of friend I am to the Gluten-Challenged.

Hope to see you there!

The 4th Annual LA Taco Festival is happening today from 2-8pm. All You Can Eat passes are sold out but you can still buy (as long as supplies last) tix as follows: $4.00 will get you 1 taco, $10.00 will get you 3, and for $20.00 you get your 8 tacos. It's Cash Only at the Door. Click HERE for more information on Metro & Parking.

The Ramen Yokocho Fest is happening today from 11-11 and Sunday from 11 to 9. There'll be 9 Ramen shops, count 'em, 9,  dishing out ramen from all over (Sacramento to Las Vegas to Japan), DJ's, contests, including a gyoza eating contest (yum). It's taking place at 160 North Central Ave., in Downtown LA. If you're driving, try parking at 101 Judge John Aiso Street, LA, CA 90012. If you're going by Metro it's just a 3 minute walk from the Little Tokyo District Arts Station on The Gold Line. The Admission Price is $5 and the price for a bowl of Ramen is $8, flat. Children 6 and under go in free.

Enjoy! (how can you not?)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Weekend Getaway - San Clemente


"People love the beautiful things." This from the founder of San Clemente, Ole Hanson. You heard me, Ole Hanson. I just love that name so much. You can't help but put on an old-timey voice on if you go to the San Clemente Ralphs because Ole Hanson first used it as a stable and then he opened up that same location as The Hotel For Sick People (aka a hospital). Now it's...
The San Clemente Ralphs, once The Hotel For Sick People
Ole Hanson started the town of San Clemente in the 20's. It was to be a Spanish City by the Sea. And it is. It's far enough from both nearby cities (San Diego and Los Angeles) to feel you've gotten away. And dude, I needed to get away.  
Me Feeling the Rut of Home
Of course I love living in LA. I absolutely do. But if you don't go away once in awhile you have NO perspective on where you live. Someone important said that. 

Me.
Me on Vacation is a Happy Me
San Clemente is really known as a surfer town and home to Camp Pendleton Marine Base. My friend Max's, Dad, was based here in the 60's where he learned to surf before being shipped off to Vietnam. He got his board from Hobie who had one of the first surfboard shops in the country right in Dana Point, which is the town just above San Clemente.
Surfing Family waiting to park at San Onofre
My husband likes to surf and I like to sit on the beach and do nothing so this seemed like a good place for us to go. And he already knew San Clemente. It's the town right above San Onofre where all good surfers (he is one) make a pilgrimage.
Surfers at San Onofre
But the waves were rather flat the weekend we were there so we didn't really partake too much.
Terry making a Dribble Castle
We did though swim in the water. It called to us. San Clemente has one of the nicest, most mellow and fun beaches in SoCal. I had no idea of course. And it's not hard to park there. I fear parking at beaches like nobody's business. It just sounds hard ALWAYS. Of course if you go to San Clemente and want to be very close then you should bring tons of quarters: it's 10 minutes per quarter. We on the other hand found a sweet parking place TWO DAYS IN A ROW right on the street. Parked for FREE whu-what? Two days in a row? Yep. Also the beach bathroom is clean (this from a girl who HATES HATES HATES public bathrooms) and the water is niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

Frankly, it really doesn't take much to make me happy. That's another way of saying money's tight. So why then, might you ask, would I choose a beach town at high season? Because I like to research and find the least expensive way to be happy. Presenting...
Happy: The Patriots' Boutique Motel
I did not take that picture. I found it on the internet. But you get the idea. The Patriots' Boutique Motel is a pretty plain place. In fact my husband thought they should go to a Hotel/Motel Art Fair and buy some more pictures. But in reality, neither of us could care less. The most important thing - and I mean like ESSENTIAL - was the bed was comfortable. And I mean it was outrageously comfortable. Like we didn't want to leave this super plain room because we loved the plain bed so damn much. 
Who needs art?
All I need are some tasty waves, a television set and a comfortable bed and I'm fine. (also the room was super clean and $150.00 per night which included tax and whatever other fees there were. In other words, the price was right).
As for the town itself, there are two main strips: El Camino Real and Avenida Del Mar. I'm not going to lie, it's okay. It's a mixture of Radio Shacks and Subways with cute boutique stores, restaurants and surf shops. Stand-outs include Reclamation, a lovely and beautiful shop that showcases reclaimed wood and bottles used to make one-of-a-kind furnishings and art, one very delicious olive oil store, a store about mermaids, the famed Ralphs, and a sex shop, ConRev. Right on El Camino Real. The girls that work there are really friendly and look you straight in the eye; they don't want you to feel shy. So don't go there if you think you can disappear. You can't.

As for the food, hmmm. Listen, this isn't the foodie capital of the world. San Clemente is a pretty straight-foward place. That being said, here are some highlights:

The Original Banzai Bowl located right on El Camino Real is a fruit, smoothie, juice place and also a hang-out for teens. I loved the interior. And concluded it's a good place to drop in if you want something refreshing:
For breakfast: My favorite place was Zebra's at 1001 South El Camino Real - which also was like a five minute walk from the motel. You walk to the left, past The Bagel Shack (which looked good and thatched), the famous Ralphs Hospital, and then you hit Zebra's. 
The guy who owns it has the best beard I've ever seen in my life. The girl who works the counter has one side of her hair in blue WHICH matches her blue vintage car. The muffins are fresh-baked every morning with fresh fruit in them. Delicious! And their coffee hit the spot. You can trust that I know a decent cup of joe. I'm a major coffee snob, there are a million references about this on this blog, so if I say the coffee is good, it's an end-of-discussion moment. Also they play Bread and Three Dog Night and America and you gotta love a place that plays soft hits from the 70's.
The other stand-out for coffee was in Dana Point, just north of San Clemente. I have no pictures or cutesie stories about JC Beans but again, the coffee was tasty, it was a fast drive from our hotel, and I forgot my wallet and the girl told me that it was okay. No Problem. Just pay me next time.

I like beach people.

Lunch? I don't got nothin to say about that but for dinner, if you're smart, you will not listen to the locals and you'll listen to me. Avenida Del Mar is where all the main restaurants are. And nail shops (yep, we got a pedi at one of the two Minghee's)... 
Terry's first pedi
But back to food. Everyone recommended we go to this one place that shall remain nameless. Here is the place that I want you to try:  Village Mediterranean Rim. It's a Moroccan-y, meaty, Mediterranean-y place with so many choices for Tagines it's unbelievable. (Tagines are slow-cooked meat & veggie stews though I think at Village Med in addition to their meat one-pots there is also a straight-up veggie option). The food is fresh and delicious, stew-y and comforting. Though not all of it is tagined - they also offer entrees like Chermoula Encrusted Salmon ($27) and Braised Leg of Elk ($25). It's romantic, open-air, the service is a little slower than you'd like but you're on vacation so who cares? The owner was born in Damascus, trained in Italy and spent time in Morocco. And Brentwood where he had a successful bunch of restaurants. Now he's here, has been for awhile. He likes all of the freshest ingredients, has good taste and a good eye -- in other words, the ambiance is lovely. So for a romantic, delicious dinner, this is a safe bet. And for what it's worth I highly highly highly recommend the Lamb Meatloaf Tagine served with cous cous. Yumtastic. Tender, tasty, filling, original.

That being said, I cannot lie. My favorite meal was a Noosa Raspberry Yogurt mixed with some salty almonds that I got at Ralph's.
Because you don't really come here to eat. At least that's how I now see it. Truthfully, before we went I'm not sure what I expected or wanted out of our weekend away but what I got was one of my favorite visits to a beach in a long-ass time.
This girl was so excited to be buried in sand. I swear, she was the most adorable thing on the planet
Nothing much beats zinc'ing up your body with sun block (might I recommend Sun Bum Zinc Oxide 50 which we picked up at Hobie's on Camino Real and it was perfect) and chilling out on the sand with a fantastic book. 
This book is so good - addictive.
There were families everywhere, couples frolicking in the waves (yep, including us), kids on boogie boards, adults on boogie boards, surfers, sunbathers, joggers - it was like that scene from "Jaws" minus the shark business.

What a grand way to get out of town and less than two hours away (even less if you download Waze). So worth the drive. And so worth downloading Waze! If you haven't done so, chop chop!
Pedi + Beach = Happy
Directions: While it's just over 60 miles south of LA, San Clemente can easily inch into a mega slow drive. Normally you'd take the 5 from LA there and back. That being said, check out Waze. We did so much circuitous stuff I couldn't possibly repeat it but all I know is we loved how fast our route was. On a Friday, when we left at 3pm we got there at 5. That's pretty amazing considering that should've been the worst traffic on the planet. Do though be careful. If you go the weird Waze way you may end up on Tollroads. Those fees have to be paid relatively quickly. To find out how paying for The TollRoads works, click HERE
Ralphs is at 903 South El Camino Real
Hobie's Surf Shop in San Clemente for Men is 100 South El Camino Real and for Women is at 151 Avenida Del Mar.
Info for The Beach at San Onofre
Info for The Beach at San Clemente
The Patriots' Boutique Motel is located within walking distance of the beach (and the owner even offered to drive us there. LOVE beach people!). Right now a Double during weekdays goes for $109, on the weekends it goes for $139 (not including tax and fees). Obviously this is subject to change. Book through their website for the best deal. They welcome dogs! 711 South El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672. 949-218-6348.
Reclamation is at 105 Avenida Del Mar. 949-545-6400. They offer shipping.
The Olive Oil Store is actually called Oliver's Olive Oil. It's at 211 Avenida Del Mar. They offer shipping.
ConRev is at 401 South El Camino Real. It's right next to a Subway. I didn't see this location listed on their website so I included the link to their Yelp page.
Minghee's is at 132 Avenida Del Mar. Walk In's welcome.
The Original Banzai Bowl is at 120 South El Camino Real. 
Zebra House Coffee is at 1001 South El Camino Real.
JC Beans is at 34114 Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point. 
Village Mediterranean Rim is located at 123 Avenida del Mar. They do take reservations. 949-361-8970. Casual but nice attire.

Enjoy!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Two Things Worth Doing This Weekend: The Motherf*&ker With The Hat and The Norton Simon Museum


Man, you get invited to see theater all the time in LA. ALL THE TIME. But it's not often you see GOOD theater. That all changed for me last night. I had THE BEST TIME! I went to The Lost Studio on La Brea where I saw "The Motherfucker With The Hat." 
Trust me and see this play. Pictured: Shaun Duke, Alex Desert and Chris Amitrano
I went because my buddy, Alex Desert, was in it but had no idea how amazing it is! I know how amazing Alex is but the play - the other actors - everyone involved... fun, funny, smart, moving, suspenseful, deep.  
Star Christopher Amitrano and also one of the play's producers
The Motherfucker With The Hat originally premiered on Broadway in 2011 with Bobby Carnavale and Chris Rock. Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, it was nominated for 6 Tonys, including Best Play. The LA version has an incredible cast of people that might not have the same name recognition of Bobby Carnavale and Chris Rock but they should: Chris Amitrano, Melissa Pino, Shaun Duke, Keili Lefkowitz and my bud, Alex Desert as Cousin Julio. 

The play's running through August 10th and if you go through Brown Paper Tickets, it's 20 bucks. 25 at the door. Click HERE for deets.

But before I went to the play, I was doing a full out cultural day and spent a few hours at The Norton Simon Museum. It is BREATHTAKING. 
A true treasure. Located in Pasadena just off the 134, it's outrageously easy to get to, the parking is FREE, and tonight, from 5-8 pm it is FREE to the public. They do that the first Friday of the month. Currently on display they have a huge Himalayan Buddhist Art exhibit amongst a vast array of Southeastern Asian art which is incredibly  moving:


Downstairs at The Norton Simon Museum



...but always there is a tremendous collection. Rodin's...
Balzac
Rodin's The Walking Man in front of the museum
Picasso's, Rembrandt's, Degas'...




Matisse's...

Giacometti...
Van Gogh's....
Van Gogh's Mom
The sculpture garden is magical to stroll through. 
Frankly I think of it as one of those places you could get lost, spend hours, daydream... 
Sculpture by Henry Moore in The Sculpture Garden at The Norton Simon
Sculpture by A. Maillol in The Sculpture Garden at The Norton Simon

What a tasteful, well-curated museum with immensely beautiful, invaluable and spiritual pieces inside and out. Such a worth-it trip. 

(p.s. for those of you who read this original post when I didn't have to many pictures, I told you I'd go back!)

The Norton Simon Museum is at 411 West Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105. Main number is 626-449-6840. Parking won't cost you a dime. Unless we just got lucky and then I'm sorry!

The Motherfucker With The Hat is now playing at The Lost Studio on La Brea between 1st & 2nd. There might be a man with bongos out front. For tickets, try Brown Paper Tickets. You'll save 5 bucks rather than buying tickets at the door. The play is running until August 10th. Street Parking available. As always, read the signs, feed your meter.
Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2014

New World Mac

I'm only writing this because I'm so sick of seeing my last post! I don't know if I've lost the urge to blog. I don't! So many people blog now. So many opinions. So much is being said. Go here, do that, think this way. Not sure what I think of any of it. I really don't. I just know though when I find a good thing, a really really good thing, I want people to know about it -- especially a good thing in LA that might be under the radar. Let's face it, that's all I ever really care about anyway: secret stairs, secret restaurants, secret tours.

So I was in New Mexico and had a terrible nightmare about what I'll never know when I woke up, disoriented and in moving my hands like a helicopter propeller to figure out where I was I spilled water onto my laptop. It was so weird and startling when I finally found the light and then saw this little puddle; this little innocuous looking puddle. Like it meant nothing. But it meant everything. It was the arsenic and old lace to my constant companion.

I tried wiping it off and praying and blowing on it but it was 2 in the morning. So eventually I closed the top and said good night to it and sort of drifted off into an uneasy sleep where a pool was following me onto a campus and I wasn't wearing any pants.

The next morning I woke only to immediately look at my computer the way you look at someone who's on a deathbed but you're not really sure if they're still alive or how you want to figure that out. I was at my friend's house, who said that we should dry it out. It might be fine. "Really, Cyn." So we opened it up and left it out in the desert sun to get warm, to get color in its cheeks. And on the advice of a Southwestern nerd we didn't turn it on. At night we brought it inside. As the days wore on, we sort of stopped noticing it was there, just hanging around. Outside during the day, inside on the counter no one goes near at night. We just let it sit. And sit. And sit.

Finally it was time to head back to LA. While packing up, I remembered my laptop like some lonesome sock that you can't leave at your friend's house but you know it's useless and no longer has a place with you. Or rather it was an appendage that had no nerve endings; a floppy, lifeless dewclaw that just hung there. In went my metallic dewclaw into my bag like a dead person being transported for burial. Though I had a shard of hope. Perhaps when I got back to LA it would be fine with all that sunshine and that not being pressed ON, etc. All our high-tech methods.

But at The Genius Bar in Pasadena (does anyone else feel scared and alone when visiting The Genius Bar?) I was told the water corroded the board and in all likelihood it was done. Maybe the hard drive could be saved. They showed me the damage. They showed me what I had done with my flailing arms and my forever forgotten dream. And then they told me to try and fix it would be $1,200.00. Oh and it would take days (I already had had to wait a few days just to get in there). $1,200.00 smackaroos. That's like 4 roundtrips to New Mexico or rent or just a ridiculous amount of money. Who cares what I could spend $1,200 dollars on? $1,200 dollars is simply too much. The other option they offered me was to spend more. I could buy a new laptop for two grand. I mean who are these people and what have they done with common sense?

I left. Me and my appendage, walking down the mean, bright, dry streets of Pasadena. I knew what I had to do. I had to get a new computer. Just not the Apple Store way.

I went online for a refurbished laptop. I found one for under a grand so good, good. Once it would come in, my plan was to find a private Mac Repair shop to see if the hard drive was still good. Apparently they couldn't tell me that at The Genius Bar at the time. The Genius Bar--where genius's hang out and drink hope away like an iced chai latte.

So... I kept my fingers crossed. Perhaps my hard drive did avoid the deadly water like Roy Scheider in Jaws. Though Roy did get wet and eventually had to paddle his way back to shore with Richard Dreyfuss. (must find a new analogy).

The computer arrived today. It's almost as nice as my last laptop but six months older. It has a little more weight and harsh edges where my old laptop had sexy woman curves. Either which way I called around about that hard drive thing. Prices quoted were from $75 to $150. Oddly I went to the $150 place. I wasn't sure it would cost that -- the guy said it could be less -- but it was that he seemed nice. I wanted to feel taken care of. The business of computers had up until that point felt cold and harsh and expedited. I wanted a second to breathe. To be treated like a human. To have another human look up from a device, look me in the eye and tell me what's what; maybe even say that everything would be okay. That it all wasn't such a big deal.

I went over to New Mac World in Echo Park on Sunset and Laveta Terrace (otherwise known to my friends as Nicole's old street). Guy is the person who greeted me AND SHOOK MY HAND. And then he introduced me to Andy who was wearing a good rocker shirt and was very nice and mellow and took a look at my hard drive and within moments said it was perfectly fine. I suppose he's a SUPER genius. The transfer would not be hard. He could do it right then and there. And he asked me what I was going to do with the old computer. I'm sure I could have figured out a whole slew of things. Maybe there was a way to make money off the parts. But I also knew most likely I would dream that dream of doing something with it and do nothing with it and then have it sit there and stare at me and act as a surface for papers and old scripts and guilt so I said, "I have no idea." He told me he'd take it and not charge me for the hard drive transfer. I said "Yes." From start to finish I was in and out within 20 minutes. I was done. It was over. And wait, he even carried my water for me out to the car because, well, I'm sure you can understand why: I didn't want to carry my water and my computer at the same time.

I'll get some pictures to post on this eventually. I'm not even sure I'm really back to blogging. But I wanted you guys to know THERE ARE GOOD BUSINESSES OUT THERE! Run by good, hard-working, polite, efficient small business owners who don't want to scare you and aren't juggling 3,000 people an hour. They will see you right away. They're right there. They're fair, they're even, they're cool. And they're in our town. Which is so good.

Yay New World Mac!

http://newworldmac.com/
1498 Sunset Boulevard
LA, CA 90026
They have two designated parking spots but you can also park on the street.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ahhhh SUSHI

I'm no connoisseur regarding sushi. I just know I fell in love with the cuisine when I moved to LA. I used to go to a fun place called Sushi 101 in the valley in North Hollywood. The chef there, Toshi, was a great guy and those were the halcyon days of sushi, shrimp heads, sake and Sapporo. It was a wonderful introduction. But then I moved and when I did, someone, at some point, introduced me to Ike on Hollywood and Gower. Not the nicest section but man, did I chow down.

Oh how I loved Chef Ike - he always bought the freshest fish and always kept the rolls pure. But then he left to go to Japan.  Eventually I heard he opened a new restaurant, Kimagure, in Pasadena on Raymond. I wanted to go but didn't make it there. Money got tight. We moved ourselves. Life got busy. It was as if I forgot sushi even existed. 

Then yesterday for some weird reason I said I wanted sushi. Every now and again it's a part of living in LA: you have to go out for sushi. It's a treat, to be certain, but it's as much a part of the LA experience as going to the beach once in awhile or getting an In and Out Burger.

Oh my God. Had I known I live only 15 minutes from Kimagure I would have gone much sooner. I might go to the beach twice a year but I'll sell my kidney for every other weekend at Kimagure.

Here's some photos. I went a la carte, as I always do:

I never eat grilled octopus. My fear always is it'll be chewy and one of those suckers will adhere to the roof of mouth. Not so here. It was delicious, succulent and I could taste that grilled crispness.
The grilled salmon, no lie, was like butta. Unbelievable. One of the best things I've ever eaten. So tender, melts in your mouth, and presents a fine smoky touch. Oy gavult konichiwa!
Of course the shrimp was lovely, so fresh I think it was wiggling and I ate it just as he served it, straight up, no extra sauce or b.s. mishigas. In fact what I like most about Chef Ike are that his recipes are pure and simple. The fish is the seafood is the star, not the sauces to cover up the ocean. He doesn't load you up with unnecessary calories, fried slivers of this and that and vegetables hardly resembling their original state. He assumes if you're there you like these tastes, you like fish, you like real sushi. When you step into Kimagure, it's as if you're walking to the Metro in Tokyo and just stopped in somewhere to get a quick bite before a long trip.

That being said, check out the generous ginger. Ike don't skimp and I like a little palate cleanser from dish to dish.

Much is not pictured. I was busy eating. Chef Ike made us a nice tuna roll, a kanpyo roll which I'm sure very few people get but I kind of like it for my last thing. It's a gourd soaked in sweet stuff and then wrapped in rice, of course. But the thing he started me with - and trust me - this guy and I go waaaaaaaaaaay back, is my favorite. Halibut sashimi with his perfect semi-sweet silky sauce that is so bright it almost has a hint of citrus. I never asked.

Here's the menu in case you want to have the chef choose for you:
It'll probably look something like this:
But I'm an a la cart-er. I'm very picky and adventurous in doses. Besides Ike knows me. Knows what I like. And what I like is the freshest sushi prepared by a real master. There might be plenty of sushi spots in LA but when you find what you like, and a chef who cares this much about the food -- with a smile he puts together my sashimi -- who wouldn't want to go back?

Ike-san! I salute you!
Kimagure is at 220 South Raymond, Pasadena, CA 91105. Reservations recommended: 626-535-0880. Park at the Del Mar Metro Station. First 90 minutes are free.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Favorite Salad


Just have to make a quick and fast recommendation for one of my favorite salads. Actually it's one of my favorite lunch spots.
On Sunset, just a couple of blocks east of Silverlake Boulevard, sandwiched between Sumi's and Hemingway & Pickett, is Food + Lab. Now there's another Food + Lab in West Hollywood, and that one is fine, but this is the one I love and I can't for the life of me say there's any real major difference aside from the fact that...

...it's in Silverlake.

Food + Lab is simple. Good food. Fresh food. Well prepared. But also the entire place is clean and mellow. New York tiled, metal but comf chairs and and I'm a big fan of the mirror and the artwork and hanging-low light fixtures:

There aren't that many restaurants where I feel I can really think. I can be alone and it's okay. This though is one of them. And though it has delicious sammys...
Grilled Cheese with Kale Salad at Food + Lab
...tons of sides like kale salad and white bean salad, and Deluscious Cookies (which are at the counter and just trust me you should get one, they are fabulous) the reason I go is for one reason and one reason alone.

The Cobb Salad at Food + Lab
This is my favorite salad: The Chicken Cobb. Grilled chicken, yummy little tomatoes, spring lettuce, gorgonzola. It comes with 1 dressing but I ask for two and mix them because they're both AMAZING. They're not fattening, they whip the dressing so they taste rich and have a silky texure and it's a salad and who cares? One is the House Vinaigrette, the other, Lemon. The salad comes with bacon and egg but I don't get either. I feel indulgent with the bacon and I dislike cooked egg. So for me they usually just throw in some more of something like the cheese or the avocado or the tomato. Doesn't matter to me which component is added because they're all so good and the chicken, seriously, is grilled to perfection, charred - a hint of salt. So tasty Tom Colicchio (and it's his voice I hear in my head when I bite into it) would say, "The chicken is cooked perfectly."
Grilled Veggie Salad. Which is good too. But it isn't the Cobb.
They have other salads too, obviously. They can't just serve one. Like they have the extremely popular grilled veggie with goat cheese but I likes what I likes and you'll rarely see me diverge from my original setting.

While you're on the block, it's worth going to the places that align Food + Lab. They're both good little stores -- though one is about to move. Sumi's is going to Vermont which is a shame but they're there for now and the handmade jewelry is really lovely.

UPDATE: SUMI'S HAS MOVED TO 1812 NORTH VERMONT, LA, CA 90027.

Sumi sells both some of her own designs, some of local designers. Very tasteful stuff and a close friend actually got her wedding ring here. 
Wrapped Necklace at Sumi $143
Classy and simple Rose Gold Earrings, designed by Sumi $46
There are also these very cute handmade Carita Viola bags from Finland, tons of artwork and pretty little knick knacks. 

Gorgeous scarf at Sumi $22
On the other side of Food + Lab is Hemingway & Pickett. Also a totally charming and unique store.

$12 for the pair of Territorial Beer Holders
Awesome retro clocks by Bruno. $55.
Terra Nova Natur Oil, 10 bucks.
Original cards.
They're great places. Probably worth the trip alone. But for me, it's very clear why I'm coming to this stretch of land...
Food + Lab is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and caters. Hours are 10 to 9 on weekdays, 9 to 9 on weekends. It's located at 3206 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles 90026. Metered parking is available on Sunset, free side street parking is also worth the hunt but as always, check the signs. 323.661.2666. Their other location is 7253 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood 90046. Hours are 8-8 daily. There's metered parking on Santa Monica and free parking available in the back. 323.851.7120.

Sumi's is at 3204 Sunset. 1812 North Vermont, LA, CA 90027. Monday thru Saturday 10-8. Sundays 11-6. 323.660.0869.

Hemingway & Pickett is at 3208 Sunset. Tuesday thru Saturday, 11-7. Sunday and Monday, 11-5. 323.660.4200.