(Thai festival for Thai New Year in downtown LA)
(Lakers vs Clippers)
(Chinese Theatre - Hollywood)
(25 degrees bar and restaurant on Hollywood Blvd)
I try and come to Los Angeles at least once every two years to visit close family that live in the burbs just outside the main part - Downtown LA, Hollywood, Etc. Last year I came for three months alternating between LA, Denver and Oregon where I am pretty lucky to have great family spread in such beautiful places. I felt like I was living like a local, only with a massive backpack on my back and the occasional obligatory tourist activity - i.e. I went to a viewing of a tv show that had Lil Jon in as a guest... I went alone. It was a little awkward to be so excited without having someone to share my excitement with but I lapped up the experience anyway. Side note: Lil Jon totally touched my hand and I fully made eye contact with not his yes but certainly his shines gold grillz (is this how a white girl spells it?) - YE-AH. OKAAY. TURN DOWN FOR WHAT.... Or something like that....
This trip I knew we weren't going to be able to jam pack much in. We only had around 4 days to site see - 2 before Vegas and 2 after Vegas including picking up the Jucy Van and bravely manouvering around the city. I had seen most of the sites before, but I was hoping to add more to the experience and try new things that i hadn't done before like catch the train in and booze up one of LA's renown Sunday brunches (this didn't happen) or try one of the hip and swanky nightclubs down town and rub shoulders with the celebrities (annnnd this didn't happen too). Yep, they didn't happen but what I was greatful for most was to spend some time with my Aunty and Uncle before they jetted off to Europe for my Uncles work (lucky).
What we did with our time;
- Thai New Year Festival -in Thai town just east of Hollywood. It was a great and bubbly festival splattered with fashion stalls (where I picked up a couple of pairs of $2 earrings), clothing, Thai nick nacks and plenty of food stalls. We decided to expand our bellies and do a food crawl throughout the whole street - only to those that had medium lines and satisfied looking customers. We also bought along our I.D and went into the Singha tent area where they served beer towers for all their thirsty and tiddly customers. It ended the street with a Thai boxing match, and I found myself wandering trying to find awesome street art down random streets.
- Lakers game at Staples centre - any type of sporting games in America are great to see. You will see the die hard fans, the drunken fans, the outright ridiculously large court or playing field and the atmosphere is usual pretty great. We snagged some cheap tickets online so do your research. Also if you can take your passport if you are wanting to have a few drinks. We were refused service by one booth as we only had our Australian Drivers License, and if you forget... Keep trying all the booths until you find a friendly one. Or grow a few wrinkles.
- Dodgers game at Dodgers stadium - I had never been to a baseball game so I thought it was time to try and see one. We ended up getting tickets on Scoopon, so always remember to check all your good deal websites... And the seats were okay. It might have been better to pay the money and sit a little closer... Lucky we had super fun fact whizz Emma with us who tried her best to explain the game, but sadly we got a little distracted and left by the ninth ball. Whoops. Dodgers food is completely what you'd expect - hotdogs, fries, pretzels and they come at a price. But I though I would get in the spirit and devoured a hotdog with the lot - ketchup, mustard, pickles and onions. Also the stadium food stall guys are hilarious and givea. Good jingle. Some of them also looks they are one hundred years old and I respect them walking up and down the stadium stairs all night. Wow.
- Downtown Hollywood - We caught the yellow line to union station and then the Red line to Vermont Hollywood station. We did the tourist thing, walked the Hollywood stars strip found a few star names for snaps, went to the Chinese theatre and had a giggle at the pathetic fake Spider-mans and Marilyn Monroes, searched for our favourite stars foot and hand casts in the cement courtyard and had a browse at the Hollywood and Highland shopping complex to site the Hollywoood sign.
- Where to eat - We spent most of our time in Monrovia where my family is based, so if you are around the area check out Myrtle street for some good deals and cheap eats. But here are a few suggestions also and also where we had a few nibbles;
-We have had our fair share of diners in America, but I would have to say that Mel's Diner, even though it is a franchise has been the best. We went to the one just off Hollywood Boulevard, and I had a burrito bowl. Massive sizes and tasty. - pictured
-25 Degrees restaurant is right next to the Roosevelt Hotel. It has funky red decor and looks like it is set in the early days of Hollywood. The staff are okay... A little disinterested, but the food is pretty great. I had 'Number three' - mezzo secco, jack green chilli, chipotle and avocado. The burger patty was cooked to perfection or at least to those who enjoy their steaks cooked right - medium rare. (Pictured)
-Vanderpump - downtown LA - for those who are reality tv show buffs, it was pretty surreal to hit this hotspot and wine and dine at somewhere so beautiful with a reasonable price. Sadly when I went (not this trip) Lisa Vanderpump wasn't there... Or Stassi or Jax but Michael the manager was and that was good enough for me. Definetly book in advance. Definetly go.
-Chipotle Mexican Grill - also a franchise and really classed as a fast food restaurant, however for those who knows me well know that I am obsessed with this place. Ohhhhh sir, burrito bowls are the best. I usually get a steak burrito bowl, with brown rice, black beans, all salads, medium and mild sauce, sour cream and guac. YES I WILL PAY EXTRA FOR GUAC. Yum.
-Panda Inn - also a favourite that I can not miss before I go back to Australia. This stuff is like fricken crack. Orange chicken, Shrimp and Walnut, steamed beans and edamame beans. I died and went to Chinese food heaven. It's not greasy, it's not too heavy and you feel great after you devour your white chocolate tip fortune cookie.
Where we wanted to get to;
-Runyon Canyon - hot spot for celebrities and alike to do a bit of fitness and definetly get your sweat on. The hike is moderate and you can either walk it or jog it. It was a little far out of the way for us especially when we didn't have a car for most of the time, but make sure you park in the right places and check signs. It's notorious for people to get their cars towed from up there.
Here's a photo of me at Runyon Canyon last year!