April 7, 2012
I liked both places very much. I can’t believe it’s taken me forever to get to both of them.
Since the reporter in me won’t stop asking questions, I found out a few businesses that are quite possibly going to lease space right next to Handsome Roasters on Mateo.
First off, a catering company called Heirloom-LA is looking to lease a restaurant space. With their humane “farm to plate” concept (and gourmet lasagna cupcakes), Heirloom-LA would most certainly be welcome in the Arts District. We need some place like this! Do it!!!
Secondly, a whiskey distillery is supposed to open in the same complex. This place would offer whiskey tastings.
Handsome currently bridges the space between Industrial St and the rest of the Arts District, and I’m excited for the bridge to get a little bit bigger. Pretty soon, I’ll be able to walk the neighborhood at night.
February 19, 2012
The other night I was driving home through the Fashion District. There was traffic. While I was inching up San Pedro, I looked out my window and noticed a vintage sign that said “Paul’s Kitchen”. I googled it right away, and found out it was a Chinese restaurant that had been there for years and years. (” After emigrating from Hong Kong in the late 1930s, Yee’s father, Sai Ning “Paul” Yee, opened his first restaurant, Paul’s Cafe, sometime in the early 1940s in what was then the city market on San Julian Street. He returned to China in 1946 or 1947, married, had three sons , then came back to Los Angeles and opened Paul’s Kitchen a block away from the old location at 1012 S. San Pedro Street, where the Yee family lived in a flat of old, abandoned rooms above the restaurant.”)**
A few nights after I found it, I tried it.
This is what I saw when I got there. It was almost like a diner-a Chinese diner with portraits of baseball players and news articles. As we sat down, we were greeted with crispy noodles and soup. I loved the 60s-70s vibe.
When we received the menus, I saw the restaurant was “cash only” (just like so many other great hole-in-the-wall, authentic places in LA).
We ordered some fried wontons, kung-pao chicken and friend rice.
The food was pretty solid. It was filling and not too greasy. It came quickly and the prices were reasonable. The atmosphere was awesome, and the people watching was great. Plus–It’s known as one of Tommy Lasorda’s favorite places—so much so that the menu features a Tommy Lasorda Special. **
This guys must come here a lot. He looks like a regular–with his book and Jeopardy on the TV. I might become a regular too. I love finding cheap eats in Downtown–especially places that have been here forever.
November 23, 2011
600 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
I’ve been watching this place for a while—and not just because it has the word “art” in its name. I have a lot of friends who live on Main St, so I’m in the neighborhood quite a bit.
Right after a quick trip to Pussy & Pooch for some gourmet cat food with a friend, I walked inside the seemingly open restaurant/bar/deli/market. They weren’t quite up and running. However, Patrice Rozat, one of the owners invited us in to look at the space and try some appetizers and sandwiches.
They seated us in the restaurant section (pictured above). There really wasn’t much of a selection for appetizers. We were offered either black salmon ceviche or some kind of steak tartare. I don’t eat red meat, so I chose the salmon. My friend had the tartare.
Here is my dish. I totally forgot to take a picture until I was half way done. I was famished.
This dish was amazing—–SOOOOOOOOO good. Everything was complimentary during our visit, but I would have easily paid for this. And I will. This might be one of my favorite dishes I’ve ever had in LA. The fish was delicious. It was a tiny bit spicy, as it had peppers. It also had creme fraiche and pomegranate seeds. This dish was a surprise…a tasty surprise for my mouth. I will go back to Artisan House just to have this dish again.
My friend’s steak tartare was just medicore. At least it looked pretty.
After we were done tasting the appetizers, we were asked to fill out a questionnaire about the food and ambiance of the 90-seat restaurant.
The restaurant was pretty, but kinda generic. I liked the artwork, as it was a bit unexpected. I also really loved the bar (which was not open when we were there). Apparently they have molecular mixologists and fun drinks. I’ll have to try one next time.
After we filled out the paperwork, we were escorted to the market side of Artisan House. There were lots of empty shelves, but they looked like they were stocking the store and deli with a good selection of high-end wine and gourmet food products.
We then got to order off the sandwich menus. The items in red were not available during our visit. I took a photo of the other side of the menu, as you will be able to make your own sandwich in the future.
I had Mary’s Smoked Turkey sandwich, and my friend had the Reuben. We were offered sides, as well. I had Israeli couscous, and he had quinoa. We thought the sandwiches were okay. Mine was very tasty, but the bread didn’t really work. It was just plain wheat bread. It needed to be toasted or have some crunch. The Reuben was toasted, but not very thick. We agreed that the ingredients should be piled a bit higher. The couscous was okay–not as good as Lemonade’s version. But, the quinoa was really good. I would go in and order just that. Again, another item that will bring me back.
I enjoyed my visit to Artisan House. I know this place will be successful. I think it’s really smart that they are opening (softly)to the neighbors by offering complimentary tastings. Word of mouth will bring lots of people here. I talked to another friend who had a full dinner here the other night. He said the menu was limited, but delicious.
There’s also really good people behind Artisan House. Patrice (formerly, Breadbar, The Four Seasons and Mr. Chow), was running a tight ship. And Jason Ryczek(One Sunset and Boa), the executive chef, really wanted to know our opinions in order to modify the food and make it better. It was nice interacting with both Patrice and Jason. I can’t wait to come back.
October 5, 2011
Yeah, that’s right. I just discovered the joint. It’s one of those places I just couldn’t wait to write about. The place has actually been there forever. It’s the old 410 Boyd space.
Some friends invited me to check out the new bar/restaurant last night. I got to the spot, which is between 3rd and 4th off San Pedro. I parked around the corner (on a kinda sketchy block), because
Tip #1: I didn’t know there was a huge free parking lot (after 6pm).
Tip #2: Escondite doesn’t have a lot of signage, so look for the large, blue neon arrow.
When you get inside, you might be shocked by the thematic Western Decor. It’s not cheesy—it’s kinda great. The lighting is really good. If the lights were totally on, it might be a bit tacky. But with the lights dimmed and tinted, the restaurant/bar is attractive.
Tip #3- Check out the bathrooms. There was a really cool sink in the women’s bathroom. Besides, it’s super fun to walk back and forth through the swinging Western doors.
Tip #4 – There’s great people watching at the bar. When I was there, the seats were sprinkled with random people-motorcycle dudes, businessmen, artists….you know, locals.
Tip #5-Talk to Jade- the bartender. I had a pretty lengthy discussion about what makes Escondite magical.
Tip #6- Get a menu. I love the cover. It’s so strange.
And check out all the unique burger combinations. I like the fact that you can order anyone of the burgers as a veggie, chicken or beef burger. Here’s a few of their gourmet burgers (with unconventional toppings):
Click here to see their entire menu.
Tip #7- Order the Buffalo Mushrooms as an appetizer. It’s like vegetarian hot wings—and so yummy. Actually, they have TONS of vegetarian options. Their chili is even meat free!
Tip #8-Grab a beer. They have 9 types of beer on tap, and 15 different kinds by the bottle. They also have a full bar.
Tip #9-Sit on the patio. This is where the magic happens.
Tip #10- Go to Escondite for brunch. I heard it’s delicious. There’s even reggae and football on weekends.
Escondite is open SEVEN days a week 11am -2am. And, they don’t stop serving food until 1am. It’s a total game changer-right?
September 29, 2011
Every morning I get coffee on my way to work. Usually, I stop at one of my favorite local chains and get a vanilla latte. I started a new routine. I’ve been visiting the Arts District’s own Daily Dose. Okay, so maybe they don’t have vanilla syrup, and it takes a little longer to get your drink than it does at one of those chains. But, they serve Intelligentsia coffee. And,…I’m sure the agave is much better than the artificial vanilla sweetener I usually add to my latte.
The Daily Dose is located through an adorable alleyway on Industrial St. The seating is also located outside. DD definitely doesn’t feel like it’s in LA. It’s a magical spot that feels a bit like a hidden cafe somewhere in Europe. There’s free wifi, and the location provides tons of creative inspiration.
I live just a hop, skip and a jump away from DD. I can’t believe it took me so long to actually visit. Although I’ve been getting my coffee there quite frequently (as of late), it wasn’t until last weekend that I tried the food.
One of my best friends was in town from NYC, and really wanted some good coffee. I took her to DD. When we got there, we decided we were hungry. The owner, Sarkis Vartanian, (who is always there when I visit) recommended the scramble breakfast.
It took about 20 minutes to get our food. We enjoyed the coffee and the company while we waited. I recognized tons of people. There were neighbors everywhere! We were starving by the time Sarkis brought the food out. But, breakfast was such a treat! It really felt like we were guests at his home. The meal was delicious. I’m totally going back for food next weekend. I also want to try lunch. Their sandwiches are supposed to be amazing.
I’m so lucky to have such a sweet spot in my neighborhood.
September 12, 2011
I heard a rumor they were shooting Batman: The Dark Knight Rises underneath the 6th street bridge. So, I found my way over to the set. That’s a true story….It was pretty clear, even a few blocks back, someone was shooting a $500 million movie. The other night, I talked to some of the set security guards on my way home from Villains Tavern. One of the guys was so mad he had to guard a generator, while most of the other security guys were getting to watch the action sequences with explosions. I tried to peep my way onto the set, but it was a very closed set. The paparazzi were practically hanging from the top of the bridge, hoping to get a $30,000 shot of Christian Bale or Anne Hathaway.
While I was at Villains, I heard another rumor. I heard that the same cats that run that place are re-vamping Bordello (the old Little Pedro’s). They are going to make it an arcade-type place where you can play skee-ball to win tickets, which translate into free drinks instead of free stuffed animals. Pretty rad idea. I hope it’s true.
The other thing I heard was that a pretty famous chef is attached to the new Gastro-Pub opening up in Royal Clayton’s space. I guess he is really sweet, but that’s all I know. I also received a letter from the Department of City Planning that states Yuval Bar-Zemmer and the Elizabeth Peterson Group are trying to rezone 1855 Industrial St. The new pub (replacing Clayton’s) intends on staying open until 2am. Also, this zoning request incorporates three separate spaces; a sit down restaurant; a bar/lounge with live music; and a gourmet market.
“Pursuant to Section 12.24-W, 1 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code, a Conditional Use Permit to allow 1) the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption with a 3,912 sq ft restaurant (Studio 1), seating 157 patrons with hours of operation from 6am-2am daily; b) the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption in conjunction with a 3,251 sq ft bar/lounge (studios 9 and 10), with live entertainment seating for 179 patrons with hours of operation from 4 pm to 2am Monday to Friday and 11am -2am Saturday and Sunday and c) the sale and dispensing of a full line of alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption in conjunction with an existing 2,394 sq ft gourmet shop (studios 5 and 6), seating 36 patrons with hours of operation from 6am-2am daily; all located within a six-story adaptive reuse live/work loft condominium building with 130 live/work units and three commercial units. “
The original Royal Clayton’s was only about 3,000 sq ft, so I don’t know where they are going to be getting this additional footage? I’m guessing the “studios” referenced above relate to this floorplan:
I already know of one concerned neighbor. I received a notice of a Public Hearing where said neighbor will appeal the Zoning Administrator’s approval.
August 30, 2011
This past weekend I wanted to find a new breakfast place in Downtown LA. There’s a gazillion yummy restaurants, but I wanted to find a new dive-perhaps a place I could go every weekend. I was craving The Pantry, but I was little under-the-weather and didn’t want to stand in line. And then….I found Nick’s!
Right past Chinatown, on the way to St. Vincent’s, there’s it was. I must have driven by it a hundred times, and never really noticed it.
Well, It’s been there since 1942. And, according to our lovely waitress, people who frequented the place back then still come in now.
Parking was a breeze. There’s a parking lot. And, on our way in, I noticed two becca pieces, so I knew the place was cool.
Here’s one of the Beccas:
When I got inside, I realized Nick’s would be a perfect location for a movie involving a diner. Just take down the tons of amazing Los Angeles ephemera hanging on the walls, and the diner could be anywhere.
I imagined Bukowski frequenting Nick’s. It seems like his sort of place. The staff seemed to know everyone. The waitresses were super friendly and down-to-earth. They were not actresses. They were professionals. There were so many scrumptious items on the menu that we requested their help picking our breakfast.
This is what we got:
My friend got eggs and corned beef hash with a side of bacon (which was amazing). I got the Scrambled SoCal.
Everything was delicious, fresh and homemade. The only downside–my scrambled egg portion seemed a bit small.
I’ll definitely be returning. I want the wait staff to know my name.
August 16, 2011
I was just recently introduced to Two Bits, and it was love at first site. Apparently the adorable market has been open since the beginning of the year. I can’t understand how it took me six months to find–it’s truly a downtown treasure, and something we’ve been missing.
Two Bits stocks locally sourced organic produce, cheese, meats and wines. They make incredible yummy sandwiches too. I’ve tried both the Tuna and the Doubloon. They are both delicious. Check Two Bits out for yourself at 210 W 5th St (between Spring and Broadway).
Read more about the market here.
June 11, 2011
Lots of Arts District News!
Nola’s Soul Food Kitchen to open this Summer. The new restaurant is replacing E3 Steakhouse (734 E 3rd St). I’m hoping for authentic yumminess.
Bloom’s General Store (716 Traction Ave) will reopen with a new name. At first the new owner was going to name it “Little Tokyo Shopette” Arts District Residents were not happy with the new name (as it’s in the AD not LT), so the new name is still being decided. It will still be a convenience store of sorts. More about Joel Bloom and the old Bloom’s General store here.
Also, there is news that the old Ay Caramba (714 Traction Ave) will be a pie shop! I hope it’s old-fashioned and fun.
And don’t forget about:
“Presented at 3rd Street and Traction Avenue in the Downtown Arts District, BloomfestLA offers live indie music, local artisan wares, and good food amidst a rotating outdoor gallery of street art by renowned artists.”*Thanks to the Arts District Facebook Group for all the news!
March 16, 2011
6280 Hollywood Boulevard at Vine Street
Wood & Vine has been open for less than three weeks, and it’s already one of LA’s hippest new bars. Last night, I grabbed a few drinks and a small bite at Hollywood’s new hot spot.
To start, I had a greyhound (my favorite) and after that, the mixologist made me another amazing grapefruit based concoction (this time with gin). For dinner, I had delicious Carlsbad Mussels and part of a very yummy Cheese Plate. Everything was top-notch. I was avery impressed by the design, as well. The patio is perfection- a modern fire-pit bar centers the outdoor space, which is nicely nestled in the corner of the old Taft building.This is totally the place to take your out-of-town visitors after a day of sight-seeing on Hollywood Blvd.