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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Arts District: Downtown Los Angeles

Last month, Brian - a co-worker, along with his wife and kids - took me to the Arts District for dinner. 

Dinner was at Wurstküche. You can read about that here. Afterwards they walked over to Salt and Straw for dessert - and I took a few minutes to walk around. 

I grew up on the westside of Los Angeles. The Arts District was, of course, completely unknown. Most of my friends never went to downtown Los Angeles. Downtown L.A. was too far, with nothing to do - especially for teenagers. Maybe an obligatory elementary school trip to Olvera Street, or the revolving restaurant on top of the Bonaventure Hotel - but that was it. For most of the kids I grew up with, Santa Monica, or maybe Westwood, was "downtown."

Tristan Eaton's mural across the street from Wurstküche, painted in June 2016. This covering his old one that got ruined by a tagger. Really sucks. Something similar happened to me -- on a much smaller scale. 

Apparently, this will also be the last mural on this wall, the new owners of what was Zip Sushi are going to be removing the wall and putting in a big window.

Random bougainvillea at the edge of a parking lot in the Arts Distric. No reason to post this, except that I LOVE how these plants look. What looks like flowers are really leaves and bougainvillea can be in full color year round, A native the Africa and South America, nothing says "Southern California" - at least in my short lifetime - like bougainvillea.

Walking to Salt and Straw. This being Los Angeles, one of the streets was closed to traffic for filming. Finishing up filming something. 

Unlike the massive office tours of Bunker Hill, the Arts District is generally very low rise, with one and two story buildings - many of which are former warehouses and industrial buildings.

Salt and Straw Ice Cream. High end chain, with one location San Francisco, three in Portland, and five in Los Angeles. 

Inside. Apparently, they use liquid nitrogen to make the ice cream. 

High end candy selection. Bring your wallet. 

There was some sort of miscommunication with the order, so there was no charge. Thank you to the awesome sales staff. 

Waiting outside for Brian, Christina, and their kids. 

I had a few more minutes to walk around and explore: Cornerstone Theater Company, established 1986.

Arts District Brewing Company, located at 828 Traction Avenue.  

Another view of Arts District Brewing Company

Fritzi Coop, serving (of course) chicken: 814 Traction Avenue. 

Binford Lofts, corner of Traction Avenue and Avery Street. A one bedroom 1600 square foot loft goes for $3390. I realize that's 1600 square feet is size of an average house - but, wow, that seems steep. Unfortunately, the law of supply and demand have made La La Land one of the most expensive places of live in the country. 

Looking northwest up Traction Avenue. LOVE the three large trees on the right. A reminder that even Los Angeles' industrial areas can have spots of green. 

811 Traction Avenue = a work in progress. I

I don't want to be a stalker, but I love the three guys on the left hanging out in front of Groundwork Coffee - next to this unfinished building. 

Bougainvillea + Palm Tree + Razor Wire = Los Angeles. 

800 Traction Avenue. Apparently, this building -  plus the ajacent 2 story building - just sold for $20 million dollars. Wow.  

American Hotel. According to their website, all the rooms have shared bathrooms - with rooms starting at $100 a night. Sorry, not my kind of adventure. 
Beautiful tree out front, though. 

Brian and Christina's kids got ice cream, adults wanted boba: next stop Little Tokyo (above). 

Little Tokyo is a small enclave of downtown Los Angeles, center of the area's Japanese American community. 

Inside Twinkle Brown Sugar Tea.

Never had boba? You're missing out. Originally from Taiwan, it's gained popularity beyond the Asian American community. Boba is tea with fruit or milk, and a FAT straw with chewy tapioca balls at the bottom. Yum.  

Brian dropped off his wife and kids at their home, located immediately south of downtown, with the downtown L.A. skyline in view. 

Rather than commute every day from out of the area - they bought a house a mile east of USC, where they work as campus ministers. They have a great relationship with their neighbors. And, yes, it's a very urban setting. 

With Brian at USC - on our way to the Veritas Forum event. 

Brian is originally from Florida - and has fully embraced living in in Los Angeles. His wife Christina is a USC alumni - and loves being back and ministering at her alma mater. 

It's one thing to live in Los Angeles as a single adult. That's easy. Well, sort of. Same with married without kids. 

Quite another to make it happen with a family. When my wife and two kids lived in Los Angeles, we lived on the relatively cushy westside. In contrast, Brian and Christina and their kids are in the heart of the city. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them. 

Obligatory photo of Tommy T (Tommy Trojan, USC mascot). 

As a UCLA alumni, I've posted numerous photos of UCLA over the years. You can have school spirit and still post a photo of a rival, right? 

Below is a map featuring Salt and Straw, located in the Arts District.

© 2017


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