HOLLYWOOD: Los Feliz/Silver Lake
If a person doesn’t have imagination then they probably won’t like much beyond West Hollywood or Beverly Hills – that surrounding area. We understand pre-packaged mentalities who prefer name brands in restaurants, clothing, grocers and coffee. Yes, we are guilty of being huge fans of Fatburger, which is a love-love relationship (order the skinny fries). Once out of Hollywood going East, just North West of Downtown LA, nestles the village neighborhoods of Los Feliz and Silver Lake. Sure it’s a bit of a hike but the entirety of Los Angeles, to truly experience and get to know it, is a hike. From Malibu to Pasadena (and South Pasadena is something out of the future) the various neighborhoods that comprise Los Angeles offer a variety of differences for their choosers. West Hollywood and Beverly Hills are great, but if you have seen one Louis Vuitton store and over priced coffee shop in London or New York, let’s face it, you have seen them all. No need to find similar places in Los Angeles, unless of course you are the person that goes to Moscow or Sao Paulo and wants to eat at McDonald’s. The up and coming areas of these twin diamonds in the rough make sense location wise as they are adjacent to Hollywood. Also, they are no more than 10 t0 15 minutes in good traffic to the edge of West Hollywood and the same to Downtown Los Angeles.
These are artistic communities filled with young people who probably found cheaper rent initially and began fixing up properties. Of course, after residing a few years many became older and made it their permanent home often purchasing properties and re-investing into the community to develop it by establishing businesses providing similar day to day conveniences as Hollywood and West Hollywood. Once the artists go in, that pretty much marks the sure solid point that some interesting businesses will sprout. Those forward thinking coffee, clothing and restaurant chains with genius marketing and development teams follow suit by analyzing the demographics and then taking a dive into the area as well. This is apparent with Cafe Intellegentsia which surprisingly is found in New York’s Chelsea area (our favorite location is still Venice Beach on Abbot Kinney).
Another coffee group coming in to the neighborhood that sees growth and from Seattle (not Starbuck’s) is Caffee Vita. They have a location in New York’s Lower East Side. I always find it AMAZING how many people spend so much money on soiled coffee been water per year. Personally I can’t stand coffee. But fortunately for both of these companies, patrons in both local neighborhoods can’t live without their caffeine brown beaned roasted fix everyday, sometimes all day.
Then of course there is the home grown neighborhood specialty coffee house-food stop-social hangout spot that couldn’t come from anywhere but exactly here. It’s more or less what one would expect from an up and coming neighborhood as the menu is as eclectic as the design.
Nestled next to a the Cheese Store of Silverlake is one of our favorite French spots in Los Angeles, Cafe Stella. Yes, it has a surprisingly robust wine stock and food menu that would make the French Frogs proud of their heritage. A few Belgian specialty beers have been thrown in but since they are cousins, I am sure the crowd enjoys the flavors.
Tacos Delta is for those who enjoy tasty and healthy Mexican food (and we mean real Mexican food) at amazing prices. It’s ironic how expensive most Mexican food restaurants are in both New York and London. Quite frankly, most Mexican places in both cities are disgusting while the nearly authentic ones charge three times the amount than that which would be found in LA. No one will have that problem here and in fact, if I were the owner I would raise the prices slightly. It’s so delicious and sitting in the outdoor area covered with Christmas lights makes it even more interesting at night time before heading back to Cafe Stella for additional cocktails in their bar area (Stella has 2).
A bit of imagination goes a long way. For those who don’t have it, we recommend you stay in those pre packaged plastic areas of town, or better yet the globe. For those who are moving forward and appreciate a bit of odd and different, take a cruise over to these up and coming areas. Relax, you won’t find any plastic surgeon, botox, colonic, liposuction or diamond dealer offices in the immediate vicinity-that we know of…