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Where to go for a quick cheap vacation? Check out a city I've never or seldom been to or back to LA to see friends and have fun? I obviously chose the latter and had a great time. Switched flights to avoid yet another snowstorm and traveling with my broken wrist in a splint wasn't too bad, found nice people to store my suitcase for me. Former Bostonian and host Galeb met me at LAX and we immediately headed to Pann's where a scene of Pulp Fiction was filmed. Total 50's vibe, yummy fried chicken then back to regroup for a nite downtown. We started with fancy cocktails at the very cool Edison, a former power plant, my description and photos won't do it justice as to how cool this place is. Happened to be in town for their Restaurant Week and had a great meal at Bar & Kitchen then on to rock bar The Redwood, all downtown. I love the cool deco buildings there and even their new ones are interesting. But it's still kind of skid row looking in lots of areas and brought me back to my first trip driving to the old Al's Bar seeing people in cardboard boxes for my first time ever.
Went back downtown Thurs. in the day to check out the buildings, eat at the very odd Clifton Cafeteria, stop by Vacation Records in Silverlake, owned by former Bostonian Mark Thompson, then happy hour time. Nothing like a delicious half priced burger from Stout then fancy drinks and Japanese food at the Philip Starck designed Katsuya. No celebs there but Galeb did recognize some dude from HBO's True Blood in Silverlake, too bad I don't watch that show. That evening we met Galeb's friend Jorge who was down from SF for an art opening. Off to the Big Foot Lodge in Los Feliz for Thurs. garage nite but they didn't play nearly as good music as my last visit, still a pretty cool place. The boys had drinks at dive bar Ye Rustic Inn then we ended the nite with tacos. The food trucks and late nite options are everywhere in LA.
Fri. I was supposed to meet my long time crazy friend Jef Hickey who said I had to see the view from the roof of his downtown building. Sure, I'll go downtown again so I called in the morning at our planned talking time but no answer, left another msg after wandering around for a while, texted from lunch at Cole's, where the bartender originally from Richmond VA knew my boys Strike Anywhere and tons of other good bands. Left one more message before going to meet Galeb and Jorge, figured I was blown off. We took a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House which of course was cool. Walked around the park at Mulholland Drive soaking in the views, another happy hour deal (with a crappy bartender/waiter who got the worst tip I've left in years) then Galeb and I saw a show at KXLU's "Punky Reggae Party" at La Cita with the Brookyln band So So Glos. Not really my thing but not bad. As we headed to another bar, I got a text from Jef who'd been in jail and thus, unavailable. Not even a surprise. We tried for another meet-up but it just didn't happen, sigh.
Sat. I met ex-Late Riser Russ Newman for lunch in Koreatown, he's a poor grad student at USC these days. He dropped me off in Silverlake where the hipster quotient was overwhelming then I made my way back to Vacation Records where a panel discussion was going on with Steven Blush (American Hardcore) and various members of Black Flag, Kyuss, Scream and others discussing the connection between hardcore and stoner rock. I'm not sure I see it but I did run into three past and present Boston people, so that was fun. Later we drove down to Long Beach where The Zeros, The Humpers and The Dragons were playing a 15th anniv. show for this place Alex's Bar. Fun seeing the Long Beach hipster crew. Lou from Junk Records who I knew at one point was spinning some good tunes, all the bands were good to great.
Last day in town was a record fair in Hollywood where I ran into a couple other former Boston folks, got burgers and amazing tater tots at Umami Burger, walked around West 3rd street, then met former Bostonian Mark Vieira at this old school French restaurant in Echo Park (food report here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/763808). Then drinks with Jaan who we bought lots of records from before he moved from JP to LA, then Galeb and I saw a good show with Savage Republic and The Urinals (which I won tickets to from KXLU, weird being on the receiving end of a ticket giveaway). Rise and shine at 5AM to head to LAX but first a stop at my favorite, Bee's Donuts, then another at the iconic Randy's Donuts, yum. So a super busy fun time in LA, a city that I'd love more if you could walk.