In March 2008 I spent a week with friends in Santa Monica. I covered a lot of ground in a short period of time.

Santa Monica
Found a hot pair of jeans for, like, no money at Uroborus Studios on Main Street in Santa Monica.

Sat in the Novel Cafe and, uninterested in paying too much for wifi, I scanned ads for colonic hydrotherapy and liposuction in the Metromix alternative weekly.

Walked by the Green Truck and marveled at its healthy menu. I love its online GPS tracker. MIT could use a few of these trucks.

Had a chai soy latte at Groundwork. No fuss. Delish. They use a powder (no fuss) that gives a great texture (delish).

Had an earl grey latte at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Less great but more ubiquitous. See a pattern here?

Made a wooowww sound with O., my friend’s 20-month-old, every time a Big Blue Bus went by. Yes, they are painted with the words “Big Blue Bus”. And they can be bought in child size (and yes, O. has one). Santa Monica is grooming the next generation for public transportation loyalty. Brilliant.

Attended the Santa Monica farmer’s market, effectively a county fair (replete with animal rides) packed into an area the size of a postage stamp. Sad. But the dried fruit and the raw pizza are really good.

Enjoyed a smoothie and free wifi in the courtyard of the Santa Monica Public Library. Nice.

Hiked in Santa Monica’s “Mountains” via Temescal Gateway Park, and refueled in Topanga with mediocre Mexican in a lovely garden.

Venice
Coveted the simple and elegant paintings on the boardwalk, just near the Israel Levin Senior Center.

Underwent an “I can wear funky hats, too” conversion thanks to Carl Kravitz, manager at Titanic on the boardwalk, just a block or two down from the paintings. One of my favorite experiences of the week. (Carl recommends The Garter nightclub, BTW)

Visited my first medical marijuana club — with an array of cookies, brownies, and gelato Iignore the blog post I’m about to link to, that gelato was packing it) at The Farmacy on Abbot Kinney. (I had seen such a shop on Weeds but thought it was a fiction.)

Had my first Pinkberry. My friend A. said “you either love it or you hate it.” Isn’t that what people who love it always say? I actually just thought it was… ok.

Saw Al Roker and had a meal that was better than the ambience at Hal’s Bar and Grill on Abbot Kinney.

Poked my head into Shima on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Would like very much to return. (Four stars on Yelp. Heh.)

Long Beach
Found a hot little skirt on sale at Blue Windows. Started to think that maybe LA wants people to look good for, like, no money.

Had a ginger peach tea latte at Portfolio Coffeehouse. Wandered the vintage shops along that street.

Ate absurdly rich food at La Creperie, a place that was trying to be French but was more like (what I would imagine to be) a Wild West bordello.

Culver City
Had a facial at The Body Clinic. Not bad, not amazing.

Tried to reserve at fraiche but was too mellow to do it enough in advance. Foodie friends say it’s great. Next time.

Elsewhere
Spent a morning at the Getty Villa. It was recently converted from a mansion-like gallery to a Museum. As in lots of signage and tours and display cases, soft lighting, and a gift shop. The tour is for fifth-graders, but the cafe is lovely. Try to be the first in the morning for some quiet time. Oh, and to clear up any debate, the Getty Center is the hip, new newer, hyper-architected building; the Villa has always been around but did undergo aforementioned renovations.

Ate yummy, healthy Vietnamese at gingergrass in Silver Lake. At A.’s insistence, got sushi takeout from U-zen in West LA. Insistence justified.

Wanted to pay my traditional visit to Amoeba Records, but no time, and no room for new media in my apartment. Next time.

Trendwatch: Hats, puppets, and tea lattes (not just chai) are big, and will likely be arriving to the East Coast in the next six months. I mentioned the tea lattes to my neighborhood cafe, and they proudly noted they’ve been doing this for ages under the name “tea au lait”. I responded, “It’s buried in the menu. Play it up.”

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2 Responses to “Travel-log: Santa Monica and Los Angeles”

  1. a.m. Says:

    The Sunday S.M. farmer’s market is crowded and annoying at times, but sad? Also, the “new” Getty is over ten years old now!It’s an institution at this point… maybe big Getty and small Getty would have eliminated our confusion… Anyway, we miss you.


  2. Hey, I enjoyed your post! Wow, you went everywhere. I’ve been to Unurban Cafe and Novel Cafe.


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