I have a really strong love hate relationship with Los Angeles. I grew up here. It is home, and still is. I grew up in Encino, in the good old San Fernando Valley, even though the first few years of my life were spent in Westwood. People say to move around, and that you can’t grow if you don’t live away from home for a little while. Well, I have moved, and I have lived in other places, and traveled to over 20 countries and many cities and states in between; here is why I always find myself coming back to the city of angels and also, many demons.
1.) There is so much diversity
Los Angeles is a city in which there is so much around you to do, there are so many different people and cultures. Growing up here, I now see how much it has opened my mind. I grew up in a city in which Hispanic or Latinos are a majority now of the demographics, and I’m proud. This has given me and many others to experience other cultures first hand, and has given me an appreciation for the differences.
2.) Food options and quality are unmatched
Go to Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Japan, or any Mexican food truck and you get to dive into a mind blowing, tastebud orgasm. I’ve been to Mexico, and I have been to Asia, and our food here in Los Angeles seems to always taste a little better and more flavorful. I attribute that to the cultures having access to more ingredients, but man, mix that access of resources with the recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, and you get a delicious experience that you cannot find elsewhere. I was just talking to my roommate who got back from a trip to Mexico yesterday, and we had tacos from a local favorite spot, Hugos, in which my roommate was talking about how much better they were than the tacos he had just had. Sure, you can argue me here, but I really don’t care. Our Mexican food is, hands down, fucking fantastic. If you know, you know. Only place I’ve been that tops it is San Diego, that will be my only head nod. Won’t forget to mention, the delectable sushi spots that are all over the city from Katsuya to Sugarfish and any other favorite spot people have. If you want Ramen, we have authentic Ramen spots with flavors that would remind someone of home. Korean BBQ has become a big favorite of mine, and many are starting to pop up around the city that are all titillating in their own ways. Bite into a mouthwatering savory piece of meat to go with your Kimchi dish.
Point here is: If you want it, we have it in LA. And every time that I travel somewhere else in the world, I find myself day dreaming of the dishes back in Los Angeles. Although my first stop after landing back at LAX is the nearby In n Out for a Double Double with chopped chilis and animal fries. Holy shit I am salivating thinking about it, might have to take a break here and go to the one four blocks from my home. And yes, that was a living choice by design, are you kidding me?!
3.) Snowboard and surf in one day with time to barbecue and watch the sunset sipping on Coronas
I’ve done it a couple of times now, and it is pretty damn awesome. Well worth the experience to try it at least once if you can, to tell the story. Throw in a late night In n Out burger after it and it’s better than sex. Well… sex after would really be a cherry on top, then sleep for 12 hours.
4.) If you are into Art, Comedy, Cinema, and Music then it is no surprise we have it all
Now I don’t just mean the individuals here who are the artists themselves, but just those that appreciate it even. It is an amazing one of a kind central location for all of the above. You find yourself exposed to the some of the most talented artists in the world, and it’s beautiful. I have had the pleasure of seeing some great bands up close and personal before fame gave them the stage at stadiums. I have also been fortunate to get to explore different cities scenes around the world, and have yet to find one that has a vibe close to that of LA. There are cities with specialties, but not one that has it all yet. Not yet. It is awesome to get to explore different art galleries in Hollywood before going to see your favorite stand up comedians at the Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. Or, more what I like to do is get a couple drinks in at the bar next door, they make a mean cocktail and the crowd is in great spirits.
5.) You aren’t too far from some great weekend getaways
Santa Barbra and San Diego, along with Palm Springs and Joshua Tree all make for some amazing weekends away. I like to call them detox weekends. Detox from the pollution, the traffic, the fucking terrible drivers with road rage because they are going to be late to their next audition for their dream job. In this city, everyone is more important than everyone else and it is good to check back into reality in a more laid back city for a weekend. Realize that you are not the next Charlize Theron, Tom Petty, or Jenna Haze, if you’re into the adult industry, can’t exclude that since Northridge is the mecca for the porn industry. 90% of you have seen porn so stop judging, and embrace the taboo nature of your sins in relating to that line. And don’t get me wrong, I love dreams, I have some too. But I have also grown up with the type of people who make it, and it definitely isn’t most of the people that I meet out.
6.) The Excitement
Plain and simple, there is always something to do. The negative to this is that, everything is far enough away from each other, and the traffic is bad enough to where you sigh and tell yourself you will do the thing that you wanted to over the weekend. My advice, best time for the mountains is summer when not many want to go. Best time to hit the beach is Fall to Spring. Let’s be honest, it really isn’t ever that cold. Get a blanket, book and or maybe a lover and take off to the beach for an off season sunset. Hell, you can even make sweet love on the coast since there aren’t too many others out there, just make sure to bring some extra blankets. If you find a couple late season Euro travelers, give them a wave, it’s appreciated.
There is a ton of turnover with restaurants and bars in LA. It’s in the nature of being in such a hip town. You’re hot one year, and you’re not the next. Or as some would say, “That was so last year.” Well here, that saying rings true far more than it doesn’t. That doesn’t mean one should forget about the tons of classic establishments that still exist today and have for decades. Some of these sweet little gems have a lot of Tinseltown secrets and vibes from the good days where the parties, celebrities and models ran rampant. Was I a part of those? No, I am too young but it’s a fantastic day dream when you are sipping on a cocktail with great friends at a place like the Beverly Hotel, or the Culver City Hotel. Look up some of the places, visit, and enjoy. There is always, always something great to do in this town if you can bare the traffic and lack of public transportation, but I digress.
I could honestly go on for a while here, but at the end of the day, I just can’t seem to shake the sex appeal of LA off. Many people can, many people hate it. That’s fine. If you hate it, stop bitching and leave because you only add to the congestion and plenty of people who are starry eyed would love your rent control. I could list TONS of cons about this city, many I mentioned above, but as I said it is a strong love hate relationship between me and the city I grew up in. There’s also an edge one receives almost as a badge of honor, when roaming the streets of Ventura, Sunset or Santa Monica as a kid with a skateboard and a $20 in your pocket. You see things. You hear things. You witness and are exposed to things that I have not seen in any other city in the world… yet. I will keep looking, and appreciating the quiet, blissful beauty of so many cities out there. While LA does sleep, there is always a crazy fantasy to be had. The city of angels, is filled with many more demons, just make sure to keep yourself in check and have fun.