Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Walking in L.A.

Although I only spent about 36 hours in Los Angeles, with a chunk of that time dedicated to work stuff, I have to say I accomplished quite a lot.  Between a stroll for lunch with coworkers (that’s right, I just equated walking with probably one of the least pedestrian-friendly cities in the US) and a couple hours of downtime, I have a pile of pictures to share with you.

Highlights included some return-worthy restaurants, the Grove – a combination of upscale shopping and fabulous farmer’s market, tons of unique stores, and Bill Clinton dining in the bottom of my hotel.  We spotted the secret service and paparazzi hanging out in front of the place, where the latter snapped a picture of me and my friend.  I’m about 99.999% sure it was  to test the lens or something.  Even so, I think that’s the first (and most likely last) celebrity shot of me, ever.

I spent most of my time in the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills area, specifically on 3rd Street.  Nope, I had no interest in hitting the super high-end boutiques on Rodeo Drive.  Instead, I enjoyed wandering into random shops, whatever piqued my interest.  Whether they offered cute leather skirts, weirdly endearing Darth Vader cartoony books, or a heavy-duty metal owl bottle opener, each merchant had plenty of things that caught my eye.

With brief excursions to Westwood and downtown LA, I didn’t make it to the short list I’d drawn up in the previous entry.  So, just like with NYC, I have unfinished biz.  Adding in the fact that I have friends to visit out here, I’m absolutely coming back to the City of Angels.  I’m not really sure what I expected it to be, but I liked it more than I had imagined.

Herewith, my “drive-by” documentation:

I introduced my coworker to Surdyk's Flights at MSP - yay!

I love landing in a new place at night.  It seems so mysterious.

The not-so-mysterious morning view.

I know I'm in LA when I can get a hot chocolate with almond milk.

My constant compass - the hills in the haze.

 Makes gas prices back home seem fairly reasonable.

I like Kid Robot, so you know I like these critters.

Sadly, I didn't make it in here.

Love that dress.

Wall of shoes!  Hmm, I sense a home project brewing...

The siren's call...

I could've spent much longer in this food heaven.

Uptown Minneapolis people may see something kinda familiar here.

Yup, I got the fish tacos.  Very tasty.

I totally think kids should be deposited in here...

I saw interesting architecture during my stay.  

I wish we'd had time to peek down some of the side streets - I loved seeing the residential design and saw some downright cute (and presumably pricey) homes.

Stopped at the LA Westwood Target store.

Should be called The Roosting Blvd.

Can you hear the 90210 theme?

Again, need to come back to spend some time in K-town.

Part of my work trip included going to the opening of the City Target in downtown LA.  A great, complex project and a fun night.

My coworkers (minus the dudes) and me.

They had churros!

Ribbon-cutting with the mayor.

Naturally, Bullseye made an appearance.

The dessert case was nice...

...but it was the macaron trees that made my heart skip a cholesterol-clogged beat!

Pretending I'm back in Paris.

Interesting way to advertise your store.

And who's there to greet you but...

...bedazzled bears?

This deceptively simple storefront housed a fabulous boutique filled with great indie labels.

I want that clothing rack.  Industrial yet stylish.

This place also held a great surprise...

Out the back door, the friendly and funny shopkeeper led me through a gorgeous patio... their hidden shoe department, tucked away in what felt like the loveliest of guest homes.

I could have moved into this room and made it my own.

A home store with interior design services.  I did some Christmas shopping at this one.

Notice the guy in the back?  He's running empty plates through the merch.

First time I've seen a restaurant that operates through a clothing store.

A fun, quirky retailer recommended to me for its hip and giftable selections.

Those phones on the bottom shelf are making me feel ancient.

And last, but sooo not least.  I was thrilled to discover that a woman whose trunk show I stumbled upon back in Minnesota works out of a studio that was located literally across the street from my hotel.  How.  Convenient.  Elaine Kim designs beautiful, minimal clothes with clean lines and comfortable fabrics.  She also has some to-die-for leather goods.

A sheer and cozy top, matched with a killer grey leather mini.

Elaine and me.

An interesting vista back to LAX.  For a minute I thought I was back in Texas.

Flying back to the Midwest over the mountains.

So there you have it.  My first trip to LA, but mos def not my last.  Special thanks to my coworkers, especially Kelli, for tolerating my constant shuffling behind to snap photos of what they rightfully thought was everything and anything.  I'm sure there were thoughts of, "Really?  That, too?  Another storefront?"  Heh.

Considering I saw probably 5% of all the good stuff, there's still a ton I want to check out when I come back...  Sawtelle, Abbot-Kinney, Santa Monica...  my mind is playing twister as I think of everything I still want to see, eat, drink, and explore.

In my best Ahhhnold voice (and appropriate for California)...  "I'll be baahhhk."

Images:  my own

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