Not Today LA
Like many people who have been in New York for a while (David for 11, me for 8), we have a lot of West Coast dreams. A little bungalow with a yard with lemon trees, succulents, drives to the beach, jean jackets for days... you know how it goes. So it made perfect sense to us that when time came for a wedding in San Diego, we'd add a couple days to our trip and hang out in LA.
David and I love a good hotel, but to put our our LA dreams to the test, we opted for an airbnb in Silver Lake. And I have to say that this was easily the best airbnb we've ever stayed in. A charming renovated shed tucked behind a craftsman home on a steep hill, with loads of original details put to good use, it was comfortable, cozy, and stylish. It was also in the heart of Silver Lake, in close proximity to great restaurants and bars.
For breakfast, we walked (like the crazy New Yorkers we are) straight to Sqirl. And that place is so nice we ate there thrice. I don't want to call it health food, but it was a place that uses ingredients associated with healthy California eating in clever, interesting, and above all, delicious ways. Us being the fat kids that we are, usually opted for the most decadent things on the menu. If it's going to be a long day of travel, you might as well load up, right? Highly recommend the McKofta sandwich - a burger with an egg, Middle Eastern cheese, and a chicken kofta sausage patty.
With only a few days in town, we put a priority on checking out cool stuff that we would not find in New York. There's been a lot of buzz about The Broad, the new art museum that presents the works of Eli and Edythe Broad, husband-wife bazillionaires whose names are found engraved in pretty much anything culturally important in LA. And I have to say, I left the place feeling really impressed; not only is the art collection au courant and well-presented, the museum is stocked with cheery attendants who are there to chat with you about the art, not just scold you when you get too close to the Koons. Check out Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Room, an installation made out of lights in a room with mirrored walls, giving you the impression of (duh) feeling infinite. It's worth the multiple hour wait.
Between looking at art and hanging out with friends, we did what we do best: eat. A lot. You don't need me to tell you that food in LA is great; we loved the pizza at Gjelina in Venice and the animal style Double Double at In-n-Out. But the best thing about eating in LA are the ethnic cuisines that can be found for cheap. Our giant pot of kimchi and spam stew for two that set us back $15 in Koreatown (which is an actual *neighborhood*, not one grimy block behind Madison Square Garden) left a bigger impression on us than any of the upscale New American places that you can also find in New York.
So, is it time for us to move West? I have to admit, it was tempting. The weather really is great. People are friendly but keep their distance. Problems like ISIS or Donald Trump feel far away, like they belong on the East Coast. But it takes just a day or two in LA to realize that large parts of LA is just New Jersey with palm trees. And that the soul-crushing feeling you get from being stuck in traffic (yes, it's just as bad as everyone says) is the same as the one you get when you're crammed on the 6 train. And the people dress like it's 2010. We ended our SoCal trip with the feeling that for now, home was still back east.