THE TOP 5: Los Angeles

LA was and still remains a mystery to me. Even though I spent 5 days there, I still can’t figure out it. The city is so vast, with so many different neighborhoods, that it lacks a cohesiveness that most other cities have. Having that said, I always make a yearly pilgrimage to Southern California. Because for all my gripes about the city, I head out to Los Angeles at least once a year to retain my sanity.

Fish and Scallop tacos at Senor Fish

I am a taco snob. I simply refuse to have the traditional Mexican dish anywhere east of the Mississippi. And for good reason. Trendy taco places in New York tend to forget the appeal of the simple, signature dish. I’m sure there are literally thousands of taco places in LA, from carts on the street to full scale restaurants, but none have the appeal of Senor Taco in Eagle rock. Sure it’s a drive from most parts of LA, but it’s worth it. Their specialty fish (or scallop) is exceptionally cooked and it’s hands down the best fish taco I’ve ever had. Ever.

Senor Fish
4803 Eagle Rock Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Multiple locations but the Eagle Rock one is reviewed. They all have the same menuebut the Eagle Rock location is considered to be the best.

Korean BBQ in Koreatown

Look at the photo above. For $12.95 you can get all of this in unlimited portions for as long as you want. It’s the ultimate all you can eat feast. Korean BBQ is one of those things that hasn’t quite become a nationwide phenomenon, and I’m sad it’s not. It might be for the fact that there is a grill in the middle of the table and you’re required to cook your own meal. Most American’s can’t get down with that. But for me that is the appeal. There is a communal aspect of this dining that make it the perfect night out.

O Dae San
2889 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA

Bar Marmont in Hollywood

Every city has their designated douchebag zone. Whether it’s Meatpacking in NYC or DC’s Adams Morgan on the weekends, there has to be a place where douchebags can congregate and be free. In LA, Hollywood and the West Side take this prize. However, going to Bar Marmont during the week gives you a dose of Hollywood cool without the typical snobbery associated with the area. Sure, the drinks are pricey but the vibe is cool and relaxed with a hip crowd and unpretentious DJs (they even played Dilla’s “Fall In Love” at the end of the night). It’s a great place to live like a douche without actually being one.

Bar Marmont
8221 Sunset Boulevard
Hollywood, CA

Feel Thursdays on the West Side

R&B crooner Jayson Joseph’s Feel Thursday’s is the perfect laid back night out in a city filled with music options. The twice weekly R&B jam sessions (there is another one on Monday at Charlie Chaplin’s old house) started as a way for Joseph to promote his own work. However, what I saw was something much greater. Running through popular R&B standards, the vibe is so casual that even you might be able to get up on stage and belt out a few tunes. And the cozy vibe of the Wellsbourne bar (it has a fireplace) makes this session seem like it’s going down in some old school living room. And this is LA, so celebrities such as Sheryl Crow and Drake have been known to stop by on occasion.

The Wellesbourne
10929 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

Visiting the Grammy Museum

Most museums remind us of field trips from 5th grade. In addition, music muesums tend to be glorified Hard Rock cafes with a smattering of memorabilia on the wall and nothing else. However the Grammy Museum gets it right. The key here is interactivity–with ample technology throughout the venue–the museum brings music to life. From an interactive listening session showing relations to musical genres to live instruments and demo singing and beatmaking sessions, the Grammy Museum is hands down the best music experience you will encounter.

Grammy Museum
800 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA

The Practicals

Get In: Los Angeles International (LAX) is your best bet, however deals can be found if you fly into Burbank, Long Beach. With it’s reasonable prices, TV Entertainment center, plug outlets and Wi-Fi, Virgin America is hands down the best way to get ou to LA.

Get Around: LA’s fledgling transportation network is expanding, but for the out-of-towner, renting a car is the only efficient way to go. Rental rates could be found for around $10 a day for a mid-size if you’re lucky. Check Priceline and Hotwire for the best deals. Parking, however, is a pain, ranging from $2 at most Restaurants to over $15 at clubs and event venues. I would budget at least $100 for parking fees.

LA hands down has some of the worst traffic in America. Avoid the highways (“go local” as the natives say) if you can and schedule at least 30 minutes extra to make it to your destination.

Stay: Hotel options in LA are cheaper than New York and around the same cost as Washington, DC. It’s all about location, with trendier areas being the most expensive while further out spots having some of the best deals. Instead of hotels, try Air BnB for better deals in more central locations.