Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Labyrinth Los Angeles

This series of adventures for all you in reader-land started as a chat conversation with Chubby Bunny, and continued at length with my girlfriend. The idea was to plan a night out for visiting guests. The rules are simple: Each trip has to have three stops. Each trip should try to feature highly divergent food/drink opportunities in a specific geographic area of Los Angeles on a reasonable budget. Basically, the gist is to blow their minds [just a tiny bit] so that rather than complaining about L.A. the whole visit they are constantly intrigued by the peculiarity of the strange meta-geography and diversity of the place.

Trip 1:

K-Town & Adjacent

This route is my favorite as it is designed to be as jarring as possible. I had a thought that the surrealism inherent in this could be ratcheted up if you took drink stop one and replaced with a trip to the Edison (make reservations!)


Guelaguetza (at 3014 W. Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90006)

It's the best Oaxacan restaurant in L.A., has an astounding assortments of mole, grilled cactus and homemade chorizo dishes. Try the mezcal and chile salt cocktail. They have a bakery and even serve grasshoppers cooked with chiles. This place is huge, and blaring live music and Oaxacan families (L.A. has the largest population of folks from this region outside of Southern Mexico).

Drink Stop One:

Tiki Ti's (at 4427 West Sunset Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90027-6017)

Possibly the most old-school Tiki bar on the west coast. This place is run by a grandfather, father and son as the only employees. You can smoke inside, they have the original recipes for many classic drinks, and it's a tiny hut in a parking lot. It is worth the extensive price to get your visiting friends a Blood and Sand or Ogabooga. Once they see the whole, tiny, place cheering for ages as they pour the float of tequila you might see the dawning realization that they are in trouble. Get here early before the line forms and make sure the driver sticks with one drink!

Drink Stop Two:

Dan Sung Sa (at 3317 W 6th St Los Angeles, CA 90020)

So, in good form for the game, I'm going to take you from some of the strongest drinks in Los Angeles and dump you in a bar from a culture that swims in alcohol - a seriously authentic Korean soju bar. The crowd depends on the night, but on off-nights it's mostly filled with middle-aged Korean men sitting in small groups and drinking soju shots while smoking. The decor looks like you stepped in to an early 1900's bar in Seoul. Exposed wood beams hanging low, rickety basic furniture, with yellowed Korean newspapers that have been graffitied to hell plastering the walls. There is some food, but even though they recently added an English menu for the first time, the focus here is on the cheap drinks. Order a bottle of anything but Chum Chu Rum and close your night out huddled in a corner trying to ignore the impending hangover.

Next time, a trip to the Westside!

1 comment:

  1. why even bother with the westside, except for Renee's... i guess its good to go to the westside to show them how cool the eastside is!