Everybody’s working for the weekend
In the July 19 issue of Calendar Weekend, we featured a story on a new wave of trendy hotel bars. Almost immediately we got letters from irate, uh, older readers wondering why we never cover places for, as one woman put it, “people in their 40s, 50s and 60s who are not dead yet and still want to go out.” Another suggested we call it “the old coots guide to L.A.”
We decided to ask the experts: Four randomly selected people in different parts of the city who are not quite juniors and not quite seniors. We asked them to describe their favorite weekend and, as the very unscientific results reveal, there’s not a heckuva lot of going out at night. Nature, art and reading, yes; carousing, not so much. Nevertheless, these four offer a nice picture for still-kicking forty- and fiftysomethings.
Altadena doesn’t scream “art scene” the way Culver City or Santa Monica does, but it suits Sterritt just fine. The artist, 54, has called this sleepy town nestled at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains home for more than 10 years. Sterritt lives with husband Michael Reilly, an operating engineer, in a 1,300-square-foot Midcentury Modern house designed by architect Calvin Straub. In 2000, she added a 1,000-square-foot studio, where she creates her abstract wood sculptures. This year, Sterritt, who teaches sculpture at Long Beach City College, won an artist fellowship from the city of Los Angeles. In 2006, she had shows at d.e.n. contemporary in Culver City and the Riverside Art Museum. Her work is also featured in MOCA’s public collection.
Polenta and Puccini
I don’t have classes on Friday, so I’ll start the day with 20 minutes of kundalini yoga followed by a three-mile run at the Rose Bowl. After that, I stop at Coffee Gallery in Altadena. It’s a bohemian, anti-Starbucks and a neighborhood staple. In the afternoon, I’ll alternate between my studio and my garden. When my husband comes home, we’ll have tea; he’s from Dublin so it’s a ritual for him and for me now. I like to take advantage of living relatively close to downtown. R23 is an amazing sushi restaurant just east of the artist loft area. Sometimes I go with my father to Traxx at Union Station. Being from Chicago, I’m reminded of the grand atmosphere of train travel when I was a kid. Traxx does great fish, and they have a nice polenta. It’s wonderful inside or on the patio. Afterward, we may go to L.A. Opera. Puccini is a favorite of mine.
A different kind of trail mix
On Saturday Michael and I hike in the foothills of Altadena, either Eaton Canyon or Cheney Trail. We may stop at Amy’s Patio Cafe. The omelets are great; I usually get one with asparagus and Gruyère. I like to spend the evening going to art openings. I might go to the Warschaw Gallery in San Pedro and then meander over to Culver City. We try to avoid the hipster scene at Mandrake Bar, so we’ll often go to Taylor’s Steakhouse in Koreatown for my once-a-month dose of red meat. It’s the original location and the waitresses have been there forever. I must have a dry martini before my lamb chops or fat rare steak.
The end of a ritual
My favorite thing to do on Sunday mornings -- the food fair at the Wat Thai Temple in North Hollywood -- just closed last weekend. It’s a real shame, although I realize the neighborhood would be very frustrated with the parking situation.
In the late afternoon, we’ll often invite friends over for a barbecue. My husband fishes off of Catalina Island, so we might grill sea bass or halibut. I’ll also buy some snacks from the American Armenian Grocery in Pasadena, which has been there for 55 years. The owner makes a great olive salad, and the yogurt, cucumber and garlic salad is delicious. In the evening I like to read. I don’t stay up too late -- of course, late for me could be 9 p.m.!
-- David Ng
Inglewood has been many things to many people through the years. The middle- and working-class community, bolstered by cheap home prices in midcentury, has become one L.A.'s most ethnically evolving areas. For Ross, 41, the neighborhood (and surrounding communities like Leimert Park and Baldwin Hills) has also been a beacon of African American art and literature. A native of Inglewood, Ross, his wife, April, and son, Langston, now live in Westwood, where he attended UCLA film school and founded his production company, AfroBoHo.
But the author of “The Divine Nine,” a history of black fraternities in America, still considers Inglewood his hometown and is always eager to sing its praises. “Inglewood is not L.A. -- it’s like Brooklyn to L.A.'s Manhattan,” says Ross. “A lot of people come from here, from Tyra Banks to Mack 10, and I’m sure all of them would tell you it’s a great place to grow up.”
Hanging with Ella and Sugar Ray
I start a typical day with a workout or a run. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is a hidden jewel; you always see local football teams going there to practice. Or I’ll go to my martial arts studio, Rick Kingi’s Kajukenbo, I like it because it’s not as commercialized as other places -- a family operates it. I put my son in it, and he’s the most ripped 8-year-old I’ve ever seen.
That’s followed by food. Coley’s is a Jamaican place that’s been a neighborhood staple for 15 years. Anything there is good, but their Jamaican beef patties and jerk chicken are excellent.
One place no one ever thinks of going is the Inglewood Park Cemetery. It’s fascinating, and it’s, like, 300 acres of green space. Ella Fitzgerald is buried there; so are Sugar Ray Robinson and Tom Bradley. Centinela Park is also huge -- 500 to 600 acres -- and a great place for a picnic.
This isn’t a weekend thing, but on Wednesday nights at World Stage in Leimert Park, there’s poetry readings. They give you the straight dope and tell you what to improve about your performance.
Leimert Park is the epicenter of South L.A. culture, and there’s a hair salon -- Heroik Entertainment -- that specializes in dreadlocks that I’ve been going to for eight years. The guy who runs it, Akeem, is the best.
Two kinds of soul food
Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch, in Marina del Rey, is a soul food place and a Sunday ritual around here. You have to get there early, and I don’t know how much you’ll be able to do after you’re done eating. It’s like “Groundhog Day” there; it brings the same people back over and over again.
In the afternoons I might visit some of my favorite bookstores -- Zahra’s or Eso Won. Eso Won is nationally known and Zahra’s is more local, but both are major forces in African American literature. James [Fugate] at Eso Won is phenomenal; he doesn’t care if your book will sell five copies or 5,000, and his clientele are really passionate about supporting African American literature. I read at Eso Won in 2000 and 300 people showed up. As a black author, I’m glad these places exist. Barnes & Noble is just not going to keep up.
-- August Brown
“Ilove where I live,” says Michel of her Montecito Heights neighborhood, a hill that straddles Mount Washington and Highland Park on one side and El Sereno and Lincoln Heights on the other. “It’s as close as you get to being in the country without leaving the city.” Born and raised in East L.A., Michel, the third of seven children, graduated from Cal State Los Angeles -- the first in her family to do so. After 10 years in journalism and publishing, she switched to public relations and soon founded her own agency, which she ran for 22 years. Now in her early 50s, she recently sold her eponymous firm to Taylor Primero, a marketing and communications agency targeting the Latino market.
A mellow start
I have three sisters who live in the San Diego area, so often I’ll spend weekends down there or in Tijuana. But if it’s an L.A. weekend, Friday nights are usually mellow. This comes from my upbringing as a Seventh-day Adventist; they observe the Sabbath from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Even though I’m not practicing, I keep the tradition of having a quiet Friday night. I might pick up food from Aki Sushi, then watch an old black-and-white movie.
A river runs through it
I love to start my Saturday with a bowl of menudo at Hecho en Mexico, one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. I follow that with a walk. There’s a trail head I like two blocks from my house at Debs Park. It’s so pretty, especially after it’s rained, and the view of the city is incredible.
If my 5-year-old nephew, Joe Luke, is spending the weekend with me, I might take him to the Audubon Center, where there’s a playground for kids, or to Griffith Park for a horseback ride. Other times, we’ll go to the L.A. River Center, where there’s a small-scale replica of the Los Angeles River running through the garden.
Later in the afternoon I might stop at Vroman’s Bookstore for a latte and a book, then swing by the Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 or the Highland 3 Theater to catch a movie. The Highland shows first-run movies for $3 to $4.
To markets she goes
Sunday is my experimental cooking day, and it usually begins at a farmers market. My two favorites are the Hollywood Farmers Market at Sunset and Vine and the Santa Monica Farmers Market on Main Street. I like to arrive at 5 or 6 a.m., as the vendors are setting up; I usually leave just as the first customers are arriving.
If I go to the Santa Monica Farmers Market, I’ll drive down to Small World Books on the Venice Beach boardwalk. It’s an eclectic, independent store, with smart employee reviews.
I make it a point to drive home without using the freeways. I take alternate routes so I can drive through neighborhoods I don’t know. My favorite thing about living in L.A. is watching how the city changes. On the way home I’ll try to find an ethnic market, or I might stop at Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo or Ranch 99 in Monterey Park. Asian markets have very different cuts of meat than Latino markets.
Using the ingredients I’ve bought that day, I look on the Internet for a suitable recipe. This is how I’ve taught myself to make all sorts of things, from shabu shabu to hummus to spaghettini. But no matter what I make, there’s always a hint of Mexican flavor. I generally share the results with a friend or two.
-- Elina Shatkin
executive vice president
To say that Hild loves water would be an understatement. The Pacifica High School grad hits the beach every chance he gets. So how convenient that his job involves surfing: He is an executive vice president at Quicksilver, running the Huntington Beach-based sports giant’s successful women’s brand, Roxy. Hild, 51, who lives in Laguna Beach with wife Debbie and 17-year-old daughter Ali, not only worships Orange County’s magnificent coastline from the ocean, he supports local artists who paint it. “Laguna Beach has the most beautiful coastline of Orange County, for sure,” says Hild. “I’m often out of California for work. When I come back, I dream about getting in the ocean.”
Surf’s always up
I’ve always lived at the beach. [These days] my whole weekend revolves around surfing -- I weave my meals around the swells. I check surfline.com constantly. If there’s good surf in the morning, that’s a priority. If the waves are flat, there are other ocean activities, like stand-up paddling or lay-down paddling. It’s all about getting to the beach.
The art of the wave
My weekend includes lots of art. The Surf Gallery is a great little spot in Laguna, in the southern part of downtown, so a little off the beaten track. A dream weekend would include an opening night here. They usually have a band play, and you get a real eclectic mix of artists, surfers, even a few homeless people.
Gallery McCollum specializes in artists who focus on the sea. The paintings aren’t as contemporary as what you’ll find at the Surf Gallery, but they’re beautiful and often feature cool California and Hawaii seascapes. One great artist they exhibit is Pat Tobin, whose work I collect.
Dinner on Saturdays can be a challenge with all the tourists, but I can always avoid crowds at Ristorante Rumari, which is run by a second-generation Italian American family. They have the best filet of tuna steak I’ve ever had. The Sun Dried Tomato is a great casual place with outdoor seating that provides for some nice people-watching. The food is fantastic -- particularly the grilled salmon -- and they have a memorable wine list.
Sunday morning scramble
After surfing I’ll take my family to Cafe Vienna for scrambled eggs and a great morning vibe. Around 4 p.m., I’ll wander down to the beach. There are 10 families who live near us, and we’ve been casually gathering for a while -- we call ourselves “the Chardonnay club.” By 5 the appetizers come out and the wine really starts flowing.
-- Charlie Amter
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The places they go
American Armenian Grocery
1442 E. Washington Blvd. Pasadena
Amy’s Patio Cafe
900 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena
The Coffee Gallery
2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena
600. S. Pacific Ave., San Pedro
923 E. 2nd St., L.A.
3361 W. 8th St., L.A.
Traxx Restaurant at Union Station
800 N. Alameda St., L.A.
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
4100 S. La Cienega Blvd., L.A.
Rick Kingi’s Kajukenbo
3819 W. Slauson Ave., Suite F, L.A.
300 E. Florence Ave., L.A.
Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch
4325 Glencoe Ave., C-9 Marina del Rey
720 E. Florence Ave., Inglewood
4325 Degnan Blvd., L.A.
4344 Degnan Blvd., L.A.
Zahra’s Books N Things
900 N. La Brea Ave., Inglewood
4331 Degnan Blvd., L.A.
Aki Sushi & Roll
5916 Monterey Road, L.A.
Hecho en Mexico
4976 Huntington Drive South
Ernest E. Debs Regional Park
4235 Monterey Road, L.A.
Audubon Center at Debs Park
4700 N. Griffin Ave., L.A.
Los Angeles River Center and Gardens
570 W. Avenue 26, L.A.
(323) 221-9939, Ext. 220
695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Laemmle’s Playhouse 7
673 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena
Highland 3 Theater
5604 N. Figueroa St.
Small World Books
1407 Ocean Front Walk, Venice
124 Japanese Village Plaza Mall
771 W. Garvey Ave.
The Surf Gallery
911 S. Coast Highway
206 N. Coast Highway
1826 S. Coast Highway
The Sun Dried Tomato
361 Forest Ave., Suite 103
31542 Coast Highway