L.A. loves to hate Huell Howser, the host of PBS’ super-low budget “California’s Gold” (airing weekly since 1991). “The Simpsons” have parodied Howell, and Free FM (97.1) morning host Adam Carolla has been a one-man jihad against the guy, mocking him daily for everything from his Tennessee accent to making “a big deal out of nothing.”
But try walking down a street with Howser without getting bombarded by fans. Even Carolla admits he’s “secretly, wildly jealous” of the SoCal legend, who arguably has the best job in L.A. He shares three of his favorite discoveries.
1. The Rock Gardens at the Los Angeles Police Academy There are places I don’t do stories on because it’s fun to keep them off the radar. Some people know about the academy’s pool and restaurant, but very few know about the rock garden, built in the 1930s with prison laborers (called trustees at the time). You can rent this beautiful space with waterfalls for weddings. Behind the Revolver and Athletic Club Cafe, 1880 N. Academy Drive, Echo Park (inside Elysian Park)
2. Judson Studios, Highland Park For 110 years the people at Judson have been making stained-glass windows for churches and buildings. You can tour their studios and watch them cut the glass. It’s like stepping back in time and viewing something from another era. www.judsonstudios.com
3. The French Garden Restaurant Off an alley in an industrial part of downtown L.A., it’s literally an oasis in one of the most hard-core parts of the city -- and no one knows about it. It’s hard to describe -- imagine civility and tranquillity right next to industrial buildings and freeways. They have a garden with flowers and trees and feature all kinds of cuisine, but obviously a lot of French. 1936 E. 7th St. (213) 623-4028