Monday, February 1, 2010

Yesterday was Sunday - at Sunset Junction

I'll say it again.  Hubby and I love our neighborhood.  And every weekend, to well and truly get our feet on the ground again, we have a walk.  We have so many choices of directions to launch out into (or down towards).  But this one is the obvious one.  Sunset Junction is where the famous summer festival has taken place for years.  It's also where many of the shops are located that give Silver Lake/Lost Feliz it's special L.A. alternative attitude.

(sewing, quilt-making, scrap-booking anyone?)

It's where you actually WILL find fashion in LA and not the same old sweats-and-surgeries uniform that gives the west side it's infamous image.

Trilbys were huge here last year but they're not so apparent this year as the BIG GLASSES are.

No need to leave the house coiffed m'dear.  It's true that bedhead is de rigueur on this patch of Sunset.  (Although higher up the hill you will find some of us reaaranging ourselves of a morning when we come up on unexpected strangers-with-dogs on the street.  We had been planning NOT to be SEEN by anyone when we left the house in that disheveled state.)  But if you WEAR those BIG (I mean DARK) GLASSES and take the hidden staircases down to Sunset, noone WILL really see you until you arrive at the Casbah, Pazzo Gelato, or Intelligentsia Coffee

and take a seat

(in your Frida outfit maybe?)

at which point you will just blend in......

because EVERYONE looks like they just fell out of bed, but have apparently slept IN 

(ohmigod their limoncello, european yogurt, buttered brown sugar, mascarpone)

those very very tight straight jeans and scarf wrapped elaborately

around their upper body parts.

At Intelligentsia, you might have to stand in a very long line.

Or wait for somebody ELSE to stand in that line, in the dazzling luminescence of the turquoise tiles.

In order to make life or death decisions about HOW to drink coffee that day.  Or have a fairly brutal conversation with yourself about whether you ARE ACTUALLY COOL ENOUGH to be drinking coffee here.  Because if you're honest, and you're PROBABLY NOT......well it's best just to leave quietly.

It is actually very good coffee.  And they do those artistic feathery things with the cream.   And they sell Vosges chocolate bars with esoteric crunchy bits inside which are actually very pleasant to eat with the pointy crusty-tender petit pain they also offer.  (Note:  You will look like a cretin if you ask for decaf.  I won't be the first person to tell you that.)

In the same "complex" as Intelligentsia is this nice flower store.  And Cafe Stella, which has possibly the most authentic tiny right bank bar (yes I mean Paris) in all of L.A.  Sadly the food is only "o.k.-fine" but the beer is very good.  And the wine choices are decent.

There is also a cheese shop which is "un peu snob" and they have NO IDEA what smoked mozzarella is (and I DON'T MEAN "scamorza".)  And a leather handbag store and a music conservatory endowed by "Flea" from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Where mostly little neighbor children come for lessons.

Forage is a brand new venue sort of Ottolenghi/City Bakery meets Starbucks.  Sadly not much 

of anywhere 

to really sit - yes! That's IT!!!!  But the neighborhood has needed a good "gourmet" takeout.

Kelly Green sells recycled, reclaimed, handmade, super-natural

kinds of products (wool rugs from Bolivia).

Nothing could be more natural in a desert-turned-city-turning-desert-again than A CACTUS.

Across the street from Kelly Green, this used to be the "LOVECRAFT BIODIESEL" depot.  (Or, old Mercedes Central.)

Till apparently they raised the rents and some kind of motor-cycle fanciers shop has opened up.  With a vintage twist that I cannot elaborate on.  But the building is pretty.

Mi Alma is SO L.A.   So this part of Sunset Blvd.  Part funky reclaimed bits and bobs, more pots in plants.  Bucolic seating areas.  Rusty old chandeliers.  And OF COURSE!!!!!  A TACO TABLE!!!!  (Fresh Fish Tacos, to be exact.)  

We did not stay to sample the wares but we WILL be back.  One of the joys of L.A. is the panoply of tacos experiences to be had.  So deliciously casual as investigative fast food experiences go.

Circus of Books is something of a relic of this neighborhood's past.  It has EVERYTHING and NOTHING that you need.  But it is THERE.  In case you do.

So the nice Sunday walk becomes a little window shopping, a little coffee sipping, a little picture snapping.  And then the ambitious part begins:  WALKING BACK UP THAT HILL!


  1. these photos are wonderful! such a lovely place indeed. wonderful for you!

  2. great shots! love the blue tiles and the blue bench, and that little rocket ship of a go-cart. Adorable!!

  3. What a fantastic neighborhood! I love that you have hidden staircases. :-)

  4. I may have said this before, but your pics and commentary have put your neighorhood on my must see list for the next time I am in LA.

  5. Hi Kenza, RT, Beth, Thomas - yes, what a fun place this has turned out to be. You would not believe that we knew quite nothing about this neighborhood before we bought our house. I just knew that I liked the views out the windows in the real estate listings. But sometimes, things just come together. And Beth can you believe the blue benches are made of MDF? I need to make some like that!

  6. Oh wow... I would love your neighbourhood sort of reminds me of Notting Hill in a funny way...

  7. Yes Paola - it's sort of that way in spirit - early N.H. We're still wishing for a good pub that serves oysters and guinness and OPENS BEFORE 6 PM! on the weekend.

  8. Ga! Jealousy! Do you even KNOW how often I crave the little Turkish honey cakes from Casbah, or how much I LOVE getting attitude from the hipster coffee wizard behind the barista's counter at Intelligentsia? And how much I covert those turquoise tiles on the floor there?

    I *love* your hood. I love Joshua Tree, don't get me wrong, but if I lived in civilization I would move right down the block from you.

  9. I am so envious mlle paradis!
    this was exciting to see... felt almost as if i had been there for a few minutes!
    You do these browsalogues so well....MMM that word is not write...but you know what I mean!

  10. Hey! None of you corrected me on my "pots in plants" transposition! It must be the mind-altering locale! Thanks for stopping!