Post Academic

The Post Academic Guide to MLA in L.A.: Part 2, If You Can Get a Ride

Posted in First Person by Arnold Pan on January 7, 2011
Tags: , ,

Last time, we offered some tips about what to do and (mostly) what to eat near the MLA convention site downtown.  Just to follow up, it looks like 9th and Hope is a food truck stop downtown, since the Roaming Hunger map shows a few trucks queued there.

At this point of the conference, you’re probably eager to get out and about a bit, especially since it’s also a Friday night.  You might be done with your interviews by tonight, had your fill of going to panels, or just want to get away from networking central to catch your breath.  Here are a few tips about what you can do around town, provided you have access to a car or are willing to pay for a cab–don’t know how much it costs to taxi it from downtown to, say, Hollywood, but I wouldn’t suggest paying a fare to go to Santa Monica or the West LA.

"Amoeba Records Hollywood" by Gary Minnaert (Public Domain)

Below are a few relatively easy junkets you can do if you have some time to kill.  Whether you can walk ’em is pretty subjective, though I pretty much end up driving from one place to the other, this being L.A. and all.  Anyway, you won’t be able to get to these places without a car, whether you’ve rented one or are bumming a ride, so you might as well just worry about parking instead of walking.  Again, click the links to get specific addresses and info on the locations listed.


Amoeba Records: The Hollywood Amoeba is probably the best record store anywhere, even though I’m partial to the original one in Berkeley.  Forget stuffing your luggage with half-priced scores from the book fair, and save space for stacks of CDs, vinyl, and DVDs from Amoeba.  If there’s music your looking for and you can’t find it anywhere else, they’ll have it at Amoeba — the used section itself is probably bigger than any other record store.

Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles: Just down Sunset towards the 101 and a short turn down Gower is Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.  It is pretty as advertised, fried chicken and waffles, which you can have either sweet (with syrup) or savory (with gravy).  The waffles are awesome by themselves, as is the fried chicken, but you just gotta eat ’em together.  The menu is stacked with tons of great soul food, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve gotten the same Scoe’s Special every single time.  Maybe, though, you should eat first, then shed the calories with record shopping.

Thai Town and Dinner with Thai Elvis: Or if you’re really into one-of-a-kind pop cultural phenomena, you might skip Roscoe’s and go up a big block to Hollywood Blvd and check out Thai Elvis at the Palms Thai.  If you go at the right time, Thai Elvis will serenade you with classic sounds while you eat pretty good, affordable Thai food–actually someone I know who’s a foodie says it’s some of the best Thai food he’s had, but he was also sloshed when he told me this.  Plus, once you’re on Hollywood Blvd, you might as well take a nice drive past all the touristy sites, like the Capitol Records building and the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland.  You can see the Hollywood sign so that you can check that off your to-do list too.

More mini-trips, after the jump…


"The lake tar pit at the La Brea Tar Pits" by Buchanan-Hermit (permission with attribution)

LACMA/La Brea Tar Pits: It’s a highbrow/lowbrow double feature here.  LACMA has a bunch of great holdings, especially the new modern art wing, and is open late — 9PM on Friday and 8 PM on Saturday.  In addition to art from a variety of periods and traditions, they also have film screenings.  It’s basically in a giant park that’s also connected to the La Brea Tar Pits, which is basically a smelly outdoor pool of sludge with a fake Flintstones-esque scene.

Farmer’s Market: A few big city blocks up Fairfax on the western edge of the LACMA campus is the classic Farmer’s Market, which is home to a bunch of tasty, independent food stalls, which range from foodie destinations to old-school junk food hangouts.  If you don’t know exactly what you want and/or don’t wanna make reservations, this is the place for you.  And as with all things L.A., it’s surrounded by a redeveloped semi-unique/semi-generic outdoor mall, the Grove, where you might even scope out a celeb shopping.

West L.A./Sawtelle

Giant Robot Stores: If you want a cool souvenir of your trip to Los Angeles, figure out a way to hop the 10 Freeway pretty far west to the Sawtelle district and the Giant Robot stores.  These are must visit sites for hipsters, t-shirt fetishists, and Asian/Am pop culture mavens.  Just be forewarned that the two stores on Sawtelle aren’t open very late, so you don’t want to head over there later than the afternoon if GR is on your itinerary.  While you are on Sawtelle, there are also a bunch of other purveyors of kitsch and high-priced Hello Kitty influenced merch, so you can definitely get your fill of that kinda stuff, if that floats your boat.

Sawtelle eats: What’s just as great as the Giant Robot stores on Sawtelle are the yummy, reasonably priced restaurants on the street.  A personal fave is Sawtelle Kitchen, which is Japanese French joint.  You can get a meal that feels pretty gourmet in a nice setting without having to shell out too, too much.  If more casual fare is what you are going for, Sawtelle is also a congregation point for food trucks.  And there’s always Beard Papa Cream Puffs for dessert!

Of course, there’s tons of other, probably more scenic daytrips you can take while you’re in L.A., especially towards the beachy areas.  But these are just some suggestions to actively enjoy a few hours away from L.A. Live.  And, oh yeah, if you see an In-N-Out Burger wherever you’re at (for some reason, it doesn’t look like there are many near downtown), it’s worth waiting in the drive-thru to get one.  Have fun!

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