Back in grey Des Moines but with fresh memories of sun and green and family and friends in Los Angeles. My friend Susan and I hiked up a hillside in Griffith Park, stopping to see the succulents planted in Amir’s Garden, then onto Cypress Park to see the house where Susan’s son lives (surprisingly roomy and airy group house for five 20 somethings in a transitional neighborhood).
WE had a late and delicious lunch in the nearby Eagle Rock neighborhood at Four Cafe (I had a salad with chopped and grilled root vegetables, feta and grilled salmon, plus homemade grapefruit soda.). The best meals, of course, were cooked by my sister-in-law in Burbank!
My brother and I hiked up a mountainside above Burbank in a recreational area called Stough canyon on a cool sunny morning. I kept stopping to catch the view ( and my breath). Glorious slopes blanketed in dense bright green foliage (after days of rain, which fortunately I missed).
In the distant valley, like a faraway oz, rises the skyscrapers of downtown LA. A little nature center at the trail entrance has some displays including real snakes that kids might enjoy. La la land!
Lunch was at H2O poke and fish grill, a new place on the main drag in bustling down Burbank (note to self: travel story?)
At the Farmers market in LA with my sweet niece Lucy 2015
Always love when friends report that they’re using tips from this blog while they’re on their trip. That’s why I bother to write this darned thing!
Here’s the latest reports:
- Yesterday a postcard from L.A. arrived from my pal Polly in Michigan, who wrote “We took Betsy with us and had a tasty lunch at the farmer’s market.”(Click here for details on the LA Farmers Market)
- Today, a Facebook message from Rome arrived from my Iowa pal Anne: “Just bought a purse and a belt at ibiz. However did you find this place? Thanks for telling me about it!” (Click here for Ibiz details!)
With my Ibiz shopping bag, Roma 2014
My second uber ride – the first was about a year ago in DC – went well and seemed well worth the money. iT cost $44 to go from Burbank to the airport and took about an hour and 10 minutes, as we took alternative routes to avoid traffic on the 405. (I left at 3 pm and arrived at about 4:10 pm, an hour and 10 minutes before my flight.
tHe car was spotless and pleasant. my driver was a nice middle aged Filipino man whose other job is working as a caregiver for four disabled people who live in a group home. he had a hardworking immigrant striver’s tale that would put the leading republican presidential candidate to shame. pAst jobs included working as a baker in Saudi Arabia and then as a baker on a cruise ship operating out of Puerto Rico. He has three grown kids and his daughter has been turned down twice recently for a tourist visa to visit him, so he tries to go Back when he can but it’s expensive and it doesn’t sound like he has much vacation time or disposable income. He managed to buy a house somewhere on the outskirts of LA for $85,ooo that he thinks may fetch $110,000 some day. And all this on a $13 an hour salary plus his uber job. And these are the people we want to keep out of our country? Really?
noW on a plane flying to Tucson to see my dad after a great visit with my brother and his family.
Another day, another place to explore. This time Pasadena, which I last visited in sabout 1986. lUcy, mike, Dirck and I met scott tuft for Sunday lunch at Daisy Mint, a very good Thai restaurant and then went to Cherry, for frozen yoghurt.
We walked around the expensive shops in the pretty downtown, drove past some gorgeous Spanish style mansions and around the pretty little bungalows and interesting indie shops of south Pasadena (a place I could almost seeing us living in) and then thru the grentrifiying highland park back to Burbank (where we started the day with a steep hike up the hills for a,spectacular view from on high of the city.
I am still not convinced that in a place as sunny, green and vibrantly landscaped as LA, with mountains and the ocean and beaches, it would be wise to live in the faded grandeur of downtown LA.
bUt it does have its hipster outposts and it was fun to visit them today. First stop the jam packed Grand central Mrket where we had excellent falafel and corned beef sandwiches and of course overpriced espresso in a cavernous old warehouse.
fRom there we walked past old facades and way too many homeless people along sidewalks with a faint smell of pee to another old cavernous building that houses “the last bookstore” another new hipster hotspot, packed with used and new books and people (mostly used, not new). The craziest place of all was Clifton’s cafeteria, a revived cafeteria style restaurant and bar and handout with three or four meandering floors and crazy western decor, a mock 3 story sequoia, a huge stuffed buffalo encased in glass, and old fashioned selection of cafeteria fare from Tuna salad in a plastic cup to German sweet chocolate cake. It was a good place to drop,for a bit and sit in stand oversized chairs made of overly shellacked tree bark.