Surprises in and around Los Angeles
The Olympic Games will be the hottest show in town this summer, but this report is not about them. What it is about is discovering the dozens of ways to enrich a visit to Los Angeles: where, for example, to ride canal-cruising gondolas or see a world-class art museum in a warehouse. No urban center in the West holds more surprises--or conceals them so well--as Los Angeles County.
Whether you're coming to see the Olympics, or plan to visit later this year--or even if you're a resident Angeleno--our guide will send you in the right directions. Some places--Hollywood, Beverly Hills, beaches--are no surprise, but you can still make discoveries there, and we tell how. The big map on the next two pages can help you size up L.A. County. (For an update on Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm in neighboring Orange County, see page 64.) Follow the numbered dots to 145 L.A. surprises
All those circles on our Los Angeles County map are color-coded by activity, and number-keyed to the text and captions. Here are four examples to get you started.
Vaudeville at the beach
Spotlit by sunshine so much of the time, some Southern California sidewalks have become open-air stages. Along Venice's beachside Ocean Front Walk (35), you'll see--and hear--the best. Reggae combos and jazz pianists vie for attention. Bongo troupes compete with steel-drum groups. Some of the comedy borders on bawdy. Come before 11 to park ($3 or $4) at the ocean end of Rose or Windward Avenue, then stroll the 3/4 mile between.
Canal-cruising by gondola
Venetian gondolas in Naples? Six replicas of the Italian craft ply the salt-water canals near Long Beach. The oak-and-mahogany boats (see cover) each carry from 2 to 10 passengers on 1-hour cruises. Gondola Getaways (125), based at Seaport Village on Alamitos Bay, offers cruises any day at any hour; call (213) 430-6860. The price--$40 per couple, $10 for each additional person--includes bread, cheese, meat, fruit, and glasses; you provide your own wine.
The last of the citrus
Better known for discovering the La Brea Tar Pits, W.W. Orcutt also planted one of the San Fernando Valley's biggest citrus groves. Today the remainder is Orcutt Ranch Horticulture Center (4), the last commercial citrus grove in the city of Los Angeles.
On two summer weekends (June 30 and July 1, July 7 and 8), you are invited to pick from 1,500 'Valencia' orange trees and hundreds of grapefruit trees. Bring your own self-standing ladder and grocery bag or field box. You'll pay $1 per bag, $2 per box. Picking hours are 8 to 4.
Come anytime for streamside picnicking and a nature trail with 500-year-old oaks. Summer hours are 7 to 7 daily; free. The ranch is at 23600 Roscoe Boulevard, Canoga Park; (818) 883-6641.
Where to jog botanically
For joggers with a horticultural bent, here are two garden paths with enough fascinating flora to slow you down to a stroll. Beverly Gardens Park (52), laid out in the 1930s, spans Beverly Hills from border to border. A 2-mile, crushed-granite path takes you past a 300-bush rose garden, exemplary cactus and succulents such as Opuntia and elephant trees, flowering jacaranda and monkey hand trees, and Chinese elms. The park borders Santa Monica and Wilshire boulevards; there's parking on cross streets.
Century-old Palisades Park (14) is hemmed between Santa Monica's Ocean Avenue and its steep bluffs. The 1-1/2-mile-long park boasts the area's best stand of Mexican fan palms (see above), hundreds of feathery-fronded Canary Island date palms, a dozen kinds of eucalyptus. You can jog on grass. There's parking on Ocean Avenue and side streets. In our City of Wheels, showcases for yesterday's classics
Ever since they hit L.A. streets in 1900, automobiles have shaped the city and the lives of Angelenos. Here are places to se the classic cars of yesteryear.
Grand collection. San Sylmar (18), 15180 Bledsoe St., Sylmar 91342; (213) 367-1085. Some 30 of 130 classic and antique cars rotate on display in the Merle Norman Classic Beauty Collection. Twice-daily 2-hours tours are free; write or call to reserve. You'll see such beauties as Rudolph Valentino's 1923 Avions Voisin and Fatty Arbuckle's flame-red 1923 McFarlan Knickerbocker Cabriolet. A mezzanine houses more than 1,100 hood ornaments. The tour also includes rare mechanical musical instruments.
Two exhibitions. Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History (94), 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles; (213) 744-3411. In honor of the 1932 Olympics, the ground-floor automobile hall has been decorated as a grand art deco backdrop for a dozen elegant examples of '32 vintage, such as a Packard Dual-Cowl Phaeton. Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 to 5. Admission is $1.50 for adults.
Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (88), see page 128.
Two Showrooms. California Custom Coach (130), 1285 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena; (818) 796-4395. This manufacturer of replica 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedsters also exhibits old and unusual cars for sale on consignment, including such recent classics as a '55 Chevy and a '63 split-window Corvette. It's also a one-stop custom restoration center. Open weekdays 9 to 6, Saturdays noon to 4.
Rodeo Coach (53), 9501 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills; (213) 278-5000. This exotic-car customizer displays and sells Ferraris, Clenets, EXcaliburs, Stutzes, and the like. Open Mondays through Saturdays 9 to 9, Sundays 10 to 5. Dining adventures: French-Japanese. In markets. In canyons
L.A.'s trend-setting restaurants fall into every imaginable category. These promise adventure--and good eating.
Newest culinary combo. Japanese-French means fresh ingredients, artful arrangement, often exotic combinations.
Chefs like Susumu Fukui (shown above) are equally at home working with champagne or sake, sorrel or seaweed. Dishes range from scrambled eggs and sea urchin enclosed in pastry to Japanese mushrooms in champagne vinaigrette and chicken flambeed in mustard and sake.
At these five restaurants, prices are moderate to expensive. Call for reservations.
Los Angeles. Ishi's Grill (76), 3706 Beverly Boulevard; (213) 386-9637. Table and counter seating. New wave decor.
La Petite Chaya (74), 1930 Hillhurst Avenue; (213) 665-5991. Dining room and patio seating.
Lyon (77), 3360 W. First Street; (213) 381-5040. Sushi-bar seating.
Pasadena. Cafe Jacaoulet (129), 91 N. Raymond Avenue; (818) 796-2233. Dining room, wine and gourmet shop.
Sherman Oaks. C'est Japon (25), 14670 Ventura Boulevard; (213) 906-2922. Sushibar, booth, and sunroom seating.
Noshing as you market. Why wait until you get home to eat your purchases? At these four markets, you can have a meal while you shop.
Granddaddy of them all, the Farmers Market (69), at W. Third Street and Fairfax Avenue, is 50 years old this summer. Over 150 vendors sell everything from cherimoya fruits to cashew butter. On three patios, you can sip exotic fruit juices or dine on Mexican dishes, deli sandwiches, and much more. Go for breakfast at 9 before tour traffic begins. Summer hours: 9 A.M. to 8 P.M., 10 to 6 Sundays.
A mile west on Third at S. San Vicente Boulevard, Irvine Ranch Farmers Market (57) fills a ground-floor corner of Beverly Center Mall. Check the Beautiful produce, fish, meat, cheese, and wine sections. The bakery and gourmet deli areas wrap around an informal cafe. Hours: 9 A.M. to 10 P.M., to 8 Sundays.
Downtown L.A.'s block-long Grand Central Public Market (86), at 317 S. Broadway, may remind you of a Mexican mercado. Among stalls stacked with fresh chilies, chayotes, nopales (cactus), and papayas are counters of pastries and freshly made tortillas. Stands sell inexpensive tasty fare, including carnitas (succulent roasted pork), sandwich-like tortas. Hours: 9 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays.
At Santa Monica's Charmers Market (34), 175 Marine Street, stalls offering gourmet pastries, pastas, wines, and produce surround a cafe. One bar serves coffees and wines, another champagne and caviar. Hours: 11 A.M. to 1 A.M., to 2 A.M. Fridays and Saturdays, 10 A.M. to midnight Sundays.
Canyon dining outdoors. Tucked into woodsy canyons, these eateries (listed west to east) serve bunch and other meals alfresco. Reserve, unless noted.
Inn of the Seventh Ray (8), 128 Old topanga Canyon Road: (213) 455-1311. Patios line creek bank. No reservations for Sunday brunch ($5 to $10) or Monday through Saturday lunch. Dinner daily.
Discovery Inn (9), 156 S. Topanga Canyon Boulevard; (213) 455-3125. Brick patios outside cottage restaurant. Weekend brunch ($5 to $8). Dinner daily except Mondays.
Bel-Air Hotel (27), 701 Stone Canyon Road; (213) 472-1211. Lushly landscaped dining patio. Weekend brunch $13 to $16. Daily breakfast, dinner; lunch weekdays.
Cafe Four Oaks (26), 2181 Beverly Glen Boulevard; (213) 474-9317. Rambling house-turned-restaurant with veranda, patio. Sunday brunch $14; no reservations Dinner …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Surprises in and around Los Angeles. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: Sunset. Volume: 173. Publication date: July 1984. Page number: 108+. © 1999 Sunset Publishing Corp. COPYRIGHT 1984 Gale Group.
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