I’m so excited to FINALLY be writing the first post of my LA Local series. If you’re new to my blog, let me take a minute to explain why I started this series. I’ve lived in the San Gabriel Valley my whole life. The city of Los Angeles is only 15 miles away and I’ve never really explored it or any of the surrounding areas, I know I’m a bad Angeleno, so my friends and I decided it’s high time to explore!
Our first adventure was a great afternoon spent in DTLA, we experienced a lot in one afternoon. So without further ado, here’s how to spend the perfect afternoon in DTLA.
Or MOCA as it is also known, has three museums in LA: MOCA Grand Avenue, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, and MOCA Pacific Design Center. We ended up at MOCA Grand Avenue, which is home to almost 5,000 artworks created since 1940, it includes masterpieces by classic contemporary artists and new works by emerging artists from SoCal and around the world. MOCA is the only museum in Los Angeles devoted exclusively to contemporary art. Once you get here you have three options for parking. The first being the Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S. Grand Ave., $9 w/MOCA validation), your next option is California Plaza (351 S. Olive St., $7.50 w/MOCA validation), your last option and it really should be your last option is metered street parking on Grand Ave. Once you have parking sorted, general admission is $15 and is valid all day at both DTLA locations. The museum is a giant loop, it doesn’t really matter which side you decide to start with. It took us roughly an hour and a half to get through the entire museum. I really enjoyed MOCA and would love to come back here again.
Address:250 Grand Ave., Los Angeles
Was founded in the early 2000s in Oakland, California. Since then they have grown tremendously with numerous locations across the US including: The Bay Area, New York, Washington DC, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles and they even have stores in Tokyo and Kyoto. Blue Bottle has thirteen locations in LA to choose from. We visited the Bradbury location, which is attached to the Historic Bradbury building. This location is a spacious open room, it was airy and minimalist in design. There is plenty of seating available and would be the perfect place to catch up with friends or get some work done. The Bradbury location is home to Blue Bottle’s first library, where guests can buy books or just borrow a book to read while they sit and enjoy their coffee. If a book is purchased the profits go to the nearby Library Foundation of Los Angeles, which is pretty cool! The menu is simple, but looked great, I had a hard time deciding on a drink. They also offer pastries, plus breakfast and lunch items as well. I ended up going for the New Orleans Float and a chocolate chip cookie. The NOLA Float is made with NOLA iced coffee and ice cream. The ice cream was rich, creamy and full of vanilla flavor, what sets this float apart from others is the NOLA iced coffee, which is infused with bold chicory root flavor. The iced coffee is stronger than any other iced coffee I’ve had. This drink is perfect for those hot LA days. The chocolate chip cookie was delicious! It tasted like it was fresh out of the oven, it was soft, chewy and full of chocolate chips, the best part though was the sea salt on top. It elevated all of the wonderful flavors. I can’t wait to explore more of Blue Bottle’s menu next time we are in LA.
Address: 300 S Broadway, Los Angeles
Since this historic building is attached to Blue Bottle we had to go in after our coffee break. Opening in 1893, the Bradbury is the oldest commercial building in LA. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you step inside you see the light-filled Victorian court with open cage elevators, the beautiful marble stairs and ornate ironwork. This building has been an office building for most of its history and in 1991, it underwent a $7 million dollar renovation. The Bradbury has been a featured setting in films, television and literature. Most notably the Bradbury was the setting of Blade Runner, Lethal Weapon 4, (500) Days of Summer and The Artist. It’s important to know when you visit the Bradbury you can only go up to the first landing since it is still an office building (the LAPD’s Internal Affairs division is headquartered here, along with other government agencies). But just to see the inside of this beautiful building was worth it.
Address: 304 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
Is California’s largest used and new book and record store. They began in a DTLA loft in 2005 and are now in their third and largest (22,000 sq ft) location. They carry over 250,000 new and used books which spans two floors, this includes their arts & rare books collection. They also have thousands of vinyl records to search through. The second floor has a maze of books to get lost in plus a few stores and art gallery shops. I was shocked when we walked in, this place really is massive and I’m sure we could have spent HOURS roaming through all the different sections. On the second floor, you can find the famous book tunnel that I’m sure you’ve seen all over social media. When we have more time I really want to come back here and really dive into finding some books and vinyl.
Address: 453 S Spring St., Los Angeles
If you search #bottegalouie on Instagram, you’ll see A LOT of pictures of mouth-watering French Macarons and too-pretty-to-eat pastries. The macarons are what brought us to Bottega Louie, I’m a sucker for a good macaron, and Bottega Louie has the BEST French macarons I’ve ever had! For those of you who don’t know, Bottega Louie is a 255 seat Italian restaurant, gourmet market, French patisserie and café that opened in 2009. They have roughly 400 employees and serve about 15,000 guests per week! While we didn’t get to enjoy what the restaurant has to offer this trip we did end up with 13 macarons each to take home. I’m hoping we can come back for the restaurant, the pictures I’ve seen of the food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) all look amazing!
Address: 700 S Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
Wasn’t on the original long list of must-visit places but when I was searching the area we were going to be in I found Pez Cantina, once I checked out the menu I knew we had to add it to the list. Pez Cantina is a sustainable Coastal Mexican-Style restaurant and bar. They only serve the freshest sea-to-land dishes, inspired by dishes from regions in Mexico; from Baja, to Oaxaca, to the Yucatan Peninsula. Everything on the menu sounded amazing, and I wasn’t sure what to get. I ended up getting the Carnitas Taquitos-chile de arbol, avocado salsa, radish and cotija, 2 Tacos Pescador-Pacifico beer battered, handmade tortillas, lime aioli, slaw and salsa negra, Hibiscus Berry Margarita-Arrete tequila, hibiscus sour, fresh lime, agave, seasonal berries, then Michelle and I shared the salsa and chip flight.
Lets start with the salsa and chip flight, it comes with 8 different salsas; house salsa, salsa verde, salsa negra, salsa chipotle, salsa diabla, poblano crema, habanero “mustard” and a chile de arbol-tomatillo. All of them were pretty amazing, I was surprised the salsa with jalapeño was much spicier than the habanero, my least favorite was the poblano crema. The chips are made with a house blend of 18 different spices, they were fantastic on their own and highly addictive! The Hibiscus Berry Margarita, was heavenly on a hot LA day, it was the perfect blend of sour and tart and I really enjoyed it, I think the seasonal berry inside was blueberries which added a nice flavor as well. If you know me, you know I’m not a very adventurous eater, growing up my family never really ate seafood and it wasn’t until recently I started exploring my seafood options. For me, the tacos pescador was a little out of my comfort-zone but I went with it and loved them. The fish was beer battered and wasn’t fishy in smell or taste, the slaw and the salsa negra were the perfect addition to the taco. I can’t forget about the AMAZING handmade tortillas, nothing beats the taste of a handmade fresh tortilla. The carnitas taquitos were delicious as well. The carnitas was tender and well flavored, the avocado salsa was perfect, and I’ve never met a radish I didn’t like. I like that they give you a lot of avocado salsa, my only issue was the chile de arbol was everywhere instead of just on the bottom of the plate like the avocado salsa, but I quickly got over it once I took my first bite. If you’re visiting MOCA, The Broad or Walt Disney Concert Hall, you need to make Pez Cantina your dining choice, it’s that good!
Address: 401 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
So there you have it, the Perfect Afternoon in DTLA! Have you been to any of the places mentioned in this post? Will you go now that you know about them? Let me know in the comments below!