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My LA To Z: Ann Friedman
The quick-witted journalist, purveyor of pie charts, and new Los Angeles magazine contributor spins a tale of a city where huevos rancheros, used book stores, and hidden-gem thrift shops are the heroes
I will confess that I consider Fix my own personal clubhouse on Echo Park Avenue. The people here are just as beautiful as the aloof hipsters at Intelligentsia but three times as nice. And the coffee is excellent. It’s where I go to work when I’m feeling stir-crazy in my house, where I read the newspaper on Sundays, where I hold meetings with out-of-town editors and where I generally enjoy everything I love about my neighborhood and Los Angeles.
I love how vast it is--I take visitors to the Observatory; I take three-hour hikes with my best friends; I wander alone and get lost there.
Surfas Culinary District
Since I couldn't bring myself to choose just one farmer's market to put on this list (Hollywood? Atwater? Silver Lake? I love them all), I picked this kitchen supply store in Culver City. It helps me make use of all that bounty. Surfa's is kitchen nerdery on a level that surpasses pricier chains like Sur la Table. They also have a great selection of imported foods and spices.
The best vegetarian food ever. It used to be BYOB, which was the icing on the cake (or, rather, the sheep's milk feta on the spicy kale salad), but that ended because they're planning an expansion and are going to start selling alcohol. Really though, this place is about the food. Put it in me. All of it.
I love to browse at this perfect little used bookstore. It's right next door to 826LA in Echo Park, and both locations regularly host readings.
El Pescador State Beach
It's a little further up the PCH than El Matador, which seems to be the most popular north-of-Zuma destination, but it's worth a few extra minutes in the car for Pescador's rocky seclusion. Sometimes, on weekdays, it's just me and the fishermen there.
This Topanga Canyon vintage shop is such a treat. It's cluttered and crazy in the way I want every second-hand shop to be.
You may not think you need to try five different variations on huevos rancheros, but trust me, you do. You'll also want a bottomless mug of cafe de olla—cinnamon-y Mexican caffeination at its best. Bonus: after you eat, while you're still too full to get back in your car, you could wander across the street and browse at Permanent Records.
Sun Thrift Store
The thrifting is so good in Los Angeles, especially in the valley. The last time I was at this place I bought a dress with a giant shark printed on it. 'Nuff said.
NatureWell Wellness Bar
Their coconut kale smoothie is more than just a beverage, it is a place. It's a place I go to in my mind when I'm far away and I miss L.A.
RELATED: Read Going Native, Ann Friedman's infographic on how to spot local singles in L.A.
Photographs courtesy (in order): (1) facebook.com/fixcoffee, (2) facebook.com/griffithparkobservatory, (3) facebook.com/surfasculinarydistrict, (4) facebook.com/elfcafe, (5) Google street view, (6) flickr.com/yugenro, (7) facebook.com/hiddentreasures, (8) facebook.com/cacaomexicatessen (9) Google street view, (10) facebook.com/naturewellwellnessbar