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My LA To Z: James Durbin
The “American Idol” alum, whose new single “Parachute” dropped on November 22, has been rock ‘n’ rolling his way through L.A. Here he tells us where he goes for “jaw-dropping” beer, spectacular mozzarella sticks, and very (very) tight jeans
Golden Road Brewing
It’s such an awesome place. I was making my new record in Mount Washington, but me, my wife, our son, and our dog were staying in Glendale, and we were like, gosh, why isn’t there a place we can go where they have games for kids, you can bring your dog, and you can drink? Enter Golden Road Brewing. There’s amazing beer—their stout is jaw-dropping—and they have all these great games for kids. Dogs are allowed, too. They have sweet potato tots and really awesome pulled pork sliders. It’s so rad that my family even put in a request for something like it in Santa Cruz!
While writing the record I was staying in West Hollywood and near Sunset. I’m a young guy, I like nerdy stuff—I have a tattoo of Spiderman’s face on my elbow—and I found out about Meltdown from listening to Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist podcast. The first show that I saw, someone shouted out a topic, and then the players just started doing comedy based on that. It was hilarious.
Any Poquito Más is a good Poquito Más, but I like the one on Olive in Burbank. It’s a cool little taquería and it has good food. Every time I’ve been there I’ve always met really awesome fans. Definitely try the mahi-mahi burrito and the Horchata.
Taco fiesta is the best taco place in eastern Los Angeles. It’s absolutely amazing. It’s over in the Mount Washington area, and when I was recording my record, we’d get lunch there everyday. My order was always three or four chicken or carnitas tacos. The dudes there have owned the place for 60 or 70 years. And there’s a Yum Yum Donuts right next door—doesn’t get much better.
It’s pretty much the only place to get music in L.A. I’d rather buy something in the store than order it online—it gives you a better story to tell. I have a lot of records from when I was a kid just because I love the records, but I’m still getting into vinyl. I’ve always had record players around me, but no needle to listen.
I was working with a songwriter named Sean Lopez, and even though it's such an awkard question to ask someone, I said, “Dude, those are sweet pants, where’d you get those?” I’m very picky about pants and how they fit. He said Topman, and I barely fit it in a visit before hopping on a plane. They have adult footie pajamas with these tribal designs, bizarre looking clothes and suits that are more trendy and fashionable in the UK. And, I found the perfect pair of pants—they were very, very, very, very tight—but I jumped in them a few too many times and they ripped.
Rainbow Bar & Grill
The Rainbow is classic. I love going in there and seeing all the pictures on the walls. When I was on American Idol I became friends with Chris Jericho, the WWE wrestler, and he invited me there one night. I had never been but knew it’s where all the rockstars go after their shows. There’s so much history. You have to get the mozzarella cheese sticks—that’s the only thing I’ll ever get.
Another place I discovered through Chris Jericho. Mike the Miz and his wife were there, and I joined them, so not only am I sitting there with Jericho, I’m sitting there with the Miz, getting all these inside stories about WWE. After Idol, I took my wife and my sister and my brother-in-law there. On the way over we were talking about Lord Disick, and when we got there, he was sitting right behind our table. How crazy is that?
All photographs courtesy facebook.com.