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My LA to Z: Lissie
The singer-songwriter tells us the places in L.A. that help keep her in tune
Photograph by Valerie Phillips
I have my spots where I go, like La Poubelle on Franklin for drinks. I’ve had lots of fun nights sitting out front at their little tables, hanging out, drinkin’ wine with my friends. I had a great apartment up there—my space is my place to process what inspires me, and Beachwood was my safe haven from the craziness of the city. That was good for me.
Whenever I’m back in L.A. now and getting together with friends we always go there to eat because they have really good food. I used to like it when it was just a stall at the Farmers Market, but I was so happy when they opened up a restaurant on Hollywood Boulevard where they’ve got margaritas. If I got to choose a place to go with a group of people, whether for brunch or dinner, that’s the spot.
There’s one in Larchmont and then they put one in right near Beachwood on Yucca. It’s good because you can get a proper slice of thin crust pizza with a side salad and a coke for like five bucks. If I was feeling too lazy to cook or venture out too far it was nice to pop in there and get a slice of pizza.
The Dog Park Under The Hollywood Sign
On a clear day there are really nice views at this overlook. I was home for five days and had to spend a day in L.A. and I took my dog to the dog park and just sat in the sun and watched him run around and have a good time. That’s a bit of a ritual with me.
Crane’s Hollywood Tavern
I used to do a residency there on Wednesday nights, but it just closed a month or two ago because Hollywood’s getting really fancy and the landlords kicked the owner out of the building. That was sad.
I know a lot of people there, so when I go there I usually bump into someone I know.
CIA (The California Institute of Abnormalarts)
It’s circus-y and there are these weird oddities, like little glass cabinets, and the stage almost looks like a big top. It was totally weird to play there, just the weirdest thing ever. The guy who booked my gig, no one ever meets him. The whole thing was bizarre.
I did the Troubadour in October and sold that out and that was a big coming back for me. I’ve been overseas for most of the last year, so I wasn’t sure if anyone really cared very much when we came back to the states, but luckily they did! I read that book all about Laurel Canyon in the ’60s and all the people that had played at the Troubadour. I had opened for people there before but not headlined. It made me feel triumphant. We came back to the states, came back to California, and got to have that really cool experience. It was awesome.
I lived there for about five months. I really like Topanga because it just feels so outside of L.A. but it’s still so close.
I’d spent four months in Nashville recording my album and I knew going back to L.A. wasn’t going to be the best thing for me because I had been in this open, nature-y sort of area. I put it out there that I was going to find a place to live where I’d have a back yard and peace and quiet. Weirdly enough, on the way back from Nashville I sat next to a couple who lived in Ojai, and I’d heard from another friend that it was a cool place. I got online that week and found a house that was for rent and I was feeling impulsive, so I called the lady up and put down a deposit without ever having been there! Ojai is amazing. I was really happy to have made that decision even if it was a stab in the dark. It worked out.
I really did sort of stay in my neighborhood! It’s right near Beachwood, if you go north from Bronson and Franklin, it curves around and runs into this hiking trail. There’s a horse ranch up there and it’s nice because one minute you’re in the hustle and bustle of the city and all of a sudden you are up on this dirt path and it’s quiet and you don’t really see any other people.
Dtox Day Spa
It’s in Atwater Village and I had the best massage ever there. When I felt like spoiling myself a little bit I would go there and get an hour-and-a-half massage and sit in the steam room or get a pedicure.
It’s amazing. It’s on Glendale, I don’t know if that area is considered Echo Park. I love Vietnamese food and it’s sort of California/modern/Americanized Vietnamese, but it’s good. It’s right next door to the Red Lion. And the Red Lion is fun. I’m a smoker and I like it because you can smoke there.
Little Next Door
I like to sit outside at a table and take my time over a couple of glasses of wine and eat lots of good food. That’s what I miss about L.A., nice weather and being able to sit outside all the time and enjoy all kinds of different sorts of foods from all different cultures.
Images courtesy (in order): (1) lapoubellebistro.com, (2) loteriagrill.com, (3) villagepizzeria.net, (4) Flickr/rickharris, (5) likeme.net/craneshollywoodtavern, (6) hotelcafe.com, (7) ciabnormalarts.com, (8) troubadour.com, (9) topangaonline.com, (10) ci.ojai.ca.us, (11) Flickr/clintonsteeds, (12) dtoxdayspa.com, (13) gingergrass.com, (14) thelittledoor.com