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My LA to Z: Steve Aoki
The Grammy nominated producer and founder of Dim Mak Records, who has invested in Los Angeles with three restaurants and a club, says his “heart is L.A.” Here, he tells us where to score classic vinyl, “legendary” juices, and the best sushi on the planet
I’m an owner in this restaurant, but I would go there anyway. The mixology is amazing. It serves Americana food and has an organic, locally grown, seasonal menu. It’s kind of hidden, which is cool. There’s not a sign, and there are trees all around it, so you don’t realize you’re going in a restaurant until you actually step inside.
We just opened a sister restaurant to Eveleigh called Goldie’s. It’s smaller and near the Beverly Center. The vibe is very New York, so when you go there you don’t feel like you’re in an L.A. spot. A lot of my New York friends love it for that reason.
I’m so glad that a place like this exists. It’s just wonderful. It’s mainly raw foods and all vegan. You go in there and you automatically feel happy; It’s a happy place for food and feelings. There’s one in Venice, but I go to the one in Larchmont, which has an old Hollywood vibe.
It’s open 24-hours and has a really robust menu with a lot of options. It’s a great diner, and there are a lot of vegetarian and vegan options—which, for a diner, is hard to come by.
Dim Mak Studios
This is a club I’m part owner in. We’ve been throwing a party there every week for the last ten years, which is completely unheard of in L.A. We’ve always represented the underground genre of music before it breaks, and we've had so many great artists—Lady Gaga, Justice, Daft Punk—perform there before they were famous. It’s a big staple in underground rock and even hip-hop. Also, some of the biggest graffiti artists in the world come and tag the walls.
Beverly Hills Juice
L.A. is a big, juice-crazed city, and I go to a lot of places, but this place is legendary. It’s a small juice spot run by one man. I keep asking him why he doesn’t expand, but he won’t do it because he’s so focused on getting the right vegetables, and he doesn’t want to hire out. There’s a lot of craftsmanship in his work. There‘s always a line because of how good it is, but it’s still one of those secret spots that not a ton of people know about.
It’s literally the best sushi in the world. They season the fish with their own sauce, which is incredible. It used to be a hole-in-the-wall, tiny spot—another secret place. You’d go and see celebrities in line, but they had to wait like everyone else. It has a new owner now and is very hip. It’s also cheaper than it used to be, but the quality of the food is the same.
It’s one of the favorites for hiking for L.A. locals. It’s dog friendly and has a beautiful view of the city when it’s not covered with smog. The hardest part is finding parking. It’s usually pretty highly trafficked, and it’s not very social because people are running and working out. There are different terrains, and some are harder and some easier. It’s very much an L.A. spot.
They sell real records, meaning vinyl records, and it’s the biggest record store in the whole world. Because it’s so massive, people will fly in to shop at Amoeba. It’s a stalwart supporter for music and tradition. There’s every genre of music you can think of in there and they drive themselves on that.
My studio is where I spend the majority of my time in L.A. It’s my sacred space. I call it the Wonderland Studio because I live on Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon. I even named my album Wonderland because I produced it on my street. It’s an efficient space because it’s not too big. I turned the closet into a vocal chamber. The whole thing is dark because the walls are black, which sets the mood when you walk in. There’s no art because I want to feel that my mind can be wide open as I enter the space. I want to be completely open source where any ideas can happen. I learned how to be a songwriter and producer in that studio. It’s not just me producing music; it’s me writing with artists in my space.
All photographs courtesy facebook.com.