Chalk Line Tank Top
Crime may be going down in L.A., but mortality will never go out of style here. Celebrate your new home town with a fashion-forward memento from Skeletons in the Closet, the gift shop at the L.A. County Coroner’s office, where the staff is almost as cool as the morgue refrigerators.
Cruise on down to the BLQ (that’s the Byzantine-Latino Quarter) on Pico Boulevard for a gyro at Papa Cristo’s. The restaurant’s market, C&K Importing, has been providing Mediterranean delicacies for more than six decades and sits opposite the city’s largest Greek Orthodox Church, St. Sophia’s. Opa!
Starbucks has roots in Seattle; Urth Caffe is L.A. through and through. You might have to stumble through a flock of paparazzi to get into the one on Melrose, but Urth is serious about coffee. Staffers trek to remote plantations around the world to find the right organic beans, and they can pull a mean latte, too, complete with a delicate foam heart.
What better way to show off all that work you’ve had done than with a little something from Frederick’s of Hollywood? After selling undies in New York as a young man, Frederick Mellinger set up shop in 1946 on Hollywood Boulevard, where he not only clad generations of starlets in his famous frills but even invented the push-up bra.
Olvera Street, L.A.’s 1930s version of a traditional Mexican marketplace, was sold out of Conan O’Brien piñatas, but we did find this commemorative ukulele stashed among sugar skulls, cactus candy, and Mexican jumping beans.
General Douglas MaCarthur once said, “There is no substitute for victory,” and we say there is no substitute for Langer’s Delicatessen. The noshery, known for its unparalleled pastrami, has resided across the street from the glorious park and fake ID emporium named for the general since 1947.
Philippe the Original Mustard
Philippe the Original has been serving sandwiches downtown for more than a century. By its own account, the restaurant invented the French dip—a soft roll filled with just-carved roast beef that lights up with a dab of their famous white hot mustard. With its brick walls, oak phone booths, and glowing neon, the place is pure noir at night.
Located at Fairfax and 3rd, the Farmers Market is an L.A. institution, a place where you can get terrific tacos, stellar gumbo, tacky souvenirs, and the city’s finest butter crunch toffee. Littlejohn’s English Toffee House has been at the Farmers Market for more than six decades, which in L.A. terms is, like, forever.
If the only thing El Cholo gave to the world was the invention of nachos in 1959, we would be perfectly happy, but the classic Mexican eatery just keeps on giving. We love the colorful uniforms, the green corn tamales, the Number One combination plate—and, of course, those secret recipe margaritas. ¡Viva El Cholo!
Look through the membership rolls of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society in Burbank and you’ll find a writer named L. Ron Hubbard, whose tales of pirates, aliens, and space prisoners were a staple of sci-fi magazines. It was Astounding Science Fiction magazine that in 1950 published Hubbard’s “Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science.” Please note that your copy of the best-selling book that followed, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, is good for a free personality test at any Scientology location along Hollywood Boulevard.
Also gifted: A reusable bag and bread from La Brea Bakery.