Photograph courtesy of Austin Young
Lauren grew up in New Jersey before skipping off to the Southeast Asian island seraglio for the promise of $20,000. Now she seeks out organic food and grassy spaces where her son can play.
It’s a Wiccan boutique in Silver Lake, and it’s run by this woman Lorna Firman. She’s this very voluptuous, glamorous, pagan goddess. She will do candles for you and there’s fabulous jewelry and the best incense. When I wrote my book I was burning their creativity candles the whole time.
It’s part art gallery, part everything-you-didn’t-know-you-absolutely-needed. There are beautifully-chosen clothes and décor and jewelry and stuff. I get all my gifts there.
Blue Hen Vietnamese Kitchen
It’s in this strip mall like so many L.A. gems are, and it’s a really simple, family-run organic Vietnamese restaurant. It’s just really tasty, amazing food. You can’t go wrong.
South Pasadena Farmer’s Market
There’s a really grassy area where you can put out a picnic blanket in the summer, and it’s great for kids—there’s a guy making bubbles and it’s very small and very doable. The kids go crazy for it and you can get your organic produce there. It’s the anti-supermarket.
It’s kind of like the more experimental little offshoot of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. They always have really cutting-edge and interesting artists, theater productions, musicians, and dance companies. They also have a great little café and bar and you can go and have a drink, and usually the performers will come and hang out afterwards. I’ve gotten to meet some interesting people. I interned in a theater group in New York, the Wooster Group, [in the early nineties] and I just saw the Wooster Group at Redcat, so it was really like coming full circle—it was all the things I love about L.A. and all the things I love about New York really meeting in the middle.
The L.A. Opera is so surprising. It’s incredibly innovative and exciting and accessible, and I think it’s the sexiest date in L.A. You don’t have to be an opera buff to enjoy it because their productions are so engaging and fascinating. My husband (Weezer bass player Scott Shriner) and I love going to the L.A. Opera; we feel like we’re getting away with something. We’ll go on a Sunday afternoon, and it’s so much fun.
It’s a really delicious, simple, local, sushi joint. It’s just chic enough and just neighborhood-y enough. I find when we’re going to the theater or going out to a movie, we want to grab something that feels a little bit special but is also easy.
The owner (Camille De Soto) just has great taste and she manages to get clothes that you would find on Robertson or West Third Street for half the price. They’re even a little more edgy and eastside, and she occasionally will have some vintage bags. I like to let store-owners sort of pick my look for me, and you can really count on her to have great taste and really be current and affordable.
I hate to give this one away, because it’s such a great tip. It’s a little diner at the El Monte Airport where they have super biscuits and really old-fashioned, great cheesy omelets. It’s right on the tarmac, and it’s all open, so you can sit out on the back patio. It’s fenced in, so I can just let my kid (two-year-old Tariku) go and run and hang on the fence and freak out about the airplanes and we can actually get some food into him and into ourselves. If your kid loves airplanes and does not love sitting still, this is the place to go. It also feels very old-timey, and it’s great for people watching. There are a bunch of senior citizens who are weekend flyers and have their airplanes there.
They make raw, organic, artisanal chocolate bars, and they are just really incredible, especially the lavender ones. These are so addictive, I was a little bit convinced that there were real drugs in them for a minute. For a while I was locking myself in the bedroom and eating these chocolate bars every night and watching True Blood.
We like brunch there. They have this unbelievable French toast that’s crusted with bread crumbs. It’s like, Mmmmm. I love that it’s soul food that has some vegetarian options.
We don’t eat factory-farmed meats—we’ll only eat meat if we know where it comes from, and my husband loves to eat meat. It’s made us really particular about restaurants, and my husband was really mourning his ability to go out and have a burger. Now we can go out and have a burger and feel good about what we’re eating and what we’re supporting.
Images courtesy of (in order): (1) Lorna Firman, (2) Chelsea Iovino, (3) Flickr/erinsikorskystewart, (4) Flickr/ianmalcm, (5) The Redcat Theater, (6) Monika Rittershaus, (7) Mia Sushi, (8) John Broeckel, (9) Yelp/A.T., (10) ZenBunni, (11) Larkin’s, (12) The Counter