My LA to Z: Mark Frauenfelder

The founder of bOING bOING takes us in search of Pocari Sweat, cave spelunking, and to a storefront Fry-B-Q


1 Cru Restaurant 


I’m not a vegan or a raw food eater exclusively but I like this raw food vegan restaurant in Silver Lake. You think of raw vegan food as chewing fiber until your jaw falls off from exhaustion, but they have this really good ravioli made with thinly shaved slices of jicama and filled with nuts and spices. You won’t walk out thinking, now let’s go to the Argentinian restaurant. 

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Vanalden Caves


The Vanalden Cave

One of my favorite places. It’s made of a soft stone and people have carved these wild hieroglyphics onto the walls. The high schoolers call it “the shroom room.” There are candles and wine bottles and all kinds of stuff has gone on in there.


3 Norton Simon Museum 

The Norton Simon Museum

It takes a while to get to most museums and then it takes a while to park and get inside. But at this one you just park and you’re right in. It’s smallish but they’ve got a really impressive collection of artists with household names. They’re one of the only museums that allows photography. I snapped photos of these little Degas.

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LA Active Tours


L.A. Active Adventure Tours

We took a tour from Hargobind Singh. We did the outdoor staircases in Beachwood Canyon and I highly recommend it. He took us all over places I never knew existed. We went up something like 865 steps over 2 ½ miles. I consider myself to be in pretty good shape but it’s a workout. You learn about the plants and houses and who lives there and the history of the area. 

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Ramen Jinya


Ramen Jinya

It’s an awesome Japanese noodle and ramen restaurant. I really like the spicy ramen in chicken broth with chicken meatballs and spinach and bean sprouts. They have these giant bowls with goyza and a salad for under ten dollars and it’s a complete meal. Jinya has six restaurants in Japan and this is their first in the United States.

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6 Meltdown Comics 

Meltdown Comics

They have a fantastic selection of non-mainstream comics and books. It’s really great to get on the mailing list. They have networking parties and writers and animation people that come in to speak. I went to one recently where they did a slideshow about Joe Schuster, the co-creator of Superman. He sold off the rights for like $300 to DC and found himself out of work. He took a job sweeping up at a grocery store and to make ends meet he drew illustrations for fetish magazines. The men look like Clark Kent but there are scantily-clad girls tied up, too. They had Suicide Girls at the store re-enacting illustrations from the book.  

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7 San Vicente Mountain Park 

San Vicente Mountain Park

L.A. used to have a bunch of Nike Ajax supersonic missile launch sites. The one on Mulholland Drive is now a park and the view is beautiful. It has these really cool looking structures that used to be a radar system with metal platforms. There’s even a sign posted about the cold war with Kruschev’s famous line “We will bury you.” 
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8 The Farm Reseda 

The Farm in Reseda

It’s on a corner lot in this suburban neighborhood and they’re always having zoning battles. It’s a crazy, crowded compound with emus and chickens and llamas and ponies. You can buy a little food bag and pretty soon you’re covered in ducks and goats and the kids are screaming until they’re used to the animals. It’s stinky but it’s fun.

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9 Machine Project 

Machine Project

The number one gem of Los Angeles. It’s a combination art gallery and workshop space and they have artist-in-residence programs. They have had classes building robots, a full scale sailing ship in distress, and a Fry-B-Q. Machine Project would probably keep me from moving from L.A. I took m daughter to a class there on how to hot-wire a car.

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Images courtesy (in order): (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (8), (9), (10), (11)