My LA To Z: Van Dyke Parks

If you get musician and composer Van Dyke Parks talking about Los Angeles, the city he has called home for decades, he might never stop. Here he tells us where to find folk art on the cheap, stellar nouveau eats, and a botanical Japanese teahouse
1 Jameson 

Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters

It’s down the street from me and where I get my coffee. They’re an incredible coffee maker. I don’t have to do rush hour, so I have time to take the roads less traveled by others.

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2 Folk Tree 

Folk Tree

If you want to decorate a house with big bang for little bucks, folk art is the way to go. Folk Tree is a great place to find it. They have the most incredible collection of every kind of clay that can be hard-baked, and down Fair Oaks there are more antique shops than you could shake a stick at.

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3  Huntington


The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

Two miles down from us are the Huntington Gardens where they have the most fantastic Japanese teahouse, a Chinese garden, pinky, and the Blue Boy. It makes me feel real high-class living near old man Huntington.

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The Coffee Gallery


The Coffee Gallery

This is where I go to watch folk music. Although it’s a niche area of music, it’s wonderful for me because it’s who I am.

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5 Marugame 

Marugame Monzo

I love this place in downtown. They make udon in front of you. You see the chef toss this thing around like a huge pizza and then throw it through a noodle slicer. It’s an incredible adventure in Japanese cuisine.

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6 Chevalier's 

Chevalier’s Books

This place on Larchmont is my alma mater. I love em! I lived in Hancock Park for 15 years and I knew the people that founded Chevalier’s. What I love about it is that it’s a surviving, adapting bookstore. I think that local retailers such as bookstores should be promoted vigorously in the face of the Amazon and FedEx deliveries. I think that a record store and a bookstore are places to treasure; it’s their personnel and the way they help you make discoveries that you could never get from a flatscreen or a computer. There’s always a new book in the house that my wife and I are fighting over.

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7 Canterbury 

Canterbury Records, Inc.

Back when I was a brunette, I would go into a record store and go directly to the “P” section to see if I was there. Not anymore. I go to Canterbury to get the vinyl I once abandoned. It’s the finest way to listen to sound. I now have children in their 30s who know well enough to be getting vinyl themselves. I found out from my own offspring that there’s a resurgence of interest; I think that’s crazy and somewhat unexpected and beautiful.

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8 Carmela's 

Carmela Ice Cream & Sorbet

It is an artisanal creamery. I know people who come from Venice to eat the ice cream here. I like mint and chocolate best, but all the flavors are great. I go the whole route. I get one of everything.

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9 Silver Lake Ramen 

SilverLake Ramen

I love this place. I like their attitude. It’s dominated by the new gentry generation. I join the “me generation” there. I like the pace of the place and its cuisine. They just know how to do it; they know how to really set you on fire if you’re brave. You can get the medium hot. We’re all sharing this tremendous array of cultural influences in food and film. This is what I love about greater L.A. and we’re all lucky to be in it.

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10 Altaeats 


This the best restaurant of nouveau eats in the area. I don’t have a favorite dish but I like it because they have a tapas mentality. You get small servings of a whole bunch of stuff and share them with your tablemates. When it’s all over and I’ve had enough to thrill me, I go to Colorado Massage, which is on Colorado Blvd., and I come out feeling like a dolphin.

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All photographs courtesy