Friday, April 27, 2012

Walking in LA: Eating in Echo Park and Silver Lake

My favorite part of LA is, without a doubt the area between Los Feliz and Echo Park. Los Feliz and Silver Lake are both very nice neighborhoods and Echo Park has recently become a trendy place to be. For me, Echo Park has always been home as long as I can remember (The Pioneer Market? I remember playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there as a kid). Being back was a great chance to take a walk around the neighborhood and check out what's changed.

Of course, I love restaurants and things have changed quite a bit there. The area at Sunset and Hyperion in particular is now full of interesting places to eat and check out. Intelligentsia is now in the area serving up great coffee that often attracts a line and new restaurants link Berlin Currywurst and Forage are popping up next to traditional places like Millie's Cafe and Madame Matisse. In this post, we'll visit a couple neighborhood places and check out a very cool urban intervention when I put my planner hat on.

Want to find out where to get this?

Or this?
Or see this?

If so, keep reading after the break! We'll check all of these places out.

Tacos Delta
Tacos Delta is right on Sunset and one of the taco places that I visit every time I am in town. It's inexpensive, delicious, and completely unassuming. It's a tiny shack with seating out back, but the tacos from here are fantastic and their horchata is just the way I like it. 

What do you get when you come here? Nothing more than tacos that taste like grandma made them (if your grandma has been making tacos for 50 years and has perfected her craft). Everything on the menu is great and prices are under $10 for virtually everything. 

Forage is within sight of Tacos Delta and is a very interesting restaurant. It's a localvore establishment with come of the produce and food sourced from places within Los Angeles itself. A couple of people who grow fruits in their year (the streets here are full of lemon and orange trees with the best citrus out there) and they've gone through the certification process with the California Department of Health to sell to restaurants. The results? Local food grown sometimes down the street. 

On the left part of the sign you can see their "foragers" which are people who contribute fruit and vegetables from their garden to the menu. You can meet them yourself on the Forage LA website

 I had just had dinner earlier with a friend and dropped by to see what it was all about. These macarons got my attention, but what I really wanted was some of their citrus. Sadly, they wouldn't sell me one orange and a macaron, so I had to settle for blood orange aqua fresca and the macaron. 

Lark Cake Shop
A search for wifi and a quieter environment than Intelligentsia brought me here, but I was very happy to have stumbled into this spot. The cakes all looked delicious, but I opted for the mixed fruit tart. The blackberries were just right, not too sweet and not too sour, on my tart and it was a very nice place to work. There's not much seating here, but mostly it's people just picking up cakes and heading out. While I was there, there was also someone doing location scouting for a TV series (Only in LA).

There it is. The fruit tart. I wish I could have just worked my way through the case, but not enough time. 

On my way back from Lark, walking in the rain (two things that do not happen in LA), I came across this new street closure. This brightly colored pavement used to be a regular street, but they've closed it off to create a new space for the community. Google Maps still shows that this is open to traffic, and according to the Green LA Coalition and the LA Times this was just done in March and is now called the Sunset Triangle Plaza.

 Overall, I like the space. The bright paint is a cheap way to create a clear space on the street and I would bet that by closing the street they probably have improved safety at that intersection. Sunset is a high speed street and cars turning from Sunset on to what was Griffith Park Blvd did not need to slow down very much to make the turn. Plus, it creates a public space in a dense urban area which is a great way to get neighbors out and meeting each other in a casual setting. Before this, there was a small park between two busy streets that virtually no one used. The plaza is considered a pilot project according to Curbed LA, but my bet is that it'll stay. 

That's it for now. Next time, we'll talk transit in LA. 

PS: I could fill a book with street art from the neighborhood, but for these particular pieces they can be found here and here

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