Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Downtown

MB and I have a deal where we trade weekends with Kidlo. MB spends his off weekends up in Lancaster rebuilding old motorcycles and I usually spend my off weekends working on my novel. But I write for a living and I had a bitch of a week and I just did not want to write this weekend, so instead I just sort of noodled around the neighborhood.

First stop was breakfast at Clifton's. It's not the best food downtown but the breakfast is decent, it's cheap and they open at 6:30 am every day. Plus how can you beat eating with redwoods, moose and an animatronic raccoon?

Next was 24 Hour Fitness on 6th and Flower. It's not exactly the lap of luxury, but the gym is clean and has lots of machines so you generally don't have to wait too long to use the equipment. Saturday morning it was pretty empty so I was able to blow in and out.

Then I went to Neihule on 6th and Olive for a haircut. The owner cut my hair and I spoke with her about why she decided to open her salon downtown. It turns out that she and her husband live in the Mandel and they love the urban lifestyle and being able to walk to work. They also love the sense of community in Downtown--friendly neighbors who rally around the local businesses. She says that Neihule is doing really well despite the economy, which is good news. Businesses that fill a needed niche are going to thrive Downtown.

After a nap at home (I told you it was my off weekend and I wanted to take full advantage), I headed over to Cole's for lunch. It was pretty busy, thought unfortunately the bartender told me they haven't been as busy as they had hoped when Cole's reopened. I had a roast beef and blue cheese sandwich with a spicy pickle and it was AMAZING. I didn't snap a shot of the sandwich because it went into my stomach too fast, but I did get a couple of other shots of the interior.

I sat at the bar and got to talk to a couple sitting next to me. Turns out the husband is an ethnomusicologist and the dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. He and his wife belong to the LA Conservancy and they do downtown tours. They asked me a lot of questions about what it's like to live downtown and they were loving the food and the atmosphere at Cole's. That's one of the things I love about living down here--it's easy to strke up conversations with interesting people.

After Cole's, I strolled through the fashion district with my camera. The morning rain had cleared up and the sky was full of beautiful clouds. Sadly, the fashion district was relatively empty and the store owners were pushier than usual about trying to steer customers into their stores. One guy was shouting, "Tenemos chingo trajes...chingo pantalones...chingo camisas..."

It was pretty much my idea of a perfect day.


g said...

Hi, Li,

How nice to read this post. We are immortalized, it seems. After our lunch at Coles, we did end up going to Chinatown, and my blogpost about Chinese New Year appears tomorrow!

I adore Cliftons. One time I went there, there was an amazing guy there wearing a wide-brimmed hat trimmed in white fur and decorated with flashing LEDs, sitting down for a cup of coffee.

I'm going to browse through your blog and probably post a couple comments.

thanks!! g

Rich Alossi said...

What a nice Saturday - that's the kind of relaxed-yet-busy day that makes me love Downtown!

I like Cole's - I like it a lot. And I live across the street from it so I would definitely go there more often...

Except it's way too expensive for what you get.

My dip doesn't come with enough meat on it so I always get extra. That means an $11.00 sandwich plus any sides.

I dig the cocktails at the bar, but the Association's bartenders make them better (I've tried most of their signature classic cocktails).

I've resolved to only go to Cole's when I can't handle my craving (and don't feel like going to Philippe's) and when we have guests in town, since it's a fun experience for them.

Lower the prices a couple bucks and I'm there, Cedd!

Li said...

I adore Cliftons. One time I went there, there was an amazing guy there wearing a wide-brimmed hat trimmed in white fur and decorated with flashing LEDs,

That's brilliant! I've seen some interesting outfits at Clifton's--my favorite was the gentleman with snakeskin and patent leather shoes, pinstripe pants, socks with palm trees and a Panama hat.

Except it's way too expensive for what you get.

I found the sandwich to be really filling, but I can see where a man would want a man-sized portion. For booze I had one of the house beers and it was very good. I can't compare Cole's to the Association--I love both but they're on totally different planets.

g said...

Hi, Li,

my post about our lunch at Cole's is now up. I posted a link to your blog.

thanks for being such an interesting lunch companion.

I tried to email you using your "contact us" thing, but I'm not sure it went through.


Li said...

g, thanks for letting me know about the comment form--I've fixed it. I really like your post about Cole's--I didn't know it was such a dive before the renovation.