350 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Twenty-two years and I've never known that this place existed until a random day of scouting Los Angeles back in January 2018. Since I have started the blog, I have made it my mission to try various food and activities hidden within the city. One day I was exploring Downtown Los Angeles doing my usual day of shopping and picking up accessories for my boss. As I was approaching the end of the day, I found myself lost in a random parking lot on Hill Street. Walking up and down the street, dodging various cars and smelling great food from the Grand Central Market, I found the vintage Los Angeles hidden gem.
Though bright orange and towering this attraction is very easy to miss. However, it is spotted several times on film. Do you recall seeing the Los Angeles love story of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling's "La La Land"? The two stars shared a ride and a kiss on the gem. Other films with Angels Flight featured are 2011's "The Muppets" and 1956's "Indestructible Man". Considered a Los Angeles landmark, Angel's Flight certainly had to be added on to by Los Angeles Bucket list. All I've previously known about the icon is from what I've seen in movies. I assumed it was a large train cart that takes you deep inside the heart of Downtown. I wondered if the hidden gem even led on goers to another hidden gem such as a low key restaurant, art gallery or even a hipster coffee shop perfect for taking photos. I wondered about the location and its purpose for days before I finally got to explore it. Even though it took almost a year to try the experience, I am glad to say that I crossed off another thing on my Los Angeles list.
After having a tasty treat from the Grand Central Market's Eggslut, I walked across the street to try the Angel's Flight . Both my friend and I have never tried it before and were completely in awe. The line for the attraction was fairly long but continuous. The orange structure shined bright on Grand Avenue and displayed one of Downtown's original architectural work. The funicular is over 100 years ago with the first ride taking place in 1901. Its original purpose was to help Downtown patrons have a shorter commute between Grand and Hill, which is considered one of the steepest streets in the area. Due to the cart's age there has been a lot of closures. The first shutdown was 1969 with the first refurbishment taking place in 1996. In 2013, it shut down again due to the usual wear and tear of anything that is over 100 years- old. After several ownership disputes and redesigns, the cart officially reopened for good in 2017.
We were surprisingly excited to ride on the "World's Shortest Railway". Its even said that riding this attraction takes you back to 100-years ago. Walking onto the cart you see the history that everyone is raving about. The tiny railway was funded by a man named Colonel J.W. Eddy- lawyer, engineer and friend of Abraham Lincoln. To commemorate his contribution their is a plaque at the top of the railway. The bright orange cart also displays the craftsmanship of a Roman inspired column holding up the landmark's sign. Before hopping on-board, we happened to be aware of the actual structure's mechanisms. I've notice many safety zones due to the cart's independence experience. The only attendant working there sits at the top, presses a little button and takes the fair fee. When the cart approached Grand, we hopped in one by one. Loading onto the cart took longer than the actual ride, but I still was happy to avoid the stairs. On top of the structure was a beautiful view of Downtown. This zone was definitely perfect for bloggers and artists. The section had an amazing pond, a large frame and even a hidden coffee shop. The area also had tables set up for those who prefer to work outdoors with a breath-taking view. It was like you were placed in a structural island in the sky surround by towering Los Angeles building but avoiding the craziness of the city.
Los Angeles hidden gems inspire the writer in me to be adventurous. One of my favorite things to do is to research and then explore. Finding historical places reminds me of why I love living in Los Angeles; art, culture and history. Though the Angel's Flight was short and sweet, it left a large impression!
Things to Know Before You Go !
Angels Flight - Top Station
California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles 90071
Angels Flight - Lower Station
351 S. Hill St., Los Angeles 90013 (across from Grand Central Market)
2. How Much?
The fare is $1.00 each way, and you may purchase a souvenir round-trip ticket for $2.00 to take a piece of history home with you. A $0.50 Metro fare discount is available for TAP Card users with Stored Value — for a one way trip. You will need to tap your valid TAP Card on the Validator located at the Angels Flight Station House ticket window to be granted the discount.
3. Time of Operations:
Angels Flight operating hours are 6:45 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays.
4. Nearby Locations:
Grand Central Market
6520, 1000 Universal Studios Blvd #1, Universal City, CA 91608
The first stop on my Los Angeles bucket list is an activity that I've always seen but never had the guts to try. After those long tiring days at Universal Studios or even after those long tipsy nights at Universal City Walk, I always ended up face to face with this large glass container. Within this container a large gush of wind blows from the bottom of the tank while raising two participants into the air. Free falling with control, the participants made it look easy. Face to face with the glass container, I wondered could I ever handle this experience. I WOULD NEVER & WILL NEVER GO SKYDIVING! So, this might be the next best thing. In celebration of both my sister's and my upcoming birthday, I finally had the opportunity to try it out and I loved it.
A baby step to sky diving, iFly is an immersive experience located at the center of the Universal City Walk. The attraction gives participants the gift of flight, without consequence. The website's press reads " iFLY is the experiential entertainment company that created modern indoor skydiving…we make the dream of flight a reality by giving our customers “wings” in a safe and reliable environment." From a part time activity to now an athletic event, the experience has became a growing trend. As the trend grew, so did the business. Locations have been added to popular places of California including: San Diego and Hollywood.
To prepare for my flying moment I wanted to know what more can I do to be ready...
My experience began by entering the Universal City Walk's Jurassic Parking Lot- which provides free parking for iFLY participants. The location is next to Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville restaurant. After booking your flight either online or in-person, the first step is checking in at the front desk. Here, the staff will weigh you and give you any feedback about the experience including prices for the flights and photos. Next my adventure led me to a place I never expected-a classroom. Only for a few minutes, I was presented an instructional video that taught me basic rules and hand signals. Due to the tunnel being too loud, the trainer does hand signals to instruct us for our flight. After the video we were given a brief quiz on the hand signals. Leaving the classroom, our next step was suiting up. The jumpsuit was baggy but comfortable for all sizes. Suiting up consisted of: the jumpsuit, helmet, ear plugs, The next step was conquering the tunnel.
All of the participants lined up to head into the two layer tunnel. The first layer is for the participants to wait for their turn and the second layer is where the fly machine is. Helping the experience was the fly instructor, who was pretty impressive with the sport. As the participants went one by one, I noticed the different ages going one by one. From three to 50, this activity truly was for all ages. "Hey, if a three-year old can do it, so can I", I said in my head.
Fearful of heights , I approached the glass door with ease. The first step of the flight is to fall into the instructor's hands and let go of the door. As a beginner, majority of your first flight consists of you floating and maintaining your breath. Due to the wind tunnel's power, the tube can become difficult to breathe in. I struggled for a minute but I eventually got the hang of it. The focus of indoor flying is to listen to the instructor both in the tunnel and the one controlling the fan. Watching their hand signals can either make or break your flight experience. The first time felt like an eternity! Due to the gushing wind, and uncontrollable movement of my body, my immediate reaction was complete panic.
Though I make it seem a bit athletic and unpleasant, I did have fun! I finally understood the hype of skydiving. Releasing your inner thoughts of fear by participating in a daring activity was gratifying. I flew and nearly hit the wall , but still I enjoyed myself. By the second flight I was almost a pro. Going up and down in the tunnel, I had the opportunity go to the top of the container. I flew 22 feet in the air and loved it. This is a great experience that gives you that rushing experience of free falling without the initial obstacles. To find out more about iFly including booking flights, prices and locations visit the company's website.
8715 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Everyone comes to Hollywood expecting celebrities, glamour and glitz. Unfortunately, the best they get is paparazzi, bad traffic and no parking! That's because they don't know where to look. Catch has been creating buzz in Los Angeles for the past two years, attracting celebs such as Drake, Kylie Jenner and many more. Nightlife enthusiasts Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm brought Catch to Los Angeles in 2016. Catch LA is the sister to New York's very own restaurant located in the famous Meatpacking District. Bringing on the same star power they received from New York, Birnbaum and Remm's staple has been a complete success. Towering Melrose Avenue, and placed in the hot spot of Los Angeles, Catch is a popular space for influencers, celebrities and socialites.
Majority of my content is based off of my Instagram feed! Meaning that I try out things based off of what other people post as the hot spots of Los Angeles. Catch was one of the top ones posted on Instagram. Known for their garden like decor, celeb spotted wall cover and catch emblem door, this restaurant is a social media haven. Entering the dining location, the first Insta-worthywall guest notice is the Catch Celebrity wall. Paying homage to West Hollywood's constant celebrity sightings , a wall that is covered with more than a hundred celebrities is the opening backdrop for Catch's entrance.
Location...Location...Location -Catch is located on one of the most star-studded streets in Los Angeles. Melrose Avenue is home to various shopping flagships, great eats and nightlife hangouts. Perched on the corner of Melrose & San Vicente. Catch is hidden within the various shops on the street. Pulling in to the hidden valet parking, I was in awe with the popularity of the area. Parking was completely full and the next available spots were either valet or two blocks away. After entering, my friends and I were instructed to take the elevator to the dining location, I admit I was not prepared for what was on the second floor.
Considered one of LA's top rooftop bars, Catch has a 360 panoramic view of West Hollywood. Though impressive it still does not take away from the initial atmosphere of the beautiful rooftop garden. Flowers, fountains and foliage- the decor of Catch was glorious. It was as you were visiting a fairy tale character's wedding. Observing Instagram's Catch photos, this was the top location for photo shoots; and I completely understand why.
For my first encounter at Catch, I was a little bit nervous. One thing this restaurant is known for is being a house of seafood (hence the name Catch). Fun fact: Autumn hates seafood! When restaurants mainly cater to specific tastings, they tend to flop at everything else. Hopefully, my experience trumps my low expectations.
What to Order?
Enjoy a weekend brunch with your girls, a solo weekday lunch after work or a dinner date with your significant other; all at Catch. Keeping up with the city's forever moving lifestyle, Catch offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts and drinks. In celebration of my birthday, my friends treated me to a Sunday Brunch.
Sticking to their seafood roots, a raw bar offers oyster shooters, jumbo shrimp, mussels, lobsters, scallops and sushi. The sushi rolls are priced around $17 and prepared with various flavors such as balsamic, miso-honey and avocado. Seafood for brunch is not my preference so I went with the Sweet section. The cinnamon roll pancakes caught my eye ,but I decided to go for the Anytime Waffle Tower. Milk chocolate and raspberry ice cream in between three Belgian waffles, not to forget chocolate ganache and raspberry jam dripping on top. This waffle tower is a dream! With all of those flavors the tower takes you to a sweet paradise topped with toasted almonds. The various amounts of sugary access becomes a little messy, so when ordering add an extra rack of napkins. Other brunch favorites served are omelettes, eggs Benedict, french toast and steak and eggs. Another star item on the menu to order is the steak. A 32-ounce bone-in dry aged rib eye that melts in your mouth like butter. I expected the food to be like most LA chic joints, overpriced and overwhelming, luckily this was not the case.
Matching the delectable tastes, Catch's alcoholic options are another star of this restaurant. After enjoying the brunch mimosa, I noticed their signature cocktail the Man eater. The Man eater is a mixture of Ardbeg scotch, green chartreuse, privilege, Benedictine, agave and lime. I didn't get to try it but I heard of the many great reviews the bar receives. Next time when I come back, I'll try to experience the dinner portion of this spot to have a better opinion of the drinks.
3515 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Busy and bustling- Koreatown is not your average spot in Los Angeles to enjoy a relaxing meal. Luckily, the Line Hotel gives guests the opportunity to take a trip to the "garden in the sky". Commissary is the current spot that is stealing all of our hearts and likes on Instagram and Facebook. Placed into the swank Line Hotel, the restaurant joined a strong line of "things to do" in Koreatown list. Coming into the Los Angeles restaurant chain in 2014 was difficult, due to the new transition of healthy being the new tasty. Already contributing Korean tacos at his LA Kogi truck, Chef Roy Choi was the man for the job. His style of fresh tasty food for the working-class became his signature and helped him build a chain of fast-food restaurants. He created the vegetable-driven greenhouse restaurant that has took over all of our social media feeds. Bloggers and Average Angelos surrounded by trees and a all-you-can-eat buffet, sounds like a Los Angeles adventure to me!
"Where the hell is this place?" Everyday, I check my Insta feed to find out where Angelos are eating these days. Everyday I look, and Everyday this restaurant pops up on my feed! Constantly, seeing influencers posing with their coffee surrounded by various plants- looked like a blogger's wonderland and I wanted a taste. Even without actually seeing the food! Starting my Saturday adventure, I was not positive of what I was getting myself into. The only thing I knew about the K-Town spot is that it was a greenhouse in a hotel. Pulling into the Line Hotel parking lot, I was greeted by the annoyance of Wilshire parking. After making a couple of U-turns, I broke down and did the best LA option, valet.
On the rooftop deck of the hotel, Commissary is tucked in between a small pool and ping pong table set, making it an ultimate LA rooftop spot (story coming real soon). Housed inside the giant greenhouse, architect Sean Knibb designed the rooftop with the bases of a cool greenery. While sipping my drink next to the pool, I looked up and noticed the potted plants hanging from the ceiling and the DJ tucked into the corner. Because of the restaurant's popularity, without a RSVP on a weekend it is going to take some time to get into the hottest place in town. Luckily, the wait staff is open to letting you hang out by the pool and enjoy the ambiance. Also for your convenience, you can leave the staff your cellphone number and they will text you when your table is ready. Waiting with a view of the pool at the top of the Line Hotel on a sunny Saturday- relaxing and fabulous. I almost got caught up with waiting, until my name finally got called.
Entering the greenhouse- music is loudly playing and you're surrounded by LA hipsters and brunchers who are excited to see what all the hype is about. First thing first, get in those great photo opps. The whole purpose of the place is to show off the amazing décor. The greenery inspo was inspired by the freshness of Los Angeles. Its evergreen, knitted and tightness is in homage to families coming to the table eating food strictly from the farms. Its focus is to bring people back to their natural roots.
What to Order?
Weekend mornings are always dedicated to brunch! From 9 A.M - 3 P.M., patrons at the Commissary can enjoy a weekend brunch fest. For the price of $37 is the unlimited made to order entrée of choice, the buffet feast and a beverage option of coffee, hot & iced tea and orange juice. The buffet included all of your breakfast, lunch and dinner favorites. The breakfast buffet included bacon, sausages and a build your own omelet station. Also for brunch are the made to order entrees including: eggs (anyway you want it), corn beef has, brioche eggs benedict, congee, pancakes and French toast. I decided to go with the classic combination of pancakes and the health driven maple syrup. After already being full from the beginning course, I was nervous to go through with the lunch portion. A prime rib carving station, build your own omelet station, poke, nacho bar, and more. Beyond the large amount of food, Commissary's ultimate focus is health. Accompanied with all of the meal options, was an open plate dedicated to salad and fruit.
I managed to have one of everything. Strictly for research of course! However my topping moment at the joint was experiencing the beverage options. Thanks to Commissary, health conscious alcoholic beverages officially made its way to my heart. My drink of choice was the cocktail called "Ride or Die". A blend of sage, blackberry, lemon and Remy 1738 - all for $15 might I add. Let's just say you get your money's worth from this small but powerful cocktail.
6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Awkwardly placed in the "La Tijera" Triangle, this Los Angeles diner is a scene stealer for both Angelos and tourists. On the way to LAX, passerby can't help but to notice the 50's style diner. It's awkward location, placed between La Cienega, La Tijera and Centinela, keeps it the center of attention on the busy street. Standing tall contrasting the views of Inglewood, is the neon sign reading "Pann's". A Los Angeles icon, Pann's, has been serving the community since 1958. Being a family founded diner, is not a rarity within this city. However, with the years of service to the community and the amazing food, this diner is almost unmatched. Originally from Greece, George and Rena Panagopoulos moved to California to have a successful family business. After serving in the Air force, George has cooked for the troops of World War II and for many different restaurants. In 1958, they opened Pann's and drew in various guest with their comfort food and personalities.
It always seems like I am on a hunt for a great Los Angeles breakfast spot! I except my obsession for a brunch based restaurant that has my top three requirements for a "Live and Dine in LA" feature. First, I always go based off of food. I will detail that a tad bit later but, just know if the diner is on the Indigo Stop, it is amazing! Second, is based off of word of mouth. Searching for brunch joint, I always ask one question, "How is the chicken and waffles?" My favorite breakfast pairing and the reason I brunch, well besides the mimosas. The first thing that will pop up by googling the diner is the amount of reception of the food. Some even claim that this is the best fried chicken they've ever had. Of course that alone made my expectations extremely high for the place. Lastly, I always focus on the décor. I am a true born millennial with appreciation for classic style. Nothing is more classic than the ambiance of a restaurant. Displaying the theme of a particular culture or taste, is extremely difficult, so I am always appreciative for the style.
Pulling into the middle parking lot, on a Sunday, was almost difficult. However, my expectations for the place kept me committed, especially because a large crowd could mean that I am definitely missing out on something big. Walking onto the street, I realized that even though I am a full born and raised resident of Los Angeles, I never once visited the diner. I would always see this landmark in the middle of the street and was always taken back based off of the architecture. This architecture style is known as "Googie" and was designed by Armet and Davis. The unique style has even shined to millions in various shows or movies such as XXX, Bewitched and Pulp Fiction. Everyone should be able to remember that lengthy coffee shop scene. Both John Travolta and Samuel Jackson sat in the classic red leather seats and enjoyed amazing food. The diner is an ode to the Americana ways of Classic Los Angeles: topped with low arched ceilings, vintage décor and perfect lighting.
What to Order?
Offering the full 50's vintage diner experience, includes offering a diner based menu. During the week, the audience's favorite is the lunch menu. Although the weekly option can not be covered, I still fulfilled a story covering my weekend experience. Entering the diner on Sunday morning, I already knew my first destination, brunch central. The first step of brunch is always the drink selection! On Saturday and Sunday, champagne brunch is offered for $7.99. This includes four refills! The options are mimosas, cranberry champagne sparklers and bloody maries. I tried both the mimosas and the cranberry sparkler. Let's just say four refills is all you need to get a little bit twisted during your Sunday evening.
Now to the food! Of course, I ordered my personal favorite chicken and waffles. However, I also dipped an dabbled in a couple of things on the menu as well. I ordered the Pann's Belgian Waffle which included 4 wings for $13.55. Proportion of the wings was appropriate but, I wished I had a second waffle. The buttermilk waffle was AMAZING! Baked to perfection and neither too soft or crunchy. Added to the waffle was the home-style syrup and added powdered sugar. This I felt was needed because even though the waffle alone was soft, extra flavor would've made it perfection. The wings were my favorite part and were really delicious. Very crispy and cooked all the way. But, same as the waffle a little bit more seasoning would've done it just as much justice. Other then that the size of the wings were amazing and kept me full.
765 Wall St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Hidden between both the floral and fashion districts of Los Angeles , sits a quaint yellow diner that contrasts the bustling city. Home-style cooking, comfort food and a friendly staff: Poppy+Rose Los Angeles has it all. At first glance , the café stands out with its unique styling and charm. Don't let the location frighten you, but beyond the heavy traffic, thousands of fabrics and foliage, Poppy+Rose makes the journey worthwhile. Downtown is a premiere location for all creatives to get inspired by the art of the city. Streets are filled with polka dots, furs and colorful fabrics. As well as the various floral decorations along an almost three block location, populates this area and brings in the heavy crowds. All that creativity eventually becomes overwhelming, and then the hunger develops. The street food including hot dogs and snacks do not necessarily complete my all-around creative adventure, especially because those locations are outdoors and do not provide sitting or working locations. The Wall Street's original location was occupied by a Mexican restaurant, until husband and wife Ryan and Diana Lamon collaborated with Michael Reed to open the café.
When I hear about the Downtown café, my first thought was: traffic. Battling Downtown traffic is for the brave! Especially determining where to park and how to beat both ongoing an upcoming traffic. Visiting the cafe on a Thursday morning, was surprisingly almost the perfect time. I was able to step right in to the open café and find a spot at the large tables between the joint. I was surrounded by students or others equipped with their laptops and coffees. This place seemed like the ideal location to get work done with its wide space, lit room and chill atmosphere. Even the workers had the same quality charm as the location itself. They were friendly, yet non invasive. However, they still found a way to build a relationship with almost every person that visited.
The building itself resembled a Downtown loft. The décor was my favorite! Each wooden table had a basket set with a unique shaped glass of water, condiments and silverware. Topping the basket, is the daily flower given by the neighborhood flower shops. The simple tables were out shined by yellow steel chairs matching the color of the building. Finding a way to combine modern simplicity yet a rural edge, makes this location an instagrammable journey worthy of sharing.
What To Order
Providing both breakfast and lunch, Poppy+Rose charms me as one of those great brunch locations. I've had my fair share of great brunch locations, so I claim my own expertise as a chicken and waffles connoisseur. Rumor of the café is that the meal is one of the favorites. Only I could be the judge for myself, so I decided to order it. I also taste tested a bagel in order to cure my early hunger. Beyond the chicken and waffles, the menu looked pretty delicious. Homestyled comfort food with a combination of modern flux is what this café is known for. You can have your hand at casual breakfast meals such as eggs, a breakfast sandwich and burrito. Lunch dishes are also a thing here. Other crowd favorites are sandwiches, burgers and even salads. Another fan favorite is the coffee options, that influences the visit for any occasion.
When my order came I was impressed by the portion size of the meal, not too much but very fulfilling. Granted there is never noting wrong with a large plate, this meal left me leaving with a to-go order. The waffle was really good. Even good enough to be eaten by itself. The complimenting syrup could've been a tad bit sweeter, but the waffle was a complete stand alone. Now I know what everyone is thinking of, the chicken. The make it or break it piece to the meal! It is very difficult for upscale joints to take on the home favorite. Not everyone can season a chicken, the way your grandma or mom can. However, this place was almost close. Seasoning on this chicken was surprisingly delicious. It was neither dry or too salty, and paired well with the sweet waffle. The chicken could've had a tad bit more crispiness and even adding an option of what piece of chicken to choose can up the meal a little more. Overall the plate was delicious and kept me full for almost the full day.