Getting to LA started off a bit crap, I left my sunglasses in the back of the taxi that dropped us at the bus station, within 5 minutes I had rung him and said he had my glasses but he wouldn't come back before checking in at his base. We missed our bus, had to pay $65 for new tickets and for the taxi driver to give back my glasses, I had a crying breakdown. The staff in the bus station were very nice and let me use their phone without asking why I was crying, it was just a bit embarrassing when they did ask after I'd calmed down, what was the important thing I had left in the taxi to make me so upset ..didn't get much sympathy as I tried to explain they were "special edition" ray bans.
So 4 hours later than planned we arrive in downtown LA. We were last here 7 years ago and back then downtown was not the place to go if you wanted to stay alive, things have changed and it's now thriving and full of local boutiques and trendy restaurants.
We use uber the taxi app to get us from our accommodation to downtown in the evening and as soon as we say 'hello' to the girl picking us up, she breathes a sigh of relief and says 'thank god you're not crazy' apparently the area we have chosen to stay, East LA, is not that desirable but from what we can see, it seems like a pretty chilled out neighbourhood.
'Ostrich farm' is filled with super hip looking people and we try our best to fit in, we only have to wait 30 mins for a table which is a refreshing change. There is a lovely relaxed, candle lit atmosphere as we take a seat and scan the farm to fork menu. We share a cheese plate which I think should be displayed more on menu's not just as a dessert, most people love a bit of cheese but I at least am not looking for more savoury when it's time for pudding. The dish comes with an array of olives, almonds, a homemade fig jam, toast and a vine of roasted grapes. Now I know the cheese is supposed to take the spotlight here but these grapes tasted like a rich red wine, warm and caramelised, why have we never tried this before!? We then share a monster of a sandwich filled with fresh soft shell crab, the meat is filled with salty butter and the sandwich bursts with juices as the roasted tomatoes and sweetcorn soak in to the golden fried bread, apparently I am actually singing about it before I eat it, I'd write a song about that sandwich mm mmmm. Actually too full for dessert which is an absolute rarity but the puds sound ace and the menu changes regularly.
For lunch the next day we check out 'Grand central market' on sunset blvd. A massive shed filled with individual counters and kitchens like little pop up restaurants. There is so much choice but we go with 'Wexler's Deli' as they have articles plastered to their walls about LA's best salt beef sandwiches. These guys are famous for smoking all their own fish and meat and it seems really popular with the locals. We both get the MaCarthur park pastrami, 2 inches of the most tender pastrami I've ever eaten, smothered in a homemade coleslaw, a paper thin slice of Swiss, Russian dressing and a soft rye bread. A side of pickles, which they barrel ferment in a salt brine, is obviously the perfect accompaniment and they still have a really good crisp bite to them, unlike most store bought jarred varieties.
We grab ice cream delights at 'McConnells' . Inventive flavours draw you in to this Californian business that has been running for over 70 years. They use all sustainable organic ingredients and I choose a scoop of their eureka lemon and marionberries which tastes like a tarte au citron, sandwiched between sea salt chocolate and sweetcorn sugar cookies, I can't get enough of these damn ice cream sandwiches it's becoming an addiction. Steve has a homemade waffle cone with sweet cream and cookie, chocolate covered strawberry ice creams, topped with a salty pecan crumble.
We decide to check out our first ever baseball game at the Dodgers stadium whilst in LA and it's an awesome experience, no clue what the hell is going on but we enjoy the challenge of trying to cheer at the right bits and who doesn't love a Mexican wave right? On the way back we pass a place that at 9pm, has a queue running down the street and Steve realises it's on our list of must eats! 'Guisados' is very well known in the city and for good reason, they offer home style cooking in the form of some exceptional tacos. Meat and veggie stews are simmering away on the stoves and containers of brightly coloured fruit waters line the counter. We take away the sampler option which contains 6 mini tacos which are all made using freshly ground masa and cooked to order every time by a small focused team in the kitchen. The stand out tacos were definitely the 'Steak Picado',slowly cooked for hours with hot green peppers and salty bacon, the flank steak is pull apart tender and accompanied with a powerful Serrano chilli sauce. Also loved the 'frijoles con queso', the staple black refried beans topped with a creamy mild queso fresco and dotted with a smidge of chipotle chilli paste.
Pretty good end to the night and our trip to Los Angeles, off to the red rocks of Sedona next cya.
G & S xxx