I love a good Nordstrom browse at The Grove, a trek up Runyon Canyon (yes, I am one of the few who actually considers it a legitimate “trek”) or a night of sipping unjustifiably overpriced cocktails at SLS–but one of the best parts about L.A. is the endless potential to find under-the-radar establishments.
Whether it’s a metaphysical shop in Highland Park or a renowned Mexican restaurant in Boyle Heights, there’s always more to be uncovered in the City of Angels.
Pop TV’s This Just In star Elizabeth Stanton is an L.A. native (Hollywood proper, to be exact), and she’s providing my readers with a list of some of her favorite lesser-known spots in town. And as someone who has lived in L.A. for 10 years, I can personally say she came up with some excellent out-of-the-box places to go (in fact, she even had me stumped on a couple).
“It’s been fun growing up here because I’ve felt like I’m always in the center of everything,” the 21-year-old—who was recently listed as one of Popstar! magazine’s top 10 actresses of the year—tells skyelyfe. “Now that I’m older, I basically live in the same area, and everything’s around me—all the new, happening spots. I feel like Hollywood is a happening area to be in right now. I can’t imagine living anywhere else but L.A. I especially love the weather [laughs]. Even if people don’t want to be around the main parts of Hollywood, there are always the beach areas and smaller communities people don’t really know about.”
And with that, I dug into five L.A. gems Liz insists you must encounter if you haven’t already:
1. For the Late-Night-Nosher: Crispy Pork Gang
Open until 4:00 a.m., this Thai Town eatery’s selling point may not be its overpacked strip mall parking lot, but it does give its visitors a mouthful (a good one, that is). And like the name suggests, the standout item here is indeed crispy pork. As Jonathan Gold pointed out back in 2011, there is no shortage of its usage on the menu.
2. For the Gamer Who Likes to Drink: EightyTwo
Umm, hello childhood! This DTLA spot is a little throwback to the days of arcade games. And pinball lovers in particular, prepare to empty out your piggy banks, because your quarters are about to go to use! But rest assured this joint has you covered in the beverage department as well. With a full bar featuring craft cocktails and 10 draft beers, there will be no dry mouths in the building.
3. For the Outdoorsy Individual Who Wants to Avoid the ‘Scene’: L.A. Abandoned Zoo
Love to hike, but without the Runyon-esque mayhem? Los Feliz’ former home to wild animals is loaded with beautiful visuals and photo opps aplenty.
4. For the Foodie Who Came Seriously Just for the Food: Papilles
There’s no fancy-schmancy shebang here. Chef Jordan Rosas brings the casual Paris-inspired bistronomique movement to a Hollywood strip mall. With a set course menu that changes daily (check their website for each day’s offerings), there’s no messing around at this spot.
5. For the Artsy, Avid Reader: The Last Bookstore
This DTLA dwelling has come a long way since launching in a loft in 2005. It is now the largest new and used bookstore in all of California. They also sell a slew of vintage records, they host various events and even get celebs (hi, BJ Novak) to come in to speak (or read).