The Hidden Gems of Los Angeles

Courtesy+of+LA+Weekly+
Courtesy of LA Weekly

Courtesy of LA Weekly

Courtesy of LA Weekly

Millie Dyer ‘19, Health & Leisure Section Editor

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When I moved to Los Angeles from New York City, I suffered the initial assumption that Los Angeles had little to offer. The greatest aspects of the Big Apple were easy to come across; my feet reliably carried me to various solutions to a rare sense of boredom. Unlike New York, Los Angeles was more of a chore, a massive puzzle that I had had yet to put together. My new city melted under the hot sun, spread out into pockets of obscure mysteries; New York had been solid, steady, reliable. I would solve Los Angeles with a patience that would help me to fight through the crawl of loitering cars, that would prompt me to look past unapproachable facades and obscure neighborhoods.

My family takes partial responsibility for encouraging my search for the “Hidden Gems of Los Angeles.” While I expressed my want to return to a city that had easier outlets for entertainment, they challenged me to accept Los Angeles for its inability to reveal its secrets. By word of mouth, they discovered Moonlight Rollerway, a unique spot tucked into the heart of Glendale. The location that would later become a bustling roller-rink was once used to craft airplanes for World War II. Come the end of the war, the location shifted gears; it opened its doors to roller skaters, poodle skirts, and jukeboxes. To this day, the rink maintains its authenticity; it has not been renovated since the 1970’s and has been under the ownership of roller-skater/Organ player, Dominic Cangelosi. Moonlight Rollerway commonly features themed nights, my favorite being their “Eighties” night, which provides a use for my thrifted clothing and feeds my nostalgic appetite.

Courtesy of LA Weekly

New York is littered with small pieces of gold; restaurants dishing out incredible cuisine. Meanwhile, Los Angeles boasts a few enormous pots of gold, to be sought out beyond an enormous stretch of rainbow. Don’t get me wrong: Los Angeles has excellent food – of course, I do not see myself as stranded in the middle of a food desert. But to seek out a reliable source of incredible food (without the sacrifice of my entire pocket!) often comes at the price of time behind the wheel and desperate internet searches. Originally, I let what I missed about the food in New York guide my search for restaurants in Los Angeles. I soon moved into acceptance; a New York-style piece of pizza did not have a home in Los Angeles, nor did my version of the perfect bagel. I would have to settle on the cuisine of Los Angeles – it lacks a distinct set of flavors, but can be sought in food that many would rather take a photo of than eat. Squirl, a restaurant that sits on the edge of Silverlake, boasts a cuisine just as unique as its name. Squirl’s distinctive food wholeheartedly belongs to Los Angeles, just like its hipster clientele. Squirl’s fruity pastries, ricotta toasts, and crispy rice bowls are most often demanded by their customers, but the restaurant’s true claim to fame is its homemade jams. The location channels its creative energy into more than just its exotic jams and minimalist space; it consistently offers unconventional specials and newfound coffee-combinations.

Courtesy of Franklin Avenue

The idea of exploring the comedy in Los Angeles was not quick to cross my mind; who needed comedy when watching Los Angeles was comedic in itself?  Part of me understood that any pursuit of good comedy would mean risking bad comedy. Atrocious comedy is a specific type of agony; in the absence of good humor, the audience seems just as ready to dash as the comedian. But I was ecstatic to find that my first attempt at comedy was far from cringe-worthy. Upright Citizens Brigade has two locations in Los Angeles, though my preferred location rests in the heart of Hollywood, the home of most of Los Angeles’ comedy. Though UCB offers a plethora of exciting stand-up skits, my favorite of their events is a more unique idea for comedy: an improvised musical. Every Friday night, Upright Citizens Brigade performs an entirely improvised musical alongside a band. The audience spits out a bunch of titles for them to select from – the crew must pick the loudest title, regardless. This makes for witty performances that are entirely full of creative genius. A trip to Upright Citizens Brigade an optimal way for me to wrap up a week, especially considering their ticket prices, which are around seven dollars. Talk about a hidden gem!

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