Locals Share What Gives Los Angeles Its Distinct Flavor

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Grabbing some lunch at Sqirl in Silver Lake Photo: Sqirlla.com

Big cities mean tons of options, which unfortunately can be overwhelming when you’re hard pressed to find the best. To share what gives Los Angeles its distinct flavor, we’ve assembled an A-team of insiders: some of our favorite Krrb members and resident influencers with knowledge on where to go and what to pick up. Get ready to meet the team!

heather

Heather Williams has a floral design shop called Twig & Twine in Los Angeles’s neighborhood Silver Lake as well as a blog with the same name. Heather’s store also carries a selection of home decor and artisanal goods, handpicked by her. Follow Heather on Instagram to see her stunning creations. (HW)

Eileen Lee, a young urban creative blogs at LA Lovetta. She is always scouring Venice for vintage goods for her Tawas Trading Co. shop, that she sells online and at flea markets in Southern California. Keep up with her via Instagram for all the latest local happenings! (EL)

whitney-campeau

Whitney Campeau of See Shop Eat Do is a Canadian born, Los Angeles-based lifestyle blogger and interior decorator. Whitney lives by the beach with her golden doodle Penny and her husband Justin and spends her free time exploring shops, restaurants and flea markets around the city. Head over to Instagram feed to see where Whitney is headed next! (WC)


Photo: Unsplash.com/joecooke?auto=format

How would you describe Los Angeles to someone who was visiting the city for the first time?
HW: LA is a hard one to explain. It’s unlike any other major city I’ve experienced. It has tons of smaller neighborhoods tucked within a huge concrete jungle. Most people think of LA in terms of the beachy areas and Hollywood but there is so much more to it than that. It’s a culturally rich and ethnically diverse city. I usually encourage first time visitors to do a day on the west side and a day on the east side so they can see what a wide range of options, scenery and even weather can be found within one city.
EL: Los Angeles is a true melting pot of cultures, neighborhoods, cuisines and geography. There’s something for everyone here, you just have to know where to look! Oh, and as Bret Easton Ellis says in Less Than Zero, “People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles.” Weird but true!
WC: I would say visiting LA is like visiting a bunch of different mini cities; all of the areas are so different from one another. Santa Monica is clean and super health conscious while Venice is a little grittier but has tons of great shops and restaurants. Manhattan Beach is like an old fashioned beach town and Beverly Hills is as glamorous as you’d imagine.

Dig a little deeper into LA.

LA is a city known for it’s overall style. What are your favorite aspects of the fashion trends that you see?
HW: LA has a very casual fashion scene. Anything flies here and it’s great.
EL: I love that anything goes in LA. Everyone has their own style and isn’t afraid to just be themselves. There’s a definite “California style” that you see in LA; a typical uniform of jeans and a t-shirt, maybe topped off with wide brimmed hat. I never understood the sundress trend until I began living in LA. Everything here is about comfort, but still being stylish.
WC: I love that Angelenos put their own casual spin on current trends.

Sage Vegan Bistro in Los Angeles Photo: Keepinitkind.com

Los Angeles is a foodie’s heaven! What are the must have foods to have in the city?
HW: After living in San Francisco for nearly a decade I was quite spoiled with food. At first I was slightly disappointed with the dining options in LA but within the last five years there’s been a huge upswing within the food scene. Not only are there wonderful restaurants with tasty food and lively atmospheres there are also lots of smaller hidden gems in strip malls and great food trucks. Such a wide range of options in a culturally diverse city.
EL: I’m a vegetarian so my options are a little more limited but luckily most places in LA are veggie and vegan friendly! My must-haves are: the Soul Bowl at Sage Vegan Bistro; tacos and chewy chips from MALO in Silver Lake; and Abbots Pizza in Venice is a must with their bagel crust and famous “salad pizza.” Oh! And the Sorrel Rice Bowl at Sqirl is something I crave all the time. I kind of need it right now.
WC: Tough question! I’d say the Pea Toast at Salt Air, the baked crab hand roll at Sugar Fish, and the Fried Chicken at Petit Trois. I also really love the Whole Bowl at Cafe Gratitude.

The crispy rice bowl at Sqirl Photo: Eater.com

What are your own personal restaurants, cafes and bars?
HW: Some of my favorites for dining are Sqirl, Republique, Sycamore Kitchen, Jon & Vinny’s, Alimento, Pine & Crane, Baroo, KazuNori and Gjusta. I’m not a huge coffee drinker but in my neighborhood I enjoy Dinosaur Coffee and Eightfold Coffee. For bars I have been enjoying a newcomer called Sawyer in Silver Lake and Bar Stella is always a good go-to. For these hot summer nights the patios at Everson Royce in Downtown LA and Block Party in Highland Park are great.
EL: Since I live and work in Venice, I tend to stay on the Westside most days. I am obsessed with Tocaya Organica which just opened up near Hotel Erwin this summer. They have the most amazing tacos and their guacamole with plantain chips are literally to die for. For breakfast I regular The French Market Cafe which is definitely a locals spot on the less busy side of Abbot Kinney. My favorite bar is Tiki Ti in Silver Lake where you have to get the Ugo Booga! And of course Lost & Found in Santa Monica. It’s cheap, has strong drinks and an eccentric crowd making it the best dive bar ever. Just read the Yelp reviews!
WC: My favorite restaurants are the ones I mentioned above, but also Gjelina, Gjusta, Hungry Cat in Santa Monica, Nobu in Malibu, Farmshop and Cecconi’s.

Mohawk General Store in Silver Lake  Photo: Luxpads.com

With such an abundant amount of designers and artists based in Los Angeles, it must be hard to choose, but any favorite local designers or shops?
HW: I often shop for clothes and shoes at American Rag CIE on La Brea. I frequent the Steven Alan outpost in Los Feliz and Individual Medley in Atwater Village. I love to window shop at Mohawk General Store. Poketo, Alchemy Works and The Last Bookstore in Downtown LA are always fun to pop into. And if I’m on the west side I like to stop into The General Store and walk down Abbot Kinney.
EL: I love Julie of JuJu Made for her simple, sculptural jewelry and leather bags. I wear one of her necklaces almost every day! Bari Zipperstein also makes colorful, unexpected necklaces and art sculptures that I completely adore. Claire & Aaron from M.F.E.O. are so talented and create incredibly beautiful locally-crafted pieces of furniture and home accessories. There is also Eric Trine, his take on modernism is really inspiring and fun. Janelle Piertzak of All Roads Studio is one of my favorite local textile artists who creates stunning wall weavings, scarves, baskets and so much more. For shops, Burro on Abbot Kinney is my go-to for gifts, as well as Individual Medley in Atwater Village and Poketo in the Arts District. For clothing, Mohawk General Store and Passenger both have a well-curated selection of designers. Also Virgil Normal and Ooga Booga are super fun, full of great items for the culturally minded.
WC: My favorite home stores to browse are Nickey Kehoe and Hollywood at Home, and I’d say my favorite clothing store is Jenni Kayne.

The music scene in LA seems amazing. What genre is stealing the show right now and who are your favorite performers from the area?
EL: One of my favorite LA bands is Bleached, as they kind of epitomize that LA girl-indie slash punk vibe. And while there’s always something going on at The Echo, there’s an incredible underground music and DJ scene in LA that I think often gets overlooked at places like The Lash in Downtown LA or UNION in Koreatown. If I’m out on a Friday night, you’ll probably find me there.
WC: My favorite local singer is Tamara Laurel, and I love to see Dustbowl Revival play, they’re so fun.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles Photo: Moca.org

If you were meeting up with friends, what would the agenda look like?
HW: Dinner and/or drinks. I try to explore new spots with friends whenever possible. Or maybe an outdoor movie night with a picnic during the summer. If it’s not too hot, a hike in some nearby mountains is always a wonderful way to connect with friends and nature at the same time.
EL: Since most of my friends live East of the 405, we would probably meet up halfway in Hollywood at Blue C Sushi for their $3 Happy Hour, then stopping by Amoeba Records or Space15Twenty before heading downtown to see what’s new at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Afterwards, we would hop over to Little Tokyo/Arts District to hangout. Lots of great shops, restaurants and bars!
WC: An ideal day would be a hike in the mountains in Malibu, followed by a stop at the Palisades Farmer’s Market to pick up some local produce and flowers, before finishing off with dinner by the beach at Nobu.

I love the styles of homes in LA and their interiors from Silver Lake bungalows to Venice beach cottages. What types of homes and interior styles are your favorite?
HW: I’m from the Bay Area so the Craftsmen style still catches my eye a lot. Although the modern sleek houses of Venice are a bit rampant at this point, I still find them appealing. And who doesn’t love a good Spanish-style bungalow with its arched doorways and terra cotta tile?
EL: I am a total sucker for small, cozy spaces. We live in a tiny Venice bungalow from the 1950’s and am always inspired by other homes I see in the area, especially along the canals. I particularly love houses that have indoor/outdoor spaces, where one flows right into the other. I also love all the older homes in LA that have build-ins (shelving, seating, wardrobe areas) as they are all unique and also allow for the focus on decorating rather than finding the perfect furniture or storage for every room.
WC: I really love the look of a traditional California bungalow, with lots of natural light, pretty textiles and flea market finds.

The Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles Photo: La.curbed.com

Los Angeles has so many different geographical areas to it. What are the different vibes of each and which are your personal favorites?
HW: I live in Silver Lake so of course that’s a favorite of mine. I have neighborhood envy of Highland Park and love what is going on retail and restaurant-wise on the strip of La Brea between Beverly and 3rd. Venice is fun to visit with its great restaurants and beach breezes. I also love that you can get around via bike on the west side. And of course Downtown LA provides me with a good dose of a more traditional feeling city—skyscrapers, traffic, old buildings, etc.
EL: Downtown LA feels much more metropolitan than the rest of LA, so do parts of Koreatown. There’s always something happening and a bunch of late night food options. Areas like Silver Lake, Echo Park and Highland Park have that kind of small neighborhood feel, similar to the neighborhoods in Chicago, where I lived for nearly four years. Santa Monica, Venice and all of the beach cities have that laid back California vibe that people typically attribute to LA. Then of course you get up in the canyons of Malibu and Topanga which are the complete opposite. These areas are probably my favorite because of the amazing views and nature that surround it. It’s the perfect place to go and unwind from city life.
WC: I’d say that my favorites are the area around Montana Avenue in Santa Monica as well as the Pacific Palisades. Both neighborhoods are a little bit old-fashioned but with a casual, laid back California vibe.

Can’t get enough of Los Angeles? See the best local makers on the West Coast, our favorite AirBnb options in the neighborhood and where to go locally to get your DIY on. And it doesn’t get more local than shopping from neighbors in LA!