La Brea +

Recently the NY Times profiled the resurgence of La Brea.  As La Brea is my ten minute walk of a commute, I’ve been “experiencing the resurgence”  for years. And as the self-proclaimed Mayor of La Brea, I would like to share with you even cooler places than the NY Times knows about.

First, not to discredit the changes happening because of District La Brea.  No one appreciates Sycamore Kitchen more than me.  Some may cry hipster gentrification. But I submit to you, a before and after photo….

sycamore before

I think they definitely made an improvement in the community, wouldn’t you?  And they have delicious cookies to boot!

Here’s some more cool places on La Brea…

Muse Café  –

IMG_4783 ChrisMuse museon8th_93981

Muse is the corner café you wished you lived by.  Great coffee, that is also the cheapest cup of drip on La Brea. Treat yourself to vegan cheesecake too. The café has a bohemian vibe, the walls covered with art from a local artist, weekend nights host music, comedy, storytelling shows and writers’ workshops.

Nick Metropolis –

metropolisLA_NicksMetropolis__Credit_Uta_KogelsbergerThere’s lots of furniture stores on La Brea and while many are eclectic, all pale in comparison to Nick’s Metropolis.  Full of movie set pieces, classic and modern furniture, interior exterior, signs and bowling.  Come take a walk through this place.

Miracle Mile Toys & Games –

miralce mile toys and games mm t g

In case you think La Brea is all hipsters drinking $8 coffee and $800 alarm clocks, meet the families of La Brea when you stop in this classic toy store.  You’ll be transported back in time to toys and games you loved as a kid, as well be jealous of the new toys and games.

Arte Design –

o o (1) La BreaDoes every neighborhood need a place to get 15th century German soldier helmet? No, but it is a crowning achievement that a neighborhood can support such a place. Because it is these places that give us the steam punk stroller.

Mo Better Burgers –

mo better mo better burger

Besides being the best vegetarian burger ever. EVER. This is just a friendly, family owned and operated burger joint that you’ll love. Mo Better was a cornerstone of the community during the riots. Read about it in this other article.

Amalfi / Room 5 –

ravioliP96kt79EAmalfi serves fantastic rustic Italian fare.  Their pumpkin ravioli is the best there is. I have it every year on my birthday for the last 10 years.  It has hand-crafted ginger beer, but it is pretty casual.  Room 5 is an excellent music venue. It is where Nat King Cole got his nick name “King.”

Little Bar –

little bar sign

little barThe owner always says “we’re just a little neighborhood bar and that’s all we ever want to be.”  And they are consistent with that vision.  A simple menu of drinks. No food, but you can walk in with food from Muse.  There’s a new dart room in back, and they have pub trivia on occasion.

Orchard –

maxresdefaultI know what you are thinking, a big box store is a good part of the neighborhood?  But I think they did a good job incorporating it into the neighborhood and that should be recognized.  It is built to the street with a walk up entrance (not fronted by a parking lot) and the bike racks are often full.  And as much as I like the flanuer life-style, sometimes I need a pack of screws!

Tinga –

20100803_tinga_560x375 tinga_pork_taco

No neighborhood is anything unless it has a good Horchata & Taco shop.  Tinga is that place on La Brea.  (El Diner isn’t too far off of La Brea, so we are doubly covered in our hood.) I recommend chile relleno burrito. Mainly because I love when a food has another food as an ingredient. Like tortellini pizza.

New Urbanism Film Festival –


Lastly the New Urbanism Film Festival takes place on La Brea.  In addition to great programming inside the theatre, the festival builds a parklet, offers walking tours of bakeries and street art in the neighborhood. IMG_2299IMG_9771IMG_2172

Kids and Metro

Another great article from the Hoff! Buses can bring out the human side of us. Whether that is the crazy or the compassionate!

Hoff The Beaten Path

Any metro rider has had this experience.  A mom and her child board the bus, and the little one is restless and squirmy.  He starts to babble loudly, and then begins to scream.  Despite the mom’s best efforts, her child breaks into a full blown tantrum.  The cries echo through the bus and thoroughly disrupt everyone on board.  Passengers roll their eyes, and some even make comments to the parent about needing to gain control of the kid.

It can’t be easy bringing a small child onto the metro.  Subways and buses are filled with chaos and potentially dangerous situations.  Parents with small kids not only have to worry about carrying little Sally or Bobby, but often strollers and diaper bags.  These items are definitely not easy to carry on the metro.  If the parent has multiple children, the situation is made twice as stressful.

Last week, I was on…

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Yes on Yesayan

I couldn’t be more excited to endorse Erik Yesayan for City Council. I first met Erik through a workshop on designing bike lanes.  We chatted about our book group and he was enthusiastic and supportive.  He recommended several books which the … Continue reading

Giving up supermarkets for Lent (a guest post)

Great to see urbanism and spirituality collide. Both are about strengthening community. I first got into urbanism issues when I gave up parking lots for lent.

A year without supermarkets

Now today we hand over to a lovely lady called Jackie Spurrier who is a Dorset artist and part of the big (and fantastic) campaign to stop Tesco opening a store in Sherborne in Dorset. Jackie decided to give up supermarkets for lent and we asked her to tell us all about her experience. We hope you enjoy the post. We’ll be back at the end of it to add our thoughts.

tesco 2I live in Sherborne in Dorset, one of England’s most beautiful towns. We have a market twice a week, a plethora of interesting independent high street shops and two

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