As you read in my last post, I recently (well, not SO recently) moved across town to an eclectic neighborhood in Los Angeles located on the "east side" of town, near Hollywood and Silver Lake. I've always loved the east side of the city because it has a real community feel. I love being able to run into old friends while I'm taking a stroll, and seeing familiar faces at the shops I go to frequently. But, it's not just the community that I've come to love, it's also the shops themselves! These are just some of my favorites (there are many!).
1. Figaro Cafe - Best Happy Hour / This is THE place to go if you want fancy drinks and fancy french food for cheap. I happen to love their artichoke ravioli (with truffle oil, $6), and I always get a glass of their Lillet Blanc ($5)! Happy hour runs between 4-7 pm every day of the week. Plus, who doesn't want to just dine leisurely at a bistro on Vermont Ave?
2. Skylight Books - Best Neighborhood Bookstore (and the only one, really, for good reason!) / This is an amazing bookstore with events happening every week. They also have a sister book store next door that carries more "art books" like music biographies, graphic novels and the like.
3. Tomato Pie - Best Pizza (non vegan) / What's not to love about a bright orange and blue pizza joint? This cute little pie shop houses the tastiest pizzas ever, including The Florentine (jam-packed with veggies so I don't feel AS guilty eating it), delectable garlic knots, and the prices are pretty reasonable. I was going to also highlight my favorite vegan pizza spot called Cruzer, but I couldn't find a pretty picture of their shop to post, haha. If you are looking for vegan, this shop off Hillhurst is THE place for yummy non dairy/non real meat pizzas. I'm addicted to their gluten free pizza crust which is buttery and crunchy in just the right places. My favorite pizzas are their BBO Chicken, and Philly Cheese Steak. Also, you have to try their potato wedges with vegan ranch dressing or else. There are no words.
4. Little Dom's - Best Romantic Dinner / Ahh.. what's not to love about Little Dom's? Well, for one, they have a great deal on Mondays which includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert, all for $15! Also, many movies have been filmed here, including We Bought A Zoo (which is not one of my favorites but hey - it's cool to see Matt Damon sitting in one of my favorite restaurants). What I love most, though, is the atmosphere. They play cool music, serve yummy Italian food (mmm pasta), and sometimes I don't know that I'm sitting behind a famous person (last time it was Kristen Wiig) which adds to the experience. This will always be my favorite Valentine's Day AND Birthday dinner spot. Oh and their breakfast/brunch is pretty stellar, too.
5. Los Feliz 3 Cinema - Best Movie Theater / Many would disagree with me on this and say that the Vista is their favorite theater (another vintage theater in the vicinity), but I have always loved this theater. They always have three movies to choose from and it has such a classic, nostalgic feel to it.
6. Spitfire Girl - Best Spot for Fun Gifts / I love this little gem of a shop! I come here when I want to find a unique birthday present for a friend (like their Birthday In A Jar kit, which includes random items such as a balloon, fortune teller and confetti), or cute glasses for the kitchen (my favorites are the cats wearing pirate eye patches). They also have handmade greeting cards, pillows, jewelry, and more, most of which is handmade by the owner herself!
7. Alcove Café - Best Brunch Spot / There are so many great brunch/breakfast spots in this neighborhood, but for me, my favorite is definitely Alcove (mmm brioche french toast). From the outside, it looks like a tree house, with sweet bistro lights hung about and mismatched tables and chairs taking up the majority of the front of the restaurant. They also have a small bar inside. If you could see their bakery selections, I guarantee you'd be coming every day. Their cakes are INSANE! (Did I mention they also make their own chocolate in-house?) I also love their after hours menu that includes yummy bacon sliders and chili cheese fries.
8. Ramekin - Best Dessert Spot / I only recently discovered the genius that is Ramekin. As you can probably guess, every dessert here is served in a ramekin. The bread pudding is pretty much heaven, and their chocolate chip cookie is a little raw in the middle, and chewy on the outside, which to me is the perfect combo. I love to just sit outside and chat with friends for hours (they're open late!), sipping on tea + eating these yummy treats.