Fresh food in your ‘hood. (organic)

People seem to think because we live in downtown Los Angeles we have little to no access to fresh foods and produce. Which, I think is silly. Sure we have no Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Co-Op, Sprouts, Erewhon or even VP Discount Health and Food Mart (though I must say, I trek it here every now and then for amazing deals, they truely are discounted from their competitors), but we have MANY farmers markets that offer an amazing spread of fresh produce and meats. And to top it off, we have organic markets located in the heart of our community. Two Bits, Om Nom Organics, The Artisan and soon to be Urban Radish opening in a couple of months. Plus, Ralph’s actually offers a huge variety of organic produce and pre-packaged foods.

Two Bits Market located on 5th street (the nickel) is small, but offers fresh local organic foods, produce and organic packaged foods as well as organic coffee, cheeses, and made to order sandwiches. I am always finding my way to Two Bits for more avocados and day old bread for half the price. It’s a bargain!

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Two Bits Market~ Fresh. Local. Organic. on 5th between Broadway and Spring.

Om Nom Organics is a convenient mini market that offers all organic pre-packaged foods that are free of pesticides and toxins. Think mini Whole Foods. Everything for every meal. From pancake mix to pasta and sauces. They have a large assortment of organic teas, toddler goodies and needs, household cleaning products and needs, and even carry Babycakes! In addition to the market they have fresh foods to go! Conveniently located under the Eastern Columbia Building on 8th Street. Plus, they deliver! what? yes, they deliver in DTLA, so really there is no excuse for not eating healthy. click here for the menu.

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Om Nom Organics on 8th near Broadway.

The Artisan House located on Main Street and 6th is another mini market that offers only in-season local organic produce. As well as a variety of organic pre-packaged foods and local cheeses and meats. In addition, they house a mini liquor store of beer, wine and liquors. Plus, it’s attached to their restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Perfection! I say.

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Artisan House on Main and 5th.

Urban Radish is coming soon. Follow their story on facebook here. But with 8,200 sq.ft. of space, this is fantastic news. Said to be slated to open May 29th. Fingers crossed! This is going to be a great addition to the organic local fresh food movement.

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Designs of Urban Radish on Mateo

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Urban Radish on Mateo.

Ralph’s located on 9th between Flower and Hope Street is the largest of markets in the area. I am happy to say they offer a huge variety of organic fresh local produce as well as organic prepackaged foods. So if you find yourself in this gigantic market fear not, they have organic foods, too.

Grand Central Market located on Broadway has fresh local produce as well, though I am not sure about organic. I ask and ask, and every time I go I get a different answer. Oh well, at least it’s local right? Though it is heading into a revival with many retailers selling organic and free range foods like Sticky Rice.

Then we have our Farmer’s Markets!!!!!!

Monday~ Visit the mini markets 😉

Tuesday~ Grand Park 10am-2pm.

Wednesday~ Pershing Square 11:30am-2pm (my personal favorite).

Thursday~ Fig at 7th  9am- 3pm (Above Target) & City Hall 10am-2pm (on 1st and Spring St.).

Friday~ Bank of America Plaza 11:30am- 3pm

Saturday~ trek up to Echo Park‘s Farmer’s Market 3pm-7pm.

Sunday~ Historic Core on 5th street between Spring and Broadway. This is another treasure of farmer’s markets. 9am-1pm.

¡Viva CicLAvia!

Today is the day where cyclists unite and ride car(e)free from DTLA to the beach. 15 miles one way. Starting at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and ending in Venice Beach. How awesome is that?! It’s a gorgeous day out so get your bike and ride on! Wether you ride for a mile or the full trek, today is your day to take advantage of a bike path through the city, without cars trying to run you off the road. They are estimating 100,00 people will participate in today’s largest bike ride yet. So, come take part in this fun-filled carfree sunny southern California bike ride.

Check the map for road crossings for cars and the direct path for “bikes only” straight to the beach!

042113_map_8-3029.5x11_FINAL_cropped-3029

To The Sea Map

 

You can always come out in support of riders throughout the route, cheering them on, taking photos, offering waters or riding with your kids a few blocks in participation. This event is for everyone. Start in DTLA or even in Venice Beach to ride back to DTLA. Many public transportation systems are available to help out in your trek. There will be hubs all throughout the route. Click here for hub locations. In Venice Beach there will be a kids zone to partake in a bike skills workshop and hone in on their biking skills complete with obstacle course and helmet giveaway from 11am-1pm. Thanks to Walk’n’Rollers.

Click here for safety tips. Especially if your children are joining you. There will be a lot of people out today, so stay safe people!

For those of you without a bike, take your scooter, skateboard, roller skates or even walk along with everyone. Click here for a few places to rent a bike along the route.

DowntownMuse loves her bike!

DowntownMuse loves her bike!

 

P.S. Rumor has it DTLA is starting a BIKE NIGHT… hint hint… DowntownMuse.

Sans automobile in Los Angeles?

I recently sold my car… I know, I know… having a car in Los Angeles is really a must, but I have sold my car non the less in hopes that public transportation will deliver me to my destinations. I will lower my carbon footprint and demand more out of mass transit. Win win right?! So far, I have been pleasantly surprised as to what is available to people sans automobile.

Take for example yesterday, my boyfriend and I took a trip up to Griffith Park Observatory on Mt. Hollywood. We walked a few blocks to the underground Metro at Pershing Square, hopped on the RED LINE for $1.50 each, took it to the Vermont/Sunset stop, caught DASH’s weekend only Griffith Observatory Shuttle for .50 cents per person. The shuttle drops you off directly in front of the Observatory, how convenient! From there, we “hiked” (walked along) the Mt. Hollywood Hiking Trail to the tip top to view all of Los Angeles. The trail head is found just at the entrance of the parking lot. At the top you will see everything from the famous Hollywood sign, to downtown, Burbank and beyond. It was so gorgeous out even the butterflies were dancing in the breeze. Many people were out from all over! Some jogging, families brought their lunch to picnic,and some people rode on horseback to the top! The trail is moderately easy as far as hiking goes, but it’s a great outdoor walk if you feel like escaping the city for a day. It’s not far from downtown either, it probably took about 35 min from my house to the Observatory.

View from atop the Griffith Observatory overlooking the grounds, Mt Hollywood and the Hollywood sign.

View from atop the Griffith Observatory overlooking the grounds, Mt Hollywood and the Hollywood sign.

Inside the Dome of Griffith Observatory houses the Zeiss 12 inch refracting telescope.

Inside the Dome of Griffith Observatory houses the Zeiss 12 inch refracting telescope.

 

Recap… Metro RED line + DASH + Hike = perfect car free outing in LA!

.. and it was only $4 RT! what?! Plus, when we got up the mountain to the observatory I noticed many cars were idling waiting for a parking spot for 10+ minutes. So even if we had driven up there, it would have been a nightmare finding a parking spot. In addition, the DASH makes a few stops on it’s soute to and from the Observatory. So if you wanted to, you could stop over to see the latest art at La Luz de Jesus,  grab brunch from Figaro’s, lunch at Alcove and dinner after your “hike” at Home. It just seems so much easier to use public transportion then stress about parking and waisting gas looking for said parking spot. Besides traffic these days is an adventure unto its own. I for one am happy to toss out my car and use my legs to get around.

Hollywood sign in the distance.

Hollywood sign in the distance.

 

A view of the snow capped mountains way off in the distance.

A view of the snow capped mountains way off in the distance.

A view of downtown Los Angeles.

A view of downtown Los Angeles.

 

for more on LA Metro click here

for more on DASH click here

 

A trip to Big Lots…

A trip to Big Lots always comes with a little excitement and trepidation. The chance to find really expensive goods for crazy cheap prices. I go with the intent to find exactly what I am looking for i.e. crackers, tea, shampoo… etc etc. However, I mostly come out with more than I went in for. BIG lots

The entrance is rather intimidating and dirty. With stairs that decline into a dusty glass door with a single security guard just inside, that seems to get younger and younger with every visit I take. The escalator works only half the time and there is only one sign that states where they are located. Just look for the large orange exclamation sign and you found it!

Once you get in, you may feel a little overwhelmed by the whole store. It doesn’t seem to have a rhyme or reason, but it does. It has almost everything you are looking for, sort of like  Target or K-Mart. Of course, Big Lots is neither, but you get the idea. Food and holiday goods to the right, home goods and tech stuff to the left, and long lines of customers waiting for the only 2 lines ever available to ring you up. FYI there is always a line! If you think you can walk in to Big Lots for a quick trip, it’s probably not going to happen, but who knows, maybe you are the lucky one. The cashiers are hardly forthcoming or friendly, expect 0% customer service, however, every now and then you get a smile from one of them.

I have however had amazing luck at finding organic foods that I would have purchased at Whole Foods and Co-op for three times the price. More so on the dry goods, like oatmeal, crackers, cereal, nuts, cookies, etc. I have even come across great finds like vitamins and shampoos from quality brands! Brooms, containers, cleaning products that are the exact same product for half the price, if not less.

I seriously recommend a trip to Big Lots. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Weekend Wonderland

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? A few great places to start would be the LA Art Book Fair at the The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. 36499_385407698219233_966874203_nHundreds of art books on display from oldies to goodies, prints to catalogs. A delight for your artistic side. Take a friend and wander the isles of art literature from all over the world. Pick up pretty prints for your sweetie or rocking awesome zines, Valentines day is on it’s way. They even have a few book signings, so check their schedule to not miss out.

 
 
 
 
Hours and Location:
The LA ART BOOK FAIR is free and open to the public.
Saturday, February 2, 11 am–6 pm
Sunday, February 3, 12 pm–6 pm
 
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA152 North Central Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-6222
moca.org
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday night at Space 727 Art will be all over the walls in the newest group exhibition  entitled LINES featuring artists, Matt Maust, Cody Comrie, and Harley Cortez. From floor to ceiling drawings, paintings and prints are on view for the art (and music *hint hint*)LINES lover in you. These are very talented men showing off their creative side off stage. I wouldn’t miss it if I were you. It’s only up for a week, so join the reception Saturday night February 2nd from 6:30-9:30pm. Space 727 Spring Street, DTLA.

And if that’s not enough…

PicnicGo for a walk in the city. Go for a long walk up to Vista Hermosa park. It might be a bit of a distance, but it proves to be such a gem. With views only wishes are made of. It’s 10 and half acres of walking trails, streams, kids playground, and hidden away picnic areas. Gorgeous meadows and the perfect city bench overlooking a vast meadow and the best view of DTLA! Scope out the perfect spot for your Valentines Day picnic. Romance is not lost in LA, certainly not DTLA. This park is really a treat. So much thought and heart went into creating such a beautiful retreat.

Vista Hermosa ParkBench
100 N Toluca St
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
 
 
 

It’s not “that” kind of Juicing.

My boyfriend and I have been juicing for a couple of months here and there. Nothing extreme, but definitely a change to our everyday habit. Mind you, we were already pretty healthy. I am one to prefer my foods to be all organic, local, sustainable, fair trade, seasonal, etc. You know, all the buzz words. We try to be eco-conscience, but nothing like the skit out of Portlandia.

So, when my boyfriend introduced me to this movie called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (don’t freak out over the title), we ended up buying a juicer. Now, we juice all the time! It’s super easy, tastes great, we feel great, and we are losing weight.

For the days we are too lazy or havn’t gone out to buy fresh produce we walk to our favorite spot, Sustain Juicery. Conveniently located within a block of our loft, it is the best Juicery in DTLA. All their juices are certified locally organic and seasonally farm fresh. They also have some exotic ingredients, like the maca root.

As you walk in you will see all the vegetables in large wooden crates up against the wall filled with fruits roots and other colorful produce I am still learning the names to. Their menu is rather long and I have to say I haven’t tried all of them yet, but we are working our way through them happily.sustain juicery produce wall

My personal favorite is Koko which includes coconut water, kale, lemon and apple. It’s perfect for staying hydrated. Of course, one can never go wrong with The Classic Green which is made up of kale, spinach, apple, celery, cucumber and parsley. They also have shots, wellness cocktails, and smoothies if you so desire. Each 16oz cup is about $7 and their shots are about $2. It’s a great deal!

P.S. For $1 more they will give you your juice in a reusable glass jar!

Next time you are looking to grab a meal try out Sustain Juicery. Check out their yummy selections and enjoy! They have a bar to sit at and ask questions if you are clueless to the juicing routine, much like I was. They even have meal plans to inquire about if you want to go that extra step and juice strictly for an allotted time period. It’s perfect for detoxing, loosing weight, or just getting back to a healthier body.

Sustain Juicery
548 S. Spring Street
 
Hours:
m-f: 8am – 6pm
sat: 10am – 6pm
sun:10am – 4pm
Follow them on Twitter & like them on Facebook.
And for my Foursquare lovers… click here.

I know you will not be disappointed. I never am. Happy Juicing.

Did you say 50¢ ?

Living in downtown is great because you can more or less get anywhere within DTLA on foot or by bike. However, if you are in need of a ride take the DASHDASH sign

I normally can walk most everywhere within downtown. I live in the historic core which is in the middle of things, so walking around is easy peasy. For days where I am exhausted, it’s raining or way too damn hot DASH is the way to go.

Like say for instance… you want to head up to Chinatown and eat dim sum. Take bus/route B that circles the financial district (which is more or less on Grand Ave at 6th Street), it heads up Grand Ave to Alemeda St where you can get your picture taken with the Tijuana donkey on Olvera St, timeless! Then it zig zags through the eastern part of Chinatown near the Gold line station, Chinese Cultural Center and adjacent to the Los Angeles Historic State Park. A huge park located on Alemeda St. and my favorite, Nick’s! Bring your frisbee or go for a run, then back again to the Financial district. Easy!

Now let us say that you aren’t the best walker. The D bus/route is the best! It runs almost the entire “downtown”. DASH D is my friend when I just can’t walk anymore. It starts at Union Station (This train station hasn’t changed its interior since the 40’s!) and meanders through to City Hall where the new Grand Park is located. Definitely check it out! Then south on Spring St through the historic core past South Park close to LA Live and the Staples Center to Figueroa Street near Mount Saint Mary’s college and the expo line (USC route).

DASH D

Ok, now you know a few routes to get you by, but there are more! Routes A, B, D, E & F. Most routes run from 6- 6:30am or 7pm every 6-10 minutes Monday through Friday. Weekend E and F routes are slightly altered. E runs every 6 minutes from 6:30am-5pm on Saturday. However, on Sunday it runs every 15 minutes from 10am-5pm. Route F runs every 20 minutes both Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm.

And did I mention it’s only 50¢? Yeah, that is a deal! With comfy seats and A/C, too. Be sure to pick up a brochure when you get on the bus to ensure you have the map and route schedules. It’s very helpful until you learn the routes by memory which I still haven’t, sigh. Of course, you can also be eco-friendly and just look it up via the world wide web. GTS, yo! And, please have exact change the bus driver isn’t your banker.

You can check out their schedules and maps more closely by visiting~  http://www.ladottransit.com/dash/

It’s contest time (contest ends today 4pm!)…

LA ART SHOW 2013

Win a FREE ticket (valid for one person) to tonight’s opening premier party (8-11pm) for the LA ART SHOW 2013. This Friend level ticket is valued at $125. Included with this VIP ticket you will receive the show’s catalog (valued at $20), Fine food, wine, and full bar at the premier party, opportunity to view (and purchase) art before the general public as well as unlimited admission to the LA Art Show throughout the show’s run. As well as unlimited access to the City National Bank VIP Lounge.

Here’s how you enter:

Share ANY of my stories on your Facebook or Twitter account. Tag @DTLAliving (so I know you posted). This ensures your name to be entered in the drawing. At 4pm (today) I will announce the winner on my Facebook and twitter pages.

Have you already “liked” my page on Facebook and followed me on twitter? If not, here is your chance for fun reads and a great prize. Also, you can follow my blog at www.DTLAliving.com to stay in the loop.

The WINNER can pick up their ticket at Space 727 Spring street DTLA 90014 between the hours of 4-7pm.

The LA ART SHOW 2013 is modeled after an art museum experience where collectors may view diverse genres of art under one roof, the LA Art Show features four distinct sections: The Modern & Contemporary Section, The Historic  & Traditional Contemporary Section, the Vintage Poster Section, and the Los Angeles IFPDA Fine Print Fair Section. The Show also features a special exhibition, China: FUSION, a 3,600 sq ft space highlighting contemporary Asian art from mainland China.

tn-1

Where to go:

LA convention Center/ South Hall

201 South Figueroa Street

Los Angeles, CA. 90015

A Secret Garden

I came upon a secret garden today right in the middle of the creative block consisting of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, MOCA, REDCAT, and the new (under construction) Broad Museum. Sandwiched between the Walt Disney Concert Hall and REDCAT is a beautiful, quiet garden consisting of plants from all over the world, like the Pink Ball Tree (Dombeya wallichii) from Madagascar. They look like upside down Hydrangeas.

The Blue Ribbon Garden is a gift from an organization of women devoted to the support of the music center and its resident companies. A large fountain that resembles a lotus flower with Mosaic Delft Blue Pottery with the inscription that reads “A Rose for Lilly. Frank Gehry’s tribute to Lillian Disney. A gift of her grandchildren and her great grandchildren” sits at the heart of the garden.Rose garden lotus flower

With a few tables and chairs dispersed throughout the garden, you can bring your lunch and a book or sketch book for my artist friends, and enjoy seclusion in the city. You can enter through the gates at the top of the stairs to the left of Walt Disney Concert Hall on Grand Ave. This way you can walk through the small outdoor amphitheater that not too many people know about either. Or walk through some of the sculpted exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall which can give you the feeling of walking through a maze. Either way, at the end of both paths, you come upon the garden that feels a little like the entrance into The Secret Garden. There is also an entrance off W. 1st Street that leads straight to the garden, which has an elevator for wheelchair access.

The Rose Garden

Happy discovering…

Once you find it smile, feel special because you now know a secret in the city of angels.

Hint if you have foursquare… click here.

Nick’s Cafe. What a treat for the best American diner food in downtown Los Angeles. Now completely packed on the weekends. Get there before 10 am or you will end up waiting a while to sit and hoping that the people eating at the counter scarf their food faster then John Belushi in Animal House.

You can probably find me almost every weekend, either Saturday or Sunday eating breakfast at Nick’s Cafe. A small traditional American diner that is nothing short of delicious. Known for their meats, every truck driver from the last 30 years has probably eaten at Nick’s as well as the “pioneers” of DTLA. Those few that have lived here 10+ years.

I was introduced to its glory a year ago and know that every time I go I will be happy with my free coffee & breakfast. (Free coffee on weekends) The list for eggs benedict is about 6-8 choices long with a special benedict seasonally! Order them early enough in the morning since they only make enough hollandaise sauce for the day and when they run out, that’s it! You are SOL. Another must have is their biscuits, OMG they are heavenly. Big and fluffy with their homemade tomato jam… Seriously, I think I just go to eat the biscuits, ha ha. They are too good for words. Though they are heavy so run or walk afterwards or consider yourself sitting like a couch potato the rest of the day.

Now, my personal favorite is to sit inside around their U-shaped counter. It seems more dinerish. However, if you feel the need to sit outside they have that option, too. Though, I think out there you are kind of on your own since all the action is going on inside. And please don’t be a brat and think that just because the atmosphere is low-key that you can bring your kids and make a mess. Be considerate! I have seen it happen way too much and it’s just disgraceful! (not talking to you responsible parents)

Best of the best!

best peeps

Nick’s Cafe
1300 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 222-1450
http://www.nickscafela.com/

Foursquare lovers… click here

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