Travel Tuesday: Downtown LA Serves Up Sun and Comfort  

by Rita Cook on May 10, 2016 in Travel,

There’s a scene going on in Los Angeles and it’s not on the set of a big budget movie either. Nope, it’s in Los Angeles’ downtown where hotels and restaurants are popping up everywhere and literally changing the landscape and the vibe of the entire area. As a Los Angeles resident for years, I always thought there was never any reason to head downtown. Au contraire.

LEVEL is definitely the place to be if your visit Los Angeles. Photo by Rita Cook
LEVEL is definitely the place to be if your visit Los Angeles. Photo by Rita Cook

Let’s begin the journey at LEVEL Furnished Living on South Olive Street where you can live or you can spend a few nights. I spent several days delighting in great views from my window in a two-bedroom flat and that came with a wonderful concierge and valet service.

Everything you need is in walking distance of LEVEL, but start with the food scene. For breakfast you don’t want to miss a place called Eggslut. Touted as being chef driven, the place was founded in 2011, and was inspired by the founders “true love for eggs.” The menu offers items that are a balance of comfort and innovation. Of course it’s eggs cooked every which way you like it all day, every day.

For lunch, the Zinc Café & Market on Mateo Street is always hopping for the chic to grab a bite, and it’s even a good place for the natural food lover who wants to eat healthy. There are creative vegetarian options that blend American comfort food and Zinc Café & Market is set in an “urban farmhouse” vibe. Check out the olive-tree dotted garden patio, open kitchen and there is even a market and Bar Mateo for drinks after hours.

Shreebs has a bit of an Austin feel if you know the Rainey Street area. Photo by David Benhaim
Shreebs has a bit of an Austin feel if you know the Rainey Street area. Photo by David Benhaim

In the thick of downtown the owners of Shreebs Coffee have relocated from Venice Beach to Downtown LA with a simple concept. The coffee is locally sourced, freshly roasted and served pour-over style, one cup at a time. These days you can find Shreebs Coffee in a shipping container perched on an Astroturf park and it is the first of its kind in Los Angeles. Try the cold brew latte favorites such as Horchata, Choco-Chili and Salted Dulce.

BierBiesl Imbiss is an Austrian restaurant in downtown LA that makes Austria come alive in the mind and the taste buds. The idea for this restaurant comes from Austria’s street food. Many “imbiss” stands are located outdoors and rarely feature a place where you can sit and enjoy your meals, but at BierBeisl Imbiss you can enjoy the street food and sit down while you savor it at the communal seating tables. Try the sausages and then go for the traditional Austrian sandwiches, but save room for pastries to end the meal right.

This is definitely the place to go to see and been seen. Courtesy photo
This is definitely the place to go to see and been seen. Courtesy photo

Le Petit Paris is an authentic French Brasserie and you can choose from breakfast, lunch or dinner in a most romantic setting. Built in 1913, the restaurant is housed in the historic El Dorado building and was once the lobby of the Stowell hotel. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and lounge music plays while diners enjoy the gastronomy making La Petit Paris experience magnifique.

For some fun in between meals it’s so close to LEVEL you can’t miss it. The Grammy Museum was one of my favorite museums of all time. I was inspired and you will be too since it is an interactive celebration of the power of music. There are four floors of exhibits and films that offer a look at some pretty inspirational musicians from our time and you will also learn a little about the creative process of making music too.

It was an option so I had to do it. The Los Angeles Gun Club and I even shot a few rounds from a .357. It is the only firing range in Los Angeles and it has been there since 1989. If you want some target practice, want to possibly see a celebrity working on his skills for a movie and, you want a friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you through it, this is the place to visit. They have an amazingly wide selection of firearms and ammunition to choose from and they welcome shooters of all levels. If you have always wanted to try it and just haven’t yet then just do it, only in LA.

Los Angeles is certainly about having a good time and now that the Downtown area is opening up it’s just one more stop to make on your tinsel town adventure.