—by Andrew Brawley
Editor’s Note #1: This is the first in a new series of our guide to cities where the Timbers are playing away games in 2011. I travel quite a bit for work and play, so I figured I could impart some knowledge on other cities throughout the country. I haven’t been to every city on this year's schedule, so not every one of them will be covered. Heck, even people living in Columbus don’t really “go” there. But for the cities I have been to, I’ll try to write something up for those who plan to make the trip.
Editor’s Note #2: To help really kick this series off, I requested the help of some LA locals. My former employers just happen to be musicians and all-around cool guys Joe Escalante and Josh Freese. They both play in a little punk band called The Vandals (I used to work for Joe’s record label Kung Fu Records). Joe hosts Barely Legal Radio, and was the morning man at Indie 103 FM for quite a spell. Josh currently drums for Devo and Weezer, and used to play for Nine Inch Nails, Ween, Guns & Roses and Disneyland’s child rock band Polo! On top of all this, they also actually reside in the area around the Home Depot Center, so they got some legit cred for this piece.
Our first stop in this away game travel series is Los Angeles. The Timbers play there twice this season (April 23 vs. LA Galaxy; June 5 vs. Chivas USA). I lived in LA from 2001 to 2006, and had plenty of business trips there since then. If you plan to travel there, you MUST have access to a rental car. I’m not even joking here. If you take your Portlandia butt down to LA thinking that they run on bikes and public transport, come find me at the next home match so I can smack you upside the head.
Now that you got your flight, hotel AND rental car booked, here are a few recommended spots from the three of us.
- 5 Guys Burgers and Fries in Carson. Unbelievably cool and convenient.
- In the South Bay, there's no restaurant with more hype right now than Eatalian Cafe. There's two of them (Gardena 1 and Gardena 2), and they are strangely close to each other.
- At night, go to Alex's Bar, it's awesome and it's the location of the original bar from True Blood.
- If you need a place where you could take a prostitute, have a steak, and be invisible, try the anonymous JB's Dinner Room. Don't ask me how I stumbled upon this place.
- If you want the best Mexican food in L.A. order the carnitas plate or regular carnitas burrito at Super Mex on Atlantic in LBC.
- There's a new Swiss Restaurant near LAX called Edelweiss Chalet. And it's not your grandfather's war criminal hideout...or is it?
- If you only go to one place in Long Beach during the day or dinner time make it the oldest tavern in LBC, Joe Jost’s and order the special w/ pickled eggs and a schooner of Busch.
- If you like your chicken cooked vertically, spiced Mediterranean style, and like to reek of garlic after a meal, Zankou Chicken has eight locations throughout the greater Los Angeles area. I can only vouch for the locations in Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena and West Los Angeles. (Looks like the one on Sunset in the bad part of Hollywood has been closed down, which sucks because I’ve seen Justin Timberlake and Zach de la Rocha order food there, but not at the same time.)
- Like music? You might be sick of it after a trip to Amoeba Music. They have just about every album ever made. Some albums they even have more than two copies of. It’s like the best parts of Music Millennium, Jackpot Records and Everyday Music all in one place, with all the indie music snobbery fully intact. A Portlander's home away from home.
- Corner of Sunset Blvd. and Highland Ave. I once saw a transvestite (I think s/he was a transvestite) remove his/her clothing and throw it at a businessman’s head here during a Monday morning commute. Major bum-age for him. Major laugh-age for me.
- Pink’s. You’ve probably seen this hot dog stand all over the Food Network. It’s the real deal. Nothing nutritious to be found here. The chili has a radioactive orange glow about it. And you’ll wait in line for at least 45 minutes in the chunky air to get one in your mouth. And you will like it!
- If you find yourself in Burbank (which is very possible since it has the best airport in the LA area), check out Yummy Cupcakes. You probably heard about celebrities and talent agents sending their assistants to a place called Sprinkles for oversized (and overpriced) cupcakes. Yummy Cupcakes has better quality and less riff-raff. The Red Velvet cupcake here may cause dizziness due to extreme deliciousness.
Got any places to recommend? Post them here in the comments.
Joe Escalante's Barely Legal Radio airs Sunday nights on KTLK 1150 AM.
Josh Freese's EP "My New Friends" can be purchased in digital format for $5, physical CD format for $12, or with a ride in TOOL drummer Danny Carey's Lamborghini and other neat stuff for $75,000.