Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finding a place to live in L.A.....

Aroma Cafe Our mission this weekend was to find place we would like to live here in L.A., or at least find an area we would like to rent in.

We think we have three candidates, they are, in no particular order:
  • Larchmont, Hancock Park area
  • West Hollywood
  • Studio City

On Saturday we drove in to Larchmont (or Larchmont Village), which is the commercial area of Hancock Park district of L.A. Larchmont Village is centered on Larchmont Boulevard between Beverly Boulevard and 3rd Street.

There's a small strip of shops, cafes and banks along the Larchmont Boulevard and we have a friend who lives around the corner on North Beachwood Drive. We mainly know the area from the first time we visited L.A. together, as we were fortunate enough to stay at his house. So we meandered along the adjoining streets which are nice and green, very well kept, with manicured lawns, lots of space, not too built up or overlooked and very quiet on the streets.

It's definitely cooler this weekend, but it was still OK to sit outside and eat, so we popped to Prado (drawn by the fact no doubt it sounds like Prada!!). Prado's menu is described as "Cuisine of the Americas - an intriguing blend of of Latin and Caribbean cuisines with a dollop of Louisiana Cajun". We opted for some tasty salads and watched the locals walk by with all their yoga mats and toy dogs (we are so not getting that Chihuahua!).

After that we drove along Santa Monica Blvd to West Hollywood, which is considered a city in its own right within Los Angeles County. The city is very gay friendly and one of the most notable gay villages in the U.S. The area is occasionally referred to as WeHo and BoysTown, with a gay/bisexual male population of 41%, of these 60% being between 25 and 44.

West Hollywood is bordered on the north by the Hollywood Hills neighbourhood, on the east by the Hollywood District, on the west by the city of Beverly Hills and on the south by the Fairfax District of Los Angeles.

Being closer to the centre of L.A. life, the area is much more densely populated with apartments and properties situated much closer together. The upsides of living here are the shops, gyms, bars, restaurants, nightlife and things to dLALAs Argentine Grill, Studio Cityo, but some of the downsides could be the noise, the lack of greenery and the feeling of living on top of others. Plus there is a longer drive to work for some of us!

We popped to LASC, a great shop for men's clothes and brands - Diesel, G-Star Raw, DSquared2, Energie and more. Even more exciting is this is where I can find clothes in sizes to fit me!! This is very important in the 'land of the slightly larger', although it's lost some of its appeal now that we're paid in dollars and not with the mighty pound. I bought myself a new G-Star 'man-bag' to help carry around all my essentials - camera, wallet, phone, passport, sun glasses case, cuddly toy....

West Hollywood is also home to Cafe D'Etoile that we dined at last Sunday.

On Saturday evening we headed into Studio City with a friend to try out Mexicali,Mexicali Cantina, Studio City as the name suggests serving Mexican food (or Cal-Mex food). Aside from being a bit loud, it was a relaxed, lively atmosphere with dark wood and dim lighting.

Virtually inexperienced with Mexican food, our Burritos, mine crab fish & shrimp, Charlie's beef, with a side of black beans and rice, were flavoursome and filling. My margarita was fab (I always thought I didn't like them, maybe it was the salt which I'd opted out of or the thought of tequila) and I think I may have found a new favourite drink!!

We didn't stay out too late, as we planned to return to Studio City on Sunday morning to have breakfast at the Aroma Cafe, which was brilliant and very much like The Alcove in Los Feliz (which we'd visited on one of our orientation trips to L.A.). After a bite to eat our friend showed us the Sunday Farmer's Market, which seemed to have nice local grown fruit and veg, plus flowers and other nick-naks (not too much tat - as you know I'm a great lover of markets, not), plus we wandered along Ventura Blvd to check out the shops in the local area.

Ventura Boulevard is also home to Tommy Rays, LALA's, a more local, uncomplicated Argentine grill, plus also Firefly, which is one of the most sophisticated and trendiest restaurants in Studio City, all where we've eaten in recent months.

Aside from places to eat, Studio City is also home to a few celebs, due to its proximity to the studios and hillside views, such as George Clooney, Britney Spears and as you know, Teri Hatcher.

Before we came home, our friend drove us around a few different streets to get a feel for the place. Again it's very picturesque, manicured lawns and big houses (you get more for your money here), but quieter neighbourhoods. You do also get some noise form the planes flying into and out of Burbank Airport.

We're still not sure what we can afford in terms of small houses vs duplex apartments and we've yet to take a look inside any property yet, so that's our next step. Before we do that we need to narrow our areas down, so that's my question to you this week.

Where do you think we should live?? All votes and comments welcome!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't forget to consider "Hollywood" proper. It's less expensive than WeHo, and a little bit closer to the studios than WeHo as well. Specifically, consider the streets just off of Sunset Blvd (north and south), and east of Fairfax until LaBrea or so. There are plenty of cute streets with houses and also some decent apartment complexes. Plus, most of the area is within walking distance of Runyon Canyon. That's a big plus for when you add a dog to the family! And there are some good restaurants etc within walking distance as well, including one of my favorites, Bossa Nova on Sunset.


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