Hollywood Revisited

Hydra and I spent our first 5 years in Southern California in a little unloved pocket of Los Angeles we referred to as East Hollywood.  I think it’s now considered Thai Town.  We learned all about Thai food from Lek Thai, which used to be at the corner of Fountain and Edgemont, just a few hundred feet from our apartment building.

We had some extra time between work and a concert at the Greek, so we drove down Hollywood Boulevard, down La Brea to Third, back up to Sunset via Robertson and  La Cienega, looking for familiar things and trying to figure out what our favorite old haunts had morphed into.  Zen on Third is no more, or we would have had dinner there.

There are some lovely details, like the one above, on some of the older buildings along these streets.

One of my favorite buildings, on the corner of Hollywood and Highland, across from the big new shopping center that’s attached to the Kodiak Theater.

You kind of feel compelled to take photos of Mann’s (nee Graumann’s) Chinese Theater when you have a chance.  It was nice to see people out on the streets in Hollywood.  The place has cleaned up a lot since we first arrived 25 years ago, but it still mostly maintains it’s character.

We noticed a lot of lovely trees planted along the streets on Santa Monica in West Hollywood, and even along stretches of Sunset.  This goes a long way to making the place pedestrian friendly.

People waiting for a bus outside a drug store on Sunset Boulevard.  I took the bus to work until a crazy guy punched me in the throat on the first day of a new job (at the Sports Deli in Century City).  We bought a 10-year-old Toyota shortly after that.  One afternoon during the time it took  for a traffic light to change, I saw a hooker come out of one of the hotels east of La Brea with a guy, pick up another and go back up the stairs.  You’re not in Indiana anymore, Dorothy.

We had dinner at the Cat & Fiddle Pub on Sunset…one of those places we feel some nostalgia for.  I think one is better off going for pints in the leafy courtyard than for food.  Hydra ordered bangers and mash, probably just because he likes to say “bangers and mash” without getting slapped.  Service was quick, maybe partly because they didn’t take time to completely heat up  my seafood gumbo and sausage roll.  The mustard was really good, but the meal made me wonder if the Robin Hood Pub in Van Nuys is still up and running.

You know you’ve lived in and around L.A. for a long time when you find that you are quite happy to hand your keys to a man you’ve never laid eyes on before and pay him (only)  $6.00 + tip to squeeze your car down a passage clearly designed for Model A traffic.

While parking is even more frustrating than traffic on the surface streets of Los Angeles, if you just adjust your expectations, it’s still a great resource.  I’m really glad that even though we live in the high desert foothills we still take advantage of what the city has to offer.  Like the Willie Nelson & Family, Ryan Bingham & Dead Horses concert at the Greek we were headed to!


4 thoughts on “Hollywood Revisited

  1. RuthG says:

    What a fun day! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. Gala says:

    What a fun tour! I, too, love LA and all it has to offer (while recognizing the frustrations of living here). I used to love going to Zen Grill, too – bummer that it closed. Best tofu steak!

  3. me says:

    Awww…it kind of makes me nostalgic too, and I’m stricktly a hay-seed! Glad you’ve shown me this city over the years.

  4. Sundry says:

    Ruth – Glad to oblige. I’d like to get up there and see your city before too long. I spent a great train layover of 9 hours there once and some of the images are still in my mind.

    Gala- Yes, the tofu steak at Zen! The first time I went there was with you. We met so you could tell me about your new CBS job and I said, “Gee, script research? Sounds interesting.” Five days later I had a job interview, two weeks later I left UCLA for my new job.

    Me- I can’t wait to explore more! I have a gift certificate to Pantine (a fancy bakery) from the last KCRW membership drive that we need to spend!

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