10. You can get good coffee here.
Coming from the Bay Area, I was skeptical. I didn’t think you could find decent coffee anywhere but in the sturdy <heath> mugs of the Bay Area’s finest establishments. Find the subtle sweetness of a Blue Bottle latte here in the Southland? Good luck. Partake in a cup as lovingly prepared as those at Sight Glass? Never.
I figured I’d savor those little luxuries on trips back to San Francisco and get used to swilling Starbucks out of cardboard. But I was wrong. There is good coffee here. And food. And wine. There is actually a pretty robust foodie scene--that’s not afraid to take risks and that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
9. People take public transportation (and it works!)
Biggest shocker: LA public transportation. I’ve made a number of runs so far and have been pleasantly surprised. Longer trips can take some time--don’t get me wrong, but the system works. And it’s pretty convenient. It’s easy to use, frequent, and not a terrible way to get around if you’re in a one-car household (like mine). And when that fails, uber’s responsive here, too. Go figure.
8. Traffic is bad, but not impossible.
Yes. It sucks sometimes. And yes, the lines of cars waiting at intersections can cause panic. But the legends are true. There are secret ways to outwit the traffic monsters. They include: ample use of surface and side streets, avoiding the left-turn altogether (do this by boldly executing U-turns past the intersection and coming around to the right) and moving confidently into intersections on the yellow if avoiding a left turn proves impossible. It’s an art. It’s a craft. It’s a game of skill and strategy. And you, smart-phone wielding driver, have powers (and apps) to guide you.
7. People are friendly—mostly.
I’m not in business with them, auditioning against them, or trying to date them, which makes this assessment a little shallow. I don’t have any real data except for the consistency of pleasant exchanges while carrying on my day-to-day. And that has been a great surprise.
From dining at one of our fine establishments or checking out at the local Whole Foods, I’ve found the interpersonal communication friendly, open and genuinely engaging. (Yes, I’m looking at you 3rd and Harrison Street Whole Foods: You’re. The. Worst.) People will often respond with actual eye contact and coherent sentences in those awkward moments of forced public intimacy (like in a cramped parking garage elevator, for example) and that has been very refreshing.
6. The climate is (I mean WAS) amazing.
It isn’t this week. It is hot. Very hot. Stiflingly hot. Like living under a broiler hot. When it’s not hot, which is (lately) never, it is beautiful. Shorts and t-shirt weather all the time.
5. There are a ridiculous amount of juice bars in my neighborhood.
Maybe it’s an artifact of my West Hollywood location, I don’t know. There is seriously a juice bar on every other corner. It’s like that line in “Best in Show” when Piper Posey says she met her husband at Starbucks. Not at the same Starbucks, but the one across the street. It’s ludicrous. How much juice does a city need to drink? How do they all stay in business? Where does all this juice come from? Mysteries.
4. The city is HUGE.
Duh. But it really is. No weekend visit or circuit party fly by can prepare you for its sheer immensity. It’s gigantic. From Downtown to Santa Monica, Long Beach to the Valley—(not technically, I know, all “Los Angeles”)—there exists a massive and incredibly diverse urban and semi-suburban megalopolis. Streets, neighborhoods, cities within cities: it’s vast, teeming and almost overwhelming.
3. People here love their dogs.
San Franciscans love their dogs, too. And this place takes it to a whole new level. Service dog regulations are flouted with as much impunity as anywhere in the Bay Area. Dogs are everywhere—on the sidewalk, at the table next to you, in the arms of that girl buying lipstick at the Bloomingdales. And I have to say dog lovers here spend as much on pampering and protecting their pups as any of their Bay Area counterpoints. For every juice bar and smoothie place (see above) there are almost as many doggie day spas and organic dog food spots vying for your pooch-loving dollar.
2. I’m developing a serious addiction to the Yogurt Stop.
Here’s how it goes: ask for a small sample cup, try out all of the artificially sweetened low-fat dairy “products” on offer, and then pump small mounds of your favorites into a gigantic paper bowl. Then proceed to the “toppings” bar and douse the whole thing in sugar free hot fudge sauce and candy mm’s (not the peanut) and a teaspoon’s worth of crushed heath-bar (to limit the calories). Pay at the weigh-in station, find a spot out front and enjoy.
Maybe it’s the sidewalk seating, the hot evening air, or the ridiculously sexualized logo—I’m not sure. All I know is I practically ignored these places in SF. Now, this place knows my name.