With 3,792,621 people (give or take) living within Los Angeles’ official limits, it’s fair to say that it is a city with something for anyone and everyone. But let’s get a few things straight: LA does have “weather” (officially ranging from “pretty chilly” to “the gates of Hell”), not everyone is in the movie business (everyone is just trying to get into the movie business) and, yes, earthquakes are a constant occurrence (you simply don’t feel most of them). Now that we’ve cleared all that up, let’s turn this over to a real Angeleno to help us discover the best that the real Los Angeles has to offer.
Growing up in LA, Miles “Music Man” Tackett—the mastermind behind the funk/hip-hop fusion ensemble Breakestra—has had ample time to explore and experience the myriad tiny pockets of his sprawling hometown. His conclusion? It’s virtually impossible to pick favorites in a town with so much to offer. Here, Tackett guides us through the creams-of-the-crop of his Los Angeles, including the best places to flip through dusty old vinyl, see a movie and dance a Monday away like there’s no work tomorrow. So after Breakestra kills it at FILTER’s Culture Collide festival this October, you can follow Tackett and company to one of two—make that three—no-longer-secret spots to grab post-gig fish tacos.
MOST-APPEALING TOURIST TRAP THAT IS ACTUALLY WORTH SEEING
It’s a circus on the water, which anyone visiting LA should experience on a hot day. I would not recommend engaging the black Israelites holding their trial of all Caucasians there on the boardwalk, but they are an entertaining listen while they lambast any pale sucker who steps up to bat for a debate.
MOST DELICIOUS TACO
La Estrella in Highland Park… Or Tarascos… Or Alegria On Sunset…
One of my favorite street tacos in the northeast area (where I mainly roam) is the fish or shrimp taco with special chili sauce at La Estrella in Highland Park. I’m also a fan of Tarascos in Silver Lake, especially for their carne asada and unique salsas. My favorite all-around homestyle Mexican diner is Alegria in Silver Lake.
MOST FUN ETHNIC SUBDIVISION
Little Tokyo. Or Olvera Street. Or The Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax…
As far as ethnic towns go, Little Tokyo and Olvera Street are where I like to go for wandering. But, 3rd and Fairfax food market [The Farmers Market at The Grove] is my favorite place with a very wide variety of very good and different ethnic foods. Best I’ve found anywhere in the world.
MOST DELICIOUS LOCAL DRINK
Alegria. Or The Thirsty Crow…
Alegria makes a fresh cinnamon ice tea and a parsley-celery lemonade that are both great. They have way more agua frescas to choose from [than other places]. I also recently had a bourbon–ginger beer julep of sorts at The Thirsty Crow that was damn good. They also have a big list of specialty bourbons and single malts to please most whiskey fanatics.
BEST PLACE TO FIND OLD ROCK PARAPHERNALIA OR CLASSIC VINYL
I do not know much about rock paraphernalia, but for used vinyl I’d say Strictly Grooves is my favorite store for diggin’ used vinyl of every style.
BEST NON-MULTIPLEX MOVIE THEATRE
I’d say the Egyptian is my favorite single, old-style theatre in LA. I don’t go often but last time I was there it was a beautiful sight, not to mention comfortable.
BEST CLUB NIGHT
Motown Mondays at The Short Stop
Motown on Mondays is a guaranteed good time. DJ Expo and a long list of rotating DJs bring Motown sounds from the ’60s to ’90s, and any related hip-hop that sampled the Detroit classics.
PLACE TO SWIM (WHERE PEOPLE ACTUALLY SWIM AND DRINKS DON’T COST 20 BUCKS)
Any backyard pool
I wish I knew of a spot to swim like that and was not a chlorine bath… I’ll take a home pool or a South Beach any day.
BEST DTLA-AREA MUSIC STORE
Caveman has a cool and quirky selection of used vintage guitars/amps/effect pedals as well as some used vinyl record bins. They also have a very good guitar repair tech and a friendly, helpful owner.
BEST NONTRADITIONAL VENUE TO CATCH A BREAKESTRA SHOW
Lately, Breakestra has done a lot of fun outside gigs at museums, California Plaza downtown and at parks like the Levitt Pavillion in MacArthur Park. The upside is that we don’t end up drenched in sweat after the gig! F