Monday, October 29, 2012

#245: The Levitated Mass

Oh, my, god. Becky, look at that rock. It's so big. 

I like big rocks and I cannot lie. Some rich folks pay millions of dollars for a rock the size of a marble. I say, why not get the most bang for your buck?

LACMA got the most show for the dough by securing the Levitated Mass, a 10 million dollar, 340 ton granite boulder, which sits upon a 456-foot-long slot. The rock comes from a quarry in Riverside County and is free for the public to view during museum hours.

Brad asked me yesterday "Are you going to blog about The Stupid Rock?" He's not the only one who thinks the rock is ridiculous. The Levitated Mass has its share of critics who roll their eyes at the exorbitant price tag. Why should a rock cost so much?

Well much of the cost went toward moving the thing. The rock's journey took 11 days, during which it went through 4 counties and 22 cities. Trees were cut down, cars towed, power lines lifted and traffic lights turned just to make room for the monolith. The plastic wrapped rock drew large crowds during its trip, and reached its final resting place at 4:35 am to a crowd of over 1,000 people. Sort of reminds you of the space shuttle Endeavor's ride through L.A., right? 

I admit, I kind of like the rock. I'd like to think that when archaeologists uncover it thousands of years from now, it will be a source of confusion and heated debate. Was it our false idol? A paperweight for giants? A cairn that points the way to the 99 cent store? The speculations are endless.

All in all, I think it's worth your while to check out this thing... That way, you can decide for yourself if it's a Mass-terpiece or not (you like what I did there? wordplay!).  Thank you to Experiencing L.A. for inspiring me to check out The Mass! 

Oh, one more thing-- if you like the Levitated Mass, you might also enjoy the Noguchi Sculpture Garden (#183). They sort of have the same aesthetic, to my untrained eye.

Have you been to the Levitated Mass? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

The Levitated Mass at LACMA

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

#244: The Echo Park Time Travel Mart

Whenever You Are, We're Already Then

If you could travel to either the past or the future, which would you choose? I have a weakness for australopithecines named Lucy, so I'd choose the past. Brad is a closet Trekkie and perks up at the mere mention of Armageddon, so I think he'd pick the future.

There's only one place in L.A. that can take you to both the past and the future in one trip: The Echo Park Time Travel Mart. The Time Travel Mart is a convenience store where robots and cavemen can shop side by side for everyday household wares like Mammoth Chunks in a can, Barbarian Repellent, Big Bang in a Jar, and Robot Emotion Chips. All proceeds benefit 826LA, a non-profit organization that supports students ages 6-18 with their writing skills by offering free tutoring and workshops. Dave Eggers and many other influential writers are on the Board of Directors!

The store is small but it's packed full of merchandise. Take the time to browse every square inch of this place--you'll have a laugh and feel good about yourself for supporting a great cause.

The Echo Park Time Travel Mart

Monday, October 15, 2012

#243: The Original Farmers Market

What are these? Tacos for ants? Well whether you're a hungry ant or an indecisive human, you'll drool over Loteria Grill's 12 piece mini taco sampler. Each mini taco is loaded with a different topping, such as cactus salad, chicken in mole sauce, and mushrooms with epazote.

Loteria Grill has restaurants all over the city, but there's no better place to enjoy your bite sized taco platter than at their stand at the Original Farmers Market.  

The Farmers Market is located at The Grove on the corner of 3rd and Fairfax. Just how original is this Farmers Market? It was created in 1934! Old school.

Unlike other farmers markets, this one is open everyday and has permanent shops which sell sushi, crepes, sausages, nuts, pastries, toffee, ice cream, and much more.

When you're finished with your tacos, ride the free trolley around the rest of The Grove and get your shop on!

The Original Farmers Market

Sunday, October 7, 2012

#242: Lower Arroyo Seco Park

As a new parent, I find that my mind and body are often at odds with one another.  In my mind, I envision myself taking my little girl on fun filled adventures everyday. My sleep deprived body, however, says... Um.... Uh.... Zzzzz... 

Take last weekend. After spending Saturday sprawled on the sofa, Brad and I vowed to at least take our girl to the park on Sunday. Sadly, our tiredness won out yet again and our front lawn became the "park". Yeehaw. 

This weekend I told myself "Mind Over Body!" and was determined to get out and do a nature walk. Kelly encouraged me to check out the Lower Arroyo Seco Park in Pasadena. The walk takes you along a river bed and under beautiful bridges, including Colorado Street Bridge. It's also on fairly flat ground, making it great for the out of shape and weary. The pictures on Yelp looked amazing, so when our little rooster woke at 6 am, we hit the road. 

We started our walk at the parking lot which can be accessed at the corner of South Arroyo Blvd and Norwood Drive.  

Turn when you see this sign and follow the road down to the parking lot.  

at the beginning of the walk

heading north toward the bridge

The walk starts at the archery range and takes you north along the concrete channel towards the Colorado Bridge.

You can walk along either side of the channel, but as you approach the bridge, get to the right side (the left side dead ends).

Once under the bridge, you'll have to go up a semi steep dirt hill to continue along the path, so this is not a walk for strollers or high heels.  Continue walking and you'll find yourself under the 134 freeway.

We continued walking a little more, and then turned back around. This KCET article outlines our 1.4 mile walk.  If you want a longer walk, I found this L.A. Times article that describes both a 3 and 7 mile walk you can take in the area. 

When we left around 10 am, the lot was full and there was a line of cars waiting. I think this was due to Saturday morning archery practice. So if you plan on going, you might want to avoid this time or just park on the main street and walk down.

I loved Arroyo Seco Park and only wished I had more time to explore it. While we were there, we saw a lot of joggers, hikers and dog walkers, but in no way did the park feel crowded. It's the perfect urban nature getaway! 

Have you been to Arroyo Seco Park? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below! 

Arroyo Seco Park

Friday, October 5, 2012

#241: Lots of Food Truck Lots!

I must confess, Gourmet Food Trucks exhaust me. Just the thought of following them on Twitter, driving to wherever they're located, standing in line, and then eating my food on a street corner... It's enough to make me want to get Thai food delivered to my house and veg out while watching The Voice. Who's with me?

Don Chow Tacos

If you're like me (i.e. lazy), then a Food Truck Lot might just make you want to give food trucks another chance. What's so great about a Food Truck Lot? Instead of one food truck, you get a handful, and you can graze to your stomach's desire while knowing that this event will always take place at a regularly scheduled time at the same location.

This past Tuesday, we headed out to Santa Monica to check out Santa Monica's Food Truck Lot as they celebrated their 2 year anniversary. The lot is located on the corner of Main St. and Ocean Park next to the California Heritage Museum and it's open every Tuesday from 5 - 10 pm.  Bonus points for the large lawn where you can relax and enjoy your meal.

Don Chow Bowl

The selection of trucks changes weekly and is posted on their calendar.  When we went, the most popular trucks seemed to be the Lobsta Truck (lobster rolls) and LudoTruck (fried chicken). There was also the Buttermilk Truck, Coolhaus, Komodo, India Jones, Slammin Sliders, Don Chow Tacos and Fry Smith. We went with some tacos and a bowl from Don Chow and a couple of tacos from Komodo.

Komodo Tacos

Here are some tips for your outing:
  • If you go, you might want to bring your own drinks since the trucks don't sell beverages. Otherwise, there's a small booth in the middle of the lot that sells drinks. 
  • Bring a blanket to sit on if you're going to eat on the lawn. 
  • Even though the Lot is advertised as opening at 5 pm, some of the trucks didn't open until about 5:30 pm. 
  • If you ride your bike there, they have free bike valet service starting from 5:30 pm. 
Don't live close to Santa Monica? Here are some other Food Truck Lots: Gateway to Go near LAX, Westside Food Truck Central (although somewhat unreliable. I would check their Twitter page to make sure they're open on the day you want to go), Culver City Food Truck Fest, and On the Lot in Los Feliz.

Can you recommend any other Food Truck Lots in L.A.? Leave me a comment below!

Monday, October 1, 2012

#240: Culver City Farmers Market

What do Culver City's Farmers Market and my husband have in common? They're both short but have plenty of personality

This market is one block long on Main Street between Culver and Venice Blvd. It's open on Tuesday from 3-7pm and there's free parking right near the market.  

Kelly invited me and my little girl to walk around the market last week, where I purchased some coconut juice straight from the coconut, a Korean sticky rice dessert, and beef jerky

Kelly snagged a couple of cobblers from the cobbler lady and a gourmet balsamic vinegar.  

It's impressive how many booths they fit onto this stretch of Main. There were booths selling bakery items, hummus and dips, cactus tortillas, smoked meats, crepes, artisan chocolate, jewelry, gourmet Korean food, fresh seafood, knife sharpening, plenty of fruits and vegetables, herbs, and wild mushrooms. There was also a clown, and this guy playing music for little kids:

Even though this farmers market is quite small, I like the quality of vendors who sell here (the seafood booth is expensive but fantastic!) and the friendly atmosphere of downtown Culver City. 

Have you been to the Culver City Farmers Market? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

Culver City Farmers Market