Things to do in L.A.- visit history

Do like the locals and stay out of the tourist traps! Captions are links.

One of the things I like to do when visiting is check out lots of old stuff- buildings, restaurants, neighborhoods. Most of the time I just drive around but since L.A. is so huge, you can check out some of the local historical societies for guidance. Then of course, you’ll want to eat and drink, so I’ve included some ideas on where to do that.

Glendale Historical Society

Los Angeles Historical Society

Pasadena Museum Of History

Burbank Historical Society

Mid Century Modern Glendale Federal Building

Mid Century Modern Glendale Federal Building

vintage window decorations

A vintage window decoration at what’s currently a Sprint store on California and Brand in Glendale

Go visit the upscale shopping center Americana At Brand, where there’s a new Nordstrom and a new Bloomingdales next door at the Galleria. See a movie, check out the Mac store, or just have a coffee and walk around. I don’t usually approve of the destruction of all the old buildings they did to put this thing up, but downtown Glendale was pretty far gone and this is a big improvement.

Then you can go to Pasadena for more shopping, visit the Norton Simon Museum, which is small enough to explore in a couple hours but holds a ton of great art.

Do some shopping in OId Town. Old Town is a great example of restoring and reusing the old buildings instead of just tearing them down and putting in a mall.

old town, pasadena, ca

Old Town Pasadena

cassell's burgers, los angeles

So vintage! Cassell’s Burgers at 3266 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90020 So vintage, they don’t have a website!

cassell's, los angeles

Old Fashioned burgers at Cassell’s, Los Angeles

Fun vintagey decor at Cassell's

Fun vintagey decor at Cassell’s

Pick what you want at Cassell's

Pick what you want at Cassell’s

No, that's not an egg, it's a peach! Love the nostalgic food at Cassell's

No, that’s not an egg, it’s a peach! Love the nostalgic food at Cassell’s

I’m sure you all know some cool out of the way spots in the L.A. area, so be sure to let me know about them in the comments!

Three yummy Mexican restaurants. Ole Chicago!

I missed good Mexican food when we lived in Colorado. There were lots of Mexican places but only a couple really good ones. There are lots and lots of great ones here!

One of the first places we went was Azteca De Oro: 3731 North Clark Street, Lakeview Chicago, IL 60613.

We had lunch here and it was really good. I had a taco plate and Mike had a burrito. Great prices and fun decor, too.

A taco plate from Azteca De Oro, Lakeview, Chicago

A taco plate from Azteca De Oro, Lakeview, Chicago

Tasty burrito from Azteca De Oro

Tasty burrito from Azteca De Oro

Fun decor at Azteca De Oro

Fun decor at Azteca De Oro

Another Mexican place we liked a lot was El Cid 2: 2645 North Kedzie Avenue, Logan Square,  Chicago, IL 60647

Not sure if there’s an El Cid 1, but El Cid 2 was very good. Big fruity margaritas, and really tasty soft tacos. It’s right by the Logan Square Blue Line so it’s convenient, too.

Mango Margarita at El Cid 2, Logan Square Chicago

Mango Margarita at El Cid 2, Logan Square Chicago

Soft taco plate with three different tacos at El Cid 2, Chicago

Soft taco plate with three different tacos at El Cid 2, Chicago

Tarascas: 2585 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park, Chicago, 60614

This place is only a block away from our apartment but it took us forever to actually go here. They have signs all over the place touting their gigantic margaritas (45 and a half ounces). I don’t really want a gigantic margarita (usually gigantic things are merely gigantic and not very good) but one day we went in anyway out of sheer laziness combined with starvation. I had a normal sized margarita which was actually very good. We also got a huge plate of  nachos, also very good.

Nachos from Tarascas, Lincoln Park, Chicago

Nachos from Tarascas, Lincoln Park, Chicago

 

 

So much amazing food in Chicago

Some of you might have noticed that we like to eat. For a lot of people, eating is something they do to stay alive. They call it a necessity.

But for us, eating is a hobby.

Lucky for us, Chicago has a few places to indulge us. We’ve been pretty busy, and we’ll talk about some more of these in greater detail later, but for now, here’s a list of some of this city’s amazing food offerings we’ve enjoyed:

  • Uncle Sammy’s: Our first night in Chicago, we were having a horrible time finding a place to park a UHaul truck. At about midnight, we finally found a place and were walking home when we stumbled onto this gem. The Pilgrim is a very fine sandwich.
  • Kitchen Sink: Good, simple sandwiches.
  • Floriole: Adrienne loved it. I thought it was only OK. Quiche, apparently, is to die for.
  • Pasta Bowl: Delicious and affordable pasta.
  • Tzatziki Grill: Excellent Greek place that also has a pretty solid Italian Beef sandwich.
  • Margie’s Candies: It’s like time travel at Margie’s. Egg-salad sandwich and the Terrapin Sundae: Recommended.
  • Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria: Our favorite pizza in Chicago so far. Pizza in Chicago is like barbecue in other towns: Everyone has a very strong opinion. We loved Lou’s, but we’re still open to trying others.
  • Lito’s Empanadas: Delicious — and cheap. For $2.50, one of these little guys is great for a snack. Get two, and it’s lunch.
  • Del Seoul: Weird little Asian dumplings that are oddly addictive.
  • Paciugo: Gelato. Can’t go wrong with gelato.
  • Pret a Manger: This is Target’s cafe. Yes, I know. Why eat out at Target? But you see, here in Chicago, even going to Target is a dining experience.
  • Brown’s Chicken: Fried chicken place in one of the downtown pedways. Scenery wasn’t great, but loved the biscuits and mashed potatoes.
  • Bobtail Ice Cream: An almost-overwhelming amount of goodness.
  • The Edge: Cake!
  • The Grove: More time travel. Open-face turkey or meatloaf sandwich, with bottomless coffee.
  • Red Hen Bread: Tip: Get the day-old stuff for a little less money (same deliciousness, though).
  • Taco Joint: Best Mexican so far in Chicago. Lebanese Pork Taco: must have (available only on Thursdays).
  • Chicago’s Dog House: Our favorite dog place in Chicago so far. Good choices, good service, good prices.
  • Clark Street Dog:  Got caught in a storm and waited it out in here with a couple of dogs and a couple of beers. There are worse places to end up when it’s raining.
  • Red Hot Ranch: Our first hot dogs in Chicago. Our first experience with french fries on a hot dog. Interesting.
  • Big Star: Gourmet tacos. Service was only OK, but the decor was great. After Taco Joint, though, hard to compare.
  • Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse: Best service of any of the restaurants we’ve been to. A shoutout to our server, who happens to be a Lincoln Park neighbor! Desserts are insane. And tall. You’ll need to share. Oh, and also: $$$
  • Filini: Ultra-modern, ultra-hip dining at the signature downtown building Aqua. Sotto Bosco pizza was impressive. As was the Carciofini spinach dip.
  • Rosebud: Best Italian so far in Chicago. Two must-tries: Penne Bolognese and their Cavatelli Alla Rosebud.
  • Toast: Great service. Outstanding breakfast burrito.
  • Stella’s: Delightful breakfast options.
  • The Bourgeois Pig Cafe: Carrot cake!
  • Goose Island Brewpub: We didn’t eat here, but for some great local brews, it’s worth a try.
  • Dunlays on Clark: $5 Cheeseburger special = delicious.
  • The Burwood Tap: One of the oldest continuously operating bars in Chicago. Really good free food Mondays through Thursdays (my fave was the chicken).
  • Smoque: Been having a hard time finding some barbecue out here, but this was fantastic.
  • Pizzeria Due: After a too-long wait at Malnati’s, we ended up here. Not quite as good as Lou Malnati’s, but if LMs is a 10, Pizzeria Due is a 9. Very good.
  • Portillo’s: Iconic. Worth it for the atmosphere. Still, Chicago’s Dog House wins out.
  • Potbelly Sandwich Shop: Grilled Chicken Mediterranean is a fine, fine sandwich.
  • Matisse: Did not expect deliciousness when we ordered the Reuben Potstickers. We were pleasantly surprised.
  • Do-Rite Donuts: You’ll find lots of Dunkin’ Donuts here, but few local places. These guys do donuts right.
  • Wow Bao: Quirky little place with neat little fluffy dumplings. A must-try.
  • Devil Dawgs: It’s worthwhile to try all of Chicago’s hot dogs.

So much food in this town — how do people here ever get anything done?

Sundaes, treats, floats. Plenty of tasty options at Margie's Candies.

 

If you're after treats, Bobtail is also an excellent choice.

 

What's this? A hot dog? Yes, I guess so. Underneath the french fries, anyway. Interesting technique, Red Hot Ranch.

 

The S'mores cake at The Edge. Cake did not last long.

 

The best Chicago hot dogs, in our opinion. Chicago's Dog House.

 

A very full meal at Smoque BBQ: Chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans, and cole slaw.

 

Carrot Cake! At the Bourgeois Pig.

 

We don't only take pictures of food. We are also capital-A Artists. Or, maybe this is the view after we'd eaten too much and had to lay on the floor. Hard to say.

 

 

Our favorite Colorado Springs Tacos Wrap-up

We were super into Rancho Liborio’s tacos — they were so authentically good and so cheap. But sadly, Rancho Liborio recently closed. We also loved Cafe El Paso and Blue Agave’s tacos.  But, they closed, too. Still, there are a few other decent taco places around. We never found any fancy taco places with exotic ingredients like we have in Chicago , but if we just missed them, please tell us about them!

Here are our favorite Colorado Springs tacos, in order.

1. Monica’s Taco Shop. It took us 4 years to go here, and then, when we did we were unhappy that we didn’t go earlier. So, if you’ve seen this place and never gone in, just do it already! Crunchy taco shells with tasty filling. But the thing that really elevates the tacos here is the sauce. I am not usually into lots of hot sauce or salsa or whatever but this stuff is awesome. Seriously makes it.

Taco plate from Monica's Taco Shop

Taco plate from Monica's Taco Shop- pre sauce.

Mike likes the burritos but I will for sure stick with the tacos, they are just too delicious to switch.

Mike likes the burritos but I will for sure stick with the tacos, they are just too delicious to switch.

Monica's Taco Shop on Filmore at Nevada. There's another location over by Powers, too.

Monica's Taco Shop on Filmore at Nevada. There's another location over by Powers, too.

2. La Perla Tapatia: We went when it was over by Garden of the Gods but they’ve since moved. One of the most delicious thing in the taco world is potato tacos.  And the only place I’ve seen them in Colorado Springs is at La Perla. But I don’t see them on the new menu on their website now. Maybe you should just ask when you go in. The rest of their menu is also good — the most unique taco place in COS, I think.

Potato Tacos at La Perla Tapatia

Potato Tacos at La Perla Tapatia

Of course Mike had the burrito at La Perla Tapatia

Of course Mike had the burrito at La Perla Tapatia along with a Mexican Coke

 

3. El Poblano: We’ve talked about this place before because they have pupusas – the only place in town that does — and they’re delicious. Their tacos and burritos are also really good. They also have agua fresca that’s as good as Rancho Liborio’s was.

Lots of yummies at El Poblano

Lots of yummies at El Poblano

 

4. Arceos Mexican Restaurant: This one is sort of cheating because it’s an actual sit-down restaurant, not a taco joint. But since we are doing all our wrap-ups we’ll include it since don’t have a category for just regular Mexican restaurants. Plus their tacos are delish.

Warm chips and homemade salsas at Arceos

Warm chips and homemade salsas at Arceos

Chicken taco plate at Arceos

Chicken taco plate at Arceos

 

5. Salsa Latina: Let’s get this out of the way first. They have idiotic hours — only open till 6:30 during the week and closed on weekends, both Saturday and Sunday. When downtown businesses decide to have normal hours, maybe downtown Colorado Springs will amount to something. Also, they don’t take plastic. Lame. But their food is pretty good.

Salsa Latina has all the usual dishes and good prices.

Salsa Latina has all the usual dishes and good prices.

Taco with rice and beans at Salsa Latina

Taco with rice and beans at Salsa Latina. Superior rice and beans, by the way.

Mike had enchiladas this time!

Mike had enchiladas this time!

So, there you go. Some basic but tasty tacos in Colorado Springs. What are your favorites?

Some Southern California Things

Some tasty tacos from Taco Azteca on Verdugo Rd. across the street from Glendale High School in Glendale.

Steak tacos and chicken tacos. Delish!

Steak tacos and chicken tacos. Delish!

One of my faves, Deluca’s Deli in The Americana At Brand.

CousCous salad, caprese salad, and bean and tuna salad. Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

CousCous salad, caprese salad, and bean and tuna salad. Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

Greek salad, tuna and white bean salad, and calamari salad, Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

Greek salad, tuna and white bean salad, and calamari salad, Deluca's Deli, Glendale, CA

The Oinkster in Eagle Rock:

Little piggies at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Little piggies at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Yummy cheeseburger and tasty fries at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

Yummy cheeseburger and tasty fries at The Oinkster, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA

I spent 4th of July weekend in Laguna Beach.

Waiting to take the trolly downtown.

Waiting to take the trolly downtown.

My brother Chris and his friends getting ready to watch fireworks.

My brother Chris and his friends getting ready to watch fireworks.

We went to the soft opening of Katsuya, which just opened in Laguna.

Fancy cocktail at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Fancy cocktail at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Watermelon cocktails and various sushi at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

Watermelon cocktails, excellent chicken salad, and various sushi at Katsuya, Laguna Beach.

I love the ginger cocktails at Katsuya at The Americana, but they didn’t have it at the Laguna one. Oh well. The place is really pretty, and fun and airy feeling. I am not really into traditional sushi but the sushi there is very modern with lots of sauces and other things on it so I liked it.