The end of the calendar year is traditionally a time of reflection when many La Cañadans gather together to take down the decorations, drink a gin fizz or two and bake lasagna for the float builders. In the spirit of year-end contemplation, the following is my annual top ten list of Southern California’s greatest places, in and around the 91011.
1) Shop at the Apple Cart. Nothing says La Cañada like The Apple Cart. The ladies are nice. There are complimentary cookies and seasonal hot beverages. The Apple Cart is the go to place for gifts and other essentials, such as Brighton, Pandora, Heather Moore, Vera Bradley, cookbooks, baby gifts, soaps, candles, jewelry, jackets, and dishware. The gift wrap is incredible and the ladies are nice. The Apple Cart 1518 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge CA 91011-2917; (818) 952-3342.
2) A day at Descanso Gardens: roses, camellias and ducks. It doesn’t get much better than that. Our own little treasure. In 1769, the Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola claimed the area which includes Descanso Gardens for the King of Spain. The rest is history. Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011 (818) 952-4391 www.descansogardens.org.
3) Dash down the “2” to Porto’s Bakery for a Cuban coffee, potato balls, pastries, cakes, croissants, and those cheese sandwiches on a baguette. Mmm. Porto’s Bakery 315 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203-2303; (818) 956-5996 or www.portosbakery.com.
4 & 5) Look for bento boxes at the Japanese Village Plaza, a pedestrian mall off of 1st Street in Little Tokyo. Check out the low prices at in the or San Rio shops. Stop by Yamazuki Bakery and then the Frying Fish conveyor belt sushi restaurant, or better yet, down the street at Sushi-Gen, the best sushi in California. Japanese Village Plaza, 335 E. 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Sushi-Gen 422 E. 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 617-0552 advertisement
6) Head east to ChimMaya. Yes, it is in the middle of nowhere, but so what? Art. Purses. Jewelry. Inspired owners. Low prices. Everyone will wonder where you bought that cool belt. ChimMaya 315 S. Hillview Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90022-2122; (323) 869-8881. Free parking. www.chimmaya.com.
7) No trip to L.A. would be complete without a walk through The Getty. The exhibits vary in quality, but the exterior garden and views are always inspirational. On clear days, there’s a view of the bay. Now open on Saturday nights until 9 p.m., with free admission after 5 p.m. Getty Center, 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA; (310) 440-7330 or www.getty.edu.
8 & 9) Sports. Sports. Sports. I’m still mad at Kobe, but my husband loves His “beloved Lakers.” Plus there are the Clippers, the Kings and special events. The Staples Center is home to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Kings. But don’t forget “Los Doyers.” Our poor team is in the midst of a custody fight. Oy! Isn’t there a Hague Convention for sports teams? Maybe 2010 will be better. Staples Center 1111 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 742-7400 or www.staplescenter.com; Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA; (866) 363-4377, http://dodgers.mlb.com.
10) Last but not least: the Foothill Boulevard Starbucks, where Joe Puglia and other columnists hang out, some more nervously than others, on deadline days. Great ambience. Lots of local writers. Come say hi on Monday mornings.
Happy New Year!
ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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