Rediscover Los Angeles
Hence the ‘gourmet lunch truck’ revolution was born. Fed up with the hostile economic conditions, LA’s best chefs took to the streets: they bought second-hand trucks, gave them custom paint jobs and advertised their positions every day via Twitter. And now there are literally dozens of them. Each truck is a work of art selling everything from cheese steak sandwiches at Lee’s Philly and truffle-enhanced burgers at Baby’s Badass Burgers to chocolate-banana cupcakes from Sprinkles and, arguably most famous of all, Korean barbecue tacos from the Kogi BBQ truck. All of which means that the city’s finest food is now available for not much more than the cost of the ingredients – albeit outdoors, without seating and on paper plates.
On a Friday night in Silver Lake, I stop at a red-and-yellow food truck going by the name of Let’s Be Frank. It’s a hot dog truck – sorry, a ‘doghouse’ – except that the cows that the beef comes from are grass-fed, the casing is made from lamb and the spices are organic. ‘We have a Frank Dog, a Brat Dog or a Not Dog,’ says Sue from the counter hatch. A Not Dog? ‘It’s vegan,’ she says.
I choose a Frank and a Brat, each loaded with homemade relish, grilled onions and her apocalyptic ‘devil sauce’, and then resist the temptation to order a couple more.
- For locations of gourmet food trucks, visit la.truxmap.com or follow these individually on Twitter: Lee's Philly (@LeesPhilly), Baby’s Badass Burgers (@babysBBs), Sprinkles (@sprinkles), Kogi BBQ (@kogibbq) and Let’s Be Frank (@letsbefrank).
Catch a movie screening in a cemetery
As the memorial service for Michael Jackson proved, nowhere does farewells quite like LA. The city’s funeral business has been world-famous since 1948, thanks to Evelyn Waugh, who based his satire The Loved One – in particular the ‘memorial park’ of Whispering Glades – on the real-life Forest Lawn.
You don’t have to be dead to experience the surreal creativity of this town’s most recession-proof industry. In summer, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard hosts outdoor film screenings on Saturday and Sunday nights from Cinespia, which celebrates ten years of events this year. Here, movies are projected onto the white marble wall of Rudolph Valentino’s tomb (the cemetery also features touchscreen consoles allowing you to view short films about the departed).
At a free screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic North by Northwest, aside from the £7 suggested donation, I take the website’s advice and bring blankets, pillows, food and plenty of booze. The movie itself turns out to be little more than a backdrop; the real appeal lies more with the random conversations you strike up, the DJs performing before and after the screening and the creepily peaceful beauty of the place.
Another attraction: wondering if any of the stars on the screen are now buried beneath my feet.
- Cemetery movie screenings are operated by Cinespia during the summer
Shop and play detective at an estate sale
For many Angelenos, the most satisfying way to shop isn’t at one of the city’s many pristine outdoor malls, but at ‘estate sales’. These events are held every weekend at the homes of the wealthy and powerful, typically not long after their obituary has appeared in the Los Angeles Times. However, these basement clearouts aren’t only held after funerals: they’re also organised by divorcing couples or those downsizing from, say, a castle in Bel Air to a cosier 10-bedroom palace in Beverly Hills.
Los Angeles with Lonely Planet
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