Thursday, April 5, 2007

Arrivederci Venice

I recently moved to Seattle for a new job. I lived in Venice California for almost three years and will miss it greatly. So, I wanted to share with you my favorite parts.

Despite the vastness of Los Angeles, Venice has a great small town feel and you can't help but bump into people you know around the neighborhood. The local watering holes are the most common places this occurs. My favorites include the always shady Red Garter, the trendy Otheroom and the 98% male Hinano's, a great place to lift your spirits when you haven't been asked out in a while (e.g. Shannon was chased down the street by a guy that just couldn't sleep at night without knowing if he had a chance with her, she was {fortunately} engaged at the time).

Venice has some great food too.

Breakfast: Rose Cafe (patio)
Sushi: Shima (completely hidden & totally worth finding)
BBQ: Baby Blue's (I suggest the brisket)
Coffee: Groundwork's is a local farmer's market fave
Thai: Pam's Place (not on the menu: beef and eggplant)
Chinese: Mao's (the orange peel chicken is excellent)
Pizza: Abbot's Pizza (you can't go wrong...)

It wouldn't be my blog if I didn't mention shopping. There are a ton of shops, new ones everyday, cropping up on Abbot Kinney that have great stuff. So, whether you need modern furniture, antiques, art work, japanese street wear, limited edition shoes or rare specialty books, you're sure to find something unique for your collection.

Although the beach is super touristy there are the occasional good finds, such as cheap sunglasses, discount Havianas and enough incense to make Gandhi proud. However, my favorite thing about Venice Beach is definitely the large crowd of old school roller disco dancers that gather on Sundays. The drum circle doesn't hold a candle to it, although it is still quite interesting in its own hippy, flashback way.

Another excellent place for people watching is Gold's Gym. I was a member for quite a while because there are so many crazy people to watch. I immensely enjoyed watching my out of town visitor's reactions to the daily freak show.

Last, but certainly not least, Venice is home to some amazing architecture. The Gehry House, Binocular building and man-made Venice Canals are my personal favorites. And with the influx of more and more young money the local architecture firms have been creating a lot of great lofts and homes.

But alas, what I won't miss about Venice is its median home cost, $965,000, which is actually down from where it was a year ago at $1,011,000.

For some Venice flavor at home:
Rent Dogtown and Z-Boys, read the Venice Surf Report or watch the Venice Beach Cam.

Photography by me.