Monthly Archives: July 2011

Downtown LA Style: Dane Mazzei (Freelance Hair Stylist)

Dane Mazzei in L.A. Financial District

Dane Mazzei, 28, is wearing a button down shirt from Armani Jeans, denim from G-Star RAW with custom-made chain purchased on Melrose, vintage combat boots, sunglasses from Paul Smith, and jewelry (earring and ring) from the Pasadena Rose Bowl flea market. Dane is originally from Temecula, CA and is now a freelance hair stylist living in Echo Park. He tells us that he loves the “downtown [LA] vibe” and that “The Standard at 6th and Flower is a great spot for anything: drink, lounge, or even get a haircut at Rudy’s Barbershop.”

Towne Food & Drink Begins Construction on Restaurant Space in Downtown LA

Towne Food & Drink began construction this week, building out this large space in the Watermarke luxury rental tower in South Park

Exciting news for Downtown LA fans and foodies alike as Towne Food & Drink has started construction in South Park in the ground floor retail space of the Watermarke luxury rental tower. I stopped by yesterday and found the space being gutted and tractors hauling away debris. The new pan-Mediterranean restaurant is replacing H Studio, a modern furniture store that needed more space than the 16,800 SF at the Watermarke tower, and as a result, will be relocating to a larger space in the Historic Core at 7th/Spring.

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Vertical Wine Brings Gourmet Burgers to Old Pasadena

M Bison Burger at Vertical Wine in Old Pasadena (Photo: Bread & Butter)

Since taking over the helm of the kitchen at Vertical Wine Bistro last November, Chef Laurent Quenioux has left a tasty imprint on the restaurant’s newly refined menu which offers a nice array of small and large plates such as the mussels with chorizo or the duck breast with leg confit and ras el hanout jus among others. Expanding upon Vertical’s refined, yet casual menu, Quenioux has introduced a new gourmet burger night every Thursday.

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H&M Men’s Department Expands in Old Pasadena

A larger men's department coming to the Old Pasadena H&M store

When H&M first opened in Old Pasadena back in the fall of 2006, it was a bittersweet moment for me. It was great because it was the first H&M store to open in the LA market, and as a result, it caused a lot of fanfare on the opening day with a line that wrapped around the entire block. However, it was also disappointing at the time because this was going to be the only store in the LA market that would not carry men’s clothing. For someone who enjoyed shopping at H&M stores in New York pre-2006, it was a big let down not being able to shop in my own neighborhood store.

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Italian Restaurant “Il Mare” to Open in South Park in Downtown LA

A new Italian seafood restaurant is coming to South Park in Downtown LA, a stone's throw from Staples Center and LA Live

South Park, a burgeoning district of Downtown LA that includes the Staples Center/LA Live and possible NFL stadium, is getting another restaurant sometime soon as a new Italian restaurant currently dubbed “Il Mare Italiano” is making its way through the city process to obtain a conditional use permit to serve beer and wine through a Type 41 alcohol license.

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Downtown LA Style: Kylie Wittler (Student)

Kylie Wittler in South Park, L.A.

Kylie Wittler, 22, is wearing a top from Gap, jeans from New York & Company, boots from Cathy Jean and sunglasses from Revlon. Kylie tells us her ethnic background is half Korean, a quarter Italian, and a quarter German. She was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and is currently a student at FIDM studying Visual Communications. She adds that she loves all the new restaurants opening up in Downtown LA. 

Historic Downtown Los Angeles Guided Tour with Brady Westwater

Brady Westwater (in the cowboy hat) leads us on a 2.5 hour journey of architecture and history around Downtown LA's historic core starting at 5th/Spring

If you are curious and want to learn more about Downtown LA’s historic core and the rich history that makes up one of LA’s oldest neighborhoods (yes! LA has tons of history as I learned on the tour), you should consider checking out Brady Westwater’s guided tour that takes place this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. I had a fantastic time and learned a lot and I think you will too.

The group meets at The Last Bookstore at 5th/Spring and it’s just $15 per person for 2.5 hours. For times and more info, check out Brady’s blog.

Pasadena Hotel Constance Renovation Project in Progress

Green construction fencing wraps around the Hotel Constance property as it under goes a complete renovation

As part of a larger mixed-use project slated to be constructed at the SE corner of Colorado and Lake Ave, the former Hotel Constance was completed in 1926 during what was considered the “Golden Age of Pasadena.” However, the hotel has gone through its ups and downs (more downs) over the past several decades, and luckily there’s a happy ending as it is currently being renovated and will be brought back as a boutique hotel.

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Sushi Kimagure Ike Coming Soon to Gold Line Del Mar Station in Pasadena

A new sushi restaurant replaces Philly's Best at the Del Mar station in Pasadena

A new Japanese sushi restaurant called Kimagure has been in the works for many months now at the Del Mar station, building out a space that was once occupied by the fast casual restaurant Philly’s Best, which served cheesesteaks and hoagies. Unfortunately, Philly’s Best was never able to attract enough customers to pay their rent even though there was always a decent amount of transit riders getting on and off at Del Mar station, not to mention 347 apartment units that make up the residential portion of the station itself.

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Tossed (Salads & Sandwiches) Coming to Downtown LA from New York City

Tossed is coming to 700 Wilshire Blvd in Downtown LA

Tossed is coming to Downtown LA’s Financial District near Wilshire/Hope and will be the first one to open on the West Coast in the country (2nd one if you count Vancouver, Canada). According to the Tossed website, this health-conscious restaurant–serving up “garden fresh salads, crepe wraps and sandwiches”–was started in Manhattan in 1998 where the first location was at Park Ave/23rd St (near Madison Square Park).

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Update: Broken Historic Street Lamps on 6th Street Fixed and Turned Back on in Downtown LA

The historic street lamps are turned back on after being dark for many, many months on 6th Street in Downtown LA

(To report a broken/burned out street lamp(s) in LA, click here.)

Great news! This is just a quick update that the broken historic street lamps on 6th Street that I wrote about on July 1, 2011 were turned back on last week. It does go to show you that if the community cares enough about it (including our repeated requests to the city to fix these lights), the city will usually respond to our cries. I snapped a few photos to show the difference these street lamps can make when they are lit, making nighttime walks feel much more safer.

Before and after pics of the street lamps (below) 

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Rush Snack Bar Now Open in 7th/Metro Subway Station in Downtown LA

Rush Snack Bar represents a new paradigm in LA where transit riders are seen as a viable demographic for a business to cater to, as opposed to a strict parking model

Rush Snack Bar opened yesterday on Monday during an interesting moment in LA’s transit history. During the past weekend, the climax of Carmageddon ended on Sunday as construction actually finished earlier than expected and drivers were given the false sense of security that the 405 was on the “track of progress.”

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Tea House & Bakery Coming Soon to Pasadena Near Del Mar Station

Tea House & Bakery is opening up on the ground floor of The Dalton (a 55-unit mixed-use development) across the street from the Gold Line Del Mar station

Finally, the corner retail space at The Dalton has been sold for the first time since this 55-unit mixed-use condo building was completed in 2009. (Yes, these are retail condos for sale, not for lease.) Thanks to a resident of The Dalton residential condos who alerted me to a new eatery called “Tea House & Bakery” that will open in the corner retail space.

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LA Times Covers Rush Snack Bar in Downtown LA

The Los Angeles Times decided to cover all the commotion in the urban/transit community in LA regarding Andrew Cohen’s Rush Snack Bar (convenience store) opening up inside the 7th/Metro subway station in Downtown LA. The article references this blog as the source of the commotion and I would like to elaborate again on WHY I decided to make a big deal about a simple convenience store opening. (This is also mainly a response to some negative comments posted on the LA Times article.)

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Downtown LA Style: Andrew Cho (Student)

Andrew Cho in South Park, L.A.

Andrew Cho, 26, is wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch V-neck shirt, jeans from Levi’s, sneakers from Nike, and aviator sunglasses from Marc Jacobs. Andrew was born in the U.S. but lived in Pusan, South Korea for awhile and moved to Orange County to attend school at UC Irvine. Andrew enjoys coming to Downtown LA for the night life, including bar hopping with his friends.