All posts filed under: guest writer

Le Petit Paris is a massive new 300 seat French restaurant now open on the ground floor of the El Dorado on Spring St (Photo: Le Petit Paris)

Le Petit Paris Brings French Elegance to Spring St in Downtown LA

After several years of construction, Le Petit Paris made its debut at the base of the beautiful El Dorado Lofts building on Spring Street in September. The restaurant space is impressive both in terms of its sheer size and architectural details. Formerly the lobby of the once grand El Dorado hotel prior to residential conversion, the space been beautifully transformed into an expansive dining room. At the rear of the main dining area, the original lobby staircase serves as both a focal point of the space and an access point to a bar area and additional intimate seating nooks located on the mezzanine floor. Striking new crystal chandeliers line the ceiling, nicely complementing the original art deco details visible throughout the space.

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As new developers enter Little Tokyo, will the new non-Asian businesses opening chip away at the Japanese flavor that makes Little Tokyo unique in Los Angeles? (Photo: Brigham Yen)

Can Little Tokyo Keep its Japanese Flavor in Downtown LA?

There’s no question that Downtown Los Angeles is undergoing a massive revival right now. Dozens of cranes dot the skyline, streets are often closed for utility relocation and the constant drone of construction echoes between skyscrapers. It’s not uncommon to walk past through some historic buildings and suddenly find yourself at the feet of a brand new apartment tower, complete with its glass balconies, indoor fitness center, and even a Philz coffee shop. While the revitalization is definitely a boon for Downtown Los Angeles, some more established neighborhoods within downtown like Little Tokyo have begun to worry as familiar cityscapes transform at a rate never seen before.

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The newly remodeled Nick + Stef's on Bunker Hill reopened in October 2015 (Photo: Nick + Stef's)

Nick & Stef’s Reboot Combines Great Steaks and Fine Dining in Downtown LA

It’s no secret that Bunker Hill has seen a surge of redevelopment activity recently. The debut of new housing and restaurants including The Emerson Apartments and Vespaio affirm the neighborhood’s continued role in Downtown L.A.’s renaissance, while the grand opening of The Broad Museum has cemented Grand Avenue as one of the California’s most important cultural corridors. (Click here to take a tour of the new museum and its amazing contemporary art collection.)

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Many believe LA Metro's upholstered seats (pictured above) may be as dirty --- potentially filled with dangerous bacteria and viruses --- as BART's upholstered seats were before the Bay Area transit agency switched theirs out for vinyl coverings (Photo: Brigham Yen)

The Stinking Problem with LA Metro’s Seats

Los Angeles Metro. It stinks. Literally.

Step into a train or bus during rush hour and you’ll find yourself gasping for fresh air by the time you get to your destination. If you’re lucky enough to grab a seat, that comes with its own gross factor. Why? I’ve never really understood the concept of upholstered bus and subway seats. A public transportation system is supposed to get you from Point A to Point B quickly, safely and efficiently; comfort should only be considered as an added bonus, but cleanliness should never be left out of the equation.

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Be Grateful, Adventurous and Whole: Café Gratitude Opens in Downtown LA

Cafe Gratitude is now open at One Sante Fe is Downtown LA's up and coming Arts District (Photo: Brigham Yen)

Cafe Gratitude is now open at One Sante Fe in Downtown LA’s up and coming Arts District (Photo: Brigham Yen)

With the transformative One Santa Fe mixed use complex now complete in the Arts District, the project is slowly beginning to welcome its ground floor commercial tenants. First onto the scene is the wildly popular Café Gratitude which will soon join a diverse range of new businesses scheduled to debut in the building over the course of the coming year. No stranger to Los Angeles, this is Café Gratitude’s third location in the region following the opening of its original SoCal outpost in Larchmont and its second locale in Venice in 2012. The new downtown space maintains a bright, modern aesthetic and is nestled in the center of the complex. Large windows facing Santa Fe Ave provide views into the kitchen and an intimate front patio softens the space while adding nice interaction with the street and complex. The real attraction, however, is the food inside.

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10E Brings Mediterranean Cuisine to Fine Arts Building in Downtown LA

Mediterranean restaurant 10E opened last year in the spectacular Fine Arts Building in Downtown LA on 7th Street

Mediterranean restaurant 10E opened last year in the spectacular Fine Arts Building in Downtown LA on 7th Street

In December 2014, 10E Restaurant quietly opened its doors on the ground floor of the Financial District’s historic Fine Arts Building, which itself is welcoming a major new office tenant from New York. Occupying a beautiful space with ornate vaulted ceilings, the restaurant took 2 years to build following a more than decade’s long run as a less-than-stellar McDonald’s. The result is a formal, but comfortable setting with a great mezzanine level bar overlooking the dining room below. You would hardly know that the smell of Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets once wafted through the space. The restaurant’s name 10E, an interpretation of the ancient Armenian name Tenney, is reflective of the menu’s inspiration and the heritage of the restaurant’s two owners which is Armenian and Lebanese.

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Launching Carsharing the Right Way in Los Angeles

Car2Go

Point-to-point carsharing service, Car2Go, introduced in multiple cities around the US, including L.A., and seen here in Brooklyn, NY (Photo: Car2Go)

In recent years, the City of Los Angeles has made vast improvements to our transportation infrastructure. Still, when I’m inching along in heavy traffic, I think to myself that we cannot continue to spend our best days like this. Traffic wastes time, hurts our environment, and is taking a huge toll on our local economy: Congestion cost our region $23 billion in 2013, according to a report by the traffic information provider Inrix. Angelenos deserve to spend more of their time enjoying this vibrant, multi-faceted city, and desperately need easier access to booming parts of the city like Downtown L.A. We are ready and anxious for fresh transportation alternatives. The L.A. City Council has recognized this need, and it voted in November 2014 to launch a modest pilot program to establish one transportation alternative that’s growing in popularity: carsharing.

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Endorsement: Re-elect Jose Huizar for Council District 14 of Los Angeles

Councilman Jose Huizar is seeking re-election in the City Council District 14 race (Photo: KCET)

Councilman Jose Huizar is seeking re-election in the City Council District 14 race (Photo: KCET)

The upcoming election for Los Angeles City Council District 14 presents voters with a stark choice about the future of Downtown LA. The leading candidates, incumbent José Huizar and former County Supervisor Gloria Molina, have very different views of what a downtown is and what it means. To frame the candidates’ positions, it’s necessary to first understand why DTLA, or any large city’s downtown, is important. It’s a lesson most of the country forgot after World War II and has had to painfully relearn, but here it is: a downtown isn’t just a plot of land in the city center, it’s a place of practical and symbolic importance. Downtown matters.

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Hero Shop Brings Unique Twist on Banh Mi to Downtown LA

Hero Shop is located at the corner of 6th and Los Angeles at the PE Lofts in Downtown LA (Photo by Brigham Yen)

Hero Shop is located at the corner of 6th and Los Angeles at the PE Lofts in Downtown LA (Photo by Brigham Yen)

When Babycakes NYC closed its doors at the corner of 6th and Los Angeles Streets in early 2013, it seemed like a step back for what had been an intimate and quickly developing block. A new generation of businesses, however, have jump started the area’s upward trajectory with the latest addition being Hero Shop L.A. Offering a new and delicious take on Banh-Mi and rice bowls, Hero Shop provides a budget friendly dining option, while reactivating an important historic core corner.

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Downtown LA’s New Double Marriott Hotels Bring a Boutique Sensibility to South Park

The new double-Marriott-under-one-roof (Courtyard and Residence Inn) in Downtown LA sparkles at night (Photo: Marriott)

The new double-Marriott-under-one-roof (Courtyard and Residence Inn) in Downtown LA sparkles at night (Photo: Marriott)

As Downtown L.A. continues its growth into a desirable destination for large conventions and visitors alike, it has become clear that the neighborhood is in need of additional hotel rooms. Expanding on the success of its JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels at the L.A. Live Campus, Marriott had doubled down on its investment in downtown with the recent opening of its dual brand Courtyard and Residence Inn property across the street at the corner of Olympic and Georgia Streets. Featuring 393 attractive rooms and modern amenities, the new property showcases a boutique aesthetic that is a welcome change from the more standardized look and feel of similar properties in more suburban locales.

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New Watering Hole, Beelman’s Pub, Brings Affordable Eats & Drinks to Spring St in Downtown LA

Beelman's Pub now open at 6th/Spring aiming to be the neighborhood spot offering an affordable menu for local downtown residents (Photo: Brigham Yen)

Beelman’s Pub now open at 6th/Spring aiming to be the neighborhood spot offering an affordable menu for local downtown residents (Photo: Brigham Yen)

Beelman’s Pub, the latest venture from ACME Hospitality Group, the purveyors behind the Spring St. Bar and King Eddy Saloon among others, is shaping up to be a solid addition to Spring Street. Replacing the relatively short lived Coffee Bar, Beelman’s simple yet approachable menu offers a new spin on traditional pub fare in a fun, communal setting. The pub’s sizable outdoor patio is one of its best features. Open and inviting, it embraces the street in a way that Coffee Bar never did and is punctuated by nice details including brick interior walls, overhead string lights, and a walk-up service window for residents out for a stroll with their dogs. The equally welcoming interior includes an expansive bar, vintage hanging pendant lamps, and spacious green leather booths.

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Faith & Flower is South Park’s New and Best Dining Destination in Downtown LA

Only two months old, Faith & Flower is already one of Downtown LA's top rated dining destinations located in booming South Park

Only two months old, Faith & Flower is already one of Downtown LA’s top rated dining destinations located in booming South Park

When Towne restaurant made its debut at the corner of 9th and Flower Streets beneath The Watermarke Tower in July 2012, the downtown community was eager to see an important South Park intersection activated with a new dining concept. Unfortunately, the restaurant’s new American menu failed to impress, ultimately leading to its shutter after just a year of business. Fast forward to 2014 and this cavernous space has been transformed again to Faith and Flower, an excellent new dining concept from Coastal Luxury Management Group, which is best known for hosting food and wine festivals in Pebble Beach and L.A.

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Stephen Kane Running for DLANC: “Safer Streets, Redoing Pershing Square, More Transit” in Downtown LA

Native Angeleno Stephen Kane is hoping to contribute his love and passion for Downtown LA by running for Downtown LA Neighborhood Council (Photo: Stephen Kane)

Native Angeleno Stephen Kane is hoping to contribute his love and passion for Downtown LA by running for Downtown LA Neighborhood Council (Photo: Stephen Kane)

By Stephen Kane

It’s no longer a secret: DTLA is on the verge of becoming a great urban core once again. Promise and opportunity abound in this rapidly growing community, but so do the challenges that we must address in order to keep downtown on the right path and direction. As we continue to grow and evolve, we will increasingly wrestle with who we are and what we aspire to be.

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Stephen Kane Running for DLANC: “Safer Streets, Redoing Pershing Square, More Transit” in Downtown LA

Native Angeleno Stephen Kane is hoping to contribute his love and passion for Downtown LA by running for Downtown LA Neighborhood Council (Photo: Stephen Kane)

Native Angeleno Stephen Kane is hoping to contribute his love and passion for Downtown LA by running for Downtown LA Neighborhood Council (Photo: Stephen Kane)

By Stephen Kane

It’s no longer a secret: DTLA is on the verge of becoming a great urban core once again. Promise and opportunity abound in this rapidly growing community, but so do the challenges that we must address in order to keep downtown on the right path and direction. As we continue to grow and evolve, we will increasingly wrestle with who we are and what we aspire to be.

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“Fickle” in Little Tokyo Downtown LA Provides Gourmet in a Casual Setting

Fickle is now open in Little Tokyo in Downtown LA offering gourmet food in a casual setting (Photo: Brigham Yen)

Fickle is now open in Little Tokyo in Downtown LA offering gourmet food in a casual setting (Photo: Brigham Yen)

Located prominently at the corner of 1st Street and Central Avenue in Little Tokyo, “Fickle” by Chef James Ta is somewhat of a hidden culinary destination. By day, Fickle’s restaurant space operates as its alter ego “The Sandwich Smith,” specializing in gourmet sandwiches featuring farm fresh ingredients in a casual setting at accessible prices. Once the sun sets however, candles take over the dining room, sandwiches become a distant memory, and the Fickle menu, featuring a who’s who of high quality dishes and flavors takes center stage. True to its namesake and Chef Ta’s mission, Fickle’s menu adjusts frequently to ensure that only the freshest ingredients are used.

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