Wednesday, May 21, 2014

'Hood #35: Venice-a-Palooza

Even though I just went to Venice Beach the other day to ride my bike along the bike path, I didn't count it because I wanted to experience the neighborhood in a different way.  So today I met my friend Kirsten for lunch on Abbot Kinney (a hip, artsy street) and then we set out to walk the canals for which the 'hood is named.

Venice, btw, is a straight shot down Venice Blvd. from where I live.  Of course, this was Venice so parking was a nightmare, but all part of the adventure.

First: lunch. We went to Lemonade, which is  a cool, healthy cafeteria on Abbot Kinney Blvd.  Oddly enough, in all my years in LA, I've never done Abbot Kinney, nor have I walked the canals (at least that I remember).  Anyway, Lemonade has a long line-up of really lovely salads to choose from: I selected two that were delicious (a lentil/feta salad & a snow pea/corn one), but turned out to be so different in flavor that I pretty much needed a palate cleanser between bites.  

Then on to the canals, just a short walk away.  For some reason, I'd pictured the canals to look like the LA river—as in a trickle of water down a concrete riverway.  These were, well, canals, banked by dirt and flanked with gorgeous homes, all nicely landscaped.  

Loved these lanterns hanging from an old tree
We wound are way around for an hour or so enjoying the sunny afternoon, the cool breeze and lookie-looing the homes.  I can't believe for all the times I've been to Venice Beach, I've never done this before.  

I'd definitely do it again!

****Update**** No sooner do I post this blog than I get an email from a friend who—having no idea I just went there today—asked if I'd go with her on a walking tour on the history of the Venice Canals coming up in June.  So I guess I WILL definitely do it again! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

'Hood #34: Encino for a Bookish Party

Well, it's been far too long since I've visited a new LA neighborhood.  As much as I love this challenge, life for a while got in the way.  I'm not giving up, but I may have to give myself some wiggle room on the one-year deadline. We'll see.  Whatever happens, I know I won't give up.

Author Mary Hogan
Anyway, today I dove back in by visiting Encino, where I was invited to a book party for an author friend of mine..  The only thing I know about Encino is that it's the home of the Jackson family compound and that it's in the Valley.  Upon looking at it on Google Maps, I noticed that it's directly across from Sherman Oaks.

My old buddy from my days working for 'TEEN magazine, Mary Hogan, wrote a novel called Two Sisters, which I loved so much I blurbed it (as in, endorsed it as a fellow author).  She lives in New York, but while she was in town, friends of hers held an author meet & greet.

Encino was just a quick jaunt up the 405 (as quick as a jaunt up the 405 can ever be). The party was lovely, and I had a chance to hear about her inspiration for writing the novel (did I mention I highly recommend it?).

Because you all know I love a good celebrity sighting, besides Mary's husband, Bob Hogan (who is an actor who has been in about a bazillion things) I chatted for a quite a while with a woman before realizing she was Bridget Hanley,who played Candy Pruitt, love interest of Bobby Sherman (squeeee!) in Here Come the Brides. Yes indeed I grilled her about Bobby (squeeee!). He was the third love of my life, right after Davy Jones of the Monkees (#2) and Dr. Sommerville, our family doctor who looked just like Christopher Plummer.

But back to Encino.  I did get to see a bit more of it than I'd thought—mostly residential streets—because, in true LA style, my freeway on-ramp was closed without any sort of warning.

It was only when I got home that I realized I should have looked for the Jackson Family compound.  I Googled how far I was from it and—do'h!!—less than 2 miles away!  Even though I know the best I'd see are some tall bushes and maybe a mailbox, I'm still a little mad at myself for not thinking of it in time.