Hip, cool and trendy are the terms commonly associated with Los Angeles. If you find those words frivolous, think of it this way: L.A. is all about its boundless energy, unlimited creative influx and ability to constantly position itself on the forefront of new trends.
Venice might the obvious L.A. neighborhood to be immersed in the hipster vibe. But head to Silver Lake if you are attracted to indie stores, grungy feel, funky graffiti art, girls looking like modern-day Francoise Hardy and guys with vintage style tees and luxe tracksuit bottom matched with well-worn white sneakers. You’re guaranteed to see a mix of old of new, and more locals than tourists, unlike Venice.
Start exploring the area at Sunset Junction where Sunset Boulevard meets Santa Monica Boulevard, which is also important in the history of gay rights.
Cafe Stella is a cute brunch spot. Try Moroccan Eggs, Hachis Confit de Canard (Potato hash with duck confit) and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. Go early to avoid a queue.
Pine & Crane is a super casual lively Taiwanese restaurant. Order little dishes of dumplings and satisfying beef noodle soup.
Trois Familias is a restaurant run by a well-known French chef, Ludo Lefebvre. Its concept is based on Mexican, French and California cuisine. If you think it sounds weird try ‘churro French toast’ and ‘hash brown chilaquiles’. It works. It’s only open until 3:00 pm.
Intelligentsia has undoubtedly some of the best coffees around.
Alfred Coffee is a local coffee shop for your daily caffeine but especially its funky wallpaper offers you a perfect Instagram moment.
Yeastie Boys Bagels‘ foodtruck serve good New York bagels with a pinch of humor (see photo below to see why).
Palazzo Gelato is a place for high-quality artisanal ice-cream using locally sourced ingredients. Other than their signature flavors such as ‘goat cheese with cherry’, don’t miss the seasonal flavors that include pumpkin or persimmon.
With its popularity and rising real estate prices, Silver Lake is not immune to the invasion of high-end stores. Some big shops have started opening along Sunset Boulevard but, at least for now, they’re mostly the brands that are edgy in character and artisanal in quality.
Some of my favorite shops are found along Sunset Boulevard between Micheltorena Street and Maltman Avenue. There you will find the French clothing brand A.P.C., Shinola (Detroit-based company selling things from watches to leather goods), Sweet William (a New York based children’s clothing store as well as European-made toys), Mollusk Surf Shop (a concept store offering everything surf related — from surf board to DVDs, one of which is titled, ‘Expencive (I didn’t misspell it) Porno Movie’) and RETROSUPERFUTURE (a Italian sunglass company — loved by celebrities — making shades based on retro design).