Saturday, August 09, 2008


LA Baby Around Town: Welcome to Los Feliz

As promised, Our Man in LA has finally gotten around to showing little Gracie around her neighborhood - the slice of heavenly SoCal also known as Los Feliz (pronounced, by the way, L-ow-ss Feel-isss; anyone who calls it L-aw-ss F-uh-leez is a total poser).

So let's get ready, Gracie. It's time for LA Baby to have a look around.

Like all stylin' California girls, Sweet Baby Grace goes nowhere without her shades (courtesy of official friend of LA Baby, comedienne Laura Rosenberg).

Anyway, let's look at the hood. Truth be told, LA Baby is so small still that we haven't done much venturing out, so Mom and Dad will have to cover the basics for her. Here's a simple tutorial about the place Ms. Grace calls home.

Where the heck is it?

Los Feliz is in north central Los Angeles, north and west of downtown, due east of Hollywood, at the base of Griffith Park (editor's note: Griffith Park is the largest inner-city park in the country, and as far as Our Man in LA knows, the only one named after a guy who donated land to a city and then promptly shot his wife in the face. Seriously. Look it up. It's still a beautiful park).

What's so great about it?

It's pretty much got everything. Heck, the aforementioned park alone contains the LA Zoo, the LA Observatory (one of the coolest buildings around), pony rides, running trails, a boss merry-go-round, hiking trails, the Hollywood sign, and even the occasional Coyote sighting. Cool, huh?

Then, once you get into the hood itself, there's truly a legion of bars,restaurants, cool little stores, and movie theaters all within a five- or six-block radius. Do you have a hankering for Mexican food? Check out Mexico City (Our Man in LA's favorite) or Machos Tacos for late night culinary danger. Italian food brings Farfalle Tratoria, Little Dom's, and il Capriccio to the table. For vegans, there's Green Leaves. For Japanese food, there's two great sushi places (En and Niko Niko) and one Japanese country cooking joint (San Sui). The organic crowd digs in at Purans and gets their fix at Nature Mart. Plus, there's good diner fare at Fred 62, and the House of Pies has pretty amazing . . . oh, well, take a wild guess.

OK, pal, besides eating yourself into a food coma, what's so great about it?

Look, I'm not finished. So OK, the neighborhood's been made famous most recently because of the movie SWINGERS. And if you're a barfly, you can head to The Derby (at the corner of Hillhurst and Los Feliz Blvd), where Jon Favreau grabbed Heather Graham and took her for a dance. Or you can head down Vermont Avenue to the Dresden, where Vince Vaughan took the boys to take in cheesy but fun singers Marty and Elayne (they still play there, weekly - check local listings).

And if your drinking tastes run this way, there's way more - from the Chinese-themed Good Luck Bar to the Tiki Ti emporium of strong island drinks and so on. Of course, Ms. Grace won't be of age for a while, so she'll have to take her old man's word for all of this.

But besides drinking and eating . . .

Stop interrupting! Look, SWINGERS may have made people sit up and notice the neighborhood again, but the place has history. Bukowski used to hang out here in his drinking and writing days. Raymond Chandler lived here (and his famous sleuth Phillip Marlowe lived at a couple of different places on Franklin Avenue, if you believe what you read). The neighborhood's a piece of old LA, with its hills, its bungalows, and even its own movie palace (the Vista - easily one of the two or three coolest places to catch a movie in the city).

But it's LA. Where are the celeb sightings?

Deep, heavy sigh. Look, pal. Celebs are just people. They live here like the rest of us.

But yes, Los Feliz has its share. Our Woman in LA spent nearly an entire meal at the Alcove on Hillhurst staring dreamy-eyed at Adrian Grenier from ENTOURAGE. And she rarely notices celebs when we pass them.

And yeah, they shoot Grey's Anatomy in the neighborhood, so we've caught glimpses of all those actors, but that would probably mean more if we watched the show. And there was the one time that Danny Bonaduce called Steph by name at the Copycat.

So OK, where have you taken Grace?

Well, as we mentioned above, she's little. And she's been sick, on and off. And Our Woman in LA's still recovering from gall bladder surgery.

But I'll quit stalling.

We've taken her to Coffee Bean. She's been inside the Albertson's. She's been to the children's boutique Dragonfly Doulou. And our pediatrician's office (just a block away).

But man, is she in for an adventure or what?

No time for pictures, Mommy! We've got places to go!

Monday, August 04, 2008


Not so much, this Colic

See? Gracie doesn't fear the colic . . .

As new parents, Our Man and Woman in LA have become nervous about a lot of things that didn’t even register before about seven weeks ago. Things like hiring babysitters and post-partum doulas, what store has the best selection of diapers after 10 p.m., whether we can eat our dinners before LA Baby comes to.

Oh, yes. And Colic. Whatever the hell it is, we fear it the way we fear McCain winning the White House.

For the uninitiated, Colic is a malady (or illness, or sensibility – I’m not really sure) that affects children between the ages of 2 weeks and, I’m thinking, 17 years. Babies are fussy all the time, they cry for no reason, growl and complain, and are generally difficult to please.

At this point, Our Man in LA will take a dramatic pause to recognize the number of cheap, easy and funny jokes that he is not posting. You know the ones. Yeah, just revel in them.

Anyhoo, it’s because of this fear that Our Man and Woman in LA had a new kind of dread a couple of weeks back. Little Gracie was exhibiting symptoms of this so-called Colic thing. She was fussy when we put her down. She cried for no reason, refused food from time to time, woke up in the middle of the night screaming (perhaps dreaming of that McCain White House?), and so on.

We were defeated. Because according to the books, if a baby’s colicky, you’re stuck with a miserable period of . . . well, I think about 25 years. Give or take, you understand.

So for days there, we were walking around, miserable. Un-consolable. Until the day that our post-partum doula showed up for a late afternoon/early evening session with Grace. When the baby miraculously went down without a fuss, Our Man in LA went to investigate.

It went like this –

Our Man in LA: You got her down?

Doula: Yes. Easy.

Our Man in LA: Really, because she’s been colicky.

Doula: She’s not colicky.

Our Man in LA: But she is. Every night she fusses and –

Doula: Oh, that. I’ve been meaning to tell you. You know the burping? Like when you burp your daughter.

Our Man in LA: Sure.

Doula: You suck at it.


Doula: She’s got a bunch of leftover gas. Just burp better.

And so ended our bout of colic.

Editor’s Note: No, the Doula didn’t tell me that I sucked at burping, though she certainly would have been right. It just makes a better story there, but I don’t need to sully the doula any further for my silly jokes. Of course, having this experience replaced my fear of colic with a fear of burping my daughter either too hard or too lightly. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

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