If there's one place we must must visit whenever where on the Eastside of Los Angeles, it's Valerie Confections. Helmed by the award-winning chocolatier, acclaimed cookbok author, and all-around pastry queen, Valerie Gordon, it's hard for us to pass by the cafe without stopping for a treat or three. Since she spends the majority of her time in that very neighborhood, we tapped her to know how she's spend a day off in Echo Park. Here's her thoughts on how to do One Perfect Day in Echo Park:
Back in 2013, when we were busy dealing with permits and all the not-so-fun struggles that came with opening our Echo Park Café, the glory of the Echo Park neighborhood shined brightly. Locals honked as they drove by or paused for a quick chat while walking dogs or babies or both. In this eclectic mishmash of an area, we discovered this sweet neighborhood that feels like a reassuring hug. A haven within our increasingly busy and boisterous city, Echo Park is always gracious.
Start your perfect day in Echo Park by waking up in an Airbnb that embodies the quintessential ease of Echo Park vibes. Clothing designer Beatrice Valenzuela paired with her artist husband Ramsey Conder in the design and restoration of a 3 bedroom 1930s bungalow situated on Echo Park Avenue. 1505 will fill your Pinterest page before 8 am.
Although technically two blocks outside of the Echo Park confines, Bar Method is my favorite workout around the zip code. I love the combination of strengthening with flexibility. Bar Method also has the benefit of an impeccable changing room with showers and all manner of toiletries, making for an easy transition to a day on the town.
Moon Juice is basically an ingestible spa experience. Located next door to Bar Method, this serene juicing haven deserves all the accolades it has received. And I may never have the low body fat of Gwyneth Paltrow, but I FEEL just as lithe after my visit to Moon Juice. Fennel, Frond and Herb, and Silver Strawberry Drinks are high on my recommended list.
A defining bit of Echo Park if there ever was one, Alejandra’s quesadilla cart on Echo Park Avenue and Sunset is where you will find the most delectable $4 meal. This talented lady forms blue masa into a tortilla, filling it with cheese and hongo de maiz (corn fungus) before topping it with an assortment of salsas and chopped onions. The flavors are robust and funky and ridiculously satisfying, perfectly fitting the hub of 90026.
Echo Park Avenue has loads of unique boutiques and cafes that feature handmade products. I say start withHemingway & Pickett, a beautifully curated gift store and art gallery where you can easily lose an hour browsing through their selection of ceramics, leather goods, wall hangings and books. I frequently pop in to grab anything from a unique notebook to hold recipe ideas to hostess gifts for dinner parties.
Peter Shire is an Echo Park icon: he is super cool and welcomes everyone into his neighborhood. Meaning even if you’re just there for the day, you should stop by. His studio is open for visits, but call ahead and make sure he’s there. A chat with Peter will enlighten you to the amazing charms and character of the neighborhood.
My four-year old daughter is obsessed withThe Cactus Store. She insists we stop by every 7-10 days just to see what’s happening. She loves examining each specimen as if we are visiting a museum or the aquarium. The good people at The Cactus Store have installed a magnificent selection of rare cacti into the sidewalk outside their store. I get the feeling my girl is not alone in her unrelenting fascination of the cactus experience.
Relax and indulge at the recently restoredEcho Park Lake. Many happy picnickers populate the lawn for a reason—the landscaping is inspired, and if you visit June-September your eyes will feast on the enormous lotus blossoms filling the lake. Take a stroll around the perimeter and rent a paddleboat. After all of those petits fours, you’ll appreciate the exercise!
After a quick change at 1505, find your way to dinner at Elf Cafe. A small restaurant on the bustling side of Sunset, this organic vegetarian eatery serves some of the most luscious and thoughtfully created food anywhere in Los Angeles. Linger over your plate of Kofta with Skordalia and Black Quinoa, because you will miss it after your plate is emptied.
All Perfect Days end with a cocktail. Ostrich Farm recently launched an impressive cocktail menu under the guidance of Pharmacie’s Talmadge Lowe. Choose The Old Fashioned — it’s the ultimate classic nightcap.
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Salt & Wind is a food and travel website created by food and travel expert, Aida Mollenkamp, in December 2014. The sister company, Salt & Wind Travel, launched in 2017 to provide boutique group travel services for fellow food lovers. Through our editorial work and our trips, we're on a mission to help you travel in good taste!