Stop at Marukai in Little Tokyo. Photo by Andrea Bricco.
The sum of Los Angeles’ neighborhoods equals one hot melting pot. For an eclectic taste, head to Little Tokyo, Little India, Chinatown, Boyle Heights and Glendale and sample their bakeries, cafés, temples, curio shops, galleries and more.
TANVI CHHEDA, February 2013
|A delicious Phoenix Bakery creation. Photo by Andrea Bricco.|
Morning // Phoenix Bakery
Dating back to 1938, this downtown bakery and pastry shop offers sponge cakes and butterflies (fried won tons glazed with honey) that have a cult-like following.
Midmorning // Wing Hop Fung Ginseng
The place to load up on loose teas (the blend of jasmine and green tea is a must-try), dried herbs, Yixing clay teapots and more.
Afternoon // Thien Hau Temple
This Taoist temple is dedicated to Mazu, the goddess of the sea; Guan Yu, the god of wars and brotherhood; and Fu De, the god of the earth, wealth and merit.
Midafternoon // Broadway Street
From curio shops to jewelry stores, this street adorned with tiled murals is perfect for ambling and discovering hidden gems.
|Courtesy of Los Feliz Lodge.|
Where to Stay // Los Feliz Lodge
Sure, we love the cozy vibe and kitschy design at this bungalow-style lodge, but it’s the well-stocked kitchen, garden patio and laundry facilities that had us at hello. Plus, it’s three miles west of Glendale.
Lunch // Sasoun Bakery
This casual spot draws crowds for its lahmajoun, Armenian-style pizza made with ground beef, fresh tomato, parsley, onion and garlic.
Dinner // Carousel Restaurant
Snag a patio table at this lively restaurant and sample a blend of Lebanese, Armenian and Greek cooking. Start with the hummus followed by falafel, shawarma and kebabs galore.
Evening // Alex Theatre
Catch an Armenian concert at this historic theater that opened in 1925 as the neighborhood vaudeville and movie house.
|Breed Street Shul photo by Andrea Bricco.|
Morning // Breed Street Shul
This synagogue, set in a stunning 1922 Byzantine revival building, is being restored and is a testament to the Jewish community that once called Boyle Heights home.
Morning // Lupe’s Tortilleria
It may not look like much from the exterior, but at Lupe’s, handmade corn tortillas are legendary. Lupe sells tortilla flour, too, so you can make them at home. 2710 Cesar E. Chavez Avenue.
Lunch // Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café
Order the Hollenbeck burrito stuffed with pork, rice, beans, guacamole and topped with chili verde at this local institution.
Afternoon // Mariachi Plaza
Come here on Saturday afternoons and be serenaded by mariachi players in charro suits. Along with the vibrant murals, their music completes the neighborhood’s rich portrait. East First Street and Boyle Avenue.
|Jain Temple photo by Andrea Bricco.|
Morning // Jain Temple
At this domed temple and cultural complex in Buena Park, you’ll enter into a marble-clad shrine with 47 idols that are anointed and adorned during festivals and holy days.
Lunch // JayBharat
This diner specializes in Gujarati snacks such as khandvi—thinly rolled sheets of garbanzo flour with shredded coconut, cilantro and mustard seeds.
Dinner // Udupi Palace
At this South Indian café, order the kancheepurum idli—steamed rice paddies studded with bits of ginger, coriander and cashew.
Evening // Saffron Spot
Finish at this ice cream parlor and snack bar with rose falooda, a milkshake-like drink of rose milk and vermicelli noodles topped with soaked basil seeds.
|Shin-Sen-Gumi photo by Andrea Bricco.|
Where to Stay // The Standard
This downtown favorite from hotelier André Balazs combines 207 sleek rooms with a heady dose of whimsy.
Morning // Walking Tour
The Japanese American National Museum offers a monthly tour, stopping at a WWII Japanese American veterans monument, the Higashi Hongashi Buddhist Temple and the garden at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center.
Lunch // Shin-Sen-Gumi
Devotees of Hakata-style ramen swear by this restaurant where the thin noodles are topped with scallions, red ginger and sesame seeds.
Afternoon // Marukai
Pick up edible souvenirs (and nonedible ones) such as green tea KitKats, plum wine and everything sushi imaginable at this beloved Japanese market.