Hollywood + Convertible + 4 hours
My friend loaned me his car again, and I scored an opera ticket from craigslist, so tomorrow is already looking good but here is the thing. I live in Santa Monica, I need to pick up the ticket in Hollywood at 3:00 pm, then the opera is at 7:30. I'd like to eat something delicious in between, and I have no idea whats actually in between, I just have zero driving experience in LA except going up PCH a couple weeks ago. Ideas for a restaurant with something really spicy and delicious and interesting (and cheap), I'd love to walk around a bit as well.
Well, at 3pm in the afternoon, lots of the east-west routes are beginning to get backed up. I was mentioning Ramenya on Olympic because you could get a late lunch there ~1:30pm and still have plenty of time to Hollywood to nab the tix.
If you want an early dinner instead, lots of Thai places around Hollywood will be cheap and really spicy. I'm sure Erik can chime in with other boat noodles suggestions, so I'll just give a recommendation for Sapp Coffee Shop and their beef noodles.
If you like thai, I'd recommend Jitlada - definitely delicious and spicy and is in Hollywood (e. hollywood).
I am unclear on whether your in between time is between SM and Hollywood or Hollywood and Downtown. If it is Hollywood and DT than there are several neighborhood walking options where you could eat and stroll- Los Feliz, Silverlake, and downtown i.e., Little Tokyo or Olvera Street..
The LF and SL resturant recs would not fit interesting and real spicy. The Jitlada rec in Thai town would fit that bill, but I doubt you could fill 2/3 hours of walking time in Thai town. After Jitlada and exploring Thai Town you could go to either Los Feliz or SL and walk around both areas as they have cafes/shops. I would rec Intelligentsia in SL Junction for cafe/coffee stop and you can stroll up and down a block or two for window shopping/shopping, if that is your thing!
From SL Junciton you are about 10 min. away from opera...
Depends on what type of exploring you want to do though, Little Tokyo (you can find good food) and Olvera Street (not best mexican you find here and touristy, but full of history) would be a more cultural/historic stroll, and highly recommended if you are new to LA...
Edit - there is also Chinatown!
Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are going to be IN Hollywood at 3:00 p.m. and will have a couple of hours to kill before you have to head to downtown around 6 or 6:30 for your show, so you can either kill time in the Hollywood area, or you can kill time in the downtown area, or somewhere in between.
Unfortunately, if you want to kill time in the Hollywood area, the areas where the food is good are not exactly the areas where the touristy walking-around places are.
If good food is your goal, I'd do one of several things:
Option one, head east of the "Hollywood strip" and eat some good Thai food in Thai town. There are many good threads on this board, but I'd probably say Jitlada.
Option two, head east to Koreatown and have some great Korean bbq at Soot Bul Jeep or other options in the area, also discussed extensively on this board.
Option three: if you want to just go straight to downtown, you could have some good food in Little Tokyo (such as Sushi Gen or someplace for grilled or other Japanese food), as its near places that are more interesting to walk around, including the Geffen Contemporary, which is in the midst of Little Tokyo, and wouldn't be so far off when you have to get to your show.
Option four: also accessible to the area between downtown and Hollywood is great Mexican food. El Parian or Guelaguetza for authentic, or Olvera Street for a bit of a walking-about, touristy scene with some good food options, such as carnitas at La Luz del Dia.
If good food is not the foremost in your mind, then forget the food and walk around Hollywood Boulevard with the other tourists and see the sights.
I'd say, figure out what you want! You've got the time to see (or taste) at least one thing well -- thai, mexican, korean, japanese, or straight up hollywood. What tickles your fancy?
As soon as I see SauceSupreme's first response, my immeidate thinking of spicy food, flashing light --> Orochon Ramen Special 2 Challenge!!!
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Koreatown is about 10~15 minutes away from Hollywood. You can definately get something spicy, delicious, interesting and cheap over there. Since you are going late in the afternoon and want to walk around a bit, I would recommend Koreatown Galleria. There's a food court upstair with tons of yummy food to choose from. The 1st floor consists of Korean shops. Then the basement is a Korean supermarket. Plenty of stuff to explore for a few hours.
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If I were you, I'd pick up your ticket, park your car underground at Hollywood & Highland ($10 max), take the Metro Red Line subway to Santa Monica & Vermont, walk to Marouch to eat, then get back on the Red Line & take it to Civic Center for your opera. The Civic Center-Hollywood route is so much more convenient on the train than in the car. Parking at the opera is $8, and trust me, the additional few $$ you spend to take public transit (the subway is about $1.35 each way) will be more than made up for with what you save in traffic aggravation.
The Red Line was my first thought as well. Spending all that time worrying about parking and traffic isn't my idea of a good time, and the red line runs until after midnight. On the way back, make sure you get on the train to North Hollywood, not the train to Wilshire/Western.
You can waste some time walking down Hollywood Blvd and gawking at the tourists. For dinner, you could go to Jitlada for Thai or Paru's for Southern Indian (both ~6 blocks from either the Hollywood/Western station or the Sunset/Vermont station).
OK thanks. Here's what I think I'll do. I pick up the opera ticket at Arc Light on Sunset Boulevard. Then park somewhere and walk to Jitlada for a bite to eat. Then maybe if there is time I will back on freeway towards the historic Olvera and get a coffee. And I then I'll be close to opera house and maybe even stroll over. Or metro over. I appreciate all the advice, I've copied it for another trip because the same guy has tickets to Tosca in a month...