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Disney, Diners, and Dives: Los Feliz

Catherine Cloutier |
September 10, 2009 | 5:44 p.m. PDT

The Big Foot Lodge in Los Feliz offers DJs and late-night fare.
(photo by Katie Cloutier)

Standing outside of Los Feliz's Fred 62 Diner, I watched L.A. hipsters
devour gigantic omelettes and burgers bulging with toppings.  My stomach
growling and toes tapping, I marveled at the large crowd - so large, in
fact, that we had to wait for 25 minutes...at 2:30 a.m.
Hailing from the city that sleeps (Boston) and the city that sleeps
even more (Portland, Maine), the idea of eating out in the wee hours of
the morning was inconceivable for me.  Previously, when I thought of
24-hour food, two words came to mind: IHOP and McDonald's.  But as my
party of seven crowded into Fred 62's car-seat booths at 3 a.m., all I
could think about was how good a huge, greasy plate of Chili Cheese
Fries would taste.  That plate met my every expectation.
Of course, Los Angeles' Los Feliz neighborhood boasts more than fixes
for early morning cravings.  Centered around an art deco movie theater
on Vermont, not surprisingly named the Los Feliz, the Los Feliz
"Village" features several blocks of bars, restaurants and hipster
But the neighborhood has not always been the home of the young and
fashionable.  In the 1830s, the 6,647-acre Rancho Los Feliz became one
of the first land grants in California.  While the title of the land
was passed around a great deal, two notable owners were Corporal Jose
Vincente Feliz, for whom the area is named, and Colonel Griffith
Jenkins Griffith, who donated land that now makes up Griffith Park to
the city of Los Angeles. 
The first Disney studio made its home in Los Feliz, along with several
other studios.  For that reason, Los Feliz had the reputation of being
the posh home of the LA "glitterati."  While the celebrities have moved
away for the most part, the sleepy streets of the residential areas of
Los Feliz are still lined with quaint but pricey bungalows.
Despite its intrinsically Californian history, an article in the New
York Times described the Los Feliz area as having an "East Village
vibe."  Maybe that's why this East Coast girl took such a liking to it.

Here are my Los Feliz recommendations:
1. Palmero's, a cute Italian restaurant on Vermont.  Palmero's boasts
Italian-American cuisine, the likes of which could be found in New
York's Little Italy or Boston's North End.  I recommend the Chicken
Parmesan, served with the House salad and a huge wedge of garlic
bread.  The restaurant also has a large selection of wine for sale by
the bottle, including House bottles that cost about five dollars each. 

2.  The Bigfoot Lodge, a kitschy log-cabin themed bar on Los Feliz
Boulevard.  Advertising drinks such as the Toasted Marshmallow and the
Girl Scout Cookie, the bar features log-paneled walls, dead animal
decorations, and an alternative soundtrack.  If you love themed bars,
you will love the Bigfoot Lodge.
3. The Griffith Park Observatory.  The museum features a lot of
astronomy exhibits, but for us non-science folks, there are exceptional
views of the city and the Hollywood sign.  Go check out some
telescopes, snap some pictures and pack a picnic.  It's totally worth
the car ride up the mountain.
4.  And, of course, Fred 62 Diner.  I can guarantee that the Chili
Cheese Fries are delicious, and my fellow diners had breakfast
burritos, enchiladas, and straight-up eggs and bacon dishes that suited
their fancy.  If you like diner food at any hour of the day, I suggest
a trip to Fred 62.
So, take a trip to Los Feliz.  It'll keep you busy 24 hours a day.



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