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Drinking & Driving, Angeleno-Style

February 2014

By Wendy Dembo, Los Angeles

Angelenos have always been a bit schizophrenic. It is all about being an individual and yet trying quite hard to fit in. For instance, everyone loves nature, but drives everywhere. The city is replete with raw vegans who smoke. No doubt, each of us has met such a creature both within and beyond the city limits!

So it is no surprise that in the last few years, there has been an amazing push for cold-pressed organic juices. There have always been juice bars, but now they are everywhere. Even Jamba Juice is juicing at a few select locations in LA. But the casual, yet well-designed atmosphere of The Juice in Atwater Village makes it the go-to place on the East Side. And yes, that is a Geoff McFetridge mural on the wall! Memories of their fantastic branding and innovative juices and coconut-almond milk (yum) will haunt you're your mind and palate alike—and you will absolutely return for more. Co-owner Elizabeth Halpern says, “We kept the design clean and simple. We like to think of the shop of more of a pharmacy of sorts, than the traditional grungy juice bar.” Cold-pressed the ingredients means that the nutrients stay longer. And if, you are going to juice in Los Angeles, it better be organic. And you better be willing to pay top dollar for a juice. 

At the same time, people are drinking more artisanal coffee than ever. It is all about the small batch roasting, such as the New Handsome Coffee Roaster in DTLA. Getting your coffee is an entire personal experience. At places like Intelligentsia and Go Get Em Tiger, barista can knowledgably guide you through your small-batch coffee knowledge and order, hence creating a ritualistic experience for consumers. Not the place to go in a hurry, it is still an entirely new way of enjoying your morning pick me up. 

While keeping up with the Joneses is in many ways important, one there’s no more favorite local way to outdo your neighbor than buy purchasing goods that are exclusive and handmade. The Giant Robot store is excellent for unusual and unique items. I recently bought ceramics there that were handmade by elderly Japanese women. They are not only trendy, but truly unique.

But we all still have to mind the environment, even if we also have to drive everywhere. Small-sized vehicles are the new way to get around. I almost feel like I am in Paris, I see so many Smart Pure Coupes. The continually rising costs of gas are at play, along with a ubiquitous desire to be ecologically aware. But the cars are also so darned cute! Even Barbie drives a Fiat 500, so how’s that for a little cross-marketing with Mattel? People in LA are quite neighborhood-oriented, you might as well have a small car for zipping around your hood and not have to worry about parking.

While our lives in LA may be ones of duality, unique experiences will always stay true to this city. And whatever your choice, it is about having the time and the money to get the best.

Food & Drink
Los Angeles
Juice in Atwater Village mural by Geoff McFetridge
Small cars takeover Santa Monica streets
Giant Robot LA: where Asian cutting edge meets kitsch

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