Amoeba Schmumoeba / by laurel


LAist pointed out this LA Mag article here, which crowns Amoeba Music the best thing about L.A. 

Like LAist's Carrie Meathrell, I'm a bit baffled as to how Amoeba (whose mothership isn't in Los Angeles, but is in fact, in Berkeley) trumped such overarching niceties as, uh, the weather to win the coveted title. Sure, Amoeba is (overwhelmingly) great, but really? Better than 75 degrees and sunny year round? Better than the beach? Okay, I get that Amoeba could be considered better than one of the beaches, or better than the month of August wherein the 75 degree rule pushes itself into the triple digits, but all the beaches? 73 degrees in January? Better than The Troubadour? Better than dim sum? Better than In-n-Out??? Meathrell points out, 
"Furthermore, who knew that LA Mag's target demographic is actually the hipster music snob? You can't walk down a single aisle in that place without running into an ironic mustache; are these the readers to whom LA Mag advertises boutique jewels and resort vacations?"
So true, Carrie. So true. I perused LA Mag's list to see what else didn't make the cut, so I've compiled my own list via their exhaustive research. By way of LA Mag, here is my in-no-particular-order roundup of the best of LA., copied and pasted for your enjoyment:

Vincent Thomas Bridge
Stretching 2.2 miles and curving gently midway through, the structure places you high enough over the sea—185 feet above the main channel of Los Angeles Harbor, in fact—to unsettle and thrill, presenting vertiginous views of the coruscating Pacific, the high-rises of Long Beach, the distant cluster of downtown L.A., and the hidden world of the port, where hulking cargo ships lie docked among towers of brightly colored steel containers.

Topanga Canyon
Laurel is more storied, Coldwater more glam, Benedict more exclusive. In Topanga, however, waitresses extol the cosmic vibrations of the food at the Inn of the Seventh Ray, a restaurant whose name is not tongue-in-cheek. Untouched by chain stores or mega-development, the canyon between Santa Monica and Malibu is the last hippie holdout in an ever-gentrifying area. On the main drag, in front of craft-filled shops and friendly dives, women with long gray hair ride horses, sixth graders sell CDs of original music they recorded to benefit charity, and locals, including artist Chris Burden, still hitchhike.

Dim Sum in the S.G. Valley
Here it's not just cuisine; it's a competitive sport. The area's huge number of immigrants from the dumpling capitals of Hong Kong and Taiwan put the heat on chefs to devise the next new thing while producing fully realized versions of the classics. From hot spots like Elite Restaurant in Monterey Park to old-school favorites like Rosemead's 888 Seafood Restaurant, wherever you go, expect long waits, noisy rooms, and bliss delivered on a rolling cart. [Ed. note: I prefer the Chinatown scene at ABC Seafood, whose title, it seems, directly coincides with the various ratings it receives from the Health Department]

Huntington Gardens
You visit this 120-acre enclave for a ramble through roses and bonsai. What you don't expect is that desert garden: a live-action Dr. Seuss book where cacti and succulents resemble stalagmites and flowing seaweed, and blooms in oranges and reds and pinks burst from monsterlike forms.

Museum of Jurassic Technology
Two of its most beloved exhibits are The Stink Ant of the Cameroon, an insect driven mad by a spore in its tiny brain, and The Horn of Mary Davis Saughall, an appendage that grew on said woman's head in the 17th century. It's captivating, irreverent, and--[This is where I cut in, lest the grand finale of the Museum be revealed. In short: Go. Go now. Don't ask questions, but do block out a significant amount of your afternoon to peruse the weird, whacky exhibits at the Museum of Jurassic Technology.]

Roscoe's
Who says we eat healthy? Nobody bellying (burp) up to Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles at two in the morning for a plate of fried chix and a gridiron stack topped by a luminescent orb of I Can't Believe It Is Butter. Scoe's is also the place in town to peep black Hollywood's (heck, black America's) showbiz elite, where everybody from Little Richard (spotted passing out Bible tracts) to Chris Rock to Lil Wayne goes to be seen.


Taco Trucks
As many as 4,000 ply the county's streets, and each is unique, a rolling kitchen as ephemeral as traffic and as permanent as the neighborhoods it serves. Whether we want asada or cabeza, al pastor or lengua, there's something primal and urgent about the tacos cooked up in their cramped galleys. It is food that can be powerfully good, transporting you into a gustatory trance while heightening your awareness of all that surrounds you.


The Light
Los Angeles has its microclimates of cool and warm air pockets that gardeners are attuned to when planting in spring. Unlike any other American city, it is also splintered into numerous subdivisions of light—apertures of sky that blaze, glow, glimmer, and dim, depending on season and landscape: the sad, failing light in October, the muzzy pall above the Valley that hangs like wet linen in November, the gin-clear fluorescence of April, the kaleidoscopic photochemical sunsets of July. Then comes tropical August, when under mackerel skies, light drops like periwinkle confetti across the city's expanse.