LA Weekly: In the Realm of the Senses

(October 2003)

Best of L.A.: In the Realm of the Senses

More Sight...

Best Nonprofit Enclave: The Granada Buildings

Where South La Fayette Park Place, Hoover and Seventh Street meet, stands this beautiful complex of four Spanish style buildings erected in 1927. Architect Franklin Harper originally developed the site to be the Granada Shoppes and Studios, a $1 million project which proposed its 42 offices and studios be used for residential and commercial purposes. With that in mind, Harper designed each two-story suite to include a loft area, kitchenette and full bathroom on the top floor to be used as tentants’ living quarters while their offices or shops were run on the ground floor. Among its early residents was George Hurrell, a master of the Hollywood portrait, who photographed silent screen stars in suite 9. PEN Center USA, Theatre of Hearts and People in Progress are among the handful of nonprofit organizations whose offices are housed in this Los Angeles historical monument, now exclusively nonresidential, and many of the other suites are occupied by filmmakers and artists. Creative people are drawn to the Granada because of its fascinating history, charming architecture, old-school elevator and lovely courtyard: a gorgeous garden with flowing fountains along the walkways, a taste of the Alhambra a short stroll awsay from picturesque but gritty MacArthur Park. 672 S. La Fayette Park Place, Westlake. —Teena Apeles

Best Art-Supply Store With Free Parking: Blue Rooster

In parking-challenged Los Feliz, it takes a lot to impress the locals. Which may explain the instant success of the newish Blue Rooster, which, in addition to the usual panoply of rotating art shows, art classes, student discounts and copiously displayed art supplies, has plenty of parking in the rear. Graphic artist Nick Gallo has created a cool neighborhood space to show the work of local artists, learn new techniques and find all the canvases, oils, sketch pads, carrying cases and X-acto knives your heart desires, as well as hip magazines and artists’ books. Bring the dog. This is the Eastside, after all. 1718 N. Vermont Ave., Los Feliz, (323) 661-9471. — Teena Apeles


More Taste...

Best Halo-Halo: Max’s of Manila

Halo-halo, the Philippines’ favorite icy dessert, is a riot of color, texture and flavor — sweet preserved beans, coconut meat, jackfruit, sweet yam and colorful cubes of gelatin at the bottom of a large dessert bowl filled with crushed ice and evaporated milk, topped off with flan and your choice of Filipino ice cream: macapuno (coconut), mango or the violently purple yam known as ube, which is pretty much the people’s favorite. (Nobody said this was going to be simple.) The best part is mixing the whole thing together, then fishing with a long spoon to see what turns up. It’s like searching for buried treasure. Yar. Just the sight of a halo-halo, which makes a banana split look as austere as a Snack Well cookie, is enough to make a body want to bypass meals altogether. 313 W. Broadway, Glendale, (818) 637-7751. —Teena Apeles

Best Fast-Food Breakfast: Jollibee

Ever wonder what Carson has to offer besides oil refineries and car dealerships? For less than $4, Jollibee, part of a fast-food chain based in Manila, offers Filipino breakfasts of tapa (tender beef), the spicy garlic sausage longaniza, fish, or the sweet pork called tocino, served with a scrambled egg, two tomato slices, fried white rice, and coffee or soda. Filipinos love — love — frosty Sprite in the morning. The slick, bright ambiance may be straight out of the Burger King playbook, but you’ll never believe how delicious a combination of meat, tomatoes, egg and rice can be at 7 a.m. 139 W. Carson St., Carson, (310) 513-1941; other locations in West Covina and Cerritos. —Teena Apeles


More Touch...

Best Bunkmates: Fun Furniture

When fuzzy pink curtains aren’t quite enough, Fun Furniture is all about creating imaginative yet functional spaces for children, which is why it furnishes some of the most high-profile (read celebrity) nurseries in the city. With 50-odd themed bunk beds to choose from, your youngsters could sleep in a different kind of bed every week for a year: cottage, barn, castle, boat, London bus and space shuttle, among many others. Unlike the real space shuttle, Fun Furniture beds are as safe as houses, right down to the enclosed steps leading up to the upper bunks. For the serious art collector, Fun Furniture even has a signed, limited-edition bunk, “The Hook and Ladder,” by internationally renowned artist Red Grooms. 8451 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 655-2711. — Teena Apeles

Best Silver Lining: Maya

Gold diggers may find this particular treasure chest scant in its offerings. But silver addicts take note: For more than 33 years this family-owned store has outfitted pierced folk and others with everything from toe rings to money clips to waist chains. It’s also a favorite among fashion stylists, rock stars, art collectors, set decorators and last-minute gift buyers who appreciate its selection of cultural artifacts: wooden and metal statues, carved masks, decorative weapons, leather accessories, ornamental chests, handcrafted candelabras, assorted beads, animal carvings, silk tapestries and musical instruments. Regardless of whether you’re dressing the smart set or a movie set, Maya is always a quick fix. 7452 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 655-2708. — Teena Apeles