There’s something distinctly terrible about driving down Fairfax, between Melrose and 3rd on a weekday. Maybe its the absurd number of traffic stops on this small stretch of road. Maybe it’s the lingering drivers trying to find a coveted parking spot. Maybe it’s the Ubers meandering around, taking their own sweet time to get down the block.
If I actually take a minute to think about it, I strongly prefer La Brea to this block. And yet, time after time, I find myself back in this daytime nightmare. Perhaps it’s muscle memory. I could direct you from Westwood to The Grove blindfolded. On the other hand, I have never been to the Beverly Center, and to be honest, am still not convinced it will forever be under construction.
This part of town will always have a special place in my heart. The Cheesecake Factory at The Grove was the setting of many delirious second dinners during midterms weeks. Joan’s on Third was reserved for inter-finals brunch. The Grove was the perfect mid-afternoon break when I worked nearby. The ads in its parking structure were always an unwelcome reminder of work (aka mediocre blockbusters). I’ve spent way too much time in the parking lot of Erewhon during lunch rush. I once locked my keys in my car in the parking lot of Whole Foods.
But as easy as it is to hate on the center of LA, there’s something so quintessentially LA about it that is hard to refuse. The palm trees lining Fairfax. The Grove during Christmas, a magic that even a bitter Angeleno can’t deny. The strange juxtaposition of new trendy spots and LA institutions. The oddly complementary crowds congregating outside Supreme and Jon & Vinny’s. Have you even been to LA if you haven’t found yourself inexplicably weighing out your plate of Brazilian food at the farmer’s market for the second time this week? Everyone should experience Canter’s Deli on Halloween night. No one should hate on baked, gluten-free donuts until you’ve tried a blueberry earl grey fonut. We all need more Cofax burritos in our lives. If you have no idea what all these name drops mean, do yourself a favor and go there now. But maybe don’t drive.