Many people feel an indescribable urge to follow in the footsteps of celebrities long passed?hoping that a connection to their genius or charm still lingers in the air of their apartments and favorite pubs. The guides of Esotouric understand and share this urge, though they prefer to roam the paths of history by bus. After scouring the famed neighborhoods of Los Angeles in search of interesting and outlandish locations, they share their findings on bus adventures that retrace the trails blazed by local artists, filmmakers, writers, and actors.
Esotouric's odysseys wind through haunts such as Raymond Chandler's favorite breakfast spot and the salon Charles Bukowski visited for his weekly knuckle-hair perm. Coloring their tours with anecdotes about the films adapted from his noirish stories, guides also visit locales captured in the cinematic landscapes of James M. Cain. Various tours explore Southern California?s culture, literature, and architectural sides, giving history hounds the chance to sniff out sinister deeds in old-time tattoo parlors, burlesque shows, and crime scenes.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Dinah's renowned chicken entices taste buds with a two-part cooking process that begins with pressure-cooking to lock in moisture and finishes off with deep-frying to make the outside golden brown and crispy. Owned and operated by the Pearson family since 1967, the established eatery sates patrons' appetites with its signature chicken, which pairs well with honey-smothered rolls and lots of happy closed-eye chewing. Other soul-warming sides keep the chicken company on dinner plates, including mashed potatoes, fries, corn on the cob, and pineapple coleslaw.
Rustic brick walls and a wine bar accent Lola's red, low-lit dining room, where candles illuminate the vivid oranges, purples, and greens of Peruvian cuisine arranged on crisp white ceramic plates. Libations culled from the bar's sprawling wine racks complement ceviche, sautéed Quechua vocabulary, and fried yucca.:m]]
By the time Francisco and Patricia Jimenez opened their small restaurant, La Caba?ita, in 1989, they were out of funds to buy food for the kitchen. No matter?they were so certain of their eventual success, they sold many of their personal effects to finish opening. Their dedication has decidedly paid off: in 2002, La Caba?ita moved from a space that seats 40 to one that seats more than 100, fueled by the popularity of its boldly spiced, traditional Mexican specialties. (More recently, it's also added breakfast.) A luminous mural covering Mexican history spans one long wall, adding a sense of depth to a room filled with rustic wooden furniture and framed photos.
Most of the family recipes at La Caba?ita come from Francisco's mother. Starting at 7 a.m., the kitchen turns out homey dishes that, unlike stirring your coffee with a jalape?o, start the day off on a deliciously spicy note?chilaquiles, eggs with chorizo, and chipotle omelets. The rest of the day brings staples such as stuffed poblanos and fajitas, along with soups and stews; the chicken soup and the pozole with hominy broth are perennial favorites. In 2011, LA Weekly had special praise for the tacos at "the pride of Montrose," noting: "Eating a meal of tacos at La Caba?ita is the rough equivalent of a tasting menu: you get the opportunity to sample the kitchen's wide variety of excellent dishes."
Intent on capturing as many farm-fresh flavors as possible, The Wooden Fork indulges patrons with a healthful menu of casual, caf?-style meals made with fresh, nourishing ingredients. The breakfast selection of wraps, omelets, and fresh toast competes for visitors' attention with a variety of lunch options, which includes creative salads as well as sandwiches topped with everything from oven-roasted turkey, brie, and granny smith apples to eggplant caviar, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and pesto. To accompany these hearty meals, the staff members also spend their days blending juices and smoothies using an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Wooden Fork's decor mirrors the eatery's casual vibe by featuring a variety of rustic and modern elements. Mismatched chairs surrounding stout wooden tables, chandelier-like light fixtures, and giant chalkboards on the wall all combine to lend a distinctively homespun vibe to the space. At the same time, the dining area includes a handful of modern touches?meticulously placed wall tiles create the appearance of exposed brickwork, and the staff cools baked goods in the glass display case by regularly shooting them with a freeze ray. This inviting ambiance finds even more reinforcement in the live music, book readings, and cooking classes that regularly occur.