Los Angeles Tour: Silver Lake
Indie cool abounds in this trendy L.A. neighborhood.
The rolling hills of Silver Lake have attracted diverse groups over the decades, from film stars in the 1920’s to Latin American immigrants in the 1950’s and the gay community in the 1970’s. But since gentrification arrived in the 1990’s, Silver Lake has transformed into the ultimate hipster haven. Organic, vegan restaurants with locally sourced ingredients have replaced taco stands as the sustenance of choice, and ultra-trendy boutiques have elbowed out family-run corner stores. It's a place to sample some of the city's most serious coffee, most buzzed-about new rock bands and fashion designers, most iconic mid-century modernist architecture, and most lovely natural assets.
1 Lamill Coffee Boutique
In funky Silver Lake, this coffee shop offers a five-page menu of java drinksâ€”all prepared in your choice of brewing device, from a siphon (which resembles a very elaborate bong) to a one-of-a-kind La Marzocco espresso machine sheathed in hand-pounded brass. But the note-perfect coffee is equalled by the food, courtesy of Providence chef Michael Cimarusti. Donâ€™t miss the eggs en cocotte, a burbling ramekin of velvety yolk and gently baked whites swirled around crimini and oyster mushrooms, lardons, and fines herbes.
2 Pho CafÃ©
The restaurant is hidden beside a Crown Escrow outlet in a derelict mini-mall. Despite the lack of signage, the long, narrow room is jammed from noon to night with Silver Lake and Echo Park hipsters, each of them nursing an outsize bowl of Vietnamâ€™s beloved, breathtakingly fragrant noodle soup. Best option: the pho tai gan, with toothsome beef tendon and ribbons of raw sirloin that slowly cook in the clove- and cinnamon-spiced broth.
3 Silver Lake Reservoir
Silver Lake takes its name from this picturesque stash of water that glistens amid the neighborhoodâ€™s hilly slopes. Itâ€™s the districtâ€™s main outdoor recreation area, surrounded as it is by a dog park, basketball courts, walking and jogging paths, and the Silver Lake Meadow, a picnic-perfect grassy stretch on its east side. On clear days, views of the San Gabriel Mountains are spectacular, and the attractive homes ringing the reservoir (many of them architecturally significant, like the Richard Neutra-designed house at 2300 Silver Lake Boulevard) are pretty pleasant to look at, too.
4 Sunset Junction
The terracotta-hued complex at this famous intersection is â€œground zeroâ€
This sunny boutique specializes in â€œfree-range designâ€