TIN by: John Stenson
Pack a small bag with some casual evening wear and let's go.
A good start to the day leads you in the direction of a fulfilling end. There is no better way to start the day than by doing something good for your body.
Elysian Park Hike
9:00 am - 11:30 am
Elysian Park a little northeast of DTLA offers some nice trials, secluded getaways, and amazing views. It's hard to believe such a beautiful park is in the middle of the city. The hike I did was an 2.8 mile loop through the northern section of Elysian Park. This route through a park next to Dodger Stadium features a surprisingly rugged single-track overlooking the Golden State Freeway (which is nicer than it sounds) and paved and dirt paths through Elysian Park proper. There are several jaw-dropping overlooks of Dodger Stadium and downtown Los Angeles before ending up at Angel’s Point which has vistas of Hollywood and Century City. A great little hike!
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
A great spot to grab a quick bite when you finish up your morning workout is Honey Hi located in the heart of Echo Park. It's a quaint, little restaurant with a funky vibe and an awesome brunch menu. This place serves delicious and nutritious comfort food. You don't have to feel guilty after licking the place. Honey Hi prepares meat that is from grass-fed, local farms and only cook with real oils like olive and coconut. I had the hazelnut and sprouted brown rice pancakes with the lamb sausage. Lest not forget, I grabbed an acai smoothie as well. I feel this place also because every time I go, I hear one of my favorite A Tribe Called Quest songs. Overall, Honey Hi gets high marks.
City Spa & Health Center
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
No sense in going home to change, a body in motion stays in motion. I grabbed my bag and headed into the City Spa & Health Center (City Spa) where you can properly rejuvenate for a couple hours. This is an authentic LA Russian "banya", google it. Just kidding, it's Russian bath house. City Spa has a great wet/dry sauna, steam sauna, ice-bath, swimming pool, and massage services. It's old-skool, so don't expect fancy Burke Williams type service. The restaurant has good food too and it's mostly ethnic Eastern European food. It's really cool to see all these OG's sitting around playing cards, drinking and smoking after their spa treatment. Saturday is co-ed day so definitely take a lady friend and enjoy the experience together. Das Vedanya!
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Now that my skin was glowing and all the kinks from the week had been worked out- I wanted to do a little shopping. The Grove is always a great place to do some shopping, have a bite, catch a movie or just people watch. It's LA so there is no shortage of characters. lol Any hoot, the Grove is an open air retail and entertainment complex located in the Fairfax District. It is anchored by Nordstrom and has other major retailers like, British fashion chain Topshop, Barneys New York and among others, Apple. The Grove also offers an awesome movie watching experience at Pacific Theater. And, there are a plethora of food options, but my favorite thing to do is to explore food at the Farmer's Market. I didn't eat there that day, because I had some Latin love waiting for me back in DTLA.
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Dama is a fairly new restaurant in LA's Fashion District. The place reminds me of a time when you had to sneak over to Habana, Cuba via Mexico, but alas, that's a story for another time. Dama has a cool lounge and outdoor space and chef Antonia Lofaso serves up pan-Latin food. I ordered the Snapper, the Piquillo Peppers and the Churros for dessert. The food was ridiculously good, but the drinks are a huge component of the experience at Dama as well with an emphasis on blended cocktails (to order, not from a slushie machine). Although I considered the El Presidente, I rolled with one of their solid Spanish wines, the Albarino. But, what really puts Dama on that frequency is the place oozed with sexiness (the lighting, indoor/outdoor feel and- the MUSIC). Do yourself a favor and head there ASAP.
Cana Rum Bar
10:00 pm- 1:00 am
I decided to keep the Latin vibe going and I wanted to work on my Salsa. Echoing the allure of the Caribbean, like Dama, Cana Rum Bar is a hidden gem. Cana Rum Bar is a private club that offers an annual one-time membership fees of $30 and its worth every penny. As one of the largest houses of rum in the country, Cana features over 400 rums to enjoy. Additionally, the bar is home to Cana Rum Society, offering comparative tastings and spirit education every Wednesday evening, led by top experts in the field. Thursday through Saturday has some of the best Spanish music (Salsa, Bachata, Reggatone, etc.). I danced and then decided to partake in a cigar on the outdoor patio as I brought the night to a conclusion with a new friend.
This was a full day, but time flies when you are having fun. Hope you enjoy the TIN.