Good Girl Dinette

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

I don’t know what time we arrived for dinner, but at first I was thinking the place may not have “it.” Seeing the cool concept fleshed out in the menu I started to warm to Good Girl, just as Peter arrived just then with wine (it’s BYOB) and the stereo started some chill musica. I started to “get it.”

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The neighborhood seems to embrace the chillness of this vegetarian friendly spot, and I warmed up to it as well because the food was outstanding.
arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Crisp jicama slaw with juicy pomegranate was amazing, I would order that again hands down. The offerings that are diner conversions in Southeast Asian flavor are creative and tasty, and I want to try more of them. You got it going on Dinette, you’re more than Good Girl, you’re a neighborhood gem.

Grand Central Market

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The concept behind markets like the one at Grand Central makes a lotta sense. In a city with real estate prices that soar beyond reach of many mom and pop operators, sharing space lowers everybody’s rents, and provides the consumer all these options to choose from. I was happy to have a hand pulled espresso and local ginger beer, as well as a Salvadorean pupusa, on an afternoon exploring the museums and shops of DTLA.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The cavernous indoor space was well lit and comfortable for a pit stop with snacks for everyone, from raw vegans to lovers of exquisite wooden huts that look like nutshells. Though GCM may not be LA in a nutshell, the market has many solid offerings, plenty of treats and goodies, and handful of total gems (pupusa me.)

The Broad

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The Broad is a breathtaking new LA art museum.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

From the very first sight of the building draped in modern architecture, I was hooked.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The pouring of so much concrete with precision is an art to itself.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Precision guided by love produced these clean curves.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The collection was equal to the beauty of the grounds. Japanese psychedelics, full-on treasures from the NY art world, thought provoking in how I was thinking about reality, and in more ways than one.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The Broad shines as an example for how the one percent can pay back society.

Point Dume

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The jagged outcropping into the Pacific is a sanctuary for local wildlife. On the top of the bluffs, there are native Cali plants and migratory birds.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Point Dume the kind of place I seek out, where it’s possible to gleam the fullness of native natural wonderment.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The view from the top is Malibu-icious, the coastal highway and the town. When I turned my gaze from the people centric and looked down, that’s where I found the most nature.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

A family of seals barked and swam, the apex predator of the Point Dume tidal pools teeming with sea life. Surfers expertly rode breakers thru the giant boulders.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Later, the sun set was like an explosion of purple, red, orange beauty in the sky above this small piece of wild California.

In the Pacific

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

The Malibu Surf Shack was outstanding in the rental of kayaks. Reasonable prices for an amazing experience, my first time in the Pacific ocean. They provided excellent and clear instruction as well as safety gear and procedure for a total noob like myself, who considers the weekly trip to Walgreen’s to be a big adventure. The cove beside the Malibu pier was well protected and an easy launch for the kayak, even for a total noober. The Malibu Surf Shack made ocean kayaking an awesome experience for this first timer, until I committed the error of listening to my sister.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

BAM! Our adventure got taken up a notch when my sister wanted to take her 2-person kayak (she and her husband are experienced adventurers) in to shore farther down the beach, way beyond the protected cove that Malibu Surf Shack provides. At the time, I was pretending to be brave and followed them in.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

TBH, I would not recommend doing this to anybody reading this, especially those kayaking out on the Pacific for the first time. For me, taking the kayak in and out amidst full grown waves, having to crest an impossible wall of water wave similar to the Clooney-killa in Perfect Storm, triggered a full-on flight or fight panic attack, but maybe that’s just me.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Better for me are the memories are of the calm, open sea, the view of the coast opened up from the water, floating in tranquility like a seaweed. Malibu is kinda weird, the laid back dudes who run the place embody the funky charm, as did an RV with sunning dogs, an old Volkswagen camper converted by deeply tanned leather surfers, and a homegrown California crazie wearing a hand painted sign that read, “STAY POSITIVE.”

Not A Nugget

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Being in LA, as a visitor, feeling the LA culture, I put down the porkchop and embraced the local spots like Orean’s. It’s a roadside fast food place that first focuses your attention on the evils of meat (it’s murdah) and then offers an irresistible alternative. I’m talking a decadent vegan cheeseburger that dripped with melty (I can’t believe it’s not) cheese, pickles, onions and packed a punch of umami.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Sauteed peppers and onions served over an Italian sausage made for flavorful satisfaction, with salty crunchy thin cut fries. The outdoor patio was the place to eat and damn, I was into the tasty guilt-free offerings and anti-meat vibes. No longer a nugget, becoming a Total Vegetarian.

Echo Mountain

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Hike this trail as a visitor from another city (I was in town from Chicago) and your eyes will be opened to the scope and sweep of LA’s beauty.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Even in the winter, the hot sun made for a comfortable climb up the sloping trail.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

We did not make it to the summit, but we got high enough to touch the sky, with vistas of the ocean and a killer sunset.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Every twist and turn up the mountain rewards the exercise with another photo opportunity that does not exist in flatland (the Midwest.)

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Even this total noob would hike it again, just for those views man.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Breathing in nature.

Nasty Nutt

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Blue City Cycles is my go-to for bike repair in the neighborhood. Their location on Halsted is prime, right around the corner from damn good coffee and in a building with beautiful historic tile floors and copper ceilings, fun to imagine all the living those walls must have held. The folks who work here are the salt of the earth type of bikers who would rather give advice that keeps their neighbors safe on Chicago’s roadways rather than just going for a quick sale. Blue City Cycles has earned my repeat business with their quick turnarounds, super reasonable prices, and making this neighbor feel cared for.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Antique Taco has managed to open a second location with their high standards intact, one of the most challenging gauntlets for any restaurant concept. Their offer of discounted delivery for their neighbors in Bridgeport enticed me to place an order thru Caviar, and as a big Caviar user I was blown away by AT:B organization and to-go packaging. The order had a checklist clothespinned to the bag full of all our delicious tacos (love the vegetarian potato taco) and sides. Our key lime pie and horchata milkshakes were the perfect sweet treats. Great addition to our neighborhood and executing mission impossible, these new guys are crushing it.

Snow Bass Snow Problem

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

Cruz Blanca just gets better man. They added some killer new food to the menu since the last time I was there. I’m talking irresistible spicy shrimp quesadillas, cheesy jalapeno beer pretzels with habanero mustard, and giant tostadas from Oaxaca that are called tlayudas, something I never heard of but its like this crunchy corn tostada with black beans, chiles, onions and herbs and melted cheese.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

No better place for a quality bite and hang in the West Loop. All that being said the bottom line continues to be Jacob’s outstanding beer program, and the secret’s out.

El Paseo Real

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel

El Paseo Community Garden is one of those things that defines the greatness of Chicago. Humble beginnings of vacated land made way for the sunlight and brought neighbors together. Plants, specifically edible varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs are the focus, but there are beautiful flowers and indigenous prairie species in abundance as well.

arthur mullen raven beauty 3rdarm LA chicago photography food cats museums wildlife ocean travel pilsen 5rabanitos 5 rabanitos sotelo

Translated to English, El Paseo means the way. The name speaks to this green spaces role as a path connecting two streets, as well as an approach to life in the city that generally speaking is the way for us all to stay sane and even happy living together in the vast urban jungle of Chicago. Growing things together.