Monday, August 29, 2011

5 Random Good Things // Gardena & South Bay

I meant to do more of these "Random Good Things" posts, but I've let it fall by the wayside. From 2009 to 2010, I've managed to live in Bellflower, North West Long Beach, and East LA before landing in Gardena, so I should dig up the things that made living in each of those neighborhoods pleasant. I've been in Gardena for a nice, round year now, longer than I spent in any of the other places, so I'm going to start there (I mean, here).

1. Gardena Municipal Bus Line Specifically, the 1 line which goes to Downtown. The line ends in Little Tokyo and the last stop is just down the street from East West Players where I've been working for the last year. Perfection. There's been lots of debate in the city council about the changes they're planning to make to the bus lines, and the new schedule takes effect on September 4th. The bus won't go Downtown nearly as frequently, but at least service wasn't killed completely as was originally proposed. And they added bike racks to the buses sometime last week! I think Gardena was the only (or one of the very few) bus lines in Los Angeles that did not have bike racks.

2. Spoon House Perfectly cooked spaghetti. You can get a nice bolognese. With hot dogs. Or you can go Japanese American style (highly recommended) and get the spaghetti with clams, mushrooms, and dried seaweed. And the bread, oh the bread. Fluffy and chewy and lovely. I like it with butter and black pepper. Oh, and you know a place is serious about iced tea when a little simple syrup dispenser sits alongside the salt and pepper at every table.

3. Redondo Beach at Torrance. Yesterday, while enjoying the first good hot day of the summer, I learned that skimboarding is allowed any time on the beach. This is a big deal since I'm used to Orange County beaches, which prohibit skimboarding during peak hours (from when the beach begins getting crowded to about 5pm). Skimboarding culture is perhaps more aggressive in Orange County since it first gained popularity in Laguna Beach, which means there's been time for enough accidents to happen for policies to be enacted to prevent future ones. There were a lot of  kiddies on the sand, but the handful of skimboarders seem to always be quite cautious. Not having to wait until the sun starts sinking means more time to run, glide, and eat sand before the cold water and wind make my ears hurt too much. I really haven't taken advantage of the proximity to the ocean enough since moving here last year. 

4. El Rocoto Chinese-Peruvian food. It has two locations. El Pollo Inka is the popular Peruvian food chain in South Bay, and I would still go there if I wanted some delicious roast chicken and rolls with green sauce, but El Rocoto wins with me for their lomo saltado, braised ox tail with creamy fettuccine, and chicken milanesa with pesto-cream spaghetti. And I always like supporting little (or in this case, littler) businesses.

5. Neighborhood Grinds I'm pretty attached to my morning French press coffee so I don't often go to cafes for coffee any more, but this is one of the shops that I treat myself to-- specifically for their dark chocolate mocha. Not too sweet. Nicely bitter. And that dark chocolate whipped cream. I like to slurp it off of the surface of the drink before it melts in. I'm a lady. Also, they play music that seems directly torn from my high school/college playlists, which is both pleasant and jarring (oh shit, are these classics? I mean, they play Michael Jackson on KRTH 101 now).

Just a few of the many things that have made living in Gardena pretty good so far. More (so many more) to come. 

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