Kenley is the oldest of three brothers, and we were excited when Logan, the middle one, told us his company was sending him to a music-retailers convention in Los Angeles in May.
Logan wasn’t going to be able to come to Vegas with the rest of the Young family in June, so we were glad we would be able to see him.
I wasn’t sure whether Logan would like L.A. since he has established himself as an East Coast guy: He lives in D.C. and travels to Baltimore and New York City a lot.
But in the end he’s definitely a city boy and seemed to embrace all that L.A. has to offer.
Logan came into town the weekend before his convention started. It was the first weekend in May, a busy one in L.A. We already had lots of plans, so we just brought him along. We squeezed in a few Shellevation tour stops, but mostly he got an inside look at what our life has been like since we moved here from South Carolina a year and a half ago.
We picked up Logan from the airport Friday night and went straight to Abbot Kinney in Venice, where dozens of food trucks gather each “first Friday” of the month. Logan tried a sushi burrito from Jogasaki, while Kenley and I tried the Vizzi truck for the first time. Kenley ordered the Venison burger, and I had the mac grilled cheese. Both are served over truffle popcorn.
For dessert? Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches, of course!
Saturday morning, we walked around the corner to Venice Bakery for a Mexican breakfast to kick off our Cinco de Mayo. The bakery serves you plenty of food, it’s good and cheap, and you can sit on the porch outside. Plus, Malia got to come along.
We drove down the Sunset Strip so Logan could see some of the rock ‘n’ roll landmarks (Whiskey A-Go-Go, Viper Room, Rainbow Room, The Roxy, etc.). We stopped at Isla Cantina for appetizers, Cinco de Mayo margaritas and the first half of the L.A. Clippers’ playoff game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
That evening, we headed to Hollywood to see chill-wave band Washed Out at The Fonda Theatre. Drummer Cameron Gardner is from my hometown of Columbia, S.C., and has played with Kenley in his band.
Before the show, we had dinner at Blue Palm Brewhouse next to the Fonda on Hollywood Boulevard. In a cocktail town, Blue Palm is known for its craft-beer selection, but the food was also really good. I recommend the grilled vegetable sandwich. For Columbia folks, it comes close to the grilled mixed vegetable sandwich at Cock n’ Bull Pub.
After dinner, we had a reunion of Columbia hipsters, including Jordan Blackmon, who recently moved to L.A., and Matt Tyler, who has lived in L.A. for a couple of years.
We got VIP treatment when Cameron invited us backstage before the show, where we got to hang out until Washed Out went on stage. Security almost kicked us out for not having the proper wrist bands, but after we retrieved some from the band manager, the backstage scene was very chill, with band members and friends drinking PBR. No wild rock-star antics here.
The Fonda Theatre is dark and old-school. It was built in the 1920s and is more intimate than the warehouse-like EchoPlex where we saw Washed Out last July. (Read my review of that show here.) We liked the opening band a little more this time around, and Washed Out sounded great. They’ve added a live bass player — Cameron’s brother and fellow Columbia, S.C., musician Chris Gardner — and it fills out the band’s sound nicely.
Kenley and I are planning to see Washed Out open up for The Shins on Oct. 2 at the Gibson Ampitheatre at Universial CityWalk, part of the Universal Studios complex.
After the show, we walked across the street for a drink at the Frolic Room, a famed dive bar which dates to the 1930s and was the last place The Black Dahlia was seen alive before her body was discovered in 1947.
Sunday, we took Logan to the Venice Beach Boardwalk to mingle among the eclectic crowd, stopping for a photo in front of a steel sculpture of the Predator.
We met up with Ronnie Cleland — a Georgetown, S.C., native and former member of Kenley’s band Fling — and Ronnie’s girlfriend, Enya, for lunch at Larry’s. It’s a great place for food and beers near the boardwalk, but just far enough removed from its seedy side.
After lunch, we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu, stopping for a drink at Moonshadows. The bar/restaurant has a strange sceney-yet-touristy vibe, but the view is one of the best along the coast. And if you’re able to snag one of the bed-sized lounges, you can sit for hours while alternately watching the ocean and the people.
For dinner, we took Logan to food night, hosted by our friends Kathy and Justin each Sunday. You pay $5 and BYOB, and you get a home-cooked dinner among a group of friends — many of whom have roots in the Midwest or in journalism. Justin is a great storyteller and entertains the crowd, and there’s always a new face to get to know.
Monday was the first day of Logan’s conference, and Kenley and I returned to work. We planned to grab a drink and watch the Clippers’ playoff game. Just for fun, I searched StubHub to see if tickets were available and found three seats together on one of the top rows of the Staples Center. A mere $30 a pop. No need to watch this game on TV. We could see it live!
The Clippers ended up beating the Grizzlies (barely), 101 to 97 in Game 4. An overtime playoff-basketball victory at Staples Center that we got to share with family? Kenley has already named it one of his top L.A. moments.
Sadly, the win would be the Clips’ last playoff victory at home. They lost games 5 and 6, but won game 7 in Memphis to move on to the next round. But the Clippers then got swept by the Spurs.
Still, the series win over Memphis was just the third playoff series victory in franchise history and the second since the Clippers moved to L.A. (the previous series win was in 2006). They finished one game behind their in-city rivals, the Lakers, in the Battle for L.A.
All in all, a successful season.
Logan’s conference wrapped up Thursday, and Kenley took the day off. That night we headed up to the Griffith Observatory, one of our favorite places to take visitors. I think the view of Los Angeles is the star of the show, but this time Kenley finally got to indulge his inner science nerd. He looked through the 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope (more people have looked through this telescope than any other in the world), which was pointed toward Venus that night. And we also spent some time studying the exhibits. (You can find out your weight on any planet. Trust me, you don’t want to live on Jupiter. But I’d weigh about a third less on Mars.)
Logan couldn’t leave L.A. without spending some time in Los Feliz, which is hipster central. We had a late dinner at Fred 62, a kitschy 24-hour diner that serves Mick Jagger cheese balls and White Trash tuna salad. Then we went to hear legendary lounge duo Marty and Elayne at The Dresden, which was featured in the 1996 movie “Swingers.” It wasn’t as packed as usual on a Thursday night, and we got to sit at Elayne’s piano.
We later searched fruitlessly for rocker Glenn Danzig’s creepy-looking house. But we had a nice midnight stroll around Los Feliz nonetheless.
After a Thursday night in Hipsterville, we spent Friday morning in Beverly Hills, enjoying a lunch of ham-and-cheese sandwiches at Bar Bouchon before walking to Sprinkles Cupcakes, where we tested out the relatively new cupcake ATM! We walked right past the long line of people waiting to get into the small store and found ourselves staring at an ATM screen.
The cupcake concierge (yes, someone has that title) said the ATM is stocked several times a day, so the cupcakes are just as fresh as the ones you get inside the store. I ordered the seasonal flavor — salty caramel — and it was delicious! Since then, Sprinkles has opened up an ice cream shop next door, which Kenley and I definitely need to check out soon!
That night we introduced Logan to the best burger in Los Angeles, at Father’s Office. (Kenley and I have taste-tested more than 20 burgers. Read how they stacked up here.)
We ended our evening and Logan’s trip with a mini pub crawl of Irish bars along Santa Monica’s Main Street, stopping in at Finn McCool’s, which attracts a 30-something crowd, and O’Brien’s, which is more divey and attracts a 20-something crowd.