A day in L.A.

On a weekday off last week, I did one of my favorite things, which is riding Metrolink into L.A. for an afternoon. I didn’t go with a plan other than lunch somewhere. But I did go with a book, H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine,” which at 126 pages looked like one I could read from start to finish.

I ended up having lunch at one of my favorite spots, even though I only go there perhaps once per year: Molly’s Charbroiler on Vine Street between Hollywood and Sunset boulevards. I’ll write more about that place sometime…like when I remember to bring my camera.

From there I hoofed it west on Hollywood Boulevard to soak up the day and the atmosphere. My destination was the Virgin Megastore at Highland, which will be closing. (This is a case where Ontario was way ahead of trendy Hollywood. Sorry, but Virgin Megastore closings are so 15 minutes ago.) The store hadn’t yet begun discounting anything — that was supposed to happen this week — and presumably store personnel were busy raising all the CD and DVD prices before then. I browsed but didn’t buy.

My final stop was going to be Philippe’s for pie and a cold drink before heading home — until I remembered the Disney Soda Fountain across the street from Virgin, next to the El Capitan Theater. Jonathan Gold said something nice about the milkshakes there and, unlike a recent Saturday when the place was packed with families and I kept walking, there was virtually no one inside at 3 p.m. on a Thursday. I sat at the counter and enjoyed a pricey but worth it chocolate chip shake.

From there, the subway took me back to Union Station and Metrolink whisked me home. And, yes, I finished my book. Did you know Wells came up with the phrase “time machine” and the idea of it too? It’s an amazing little book.

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  • Scott in R.C.

    WOW! Never thought I’d see the day when you would choose a shake over a slice of pie. I hope it was all that and then some!

    ['Twas. -- DA]

  • John Clifford

    You mean you visited Virgin and didn’t hoof the extra couple of blocks to visit Amoeba? While they’re not going out of business (as far as I know) they are the mecca for music lovers. Or did you sneak over there and just not report it?

    Love these little excursions of yours.

    Did you know that the Alex Theater in Glendale showed the 1950s version of The Time Machine (the one with Rod Taylor) last week? They even had a Q&A with some of the participants.

    [I know, I meant to go to the Alex, but a previous commitment kept me from the matinee, and I lost motivation to drive that far for the 8 p.m. show. As for Amoeba, normally I'd go, but I was more in the mood to see what was happening at Virgin. Btw,
    I'm still listening to discounted CDs I bought at the Ontario Virgin! Finally, I like writing about these little daytrips of mine and am glad you like reading them. -- DA]

  • pat flinn

    I, too, love to read about your little trips.

    When I worked, I had a four-day work week for a few years and Fridays were my day to venture to interesting places I had heard, read, or wondered about. Movie theatres in various cities were often my destination, but most of those are gone now and the megaplexes don’t have the same attraction for me. (I do, however, love a day at Claremont’s Laemmle and a slow browse of the Village.)

    Little, and not so little anymore, towns from here to Santa Barbara were also favorite excursions. With walking tour booklets in hand, I would wander and explore. But, that was in a younger life and I don’t as often do it now.

    I think this is what my daughters call wtmi! Sorry, David.

    [Not at all, Pat, I enjoyed your comments. I'm always a little sheepish about writing about my excursions, but if people like 'em, I'll keep writing 'em. -- DA]

  • Shirley Wofford

    Hi David,

    You know how I feel about Metrolink excursions. When I was younger, I was on the Metrolink every Friday morning (my day off). After I got to Union Station I went over to the DWP Cafeteria for french toast, then to the Library, and then to California Plaza.

    In those days, they had a concert every Friday at noon — the series of summer programs is called “Grand Performances.”

    In recent years they had diversified the days and times so that, now, the shows are not always on Fridays. They present top-notch professional entertainment, and some entertainers get launched from there. I was in the tiny audience in 1996 that “discovered” the musical group Ozomatli. They are so big now that CA Plaza can no longer have them in the Watercourt area because it cannot hold the thousands that show up.

    I also saw a wonderful concert with Arlo Guthrie. The shows are free — they pass a bucket so people can donate if they want to. I am on the mailing list for the Grand Performances. I think anyone can get on it by going to their website.

    I think my favorite place to eat is Phillipe’s — the best bang for the buck, and the food can’t be beat. Please tell us more about the charbroiler you like in Hollywood.

    [Will do. I'll bring my camera next time I go. And thanks for the cool note, Shirley. -- DA]

  • Shirley Wofford

    David, you are probably all the richer that you didn’t find any good discounts at the record store. I have found out that, sometimes, discounts are too good to be true. I am always on the lookout for pre-1991 Queen concert DVDs, and I found their concert in Japan for $14.95. I could hardly wait to play it and found it to be of very poor quality, and actually terrible. I just wasted the money. The DVDs I paid $60 for are great.

  • Jim Lee

    Please keep your excursion notes coming, David! I enjoy reading them almost as much as I enjoy making the excursions myself. This Saturday I made the Metrolink/Red Line trek to satisfy a craving for a #19 at Langers, followed by a first-time visit to the Central Library.

    [Oooh. Hope you enjoyed both, Jim. -- DA]

  • judi

    David, I realize you have an aversion to techno-stuff (still no cell phone?), but iPods are really wondrous and amazing things. You could have every song your heart desired loaded, alphabetized, and categorized in the palm of your hand.

    For a sci-fi fan, you are an anomaly…

    [I'm a complicated fella. -- DA]