I met a couple of friends in Los Angeles yesterday. They rode the train in from the desert and I drove up to Union Station to meet them.
We started our morning with some coffee and Mexican pastries on Olvera Street. We sat and chatted while the sleepy storekeepers unfurled their goods, then we shopped a bit before walking back to my van for a quick ride to our main destination. We were headed to the annual Renegade Craft Fair at Los Angeles State Historic Park.
Renegade is an annual gathering of etsy.com artists and local food trucks. The off-road parking is dry and dirty, the bottles of water are overpriced, and shade is in short supply, but the art is worth the inconveniences!
I think the best thing about this event is that everyone has a web presence. If you spend all your money before you get to the end of the first row, you can still have fun walking through and gathering business cards for future purchases. All of the vendors sell items online.
Another great thing about Renegade is that it’s not gigantic. You can actually see everything. Twice. And you still have time for some other adventures in your day. That’s a boon for me, since I don’t live in the area.
We headed to Atwater Village next. After a quick peek into the Out of the Closet thrift store, we had veggie burgers at the very teeny Atwater Grill. I was pretty hungry when we got there, but even with that bias, I think I can say that was one of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever eaten. It came with huge, delicious onion rings too. Yum!
Ever the fiend for something chocolate immediately after a meal, I shuffled my friends down the street to a little bakery called Sweets for the Soul.
Honestly, I wasn’t impressed when we walked in the door. The cashier was a bit aloof and there was a stressful vibe in the air. Odd. Or maybe we were. I don’t know.
Nothing in the display cases appealed to me particularly. I really sort of wanted to leave, but my manners got me. I chose a salted caramel shot, just to be polite. I paid a few dollars and thoughtlessly tossed the container into my bag as we walked out the door.
It wasn’t until I had parted company with my friends a few hours later that I found the box and decided to eat the little cake inside.
OH MY! What a surprise of heavenly goodness! Small wonder this place has gotten rave reviews.
The “shot” was something in between a brownie and a small cake. It was dense, but with a good crumb texture. And it was moist, not like the dry muffin I’d had hours before on Olvera Street.
It was very chocolate, but neither too bitter nor too sweet. And the salted caramel on top? It had melted slightly in the box – a happy accident, if you ask me.
The whole thing was just three teeny bites of yummy. I wish I had another one right this minute. Sigh.
I’m in chocolate love and MUST go back to Sweets for the Soul. ♥
This experience taught me a lesson. I think I’ve concluded that small sweets need to be eaten within mere steps of their source. If you have to get another one, you’ll need to be right there.
Going forward, I will make my purchase respectfully, but with a fib about saving it for later, then I will duck around the nearest corner and enjoy it at once!
From there, we headed to Potted in Los Feliz. I love this store! Love! My friend had been there before and she described it only as “inspiring.” I have to agree. Potted is serene and beautiful, but interesting, just the way a garden ought to be. I saw many, many things I would love to own from this place. I will definitely go back the next time I am in the area.
On West Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, we went to Mindfulnest Contemporary Artisan Gallery. Over 70% of the merchandise in the shop is made by local artisans, including the line of Klean Spa bath products blended on site in the back of the space. I bought a small bottle of cream in the Lemon Love scent. I think I might even like it more than my old favorite J.R. Watkins Shea Butter Lemon Cream! THAT is HUGE.
Somewhere along the way to all of these destinations, we also hit a few other thrift stores. I did the driving, but with my friends along, I was blissfully freed from navigation responsibilities. Yeah, so don’t ask me how to find any of these places again, okay? In fact, I will confess, I started our day by forgetting where my car was parked at Union Station. That was a good 45 minutes of frustrated social anxiety. Sorry, ladies!! 😳
Anyhoo, this is what I have to show for my day of fun. Not a lot, but enough for me. 🙂
On Olvera Street, I bought a few more teeny chickens for my collection…
and a guatemalan wallet/glasses case.
At the Renegade Craft Fair, I found this whimsical soap dish by Catherine Reece:
and a very heavy weight, well made tote (with long handles like I love!!) by Dutch Door Press
At Mindfulnest/Klean Spa…
and from Leighann, my beautiful friend who always brings me the greatest stuff –
a very fun drawstring Maneki-neko bag – so freakin’ cute –
a pack of bright orange rick rack – not even opened – love!
and a very pretty batik stamp…
I agree – the little curlicue at the top is the sweetest part of the design!
And from one of the thrift stores, I bought a book for Thomas –
because who can resist those crazy Berenstain Bears?
and because I can’t leave my house without buying a book, right?
That’s it for my day in L.A.
P.S. What did you do this weekend?