My New Year’s resolution is to get out more.
I’m the sort of person who’s always talking about the places I’d like to go or the things I’d like to do. I’d like to go out to dinner somewhere other than BJ’s or California Pizza Kitchen. I’d like to do more than go see a movie at the Bruin Theatre. I’d like to see what Los Angeles has to offer to the east, west and south of Wilshire.
I’d like to do all that, but ““ and there’s always a big but ““ I don’t have a job. Or a car. So cruising up and down Sunset Boulevard every weekend spending $30 on dinner and a movie is synonymous with years, possibly decades, of credit card debt to me.
My solution was to a) take the bus and b) have a budget. And from that moment of common sense I came up with the idea for this column. Each week I’ll get on a bus and do something I haven’t done before (and since I don’t get out much, I’ll have plenty of options). Since this is still experimental, I’m going to set my budget at $15 to $20, including travel money.
On Thursday, I caught the 20-Metro Local Line and got off on Curson Street by the Craft and Folk Art Museum, a couple of blocks down from the main entrance to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
I purposefully avoided LACMA to explore some of the smaller galleries and museums in the area. Every second Thursday of the month is the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk, when art galleries allow people to walk around freely and people come to shop, browse and drink in bars. That would have been an ideal time to go, but since I was two weeks too late for December’s Art Walk, I just started walking.
My first stop was the gift shop of the Craft and Folk Art Museum, which specializes in anything made by hand. They have two exhibits open until Sunday, one on the “Cultural Topography” of the border we share with Mexico and a photo exhibit on coffee. The student price is $5, but admission is free on the first Wednesday of every month.
After making a mental note to come back on a Wednesday to save $5, I noticed the row of food trucks along the south side of Wilshire. Every weekday during lunchtime they line up along the street. There’s Mexican food, Indian food, burgers and fries, Mediterranean food and a couple of green organic food trucks painted with leaves, claiming to be good for the environment. If you want a good shrimp burrito, go to the Surf Taco (the owner also recommends their fish taco). Food truck prices range from $6 to $8.
I kept walking past the food trucks toward the Architecture and Design Museum when I saw a sky blue truck with the name La Rue de Paris painted on the side, decorated with a French flag and a drawing of the Eiffel Tower.
The truck opened about six weeks ago, according to co-owner and UCLA alumna Christina Willows. Willows, who studied political science, opened the shop with her Parisian partner Leila Arriouach. All of the staff, excluding Willows, is French and the food is authentic. I ordered the $8 Poulet panini (which comes with a side salad). The Poulet is chicken, spinach, harvati cheese (a buttery Danish cheese) and the truck’s homemade basil sauce. The truck also serves quiches and sweet and savory crepes for around $6-$9.
Before getting back on the bus, I took a walk around the outdoor area of the Page Museum, where a path winds through a small park, past a lake and a tar pit the size of a small dining table.
At the end of the day, if I had to critique my success for the trip, I would give myself an A for effort and budget management but a C for adventurousness and creativity.
E-mail John at [email protected] if you know your way around Los Angeles better than she does. Destination suggestions are welcomed and encouraged.