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La La Landing

My crab and gumbo-eating days are over now that I’m in Los Angeles eating healthily in synch with my daughter who is on the same dumb diet as me. In L.A., the La La Land of the “anything goers,” just about everyone is on some sort of progressive track to eat better, be more fit, recycle more, keep the environment cleaner, etc., etc., etc.

In La La Land

Little Ethiopia, Los Angeles, CA

Merkato Restaurant in Little EthiopiaMerkato Restaurant in Little Ethiopia

Whole Trout at MerkatoWhole Trout at Merkato

Culver City Downtown by Skyscanner.comCulver City Downtown by Skyscanner.com

One reason we moved to L.A., back in 1987, was to be in the most progressive place on the face of the planet. I still believe that is true — the one place where the number one most important thing is “the newest idea.” Nothing has as much importance, and this is a place where you can be anyone you want to be, you can think anything you want to think, you can do anything you want to do (that does no harm to others) and no one else cares. It’s what I love about the place. Even New York and San Francisco are much more provincial and traditional than L.A. Every other city is.

My daughter, Erica, is renting a friend’s apartment in the Fairfax district, which historically has been the center of the Jewish community. Known for the Farmer’s Market, The Grove, CBS Television City Broadcasting Center, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park, and Fairfax Avenue restaurants and shops, it’s taken a turn for an entirely different community — the Ethiopian one! Now called “Little Ethiopia,” the stretch along Fairfax Avenue south of Olympic Boulevard is teeming with coffee shops, boutiques, thrift shops and Ethiopian restaurants, most of which get a really good rating. The neighborhood is also home to The Little Ethiopia Cultural and Resource Center (1037 South Fairfax Avenue).

We took the close proximity to the Ethiopian restaurants to have dinner Tuesday night with a few of my nieces and nephews who live in L.A. or are visiting here for the holidays. My sister in New Orleans, when she heard we were headed to Ethiopian cuisine, proclaimed that she’d never had food she hated as much, but that didn’t stop any of us from going, trying it and then loving it ourselves.

Merkato was the final choice among the half-dozen restaurants along Fairfax. With all of our crazy dietary restrictions, some of us eating it without using the traditional “injera” to pick up the meats and vegetables, we managed to satisfy everyone. (Injera is a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture made out of teff flour ((a fine grain)) that my daughter equated to the skin of a rhino, at least in color if not consistency!)

In the afternoon, Erica and I took a tour of neighborhoods in Los Angeles with our favorite real estate agent and long-time friend, Sean McMillan to get an idea of what areas might make good property investments. While there are lots of up-and-coming spots in the City of Angels, my bottom line is: Where do we really want to live? I ruled out several parts of the city for not meeting that criteria, even if excellent growth potential. I believe in being dead center whenever possible, not just for investment, but for all the advantages living central has to offer in the way of transportation, amenities, proximity. (Location, location, location.) This is then tempered by budget, which unfortunately cannot be ignored, so there is a limit to what we can buy in such prestigious locations.

We centered on West Los Angeles, areas around Culver City — an area “soaked in moviemaking history” — that now is a “buzzing dining and nightlife scene, which includes globally inspired eateries, gastropubs and cozy cocktail bars.” (Source: Culver City Travel Guide). This is home to Sony Studios (formerly MGM, from 1924) and Culver Studios. Real estate in the area is hot like Brooklyn became hot in New York and while it’s not quite as prestigious as Santa Monica, Venice or Brentwood, it’s on the up and up in a rapid incline.

Meanwhile the price of real estate has dropped in Los Angeles of late. The Malibu fires have driven up the price of rentals because of all the displaced  people, but there is a glut of properties for sale on the market that are dropping in price. This was good news for us, so we set out to see what was out there. We found several that fit our bill and one we like a lot. Whether we can make a purchase really happen is another question. I’ve started the wheels turning to see where they take us. Our New York West Village apartment is now up for sale or rent and I will provide you with more information next Monday once it’s official on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)!

Kelly and Steve's Pup, Wearing a Beret, a la AdrianKelly and Steve’s Pup, Wearing a Beret, a la Adrian

After our Ethiopian dinner we headed home to watch the newest House Hunters International episode: “Amour Than They Bargained for in Bordeaux.”

While travelling the world as a flight attendant, Kelly fell in love with the culture, architecture and wine of Bordeaux, France. His attorney husband, Steve, has finally agreed to try living abroad and let France plead its case. Leaving the stability of work life in Florida means tighter purse strings as they look for a French home. The pair will have to agree on more than just location. But the wine and charm of village life are compelling evidence that happiness can abound in bourgeoisie Bordeaux.

It was one of our most fun and funny episodes, complete with beret-wearing pups! Hope you had a chance to watch it, too. But if you didn’t, it’s available on Youtube for a limited time only. 

You won’t hear from me again until I’m back in Paris Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend. For those of you who read French Property Insider every Thursday, tomorrow is one of the two days a year we don’t publish, so watch your football games, eat your turkey and make a wish on the giant wishbone, then look out for Monday’s Parler Paris when there will be much more to tell!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday, Stateside or in France!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - Bordeaux, France

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