Koreatown Dates

This past weekend marked three months since Evan and I moved into our new house! Besides all the excitement/worries that come with the 93-year-old house itself (as I type this, there is hammering and drilling happening all around me, as we’re having central heat and air-conditioning installed this week), it’s been really fun to be in a new neighborhood.

The Larchmont area that we’ve moved into has been a great fit for us, partly because of where it positions us within the city — we’ve only ever lived west of here before, in the Hollywood/Mid-City West/Miracle Mile areas, and while we’re an easy and quick drive from all our old standbys there, we’re also now much closer to one of my favorite neighborhoods in LA: Koreatown.

With all respect to Downtown LA, which has been spending the last decade building itself into a destination, I always think of K-town as LA’s real microcosm of urban living. The streets are a bit grungy, the hole-in-the-wall restaurants are delicious and authentic, and there is always something going on, often at an hour when the rest of the city has gone to sleep. There’s obviously a huge Korean population in the area, but it’s actually majority Latino, which results in some truly awesome combinations, mostly in my mouth. And much like most other cities’ downtowns, when I think of the center of Koreatown, I picture a busy, open square: this one at Western and Wilshire, where there are always tons of people walking, biking, and dashing in and out of the Metro.

So we’ve begun exploring the area a bit on our regular date nights, and you guys, I think this is going to be FUN. Recently, we ate at my new favorite seafood joint, Crazy Crab, where you can order a pound of seafood (we opted for one pound of shrimp and one of snow crab legs), which comes in a big clear plastic bag, marinated in your choice of sauces and spices. It was vaguely pirate-themed, with sails on the ceiling and a handful of peanuts thrown onto the table in lieu of bread, but also distinctly Korean, with its waiter call buttons (tip: if you’re in a Korean restaurant and you’re wondering why your waiter doesn’t come to your table, look for a button on the table. If you press it, they show up with frightening speed, but don’t press it and you’ll never see them!), oddly compelling K-pop music videos on the mini-TVs, and towering tubes of tableside draft beer. And of course, the food was delicious and fresh, and I’m not just saying that because our waiter enthusiastically told me that the crab was “very alive!” tonight.

We followed it up with bowling at the (not purposefully) retro Shatto 39 Lanes, which features grubby decor, a variety of arcade games (including air hockey, my favorite!), and cheap-ass drinks. In other words, it’s pretty much perfect.

I think our next step is going to be to hit up the four-story driving range pictured above. I think it’ll especially be a hoot since I’ve never golfed outside of a putt-putt course! And then maybe I can convince Evan to try some live octopus? Well, maybe after a few (dozen) Hites.

(Top photo from me. The rest are courtesy of 1 / 2 / 3 / 4)

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