Ah, Downtown. It's sprawling with Cedd Moses bar after Cedd Moses bar (Varnish, Seven Grand and a kazillion others) -- you want something new. Something a little off the cuff, no? Dare we suggest, even a little "smart." It's possible to make a night of it just in and around the shortest railway in the world, Angels Flight. Let your LA Date Night begin with Peruvian takeout:
Chimu: The pedigree (and perhaps the rent) at Grand Central Market just tripled -- Chimu is now open serving Peruvian soul food (you know, for soul mates like yourselves). It's unusual fare for Downtown's trustworthy but lackluster "food court" -- unusual because we attribute the food as being wildly good. It's difficult not to compare it to that other Peruvian joint in a different food court, but consider Chimu more renegade. The Seco de Cordero of lamb belly, for example, screams nurtured youth, while the Ceviche del Dia offers unassuming adventure (is it the wedges of sweet potato?). We suggest an early dinner (for now, Chimu shuts down at 6pm) and a seat outside with the pigeons (as if there were a better option).
Chimu, 324 South Hill Street, at West Third Street (213-625-1097)
La Cita: Adjacent to Chimu's take-out window is Downtown's beloved Mexican hipster bar, La Cita. There ought not be a hipster in sight -- it's still early; they haven't yet risen -- but the regulars which give it the label "dive bar" are inside all right. Don't let 'em skeeve you out; order your cerveza or margarita and take it out back. You'll enjoy the humble patio and make another date to come back some Thursday night for the ultimate of hipster-shakin' nights, Dance Right.
La Cita, 336 South Hill Street, at West Third Street (213-687-7111 or lacitabar.com)
Angels Flight: Cross Hill Street, and board the world's shortest railway, Angels Flight. The train ride can facilitate a marvelous little makeout (at least for 30 seconds), but its practical purpose is to get you up that dreadful hill. At the top, you'll be asked to pay your fare -- you each owe 25 cents -- but the gentleman should fork over the return fares, too, so hand over a dollar. (PLEASE NOTE THAT ANGELS FLIGHT WILL BE CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE BEGINNING JUNE 10, 2011, POSSIBLY FOR AS LONG AS SEVERAL WEEKS.
Angels Flight, 351 South Hill Street, at West Third Street (213-626-1901 or angelsflight.com)
California Plaza: At the top of Angels Flight is the concrete mecca known as California Plaza. At midday, it's overrun with skirts and suits inhaling food from nearby eateries like Starry Kitchen and Mendocino Farms. Some afternoons, the plaza will host live bands, and certain evenings will bring other kinds of performances. This coming Saturday, June 18th at 8pm, Tongue & Groove, a monthly fete courtesy of the Boyle Heights Project, will bring artists to the stage to offer up poetry, spoken word and music. All 10 participating artists reflect the multi-ethnicity of BH (Latino, Jewish and Japanese). Not just a reading, not just a concert, it's a breeding culture that LA is finally catching up while making it its own.
California Plaza, 350 South Grand Avenue, at West Third Street (213-687-2159 or grandperformances.org)
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