One Good Life in Los Angeles

Roslyn's observations about places and events around Southern California

Belated birthday bash

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union station

Looks like the original ticketing area is being renovated. In the station’s previous hey day each of those window openings would have lines of people purchasing tickets. Now tickets are purchased in a less glamorous location… or mostly online!!!

It’s good to have the computer up and running again. Still haven’t re-installed all my programs or properly recalibrated my monitor but I’m slowly working on it… and I have my fingers crossed!

On Saturday my friend B and I visited Union Station… my favorite building in all of Los Angeles. B and I met a couple of decades ago when we were neighbors. She stayed put. I moved. But only about 1.5 miles away, so we are still almost neighbors!

Union Station

Looking through the waiting area to the trains at the end.

Her birthday is in June, mine in May. For several years we have been talking about taking the Expo and Red Lines to Union Station and eating at Traxx Restaurant to celebrate our mutual birthdays. Although we meet for dinner at least once a month, we never seemed to be able to make it to Traxx.

Union Station

To make a longer story short, we couldn’t get a reservation at Traxx Restaurant for the day we wanted. So we decided to take the train to Union Station anyway and improvise. Turned out to be a better situation than getting a reservation. The bar opened at 11:30 (ish) and we were the first customers!

Union Station

B suggested a Bloody Mary which sounded good to me! Tasted delicious so we ordered a second round. Well, we were celebrating our birthdays! To balance out the alcohol we shared shrimp tacos and chicken quesadilla. Perfect.

We sat there for a couple of hours people watching and gazing at the beautiful architecture. This is just how I had imagined it.

union station

In the waiting room there is a piano that anybody is invited to play. This guy was obviously a professional as (fortunately) his playing was definitely melodious. I imagined he was a studio musician having his moment in the spotlight!

downtown-LA-070216-008-C-600px

downtown-LA-070216-017-C-600px

Just looking around at the walls and ceiling from where we were sitting.

Los Angeles Plaza

It was hard to leave Union Station. Really I could have sat there all afternoon. But we needed to move on. We walked across the street to the Plaza area where people were dancing to a Latin beat.

Los Angeles Plaza

Then we watched as a group performed traditional Indian dances.

Methodist church

I’ve never been able to see inside the Plaza Methodist Church before. This was built in the 1920s. I learned that the Methodist church was the founding agent in Southern California for Goodwill Industries (where most of my unwanted “stuff” ends up).

We ambled through Olvera Street looking at the stalls and the stores. I’m always fascinated and intrigued by the Mexican goods available on this tourist street. No need to drive all the way to Tijuana!

Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles

We stepped across the street to Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles (Our Lady Queen of the Angels), the oldest existing church in LA, founded in 1781. The first Europeans, the Spanish, arrived in 1769. Everything changed!

Nuestra Senora

We couldn’t get into the main church. The door with the sign “Always Open” was locked. But I think the little chapel is much more interesting anyway.

Union Station

View of Union Station from La Plaza across the street

wilshire grand

The new Wilshire Grand which was “topped out” in March. It will replace the US Bank Building (Library Tower) as the tallest building West of Chicago. I’m sad about that but it had to happen one day.

I always appreciate the opportunity to show friends living in Los Angeles or visitors from faraway lands everything there is to see in this city. I have to say, it always amazes me how people who have lived here for decades, or were even born here, know so little about Los Angeles. But then it makes it so much more fun for me!

I’ve never trekked through the Amazon jungles or ridden a camel across the Saharan Desert, but I still consider myself to be an explorer. An urban explorer to be sure. But I certainly enjoy excavating every nook and cranny of my adopted city.

downtown los angeles

For those of you who know downtown, this is the newly re-opened The Bloc on 7th Street, across from the 7th Metro train hub, formerly the bricked-in enclave known as Macy’s Plaza

One interesting phenomena around Los Angeles these days is the redevelopment of the major shopping centers. At locations all over the city they are being transformed from closed-in fortresses to airy complexes open to the sky. What day did somebody wake up and say, hey, we have sunshine in LA, maybe customers could enjoy it while they are shopping!

Always worth peaking into Bottega Louie to salivate over the macaroons and other delightful pastries. No tasting now, just looking!

Our final destination in downtown this lovely afternoon was Clifton’s. As many times as I have been there since it’s re-opening, there is always one more soul who hasn’t visited yet. So I have to drag myself in there again.

Clifton's

We sat in the bar sipping an expensive glass of really bad Merlot. You don’t go there for the wine, evidently. But the ambience is definitely worth it as far as I am concerned. Another place I enjoy just sitting and people watching.

At this point B had a craving for apple pie à la mode. While I didn’t share that particular craving, we took the Expo Line back to Culver City and B drove her car over to the Marie Callender’s in West LA. As soon as I opened the menu my eyes were drawn to the tuna melt. The previous week with my other friend B (from England) I had a very disappointing tuna melt at what used to be my favorite restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. I can no longer recommend it. But this tuna melt more than made up for it.

It was a happy ending to a beautiful day with a very good friend. What more can you ask for in life than that?

(Photos brought to you by my faithful point & shoot Canon G16 camera).

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

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Author: RMW

I am an explorer and creative person. I've had many jobs, careers and interests... everything in life and the universe fascinates me. Born in Brighton, England, I've lived my entire adult life in Los Angeles. Recently I rediscovered photography and I am busy learning everything I can about it. It's a great excuse for getting outside, wandering around and stopping to look at things.

26 thoughts on “Belated birthday bash

  1. You do qualify as an urban explorer! Viewing this post has been a treat as you shared your meals and drinks with us. Love the Union Station! Train stations, churches, Latin shopping, Indian dancing and wine at a great bar! What a way to celebrate a birthday in LA! Beautiful photos with your faithful Canon!

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  2. Happy Birthday😄 The idea of riding a camel on Wiltshire Bl is now playing on my head.

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  3. ‘No tasting?’ That’s a bummer! Look like you both had a great birthday celebration. Thanks for sharing your amazing photos, Roslyn.

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  4. Out and about again thanks to Ms B this time,I hope you meet Mr B or Ms B more often and give me the chance to virtually stroll around in the city of Angels,the city of flowers and sunshine!So many places of inerest to enjoy and have fun just in one day.Your gorgeous colourful images made your narrative live,one feels was there marvelling at everything and tasting delicious meals.Grand the buildings and the mansions,sublime the churches and nice snacks and drinks in sophisticated restaurants and bars.Happy belated birthday,dear Roslyn 🙂

    PS:Please read my new comment on “Feline Friday – factory default”,just to see that you’re not the only one even in yahoo…

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  5. I loved this post of our adventure. It was a great day. I just relived it with your great photos and text.

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  6. Wonderful activities for the birthday!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your beautiful tour with us, Roslyn!

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  8. Happy birthday and pleasant travels!

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  9. Thank you for your post! My brother loved to escape the Valley for a ramble in downtown Los Angeles. Union Station was his favorite building, and Olvera Street was and is my favorite place in the city–love at first sight, when I was ten and we came to buy pinatas. Adventures in eating, bargains on doll house furnishings, a rare chance to go up and down stairs, and a riot of bright colors in every direction. But I never saw the interiors of the churches, so thank you also for including them.

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  10. A fascinating tour through your adopted city.

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  11. Such an amazing architecture for just a train station! I loved watching the Indian dances when I went there. So much sounds and colors all around, to include Calle Olvera. I ate outside locally and a couple of musician just started playing Mexican music. I loved the atmosphere even more.
    Awesome clear and crisp photos of awesome parts of LA.

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    • Rommel, it was/is known as the Last Great Railway Station….. built in 1939, after which travel by rain went into decline. But it has a new life now!

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