a day in LA: Dr J’s and MOCA

Although I’ve spent most of my life living an hour away from Los Angeles (give or take, depending on the traffic), the city has always been a bit of a mystery to me. It seemed a smoggy, grimy, industrial snarl of congested roadways and cramped buildings. While much of that image does in fact exist, I know now that Los Angeles is (a) huge and (b) incredibly diverse throughout all that hugeness. Over the holidays, my friends D, S & I took a little day trip to one of my favorite ‘hoods, downtown Los Angeles.

As demonstrated above, I’m guilty of stereotyping cities. While I might still consider Berkeley a hippie mecca, however, the most granola restaurant I’ve encountered would have to be in the heart of Los Angeles. We started our day off with lunch at Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe, a vegan, macrobiotic, gluten-free, Ayurvedic restaurant. While its flower child ethos might sound off-putting, the food was actually really good. We thoroughly enjoyed the hearty romaine spicy salad, mother earth bowl, and edamame mountain bowl (not pictured). The carob brownie wasn’t too shabby (especially for a sugar-free dessert), either! Another bonus: I think you could quite easily mold this menu to fit a Whole30.

Afterward, we walked over to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). The museum is small, perfect for an hour or two of browsing and a bite at the on-site cafe, Lemonade, afterward. While my favorite modern art museum is still the SF MOMA (at least, before its untimely temporary closure), MOCA made for an afternoon well spent.

Nan Goldin’s super-real, provocative work really intrigued me — especially this one, featuring the photographer herself.

Below is part of a piece that was clearly meant to disturb. Not pictured is the statue of a naked young female, prone in a coffin, at the center of the room. We weren’t sure how we felt about the “symbolism” (perhaps a bit too easy with the grotesque clowns vs. innocent virgin), but I was certain that I didn’t like being around those figures.

And now, to cleanse your brain from the previous picture: a poster. ~ sooo modern artsy ~

The best way to end a trip to the museum? A minimum of fifteen minutes in the gift shop. MOCA’s is definitely worth checking out. I’m regretting not purchasing James Franco’s teenybopper digest — but I suppose I’ll just have to return soon to get it.

Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe
334 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012


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