Monday, August 26, 2013

Where to be Merry: The Shortest Ride at @ Angels Flight Railway

The Merriment: “The Shortest Railway in the World”

The Location: Downtown L.A.

The Vibes: Historic, outdoors, quaint, scenic

Good for: Checking out one of L.A.’s tiniest landmarks or whenever you don’t feel like walking up the gigantic hill between Hill St. and the California Plaza

When-To-Go: Open daily, 6:45 a.m.–10 p.m. 

The $$ Factor: $; Regular one-way fare is 50 cents or if you have a Metro (TAP) pass, it’s 25 cents

I’ll Be Back…: To ride down starting from California Plaza, since I’ve only ridden up the incline from the Hill St. entrance

Perhaps you’re like me, a native Angeleno who’s lived for decades in L.A., and still had no idea where the Angels Flight Railway was located. Or again, perhaps you’re like me, and once you found out where it was, briefly glanced at it while en route to another downtown L.A. destination and thought nothing more about it. But after haphazardly finding myself cruising up Angels Flight with a few colleagues one day recently, I became a huge fan of it and propose that everyone—visitors and Angelenos alike—ride it at least once in their lifetime, just to say they experienced “The Shortest Railway in the World.”

The railway itself is comprised of the original 1901 funicular cars Sinai and Olivet and has a slight twist to the French Beaux-Arts architectural style – grandiose arches, rich woods and circular columns. Sinai and Olivet leisurely trudge up and down the hill between Hill St. and the California Plaza daily, and with a distance of only 298 feet, there’s not a lot of ground to cover, but the ride up is scenic and the views from the top at the California Plaza are lovely (see photo below). 

Angels Flight also has a pretty fascinating, remarkable history spanning more than 100 years that’s worth reading prior to visiting. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I will say that its story includes opening in 1901, several controversial relocations, bouncing back and forth between private owners, being mercilessly locked away and forgotten in an isolated storage area, and a few unfortunate deaths and injuries. You can read more here.
The ride itself is 50 cents (or 25 cents with a Metro card) and takes less than five minutes, meaning it’s something to do quickly and to cross off your L.A. Bucket List. 

So the next time you find yourself near a few downtown attractions, such as Pershing Square, the California Plaza or another #WilsonsGuide favorite, the Grand Central Market (post coming soon!), make sure to stop by a true L.A. landmark, the Angels Flight Railway. Ride to the top for a panoramic view of the city, or if you simply don’t feel like walking up miniature mountains, also known as hills.

See you there soon!

For more information:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Where to Eat: The $15 Buffet @ NOLA’S “A Taste of New Orleans” (CLOSED)

UPDATE: NOLA's is now closed. 

The Eats: Southern, Cajun and Creole cuisine  

The Location: Downtown L.A. (Arts District)

The Vibes: Casual, industrial, welcoming

Good for: When you’re ravished and want to eat well

When-To-Go: There’s always something going on every time and day of the week; weekday buffets, Sunday champagne brunches, Friday and Saturday night buffets, and live music practically every night of the week

With-Whom-To-Go: Definitely perfect and accommodating for large groups

The $$ Factor: $$; the lunch buffet is $15

The 4-1-1: NOLA’s makes their own delicious hot sauce – a must to try for all hot sauce lovers

I’ll Be Back…: For the BBQ baby back ribs, the catfish and the greens

NOLA’s “A Taste of New Orleans” is one of those restaurants that has great food and entertainment pretty much every single day of the week, at all times of the day.

But, there’s one specific time at this downtown restaurant that I love in particular:
weekdays, for the $15 buffet.

There’s so many great aspects to this buffet. First, service is always on point, no matter how large your party is. I’ve eaten here with up to eleven people and we’ve always been received quickly, promptly and politely, and with very friendly smiles and engaging conversations from the staff. Plus, during lunch, it’s easy to get in and out of – it’s never overly crowded and the buffet is replenished frequently enough that you’re not standing around, waiting 500 minutes for more beignets.

And, most importantly, the food is fantastic. The lunch buffet includes a variety of NOLA’s specialties: gumbo, jambalaya, fried chicken, fried catfish, BBQ ribs, red beans and rice, collard greens, penne pasta, vegetables, salad, beignets and probably more, but that’s all I can remember right now. This selection remains consistent. I’ve gone at various times throughout the year, and mostly everything – including the gumbo and the catfish – has always been featured in the buffet.

One dessert not in the buffet but that’s one of my favorites and that you should certainly order is the lavender crème brulee, pictured below. Not too sweet, but with just the right amount of lavender!

The next time you find yourself in the arts district with famished folks in the lunchtime hour, I highly recommend hurrying down to NOLA’s “A Taste of New Orleans” for authentic, down home Southern cooking.

See you there soon!

For more information:,
@NolasLA, Facebook