When L.A. Parent invited me to write this inaugural “Date with L.A.” column – a monthly feature that will encourage parents to enjoy a day or night in L.A. – without the kids – I yelped with joy. L.A. is my hometown; it’s where my family is centered, the place that holds my memories. I hope this column serves to highlight some familiar places, some new places and some places that will serve as a brilliant reminder of why you live in this beautiful, eclectic and mixed-up city.
I wanted to choose a part of town where, as a busy parent, you could see and do a lot in one area. That, my friends, is where Atwater Village comes in. For our “Date with L.A.,” my husband and I left our daughter with Grandpa, then hit the town.
Our first stop was Bon Vivant Market and Cafe (3155 Glendale Blvd.). I had heard about this place from a bunch of teachers I know who come here for happy hour, so I knew the drinks would be good. The ambiance is lively and fun. The eclectic breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is a mix of French and California cuisine. The staff is warm and welcoming. My date and I ordered Campari spritzers because that has been our thing lately, along with a beautiful cheese plate adorned with an impressive array of fruit.
After our drinks, we took a stroll down Glendale Boulevard. We dipped into Jacknife Records and Tapes (3149 Glendale Blvd.) and got lost in nostalgia and an interesting conversation about the resurgence of tapes! Unlike other record stores, Jacknife also stocks recently released tapes as well as used tapes from our (my) high school years. Additionally, Jacknife has a great collection of well cared for and restored equipment to get you started on your vinyl obsession. I like that the records are labeled with handwritten notes about their quality or significance to the owners. It’s a nice touch that sparked conversations during dinner. (“Why do you think I listened to the ‘Snoopy Come Home’ soundtrack so much?”)
Our next stop was Alias Books East (3163 Glendale Blvd.), where we spent a fair amount of time perusing the used books. All of the books in Alias come with a bit of history and are in great condition. I opened a 1955 edition of “The Sun Also Rises” and found that a “Ms. Helen, Los Angeles, 1955” had once owned it. I love that type of stuff. Alias relies on donations to keep its shelves stocked, so next time you find yourself culling your bookshelf, give Alias a call.
We had dinner at All’Acqua (3280 Glendale Blvd.). Confession: I’ve been here before for business dinners and dates with friends, but never with my husband. It is amazingly family friendly and intimate at the same time, which I appreciate. The hostess was kind enough to move us after I told her we were on a night away from children and didn’t wish to be seated in between two couples with kids.
We continued our aperitifs with another Campari spritzer and some Prosecco, as well as a burrata appetizer (with English peas and fava beans … who knew?). Our entrees – squid ink pasta for my husband and a mushroom pizza for me – were delectable. The food and wine are enough to get you in the door, but for this overworked and easily frazzled mama, the ambiance is what will keep me coming back. All’Acqua is perfect for a date with your partner, friends or yourself. Best of all? It is, like most of Atwater, unpretentious, welcoming and comfortable.