Authenticity, credibility, curation and trust are key attributes to what we’re building here at Localeur. Our blog is a place for you to get to learn more about our business, and our community. Previously, we’ve featured Q&As with Kate & Lani, Yvahn & Erin, and Nikki & Jaime and today we’re sitting down with Austin Localeur Jodie Holland and Los Angeles Localeur Vanessa Carbajal. These ladies know quite a bit about their cities, and they share some insights with you below.
Jodie: I’m a fan of exploring neighborhoods while traveling. Other than your neighborhood of Los Feliz, what is a good ‘hood in LA to hit the streets to walk around, and what are some favorites restaurants, museums or shops in that neighborhood?
Vanessa: I actually live in Silverlake now. I should probably update my profile! If you want to spend the day walking around I would definitely head downtown. There is so much to see and the neighborhoods there are so rapidly evolving, it’s almost as if every week you visit it’s a slightly different place. I recently did a downtown pub crawl (that give’s me a good idea for another Localeur piece!) and we hit 8 bars that were all such a different flavor. There’s something for whatever you’re in the mood for. Some of my favorite spots are Far Bars alley patio, Villains Tavern for live music and great cocktails and Pour House in the Arts District for wine and board games. Also check out LACMA and the Last Bookstore for some great art and literature.
Jodie knows how to experience Austin without breaking the bank.
Jodie: If I’m a baller on a budget but wanting to have a day of fun in LA, what are some activities and/or restaurants I can hit up on a budget?
Vanessa: Get outdoors - our perfect weather is free! Hike to the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Park Observatory, or some awesome seaside views. Or spend the day on the beach. Once you’ve worked up an appetite I have two glorious words for you: taco trucks. Some of the yummiest food in the city is super affordable and accessible. Try the Kogi Truck, Ricky’s Fish tacos, or Guisados (not a truck but still inexpensive and tasty.)
Jodie: Of all the surrounding beaches in the Los Angeles area, which is the best to cruise to for daytime fun and why? What spot(s) do I need to make sure I hit up while I’m there?
Vanessa: It really depends on what type of scene you’re into and what kind of mood you’re in. Malibu is gorgeous and mellow. Santa Monica is more of a scene-y scene. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Venice Beach. The people watching is fantastic. You have the boardwalk, street performers, a totally fun and relaxed vibe. You should also hit up Abbot-Kinney Blvd. for cute boho boutiques and several options for beachy cocktails. Oh! Also, rent some bikes for a seaside ride on the boardwalk. It reminds me of going to the beach when I was a little girl. Venice has that carefree, slowed-down-time, forever-summer feel to it.
Vanessa tries not to limit herself to just one neighborhood in LA.
Jodie: LA has a reputation for being the land of size 0, but where does one go to eat their feelings? Surely, there’s a place for glutton. Tell me that place!
Vanessa: LA HAS SO MUCH AMAZING FOOD. No, seriously. Trust me. Food is my favorite thing next to wine. Again, it depends on what you’re in the mood for. Lately I’ve been on this pizza and pasta kick. When I want to eat my weight in carbs I love to hit up Masa in Echo Park or Bottega Louis downtown. And for the most decadent, made-from-scratch desserts I head to Ramakin in Los Feliz. They make the best ice cream and bread pudding!
Jodie: Typically, locals hold something within their city close to their heart. What is that place for you in LA? It can be a park, coffee shop, bar, really anything.
Vanessa: The Silverlake Reservoir. I think it’s the prettiest place in the city. I’m lucky enough to live close enough to walk to it and I spend so many afternoons there, jogging, people watching, doing yoga on the lawn, picnicking, reading in the grass. If you haven’t been I recommend packing a picnic basket with a blanket, some snacks, sunscreen and a book or bring a date to watch the sun set over the hills. Also stop by the dog park and visit with the cuties, and their dogs too ;)
Jodie: Bonus question: I have some pals who say it’s hard to meet a significant other in LA. Do you have a spot you cruise for man meat? I would bet that most dudes and gals across the country have at least one pal in the Los Angeles metro area looking for a proper mate and would appreciate your tips!
Vanessa: I hear that a lot! But in my experience, no place I’ve ever lived in has been easier to meet people and date (even if it is casually) in than LA. Most people are super friendly and sociable almost everywhere you go. So whatever you’re doing, whatever your cup of tea is, just chat to the cutie next to you. At the wine bar, at the book shop, playing volleyball on the beach, whatever. Everyone is looking for a good time with cool people. Just say hi. Or just smile, oftentimes they’ll say hi to you first!
Vanessa: What, in your opinion, is the most over-rated destination in your city? The most under-rated?
Jodie: Over-rated: Hopdoddy (sorry burger dudes). The ordering/service system makes no sense to me, it frustrates me actually, yet there is always a line out the door. Although, this line is deceiving - they make people wait in line to wait in line; it’s like a real life episode of Seinfeld. You can’t even call in take out, you have to wait in line! This completely overshadows any enjoyment of food, and honestly it’s just a burger; there are way better places.
Under-rated: El Borrego de Orob- a neighborhood Mexican restaurant in S. Austin that is legit. The building is unassuming, just how I like it and it’s never crowded - even better. Let’s face it, any joint that has Barbacoa on the menu and a shrine to Selena gets my attention, and more importantly, the food is really good.
Vanessa: I have 24 hours in Austin. I’ve never been before. What are three places I MUST hit to get a decent sense of the vibe of the city? These can be anything from a museum, a restaurant, a music venue, etc.
Jodie: Since the weather is warm in Texas about 8 months out of the year, swimming is a no-brainier. First hit up the Rowing Dock on Lady Bird Lake to rent a paddle board to cruise along the lake through the city; the view is spectacular. After that, trek over to Barton Springs for a dip in the natural spring fed pool. Barton Springs is Austin’s pride jewel and lives up to the hype. It really is a must-see.
Next, cruise over to the east side for BBQ at John Mueller Meat Co. It’s a food trailer and will blow your wig off, some of the best BBQ around. After you fill your gut, swing by my local favorite bar, Yellow Jacket Social Club, for a cocktail or a Lonestar. The have the best patio in Austin and some of the nicest bar staff around.
Lastly, for evening entertainment hit up the Broken Spoke for a two-stepping lesson at one of the oldest genuine honkey-tonks in Austin. They have live music (except Sunday) and enough Waylon, Willie and Dolly memorabilia to fill your country-loving soul. After your lesson, head over to the White Horse to put your new fancy feet to the test. The music here is on par with a traditional honky-tonk but with a little rock-n-roll whiskey flare.
Vanessa: One of my favorite things about living in LA is how many awesome and vastly different experiences you can find in just a day-trip outside of the city. What are some of your favorite out of Austin day-trip destinations?
Jodie: I have a few favorites:
Lockhart, TX for a BBQ tour. Perhaps, the best little Texas hotspot for BBQ (arguable,I know) is just 30 minutes outside if Austin. Places to try, you decide: Smitty’s, Black’s, Kreuz’s to name a few.
New Braunfels, TX for a river tubing trip is about 45 minutes from Austin. Next to BBQ, it doesn’t get more Texan than floating the river with some can beer and pals.
Krause Springs in Spicewood, TX is approximately 35-45 minutes outside Austin. It’s possibly my favorite swimming hole in Texas. It’s privately owned so you pay a fee for day trip fun, or if you care to camp, there is a large area reserved overnight camping.
Vanessa: Tell me about your neighborhood. Why did you choose it? If you had to move what other Austin hood would you like to live in?
Jodie: I have lived in South Austin, or known as “The ‘04”, for 10+ years. I love my neighborhood ‘s local shops & restaurants and the vibe represents my personality/outlook pretty accurately: let’s get drunk, eat, party, listen to music but, oh wait, get your ass to work cuz it’s not cheap to live here. While I enjoy the East Side, Hyde Park, and North Loop areas, if I were to live in a different Austin neighborhood, it would probably be Tarrytown or somewhere on the lake as I have a piggy-bank set aside to purchase a boat. This B is taking her act on the water!
Vanessa: Do you see yourself staying in Austin forever? Forever-ever? What other city would you love to live in or have you loved living in?
Jodie: Austin is home. I see myself being here until I croak on a taco or unless I get a job elsewhere. Well, even if that happened, I’d probably turn it down and work at the Rowing Dock or some shit. My family is close by in San Antonio and my friends are all here so it would be hard to leave.
I lived in New York City for a while which was fun and an experience in itself but it’s not Texas, and it’s not Austin.