NFT Los Angeles Van Nuys

Van Nuys

Essentials
It's easy to miss freeway-encased Van Nuys, which most of LA knows mainly through their commute through it. That's because a lot of it isn't there anymore. The closing of the GM plant in 1992 caused a massive flight out of Van Nuys, and middle class sections that remained successfully petitioned to be reclassified into other neighborhoods. When you are cruising through Van Nuys north or south, always take Kester over Van Nuys and Sepulveda.

Sundries/Entertainment
Though the days of GM and American Graffiti are long gone, car culture in general is still rolling along. Van Nuys Boulevard, once jammed with hot-rodding teens, is now jammed with car dealerships of every stripe. And the aforementioned GM factory? The shell of it has been converted into a big box store mall behemoth -- fittingly named "The Plant."




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

Dr. Hogly Wogly's Tyler Texas BBQ
Find me one person who doesn’t like BBQ and potato salad. I dare you. Ok, except for vegetarians. And vegans. And those no-carb fanatics. Whatever. What I’m telling you is that if you like your BBQ good and saucy, your potato salad tangy, Dr. Hogly Wogly’s is the best in town. In Southern California, even. The décor has a sort of truck-stop charm, and you have to go outside to use the bathroom, but the food is to die for. Gargantuan portions of falling-off-the-bone meat, just-right portions of sides, and two kinds of sauces—one hot, one sweet. Better get your order to go, so you can go home and lick your fingers without judgement.



Posted By:  Stacy Lane
Photo:  Stacy Lane

In a nondescript mini mall deep in the heart of the Valley lies Pho 999. You’ll know you’re at the right place because the parking lot always seems full—even on a random Tuesday at 9 pm. Despite always being packed with fellow pho-philes, you’ll never have to wait long. The service is spartan but lightning-fast and friendly. Sit down at a numbered table, order a giant bowl of steaming pho and minutes later you’ll be served. Season to taste from your pile of shaved onion, bean sprouts, fresh basil and chopped chilies. Mmmm. And best of all, expect to pay less than $25 for a giant meal for two.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Chefs' Toys
If you're someone who simply likes to cook, you probably love wandering the aisles at upscale culinary chains like Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table. But if you actually consider yourself a cook, Star Restaurant Supply might send you into a state of utter euphoria. Geared toward the professional yet open to the public, Star sells everything you need to stock a kitchen or the restaurant you might dream of someday owning. Want a stand-alone freezer? They've got 'em. Pizza pans? Fourteen different sizes. Need some pots? Star sells pots small enough for melting a pat of butter or large enough for bathing a Great Dane. One could stock their kitchen or service a dinner party from scratch—dishes, glassware, utensils, etc.—for a fraction it would cost at one of the larger chains. The only tradeoff is the generic, institutional quality some of the merchandise has, but it's a step up from Chinets and Dixie Cups. One last plus: Star's location—just around the corner from Costco, making it possible to park your car just once and buy a hot dog steamer and the 170 franks you'll need to fill it. Happy dining!



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Robin Hood British Pub
Usually the most British thing you'll find in Sherman Oaks is the Hugh Grant movie playing at the Galleria. But these neighboring storefronts provide more than a taste of Merry Olde England. The Friar Tuck Shoppe is small but well-stocked, offering British staples like PG Tips tea, Heinz baked beans, and what seems like an entire aisle of candy and sweets. Even the Beatles may not have been as divine an export as Cadbury chocolate. Next door, the Robin Hood pub reminds one of a true English alehouse—though the remote, decidedly un-trendy location suggests Liverpool more than London. But that works to the pub's advantage, making it as comfortable a neighborhood bar for locals from across Burbank Boulevard as it is from those who hail from across the pond. Guinness, Harp, and Boddington's are among the beers on tap. The menu runs from safe and predictable (fish and chips) to traditional (bangers and mash) to simply bizarre. What exactly is a Cornish Pastie anyway? The pub offers traditional English breakfast (11 am-2 pm), and the kitchen is open until 11 pm for those late night hankerings for steak and kidney pie. Blimey.



Posted By:  Beth Deitchman
Photo:  Beth Deitchman

Big Kid Collectables
We love presents in LA. Presents for starting a movie, presents for finishing a movie. Presents for when that movie opens at $50 million. Sometimes the most difficult situation to navigate in LA isn't the freeway system at rush hour but the dilemma of what to buy the person who has everything—or could buy everything with their percentage of the first dollar gross. The Big Kid Toy Mall is your only option. It might be the coolest store in LA. Tucked into a corner of a nondescript mini-mall, the Big Kid Toy Mall is filled with memorabilia from the worlds of film, TV, sports, and pop culture. For the sci-fi geeks in your life, there are cases of Star Wars collectables. What New York Giants fan wouldn't want a mini Lawrence Taylor doll standing guard on their desk? Kiss up to that D-girl by buying her a Bionic Woman or Charlie's Angels lunchbox. And for everyone else, there's a talking 18-inch John Lennon doll. So set aside an hour—or two—and take a walk down memory lane. And buy yourself a present while you're there. In LA, it's always some kind of holiday.




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