NFT Los Angeles Westwood / Century City

Westwood / Century City

Essentials
By day, Century City bustles with corporate life. By night, it becomes a ghost town, unless you're at the movie theater at Century City Mall. By contrast, with the exception of the Westwood Memorial Cemetery (final resting place for Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood), nearby Westwood is always humming with UCLA students, moviegoers, and Bruins fanatics. Consequently, street parking will test your patience and parallel parking abilities. For book enthusiasts, come to the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA during April.

Sundries/Entertainment
Not a college town but a reasonable facsimile thereof, Westwood's student population feeds on the cheap, undeniably delicious In N' Out, Diddy Riese Cookies (fresh from the oven), and See more.

>Falafel King (extra baba ganoush, please). For the classic Westwood experience, see a movie here on opening night -- people get psyched.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Kevan Peterson

Bread Bar
Bread Bar is located in the outdoor shopping center of the Westfield Mall. It has an excellent atmosphere for people watching at the outdoor seating area, or you can commune in a more intimate setting inside. As the name would suggest their selections of breads and pastries is the reason for most people's visits to this establishment. The almond croissant may be the best thing on the menu. It's so good in fact that on a recent trip there I ordered two, despite my lack of appetite. Sometimes the taste buds are stronger than your will to lose weight. A great place to bring someone on a low-carb diet for April Fool's Day, or for anyone else any day of the week.



Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Boba Loca
The menu serves up no surprises. The coffees, teas, and Boba drinks are all standard variety. They are good without being great, but serve their purpose. The most interesting thing about this drink shop is its location. Located just moments away from UCLA it is consistently crammed with college students looking for a buzz, from coffee not alcohol, while they study. Along one wall a stack of books, many tattered and bruised from their multiple readings adds a bit of a beatnik feel to an otherwise bland decor. Boba Loca provides a quiet place to study, with the price of admission being just the cost of your drink. If you're in the area for any other reason than earning your degree, the variety of restaurants, coffee shops and diners vying for your hard earned dollar in the immediate vicinity may be a more interesting pit stop.




Posted By:  Kevan Peterson
Photo:  Gillian Wee

Gulen's Mediterranean Cuisine
Located in the Century City Westfield Mall Food court, Gulen's is a restaurant that delivers portions large enough to feed a family of four but priced for one. When you approach the counter at Gulen's you are roped into a line that forces you to walk past a glass display of various dishes, all large enough to feed Godzilla. As you browse row after row of food you may begin to feel it is difficult to tell the dishes apart. You may notice that some dishes are really just small variations on others, but no matter. Despite their lack of selection their dishes are amazing for a mall food court, so it doesn't matter what you order. Get the dish with the lamb on the right, or the one with the lamb on the left. It doesn't matter, either way you'll eat happy.



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

Clementine
My boss has lunch at Clementine. And that isn't a grammatical error, I don't mean yesterday. I mean she has lunch at Clementine. Every day. Which is pretty much a ringing endorsement in and of itself. But then she had Clementine cater a luncheon we had recently at work. I had the sweet peppers sandwich--and I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried a single tear of foodie joy. I get a sweet pepper craving every couple of weeks like clockwork now. Clementine is Century City's answer to a sandwich place. Which means they cover the basics, but they're quality enough for the suits. The result is kick ass sandwiches and salads, and some mean cookies. And if that's not enough for you, maybe you've always wanted to attend an afternoon tea. They serve it on Thursdays from three to five. No time for the Biltmore? Then try Clementine's for some earl grey and cucumber sandwiches. It's appointment only. I also recommend you ask for an Arnold Palmer. They mix tea and lemonade with the best of 'em.



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

The Cellar
Ever since this humble little village of BIG$$$ lawyers and bankers was infused with the BIG$$$ cool of CAA’s Death Star and its waters were infested with ICM’s sharks, times have changed in Century City. All of a sudden the Westfield mall isn’t just for teenagers and the dwindling middle class, and simple places like The Cellar suddenly aren’t up to par. Last week I recommended The Cellar for happy hour lubrications, and this I-don’t-drive-an-economy-car girl looked at me and snorted, “That dive?” Fuck yeah, that dive. What kind of world are we living in where a dive is a bad thing? And where The Cellar IS a dive? And maybe for its environs it is, but it’s time to draw a line in the concrete jungle. This may be the BIG$$$ equivalent of Robert Johnson’s crossroads, and I may slum it 9-to-5 at a bank, but I’ll be damned if you’re gonna Pink Taco all over the only bar I like in Century City. So wipe the business casual off your face, sink into a dark corner over a draft, and don’t make me drag your ass over to the White Horse.



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

I’m not exactly sure why I’m directing you to a restaurant called, of all things, “Pink Taco.” But I think it may be the quintessential LA restaurant. It’s all hype, scene, industry types—and not about the food. If anything, Harry Morton—25 year old rich boy and dater of DUI wunderkinds—seems more concerned with his muy linda collection of tequila. So why should you go? (Unless you’re looking for a Mexican-leaning Hooters, of course.) Well, there’s not really much there in the way of decent food in Century City. And, shockingly, it’s prices are pretty reasonable. But don’t expect the food to be great. Don’t expect to hear anyone over the music. And don’t expect a whole lot more than their self-proclaimed “attitude.” But, hey, at least Harry is continuing the great legacy of the elite chain of Hard Crap restaurants. At the very least, decent Mexican is better than the mall’s Baha Fresh. And maybe this euphemistic taco joint will keep all those Ari Golds from taking up all the tables in the cafeteria. So check out Harry’s idea of a good time. Follow the loud music. If you’ve hit Santa Monica Boulevard., you’ve gone too far.



Posted By:  Rin-rin Yu
Photo:  Rin-rin Yu

It’s very difficult to resist the freshly-baked cookies at Diddy Riese. Even if there’s a line wrapped around the block, which is always the case. Even if there’s no parking, as is also always the case. But it’s tough when their ice cream sandwiches (scoop of Dreyer’s ice cream smushed between two Diddy Riese cookies) cost only $1.00 and the fresh-from-the-oven scent wafts down the street. Situated right in the heart of Westwood near UCLA, this bakery is the reason students put on the Freshman 15. Macadamia nut, chocolate chip, chocolate- chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin walnut, sugar, and M&M are among some of the selection of cookies that lures people for miles to the small shop (even the rival USC students make the trip). Buy a dozen and watch the oil soak through the bag and the cookies vanish in about 20 minutes. There are also decadent brownies, muffins, and hot dogs if you’ve actually had your fill of cookies.



Posted By:  adam c. marshall
Photo:  adam c. marshall

Wally's Wines & Liquors
So, maybe you just got a raise. Or you hit the Super Lotto—or maybe you were just smart enough to bet against the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Either way, you’ve got some extra dough and you’re tired of slumming it at Bevmo. Well, welcome to the big leagues. Wally’s is the liquor store to the stars. It’s intimate, full of character, and expensive—this is a wine shop, not Target-meets-liquor store. Wandering amid the rows of wine and single malts, it’s probable that you’ll end up scanning the shelves for something that costs less than $100. Hmm, maybe I’m not selling this. Here’s the skinny: Is this is everyone’s price range? No. But maybe you want to see how the other half lives. Think of it as tourism. Or, maybe you did make that bet and you want to go somewhere where the staff actually knows something about booze. Bevmo’s great, but are they really the best people to help you pick out a great Sauterne? Maybe you ought to take that extra pocket change and follow the wise adage that you get what you pay for. And maybe Wally’s is pretty amazing.



Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Aaron Schielke

UCLA
It’s time for the LA Times Book Festival again. As usual NFT will be on hand to give the citizens of Los Angeles amazing deals on all our NFTs. How about $10 for the 2007 NFT Guide to LA? That’s a 50% savings if you’re not keeping track. Come check out the NFT Booth (#633) on Saturday and Sunday. We'll be there with James Ellroy, Gore Vidal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jim Lehrer, just to name a few. Not For Tourists managing editors will also be on hand to talk about NFT and give out free stuff. So yeah, if you’re too cheap to buy a gigantic book packed with thousands of listings and award winning maps, you can stop by and pick up some free match books with our logo on it. Check out the website: http://www.latimes.com/extras/festivalofbooks/index.html



Posted By:  Rin-rin Yu
Photo:  Rin-rin Yu

Westfield Century City
There are food courts, and then there are dining gallerias—which is what the Westfield Mall in Century City has—an actual pleasant food court experience. The food’s still the typical greasy fare (more in the faster-food category rather than fast-fast food) but repackaged with silverware, china, al-fresco dining with city views, table bussing, and even live jazz on the outdoor terrace. Indoors, the high-ceiling, open-space, open-air sleek modern design gives a cool ambiance, chic cafeteria-style that makes faster-food eating hip. Tacone Flavor Grill, Seiki-shi-Sushi, Red Rock Chili Co, Sorabol Korean BBQ & Asian Noodles, and Rotisserie Works are just some of the selections available for a quick bite before a movie at the new AMC next door. Hand-washing stations situated along the walls let you rinse off that grease while saving a trip to the restroom. It’s even a pleasant place just to relax for a moment from a long shopping trip and take in the views, or to read a book during lunch hour during the work week. Be wary on weekends—it will be crowded. Just like every other mall in LA.



Posted By:  Rin-rin Yu
Photo:  courtesy of the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center

Hollywood is often out for fresh blood, and so is the rest of Los Angeles. And at the UCLA Blood & Platelet Center, locals can donate their own to those in need. In return, contributors not only get the satisfaction of helping others, they also receive one movie pass for blood, three for platelets, as well as other giveaways like waterbottles, t-shirts, gym bags, stuffed animals, mugs, and flip-flops. All it takes is an hour for blood, two hours for platelets, all while watching the movie of the day while blood is being drawn from your arm. Donors must weigh at least 102 pounds (110 for donating platelets), be at least 17 years old, and not have traveled to a high-risk malarial country. Other exceptions exist as well, such as certain medications, recent surgeries, tattoos, and visits to specific areas of the world. Check with the center to see if you qualify.



Posted By:  Edoardo Ballerini
Photo:  none

Hammer Museum
Located in Westwood, just south of the UCLA campus, is one of the best museums in all of Los Angeles. Combining a great permanent collection with imaginative new shows, both curated inhouse and traveling shows, the Armand Hammer is a gem. The building itself is a stunning marble cube that is hard to miss, and since it’s located in the heart of well-traveled Westwood, there is no excuse not to pop in and see the space. Thursdays are free admission—it’s a rare treat to see Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Rothko, and more for nothing at all.



Posted By:  Sandee Curry
Photo:  Elon Schoenholz

Hammer Museum
Armand Hammer was a businessman, philanthropist, and art collector whose ties to the Soviet Union and the Republican Party were controversial and even criminal. But that didn’t stop Hammer from amassing an impressive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings during his fascinating life. One of my favorite museums in town, the Hammer has an amazing permanent collection, which includes works by Monet, van Gogh, Rembrandt, Sargent, Cassatt, Gaugin, and so much more. The four van Goghs alone are worth the trip, in my opinion. In addition to the permanent collection, there are also rotating exhibitions; check the website for updates. There are free docent-led tours, a Joan’s on Third café, a bookstore, lectures, concerts, and the sprawling and peaceful Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden. It’s the perfect escape from stressful city life.



Posted By:  Edoardo Ballerini
Photo:  Edoardo Ballerini

Italian Culture Institute - Spazio Italia
Tucked beneath the UCLA campus is a wonderful little space where the handful of Italians who don’t work in restaurants or cinema in Los Angeles put on exhibitions, screenings, and lectures that relate to Italian culture. Artists, poets, architects, fi lmmakers, scholars, and the occasional diplomat will drop in to speak about a variety of topics. The screening room runs a series of Italian fi lms from Fellini to Benigni, and upstairs there are language classes on offer from native speakers. Events are free (classes are not), and the wine and cheese is usually quite good—these are Italians, after all. Beyond that, the space itself is a marvel, with a lovely courtyard and an exhibition room that sits above street level but has fl oor to ceiling glass panels. It makes it look like, well, something out of modern day Italy.



Posted By:  Jeremiah Hahn
Photo:  none

Stan's Donuts
The fact that Stan Berman’s Doughnut Shop has been open since 1965 speaks highly to the quality level of their product. Located in Westwood village near UCLA, Stan’s is known for experimenting with interesting pastry concoctions. They have mouth-watering treats such as Peanut-Butter and Fresh Banana with Chocolate Chips, Chocolate-Cinnamon Logs, Chocolate Jelly (try it, it’s not as strange as it sounds), Apricot Cheese, Chocolate Pretzel, and many, many more. In 2005, Stan’s son Scott started a new branch in Thousand Oaks to spread the gospel of great doughnuts further out into the Valley. And although some highbrows may argue, the original Stan’s, in it’s original location, is still a “must make” stop on any tour of Los Angeles’ culinary history.




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