Flickr photo by Echo_29

Everyone has a series of New Year’s Resolutions – weight loss, healthier eating habits, quitting smoking, saying “I love you” more often. Ours aren’t that different, but we really want to get out and do more locally. That brings us to our Echo Park resolutions, perhaps you’ll join in:

Read The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse

The author grew up in the neighborhood and witnessed a much different Echo Park in the ’70s and ’80s. Everyone says it’s amazing. It’s on Oprah’s list, so it’s on ours.

Support local produce and sign up for the CSA

Community Supported Agriculture is a subscription service for locally grown produce. CSA came to Echo Park in fall 2010, but moved to nearby Silver Lake Natural Foods Market when Mooi, where CSA was delivering to, cut back its hours. Or you can also just shop at the Friday Farmers’ Market in Echo Park (closed today for the holiday but coming back January 7).

Climb all the stairs in Charles Flemings’ book

“Secret Stairs” is a great guide for finding hidden stairways in Echo Park and beyond. Of the six Echo Park stairway loops he offers up in the book, the toughest one looks to be Walk #15 : Avalon-Baxter Loop. With almost 700 steps and a difficulty level of 4.5 (that’s out of 5!), we will have to work our way up to this one.

Spend more time at Echo Park Lake

The lake rehab project is bittersweet – it needs to be cleaned and updated (though we wish they’d keep the historic qualities of the lake), but the two years it will take to clean things up will be horrible. Starting in April, they will dredge the lake and rebuild, so we don’t have long to enjoy its beauty, and it will never be the same.

Go to Stories more often

Stories in Echo Park is a really cool bookstore – free wi-fi, $5 mac-n-cheese Mondays, and a great atmosphere, I’ve really got to start spending more time there.

Publish more articles

With a full-time job and a wedding coming up, things are getting pretty crazy around here! But if you’re interested in joining in on the fun, send us an email with your information and what sort of stuff you’d like to write about. We’d love to bring more contributors in to Echo Park Now in 2011!

Flickr photo by Rachel Carr

Allston Yacht Club

Three wines and four courses for $50. Seatings at 6:30 and 9:00 pm. Reservations recommended. Check the AYC Facebook page for the menu.

Bootie LA New Year’s Eve at the Echoplex

With DJ Paul V., DJ Shyboy, Lady Tigra, and R.A.I.D. Dance Crew. Balloon drop, champagne toast at midnight, photobooth, oisemakers, hats, and mashups. “Best of Bootie 2010” CD give-away for the first 300 through the door.

9:00 pm – 3:00 am. 21+, $10 cash before 10:00 pm, $20 after. View website.

City Sip LA’s bottomless glasses of bubbly

$25 gets you bottomless bubbly! Reservations recommended for parties of 4 or more. Designated Drivers drink non-alcoholic beverages for FREE!

9:00 pm to midnight, $25 per person.

The Echo

Hang the DJs plus Club Underground New Year’s Eve Bash hosted by Scarlett Casanova with live performances by Nite Jewel and Kenan Bell. DJ sets from Hang the DJs/Club Underground selectors, with guest DJ DJ Alex Transistor (AM/FM).

$10 presale ($15 at the door) gets you free champagne! 9:00 am – 2:00 am

The Park Restaurant

Two six course menus, one vegetarian and one omnivore, for $60 per person, including a glass of champagne. Menu includes items from butter poached lobster to griddled pecorino with truffles and walnut agrodolce. Contact The Park for the full menu and hours. Reservations recommended.

Taix French Restaurant

Regular menu items will be served along with specials,such as jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab cakes with lemon aoili, Alaskan King Salmon, and more. Click here for the full menu.

Serving from 4:00 – 11:00 pm. Reservations suggested.

Other spots

El Compadre and Barragan’s are doing business as usual on New Year’s Eve (probably same goes for the Gold Room and Little Joy).

A lot of shops and restaurants will be closed for the holiday, and others will close early so make sure you call ahead:

  • Masa will close at 9:00 pm
  • El Prado will be closed New Year’s Eve and Day
  • Xoia is closed until January 4, 2011

Keep checking back as we update you on New Year’s Eve, Echo Park style!

We took a much needed break from work and writing to travel and spend time with the family this holiday season, so you may have noticed things have been a little quiet here on Echo Park Now (make sure you follow us on Twitter for the more timely news). Here’s what you may have missed while sipping egg nog over the holiday:

Echo Park students in downtown “flash mob”

Gabriella Charter School (located near Sunset and Logan) dance students participated in a flash mob at downtown’s LA Live on Monday, December 20. The rain didn’t stop these kids from a good time!

ABC7 thinks our potholes are big

Today’s coverage of the post-rain apocalypse brought ABC7 to the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Alvarado, one of the most congested intersection in Los Angeles. The gaping holes in shown in the video have been there for as long as I can remember…

Christmas Day shootings

And of course, I would be surprised if you didn’t hear about the Christmas Day shooting in Echo Park that left one dead and three people wounded. And this event was followed by the LAPD announcement that the number of homicides in LA for 2010 are the fewest in over 40 years.

Read more

Now that we’re officially 1.5 years old, we’ve written over 1,000 articles (yay!) and have collected quite a bit of info about what you’re reading. Since we’re closing out on 2010, we thought we’d do a little review of sorts. So in case you missed it, our most popular posts of 2010 are:

Fallen Fruit Map
Actually one of our first published posts in 2009, it remains the top visited article yet.

A Saturday tour of Echo Park stairways with Charles Fleming
A personal favorite of mine, this article published in November 2010. It was a wonderful experience and I will continue to be climbing Echo Park stairs with Fleming’s book in hand!

Lotus Festival 2010
Everyone was interested to know about what to expect at the last Lotus Festival before the Lake restoration. It wasn’t quite the same as in previous years – no lotus flowers, no fireworks, fewer booths and activities.

Long-awaited Cookbook grocery opens in Echo Park
In July this year, the new greengrocer took over the space on Echo Park Avenue formerly occupied by jeweler Han Cholo. The store opened up its doors on October 31, changing up the way Echo Parkians shop for their groceries.

Flashback Fridays – The Fate of Echo Park
From our popular Echo Park history series, this one is interesting because it talks about Echo Park’s stratification (blight versus a viable oasis) as described by the LA Times in 1971.

and lastly:

Owner of new Echo Park restaurant speaks up
Last August, we got a chance to talk to restaurateur Tony Yanow about his new restaurant being installed in the old Ramona Theater in Echo Park (now called Mohawk Bend). The 96-year-old theater had been empty since the mid-1990s, so we’re not surprised with Echo Park’s interest in the project.

We are looking forward to another great year in 2011! Happy New Year!

Flickr photo via write-pudding

November 15, 2010
At the echoplex last night for Margot! – m4w – 27
I blocked you in at the merch table!

I know this is a long shot but I really wish I had talked to you more.

You are a beautiful blonde with long hair and about 5’5″ and were with your blonde girl friend with very short hair. I was standing behind you for most of the show. I’m tall, brown hair and was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans.

I ran into you at the merch table after the show and made a terrible joke about not letting you through on purpose after me and a few other people blocked you in.

I would love to talk to you more. Maybe we can go for a drink and/or another show sometime.

November 18, 2010
Sunset & Rosemont – w4m – 26
Last night (Wednesday) around 11pm I was waiting for a bus & you rode by on your bicycle. Our eyes met & we simultaneously smiled. You’re handsome.

shortstop awesometown bla bla – m4w – 23
you are an indian girl whose name starts with a p. i’m a drunk white guy. you had a friend. you were both adorable. why did i walk away!? anguish, gnashing of teeth etc. anyways, there’s 0% chance you’ll ever read this, but if you, and you for some reason wanna say hi, holler w/your name and i’ll buy you a drink sometime. hooray!

December 2, 2010
Echo Park Library, cute latin girl – m4w – 26
Hey, if the cute latin girl that sat across from me today at the echo p library happens to read this. The girl with the hello kitty phone, i would love to hear from you, if you are interested shoot me an email!

December 3, 2010
We sometimes catch the same bus – m4w – 33
The 200 from Sunset/Alvarado to USC and back. You’re tall, you have longish, dark hair, and you’re really pretty. I sat across from you the other day; I walk on the grass when we get off the bus.

h/t Craigslist

Photo via Curbed LA

We first read about this unique gingerbread accomplishment on Curbed LA the other day, and it’s been circulating around the web.

Bottom of the Fourth blogger joined forces with his or her roommates for an annual tradition of building an important event in Jewish history out of gingerbread and candy. This year they broke tradition a little bit, and instead of choosing a biblical event they instead commemorated Sandy Koufax’s perfect game with a 1965 replica of Dodger Stadium. Those stadium fans look pretty delicious!

To see the whole process from sketch to the finger-licking finale, click here.

Parking regulations are a little different this week due to the holiday, so make sure you avoid getting a ticket from evil Santa. Street cleaning restrictions and other regulations on Christmas Eve (Friday) will remain as posted, but Saturday will get a little more relaxed as the city takes off Christmas Day.

Here’s the low-down from the LA City Department of Transportation, click the image below for the full PDF:

Bottom line: Park longer than that 1-2 hour time limit and don’t feed the meter (at most meters – look out for the “holidays excluded” signage).

Happy holidays!

Lots of new businesses opening and reopening in Echo Park the past couple of months. Here’s what you’ve missed:

New restaurants and businesses:

  • Tony Yanow’s new restaurant at the old Ramona Theater has changed names a couple of times (from El Camino to Mohawk Brasserie), but it seems they have settled on Mohawk Bend. Click here for the new Facebook page.
  • Haitian cuisine restaurant Ti George’s on Glendale Blvd. opened its doors again on December 9 after February 2010 fire.
  • Chinese food is back in Echo Park: Chinatown Express, also closed after a fire broke out in the mini-mall, held a grand reopening December 4.
  • Pop-up shop Blood is the New Black will remain open down at 1825 Sunset Blvd. through December 30 for your holiday shopping needs.
  • Vintage store TИSEN opened up in the former Millenium Thrift Shop at 2118 Berkeley Avenue in late November. The owners have a great eye for vintage picks from clothes, antiques, jewelry, vinyl, and furniture.

Other news:

  • The Echo Curio will close its doors for the last time on Sunday, December 19 after its final Echo Obscura Movie Night.
  • AOL’s hyper-local news website Echo Park Patch launched December 16.

Ongoing/Weekly Specials

AYC's Spicy Margarita

Hopefully things are starting to wind down at the office as the Christmas holiday approaches, so it’s time to start taking out your employees, employers, and/or clients for some holiday libations. Allston Yacht Club in Echo Park has a great selection of not just wine and beer, but also spirits.

You say tequila, I say tequillllllla

Take, for example, the most excellent jalapeño margarita, which I wrote about in my best-of margarita article last September. Starting tonight, AYC is adding Tequila Tuesday to its weekly specials, where you can get any tequila beverage for just $6 all night.

The spicy margarita is included with the special, along with the Basement Window (tequila, Kahlua, pomegranate and lemon) and their newest concoction, the Hipster’s Holiday (tequila, pomegranate molasses, almond syrup, bitters and ginger beer). Or you can try the “TT combo,” a shot of tequila plus a housemade sangrita chaser, also for $6.

Mellow holiday drinks

If tequila isn’t your thing, try the Baci (“kiss” in Italian), a cocktail with vodka, chocolate liqueur, Frangelico, chocolate-covered hazelnuts, and rimmed with a sugar/cinnamon/cocoa powder/allspice mix.

There’s also the Accursed Fruitcake, served on ice but will warm your tummy with brandy, gold rum, apple cider and “inebriated fruits.”

Couch potato?

If you prefer to stay at home, you can try mixing up those last two on your own by checking out the recipes after the jump. Just make sure you give AYC the credit.

Read more

Graphic from Curbed LA

Popular website Curbed LA took on renaming the “not Eastside,” that is everything east of Western and west of the Los Angeles River including Echo Park, earlier this year by putting it to a vote (they now call it North Central). Now they are working on the annual “Curbed Cup,” where eight neighborhoods compete for LA’s best neighborhood by popular vote. Echo Park is not only one of those neighborhoods, it made it to round two – beating South Park in round one (no competition there).

The question is, will Echo Park defeat Old Bank in round two, which opens up for voting tomorrow?

Curbed LA has a colorful description of Old Bank for your voting education:

Even though the Old Bank District/Historic Core is a previous winner, so the neighborhood returns again to the competition. The area saw plans submitted for the Spring Street pocket park, while up the street, a new park unrolled at the site of the LAPD headquarters. Developments like the El Dorado and the Medallion opened, while Barry Shy’s animal kingdom painting distracted everyone from the large holes he blew in his building. With The Last Bookstore drawing patrons, and the new restaurants drawing diners, the Old Bank District still remains a popular contender. Bonus points for its always-lively street scene–good place to people watch.

As for Echo Park, well I can’t say this exactly describes why I personally live here, but just for the sake of sharing this is how Curbed LA describes our neighborhood:

Echo Park, the neighborhood the Los Angeles Times just discovered, was quite a hub of action this year. Panic! At the Disco Rocker bought in the hood, the and the area beat back a controversial townhome project (and continued its love of Tiki shacks). Numerous new restaurants and shops arrived–notably, a yuppie deli named Cookbook opened, while a micro-brewery (gentrification alert!) will open soon on Sunset Boulevard. And did we mention this region tried on a new name this year? North Central is still being tested out, but Echo Park, you’re officially so hip, the hipsters are already packing and moving to Highland Park. *Trader Joes’s expansion was in Silver Lake, not EP.

Even if Echo Park wins the fake trophy for LA’s best neighborhood, do we really want to draw more attention to us after the recent LA Times hipster article?

For the week of Monday, December 20 through Sunday, December 26

Monday Night Residency: Secret Iamsound headliner, Shadow Shadow Shade, Evan Voytas, Rumspringa @ Echo
Michael Nhat 3rd album release party for Just Plain Dying (On I Had An Accident, limited to 100 cassettes), along with Fantastica Bastidas, Voice on Tape, So Many @ Pehrspace
Agent Ribbons, The Moor, Rachel Fannan (of Sleepy Sun), So Much Fun, DJ set by Luckey Remington @ Bootleg Theater

Buzzbands.LA Holiday Happening with Lonely Trees, Rabbits Rabbits Rabbits, John Carpenter, Non Ultra Joy (benefiting the Pablove Foundation) @ Echo
Iheartcomix, Media Contender, and LL Record present: Check Yo Ponytail 2 with Dum Dum Girls, Abe Vigoda, Protect Me, Glass Actor, Franki Chan @ Echoplex
Threes and Nines, Charlie Wadhams, Ariana Delawari @ Bootleg Theater

Dub Club @ Echoplex
Live Jazz every Wednesday Night at 7:00 pm @ Downbeat Cafe

Down and Derby Roller Disco @ Echoplex
Cricket and The 2:19 @ Taix Lounge

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

Part Time Punks Rough Trade Records Nite with Guest DJ David Orlando aka Boss Harmony (from Punky Reggae and Dub Club) @ Echo

For more information on weekly musical events like club nights, see our community resource pages.Visit the venue website for more information on the cost and times of shows. This list may not represent all the musical events happening in Echo Park this week – feel free to add more events in the comment section. All events listed are subject to change at any time. New events announced for the week after this posting may not be included.

Get the flash player here:

Facebook update told us they were having some trouble with the heavy rain we’ve been having:

The flood has gotten too bad! We’re going to have to close early today to try and figure something out! Sorry for the inconvenience : (

The dressing room floor and walls are soaked, and water is trickling down from the back toward the front of the store, as well as from a corner near the mail slot. As they try and mop things up, Feeding Birds will be closed for the public, but they are taking private appointments by email.

Though we can expect rain through Wednesday, we’re hoping they will be able to open back up on Tuesday. Good luck guys!

Feeding Birds is located at 1825 Echo Park Ave.

Flickr photo via Hane C. Lee

Here’s a story so strange I had to do some research to make sure it was true.

Today is the official Burrito Day in Los Angeles. Okay, maybe that’s not entirely too strange – Mayor Villaraigosa did bet El Tepeyac’s “Manuel Burrito” for the first series of the NLDS last year (is that still considered LA’s best?), so burritos are amongst LA’s finest. But 25 years ago, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley announced December 19 as the official day, two years after Loyola Marymount’s college station KXLU declared it unofficially.

Here’s the proof (or possibly the proof, there is a seal on it after all):

So now we search for the best stuff wrapped in a delicious tortilla in Echo Park.

As a non-meat eater, I simply can’t call this one. But whether it be a meat burrito, breakfast burrito, from a truck or a restaurant, it’s your call Echo Parkians. Where do you get the best burrito in Echo Park?

In early 2009, AOL started launching these small community websites called “hyper-local” news sites. Today, the Echo Park Patch launched, adding to the coverage of our little up-and-coming community. Hiring one local main editor to manage the site and freelancers to write most of the content, expect to see some freelancing writers running around Echo Park looking for your quote and your news.

There’s a lot of talk about AOL’s endeavors: Is it evil? Will it kill local newspapers? Is it sustainable? I’ve thought about the pros and cons of the site, and the pros outweigh the cons: It hires and pays local journalists and writers who are most likely out of work, it will bring to light a lot of community issues people need to know about, and did I mention it pays?

Echo Park resident Lea Lion has taken on the helm of Echo Park Patch, and so far we’ve met some pretty awesome local journalists writing for the site as well. Jenny Burman, who writes Chicken Corner for LA Observed, will also be contributing. It always amazes me how many creative and hard-working people like in our little community!

I will also be writing some articles for the site, specifically an opinions series called “Think Echo Park.” My first article is about the news-worthy Sunset Flats development, which I’ve written about before on this website. Hopefully you’ll enjoy my articles both on Echo Park Now and on Patch!

Check out the Central City Action Committee (CCAC) rummage sale in front of the old fire station and help support all its great youth programs. The rummage sale started today at 10:00 am and goes until 6:00 pm.

Today isn’t your only chance to check out the sale, other days include Friday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, at the same times.

CCAC is located at 534 East Edgeware Road, at the old Firestation No. 6.