MY CITY | LOS ANGELES BY ZOE LATTA
Zoe Latta, Co-Founder of Eckhaus Latta. Photo courtesy of Michael Bailey Gates.
Hailing from the legendary surf town Santa Cruz, California-native Zoe Latta is co-creative director of Eckhaus Latta alongside Mike Eckhaus. Now residing in LA, Zoe spoke with MYKITA JOURNAL in the most Los Angeles of circumstances: on the phone, in the car. Cruising through her part of the city, she shares her favourite eats and activities, including outstanding local produce, awesome hikes, superb Mexican food, and some killer Americana vintage.
THE CANINE LOVER’S MORNING ROUTINE
The first thing to consider in the morning is: There’s the dog and the dog needs to be walked. Her name is Tuna. She’s an eight-month standard poodle but she’s 50 pounds and ginger. She’s my baby.
Since I’m about to move to Mount Washington, our walks will change. Right now, we go around the block because I’m in the middle of the city. But in Mt. Washington there are beautiful hiking trails and on the top of the mountain there are fire roads and more off-roading.
I’m not much of a breakfast gal but occasionally I’ll make a smoothie. Sometimes I’ll have a protein bar in the car and maybe a banana. I don’t drink coffee. Sometimes I’ll have a tea, but I’m not a tea aficionado either. Next to my design studio is my favourite Surfas – they’re a kitchen supply store that also sells gourmet cheese and food in a little café, so I’ll get my tea and a croissant. It’s usually an on-the-go affair — it’s LA.
COMMUNITY CULTURE AND FARMERS MARKETS
Sometimes I can be a shut-in and stay around my studio in Arlington Heights, which is very West Adams adjacent, or southern Korea-town near the Marciano Foundation. I really like the Underground Museum, in the same neighbourhood. They do a lot of rad community programming and meditation workshops with yoga classes, in addition to exhibiting art.
Marciano Art Foundation Exterior. Photo by Julian Calero, courtesy of Marciano Art Foundation.
The Hollywood farmer’s market is where I go on Sundays. There’s this woman Sabrina from Ojai, who I nicknamed “Mom tough love” because she does zero favours or price breaks. She has beautiful bleached tips and leathered skin from the sun. She has the best vegetables and puts them on fucked-up tablecloths and smokes Marlboro lights. And then at the market I might get a banging tamale, a blue corn and goat cheese taco, or oysters if I’m feeling extra special.
THE SUNBEAT ARCHITECTURE OF PALM SPRINGS
The Craftsman houses are so dreamy in my neighbourhood, but I guess my favourite architecturally-condensed place is actually Palm Springs, which has a kind of degraded mid-century modern architecture that I love. LA has this kind of architecture as well but it’s not particularly degraded like the ones in Palm Springs. I don’t like the refurbished mid-century vibe of LA; I like it when a place is sun-beat and left to its own devices. It’s the buildings that don’t have names that resonate.
CUTE LUNCHES AND MATCHA LATTE
For lunch I go to this place called Paper or Plastik Café, which is off of Fairfax Ave. They have delicious food and a dog-allowed policy (although Tuna doesn’t eat there) and it’s cute. The menu changes all the time but usually I have some sort of salad and they have really good frittata. It’s one of the few places that I fuck with for a matcha latte.
Paper or Plastik Café Exterior, 5772 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019. Photo courtesy of Paper or Plastik Café.
BUMPIN’ VINTAGE SPOTS
In LA there’s this place called Please and Thank You. It’s by appointment only and my friend Jenny, is a (vintage) picker there. The place feels like you’re entering into a dust bowl. It’s definitely bumpin’ and they also have a booth at the Rose Bowl, which is where lot of designers go to buy and get inspiration. Jenny has a really good eye and feel for vintage. Her style is very Americana and workwear-y, but she’s almost like an outsider artist for vintage. Goodwill wouldn’t even sell some of things she picks because it’s ripped up, stained or has been living inside a box for decades and smells weird… but I’ve been going there a few years. I’ve even seen Lebron James there and Karl Lagerfeld, who was leaving like he was on the clock.
And sometimes the Rose Bowl is too much for me. The Pasadena City flea is open on alternative days of the week and it’s just down the street from the Rose Bowl. It’s banging and gigantic. It’s mostly local people and not vintage dealers from Japan, so you still have to dig. I don’t like it when people tell you something’s valuable, although I totally respect the pricing when I look. But I really like the act of searching and questioning.
PCC Flea Market, 1570 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106. Photo courtesy of PCC flea Market.
AFFORDABLE FOOD WITH GREAT WINE
Dinner is usually at home or at Speranza [2547 Hyperion Ave] in Silverlake. It’s really good and affordable Cali-Italian food with great wine. It’s actually in an old doctor’s office; the kitchen is in the former office and the restaurant is outside. Sometimes I go to Bar Bandini, a natural wine bar. I’m not a natural wine connoisseur but I just trust them for whatever seems good.
I reserve late night snacks for taco trucks or at home. I’m a vegetarian. I wouldn’t put my trust in other places in the world but in LA you can’t go wrong at a taco truck, especially if there are people eating there – that’s the classic. Mariscos Jalisco [3040 E Olympic Blvd] in Boyle Heights has an amazing fried shrimp taco.
Mariscos Jalisco, 3040 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023. Photo courtesy of Mariscos Jalisco.
“GOING OUT” LA STYLE
In LA, I spend more time at home or at other people’s houses, if they have the space. If you make the trek and drive to another neighbourhood to a friend’s house then you’re going to spend the entire time there in that neighbourhood, at that house. It’s not like there are twenty other things on that block where you could be going to that night. That’s just the LA way.
EPIC NATURE EXPLORATION
Elysian Park has some really great trails. I discovered that if you walk from Echo Park on the East (and “bougie”) side and go up the hill and then you can see the whole valley. Usually if you drive you can still have that experience, but it’s much less interesting compared to walking it. You get psycho views of downtown and the valley but it’s not touristy.
My in-laws live in Malibu; they had a house on the beach that they lost in the last LA wildfires. And I guess the one beach I love most is called Escondido. You park on the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and you walk down a set of crazy stairs leading to the ocean and it feels like you’re the only person there.
The MYKITA Shop in Downtown on 847 South Broadway welcomes all Angelenos and visitors alike.