We first noticed the stifling heat of East Coast summer giving way to a pleasantly warm, ocean breeze filled evening. We felt ourselves relax, within minutes of being in LA, it felt like returning home. Los Angeles is an unlikely contender for a favorite city for both of us, and yet, when we think about where we’d like to end up, it sits firmly in the top ranks. You’d think we’d hate it here, the traffic, the perpetual summer, the superficiality. But we don’t. We love it (most of the time). Los Angeles is many things, but it always unapologetic in its absurdity. It’s a city that recognizes it’s contradictions. Though finding your place here can be difficult, once you do, it’s home. For us, that’s always been the east side, and while the west side often results in a fair amount of eye rolling from both of us, we still love it. In some odd, love to hate sort of way that keeps brining us back. It’s also where the ocean is.
Our 30 hours didn’t disappoint. It was a simple weekend, I ran, wandered Abbot Kinney, ate delicious food, including the requisite Leo’s tacos. Saw an old friend. Alex finished his last exam for a while (yay!), and then we left. It was an incredibly short visit, but always worthwhile. Every time we go to LA I have a hard time leaving, but of course, we had to. This time, to Cleveland, a city neither of us know much about. We didn’t even know it was on East Coast time. So after a long delay in Chicago we finally made it, our home base for the next month.
We’re staying downtown the first week, which is an odd, regenerating area. I realize people don’t really live downtown, well, some do, obviously, but most live just adjacent in Ohio City or Tremont (or of course further afield in the suburbs). By mid-day the first day I’ve wandered a good chunk of it, found good coffee (Pour), a good grocery store (Heinens) and checked out the famous West Side market. Which, is absolutely top-notch, though certainly geared towards a midwest audience, I was throughly impressed with their offerings. I picked up fresh pasta, cheese (confusing the cheese girl with my pronunciation of “ricotta”), jerky (because it was on “Best thing I Ever Ate”) and stood in line for 25 minutes for a gyro (from Steve’s), for no other reason than it was an absurdly long line so I figured it was worth trying. It was. So far so good, Ohio, I’m surprised. And impressed, and curious to see what else this unassuming city has to offer.