L'Artisan du Hype

I don't want to start off complaining. So let me list the positive things about the "best chocolatier in Los Angeles," L'Artisan du Chocolat.

~ Homeboy is French
~ The sweetness is understated, not over the top 
~ The designs on the top of his chocolates are tres chic
~ The flavors are inventive and fun

The problem? My dearest bought me a little sampling box with flavors I'd love. $14 bucks for 4 chocolates and a pilgrimage to Silverlake later, I have made you a little list of what I ate, and what it tasted like:

I'm cool with the sweetness being understated, but not the flavors. I want to taste that wasabi mango, the bacon, all of it. No one wants to shell out for bland ganache and waxy chocolate, no matter how pretty it is. Good day sir!


Best Coffee Shops in L.A....and I'm open to suggestions)

#5 Insomnia - Hollywood

Great music
Great atmosphere
Plenty of room to work

You have to PAY for the wifi - as if!

#4 Aroma - Toluca Lake

Great atmosphere - tons of outdoor greenery and patio warmers
Fantastic neighborhood

Overpriced food items ($8 for a slice of cake?! As if!)
More of a dining place - don't feel comfy lounging too long

#3 Zephyr - Pasadena

Set in an adorable Craftsman home
Free wifi
Miles of outdoor seating
Good food

New ownership turned the outdoors into a slightly sleazy hookah bar hangout

#2 Psychobabble - Los Feliz

High-quality looseleaf teas
Plenty of room to work
Right next to the Los Feliz 3
Free wifi

Closes before the bars do
Flavored espresso drinks are too sweet

#1 The Bourgeois Pig - Hollywood

People complain that they don't serve real coffee, but no one would say that in Italy or Paris. All of their drinks are espresso drinks, and if someone is really craving goods that can come from a coffee pot, they can always order the Americana. Espresso watered down with, well, water.

Open till 2 AM
Great atmosphere
Great drinks
Ethereal back room, dark with private cubbies

Greasy Armenian gangsters
Hipsters that take themselves too seriously
PS) Careful when dissing Scientology - the Scientology Celebrity Center is right cross the street


Portrait of a schizophrenic

Hiking in the Hollywood Hills, I happened upon a concrete wall covered in hearts. It read The Purple Heart Wall of Hope, so I thought it was dedicated to war heroes. Upon closer inspection, the wall seemed to be dedicated to a boy named Christopher Robin Jr. The house was a shrine to the man's son, who, the wall says, was "...kidnapped by six evil people." There was a $10,000 reward out for him. My heart sunk.

Black and white photo of Christopher with Godfather Gene Autry

As I kept reading however, the hearts also aired grievances about family court. It didn't take long until I discovered that Christopher Robin Jr. wasn't kidnapped, but a child who was granted custody to his mother. The owner of the Purple Heart House was devastated that he only won visitation rights, and made the home his shrine to "Father's Rights." I figured he must really love his son.

Family Court described as "Parental Alienation and Guaranteed Hell"
Like any inquiring mind, I Googled it. The Purple Heart House website started innocently enough, but as I scrolled down the page, the sentimental father became increasingly strange and paranoid. He made his son paint the exterior of his mansion black with him when he was just a little boy, calling it "The Black Castle." The word "Justice?" was painted in giant white letters. Probably the strangest part of the website was a link to The Cock Robin is Back - the Cock Robin site featured some links that didn't work, but scroll down and you will read the most  fragmented and absurd ramblings.The same way the Purple Heart House becomes stranger and stranger as you pull back from the wall and see the entire house covered in hearts with angry scratchings and printed mailed-in submissions from other dejected fathers.

This of course brings me back to the son, Christopher Robin Jr. Not only does he have to deal with an acrimonious divorce, and a father with mental illness that publishes horrible things about the people who raised him, he was to live with the fact that his father's own life is dedicated to anguish over him. That had to be pretty hard. His father is a nameless man of means, living in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills. His name is no doubt Christopher Robin Sr. - but the name is too common for me to find out anything about him. His online identity is elusive, and nothing is known of his life. But whoever he is, I hope he gets help and finds happiness.


Not your average walk

Happy haunting? It's July. What's going on in there?
I tend to give L.A. a hard time, but it's more than the weather than makes up for it. Mountains spring up all over the city; Mother Nature's big "F*** you" to freeways and hideous housing developments. 

cherry blossoms and Korean "polka dot" grass
Because of this, we can take walks in the hills, which means a better workout, breathtaking views and an end to the boring. Save for the geriatric wholesomeness of Beverly Hills, elevation comes with a real personality in this town. The hills are everywhere. The hills are alive. For those who feel depressed when surrounded by ugly tract housing, get out and go up.

Signs reading "Fight the Blight" and "Dogs Not Dozers" are a rallying cry to save La Rocha trail from developers

hacienda hideaway

A generous neighbor gave this lofty perch a bench, with views to the sea

man vs. nature