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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Stripped in L.A.

(Flickr pic by Fridayinla.)

The L.A. Times' Thursday "The Guide" section takes a look this week at the hidden treasures of L.A.'s strip mall culture:

Strip malls are a side effect of car culture, after all. But despite their questionable reputations (a blight on the cityscape, say some; Dante's circles of hell, say others), our strip malls hold countless local gems, including gourmet restaurants, music venues, nightclubs and trendy shops.

A few strip mall restaurant faves, according to the paper: Alegria (3510 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake), El Cochinito (3508 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake), Hollywood Thai (5241 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood), La Taquiza (3009 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles), Lempira (4848 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz), Lou (724 N. Vine St., Hollywood), Mashti Malone's Ice Cream (1525 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood), Pho Cafe (2841 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake), Saito's Sushi (4339 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake), Zankou Chicken (5065 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood).

Beverly Hills' 1920s-era Clock Market -- which has long since been turned into a car dealership -- is considered the area's first strip mall. As the story notes, the mini-mall phenomenon really took off int the 1980s, when they sprouted up everywhere.

I also blame the strip mall phenomenon for inspiring the current media trend toward combining celebrity couple names. Think about it: Long before Us Weekly began referring to "Bennifer" or "Brangelina," strip mall developers were merging street names to lazily name their properties. Santa Monica and Fairfax? Hmmm... how about the "Santa Fair Plaza"!

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