Downton Los Angeles

Confession: when I first heard of Downton Abbey, I thought it was called Downtown Abbey. But then I took a closer look at my Facebook feed where everyone and their mother was talking about this show and I realized two things: my speed-reading technique is apparently prone to adding imaginary letters, and Downton is a very fun word to say.

Last Sunday afternoon I drove to Downton Downtown LA with my friends Kelley and Irving. We had tickets to see American Idiot at the Ahmanson Theatre later that evening, but we allowed extra time for a photo excursion before the musical. Armed with our DSLRs, we wandered around the Music Center (home to the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion) and then across the street to marvel at the architectural wonder that is the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

First up: the Music Center.




Then over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by Frank Gehry.


This building was completed about two years before I moved to Los Angeles, so to me it feels like it’s always been there. But it was actually under construction from 1992 to 2003. It cost a staggering $274 million, which is significantly higher than original projections (the parking garage alone is $110 million). Thanks to Wikipedia for the details.


Then we snuck around the back of the building…



We encountered a tour in progress; they are offered six days a week and you can find out more info here.


Check out those lines:


And the photo shoot commences!




Shortly after the Walt Disney Concert Hall was unveiled to the public, its neighbors began to complain about the intense glare reflecting off of the building. The fix was to add dull panels over the shiny ones. You can really see the difference it makes in this photo:


A glimpse inside the building (not the main concert hall, just another performance area):


We continued our way around the back of the building.



This fountain was made of Delft pottery, a favorite of mine ever since my study abroad experience in the Netherlands.







Off to see the show!



American Idiot is about what I expected: high energy performances, great use of the stage, very little plot, underdeveloped female characters, could have been two songs shorter, and an awesome encore. If I had been more of a Green Day fan, I probably would have loved it. Regardless, I still liked it.

After the show we capped the evening off with a meal at one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles: Bottega Louie. If you have not yet experienced its frenetic bustle, outstanding Italian cuisine, and out-of-this-world decadent desserts, it deserves a place on your “must eat” list.

We drooled over the sweets while waiting for a table.




After tearing ourselves away from the desserts, we settled in for dinner and drinks. Regarding beverages, may I recommend the Green Tea Mojito? It’s a non-alcoholic drink masquerading as a delicious cocktail, which was perfect for my pregnant friend Kelley. I’d also like to single out the portobello fries, which I’ve ordered every. single. time. I’ve eaten at this establishment. For our main meals, we enjoyed salad, pasta, and a burger.


When our server offered us dessert, we were just too full and reluctantly had to decline. But that just gives us a reason to return to downton downtown LA, pronto.

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