Wilshire Vista: Eat great food while your car gets fixed

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Roscoe’s Chicken ‘n Waffles on Pico Blvd.

Mr. Mayor, in my neighborhood here in Mid-City — Wilshire Vista — we have an active neighborhood association, and our president sends out regular notices informing us about residents who’ve opened new stores or are offering rooms for rent. We have an annual Halloween Haunt for the kids, and we have mixers now and then for the adults.

Okay, all that “Leave it to Beaver” stuff is fine, but here are the real reasons my part of Mid-City is a good place to live.

I believe we’ve achieved a Zen balance between diners and auto repair establishments. I’m not being ironic here. My dad was a working mechanic, and back in the days of carburetors, I was a bit of a shade tree mechanic. As far as I’m concerned, I’m down with auto repair and body shops. In fact there’s one at the corner of my street. Having experienced these shops for the outer and inner needs of the various vehicles our family has utilized over the years – including currently a late model Prius and a ’92 Cadillac El Dorado — I’ve received good service and have not been unreasonably charged.

The diners? You can walk the gamut of eateries we have along Pico Boulevard. There’s CJ’s, where young parents dine, old timers hang out, and Water and Power workers get an early breakfast before their shifts start. I’m partial to their catfish and eggs breakfast with grits and fresh-squeezed orange juice, among a variety of juices freshly made with their industrial strength juicer. Just a few blocks west of CJ’s is Bloom Café for the more trendy, diet-conscious set. They serve up the likes of vegetarian chili and beet and goat cheese salad. Further west, in the Pico-Robertson area, where the old Coco’s was, is now a kosher steak joint called Bocca.

Back to the east near CJ’s is La Maison du Pan, where they make a killer chocolate croissant. At Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, people line up on the sidewalk on Sundays. There’s also Oki’s Dog, home of the heart stopping Oki Dog burrito (hot dogs, chili, pickles, mustard, cheese, and pastrami). I would be remiss not also to mention the doughy goodness available from Magee’s Donuts in a little strip mall on the northeast corner of La Brea and San Vicente.

I know you stay in shape, so I’d be happy to take you out of but close to the area, to my gym, the L.A. Fitness on La Cienega housed in the converted Montgomery Ward, to work off those heavy meals. For upkeep on your new abode, consider that we also have two well-stocked hardware establishments, an Orchard Supply Hardware and a newer Lowe’s Home Improvement Center in what’s now called the Midtown Crossing near the Midtown Shopping Center, where’s there’s a remodeled Ralph’s and the aforementioned OSH. As you know, Mr. Mayor, there was a lot of wrangling as to what was going to replace the long-gone Sears, originally opened in 1936 and closed in the ’90s.

Me, I love to wander around the cavernous Lowe’s even if I’m just there to get a new handle for the toilet. I spend time gazing at cool tools I’ll never use and weigh, yet again, the prospects of how much work it would take to re-paint the interior of our house if my wife and I did the work. Then I dismiss such over-ambitious notions once I’ve exited the building…but I’ll return.

We got you covered in Wilshire Vista.

In addition to blogging regularly on Dr. Pop, Gary Phillips’ latest efforts are The Essex Man, an ebook action-adventure novella homage to ’70s era paperback vigilantes, and co-editing and contributing to the anthology Black Pulp. He wrote this for Zócalo Public Square. You can find more here.