Presented for your perusal are a quick look at a handful of places that I enjoy located in and around the greater Los Angeles area. They’re locations are pretty well spread out, so I would recommend devoting a day to each one or at least taking a moment to stop by should you find yourself in the area.
Porto’s Bakery, at 3614 West Magnolia Blvd. in Glendale (one of three locations–the others are in Burbank and Downey) is one of my absolute favorite bakeries in all of the Los Angeles area. I first had my taste of Porto’s while visiting a friend of mine. His grandfather would come over on Sundays and bring pastries from Porto’s for the family each week. I happened to be there one Sunday afternned and was offered some. From that point on, I was hooked. The pastries are amazing and fresh. I have never been disappointed by anything I have had from here. People familiar with Porto’s rave about it. When I was working in Burbank, the mention that someone was going to make a Porto’s run always set the office into an excited stir.
Aside from dessert pastries, they also have a full service café with breakfast and lunch with a menu that includes a variety of soups, sandwiches and empanadas. I had the opportunity to visit the Glendale location during a weekend lunch and the place was packed. The line was quite long and the wait for a table was even longer. It’s not that Porto’s didn’t provide ample space for customers–the location is quite spacious with plentiful seating both indoors and out, however due to their popularity, coming here for lunch can turn into an adventure.
Approaching the counter is a display case full of ready-made pastries. There is a menu to order lunch plates and made-to-order items. You’ll be served the ready-to-eat pastries and given a number if you ordered anything else that may need to be prepared. You’ll either stand in a pick-up line and wait for your order or find a seat and wait for it to be served to you. During heavily crowded times, you’ll have to keep your eye out for a table and convince another member of your party to be the scout and leave the line, designating them your official table hunter. For a quick snack or a light meal, Porto’s quality is hard to beat.
2. Independent Record Store(s):
It’s a tie between Rhino Records at 235 Yale Ave. in Claremont and Lovell’s located at 6719 Greenleaf Ave. in Whittier. Both offer incredible selections of music and are each well organized. The staff at both stores are knowledgeable and friendly and both offer an amazing selection of mainstream and underground and up-and-coming artists on both CD and vinyl. I enjoy my visits to both, but Lovell’s has a much larger selection of vinyl at extremely affordable prices. You can load up on 45s for a quarter a piece–many in excellent condition with the original sleeves!
Lovell’s has a rather plain interior, but it is here that you’ll find a multitude of musical treasures among shelves and wooden boxes filled with CDs, vinyl records, and cassette tapes.
Rhino is a bit more mainstream (in my opinion), and it shows in the store’s layout and interior decor. While there are a good variety of musical material to be found here, there is also a lot of random items sold as well. Along the walls and within the aisles are miscellaneous trinkets, games, books, greeting cards, toys, and other novelty items. Because of this, I tend to do more browsing rather than buying compared to Lovell’s, which is basically music, music, and more music–and that’s it.
3. Used Bookstore:
Movie World located at 212 N San Fernando Blvd. in Burbank offers an enormous selection of used books at affordable prices. Being that it is in Burbank, a large selection of the store is dedicated to movie memorabilia such as scripts, photos and press kits from television shows and movies.
I discovered this store while walking down San Fernando during a lunch break from a job I had near Downtown Burbank. I had passed this place a couple of times, not really thinking much of it other than it being a typical discount used book store.
Once I got passed the used children’s books set up outside (something that initially deterred me from entering), I was floored by what this store had to offer. Inside were a maze of shelves leading deep into the store. A wide category of books were spread throughout but the movie and television section was unlike most any other collections, at similar stores in the area, I had ever seen.
There were celebrity photos (some autographed), rare press kits for movies and television shows, stacks upon stacks of scripts and screenplays–a total treasure trove for collectors. My visit made for what seemed like the fastest hour lunch break I had ever had. I made it a point to visit at least once a week and picked up a few scripts from television shows I enjoyed from my childhood.
4. Antique Store:
Unlike a majority of antiques stores and antiques districts that are only open on select days, King Richard’s Antique Center in Whittier at 12301 Whittier Blvd. is open 7 days a week. Every visit here has been intriguing. You’ll find just about anything here from collectible pins all the way up to entire vintage cars. There are several levels to explore and I guarantee you will stumble upon a number of items of pure nostalgia here.
I’m not really into antique furniture, so thankfully this place offers much more than that in terms of vintage goods. Some might see the selection as hand-picked vintage junk, but I see it as hand-picked vintage treasures, thoughtfully grouped and showcased.
Of particular interest to me were the vintage board games, children’s toys, magazines, pins, posters, street signs, and soft-drink memorabilia which included: bottles, cans, signs, and full-sized vending machines.
5. Nerdy Collectibles:
I’m a bit of a nerd. I’ll admit it–So I’m in love with this place! Frank & Sons Collectibles Show at 19649 San Jose Ave. in the City of Industry is a nerd’s paradise. Housed in a giant warehouse, you’ll find aisles upon aisles of venders selling comic books, Disney pins, classic video games, swords, and other science fiction and comic book related gear. If you want to go old-school, pull up a chair in the middle of the place and battle against others in a game of Magic–not something I would do, but there’s always a large crowd! Check their website for events, autograph opportunities, and current hours of operation.
Expect a long walk or taking a chance on adjacent parking lots at other businesses near by. Despite the very large parking lots (there are two), parking can be a hassle during almost every visit. Carpool with some friends or have someone else drive who has patience and persistence and a keen eye for parking spots. Frank & Sons is only open on Wednesday nights and Saturday afternoons, but during the holiday shopping season, hours and days expand and finding parking becomes an even bigger challenge than usual–prepare yourself. It’s worth it though, and if you enjoy the types of things listed earlier, you’ll easily spend a couple of hours here.