Interview with LA-ist, Dee Ann Quinones
By MARLENE L.
Illustrations by BURTON B.
Tell us about yourself and how you decided to relocate to LA after all the places you have travelled?
I'm from Ohio originally and I moved to LA with the intention of living there for the rest of my life. (I hate the cold!) I had the good fortune to work for some amazing people in LA and this motivated me to perfect my craft in cocktails. I travelled to London and lived there for 2 years and had an amazing time, and the cocktail scene is marvellous in London. After London, I lived in NYC for a couple of years which was also an impressive experience. Coming back to LA was always my intention, so it felt like a natural move after NY.
What was your latest adventure?
I just spent a month in Africa. I travelled from Cape Town up through Namibia, Botswana and finally to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Wonderful and memorable trip!
What advice would you give to experience the real LA like a local? A great place you know, including side trip?
My ultimate tip is to have a local that can guide you. LA is much better with friends in my opinion, not to say you can’t experience the best of LA as a solo traveller. This is a city where the experiences are much better shared.
I would say, downtown and the arts district is a must, my newest fav in LA. It is an district that is just so inspiring and creative and it’s challenging not to find something to enthuse and excite. The main draw in DTLA is Olvera street located in the oldest district of the city, with a colourful Mexican marketplace, it is just a cute little area to peruse and see how Mexican culture seamlessly resided in LA. Union station and the DTLA Library are also a must see, the buildings and the Spanish décor is simply stunning, great for photographers.
Also, Downtown LA is becoming the area to experience a lot of great bars and restaurants. I love Petty Cash (illustrated above) for Mexican food and Mezcal, or basically any taco truck.
In Hollywood, one of my favourite dive bars is called ‘The Woods’, it is a super divey bar that has comfortable atmosphere, woody interior, the staff are chill and it is a great place to hang out at the bar until late. I just like that kind of little divey bar. The cool factor is that it is hidden in a strip mall.
In regards to favourite side trips, LA has some wonderful getaways that are easy to access that make staycations easy. Catalina Island is great to spend a day and enjoy the pristine water on a boat ride or do some snorkelling and diving. The wine lovers can take a trip to Ojai, the hippie hangout with a stunning vineyard 'The Ojai' or drive to Solvang a couple of hours away and feel like you are in a little Dutch town. Even going from the east side from Hollywood to Santa Monica and vice versa can seem like a world away.
Your most invigorating experience in LA?
Truly, there are too many to mention. It's about those moments in LA where you just think to yourself, how did I get here?
Publisher’s note: another edition of Hip in LA will be published in the upcoming months with a full break down of my favourite experiences through my five senses. In the meantime, I would say the most invigorating experience in LA for me was horse riding in the hills, it was so beautiful and scary at the same time. Beautiful as I had a 360 view of the Los Angeles skyline, from downtown to the sea side and scary as my horse was keen on walking on the very hedge of the cliff, and he was a stubborn one!
Guide us through LA with one of your senses.
Sight is the key sense to use when navigating through LA. The first thing you notice when you arrive is the sun. We have the best weather! (bonus if it is clear outside!) Secondly, you'll notice the Palm trees that line the streets alongside the vibrant colours splashed all over the city. The neighbourhoods are so expanse that when you’re driving you see the landscape constantly changing.
If you could make up a 6th sense for LA, what would it be? For instance, for London we recommend to use common sense...
Ha ha good one. A 6th sense in LA would be "surrealism", LA is such a hub for creativity but also one of conformity. It is the epicentre of the movie, TV and media world, which means some of the most brilliant and creative minds live there. You'll can see the biggest anomalies, multiple times in one day. You regularly need to do double takes as you don’t know if what you’re looking at is real or a scene from a movie or TV stunt. It's eclectic and unexpected, polished yet unrefined.