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Summertime Blooms at the Echo Park Lotus Festival

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Lotuses in Bloom – Photo Credit: Theeastsiderla.com

In addition to colorful murals and a renowned culinary scene, Echo Park, Los Angeles hosts an annual celebration of Filipino and pan-Asian culture and community.

Looking for more information on Echo Park? Check out our post about the Lady of the Lake!

The Echo Park Lotus Festival takes place every year in July, when the lotus plants on the north side of the park adorn themselves with delicate pink and white flowers. The pond at Echo Park holds the largest lotus bed in the United States, and the annual display is breathtaking. The festival has been an annual tradition for more than three decades, apart from a three-year hiatus when the park was closed down and the pond drained for a multimillion-dollar renovation.

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Tori Gate Decorations in Echo Park – Photo Credit: The eastsiderla.com

During the festival, red Tori-gate style decorations are installed over Echo Park’s arching bridges, along with white pavilions to protect festivalgoers from the blazing July heat. Crowds typically spill out onto the surrounding streets, and the events at the festival are designed for strolling, sampling, and freeform enjoyment.

Since its revival in 2014, the festival has expanded to include dragon boat races, traditional dance performances, martial arts demonstrations, and more. The festival’s focus is on Asian traditional arts and cultural events, but the summer festival includes a diverse mix of live music and food vendors, and the summer schedule means that it’s always a popular draw for all of Los Angeles. Although it is slightly smaller post-hiatus, the Lotus Festival is still one of Los Angeles’ largest outdoor events.

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Dragon Boat Races – Photo Credit: Lacitypix.wordpress.com

The all-day festival offers free admission and entertainment, but the many craft and food vendor stalls price their merchandise individually. Hungry visitors can find sit-down meals as well as handheld goodies like tacos, bibimbap, or mochi ice cream.  The dragon-boat races on the first day are among the most popular events, as teams race across the pond in boats with painted dragon figureheads and tails.

Each year, the festival organizers choose a theme – for 2016’s festival, for example, the festival honored Korea, with traditional dance performances and special attention to traditional Korean music and crafts. The perennial lineup ranges from Hawaiian and Tahitian dance performances to Taiko drummers to mainstream fare like jazz, rock and roll, and R&B. Entertainment runs from noon until late summer nightfall each day of the event, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy a range of performances, demonstrations, and dining.

If you’re looking for a summer celebration full of music, art, and delicious treats, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for at the Echo Park Lotus Festival!

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise. Call us to schedule a consultation today!

Echo Park’s Lady of the Lake

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Photo Credit: Kcet.org

Echo Park, LA is home to an impressive number of architectural and historical landmarks – including the Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue, the Pueblo-Style Atwater Bungalows, or Frank Lloyd Wright’s art-deco tribute to Mayan temple architecture, the Ennis House.

The Ennis House isn’t the only art-deco-inspired monument in Echo Park. The recently-renovated Lady of the Lake statue welcomes visitors to Echo Park Lake. Her official name is “Nuesta Reina de Los Angeles,” which translates to, “Our Queen of the Angels,” but locals tend to know her by her Arthurian nickname. In this post, we’ll tell you all about the history of this majestic sculpture.

Our story begins in 1934, when the Works Projects Administration, or WPA, commissioned a public statue for the city of Los Angeles. The WPA’s public arts division was designed to fund public projects by deserving artists who struggled to make ends meet during the depression – and also to assist in the creation of art works that would inspire everyday people. Many WPA mural and sculpture projects still survive. The WPA employed over 10,000 artists in total, including superstars like Diego Rivera and Willem de Kooning.

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Ada May Sharpless with the Lady of the Lake – Photo Credit: Lit250v.library.ucla.edu

Artist and sculptor Ada May Sharpless won the WPA commission for the Lady of the Lake, and she set out to create a monument that would capture both the history and unique cultural traditions of the Los Angeles area as well as a spirit of progress and modernity.

Ada May Sharpless grew up in Santa Ana, California, and developed an interest in painting and sculpture early on. She graduated from USC in 1922, and went on to study sculpture at the Otis Institute of Art and Design. She continued her exploration of form and design in Paris, where she studied with influential art deco sculptor Antoine Bourdelle. Sharpless created several other public sculptures in the Southern California area, including a full-length stone sculpture of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo for her hometown of Santa Ana.

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Photo Credit: Kcet.org

Sharpless’ work, like that of other art deco sculptors, is characterized by clean lines and stylized forms. Their work also called back to ancient sculpture traditions that emphasized the human form, including statues of Greek athletes and bas-relief friezes on Egyptian temples. Her “Queen of the Angels” was meant to synthesize these diverse influences into a seamless whole, a sculpture that was monumental, accessible, familiar, and innovative all at the same time.

The Lady of the Lake was installed in 1935, but the statue fell into neglect along with the park. Fingers broken, covered with graffiti, she was placed in storage in 1986, but restored in the late 1990s and returned to a renewed Echo Park Lake. Today the regal statue gazes down on visitors as they approach the park from the peninsula, with the water providing a dramatic backdrop. If you’d like to visit Echo Park’s own guardian naiad, you can find her welcoming visitors at the north end of the park.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise. Call us to schedule a consultation today!

Top Eateries in Echo Park

One of the greatest aspects of living in Los Angeles is the easy access to amazing dining and food options. Food from all over the world can be found in the city, and you’ll never be bored with the food in Echo Park. Here are some recommendations for your next night out.

Elf Cafe

The Elf Cafe is a vegetarian eatery that offers local, organic food that is grown sustainably and is cooked with clean water. You know you won’t be consuming any GMOs at this restaurant. Open from Monday to Saturday for dinner, the Elf Cafe recommends making a reservation ahead of time due to the small size of the space.

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Photo Credit: https://www.timeout.com/los-angeles/restaurants/elf-cafe

Dinner items include Tahini Avocado Puree with Housemade Pita, Soft Polenta with Kale Purree and Lemon Yogurt, Smoked Market Vegetable Fattoush with Herbed Tahini Dressing, House Flatbread Shawarma, House Pasta Bolognese, House Risotto, and more.

2135 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Two Boots

Downtown Los Angeles isn’t the only Two Boots location; you can enjoy creative pizza dishes in Echo Park as well. Two Boots, originally created by Phil Hartman, Doris Kornish, and John Touhey, features a fusion of Cajun flavors from Louisiana alongside traditional Italian cuisine. You can order pizza by the slice (depending upon what’s available when you come in), or you can order whole pies. Two Boots is famous for their incredible flavor combinations and for their fun pizza names. Examples include the Earth Mother, a vegan pizza containing vegetables on a whole wheat Sicilian crust. The pizza pays homage to Bette Midler who, with the organization NY Resotration Project, saved the gardens of the Lower East Side. The Bayou Beast is covered in spiced shrimp, andouille, crawfish, mozzarella and jalapenos; the Royal Tenebaum (paying homage to actor Gene Hackman in Wes Anderson’s film The Royal Tenebaums) features double-smoked bacon with red onions, blue cheese, and roasted tomato pesto on a white pie; and The Dude (a Cajun bacon cheeseburger pizza) celebrates Jeff Bridge’s classic role in The Big Lebowski. In addition to serving delicious food, Two Boots also supports schools, social services, and arts organizations.

1818 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Park

Are you looking for a simple, moderately priced, neighborhood eatery? The Park is the place for you. This restaurant offers American cuisine crafted with ethnic influences. Chef Josh calls it, “a place to relax, get nourished, and hang out with your neighbors.”

Come in at any time of day. Try starting your morning with the Vegan Breakfast Burrito, the Pork Belly Steak & Eggs, the Monte Cristo Sandwich, or the Traditional French Toast. For your mid-day meal, come by for a sandwich – some examples are the Curry Chicken, El Parque Torta, Fried Shrimp Po’Boy, or the Tofu Banh Mi. In the evening, taste the Spicy Truffle Habanero Garlic Fries, the Pumpkin Steak, the Lamb Gyro, Duck 3 Ways, or the classic Park Burger. Don’t forget, The Park also offers brunch, happy hour, and a selection of wine and beer.

1400 Sunset Blvd, Echo Park, CA 90025

Masa Bakery & Cafe

Rob Rowe and Rhonda Reynold started Masa of Echo Park, a bakery and cafe that specializes in a mixture of American, Italian, Cuban, and French cuisine. The most popular item is a great example – the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza made with a cornmeal crust. (The word masa refers to cornmeal dough.) The items are baked in a revolving oven, in use since the 1930s. While at Masa, enjoy the pizza, potato soup, panini sandwiches, burgers, penne pasta, gnocchi, lasagna, and more. If you have a sweet-tooth, try the Warm Croissant Bread Pudding. They even make heart-shaped pies, which you may want to check out for Valentine’s Day.

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Photo Credit: http://archives.quarrygirl.com/category/la-restaurants/masa-of-echo-park/

Masa’s menu includes vegan options, and the restaurant is involved in community activism, including pet adoption and efforts to be green. You can order takeout or delivery (through DoorDash).

1800 West Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

We hope you and your taste buds enjoy these recommendations for the best eateries in Echo Park!

If you are interested in learning more about Echo Park and other areas of Los Angeles, visit Real Estate Unlimited. We are a real estate agency with experience in Echo Park, Elysian Park, Silver Lake, Mt. Washington, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and more. Contact us for a consultation; we are happy to share our knowledge of Southern California and help you with buying or selling your home.

The Atwater Bungalows – Hopi-Style Architecture in the Heart of Echo Park

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Photo Credit: Latimes.com

Among the many types of property for sale in Echo Park are buildings with strong architectural and historical interest – for example, the Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue or Frank Lloyd Wright’s futuristic tribute to Mayan temple architecture, the Ennis House.

Today we’ll take a look at the Atwater Bungalows, Pueblo-style buildings that lend their unique architectural flair to Echo Park’s eclectic roster of historic buildings.

The Atwater Bungalows were built in the early 1930s, commissioned by Dr. H. Gale Atwater, an early Echo Park luminary who built several Pueblo-style buildings on Avon Terrace. The Atwater Bungalows were designed by Robert Stacy-Judd, the architect who designed the flamboyant Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, California. The details of the original commission brief are lost to time, but it’s likely that Atwater was enchanted by the Aztec’s majestic design and innovative use of materials.

This period in American architecture was characterized by bold experimentation, and many architects became fascinated with traditional construction techniques and natural materials. Adobe, which comes from a Spanish term that means “mudbrick,” is one of the earliest building construction techniques known to humankind. Adobe construction is common to large parts of North, Central, and South America, but it can also be seen in traditional village complexes in Mali and cottages in Ireland.

Generally, adobe buildings start with bricks made out of earth and a binding material like corn husks and straw. The bricks are stuck together and covered with a thick coating of adobe mud that gives adobe structures their characteristic smooth, rounded textures. Traditional adobe buildings incorporate rough-hewn log beams that are considered a signature element of Mission-style design, and modern adobe specialists have begun to use steel to create an extra-durable interior structure.

Adobe buildings were extremely common California during the Spanish Mission period, in part because mud bricks were easy to manufacture in the warm dry climate, and in part because thick adobe walls promised insulation from the scorching desert sun. Adobe churches and colonial administration buildings can still be seen in California, from as far north as Sonoma to as far south as San Diego. Adobe architecture enjoyed a resurgence in Southern California when the Golden State became famous as the home of Golden-Era Hollywood. A generation after the Atwater Bungalows were completed, Pueblo-style stucco homes would proliferate in California’s expanding postwar suburbs.

Today, adobe is popular both because of its unique texture and shape and because it provides a green air-conditioning alternative to homeowners looking to protect the environment. Since adobe is versatile – it can be used to create many different textures and ornaments, almost like buttercream icing on a cake – contemporary architects in Southern California are exploring creative variations on traditional Mission- and Pueblo-style designs.

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Photo Credit: Latimes.com

As an early experiment in modern adobe construction, the Atwater Bungalows combine architectural innovation with revivalist anachronism. Built from dense unfinished adobe that gives the exterior a rustic appearance, the bungalows are ornamented with pueblo-style windows, staircases, and cone-shaped chimneys. Aqua and orange trim creates a lively contrast with the dun-colored adobe surface.

Stacy-Judd’s creations tended towards the fantastical, and the Atwater Bungalows are meant to capture the spirit rather than the historical reality of the traditional Hopi kivas that inspired his design. He took a fanciful approach to finances, too, and the bungalows were finished “way over budget,” according to Atwater’s grandson.

Although the Atwater Bungalows are a familiar landmark to local residents, they’ve never attracted as much interest or activity as the Ennis House or the Victorian homes on Carroll Avenue, and they’ve never appeared in a movie or music video. Despite their relative obscurity, their imaginative construction and inspired design make them an iconic addition to the Echo Park neighborhood.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise.  Call us to schedule a consultation today! 

Inventive Cuisine in Echo Park

Echo Park is an up-and-comer in the residential real estate market, and Echo Park real estate agencies are seeing increased interest from a new market niche. The neighborhood has long been renowned for its excellent schools, luxurious parks, exciting nightlife, and thriving business community, but it’s becoming extremely attractive to younger real-estate clients looking to establish a foothold in the Los Angeles area’s competitive market.

California culture has always been foodie culture, enriched by a diverse mix of cultural influences and extraordinary agricultural bounty. Echo Park shares this long Los Angeles tradition of delicious and innovative cuisine, and new eateries are springing up to satisfy demand by younger, hipper residents. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most unique culinary options in the Echo Park neighborhood.

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The Park’s Finest – Photo Credit: Filamcreative.wordpress.com

The Park’s Finest

The Park’s Finest opened in 2009. The house specialty is barbecue, but not the sticky Southern delicacy you might be familiar with. In keeping with Echo Park’s historic Filipino presence, this fusion restaurant serves creative twists on traditional Filipino recipes like slow-cooked coconut brisket and cornbread bibingka, a down home riff on the coconut- and palm-leaf rice flour pastries that are customary fare in the Philippines. The relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere makes The Park’s Finest the perfect setting for a hearty dinner with friends.

Sage Vegan Bistro

SoCal has a not-entirely-undeserved reputation as a mecca for health nuts, and as a consequence the Los Angeles area is home to an incredible selection of vegan, vegetarian, raw-cuisine, and organic dining options. Sage is a local standout, combining piquant flavor combinations with a wide range of exotic ingredients. Jackfruit is a kitchen favorite, showing up in everything from tacos to salads. If you’re in the mood for comfort food, Sage’s inspired sandwich menu also includes veggie versions of hearty American classics like the tuna melt and the po’boy.

Masa of Echo Park Bakery and Café

Masa is a family pizzeria with a twist: a large portion of their deep-dish options are designed to be vegetarian-friendly. Meat-lovers can stick with the savory sausage pizza or the Masa meatball sandwich. Be sure to save room for the bread pudding: chocolate, almond, and butter croissants soaked in vanilla custard, drizzled with a homemade caramel sauce, and baked until toasty.

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Dinette – Photo Credit: Lahomegirl.com

Dinette

Speaking of succulent pastries, if you love delicate viennoiserie you’ll love Dinette! This pastry-centric café is the pet project of Café Stella’s Gareth Kanter, serving up a dazzling array of sweet and savory pastries, including a bacon-and-leek miniature quiche and a juicy pear tart. Whether you’re in the mood for a leisurely afternoon lunch or a quick morning pick-me-up, Dinette can offer you something uniquely delicious. Their veggie-friendly menu also includes quinoa bowls, artisan coffees, and the Golden State’s customary avocado toast.

Takuma’s Burgers

If you’re in the mood for a calorie splurge, try one of Takuma’s juicy hamburgers in this down-to-earth haven for carnovores. Each comes with a fresh mix of toppings like spicy arugula and sautéed mushrooms, and you can up the calorie ante with a side of golden mozzarella sticks or crispy waffle fries.  Stop by Takuma’s for a late-night meal after a night out on the town, or order some hot sake to accompany your burger.

The Park

Don’t be fooled by the casual atmosphere at The Park – this café-restaurant serves up a first-class menu. Each dish emphasizes creative blends of tastes and textures, from the scallion pancake with toasted nori and micro shiso to the vegetarian pumpkin steak with pomegranate glaze and pumpkin seed brittle.  Many ingredients will be familiar to connoisseurs of California cuisine, including exotic components like quinoa, nori, and truffle oil, but The Park stands out for offerings that blend these foods in new and memorable ways.

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Valerie Echo Park – Photo Credit: Latimes.com

Valerie Echo Park

Valerie Gordon has a flagship location in DTLA, but her Echo Park café is focused on flavors that harmonize with teas. In addition to a premium selection of hand-blended teas like an orange, bay leaf, and black pepper infusion and fennel blossom and tarragon brew, Valerie Echo Park also serves up the perfect accompaniments. Sample tea sandwiches like classic cucumber, tangy pickled asparagus, or smooth smoked salmon. If you’re in the mood to experiment, you can try tea-infused concoctions like the lapsang-souchong tartine, the jasmine panna cotta, or the Earl Grey and matcha petit fours.  A welcoming patio is the perfect place for an al fresco lunch.  If you’ve got a sweet tooth, finish off your meal with a tasting menu of Valerie’s famous chocolates.

Echo Park has always been home to a rich mix of creative enterprise, just one reason properties in Echo Park are in demand. If you’re interested in visiting this vibrant Los Angeles neighborhood, be sure to check out one of these inventive eateries, so you can get a taste of the variety of culinary experiences on offer in this beautiful urban oasis.

Real Estate Unlimited is a real-estate company dedicated to representing clients in Echo Park and other historic neighborhoods throughout the Los Angeles area. We pride ourselves on our in-depth knowledge of the Los Angeles area, and we’re glad to give our clients the benefit of our local expertise.  Call us to schedule a consultation today! 

Carroll Avenue in Echo Park

Carroll Avenue near Echo Park is one of the most famous streets in the country, having been immortalized through television and film due to its beauty. The street is the location of some of the oldest houses in the city of Los Angeles, including 19th century Victorian designs. As one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, it was listed in 1976 in the National Register of Historic Places.

As you visit Los Angeles, look for the historical marker on Carroll Avenue while you search for homes from your favorite Hollywood productions. The sign reads, “Highest Concentration of Victorian Era Residences” and lists the Cultural Heritage Board Monuments numbers associated with the historical structures. Here you’ll see architecture that playfully mixes Victorian styles with Japanese and Scottish styles of decor.

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Photo Credit: http://media6.trover.com/T/4fb1180d09c86b093c000014/fixedw_large_2x.jpg

You’ll recognize 1345 Carroll Avenue as the home filmed in the music video Thriller, starring legend Michael Jackson and movie star Vincent Price. John Landis directed the music video in 1983. Rewatch the video and see if you can spot the same house!

Next, if you’re a fan of Adam Sandler, you won’t want to miss 1324 Carroll Avenue, which was featured as Grandma Lily’s home in Grandma’s Boy. Sandler was an executive producer on this 2006 comedy; the film stars Allen Covert as Alex, a video game tester who moves in with his grandmother after his roommate fails to make rent. Nicholaus Goossen directed the film, and Nick Swardson and Covert co-wrote the script about Alex’s wacky dilemmas as he works on his own original video game.

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Photo Credit: https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-pxJPKwYOWwo/TXc-_JNiR9I/AAAAAAAAAfo/9cGy4M5KVLo/s1600/labeled+houses.jpg

Remember the magical television show Charmed about the three enchanted Halliwell sisters? They lived together in their mother’s home, Halliwell Manor, the exterior of which was actually filmed at the location of 1329 Carroll Avenue. This house is also known as the Innes House, previously occupied by Daniel Innes and built in 1887. The home evokes the Victorian style popular in Los Angeles, the structure spans 2,900 square feet (including 5 bedrooms, and one bath). Don’t be fooled by the storyline of the TV show, which is set in San Francisco.

Many of the beautiful homes in Los Angeles are located in Echo Park, and the neighborhood is home to many well-loved Hollywood celebrities. Near Echo Park you will find Downtown Los Angeles, Chinatown, Silver Lake, and the Elysian Valley. Visit Echo Park to enjoy the excellent dining and nightlife options, enjoy a game at Dodger Stadium, fish in the city and experience the lotus garden at Echo Park Lake, and explore the biking and hiking trails of Elysian Park.

Other sights to visit in Echo Park include:

-Echo Park Time Travel Mart

-The Echo and The Echoplex

-Chavez Ravine Arboretum

-Baxter Street Stairs

Are you excited to learn more about the neighborhood of Echo Park and homes in the historic areas of Los Angeles? Feel free to contact our experienced team at Real Estate Unlimited for a consultation. We are knowledgeable on the history of and the properties in Los Angeles, and we are happy to share our listings of homes in Southern California.