Monday, January 10, 2011


One can only take so much of an academic conference, and besides, we were hungry and the 3:00 session didn't look all that great, so Elizabeth and I took off to find lunch (or lunner or dunch or whatever you call a mid-afternoon meal).  The sushi restaurant we targeted first was closed, so we wandered around until we found Wolfgang Puck's Bar and Grill in Nokia Plaza.  It had some nice outdoor seating and an interesting menu.  We opted for salads:
and a prosciutto pizza:

After eating we still had a bit of time, and since neither of us had ever been in this particular Los Angeles location before, and since I had a new Droid phone with picture taking features I had not yet tried out, we played Tourist for a bit.  Nokia Plaza is part of the L.A. Live development, an entertainment complex in downtown L.A. next to the Staples Center and Convention Center.  Completed in phases over the last five years at a cost of about $2.4 billion, it includes an open-air plaza with giant LED screens (much like New York's Times Square), a red carpet area for special events (like the Twilight premiere, apparently), a music/theatre venue that seats 7,100 (where the finale of American Idol has been for the last three years), ESPN studios, a Ritz Carlton/J.W. Marriott Hotel, the Grammy Museum, etc.  We noticed imprints of LPs on the sidewalk approaching Nokia Plaza that highlighted various Grammy Awards.  I didn't take any pictures, but this is one I nabbed from the Internet:
Los Angeles likes putting things in the sidewalk, such as the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the handprints in front of Graumin's Chinese Theater:

Anyway, the Nokia Plaza is bordered by a few restaurants on one side, including Wolfgang Puck's, and by these awesomely lit trees on another side.  The tubular pieces you can see in the trees had streaming lights that made them look like icicles--California style.

 Across the plaza is the Staples Center:

After lunch and our touristing, we headed back to the conference:

Playing with the settings on my camera:

Note the airplane in the dusky sky and the modern art sculptures on the ground.

 I'm not sure if these are leaves or raindrops, but I like the textured shadows they cast on the concrete:

 I can't forget to mention that it was Elizabeth's birthday.  I think she is about 32; right, Elizabeth?  I brought a two-person bundt cake to share in the car on the way home:

All in all, we had a very enjoyable day, both at the conference itself and as we explored the posher side of Los Angeles.  I'm not sure this is what I would call a "Destination Location," but it is fun to know a little bit more about the city and its most popular entertainment venues. 


  1. I am impressed with the quality of the photos on your phone. I have an Android phone (Samsung Intercept) and I don't think my pictures are as good as your pictures. The other thing is I wish I had a flash on my phone.

  2. I'm sending this blog address around to my family--great research on that LALive plaza--now I feel like we had been stepping in famous places. Very cool post. And absolutely delicious cake. Will you be posting the recipe some time soon?

    Thanks again for such a great birthday!

  3. Thanks for sharing this useful post. I’m always interested in hearing other opinions on this subject. I’ll be back for more!