Sunday, June 19, 2011

Out and about in LA: LACMA and Umami

I've decided that this past Thursday marks the *true* beginning of summer, after several false starts. I finished up the "College-essay-writing-workshop" at noon, took my lucrative earnings from the 2-day event and went out on the town! It wasn't the most beautiful evening, but Michael and I enjoyed leaving our small corner of the world to head into "the city". Adventures awaited us!

We had tickets at LACMA (LA County Museum of Art) to see the Tim Burton exhibit. I'm always torn in regards to my feelings towards LACMA. Their Magritte exhibit, a few years ago, was pretty fantastic - maybe one of the better museum exhibits that I've ever seen, which says a lot.
Here is the entrance to the no-longer new addition to the museum - the Broad Contemporary Art Museum.

Before our viewing time (6:00 pm), we wandered around some of the other exhibits and took photos. Here is Michael, admiring the view of the Hollywood Hills.

And we finally entered the exhibit! I felt pretty un-Goth and not very artsy-fartsy. The best part of the exhibit may have been the entrance, as pictured below. The exhibit itself? I would give it a B-; the props from different movies were very cool, especially the glove with the scissors from the movie Edward Scissorshands. I admit that I am not a total Tim Burton fanatic, so that probably influenced my experience because a lot of the drawings/illustrations seemed fairly repetitive. It also annoyed me that there was little to no information regarding specific pieces - just general information about Burton's career that different rooms supposedly showed. You know, 'The early years" and then "Early successes"... Why not give more information about his influences? Very frustrating.
Still, I had fun posing for the camera here, trying to be scary and creepy!

By the time we walked through the Burton exhibit and also stopped by a few other exhibits that also lacked background information, we had built up an appetite. Museuming is hard work! We did have time to stop by the La Brea Tar Pits, where they portray a woolly mammoth perishing while a baby looks on. It is a tragic scene, and I shed a tear or two.

So, dinner...
We tossed around a few ideas - tacos, French bistro, sushi... And then a brilliant idea occurred to us: Umami Burger!
Umami Burger is an LA chain that opened up a few years ago. A friend told us about her experience eating there, and we would occasionally think about eating there, but then another place would take priority. Thursday night, however, seemed to be the perfect opportunity for the Umami experience. We headed to the restaurant on Hollywood, the space that used to be Cobras and Matadors, an old favorite tapas restaurant of ours until they changed their menu and raised all of their prices. It went under, and Umami Burger opened up in that space.
The crowd was typical Silverlake - very young, urban with lots of tats. Again, I felt pretty conservative and boring with my fleece.
We each ordered a burger - Michael got the Umami burger, the signature burger, obviously, and I ordered the port and stilton burger. The restaurant chain has quite the buzz because they make high-end burgers and don't let the customer make ANY substitutions. It's also responsible for making the word/concept "umami" as part of the LA vernacular. I had no idea what umami was before our friend told us about the place. There isn't an easy definition, but generally it means "the fifth taste".
At any rate, the burgers were amazing! Michael took a bite of his burger, looked very serious for a moment, and then proclaimed "This is the best burger I've ever eaten.". I challenged him, so he then backtracked a tad and said that it was ONE of the best burgers he'd ever had. I have to admit that his burger had just a small edge on mine, but they were both excellent. The total experience was pretty blissful, and we are already trying to plan another visit to Umami Burger!


Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine took her kids to the Tim Burton exhibit and they loved it. But it's totally not my kind of thing as aside from Edward Scissorhands I simply don't understand Tim Burton movies.

And Umami Burger sounds fabulous...I do have to say it kind of confuses me when restaurants don't allow substitutions. I mean, I understand the concept of making a place exclusive but really? Don't you want to make your customers happy so they return??

PS - I feel VERY unhip in the hipster-ish areas too.

Kristina said...

I know of a few places that don't allow ANY substitutions. It's kind of a reverse "the customer is always right" philosophy, which seems pretty anti-American. I'm fine with it, as long as the final product is as awesome as this burger was!

kilax said...

I love your pics! :)

I recognize the entrance to that place from the movie No Strings Attached.

I am so often disappointed by museum exhibits. There was one on Star Wars at the Museum of Science and Industry (such a bad museum, unfortunately) and it was such a let down. The crowds were big and the exhibits were not cool.