Like a lot of places in America, Los Angeles is slowly (and safely) starting to reopen. For Natasha Martinez, a Complex News anchor who calls the city home, this might mean a moderate shift to the new life to which she’s adjusted. For the past 12 months, Martinez has enjoyed pandemic-friendly versions of her favorite aspects of life in LA, picking up meals to go, shopping in stores with more limited capacity, and eating and drinking outdoors when possible.
“Being born and raised in California, there is a lot about LA that I took for granted before COVID,” Martinez says. “The shutdown forced me to appreciate and take advantage of all the socially distant activities that are not possible in a lot of other places. From beach picnics to open-air rooftops, I’m enjoying a different side of LA and coming up with new traditions that will be a part of my lifestyle post-pandemic.”
For now, though, bearing the city’s circumstances in mind, here are Natasha Martinez’s favorite spots in Los Angeles.
Broadstreet Oyster Co.
Address: 23359 CA-1 #3874A, Malibu, California
Instagram: Broadstreet Oyster Co.
“One of my favorite socially distanced experiences has been to trek out to Malibu, which is only 18 miles away from my WeHo bubble. In the mood for a beach picnic? Pick up Broadstreet Oyster Co. for some of the best lobster rolls, fish and chips, and oysters I’ve had in LA. Broadstreet started as a pop-up but found its permanent location in Malibu. Plus, the owner is a jovial, Aquaman-esque man who looks like he literally caught the lobsters for you that morning. Don’t forget the white wine!”
Melrose Place Farmers Market
Address: 8400 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
Facebook: Melrose Place Farmers Market
“Call me basic, but the Melrose Farmers Market has been a savior in the bleakness of COVID. The farmers market hardly missed a beat and found a way to stay open while keeping safe. Get in line early to enjoy fresh flowers, produce, and Alfred Coffee, of course. Although my personal favorite is the tea room just up the block, where I order a Rose Milk Tea with extra boba and *gasp* regular milk. Pair it with a bagel from the Yeastie Boys food truck and it’s a perfect Sunday.”
SugarFish by Sushi Nozawa
Address: 212 N Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, California
Instagram: SugarFish by Sushi Nozawa
“If I want to know where my money and my waistline went over the quarantine, I need look no further than my SugarFish delivery bill. SugarFish is well worth the hype, and its delivery is no exception. My favorite location is in Beverly Hills off of North Canon Drive, but since March of last year, the couch in front of my TV has had to do. For delivery, I always order the To-Go Nozawa Trust Me and substitute the crab-cut roll for the yellowtail. I always have extra ponzu on the side.”
Address: 24 ½ N Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles
Instagram: Melody Ehsani
“Anytime I have a shoot for Complex, Melody Ehsani is one of my go-to spots for wardrobe. Melody is a Fairfax pioneer, and her designs focus on today’s definition of femininity and, most importantly, equality. I could spend about an hour browsing her incredible jewelry collection. My favorites are her earrings. Melody’s store has been closed during quarantine, but the good news is that it’s getting ready to reopen quicker than you can lace her Air Jordan 1s.”
Wally’s Beverly Hills
Address: 447 N Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, California
Instagram: Wally’s Beverly Hills
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for charcuterie boards and dry red wines. Wally’s is the spot for both. The wine bar sits right in the heart of Beverly Hills and offers patio seating so you can sip and be safe. Make sure you order the Wood Oven Baked Brie for the table. It’s sinful but so worth it.
E.P. & L.P.
Address: 603 N La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, California
Instagram: E.P. & L.P.
“It’s to no one’s surprise that my Mexican and Nicaraguan heritage led me to love spicy food. When it comes to cocktails, my taste runs fiery. I’ve tried countless spicy margaritas all over LA, but I believe the perfect cocktail exists at E.P. & L.P.’s rooftop. The drink is called “Where Love Lives,” and it’s a spin on the spicy margarita, but with guava juice and mezcal. The spacious patio is the perfect socially distanced way to view the cotton-candy sunsets, just at the end of happy hour.”
Address: 1320 E. 7th St., Suite 150, ROW DTLA, Los Angeles
“Nestled just outside of Downtown LA’s Arts district is Bodega. The cult favorite Boston streetwear store made its way to LA in 2018. This has become my new favorite spot to buy sneakers since my OG fave, Blends, closed its doors a few years ago. Much like Bodega’s flagship store in Boston, where you enter through a Snapple machine, the LA store has you entering through the organic produce aisle.”