photographer, traveller, chef, muse
At 58, I feel 30 and look back at a life full of color. Born in Germany, I left my home at 20 to go into the world, Paris first, eventually Los Angeles. I raised a family and seven years ago reinvented myself due to an unexpected life change. I became a curious traveller looking to connect with people and cultures. I dance, cook and photograph wherever I go. Studying Italian (my 4th language) in Italy is my latest adventure. My greatest passion is to nurture people and beautify their world. I am striving toward creating ‘Ursified’, a lifestyle brand in its infant stage. Today, I am grateful for a life filled with friendship, art and creativity, travel, delicious food and love. I keep growing those things like cherished plants in my garden of life.
my preferred spot for a morning coffee
456 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Located on a small town square reminiscent of Italy and steps from the beach, it is a place of organic, delicious food and coffee and great people watch.
TARTE TATIN BAKERY & CAFE
200 S Beverly Dr
Adorable bakery and café in an intimate setting with fresh, delicious pastries and good teas and coffees. There are little tables along the café outside for wonderful 90212 people watch and to catch a ray of morning sun year around.
1140 Highland Ave
Homie is a café, shop and gathering place with a real community feel. Charmingly furnished, it serves farm-to-table food, and the boutique in the back is filled with merchandise from local artisans.
my favourite cultural institution
1159 N Western Ave
La Descarga is a cuban themed, intimate nightspot with great salsa music, inexpensive, delicious cocktails, dressy attire and a burlesque dancer performing on the hours. Even if you are solo, a Cuban guest might grab you for a dance. It is also a speak-easy and the way to enter will surprise you. Reservations a must.
THE CULVER HOTEL
9400 Culver Blvd
The hotel lobby feels like a private home in Morocco. Every night they have live music from a different decade. It is a vibrant place busy till midnight. On Tuesdays swing dancers can be seen on the tiny dance floor. Great place to lounge, eat, drink and mingle with international and local people.
here’s where I buy my books
904 Manhattan Ave
Tiny neighbourhood bookstore founded by three book lovers. Cozy with ear chairs to sit and read, it is small but filled with treasures and any current book. Most Tuesday nights are reserved for an interactive reading/discussion with an author.
THE LAST BOOK STORE
453 S Spring St
22,000 magical square feet for book worms. This is California’s largest used and new book store, housed in an old building with staircases, squeaking wood floors, maze-like corridors and 250,000 books, vinyl records, and little gallery shops.
an additional local shop I support
919 Manhattan Ave
Really great lifestyle gift boutique in the heart of Manhattan Beach. Perfect for visitors, they sell many beach themed items, body products, fashion items, jewellery often from local and American designers and artists. It would be impossible not to find a gift or tasteful souvenir to take home.
this is where I go for a simple dinner with friends
LOVE & SALT
317 Manhattan Beach Blvd
This family owned restaurant is considered LA’s best reinvention story and a food Mecca. I agree! Super fresh, delicious and creative food prepared in front of you if you can land a seat at the chef’s table, it is always busy and aglow with golden light from the fantastic pizza oven. The long bar is a good solution if you don’t have a reservation.
FISHING WITH DYNAMITE
1148 Manhattan Ave
Tiny restaurant with the best seafood in Los Angeles. Grab the raw sea scallops and try the jumbo shrimp! Only about 10 tables, reservation a good idea, but walk-ins work and there are 8 bar stools to start with a tasty cocktail.
PLANT FOOD AND WINE
1009 Abbot Kinney
Inside it looks like Greece, the back garden is Italy with big olive trees. A quaint place with birds tweeting and the herb and vegetable garden growing between the tables. Young chefs prepare a delicious, vegan and organic menu and the cocktails are so good and healthy, you must have one for lunch.
NIGHT + MARKET SONG
3322 Sunset Blvd
This colorful, fun restaurant is one of those surprises you find in cosmopolitan cities like Los Angeles. It is a super casual Thai restaurant, a gathering place for friends and families, owned by a chef who never had any formal cooking training, yet manages to make such delicious, authentic, fresh Thai food that he is continuously featured as one of the best restaurants in town. It’s a good idea to share plates to make dinner here a culinary journey across Thai flavors and the hot pot tom char chicken soup is out of this world and for $15 easily feeds two. And it just so happens that sunset around Night + Market is a happening place for artsy shops, funky boutiques and little stores with merchandise you won’t easily find elsewhere, so go for a stroll before dinner to work up an appetite.
here I dine when there’s something to celebrate
THE TASTING KITCHEN
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd
This is my favourite restaurant in the world. Not exaggerating. I love everything about it. The food, the service, the people who work there and the ambiance. The cocktails are amidst the best in LA. The food is Italian, done in really interesting ways, not predictable. Love that they have three community tables in the bar area.
my favourite pizza spot
641 N Highland Ave
Pizza does not get better. Nancy Silverton worked for two years on perfecting the dough. There are wonderful small dishes to be shared before you order one of about 14 pizzas. The menu hasn’t changed since its opening eleven years ago. Despite still being madly popular, it has maintained its intimate feeling in a small space. Try “Nancy’s Chopped Salad” and the fennel sausage pizza. Pair with one of its many delicious wines from Italian regions.
my bar of choice
THE TASTING KITCHEN
1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice CA 90291
It is my favourite restaurant, but also my absolute favourite bar. It is fun and busy from 5 pm till way past midnight, a rarity in LA. It is easy to get into a conversation with a fellow bar visitor. The bartenders are brilliant and artsy mixologists creating alcoholic art with a great show of “the shake”. You will be mesmerized watching them, and smitten tasting their creations. “The Undertaker” is my personal favourite.
THE NOMAD HOTEL
649 S Olive St
The hotel lobby of the NoMad LA is rich in history. It was originally The Bank of Italy and has been recently beautifully restored. It is a neoclassical landmark and simply gorgeous. The drinks are amazing and the setting is romantic, intimate, elegant and perfect for a drawn-out drink before dinner. There is the main room as well as gorgeous side rooms for quieter gatherings and also the actual bar room. The cocktail list is long and inspiring and you might endup wishing to stay for dinner.
3932 Sunset Blvd
Small, classic French bistro with two bars: a bigger, long bar with intimate club chair seating on the side and candle light, and a little bar in the back, at cocktail hour beautifully lit by rays of sunset , small and cozy. Both serve delicious cocktails from a creative menu. If you like to stay for dinner, the peppercorn steak is a French classic and tastes just like in Paris.
additional things not to be missed
SOUL MOTION DANCE
9635 Venice Blvd
Also called 5 Rhythms Dance, it can be found all over Los Angeles at any time of day or night. Above website refers to the dance guided by Jo Cobbett in various places of Los Angeles. You dance barefoot by yourself amidst like-minded people in a big space to express emotions caused by the music. Above address hosts a dance every Sunday from 9-11 am and from 11.15am-2pm.
THE BROAD MUSEUM
221 S Grand Ave
This newer LA museum focuses on the intersection of Art, Politics and Culture. It is located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and worth a visit. Afterwards, just start walking into downtown LA toward the Biltmore Hotel and get lost in beautiful architecture and a mix of old and new. Within 30 minutes you will end up at the NoMad Hotel for that drink I suggested!
THE MARCIANO FOUNDATION
4357 Wilshire Blvd
The GUESS brothers’ private and diverse modern art collection is housed in an old Masonic Temple worth seeing alone for its architecture. The art is constantly changed and interestingly curated. There is a fun little cafe. Make sure afterwards you drive around Hancock Park, one of the oldest and most beautiful residential neighbourhoods of Los Angeles a few blocks from the museum.
NORTON SIMON MUSEUM
411 W Colorado Blvd
This is one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled in the world and yet the least known to travellers. It consists of a breathtaking collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century and a significant collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2000 years. There is a sculpture garden for a walk and lovely Pasadena with shops and restaurants right outside its doors.
HUNTINGTON LIBRARY AND GARDENS
1151 Oxford Rd
Lovely art collection in the Huntington Villa and a library filled with rare books and manuscripts. It is though the 120 acres of botanical gardens, that make this place so special. It is a delightful walk through the Japanese Garden, Desert Garden, Rose and Camellia garden, Palm and Australian Tree Garden, Orange Orchard and much more. Finish your visit with lunch in the multi-cultural food self-serve restaurant and terrace. The Huntington is located in San Marino, one of the wealthiest residential areas of LA much like Hancock Park, with stunning houses and gardens from the turn of the 20th century.
2525 Michigan Ave
A collection of small galleries inside a gated parking lot, funky, artsy and fun, steps from Santa Monica. There is a cafe and a few artsy stores to visit.
First, it is my favourite street in LA. It is a mile long strip with artsy boutiques, the latest fashion, art and great food steps from the beach of Venice. Second, if you happen to be here on any FIRST FRIDAY of the month, you will find Abbot Kinney Blvd lined with food trucks and a fun, vibrant scene of people strolling, eating and shopping till late. It has a very European flair and the light in the afternoon is unlike anywhere in Los Angeles, just really beautiful.
the next person I’d like to read about on creative traveller
Colin Beatt, founder of boutique video production and photography studio Beatt Productions in Boston and also Susan Kleinberg in New York (coming soon).
URSULA BEATT PHOTOGRAPHY, Los Angeles
I call myself the Accidental Photographer. During a sabbatical in 2012 I wished to create a memory of my experiences and photographed my surroundings with my iPhone. A new passion was born. My photographs are unpredictable, spontaneous, raw and mostly unaltered. I don’t have a theme, I photograph what I see on my journey through life. I take pictures every day hoping they will provoke an emotion, a dream, or an inspiration in the observer. My photographs are for sale on my website and I had the privilege to participate in two wonderful exhibitions (2016 and 2018 - KAA Design Exhibit and Art Sale for the benefit of artworxLA). Currently I’m preparing to participate in The Other Art Fair in Spring 2019.
added december 2018
© creative traveller