David McAninch and the New York Times headline writer didn't mean climatically cooler, obviously — as I write this the LA Observed weather center reads 90 in the Valley and 72 downtown, about the usual spread for a summer afternoon. McAninch admits, though, that he's a little defensive when it comes to the image of the San Fernando Valley swath of Los Angeles, which holds about 40% of the city's geography and population. From his story in today's NYT Travel section; McAninch is an editor at Saveur:
Ten years ago, I married a Valley Girl. She is neither a salon-tanned airhead nor a mall-rat. I have never heard her utter the phrase “No way!”...
I’ve spent plenty of time on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains, in the more glamorous precincts of central Los Angeles, but during a decade’s worth of visits with my wife to both sides of the “hill” — as those mountains, and the perceived cultural divide they represent, are affectionately known — I’ve come to an interesting conclusion: I tend to prefer the Valley. Sure, it’s got strip malls and strip clubs in equal abundance, and it lacks the chic cachet that so many people associate with Los Angeles. But that lack of hipness is exactly its charm.
If coastal Los Angeles is where people strive and achieve, the Valley is where they put down roots and live. And so, as I’ve happily discovered while covering hundreds of miles of Valley pavement over the years, the place is home to dozens of un-self-consciously excellent neighborhood restaurants, old-school cocktail lounges, uncompromisingly authentic ethnic markets and a gamut of overlooked treasures, from hiking trails to architectural landmarks.
He offers a fairly thin selection of favorites, among them Brent's Deli and Go’s Mart sushi in Canoga Park, plus the new performing arts center at Cal State Northridge, the Balboa Highlands tract of Eichler homes in Granada Hills, Mission San Fernando Rey and the trailhead at the west end of Victory Boulevard into the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve.
Also in Sunday's NYT: Los Angeles bureau chief Adam Nagourney checks out Disneyland's attractions for guests without children; a piece on the haves and have nots of pro soccer in Los Angeles, meaning the Galaxy and Chivas USA; and a Style story on gay wedding fatigue.
LA Observed photo: Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve trailhead