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Behind The Scenes

Grace Lee’s Tasty, Rowdy, Relaxing Guide to L.A.’s Koreatown

Los Angeles is just a big ol’ sprawl of magical nooks and crannies—if you know where to look. It helps to have a knowledgeable, and generous, friend willing to share the wisdom, and Grace Lee, a lifelong Angeleno and a killer jewelry designer, is down to give us the inside scoop on one of her favorite ‘hoods: Koreatown. —dana covit Kang Hodong Baekjeong: “This is the hottest Korean BBQ restaurant in Koreatown right now and also my personal go-to. It’s the quality of the meat and the variety of banchan—side dishes—that make the inevitably long wait completely worth it. We usually go right at 4 P.M. when they open to avoid the crowd.” (3465 W. 6th St., Suite 20) Caffé Concerto: “I discovered Caffe Concerto before the infamous PSY visited last September. Caffe Concerto is a two-story cafe that kind of feels and looks like a friend’s awesome home. I like to visit in the evenings with friends and share a bottle of wine, some tapas, and then finish off with tea and macarons. Not bad in my book.” (610 S. Serrano Ave.) Beer Belly: “There’s nothing really traditionally Korean about Beer Belly except that its owner is Korean-American, but their wide range of on-tap craft beers plus a daily menu of ‘crafty’ food offerings is so amazing. My go-to is their chipotle-and-beer-braised short rib, which is to die for—seriously.” (532 S. Western Ave.) Wi Spa: “Wi Spa is the ultimate Korean spa experience. It is open 24 hours a day and is four stories. They have five signature sauna rooms, and I like to frequent late at night with a girlfriend and catch up while sitting in one of them.” (2700 Wilshire Blvd.) Now’s you’re chance to get Grace’s super-delicate diamond ring! Don’t worry: It’s little and won’t get in the way of any Korean BBQ eating.
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Grace Lee Shares Her 5 Top Made-in-L.A. Makers

Grace Lee loves her some Los Angeles, and with (many a) good reason. The very thoughtful jewelry designer’s long-term love affair with the city has been fueled, at least in part, by the friends she’s made there: hugely inspirational creatives producing seriously cool work. Just get a load of this local goodness. —dana covit Clare Vivier: “I met Clare when I was just starting my jewelry line and was very nine-months-pregnant with our second daughter Camilla. I immediately fell in love—there is such a timeless nature to Clare’s collection. My current favorite is the leather fanny pack that Clare debuted for spring. It takes me to another level of chic mom. I wear it everyday—around my waist, cross-body, and without the belt, as a clutch, at night.” Compartes Chocolatier: “Compartes Chocolatier treats are made in-house from scratch with all-natural ingredients at their chocolate factory in Brentwood. Buyer beware: One taste, and you will be a regular (I am living proof).” Black Crane: “I first ‘met’ Momo Suzuki, the designer behind Black Crane, when her home and closet were featured on Jeana Sohn’s Closet Visit. I was impressed with her pared-down home and philosophy—she proves that you don’t have to own a lot of stuff to be chic. The first time I put on a long Black Crane dress, I did not want to take it off. My current favorite is the Sage Green Jumpsuit.” Handsome Coffee Roasters: “HCR is a must-try. I’m not a coffee drinker myself, but my husband loves it—and I am a sucker for great packaging, something HCR has down. It makes gifting the stuff that much better.” Nico Nico: “My friend Sue Tsai is the designer behind Nico Nico, a children’s clothing collection. Her impeccable sense of style is obvious in her creations, which are all about sophisticated details and high-quality, often organic, fabrics. Her spring 2013 collection is titled ‘Good Times,’ and appropriately so: The first time my girls put on their Nico Nico striped jumpsuits they asked, ‘Mom are these for jumping!?’” Speaking of made-in-L.A., score Grace’s Of a Kind edition: three colors of gold and one diamond on a slim little ring.
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