Tag Archives: Los Angeles

The Secret Garden

“I said to myself, ‘This is really ugly. Somebody ought to build a garden here.’ So I said, ‘I’ll do it’ …and I did.” – Amir Dialameh

Amir Dialameh was hiking the trails in Griffith Park in 1971 after a major brush fire ravaged the area when he decided to start a garden.
desert garden

He obtained permission and then spent years working alone, clearing approximately 200 carbonized tree stumps with a pick and shovel carried from home.
desert garden

He could be found working in the garden nearly every day for up to eight hours at a time terracing the slopes, building stairs and adding benches.
desert garden

Amir had challenges along the way. People stole plants, demolished saplings, he was once beaten and robbed, and two major brush fires damaged the garden. But those incidents didn’t keep him away and he patiently restored the losses.desert garden

Volunteers began helping maintain Amir’s Garden in the late 70s and continue to do so after Amir’s unexpected death in 2003. Amir once said, “There are so many problems, so many pressures. All people do is complain. They need to get away from that.” Amir’s Garden is just the place people could do that; under his care, it became a five-acre oasis in the city.

desert tree
“…what you need first and foremost here is shade,” Dialameh explained in 1989. “That’s why I planted trees like the jacaranda. In ten years, this place will be covered with their branches.”

City of Angels?

I’m not sure about the angels, but I can tell you we found something else with wings: birds. This watering hole in Griffith Park seemed to be the life of the party:

spotted grosbeak
Spotted Grosbeak

You couldn’t take your eyes off it for a second or you’d miss something:

allen's hummingbird
Allen’s Hummingbird Photobomb

I couldn’t keep up with this Allen’s Hummingbird:
allen's hummingbird

There he is again!
allen's hummingbird

Then I realized he wasn’t alone:
allen's hummingbird

Birds of a feather flock together:


And it turns out, bathe together:

Almost always found in lively flocks, Bushtits move constantly.

If you get a little lonesome, all you have to do is call your friends:

And pretty soon you won’t be alone anymore:


There were big birds too. This stunning Cooper’s Hawk posed for a long time:
cooper's hawk

And this Red-tailed Hawk was intent on hunting:
redtail hawk

We even saw a baby, any guesses as to what he is? You should have seen him run!
baby bird

Los Angeles Flavor

I love eating in Los Angeles because there are so many vegetarian options. Here are some of the highlights from our visit.

One of our favorite stops was Mohawk Bend in Echo Park. Retrofitted into a 100-year old Vaudeville theater, they use Californian ingredients to create food for all types of appetites. They have 72 taps of craft beer, 6 stainless steel wine taps, and artisanal spirits.

You can’t visit Little Tokyo without ramen and sweet treats. We sat outside the Yamazaki bakery eating our goodies and people watching.

And then went to Shojin for their Japanese vegan cuisine. It was delicious, definitely one of the best meals we had.

If you need the comforts of home, stop at Home in Silverlake. I loved my Huevos Rancheros.

We had breakfast in Santa Monica at Jinky’s. The food at the table next to us looked so good, we ordered the same thing!

Our last meal was the best sushi The Husband could find. It was at Sugar Fish, he had the “Trust Me” selection featuring Tuna Sashimi, Albacore Sushi, Salmon Sushi, Yellowtail Sushi, Halibut Sushi, Toro Hand Roll and Crab Roll. Sugar Fish restaurants serve only traditional sushi of the highest quality based on Chef Nozawa’s style of sushi.

And I had the cucumber rolls, they were the best I’ve ever had: