La Carmina, from LaCarmina.com, is an alternative travel and pop culture TV host, journalist (Huffington Post, AOL, CNN), coolhunter, and author of 3 Jpop books — including Cute Yummy Time and Crazy, Wacky Theme Restaurants: Tokyo. Her popular blog has been featured in major media (New Yorker, LA Times, Washington Post). She heads a TV production firm that provides consulting, casting, and TV hosting chiefly in Japan. Her TV presenting credits include: Food Network, The Today Show, Travel Channel, NHK, Discovery, National Geographic, Canal Plus France, and Pro Sieben Germany. She hosts and produces her own travel video series filmed worldwide, and published in Business Insider and HuffPost. It is such an honor to have the opportunity to interview La Carmina today on her favorite American city, Los Angeles.
La Carmina with Andrew Zimmerman from The Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods.”
What do you like most about LA?
LA is one of the best cities in North America for Goth/alternative and Japanese pop culture. There is a thriving Gothic Industrial club and fetish party scene, and lots of underground events such as pop up art galleries. The sunny weather, beaches, and array of food also make Los Angeles a must-visit.
What are some of your favorite things to do in LA?
I always stay at the Orlando Hotel
in WeHo, and love chatting with the staff there – we have some funny memories from over the years! I have many creative friends in LA, and always make an effort to catch up with them. Often, we’ll host parties together or do videos and photoshoots, so I am constantly feeling inspired when I’m here.
What are some of you favorite LA restaurants, including M Cafe?
It’s hard to narrow down my favorites, since LA has so many delicious options. I am fond of going to Koreatown and having hot tofu soup with lots of side dishes. Mexican food lives up to its tasty reputation here. There’s also excellent seafood and sushi everywhere. On West 3rd Ave, I am a fan of Electric Karma
Indian restaurant and the fresh food at Joan’s.
How about your favorite clubs?
The hipster makes a striking pose.
Favorite places to shop?
To be honest, I don’t do much shopping in LA, as I usually spend in Japan and Hong Kong. However, I enjoy visiting my friends at Lip Service headquarters – they often have warehouse sales on dark, subculture clothing.
In a 90’s goth plaid dress with a leather jacket and Marc Jacobs polka dot sunglasses.
What would you consider to be LA’s best kept secret?
I recommend visiting Hyaena Gallery
in Burbank. It hosts a deliciously dark collection of spooky art. There are serial killer drawings, skulls, B-movie horror art and other oddities.
Do you have any tips for first-time visitors?
Try to stay in West Hollywood or Hollywood so that you are close to the action. If hotels are too pricy, look into rental apartments as a way to save money while still staying in a good location and comfortable space. Rent a car, and try to avoid the high-traffic hours. And don’t forget to visit the beach!