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Things in Los Angeles I'm Thankful For

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I think many residents of this fine city have a love-hate relationship with it. For everyone person I hear say "I love Los Angeles," Three others chime in "this place is driving me nuts."
I'm as guilty of this as anyone. I love the city but routinely bitch about the lack of snow or wide open spaces (C'mon, I'm from Minnesota. What is Christmas without a foot of snow to contend with? Over the river and through the woods and all that). So, in the spirit of the holiday, here are 5 things about Los Angeles I'm thankful for.

1. Cactus Taco - We could argue forever about the best taco in Los Angeles, but for my money Cactus' carne asada wins out. It's a small shack on Vine, just south of Santa Monica Blvd, and you can't find a better meal for the price (I think they're at $1.25 a piece now). To think I used to consider "Taco Bell" Mexican food. Please forgive me.

2. The Vista - The best "cheap" theater in town. It has an old Hollywood feel and tickets are only 5 bucks for afternoon shows. In an age of $15-a-ticket stadium theaters, it's refreshing to have someone stick with the classic sloped cinema and just pull out every other row of seats to make legroom. Oh, and it has a brief cameo at the beginning of "True Romance".

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3. Disneyland - As a kid growing up overseas, getting to return home to Minnesota was nice, but nothing compared to a trip to Disneyland. That bastion of americana represented everything I missed about the U.S. (because as a child, do you really care about anything more than making it on Space Mountain?). Now I can drive there in about 45 minutes (and yes, I have a season pass).

4 and 5 after the jump...

4. Tiki Ti - It could be the dead of winter, but one sip from a "Ray's Mistake" will make you feel like you're at the beach on an 85 degree day. Accompany that with the "ma and pa" family-run atmosphere and you have my favorite bar in town.

5. The People - For every person I meet that personifies what I hate about Los Angeles, I find another that represents why I love this city. The city can attract the whackjobs, but it also draws the best artists, chefs, musicians and all around good people from around the world. My geeky side can mingle at Secret Headquarters, my internal artist can explore MoCA, my love of food can be satisfied at a place like "Hungry Cat" and my need for live music can see a great band at the Echo.

The list obviously doesn't end there, Los Angeles has far more to offer than I could ever hope to discover. That's another reason I'm thankful to live here, I feel like there's always going to be something new and different, waiting to be found.