Best Escape From the Eastside

Sometimes you just need to get out of Dodge — to the other side of it, I mean. If you live in the insular and incestuous Eastside hipster hoods of Echo Park or Silver Lake, the only real place to get that fuzzy feeling of being away from home but not too far away is breezy, pot-baked Venice. This is especially true when The Fall hits, which I’m betting will be on the most evil day of the week, Monday. So, with the proper amount of warning, I’d spend the final Sunday of L.A. with my friend Nina, enjoying the routine she likes to call “Secret Westside Sundays.”

Here’s how it works: We would get out of central L.A. no earlier than 4 p.m., and not before sipping dry at least two bottles of Pellegrino. This is to allow the filth and folly of Friday and Saturday nights to entirely wash out of one’s system. Make a couple of phone calls, cruise down Venice Boulevard, and visit a few friends who live anywhere south of the 10 freeway and west of the 405, a region of L.A. that feels . . . different, where it’s Brazilian, Oaxacan, Indian, black, fast and wide but still sorta gangsta, laid-back and eclectic. This may include dropping by a friend’s house in the Venice canals, where we’d be able to say goodbye to our brothers the ducks, and to the high-end homes. Since the world is ending, a homeowner wouldn’t mind if we commandeered a canoe or rowboat for a while, right?

At 6 p.m., we’d head over to the New Dwaraka Temple for its free Sunday vegan “love feast,” entirely open to the public and very delicious. Here’s where we could ponder the quality of our karma, because we’d essentially be mooching dinner off peace-loving Hare Krishnas. (If you’re not too sure about your standing with the cosmos, there’s a convenient donation box by the door.) And while sitting there and eating and enjoying the fellowship, we could scan the room for a secret “Krishna crush.” From there, as sunset neared, we’d go jam out at the Sunday drum circle on the Venice Beach sand, joining the hordes of neo–flower children and dopeheads as they ecstatically bid farewell to the final sun.

NEW DWARAKA TEMPLE: 3764 Watseka Ave., L.A., (310) 836-2676.

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