Australians are everywhere in L.A. these days. And while it seems like they're opening restaurants on every corner and taking every other role in the movies (and plenty on TV too), January 26 will be a day when they'll definitely be feeling homesick but proud. That's because Aussies like to party (a given), but never more than on Australia Day.
A national holiday akin to the 4th of July, Australia Day is usually spent in the backyard with sausage sizzling on the barbie, with a chilled beer (stubby or tinny) fresh out the esky (cooler) and Triple J's Hottest 100 on the radio — a voted song countdown that lasts all day and forms the soundtrack to it all. Later on, there's the obligatory fireworks.
There's been an explosion in Aussie-run and Aussie-friendly pie shops and coffee bars around town, and even Starbucks recently announced that they're going to be offering Aussie coffee fave, the "flat white" (though ironically, that would be an oxymoron to an Aussie).
But why the Antipodean trend? Well, the Aussie dollar's strong against the buck, and of course the SoCal climate and lifestyle has it's appeal too. More importantly, however, where are the top spots to experience Australia Day?
Hugh Jackman likes the shredded meat pies and his kids adore the lamingtons (sponge cake with chocolate coating and grated coconut) at Bronzed Aussie just off 7th Street and Los Angeles in downtown L.A. Just ranked at #54 in Yelp's Top 100 Places to Eat in the US in 2015, they're celebrating Australia Day on Sunday, January 25 by giving away anzac cookies (a kind of sweet flapjack-type affair) and Vegemite sandwiches (a love-it-or-hate-it thing), plus having a didgeridoo player do his thing from 12.30 - 3pm.
Yes, that's a day early because — thanks to a barely-believable time difference — the party's gotta to get started early if it wants to line up with the radio show and everyone's mates Down Under.
At Coffee + Food in Larchmont (Russell Crowe's joint when he's in town) they're celebrating both days with lots of flags, balloons and snacks. And in West Hollywood, the newly-opened Longshot Coffee (right under the library) is handing out lamingtons too. Down at Pie Not in Costa Mesa there will be free samples, raffle prizes, balloon animals, musi and an appearance from the Orange County Bombers AFL team (ask an Aussie what AFL is), while in Hermosa Beach, The Source has 50 percent off flat whites on the day itself, (giving you a good reason to give it a try.
Finally, at the Gum Tree there will be Tim Tam s’mores and some raffle prizes and giveaways. Be prepared to see the Australian flag and a lot of smiling faces wherever you visit, and as for the food, you can't go wrong. You'll recognize avocado toast, sausage rolls and pies, but how about taking a chance on some fairy bread? Good on ya!
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Other L.A. Australian venues that may not be planning special events for Australia Day, but are worth a stop anyway include:
Woodcat Coffee 1532 W. Sunset Blvd, Echo Park
Deus ex Machina 1001 Venice Blvd., Venice
Two Guns Espresso 350 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach (due to launch a DTLA store in March)
Document Coffee Bar 3850 Wilshire Blvd. #107, KTown
The Authentic Aussie Pie Kitchen 2510 Main Street, Santa Monica
Garlo's 1010 Glendon Avenue, Westwood