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Leaving Los Angeles

We asked Angelenos who defected to San Diego what they miss (and don’t miss) about life in La La Land.


Published:

Liberty Zabala

Reporter and Weather Anchor, NBC 7 San Diego
From: Eagle Rock
Years in San Diego: 3

What you miss about LA:
This might sound strange, but the graffiti—not tagging; there is a difference. I’m used to seeing a lot of street art. There is some in SD, but in LA, we have some really intricate, beautifully done artwork all over downtown. It highlights our diversity, our culture.

Good riddance to:
The traffic. I would have to allocate an hour of time to get anywhere. Here, I can hop in an Uber 15 minutes before I need to be somewhere, and I’ll make it in time.

San Diego rules because...
The slower pace of life down here has allowed me to enjoy things I wouldn’t otherwise appreciate in LA, like nature, meditation, relaxing beaches, and health and wellness.

 

Fiona Leung

Public Relations & Events Manager, Katalyst PR
From: West Covina
Years in San Diego: 10

What you miss about LA:
LA has some of the densest Asian communities in the country, so authentic Asian food is much easier to find. You really can’t go wrong with a majority of the restaurants in San Gabriel Valley. There are some gems here in San Diego, but there are just more options in LA.

Good riddance to:
This should come as no surprise: the traffic. I’ve had some terrible and very desperate near-bladder-explosion situations.

San Diego rules because...
I work in a fast-paced industry, so it’s nice to come home to what feels like vacation. It’s much harder to afford living five minutes from the beach in LA.

 

Ernesto Arredondo

San Diego Area President, Wells Fargo
From: Whittier
Years in San Diego: 6

What you miss about LA:
I miss going to Dodgers games with my family. I do root for the Padres, but it is always tough when the Dodgers are in town.

Good riddance to:
Besides the traffic, how people are so busy and focused that they forget to look up, and smile and say “hi.”

San Diego rules because...
It’s a big city, but has a small-town feel.

 

Steve Brown

Chef, The Shipping Yard
From: Imperial Beach
Years in LA: 9

What you miss about LA:
Koreatown! There is nothing better than walking into that hole-in-the-wall spot at 3 a.m. and getting a bowl of kimchi soup. I miss Runyon Canyon; my restaurant was at the base of it, and I used to run it every day. I also miss the competitive culinary scene of Los Angeles, like going to Ink by Michael Voltaggio to check out what the most cutting-edge ideas are at the moment.

Why you came back:
I had been planning to open The Shipping Yard in Imperial Beach for many years. IB is where my family is from. My West Hollywood restaurant closed in 2015, and the entire food scene had grown so much in the years I was away.

 

Daniel Halimi

Attorney, D’Egidio Licari Townsend & Shah
From: Woodland Hills
Years in San Diego: 5

What you miss about LA:
San Diego has my heart, but LA has my stomach. I miss restaurants like Cho Cho San and its “911 roll”—a savory and spicy tuna roll with avocado, scallions, and chili oil. LA also has California Chicken Cafe and Zankou Chicken—a Lebanese restaurant that serves a delicious rotisserie coupled with a to-die-for garlic spread.

Good riddance to:
The nightlife scene. It’s much more pretentious than San Diego. It’s common for a club to pop up for about three months before being shut down, and completely remodeled and renamed, by the same company. Also, you have to stand around and get handpicked to enter. So, unless you know the bouncer or are with a group of women, good luck!

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