The best thing about exploring a place stoned is the zig-zagging. Some people attack sightseeing like a battle plan – they pinpoint strategic locations, bomb them precisely, and retreat quickly to home base. But with a few hits in you, you might tend to wander a little off the plotted course.
So in our guidebook, we don’t go to one dot on a map. We roll the map up in a jay, smoke it, and then follow our baked-up intuition. That’s how we found a basement dispensary in the Toy District, stumbled onto the hidden Technicolor alleys of LA’s Bong District, and landed in a bowl of Little Tokyo ramen that was big enough to swim in and tasty enough to be okay with drowning in.
LA 4th Dispensary
We thought about hitting a dependable old standby collective for our first guidebook highlight, but then we said “fuck it” and went to the most random out of the way place we could find instead.
The Toy District is colored so bright and loud that the LA 4th collective’s black and white storefront was almost unnoticeable. We drove right past trying to find it. Stereo stores flash lights and clothing shop signs throw color at your eyes, and the only sober-looking store on the street is the weed dispensary.
We were in a flowers kind of mood and got the first-timer special – a $35 five gram eighth. We split the five gram eighth in half: 2.5 of Michael Phelps OG Indica and 2.5 of Candy Jack Sativa.
Having a big day of weed correspondence ahead of us, we went with the sativa. Bong-ripped the Candy Jack – she came up with a light, sweet taste. The high was energizing, the kind that makes your brain open up like a rosebud, complimenting the rainbow streets of the Toy District we were about to ramble through.
Baby Jesuses and Disney Frozen Princesses. Lots of them. Hundreds of them. That seems to be the bread and butter of the Toy District, a market established in the 1970’s for every brightly-colored doll, party supply, and novelty item known to man.
The neighborhood looks like a 6 year-old Catholic girl’s crazy dream. We wandered trough a pink maze of balloons, streamers, toys, and lots and lots of Jesuses. Good vibes for a candy-jacked exploration through a strange place. And then we found Bong Alley.
At first we saw one store, a glass wholesaler with some badass bongs and rigs, so we checked it out. Then we noticed, across the street, another pipe wholesaler. And next to that was another one, and three more on the same block. We took some snaps. Then a voice from behind us said…
“You should check out that alley. Lots of cool old brick buildings.” She was a beautiful grunt unpacking a cargo van. Well, alright. Why not? We entered the ally. Almost every single one of the dozens of back doors led to a store for glass, vapes, detox drinks, etc. This must be the hub for most of Southern California. What better place than the Toy District for all these bright and gadgety pothead toys?
And they had ice cream too. A little jingling cart on wheels – A Tweety Bird Cool Tube fruity push pup for $1.50. Just what the doctor ordered. And now that we’d had dessert, it was time for our meal.
Far as we could tell, the Toy District lacks a little for cuisine. René, a one-armed stereo salesman we met outside his store, told us there’s nothing here but fast food. So we jaunted a few blocks East and settled into Little Tokyo.
The place was called Menoh. Simple, cheap, no crowds. Just some afternoon sunlight haze through the window, a muted episode of Major Crimes on the flatscreen, a big bowl of creamy, tender pork-filled Tonkashima Ramen, and a glass of cold water. It’s the little things, baby. It was just about time for a nap, and then to our next destination…
Supplies: LA 4th Dispensary
Michael Phelps OG, 1/8 oz. – $35
Candy Jack – 1/8 oz – $35
Grub: Men Oh Tokushima Ramen, Ice Cream Cart on Sidewalk
Tonkashima Ramen – $8.45
Tweety Bird Sherbert Cool Tube – $1.50