Oh, LA, LA!
Week 15, Dec. 19: Seattle at Los Angeles Rams, SoFi Stadium, 1:25 p.m. Pacific
SPONSORED – Maybe it was fitting that the opening act for the first pro-football game I covered in Los Angeles was a rock band I loved as a teenager.
There’s no place that makes me think of growing up more than L.A.
My parents came from Southern California, and while I grew up in (fairly) rural Oregon, we went to Los Angeles every summer. The place was built for fun from the beaches to the amusement parks to the fact that you didn’t have to worry all that much about it raining, let alone snow.
I love Southern California. I love Manhattan Beach. I love the Wedge, which has humbled my delusions of body-surfing expertise. I love In-n-Out Burger and hate the fact that Zankou’s Chicken is no longer around because it was THE best fried chicken in the best place to eat fried chicken. Though to be fair, Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner Restaurant in Buena Vista is absolutely fantastic.
So I was all ready to get wistful when I came to Los Angeles in September 2016 to cover Seattle’s road opener, which would be the first regular-season pro-football game played in Los Angeles in more than 20 years, and that was before I knew the Red Hot Chili Peppers were playing before kickoff. Seriously. That group headlined the first Lollapalooza concert I ever attended. This was back in 1992 when I was entering my senior year in high school and still needed Mom’s permission to drive over the Santa Cruz mountains to see the show – which included Soundgarden and Pearl Jam – at the Shoreline Amphitheater.
That concert was just one more reason for me to smile in Southern California. People find plenty to complain about when it comes to this part of the country from the traffic to the superficiality to the fact that it’s one big concrete sprawl. Sorry, but I’ve never, ever understood that.
I love L.A. I love the weather. I love the beaches. I love the amusement parks. I love it as a kid, I love it as an adult, staying out at Marina Del Rey and walking over to the beach or heading to Venice and finding a coffee shop to people watch. I love Roy Choi’s street food, too. He’s a pioneer down here, someone whose foods like the Korean taco have spawned a mini empire that includes three food trucks and multiple taco stands.
And now there’s a shiny new football megapolis that opened last year in Inglewood, and will be hosting fans this year. Not sure if the Red Hot Chili Peppers will be the opening act, but I can’t wait to be there.
Arrival: You’ve certainly got options. Alaska Air has a wide selection of flights daily from Sea-Tac to Los Angeles International (LAX). That’s going to get you closest to the state-of-the-art new stadium in Los Angeles though Alaska also flies to Orange County (SNA) and to Ontario (ONT) if you’re interested in nearby alternatives.
Stadium: SoFi Stadium opened last year on the site where the Hollywood Park Racetrack used to be located, about 3 miles east of LAX. It’s home to both the Rams and the Chargers and is scheduled to host the NFL title game in 2022 and the college football championship game the year after that.
Last time here: Seattle is 1-4 on the road against the Rams since the franchise returned to Southern California. All of those games were at the Coliseum. The problem? Points. Seattle has scored more than 20 of them in only one of those five games played in Los Angeles.
Dining: Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner (8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, CA, 714.220.5055); Kogi Barbecue has multiple options whether it’s their three food trucks or multiple taco stands. The best reference is Roy Kogi’s website.