Ask Me Anything: Los Angeles Bound

13/04/2011 § 1 Comment

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line, post haste!  Reach me here:
Image via LIFE.
Dear Mariah,
I’ll be in LA after going to Coachella, in case you have any bar/restaurant/shopping suggestions…they’d be appreciated!

Ah, cherie, you’ve asked one of my very favorite questions!  Namely, what should you do with yourself on a Los Angeles vacation.  Being a native, I readily acknowledge that Los Angeles can be a tricky place to holiday, d’accord! It isn’t like any other metropolitan city in the world and that can be off-putting for those used to a more generically urban setting.  There’s no efficient mass transit, the layout of the city doesn’t even attempt to make sense and the snarl of freeways confound even those living in Los Angeles.

Those approaching Los Angeles for the first time should endeavor to not to be intimidated by the nearly 500 square miles of the city, and try to recognize that you won’t be able to “do it all.”  Come to the City of Angels with an idea of the type of holiday you’d like to have clear in your mind, and the itinerary will fall right in line.  Since I didn’t get this kind of direction from you, I’ll provide you with a few of my favorite places, cherie.

Eating, drinking, sleeping:

Old Hollywood
Say you’d like to holiday in a manner that would impress Clark Gable?

Stay: Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Maison 140 Beverly Hills, Chateau Marmont
Eat: Musso and Frank’s (an institution, open since 1919!), Formosa Cafe, The Polo Lounge (for power breakfasts), The Dresden, Dan Tana’s, Mel’s Drive-In (for late nights)
Drink: Polo Lounge (upscale), The Frolic Room (divey), Tropicana pool/bar at the Roosevelt, Bar Marmont, Pig’n Whistle

Willing to explore the newly-blossoming Downtown scene?

Stay: The Standard, Ritz Carlton Los Angeles, Millenium Biltmore Hotel, Figueroa Hotel
Eat: Chaya Downtown, Sugarfish, Mas Malo, Water Grill, El Cholo
Drink: The Falls Lounge, Edison, The Crocker Club, Spring Street Bar, Brass Monkey if you’re in the mood for karaoke

Warm sun, mild ocean breezes

Stay: Hotel Erwin, Viceroy Santa Monica, Shutters on the Beach, Oceana
Eat: Capo, Tito’s Tacos (amazing tacos served in a cardboard box), Father’s Office, Ford’s Filling Station, Primitivo
Drink: The Other Room, lobby of the Viceroy Santa Monica, Casa del Mar for something a bit more stately

A few random places of note:
El Carmen
(tequila bar), Jar (steakhouse with a mid-century modern feel), AOC (lovely winebar), The Bazaar by Jose Andres in the SLS Hotel (bar/restaurant),  The Little Door (French bistro in a lovely hidden garden), Pace (tiny Italian cafe in Laurel Canyon), Toast (popular for brunch), Clementine (tiny, delicious), Tuk Tuk or Saladang Song (Thai), Red O (Mexican), Roscoe’s House of Chicken n’ Waffles.

On shopping:
Los Angeles is home to a very strong mall culture, so there are plenty of such places to go to, if that’s your thing.  The Beverly Center, of course, is the grand dame of LA malls.  Taking up an entire city block and completely indoors, the Beverly Center will cover most bases, but there are also open-air shopping malls: The Grove, 3rd Street Promenade, and Westfield Century City.

What I think is much more interesting (and I definitely recommend you do this instead of zombie-walking around a huge mall) is poking around the shops to be found along streets like Robertson Boulevard, Colorado Boulevard, South Beverly Drive, Rodeo Drive, Melrose Avenue, Beverly Boulevard/West Third Street, and Abbot Kinney.  If you give me a bit more info on your shopping list, I’d be able to recommend specific stores, but these are good places to start, with multiple options.  Also of note is the haggler’s heaven Santee Alley.

Flea markets more your thing?  Visit the Rose Bowl Flea Market on the second Sunday of each month, or the Pasadena City College Flea Market on the first Sunday of each month.

Last but not least:
Go to Sprinkles and have a cupcake for me.
On second thought, don’t tell me about it…

Have I missed anything, Angelenos?

Enjoy your trip!

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