I just got back from a trip to Los Angeles. I lived there for a couple of years in the 90s while going to school at USC. I loved it then and love it still. This trip was all play and no work, which is when I love LA best.
Driving around in a rented mustang convertible under cloudless 22 degree skies certainly helps lift the mood. While I did frequent a few of my usual haunts, I also found some new spots I wanted to share.
For a well priced fabulously located hotel, check out the Chamberlain West Hollywood. Smack dab in the middle of West Hollywood and near Beverly Hills, it’s very close to some of the best restaurants and shopping in town. Our room was a tad dark, but it was a decent size with modern funky furnishings. Don’t forget to check out the rooftop pool deck and excellent room service. I had one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever tasted.
There are a few neighbourhoods I like to hit. First, Robertson in Beverly Hills, a two block stretch just north of West 3rd. This is boutique row, with some of my favourite shops, including Intermix, Kitson, Nanette Lepore, Alice and Oliva, and Madison (which just moved around the corner on West 3rd, but it’s still in the vicinity.)
And if you’re in the hood, lunch at the Ivy is a must. This Hollywood institution is the place to stargaze. On this trip we sat beside Maggie Grace (of Lost and Taken fame) and I spotted TV god Darren Star tucked away in the corner.
West 3rd Street, east of La Cienga is another good shopping drag, with a selection of eclectic clothing boutiques and furniture stores. Check out Trina Turk, Milk, Flight 001 and Sigerson Morrison shoes.
Melrose is another shopper’s paradise, though I recommend sticking west of Fairfax, unless you’re running low on skull and crossbones t-shirts. Some big designer names are setting up shop there, including Diane Von Furstenburg, Marc Jacob and Theory. The long standing Fred Segal is also a must-hit.
I made a new discovery this visit: Comme Ca, also on Melrose. This adorable French bistro has good service and great food – I recommend the brunch. Try the yummy Eggs Benny or a Panini, not to mention great coffee, just how I like it! (See my previous blog: In Search of the Perfect Joe)
If you’re looking to step up the action, Koi on La Cienga is still abustle with see and be seens. But while Asian fusion food here is good, it doesn’t beat Matsuhisa, Nobu’s more casual restaurant further south. The rock shrimp is truly to die for.
I love Frida for authentic Mexican fare. No mexi-fries here, thankfully. The homemade chips and selection of three fresh salsas get the ball rolling, and the fish or lobster tacos make for a nice light meal. Imagine leaving a Mexican restaurant not stuffed to the gills. What a concept!
Your LA Faves
So where else should I try next time I go? I’d love to hear about your favourite LA places. Post suggestions below and I’ll be sure to check them out next time I visit the city of angels.