02 August 2012

LA is my lady (a few tourist tips from m21)

it's vacation time again- though as you can probably tell from my lack of posts of late that maison21 is too busy to take one himself this year (not that we really need one right now since LONDON is on the agenda for september, courtesy of modenus' blog tour 2012!)

but since others are traveling now, and we just got a request from a friend of the blog for restaurant/tourist tips, we thought we'd do a quick recap of an email we sent a few people during last year's blog conference here in LA.

maison21's decidly non-all-encompassing tips for touring LA:

dinner in the west hollywood/hollywood area:

the jar:   all american chop house fare, get the pot roast- it is second best only to teh pot roast my mom used to make. jar also might be my favorite LA restaurant, so i can't recommend it enough.

fig and olive  be sure to order the fig tartlet appetizer.

the bazaar at the SLS hotel. the phillippe starck room is a lil much, but the food is amazing

comme ca: chic french brasserie. i LOVE their crispy skate grenobloise. they also make a damn fine burger.

lucques; pretty, early career barbara barry designed space, consistently good food.
cecconi's: italian, lovely patio- i prefer it for relaxed lunch/early dinner as it can get a little RHOC at night, especially on the weekend.

animal: be warned: all meat- no vegan options

aoc: great wines & small plates.

campanile: delish in a historical setting (building originally housed charlie chaplin's offices). i like thursday grilled cheese nights with a table by the fountain. mmmm, grilled cheese and an ice cold martini- food of the gods.

the hungry cat:  amazing seafood and cocktails.

mozza pizzeria:   hip & casual with deelicious pizzas; reservations are a must unless you enjoy an hour and a half wait. ps besides the pizza, start with nancy's chopped salad (for the table, it's huge) and end with the butterscotch budino.

picca: peruvian cuisine & cocktails- new, different and fun. try a pisco sour.

chateau marmont: officially, teh chateau doesn't have a restaurant, though the entire lobby and patio is nothing but restaurant! it can be tough to book on evenings/weekends, but going for lunch is usually no problem, unless it's during oscar week or sumpthin'. so quintessentially los angeles it hurts- you will feel like movie star eating here (and you'll see a movie star as well, most likely). just don't gawk at them- it's against the rules. :-)


the griddle
: hipsters & young hollywood eating giant pancakes, avoid on weekends- the line is too long.
hugo's: hipsters/gays and the occasional tv star. get the artery clogging pasta papa.  

the polo lounge @ the beverly hills hotel. fabulous for brunch or drinks/late dinner (for brunch, be sure to book the patio).

bld:  casual, yet nice for breakfast, lunch or dinner (hence the name!)

joan's on third for lunch is *very* LA, with great people watching. (also recommend the restaurant at fred segal for people watching too, but i don't know it's name, if it even has one).

the farmer's market is always a favorite - loteria for mexican, short order for burgers, monsieur marcel for french comfort food, gumbo pot for cajun. you might see me here as since i don't cook, this is my go to spot for take out. i'm at "teh corner of 3rd and fairfax" A LOT.

eats/drinks downtown:

bottega louie:    brunch, lunch or dinner. BL is the prettiest restaurant in LA, imho, so GO & be sure to try teh portobello fries.

the lazy ox:   snout to tail artisianal, hipster cuisine.

church and state:   french bistro fare. the food can be hit or miss, but it's great space & vibe, so i've never not enjoyed it.

r 23:  arty sushi 

drive thru:

 in n out burger:    you'll either love it, or wonder what the fuss is about. personally, i love it. ps- there is a whole mythos built around ordering off the 'secret menu' but the only thing special i request is fries well done.

to do, see, and shop:

the design shops on la cienega (between melrose place and santa monica) are pretty fabulous (as are the nearby ones on beverly and la brea).

the getty museum in brentwood is *spectacular* architecturally, though the art collection is so-so, but  it's a must visit for the grounds/bldgs/view; while in brentwood, hit up grace home, gianetti home, & the brentwood country mart.

the getty villa in malibu is awesome too, especially if you are into greek and roman antiquities. advance reservations are required. eat lunch at the cafe- it's very civilized.

LACMA is a favorite spot (it's in my 'hood), and the new broad collection bldg is pretty fab if you like modern art. stop by the stark bar for an al fresco drink while visiting.

the schindler house in west hollywood and the gamble house in pasadena are musts for architecture buffs; and the huntington library & gardens in pasadena is always a lovely way to spend a day.

jf chen and blackman cruz on highland are must visits for design junkies.

skip hollywood blvd- it's kinda gross.

also skip rodeo drive- you've seen the stores in every city in the world, so really, what's unique? instead, take a drive through the residential streets of beverly hills and take in the good, the bad, and the ugly homes of the rich and probably not at all famous.

i'm also not a fan of the boardwalk in venice beach- it's kinda skanky with too many people selling incense and cheap, ugly jewelry, but nearby abbot-kinney blvd is the complete opposite and totally adorbs, full of great shops, galleries and restaurants.

the beach at santa monica is really pretty, and the amusement park on the pier is kitschy but fun, if you are into that kind of thing. again, skip the 3rd st. promenade unless you don't have a mall in your own city.

runyon canyon offers an easy hike, and great city views, but warning, since it's a heavily used dog park, it can be a bit pungent on a hot summer's day...

the griffith observatory in griffith park is a pretty cool blend of retro, science and views. it's crowded so be prepared for a long walk from car to observatory!

the rosebowl, PCC and long beach flea markets are great shopping if you here on the right sunday. really, there's some good pickin's in these parts!

these are a just a few places that come to mind for me, but everyone has their own favorites,  so puhleeeeeze make this an interactive post by leaving your suggestions in the comments!


David said...

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but even with my actor cousin living in there I've never been to LA. I need to visit, so I'm glad you posted this.

EMI Interior Design, inc. said...

What ?! No mention of Culver City ?
The Culver Hotel is sweet , and there's a couple great restaurants :) and HDButtercup for quick shops . Not as fabulous as what you mentioned , but it's worth the mention :)

maison21 said...

come on out, david- i'd love to met you in person and take you on a visist to supthin' on this list!

maison21 said...

i LOVE downtown culver city, erica, though i've never been to the culver hotel.

ps: i was sad to learn that my favorite culver city restaurant, le st. amour, is no more.

Cameron Carothers said...

NIcely done sir!!

mary said...

This is a great list!! Have a super week-end. Any posts re. new projects? Mary

Katrina Lynn said...

Hungry Cat is one of my most favorite restaurants in LA! Also adding Dan Tanas. It's delish, old school hollywood and home to some of our best celeb sightings ever!
I'm biased against culver city too! The S&W diner downtown is amazing for classic american breakfast. Coolhaus has the best, most innovative new ice cream flavors and A-Frame is hipster foodie heaven as long as you are ok with the communal tables.... I could go on forever, maybe I need to make my own list! :)

red ticking said...

fabulous list... i am partial to joans as we are dear friends but i must admit ... jar is top on my list as well and will definitely order the pot roast next time i go!
happy summer... xx pam

Gramercy Home said...

Excellent round up. @EMI - I ADORE Culver City too. A couple other restaurants worth mentioning...Gjelina on Abott-Kinney is oh so good and I'm a huge fan of Red Medicine (mid-Wilshire).