My husband and I recently returned to the west coast after a two and a half year hiatus. Our last trip in 2009 was an exploration–a purely pleasure-driven seven days of motorcycle-riding, dining and relaxing along the length of the California coast.
This recent trip, necessitated by work, and extended by our need to play, was a more focused affair with three days spent in and around Los Angeles. This trip would be a quick deep-dive into a city we rarely visit. Reservations were made (five to be exact), hotels were booked (Hollywood and Hermosa, respectively) and friends (Hi Nancy + Max) were alerted.
Unlike most, I don’t love to hate L.A. I’d move there in a heart beat. In fact, the city reminds me a lot of my “city,” also known as Fairfield County. Like L.A.’s 405, I spend most of my days criss-crossing the length of F.C. for work, food events and friends. I’ll occasionally spy the odd celebrity, frequently park next to cars that cost roughly the same as my mortgage and occasionally pine for the ocean about 20 minutes away.
But Fairfield County has nothing on L.A. (obviously). I’d rather spend an hour commuting on the 405 in my rust-free California car, surfboard strapped to my roof and headed for Manhattan or Hermosa beaches than our dirty puddle that is Long Island Sound any day.
And the proof is in the music. No one has ever written a song about Fairfield County or Connecticut the way the Beach Boys, America, Rufus Wainwright or Elliott Smith have immortalized Los Angeles. Their songs, love letters to that promised land, are carved into my brain and synapses and fire whenever my mind goes California Dreaming.
And don’t even get me started on the weather. So how much do I love L.A.? Let me count the ways.
As “one of the largest megaliths moved since Ancient times,” this work represents an ambitious and weighty addition to LACMA’s collection. And yes, it cost $10 million. I spied it leaving LACMA, under-wraps resting quietly until its final resting place has been completed.
It’s possible to get a decent cup of coffee in this city (with a side of celebrity sightings). Many thanks to @dblstarcoffee for this suggestion. A macchiato and a bowl of granola also happen to be the perfect fuel to explore the design shops of Silver Lake just down the street.
As much as we try to pretend we aren’t tourists when we travel, we are are all just one fanny pack and a pair of gleaming white Keds away from having it stamped on our foreheads. We embraced this reality with a WB VIP Studio Tour and found we knew shockingly less about American sitcoms than our fellow Finnish/Dutch/Italian tour members. I also found out I am one of about eight people who actually watched Chuck.
4. Getty Malibu
Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities within Roman-inspired architecture and surrounded by Roman-style gardens are the draw at this Pacific Palisades Getty outpost. While the Getty Center, the landlocked modernist Richard Meier-designed temple with stunning views of the city is a must-see, the Getty Malibu is its kinder, gentler, ancient cousin.
5. The Beach
This one is a given. When your point of reference is the aforementioned murky Long Island puddle, er, Sound, any body of water is an infinite step up. Hermosa and Manhattan Beaches just south of LAX or Malibu just north, feel light years away from the sprawl and trappings of the rest of Los Angeles. And they have Umami Burger, which brings me to #6.
We visited Umami Burger not once, but twice in just over three days in L.A. The siren call of their epic (totally warranted use of this word) burgers and buttery buns is coming to NYC this fall. Mark your calendar.
7. 8. 9. and 10. My dear friends.
Allow me to introduce you to my friends: James, Barb & Ken, Captain Picard & my dearest Nancy. I love you guys.