The youngest Gertz Girl will graduate high school next year and has her heart set on a career in film production. So, for February break we jumped on a plane headed for the west coast. There is something very hip about California and you feel it as soon as you step out of the airport. You may arrive feeling like the Clampetts (Google it if you’re under 40), but you leave feeling cool as Compton (Google it if you’re over 40). Cue the song from 2Pac and Dr. Dre – “Let me welcome everybody to the Wild, Wild West.”
The best part of this trip was going to be the warm weather and exploring all the differences between Cali and New England. The weather decided to disappoint us with the first cold spell in decades. We got over it. We also got to laugh at people wearing ski hats and Uggs in 65 degree weather. It was a wonderful four days and the stellar food scene played a big part of that. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:
The Hudson Restaurant: Located in West Hollywood (my hipster 80-year-old mother corrected me to call it “WEHO” like the locals). This super hip, but casual restaurant caters to a young adult clientele. Everyone who works here looks shiny and stylish. We arrived early on a Saturday evening, and realized the restaurant is built around actual trees that are located throughout and go through the ceiling! After a long day of travel, I was initially annoyed at the volume of the music but that passed – because it was just the most AWESOME playlist I’ve heard in a restaurant. We were served some delicious food and it was such a fun vibe that I was soon singing along to BBBBenny and the Jets – only to be joined in unison by two guys dining a table away. Happy is The Hudson!!! Good food and service too! www.thehudsonla.com
Bristol Farms Market: There are a few of these scattered around Los Angeles but the one on the corner of Fairfax and Sunset Boulevard is like an intimate cross between Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I cannot express how much I love this store. A profusion of flowers greet you outside. Once inside, I developed a serious crush on Peet’s Coffee and a beautiful French bulldog named Rose.
This place was within walking distance from our vacation rental and thank you very much! I experienced an amazing and warm Croque Monsieur for breakfast, and also learned there is something called a Poke Bowl (pronounced Pok-Ay), a culinary idea that I really hope soon makes its way to New Hampshire. All kinds of fresh raw and cooked fish can be combined with lots of fresh veggies, nuts, and sprouts to create your own bowl of delicious nutrition. Yum!!! www.bristolfarms.com
Catch L.A.: This was our splurge night out. It’s an Oh-So-Pretty restaurant with an Oh-So-Pricey menu. Upon arrival to the large ground floor vestibule, two very good-looking gentlemen greet you. They verify your reservation, then one of them escorts you to the elevator and sends you to up to the beautiful rooftop restaurant. Selfies abound up there amidst greenery and twinkly lights. We stuck with small plates like the skewered chicken meatballs and I had the best sushi of my life, the Catch Roll (crab+salmon+misohoney), which was accompanied by another handsome young man who provided a sushi fire show with his hand torch. A shout out goes to Cory, our very personable waiter! Check out their lit website www.catchrestaurants.com
In-N-Out Burger: Goes without saying that everyone must try this ubiquitous chain. We went to the one in Westwood before we checked out the UCLA campus. I’m completely intrigued by In-N-Out restaurant and may actually dedicate a whole blog post to them. Suffice to say we left satisfied, and it was the cheapest date we had in Los Angeles. Kudos. www.in-n-out.com
Pink Taco: A friend whose husband grew up in California texted me while I was out there, “Josh says to try hole-in-the-wall Mexican.” We had to clarify if it was an actual name of a restaurant. It wasn’t. Apparently, any Mexican food in L.A. will be better than any Mexican food in New Hampshire. My beautiful niece Jill resides in Los Angeles, and suggested we meet at Pink Taco. www.pinktaco.com
It does not fit the hole-in-the-wall category but we were just fine with it. Again, there were trees in the middle of the dining room, which I find so charming. In addition, the food and atmosphere were festive but relaxed, the Happy Hour margaritas awesome, and the restaurant interior was one of the most seriously pink and funky places I’ve been to. A major bonus – my niece arrived with her charming boyfriend and her well-behaved chihuahua Ziggy, and the hostess didn’t bat an eye. He stayed at our table happily eating bits of chicken burrito (I mean Ziggy here). So basically, it felt like we were dining in Mexico with a Chihuahua. I told you, California is cool.
The Griddle: This renowned breakfast joint IS a hole-in-the-wall, with a daily line of people waiting patiently to get in. We lucked out on a Tuesday morning and were seated right away by a vivacious young waitress who thought maybe I was someone famous!? Hmm…way to score a good tip! We ordered our eggs and pancakes and noticed a tableful of LAPD officers tucking into their breakfasts with intensity. Our plates arrived and OMG these were huge portions! It was tasty too. We salute The Griddle! www.thegriddlecafe.com
Rite-Aid: Yes, you read that right. I have to include the West Hollywood Rite-Aid in this post. Let me just say this is proof that Los Angeles has it over us big time. This was a Rite-Aid on steroids, including a coffee and Cubano sandwich bar. I went in for Tylenol and left with a fresh pistachio frozen yogurt, a bottle of Grey Goose vodka and a pair of yoga pants! Enough said!!
Oh, and by the way I fell in love with L.A. and will be pursuing my career dreams there. Here’s a sample of my inspiration from this trip! Eva’s LA Video
Someday I’m gonna be a STAH on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
You Bitchez! I’m SOOOOOO jealous I wasn’t there 😉
Gertz Girlz Final Dish:
The rumor is you have conquered L.A. when you conquer their notoriously challenging freeways. I was asked how I did driving on “The 405” and “The 101”. Please give this Boston driver a big fat break. I mean we are not on bucking broncos here and you have five lanes to play with. I can handle Storrow Drive at 50mph so I’m pretty sure the California drivers were more scared of ME in my rental car. We can cue Dr. Dre again: “Let me welcome everybody to the Wild, Wild West!”