Sunday, September 3, 2017

LA Celebrations Part 2

Trip date: January 2017

Chuck & Wes were getting married!!! So just 5 days after coming home from Latvia (coming!) I was on a flight to Los Angeles. I grabbed an Uber from LAX and met Aaron, my host for the weekend, at Scopa Italian Roots in Venice.

I had brought a nice bottle of wine from my cellar for Aaron and I to have with dinner, which the waitress did not appreciate. Luckily Aaron's friend and owner Pablo was there and smoothed things over so we could enjoy the Brunello. I loved the American Italian food here but I wouldn't BYOB if I were you. But you should go for dinner when in Venice.

Besides delicious food, Scopa has a super fun speakeasy around the back. Old Lightning has no sign, limited seats, and they take your mobile phone as you enter. THEY TAKE YOUR PHONE!!! It's absolutely beautiful, the service is top notch, and the cocktails are really really good. And you'll just have to take my word for it since I couldn't take any photos. Or better yet make a reservation and get there!

Aaron and I had lunch the next day at Raku. I had been to the one in Las Vegas and had excellent food but rotten service. This time we sat at the sushi bar with Chef Matt taking very good care of us. Really amazing sashimi platter, along with other deliciousness, it renewed my faith in Raku. Get there!

Later that afternoon we picked up fellow Seattle visitor Lauren as well as bitters big shot Louis Anderman and drove to Pasadena for Chuck & Wes' wedding! It was such a wonderful ceremony! I've never seen the couple happier and was so incredibly happy for them!

We had some time before the reception so Lauren, Aaron and I went downtown to check out the newly opened Baldoria. The space was uncomfortable and made more so by a sports game being projected onto a wall. The food was nothing more than average bar food trying to pass as creative Italian.

There were cute bottled cocktails, and a very nice bartender, and a semi- impressive selection of Amari. But with so many stellar spots in LA, I wouldn't put this one on the list.

Since we still had a bit of time we stopped into Westbound in the DTLA area. Now this is what I love in a bar! Gorgeous and luxe atmosphere coupled with a fantastic cocktail menu and perfect execution. This is where you want to drink!
The boys had their reception at Everson Royce in a big tent set up out back. It was a hell of a good time with everyone celebrating, drinking delicious drinks, singing, and story telling. If there is one thing that will always go on with Chuck and Wes, it is some amazing story telling!
I still haven't had a chance to sit inside at ERB and enjoy cocktails, so that's still on the list!

The next morning Aaron and I met Lauren at Bar Ama to nurse our hangovers with tequila and Mexican food. As is the American way!

The food was really good, the service was very slow. I liked it but I prefer Petty Cash for this style of casual eats. Bar Ama is located right downtown though so it was an easy walk for me to get to The Broad from here where I had a timed ticket reservation for their permanent exhibit.

The collection here is fantastic! They've got all the big contemporary names (Koons, Haring, Lichtenstein, etc.) as well as a bunch of pieces from artists that I don't think I'd been introduced before. The Takashi Murakami's were especially interesting to me.

From The Broad I walked to Seven Grand for Happy Hour. A $5 Manhattan sounded perfect but unfortunately the bar was packed with slightly douchy customers and my bartender was not good at his job.

It's a great space and the cocktail menu looked really good but I think going at a not-so-busy time is more my thing. I'd also like to check out the whiskey library, Bar Jackalope.

It was time to meet Aaron for our last night on the town, so I grabbed an Uber and headed to The Normandie Club. I've enjoyed their speakeasy The Walker Inn multiple times but had yet to sit at their main bar. And let me say it is wonderful!
After a few rounds, Aaron and I were off to Gwen for dinner. Wow, this restaurant/butcher shop is absolutely stunning! Owned by Curtis and Luke Stone, the restaurant specializes in steak, offering 3, 5, and 10 course menus. Aaron and I were sitting at the bar so that we could do more of an a la carte menu.
This bone-in ribeye was one of the best steaks I have ever had! I would love to go back and do a small tasting menu here. Delicious and beautiful!!!

On the way to Chuck & Wes' wedding the day before we had passed by the newly opened Edmon Bar in Koreatown so we decided to check it out for a nightcap. It is lovely!
My short trip was over the next day. Aaron took me to his family's favorite spot for American-Mexican food, Gilbert's El Indio, in Santa Monica. This is a super funny place with customer's photos on the walls, cheesy enchiladas, and lots of kitsch! 
We met Lauren and her brother at the Marriott near LAX in order to watch the Seahawks game before flying home.

Alaska Air was nice enough to upgrade me to First Class which was just the cherry on top of a great trip to LA, celebrating with wonderful friends, and eating and drinking along the way!


All LA photos here.

LA Celebrations Part 1