Sunday, March 15, 2009

cool things by cool people: peter davis

i am infatuated with people who get infatuated with things, therefore, i am infatuated with peter davis because of his infatuation with bernie madoff.  in the weeks surrounding the scandal,the bi-coastal journalist dedicated his facebook status (which he changed every few hours) to the park avenue criminal who swindled loads of cash from blue bloods around the world.  what was more interesting to me: the case itself or davis' impassioned response to it?

davis is one day younger than he legally is.  born on friday the 13th, his mother, house beautiful editor-at-large senga mortimer, quickly changed the date to the 12th, for the sake of superstition.  "my entire life, my birthday has been a lie," davis tells me over a cup of java at milk on beverly, "it even says the 12th on my birth certificate, but i was really born at 12:01 am on the 13th."  this set the precedence of a life less ordinary for the overachieving gaycialite.

raised in nyc, davis had california dreaming as a young buck.  "i have always been obsessed with la, because it is the opposite of nyc in every good way.  when i was 13 and living on the upper-east side, i dressed like a skater kid from la, wearing opi shorts, punk rock t-shirts, and checkered vans.  i pretended to surf, when all i did was skate up and down park ave."  vans became one of davis' first infatuations, throughout the years collecting over 275 pairs, which he plans to auction off on ebay sometime this year.  he is also going to be featured in a book about the shoe company that is in the works.

peter has scribed for the likes of vanity fair, the new york times, and the new york observer, and is currently the editor-at-large of paper magazine, where he also maintains a popular blog titled "peter davis' status update."  under famed literary agent lynn nesbit, he is in the process of penning a novel about "a talented mrs. ripley type in new york city."  "all of my socialite friends should be very, very, scared," davis quips, "the book is fiction, but definitely draws from real life experiences."

in the fall, peter will add fashion designer to his palate of titles, as he and pal thomas whiteside are launching a mens swim trunk line donned brukes.  "brukes will compete with vilebrequin but at a much lower price point.  they will retail for around $100.  we just got the first samples back, and they are incredible!"

though peter is the great-grandson of davis cup founder dwight davis, don't expect to talk tennis with him.  "people assume that i follow tennis, but i don't even know who is playing in the davis cup!  my friends will send me emails about what is going on with it, and i pretend to know what they are talking about, but i really don't have a clue."

if you want to know more about peter, try adding him as a friend on facebook.  hopefully, he will delete one of his 5,000 friends to make room for you.

hole in the wall: sam's bagels on larchmont.  despite the fact that are reliably rude to me, and the decor is 1974, they have an authentic nyc bagel.
fine dining: aoc for small and pretentious dining.  the ivy for starfucking, though not the food.
brunch spot: the coffee table in silverlake
late night dining: mozza.  i go there to support the owner, who lost all her money to madoff.
bar: the tiki-ti on sunset.  it only seats 9 and 7 of those are real alcoholics.  i don't drink, but i still love it.
hotel: the chateau.  because andre gives me a discount.
jukebox: spaceland
karaoke: any of those places with private booths on sawtelle, because i am tone deaf.
live music venue: spaceland
reality television show:  intervention.  i am obsessed.  i own every episode on itunes.
reality show that needs to be made:  the one about my life.  i have been approached several times, but i would never allow it.
coffee:  the coffee bean.  i love the ice blended.
t-shirt: martin margiela, when i want to overpay.
store to splurge: martin margiela.
store to save: koontz hardware in west hollywood.  i am a shopoholic.  i could redo my whole life in one shopping trip here.
magazine: paper
book: into thin air by john krakauer
movie i can watch a million times: earthquake, the 1970's disaster movie.
movie this year: revolutionary road
television show i can't miss: intervention and cops
band of all time: the clash
new band: tv on the radio
album i can listen to from start to finish: the clash, give em enough rope
the most embarrassing song on my ipod: christina aguilera, beautiful 
downtown gem: little tokyo.  the whole area is great for magazines and food.
blackberry or iphone application: shazam.  it tells you what song is playing.
home furnishing store: lawson fanning on beverly. 
beauty product: right guard deodorant
la escape: sawtelle blvd.  because i can pretend that i am in tokyo.
weekend escape: my friends house in big bear.
one thing missing in la: a good subway/monorail
the article of clothing i wear the most:  my tux jacket.  i even wear it to the grocery store.
bed linens: schweitzer.  they are overpriced, snobby bed linens that my mother bought for me.
website:  even though they write mean things about me, i still read it.
blog: this one
guilty pleasure: 3-5 ice blended drinks from coffee bean a day.
la moment: being mistaken 3 times in one night for rachel zoe's assistant brad.  after the 3rd group approached me, i finally just signed autographs and took photos with them.
trend prediction: the return of punk rock
the strangest thing in my pocket: white margiela spider encased in plastic keychain
if i could be anywhere right now other than here: tokyo
dj: sam ronson.  i know her and she is nice to me.
artist: cindy sherman
sexiest actor/actress: anjelica huston
something i wore that i will never live down: an eye patch, when nothing was wrong with my eye.  my friend, parker posey, told me to take it off, but i wasn't about to let her get all of the attention!
swimming trunks: brukes
beach towel: steven sprouse for target.  
sunglasses: my custom designed peter davis sunglasses from a.r. trapp
tacos: malo
next hot neighborhood in la: the deep, deep valley
camera: leica
computer: mac only.  i loathe pc.
shampoo: clark's botanicals
painting: the garden of earthly delight by hieronymus bosch
beach: matador
watch: rolex only
hike: temescal canyon
one thing i miss about being 16: constant making out with everyone
best advice my parents ever gave me: stay out of the newspaper.  i didn't, obviously.
worst advice my parents ever gave me: stay out of the newspaper
one thing i did in the past i wish i could change: told the truth about my age in print

Saturday, March 14, 2009

pho cafe: a sliver of vietnam in silverlake

i love vietnamese food, and have struggled to find a decent place to chow on vermicelli and pho for quite a while now.  the best place i have found (so far....suggestions please?)  is the pho cafe, a small, urban, spot without a sign on sunset blvd in silverlake.  though most good ethnic places tend to be dives, pho cafe happens to be asthetically pleasing, if you can get past the super bright lights which reveal every flaw in your skin!  the space is small and you may have to wait for a table, but once you sit down and order, the food is out in a flash.  the menu is basic for vietnamese: pho and vermicelli at a very reasonable price (entrees are about $7.50) and the flavor is authentic.  remember to bring cash, as they do not take any credit cards.    

pho cafe
2841 w sunset blvd
la 90026


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

efterklang: music that will change your life

my friend forrest told me about an amazing "folktronica" band out of denmark called efterklang, so i went to see them play at spaceland the other night with some friends.  i avoided listening to their music before the show, because i love experiencing a new band live.  i am not easily impressed when it comes to music, as there are so many bands out there doing the same boring indie shit, but as soon as these guys hopped onto the tiny spaceland stage, i knew i was in for a transcendental ride.  the band consists of 5 core members, but are joined by violinist peter broderick, from portland oregon, for live gigs.  peter is a musical prodigy.  he opened for the band  as a solo act as well, and literally stole the breath of every person in the room.  starting off with the old singer songwriter routine, he quickly transitioned into a one man act, recording different instruments which he played flawlessly, and then replaying each on top of the other, resulting in a electro-symphonic experience.  every member of efterklang has an intuitive as well as learned understanding of music.  lead singer casper clausen has the enigma of chris martin, but in a more fluid and effortless way.  every move that he makes across the stage is natural and in tune with the music, and it is obvious that he is intoxicated by the words spilling out of his mouth.  the other band members switched instruments throughout the show, banging on each others drums, picking up bazookas and other odd instruments, demonstrating their multi-talented abilities, all the while grinning wildly and singing along with casper.  i like watching performers that are in love with what they are doing and not the idea of it.  i saw the killers years ago, right as they were making it big, and i remember being so bored because they seemed so bored and disinterested in what they were playing.  efterklang has abstractly constructed a new genre of music that is not only pleasant to the ear, but also deepening to the soul.  the lyrics and the sound have depth, but do not make you want to kill yourself.  i was taken on a journey in a little over an hour to places inside of myself that i had forgotten about, releasing feelings that had sunken deep down.  i awoke the next morning in tears.  music is supposed to do this.  it is not supposed to tell us how to feel, but lead us to a place we need to go to feel whatever it is we have been compressing.  efterklang is the danish word for remembrance and reverberation.  coincidence?  listen to the music, but if you have the opportunity, do not miss out on experiencing them live.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

take a weekend walk through the venice canals

beautiful day with nothing to do?  take a walk on the venice canals.  built in 1904 by abbot kinney, the majority of the canals, which spanned across 16 miles, were filled in by 1929 due to the shift from the horse and buggy system of transportation to automobile.  the remaining canals span from venice blvd to washington, and showcase some of venice's most impressive architecture.  if you like ducks, geese, and cranes, you are in luck, as they are the vip guests of the region.  

Monday, March 9, 2009

my new culinary obsession: pupusas at atlacatl

my friend matteo suggested that we have dinner at a salvadorean spot on our way downtown last night.  "they have the best pupusas in town," he told me.  a few months earlier minnie had mentioned these pupusa things as well, so i figured it was time for me to get in on the culinary train.  atlacatl, which is located on beverly and north berendo, is hard to miss with its vibrant canary yellow sign.  a charmingly rough around the edges building, i got the central american vibe before i even walked in.  once the door opened, the enrique iglesies type music poured from the juke box and the room was filled with chattering salvadoreans chomping on their stuffed corn tortillas.  framed el salvadore posters cling to the white walls next to random paintings of chickens and bunnies and atlacatl himself.  looking around, i noticed that we were the only gringos in the whole joint, which was a good sign in my book.  we ordered a bunch of stuff off the menu: pupusas, tamales, and chilate, nuegados, platanos en miel y camote (corn atole, fried pastry, fried plantain w honey & sweet potatoes).  the food takes a little while to come out, but it is definitely worth the wait.  everything we ordered was delicious.  the pupusas were seriously to die for.  they remind me of a cross between a tamale and calzone, and are fille
d with various items of your choice.  they suggest that you eat them with this sort of cabbage slaw and special sauce, which gives them extra flavor.  order a few different types: plain cheese, cheese and loroco (a salvadorean vegetable), and pork.  the cheese is insanely gooey and delicious.  the best part about atlacatl, is that it is insanely cheap.  each pupusa costs about $2 and entrees (think whole fried fish, rice beans, tortilla) run around $10.  if you craving latin american cuisine and are down to try something different, i hi
ghly suggest atlacatl.  

atlacatl restaurant
301 north berendo street

Sunday, March 8, 2009

cool things by cool people: david dixon

david dixon is a good person to invite to a dinner party.  with his ralph lauren looks and ivy league brain, he is one of those people who knows something about everything and still asks questions because he wants to know more.  six years ago dixon left his cush and stable trading job at goldman sachs in nyc for la la land, in order to pursue creative real estate ventures.  one of these ventures, was the renovation of the historic howard manor hotel in palm springs, which he oversaw from start to finish.  now dubbed the colony palms, dixon is part owner of the moroccan chic luxury hotel which has quickly made a name for itself amongst the hip set of hollywood.  if he is not out at teddy's or the chateau near his west hollywood residence, you will find him surfing the break outside of his malibu pad.  "i love los angeles," he says, "i believe la is having its moment."  when i ask him why, expecting a simple answer, he goes on to list a variety of reason. "the cost vs. the quality of life ratio favors la over ny.  ny lost a lot of that during the "hedgefundification" era.  therefor, creative talent that la wouldn't normally attract is settling here, realizing how great a city this is to live.  this has been feeding off itself  for some time and very much and strengthening the art scene.  the mature art scene is also coming of age with the bcam as well as micharel govan running lacma.  other factors include the major diversification of economy vs. the 2 horse town (entertainment & aerospace/defense) that la used to be.  fashion has very much been on this rise here since the denim and graphic t-shirt explosion.  additionally, there has been a major reduction of smog and pollution and the restaurant scene is strengthening."  that pretty much says it all.

tacos: howdy's malibu
favorite fine dining: madeo
alcoholic beverage: stella artois
non-alcoholic beverage: kombucha
magazine: monocle
book: the fountainhead
home furnishing store: twentieth
store to splurge: fred segal
store to save: target
beauty product: malin + goetz
the article of clothing i wear the most: black lna t-shirt
bed linens: matteo
the strangest thing in my wallet: a metrocard
gossip website:
dj: whoever is playing poolside at the raleigh at the winter music conference in miami
artist: basquiat
sexiest actress: scarlett
sunglasses: ray ban aviators since 1988
swimming trunks: vilebrequin
shampoo: whatever hotel i have been to recently
album i can listen to from start to finish: "no need to argue" by the cranberries
the most embarrassing song on my ipod: "girls just want to have fun" by cyndi lauper
hike: paseo miramar
beach: paradise cove, malibu
where i go for inspiration: new york
one thing i did in the past i wish i could change: not starting a hedge fund in 2002
one thing i wore that i will never live down: parachute pants
most la moment: sitting next to cher at a small dinner party
trend prediction: authentic american style
next hot neighborhood: east la

Friday, March 6, 2009

where to shop if you are in denial of the recession: free city supershop

the free city supershop in the malibu country mart is one of those stores that i wish i could hate.  i mean, a store, that opened it's doors primarily to sell $200 t-shirts?  i would also like to go on to say that i would never dream of spending that much on a sweatshirt, but that would in fact, be a lie, as i own a few of them and they were worth every cent because i wear them all the time. i once had a homeless person walk up to me while i was wearing a green one, which simply read "free city."  he looked at me in a very mischievous and snarky manner and burst out "free city!  ha ha.  where do i find me one of those?"  buttery soft cotton, worn in but still new looking, and fitted to perfection, free city has been a los angeles staple for years, almost to the point of being totally played out.  once upon a time, it was only sold at fred segal on melrose, but a few years ago, designer nina garduno, who has worked for fred segal since the age of 17, opened the flagship "supershop" in malibu, offering much more than insanely priced t-shirts and sweatshirts.   walking into the store, is an experience in and of itself.  joni mitchell, the rolling stones, bob dylan, blare from the speakers.  bright colors, graphics, pop art, bicycles hanging from the ceiling.  peter mack art books, moccasins, susan sontag books, iggy pop albums from the 70's.  everything is cleverly displayed in an asymmetrical space with skylights splashing beams of sunlight around the room in a way that feels surreal.  if you are into design, fashion, art, music, or cool things in general, take a drive down the pch and pop into free city.  if you don't have the time, check out their website, which will implore you to make the time.  

3866 cross creek road
malibu, ca 90265

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

recession chic hair: rudy's barbershop

a few years ago i noticed my friend amber had gotten a haircut, and it looked amazing.  i asked her where she had gone, expecting her to name some super expensive and trendy salon in beverly hills.  i was shocked when she responded, rudy's barbershop.  when i hear the word "barbershop", i think about the place my father went to get his haircut when i was a little girl.  a place where the red, white, and blue barbers pole swivels outside, and inside, an old man holds an electric razor to his patrons head, as they "chew the fat."   i knew that several of my guy friends had been getting their hair cut at the rudy's at the standard hotel for years, but i didn't realize that girls did too!  when rudy's opened an outpost near my home on main street, i decided to give it try.  what did i have to lose, other than a few inches of hair?  the interior of the main street location is very lofty and urban, with all of their prices clearly listed on the wall so there is no confusion.  after the stylist washes your hair with yummy smelling bumble & bumble products, they snip away your hair in a speedier manner than you are probably used to.  after the cut, they give you the option of a blow dry at an additional cost.  i have been a patron of the hip and minimalist "barbershop" which boasts $24 haircuts for women, for a few years now, and the results have been fantastic for the most part.  recently, i discovered an absolute gem at rudy's, logan cantrell, who charges $100 for cuts at a chic beverly hills salon a few of my friends go to.  he gave me the best cut and style, and also a lively conversation.  he works saturday and sunday 11-7 and monday 3-9.  i would recommend calling first if you want to see him, though you might get lucky just by walking in.

rudy's barbershop

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

enessa...a skin care line that is all natural...for real

though many skin care lines claim to be "all natural" or "organic", in reality, they are loaded with all sorts of ingredients most people would struggle to pronounce.  enessa, a line out of los angeles, is one of the few that really is, all natural.  using the highest quality essential oils out there, enessa has made a name for itself over the years and attracted such celebrity fans as courtney cox arquette, jennifer aniston, carmen electra, and cher.  as soon as you open the cobalt blue bottles, you are engulfed in an aromatic wonderland.  my favorite products from this line are the bio-exfoliant, which sloughs away dry skin with dead sea salts and the clove oil, which makes pimples going away without irritation.

Monday, March 2, 2009

cool things by cool people: minnie mortimer

minnie mortimer is the epitome of style.  an nyc girl transplanted to la a few years ago, minnie's style is a reflection of all the roles she has played flawlessly throughout her twenty-something years: prep school coed, new york socialite, international photographers assistant, fashion designer, wife of an academy award winning hollywood director, and most recently, mother.  the thing i like about minnie's style is that she has mastered the craft of mixing and matching designer duds with thrifty finds.  after years of playing dress up in other peoples clothes, minnie decided to start designing her own, and now women everywhere can indulge in a slice of her style.  her spring and summer collections are hitting stores as we speak, so scoop them up before everyone else does!

cool things by minnie
favorite hole-in-the-wall: johnnie's in culver city.  best pastrami sandwich in town.
favorite fine dining: il ristorante di giorgio baldi.  the pumpkin ravioli and truffle pasta are divine.
la bar: jones
la hotel: the chateau
coffee: iced lattes at axe, dola on abbot kinney
t-shirt: american vintage, american apparel.  because i don't like spending a lot on t-shirts.
store to splurge: martin margiela
store to save: flea markets: long beach, rose bowl, santa monica airport
gift: photography books. i really like slim aarons and tina barney.
magazine: vanity fair, tar(brand new), nylon, paper(my alltime favorite because they are always one step ahead).  i'm a magazine junky.  i read all of them.
book: black flies by shannon burke and american eve(about the stanford white murder and his mistress evelyn nesbit).
movie i can watch a million times: syriana.  the filmmaker is a genius! (husband stephen gaghan)
movie this year: control. i think it was from last year, but i love it.
television show i can't miss:  gossip girl, dominique dunne's power, privilege, and justice.
band of all time:  the clash
band of the moment: the virgins
nail polish color: i switch every 5 days, but probably candy apple red.
blackberry or iphone application:  bbm for sure.
downtown gem:  noodle shops in little tokyo, japanese bookstore where i buy japanese fashion mags
home furnishing store: nathan turner.  he has the best edited fabric and antique collection.
beauty product: chanel precision moisturizer
la escape: the back porch of my mandeville canyon home
weekend escape: i never go on any!  i would love to go to ojai.
best advice my parents ever gave me: "don't smoke.  it ages you." and "moisturize every night before you go to sleep."
worst advice my parents ever gave me: don't question the doctor.  take whatever he gives you.
one thing la is missing: yellow cabs. i miss sticking out my finger and hailing a cheap cab.
the article of clothing i wear the most: my minnie mortimer shirtdress.  it's just so versatile.
bed linens: d porthault
website: fed ex.  it's just so useful.  especially when you have a baby.
guilty pleasure: fosters freeze dip cones on pico.  cookies from the city bakery.
sunglasses: ray bans, persol's (i steal them from my husband).
la moment: when i walk into a party and everyone is talking about which freeway and streets they took to get there.
trend prediction: facial tattoos.  i've always sort of wanted one.  i wish i could have a black tear, but i haven't killed anyone...yet!

my new obsession: cutler hair care

i am always searching for great hair products that don't set me back $50 a month.  at the grammy style studio this year, i came across the cutler line, and it was love at first sight and sniff!  i was anxious to test out all of their products, even though i am a bit skeptical of anything other than shampoo or conditioner, but i was pleasantly surprised to find that the entire product line was usable.  the shampoo and conditioner leave your hair feeling super clean, detangled, and moisturized, without any buildup and the flower and fruit extracts will make you smell like you bathed in the tropics.  the specialist fly-away control stick is great to keep down all those strands of hair which don't want to cooperate, and doesn't feel waxy or greasy like similar products.  the volumizing and protective treatment spray are great as well.  and the more you use, the better you smell!  all this, and the very chic and minimalist bottles even look great in your bathroom!  the products range in price from $14 to $25, which make them a beauty bargain in my book.  you can purchase them on or at ulta.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

dola on abbot kinney: what is better than coffee and magazines?

if you cannot bear to sit inside of a coffee shop on a beautiful afternoon, but have a bunch of work to do, you should check out dola on abbot kinney.  offering a gardenlike courtyard setting, strewn with funky and oddly shaped chairs and tables, it is a perfect place to pretend to get work done while you surf the web on free wifi.  also available for your distraction, is a news stand brimming over with every cool and hard-to-find magazine you could want to read.  and last, but not least, many attractive and painfully hip venice locals strung out on caffeine and nicotine.

1423 1/2 abbot kinney blvd
venice 90291

Friday, February 27, 2009

AFEX at temporary spaces: the hip without the "ster"

remember back about 6 years ago when it was still fun to go out in hollywood?  before ed hardy and pantieless reality show whores contaminated the club scene, there were actually fresh and hip clubs where something cool was going on.  friday nights at delux were my favorite.  old school hip hop, fresh fashion, and people of all shapes and sizes filled the small room with a new york-esque urban vibe.  that feeling had been long gone and almost forgotten until i stepped into the tiny temporary spaces aka fountain bar on fountain and normandy on a thursday night for AFEX.  with legendary nightclub doorman andrew brin guarding the door, i was immediately reassured that driving 30 minutes from venice wasn't a huge mistake.  though the room is small, it is tightly packed with beautiful people who have probably never been to a plastic surgeon in their life.  dj adam 12, from the indie band she wants revenge, spins beats from all your hip hip favorites (think tribe called quest, swv, pharcyde, eazy-e) and really rad songs you have probably never heard but will find yourself asking your friends if they have.  for those who don't dance (and the music is so good, it is almost impossible not to!) there is a back smoking patio, which resembles a small living room with one wall missing.  super hot guys stand against an exposed brick wall inhaling american spirits, while girls in limited edition nikes bop to the jams.  every time i walk into ts i feel like an extra in the wackness,  which if you haven't seen, you should update your netflix right now, because it is amazing.  if you are sick of the same old bars and clubs in hollywood, this is the place for you, but if you are still wearing rhinestone hats, you better stick to the sbe scene.

temporary spaces
5100 fountain
hollywood, ca  90068

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

the place i always forget about: jones

i love jones on santa monica.  there are few restaurants which i deem to be worthy of a gold star, but this is definitely one of them.  there is nothing i would change.  in the ever changing landscape of cookie cutter bars and eateries in los angeles, it is a breath of fresh air to walk into this classic staple.  it is perfect for nearly every occasion: an intimate date, a reunion with old friends, grabbing a drink with a pal.  the ambiance is perfect.  the lighting is dark enough to make you look good on a bad skin day, but light enough where you can read the menu.  you can hear the cool indie rock tunes playing, but you can also carry on a conversation without having to ask "what" every other word.  the food is good, but not expensive.  and the clientele is super hip and attractive.  the side room, which used to house the smokers, is now the perfect place to congregate with a bunch of your friends.  so the next time you are wondering where to go, just remember, oh yeah, jones.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

perfume on a budget: terra nova perfume oils

i own a lot of perfume.  from the fruity and chocolaty thiery mugler angel to tropical and beachy kai, i feel like fragrance is an important part of your identity.  your personal scent defines you and distinguishes you from a crowd.  i try and shy away from expensive, mainstream, perfumes, because who wants to spend a fortune to smell like the person next to you?  perfume oils are amazing, because they seem to last a lot longer then the spray ons, and are easily transported in your handbag for periodic touch ups.  i adore kai, miss marissa, and faith perfume oils, but with price tags topping $50, they are hardly a recession necessity.  i discovered terra nova perfume oils at a beauty supply down the street from me a few years ago.  they have oodles of different scents, including gardenia, white ginger, and tuberose, but my absolute favorite is pikake, which brings me back to the gardens of hawaii.  every time i rub this oil on my skin, people stop me on the street to inquire about the delicious aroma.  and the best part: 4 ounces of the oil for $15!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

the counter: for the complicated burger lover

the counter on ocean park has been one of my westside faves for years, but now it is more accessible, as the franchise has expanded worldwide.  inexpensive, hip, and delicious, the counter is a gourmet build your own burger (beef, turkey, veggie, or grilled chicken) joint, that even your pickiest friends will adore.  there are limitless options, though being the creature of habit that i am, i order exactly the same every time i go (grilled chix, gruyere, cranberries, grilled onions, tomatoes, bbq and balsamic dijon dressing)!  be sure to order fries with bbq and ranch (both the sweet potato and regular fries are to die for).  Not only is the food great, but the counter is a fun place to go with your friends, or on a casual date.  Added bonuses: for sports fans, there are several flat screens to watch the sporting event of the moment (single women, take note!), the tunes are a super fun mix and old and new (fleetwood mac meets 50 cent), and the walls host cool photography and artwork.  

one of the last used bookstores standing: angel city books

if you like to read or just like the way that books look on your shelves, than you should definitely check out angel city books off main street in santa monica. most of the charming bookstores in la are shutting their doors, due the doomed economy and the fact that most people here only read scripts and perez hilton, but angel city isn't going anywhere!  though a bit cramped and not too aesthetically appealing, owners rocco ingala, jr and steve rodriguez keep the shelves overflowing with only the best in black and white print and the walls covered with interesting artwork.  whether you are looking for a book on philosophy, a novel to read on an airplane, or a guide to help you finish your script, you will find it here, and at a very reasonable price.  on their website it says, "we believe that selling literature is not like selling hardware and that the current trend of superstore is an inappropriate method for the handling of literature precisely because there is no distinction between the great and the mundane."  rocco, the long haired hippy behind the desk, has been a main street staple for many years, and is a bit of a character himself.  he is always open to offering suggestions, and will not let you down!  and for people who just like the way that books look, trust me: used books that look like they have actually been read look way cooler than brand new ones ordered on  after you grab your books, head next door and grab some java at novel cafe, which always makes for some interesting people watching.

rocco's favorite authors
henry miller
arthur rimbaud
rainer maria rilke
antonin artaud
jack kerouac
charles bukowski
218 pier ave
santa monica 90405

Friday, February 13, 2009

listen to this: the airborne toxic event

i had never even heard of this los feliz based band until my friend matteo invited me to their show at the music box at the fonda last night.  before the show, we watched their performance on david letterman from january 16th, and i instantly fell in love.  my obsession drastically multiplied after i saw them live.  though the band has been together since 2006, their popularity soared last year after kroq, indie 103.1, and 98.7fm put "sometime around midnight" by the then unsigned band on the airwaves.  they were immediately signed, and are now on their way to superstardom.  the music is very "morrisey-esque".  even the sad songs will make you smile and bring you back to the lost innocence of your teens.  every band number brings intelligence and a thorough understanding of music to the stage, and they often bring a string quartet to their performances.  just added to the coachella 2009 lineup, i predict that they will be at the grammy's in no time!  go to their website and watch the letterman performance.  you will get hooked.

froyo is a staple cuisine in los angeles

frozen yogurt is to los angeles like a cheesesteak is to philladelphia.  it is a part of our culture.  in other cities, people look confused when i ask them if there are any good yogurt shops, often directing me to a baskin robbins or ben and jerry's.  luckily for us, we have a plethora of frozen yogurt options all over the city!

though the trend has died down, pinkberry (several locations) and red mango (several locations) seem to be the most popular tart yogurt chains.  i prefer red mango, as the yogurt is much creamier, toppings are fresher, and the yogurt in general just tastes less chemically.

the big chill has (10850 w. olympic blvd) been a westside staple for many years, and there is a reason why there is always a line out the door:  it is the best fro yo joint in the city!  the yogurt is amazing (and for you tart freaks, their chillberry is to die for), there is an abundance of toppings to choose from (oatmeal cookie dough...yum), and the prices are low.  be sure to ask for your topping "on the side".  trust me.  instead of scantilly sprinkling your topping on top, they will fill up a rather large cup for the same price.  just be patient, and wait in the line.  it goes fast and so worth the wait.

across the street (3280 westwood) and at other various locations around the city including marina del rey (4718 lincoln) and torrance (20016 hawthorne) is penguins frozen yogurt.  the chain has been around since i was a kid, and it is the subway of frozen yogurt.  it is good, but there is nothing exotic about it.  the last time i was at the marina location, i noticed the prices were significantly higher: a medium with one topping was almost 5 bucks!  regardless, if you are having a craving, it will do the trick.

across town and over the hill there is another a plus alternative to this big chill: studio yogurt (12050 ventura blvd).  it is pretty much exactly like the big chill, but in the valley.

if you live in weho, you might want to swing by toppers (7158 beverly blvd).  the yogurt is good, but the service sucks.

lately, a bunch of self serve yogurt places have popped up around the city.  you pick up a cup, dispense your own yogurt, and sprinkle the toppings on yourself.  at the end, they weigh your yogurt, and it actually comes out to be about the same price as any other yogurt place.  do not walk into one of these places if you cannot exercise will power.  i always walk out of these places feeling ill, because who really needs to eat cookie dough and brownie on top of their yogurt?  in west la try twist (12105 santa monica blvd), in studio city menchie's (4849 laurel canyon blvd), and also the yogurt tree (11048 ventura blvd).  another great option is yogotango (1300 n highland) in hollywood, where they serve you "tart" yogurt and you sprinkle the toppings.

thanks to my bff jess bilson who helped me with this and introduced me to the fro yo cult!

Monday, February 9, 2009

book for a rainy day: the secret history by donna tartt

if you haven't read it, read it now.  if you have, read it again, because it has probably been about 10 years and you have forgotten exactly why this book is a cult classic.  set in a small liberal arts college in vermont, tartt brings back the term "greek tragedy" in a haunting story about 6 college kids and their obsession with the ancient culture.  if you have trouble understanding why good people do bad things, richard, the narrator, will take you on a psychological journey that will make you question your own morality.  tartt, who studied at bennington college with pal bret easton ellis,  is not only a master storyteller, but so gifted with words, that you will read some sentences over and over in awe of their powerful imagery.

sauce on hampton: no need to starve during a recession

are you sick of paying a fortune for boring food?  while los angeles boasts tons of great restaurants, it is difficult to find great, healthy eats at a low price.  sauce on hampton is long overdue!  tucked away across from the hare krishna temple and around the corner from the overpriced rose cafe, this little gem was opened about a month ago from rustic canyon alum, 25-year old sassan rostamian.  everything is organic, simple, but with a twist, and under $11 (with no change in price on the dinner menu).  i highly suggest the charleston char shiu pulled pork.  my mouth waters just typing the words.  though the space is small, the atmosphere is very zen and comfortable, and the service is right on target.  a great place for takeout and eating in as well, it won't take long before we are all waiting in line!

open every day 9am-9pm
259 hampton drive, venice

the new/old "it" sunglasses: carrera's

(singer estelle at left)

celebs are going crazy for these rediscovered shades, and they are perfect for the recession savvy consumer!  forget tom ford and marc jacobs.  celebs have been scooping these things up like crazy from solstice sunglass boutique at every gifting suite this awards season.  the jonas brothers, estelle, olivia wilde, david annable, and kanye west are among the following.  over the weekend at the 51st annual grammy awards gift lounge, rihanna and chris brown picked up matching pairs of the "vintage" syle which retail for less than $15o!  other popular styles include the "jocker" and the "safari".  you can find them at a solstice store near you, or by clicking on this link:

Monday, February 2, 2009

take a midweek vacation at the getty

take a day off work (or time out of your freelance life) and jet on over to the getty.  midweek, the getty is almost empty, giving you an intimate experience at one of the coolest museums in the world.  no matter what time of the year, the getty is the perfect escape from the chaos of los angeles.  not only does it house artistic masterpieces from around the world, the views from the architecturally advanced structure are insane.  and the best is free!  fork over ten dollars for parking, and stay all day!  on inauguration day, amber and i jetted up to the getty to celebrate a new beginning.  amber brought her camera, and we indulged in a photo shoot all over the grounds.