Let me set the stage. Los Angeles has had a ridiculously rainy winter. If people haven’t been directly affected, they know someone who has, or are worried they might be the injured party the next time.
I’m not just talking about houses sliding down hills. There are lesser, nagging problems that come out when the winter is very rainy. Roofs leak. Poorly sealed doors and windows let in water. Trees and branches tumble. Drivers panic, because they’re not sure how to handle their cars on wet roads. It’s a mess.
The truth is, Los Angeles is not built for bad weather. Too much is outside. Too much is exposed to the elements.
So today, when the rain returned, you could see everyone clenching their teeth just a little. No one was anxious to repeat the hell of earlier this winter. Only 1/3″ more rain and this would go down as the 2nd rainiest ever!
We thought we’d take it in stride.
We started the morning with breakfast at the hotel. I had an omelet, which was stuffed full, but only OK for taste. On the other hand, the place we ate itself, Breezes, was excellent. It is tastefully underdone and expansive… and expensive. That’s a given here.
We headed out to a Disney’ish upscale, outdoor mall called The Grove. It is adjacent to The Farmer’s Market (which I remember Jack Benny talking about when I was a little kid) and CBS¹.
The stores at The Grove are similar to those you’d see at a nice mall. While Steffie and Helaine looked around, I headed to Barnes and Noble. This is an especially nice B&N with a large collection of books on all matters show business, plus how-to’s on writing screenplays, teleplays and books.
As the showers continued, the Grove became less of a fun place to be. There’s little cover, so there’s no avoiding getting wet.
We ducked into the Farmer’s Market, where Steffie proceeded to by a t-shirt. The Farmer’s Market is the antithesis of The Grove.
Here all the stores are one of a kind. There are lots of food stands, plus produce and meats, and clothing. It’s an eclectic mix.
We tired of the Farmer’s Market quickly, especially since we had eaten already. Back to the car, we headed to the Beverly Center, not far down Beverly Blvd.
The Beverly Center is a huge mall. The parking is on the lower levels with the mall running on levels 6,7 and 8. The mall seemed too open and cold. Maybe that’s not a fair judgment for a mall. Something was missing.
I found the Sony and Bose stores interesting in that I wondered why things were so expensive? Sony espcially computers that seemingly doubled as works of domestic art. Call me crazy, but I really look at computers as commodities today… even though this blog entry is being written on my Sony laptop.
Dinner tonight was another notable restaurant, Spago, picked by Steffie. She had heard about it, and its appeal. Helaine and I had eaten there a long time ago. Back then, a busboy had spilled a carafe of coffee all over her white suit. No need to go on.
My friend Paul joined us for dinner. I met Paul back when I met Howard, at Emerson College. Paul is a producer, mostly concentrating of DVD compilations right now.
Back when we went the first time, Spago was a 2nd floor walkup, right on Sunset. Now it’s on Canõn, near Wilshire, in Beverly Hills.
It’s a large, dark restaurant. At the end of the dining room is the kitchen, behind a large expanse of glass. It is a very busy kitchen.
We all shared a smoked salmon pizza as an appetizer. For dinner I had a lamb dish. The lamb itself was excellent, but the sauce was a bit overwhelming and the potatoes were puny. My chocolate desert was very tasty.
We were told the menu was printed daily, meaning there was no reason to read specials. They were already on the menu.
If you’re reading this in the East, there is a West Coast practice that is somewhat unusual. All restaurants have valet parking – and the pricier the meal, the more expensive the parking. In the case of a meal like this, they’re really nickel and diming you to death!
We had been told not to expect any celebrities at Spago, and we heard right. It looks like an older crowd, mostly expense accounts , not at all Hollywood and splashy – at least not tonight.
We are going to one more LA restaurant Sunday, which does have a celeb reputation and where we’ve seen big time stars in the past.
Tomorrow, we head into the OC to see Cousin Michael and his family in Irvine. Rain is expected. California is much more fun in the sun.
¹ – The CBS complex is usually identified by these words, “From Television City in Hollywood.” It is not in Hollywood.