"I think L.A. is lame."
"You have to drive everywhere. It sucks."
"There's more pollution than life. Ugly urban sprawl."
"Well, I guess Beverly Hills -- Rodeo Drive -- is cool if you want to see the excesses of the rich and famous firsthand."
"Go clubbing, but you probably won't be let in because you're not plastic/blonde/rich enough."
So although I was psyched to visit, I wasn't really sure what to expect from L.A.
I loved it.
ED was a fabulous tour guide and hostess. She picked me up from the airport, and immediately we went to a bar. A bar where they have ridiculous "art" installations and serve cotton candy mojitos.
Yes, real art.
If this is wrong, I don't want to be right.
Then we went to a place called Swingers, where we split vegan nachos (!!!) and she watched me chow down on a vegan burrito.
The next day, well-rested after the most delightful snooze on ED's sturdy, perfectly inflated air mattress, I got up, and we went to the Fashion District, where I got a whole bunch of cheap jewelry for cheap prices. The mannequins have enormous rear ends -- in fact, some of them are only rear ends. Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are sold on every block. The area is crawling with people. A dog bit ED, and there are wholesale stores and stores in which everything costs $1. It's like the Mission meets Chinatown, for you SFers out there who, like me, can't understand things without comparisons to your own fair city.
A bad place to be claustrophobic, have expensive tastes, and hate children.
Then we went to the fanciest lunch place I've ever been, Bottega Louie. We had pizza and salad and, yes, a whole bottle of wine.
Later that evening, after changing into a dress that apparently shows up sheer in photographs, ED and I went to Hollywood!
My late husband.
Hollywood Boulevard. You can't really get a good look at all the creeps, but they're there.
My other late husband.
We were accosted by some guy perpetrating the most contrived pick-up scheme ever (more on that later) as well as Scientology marketers and Michael Jackson impersonators (no more on that ever).
Then we drove out to Santa Monica (the driving everywhere critique was valid, but ED has a car, so that was kind of a non-issue). We had frou-frou drinks at one bar and then met up with RG at a loud club that had no lines or judgmental bouncers out front but were filled with dancers -- and we joined them. And it was good.
The next morning, ED had to go to a meeting, so RG and I met back up and went to the Huntington Library. It's a library full of super-old books, a museum, and a botanical garden. There was a lot to see! RG used to work there, so he knew all the places to hide and sneak around.
There is smog for sure in L.A., but it's no more annoying than the fog San Francisco gets.
Then the three of us met back up for brunch at Real Food Daily! I had the best vegan pancakes and tempeh bacon in history.
ED bought me a copy of their cookbook as a late birthday present, but it didn't have the pancake recipe. I guess that just means I'll keep experimenting and trying not to burn the house down.
Then it was time for a nap at ED's! And then the Korean spa! Do you know what you do at Korean spas?
You get naked.
Then you chill with all these other naked ladies in the hot tub, the sauna, the steam room, the cold plunge, and whatever other weird rooms or tubs any particular spa might have. This one had a tea bath, an oxygen stone room, and a room with a heated floor. It was so relaxing. You can get actual spa treatments there, too, such as massages, exfoliations, and facials, but those cost extra, and we couldn't get a reasonable time.
We went back to ED's, ate salad, watched TV, and went to bed. ED makes the best salads ever.
The next day, we went to Flore Cafe in Silver Lake for yet another vegan brunch. I was not impressed by my breakfast quesadilla; I could tell they used Daiya vegan cheese, which melts given the proper care and attention, but it was not melted even slightly. Plus this was the only place we went that was full of hipsters.
Then she drove me to the airport, and that's all she wrote. I really did like the city. We didn't get to go to the beach or see any celebrities, but I understand it's definitely beach weather in the summertime. I tried to get together with an old high school friend as well while I was there, but the timing and activities didn't work out. But that's okay; there's always next time. And there will be a next time.