LA Destination Wedding
Words by Jennifer Stein
By Carolyn Gerin
If you scratch beneath the surface of the “City of Lost Angels,” you will find an “Underground L.A.,” waiting to discover you.
I liken Los Angeles to Europe: a large geographic area with hundreds of disparate regions, dialects, lifestyles, fashion sense and points of view, all rolled up into one super burrito of a city. The relentless sunshine infuses everyone with an overall mood of glinty geniality, undercut with the gritty vibe of pure ambition.
L.A. is about possibilities.
Everyone should plunder the sheer volume and velocity of options to eat, drink and explore; for a couple on the first leg of a multi-city trip: why take the stairs when you can take the elevator: this is the city of lights….
At the Viceroy, Santa Monica, a gentle ocean breeze and glass of champagne in a poolside cabana makes you feel more like Brad and Angie than John and Alice. Every inch of the Viceroy screams glamour: a style mash-up where Hollywood Regency meets Mid-Century (with a dash of British-Aristo-Eccentric) and an over-arching coastal cosmopolitan vibe. The rooms are comfy and hip, with a balcony vista of the Santa Monica pier and the beach. The Cameo Bar and Whist Restaurant bring new Americana to dizzying heights, boasting classic cocktails, satisfying standbys like crab cakes and caramelized short ribs.
Wake up to the casual and quirky breakfast/lunch by day and wine bar/restaurant by night, Le Grand Orange.
Across the street is the newly renovated Lowe’s Santa Monica Beach Hotel, a mecca of relaxation and sublime pleasure. The rooms are luxe and spacious, rendered in a soothing palette of mod neutrals with a breathtaking balcony view of the entire coastline. Slip into something more comfortable and head down through the palm-tree-lined promenade to watch the sun set and enjoy a cocktail at Papillion fireside lounge. Ocean and Vine has floor-to-ceiling windows with romantic fire pits and a view of the coastline. Chef Greg Foos offers up farm-to-fork cuisine with a Cali twist: duck confit caramelized onion flatbread, forest mushroom risotto and pan-roasted pacific halibut are standouts.
Heading into the fabulously hip Silver Lake District, you will see a distinct difference: edgy hair, skinny jeans, scarf rockers and non-ironic neon 1960’s signage. For those who worship at the altar of cool and edgy, look no further than El Tres. Imagine a honeymoon suite that’s the love child of Ossie Clark and Carmen Miranda (with a little Playboy Mansion, 1965 thrown in) and you get the picture. Mexican kitsch, lovingly chosen 1950’s decorative objects, red velvet banquettes, mod floral wallpaper, leopard sheets, and separate kitchen/entertaining area, it’s the sort of bachelor/bachelorette apartment suite you wish you had dreamed up. Retro snacks, a stocked fridge, a real record player with an excellent vinyl selection, and homemade croissants delivered with the LA Times in a Mexican shopping tote makes it hipster heaven.
Head downstairs with your wooden El Tres poker chips and trade them in for a luscious libation at El Chavo. For dinner, head to the iconic Edendale Grill. Former L.A. Fire Station 56 and the site of some of Charlie Chaplin’s first films, this gorgeous patio restaurant, Mixville bar satisfies with sinful macaroni and cheese, tarragon blue cheese fries, crab cakes and chicken pot pie.
It’s Downtown Art Walk, and the night is young, so head over to Bert Green Fine Art on West 5th to see emerging artists at reasonable prices. Many clubs and bars have free music during this recurring event (2nd Thursday). Head back for a nightcap at the 1940’s-esque Polynesian Tiki Ti tropical drink palace, catering to hipsters, geezers and everyone in between. Spin the drinks wheel and see what it lands: a Suffering Bastard or a Ray’s Mistake?
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