Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reckless Daughter's Guide to LA - Part 1: West Hollywood

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to start this post in the past year and a half (probably longer)!  I've been getting email inquiries about doing a guide to Los Angeles for ages but it always seemed a bit daunting given the sheer size of this city and that fact that there are so many places to go.  After living here for over 5 years I feel like I've only begun to scratch the surface of what it has to offer.   Because LA is more of a jigsaw puzzle of disjointed neighborhoods than it is a proper city I have decided to split up Reckless Daughter's Guide to LA into a series of posts separated by neighborhood rather than one truly EPIC post.  So, let's just jump right in, shall we!?!  I figured I may as well start with the closest area to my own neighborhood which is West Hollywood and the surrounding Hills.  

West Hollywood/Hollywood Hills  
*I had to edit my lists down as much as possible and here is what we are left with...

Jones (7205 Santa Monica Blvd - near La Brea)  Italian food: pastas, pizzas, salads.  a few different rooms with tables/booth plus a large bar area - sidenote: it is very dark inside (which I love)! A great place for dinner or drinks. I think that they also serve lunch on the weekdays.

El Compadre (7408 Sunset Blvd.) This is "the Brit" & my go-to Mexican restaurant.  It checks all the boxes a Mexican restaurant should: comfy booths, good fish tacos and cheese enchiladas, flaming frozen margaritas in cactus glasses and a resident mariachi band! Bear in mind, it can get quite crowded on the weekends so you may have to wait for a table.

Pace (pronounced Pa-che - 2100 Laurel Canyon Blvd.) The only restaurant actually in the Canyon tucked away under the Country Store. A bit on the pricey side, otherwise I would go here every night, but has nice Italian based menu and large wine list. They recently expanded so it is not exactly as cozy and bohemian as it used to be but it's still well worth a visit. *make a reservation!

BLD (7450 Beverly Blvd.) BLD stands for Breakfast.Lunch.Dinner.  Modern decor and an eclectic menu.  Everything I have ever ordered here has been delicious. For dessert, try the yellow cake! They also have a good brunch menu.

Joan's on 3rd  (8350 West Third Street) a deli style restaurant but with fancier offerings. They have a gourmet cheese area and bakery so they basically rock.  Nice outside seating area, a few tables inside or you can order to-go. a perfect place to get lunch.

Quality Food & Beverage (8030 W 3rd Street) great little place for brunch or lunch (closes at 3:30pm)  also has a little seating area outside that is dog friendly.  Order a biscuit and I promise you will not be disappointed. My favorite thing is their Eggs Benedict - so good!

The Little Next Door (8164 West 3rd Street)  A small french cafe with a very large outdoor seating area and Parisian style tables and chairs. The food is very good but can be a little pricey considering the portions tend to be on the smaller side.

Honorable mention: Magnolia Bakery (8389 West 3rd Street) actually a New York City import which opened in LA last year. Much bigger than it's NY counterparts and there is almost never a line. Such amazing cupcakes and I'm not even a cupcake person!


Bar Lubitsch (7702 Santa Monica Blvd.) Russian themed bar with old oil portraits, antique mirrors and crystal chandeliers. A nice place for a drink during the week but it can get very crowded on the weekends.  This is also where my pop cabaret project Dime Store Dollies usually performs, incidentally.  Lubitsch has a slew of signature cocktails - including their version of the Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger beer, and lime) which they serve in funky copper mugs.

El Carmen (8138 West 3rd Street) a Mexican themed tequila bar - same owners as Jones / Bar Lubitsch so it has a great atmosphere. Suffice to say, they have a variety of yummy margaritas (like Pomegranate and Blood Orange), homemade sangria and about a million and one varieties of tequila. 

Tasca (8108 West 3rd Street) perfect little place to get a glass of wine with your lady pals.  (*they also have a full dinner menu)

Chateau Marmont is an LA institution.  It has more Hollywood stories than almost any other place in LA stretching back from Bogart & Bacall all the way up to Scarlett Johansson who I hear called it home for a while.  It's right in the thick of it but feels very cozy and private. (*they also have a good restaurant but be sure to make a reservation and dress a little more fancy than normal)

The Village Idiot (7383 Melrose Ave.) in the heart of the Melrose shopping district but opened long after the shops close. Personally, I am not a fan of their food (many will disagree with me) but it is a nice place to grab a drink.


Wasteland (7428 Melrose Avenue) a mixture of consignment, vintage and new clothing.  I have found some amazing things here from Marc Jacobs dresses to vintage rompers. For all my male readers this shop has "the Brit's" seal of approval.

(825 North La Brea Avenue) very large reasonably priced vintage store (most dresses range from $18 to $60). If you are willing to dig through crammed wracks brimming with polyester and 70s secretary dresses you can actually find some very lovely things here and have money to spare! they have $1 sales on Sundays in their parking lot - I have not had much $1 luck but I know others who swear by it.

Creatures of Comfort
(7971 Melrose Ave) cute little boutique specializing in indie designers like Karen Walker, Isabel Marant, No. 6, Pamala Love & Repetto. They have great sales!

Melrose Trading Post (every Sunday) smallish vintage/flea market held every Sunday in the parking lot of Fairfax High School at the corner of Melrose Ave and Fairfax Ave. Sometimes I find nothing but then other times I find some amazing things like vintage jewelry, artwork and furniture. Entry is $2 and goes toward the high school,  I believe. It is also dog friendly!

Marc by Marc Jacobs / Marc Jacobs / Book Marc (Melrose Ave at Orlando Ave) it's the holy trinity of Marc Jacobs stores in one intersection. how could you go wrong!?

more on Melrose  - see above but here some other shops you will also find on this stretch of Melrose: Vivienne Westwood, Agent Provocateur, APC, Diane Von Furstenberg, Ten Over Six, Urban Outfitters, and American Apparel. Oh and I should mention the Beverly Center (shopping mall) is also not far from here either.

Opening Ceremony (451 North La Cienega Boulevard ) I very rarely buy anything because it is a little expensive but it's such a fun shop to wander around in.

Booksoup (8818 West Sunset Boulevard) I have no interest in going to the Sunset Strip area at all with the exception of this little gem of an independent bookstore. I think it is the only indie bookstore left in West Hollywood.


The Troubadour  (9081 Santa Monica Boulevard) a world famous venue.  Elton John got his big US break here, artists like Joni Mitchell and Carol King used to play here constantly in the late 60s/70s and John Lennon and Harry Nilsson famously got kick out once for heckling the Smothers Brothers while they played! It is seriously seeping with history. I have seen many a great show here. The Brit has also played the Troub a few times which is always a treat.

Largo at the Coronet (366 North La Cienega BoulevardAnother great venue in WeHo.  Largo used to be located on Fairfax Ave. but it has since been relocated to the old Coronet theater. I've seen so many great bands play including: John Brion, Jenny Lewis, Travis, Fiona Apple, She & Him ( ^ ps: there is a strict no photo rule...oopsie)

The Grove / the Farmers Market
  I really don't go here that often because it gets pretty crowded but it is worth a visit. Lots of shops and places to eat. It also the location of my closest Anthropologie, Zara, Barney's Co-Op and Nordstroms. They are allegedly getting a Topshop this winter, in which case, I may be there more often.

LACMA (aka Los Angeles County Museum of Art) Technically not in West Hollywood but so close that I figured I'd include it. LACMA has very respectable permanent collections (from European paintings and sculpture to a room full of Picasso and Matisse all the way up to more current artists).  They also have a series of great exhibitions: last year I saw the Tim Burton Exhibit and most recently the Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection, and In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists which sadly just wrapped up.

It is more than likely that once I post this I will realize an important something is missing and I'll have to update this but for now there you have it - Reckless Daughter's West Hollywood! If you have any questions about LA feel free to email me.  Meanwhile, I will try to pull together the next in the LA series as quickly as possible so stay tuned for that.



Francesca said...

Ooh thanks so much for this! I am visiting LA for the first time next month and will be sure to keep your suggestions in mind!

P.S. I recently discovered your blog and I love it :)

meg, reckless daughter said...

 @francesca how perfect! so glad you found my blog :)

Bean said...

Getting to go to all of these places with you(well..when you're on loan from the Brit...)'s more like a guide to the it!

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