LA doesn’t follow trends, it creates them. Whether it’s the opening of a hip hotel, ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, or what’s being worn on and off the red carpet, it’s all very au courant. If you want to stay one-step ahead of the masses, turn your attention to what’s happening in the City of Angels.
Ace Hotel – (Downtown) —Part of a new hotel group out of Portland, Oregon, the newly-opened Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles is housed in the fabled United Artists building. Silent screen star and one of UA’s founders Mary Pickford had a penchant for ornate and gilded details, which provide a striking contrast against the hotel’s sleek amenities. The 180 guestrooms come in varying sizes simply categorized as Small, Medium, Large, Loft and Suite with an array of amenities. A 1,600-seat entertainment venue adds yet another element with live performances. The Ace is conveniently located in the revitalized Historic Core and near many landmarks and gems, including Grand Central Market, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and a throng of fabulous restaurants. www.acehotel.com/losangeles
The Line Hotel – (Koreatown)—Located at the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Normandie Avenue in the heart of Koreatown, a fledgling hip destination brimming with restaurants and nightclubs, is the new Line Hotel. A collaboration by the Sydell Group along with noted chef Roy Choi, pioneer of the gourmet LA food truck movement, and the Houston Brothers, known for LA’s hippest bars and nightclubs, this mid-century marvel was originally designed by Daniel Mann Johnson + Mendenhall in 1964. Now, the use of industrial materials and cement surfaces, coupled with streamline furnishings and the occasional burst of color, adds a loft-like and urban feel behind closed doors. A sexy outdoor pool deck, pair of destination restaurants, a swank lobby bar, speakeasy lounge, karaoke bar and 24-hour room service make guests want for nothing. www.thelinehotel.com
These three streets are collectively transforming the LA art scene.
North Highland Art Galleries – (Hollywood)—North Highland Avenue’s once blank canvas is now awash in a crop of new and emerging art galleries. Take Perry Rubenstein for instance. This NYC gallerist left the Big Apple for Tinseltown and opened his namesake LA outpost in a former film-supply warehouse. A permanent and rotating collection includes many LA artists, which is helping to further fuel the city’s ever-growing art scene. www.perryrubenstein.com. Just down the street is Regen Projects at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Highland Avenue, which boasts some 20,000-square-feet of gallery space complete with a rooftop sculpture park – so very LA. www.regenprojects.com
Culver City Art District – (Culver City)—Powerhouse gallerists Blum + Poe may have single-handedly been responsible for the explosion of art galleries when they moved from their Santa Monica digs to Culver City not far from the gates of Sony Studios (formerly MGM). Now some three-dozen art galleries grace the streets of La Cienega and Washington Boulevards, including Katherine Cone and Nye + Brown. In between gallery hopping take a break at one of the many sidewalk cafes that surround this artsy enclave. www.ccgalleryguide.com
Gallery Row – (Downtown) —Located along Main and Spring Streets, between 2nd and 9th Streets, is what locals call Gallery Row. Lined with cutting-edge art galleries and home to the popular Downtown Art Walk, held on the second Thursday of every month, this area is exploding with creativity. What makes this neighborhood even more interesting, aside from the various installations and exhibits celebrated behind gallery doors, is the abundance of public art, from sculptures to street art, Downtown LA is like a gallery without walls. www.galleryrow.org
Mother always said to eat your vegetables, but she might have been more successful in her quest had she suggested you drink them instead. And that’s what most of LA is doing these days by visiting their local juiceries. Sure – Angelenos still crave their non-fat macchiato no whip concoctions at local java junctions, but they can’t seem to get their fill of cold-pressed vegetable and fruit blends made with freshly-plucked kale, cilantro, celery, beets and spinach seasoned with lemon and cayenne pepper for some added kick.
The Punchbowl – (Los Feliz) —This juice joint features a menu of seasonal juices and smoothies made with some unusual suspects, such as dandelion, tarragon and grapefruit. The menu changes often and is dependent on available produce. www.thepubnchbowl.tumblr.com.
Pressed Juicery – (Studio City)—Boasting several locations, including this one in the San Fernando Valley, Pressed Juicery is perhaps the rock star of juicing having been founded by a team of entertainment professionals. The shop’s six-pack samplers provide just the right amount of nourishment and variety plus some added convenience: home or office delivery. www.pressedjuicery.com
Sustain Juicery – (Downtown) —Not all juiceries are created equal, and here the staff puts the squeeze on various juicers - so not every fruit and veggie is pressed but it’s all made to order using organic produce. Daily specials are displayed on the chalkboard, and the staff fancies themselves more like bartenders than blender operators by presenting drinks in coupes rather than cups. www.sustainjuicery.com.
Erewhon Natural – (Westside)—Tucked inside an organic market of the same name, Erwhon offers grab and go glass-bottled juices as well as made-to-order drinks, such as coconut Bulgarian rosewater, for a healthy thirst quenching experience. www.erewhonmarket.com.
Raise a fork to the tasting menu where small portions of several dishes are served as a single meal. If you truly want to get a flavor (pun intended) for what’s taking place behind the kitchen door, the tasting menu is your palate’s portal what’s happening in the back of the house. Specially priced three-course menus are on full display each winter and summer at over 300 restaurants in the city during dineLA’s Restaurant Week. Catch the next Restaurant Week July 14 – 25, 2014.
Allumette – (Echo Park) —Located in the heart of Echo Park, Allumette is a comfy dinner restaurant that serves soulful, rigorous, original food and food-friendly cocktails and wine. After launching a successful pop-up in 2012, 25-year-old Chef Miles Thompson creates an intimate dining experience featuring a two tasting experiences each evening. A four-course for $45 and a five-course for $60. Delicately plated dishes include Gnochetti with Wood Pigeon Ragu and Fried Green Tomato with soft egg and pea tendrils. www.allumettela.com
Alma-- (Downtown)—When you’re lauded as the Best New Restaurant in America – 2013 by Bon Appetit, you better live up to the hype. Not only does Alma live up to this accolade (and many more it has received), it surpasses. The restaurant’s prix fixe menu is inspired by ingredients harvested in its nearby Flower Avenue garden as well as those acquired from local purveyors. The result, a pair of nightly tasting menus, one five courses the other a tad longer, with optional beverage pairings and bragging rights to having dined here. www.alma-la.com
Orso & Winston – (Downtown)—Chef Josef Centeno, who is the darling of LA’s dining scene of late, offers up a tasting menu-only retreat at this Downtown destination. The menu changes frequently, but includes five or eight courses with optional wine pairings. A recent sampling included coddled egg with sherry whipped cream and pancetta, pork loin, and a pear ricotta cake. Four-course family-style dinners have a tasting menu feel only with larger portions. www.orsoandwinston.com
Trois Mec – (Hollywood)—Trois Mec, which means three guys in French, is currently the hottest ticket in town…literally. Guests don’t make a reservation, they purchase a ticket much in the same way a ticket is bought for a sporting event. And, trust us: This restaurant is a culinary game changer. Only the best ingredients are sourced in order to present a spectacular and memorable single choice five-course menu. www.troismec.com
Who says LA is mono-seasonal? Sure, it feels like spring most of the time but there is also Awards Season and that’s when the fashion kicks into high gear. Everyone is on style watch, and for 2014 a few trends have emerged fresh from the runway as well as the red carpet. Orange really is the new black. This eye-popping hue is being applied to lips (bah-bye red), cropping up on ready-to-wear togs, gracing chic handbags, and accenting colorful heels and wedges. Midriffs are the must-haves for the New Year with bandeau tops exposing toned abs and designers discovering that less really is more. As for the skinny on pants and trousers, wide-legs are the word in fashion. Think Katherine Hepburn or Greta Garbo: billowy silhouettes, higher waists, elongated torsos, and a nod to Hollywood’s Golden Age. For fashionable finds, check out The Grove on LA’s Westside at 3rd and Fairfax www.thegrovela.com, The Fashion District in Downtown LA www.fashiondistrict.org, or the Beverly Center on La Cienega www.beverlycenter.com.
Working out in Los Angeles is the equivalent of sleeping or breathing – it’s just a natural function of the human body. But like fashion and food, fitness is all about the latest and greatest innovations, techniques and style. Sure, old-school methods, such as lifting weights or jumping rope, still burn calories but you’re more likely to break a sweat (and smile, too) if you give one of these newer fitness finds a shot.
Millennium Dance Complex – (San Fernando Valley)—If you want to get that Dancing With The Stars kind of feeling and workout, head to this A-list dance emporium for 90 minutes of non-stop moving. This is where Britney Spears, Janet Jackson and JLo all come when they need to get their dance on in order to prepare for their next tour. www.millenniumdancecomplex.com
Kinetic Cycling – (Westside)—Take spinning to the next level with this indoor and inspirational workout. Using state-of-the-art audio and visuals with images of the World Cup or Tour de France projected on a big screen, each ride is based on inspiration. No matter what your ability, newbie or serious cyclist, you are definitely in the driver’s seat. Best of all you can take Kinetic Cycling for a test drive – first class is free. www.kineticcycling.com
Crunch – (West Hollywood)—It’s where the A-list get fit, but if you can abstain from stargazing you’re going to kick-it into high gear with Buti. A blend of yoga, strength training and tribal dance moves, Buti is a one-stop sweat shop for some serious cardio. In 75- minutes go from flab to fab doing squats, hip openers and warrior poses to some pulsating tunes. www.crunch.com
Marina Paddle – (Venice)—In LA everyone seems to be asking “what’s SUP” as in Stand Up Paddling, the latest water workout since hanging ten. This core workout puts participants on top, or at least on top of a buoyed board, with an oar to help navigate the ocean, back bays and marinas. It’s fun and simple to master offering and, best of all, it takes place in the great outdoors. www.venicepaddleboards.com
Big Gay Ice Cream to Open in Downtown Los Angeles
New York’s Big Gay Ice Cream is slated to open in downtown Los Angeles this spring, in what will be the company’s largest location yet. Staple menu items like the signature Bea Arthur cone (vanilla soft serve, dulce de leche and crushed Nila wafers) and the Salty Pimp (chocolate-dipped ice cream cones) will join exclusive LA flavors that take advantage of the city’s fresh, local ingredients. Big Gay Ice Cream will open in the Historic Core, a burgeoning area made up of the newly opened Ace Hotel and soon to be outfitted by Urban Outfitters, Aesop, Tanner Goods and Acne.