My husband Richard & I did something different this summer. We stayed home and loved it. Yup, we joined the staycation crowd. Never knew there was so much to do in our own backyard, as it were. As travel writers we are usually in the air, on a ship, on the road or in a hotel–but not this summer. We are home, sweet home. And the weather in Los Angeles has been more than accommodating. We are use our pool night and day and enjoy an adult beverage of two, like a zesty new drink called Limoncello
which I discovered. Man is it good. Also do some mighty fine tastings. Just had some friends over to open a Jeroboam of Pine Ridge Chard which we’ve been saving for about 10 years–it was amazing. We also go hiking, biking, to the gym, and host house guests like our friends Bob and Jules Clampett from Seattle–actually they live on an island outside the Emerald City. We are also using the time in town to sample new restaurants or return to favorites, go to the theater, and movies. We even treated the Clampetts to Universal Studio on thespecial VIP tour–the only way to do the theme park. Yes, it’s pricey ($199 per person) but you get a personalized tour with just 12 or so other people in a private van and you get front of the line passes, and special entry to areas others are not allowed to go. They even throw in a great lunch, served on a rooftop and catered by Universal chefs, who actually show up for the affair. We did the new Simpson’s ride, it’s a thriller albeit simulated, based on the popular TV show of course. It’s a must do.
We also go to the Hotel Bel-Air restaurant. regularly for dinner, took Bob & Jules there, too. Going there is almost like heading out of town. It’s like a little tropical sanctuary with a peaceful pond inhabited by white swans, lots of lush foliage, a great staff and delicious food created by chef Bruno, one of our favorites. We book a booth on the Terrace and usually get the same spot. www.hotelbelair.com.
Also tried some new restaurants like STK in West Hollywood, where the steaks are the best in the west–not kidding–served by gracious wait people in a stunning black and white setting. Loved it. Luckyfish, a fun Asian restaurant in Beverly Hills where food circles around on a track and you pick and choose as it passes your table. All good, too.
Returned to Locanda del Lago in Santa Monica after a long absence. It’s on the corner of Arizona and Third St. Promenade. They have a Monday-Friday antipasto buffet for only $12 that’s amazing. Took my niece for her birthday and we both did the spread. The imported (from Italy)dried beef stuffed with goat cheese was divine, as was the chickensalad, tomatoes, mushrooms, pastas etc.
Anyhow staycations are great. Let me know if you’ve done anything like this recently. Sure beats crowded airports and battling traffic.