A September 2002 trip
to Los Angeles by Hal1026
Quote: Los Angeles may just be the most stereotyped metropolis anywhere, but look a little closer, listen a little longer, explore a little differently with each visit, and you find the city’s definitions extend beyond the boundaries of those clichés you’ve laughed about.
Neighborhoods: target a neigborhood with one or two highlights (museums, stores, buildings of note) that you want to visit, then spend extra time walking the neighborhood a bit further. This is when you discover your own L.A. "finds". Downtown, West Hollywood, Brentwood, Santa Monica are all ideal starting points.
Theater: yes, it's the movie capital, but small theater still makes its presence felt. Sometimes you can find a movie presence onstage, working it for the real people.
Thomas Guide: your bible for every outing. Don't leave home without this one.
Hotel | "Hotel Sofitel Los Angeles"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 10, 2002
Sofitel Hotel Los Angeles
8555 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90048
As far as location, it's tucked just a short way off on a side street near the major artery of Sepulveda Blvd. -- just under 2 miles from the airport. You're here in minutes after picking up your rental car or taking the Hilton's free shuttle. While it's officially in the business/industry town of El Segundo, it's also just a few minutes to South Bay towns like Manhattan Beach or Hermosa Beach, while Marina Del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica beaches are an equally easy 20-25 minute drive north. If you have to head into L.A. itself, the 105 (Century) freeway runs just two minutes south from the hotel, while north/south commuting is also accessible via the 405 (San Diego) entrance near the runway.
Accommodation here is great. The Inn has 162 rooms, and I always take advantage of the spacious work desk with high speed DSL Internet access, two phones (each with 2 lines), direct dial, voicemail and a dataport. Many's the time I've used the little "hospitality center" to warm up something in the microwave, or was glad for the refrigerator and coffee maker. The hotel has a complimentary business center for guests that's accessible 24-hours a day--which is personally the feature I value the most, between printing out documents, free faxing nationwide, and the free access to the internet. The restaurant's indoor section is off the main lobby to the left and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The complimentary American breakfast if you're Honors Gold is always a nice touch. All sorts of restaurants and fast food chains are right up the street on Sepulveda Blvd. if you want to eat out or bring anything back. Pavilion Pantry is stocked with various sundries -- snacks, toiletries, drinks -- but unless it's the middle of the night you're better off going up the block to the 24-hour Safeway for anything. There's an outdoor pool with whirlpool I've used a few times on summertime stays here.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2002
Hilton Garden Inn - LAX/El Segundo
2100 East Mariposa Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90245
Once at your table, you discover that a vast amount on the Blueberry menu is indeed blue-from the blueberry muffins, blueberry iced tea to the blueberry pancakes and not so surprisingly blueberry pie. Since I was
doing a very late breakfast with a friend, I chose the blueberry pancakes with syrup, which came garnished with strawberries. Being more of a brunchtime hour, this heavy dish served very well as both late breakfast/early lunch. Other items I noted that I might have gone for (had it been an hour or two later) were the fried chicken salad or one of the several
omelette and egg dishes. Additionally, the soups and sandwiches are fairly reasonably priced for Santa Monica nowadays, where it's hard to find a sit-down establishment offering breakfast for under $10 anymore.
The décor is country theme here, with rows of hand-canned veggies lining the shelves on the walls alongside the tables and a white picket fence separating you from the upstairs mezzanine. Depending on the time and day of the week, you might have a quiet table or you might need to learn sign language to speak to your dining companion, the latter experience being closer to what I encountered on a late Sunday morning. But then, sold out are the magic words any restaurateur hungers to hear.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 6, 2002
510 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90401
Restaurant | "Louise's Trattoria"
Menu-wise, the California and speciality pizzas are the signature item at Louise's, in my opinion. On my recent visit, I had the fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella pizza. Not too crisp and not too thick, but not lacking in the mozzarella, is how I like my pizza, and this is how Louise’s gets it perfetto as far as I’m concerned. My friend had the grilled jumbo scallops and crusted shrimp with field greens and aged balsamic dressing, served on a bed of greens with fresh lemon citrus dressing, which is listed as an appetizer but definitely does the job just as well as a pizza in filling you up.
The restaurant was serene and peaceful with just a few other diners during the 90 odd minutes we were there for our somewhat late lunch, and our server did an excellent job in describing the main dishes and desserts. Personally, though, I could live a long time purely on the memory of Louise’s landmark Foccacia.
To describe it in this establishment's own words: "After many requests we have returned to preparing our original recipe foccacia which is made fresh each day by hand with extra virgin oil, fresh onion, fresh rosemary and thyme, aged parmigiano and is freshly baked throughout the day."
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 14, 2002
Louise's Trattoria : Santa Monica
264 26th Street
Los Angeles, California 90402
Attraction | "Hollywood Book & Poster Co."
Park on Ivar Ave. or one of the nearby north/south side streets and add plenty of coins to the meter--you might spend an extra hour or two just browsing here as there's so much unusual and unexpected stuff. People come to sell their wares, but most patrons seem intent on finding very specific items of interest.
The staff is a walking compendium of Hollywood celebs--few names or requests seem to come as any surprise to these guys. Ask for stills by actor name or movie title and items will typically be cross-referenced so staff can advise you what they have within 2 minutes.
The poster selection covers recent decades and you're advised to know your market on this kind of item before you buy (here or anywhere else)--but once you have your sights set on an era, a star, a genre, or a filmmaker, and you know what the going rates are for a print, then you'll probably have a fun time here. In addition to the poster art, there are lobby cards to browse through--smaller but equally collectible and colorful bits of Hollywood memorabilia to pass down to your heirs.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 5, 2003
Hollywood Book & Poster Co.
6349 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90028