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My Favorite Things This Week

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by Amy Ephron

amy ephron colorlaughingglassIt’s almost summer – in L.A. it feels like summer already. We were sent a sample of a new drink from Laughing Glass Cocktails. Okay, we like the name, too.

It’s an artisan tequila. No, it’s an artisan margarita. In a bottle, pre-mixed (but it doesn’t feel mixed at all, it’s so light and delicious....) and all natural. The name alone was perfect. Just pour it over ice in a wine glass and if you want to be fancy add a slice of lime. But for a summer barbecue, (or a guacamole starter) and a light incredible drink under the stars, we recommend it highly! And, for a party, it’s so simple, three bottles and no muss and fuss, and slightly lighter (thank goodness) on the alcohol content than if you’d mixed it at home. Some of us have a no alcohol before six rule around here, but you don’t, I bet it would be delicious with huevos rancheros, too!

balsamicBalsamic Vinegar. Yes, it’s a standard. It’s the norm. Can I have the salad with balsamic on the side. The price of balsamic varies like wine, but a few years ago we discovered a moderately priced balsamic (also artisanal, also limited edition, also limited distribution like the Laughing Glass above) called Leonardo & Roberto’s. It’s quite simply incredible!! I’m addicted.

Only available, as near as I can tell online or at some of John Edwards select Farmers’ Markets. Less is more. The taste is fuller, the amount of dressing you need is less as well as the amount of balsamic you need in the dressing is less. If I could, I’d send everyone I know a bottle instantly. We like the traditional but also, available in other flavors....!

The Dixie Download Episode 1

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by Julia Fowler

We think this video by Julia Fowler is hilarious!! 
Make yourself a plate of James Moore’s amazing biscuits and gravy and pull up a chair...

 

These Are the Days

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by Susie Middleton

img 0404 01Lest you think we are all farm and no play around here…Yesterday we took advantage of a 24-hour visit from Libby and the most beautiful day we’ve seen in months and headed up to the clay cliffs at Gay Head for a spectacular beach walk.  My iPhone ran out of juice, so I didn’t get to document Libby covered in clay from head to toe. (We always forget to bring appropriate clean-up materials on this kind of walk.)

While Roy looked for arrowheads and Libby painted herself with warrior clay, I lay down in the warm sand with my face to the sun and almost fell asleep. In my head, Keith Urban’s song, These Are The Days, was playing. Partly because I was thinking, “These are the days we’ve been waiting for all through the cold mucky winter.” But also I was thinking how great it is to be present and to know that it absolutely does not get any better than it is right in that moment.

Maybe all that sunshine was going to my head—it is incredibly uplifting after all. And no doubt we are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place, though we tend to forget it sometimes. But no matter where you are or what the weather is this weekend, I hope you find yourself walking into the light, enjoying moments with your family or friends, and remembering to take a mental snapshot of what you love most so you can conjure it up on a rainy day.

The Sweet Origins of the Dystopia of Oz

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by Carolyn Foster Segal

wizarddorthyAh, we’re off once again to see the wizard, played by, in his newest incarnation, James Franco. Apparently, according to a recent story on NPR, there are 8 other Oz-related projects in the works, and I suspect that the reason for this recent surge in interest has to do with the boom in dystopian literature and film. The 1939 film adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a dreamscape antidote to the Great Depression, The Hunger Games of its time, as its central character, the unsinkable Dorothy Gale, and her little dog, too, took off to have a series of adventures— only to be quite happy, at the end, in true Hollywood romance fashion, to return to the home that she was once so desperate to leave. Like Katniss Everdeen prepping for the opening ceremony on the eve of the hunger games, Dorothy cleaned up nicely at the Emerald City Beauty Salon, and like Katniss, Dorothy was plucky and brave.

Unfortunately, Dorothy is what’s missing from Oz the Great and Terrible, for this is a prequel. And this version gives us something quite different: one part buddy film (the main buddy being a monkey—surely viewers can’t help but think of the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in which Franco spent a good amount of time with a chimp), and one-part Updikian Witches of Eastwick. The 1939 MGM musical and the current film are, of course, only two among many adaptations, which began shortly after the novel’s publication in 1900. Baum himself wrote two versions for the stage. And when there are remakes and sequels, a blockbuster prequel is sure to follow, so this latest development shouldn’t surprise us. (There is a rumor of a sequel to this prequel— let’s not go down that yellow-brick road for now).

Mandatory Viewing: 12 Years a Slave

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by Annie Stein

12yearsSlaveYesterday I sat through two and a half of the most excruciating hours of my life. Sat through, twisted my torso through, felt like throwing up through. But I stayed there riveted, horrified, sickened and saddened beyond belief.

I was at a movie, "Twelve Years a Slave." A movie that should, in my humble yet convinced opinion, be required viewing for every American over the age of fifteen. It is based on the true story of a black man, a father, a husband, a violinist, a cultured, educated, middle class citizen of Saratoga Springs New York in the 1840's who is kidnapped, brought to the south and sold into slavery. It is the story of what he witnessed, endured, and survived for twelve years before being rescued and reunited with his family.

The movie, directed by Steve McQueen, gives it to us full strength, undiluted. The camera lens takes us into the open, oozing, purple wall of the wound. Close up and into the bubbling beads of fresh blood made by the long taut leather lashing out, slashing, ripping red rivers into chocolate skin.

It's a story of a despicable part of our history and needs to be told correctly for many reasons. And it is torturous to sit through.

Restaurant News

Kogi
Los Angeles
by Jo Stougaard

kogitruck.jpgThe Kogi Taco Truck made me miss being in my twenties. Especially over the last couple of months, since I started following their Twitter updates on my cell phone. Late at night I’d be in bed...

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Oysters and Pearls
Northern California
by Bruce Cormicle

41-french-laundry.jpg I went to the French Laundry restaurant located in the Napa region (specifically, Yountville, California) in 1996 and haven’t been able to get a reservation since – at least until a week ago.  Of...

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Boston: Bon Appetit at Aquitaine
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

AquitaineOutsideAquitaine's clever. They've got photographic food diaries on all their front pages. Even Twitter is crowded with savvy bartenders, one of whom reminds me of Ben Affleck in Argo; smart servers, one...

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Reins Deli
Mid-Atlantic
by Anna Harari

reinsdeli_sm.jpg This weekend I went to visit my friend who goes to University of New Hampshire.  “You have to stop at Reins Deli on your way,” she told me, “It’s the best.”  I doubted it, considering between...

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