Y’all. I went to LA because I was able to be a seatfiller for the Grammys and let me tell you–it was a WILD ride. But did you think for a second I was gonna stop pretending to be a Bon Appetit Editor while I was there? If so, you’d be incorrect! Read on for some of my tips in the City of Angels, including my review of Lisa Vanderpump’s babies.
But first, if you find my run-on sentences exhausting, maybe my annoying-a$$ voice will be better, so feel free to watch my vlog below and I would love it if you subscribe to my YouTube channel! (bonus: it includes my trip to Miami to see Countess Luann’s cabaret show!)
See that stunning bougainvillea -filled view? Well guess what sweetie–that view is all yours at a BEST WESTERN. I’ll admit I was skeptical too, but if you want to stay in West Hollywood, TRUST ME. Eff the Standard! Who needs the Mondrian! Get yourself on Priceline and book the Best Western Sunset Plaza. Let me tell you why:
- It’s pretty! I mean look at those pictures!
- There’s free breakfast. I had eggs and hash browns every morning.
- The parking is only $18 a night. They advertise that it is the cheapest in WeHo and I believe them.
- The staff is so nice. We got in late and had a room with a crappy view. Without us saying anything, they said we could come back the next day and get a new room with a nice view. All we had to do was pack up our stuff and they moved it for us to a room that literally walked out onto that gorgeous pool area. I’m sorry, I don’t know about you, but 5-star hotels never do anything that nice for me.
- Location. It’s so convenient if you want that true WeHo experience. The hotel is within walking distance to a Dry Bar and Blushington so you can get your hair and makeup done. And I know I just semi-ragged on the Mondrian, but it’s right next door and you can pop over to view their weird lobby art and sip a cocktail while people watching and watching the sunset. Not to mention, you are only a 5-minute Lyft from just about anywhere else you want to go in WeHo (SUR, anyone?)
I swear I’m not sponsored or being paid by Best Western. I wish! But that is my PSA. Don’t waste your hard earned dolla bills on some over-priced crap.
Now to my favorite part. Food, of course. While there we went to Freedman’s, Night + Market WeHo, The Nomad Hotel’s Restaurant, Katana (good food and v close to Best Western but maybe avoid unless you are an Insta-Baddie), Jon & Vinny’s, and Gracias Madre, but I’m just gonna discuss my favorites below.
Freedman’s: First up is probably my favorite. It’s in Silver Lake which is definitely a more hipster neighborhood about 25 minutes east of WeHo. Notably, not as hipster as it’s neighbor Echo Park. I was very excited because I made a reservation here for lunch and then realized Marissa Ross, who I talked about here, selected the very affordable wine list. It’s sort of like a caricature of a classic Jewish Deli, but has lots of a fun twists and the vibe is chill in the best way. I would go here for the vibes alone.
Night + Market WeHo: Night Market has a party vibe, and again, great natural wines. The food is flavorful and interesting. This would be a fun place for a group of people to share tons of plates and bottles. It’s fairly close to the Pump restos, so you can go to those first and here after!
Jon & Vinny’s: There are now two locations, but we went to the original location in Fairfax. Make a reservation for lunch–way easier to get than dinner. I’ve made Bon Appetit’s fusilli recipe which is based on J & V’s, so I wanted to compare my edition to the real thing and it really was delicious. Super filling, so I recommend lightening up with a side salad. This restaurant is small and crowded, with a sleek vibe, so don’t be expecting white table cloth Italian service–but the prices are up there.
The Nomad: The Nomad is a gorgeous hotel downtown, set in a an old bank building. Make sure to head downstairs to the bathroom to see the vault. We went here for brunch and this is from the same group that owns Eleven Madison Park so it has an upscale vibe, but in typical LA fashion the service is laid-back. The food was good, but this is my top pick for ambience if you want to feel like a movie star.
If you aren’t a Bravo fan, I’ll save you the pain and you can stop here. But Vanderpump Rules is honestly my favorite show on television and it has been since that first episode premiered 7 seasons ago. So of course, I was gonna hit up Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurants: PUMP, SUR, and Tom Tom, which are conveniently within walking distance of one another.
PUMP: I went here first and “underwhelmed” is the best word I can muster. Don’t get my wrong, I was still crawling out of my skin with excitement and it’s always a sort of out-of-body experience being in a place you’ve watched on a screen for years. The lighting is very pink. The bartenders are clothed in the most unfortunate uniform I’ve ever laid eyes upon–which is saying something if you’ve seen the SUR uniforms. The seat I was sitting in at the bar was straight up BROKEN. To the point I was terrified I might fall through and become the laughing stock of an already laughable operation. The one good thing I can say about PUMP is that their Happy Hour is a great deal, and baby loves a good deal at Happy Hour. But even $7 was too much for the vile creation that was the “Pumptini” which is pre-made and poured out of a pitcher. If you enjoy drinking Bonne Bell Lip Smacker flavored syrup, hit it up. Otherwise, avoid the Pumptini at all costs.
SUR: By the time I got to SUR, I was feeling tipsy and high off of being reality-TV adjacent. They also had Happy Hour and I got an actually delicious margarita. Then I see Peter, official title: SUR Manager. My mom was full-on mortified with my desire to talk to him, but as mortified as she was, I was equally determined. Honestly, I can’t remember half of what I said to him–maybe it was the Pumptini, maybe it was adrenaline, but I do know that he said the manager of Tom Tom was a douche! Next season’s story line?
Tom Tom: So Tom Tom was definitely on the top of my list, since Tom Scwartz and Tom Sandoval are “partners.” But the first night we tried to go (Saturday) the line was insane. And lo and behold– Chrissy Teigan and John Legend ended up being there that night. I was crushed. I actually screamed when I saw her Instagram post. But I went back on Monday right when it opened (5:30 pm) and right as our drink arrived, Tom Schwartz, Katie Maloney Schwarts and Kristen Doute waltzed in. I practically died on the spot. I don’t care what anyone says, Doute is a National TV Treasure and was a complete sweetheart in person. I know it’s a small gesture, but she asked my name and made a point to say it again when I was leaving. Calling it now: that attention to detail is going to make her t-shirt line a star! Schwartz was also a delight and seemed to be making the rounds to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves–he even got one group free shots! Even if they hadn’t showed up Tom Tom was by far my favorite–the cocktails were delicious, the steampunk-vibe works and the bartenders are nice. I didn’t try the food, but it looked bomb.
THE GRAMMYS: I’ve applied for Grammys tickets for about 5 years now, and this year I finally got chosen! It’s a simple lottery system usually run by seatfillersandmore.com. If you get chosen you are responsible for travel/lodging etc, but you get a free pass to the Grammys, which is an invite-only event. I applied as a “side-sage seatfiller” and it was their first year having that type of seatfiller. Unlike other seatfillers who sit down with the celebs and get shuffled around so the seats are always full, we sat in our same seat all night right next to the stage. The only downside was that sometimes are view was obscured by the set pieces. Nonetheless, it was an insane experience getting to see Queen Dolly Parton up close and to just be there. I still can’t believe it happened.
ps best western, sponsor me plz? luv you!