My mystery birthday trip was an incredible four days in Los Angeles with amazing food, plenty of sunshine and a wonderful group of friends who came out again and again to surprise me. I feel lucky to have such a thoughtful and supportive husband who planned it all. I didn’t know where we were going until I narrowed it down on the departures list after going through security.
Even though I didn’t know where exactly I was going, I planned for warmth and packed a lot more color than I usually wear. When we got to the Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach, I knew I had packed well. I felt very “LA” in my blue shoes and polka dot jeans. I love how color is such a big part of everyday wardrobes in LA, where mixing pastels and fluorescents is common place.
The location of the Hotel Erwin has undergone some immense changes in the last ten years. What used to be an ugly boring Best Western that happened to be on the beach is now a cool mod Joie de Vivre boutique hotel with a rooftop bar. And it is baby friendly; they wheeled in a cute little crib for Violet.
Our first stop after checking in was to Larry’s around the corner from the hotel. It was a great spot for some yummy food, outdoor dining and delicious beer; I had the very awesome Point the Way IPA from LA’s Golden Road Brewery. Later we walked to Abbott Kinney and checked out all the cool design stores, like Huset and A + R. It inspired us to get some Scandinavian pieces for our new home.
At night Nick told me we were going for dinner with friends to Gjelina–one of my favorite local places to eat when we lived in LA–and when I walked in I was surprised to see a big group of friends. It was the birthday surprise I always wanted. Great food and great people. Later Nick took Violet back to the hotel while I lived it up with some local friends. Everyone we met that night was so warm and charming it was almost cult-like. It made me miss Los Angeles a lot.
Bidding the coast adieu, we headed to Beverly Hills and stayed at the L’Ermitage; a traditional-meets-modern hotel with minimalist design, a rooftop pool and baby friendly amenities. For the first time in 18 months, I actually read an entire magazine in the sun. And for dinner we were fortunate enough to have a good friend babysit while we went out to the wonderful Osteria Mozza. We had been to the Pizzeria before, but this was something else. This was an experience. I have been obsessed with the cookbook Mozza for months, and this just brought it to another level. (I may just have to spend a year cooking every recipe.)
And for my actual birthday, April 16th, we relaxed and explored the city before having yet another surprise dinner with great friends who were all in town for Coachella. The fact that they had the energy to come together for dinner, surprise me and get a cake after a wild weekend made me feel very loved.
I love you all. Thank you.