I wish I had something better to title this second installment. To be completely honest with you, I’m not even sure how many installments of this there are going to be— I was there for five days and so far we’ve only gotten through one. Then again, I am also historically long-winded.
Welcome to Day 2!
We planned a full-blown itinerary before we even landed in Los Angeles, so we did have some idea of what we intended to do each day we were there. When I tell you we made the most out of every waking pacific time second, we did. On the docket for Thursday was Beverly Hills. And where better to start than Rodeo Drive?
(Again, the street names are cooler than I will ever be).
Jackie was the only one of us who had ever been to LA before, so she was our go-to gal for recommendations during the day when we were without D. By the time we were all up and functioning, had fought each other for the shower, picked out our outfits, finished our makeup, and hauled our sorry behinds into the Uber, we made it to Rodeo for, shall we call it, brunch. I wish I could tell you the name of the Italian place we ended up at for lunch (it was noontime, so despite the Broadway production required to get us all ready each morning, we did actually make decent time) but all I remember is that the name of the pasta dish I ate had something to do with Justin Bieber and their iced tea was dang good (see thumbnail photo— courtesy of Bella).
The highlight of this meal came in two parts (three if you count how delicious the food tasted). One: we decided that at each meal one of us was going to give a toast. Two: Jackie said, and I quote, “every time I come here I weirdly always see Gigi Hadid’s dad.”
No more than twenty minutes later, who comes to sit right down at the table next to ours?
“Don’t look now, but Gigi Hadid’s dad is right behind you,” Jackie said.
Ask, and you shall receive. So it goes in LA.
The night before, purple-sweater-and-pinstripe-overall-clad if you’ll remember, we saw Liza Weil at dinner. I say “we saw,” but really Nicole saw, and informed the rest of us. I very much saw the woman in question, I just had no idea who she was (for those in this camp with me, I take it you’ve never seen Gilmore Girls, either). I googled Weil as I walked past her to the bathroom (subtle, I know) to see if her face matched the face on google. It did, and to my delight I found that she was married to Paul Adelstien.
Now, Paul Adelstien is a name I recognized right away— I was knees-deep into binging Private Practice on Netflix, and Adelstien played my favorite character. (Private Practice happens to take place in LA, so I really had a moment in the bathroom of Mama Shelter where I thought I was about to meet Dr. Cooper Freedman). To my despair, the man she was sitting with was most definitely not Paul Adelstein. Turns out, upon reading the fine print of Wikipedia, they’re divorced, and Liza Weil is very much allowed to have dinner with men who aren’t Paul Adelstein.
But I digress, and there I sat one table away at lunch on Rodeo Drive from the man who basically built Beverly Hills.
After lunch, we proceeded to walk past every luxury store you could ever imagine, and we even went into a few--Chanel, Hermès, Alice + Olivia— for fun. You know when you drive by cows or horses and you can’t help but say “cows” or “horses” out loud? Well, walking down Rodeo Drive goes something like that. Every single store you walk past, you feel the need to point out to those around you. Except you aren’t browsing farm animals, you’re browsing a bajillion dollars and magical storefronts in the flesh.
And, though I’m sure after learning about the purple-puffed-sweater-overall disaster, you’re all set with hearing about whatever else I wore, I’m going to continue to tell you anyway. The sequin, sparkle jumpsuit I wore to my senior prom was my favorite thing I’ve ever worn, yes, but the black and white flowy dress I wore with my leather jacket and fuzzy black fanny pack while I walked up and down Rodeo Drive really was just one of those outfits that worked.
(Thank god, since I had been planning outfits for weeks and night 1 was already a bust).
As we approached the end of Rodeo, we found ourselves walking up the cutest cobblestone street. I don’t know what happened, but we went from drooling along the ritzy streets of Los Angeles to strolling through what felt like a charming little European town in the span of about 30 seconds.
We stopped for refreshments at a little corner restaurant, and soon we were right back in an Uber on our way to meet D at her apartment. In addition to driving past Pink Taco and determining it would be our dinner destination, we also passed a “Cycle Bar” right next door to a Mexican cantina bar.
“Can we go to that bar later?” Casey asked.
“Isn’t that an exercise place?” said Jackie.
I’m not even sure if it was that funny then, but I’m still laughing about it now.
Back at D’s apartment, we had just enough time to try on about 85 different outfits a piece, only to all end up leaving the house in Casey’s clothes. The green “shirt” I wore was actually a silk dress that I had stuffed into my jeans. Let’s just say that each trip to the restroom that evening was nothing short of a project.
This past fall, I think a Pink Taco opened in Boston, but this one within walking distance from the apartment was my first foray into the restaurant chain.
Pink taco produced the best tacos I’ve ever eaten, yes, but that night was also the most fun I’ve ever had while out to eat.
Daniella gave the toast.
You know when Pam Beesly says she feels God in this Chili’s tonight? Yeah. The toast went something like that.
The plan here was to write a nice little note reflecting back on the one week I spent in Los Angeles on its six month anniversary. Instead, this has become an in-depth reenactment of the entire trip through words. Leave it to me to create another series before I finish the other one I started. Sometimes, you just can’t keep a good story down.
So, I hopped off the plane at LAX with a dream and my cardigan. (I mean, c’mon, was there any other possible way to start this?)
No. The answer is no.
Truth be told, however, I hopped off the plane at LAX at 1 a.m. in what felt like a dream and with my leather jacket, not a cardigan. So, you know, close but not quite.
We were supposed to land around 11:30 p.m. PT, shortly after Nicole (who was coming from New York). Instead of taking off at 7:39 p.m. ET like we were supposed to, we not only sat on the runway for an hour, we also had to de-plane, and then wait for a new plane, and then sit on the runway for another half hour. The flight attendant also felt the need to inform us that our new plane was actually a very old plane. And, even as the only one out of the other two friends I was traveling with who didn’t already hate flying, I was feeling agitated. All this before sitting through a 6 hour, 55 minute flight across the country.
I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
The flight was long, but Casey and I had a whole row to ourselves. Were we at the back of the plane right near the bathrooms? Yes. But did anyone have to take the dreaded middle seat? No. Bella sat up at the front of the plane, having boarded in one of the first groups. For the two of three readers here who haven’t met Bella, trust me, this makes perfect sense.
Jackie flew out of Tampa on an earlier flight. Even with a random detour up and around Michigan, she still made it to LAX and to D’s apartment only an hour into our flight out of Boston.
I’m sure right about now you’re starting to think we sound like the sisterhood of the traveling pants because there are so many names involved. There’s six of us, total. D is the one who lives in LA. She’s the whole reason the rest of us voluntarily sat on runways for hours and flew circles around Michigan on a cross country flight and battled the horror that is a New York City airport. When the end result is finally reuniting with your best friend after eight months, you do whatever it takes. All 10 hours of it, door to door.
Cue the shoutout to Ricki, D’s roommate, who was awoken at 2:30 a.m. on a Tuesday to our incessant squealing upon arrival to their West Hollywood apartment. She didn’t ask for a week’s worth of five new roommates, but she took it like a champ.
The next morning, the five of us travelers woke up feeling surprisingly well rested, only to find that it was 7 a.m. The jetlag was working to our advantage. D went off to work within the hour, and the rest of us rolled out of bed and down the street to the highly-recommended Mel’s drive-in to eat.
For a girl who’d never been farther west than western Mass., walking down Sunset Boulevard on my way to breakfast was nothing short of a pinch-me moment.
Mel’s is now one of my new favorite places on the planet. We walked right through the doors and back into the 1950s. For those of you who have never been, it’s like Route 66 meets car hop meets jukeboxes and the kind of good coffee you can only get at a diner. Nearly all five of us had avocado toast because you can take the millennials out of the northeast but you can’t ignore the fact that we’re millennials (even though I’m pretty sure there’s a 95% chance we’re actually Gen Z). Tomato, tomato.
After breakfast, we walked back down Sunset Boulevard in all it’s billboard-filled glory, and soon began cage-fighting each other for the first shower. Day 1 included all the tourist attractions because the one person who negated our tourist status was at work. So, after the assembly line shower production was over, off to Hollywood Boulevard we went. (Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood Boulevard— even the street names ooze coolness. And yes, that is the scientific term.)
I think I took a picture of nearly every star on the Walk of Fame that afternoon. Everywhere I looked was something famous— names on the ground, theaters, street corners— it was like I had walked out of my own life and right into a movie.
We went shopping at Zara, bought sunglasses from a stand in front of the Dolby Theatre, and caught our first glance of the Hollywood sign by accident as we wandered around in the sunshine looking for the rooftop restaurant where we were going to meet D for dinner.
The temperature dropped as the sun went down, and I had purchased a purple sweater with puffed sleeves during our earlier shopping spree. The jean jacket I had grabbed as we went running out of the door of the apartment wasn’t working as well as I had hoped with my pinstripe overalls, so, yes, I resorted to the purple sweater. There has never been a more chaotic energy than the one exuded by that outfit on my very first night in Los Angeles.
We went from one rooftop to the next, finally linking up with D and gorging ourselves on french fries and brussel sprouts at Mama Shelter. Something about all six of us being together again for the first time in eight months, all laughing around one tiny table in the corner of the hippest restaurant you ever did see, is a moment and a memory I will never forget.
And this is only night one.
I'm Alex, and welcome to my blog. I'm a junior at Boston University where I'm studying broadcast journalism and dabbling in political science. Usually, us journalists write articles and not blogs, but seeing as summer 2020 already hasn't gone according to plan, I missed writing with a purpose. Here you'll find all my thoughts and the words I felt needed to be put to paper (or, immortalized on the internet).