Paul and I just had an extremely nice time in and around LA. We headed straight to Topanga and climbed a mountain. Hiking the Eagle Rock Trail as the gray morning burned off revealed dazzling views for miles beyond chaparral ridges and meadows that looked like an impressionist painting. We passed through humming corridors of pollinating bees and a layer of cool clouds, got a sunburn, and descended to have lunch at the Inn of the Seventh Ray (hippie dippy CA cuisine, the perfect prelude to the trip). Heading north on the Pacific Coast Highway, we stopped at Point Dume to listen to Zuma, drink beers on the beach and see dolphins offshore. Continuing on, we checked into the Garden Cottage at the Ojai Rancho Inn, the hip and inviting motel. We lit palo santo and listened to scratched records in the room, took a dip with drinks from their charming poolside bar Chief’s Peak, then ventured to Bart’s (an open–air bookstore with an awesome art collection), Hi-Ho for a bite, and Meditation Mount for a silent sunset surrounded by spectacular gardens and vistas.
Day two began with a hike on Shelf Road, a trail sandwiched between scrubby peaks and hilly orange groves. I look forward to returning to canyon country, it’s a perfect counterpart to the energy of LA. On the drive back towards the city I marveled at the coastal architecture along the PCH, and then a longtime dream came true with a visit to the Eames House in Pacific Palisades. Ray and Charles are among my design idols so peeking inside their home and studio and walking the grounds felt very special. From there we went to the Hammer Museum to catch Leap Before You Look. It's good, but kind of understated; Bucky Fuller, Anni and Josef Albers, and other luminaries at Black Mountain College are also some of my heroes, and I wanted even more from the show! But I really love the indoor/outdoor nature of the museum, their well–curated shop, and am obsessed with the furniture by Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson on the terrace. We hightailed it to Los Feliz to check in at Hotel Covell (found via DLF!) where the service was personal and the story and aesthetic of their just 5 suites is impeccable. It’s a true boutique hotel with each room representing a time and place in the life of fictional personage George Covell. We stayed in the smallest, Chapter 2, the 1950’s NYC flat, with its pops of cobalt blue and door opening to the rooftop deck where we drank wine and caught up with work stuff before visiting Otherwild’s new location, walking the neighborhood, then heading to Night + Market Song for the bombest Thai food. We tried to go to El Condor for a mezcal flight but it was Cinco de Mayo and slammed, so we made our way to the Cha Cha Lounge and partied hard. The next day we saw art: bless the gallerists at Gavlak for saying I was dressed like a Lily Stockman painting (I love her work so much), and Lawrence Weiner at Regen Projects. After that I ate tacos with my girls from ban.do and toured their new office, pretty wonderful. I love working with them.
Since this trip was so brief I sort of said frugality be damned and booked my dream rooms. On our third and final night I got a Hollywood Hills view room at the Line, and unexpectedly got upgraded to an upper floor so the views were just incredible. It’s a straight shot to the Observatory, and looking out as the day progressed from clouds to sun to night, the view changed with my wonderment. I guess I’m never in skyscrapers or on misty mountaintops in MN so the saturated panoramas were impressive over and over. Had a fruitful meeting in the lobby bar with Bri about a fun collaboration, then Paul and I decided to go to a Korean bathhouse where we could hang out together on the "Jimjilbang" level. We did sequential mineral saunas lined with salt, clay, jade, wood, and ice and it was really therapeutic. We ate at Pot that night, and expected bolder flavors!
Got room service for breakfast on our last day which was fine, I give the room an A+ but would try other Koreatown eateries next time I think. We cannonballed into the pool before leaving for a popup at Individual Medley where Jacqueline Suskin would be with Poem Store. I’ve been a fan of hers and it was such a treat to receive a poem. My topic was “red,” a color I identify with, and having the resulting poem read out loud to me was really moving. From there we went to the Echo Park Craft Fair, which is overwhelming but so cool to meet the makers of all the good stuff. Also dropped by major favorites Dream Collective and Clare V., where I looked up and saw Clare Vivier and was like, “you’re Clare Vivier!” and got to chat and it was great. In our final hours we sought a sandwich at Gjusta (straight up beautiful food) and tracked down one of Roy Choi’s food trucks in Venice, which was conveniently parked next to a bar that was showing the Kentucky Derby, which I was hoping to watch. We drank beers on the windswept beach before the flight, and all was well.
This trip felt somehow concise in how much we did, but also romantic and lucky. A good mix of business trip and vacation (just wish we could have connected with a few more friends who’ve migrated there). And I contemplate moving to California constantly after our long winter but for now I feel so fortunate for these short and sweet travels.