FOOD, WINE & HOTELS :VILLAGE IDIOT
Wedged naturally between The Grove and The Chinese Theater lays a bona fide and unique gourmet pub known fondly around town as The Village Idiot. Charlie Conrad and Dean Malouf ran a double-decked bar and restaurant, respectively, in London.
Now, with a personable and professional style all their own, Dean and Charlie have brought a refreshing, kind, low key, and utterly unpretentious touch to Melrose Avenue. Donning a hip street with a community feel, The Village Idiot has become the hub of a formidable neighborhood. The Idiot’s allure reaches across the city for locals and visitors alike as it always takes an edge off the day. It is noisy so don’t plan on closing that deal but it’s better enjoyed with friends or a date.
Don’t be discouraged by the crowd as tables turn at a quick rate. The crowd is attractive without trying too hard. It’s got a “Cheers” vibe with a wonderful neighborhood feeling.
Their excellent chefs keep a diversified menu with an assortment of specials. A classic burger and freshly picked vegetables and salads always await. Our favorite is a Brussels Sprouts dish that is baked with huge chunks of bacon. It’s a masterpiece for the taste buds and provides a satisfying snack for only $7. The food is generally light and it’s a great place to grab drinks. They have eight artisan beers on tap and an eclectic selection of boutique wines. They are mainly about wine and beer but have featured cocktails each month such a Pimm’s Cup and a California Julep.
Good food, good drink, excellent wine, and hassle free. So, enjoy!
7383 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046 (323) 655-3331
LAX Top ‘Getaway’ Picks
The Chamberlain Rooftop Pool Deck
Enjoy hot summer nights on the rooftop pool deck of the Chamberlain West Hollywood. Already known as one of the city’s most stylish urban retreats, this summer they are adding a nightly happy hour and a weekend grill menu created by Chef de Cuisine Mark Pierce. With 360-degree views of Los Angeles, the rooftop pool deck is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day of wheeling, dealing, and coping with heat and traffic. The Poolside Happy Hour is offered daily from 4PM to 8PM and selections include the Sexy Devil Martini and the Grey Goose Ginger Mojito.
Sarloos and Sons Los Olivos, Santa Barbara Keith and Heather Sarloos have put together a very memorable wine tasting event featuring Sarloos and Sons at Los Olivos in Santa Barbara. Heather’s background in spa services and interior design coupled with Keith’s background in farming and wine has equipped the couple with an incredible vision and great creative conceptual fulfillment in creating their restaurant. Los Olivos Main Street is now a young and fun restaurant destination in Santa Barbara in the Yenez Valley. The restaurant was created with impeccable attention to detail, and every square inch was designed thoughtfully and deliberately. The young farmers have been thrilled to introduce and share their “house” with the world. The magnificent and delicious cupcakes as well as the many incredible wine selections that the restaurant offers make the Sarloos’s restaurant a must-visit destination.
STAY HERE NOW The Hotel Shangri La has long been a classic piece of architecture along Ocean Drive in Santa Monica. The 1930’s, art deco style hotel has recently undergone a massive $35M transformation of the guest rooms, restaurant and pool area while keeping the original design in check. The hotel also built a lavish roof top bar that is perfect for renting out for private parties with amazing views of the Santa Monica P ier and beyond.
Boasting ocean views from every room the hotel is one part beach retreat, one part Hollywood hedonism and one part Los Angeles history. New renovations include a redone pool area complete with p ool bar, cabanas, private dining and, of course, the pool.
The rooms are fit to party, produce or relax. Each room includes high-speed internet connections, premium sound systems and there are many different styles of rooms some with kitchenettes, offices/ production rooms and then there is the Rock and Roll suite with a s hower fit for 20. We’ll leave that up to your imagination.
Owner, Tahmina Adaya, grew up in the hotel when her family took ownership in 1983. The gracious and amiable hotelier envisioned the transformation to include keeping the hotel’s unique history and celebrated architecture while still appealing to her high-profile c lientele and being able to provide today’s modern conveniences.
The hotel is only 20 minutes from LAX and walking distant to the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade. Whether you can only enjoy a cocktail by the pool or if you can move in for a month, you must check out the improvements to this classic.
1301 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401 310-394-2791 www.shangrila-hotel.com
OREGON WINE COUNTRY Come to Oregon wine country this summer and experience Willamette Valley’s latest boutique resort. Located conveniently in Sherwood, The Allison, is close to all of the best wineries in the area. We enjoyed a preview of The Allison and got to sample some of the famous Pinot Noirs of the area. We are huge fans of the Willamette Valley wine country so it is really hard to pick our favorite but that night we were charmed by Alison Sokol Blosser (no relation to The Allison) so we’ll start with her family wine first:
Sokol Blosser Relax over a picnic or enjoy Sokol Blossor’s gourmet meats and cheeses out on the beautiful deck and picnicking area. We were especially fond of their blends, Evolution and Meditrina. Both the white and red wine blends are delicious and versatile.
Domaine Serene Domaine Serene is known for their Pinot Noir, which is sublime, but the location is also one of our favorite spots. Reminiscent of a Tuscan estate, the Evenstad family spared no expense in building their winery — the view, the wine, the light equals heaven.
Domaine Drouhin The moment you lay eyes on the sprawling 225-acre estate, you will feel a sense of ease. Aside from the breathtaking views, are the unbelievable wines. The friendly and knowledgeable staff will be delighted to educate you on the family and history behind this great w inery.
Archery Summit You can sip some of Oregon’s finest Pinot Noir while taking in the beautiful sights, from vineyards to caves. Advanced & novice alike will enjoy learning about the gravity-flow winery and what it takes to produce such divine Pinot Noirs.
Alisal Ranch Tucked away in the remote Santa Ynez valley, just 35 miles north of Santa Barbara, the Alisal Ranch boasts more than anyone could desire in a western themed vacation.
Located on 10,000 majestic private acres, the full-service resort features over 70 ranch-style cottages and suites, equestrian program complete with quarter houses, two full par 72 golf courses, a tennis center with six courts, and a new 5,500 squarefoot fitness center and spa. If that wasn’t enough, the 100 acre spring-fed Alisal Lake is open for sailing, catch-and-release fishing, c anoeing, and a plethora of other lake activities.
Guests at the Alisal can choose from four different restaurants depending on the time of day, ranging from their signature 175-seat Ranch Room for a modified American meal plan, to The Oak Room bar and lounge, which features nightly cocktails and live entertainment.
The ranch also features a full children’s program with enough activities to keep k ids of all ages entertained for days.
Rates start at $475 a night for a double guestroom featuring a wood-burning fireplace, Spanish tile floors, high wood-beamed ceilings, and a charming front porch.