Los Angeles is known for the glitz and glamour of the movies, and while living in the heart of Hollywood has its exciting moments, it's really only a small part of what makes up the fabric of the city (and what I love about it). So I always look forward to giving a grand tour that combines sunshine, sparkle, and an element of surprise. And while I'd also love guests to truly experience our relaxed pace of life, a one-day whirlwind tour would certainly require us to channel yogic energy in order to experience that bliss as we attempt to travel the huge geographic expanse of the city (or simply driving with the wind in our hair might do the trick too).
There's no better way than starting one's day than at the beach. So our first stop would be to head west to Santa Monica. We'd wake up our senses with a stroll through the famous farmers' market and enjoy a breakfast of berries, stone fruit, pies, and breakfast burritos. To burn off the calories we just consumed, we would take a stroll to the beachfront, rent bikes, and pedal along the beautiful coastline. Then we'd seek a respite from the sun by ducking into the Casa Del Mar for a lovely lunch of lobster club sandwiches, sweet potato fries, and perhaps an early cocktail (Shh!).
Next, we'd head to The Getty Center to enjoy the museum's spectacular views of the city and if time allowed catch a great exhibit like Herb Ritts: LA Style. Instead of hopping on the freeway, we'd take the scenic route and drive through the hills of Bel Air and Beverly Hills until we landed at The Pink Palace (a.k.a. The Beverly Hills Hotel) for an afternoon pick-me-up and occasional star sighting at The Fountain Coffee Room, a soda fountain counter straight out of the '50s (I saw Russell Crowe there last).
We could choose to take a siesta in the hotel's lush garden or head home to freshen up for a tasty dinner at Suzanne Goin's A.O.C. Wine Bar and Restaurant for decadent cheese plates, sparkling wine flights, and the unforgettable brioche with prosciutto, gruyère, and egg. If wine and cheese aren't my guests' favorite, then I'd happily take them to pick up some tacos from Cactus Taqueria that we could cart back to the Miracle Mile and enjoy outside in the illumination of the great LACMA light installation (on second thought this might serve my guests well if we make a late night of their visit).
I know this might come as a surprise to most of you but I'm one of Paducah's biggest fans...maybe THE biggest fan. As such, I launch into overdrive when guests come to town. Partly because we don't get guests that often and partly because I do honestly feel like Paducah has so much to offer.
HOWEVER, if I only had a day, I'm not going to lie it would turn into more of a culinary tour than a sightseeing whirlwind. First, we're going to start the day with Red's Donuts. They are the best donuts in. the. world. Period. Don't even try to argue. Supposedly, Krispy Kreme's recipe is based on Red's. They are that good.
Next, we would mosey (we mosey a lot in the South) on down to ETC coffeehouse and get a latté to sip as we strolll one of the most romantic main streets in America. If you're the museum type, we would absolutely stop by the Quilt Museum and take in the amazing combination of skill and artistry there.
For lunch, we would hop in the car and drive out to "the country" to eat the best barbeque you've ever had in your life. Yes, we passed several other barbeque places to get to Leigh's but one bite and you will know it was all worth it. No fancy guidebook recommendations on the wall or framed articles from Southern Living, just a bunch of locals sitting around a counter enjoying good barbeque and cold cokes (no ice).
Now, we've got some time to kill before dinner. We might drive around and take in some of the wacky local favor. Would you like to see a tree carved like an American Indian chief? You're in luck! What about some seriously cool and seriously genuine folk art? Hillbilly Gardens it is! In fact, Hillbilly Gardens will be right on our way to dinner.
You're hungry right?
Dinner at Patti's 1880s Settlement—with their 2" pork chops and mile high pies—is just what the doctor ordered! We'll drink sweet tea and eat bread out of ceramic pot while waitresses in 1880s garb serenade anyone in a five mile radius who recently had a birthday or anniversary.
Look, I'm not saying our day will be filled with the sophistication or excitement of the big city but you're sure to leave happy and you damn sure won't leave hungry.