Something I look forward to every time I visit LA is the wealth of great cocktails bars that city has to offer. I’m there a couple times a year and it seems like there’s something new every time. The big finds on this trip were Tasting Kitchen in West LA and 320 Main, down in Seal Beach, which is next to Long Beach, about 30 miles south of LA proper. Watch for writeups and photos from both of these places coming soon.
Our second priority in LA is good Mexican food, which is hard to come by in Portland. For this we paid another visit to Lula Cocina Mexicana in Santa Monica, among other places.
This trip also brought us east through the desert to Palm Springs, an oasis of fantastic mid-century architecture and design. Here we had plans to check out Sinatra Cocktail Hour at the Riviera Resort and Spa, the Parker hotel and bar, and whatever else the city threw our way.
Our first bar stop, however, was The Amigo Room at the Ace Hotel, where we were staying. The Amigo Room is a small, nondescript bar situated between the hotel diner and the pool area. The bar itself was nothing special, but it was a great place to sit and cool off on 105°+ days. While the cocktail menu isn’t quite up to the standards set by the types of places we usually frequent, there is some creativity and attention to quality going on here that elevates them a bit over what you might expect walking in. Freshly muddled fruit and herbs and a lack of bottled mixers are some of the ways they accomplish that.
The Ace also one-upped other hotel minibars by supplying us with 375ml bottles of their selected spirits:
Our visit to Mister Parker’s, the bar at the Parker hotel, was foiled by an early closing time of 10:00pm. Granted it was a weekday, and June is the off-season in Palm Springs, but this still caught us by surprise. Unfortunately, this was our last evening in town, so Mister Parker’s will have to wait until our next visit. Jonathan Adler’s interior design for the Parker hotel was amazing though, and we had a great time wandering around taking it all in.
See Flickr for more of our pictures of the Parker Palm Springs.
Back in the LA area, I made one last stop far into the depths of Orange County to meet Forrest at Hi-Time Wine Cellers in Costa Mesa. This is the kind of thing I miss since moving from San Francisco to Portland (apart from the aforementioned Mexican food) — the abundance of high-quality liquor stores that you just don’t get in liquor-controlled states like Oregon.