As most of you already know, I recently left the cold, wet, dour grayness of New York City to bask in the bright, warm, sunshiny glory of Los Angeles. Oh my, I had a fucking wonderful time.
And so, in this and in upcoming blog posts, I will share with you my adventures in El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río Porciúncula, aka the City of Angels, aka La La Land.
After arriving at the hotel and dropping off my bags, the first thing I did was hit In-N-Out Burger. As I was staying in the heart of Hollywood (like I always do), I visited the In-N-Out on Sunset Boulevard, right across from Hollywood High.
Lemme tell y’all. I love In-N-Out. It is, by far, the best fast-food burger in existence. Better than the far overrated Shake Shack, that’s for goddamn sure.
Another thing I like about In-N-Out: Despite always being busy whenever I visit, things move quickly. The menu is very simple, so there’s no excuse for customers to dawdle while in line, and the staff is always on-point and friendly.
My only regret is that I forgot to pick up an In-N-Out T-shirt while I was there. But that’s OK — I can always order one online!
After chowing down on my Double-Double (no “animal style” for me, sorry!), I walked around Hollywood, taking random pictures, before hitting up my “regular” bar, Big Wangs.
The Wangs is your typical sports bar, but there’s something about its staff (and its prices) that makes it very appealing. I mean, you can double the size of your drink for an extra $2.
Afterward, I hit up Jack in the Box for an order of their supercheap yet tasty tacos (two for, like, a $1.19, yo!) before heading to the hotel to get a bit of rest.
But the night was not over! No, no, no!
Once I was fully refreshed, I made the trek to the Hollywood & Highland entertainment complex, where I found myself at the bar in Dave & Buster’s. I know, I know, but it was a Saturday night, sports were on the televisions, good music was pumpin’, and I was able to indulge in an inexpensive spread of sliders and beer.
You see, I was pregaming —
FOR THOR: RAGNAROK!
I’d purchased tickets for the Marvel masterpiece way in advance, and I was excited as I’d never seen a movie at the iconic
Grauman’s TCL Chinese Theatre before. Lemme tell y’all, that place is gorgeous.
Its facade is framed around a 90-foot tall pagoda, complete with masks and authentic Chinese artifacts such as stone figures and temple bells. And of course the world-famous courtyard boasts movie stars’ handprints and footprints preserved in cement. The interior is very ornate and detailed, and, thanks to a renovation a few years back, the theater is has been converted to IMAX.
Oh, and the movie?
FANTASTIC. I loved it — hey, I didn’t refer to it as a masterpiece for nothing. Thor: Ragnarok is a wry love letter to the comic-book film genre. It’s hilarious, it’s smart, and it’s a load of fun.
Afterward, I took my ass home and went to sleep. It had been a long day, son.
The next day I got up to make the journey out to Santa Monica. But first — brunch!
I decided to swing by Mel’s Drive-In in Hollywood.
The Hollywood location is one of my favorite dining destinations, yet I was surprised to find that they have an actual brunch menu! As you can see above, I ordered the New Orleans scramble — eggs with andouille sausage and red & green bell peppers served with red beans and rice, and all topped with scallions 😋 — along with brunch staples such as coffee and a mimosa.
Afterward, I stopped by the Chinese Theatre again, just to take in the crowd and vibe.
Then I was off to Santa Monica! Along the way, I passed a few notable places such as the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, the Directors Guild of America, the Laugh Factory, Carney’s, Whisky a Go Go, the Comedy Store, and the West Hollywood outpost of Mel’s Drive-In, which is housed in a dope-looking Googie-style edifice.
I also went through Beverly Hills, making good use of the public Wi-Fi while I was there.
Finally, I arrived to the city of Santa Monica, where I spent most of the day walking the world-famous pier, listening to some awesome music, eating good food, taking photos, walking the Third Street Promenade (where there’s a friggin’ Tesla dealership), and looking out onto the ocean. I dunno, y’all. There’s something I like more about the Pacific than the Atlantic. Just sayin’.
The rest of the day was pretty chill. I came back to Hollywood, where I hunkered down with my iPad at Starbucks and began editing Side Chick, the second of my Zero Draft Thirty scripts.
But hey, the trip ain’t over yet! Stay tuned — there are more pics and fabulous L.A. adventures to come! 😁
Oh yeah, so on each of these posts I’m going to link a music video for a song I first heard during this trip. Some of these songs are new, others are simply new to me, but they will always remind me of this Los Angeles trip — aka The Charm!
Here’s the first video, “La La La” by Naughty Boy x Sam Smith.