You can’t even begin to imagine how exhilarated I was when RTL revealed the shooting location of Holland’s Next To Model. Now you must know that I’m not the best person qualified to keep a secret and even more so if it involves a fun and totally harmless secret. And don’t even get me started on the loads of very Instagrammable pictures that have been burning holes in my iPhone.
Anyhow now that that the word is out, I can’t stop Instagramming and I finally get to tell you where I’ve been having my lunches and diners; because if you are looking for some great food, LA is the place to be. So take down some ‘save the dates’ because these definitely belong on your bucket list.
I know this restaurant from Jackie Collin’s novels (sorry this is one of my guilty pleasures) and from trashy tabloids (ditto). Thus The Ivy was the place to go and thank goodness my colleague Anouk Smulders always hops on the bandwagon when it comes to culinary destinations. We reserved a table on the terrace.
I expected stiff linen tablecloths and penguin-like waiters. I would never have dreamt up this Latino flowered atmosphere with Delft-blue like elements and yellow walls. And if your table isn’t ready when you arrive, you wait in the bar an drink a glass of champ on the house. The kitchen is divine and the wine…Warning; you might think you’re ordering a bottle but it’s really only a glass that goes for the same price as a bottle. Slight setback.
It’s best to leave your hubby at home as we’re talking about a vegan Mexican here. As far as my guy’s concerned this is bad on bad (Mexican and vegan) but me and the gang had a great time. The walled courtyard is decorated like a living room. You can drink Margueritas and eat Mexican the way you’re meant to without missing the meat. If you miss it at all that is, it was one grand fiesta.
Almost all of LA has valet parking but at Cecconi’s you have you own little driveway making getting out of your car that much easier. There’s an inside restaurant with an open conservatory where you’ll find very comfortable sofas; you can spend hours here eating pasta and Vitello Tonato. I was sitting beside Mauricio Umansky (you know the real-estate agent from the real housewives of Beverly Hills) and Carolina Kurkova’s husband; having a very good time.
Watch out; don’t pronounce it like Sjeto Marmont (as Americans will have you believe). It’s a classic but if you really want to go there I would advise you to have a drink in the walled garden and then to go. The food was terrible. I was seated in a Rotan chair, the kind you find in old-peoples homes, and the crowd was way off.
Apparently the occasional celebrity still shows up on the doorstep because three paparazzi’s were scouring about, but the really, the word high class only applied to the bill.
Shutters on the Beach
The only thing missing in LA’s catering industry are good beach huts. We skimmed past Venice, Malibu an Santa Monica but either the beaches were private or they were filled with skaters and surfers; but the kind of beach huts with lazy chairs to hang around in all day have yet to appear. Anouk remembered Shutters on the beach so we followed her nose to this hotspot. Shutters is very much Jennifer Aniston (although I do find Jennifer annoying at times); blonde, easygoing and everyone likes it. The roof terrace was reserved for hotel guests and the other terrace was miniscule. But they did have the best pimentos with sea salt and we sat next to Piers Morgan who became Anouk’s new Bestie; I’ll save that for another story.
There are two of them; one on La Cienega Boulevard and one on the Pacific Coast highway in Malibu. The later is the best one. If only because of the Samantha vibe you get like in the movie Sex and the City. You can lounge on beds or in lazy armchairs on the terrace. It’s a good idea to reserve a spot on the terrace or sit at the bar or….
Right around the corner of my favorite shopping street Abbot Kinney (well runner-up to Robertson and Melrose Boulevard) is Café Gratitude. There are a lot of celebrities here that I don’t immediately recognize because they’re all dressed in their organic casual gear. But a good place to eat. And healthy. Out of this world, this is.