Hollywood Hills

It's a trip not too far from home, one county over, a short two hour driver depending on the traffic. Los Angeles. For many years we worked in LA, fought the traffic home, passed through it when traveling, and visited it on mundane school field trips. But never stopped there to really seek out the roses. Hollywood being one of the places that seems always hidden so close and yet so far out of touch. The copious amount of smog helps with that illusion. The Hollywood sign being one of the center points of the city, is rarely ever seen unless you drive out of the way to find it.

When you grow up so close to LA sometimes you forget all of the magic that brought families there in the first place. The culture. The opportunity. The possibility. Los Angeles is, roughly put, where people come to see their dreams become reality. Some, in the midst of it all that chaos, prospered.

After so many trips many hours away, we were curious to see what our neighboring metropolis could offer us, so we scheduled a weeklong visit to experience it as travelers from afar. We found the place we wanted to stay on Airbnb, - Luxury Hollywood Designer Home selected not only for its prime location in the heart of Los Angeles, but just in case L.A. turned out not to be the adventure we were seeking, we would have no problems still enjoying our stay relaxing in the Hollywood Hills.

We were excited to be on our way, but upon arriving in Los Angeles, worried that perhaps we had made a mistake. The air was thick with brown smog. The traffic just as bad as we remembered. Every street was lined with cars. But regret (and the smog) faded away the closer we got to Hollywood Hills and once the sign came into view, we realized this was part of LA we hadn't seen before.
We squeezed our way up the hills towards the sign. The details of the home said it faced the sign, but never did we think we would be so close. The twisty roads leading up the hills reminded us of our travels in Hawaii. Skinny roads on the edge of cliffs, but instead of trees and forest holding the mountain back, Hollywood Hills used houses and retaining walls. The first word in the AirBnB details of the home is nestled. And Nestled it was, we were afraid that we had made a wrong turn somewhere, as we found ourselves at the top of the hill. It was lucky we drove right into the driveway in search for it.
This gorgeous home was simply breathtaking. A fascinating mix of rustic carved woods and peaceful tranquil landscaping on the outside.
The front entrance.
Front entrance opens up to a small running pond.
The private back entrance.
The patio overlooking the back yard.
The patio at night with wonderfully placed lighting.

The interior was just as captivating with cool industrial structure supports mixed with warm earthy tones.
The living room.
Kitchen area
The living room later that evening. The ladder in the living room leads to a small sleeping chamber. A great place to curl up with a book.

Stepping outside the home leads right to a pathway that leads up to the Hollywood sign. We didn't expect to find much worth exploring in the Hollywood hills, but the hills were alive with critters and birds.
The view from the back yard.
The path leading up to the Hollywood Sign and through the hills.

Our first night in Los Angeles we decided to dine at The Bazaar : a dining experience created by Jose Andres a restaurant dedicated to new twists on Spanish cuisine. It's difficult to describe the experience. The restaurant is divided into separate areas, the bar, the dining area, and the dessert area, each one with its own atmosphere and decorations. It was a visually stimulating experience as soon as we walked into the door. Our journey for the night led us through all three.
The Bazaar : Bar Centro

It's always a shock to see the prices paid for drinks at a bar, but "Bar Centro" was well worth the price. Our drinks were crafted in front of us, and had us amazed at the smooth flavors each one presented. We highly recommend the Cotton Candy Old Fashioned.
Japanese Affair : bacardi rum, yuzu, passion fruit and ginger
Cotton Candy Old-Fashioned : bourbon, angostura, old-fashioned bitters and maple syrup
After drinks we were led to the dining area. Our seats gave us a close up view of the open kitchem where we watched chefs prepare the foods one by one.

The Bazaar : Rojo y Blanca
The Birds and the Bees : oxley gin, lemon, chamomile and honey
Not Your Everyday Caprésé : cherry tomatoes, liquid mozzarella
Japanese Taco : grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, chicharron
Quesos : valdeón, garrotxa, idiazábal
Jicama Wrapped Guacamole : micro cilantro, corn chips
Sea Urchin : pipirrana, andalusian vegetables
Sautéed Shrimp : garlic, guindilla pepper
Seared Scallops : romesco sauce
American Sturgeon Caviar Cones
LN² Caipirinha : brazilian cachaça, fresh lime and sugar frozen by using liquid nitrogen.
Philly Cheesesteak : air bread, cheddar, wagyu beef
Boneless Mary’s Farm Buffalo Chicken Wings : bleu cheese, celery
Eggplant Tempura : local honey, buttermilk
Seared Quail : roasted winter squash, chicken escabeche, vanilla oil
Seared Wagyu Flank Steak : piquillo pepper sphere

Our stay led us long into the night as each dish was consumed with pleasure. We had no intention of staying for dessert, but at the end, we found ourselves wanting a touch more. So we were led to the next area to finish up our meal.
Apples Carlota : bread pudding with saffron sauce
Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcake

Sugh a magnificent experience to be had so close to home. We were happy we had choosen to stay in the area rather than make the drive home. There was still more to do and more to see, the trip had only just begun...

Wilshire BLVD

The next day we were to visit Downtown LA. You can read about our walks around the area by going here.