I took a trip to LA this past week. It was unlike anywhere I’ve ever been before. From what I’d heard over the past few years, California was experiencing a drought. Rich people were getting derided for using sprinklers to keep their lawns green when most vegetation was turning brown. However, when I went we were hit by a storm so bad that we spent the entire Friday inside, lying on the sofa watching the rain pour down. The infinity pool in the back yard rippled and began to overflow. One minute you could see the mountains in the distance, the next they were obscured by a wall of cloud. I was in the Valley.
I stayed in LA for four full days, but 5 nights in total. In that time I seen almost everything I wanted to see. I seen the Valley, I seen the mountains, I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway, through some canyons, down Sunset at sunset and various other times throughout the day, I ate the best food, I browsed in many stores, I seen the ocean, I put my toe on the sand, I drove to the top of a hill and observed the entire city below me, looking to Downtown and across to the sea. I really loved it. I cannot fault the trip.
The differences between New York and LA were so striking to me. It’s a completely different way of life. I’ve thought about moving there after graduation a few times and it appeals to me in some ways but not in others. Now that I’ve visited I’m more sure of the positives of the city and what it has to offer. I still have my concerns though. In my mind, LA is rather isolating. Everyone drives. I worry that it would be difficult to meet people because it’s not the same as New York where you just walk around everywhere and bump into new people. I think socializing would require more effort and making new friends and trying to build relationships would take a lot of work. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable making the switch to the west coast until I knew a couple of people out there, at least as acquaintances to meet up with initially. Overall, everything just felt more chill. Less rushed. Even when we were backed up in traffic on the 405 I didn’t feel stressed out. Normally if I stop for a minute in New York I’m antsy. I can’t even wait at a traffic light for the walk sign without pacing halfway into the flow of oncoming cars. I think the pace of life would take some adjusting to, especially coming from New York. However, thousands of people move from New York to LA and vice versa every single year and manage so it must be doable.
The best element of my trip was the food. I feel like I ate so damn well. We went to Spago on Saturday evening for a meal and it was the best thing that’s ever passed my lips. The portions were perfectly sized and the pasta I had was so full of flavor that I finished it all and ate slowly to savor every piece. The steak was also perfect. Brunch at Chateau Marmont was another experience as the food was tasty (and gluten free for some reason), the surroundings were iconic, and the fellow diners were somebodies. I feel like I could look the part and somehow make people think I was a somebody too. It would’ve been funny. Johnny Depp’s daughter was two tables away from me and just as beautiful in person as the Chanel ads, but she has fantastic genetics. Mel’s Drive-In on Sunset was a good lunch option too. I ate a lot of lamb on the trip. A random snippet of information but strange if you know me as you’d know that I order bolognese at every restaurant I go to, yet nowhere I went had traditional bolognese and this was always my closest option. I had a wonderful pasta dish with lamb sausage and red peppers which tasted like Hungarian goulash to me. It was also delicious. Oh, and of course I had an In-N-Out burger. Of course.
I went to almost every store in LA and, whilst I enjoyed browsing, all I bought on the entire trip was a black zip-up hoodie from the men’s section of H&M (it got cold in the house), a new Beauty Blender sponge, and a bunch of random supplies from CVS (e.g. Intensive moisturizer as my skin just dies after travel, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition for $10…). Disappointing really when you consider some of the stores LA has to offer. There were certainly a few experiences to be had. Fred Segal was interesting because it’s such an iconic store but I found the merchandise carried different than what I’d imagined. Nasty Gal in Santa Monica was strange as the entire store was on sale, literally. You could buy the fixtures, plants, mirrors, everything. Wasteland (the vintage store) was disappointing. I’d first heard of it a few years ago, randomly stumbling across their website one time when looking for high-end vintage clothing and I remember being so amazed by it. Going into the store was a slightly disappointing experience as I found everything to be so overpriced. I think they grew too big perhaps. I went to Rodeo Drive and Abbot Kinney (but didn’t shop) and I went to the Grove (where I almost did) and I went to the Beverly Center (where I actually did). I didn’t yet make it to Decades or Elyse Walker; I’m saving them for next time.
The most interesting store to me out of all of these places was Maxfield. I loved Maxfield. It’s somewhere that I’ve wanted to visit for years now and I’ve been interested in potentially working for in the future. I just loved it. The store was so conceptual but not in an annoying and pretentious way. The merchandise selection was spot-on, a mix of high fashion, uber luxury (like vintage Hermes) with young brands like Off-White and Enfants Riches Deprimes, the visuals were cool, and the assortment of art books and coffee table books was cool – like a perfectly curated gift section really. Cool. Everything was cool. The staff, the customers, everything. If I had the funds I could’ve done some serious damage there. To make things even cooler, the Vetements pop-up was still outside. I wish I could’ve gone inside but it was closed when I was there. If you haven’t already seen images online, the Vetements pop-up was like a dry cleaners. It was so funny. To see it in person was a really cool experience for me because normally I’m an outsider to these things, just seeing it via Instagram. Across the street in the gallery space was the Daft Punk pop-up exhibition. It was the first thing like this that I’ve ever waited in line for. It was also really cool, but I think I may write about it in more detail in a separate post so I shall leave that for that.
Besides shopping, I spent most of the time on this trip as the passenger in the car. I was just chauffeured around, being the human GPS system and occasionally taking a nap but more often than not just taking in everything around me. It was really fascinating to me. My fondest memories from the trip are from places I seen whilst in the car and conversations I had on the journey. I love the palm trees too. Really, I think I would like LA. It has a lot to offer. Plus, 9 times out of 10 the weather is perfect. I look forward to my return, whenever that will be.