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Planning LA/OC long weekend trip from DC... advice please!

  • j

My husband and I are coming to your area (first time for me) and leaving our little ones behind. I hate to admit that I'm so uncool, but I really hope to spot some celebs!! We're staying Wed, Thurs at SLS and Fri, Sat at St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point. Dinner is already occupied Sat (and probably Fri... in town for wedding) but we have Wed lunch, Wed dinner, Thurs lunch, Thurs dinner, Fri lunch, Sat lunch... plus I suppose breakfasts if there's somewhere not to be missed!! Here's my food itinerary I'm contemplating so far... I'd love the advice of locals!!

Wed lunch: either Ivy or Spago before shopping in Bev Hills (Rodeo Drive, what else? Is Bev Ctr just a run-of-the-mill mall or worth visiting?)

Wed dinner: at the hotel at The Bazaar (seems to make sense since we're staying there?)

Thurs lunch: cafe at Fred Segal, taking in Hollywood sights

Thurs happy hour cocktail at Chateau Marmont

Thurs dinner: either Matsuhisa close to hotel or venture to Katsuya (Hollywood or Brentwood?)

Fri am, head down PCH (right?) to Dana Point, hopefully taking in yummy food (fish tacos maybe?) and sightseeing along the way....

Also, do I need to venture North at any point? Like to Malibu? You can tell I'm totally unfamiliar with the area I'm sure... I'm kind of basing all this on Wed Bev Hills, Thurs Hollywood, Fri work way down to OC, Sat taking in OC... but I don't have any idea if I'm missing anything!!

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  1. That's a busy trip!
    If you're looking for quality in food, I would suggest to hit Spago, but if you're truly interested in celebs, you probably have a better celeb sighting shot at the Ivy...though the food is not much to write home about.
    The Beverly Center is just another mall...and as many times as I've been there, I've not seen a celeb.
    Katsuya in Hollywood gets for celebrities than the Brentwood location.
    While you're in the OC, I would suggest stopping by Sprinkles off of PCH in Newport...there's also another location in Beverly Hills...I love those cupcakes!

    1. Keep in mind that Dana Point is a long way from Beverly Hills and Hollywood, especially with traffic. I would not recommend fighting your way down the 405 any weekday afternoon between the hours of 3pm and 6pm (minimum). Why not start off at The Ivy for lunch and spend some time shopping on Robertson Blvd. before heading over to Rodeo Drive and having dinner at Spago? This way you can drive back down well after traffic.

      Also, Hungry Cat in Hollywood has excellent food and fantastic cocktails.

      1. i like all the places you mentioned EXCEPT matsuhisa.
        had a HORRIBLE , very costly omakase there.
        nerver againi

        1. Hi JaneS,

          To clarify, do you want all of your dining destinations to be to gain the highest chance to see some celebs? Or do you want some alternate dinner suggestions for best food L.A. has to offer?

          That'll help us give you better suggestions.

          3 Replies
          1. re: exilekiss

            Good question... I guess I'm open to either but with very limited time (and I can eat a lot, but not more than 3 times a day!) I might have to do my best to strike the balance between the two... I mean, celebs like good food too, right? At least the few that actually eat solid food? :)

            1. re: JaneS


              Rumor is that even the "celebs" that like to eat don't really do it in public because they don't want to be photographed doing it.
              I personally would recommend hiking/walking Runyon Canyon or the Santa Monica Stairs to see celebrities. Then, you can eat more - at more fabulous places!

              1. re: JaneS

                i once saw heath ledger at the chateau

                its a great place, i love eating outside, its so perfect there, the food is kind of pretty average i feel.

            2. I hope if you're staying @ the St Regis, that you'll be dining @ Michael Mina's Stonehill Tavern. I'd say that they have one of OC's top three tasting menus.

              And if shopping in OC takes you to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, then you must lunch @ Marche Moderne.

              1. Since you are taking PCH down to OC, I would suggest going to Sprinkles for cupcakes since it is on the way. Just turn left on MacArthur Blvd and it is shopping center on the left corner.

                Also try Marche Madame in South Coast Plaza mall, very tasty.

                Hamamori is also in South Coast Plaza and has decent sushi and rock shrimp tempura just like Katsuya.

                3 Replies
                1. re: A5 KOBE

                  She's from DC and there's a Sprinkles chain there....

                  1. re: A5 KOBE

                    Just to clarify, it's Marche Moderne.

                    1. re: A5 KOBE

                      I would enthusiastically second the recommendation of Marche Moderne, but would avoid Hamamori like the plague!! Although their sushi is indeed good, if you sit at the sushi bar you are likely to be ripped off by accepting any "specials" they offer. I fell victim to this only once...to the tune of almost $200 for one person...gulp!! Much better for sushi, but still expensive is Bluefin in Crystal Cove, near Newport Beach. Definitely a better choice than Hamamori in my opinion!

                      If you are going to be in Dana Point, you must go to the Montage in Laguna Beach, if only for a drink and to experience what is probably the best hotel ocean view in all of southern CA. I love having lunch outside in the casual restaurant adjacent to their spa. It has a wonderful view, and for a nice lunch, it's pretty fairly priced.

                      If you want a super casual but still excellent brunch with an ocean view, try the Coyote Grill in Laguna. On a nice day, their huevos rancheros and margaritas are the best morning vittles around!

                    2. Jane - you may want to do the Chateau Marmont for dinner. While there's better food elsewhere, I think the food there is relatively good and garden setting (with or without celebs) is just amazing.

                      If you remember, drop a note on how you liked the SLS. We're torn between there versus the Peninsula and the Montage for our summer trip.

                      PS we love Pizzeria Mozza and Cut for food.

                      1. In L.A for one day after cruise and before catching flight home...had lunch in Spago..YUMMMMMMY...also saw Val Kilmer and the blonde older brother of the show "The Wonder Years" would definitely recommend.

                        1. They always have celeb sightings at the Whole Foods market out that way too.. isn't there one in Brentwood?

                          1. i'm pretty fond of los angeles. the downtown library is flat-out gorgeous. you can eat in a quiet garden in its shadow. cafe pinot is a downtown treasure.

                            the formal dining room at the getty has views and food that you'll remember for some time.

                            i'm a fan of osteria mozza. get there early, sit at the nancy bar and indulge your people watching passion. it's way too much fun.