Drew Barrymore has one of the most famous family trees in Los Angeles. Now she's putting down her own roots in the city.
"Bette Davis had a great quote," says Drew Barrymore, talking about where to go and what to do in her hometown of Los Angeles. "When somebody asked, 'Ms. Davis, can you give any advice?' she said, 'Always take Fountain,'" referring to the avenue that stretches across the great breadth of Los Angeles. "And she is absolutely right. Always take Fountain." That's just one of the many insights you are about to receive from Barrymore, the granddaughter of early-Hollywood legend John Barrymore who is now a star in her own right. Barrymore appeared in TV commercials before she was a year old and became a child sensation beginning with her appearance as Gertie, the sweet little sister of Henry Thomas's Elliott, in Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. She's come a long way from her Little Girl Lost days, the title of her best-selling 1990 autobiography, which detailed her struggles with teenage addictions. Today, she's not only a star but also a producer who heads her own company, FlowerFilms, whose credits include Charlie's Angels, Fever Pitch, 50 First Dates, and Barrymore's latest, this month's Music and Lyrics. In the film, she shares the screen with Hugh Grant, who plays a faded '80s pop star who desperately needs to write a hit song in a matter of days. Barrymore's character, a quirky plant lady, surprisingly supplies the lyrics. But it should come as no surprise that Barrymore can provide the inside scoop on her hometown of Los Angeles.
SHE SAID …
What draws Drew Barrymore to L.A.
Chateau Marmont (very expensive)
Barney Greengrass (deli, moderate)
El Compadre (Mexican, moderate)
Fred 62 (American, inexpensive to moderate)
The Grill on the Alley (Beverly Hills, steak house, expensive to very expensive)
Hugo's Restaurant (breakfast, inexpensive to moderate)
Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi (Italian, expensive to very expensive)
Il Sole (Italian, expensive to very expensive)
Katsu-ya Studio City (Japanese, expensive)
M Café de Chaya (macrobiotic, moderate)
Millie's (coffee shop, inexpensive)
Musso & Frank Grill (steak house, moderate)
The Standard Hotel restaurant (diner, inexpensive to moderate)
What places from your childhood do you still love?
Most of my favorite places from my childhood are gone. That's what makes me really sad about Los Angeles. It's beautiful because it's ever changing, but [a lot of it] is just gone. We have to hold on to our heritage more. It just scares me that everything is becoming a strip mall or a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Don't get me wrong; those places are great. One thing I do love about Los Angeles is that it's a melting pot of architecture. If you drive through a particular neighborhood, you are bound to hit a Spanish home, a colonial home, a modern home, and a country house - all on one street. I still go to the same drugstore, on Wilshire between Fairfax and La Brea, which is now a Rite Aid, but it used to be a Thrifty, where you could get ice cream for five cents. I think you can still get ice cream, but it's probably like $1.50 now. Another thing that's still there that I love is the oldest tree in Beverly Hills. I think it's on the corner of Rodeo and Little Santa Monica Boulevard. It's one of the most beautiful trees you have ever seen, and it's a historical landmark. I'm not sure what kind of tree it is, but I have a Polaroid of it on my refrigerator. It's giant, with beautiful green leaves and thick brown branches. I didn't grow up anywhere near Beverly Hills, but I always did love that tree because of its ancientness.
What hotel would you recommend in L.A.?
The Chateau Marmont I think is the greatest hotel in the whole world. I have lived there on and off since I was 16. It just has great vibes; it's like a clubhouse. I really like when each room in a hotel is unique unto itself, like the configuration is different. Even if the decor themes are similar. I think people respond to different shapes and light direction. Sometimes you want a smaller room because it flows better than a junior suite. That place still has the good old kitchens with tile - no marble, just old, groovy '70s tile. They also let me raise my dogs there, which is really cool. The lobby is just this weird old Spanish-style haven for Angelenos. Things like the Chateau are still there, and, you know, you just hold on to them for dear life, because everything is changing. Sometimes you just want things to stay the same.
What are some regular parts of your L.A. routine?
Sunset Boulevard is definitely something I travel up and down all the time. I like it because you can go on the east side and go to a little coffeehouse named Millie's that's really delicious. I love Los Feliz. It has a great vibe. Sort of like the East Village of New York, but for California. I go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market a lot. That's a great thing to do in L.A., because you almost can't do it in one day. I've gone there with the thought of, Oh, I need this for a certain room, and I've gone there with the thought of, I just want to go and see what I find, and if I come home with two little paintings and a shelf or something like that and a book, then I'm happy. You walk away with a ceramic vase, and you put flowers in it, and it just makes you happy. I love flea markets. Also, there is the Melrose Trading Post on Fairfax and Melrose. That's always running every Sunday. Oh, and the Pasadena City College Flea Market is awesome. That's, funnily enough, where I rescued my two puppies 11 years ago.