WE SAID …
What draws us to L.A.
The Orlando (expensive to very expensive)
The name may reek of Florida, but the Orlando's locale, near Rodeo Drive shops, Sunset Boulevard, and major movie studios, makes a stay here a decidedly L.A. experience. There are European touches thrown in for good measure, too, like the 400-thread-count Egyptian-cotton sheets and the rooftop saltwater swimming pool to promote good health.
(323) 931-4223, www.pinkshollywood.com
Eating at some of our favorite L.A. restaurants, like Sushi Roku and the Little Door, can take a bite out of a traveler's bankroll, so we save a few bucks one meal by plunking down a paltry $4.75 for one of Pink's famous chili-cheese dogs and a Dr. Brown's Root Beer. Onion rings, turkey burgers, burritos, and the like round out the menu.
Twenty minutes from downtown L.A. is this horticultural oasis spanning 160 acres. In addition to the rosarium, sundial garden, koi-filled stream, camellia forest, and other natural beauties, you'll find concerts and classes on everything from cooking to watercolor painting are available.
Silent Movie Theatre
A classic movie house just like the ones Barrymore enjoys so much, this art-deco palace is devoted solely to silent movies. (Where else but Hollywood, right?) The roster includes cinematic favorites - accompanied by live piano/organ music - starring pre-talkie celebs like Clara Bow and Felix the Cat.
Skin + Bones (The Museum of Contemporary Art)
We hope Barrymore has heard about this exciting new exhibit, given her penchant for shopping and architecture. Subtitled Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture, it combines and compares the work of some 40 fashion designers and architects, from Hussein Chalayan's crazy Convertible Skirt/Table from the Afterwords collection to Toyo Ito's fantastic Mikimoto Ginza 2. But hurry, Drew; it's showing only through March 5.
What do you like to do outside?
I like to hike Runyon Canyon. It's all people from Los Angeles walking their dogs. The incline is really great, and there are lots of different trails, and it's sort of right in the center of Hollywood. There is this kind of funny nature relief where you can just walk around all these different terrains and take your dogs and see other dogs. There's a view on top of Runyon Canyon that's my favorite. You know why it's so great? Because you've got to earn it. You've got to hike up a mountain to get there. There is one peak where there is a perfect 360-degree view. You can see Beverly Hills and the ocean and Santa Monica. You can see right down the center of Hollywood. You can see the Griffith Observatory and all of Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and Echo Park. Then, when you turn around, behind you, you can see Burbank, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, and even Pasadena. Another great thing to do is to ride the bike paths at Santa Monica. You could start in Malibu and ride all the way down to Palos Verdes and Orange County. That's a really great thing to do, because you always have the ocean on the side of you.
Are there shops that you like that are off the beaten path?
Yes, there's a great street called Yucca that has an incredible series of four stores called Lost & Found. At one of them, they have furniture and sandals and homemade jewelry and sort of hippie clothes upstairs, but it's all new and all made by local artists. They also feature painters, and they have a gallery next door, and the stores are connected. They will feature artists like Matthew Heller and Sage Vaughn, and it's a great place to be turned on to new artists. And it is relatively reasonably priced. I mean, it's expensive, but it's not like when you walk into some galleries and you are like, "Okay, thanks; I'll be back in another lifetime." At this place, you can actually find art within the hundreds-of-dollars range rather than in the thousands, which I appreciate. One of my favorite things to do is start at the beginning of Abbot Kinney Boulevard and just park my car and walk up and down those streets. Abbot Kinney is a great art crawl. You'll hit galleries, bookstores, clothing stores; it is really an eclectic mix. Then, in West Hollywood, Book Soup is one of the best bookstores in L.A., because it is small and intimate, but they have an incredible selection, great-quality bound paperbacks and photography books and art books.
Where would you go for dinner?
I love Il Sole. It is my favorite Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. It is just delicious and very, very pretty but not pretentiously so. I tend to stay away from pretentious places. My favorite place for sushi is a place called Katsu-ya, but it's the original one on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. There is one in Encino, but not that one. And there is a new one in Brentwood, which is super trendy. But the original one looks like sort of a pine-colored sushi bar that you would go to in the '80s, and the food is impeccable. There's always like a 45-minute wait, and they don't care who you are. You put your name down like everybody else. They have a sushi bar and a counter, so I love that. I go there by myself and with friends, and that is just a great place for dinner. It's just extremely low profile and yummy. And oh my God - the best Mexican restaurant in L.A. is El Compadre. They are open late - again, in Los Angeles, that's important. It looks like your quintessential Mexican restaurant, with Christmas lights and parrot art and red vinyl booths. The food is just überyummy and casual and funky. They serve your margaritas on fire. There's always a great little band playing. I recommend the crispy tacos. Just a great little place right in the heart of Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard. If you are going to go to one fancy restaurant in Los Angeles, you have to go to Il Ristorante di Giorgio Baldi. It's where we really go to celebrate and to order a great bottle of wine. It's very expensive. You always walk away kind of shocked at the bill. It is where you should spend anniversaries. Or if you have a film coming out or you've just finished a record or a novel, that's the place to go. It's not snotty. I hate the snotty places.
Where to for a drink afterward?
Well, if you want to go to the hipster, scenester spot, go to Hyde Lounge. That's a fun lounge, and my friend Brent owns it. It's very hard to get in, but if you go early enough, you'll get in. And then it gets packed after you've got your seat, and you are good to go. You'll get a little bit of everything there - sometimes too much of everything. It is where to go if you feel like acting lively. Other than that, we go to the Chateau, and we go to the Frolic Room. I like a classic dive bar, I really do. The Frolic Room is a throwback. It's got a great jukebox. Trader Vic's is great. I don't tend to go to Beverly Hills very much, but if you are around that neighborhood, Trader Vic's is a landmark that's classic. You can get this thing called the Scorpion Bowl, and your drinks come with floating gardenias in them. But I'd say be careful, because they are strong. The Formosa Cafe - [L.A. Confidential director] Curtis Hanson fought for the preservation of that - is still there, and that's a great place to go have an after-dinner drink. It's a classic. A great 24-hour place in L.A. is the Standard Hotel. There is a restaurant there, right in front. It's a great diner, but it's like a haute-cuisine diner, where the food is really healthy and delicious. Also, there is a great bowling alley on Hollywood and Highland called Lucky Strike, and it's open until two a.m. seven nights a week.
What is the quintessential Hollywood landmark in the city?
Grauman's Chinese Theatre. I love it; I have a personal affinity for it because of my grandfather. They showed all the old Hollywood movies there, and the stars put their hands and feet in [the cement out front] for Sid Grauman. But my grandfather, because he was known as the Great Profile, he actually put his profile in the cement. Then, when I got my star on the Walk of Fame and they unveiled it - you never know where you are going to be put - they had put it right outside of the Chinese Theatre. So I'm right next to my grandfather. It makes me so happy, because if I could carry out their legacy and make them proud and keep their name alive and well and healthy in the art that we all chose and have running through our veins and love, that would be the thing I'd feel the most proud of. That, to me, is accomplishment, the definition of success - just sort of keeping our family tree trimmed and pruned and watered and healthy. Just like the old tree in Beverly Hills.