Our L.A. story
Cadillac Hotel, moderate to expensive, (310) 399-8876. If you're like Ms. Stone and love the ocean, why not stay there on your next visit? At this Venice Beach inn, every room features a view of the Pacific, so you can slip out of your stuffy suit and play surfer dude or chick living a basics-only existence in order to save up for a new stick. But don't get us wrong: While the Cadillac isn't the Four Seasons, it is clean, comfy, and does have some character. In fact, it was once Charlie Chaplin's summer home.
Shade, expensive to very expensive, (310) 546-4995. For a more movie-star-style stay, complete with poolside massages and in-room espresso machines and martini shakers, consider yourself made in the Shade, Manhattan Beach's first luxury boutique hotel.
Jade Café, moderate, (323) 667-1551. We thought - or maybe secretly hoped - the raw-food fad would have shriveled up and died by now, but this is Los Angeles, and the trend lives on at places like this seven-month-old spot in happening Silver Lake. A tiny room fit for only 30 or so diners, Jade boasts a menu of all-natural, unprocessed ingredients with subtle Italian, Thai, and Mexican influences that might just make converts of us yet.
Memphis, moderate, (323) 465-8600. We share Sharon Stone's affinity for Southern food and find all our favorites in Memphis. No, not the city, but the restaurant. A Victorian schoolhouse turned deluxe dining room, Memphis has devotees lining up for down-home delights like fried chicken, blackened catfish, ribs, gumbo, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and banana-bread pudding.
Whole Foods Lifestyle, (323) 848-4200. This Whole Foods Market outpost on Santa Monica Boulevard isn't the only store in the vast U.S. chain with a new lifestyle concept store; it was just the first. Eco-friendly is the obvious mantra here, where beyond the brand's normal organic foods, you can snatch up everything from hemp blue jeans to recycled glass dinnerware.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, (323) 469-1181. If you came to L.A. to see the stars, you probably won't find more in any one place than you will at this noted resting place for celebs like Cecil B. DeMille and Johnny Ramone. But beyond that, the site offers awesome views of the Hollywood sign, and in summer months, screenings of films starring Rudolph Valentino and other famous residents.
San Antonio Winery, (323) 223-1401. A winery designated as a Cultural Historical Landmark? In Napa, yes, or maybe Paso Robles. But in downtown L.A.? Yet that's the case at this 89-year-old family-owned cellar, the last of more than 100 wineries that once lined the Los Angeles River basin. In addition to tours and tastings, there's a lovely on-site wine shop and Italian restaurant.
What don't people realize about L.A.? That you can have true and loyal friends and that the people who are from L.A., the families that are real Los Angelenos, are wonderful, civilized, decent people. And that expression, "Oh, those people from L.A.," is not really correct; the people who are interlopers to L.A. have come here and behaved inappropriately. But the people who are from L.A. are marvelous, elegant, sophisticated, good people who have been incredibly patient with the interlopers who have come here and acted up. L.A. has been caricaturized in films so much, but the real L.A. is such a lovely place, and the people are so kind, the real people. But you have to be here a while, and you have to become part of the real community and give of yourself to be in it, to be of it. I don't know if that's revealed so much to the outside world. People think of it as cheap and glittery, and it just isn't like that.
What do you love most about L.A.? I have wonderful friends and family here. The climate is marvelous. Every day is a pretty day. And I really like that we have had for so many years the freedom to be looking forward in things like spiritual investigation and self-realization, which has become an accepted thing. If you would have said, 15 years ago, somewhere else, that you were using your intuition or felt that you were supposed to do something, people would have thought you were just a nut. But in California, these are things people have been exploring for a very long time.