While Freyan -- capable hostess that she is -- has opened many a bottle of celebratory bubbly without problem, this weekend the champagne gods were determined to mock us a bit. Two bottles in a row popped on their own immediately after the wire wrap was loosened, much to our surprise! And, likely, to the surprise of our hotel neighbors above...
However, we eventually got the job done and poured enough for each of us to toast to the weekend as we began getting ready for dinner.
Having four girls (six once Natalia and Lily joined us from their respective LA apartments) in one hotel room doing makeup and picking out clothes for the night was exactly as you'd imagine: a bit crowded, but completely reminiscent of the best parts of college evenings going out.
As can be expected, we all packed several looks for each possible Los Angeles event, and everyone modeled her selections for input prior to settling on a particular outfit for dinner.
While this process paid homage in large part to the opening scene of Clueless (wherein Cher browses her entire closet before school), there were also moments harkening back to the silliest of sitcom episodes. Remember those plot lines where someone was planning a surprise party, and everything that could go wrong to spoil the surprise, did?
Nico, Freyan's fiancé, was intent on sending something to the room to kick off the weekend. Easy enough, right?
As it turns out, it is much harder to send drinks to a room than one would expect. Nico was frantically texting Sherri, Freyan's sister, who continually had to work around the rest of us calling the concierge to ask for any variety of items: first, to fix the radio; second, for additional glasses for the champagne; then, we needed more towels. It was endless!
Each knock on the door sent Sherri into a slight panic, as the rest of us non-Freyan ladies were vaguely aware of the general plan for Nico to send something, but didn't know he was trying to do so in that specific time span, and there was no easy way for Sherri to tell us that with Freyan smack dab in the middle of the celebrations.
Of course, the minute Sherri popped into the shower, room service arrived with Nico's surprise, and none other than Freyan was closest to the door. The best laid plans, amirite?
It turns out he needed to provide no fewer than thirteen forms of identification to send these four cocktails, but I'm glad he went through the effort, for my own selfish sake. This drink was delicious! A negroni with a splash of champagne added to lighten it up - I'll have to remember that one.
We toasted, again (I can't tell you how many glass clinks there were that weekend!) and sped up our primping process.
As the post title may have indicated, we indulged in a full-on flurry of fancy cocktails on this trip. We decided to check out the rooftop "pool" (I use that term loosely...) and the bar (aptly titled "Upstairs") before making our reservation at Ledlow.
While the Upstairs menu had more options than I could keep track of, with a slightly-confusing-yet-still-somewhat-helpful system of categorizing drinks as fruity, light & refreshing, boozy & spirited, herbaceous, complex, or tart & sour (or some combination thereof), it provided the perfect backdrop for our foray into Los Angeles for this ladies weekend.
I will admit, the views from the pool top were a bit marred by the myriad cranes (no fewer than three) immediately surrounding the hotel. However, it is a sign of the recent growth in the downtown area of Los Angeles - something I wish had taken place years ago when I attended USC! I can't hate on growth, and cute bars, and new restaurants to try on my next visit.
I even caught some other people taking a snap or two...
We finished up our pre-dinner drinks and eventually made our way to Ledlow for one of the most delicious, and most easily shared, meals I've had recently. While I believe the menu is seasonal, so some options may have changed, the slow-roasted meatballs were especially satisfying. I could also recommend basically any salad on the menu, as well as the chicken schnitzel - which is also very fun to order!
After dinner, we walked (at the time I would have called it traipsing, especially with the new wedges I was wearing - note to self, don't do that in new shoes. And by "that" I mean walk.) about fifteen minutes for a round of drinks at The Stockingframe. Full of rustic decor, including half a canoe with a tree planted firmly in the middle of it next to our picnic-table-seats, and delicious comfort food options, this was a lively spot only a couple of blocks away from the hotel. I would recommend it even if it wasn't within walking distance.
If you go, try the Faux Fur - the peppercorns get in the way a bit but they and the Thai basil add a special kick to an otherwise everyday drink of vodka and grapefruit. It was almost enough to combat my growing road-trip-lag, but not quite, and we soon made our way back to the Ace for a bit of rest before the next day's litany of food goals.
Up next time: Sqirl and more pictures of the pool...