TOP’s Guide to the Best Hotel Bars in LA

I love LA. Our nightlife is legendary, and so are our cocktails. And if you’re looking for the ultimate late night experience, you can always pop in to a hotel bar. It’s the perfect way to mix fantastic atmosphere with fabulous cocktails. Ready to put your drinking cap on? Let’s go!

best hotel bars LA

Sunset Marquis

Locals love Bar 1200 for its intimate setting (it’s basically a dark room that’s perfect  for all sorts of sordid affairs). And the patio (which seats about 25) ain’t too shabby either. Bar 1200 serves some really lovely signature cocktails, including “Back to the Hotel” (Tru Organic Gin, lemon, basil, Swedish bitters) and Pimm’s Down Under (Pimm’s, St.Germain, Bundaberg Ginger Beer).

best hotel bars LA

Chateau Marmont

The bar at Chateau Marmont (which is not the same as Bar Marmont) has a short row of barstools, kick-ass bartenders, and an extra cozy atmosphere. This place is always packed with the most interesting of characters, so you’re destined to have the best time.  If you can get in, that is. . .

best hotel bars LA

The Culver Hotel

The bar here is about as classic as it gets, with live jazz, handcrafted, fuss-free cocktails, and a tasty appetizer menu. What more do you need? It’s pretty fancy, too. Very Old Hollywood.  I always feel so classy sipping my ‘Culver Royale.’

best hotel bars LA

The Figueroa Hotel

With flickering candles, wooden barstools, and more atmosphere than you can shake a stick at, The Veranda Bar at the Hotel Fig gives you that “far, far away” feeling in the middle of Downtown LA. And their signature mojito with fresh muddled lime is one of the very best in town.

best hotel bars LA

The Ace Hotel

The Ace Hotel is the newest addition to Downtown LA nightlife.  It’s also the perfect spot for afternoon drinks by the pool. Try one of the hand-cranked frozen drinks—they’re fantastic. Overall, the cocktails here are thoughtful and eclectic, and the space is easy-feeling. The Ace isn’t trying too hard, and I like that.

 

Go Green: eco-friendly party planning tips

eco-friendly party

Photo by girlingearstudio

We’ve catered everything from high-end charity events and weddings to backyard barbecues and luncheons, and over the years, Ive learned that catering an event is about more than just the food. When my clients want to throw a bash, no matter the size, but are concerned about the carbon footprint it will leave, I share these simple tips with them.

  • Make sure your caterer sources from local farms that implement sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
  •  If youre the one cooking for your guests, shop locally and buy produce thats in season. Its not only better for the environment, its also far more delicious. And seasonal produce is less, expensive, too.
  • Theres really no need to invest in paper invites and thank you notes. Sites like Paperless Post give online communication a definite party feel without relying on precious paper resources.
  • Opt for large groups of candles instead of overhead lights. In addition to cutting down on energy usage, this also creates a more intimate and elegant mood for evening parties.
  • Whenever possible, use china instead of disposables. When the budget doesnt allow for this, be sure that your disposable plates are made from compostable plastic (which is usually made from corn) or bamboo, which is a really great choice since it regenerates so quickly. My personal favorite is Fallen Leaf dinnerware by VerTerra. People really love the way these plates look on the buffet!

 

This post is bananas (B-A-N-A-N-A-S!)

banana bread

Photo by Jay del Corro

Despite their association with slapstick comedy, bananas pack a pretty serious nutritional punch. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, eating just two of these babies will fuel a 30-minute workout. They also support eye and kidney health and fight free radicals, making them something of a superfood.

But here’s the thing. They’re not so pretty when they’re spotted, and not super appetizing when they’re mushy. So what’s a girl to do when that bunch of bananas in the fruit bowl starts looking a little too ripe? The answer, of course, is make banana bread.

Banana bread recipes are a dime a dozen, but if you’re looking for a wholesome + healthy  spin, you’ve come to the right place. Out with the shortening and bleached flour, in with the canola oil and whole wheat flower. Let’s do this right!

This banana bread is best served warm and steaming. You can sweeten the deal with some homemade honey butter or, for added zing, spread goat cheese on top. It’s perfect for breakfast or a mid-morning snack. And super tasty, too (no joke!).

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup whole wheat flower
2 1/4 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil plus 1 tablespoon for greasing pan
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup ripe bananas

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4 1/4″ x 8 1/2″ loaf pan. Sift together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, blend until creamy vegetable oil, sugar, and orange zest. Beat in eggs and banana until smooth. Add in dry ingredients 1/3 at a time until mixtures are completely combined. Bake for about 1 hour or until done.