Monday, October 29, 2007

Hotel Angeleno

Above: Part of the lobby.

This was formerly the Holiday Inn Brentwood. Chip Conley of Joie De Vivre took over, remodeled it and it re-emerged as the upscale Hotel Angeleno. Here's more about the ho-hotel :

The Hotel is circular and manages the odd shape hotel room well. The rooms are comfortable with Italian linens, feather bed and a flat screen TV (some room still have the conventional CRT's). The front desk staff was helpful and acomodating. The location is good, and, if you're on a layover and not staying more than 1-2 days, it can be quite pleasant.

The location is something else.

It's close to the Getty but I wouldn't dare walk it. As a matter of fact, there's pretty much nowhere to walk to unless you walk into the woods, over the hill and sometimes across a cemetery and a freeway (literally) to get anywhere. You'd have to have a car and deal with $18/day parking. And deal with RABID valet parkers.

Me: Can I just park here, I'm just picking up guests.
Valet: How long do you think you'll be?
Me: Oh, 10-20 minutes?
Valet: Which is it - 10 or 20?
Me: 30!

Geee-zus! This quibbling kills me on a day when the hotel is half-empty and you can practically skateboard through the parking lot!

A much better alternative is The Ambrose Hotel ( which I should check out next time.
Much better location. You can bus to Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, walking distance to drug stores and restaurants, and hospitals! Great for those Shopping and Botox Therapy Weekends (with plenty of ice to reduce the swelling! haha!)

Above: Lobby coffee table cum planter.

Above: Acrylic Lamp and floor lobby.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Walter's turned 50 the day before we visited and appears to be housed in what used to be the former Balboa Thrift and Loan Building (the old sign is still outside) in downtown Claremont, California.

Stangely enough they have Afghanese (?) items on the menu, which is otherwise poopulated with your standard American fare with updates such as Ahi Tuna, Veggie burgers and such. It has mixed clientele and even more mixed reviews but our experience was mostly pleasant. They have a patio area and generally pleasing space and layout.

Above: Walter's menu cover and bar area.

Above: Neil had the grilled Salmon. Pretty standard and nicely presented. Good, not great.

Above: I had the burger with Afghan fries (Do request the chutney. The red chutney is spicy but good). Obviously not a heart healthy diet. The fries is deep fried in batter which made it tasty, greasy and completely munchable. The burger was a little dry, but luv the oval shape.

Claremont, California

In the movie, Thomas Crown Affair (with Steve McQueen, not Pierce Brosnan), Tommy Crown is playing golf and predictably loses a sucker bet. His friend asks him why he would take a bet where he knew he was going to lose and his reply was - "What else can we do on Sunday?"

This was one of those Sundays where Neil and I asked ourselves the same question, and this was the answer.

Claremont is a small, picturesque upscale town east (waaaay east) of L.A. and Pasadena that houses colleges and pretty, small-town-Americana houses much like those seen in the movie "Meet Me In Saint Louis".

It was very quiet on Sunday so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Above: Claremont Train Station Clock Tower

Above: Claremont Train Station Interior and Exterior

Above: Claremont City Hall

Above: Vintage Jaguar

Above: I was actually surprised to find a violin maker in this necka-da-woods. Even more amazing is the Burberry (or Fauxberry?) Violin case.

Monday, October 8, 2007


I first noticed this restaurant when I brought my car in for servicing. That's because it's right across from the body repair shop and the storefront had a nice retro vibe to it which I found attractive.

So imagine my surprise when my friend Linda invited me to have tapas there tonight (she knows the owner). It was great! Some of the standouts were the Scallops Al Ajillo (scallops in garlic), Escalivado (eggplant ) and of course, Serrano ham and Manchego cheese. Nice tight selection of tapas and a wide range of wine (I don't drink). This now replaces La Luna Negra as my favorite tapas place.

It's been open 7 weeks and it attracts a good crowd. ( I don't believe they started advertising yet).
Reservations recommended

Tinto Tapas
7511 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90046