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Turning 26 With Hot Strangers

Turning 26 With Hot Strangers

Turning 26 With Hot Strangers

My birthday weekend was filled with spontaneity, hot strangers, and so many events to share. This episode is story-time heavy; I chat about bars, restaurants, plays, musicians and the magic of magazines and our current eclipse season. This was my past week in Los Angeles, all about turning 26, and packed with reviews and recommendations for things to do this week.



Bar Lis — 1541 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Bar Lis is a French Riviera-inspired bar at the top of the Thompson Hotel. The decoration is bright, fun and the views are phenomenal. It almost looks like it would be better placed in Miami. Bar Lis is known for their Jazz Nights on Tuesdays, but on the weekend you can expect house music and local DJs. It’s in a neighborhood full of rooftop bars (Grandmaster Recorders, Mama Shelter, and The Highlight Room are all around the corner).

Boardner’s — 1652 N Cherokee Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Boardner’s came to my attention a few weeks ago at the recommendation of a viewer named Tom. Both an event venue and a bar/restaurant, this classic Hollywood speakeasy has been around since 1942 and still maintains its vintage charm. The seating is comfortable, the design is beautiful, and my night here was incredibly eventful.  While sipping my Delirium I befriended the Flighthouse team during a company-wide scavenger hunt. A few hours later, we were winning a game of Wheelbarrow outside of Cabo Cantina and doing after hours at Te’Kila

Gwen — 6600 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

My grandmother said I needed a steak dinner for my birthday. So I went to Gwen. Gwen is fine dining. It’s a huge restaurant by the same chef as Maude. What makes Gwen unique is its attached European-style butcher shop. Originally, Gwen only offered a $95 family style set menu that you’d have to purchase “tickets” for. They’ve since loosened up and now allow you to choose between a 3-course, 5-course, or 10-course tasting menu. Still, they have a lot of rules around how you are able to order. For example, everyone at the table must order the same tasting menu and they cannot accommodate allergies unless notified prior. If you want to avoid the fuss, stuffiness, and dropping multiple three figures, the best way to eat at Gwen is to eat at the bar. You’ll get the exact same food but a much more relaxed and light-hearted experience. The bar offers an a la carte menu of highlights from the set menu. It was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday: eating steak, drinking specialty tequila shooters, and laughing with a friend.

Toca Madera — 8450 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Toca Madera is the perfect place to go if you want to get dressed up and get drunk on a Sunday afternoon. Their brunch is delicious, as you would expect from a meal that involves both guacamole and margaritas. With three floors, house music, and vegetarian options on the menu, it’s sure to appeal to both your health-conscious friend and your party-conscious friend. If you’re looking for a scene but don’t want to sacrifice on food quality, this is the place for you.


The Henry — 120 N Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

They call themselves West Hollywood’s “Neighborhood Restaurant” and pride themselves on being your friendly neighbor. The interior is sunny and beautiful, and I enjoyed a breezy afternoon there with a glass of white wine. I’d heard mixed reviews on The Henry, but I had an overall pleasant experience there.

Short Stories — 115 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

I’ve been patiently awaiting the opening of Short Stories – a new hotel and restaurant across from the Grove – and I was not disappointed. Chef Ricardo Zarate calls it “California cuisine with a Peruvian touch”. There’s an intimate dining room, an elegant bar, and a lush courtyard. The courtyard really shines at night. I went at 5pm on a Tuesday, which was the perfect time for Happy Hour. Their menu is simply beautiful. My lovely server Jacobi guided me to the red snapper, which had the most incredible sauce. It was overall a spectacular experience, and my #1 pick of the week.

Crossroads Kitchen — 8284 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Crossroads is one of those places that I pass by all the time but have never gone inside. Well, this weekend I made a point of going in! An upscale vegan restaurant on Melrose, the food was fresh and the tea was hot. I had a lovely afternoon reading a magazine here. The waitstaff is very attentive to different food allergies and preferences. Portions are small but beautifully presented; if you’re looking for a light afternoon, this is the perfect place.


Marieme at The Sun Rose

I saw Marieme perform at The Sun Rose on Sunset Blvd. The Sun Rose just recently opened publicly in 2022, and is built on the grounds of the former House of Blues as a part of Pendry Hotel. Check their schedule for upcoming events here; they’ve housed Dave Chappele, Jack Harlow, and other top performers! 

Marieme is an incredible musician with an undeniable stage presence. The Sengalese-American singer delivers “Doses of Love” to her audience with lyrics about truth and life, through a neo-soul, jazz, and r&b rhythms. She’s playing again at The Sun Rose on Tuesday May 17th. Don’t miss seeing her perform live while it’s still free to do so!


Ban.Do Warehouse Sale

I stumbled upon the warehouse sale and was so glad I did! I left with a great charm necklace that saided “Optimism” and a beach towel that says: “Be Present”. The warehouse sale continues May 24th – 29th in NYC, so if you’re in the tri-state area be sure to check it out!

Theater – Meet Cute

I went to see a theater event called Meet Cute which was a collection of 6 short plays. It was an absolutely incredible evening. The writers were excellent and I saw so many people who I hadn’t seen in years. Unfortunately, this was a one time only event, but I’ve connected with the writers so that if they do another theater night in the future, you all will be the first to know! 

See you all next week!