I look forward to LA. Weekly's Best of issue every year. But Brian Butler? Seriously? He's the "Best of WARLOCKS AND SPELL-CASTERS"???

But don't try to, you know, understand whether he does spells (as if they work) for good or evil.  "I don't believe someone else can define good and evil for me," Butler says. "As soon as you define yourself, you limit yourself." Oh my GOD I'm so embarrassed.

And we wonder why New York laughs at us.


Food too beautiful to eat

watermelon mint salad with feta
 ...except that we ate it.

Just because The Sunset Strip is rock & roll, it  doesn't mean you're confined to burgers at the Roxy Room. Just because Sunset Plaza is posh, it doesn't mean you have to hand over a paycheck for microbites stacked on a square white plate.

this room just makes your chicken...sexier
There's a middle ground. No, middle ground doesn't do it justice. There's an exception. Unlike other places on the strip, Xai Veranda has no flashy facade. I've driven by this place countless times and never noticed it. The place is airy, and awash with billowy white curtains on the terrace, a sultry Moroccan-themed tent room and rows of glinting silver tea pots.

The food was excellent, and so was the presentation. Try it!

extensive tea list, not to mention the hookah tobacco menu and "pipe boy"

Mediterranean ice cream sampler: lavender, saffron, coffee and pistachio


Stuck in Nick's Cage!

French Quarter at night
One of the best things about Los Angeles is getting out of Los Angeles. It's good to flee from this smoggy, heaving city and decompress in a place with fresher air and better Chinese food. 

Bourbon Street
 But as every Angeleno knows, Hollywood tends to follow you everywhere. Our hotel was just two blocks from the set of some vampire Nick Cage movie. During our stay, he was arrested for a drunken public dispute with his wife. On our Haunted New Orleans tour, we were taken to one of Nick Cage's many homes, which was plagued with a turbulent history and is allegedly the most haunted house in New Orleans. We could not escape Nick Cage. It was like Nick's Cage.

street jazz
But like all of my trips to New Orleans, I ate too much and contemplated buying a home there. Then I remembered that sharing one town with Brangelina was already one town too many. Enjoy the highlights from one of my favorite cities in the world!

Cafe du Monde!

Ahhh, chicory coffee & beginets

on the bayou

swamp tour



old voodoo shop

Above-the-ground cemeteries
The Garden District

The Court of Two Sisters for brunch


Hollywood Graveyard

During the day, this popular La Brea shop sells Hollywood wares to the public, such as discarded goods from old movie sets and eccentric Hollywood landmarks. The shop looks intriguing by day, vibrant with color and vintage finds. But while walking by in the middle of the night, the place took on an eerie quality. It was absolutely buzzing with history. This graveyard of forgotten goods, once the center of attention, whether on screen or poolside at famous Hollywood homes in the 1960's, seemed determined to not be forgotten. You had to be there.