Posted on May 29, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 44 Comments
I’m in LA, staying at that most LA of LA hotels, the Westin Bonaventure. I’m here not five minutes, literally on the elevator ride up to my room, when a total stranger turns to me and says “it’s like being sucked into the 70s, isn’t it?” Well, yes. Yes, that’s kind of the point. Now I’m ensconced in my wedged-shaped room looking out at downtown LA, and everything is groovy. No In-N-Out for me tonight (I have an actual, official dinner to go to, to which I may even wear a tie), but soon. Oh, yes. Soon.
Yay! LA! It’s always nice to be home.
I could see you from my office if you waved out the window.
The Bonaventure is strange. The Buck Rodgers TV show used to use it as a backdrop. It’s also, FYI, a notorious meeting place for various ne’er-do-wells. We have had a couple of clients who got into trouble for meeting, ah, young gentlemen in the trade there.
Let me know if you need restaurant or diversion recommendations for downtown.
Oh, come on. A tie?
“I could see you from my office if you waved out the window.”
Well, the glass is reflecty right now, so I’d be hard to see. But generally, yes.
Thanks for the offer. I am in fact pretty well-scheduled thanks to BEA, which makes it easy to be distracted.
Upon further reflection, I wanted to make it clear that my observation that clients have met male prostitutes at the Bonaventure and my offer to suggest local diversions during your visit should not be taken as in any way related.
Rats. There goes my Sunday.
I see O’Hare was not feeling carnivorous today.
Have fun and a safe trip home when you’re done.
Strangely enough, In-N-Out is one of the only things I miss about home when I go to school up on Oregon. Not so much the burgers, which are good (I’m not a fan of secret sauces in any form), but more in terms of the fries and shakes, which aren’t spectacular individually but seem to go together so perfectly.
Of course, you could probably just point out that I miss tasty fast food in general as the only fast food place within walking distance is a McDonalds, and there are many things MickeyD’s is but tasty is not one of them
On the other hand, there is now a Sonics just a mile away from where I live, and no Sonics in northern California at all, to the best of my knowledge.
That revolving bar at the Bonaventure is actually pretty darn cool. My uncle and I put down a few scotches-on-rocks there when he came out to visit.
Welcome back to LA! Hope you have a great time. :)
Welcome to LA as they say. In-N-Out near downtown? Hmmm. Maybe you’ll have to come west, onto my turf. ;) BTW–you’re making me neeeeed a burger.
Hey, if you need a lift to the nearest In-N-Out (I think the nearest is in Huntington Park) in a genuine socal hot rod, (’29 Model A sedan) shoot me an email, daddy-o!
Those are good burgers, Walter.
A TIE? You own a tie? And would wear it… in LA??
You know, there are big parts of the country who don’t know that In-N-Out is a burger joint. They would take a different message from your post.
Of course, a lot of folks don’t know that Kum & Go is a convenience store chain in the midwest.
Who names these things? Aren’t they aware of double entendre at all? Are they aware and just don’t care?
HAHA welcome to L.A. indeed! I actually work right around the corner from the Bonaventure (I’m south on Figueroa). If you go up Bunker Hill tomorrow afternoon up into the Bank of America plaza there should be a farmer’s market going on. Also the McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood restraurant is right there (http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com). On the real plus side you’re across the street from the LA County Library which is quite nice. If you’re feeling really adventurous there’s a Fat Burger way south on Figueroa a block north of USC. And of course there’s a Morton’s Steak House on 7th & Figueroa.
And if you’re feeling artsy you can go up to the Disney Concert Hall or the Wells Fargo Center’s Wells Fargo Museum.
That running track/weight lifting balcony setup looks very cool, but is probably an enormous pain in the ass. Every time you switch machines you’d get in the way of the people on the track, and if you didn’t want to do your circuit in the direction that the track was supposed to be used in that day you would also piss people off. Plus it probably makes you walk 1/16th of a mile while doing weights, which is totally excessive.
On the plus side, if people were crowding you while waiting for a machine, you could push them to their deaths.
In-N-Out is good. In-N-Out is very good.
But it can’t beat L.A.’s own Tommy’s.
Tommy’s has the messiest and best burgers in the world. You walk away looking like you won a fistfight with Mayor McCheese.
You best be eating that double-double with grilled onions, son.
I’m taking the boyfriend when we go visit the ‘rents in two weeks. It will be his first In-N-Out experience — and, y’know, I’m just gonna drop that sentence and back away slowly.
Double-double, animal style, no onions.
Heaven in your hand.
Out of curiosity, does this hotel have a floor # 13? I only ask because when I stayed in LA a few years ago, the hotel had a floor # 13 but no #10. Nobody at the information desk had any idea why.
“Tommy’s has the messiest and best burgers in the world. You walk away looking like you won a fistfight with Mayor McCheese.”
Well played, sir. And true.
Isn’t wearing a tie in California some sort of Hate Crime?
How’s the weather??
Just wanted to say thanks for answering everyones questions on Joe’s blog. I didn’t get around to asking any intellegent questions that weren’t already asked, just wanted to let you know found your answers insightful.
Have fun in LA.
Sonic is in several cities in Northern California, including Yuba City, Roseville and Stockton. I don’t know about points north of Yuba City. However, right down the street from the one in Roseville is an In-N-Out.
As long as people are talking great burgers in LA, the BEST
(and one of the oldest by LA standards) is The Apple Pan.
The Hickory Burger with Cheese and a slice of pie combine for true artery clogging goodness. Besides you can also get decent fries, unlike the horror show spuds that In-N-Out insists on serving with their tasty burgers.
(In-N-Out is good, but I never understood the love of Tommy’s unless one was blind drunk.)
Tommy’s. Fried zucchini sticks. Nuff said.
But was the stranger who spoke to you Marjoe Gortner?
(The first obscure 70s-era Hollywood person who came to mind.)
Huh, you know, I was at the dinner and I can’t remember whether he wore the tie or not.
But he did speak very eloquently. And was quite amusing as well.
Tommy’s and In-N-Out: two things I shall remember fondly.
Actually managed to drag my parents out to Original Tommy’s just before they left CA. Dad took it in stride, aside from the raised eyebrow, while my mother alternated between being utterly appalled and muttering “Darn, but this chili is good. Could you pass me another napkin?”
Tommy’s triple cheeseburgers saved me from violent gastric dissolution … that’s right, they saved me when nothing else available at the time could do the job. So there.
Oh, and the chili also makes a dandy paint remover, so if you ever wish that your car wasn’t so colorful, just head on down to Tommy’s, order any comestible worth ordering, park your meal on the hood and chow down… Just smear a dab of their World Famous chili on that pesky paint job and vóila, problem solved. ;^)
Bonus points for consuming a Tommy’s double cheeseburger without decorating self or needing a napkin to clean up afterward.
and I’m forced to ask… Why would ones mother be apalled at this ‘Original Tommy’s’ place?
but I admit. THe mere thought of a triple cheeseburger feels right tasty round about now. Not that I’d finish it, but I bet it tastes glorious.
What’s so good about In-N-Out? And do you shake it all about?
See, that’s one of the drawbacks (yet somehow, still also a bonus) of keeping kosher.
No readily available fast food burgers in the US, and I could *really* use one now.
Scalzi does wear a tie now and then; I have proof.
Cool place. I stayed there a few years back for the HP World Conference. I remember enjoying a nice Japanese noodle restaurant in there somewhere.
Oh gawd. LA. As a fellow Ohio dwelling, Socal native, I reccomend listening to Tool’s song Anemia either during or immediately following your visit. Ya know, just to give the proper perspective. See you down in Arizona Bay!
Just to be clear, being “sucked back to the 70’s” is a bad thing right? I still don’t know why the earth didn’t open up and swallow everyone back in the 70’s.
You walk away looking like you won a fistfight with Mayor McCheese.
…yeah, but then his pal Jimmy Chili sneaks up on you 30 minutes later with a shiv to the innards.
Sean @ 23:
That would explain why I’ve never seen one, then – I’m unfamiliar with all three of those locales, being a reclusive east bay dweller.
JWD @ 34:
Well, I always assumed it never did that in the 70s because it knew the 80s were up next. Now why the earth didn’t open up and swallow everyone in the eighties is a different question altogether.
Tho’ I had an excellent fastfood burger & cup ‘o chili yesterday at our local Steak ‘n Shake ;)
Is that Angel’s hotel?
Well, pour out a little chocolate shake for your Whatever fans.
Noah–I totally agree with you on the Apple Pan! It’s the best fast-food establishment in LA.
Ghu, and here I am in a cube three blocks east of the Bonaventure (and a couple of hundred feet above street level). When I came to work I dodged buses taking people from the Bunker Hill hotels to the convention center.
Too bad it’s Friday; Wednesday is the farmers’ market in front of the library – the entire length of it, from Grand to Flower. It’s strawberry season!
There’s an excellent farmer’s market on Friday’s at the base of my building, the Bank of America building. Great tamales, Korean food, etc.
hmmm, I seem to have more in common with Scalzi that I originally thought. I was born in LA and now live in Ohio…
I am wiping off my hands after eating a double double with grilled onions as I type this! Heaven on a bun!