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Old 4 Mar 24, 04:59 PM  
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Travelling From Coast To Coast August 2023: Day 9 - Beverly Hills, Academy Museum and The Rainbow

Day 9: Tuesday 15th August 2023

Today was our last day in Los Angeles (for now) as we would be heading out to Disneyland the following day. After the absolute high of yesterday, today did not start off so great as unfortunately Mat and I were hungover. I don’t usually get hangovers unless I drink wine, which I rarely do and certainly hadn’t in this case, so I’m putting it down to not drinking enough water with my alcohol the previous evening. I usually drink loads of water every day and being on the tour and then at the gig, I had failed to do so.

The plan for this morning was to drive to Beverly Hills for breakfast and then hike Runyon Canyon in Hollywood. The girls didn’t want to get up and certainly didn’t want to hike, so we decided that just the two of us would go and we’d bring breakfast back for them. Honestly, (my) teenagers make me laugh; too worn out to go to the gig last night so they had an early night and then having had way less sleep than us (and obviously no alcohol), we were the ones up at 6 am to get back out there while they protested they were ‘too tired’.

We got ready and set off at around 6.30 / 6.45 am. We were heading for Chaumont Vegan bakery which opened at 7 am. As it was early, we hit the rush hour traffic on the way to Beverly Hills but once we were there, the streets were quiet as obviously nothing was open at that time. We managed to street park right outside the bakery.

Chaumont Vegan has a ‘normal’ bakery next door, Chaumont, so we would be able to get Freya something non-vegan. But first, we were focused on what we wanted to eat that might help with the hangovers. I’m not really a bakery person and definitely don’t have a sweet tooth so it was always going to be something savoury for me.

We ordered egg and cheese croissants with dukkah (vegan egg and cheese obviously) and Mat got an Americano with oat milk. The staff member asked if we were eating them here. We said we were so she said to take a seat and she’d bring the croissants to us. We went outside to one of the pavement tables. There was a group of construction workers at one of the other tables but other than that there was no one else around. It seemed to take ages for our croissants to be heated up and arrive but it possibly just felt that way because we were desperately in need of the grease.

The croissants were good. And they seemed to be just what the doctor ordered so we decided to get another one each to go since we had to go back in and get food for the girls anyway. This time we went for ‘ham’ and cheese and both got coffees. I had a black Americano and Mat had another oat milk Americano. We texted the girls to ask what they wanted and in true Seren fashion, she struggled to decide. Our bad for not giving her the options when we first arrived so she could have had time to think about it. We definitely do not always ace being parents of a child with ADHD. It ended up being a whole thing where we were trying to order with the staff member while Seren was texting and going back and forth. In the end we got her both a strawberry croissant and a pain au chocolat. While Mat sorted out the vegan order, I popped next door to the non-vegan Chaumont and got Freya a cinnamon twist and a chocolate croissant. While conversing with Freya about what to get her by text, she informed me that Seren had spilled most of my expensive nail oil in the hotel room. Excellent news.

Once we had all the goodies, we got back in the car and tucked into our second croissants. I couldn’t finish a second one so I had about half and then handed it to Mat for him to polish off. We were feeling a little better after eating. When we were all done, we popped the address of the car park we were aiming for in Hollywood into google maps and set off.

The car park, which was a church car park I’d seen suggested on Reddit, didn’t give us great vibes when we got there. It was an open wasteland kind of thing, with lots of trash. What I’ve learned from the Los Angeles Reddits is that locals don’t like paying a lot of money to park their cars to do things and fair enough. They’d rather park somewhere a bit sketchy but free or cheap. But for us as short-term tourists with a rental car and the inconvenience we’d have if something happened to it, we decided just to fork over the $$ to park at Ovation (Hollywood and Highland) again which was only a few minutes away.

Being early still, the parking garage at Ovation was much quieter than when we’d previously been here a few days before. We parked up and headed out onto Hollywood Boulevard. The entire ‘handprints’ area outside the Chinese Theater was completely closed off as they were setting up for the Blue Beetle premier. So my second attempt at getting a photo of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s handprints for my ‘La La Land sights’ collection had failed. We’d now been unlucky with the area being shut on both our visits this trip although the first time it had just been the right hand side of the handprints area that wasn’t accessible.

I did get a decent photo of the Slash star on the Walk of Fame because Hollywood Boulevard was quiet.

But I also failed at the second attempt with getting a photo of the Olivia Newton John star as she was also roped off. Mat did get one of John Travolta’s, the much less iconic half of the Grease duo.

I plugged Runyon Canyon into google maps and we headed up North Orange Drive onto Franklin Avenue. There were some nice apartment buildings up here and I thought once again that Hollywood isn’t as ‘bad’ as people say it is. I know that’s a huge overgeneralisation and we weren’t here at night and didn’t venture far in Hollywood itself but, yeah, I liked it.

We stood at the pedestrian crossing at the intersection with La Brea Avenue for what felt like ages.

Then when we got to the crossing at N Fuller Avenue it would have been comical how long we had to wait if it wasn’t for our hangovers. Eventually the lights changed for us and we crossed and continued along Franklin for a few moments until I realised google maps was having a mare and we actually didn’t need to cross N Fuller in the first place but should have turned onto it to access Runyon Canyon instead. Hilarious.

The apartments up by the entrance to Runyon Canyon looked really nice too. I know there’s an issue with parking up here though as people want to drive up to the entrance of Runyon Canyon and park right in the residential area. The walk was supposed to take 19 minutes according to google maps but it definitely took us at least another five with all the waiting around at traffic lights.

We walked through the gates of Runyon Canyon. It was pretty spectacular and despite having been in Los Angeles over a week at this point, I was still finding it surreal that the mountains just kind of exist behind the busy streets. One of the many things I love about this city. We took a few photos and then looked at the hiking trail way up high in front of us. I said to Mat that I didn’t think I could manage hiking the trail with my hangover. We agreed we would put it back on the list for next trip instead.

We walked back down onto Franklin and Mat got a good photo of The Magic Castle.

Walking back to the car took longer than it should have, again because of how long the various traffic lights took to change in favour of pedestrians (it seems LA really is a car-centric city).

But eventually we were back at Ovation where we made a quick restroom stop, and then we left the car park to drive back to the hotel.

Back at The Montrose, we had texted the girls just before arriving to tell them to come down and meet us at the car outside. They ate their pastries in the car pulled up outside the hotel which was preferable to having to drop off the car with the valet again and go upstairs to meet them. Freya ate both her pastries but Seren only fancied the pain au chocolat. Mat ended up eating the strawberry croissant for breakfast the following morning.

Pastries consumed, we all set off for a little (well big) drive. The plan was to drive part of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Mulholland Drive and stop at a couple of the overlooks and some sights I had on my list. The girls were very on board with that as they’re at that teenage stage of loving just driving around and listening to music.

Our first stop on Mulholland Drive was Mulholland Scenic Overlook. The views were beautiful and we took some photos.

After that we made the decision to not do the full route I had planned. We still weren’t feeling one hundred percent, and Mulholland Drive is not the easiest road to drive with all its bends and high elevation. Mat was not loving life driving up there. Also, we’d realised a few days before when we’d found ourselves on Laurel Canyon Boulevard that it’s not the quaint, quiet street I’d always pictured. As we’d headed up it today, it had been full-on traffic both ways. I’d guess people use the canyon roads to avoid the 405 and the 101.

So instead of continuing along Mulholland to the next overlook, we went back the way we came in the direction of the Canyon Country Store in Laurel Canyon. There was no way we were missing visiting that as it was important to both Mat and I but I also had another must-see spot (for me) close to the store / cafe in Laurel Canyon so we decided to just do both and then move on.

I think we attempted to park at the Canyon Country Store initially but there were no spaces so we went back up the hill a little to the other must-do spot first. The place we were visiting is an address on the incredibly busy Laurel Canyon Boulevard. We made the decision to turn down the residential side road right next to the property and I would just jump out while Mat kept the car running. I asked Freya to come with me which she wasn’t over the moon about as she is a teenager and therefore would always choose sitting in the car and listening to music over walking 100 yards and back but she knew how important it was to me so agreed to come.

We were here to visit - well, be in the vicinity of - The Mansion, which is a property that is owned by producer Rick Rubin (or was, I can’t find out definitively whether or not he still owns it). The house has a recording studio in it and is where my favourite album of all time, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, was recorded. I’ve known about The Mansion for pretty much as long as the album has existed, 33 years, so it was first on my list of places to visit on my first LA trip as an adult (well second after Thunder Road from Grease.)

Obviously as The Mansion is a private residence I knew I would only be able to get as close as the sidewalk outside but that was fine with me, I just wanted to breathe in the air where the best album of all time was brought to life. I reminded Freya that her favourite band (and my second favourite band) My Chemical Romance had visited The Mansion and had tea with Rick Rubin in the early 2000s so this pavement was important to her too.

The side street we’d parked in was called Tianna Road and Tiana is the name of one of our four cats so we all got a bit sad thinking about how much we missed them. I try not to think about them too much while we’re away whereas Freya likes talking about them all the time. By the end of our 26 days away, they were the one reason I was ready for the holiday to end.

Anyway, Freya and I turned onto Laurel Canyon Boulevard. It was evident which one was the property I was here for because it’s so private and discreet.

From the road, all you can see is driveway entrance / exit gates at either end of the huge estate plus a pedestrian gate in the middle. The house is concealed by thick, tall bushes all the way along Laurel Canyon Boulevard. We basically walked along the sidewalk to the other end of the property, and all the while I was snapping photos of the bushes like a crazy person.


At the other gate I took a photo or two and then we went back to the car. I was extremely happy to have been there.

The pedestrian gate as snapped from the car:

We drove back down to Canyon Country Store and missed the turning for the parking lot so had to go around the building and parking lot for a second attempt.

There were now a couple of available spaces in the car park so we crossed our fingers that would still be the case by the time we had driven around again. Luckily there was still a space free when we finally made it into the parking lot.

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Old 4 Mar 24, 05:01 PM  
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Canyon Country Store is an iconic Laurel Canyon location. It’s ‘the store where the creatures meet’ from The Doors’ song Love Street. Jim Morrison used to live just across from the store and watch the hippies hang out there which inspired the song. According to the owner, David Bowie and Steven Tyler were regular customers back in the day and Mama Cass lived in the basement. The owner also says that Jennifer Aniston worked in the store for three days until she got an audition on the fourth day and didn’t go back. It’s the local shop for celebrities in the area and apparently customers include Joaquin Phoenix, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Madonna and George Clooney. I know John Frusciante from Red Hot Chili Peppers also lives nearby and was hoping he might be in the store randomly just buying his groceries but no such luck.

The girls didn’t want to get out of the car (again) so we headed over to the cafe which is located on the patio outside the store. The patio tables were busy with people having coffee and snacks.

We lined up at the counter behind the couple being served. It took the staff member quite a long time to make their drinks. It was enough time for me to go and have a little mooch in the store and buy a Coke (hangover) and water. I also bought a cute Canyon Country Store shopping bag. I was going to buy some bug repellent to help with us all being eaten alive but every single one they had had been opened and used by customers in the store and then just put back instead of being purchased. Why are some people like that?

When I got back to the cafe counter, Mat still hadn’t been served so I suggested he go into the store while I (eventually) ordered his coffee. I’d seen they had Canyon Country Store t-shirts that I thought he’d like so sent him off to check them out. To be clear about the cafe, the service was friendly and the coffee was good. It was just one of those places where the process of making the drinks took longer than expected. We would definitely go back again.

As we passed the store entrance again I asked Mat about the t-shirts and he said they’d only had extra large ones left. I said he should check with the staff in case they had any more, so he did but they didn’t.

We walked back across to the car where the girls were moaning about how long we had been (which was less than the 15 minute maximum stay permitted in the car park.)

As we left Laurel Canyon I snapped a photo of this house thinking maybe it was the house Jim Morrison lived in where he wrote Love Street on the balcony but it was on the wrong side of the store. Cute house though.

It was time for lunch so we drove east to Cafe Gratitude in the Larchmont Village area, kind of between Hollywood and Hancock Park. Before the trip, I had gone back and forth on whether we should eat at Cafe Gratitude. The restaurants are plant-based though not entirely vegan (I think the only non-vegan ingredient is honey) and the menu looked really good. I didn’t love that they name their dishes things like ‘I Am Magical’, ‘I Am Pure’ and ‘I Am Humble.’ Basically their thing is that you order the dish using the affirmation. So yeah, pretty cheesy but I was willing to overlook that because of the decent menu. What I didn’t love when researching the menu before the trip was the small print at the bottom that says ‘Cafe Gratitude offers organic, plant-based cuisine and yet we cannot guarantee that guests with food or beverage allergies may not be exposed through cross contamination. If you have a food or beverage allergy (particularly to nuts or seeds) we therefore recommend that you do not dine with us. As such, please understand that Cafe Gratitude cannot be responsible for any injury, loss or damage claimed by any guest with a food or beverage allergy who consumes our food or beverages, regardless of the circumstances.’

Seren was diagnosed with her tree nut allergy over ten years ago so we’ve had a lot of experience of dining out since then. And this was the first time I’d seen something like this and I just didn’t like it. I get that cross contamination occasionally happens and as someone with an allergy, you take a risk when dining out (and dining in to be honest, most packaged food comes with the warning ‘may contain..’ or ‘not suitable for allergy sufferers.’) In all the years since Seren’s diagnosis, she’s been unlucky enough to have an allergic reaction in a restaurant three times, the third of which was later on this trip actually. Accidents do happen. Usually restaurant staff are happy to work with allergy sufferers to confirm whether dishes contain the allergen so everyone involved knows the establishment are not consciously serving up a dish containing that allergen. Sometimes they’ll ask us to check the ingredients on an allergy menu or the manager will have a chat with us and with the chef. They’ll often say things like ‘the bread is bought in so we can’t guarantee it’s nut free’ etc. All of that is fair enough and good practice in my opinion.

I did not love the ‘we don’t want you here’ message. A bit discrimination-y, no? Saying ‘we’re not liable’ is one thing (and I saw that on another menu or two during the trip) but saying ‘don’t come’ is not my favourite. So I considered the idea that Mat and I would eat at Cafe Gratitude and the girls would just have a drink while we were there and grab some food elsewhere before or after. But then, I stumbled across the allergen menu on their website and decided that it should be fine after all as we were able to check the ingredients of potential dishes she might want to eat. And if they had an allergy menu, perhaps they were accommodating after all. (The allergy menu is no longer accessible via their website.)

We arrived at Cafe Gratitude just before 12 pm. The restaurant has a small underground parking lot but as we drove past, we could see that the patio tables were very busy and so assumed getting a spot down there might be a challenge. So we found metered street parking a little way up from the restaurant.

We walked in and it was pretty busy inside too. A host seated us, we restroomed and then our server appeared to take our orders. I think we just ordered drinks at this point and he asked us if there were any allergies. We explained and he went to get the allergen menu. I know it took a little while for us to actually order our food which wasn’t ideal as we were all pretty hungry but I can’t remember whether the delay was because the server took ages to come back, or because we couldn’t decide what we wanted. I do know that Freya was moaning about not wanting to order her food using the affirmation. And I also know the service was slow but I can’t recall whether that was from this early on in the meal.

So eventually we placed our orders. Mat and I ordered the ‘I Am Hearty’ which was a tofu scramble with mushrooms and spinach, served with cherry tomato confit, smashed breakfast potatoes, toast and roasted strawberries (for some reason.) Seren ordered the same after checking the dish for nuts. Freya chose a pasta that isn’t on the menu anymore. I assumed it would be too fussy for her based on the ingredients but she was adamant she would eat it. When it came, she initially got stuck in and claimed to love it but in the end ate less than half as she didn’t really like it.

I'm getting ahead of myself though. We sat and drank our drinks while we waited for the food to arrive. I ordered a Mimosa Fresca which was just a regular mimosa.

Seren had an iced oat latte. Mat decided to stick with tap water having already had three coffees by this point. Being a ‘healthy’ restaurant, they didn’t have Diet Coke or anything like that so Freya will have moaned about that and then just had tap water.

A woman who identified herself as the manager appeared at our table. She started asking about Seren’s allergy and what she had ordered. We explained that we’d checked the allergens etc etc. She went off to speak to the chef about it and came back and told us Seren couldn’t have the potatoes because they couldn’t guarantee there were no nuts in the oil used to fry the potatoes. She asked if Seren wanted the scramble without the potatoes or wanted to choose something else on the menu instead. This was all pretty rubbish as Seren’s ADHD and OCD plus her allergy means she often struggles to decide on food in restaurants because she’s indecisive and worries about having an allergic reaction. So having gone through the process of choosing and confirming she was good to have what she chose, the fact that the manager was now saying the opposite made it pretty stressful. On top of that, Seren is a potato monster (she gets it from me) and the potatoes were the part of the dish she was looking forward to the most.

Seren agreed to have the tofu scramble without the potatoes as there was apparently ‘nothing else on the menu’ she wanted. The manager was pretty rude and was going on about how they couldn’t be held liable for allergic reactions and got us to sign a waiver on her ipad saying as much. Ugh. When she left, Seren started moaning that she didn’t want the scramble and that the only reason she had ordered it was because of the potatoes. Double ugh.

Cafe Gratitude definitely felt like more of a cafe than a restaurant. It was pretty casual but without casual prices as we spent $100 on four entrees, a coffee and a cocktail. It was also pretty loud in there. A couple were sat behind us and the woman talked loudly at the man for the entire time they were sat there. She was so loud that we could hear every word she said which was fun.

The food was actually really disappointing when it came. The scramble was pretty meh compared to the other scrambles we’d had so far on the trip. The ‘smashed breakfast potatoes’ were like rock hard golf balls and not at all smashed. The roasted strawberries I guess were supposed to be used as a jam for the toast but they didn’t taste great and I don’t really eat toast anyway. I think on this occasion, Mat and I both donated our toast to Seren who wasn’t interested in eating the scramble. I had a little extra of her tofu scramble. Mat ate the majority of Freya’s pasta. No one ate the rock hard potatoes.

By this point we just wanted to be out of there. We hadn’t seen our server since placing our order. Or any other staff except the delightful manager lady. Eventually after waiting what felt like too long for a member of staff to visit us so we could request the check, Mat went up to the counter to ask for it. We settled up and left, vowing ‘never again’ to Cafe Gratitude. I’ve said before that we generally had excellent food and decent service at all of the restaurants we went to in Los Angeles. Only two stood out as disappointments; Sage in Pasadena a few days before because the food wasn’t good and neither was the service. It had also been way overpriced for small portions of average at best food. This of course was the other bad experience, and the whole allergy issue pushes this one ahead of Sage as the worst experience. Just discussing what happened again today with Mat, he immediately said the same; that it sucked and he would never go back.

From Cafe Gratitude we drove west to Beverly Hills…

…and parked up in one of the free (for two hours) garages on N Beverly Drive. View from the parking garage:

It was about 1.30 pm. Now Beverly Hills was not top of my list of places to visit in LA. I have memories of going to Beverly Hills as a teenager with my family and being meh about it even then. It’s very touristy and we don’t like flashy designer stuff or shopping. But I had a couple of spots on the list and the girls were keen to at least see Beverly Hills.

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Old 4 Mar 24, 05:02 PM  
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First up was to take a photo at the Beverly Hills sign at Beverly Gardens Park because it kind of has to be done.

We also restroomed at the Beverly Gardens restrooms here. They were nice and clean as you’d probably expect from Beverly HIlls. I did wonder if they were the ‘George Michael restrooms’ but those are in another park at the other end of Beverly Hills which we didn’t make it to today.

We walked up to Rodeo Drive to our first place on the list which is the ‘Big mistake. Huge!’ store from Pretty Woman. I’m pretty sure it’s this white Saint Laurent store on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard.

The other stop on our list was another Pretty Woman location, the Beverly Wilshire hotel. Mat had been to Beverly Hills pre-pandemic with work and had had a cocktail on the patio at the hotel bar, The BLVD, and since he told me about it, I’d wanted to do that too.

At the host stand, we were asked if we wanted to sit indoors or outdoors. The girls wanted to sit indoors but they were overruled today as sitting on the patio was the thing I’d had in my head and on my list.

I also knew what I was having which was the Pretty Woman inspired cocktail called Feeling Pretty because of course I was choosing that. Here is the cocktail menu which shows the ingredients. It also shows the price. But look how pretty:

Mat had an orange juice, Seren had apple juice and Freya had Diet Coke. The total cost of the drinks was $75.56 so almost half was my cocktail. It was really tasty though. And drinks here really were a special treat and a one-and-done.

Mat popped inside to restroom and took this photo of a photo showing the hotel’s construction:

While we were sitting drinking our drinks, I booked The Academy Museum as our next stop. The Academy Museum had been on the list since before the trip but, as we needed to commit to an hour’s slot, I decided to leave it until we knew when (if) we had time. Originally the museum had been way up high on the list of priorities because they had a pair of original ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. Apparently there are something like four pairs still in existence; one at the National Museum of American History in Washington DC, one was stolen (and retrieved years later) from the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota and one is owned by a private collector. Raising funds to purchase the pair for the Academy Museum was led by Leonardo Di Caprio who felt it was important to have them on display here.

A little while before our trip, they were taken off display for preservation purposes. I think they’re going to be rotated in and out over time so they’re on display for a while and then stored for a while in better conditions so they don’t deteriorate too quickly. For us, the ruby slippers, or lack thereof, changed the Academy Museum from a must-do to a ‘we’ll do if we have time’

Seren was keen to go to the Academy Museum as museums are her thing. This afternoon was Freya’s turn to play the role of grumpy teenager and she was moaning and saying she didn’t want to go. Children 17 and under don’t have to pay to visit the museum so I decided to just book for all four of us and then if she didn’t want to come, we wouldn’t lose any money anyway. According to the tickets email, I booked the tickets at 2.30 pm for 4 pm entry and we needed to arrive between 4 and 4.30 pm.

Once we were all settled up at the Beverly Wilshire, we walked back to the car.

Our visit to Beverly Hills had been short and relatively sweet considering I wasn’t enthused about coming here. The other Beverly Hills sights on our list were the other side of the city and that wasn’t happening today so one for next time. We’re looking forward to seeing the Spadena House (the ‘Witches House’) as seen in Clueless on our next trip, but again as there’s not much of interest to us in Beverly Hills, I’m sure it will be another quick trip.

We agreed to drop Freya back at the hotel on the way past because there wasn’t really any point in her coming if she was just going to moan which would also affect our enjoyment. She had generally thrown herself into everything we’d done on the trip enthusiastically which was a big improvement on our 2022 Orlando trip. It’s funny how much teenagers can change in a year. The previous year, Seren had been fully invested (at least in part because of how much she loves Walt Disney World) and Freya had been the stereotypical grumpy (emo) teen and a year later, Seren was generally the one complaining and not wanting to be involved and Freya did everything without complaining and even asked enthusiastic questions to understand places more. She seemed to have run out of steam a little bit beginning with the gig the previous night, and I think that was firstly down to being worn out and tired, and secondly because she’s someone who needs alone time to chill and she hadn’t really had any of that for nine days. So I knew a bit of time at the hotel while the rest of us went to the museum would allow her to recharge.

From West Hollywood it was less than three miles to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The museum is located in Miracle Mile and is next door to LACMA and in the vicinity of a lot of the other museums in LA such as The Peterson and La Brea Tar Pits. The parking situation at the Academy Museum was valet or park in either the LACMA or Peterson garage. Looking at their website, they’ve stopped the valet parking now for some reason but when we went it was nice and straightforward. We pulled up outside in the valet bay and they took care of everything. After the museum had validated the valet parking ticket, it left us $17 to pay for parking which I think was pretty comparable with how much we would have paid to drive into one of the other garages and self park. For the speed and convenience of the valet it was worthwhile, and maybe it being too good of a deal is why they’ve removed the service. Maybe it was too popular for them to keep up with it or actually make decent money from it if they were paying a lot of staff. Also when looking at their website, they’re now closed on Tuesdays which definitely wasn’t the case in August as today was Tuesday. Most museums we looked at seemed to have Monday as their closed day, and I think that was the case for the Academy Museum when we went.

We dropped the car off and entered the building about 3.50 pm.

There were some greeters just inside the door and one of them welcomed us in and asked if we already had tickets. I said we had 4 pm tickets but wanted to have a drink in the bar first if that was okay and she said it was fine. She directed us to the bar and complimented me on my piercings which was very sweet of her.

I had seen good reviews for Fanny’s Bar so I knew we should have a drink there if we came to the museum. The cafe and restaurant were also highly rated but we were only in the market for a drink. When we entered, the bar staff said we could sit at the bar which I was surprised at because most US states seem to have a law that under 21s can’t sit at a bar. To be fair, California’s law is that under 21s can’t enter a bar unless it’s a restaurant with a bar or a hotel bar. So maybe it being part of the museum meant it was exempt from the regular law.

We were given cocktail menus and I noticed they had fewer options than the menus I’d seen online. So I guess they had scaled back their range of cocktails a bit for whatever reason. I can’t find an online cocktail menu at all anymore but the cocktail options we were given were these:

I chose the My Man and Mat had a non-alcoholic Arnold Palmer. If I recall correctly we were given another list of wines and non-alcoholic drinks etc so I guess that was on there. Seren had a pineapple juice.The drinks were pretty good and I really liked the design in the bar so I’m glad we did pop to Fanny’s.

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Old 4 Mar 24, 05:04 PM  
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By about 4.15 pm we were all done with our drinks and checked in at the museum reception. From there we were free to explore.The collection is over several (I think four) floors but is all behind closed doors off the central escalators and walkways. We found it a little difficult to work out which galleries were open and this wasn’t helped by the fact that there weren’t many other people around with it being quiet and late in the day.

We went to the top floor first with the plan to work our way down. Above the escalators hangs the very beautiful Bruce the shark from Jaws.

This was the fourth and final shark made from the original movie mould. The other three sharks deteriorated and were destroyed after filming. This one was made to go on display at Universal Studios Hollywood where it remained until 1990. He’s very cute:

Before viewing any of the exhibits, we started by going out onto the Dolby Family Terrace which is pretty much just a viewing area that I guess is used for private events. I’m never going to turn down the opportunity to view my favourite city so no complaints from me here.

The first gallery we went into was Inventing Worlds and Characters: Animation. There were some lovely artefacts in here and we all found it really interesting. I’m a sucker for drawings and concept art so I had a good look at those.

The animation gallery led to a props and costumes room and again this was impressive although the collection seemed to lean heavily into sci-fi and fantasy which is not my thing at all.

There was a Casablanca collection and we all really enjoyed looking at that in detail.

Seren and I really enjoyed the little Academy Awards room they had that I have completely failed to capture photos of. The exhibition is primarily set out at table level in a big rectangle and you move chronologically around the whole thing. There are a few different exhibits from each year. On the walls behind the central exhibition, different Academy Award acceptance speeches were shown one after the other.

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Old 4 Mar 24, 05:05 PM  
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The Godfather collection was really interesting and definitely a highlight.

There were a few other random movie costumes such as this one of Laura Dern’s from Jurassic Park:

And one of Austin Butler’s from Elvis:

They also have a huge painted Mount Rushmore canvas that was used as a backdrop in North By Northwest. Very impressive:

While we were there, they were setting up a John Waters exhibit which was due to open a few weeks later. It was a bit annoying that there was less to see than there would have been a month later and yet we still paid the same. Online reviews for the Academy Museum are pretty mixed. There are quite a few people who seem to think there isn’t enough to see for the price and I would probably agree with that. What we did see was impressive but it only took about about an hour and 15 minutes for us to actually explore the museum. We skipped three or four smaller exhibits dedicated to filmmakers / a composer that we either hadn’t heard of or weren’t interested in. Those filmmakers weren’t exactly mainstream with the exception of Pedro Almodóvar. And we somehow completely missed the Boyz N The Hood exhibit.

I’m glad we went because, as I said, what we did see was worthwhile but I don’t think it’s particularly good value for money. The fact that Seren entered for free kind of sweetens that a little, but adult admission is $25 per person, with the parking on top of that. I’ve said before that I have a limited attention span for museums and galleries so I don’t mind the fact that all the museums we did in LA (Grammy, Broad and Academy) were small and didn’t take too long to explore, but I think for us this was the least good value of the three. The Broad would have been free if we hadn’t paid for the Keith Haring gallery. The Grammy was $60 for all four of us (adult tickets are $18 each, children are $12) but that felt better value for money than the $50 we spent here for three of us, although that’s partly because of the limited time Taylor Swift exhibit they had while we were there. I’m glad we went to The Academy Museum but would only go back if there was enough new stuff and the ruby slippers were back on display.

We had a quick look in the small gift shop and then went out to the valet to collect the car. We only had to wait a few minutes.

We were in need of gas so did that on the way back to West Hollywood. We spotted these iconic posters at the gas station.

Back at the hotel, Freya was chilling and said she didn’t want to come for dinner. Usually her stomach would win out so she must really have needed the rest. The three of us got changed and then set off on foot just after 6.30 pm.

Tonight we were going to The Rainbow for dinner which was extremely exciting for me. Obviously we’d popped in as part of Jon’s tour the previous evening but I was looking forward to being able to take it all in a bit better tonight. The Rainbow is only a five or so minute walk from The Montrose.

We were greeted inside by a few very friendly staff members who took us through to a table. I think I’ve made it very clear how much I love The Rainbow so I am biased but I think it deserves a mention how nice all the staff are in there. Our server was Kelly and she was really cool but also very friendly and attentive.

There were only a few tables occupied when we entered but it did get busier during our meal. Unfortunately the Guns N’ Roses booth as seen in the November Rain music video, and where the band would hang out when they were here, was occupied. It’s the one in the back left.

We ordered drinks; gin (Hendricks, my favourite) and tonic for me, a ‘Lemmy’ for Mat (Jack Daniels and Coke) and Seren just stuck with water.

The music was, of course, a delight (mainly 70s and 80s rock) and the drinks were nice and strong. After my gin and tonic disappeared, I ordered a Bacardi with Diet Coke because yum.

The Rainbow have a good few vegan options which is pretty impressive for an old school bar kind of place, especially when there are loads of old school diners in LA that don’t offer a single thing we can eat. The Rainbow have both Beyond and Impossible burgers. Mat ordered a Beyond burger with vegan cheese and fries. Seren went for an Impossible burger no cheese, and fries. I think she made the better call as Impossible burgers are better and you can’t get them in the UK unlike Beyond. I (obviously) ordered the vegan nachos which came with little chunks of Impossible ‘meat’.



All the food was really good. My nachos were enormous and I only managed about half. Unfortunately I completely failed to get a photo of them, probably because I was too distracted by the beautiful surroundings and excellent music.

We ordered more drinks. I chose a Strawberry Fields Forever from the cocktail menu (Grey Goose strawberry and lemongrass vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry, tropical Red Bull and a squeeze of lemon.) Kelly said it was her favourite cocktail on the menu. It was really good and I don’t even really like sweet fruity cocktails. Mat had another Lemmy.

Strawberry Fields Forever:

Terrible photo but I love the pretty lights:

Another terrible photo, of the cocktail menu. In my defence it was quite dark in there:

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Old 4 Mar 24, 05:06 PM  
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The Guns N’ Roses booth was now empty so I took a photo. 13 year old me was pretty overwhelmed. As I teenager I watched the November Rain music video countless times and even had a ‘Making Of’ documentary on VHS that I had on repeat.

I found some photos of Mario, the late owner:

And I spied this. As I said in yesterday’s report, Anthony Kiedis spent a lot of time here as a young teen as his dad, who he’s pictured with in the photos, would party with the rock stars who hung out here

We left The Rainbow just after 8 pm and walked back to The Montrose.

I’m not sure if we ordered in some fries for Freya or if she just ate snacks in the room. We had to pack everything up ready for our move to Anaheim the following day so cracked on with that and then fell into bed.
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Old 4 Mar 24, 09:51 PM  
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What a jam packed and interesting day! I am slightly dreading a trip with two teens this time. My eldest also has ADHD and I hope she’s going to cope this time as she was 9 last time!
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 5 Mar 24, 11:33 AM  
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Originally Posted by Zomax25 View Post
What a jam packed and interesting day! I am slightly dreading a trip with two teens this time. My eldest also has ADHD and I hope she’s going to cope this time as she was 9 last time!
Thanks for sharing.
It's definitely not all smooth sailing with teenagers, especially when ADHD is involved and I think I naively hoped there wouldn't be issues on the trip because we were on holiday, where everything would magically be perfect!

I think for us, now the girls are older, it helps that they can have some chill time at the hotel. I also for sure try and make sure every day has some plans that each of us are excited about and mix it up a bit...that's one of the reasons we cram so much into each day I guess! Something like the flea markets where they can shop together and we can relax with a coffee worked really well for us.

I hope it all goes well for you on your trip; it's certainly different going on holiday with teens compared to nine year olds . And where did the time go?

Thanks so much for reading along and commenting .
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