Oh Kristy
In college, I was lucky to have my pal Kristy as my roommate for a year. We had a fun apartment that contained a kitchen table that would sit 8+ people. She liked to cook, so we had many dinner parties.
It was great fun.

Now, she's a sommelier in LA and works for a wine distributor. On Labor Day weekend, we went to California for her wedding to a fine young fellow named Matt.

We arrived in LA at 3pm on Friday - this was the Friday that began the Labor Day weekend which meant that it took approximately 250 hours to get our rental car. As a big fan of convertibles (well, who isn't?) we were handed the keys to a new PT Cruiser convertible with one of them turbo chargers on it. It was a fine car and had a good bit of spunk under the hood for when you wanted to get it on (or when you wanted to show someone how fast it would go up steep hills in Silver Lake).

Kristy had procured a special wedding rate for our lodging fun at the Biltmore Millennium hotel, which is located in lovely downtown LA. By "lovely", I of course mean "ghost town on the weekends".
The Biltmore is a very cool, old hotel with grand ballrooms and beautiful architecture (and a sweet little pool and sauna area).

Contrary to the crazed reviews on TripAdvisor, it's not a bad place to stay. Apparently the sight of a homeless guy means that the neighborhood is skid-row.
"The location is terrible - it is located in a dangerous part of town and incredibly hard to find".
"I told my daughter not to make eye-contact with anyone as we drove up"
Alas. That's an entirely different post I suppose - the "white people sure are scared of shit" post.

Oh, right. The rehearsal dinner.
Kristy, as a wine distributor person, has all these contacts and relationships with restaurants (as you apt to do in her biz). The particular restaurant that hosted the dinner used to have a really keen wine buyer, but had since changed to a 'California only' plan for their wines. This meant that they still had a full cellar of non-california wines that they weren't sure what to do with. The rehearsal dinner became a way for them to clear out all those pesky European wines.
Suffice to say, everything was lovely.
White burgundies. Old French reds. Old Spanish reserve reds. Each one caused my brain to yell, "Aiyeee! Brain like wine!".

I think there was steak involved as well.

Clay Station
Actually, there was a bottle from California - it was from Clay Station winery, which is in Lodi (yow). They opened a bottle of their viognier after we ran out of the white burgundy at one of the tables, but in the all noise and, well, previous glasses of wine I kept thinking people were saying Playstation.
Well, that was confusing.

People loving people
The next day, as folks normally do, they had a wedding. Kristy and her handsome man Matt live in Silverlake in a cute little house with a super enviously great little backyard - a backyard that caused me to reconsider everything I was living and working for here in the big stink.
The ceremony was sweet and full of love and they wrote their own vows which for once wasn't a bad thing (I've just seen some real trainwreck of vows in my time).
Kristy was wobbly.

The evening continued with a great open wine bar, a fine dinner, chocolate wedding cake, fancy champagne, and eventually a hot tub.

My pal Tom who does the Daily Pick came down from San Francisco for the wedding. He's a super-duper writer who probably remembers all those rules about verb tense that I always forget.
In regards to roommates, Tom was a good one as well. He and I lived together for a year in the dorm in college. Tom, bless his heart, once volunteered to sleep elsewhere when I had a lady friend over.
Tom... thanks again.

Loved the Pantry
New hubby Matt recommended The Pantry for our breakfast needs while downtown. We went twice and it was the perfect old-school diner with fine pancakes and eggs (it also appears to be the only thing open in downtown LA on the weekends). Two thumbs up, although you gots to gets there early since it's quite popular.

Hi Kristen
We spent a day with Mark y Kristen (of solstice fame). Hung out at Mark's place and at the beach. Sunshine Jen and her man-pal popped by to say "hello".
Lazy fun.

Dinner was at Yamashiro where there was sushi, champagne, blackened cod, and spectacular views of the city. The restaurant was originally a Japanese-styled private estate and features a lovely courtyard ("Sacred Inner Court") with those big ol' crazy fish and all that jazz (well, not actual jazz music, but all that jazz that you would have in a Japanese sacred inner court).
The night we were there, they featured a special roll called the "Darth Vader". I forget the exact specifics, but there was a lot of the black caviar/roe on the outside.

After dinner, we lowered the car's top and zoomed around the hills of Laurel Canyon. Or at least that's what they told me - I just handled the zoom part.

Things we didn't do in LA
→ Go to In & Out Burger
→ See any celebrities
→ See any random acquaintances
→ Make eye-contact with crazy homeless people!!

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