To Jillian on her blankety blank birthday

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Happy birthday to me! Flowers and card from my beautiful cousin.

Remember that Michelle Pfeiffer movie from 1996? To Jillian on her 37th Birthday? Well, I never actually saw that movie, but I like the title so….

My birthday month has come to a close. Such an amazing month it was! Especially the last week, when my actual birthday fell. It began on Monday night when the show I just wrapped had a premier party at The Parlor in West Hollywood (I’ll review that another time) followed by dinner at Summer Buffalo with some cast mates (another review for another time- but WOW that food was good!).

Spago

SpagoHeadertk2

Initially we had planned on celebrating my actual birthday dinner (on my actual birthday) at Maude, Curtis Stone’s restaurant. At 300$/person (without drinks) for the “November Truffles” theme, we decided it would dip too much into our Italy fund, so, at my bosses recommendation,  MSM decided to treat me with reservations at Spago, home of Wolfgang Puck.

Back in the day Mr. Puck revolutionized the Los Angeles food scene with  Spago. He decided he wanted to create an affordable menu based on food that was indigenous to LA and fit the LA healthy lifestyle. So Spago was born and healthy contemporary LA eating was put on the map. High maintenance orderers finally had a place to nourish their souls!  MSM and I had never eaten there before, so we were thrilled to try something new.

Ambiance

Bar1
“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman” – Coco Chanel

When you first go into Spago, you are in the bar. There’s a small lounge area with sofas and chairs and then the bar itself. Upon entering, the atmosphere feels rich but approachable. This area is nicely lit with dim over heads and candles. The hostesses are friendly but professional.

From what I could tell there were two main dining areas. The main room is a well lit indoor space with contemporary paintings decorating the walls. MSM mentioned in passing that he wished it was more dimly lit. I, however, was excited to be able to see the menu without using my phone flashlight (embarrassing age giver-awayer- I know, not a word but gets the point across). The other dining area is an outdoor garden which looked very romantic with trees and twinkle lights (my favorite!). I was a little jealous we weren’t out there, but whatever, where we sat seemed more tailored and luxurious.

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My Cousin, Katherine, and I enjoying our first visit to Spago. I am so grateful Katherine and her husband could join us. I love spending my actual birthday with family. Its so important to me. 

Most of the patrons at Spago, I hate to say it, were probably around 70 years old. I’m sure this is true because the place has been around for 30+ years and was SO ridiculously famously popular back in the 20th century that those visitors are still meeting there thinking its cool. Why is that? Like how come some people get stuck on things? Same hair cut for 50 years or clothing. Lord don’t let that happen to me!

Hilarious story- As I walked towards the restroom one woman, she must have been about 75, grabbed my arm and said “honey! Could you get me a glass of water? My leg is cramping. I can’t make it to the bar.” I’m pretty sure she thought I worked there (due to the average minimum age). Of course I helped her! And I told her to remove her stunning Jimmy Choos’ because they were the cause of the cramp. OMG 5″ heels almost killed me at blankety blank, how the heck is she wearing those at 70?? (and please let me be able to do the same without the leg cramp!).

soup
Once seated, the waiter brought us each a shot of mushroom soup. Delicious and soul warming.

Even though we were most definitely some of the youngest ones there, there was a mix of ages ranging from 30-80 and it didn’t feel stuffy AT ALL. It was lively inside. Fun. Lots of laughter and joy. I can see why its still listed in the top 3 restaurants in LA.

What to eat

AHi
The most ridiculously amazing spicy tuna on crispy rice I have EVER had. Eye popping good!

Answer: Everything. I can’t even tell you how AMAAAAZING the food was here.

We started our adventure with an aperitif shot of Wolfgang’s cream of mushroom soup. Hello! Can I have a carafe of that please??

Next we shared an appetizer of  spicy ahi in a crispy cone; Mr. Pucks rendition of spicy tuna on crispy rice. OMG. There are no words. Seriously. One bite and we exchanged that look that only “that look” can describe. That “holy S*** this tastes amazing” look. It was like a symphony of flavor that all blended so well together yet stood tasty on its own as well; a symphonic poem of food.

After the heavenly tuna cones we shared an endive salad (delicious) and a Bolognese pasta that was TO DIE FOR. Both exploded with flavors; their own symphonic poems in our mouthes.

menu
Every single appetizer, salad, and first course that we tasted at Spago was incredible. A starburst of flavors in the mouth!
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I was SO excited that the special on my birthday was Veiner Schnitzel! It was as if they did that just for me! The breading was a bit dry, but the presentation was gorgeous. 

For the main course I was (sadly) underwhelmed. My favorite food in the world is Weiner shnitzel. No, NOT the hot dogs. The actual dish that originated in Austria. Now, the first time I had ever eaten Weiner Schnitzel was in Baden Baden, Germany, so I may be a bit overly critical when an american chef attempts to correctly make it. Back in Baden Baden I sat with my father under the enormous oak trees. I was 13 years old. Long wire-y haired dachshunds frolicked in the park across from us. As the kliener vogel (little birds) sang their songs and my dad and I laughed about our day, the waiter served us our Veiner Schnitzel. I remember my father exclaiming “wait til you try this, Jilly, its my favorite!” He taught me how to squeeze the lemon over the veal, and then stir the spatzel into the gravy. We each took a bite and I remember the moment it hit my lips and the flavor explosion that followed. So delicious. And we sat there, in silence, enjoying our food and Germany. So many unspoken moments with my father where I truly felt loved and accepted as me. I so miss him. Anyways, I digress…. They say food is experience, and I do believe that one reason I love this dish so much is because of that moment when I first tasted it.  So back here at Spago, the chef had huge shoes to fill and I’m sad to say he failed. It was dry and not so great.

desert
Desert was so yummy. Triple chocolate with raspberry sauce and lemon gelato. It looked so good we didn’t even stop to take a photo!

BUT….the desert resurrected my taste buds. Delicious combinations of citrus and chocolate…..HOLY COW it was yummy! And the four of us (my cousin and her hubby were with us) were serenaded by our waiters rendition of Happy Birthday. Of course our waiter was a dancer and an actor and a producer and a singer….the list goes on. We do live in LA, right?

 

What the heck do you wear to Spago?

So I was really nervous because I went here straight from work and had no time to do my hair. It was up in its usual work bun. It was to my relief when I walked into Spago and literally half the women there had their hair in a bun!

The dress is mixed. I mean I bet you probably could get away with wearing Jeans and gorgeous shoes with a swanky top. However, I would never. I think I would call the dress here upscale casual. I was excited to wear the new coat that I bought for my birthday. Danielle found this GORGEOUS gem ON SALE 🙂 YAY!

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Coat: Red Valentino  Booties: St. Laurent  Skirt: Chloe  Top: ALC

So began the my birthday week. Off to a great start! Next post- our trip to San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles wine tasting….

Bon Apetit! And thank you MSM for such a wonderful dinner! :*

xoxo

QJ

 

QJ

 

 

Rompin’ around Oahu: Romper #5 and Nobu Waikiki

Nightlife in Waikiki.
Nightlife in Waikiki.

Romper #5:

I have to admit, I only own four rompers, so I was a little curious where I’d get the 5th one to photograph (Uh oh. Looks like next summer I’ll have to add a 5th to my wardrobe. Danielle…..). Luckily I met a friendly young lady in the bathroom at Nobu in Waikiki who was wearing a jumpsuit (close enough). As we bonded over both living in Los Angeles, she was gracious enough to let me photograph her outfit for my blog.

This adorable young lady allowed me to take a picture of her casual yet sophisticated jumper. I love how a jumper or romper can go from casual to dressy just by adding the right accessories and shoes. Makes packing so much easier!
This adorable young lady allowed me to take a picture of her casual yet sophisticated jumper. She said “this old thing” is from Aeropostle. I love how a jumper or romper can go from casual to dressy just by adding the right accessories and shoes. Makes packing so much easier!

Nobu, Waikiki:

image taken from google
Image taken from google

I’m rather lucky for a lot of reasons, one being MSM just happens to be a close friend to the general manager for Nobu. I’ve been blessed with the honor of eating at three Nobu locations; Hollywood, the old Malibu location, and now Waikiki. Anyone I know that has eaten at Nobu (anywhere) has loved it, but I usually have a hard time ordering because a soy allergy and Japanese food is oxymoronic. Nobu Waikiki was by far the best Nobu experience I’ve had.  I’m sure it didn’t hurt that Mr. Nobu himself was actually at the location the night we ate there :). As usual, the staff was more than accommodating and my waitress helped me figure out what I could eat without going into anaphylactic shock. What I ended up ordering was a fresh heart of palm salad (What a treat! Heart of palm is so hard to get fresh, its usually canned), yellow tail Sashimi, and then cooked scallops.

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The presentation at Nobu, Waikiki is amazing. Everything was very balanced and appetizing.

The salad and sashimi were particularly tasty. The scallops, paired with jalepeno salsa and brussel sprouts, were better than average. I was craving something refreshing to drink, so the bar tender made up (on the spot) a beverage called the raspberry refresher.

The Raspberry Refresher.
The Raspberry Refresher.

It was the perfect mix of vodka, muddled raspberries, and lime. I usually don’t like sweet drinks served in Martini glasses (I’m sorry, but a Martini glass is made for something dry and sophisticated- with lots of  olive juice), but this drink was the perfect blend of clean, citrus, and a dash of sweet. Great job!

What to wear on a night out in Waikiki:

Resort wear to the max. I was surprised how dressy Waikiki gets at night. Maui, Kauai, and The Big Island are way more lax regarding evening dress code. Luckily Danielle knew better. I had a beautiful dress set for each night we ate out, each casually elegant and perfect for Waikiki! Here are a few examples:

This maxi by Haute Hippie is one of my favorite maxi dresses from Danielle.
This Maxi by Haute Hippie is one of my favorite dresses from Danielle and is perfect for Hawaii. Shoes: Stewart Wetizman Crossbody Bag: Gucci
I also love how flow-y and feminine this dress is. Its been really hard to find a nice summer maxi that fits larger busted women, and this dress worked perfectly even sans bra! Dress: 23th Street By Cynthia Vincent Sandals: Valentino
Cleverly nestled through a secret passageway hidden behind a revolving bookcase, “The Library” is the Lounge/Bar at the Hotel Modern in Waikiki. Its been really hard to find a nice summer maxi that fits larger busted women, and this dress worked perfectly even sans bra! I love how flow-y and feminine it is. I felt very pretty that night. Dress: 23th Street By Cynthia Vincent Sandals: Valentino
Walking around downtown Waikiki was the best cure for the food coma induced by Duke's. Dress: ALC Sandals: Chanel Crossbody: Gucci
Walking around downtown Waikiki was the best cure for the food coma induced by over eating at Duke’s. Dress: ALC Sandals: Chanel Crossbody: Gucci

So concludes my five day series on rompers on Oahu. It was such a fun trip. I had a little taste of everything the Island had to offer. Just enough to know what I want to explore when I return 🙂  Definitely surf again! Try more local food spots. Hike to some waterfalls. Revisit the North Shore. Kayak to Scylla and Charybdus.

Sunset beach, North Shore Oahu.
Sunset beach, North Shore Oahu.

Until next time Oahu, Mahalo and Aloha

xoxo

QJ

QJ

Angels in LA Continued: Outfit of the Day, bustling LA work wear

What to wear to work on a busy day in LA:

Dressing up for work can make a tough day seem more fun. Chanel wedges and Chocolate Toes. Is this not a  current day mantra to replace  Champagne wishes and Caviar Dreams? 

Office attire. Sometimes it just feels good to dress up for work.
Office attire. Sometimes it just feels good to dress up for work.
I'm obsessed with this happy little bag.
I’m obsessed with this happy little bag.

Skirt: ALC    Wedges: Chanel   Pair with a black tank, black silk and leather cropped jacket.  I added a pop of color with my favorite Fendi hot pink handbag. For purchasing information contact @styledbydanielleklein and/or Saks

xoxo

QJ

QJ