To Jillian on her blankety blank birthday

birthdaydrink
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.

meandKath
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!
VS
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!

frontdoor
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

 

 

It doesn’t always have to be the LBD

What would it be like if the world of going out wasn't so black and white? Photo from www.vintageallies.com
What would it be like if the world of going out wasn’t so black and white?  Photo from Vintage Allies website.

Lets close our eyes for a moment and think; how many times have we gone to a party and everyone is wearing black? Don’t get me wrong. I love black. Black is the best! Its flattering at the least and slenderizing at the most. It goes with everything. It serves as a magnificent canvas to a brightly colored statement piece. The list goes on and on. But honestly, I tire sometimes of seeing a room filled with only black outfits. In offense, this past Saturday night I decidedly slipped into an eye catching LCD: Little Coral Dress.

LCD
In hope of channeling a bit of Audrey, I chose to pair my LCD with a thicker heeled pearl embellished pump.  I was worried the thin heel of my SW Nudists, Danielle’s recommended pairing, would have aerated the lawn! (see below- they do look nice together).
I do love the SW Nudists with the LCD as well! Just better on hard surfaces :)
These nudists go with everything but its important, when picking a shoe,  to think of what you’ll be standing on all night.  Photo: Aaron Rzepka

One of my closest and dearest friends is very involved with Baby Buggy, Jessica Seinfeld’s non- profit organization dedicated to providing low income families with life essentials; equipment, products, clothing, and services for infants and children up to age 14.  Saturday night was their 4th Annual Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament.

This gorgeous house designed by architect Carina Birn-Willner held the Baby Buggy 4th Annual Poker Tournament.
This gorgeous house designed by architect Carina Birn-Willner was the backdrop to the Baby Buggy 4th Annual Poker Tournament.

The event was held at a ridiculously elaborate, albeit beautiful, private estate in Beverly Hills. A FULL sized basketball court was hidden beneath the temporarily laid lawn where the party was centered. Apparently this happens in Los Angeles! Four restaurants set up food stations with samples of their finest selections. The selections were well chosen; tacos, pad thai, pizza, and dessert. I like that the food was down to earth, a nice complementary contrast to the environment. I believe the wine, specialty drinks, and food were also donated.

babyBuggy2

Here my bestie is explaining the rules of the game.
Learning the rules of the game from my bestie while wearing my LCD.

Prior to last Saturday I had never played poker. Nor had I ever worn a non-LBD to a party (I’m not counting any 7th grade bar/bat mitzvah attendances). It was a night of firsts, and full of merriment. The other party goers were all refreshingly gregarious and easy to talk with (mostly donned in black). This includes James Van Der Beek, who I mistook for someone I went to high school with.

Me: “I think I went to high school with that guy. Jean MaRiche” (named changed for story)

MSM: (*matter of fact)  “Babe, that’s James Van Der Beek.”

Ha! Too funny.

At the end of the evening the grilled cheese truck showed up! It was a wonderful night full of fun surprises.

LCD
I WANT YOU to wear an LCD. Dress: Red Valentino Shoes: Chanel Bag: Celine Jacket: Vince.

Click here if you are interested in reading more about or donating to Baby Buggy.

xoxo

QJ

QJ