If you ever find yourself in WeHo (as I now call it) at any time in the near future, feel free to stay at Le Parc, a very civilized hotel on North West Knoll Drive with a pool (of course!) and a tennis court on the roof. (Even though I don't play, it's nice to know they'll supply you with racquets and balls if you forget yours.) As for meals, you can't go wrong eating breakfast (or brunch) at the Urth Caffe (order the Spanish latte) and/or Le Pain Quotidien on Melrose. For lunch or dinner, check out the fried chicken sandwich at Joan's on Third, which is on -- you guessed it! -- Third Avenue, and the Belmont on North la Cienega for burgers and other "bar food," as my son called it.
Magnolia Bakery a little farther down for some insanely-good banana pudding.
By the way, when you turn on Fairfax you'll come upon Fairfax High School, which is the unlikely alma mater of such varied celebrities as Herb Alpert, Mike "Super Jew" Epstein, Jack Kemp, Mila Kunis, Demi Moore, Ricardo Montalban, Mickey Rooney, Phil Spector and Warren Zevon. The school's parking lot also has what can only be described charitably as a flea market on Sundays. You can go there after you eat breakfast (or brunch) at the farmer's market on Melrose Place.
Finally, brave the crowd and go up to the Griffith Observatory just east of the Hollywood Hills. You'll get a panoramic view of the city, of course, including one of the largest houses in the Hills, owned by the daughter of Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle and the third wealthiest American according to Forbes Magazine. "Wow! What does she do for a living?" my wife asked naively. "She's Larry Ellison's daughter," my son answered. "She does that for a living."
Now, I know what you're thinking: Isn't LA crowded? Isn't it expensive? Aren't the taxes high? And isn't there a lot of traffic? And the answers to those questions are: yes, yes, yes and -- okay -- yes. But those things are all true about Chicago, too. In fact, anywhere I live is going to have all of those attributes. Want to live somewhere without that stuff? Move to Mississippi.
So what does LA have that Chicago doesn't? Beautiful weather. And not just six months out of the year, like in the Midwest. All year long. Every day.
I can't wait to go back.