DLTK's Blog
Hooray for Hollywood?
DL minus TK: Hollywood Day 1

by Leanne Guenther

I am a Darren fan, but I’m not really a sports fan. I’m always thrilled to join him at games when we get the chance to go (especially when the games take me to a cool place like LA Live) and he’s always kind enough to ask, “what do you feel like doing now?” when the game is over.

With my preferences in mind, we spent the next two nights at the Kimpton Everly in Hollywood. It was a great hotel with another rooftop pool to enjoy. I would call it an adult hotel choice (I personally, wouldn’t choose the Kimpton for a trip with kids). They offer free wine every evening from 4:30 to 5:30. We arrived after the wine tasting but the check in guy quickly offered us vouchers for a free glass each at the Ever Bar. I thought that was really nice!

We woke up the first morning to a nice view of the Hollywood sign in the distance (we just had the cheapest standard room, not sure if they upgraded us but the view was a lovely surprise). There was a highway outside our window but the building is concrete and we were on the twelfth floor so apart from a quiet “white noise” ish hum, there was no traffic noise to bother us.

View of the Hollywood sign from our hotel window.

The Ever Bar was a great place to get small plates and a cocktail and we stopped by both days we were there. They had a free pool table to use. It was a nice table, but wasn’t lit very well so was more enjoyable in the daylight. We love playing pool, by the way!

I grew up in a “bad” neighbourhood in a small city. So, I have a fairly high tolerance for city life. Darren grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other and no one locked their doors. I weirdly find it uncomfortable in his hometown where, even after being with him for 25 years, I still stand out as the “stranger” in a room full of people who’ve known each other for generations. We’re sort of the stereotypical city mouse / country mouse couple.

Anyways, with that little bit of history in mind…

We walked the five blocks or so from The Kimpton Everly hotel to Tao restaurant. What a cool experience for me! The neighbourhood you walk through has lots of security. It reminded me of Lima, Peru and Heredia, Costa Rica. In that part of Hollywood, nothing was “gentrified” — people of various ethnicities were busy living their lives, hustling to earn a living and riding strange green rideshare scooters down the streets.

And then we arrived at our destination — Tao, Hollywood where black SUVs were dropping off impeccably dressed, beautiful young adults (so much for nothing being gentrified!). I’ve no idea if it’s always like that but it was quite the scene when we arrived.

Walking in didn’t disappoint either. The best word I know to describe the place is “opulent”. Huge ceilings, intricate carvings, a 20 foot statue of Quan Yin that was lit with an everchanging array of patterns and lotus flowers.

Quan Yin Statue.

My farmboy husband just shook his head at the decadence of it all while I clapped gleefully at the juxtaposition of our five block journey (past “fortified” buildings) and our seemingly mismatched destination.

And we were welcomed. We were dressed exactly like what we are… two middle class, middle aged accountants from Western Canada. No one wanted a selfie with us, but our rather boring presence didn’t prevent the hostess from finding us a seat just as quickly as she did for the young and the beautiful. This isn’t always the case in life and we appreciated being made to feel welcome to this strange world for the night. To be fair, we try to visit the spots where the “cool kids go” during off peak times. In this case, it was a Tuesday at 8pm, heh.

The servers were all very young and handsome and we reminded ourselves that these were quite possibly hopeful actors working at Tao to pay the bills. Corey, our server, made some recommendations. Most were great though we didn’t love the sirloin. We live in Alberta … our beef is really, really good. We forget to be grateful for that sometimes. The tuna pringles and sea bass were my favourites.

And then it happened!!

The two most stunningly gorgeous, beautifully dressed mid 20s women I have ever seen in real life were seated next to us. Handsome waiters scrambled to serve them, while grinning at poor Darren’s obvious efforts to focus on his cheerful wife without making it seem like he was trying too hard. I could practically read the thought bubbles popping up over his head

“be COOL!”

“What did Leanne just say, oh no! Just smile and nod.”

“Oh for pete’s sake woman, stop giggling at me… I’m trying to be cool!”

Ahhh, to be young!

And those gals knew the effect they had… they ordered the Wagyu beef appetizer and gracefully sipped champagne cocktails while chatting about whether they’d bother to attend “that tech guy’s” houseparty in “The Hills”.

Ohhh, to be beautiful!

They daintily nibbled their beef skewers, then rose as one… the blonde brushing past me close enough that I could catch the faintest whiff of her Annick Goutal scented skin. Men turned their heads as the pair breezed past them… and right OUT THE DOOR.

Frown. To be rude.

When I was 16, I was working the late shift at McDonalds. There were three of us on that night, two girls and a scrawny guy named Dale. A group of about 10 big guys poured in chanting like raiding vikings, painted their highschool colours and crowing about their big (football?) win. They grabbed two highchairs, tied them to the back of a shiny new pick up truck and drove away — highchairs rattling behind them like tin cans on a newlywed’s car. We blinked in confusion at the suddenness of it all — honestly, it seemed to happen so FAST. Dale called the police and reported it. The next day, we got a strip torn off us by the manager for not “stopping them”. The three of us together likely weighed less than just one of them but the cost of those highchairs came off our paycheques.

So here I sit back in my Hollywood hotel, feeling much like I felt at 16. Poor Corey would likely have to cover the bill for the beautiful girls who dined and dashed — perhaps he’d have to forego an audition so he could pick up an extra shift to cover rent for the month. Or perhaps we’ve come far enough along that we don’t put the burden of this sort of behaviour on the shoulders of the young folks who stand there stunned by it.

Why do the people who have so much to be grateful for so often feel the need to be cruel or inconsiderate?

I think… maybe… it’s because they’ve lost track of the power of gratitude? Maybe that feeling the Grinch had when his heart grew three sizes works in reverse too. Maybe when you have “too much” your heart slowly starts to shrink?

I wouldn’t recommend spending an evening in Hollywood with kids (stick to the daylight hours) but I’m glad I got to experience it. It reminded me to be grateful to be a boring but cheerful, middle aged lady who pays her bills.

Disclaimer: As always, my opinions are my own. I don’t get free stays at hotels or even a complimentary "Tuna Pringles" share plate for writing my reviews. No one involved is ever even aware I’m doing it.

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Leanne's byline photoAbout Leanne:

Wife, mom and the woman behind the scenes of the DLTK's Crafts for Kids websites.  The websites are a terrific hobby -- run by (me) Leanne, a mom with two girls as my official craft testers and my husband as my technical support.  DLTK are the first initials of each of the people in my family (I'm the L!).  Whenever we send out little cards or whatnot, we sign 'love DLTK' ... when I started the website I used the initials.  Had I known the website would get actual strangers visiting it, I would have picked a less mysterious name but we're all stuck with it now!

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