The Secret Garden Bed and Breakfast – Pink Taco – Glendon Bar & Kitchen – Oct. 22 & 23 2013.
October 22 & 23 2013
As part of my stay cation I was asked to review a two night stay at the Secret Garden, do a tasting at Pink Taco on Sunset, which is right around the corner from the Bed and Breakfast, as well as a tasting at The Glendon Bar & Kitchen in Westwood. That was a no brainer, so I did all of these in my 2 night staycation!
The Secret Garden
If you try to find an affordable hotel in Los Angeles you will probably wind up in some flea bitten, irritatingly small motel type situation. If you want to stay somewhere that is walking distance to the Sunset Strip on a small budget well that is almost impossible. You might as well sleep in your car. Not to be negative, but these kind of miracles just don’t happen in Hollywood, until now! The find of a lifetime… right in my own backyard here in Weho. Yes, the quintessential place for your out of town guests who don’t want to spend their life savings just for a trip to LaLa Land, put them up at The Secret Garden, a real home away from home.
The two tortoiseshell cats will greet you upon entry, Lucy and Ethel, and they will follow you around throughout your whole stay. You will be in the lap of luxury in this antique filled great Hollywood Hills Home. But with just a 5-minute walk and you can be thrust into the craziness of The Sunset Strip, with all its dining glory. The garden will enchant you, but the sound of traffic during rush hour will remind you that you are still in Urban Los Angeles.
There are 4 rooms total, 3 in the house and 1 cottage in the back; I stayed in the charming back cottage. The Bed and Breakfast has been used for photo shoots, one recently being for Playboy. I guess the décor would be called Gothic Ancient European. The house was built in 1920’s with lots of add-ons since then. Like beautiful bevel leaded glass windows and so many antiques it is hard to pick the best one.
Sylvester Butler, the oldest of 15 siblings, and the Innkeeper, will tell you lots of heartfelt stories about his family, his love of acting and what goes on in the house when your not there. It is a family filled with rich history and above all lots of love. What really strikes you about Sylvester is his huge smile and larger then life spirit, what a sweetheart!
David Austin the owner of The Secret Garden is a poet, real estate mogul and a wonderful humanitarian. He also owned the wild nightclub Probe back in the day. He still owns Playhouse Theater Stage 52. Since his partner Raymond passed away David has been wheelchair bound, he had a stroke 7 years ago. Sylvester, and the other innkeeper Thomas help out with his home health care.
Every morning breakfast is served in the house’s dining room. I had a very filling breakfast the first morning of fresh berries, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, and your choice of bagel or toast. The second morning I had Maplewood bacon and scrambled eggs, with cantaloupe as a starter. Both breakfasts were a great way of getting my busy day stared.
Just so you know this is not a swanky Sunset Strip hotel, it is basic but lovely. There are some things that could use a little fixing here and there, maybe some would call it funky, but for me I was delighted by the hospitality and hominess of this very special place with great affordable prices. Above all with its special touches, you feel lots of love from within the walls here at The Secret Garden, a true home away from home.
The Secret Garden Bed and Breakfast
8039 Selma Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA
Phone: 1-323-656-3888, 1-323-656-8111
Pink Taco – Taco Tuesday and Dinner – Oct. 22
The obvious thing would be to make mention of this double entendre name “Pink Taco”, and all of the references people say to lady parts. Whether its name is derived from lady parts or not, Pink Taco has a lot to celebrate. I had great Happy Hour food and well as some very unique dinner fare. They have $3.00 tacos on Taco Tuesday and $5.00 margaritas as well. I did a combo of that and other stuff to get the full vibe of the food place. Just had to walk around the corner from my hotel to check this place out.
Located right on the Sunset Strip, there’s lots to see out of their heated patio. Fast cars, leggy girls, and rock and roll wannabees, this place has it all. But what really stand outs is their very creative high-end Mexican cuisine.
Here’s what I tried:
House Margaritas, Jose Cuervo, fresh lime juice, and Cointreau and agave nectar. Nice tangy lime flavors with a good hit of tequila.
Carne Asada Taco, with grilled skirt steak, corn tortilla, arbol salsa, avocado and cheese. Very meaty, good rustic flavors.
Pink Taco, with grilled chicken, black beans, topped with arbol salsa, cotija cheese, pickled pink onions and avocado. Sweet and sour this taco packs a punch, great grilled flavor and the onions balance everything out.
Cheese Enchiladas, corn tortilla with three-cheese blend. Nice Mexican cheese with great beans and rice.
Lobster Enchiladas, corn tortilla filled lobster, brandy chipotle cream sauce, three-cheese blend. This dish is such a great option for traditional Mexican cuisine. It has a brandy undertone, wow what an amazing enchilada.
Guacamole, straightforward with lots of avocado.
Mexican Street Corn, done with shredded Mexican cheese, the corn is charred, a great side dish.
Baja Fish Tacos, grilled mahi mahi, flour tortillas, shredded green cabbage, Serrano cilantro sauce, jalapeno aioli, pico de gallo. The fish is very fresh and tender and the sauce is spicy but savory, truly great.
There is cactus lined all the way around the patio, and you get lots of “Day of the Dead” decorations. Nice metal chairs and wood high backbenches adorn this very friendly patio atmosphere.
When you’re done with your drink and your meal you can just walk 5 minutes back to your hotel room, so you get to see the sites and walk off your tacos.
PINK TACO | SUNSET STRIP
8225 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Happy Hour Mon – Friday 4pm – 7pm
Sat, Sun 3pm – 7pm
Glendon Bar & Kitchen – Dinner Oct. 23
Located in te heart of Westwood Village, this place is popping with students, families, dates, all out for the same thing, a good time. When you enter there is a definite buzz, with nice bar food, great romantic atmosphere and just a hop, skip and a jump from one of Southern California’s most prestigious Universities, UCLA.
They have straightforward good food, with decent prices. A student on a budget could eat well at Happy Hour, or a proper date night is also highly recommended here at The Glendon Bar & Kitchen.
Here’s what I tried:
Jane Fonda with Nikoli vodka, fresh sliced cucumber, lime & agave. They have this under their skinny drink section, what it lacks in calories it gains in great taste. You would not know that this drink has fewer calories than its counterpart on their regular specialty drinks menu.
Tequila Diablo, Tanteo jalapeno tequila, basil, lime, and egg whites, Cointreau, agave, served in a proper martini glass this drink was awesome. The egg white sounded weird but it makes the liquid frothy and smooth, what a nice refreshing cocktail.
Bourbon Buffalo Wings, their signature dish and I get it. These wings are by far the best wings ever. I am not a big wings fan because I don’t really like the Buffalo sauce, but there is not of that in this dish.
The Mac with Jalapeno, three cheese béchamel and
bacon, very rich, nicely appointed, but beware it will fill you up!
The Sweet Potato Fries with truffle & herbs, so delicious, wow. The truffle flavor really rocked my world.
Glendon, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, spinach, mushrooms, bacon, caramelized, it has a great blending of ingredients, some that you would not expect being together on a pizza.
Lone Star Chicken Spring Rolls
Southwestern style, served with Mexican buffalo ranch, just a little too spicy tangy for my tastes, maybe someone else would love this.
Braised Pork Belly Tacos, slow braised pork belly with an Asian slaw, very nice version of this popular taco, I really liked this one.
Namaste with Chicken Salad with kale, spinach, grilled chicken, grilled corn, cherry tomatoes, almonds, light Parmesan, balsamic Dijon vinaigrette. OK, this would have to be my go to salad here from now on, loved it.
The Marc with Penne pasta, grilled chicken, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil sun dried and grape tomatoes, almonds, nutmeg, fresh cracked pepper, light cream finish. The nuts really add an extra touch to this inspired dish, another one of my favorites.
Bourbon Street BBQ Chicken, Served with Bacon Brussels
Cherry Bourbon Bread Pudding. I really like this style of chicken, it is sweet but savory, and the Bourbon sauce is killer.
Here are the wines that I tried:
Terranoble Chardonnay, Chili, CA.
With pineapples and pears, fermented stainless barrels, nice wine to pair with the sweet potato fries.
Artesa Chardonnay, Carneros, CA.
Nice rich and creamy, citrus blossom and oak, went good with Namaste with Chicken Salad.
Napa Cellars Chardonnay, Napa CA.
This wine is quintessential California, rich and lush, and paired great with the cheesy Mac with Jalapeno.
Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles, CA.
Perfect red fruit, notes of cedar and violet, full bodied, matched the sweetness of the Braised Pork Belly Tacos.
Hess Malbec Napa, CA.
Smooth and supple, elegant black cherry and spice, worked great with the Marc with Penne pasta.
Brazin Zinfandel Lodi, CA. A big and bold, dark plum, coca, spice, perfect with the Bourbon Street BBQ Chicken.
6Th Sense Syrah Lodi, CA. Dark red fruit, smoky notes of vanilla and oak, I liked this one with the Glendon Pizza.
My hostess Martinique, who I first met at The Carson House guided me through a very complex tasting. She pretty much picked all the tempting menu items, and I just added 3 staples that were necessary. But she did really well; I was able to try Happy Hour items and some of Glendon Bar and Kitchens most popular items. I had a new-comer friend join me, Cheryll, who did research on this tasting before hand and told me that we pretty much tasted all of this restaurants most requested menu items.
The interior is very romantic with its very high-trussed ceiling. The lighting is emphasized by their use of nice low wattage, and of course I have to comment on the three very ornate chandeliers over the low dining tables. There is what looks like original brick that reflects that history of this charming building.
What a fun, and lively atmosphere. You have got to do Happy Hour here, most of the drinks and food are under $6.50 so, its a bargain. Even without Happy Hour you will still get a good deal from their regular menu prices. You get a lot of bang for your buck. When your in Westwood and want to stop in somewhere for a drink and some really good food, you want to go here!