Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Miss Wilson’s Words of Wisdom: Top 12 of 2012

2012 certainly had its share of newsworthy events…

and #WilsonsGuide had its share of newsworthy happenings, too!

Take a trip down memory lane with my Top 12 of 2012 “Where To” List and make note of places you visited, wish you visited, or just might need to visit in the New Year!

#12) Opposite L.A. Thursdays was one of those amazing functions that took place in Hollywood, but was “opposite” of Hollywood in every sense of the word. No long lines, no tyrannical bouncers, no crazy cover charges…just a teeny tiny neighborhood dive bar, strong drinks and a good dose of R&B, hip-hop and old school hits. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the last Thursday of every month, but sadly, this function shut its doors early fall, so we’ll have to relive those good times in our memories…


#11) The Passport to Prana Yoga card launched, offering yoga enthusiasts a novel way to experience this beneficial practice. The $30 card gives access to more than 30 yoga studios in the L.A. area – an irresistible bargain, considering that one yoga class could easily cost $20. Whether in search for an introduction into the discipline or for a home studio, grabbing this passport was a great way to sample yoga studios, from Santa Monica to Pasadena. Fortunately, since the card is valid for 12 months from the date that it’s activated, it can still be enjoyed in 2013, just as it was in 2012. 

#10) Produce-driven dishes at unsuspecting locations were also big this year. Sure it’s no surprise to find leafy vegetables at farmer’s markets or premium salad bars, but at delicatessens? Or gastro pubs? Two specific places caught my attention – Freddy Smalls and UMAMIcatessen for not only catering to our insatiable appetites for libations and calorie-rich foods, but for also making sure we got our daily servings of fruits and veggies by offering dishes with beets, Brussels sprouts, roasted carrots, squash and more.

#9) Seven Inspirational Interviews ensured we didn’t have a shortage of motivation. Actors, singers, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, magazine editors and rising moguls shared their secrets of success, and of course, where they “where to” in L.A. and around the world. Several of the noteworthy people who stopped by include: actress Brely Evans (pictured below), singer Donnie McClurkin (pictured below), fashion designer Luka, entrepreneur and caterer Aleya Desne and a few celebs during the Oscars weekend and the BET Awards weekend.

#8) Guest Bloggers – The aforementioned weren’t the only ones who made a mark on the #WilsonsGuide blog; for the first time ever, two guest bloggers made spectacular contributions. Brook Turner, a rising filmmaker and creator of a very uplifting website called Thankful for a Million and fashion designer/author Michael Ferrera both wrote about their favorite “where to” destinations in the city. 

#7) Perch, a new Downtown lounge impressed many of us all year long. While many restaurants struggle in their first couple of years in operation and may even go under, this rooftop lounge that opened in 2011 had an extremely successful year. Perch was a popular destination not only for its Parisian themed décor, drinks and food, but also for its killer view of downtown L.A. There aren’t too many places that match its charm and its panoramic sights.

#6) Good ole dependable – and affordable – drinking holes also still proved they shouldn’t be forgotten in favor of newer establishments. Damon’s Steak House in Glendale proved just why it had been around for more than 80 years; for its $5 Mai Tais and Chi Chis. With this whole Fiscal Cliff scare, I most certainly felt it critical to make mention of one place that’s been making strong, delicious – and cheap – drinks since forever.

#5) While in some cities, locals wouldn’t be caught dead in hotel bars, quintessential L.A. hotels proved that they’re not only for out-of-towners, offering a great ambiance and creative thirst quenchers, like the sub-zero martini from Shade Hotel (pictured below) and the Apropos from Hotel Shangrila (pictured below).

#4) Biking in L.A. is a lot more relaxing and calming that driving in L.A. I found this out when earlier in the year, I met the owners of a very fun, tour guide company, Bikes and Hikes LA. I discovered a great new way to explore the city: on a bike. Forget a car, forget the big red double-decker bus – this tour is a great way to not only see various neighborhoods like Larchmont Village and the Fairfax district, but to also get informative and entertaining facts about them.


#3) Weekend Brunches are kind of a big deal – as big as the entertainment industry, the beaches and the 405 on a Friday night. Paying homage to an activity that many Angelenos partake in quite frequently, I spent a good portion of the spring and summer on a valiant quest to find those brunches that offered unique experiences. My search led me to places like Luca on Sunset, which offers inexpensive yet fresh, organic items in a casual atmosphere, and to Sunny Spot in Venice, which colorfully blends of snippets of Caribbean, Korean and American cultures into its tasty dishes.

 #2) Yamashiro may have been around for decades, but its Happy Hour just launched in October. It's a great program, too, with $4-$6 small plates, especially considering that normal dinner prices stretch well into the $40-$60 range. Add a touch of live music into the mix, and Yamashiro's lounge is now not only a dinner destination; it's a happy hour one as well.

#1) Where to Travel – The number one happening on the  #WilsonsGuide blog for the year was the introduction of a new section, “Where to Travel.” We went out of the city into the beautiful tropics of Hawaii, recommending Mama’s Fish House. But we didn’t stop there; we took it internationally to France, featuring a quaint droguerie in Montpellier. Watch out, world! We're not only covering L.A.  – we’re moving globally, too!

2012 was a great year, but 2013 will be even better. 

As always, there will be weekly posts of where to eat, drink and be merry, so look out for them, and stay tuned. 

See you in the New Year!

1 comment:

  1. It is fun and very short nostalgic to look back from the previous year. That said, I hope this 2013 is even better for you.