Los Angeles, USA
Savory breakfasts consist of rice (Kokuko Rose Brown Rice) served in a soup plate with sorrel pesto, available in two different versions: a gentler one, steam-cooked with candied Meyer lemon, poached egg, sheep feta and radish, and a stronger one, sauté with shallot, mint, coriander, cucumber, ginger, house-made sausage and sunny-side-up egg. Sweet breakfasts are made of an oversized, thick, burnt Brioche Toast, with a generous portion of ricotta cheese and overflowing seasonal jam. Squirl serves savory and sweet breakfasts until 4 PM, but you will still find quite a few people queuing at that time. Hidden behind a flowering Pink Trumpet Tree on the edge of the Silver Lake neighborhood, it is our favourite pace in L.A.. Please share.
We are hatching a plan to get summer residence in Ojai. We have already met new friends, straightforward and peaceful as only adults on vacation can be. Playing on the boules court close to the swimming pool and the tepee tent we met Chris. Thanks to his Shelter Social Club, Chris is showing us, one after the other, must-see examples of hospitality along the Central Coast. On that same boules court we met Branden, who bought eleven shiny Airstream and gathered them in a nearby area. The Airstreams, each with a palm tree and a hammock in the shade, will be available for renting for one or more days. It is as if Ojai, this hippie town that makes you think of a rainbow, combined together all the things we love of the Central Coast: endless fields planted with fruit trees, cactuses, farmers’ morning markets, both an exotic and a Mediterranean flair, refined gold jewelry and black diamonds, Mexico, Peru, USA, enterprise of the best kind. At Rancho Inn, ask for the closest room to the swimming pool and Chief’s Peak and stretch your tie-dye curtains to protect yourself from the hot weather, which, here, smells like the Mediterranean.
There are some places you could draw for a child even without having visited them. You could depict all their attractions and start telling a story about them. Take Paris, Las Vegas, Venice, New York or Varanasi, for instance. Santa Cruz is a funfair with cherry-red rollercoasters on a wide beach full of palm trees and surfers. There is also a huge, semicircle-shaped hotel overlooking the ocean, with orange beach umbrellas and lemon-yellow deckchairs. When you arrive at the Dream Inn Hotel you find everything is in the right place, even crazier, sweeter and more “Sixties style” than in your drawing.
There are no reasons why one should not come back to the Farmer and the Cook every hour of the day, every day. After the yoga class with live music in the nearby studio or a visit to the farm located just across the street, for instance, or riding a bike down the green cycling route which runs parallel to the village, or on Sunday night, to eat the wood-baked pizza topped with vegetables grown by Steve in his garden. Swiss Chard Enchilada (two corn tortillas stuffed with beet, pumpkin, cashew cheese, red onions and a sauce made of pumpkin seeds and home-made chili) and Banana Bread served in the morning can become addictive. This Mexican vegetarian cafe-market is perfect for Ojai and has everything that can make one happy.
San Francisco, USA
Old-world brick red, snow white and eucalyptus green California. If there is an image of San Francisco that makes us think of the words ‘home’ and ‘America’, it is us enjoying the view from the first floor of this inn – built in 1903 as a military office with the classic wooden colonnade. Outside the large horizontal window in our suite, we can see the strip of quiet and slightly leaning asphalt that reflects twin single houses bounded only by short-grass gardens and no gates. For centuries, Presidio was the neighbourhood of the US Army officers, and it is the green park area on the map where the magic red bridge begins, the Golden Gate Bridge that takes you to Marin County like a rainbow that ends into our pot of gold north of San Francisco, i.e. Muir Woods, Bolinas, Mt. Tamalpais, and Point Reyes.
I am halfway through my journey in California and I have 48 hours to spend in the corner suite at the Alamo Motel. I will use the aquamarine tin jug to cook over a low heat the strawberries I picked in the morning at the farm (The Farmstead); I will string a clothesline between two branches of the fruit tree in my back patio and hang my laundry out in the sun; I will play an LP disk quietly in the dining room; I will organize my travel notes and turn on the colorful lights in the garden before the night falls. Tomorrow is Monday. All bakeries in town will be closed, there will be no yoga classes at the Gentlemen’s Club, the sun will not shine on the vineyards of Santa Inez Valley, but Los Alamos, with its single main road and this perfect motel, is not just a place of transit. Password: Remember the Alamo Hotel.