When does a work trip become a workation? I think it’s when there’s a combination of work/goal achievement, with a side of beach and/or some kind of adventure. Kelly and I definitely hit those notes in Los Angeles this week, even though we were only in town from Tues-Fri.
It’s amazing how much you can pack in four days, when you’re intentional about things.
The whole purpose of the trip was to pitch a potential new client on a PR and social media campaign. This was at 12:30 on Thursday. The reason we all got in on Tuesday afternoon is because I’ve learned the hard way that you’re only one delayed flight away from arriving 24 hours later than you should’ve. That can mean leaving right from the airport to an event (never ideal), or missing an event entirely (never an option).
This is why I always have a buffer day between arriving in a city and when I have to actually do something work-related in that city. No exceptions on that one!
Anyway, there were five members of The Content Factory at this pitch: Kelly, Brinck, Jason, Lynn and me. We wanted the contract, so we rolled deep. On Tuesday we arrived, worked for a bit, and had breakfast for dinner at Kitchen 24, which is open 24/7. This little slice of heaven is located right next to the Ramada we were staying at, and has breakfast whenever you want it.
I am a connoisseur of eggs Benedict, and Kitchen 24’s smoked paprika hollandaise sauce is so good I ordered it twice (both times with extra hollandaise on the side). It also comes with avocado and caramelized onions. Like I said: a little slice of heaven.
Kitchen 24 has one of most generous happy hours I’ve seen, which runs from 3–11 PM. What makes it happy, you ask?
- 2 for 1 appetizers
- 2 for 1 wine
- 2 for 1 beer
- 2 for 1 well drinks
- $8 specialty cocktails (all of the ones that had ginger beer were delightful)
On Weds, we had pool time, a meeting with another agency to talk YouTube influencers and prices, put in some time at Venice Beach, worked for a while, and then dinner. At some point there were $15 bottomless mimosas (at a place called Phonomenal), which I’m almost certain was sparkling wine with orange Fanta. Kelly and I weren’t mad about it.
On Thursday, we pitched like we were on the mound at an MLB All-Star game, and landed the contract before we left the building. To call that a relief would be an understatement, BTW. Then, we went to SUR of Vanderpump Rules fame – an experience which Kelly details here in a MUST-NOT-MISS post filled with LOLs.
We’re HUGE fans of Vanderpump Rules (see also: Bret Easton Ellis), and this was actually a bucket-list item for both of us. SUR is so Hollywood, they have a step and repeat in the parking lot/alley where all the break-time smoking scenes are filmed.
We ate amazing food (not at SUR, but everywhere else – especially at Toi Thai, which had many vegan options and served up the best curry I’ve ever had). I got to use my brand new Priority Pass to access airport lounges in Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Boston – a life, it turns out, that I am 100% about. (Seriously, get a Priority Pass and you’ll wonder how you ever spent any time in airports without one). We got a new client. We got our feet in sand and our bodies in water.
On Thursday night after our pitch and SUR dining disaster, we ended up at a place called Good Times at Davey Wayne’s. Kelly has a pretty good drunk video of the entrance to that joint, which is literally a fridge door that you open and walk through into a stairwell. She fell up those stairs like a champ, and I hope the video captures the magic of that night.
It was a good time, it was productive, and it might be the shortest workation I’ve ever had. Although it was only four days, I feel like it was significantly longer.
The Details of the LA Workation Adventure
Where we stayed:
- The Ramada in West Hollywood, $209/night – the loft suite was $10 more than a double room and came with a microwave (standard rooms just have a fridge). THAT $10 IS WELL SPENT, because the room was pretty swanky. The room service at the hotel is provided by Kitchen 24, but there is no room service for alcohol.
How we got around:
- Uber ($75-$100 to/from the airport, depending on the time).
- The Ramada has a car service to/from the airport for a flat rate of $50.
- An old-school taxi (it’s difficult to catch an Uber at LAX unless you know what you’re doing – you’ve got to go up a level, literally and figuratively, in order to catch an Uber or Lyft from the airport to your destination.
Where we ate:
- Kitchen 24 – The eggs Benny with smoked paprika hollandaise is so, so legit. There are very few vegan options on the menu.
- Phonomenal – Get at those bottomless ghetto mimosas from 12p-4p, for just $15 per person. The food was good and the atmosphere was killer (especially at night, all lit up).
- Toi Thai – We all agree, this was the best meal of the trip: the curry is so good you’ll want to sit in a vat of it with a straw, Plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
- SUR – Don’t get the food here, not even the fried goat cheese balls Stassi talks about so much on the show. We tried around half of the menu, and it was all bad. Skip the food and head right on over to the bar, where the cocktails are above average and the people shaking them up are sexy.
- Aussie’s Meat Pies – This joint is hidden in the lobby of the Ramada, and is run by an actual Austrailian man. He’s nice, and his meat pies are tasty.
- Brinck’s vegan place –
Our work goals:
- Pitching a Hollywood production company (our biggest pitch to date) and landing the contract. CHECK X2!
Our bucket list items:
- Eating at SUR and seeing a cast member from Vanderpump Rules (done and done, with Lisa’s son).
- Kelly get into the Pacific Ocean for the first time,
- We didn’t purposefully want this, but Donald Trump became President Elect Donald Trump on Day 1 of our LA workation adventure, and I will never forget where I was when it happened or how how I felt. It seemed like the whole city went into mourning the next day, and it feels significant on a level that I haven’t fully comprehended yet.
Our road karma:
- A homeless person asked for change, and we bought him dinner (he wanted a burger and onion rings) from Kitchen 24. When I handed him the to-go bag, he asked why I didn’t get him a soda too, didn’t say thank you, and left all pissed off. +1 road karma for us, -1 for dude.
What we loved:
- THE WEATHER. Going from freezing in Boston to 85 and sunny in LA was amazing. It was so warm that we went swimming at Venice Beach!
- The beautiful people and their beautiful bodies. The stereotype about LA people is true – and most of our waiters were actors waiting for their big breaks.
- THE DRANKS. LA seems to be all about putting ginger beer, cucumber and jalapeno in cocktails…sometimes all at once.
- THE PHOTO OPPS. Instagram opportunities abound – check out our ‘grams from this workation and others here: Kari’s Instagram | Kelly’s Instagram
- OUR HOTEL. The Ramada was a great value for the price. The pool is heated and open from 9a-9p.
- BOTTOMLESS GHETTO MIMOSAS. Seriously, try putting Fanta in your champagne prosecco and tell me if you hate it. We didn’t – we low-key loved it and for $15 we would 10/10 do it again. Ghetto mimosas stay extra bubbly, because the orange soda doesn’t dilute the carbonation the way that regular orange juice does.
- THE FOOD. Apparently you can’t go wrong, unless you go to SUR.
- THE EDIBLES. California legalized marijuana the day we arrived and we were able to start that celebration early thanks to friends who live in the area. Did you know that you can get chocolate covered blueberries infused with THC, or that you can get a tiny little gummy that will get four adults stoned and night swimming? We know these things.
- THE WORK. We landed a new contract with a big Hollywood production company, and now The Content Factory gets to manage a new PR campaign for interesting people doing cool things.
- THE COFFEE. Seriously, we didn’t have a bad cup of coffee once. It’s like all of the iced coffee is cold brew and delicious.
What we hated:
- THE SERVICE. With two exceptions (Phonomenal and our first Kitchen 24 experience), the service was really bad. Waiters and bartenders took forever, were rude in some cases, and you really might as well order drinks two at a time because they take forever and three days to arrive at your table.
- THE COCKROACHES. If you sit outside at Kitchen 24, near the planters, you’ll get some new friends stopping by your table. The cockroaches were so big they look like they work out, and have the types of genes that make someone go out to LA: these were the model/actors of the cockroach species, and they would’ve been sort of beautiful if they weren’t so effing scary and gross.
- SUR. We were so excited, and so disappointed – this is more of a love/hate situation, because it was all so comically bad that we actually have good memories of it. Kelly’s recap is so much more epic than mine could ever be, so I won’t reinvent the wheel here…I’ll just encourage you to check out her post here.
- THE TRAFFIC. It repeatedly took more than an hour to go 7-9 miles. We learned this lesson the hard way, and somehow managed to beat my previous record (set in NYC traffic during a Halloween parade).