Sake donut spa
Tsubaki, day spas, ski hotels, Hancock Park, Holey Donuts, Hasan Minhaj, San Francisco restaurant crawl, MORE
GOODS & SERVICES • Day Spas
Spa day afternoon
Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or nothing more than the means to indulge, here, four of our favorite LA day spas, all more than befitting the occasion:
→ Surya Spa (Santa Monica): Set in the buzzy Proper Hotel, Surya offers Ayurvedic treatments with a touch of Kelly Wearstler-designed flair.
What’s inside: Wood-paneled treatment rooms, plus a cozy meditation room, and a gorgeous open-air kitchen.
Food: Ayurvedic specialties like kitchari, and an extensive selection of healing teas. Strongly recommended.
Entry price: $265-$675
→ Wi Spa (Koreatown): This K-Town mainstay is the crowd favorite for real-deal body exfoliation (females only, “rendered in the nude”).
What’s inside: A no-frills destination with gendered tubs and steams, co-ed saunas, and the most authentic and effective in Korean spa treatments in town.
Food: There’s a restaurant you can skip for any number of excellent nearby Koreatown spots instead (we love Park’s BBQ).
Entry price: $60-$210
→ Olympic Spa (Koreatown): Women-only spa cherished for its Akasuri scrubs and wide amenities selection.
What’s inside: Clay and salt saunas, an herbal steam room, hot tubs, and a cold plunge.
Food: No longer prepared on-site post-pandemic; feel free to order in from nearby favorites like Surawon Tofu House and MDK Noodles.
Entry price: $80-$370
→ Tomoko Spa (Beverly Hills, above): A visit to this sophisticated Japanese spa is the ultimate restorative experience for couples.
What’s inside: Chic, minimalist, Japanese. Private rooms feel as if you’re in your very own onsen.
Food: High-end sushi in quality (and cost).
Entry price: $350-$1400 (for two) –Zoe Schaeffer
RESTAURANTS • FOUND Table
Since its 2017 debut in Echo Park, Tsubaki has billed itself as an izakaya, a characterization suggesting a focus on booze — a kitchen ultimately in service of a bar. But here, the extensive sake list, sochu, Japanese craft beers, and curated selection of French wines serve to frame chef Charles Namba’s food, among the most refined and compelling in the entire city.
For example: Namba’s Japanese Caesar with shredded nori, bonito flakes, and miso-parm dressing is a top five Los Angeles dish for me. His charcoal-grilled chicken oyster skewers — perfect pearls of yuzu kosho-topped dark meat — land in my top ten. And for dessert, the hojicha soft serve parfait with sesame-miso caramel is essential.
But it’s also a restaurant that rewards experimentation. On a recent visit, I changed it up, and marveled at a delicate tempura of Japanese sweet potato and sprouting cauliflower. Grilled jidori chicken hearts were a textural, flavorful delight. This time, I also took notice of the restaurant’s playful variety of kitchy chopstick rests (I got a ceramic okra; my boyfriend had a planking panda.)
Which is to say: The interiors may be stoic (brick walls, rosewood chairs) and intimate (under ten tables plus a bar and a window counter with a dozen-ish stools combined), but the vibe is fun. There are a few outdoor tables as well, but aim for an indoor reservation, as Tsubaki’s position on the hilly Allison Ave. creates an awkward al fresco situation.
All-in, it’s an izakaya that can handle dinner with the parents, a date night, or a full-on celebration. And for a more casual walk-in-only experience, sibling Ototo — with a smaller menu, and an even larger sake selection — is right next door. I’d drink to eat there, too. –Emily Wilson
LA RESTAURANT LINKS: Horses wakes up from a very bad dream • Chef John Sedlar returns with Zozo, opening tomorrow in a homewares store • After 40 years, The Dragon served its last meal in Koreatown • At the world’s leading bars, there are no bars.
REAL ESTATE • Sold
Central and prime
In the 1920s, a building boom in newly laid-out Hancock Park saw many of the neighborhood’s (mostly Spanish and Tudor-style) homes rise. Flash forward a hundred years to the present, and the lush residential blocks see a mix of young families — lots of yoga mats, dogs, and middle-aged men loafing around in Nike Air Force 1s — alongside longtime residents of 40-plus years who love themselves a good zoning board meeting.
While the rare property sale in Hancock Park may bleed into eight figures (hello, Shonda Rhimes), many of the neighborhood’s single-family homes trade in the $2.5M-$4.5M band, as with these three recently closed sales, all of the aforementioned 1920s vintage:
→ 630 S Rossmore Ave. (Hancock Park) • 4BR/3.1BA, 4597 SF • Spanish-style manor built 1924, first time on market in 25 years • Listed: 7/28/23 for $4.99M, sold: 1/17/24 • Sold price: $4.45M • Listing broker: Christine Hong, Coldwell Banker.
→ 527 N Cherokee Ave. (Hancock Park, above) • 4BR/4.1BA, 3913 SF • Spanish-style residence built 1925 • Listed: 11/8/23, sold: 12/19/23 • Sold price: $3.55M • Listing brokers: Sheri Bienstock, The Bienstock Group and Maria Samouha, Coldwell Banker.
→ 644 S Highland Ave. (Hancock Park) • 7BR/4BA, 4597 SF • Spanish-style home built 1925 • Listed: 10/31/23, sold: 1/8/24 • Sold price: $2.545M • Listing broker: Sheri Bienstock, The Bienstock Group.
LA WORK AND PLAY LINKS: Late architect Pierre Koenig’s personal residence in Brentwood returns to the market asking $5M • Cut your property tax bill with this one easy trick • Snap commits to 467K SF of Santa Monica office space • ‘Wintering’ is the work trend to watch • The greatest trees of Los Angeles.
WORK • Thursday Routine
But first, donuts
NILE DREILING • co-founder and CEO • Holey Grail Donuts
Neighborhood you live in: Sawtelle
It’s Thursday morning. What’s the scene at your workplace?
My work style is very mobile. I'm often around our Santa Monica or Larchmont shops checking in, eating a hot single (our donut with local honey and flakey salt) and adjusting the music. I generally settle in at our central warehouse, where I get the majority of my work done. From here, we're consolidating many of our bulk ingredients like coconut oil and taro.
What’s on the agenda for today?
Historically, we've kept a minimalistic approach to our offerings, but I'm currently playing around with a new type of donut hole. Considering a new product is a rigorous process for us, as we source the majority of our ingredients directly without relying on conventional suppliers. The team is also working on upcoming donut collaborations where we break bread with a particular individual or organization we admire, in order to create a unique donut that gives back — the 2024 lineup is getting crazy.
Any restaurant plans today, tonight, this weekend?
Cooking is meditative to me, but when I'm running late for dinner, my go-to has been Tuk Tuk Thai (spicy panang curry, somtum and tom kha) or Yama Sushi Saki & Attitude if I want to come home a hero. Seriously, stopping by Yama on my way home involves grabbing a DMV-like ticket, being called up to the sushi case to pick out a variety of portioned saku blocks of fish, and being teased relentlessly when I mention cutting it at home. I'm out the door in under 10 minutes with a container of cooked rice and the equivalent of a very expensive night at a sushi restaurant worth of fresh fish, for a fraction of the price. I don't know why this concept doesn't exist everywhere.
For a date night on the West Side, Birdie G's Caesar with fried oysters is a staple, and we may make the trek downtown soon to revisit Bavel — their cherry tomato appetizer with strawberries, burnt harissa, and whipped feta blew my mind over the summer.
How about a little leisure or culture?
Seeing Sylvan Esso at The Greek Theater with views of a full moon over the city had me immediately thinking ‘why don't we do this more often?’
Any weekend getaways?
I'm hesitant to share this one, but I'll be heading out to New Jack City for a day of climbing in the upcoming weeks. The area reminds me of Smith Rock in Oregon, and it's such a convenient break from the city without having to drive further to Joshua Tree.
What was your last great vacation?
We drove up to Oregon for the holidays and my partner's birthday, camping on the drive up with our two dogs. The real vacation involved dropping the dogs off with the parents and staying for three nights at the architecturally inspiring Coast Cabins in Manzanita, Oregon, a less touristy alternative to nearby Cannon Beach.
CULTURE & LEISURE • Poetic License
Post Grammy Awards Jam Benefit Featuring The Black Crowes, Hollywood Palladium (Hollywood), Sun @ 9p, VIP balcony standing room, $531 per
Los Tigres del Norte, The Kia Forum (Inglewood), Fri @ 8p, section 105, $140 per
GETAWAYS • San Francisco
A trio of new restaurants worth visiting on upcoming trips to the Bay Area:
A PIZZERIA, REBORN: The Flour + Water team recently moved their Mission District pizzeria to the North Beach space that previously housed ‘90s icon Rose Pistola, and the new restaurant is easily one of the Bay Area’s best pizza parlors. Chefs Thomas McNaughton and Ryan Pollnow are using electric ovens to fire pizzas with crisp, bubbly crusts — just like you’d expect from a wood-fired oven — but the dough is heartier and more flavorful than most Neapolitan-style pies. You can’t go wrong with any of the pizzas, but I’m partial to The Conrad, topped with whole roasted garlic cloves, taleggio, mushrooms, kale, and aged mozzarella. An adjoining slice shop sells thin, flat squares with crispy frico crusts, plus natural wine to-go.
BLUE WHALE WATCHING: Stuffed with Ibérico ham, the soup dumplings at Blue Whale are a good example of what the team behind Chinatown’s Empress by Boon is trying to do at this ambitious new restaurant. In addition to dim sum, find pristine seafood dishes and colorful cocktails served in a modern space that includes a snug barroom, spacious main dining room, and multi-tiered garden/patio. Blue Whale is a bit of an anomaly in Cow Hollow, the land of juice bars, gyms, and trendy boutiques. But judging by the crowd gathered here on a recent weekend afternoon, it looks like the locals are ready to embrace this mix of high-roller dim sum (the Iberico xiao long bao are $22 for three) and lowkey clubstaurant vibes.
PALM CITY, ASCENDING: Is Palm City Wines the most popular restaurant in San Francisco? On a recent Saturday afternoon, it certainly felt that way, as every table at this Outer Sunset destination was full 30 minutes after opening, and throngs of hungry people queued up outside. Palm City opened during the height of the pandemic, and its appeal, then and now, is easy to understand: It’s a laidback bottle shop by the beach that serves massive gourmet hoagies. The Italian American and roast pork sandwiches are understandably famous, but the Au Poivre hoagie — stuffed with thinly-sliced top round, Comté, apples, arugula, and peppercorn aioli — is also superb. Palm City Wines is the perfect first stop after landing at SFO, or last stop before jumping back on the plane. –Greg Morabito
→ Palm City Wines (Outer Sunset) • 4055 Irving St. • Open Wed.-Sun. 12:30p-8p, Mon.-Tues. 4p-10p.
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GETAWAYS • The Nines