The sun is out – when June Gloom isn’t in, that is. But when the high of summer arrives, you’ll bet it’ll be time for that picnic. Whether at The Hollywood Bowl, Cinespia or Barnsdall Art Park, picnicking in Los Angeles has become more than a rite of passage. It’s now an act of communal expression, with everyone in the party bringing their own contribution to the portable, potable feast.
Best James Bond Quotes (Sean Connery era)
I grew up with a particular older brother who had all of the James Bond flicks (half on Beta, half on VHS), so I had enough exposure to the British spy series to pick the cues up quite a few years later. Just recently, it re-started with my viewing of the Mad Men Season 5 finale. That Peggy and Don viewed Casino Royale while playing hooky from work and the finale’s credits closed out with You Only Live Twice made me take notice of everything going on around us. My girlfriend, who volunteers at The Aero, mentioned their Bond marathon. The James Bond frenzy is currently overtaking Los Angeles.
Why? Only the 50th anniversary of the Sean Connery-to-Daniel Craig franchise, I eventually found out, and we Angelenos have plenty of chances to get dosages of our own:
American Cinematheque’s The Aero Theatre (Santa Monica) is concluding their Complete James Bond Retrospective this weekend with Golden Eye and Tomorrow Never Dies on Friday, June 22nd and Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace on Sunday, June 24th. The Egyptian (Hollywood) will be screening The World Is Not Enough and Die Another day on Saturday, the 23rd.
If you want to see Bond inspiration articulated in the museum, check out the “…Is James Bond” exhibit at LACMA, now through September 9, which happens to be co-organized with Loyola Marymount School of Film and Television. You can also catch Bond movie double screenings here every Thursday in July and September. (You can also score a free summer pass at the museum with purchase of regular general admission!)
But it’s not really celebrating Bond if you don’t toast his tradition of drinking, or concocting, the classics. Lo and behold – today is also National Martini Day! But if you’re like me, you already know which places really know how to make a martini just how you like it. So let’s mix things up with some help from the spy.
If you want to go for a classic formulated and named by the spy himself a la Casino Royale (circa 1953), and the cocktail that just so happens to be Ian Fleming’s favorite, you’ll look for a Vesper. Just remember that you’ll want to correct that infamous phrase to “Stirred, not shaken” and you’re set. (No man is perfect, after all.) But if James Bond were in Los Angeles, you can bet that you’d see him at one of these awesome bars:
After a screening or exhibit viewing at LACMA, head on over to the adjacent Ray’s & Stark Bar, the bar of which is helmed by Paul Sanguinetti, where you can order a Cali Blonde (think Eva Green with a dye job). It’s essentially a Vesper made with Hangar One vodka, Martin Millers gin, Lillet Blanc and lemon peel.
If you prefer the flipped version, you’ll go for the Reverse Vesper at Hemingway’s Lounge with Alex Straus:
3 oz Akvinta Vodka
1 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
Stir these with ice, strain and garnish with a twist
Here with the Reverse, the vodka and gin proportions are switched because after all, 007 gravitated more towards vodka further along his career.
Take things to the next level with a barrel-aged cocktail tribute to author Ian Fleming called The Living Daylights over at The Spare Room inside Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel.
Jerry Thomas bitters
Naomi Schimek, the bar manager, explains, “Ian Fleming wrote all of the James Bond stories from his estate Goldeneye on the beach in Jamaica,” where he of course drank a lot of rum, too. “Like cocktail aging in a barrel, a story develops over time, so we thought this was a fitting tribute to Mr. Fleming, the brilliant man who gave us so many wonderful stories.” Fantastic! (Though Naomi had me at Velvet Falernum and Green Chartreuse.)
You can also head on over to Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix‘s Pour Vous, the beautiful new, admittedly French-and-not-English cocktail and Champagne bar. But never fear, because Lindsay Nader has put together the vermouth-based Eau de Chambery, an herbal extravaganza that Pablo can see “Bond sipping [on] as he spits game at a model.”
Viva la Bond and Happy National (modified) Martini Day! I’m definitely grabbing a Vesper or something else Bond-inspired after work. Enjoy you and yours!
Ray’s & Stark Bar
5905 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
6356 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
The Spare Room at Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
5574 Melrose Ave
Hollywood, CA 90004
1159 North Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
What better way to support community than attend an event which benefits the Los Angeles Fire Department?Â Fortunately, the lovely folks over at DrinkEatTravel.com will be holding a fun event this Wednesday at the LA Fire Department Museum – and it so happens that it’s nearby the station which services my jurisdiction. Chipotle tacos will be served as will brews from Firestone Walker. Proceeds from your $12 admission benefit the Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum.
The evening will also include a raffle with prizes from Luxor Hotel and Casino, Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Hugoâ€™s Restaurant, Improv Hollywood and more. Guests will also enjoy an after-dinner cup oâ€™ joe from Don Francisco, a chocolate tasting from The Chocolate Traveler, snacks from Popchips. DJ JJAquino will be spinning the tunes.
See if you’d like to try your hand at scoring a couple of tickets to this benefit and so you can enjoy free chipotle and beer on Wednesday? Go ahead and leave a comment below and RT this if you have Twitter (leave your Twitter handle in the URL box, e.g. “http://twitter.com/estarla”):
RT: @estarla I want to win 2 tickets to @DrinkEatTravel’s Fiery Fiesta http://estar.la/e/8v
Contest is closed tomorrow at 5 PM, which is when I will select the winner and tweet as well as email him/her! Be sure to check your email.
Not so confident in your luck? You can buy tickets, too, and get $2 off with code SPICY. Either way – I’ll see you there!