Trip to LA: Walking With Anthony event, Eveleigh, WeHo Bistro, BOA and more!

I flew to LA last weekend for a charity event…more on that later.

This was my first time to LA. I actually had no idea what to expect, but I realized as I spent more time in the city that I had several preconceived notions about this place thanks to shows like MTV’s The Hills. First off, I was unaware of how large and spread out this metropolis is. The city of Los Angeles is the second most populous city after NYC and boasts an area of 468.67 square miles. For comparison, New York has an area of just 305 square miles and San Francisco  46.9! What was really crazy to me is that all the different “sections” are really under one city– they weren’t actually separate towns or districts (example- Hollywood is still LA). I’m probably not doing a great job of explaining this, but definitely rent a car or have a driver booked because this is a city where you need a car to get around and the cost of cabs is outrageous.

It was a pretty short trip, but we did get to experience a few restaurants and it was easy to see why LA is ranked as a great foodie destination.

  • WeHo Bistro : This was a restaurant located near my boyfriend’s uncle’s place in West Hollywood. They serve the most fantastical juices I have ever had, probably because they’re all fresh-squeezed. Drinking the orange juice was pretty similar to eating an orange itself. They have custom juices and a variety of flavors, both fruit and veggie (mango, watermelon, mint, tomato, carrot, pineapple, etc.) and tons of fun combinations. The food was light and true to French cuisine. The Mirabeau breakfast croissant was served on a buttery, flaky croissant with Swiss, egg and prosciutto. Nothing too inventive, but decently prepared.
  • BOA Steakhouse: We only went here for drinks and appetizers, but this is an ultra modern, sophisticated restaurant with superb service and a swanky ambiance. We had ahi tuna tacos and kobe beef sliders with gouda for apps and both were delicious. It’s definitely pricey, but looked like a pretty solid bet for dinner out.
  • Pampas Grill: After a tour of The Grove (pretty cool outdoor shopping center), headed over to the “Farmer’s Market”– basically this outdoor food court. There are a ton of different options, but the bf’s uncle had us try the Brazilian BBQ, and am I glad he did. It was basically a much-less fancy version of Fogo de Chao. Sides included salads, pastas, yucca, plantains, beans, rice and all of the varieties of meat that you could hope for. The line wraps around the entire food court, but moves speedily.
  • The Eveleigh: The atmosphere of this bar and killer drinks make it worth visiting alone, and I thought the food could stand alone also, though the Yelp reviews don’t reflect that. It is pricey, and seems to be yet another restaurant advocating for “fresh, local, ingredients”. I might punch someone if I see that written down again. The Eveleigh though delivers on this promise. You walk up to the restaurant which has the appearance of an old house that might have a garden off the back. The inside decor is rustic with dark wood and a back room with a ceiling that opens up to the sky on warm nights. Cozy couches and long tables take the place of individual seats or tables for two- you will be cozy with other dinner patrons, that’s for sure. And it’s very crowded, but fun. There’s a variety of “small” (they’re larger than you think) plates, salads, and large plates. My halibut came with avocado, pink grapefruit, endive, buttermilk dressing and was so thick and fresh I would have bet they caught it that day. I think it’s worth the price tag, and great for a date night or fun spot with friends.

As I stated in the opening line of this post, I flew to LA for a charity event. The charity is Walking With Anthony. Their mission: “To forever change the recovery outcome of spinal cord injury, currently perceived as unchangeable.”

Anthony is the cousin of one of my good guy friends from DC and this charity and his story has taken an important place in my heart. Their family reminds me so much of my family, it’s not even funny. They’re loud, loving and fun and all extremely close with one another- much like my family, even the cousins! I know this is one of the many reasons why his story hit me so hard. Anthony suffered an accident while on a trip to Miami for the Super Bowl. My friend was there with him along with a couple of my other close guy friends. He misread the depth of the ocean while diving in and ended up damaging his C6 vertebrae and almost drowning. My friend saved him by pulling him out of the ocean and Anthony was flown to the nearest hospital. In the early days, he was in ICU, unable to move or even breathe on his own. A Facebook group formed called the Miracle of Anthony and alerted friends and supporters to Anthony’s story. The level of support and the emotion his story solicited from pretty much complete strangers like myself is still a powerful thing. Maybe it touched so many people because his story reminds us of something we all like to try and forget: Your life can change in the blink of an eye. Never take anything for granted, especially the basics, like health. The overwhelming love among his family and friends was also something to behold. I know my family would have also bonded together and done whatever it took to get me through. The strength of Anthony’s family, especially his mother Micki, is an awesome sight.

His story also resonates because it shows how powerful the human will to survive is. Anthony was eventually released from ICU and able to participate in an intensive rehab program known as Project Walk. He can now stand, bench press weights, lift things on his own. When you look at how far he has come….it leaves anyone speechless.

His charity, Walking With Anthony, helps pay for others to receive the same expensive rehab that spinal chord injuries require. Here is a video showing his amazing progress: