LA’s Best Kept Secret – the Marina del Rey Hotel

Located on the world’s largest man-made harbor, the Marina del Rey Hotel invites guests to unwind and indulge. Whether visiting on business or seeking a relaxing staycation, guests are afforded 164 newly redesigned guest rooms and suites, most of which overlook the stunning marina. Just minutes from Los Angeles International Airport, Marina del Rey Hotel welcomes guests to a waterfront paradise and hidden gem tucked away from the hustle and bustle of LA.

As one of the first properties in the area, the iconic hotel opened its doors in 1964 and underwent a complete renovation in 2014. Today, visitors can browse the halls and view the nostalgic photos and artifacts that adorn the hotel’s corridors.

Home to over 5,000 watercraft, the marina itself is one of the city’s star attractions, offering a picturesque mix of waterways, glamorous yachts and unforgettable sunrises. Guests are invited to rent a kayak or paddle board, take a boat tour, stroll around the walking path or simply relax at Mother’s Beach.

The award-winning SALT Restaurant & Bar has become a new favorite among local residents. SALT ‘s executive chef Mark Gold offers an innovative take on modern American cuisine, seasonally inspired and locally sourced, prepared with the utmost freshness. Menu highlights include avocado hummus, lobster pasta, hand-rolled meatballs and crusty country bread. Daily happy hour from 4-6 pm offers a wonderful way to wind down after a hectic day.

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Photos courtesy of Marina del Rey Hotel.


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Ride the subway in L.A.

Why: While you were stuck in traffic, Los Angeles passed its Peak Automotive moment. So if you’re alert to where the L.A. Metro Rail system’s subways and light-rail cars can take you, you’re probably saving time, finding fun and recognizing the story of a great urban transformation. Take the Red Line from the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood and miss the crunch on the 101. Take the Gold Line from Chinatown to Pasadena and miss the crunch on the 110. Take the Expo Line from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica and miss the crunch on the 10. Whatever route you take, you’ll be joining a great urban transformation.

What: In 1993, the Metro people — formally, the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority — opened their first subway segment, a few miles of the Red Line between downtown and Hollywood. Now there are 93 light-rail and subway stations along 105 miles of track, including the beach-friendly Expo Line Santa Monica segment that opened in 2016. Bikes are allowed on Metro Rail trains any time (with a few rules, of course).

And there’s more coming. Between now and 2024, the Purple Line is scheduled to reach 9 miles west from Hollywood to Westwood, making for easy access to LACMA and UCLA in a zone often plagued by dismal traffic.

Where: As this map shows, much of Los Angeles County

How much: Standard fares on the Metro Rail system are $1.75 per ride or $7 per day or $25 per week.

Info:L.A. Metro

Along the Metro Rail Green Line. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)
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Miami’s Gelato-Go Heads West With New Locations in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica

Miami-based Gelato-Go will open two shops in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica this month. Italian-born owners Alessandro Alvino and Domenico DAddio started the chain in Miami back in 2013.

Gelato-Go’s jump into the West Coast market is a strategic one, by launching a vegan gelato line that they’ll only prepare in Los Angeles. The gelaterias serve more than frozen desserts, with espresso drinks, sandwiches, paninis, cakes, and cookies.

This is the third California location, after opening an Oceanside location in May this year. Gelato-Go’s Beverly Hills location used to be Pure Beverly Hills, the fast casual restaurant known for their “almost no calorie cake.” And the Santa Monica shop will turn over the former Didio’s Italian Ices space.

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Whole Foods will offer vegan ‘sushi’ with the first-ever raw tuna substitute. We tried it

On a 2004 trip to Japan, chef James Corwell visited Tsukiji fish market, the largest fish market in the world. While strolling the market in the early morning, he came across two football field-sized warehouses full of tuna. By mid-morning, the rooms were empty, the tuna sold and on its way to sushi restaurants all over the country.

“I thought, how are the oceans supposed to keep up?” said Corwell as he prepared a maki roll of sushi at the Whole Foods office in Glendale. “And this happens every day, all over the world.”

The chef, who has worked at Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant in Napa Valley and Le Foret in New Orleans, decided to do something about fish sustainability. He started to develop a tuna substitute called Ahimi (“ahi” is tuna, and “mi” means spirit in Japanese). Whole Foods will start selling his faux tuna, in the form of vegan sushi, at select Los Angeles markets on Nov. 1.

Ahimi looks like tuna, with its deep reddish pink color and a glossy, slightly wrinkled exterior, but it’s completely plant-based.

“If you look at the elements of sushi, they are all high in umami,” said Corwell, who spent four years working on the recipe and cooking method for Ahimi. “So I thought, what else is high in umami?”

Corwell decided on tomatoes. The fruit is peeled, seeded and marinated in a mixture of water, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. The tomatoes are cooked “low and slow” using a method Corwell is keeping proprietary.

The result is a slice of tomato that looks and tastes like a piece of raw fish. The flavor is clean, with a subtle boost of salt from the soy, as if the “fish” has already been brushed with soy sauce. And the texture is almost identical to raw fish — soft but with a discernible chew. Are you going to mistake Ahimi for actual tuna? Probably not. But it’s similar enough.

“It’s flavored, but chefs who might want to add more to it can,” said Corwell. “I think the timing is finally right for a product like this. You have the awareness around the oceans and fish sustainability like never before.”

Whole Foods will serve the vegan sushi out of its sushi counters in the form of nigiri (Ahimi sliced over sushi rice) and California rolls (avocado rolls with a slice of Ahimi on top). It’s priced at $8.99 for a roll and $11.99 for a roll and nigiri combo.

Participating Whole Foods stores include Downtown L.A., Venice, Playa Vista, Fairfax, West L.A., Brentwood, Westwood, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.

While vegan sushi already exists in the form of cucumber and avocado rolls, this is the first designed to be an actual tuna substitute. Will it somehow affect this city’s poke trend? We’ll have to wait and see.

Tesla signs lease on massive Los Angeles facility near Silicon Beach

Tesla has reportedly signed a lease for a massive 131,000 square feet creative office facility that’s located in an area of Los Angeles best known as Silicon Beach.

Surrounded by the tech hub of Playa Vista where technology giants including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, among a slew of emerging startups that have made Southern California their home, and Venice Beach that has given birth to unicorns like Tinder, The Honest Company, and Snapchat; Tesla’s new location at 4755 Alla Road in Marina Del Rey gives the company presence in one of the hottest real estate markets on the westside.

131,000 sqft. facility at 4755 Alla Rd. Marina Del Rey, CA [Teslarati]