Humor Travel Life
Eat at Hollywood's Oldest Restaurant
One of the biggest draws to visiting Los Angeles is its rich Hollywood history. Even though the Hollywood of 2023 is nothing like the Hollywood of 1923, there are certain spaces where you can capture some of that Old Hollywood magic.
One of the city’s most historic institutions is the Musso & Frank Grill. Established in 1919, it is Hollywood’s oldest restaurant. The venue has served some of entertainment’s most notable figures, including Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen, and Elizabeth Taylor (to name a few). Most recently, the restaurant was featured in the 2019 movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, with scenes that showcased Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Al Pacino (not a bad lineup).
If you love Hollywood history, then you’ll want to have a meal at Musso & Frank’s. I recently went to this restaurant for Valentine’s Day and will share what you need to know about this iconic spot.
Musso and Frank Reservations
Musso and Frank’s may be a Hollywood staple, but it’s not as hard to get a reservation as you might think.
You can make a reservation on Open Table to secure a spot, but if it’s a weekend evening, you may have to be flexible with times. For example, my husband and I went on the Saturday night before Valentine’s Day, and we had to book an 8:30 p.m. reservation, which was a little later than we had hoped to get.
No matter the time or day, though, I definitely recommend booking a reservation in advance. This way, you won’t have to wait if the restaurant is busy. You can opt to dine at a table or the bar, depending on what you prefer.
What to Eat at Musso and Frank’s
The menu at Musso and Frank’s isn’t cheap, but it’s also pretty standard for LA prices. That being said, the food here is incredible and arguably well-worth it.
I ordered the fettuccini Alfredo. There’s a unique history to this dish, which is also why I chose it. According to the restaurant, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford loved this dish so much while on their honeymoon in Rome that they got the special recipe from the chef there and brought it back to Hollywood with them, asking Musso and Frank’s to make the meal specially for them.
As someone who has never really enjoyed fettuccini Alfredo, I had finally realized that the dishes I had just weren’t good. This meal was incredible!
For an appetizer, I was feeling adventurous and wanted to try something I had never had before. I missed out on trying escargot in Paris, so when I saw it on the Musso and Frank menu, I decided to order it. Now, this could be something that is all about location. I imagine the escargot in France is quite good, but it left something to be desired at this restaurant, so I would recommend trying a different appetizer. Plus, they give you unlimited complementary bread so you may not even want one.
For those who are vegan, the options are much more limited, but they have a spaghetti with tomato sauce that my husband enjoyed.
The filet mignon is considered one of the best dishes at Musso and Frank, but it’s also one of their most expensive. If you’re in the mood to splurge, though, it’s a popular option.
What to Drink at Musso and Frank’s
For those 21 and over, a Musso and Frank martini is my pick for drink-of-choice. This restaurant has many great cocktail options, but they’re known for their martinis. I ordered a Cosmopolitan, and it was honestly the best one I’ve ever had. I suppose as a writer and editor, getting the drink made famous by Carrie Bradshaw and Sex and the City is must, though, right?
What is Musso and Frank famous for?
Musso and Frank is famous for several reasons. First, it’s Hollywood’s oldest restaurant, as it was established in 1919.
Second, it was a frequent hangout for big movie stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. According to the restaurant’s website, guests included Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Jimmy Stewart, Rita Hayworth, and more.
Third, the venue has been featured in multiple Hollywood movies, perhaps most notably, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Sounds fitting.
Where is the Musso and Frank Grill?
The Musso and Frank Grill is located on Hollywood Boulevard, slightly east of the corner of Hollywood and Las Palmas.
Does Musso and Frank have outdoor seating?
No, Musso and Frank does not have outdoor seating. The restaurant is indoors.
Whether you’re living in Los Angeles or visiting, you’ve likely seen the Broad Museum on multiple lists of must-see places in LA. One of the city’s most noteworthy museums, the Broad is located in downtown Los Angeles and is home to many artworks, including the famous Infinity Mirror Room.
If you’ve never been to this museum and want to go, I’ll walk you through what you need to know when visiting the Broad Museum for the first time.
What is the Broad Museum known for?
LA’s Broad Museum is known for hosting contemporary art. They have many works from famed artists like Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
One of their most famous exhibits is the Infinity Mirror Room, created by Yayoi Kusama. This Instagram-worthy and immersive display is filled with lights and makes you feel like you’re in space.
The Broad Museum Tickets
If you’re wondering how much it costs to get into the Broad Museum, the good news is it’s free, and this includes Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Room. Getting tickets, however, is a little tricky.
You’ll want to get tickets specifically for the Broad Museum and Infinity Mirror Room instead of just the Broad. Unfortunately, you can’t get these tickets at any time, either. Tickets are available to reserve online on the last Wednesday of every month at 10:00 a.m. PST. From there, you can pick the upcoming day and time you’d like to go.
Can you get into the Broad without a ticket?
No, you can’t get into the Broad without a ticket. Instead, you must reserve tickets online to get into the Broad Museum and the Infinity Mirror Room. You may see a line of people waiting outside the museum, but if you have tickets already, you can go up to one of the attendants to check in and head inside.
The Infinity Mirror Room
This immersive experience is one of the museum’s most popular displays. I expected this exhibit to be in a massive room in which people were crammed in, trying to fight one another for the best photo op. However, kudos to the artist and Broad Museum staff for creating a really unique setup.
Once you’re in the museum, you can go to the line specifically for the Infinity Room. It’s on the first floor, just before the gift shop, so it’s easy to find. The wait isn’t long at all; I think my husband and I were in line for no more than 10 minutes.
How it works is that each group gets to go into the room by themselves (with a limit of 4 people per group) for 1 minute. There’s an attendant at the door to let you in, and you can leave your coat/purse/bag with this person if you don’t want to bring them in.
When you walk in, there’s a short pathway for you to stand and surround yourself with the stunning light display. It was incredible! Not only is the artwork itself amazing, but getting to experience it without crowds makes it all the more special.
While one minute may seem short, that’s really all you need to get some nice photos/videos and take in the artwork. I’ll add that while it’s worth a photo op, give yourself time to actually appreciate it in person too!
How to Get There
There are several options for getting to the Broad. While you certainly can take a Lyft or Uber there, driving or taking public transportation could be more economical depending on where you live or the location of your hotel.
This is what my husband and I ended up doing. The great thing about being downtown is that the Broad is near one of the city’s subway stations.
To get here from the Hollywood area (including Universal City and North Hollywood), you’ll take the subway’s red line toward Union Station and get off at the Civic Center station. From there, walk along Hope Street and then hang a right at 2nd Street until you see the Broad Museum on your left.
Drive and Park
The other option is to drive and park at the Broad Museum. The parking garage is open on Wednesdays-Sundays from 9 in the morning until 10:30 at night. Here are the rates according to Broad Museum’s official website:
How long does it take to walk through the Broad Museum?
You should be able to see the Infinity Room and the rest of the museum within 1.5 - 2 hours. The museum’s third floor is only included with the free general admission tickets. However, you can pay extra to see other displays, which may increase your time there.
What to Do (And Avoid) in Puerto Vallarta
If you’re traveling to Puerto Vallarta for the first time or even if you’ve been there already, you probably have thought about what you want to do while you’re there. I recently traveled to Puerto Vallarta for my honeymoon and found new insight into popular spots, including what’s worth doing and what you can skip.
1. What to Skip
Sayulita may be a popular spot, but what was once a sleepy hideaway for surfers has become overrun with tourists – so much so that you can barely find a spot on the beach unless you order drinks from one of the beach clubs there. To be honest, Sayulita doesn’t feel more interesting than other places in the Riviera Nayarit and isn’t the hidden gem it used to be. While you may see lots of people speak about this area, those of us who knew what it was like 15 or even 20 years ago know that it’s no longer a unique escape.
What to Do Instead
Lo de Marcos
Just further north of Sayulita, you’ll find Lo de Marcos, which is what Sayulita used to be. This town doesn’t have beach clubs along the coastline, which means you can sit and relax anywhere you want to, and if you are hungry or thirsty, you can find local restaurants in town. Lo de Marcos actually feels like an escape and an authentic Mexican village not overrun with tourism.
2. What to Skip
Many travelers will often take a water taxi to Las Animas, one of the beaches south of Puerto Vallarta that’s only accessible by water taxi (or a hike through the jungle if you’re ambitious). Though it’s a beautiful area, it looks like every other beach and, depending on the day, could get somewhat busy.
What to Do Instead
Rather than go to Las Animas, I recommend Colomitos. It’s a small beach with beautiful teal water surrounded by jungle greenery. To get to Colomitos, you can hike through a jungle trail from Boca de Tomatlan. However, water taxis also stop here now as it’s become more popular in recent years – and truth be told, if you go here, you’ll understand why. Colomitos is more visually interesting, and they have a single restaurant where you can grab food or drinks. Keep in mind that water taxi fares back to Boca from Colomitos are 100 pesos per person, so be sure to have enough money available.
3. What to Skip
You’ve probably heard resorts tout their fabulous spas, but these can be some of the highest prices around. Sure, the location is convenient, but after paying a good chunk of change for your flight and hotel, this could be a good opportunity to save money by going elsewhere for spa services.
What to Do Instead
Get a Massage in Old Town
Rather than the hotel spa, take advantage of local spas in downtown Puerto Vallarta, specifically in the city’s Old Town neighborhood. My husband and I wanted to get a massage and looked at multiple spas in Old Town, but the best deal, hands down, was the Eclipse Spa. Here, we got a 30-minute relaxing massage for my husband for just 300 pesos (or $17 U.S.) and a 30-minute deep tissue massage for 350 pesos ($20 U.S.). They even give you water bottles to take with you after and provide plenty of other services such as facials and body scrub treatments.
4. What to Skip
If this were the 90s or early 2000s, I’d say Señor Frogs is worth checking out. However, the popular venue is long-gone from its popular heyday. My husband had worked on a television show with some scenes that took place at a Señor Frogs, and he was curious to check out the real thing. Unfortunately, it did not live up to the hype. The Puerto Vallarta venue was barely busy and didn’t have the energy it used to. Plus, this is the third location that the nightclub/restaurant has moved to since the 2000s, and over that time, had gotten less and less exciting, unfortunately.
What to Do Instead
Visit a Local Tequila Distillery
OK. So this isn’t a nightclub, but you can get access to fantastic tequila without paying a cent (unless you choose to leave a tip or buy some yourself). Seriously! We visited Oscar’s Distillery in Old Town, a local tequila distillery. Our guide, Javier, was fantastic! I had emailed ahead of time inquiring about distillery tours, and for single groups or couples, we could just pop in anytime between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Well, we came around 11, and Javier greeted us within less than 5 minutes and gave us a tour. We learned a lot about tequila's history and the production process, including what makes good tequila and what makes bad tequila (A.K.A. the kind that makes you sick). At the end of the tour, we tried three different types of tequila and even some tequila straight from the barrel. I would recommend this place in a heartbeat. It’s a short tour that won’t take up too much of your day, and as I mentioned, it’s totally free. That being said, we recommend tipping if you don’t plan to buy a bottle of their tequila.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Sleep Advisor, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com