by Kim Tronic, Resident Cocktail Mistress…
I usually avoid Downtown L.A. The one-way streets terrify me, and once I kept a friend waiting an hour when I got sucked into the Bermuda Triangle of 5th Street. Oh, and good luck with parking.
But if you’re brave enough to maneuver the vortex of Downtown, be sure to catch a show at the L.A. Music Center. Home to renowned venues Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theater, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Music Center stages major musicals, plays, ballets, and the L.A. Philharmonic.
The Music Center’s plaza level is almost a stage itself: the stunning fountain sprays mesmerizing patterns from 280 jets, and before each show at the Mark Taper Forum, a saxophonist serenades outdoor diners with tunes pertaining to the upcoming performance.
If you can tear yourself away from the fountain (it’s lava-lamp hypnotic), stroll down the plaza stairs to Grand Ave and check out Kendall’s Brasserie & Bar. Though the ambience indicates upscale French bistro with crisp white tablecloths, red curtains, and dark wood, Kendall’s is anything but aloof. Start your truly exquis evening by shimmying to the bar and asking for Chris. He’s reigned as Kendall’s cocktail king for 20 years and stores an entire encyclopedia of alcohol knowledge in his noggin. Chris’s warmth and charm have impressed so many guests over the decades that Kendall’s even named a drink after him.
2 ounces Bourbon
.5 ounce Carpano Antica Vermouth
Dash Angostura Bitters
The surprising A-lister here is the vermouth. When I say that Carpano Antica is old-school delicious, I’m serious — the recipe was developed in 1786. The vermouth’s sweet rich flavor is so palatable that I surprisingly enjoyed it on the rocks with nothing else. Mixed into Chris’s cocktail, it makes one of the most magnifique Manhattans known to mankind.