Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WP24 Lounge: A brief glimpse of the glamorous life

When I first moved out to Los Angeles there was a brief period of time where I attempted to live what I imagined was “the glamorous Hollywood life.” I bought sparkly, sequined tight-fitting clothes from Forever 21, I went to then trendy restaurants Geisha House and Spanish Kitchen, and I even braved the Sunset Strip to drink cocktails at the “cool” clubs.

I distinctly remember the unseemly night when I changed course and started down the path toward becoming the boring, tea-drinking, wine-sipping domestic that I am today. I was precariously perched on the mini refrigerator (aka the beer fridge) in my kitchen, eating cold, leftover Pad Thai from the mediocre Thai place that used to occupy the Nakkara on Beverly space at 2 am in the morning, while I drunkenly mused to my then roommate, “I’m not even hungry.”

This realization did not, however, stop me from eating the rest of the leftovers.

Before collapsing into bed with “the spins.”

These days I get my dose of “the glamorous Hollywood life,” by watching re-runs of “the Hills.” Or at least I did before Lauren Conrad left the show and the final dredges of morality left with her.

Even so, there have been a few fleeting moments in my “new life” where I have felt a bit glamorous. Not because I was throwing back vodka cranberries (my cocktail of choice when I drank hard alcohol) and gorging on cold leftovers, but because I was at some place that was actually glamorous.

This past December, I was whisked up to the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton in Downtown LA for a media event in WP24’s swanky lounge that offers a stunning aerial view of the city. As I glided onto a leather banquette with a glass of sparkling Rosé, I experienced a momentary flash where I felt genuinely “cool.”

The clientele dotting the other booths and cocktail tables in the chicly dressed space looked sharp – well-groomed and neatly attired in their work suits and impeccably tailored dresses. In a way, WP24’s lounge feels like it could be the modern day watering-hole for the “Mad Men” set. If I squinted hard enough, the dark-haired bloke sharing a plate of tiny dumplings with a female companion could almost pass as Jon Hamm.

As an extension of Wolfgang Puck’s most recent restaurant venture, however, the WP24 lounge cannot be merely reduced to its physical setting. The main restaurant’s modern Asian cuisine receives a summary on the rather substantial lounge menu of small plates that includes tautly bound Spring Rolls fruitfully stuffed with Maine Lobster and prawns, stylized hand cut rolls decorated with ample garnishes, and Chinese Crystal Dumplings pocketing high-quality king crab, shrimp and kurobuta pork.

The refined Peking Duck Roll and the Baby Pork Belly “Bao Buns” struck the most memorable poses on my palate that evening. The crisp skin of the roll shattered to give way to the neat shreds of compact duck that were barely contained within the packaging. It’s a far meatier specimen than the more traditional preparations of Peking Duck that involve more skin than actual meat and are usually served on steamed buns. The pork belly baos, accessorized with a shimmer of honey-garlic glaze, packed a similarly satisfying bite.

When the final plates had disappeared from our set of tables, I took one last peak at the view before departing for the elevator that would bring me back down to my usual reality. LA looked different from up there – a glossier, statelier version of itself. I felt the same way. Chic, poised and maybe, just maybe, a teeny bit glamorous.

900 West Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90015

(213) 743-8824


Anne said...

"The spins"...LOL. I have been dying to try WP24, and looking at those dumplings..those eggrolls....I gotta get there soon!

Monet said...

Smile. What a cute post. I find that being glamorous all the time is not all that fun...but it is certainly exciting to treat yourself to a glamorous night on the town. Everything looked just delectable. Thank you for sharing this night with us.

bagnatic said...

did you wear a sparkly sequined outfit to this media tasting? giiirrrl, you're already glamorous.

Anna A. said...

Hah Oh I love reading your blog and the stories of how you've become such a grown up! I do not see you drinking vodka and cran at all, you've totally become a different person since then haha. Really cool how you got to check out WP24!

nelehelen said...

i haven't been to Wp24 yet! is the valet parking still ridiculously expensive??

those pork buns look amazing!

Esi said...

What you mean staying up till all hours and going to bed with the spins isn't your idea of fun anymore? I much rather prefer this new version of glamor. Just hope I can afford it!

Ashley said...

1. your memory is crazy good.

2. one of these locations is still on my LA to-do list. i want to be fake swank for a night.

Restaurant I said...

(commence to drool)
I am in serious need of a Bao Buns infusion. Love me some pork belly. Looks like a fantastic example of modern Asian cuisine. How were the prices? Just curious. Thanks for making me hungry :)

Diana said...

Anne - I'd say run for the view first, the dumplings/spring rolls second. But it's definitely a cool, chic spot for drinks.

Monet - Isn't that the truth? I find I have the most fun on the nights when I'm not doing anything particularly "glamorous" at all!

Amy - Haha, nope, but I do think I wore a dress!

Anna - It was not a pretty sight. Be glad you were spared the post-collegiate Diana. ;)

Helen - The night we were there parking was comped by the restaurant - not sure that is always the case, but I don't think it's the same as when it opened.

Esi - You speak the truth!

Ashley - I think you and I need to have a GNO downtown some Friday night!

Restaurant - You know, I don't know what the prices on the bar bites were since they were comped for the event and they aren't posted on the on-line menu.

Nomsnotbombs said...

Oh yum! The Chinese crystal dumplings, peking duck roll and pork belly buns sound deeelish!

Kung Food Panda said...

Not sure I'll ever pay premium for non-traditional Chinese food, WP-24 looks like it's an awesome space

stuffycheaks said...

WP24 is on my list! But its hard to justify paying so much for Chinese food