"Project Runway" is back this week with a new season (its sixth), a new network (Lifetime) and a new locale (L.A.). There's also a new cast member: hairstylist Philip Carreon, who's fittingly a native Angeleno.
"I grew up in Pico Rivera and now live in Silver Lake," he said. "And this year my salon, Estilo on Beverly, is celebrating its 18th anniversary. We've both been around for a while."
"It's a change in my career, and it's been a lot of hard work, but a lot of fun too," he said.
Speaking of fun, here's how you grab some, Carreon-style.
Wine to go
On a Friday night, I'll start out at Silver Lake Wine for one of their early tastings, but really I go there to pick up a bottle of wine. They often have a gourmet hot dog truck outside, and sometimes I'll eat from there, but usually I'll take my bottle and head to a nice restaurant.
One of my favorites is Speranza, a little eatery over on Hyperion. It's sort of an eclectic Italian mix, and they have the best striped bass in the world. It's a 30-minute wait but well worth it. They do a homemade pasta with lobster sauce that's great, and the place is really affordable too, with a nice mixed crowd, celebrities and working-class people from the Echo Park neighborhood. Very cool and friendly.
After that, if I feel like dancing, there's a wacky, crazy place downtown called Club 740 that has a special Friday dance party. It kind of reminds you of the Lower East Side in New York -- crazy, wild people.
On Saturday mornings, I'll do a little yoga at home. I have a patio that overlooks the Silver Lake Reservoir, and it's nice to go back there for 30 or 40 minutes for my yoga. After that, I'll walk my dog around the lake and then go have some soy chorizo and eggs at the Brite Spot in Echo Park. The new owner also has a cool place called the 4100 Bar over on Sunset.
On Saturday night, I'd go to one of my longtime favorite spots, Blair's in Silver Lake. They've got the best white truffle mac 'n' cheese that you've ever had in your life, the short ribs and braised cauliflower are delicious, and then there's the crazy shrimp cocktail that they do with deviled eggs on the side -- I just crave them. It's a small, neighborhoody kind of place, but people on the Westside are finding out about it. Very warm atmosphere and excellent service.
After dinner, we'll go over to the California Plaza at MOCA, where they have a live music program on weekends called Grand Performances. It's free, and you can take a picnic and have a lot of fun.
Sunday at the Edge
Sunday is definitely a wind-down for me, and I'll start by having a nice brunch with friends at the Cliff's Edge on Sunset. They've got a beautiful outdoor patio, and the crab hash with poached eggs is my favorite. Then after we eat, we'll come back to my place and play canasta all afternoon. Nothing like a great card game where you can be ruthless with one another.
On Sunday nights, I'll head to my dad's house in Montebello with my partner Ken and my dog. My niece will be there too, and we'll barbecue chicken or beef, but my favorite thing is to experiment with gourmet tostadas. My dad laughs at them, but he loves them. And I just love being in the great backyard there with my family.