The Freehand Los Angeles opened last week at the corner of 8th and Olive — across the street from legendary dive bar the Golden Gopher. The 226-room hotel resides in the landmark, 12-story Commercial Exchange building, which has been gutted and completely redesigned with an urban-hipster twist on California Craftsman.
I’m feeling grateful and blessed to receive the Southern California Journalism Award for restaurant criticism at the Los Angeles Press Club’s annual gala. It is particularly gratifying to see this comment from the judges: “The winning critique blends a keen palate with laugh-out-loud humor in this spot-on reminder that a restaurant is much more than the food on the plate.”
The helicopter lifts, then tilts back, back, back… The trees spin sideways. The bay slips out from under us. The sky comes rushing forward. Clouds. Blue. An eagle… The trees begin righting themselves. We were upside down for only a split second before completing the loop-d-loop. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to weightlessness, and though I want to retain my composure, I can’t wipe the silly grin off my face. We feather toward the lake, landing softly on one of the resort’s three over-water helipads.