Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Los Angeles in the Winter - Things to do!

With December in full swing,  it’s official – we’ve reached the holiday season. Our bellies may be a little bigger, our wallets may be a little smaller, and we may be a little less than enthusiastic about venturing out of our housesfor the next few months. After all, the winter is all about hibernation, right? Wrong. As people across the nation are scraping ice and snow off of their cars, we here in Los Angeles are still enjoying the beauty of wearing t-shirts during the day. Here are some ideas to get out of the house this holiday season and into some fun!

  1. Go To The Beach: I know, I know. Here we are writing about things to do in the winter and we start it off by saying go to the beach. Even if you don’t want to bust out the bathing suit and towel, you can certainly still enjoy all the beauty the beach and ocean have to offer, without putting your toes in the sand. For starters, there is Venice Beach. Just a few miles drive north of the Inn (or as a guest, you can take our bikes which really makes for a lovely afternoon at the beach), Venice Beach offers a lot of local color and, if nothing else, a wonderful day of people watching. There are cafes along the boardwalk, and plenty of shops where you can pick up some street art, t-shirts, or other knickknacks which make perfect holiday gift. If you’re looking for something other than Venice beach, a few more miles up the coast is the Santa Monica Pier. Whether you grab a bite to eat or ride the rides, it is a wonderful way to enjoy the beach on a cooler afternoon. There is also a seasonal Ice skating rink in Downtown Santa Monica -- ICE  that is open to the public until January 15, 2015. 
  2. Check out a Museum: There are many museums within a short drive of the Inn at Playa del Rey. A guest favorite would be the Getty Center in Brentwood, which offers a collection of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present. The Getty Villa in the Pacific Palisades displays art from ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. Another favorite would be the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) – the largest art museum in the western United States. Other local museums include: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, La Brea Tar Pits, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, California Science Center, Petersen Automotive Museum, Museum of Tolerance, and the Grammy Museum.
  3. Take in a Show: Of course you could always see a movie on a chilly afternoon (the new AMC Marina del Rey is really nice and has a dine in option for dinner and a movie all in one!), but since we're in Los Angeles it might be even more fun to be part of a live studio audience or to catch a taping of your favorite show. Conan, Ellen DeGeneres, Dr. Phil, and Jimmy Kimmel all film right here in LA. You can also see a taping of American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, Tosh.O, The Price Is Right, and more. Check out On Camera Audiences for a current list of show tapings.
  4. Take a Hike: Can’t get enough of the outdoors? Los Angeles offers some great local hiking spots that give you some exercise and fresh air, and also provide some of the best views in town. Runyon Canyon is a local favorite and it’s just outside of Hollywood. Don’t be surprised if you see one of your favorite celebrities on a trail walking their dog or keeping their A-list body in tip top shape with a trainer! Other great hiking spots are: Topanga State Park, Griffith Park, Franklin Canyon Park, WillRogers State Park, and Temescal Canyon.
  5. Explore Downtown: It’s always nice to see beautiful lights during the Holidays and Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) doesn’t disappoint. Check out the beautifully lit tree at the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel, or head to Pershing Square for some Ice Skating at the newly renamed Holiday Ice Rink Downtown Los Angeles. You can also check out the always popular Art Walk from December 12-31st. Have a post-exploration meal at one of the many restaurants at L.A. Live.
Make a point to enjoy all that LA has to offer this season! Spend the weekend and book a room at the Inn for a nice, cozy place to come back to after a long day of shopping and sightseeing. Happy Winter!

Friday, December 5, 2014

How to Host a Stress-free Holiday Brunch

With the holidays around the corner, we figured now would be a good time to share our breakfast soufflé recipes! We all know what it’s like to host a meal at your house – running around, cooking, setting, cleaning, re-filling, all while forcing a smile on your face. The best part about our breakfast egg soufflé is that it is a “set it and forget it” dish. You prepare the soufflé the night before, so there is no need for early morning prep and clean work. Just wake up, pop it in the oven, and viola – breakfast!
Here are two of our favorite basic soufflé recipes. One is a traditional egg soufflé, while the other is on the sweeter side – a French toast bake.

Cheese Soufflé

Makes one 9 X 13” baking dish
Spray pan liberally w/PAM
2 cups shredded cheese (jack/cheddar or your choice)
6 – 7 slices of white bread, w/out the crust
12 eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. Melted butter (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese evenly over the bottom of the baking dish.  Place the bread evenly over the cheese, covering as much of the bottom of the pan as possible.  In a separate bowl combine the eggs and milk until well mixed.  Pour egg mixture over the bread, making sure all the bread is saturated.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate overnight.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until eggs are firm and soufflé’ is puffy.  Serve immediately.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray pan liberally w/PAM
12 eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tbs vanilla
3-4 medium green apples, sliced (Or any fruit – Enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 dish)
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup light brown sugar
1 Tbs water
6-10 slices of white, wheat, or French bread
Cinnamon sugar
1.     Melt butter and mix in the brown sugar and water, set aside.
2.     Thinly slice the apples (or fruit of your choosing) and place them evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan.
3.     Pour the butter mixture evenly over the apples
4.     Cut the bread slices in half and place them, overlapping slightly, over the apples covering the entire dish.
5.     In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy, pour in the milk and vanilla, mixing until no yolks are showing.  Pour this mixture over the bread slices, making sure all have been saturated.  Cover and refrigerate over night.
6.     Just before baking, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until golden.

Serve dusted with powdered sugar and warm maple syrup

The nice thing about these two recipes is that you can add whatever you want to satisfy your taste buds. Try different cheeses or vegetables with the cheese soufflé. You can even add ham, salami, sausage, bacon, etc. for a more rounded breakfast dish.
For the French toast, use different fruits. Some of our favorites are canned or fresh peaches or pears, fresh apples, strawberries, bananas, blueberries, etc. You can even just add raisins for a “Cinnamon, Raisin French Toast.”
With breakfast ready to go in the morning, you will actually be able to sit down and enjoy your holiday with the rest of your family this year!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Oh Buoy, The Marina del Rey Boat Show is here!

MarinaFest is back in Marina del Rey this year for one day only- May 17th! Admission is free and the park is great place to bring a picnic.

As part of the grand opening of the new public docks at Burton W. Chase Park, visitors can take free boat rides, tour the yacht club, or cruise the booths of many watercraft showcases or food and beverage vendors.  
Should that inspire you to get out on the water, rent your own boat!  Marina del Rey Boat Rentals can put you in a sailboat, powerboat, jet ski, or a paddleboard- you name it. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Innkeepers' Tip! Focus on: Travel

What are the benefits of booking your hotel reservation directly through the hotel vs. an online travel agency?

When reserving a hotel room, do you book directly through the hotel or rely on an OTA (online travel agency), such as or Do you always get the room your reserved?

Maybe, maybe not. Over the years, we have found that there are distinct advantages to making a reservation directly on OUR website or by calling or emailing the Inn directly. Why?

#1 - Best Price. Our rates often fluctuate on a daily basis. When you call us directly, we know our own best rates and can offer them immediately. Additionally some online sites tack their commission on to our rate, so you may get a room at a higher rate through their site than if you had called us first.

OTAs are not eligible to participate in our special offers. Always comparison shop. Even if you can get a better rate through an OTA, sometimes the hotel is willing to offer you something special - a late check out or a complimentary upgrade (based on availability). Some hotels make certain rooms available to a third party agent at a higher price to offset the commission costs that the hotel must pay. These rooms may not be the best in the house.

#2 - Flexibility. Need to change your reservation? Need to cancel, add a day, switch rooms? No problem, especially when you have reserved your room directly through the hotel. We can make real time changes to your reservations and send you a confirmation on the spot. 

We have had enough guests in the past who tried to make changes or cancellation through their online provider to realize that getting your money back or applied to a later reservation date through the OTA can be an arduous and frustrating experience for the traveler.

#3 - Accurate Information. OTA's may not have the most up-to-date information either about what rooms are available or even basic information about the hotel. Sometimes we can "create" a space for your reservation where none exists online. Our next phone call may be a cancellation for exactly what you want - we keep a wait list, so you don't have to keep checking back.

#4 - Service. Booking directly through the hotel allows the people who have been trained by the hotel to offer you personalized service. It is our pleasure to provide personal touches to make your visit feel more like home. When you speak directly with the hotel, you can reserve a specific room type, not just "request" it. If you have additional questions, you'll most likely be able to speak to the person who took your reservation. 

#5 - Knowledge. Our front desk staff has specific knowledge of the Inn and our rooms, the surrounding neighborhood and Los Angeles at large - and if we don't know, we know how to find out! We are here to take good care of our guests, and to serve you honestly and efficiently. 

Let us make your next trip to our Los Angeles bed & breakfast the best experience you've ever had!

Inn at Playa del Rey - another gorgeous sunset from our balcony!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Secret Recipe: Inn at Playa del Rey's Banana Bread

A wise man once said, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”
George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Here at the Inn at Playa del Rey, we couldn’t agree more! We love cooking for our guests and feel a true sense of joy when they love what we make.

Below you will find our house favorite Banana bread. You may be asking yourself, "How is their banana bread different from the others?" To be honest...we have no idea! What we do know is that this recipe is absolutely delicious and easy to make!

Truth be told, it doesn't get much better than the smell of fresh banana bread wafting throughout your home! 

P.S. Don't forget to post a picture on our Facebook showing us how your banana bread came out!

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp Vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 10” Bundt or two 8” round cake pans with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until well incorporated. In a Ziploc bag or small bowl, mash the bananas with the baking soda and set aside. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter, mixing just until combined. Add 1/3 of the buttermilk to the butter, mixing just until combined. Add 1/3 of the banana mixture to the butter, mixing just until combined. Repeat steps 4 through 6 until all remaining ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape bowl to insure there are no butter chunks.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 35-45 minutes or until cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and continue to cool completely.

** Baking Tip** You can make your own buttermilk by combining one cup of milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice.  

Happy Baking!