Blame it on the movies and those darn Simpsons for highlighting how adorbs the Volkswagen Beetle is. So how appropriate for my trip to Los Angeles that I managed to score one—and in black too. Snug in my very own Beetle, a convertible to boot, I hit the road.
Since I was crashing with a friend for a couple of nights, I punched in her address and headed over to Ladera Heights as the Fender Premium Audio System made my frenzied switch between Sirius SM stations sound good every time. Handling was cool. Zipping in and out of traffic was a breeze. Parking was even better. On top of that, the Beetle and I looked good.
That night I was wiped out and couldnâ€™t get up to check out Fabolous and Pusha T. Well-rested, the next day, I settled in for a long overdue mani/pedi. Later that night, it was off to dinner. Now my friend wasnâ€™t too keen on the Beetle but dug it more once inside. Who doesnâ€™t love alternating between red and blue lighting? Plus the sound system also surprised her.
She wasnâ€™t digging our restaurant being vegan either but was game. Crossroads Kitchen or Crossroads, as everyone calls it, is all the rage, mainly because its culinary whiz, Tal Ronnen, has whipped up some vegan goodies for Ellen and Oprah. A still relatively new spot, Crossroads offers the tasty vegan fare that one-time carnivores and current ones can appreciate. The â€œcrab cakesâ€ and â€œwood-fired meaty lasagnaâ€ are musts. You just wonâ€™t believe the lasagna is made with nut cheese! And, on top of that, they have cocktails. A Melrose Mule anyone?
The next day was more lax. I left my homegirl to check into my hotel but we met up later to kick it at the Beverly Connection. TJ Maxx was opening and, apparently, there are plenty of Maxxinistas in La La land. Another friend hit me for dinner and I was late because I didnâ€™t leave the parking lot in enough time after paying and they hit me with another fee so I had to scramble to find my card to pay it. Ugh.
Finally, me and the Beetle headed to Downtown L.A. to Artisan House where we eventually found free street parking. Dining was al fresco and I had an amazing chopped kale salad. Now the transition from â€œskid rowâ€ to â€œritzy rowâ€ isnâ€™t complete so, if you canâ€™t handle some unsolicited friendliness, definitely take it inside.
It was the official launch of On the Vine, a concert fundraiser on Marthaâ€™s Vineyard in August for live-saving kidney research targeting African Americans, at the beautiful H.O.M.E. in Beverly Hills the next night. The Tony Rich Project and Miri Ben-Ari performed plus Malinda Williams, Howard Hewett, Joi, John Salley and a few others were also on hand.
Sadly, the next morning, it was time to bid L.A. and the VW Beetle adieu. Navigation took me through some pretty tumultuous traffic but, in L.A., there arenâ€™t many ways to avoid it but I still made my flight.
Somehow I forgot to put that top down during my joy-riding, but I didnâ€™t miss that the Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible, with leather seating, navigation, killer sound and XM, starts at roughly $32,000 while delivering about 21 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. For me, I think it makes the perfect gift for that stellar high school or college graduate. But, then again, thereâ€™s nothing wrong with being all cutesy in a Beetle.