There is nothing more summery or happier than the subject of today’s blog post. The summer after I graduated high school, before I started college, I took a summer job at one of the happiest places on earth. The Ivy Restaurant. For those who know about The Ivy, you know. You know how great it is. For those of you who don’t know, I’m gonna tell you how great it is.
How did I even know about The Ivy Restaurant all the way in West LA living in the boondocks of Malibu? My mother, of course. She was knee-deep in decorating our house and would spend most of her days at the Big Blue Whale, the design mecca of Los Angeles. When I wasn’t in school, my mother would take me with her to choose fabrics, furniture, flooring etc. After all of my hard work as a child slave, she would treat me to lunch at The Ivy as it was only a hop skip and jump away from The Design Center.
The Ivy is a little charming restaurant smack dab in the middle of everything that I hate about Los Angeles.… Trendy shops, flashy cars, paparazzi junkies, denim bars, giant boobs, inflated lips, spectacular egos, fake gilt and bad hardwood floors. If you can weed your way through all of that and get to The Ivy, your journey was worth it. The Ivy transports you to somewhere better… A combination of English country, French Provençal and Italian Dolce Vita.
My favorite part of the day was just before the customers arrived and lunch was served for the staff. Home-cooked, warm, homey, family-style lunches with all of the waiters, office staff and kitchen staff. Fresh fish with rice, grilled vegetables with herbs and of course The Ivy famous apple tarte tartin. After that, the circus began. I doubt there has never been a day when The Ivy has never been at full capacity. You just can’t beat its charm. Little brick cottage, aged picket fence, patio filled with well loved furniture, vintage French linens, terra-cotta pots filled with hot pink and red geraniums, little pots of violets. And roses roses roses!
The cozy interior painted with mustard yellow walls, blue willow platters on the walls, fireplace (even if it’s Southern California), cozy chairs and checks and florals everywhere. It’s basically the house of your well-traveled eclectic European great aunt. In reality, it’s the brainchild of owner Lynn Von Kersting and her husband, chef Ron Irving.
And then there is the menu! An eclectic mix of American and Italian cuisine which just translates to delicious. If you’re going to spend your whole day in superficial LA, you might as well start it right at The Ivy with organic coffee (of course) and a Santa Barbara Crab Benedict with Homemade Sriracha English Muffin with Herbed Hollandaise Sauce.
If I were you, after buying 14 pairs of skinny jeans at the neighborhood shops, head back to The Ivy for the best lunch in Los Angeles while repeating a few Hail Marys begging God to forgive you for your momentary lapse into “the scene” and your momentary questioning of, “Should I get Juvenderm?” Don’t beat yourself up too badly, we’ve all been there. If you didn’t crumble and buy the quintessential “I might be a prostitute” Louboutin 8 inch high heels, reward yourself with the natural beef hamburger with, bacon, brie, and crispy basil on a homemade sun-dried tomato brioche bun with truffle French fries and garlic-basil aioli (but only after you’ve had the famous Ivy crabcakes). Wash all of this down with The Ivy gimlet made with vodka, fresh lime and homegrown mint. Or try my husband’s favorite Cajun Bloody Mary with fiery red and green peppers grown in the restaurant’s garden. My daughter Gracie’s favorite is the made-to-order Caesar salad. I don't care if you are a supermodel or a movie star, it would be a sin to forgo the desserts. Homemade Profiteroles with homemade pistachio, caramel, and praline gelato with house specialty hot fudge sauce. And don’t forget that Apple Tarte Tartin.
One thing I wish I would have bought and dragged to Paris with me is The Ivy dinnerware. Hand-painted florals on earthy ceramic. Couldn’t be more charming.
If you love the look of this whole restaurant, you will be pleased to know that just next door, yes next door, you can basically “shop the look” at the Ivy owned, Indigo Seas shop. I like to call this “my happy place.” An explosion of color and cultures, Indigo Seas will brighten any mood. Turquoise linen chairs, hot pink pillows, red metal buckets filled with bougainvillea, vintage paintings, eclectic accessories and everything you might need to bring The Ivy home to you. Indigo Seas’ Instagram account is candy for your eyes! Follow HERE. Take a look.
But wait, there’s more, the good just keeps getting better. The Ivy also has another restaurant at the beach called, surprise, Ivy at the Shore.
There is also a darling Ivy owned sidewalk café, Dolce Isola, where you can pop in for a delicious well priced lunch and mouthwatering desserts in the same Ivy environment.
Even if you’ve been to The Ivy once or 1000 times, it never loses its charm. My dream would be to reserve the whole restaurant, invite all y’all, have one too many Gimlet’s, order one of everything on the menu and then go next door and blow all of my money on furniture and accessories at Indigo Seas.
Sound like a plan?www.theivyrestaurants.com