Welcome to Los Angeles. We’re glad to have you. No, I mean it.

I’m especially glad Blogworld takes place in downtown LA because that’s where my heart and office is. And that’s where it’s happening in Los Angeles right now. I thought I give you some pointers to make it easier for you to find good places to drink, eat, connect, network and meet other fabulous Angelenos and Blogworlders.

Let’s start with transportation:

Cabs: Your best bet is to call one from your hotel. Not all hotels offer taxi service and it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to get a cab on the street. (Zoning restrictions). If you stay in downtown, you can almost walk everything and it’s pretty safe. If you decided to spend time outside of downtown, make sure to ask your waiter to call you a cab. Or you’ll never get home.

Subway: Yes,we have one. Actually, quite a few lines. The one that might interest you is the Red Line, connecting downtown LA with Hollywood. It’s faster than any cab, very cheap ($1.50 one-way) and clean. 7th Street/Metro Center is the closest to the Convention Center, it’ll just take you 10 minutes to be in Hollywood. If you want to explore Hollywood Blvd., exit at Hollywood/Vine and walk towards Hollywood/Vineland. (Chinese Theatre/Roosevelt Hotel). If you have to go to Hollywood, don’t miss out on the oldest restaurant: Musso & Frank. Raymond Chandler meets Martin Scorcese meets Charles Bukowski. The drinks are stiff, the steaks perfectly aged and the waiters have served Humphrey Bogart. Don’t miss out.

Breakfast

Bottega Louie: French-style restaurant. Humongous, impeccable and tasty. They serve Intelligentsia coffee (my favorite) and the prices are decent. Don’t expect huge portions but unless you’re used to Grand Slam fill-ups, it should be good enough to get you started. Bottega Louie is also open for lunch/dinner but the acoustics are not good when it fills up (like a huge market) and the later it gets, the pricier it will be.

Nickel Diner: If you’re more interest in a filling breakfast, check out Nickel Diner. It’s a hipster diner with style. Definitely order the maple-glazed donut.

Original Pantry: It’s a LA legend – the restaurant that never closes. Owned by former mayor Dick Riordan, it’s  landmark of portions that can satisfy a family of 10. Don’t show up too late: there’s a line. Sometimes even around the block. (cash only)

Lunch

Philippe’s: There’s only one restaurant in that category because you can’t beat Philippe’s french-dip sandwich. Pure old school goodness. Stand in line to place for your order. Family, bench-style seating. Coffee for $0.10. Heavenly lemonade for $0.50. Cole Slaw. Pickled Eggs. Pies. Heaven on Earth. And a taste of old LA. Take a cab there. Too far too walk. Added bonus: After your lunch, cross the street and check out Union Station. You’ll recognize the interior from three gazillion movies. Super-duper bonus: Cabs will at be your service at Union Station to take you back to the convention center. (cash only)

Drinks (don’t forget: last call at 1.30am)

The Edison: No competition: the coolest bar in town. It used to be a power-generating plant in the early 1900’s and was renovated a few years back. When you go down the stairs, you feel like you’re going back in time 90 years,  right back into the roaring twenties. Go early (they open at 5pm), dress up a bit (no sneakers/soccer shirts) and enjoy the happy hour deals. It’s an experience not to be missed. Oh, and since you’re close to Little Tokyo, explore that nice little area, enjoy a sake or a great dinner at my favorite Japanese place, Hama Sushi.

The Varnish: No competition: best cocktails you’ll ever have in your life. It’s a prohibition era speakeasy, at the back of Cole’s restaurant (Left door, walk until the end and look for a door with a small martini glass on it.) My tip: Don’t order cocktails, ask the bartender to prescribe them for you. It opens at 8pm. You have 6 hours to drink in heaven. And, if you’re into tequila, stumble across the street to Las Perlas, a bar dedicated to the art of creating cocktails with tequila and mezcal. Worth a shot. Or five.

Spring Street Bar: For the beer lover in you. 26 beers on tap, gastro-pub food, communal table, outside seating area. A good way to start the evening.

Dinner

The Perch: Gorgeous view. Couches, desks, dark wood accents and high ceilings. You can have a drink at the bar or have dinner outside ( reservations highly recommended). French fare, a bit overpriced but you pay for the experience. And what an experience it is.

Patina: More of an expense-account restaurant, still worth mentioning. Great setting, amazing food, perfect service, somehow pricey. A good way to impress your date, client or me. (In case you need company.)

Sugarfish: The best Sushi place outside of Little Tokyo. Order the Trust me menu, it’s worth your anxiety. Great sushi, americanized service and nice ambiance. You can’t go wrong.

More in the mood for Korean or Chinese food? Koreatown and Chinatown are just a 15-minute cab ride away. Shoot me a line, I can give you some pointers.

Providence: This is by far the best restaurant in town. (20 minute cab ride) It’s pricey and worth every penny. If, for some reason, you have the occasion, money and company for this special palace, don’t hesitate to go. And, if you’re grateful for this post, I wouldn’t mind joining you. Thank you for picking up the bill.

Hopefully, these few ideas will make your Blogworld experience more valuable and you’ll learn to love Los Angeles. Like the 15 million Angelenos around you. (And, don’t hesitate to DM me at @uwehook if you have any questions.)