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Karen Salkin Out to Lunch

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WEST ADAMS HERITAGE SOCIETY TOUR

There are few things I love more than an enlightening new experience accompanied by good food. Well, that’s exactly what the West Adams Heritage Association’s Historic Homes Tour offers. And it wins the prize for Best Event I Attended All Year.

house tour
Karen and the fabulous Brian Perry checking in to the WAHA Homes Tour
My fabulous hairdresser, Brian “Shy Guy” Perry, and I, two of the busiest people I know, made time for the 20th Annual Holiday Tour at the beginning of December, and we’re both so thankful that we did. It was the perfect respite from a particularly hectic time of year; peaceful, informative, fun, and delicious. Who could ask for more? And, luckily for you who missed it, they conduct one in the Spring, too, so you don’t have to wait a whole year for your chance to enjoy it.

I’m always fascinated by interesting architecture, so this was my exact cup of tea. I’ve lived on the west side of Los Angeles since I was a teen-ager, and never even knew of the existence of this area! Shame on me. It’s not to be missed.

Here’s how the tour worked: About twenty-five of us checked-in at one of the elegant, period residences, got cute pins to identify us as part of the group, and met our “shepherd.” Then, over the next three hours, he guided us around the beautiful Victoria Park area of Los Angeles, stopping occasionally to point out interesting abodes, such as the home used in “LA Confidential.”

We visited five other homes, and ate in each one. More on the food later. Each house had several docents in it, who pointed out items of interest, (i.e. furniture, stained-glass, secret rooms), as well as answered our individual questions, as we were encouraged to roam the homes on our own, within the allotted time. BTW, these are occupied residences, which makes the tour that much more interesting.

One of the best parts, to me, was seeing how others decorate for the holidays. These all looked like movie sets! I’m still floored that there are people who deck the halls more than I do! Where do they find the time??? I wanted to befriend each homeowner, so I can visit on a regular basis. Maybe I’m the reason they had many police officers on the streets in the area. And I thought it was just for the peace of mind of the tour-takers. Now I realize it was probably for the protection of the homeowners, too. Good thing they don’t conduct this kind of thing on my block. Mr. X and I run and hide when our doorbell rings, even if we’re expecting someone! So I’m especially impressed with people who are generous enough to welcome strangers, with open arms, no less.

At the second home (after the meeting place), we had champagne and sparkling apple cider, and four incredible passed appetizers. They were so tasty that I inquired who the caterer was. Turns out, the volunteers made it all! Who are these people?! And why was the food better than half the caterers in town???

The third home brought us famous Stickley furniture…and pear-fennel soup. I loved it so much that I’m still craving it three weeks later.
stained glass window
Stained Glass Window in
The Soup House


“The Salad House,” (the program refers to the homes by the course we were enjoying in each one), was my favorite, both for the Christmas decorations and basic appointments. The rooms were unique, too. It reminded me of my great-uncles’ home in an historic section of Brooklyn, which was my most creative play spot growing up. The owner’s Golden Books collection just added to that image.

The next-to-last edifice had all the main floor furniture removed and replaced with several round dining tables. We had a full sit-down dinner! Not a buffet; we were totally waited on. (They should bring some of the worst waiters in town here for a crash course in how to do their jobs. Oh, wait, there wouldn’t be room for them all!)
christmas tree
Christmas Tree in the Salad House

And the last house was the most modern and inviting. We had cake and coffee, (or tea, in my case,) by the gorgeous newly-built pool, with heater lamps, which made it just perfect. The lovely owners even had a table full of pictures of their renovation process, which I think they said they did in just seven months, which must be a record for what they accomplished.

We wanted to linger, as everyone else was doing, but Brian being the much-in-demand stylist that he is, had to be at a photo shoot soon, so we, unfortunately were the first to leave. I have a feeling some of our fellow tour members are still there! And I don’t blame them one bit.

And, lastly, as icing on the cake, (so to speak, since there was plenty of the real thing on the dessert), we got a cute little goodie bag on the way out! What a lovely touch. And, it featured a cookbook of what we just ate. Now, if some of those volunteers could just come over and cook it for me, I’d be all set. Until the next WAHA tour, that is.

WAHA Hotline (323) 732-4223 www.WestAdamsHeritage.com

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