Photography by Trevor Smith

Rose Apodaca

Co-Founder, A + R

| Glassell Park

Rose Apodaca sends annual holiday cards, but hers don’t come at Christmas. “Our family sends out Valentine’s Day cards instead; I love the idea of sending a bit of love and well wishes when it’s a little less expected,” she tells us as we admire last year’s note— a family portrait of her, her husband, Andy, and their daughter, Nina, “jamming out” in various David Bowie paraphernalia— now taped to her dining room wall. Yep, that’s just one of the reasons that makes Apodaca so rad. Ask any fellow Angeleno (really, she seems to be Kevin Bacon-like when it comes to the ol’ degrees of separation game), and we’re pretty sure you’ll get at least a handful more: accomplished writer and reporter, design doyen and dancing queen included. Indeed, in the past two decades, the California lifer has led the West Coast post of fashion bible Women’s Wear Daily WWD” (she was its Bureau Chief for six years), co-written a New York Times Bestseller with longtime friend, Dita Von Teese, and dreamt up and co-opened the now internationally-celebrated interior design mecca, A + R with her husband, Andy. We’d mention that her prose has graced the pages of major pubs like Harper’s Bazaar, Industrie, Cherrybombe and W too, but we likely already have Apodaca blushing… Born in Spain and raised in SoCal, she spent her youth, “soaking up rockabilly and the 80’s punk scene.” While her CSU Long Beach peers were scrambling for summer internships, she was working as a full-time reporter for the LA Times, covering everything from skateboarding and the underground music scene to local politics. Come 2005, her path would cross with the British film and video editor, Andy Griffith, and the rest reads more like fairytale than reality: within the year, the pair founded their modern design shop, A+R; and within two, they were married. Thanks to the couple’s incredible eye for the “finer” things, their design emporium is now known for discovering (and championing) rising contemporary designers around the globe— whether that be nouveau makers of furniture, objets or art. Off the clock however, Apodaca spends her weekends like the best of us: hitting her local farmer’s market and dancing ’til she drops…but, we’ll let her tell you more about that. We told you she was rad. Here, Apodaca sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on LA.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: Salazar in Frogtown (MAP IT, x) for sipping tequila and savoring all the side dishes and grilled meats; Trois Familia (MAP IT, x) for the delicious, unexpected French-Mex breakfast combos; Alimento (MAP IT, x) for a modern, intimate take on Italian (including its house-made pasta); I dream about the Thai-style deep fried chicken sandwich at Night + Market Song in Silver Lake (MAP IT, x)— it hurts so good; I don’t do lines at nightclubs or shops, but when it comes to croissants, Proof (MAP IT, x) makes the best around (in addition to a slew of other baked goods).

COFFEE OR TEA: My Brit expat husband starts us off daily with English tea. But, if I need a pick-me-up, it’s a “Sister Midnight” from Graffiti (*Location now closed), a shop across from my La Brea store; or, if I’m at the downtown A+R, I’ll drive by Blacktop on East Third (MAP IT, x) for a Flat White.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: While we don’t frequent it weekly like we used to as a childless couple, The Hungry Cat (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x) never disappoints— whether we’re there for Sunday brunch, a sneaky lunch away from A+R, or a late supper after a film at the Cinerama Dome (MAP IT, x) across the street (The Cat closes at 10 pm on weekdays— a rarity for LA).  It’s owned by chefs David Lentz and Suzanne Goin, though it’s the Baltimore-native David’s domain (we also adore Suzanne’s A.O.C. (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) and Lucques (MAP IT, BOOK ITx)). The concise, compact menu changes seasonally and it’s all consistently good, but if you can catch the clams with house-made chorizo, fresh shell beans, sofrito and braised wintergreens, don’t hesitate. (David posted a recipe here, but I dare not try it!)

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A Hendrick’s martini, straight up, two olives at The Varnish downtown (MAP IT, x), or the genuine, old-school Musso & Frank’s (MAP IT, BOOK ITx). My favorite bartender is Danielle Motor who works the petite, Art Deco bar in the piano-appointed lounge of the Chateau Marmont (MAP IT, x). In fact, I usually forgo my usual martini to try whatever Danielle has conjured up. We discovered Danielle during an earlier residency at The Hungry Cat; she then tended at Petit Trois (MAP IT, x) (owned by chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook, and Vinny Dotolo). She crafts her own mixes and other concoctions and contains them in beautiful vintage bottles… Oh, and she’s always dressed to slay. Look her up!

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: If we’re at the downtown A+R, we beeline for ERB (MAP IT, x)– it’s adjunct to Silver Lake Wine (MAP IT, x) with a kitchen helmed by James Beard winner Matt Molina (the small plates menu keeps one of us driving home sober). Also, All’Acqua (MAP IT, x) revels in two happy hours—one during the traditional 5-7 slot and another from 10-11; the cocktails and wine list are great, and we especially love the small plates (gateway deliciousness to the main courses) and the low-lit vibe of the place. Plus, situated in Atwater Village, it’s close to home and has parking.

LADIES LUNCH/DINNER: My ladies and I loved the twinkling light patio and French fare of Terrine, but they shocked everyone by announcing their closure on New Year’s Eve. Thankfully, The Black Cat in Silver Lake (MAP IT, x) is still thriving, and even last-minute, the bar is a great place for a satisfying bite and well-made cocktail over gossip. The Sunset Tower in Hollywood (MAP IT, x) also ranks at the top of our list for drinks over lunch or dinner, inside or poolside.

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: Too many places to list them all here, and it invariably depends on the visitor: a walk up one of the peaks of Griffith Park (x), with intermittent commentary about the native plants, Hollywood trivia and personal anecdotes about this sprawling landmark (much larger than Central Park!); lunch at Grand Central Market (MAP IT, x); a screening at the Silent Film Theater (MAP IT, x); or, if at all possible, a concert at The Hollywood Bowl (MAP IT, x), complete with a picnic and plenty of rosé. If we are really lucky and Lucha VaVoom or another one of my Eastside pals is staging one of their deliciously absurd variety shows somewhere, then that’s the place.

MUSIC PICK: I don’t have one favorite. I’ve been mainlining live music throughout this sprawl since I was a kid— from rockabilly and punk to the L.A. Philharmonic and big band. My go-to for dancing ‘til I drop is Saturday night at Giorgio’s with Adam Bravin, aka DJ Adam 12. It’s an intimate, weekly party co-helmed by Bryan Rabin at the tucked-away Mmhmmm Bar through the kitchen at The Standard Hollywood (MAP IT, x). Another favorite deejay is Daisy O’Dell, a regular of fashion and art parties.

BEST BRUNCH: Our Sunday ritual is the Hollywood Farmer’s Market (MAP IT, x). After collecting bags of produce, bread, eggs, meat and frozen tamales (artichoke from Corn Maiden!), we usually head to the restaurant there for a sit-down breakfast that is made from ingredients culled from the surrounding market.

HEALTHY STAPLE: The Sycamore Kitchen (MAP IT, x) if we’re at the La Brea store for a Mediterranean salad or veggie chili. It’s a market-driven spot that’s oh, so good!

GUILTY PLEASURE: Magpies in Silver Lake (MAP IT, x) for (yep) artisanal soft serve. Also, Andy and I love to steal away to Republique (MAP IT, BOOK ITx) and really go to town.

LA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Let’s just say they tend not to be on the radar of most Angelenos and it’s a crime: Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), The Museum of Jurassic Technology (MAP IT, x), The Downtown Independent Movie Theater (MAP IT, x) for special screenings, MAKCenter at the Schindler House (MAP IT, x) which is performance art to the house itself; Watts Towers (MAP IT, x); and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation (MAP IT, x) which reveals a life’s work of collecting by a modern art maniac… I could go on!

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The possibilities.

REGULAR AT: I’m a regular at most of the spots already listed here, but, we regularly frequent Skylight Books in Los Feliz (MAP IT, x).

FAMILY-FRIENDLY STAPLE: We love Button Mash in Echo Park (MAP IT, x)— from the cool interior design and quirky neo-Asian fusion food to the extensive collection of vintage arcade games that our 6-year-old daughter, Nina, is discovering. Also, we love just about anywhere that serves up sushi, as Nina has had a yen for salmon sashimi with an ikura chaser since she was a toddler; Little Tokyo has its share of great places, including Hama Sushi (MAP IT, x), which we like because the next door Japanese-style streetwear and vinyl record shops are open late (and Nina likes to stay up). There’s also Grand Central Market (see above), and the Trails Café at Griffith Park (MAP IT, x).

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: The nearest exit.

TO GET INSPIRED: For inspiration, I get lost in The Last Bookstore in downtown (MAP IT, x), or hit an artwalk in Chinatown, Culver City or downtown.

GO-TO GETAWAY: For a quasi-local getaway, we AirBnB a favorite place on the beach in Laguna. The owner is a friend and the former creative director of a major surf company, and the tiny seaside apartment is appointed in surf memorabilia and original works by the likes of Ray Pettibone.

CLOSET CHECK: Maybe it’s the Gemini in me, but I exercise several very “me” styles— from over-the-top vintage glam to minimalist modern— and I like to serve it up when feasible with all the goodies I’ve collected on my travels. For the glam, I might hit Recess (MAP IT, x), Decades (MAP IT, x), The Way We Wore (MAP IT, x), or one of the various seasonal markets such as A Current Affair (MAP IT, x). For modern basics, I like COS (MAP IT, x). Other favorites include Mohawk General (MAP IT, x) and George Esquivel (MAP IT, x) for shoes.

ACCESSORIES PICK: Mohawk General for ACB jewelry and Martiniano flats.

PREFERRED HOME DÉCOR: After a year of major overhaul designed in collaboration with our friend and architect, Barbara Bestor, we moved into our home in December 2015 determined to fill it with nearly everything from A+R (MAP IT, x). Why not, after all? If we love it enough to have it in our showroom, we certainly love it enough to live with it. We source new modern design from around the world. (We always say new, because in LA, modern can mean, “Mid-Century.”) Entertaining is a central part of our lives, and we like to be able to shift gears effortlessly so we zeroed in on pieces that can be moved around easily, that can be enjoyed in either a casual or glam way; dining inside or out; and intimately or with a rousing mass of friends, kids and dogs (and they are a rousing bunch!). The one exception is my home office, still leaning toward modern, but also filled with my glam goodies, fashion books and some vintage epherma.

DESIGNERS TO WATCH IN 2017: British designer Lee Broom; Spaniard Cristian Zuzunaga; Danish studio Norm Architects; Danish couple Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings always dazzle; and, while we don’t stock wallpaper, the Brooklyn dynamic duo Rachel and Nick Cope at Calico Wallpaper.

Everyone needs a dining table fit for dinner with family and friends, creating projects and dreams, and working when it comes to building their home.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: A+R, of course.

FOR HIM: For shoes and leather goods, George Esquivel on Third Street; for sustainably-made casual apparel, Industry of All Nations in Venice (MAP IT, x); and for bespoke suits, Klein Epstein & Parker in West Hollywood (MAP IT, x). 

FOR THE KIDS: Mostly always books– usually from Skylight or Vroman’s in Pasadena (MAP IT, x).

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: Aside from an entire lifetime of beauty DIY tips, insight and history contained in Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour, the book I creative directed and wrote with my longtime pal Dita Von Teese (it hit #2 on The New York Times bestseller list), I’ve remained pretty monogamous in the last 16 to 17 years to the talented team at Vidal Sassoon (MAP IT, x) for my cut and color, and to an annual facial with Kinara Skin (MAP IT, x)’s owner, Olga Lorencin (x). I’m also a frequent flier at a smattering of Korean spas and Thai massage salons in town.

FIT PICK: My fitness routine is just ensuring I’m fit to go out in public— be it a turban when my hair isn’t cooperating or a smear of red lipstick to blind ‘em away from any other visual hiccups. That said, when I do feel guilty for not having sweat in a while, I prefer disco dancing at home with the family or at Giorgio’s with friends.

ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: Except for birth in Madrid and a subsequent 5 months in Seattle, I’ve spent my life in Southern California, so the moments are daily. I’ll take one day out of the last week: breakfast of a French-style crepe folded over Mexican chorizo and a sunny-side egg at Trois Familia; followed by an afternoon stroll of the Rose Parade floats (including seeing the surfing dog on a float covered in fresh flowers and seeds); dining on a brown rice bowl topped with ingredients my husband picked up that day at the downtown sushi market; and capping the day with a Thai-Swedish massage at my neighborhood spot… Nothing fancy, or unusual for those of us who live here, but that is exactly why LA is so special. CP

Rose’s LA

Rose Map5

From L to R. First Row: Croissant from Proof; Vintage top at Recess; Fried Chicken Sandwich at Night + Market Song; Zuzunaga throws by Cristian Zuzunaga, available at A+R. Second Row: The Rose Parade; Tiny treasures from Vroman’s Bookstore; Hanging Chair by Lee Broom at A+R; Breakfast at Trois Familia.

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