Los Angeles

Esther Povitsky's Day Off at LAX Makes Travel Feel Relaxing

Through nutritious smoothies and comforting books, comedian and actor Esther Povitsky shows us all the tricks to make your airport time stress-free.

Thrillist/YouTube
Thrillist/YouTube
Thrillist/YouTube

The Los Angeles International Airport-or LAX, as everybody knows it-is definitely not a neighborhood, but one could say comedian and Dollface actor Esther Povitsky basically lives there.

Born and raised in the Midwest, Povitsky has resided in Los Angeles for the past 10 years, and as a stand-up comedian, she’s always traveling. Plus, she is “obsessed with visiting her parents,” she told Thrillist in a recent interview. Between all that, she’s constantly in and out of LAX.

LAX is not like any other airport. To Povitsky, it is the airport-as in, “the most annoying airport probably in the world.” You don’t need to look too far to find someone who will list the countless ways LAX is, in fact, difficult to navigate. But as Povitsky puts it, it’s a necessary evil. “I better make the best of it,” she said. “So that’s what I’m going to help you do.”

Povitsky knows all the LAX spots to make your airport time feel like a spa day rather than a trip to hell. In our series “Ride With Me” the co-creator of Alone Together helps us cleanse our body with a celebrity smoothie treatment, guides us into the magical world of an old-school candy shop, and dishes on her favorite airport habits to make every trip memorable.

Fasten your seatbelts and make sure your belongings are stored in the overhead compartment (except your winter coats, or Povitsky will come for you and tell you to leave room for everybody’s bags)-we’re flying to LAX!

Places to Eat & Drink

Border Grill
Border Grill is Povitsky’s favorite restaurant, and she doesn’t just mean in the airport. “This is the best chips and guac I have ever had,” she said. “A chips and guac situation is definitely my go-to on a flight”

Besides its Las Vegas and DTLA locations, Border Grill also has a little outpost in LAX, which, according to Povitsky, is “the greatest gift that mother aviation could have ever blessed us with.” Povitsky highly recommends their margarita and, of course, their guac. “It’s so nutritious, but also feels kind of naughty,” she said.

Earthbar
If you want to feel like an LA celebrity and maybe even spot one, Earthbar is where you want to be.

Earthbar has all you need for a real West Hollywood moment. Celebrities love to get their smoothies, acai bowls, and even supplements here. Povitsky has been getting the Earthbar Flax Master smoothie for years, and she keeps coming back for it.

Fun fact: One time, she met Jordyn Woods-Kylie Jenner’s on-again, off-again best friend-at the LAX Earthbar, and took a picture with her. “It was obviously worth it!” Povitsky said.

See’s Candies
LAX is made to travel places, but you can also travel in time. See’s Candies is an old-school candy shop that will take your taste buds back decades. “Normally an airport candy [store is] not worth your time,” Povitsky explains. “But See’s absolutely is. They are nailing it with the classic, old-school candy, and it’s so delicious!”

Her favorite pick? Definitely their lollipop. When she and her team were writing Alone Together, they were “addicted” to the lollipops. “It’s a really great thing to grab and take with you wherever you’re going and hand them out to people,” she said. “They’ll just make people happy.”

Things to Do

Book Soup
Book Soup is a cute and comforting reading oasis. In addition to LAX, the bookstore has another location in West Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, but it can be hard to reach because of all the traffic. In LAX, you can find the same vibe without having to deal with all that.

Their curated selection offers books that you wouldn’t normally find at a Hudson News-type place. Plus, reading on a flight gives huge main character vibes. “I grew up in the Midwest,” Povitsky said. “So even though I’ve been in LA for 10 years, I’m still always chasing that feeling like a LA movie star and you’re just popping on a flight, you want to grab a little light reading for your time.”

If you’re unsure what to pick, definitely go with a celebrity biography. “Bring out the superstar in you and get inspired on that flight,” Povitsky said. “Because you got a long trip!”

MAC Cosmetics
Scratch the amazing food joints, the candies, and even the celebrity smoothies. Povitsky’s favorite place on the list is MAC Cosmetics. She loves having a little makeup store within LAX, and if she has a little extra time, she’ll make sure to stop by and get something new for her trip.

Whatever she decides to buy, the pre-trip purchase will always associate the makeup with that destination. “That’s just a fun little way to have a travel memory,” she said.

Do you need some skincare tips for traveling? Say no more. Povitsky has your back. “I always wear sunscreen and moisturizer on the flight because you never know,” she said. “If [you] got that sun on you, you got to be prepared!”

And don’t forget to spend that cash and drink plenty of water. “Even though I’m spending like $8 for my Smartwater, I just do it every time,” Povitsky said. “I know that I’m going to feel so much better when I land if I’ve really just banged out a big ass Smartwater.”Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Wil Fulton is a Senior Development Producer and Podcast Host/Producer at Thrillist. For more info, you’ll have to do a free background check. Follow him @wilfulton.

Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

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