Which is why, when walking into the Viceroy Santa Monica, a sophisticated and contemporary chic hotel on the footsteps of an legendary landmark, I could close my eyes and still smell the scent of the ocean close by. A beach hotel and resort, it was gilded in coastal accessories, right from the sand dipped driveway to the blue and white themed interiors. Wasting no time with a suite by the water, I whisked myself to the sandy oceans, hoping to catch the sunsets in the City of Angels before they sank into the iconic oceans.
With an aversion to crowds and an oxymoronic love for salty sea air, breezes and water, I found myself craving the poolside for idle chatter with a comrade. The pool at the Viceroy was an ideal location, complete with black and white tiled walls covered in porcelain plates, and horse heads as barricades in a rocky, sandy terrain.
While closed off to the world, we could hear the motion behind the lush green and shimmering fortress-like fence, and inhale the salt air that kissed us and the sophisticated ambiance. It was meant for people watching, which is why we perched ourselves in the bright sunlight, adorning quirky sunglasses and relishing the sights.
The scent at the time was meaty, owing to a year round season of barbecues. With an appetite for fresh, healthy bites in the scorching sun, I personally started off with a kale juice, proving to the naysayers that I was truly an LA boy.
With kale, apple, lemon, ginger and celery, this was a tangy, healthy and nutritious sip, which I gobbled while savoring the sunny skies.
Starting with pita and a mix of gouda and goats cheeses, we literally felt the cheese melting as the temperatures rose. Not phenomenal but not atrocious, it was a staple portion of carbs and proteins which we saved a bit of for the next dish.
The dish itself was called shakshouka, an Israeli Tunisian dish made with tomatoes, onions, chilis, and topped with poached eggs. Sans the protein, it was like the masala base of many North Indian meals I had rejoiced over before. Tangy and very natural tasting, it begged for a dab or rice, which was made up for with the simmering pita.
Lastly, with a tribute to healthy eating, I ordered my staple quinoa salad. This one came in a bowl, with quinoa mixed with chia seeds, cooked kale, and topped very simply with poached eggs and black pepper.
Thankfully sans saccharine dressing, the runny egg yolks acted as the fluid to bind it all into a savory bite.
As the sun began to drench us in its heat, we made the most of the area. For the Viceroy was located walking distance from Santa Monica Beach, the promenade, the open air shopping area, and the bohemian Main street. While veering clear of the crowded Santa Monica Pier at midday, we eventually made it back to rest in open window breezes before venturing out into the nightlife of Los Angeles.
And even by night, the shore breezes and scent of salt kissed skin remained.
Like an indulgent memory.