While we don't have most of the answers you recent graduates are looking for, we can tell you where to eat and drink on that special day … provided you're in the greater Los Angeles area. We're not much help if you just graduated from Transylvania University, which is actually located in Lexington, KY.
CASA DEL MAR
1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica
We finally made our first foray to the gorgeous Casa Del Mar. Correction, we made our first foray to Casa Del Mar while wearing fake moustaches.
Our friend was on a date with his ex, and we worried that if the date sank, our friend would be sinking into the Pacific after leaping off one of Casa's scenic vistas. So, we donned our upper-lip disguises and hurried off to perform a reconnaissance mission.
We found seats at the bar, complete with a clear view of our friend's table, and took in our surroundings. The consensus: we were a few decades younger than most of the clientele.
We drank way too much whiskey. We also drank gratuitous amounts of tequila thanks to the friendly bartenders, two gentlemen who obviously respected the moustaches.
FORD'S FILLING STATION
9531 Culver Blvd., Los Angeles
While most families were taking photos of graduate with Mom, graduate with Dad, graduate next to school mascot flashing the “we're No. 1” gang sign, I was at the store getting a keg. My recommendation to you, recent grad, is to follow my example.
That being said, if you venture the normal route, Ford's Filling Station in Culver City is a more than fitting place to take your family.
THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY
189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles
A recent pretend-graduation lunch at The Cheesecake Factory made us realize two very important things: One, we still act like we're in college. Two, we really like primate-themed beverages.
Even the elixirs without mammal monikers were amazing, especially the Georgia Peach and the Caribbean Cooler. The Georgia Peach had real raspberries blended into it, and while we were privy to the home of the peaches, the raspberries hailed from parts unknown.
We split three dishes, all of which were really good, and all of which were chicken. While our variety, or lack thereof, was merely coincidental, we made peace with it because we ran the gamut from fancy chicken to chicken with pasta to chicken that is actually on the Jack In The Box menu.
The appetizers were hit or miss, as the Tex Mex tasted like the kind of thing we microwave at 3:18 a.m. while watching old episodes of “Scrubs.” We love “Scrubs.” We also love the Fried Macaroni and Cheese balls. If you're in the mood for spherical appetizers, I highly recommend them.
1000 Gayley Ave., Westwood
If by chance you're graduating from UCLA, you're pretty much required to have your last round of collegiate drinks at O'Hara's. The last time we went, the place was packed with revelers celebrating UCLA's water polo something.
We don't know much about water polo, except that it involves speedos and not aquatic horses. Regardless, if the bar could be that packed to celebrate water polo, imagine the crowd that will gather to celebrate growing up.
Frankie and Mike are two of the best bartenders around, and not only do they get you liquored up with the best of them, they both have excellent “leans.”
To those who are not familiar with the term, the “lean” is the bartender's ability to rest their hands on the bar or hold onto something above them in order to look really cool. Come in, celebrate and admire their “leans.”