Playing host and home to the Academy Awards, this town vibrates with excitement (Editor's note: Or something, depending on your thoughts re 9/11 and Hawaiian shirts, Harvey Weinstein and whether or not you, too, wanted a refund after seeing The Artist, as did some folks in Liverpool) by the end of February. We all fancy an escape into the pictures. Maybe you're Peppy, enjoying a glamorous rise to fame, or Minny, sticking it to your employers, or you're whiling the night away with Zelda Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein.
The closest you may get to your favorite characters is through their stomachs. Check out these restaurants, bars, and clubs to get a flavor of this year's Best Picture nominations. (In alphabetical order, if you're wondering.) Some were directly inspired by food in the film, others capture the ambiance of the set. Take a bite. Drink up. Get lost. And don't forget to thank the Academy.
9. The Artist:
Drink at: The Edison
The Inspiration: The place you'd most likely see George Valentin seeking out a gin cocktail. A theatrical soul will feel at home amongst well-appointed props and exposed bulbs. 108 W. Second St., downtown; (213) 613-0000.
8. The Descendents:
Eat at: Back Home in Lahaina
The Inspiration: Hawaiian Music and Laulau barbecue pork inch you closer to the Pacific paradise. Now if only it could inch you closer to George Clooney. Right. 916 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Manhattan Beach; (310) 374-0111.
7. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close:
Eat at: Tomato Pie Pizza Joint
The Inspiration: Thin-crust, East Coast pies so good they will send you searching for clues to why you took so long to find them. 2457 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 661-6474.
6. The Help:
Eat at: Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles
The Inspiration: Sweet, savory and soulful. You know Roscoe's is doing one thing right — it's fried chicken, perfect every time. 1514 N. Gower St., Hollywood; (323) 466-7453.
Eat at: Proof Bakery
The Inspiration: It may not be in a train station, but the croissants at Proof are so good you'd steal them too, if pressed. 3156 Glendale Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 664-8633.
4. Midnight in Paris:
Drink at: The Varnish
The Inspiration: If you want to experience a different era in downtown Los Angeles, the best place to do it is at the Varnish. Cross the threshold and spend the night lost in time. Or, after a few too many, maybe just lost. 118 E. Sixth St., downtown; (213) 622-9999.
Eat at: Vicious Dogs
The Inspiration: What would America's favorite pastime be without a decent dog? How can you not get romantic about baseball? How can you not get romantic about hot dogs? (Yeah, yeah. Brad Pitt, too. Or Philip Seymour Hoffman, really.) 5231 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood; (818) 985-3647.
2. Tree of Life:
Eat at: Carolyn's Kitchen
The Inspiration: Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Every meatloaf and mashed potato. 853 E. Manchester Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 585-1660.
1. War Horse:
Drink at: Waterloo and City
The Inspiration: We weren't going to dish out trench rations or send you to the nearest trough. Instead, knock back a pint of Samuel Smith and be grateful for times of plenty, i.e., anything Brendan Collins feels like putting on the menu.12517 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 391-4222.