I’m not a fancy ritzy spa day girl. Not that I don’t enjoy the luxuries of pampering (I sure do), but it’s more about the ludicrous cost versus benefit for me. Disregarding the ambiance factor, I would gladly choose a $20 full body massage at an Asian “foot” massage parlor over a $200 massage at a fancy shmancy spa. Nevertheless, I had a certificate for Burke Williams so I happily made an appointment to see what the fuss was all about.
I started the day with an early morning run with Harley to get my cardio out of the way. He’s sticking his tongue out at the camera but he’s having fun and he loves to check out the waves. After we successfully avoided all dogs for Harley attack, I whipped up a batch of my paleo huevos rancheros style eggs and began the trek to LA.
I found my way easily to the spa and entered the lobby behind 3 other women before me. I only had to wait five minutes or so before I was given a key to a locker and led into the women’s spa. Of course, the first thing I noticed was a table with small tasters of a smoothie, beautiful bananas and apples and watermelon-lemon infused water. Delightful! I had a sample of each…a couple samples.
Inside my locker was a soft cotton robe with rubber slippers which I contently slipped into. I grabbed a complimentary aromatherapy towel and headed to the steam room. I will say that the combination of the aromatherapy towel over my face while lying in the hot steam was pretty amazing. Every breath felt refreshing, reviving, and cleansing. I could still smell and feel the aromatherapy essences well after I left the steam room. I headed to the (non-silent) Jacuzzi after drinking some infused water and soaked for a few minutes before I lost interest and headed back to the changing area to shower and prepare for the grand event. I was a fan of having any toiletry openly available for use at your disposable – razors, shaving cream, facial moisturizer, body lotion, hair mousse, hair spray, even hair straighteners and curling irons!
I put my robe back on, headed to the waiting room and sipped on some apple spiced green tea while I waited eagerly for my name to be called. Finally an older Swedish woman came into the room and announced that she was “looking for Melody”, me! She led me up the stairs to my massage room and asked me what I would like her to focus on and to which I responded “everything”. The room was nice and dimly lit and I snuck a few pumps of the lotion before I slipped under the blanket and onto the table. I reveled in every muscle she soothed and all of the knots she worked out. I tend to carry a lot of tension in my neck so it was much needed! It was the perfect pressure, with just enough so you don’t feel like you’re only getting lotion rubbed on your back yet not enough to feel like you’re getting murdered via table pounding.
I dreaded the final smooth down and towel pat but eventually all good things come to an end and I was left with the tingly calm sensation that they call relaxation. My massage was amazing and I enjoyed every second of it but I couldn’t help thinking about the fact that I could have gotten the same end result with paying 10% of the price. My mom takes me to these Asian foot massage spa parlors (found anywhere near large Asian populations – we hit the ones in San Gabriel) where you pay $20-$25 and the place you in large, plush recliners and give you a foot soak/massage then recline you flat for a full body massage for 1 hour…neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, feet…the works! You won’t get the waterfall trickle and saunas that you’d find at a high-end spa but if you’re looking for a no-frills massage, this is the way to go. Depending where in LA I am, I tend to frequent these parlors (yes, I have a frequent customer punch card):
Southbay Foot Massage – 2421 190th Street, Redondo Beach, CA 90278; phone: (310) 379-3668
Lucky Foot Spa – 1039 E Valley Blvd, Ste B113, San Gabriel, CA 91776; phone (626) 572-0588
After showering with four shower heads and an unlimited supply of conditioner (and swiping a razor in my bag because that’s how I roll…and hey, I paid $200 for it), I headed to Venice to meet some girlfriends for brunch at the Sunny Spot, one of my favorite lunch spots with magical décor and a killer outdoor patio. This time I ordered the Diablo Shrimp and Grits (2 eggs any style, spicy rum sauce, garlic butter, herbs) which were good but didn’t quite meet my expectations. The grits and sauce were on the plain side and could have used more spice and flavor but I still managed to consume every last bite. Of course I also had to have a side of their delicious Yucca Fries with their banana basil ketchup which is to die for. I’ve had their Pork Belly Sandwich (garlic aioli, pickled cucumber, cilantro, pineapple, butter lettuce), Half Jerk Chicken (jerk sauce, grilled pineapple) and the MUH-F KN Mofongo and Eggs (2 eggs any style, mashed ripple plantains, applewood bacon, fennel, garlic, rum, cilantro, chili vinegar, ginger oil) which were all mind blowing. For all of you boozers, they also have a $15 bottomless mimosa, bloody mary or sunny rum punch offer until 4:00 pm with the purchase of any main plate!
I headed east with my full belly to pay a visit to the fam…and also learned the “Little Apple Dance” from my mom. Apparently it’s all the rage in Asia 😉