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Where to get a $600 shot of whiskey in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles, the two largest private employers aren’t MGM or CBS, but Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals — unwelcome news for the city’s underemployed actors. After California became the first state to enact legislation under Obamacare, hospitals in LA have moved quickly to get ahead of pending reforms. “LA is kind of the leader of the pack,” says Chicago-based healthcare consultant Shannon Cooper. “They’re ready to embrace reform and try new ideas, and see if that brings more revenue and better assistance for patients.” As a professional-services manager for healthcare consultancy MedeAnalytics, Cooper is in LA often to advise hospitals on performance and revenue management.

Airport

“I try to fly into Burbank if I can,” says Cooper. The regional airport is about 25 minutes from downtown, more or less the same as Los Angeles International, but Cooper finds security and car rental quicker and easier at the smaller Burbank. “It’s one of those airports where you can see the gates from the security line.” But unlike LAX, Burbank has no direct flights from Chicago. “That’s the tradeoff.”

Getting Around

Although more than a million people ride the LA’s Metro each weekday, the city still nurses a reputation for being unnavigable by public transit. “I personally always rent a car,” says Cooper, whose visits often include side trips to Pasadena and Santa Monica. “But if you’re just staying downtown and doing business downtown, it might be better to take a cab in from the airport.”

Hotels

“I’m definitely a chain hotel person.” Cooper has platinum status with Starwood Hotels, and likes to use it at the chain’s Westin Bonaventure in downtown LA or the Sheraton Delfina in Santa Monica. “The Sheraton is closer to the beach and has a chic Jonathan Adler vibe.” The Bonaventure is “more traditional,” with a revolving lounge and steakhouse on the top floors. “It’s cool to get views of downtown LA from that perspective.”

Dining and Drinking

“My absolute favorite restaurant is the Tasting Kitchen in Venice,” says Cooper. “It’s reasonably priced for the LA area, and it’s pretty phenomenal food.” The avant-French restaurant changes its one-page menu daily, and Cooper is especially enamored of the seasonal craft cocktail list. “I’m a whiskey woman,” she explains. If she’s staying downtown, Seven Grand, a bar right around the corner from the Bonaventure, has “every whiskey and bourbon you’ve ever seen.” The list includes a half-shot of Macallan 55-year, priced at $600. “Obviously, that’s my order every time.”