MODERN LUXURY ORANGE COUNTY

ACROSS THE POND – AND BACK AGAIN by Leslie Paxton

Marissa Hermer hit celebrity status with the Ladies of London – then her SoCal roots called her home.

When Marissa Hermer (marissahermer.com) of Bravo’s Ladies of London moved back to SoCal earlier this year, she dressed her three young kids and herself in proper English attire (her boys in button-down shirts, trousers and dress shoes) for an outing on the Santa Monica Pier, where visitors typically aren’t known for their sartorial splendor. “I experienced such a level of culture shock,” says Hermer, “which is ridiculous, since I grew up here.”

Hermer did, indeed, spend her childhood in Laguna and Newport before heading off to Middlebury College in Vermont. After graduation, she began a public relations career that took her to New York and London, where she met English restaurateur and nightclub owner Matt Hermer. She moved to London in 2009 and became a key part of the family business. She eventually opened her own restaurant, Top Dog.

Then in 2014, Ladies of London came calling. She declined the offer several times. Then Matt asked, “Why don’t you do it?” She starred in all three seasons (the show ended in 2016), with her high-risk pregnancy (Sadie is doing fine) providing nail-biting drama on the final season. The pregnancy – which allowed her few activities other than cooking – also provided fodder for her newly published cookbook, An American Girl in London ($17, Rodale), featuring traditional British favorites with a healthy California twist.

The family spent several summer vacations in Newport Beach, and then planned a six-month stay in the Pacific Palisades, which quickly became permanent. While they still own restaurants and a home in London, plans are in the works now to open dining establishments in West L.A. and O.C.

In the meantime, Hermer enjoys frequent jaunts back to O.C. – her mom lives in Newport; her dad in Laguna Beach – breakfast at the Penguin Cafe in Laguna, a Fun Zone afternoon on Balboa with the kids or a sunset Duffy cruise around Newport Harbor with chips, guacamole and Coronas. “The West Coast is home now,” she says. “I love the change in lifestyle, that we’re right on the ocean and I have sand in my toes.”

 

AUTHORS NIGHT WITH HAMPTONS MAGAZINE

It seemed to fit that my final official press stop for my An American Girl in London: 120 Nourishing Recipes for Your Family from a Californian Expat was in the Hamptons – Matt and I were married in Southhampton seven years ago, so to celebrate the book that I wrote out of love for the food I cook for him and our family in the Hamptons was an honour and also special. And of course, it was a very good excuse to ask my mom to stay with the kids for the weekend and to escape with Matt for a few days without children (whoop whoop!) We could almost pretend that we were honeymooners!

Matt and I arrived to the Authors Night tents to find that I was sat next to Florence Fabricant (my 21-year-old NYC-restaurant-PR-girl-self was passing out with excitement) and I took my place and started meeting some of the 2,500 attendees. I always love meeting fans of Ladies of London as most of the time, everyone is incredible supportive of the adventure that my family shared on Bravo, and it was a great opportunity to meet some new fans of my book – and share some of my favourite recipes. AND Florence even bought a copy of my book (again, passing out with excitement). And to top it all off, this wasn’t an ordinary book signing, but all proceeds went directly to the East Hampton Library, which you can see, I love libraries (not sure if you can actually see or hear – please tell me this was a bad microphone and I don’t always sound this squeaky). I edited most of my book in the Newport Beach Public Library last summer – and now I often hide myself away in the Pacific Palisades Public Library. There is something contagious about that feeling of productivity and *work* that goes on in a library – so if I really need to write or think, it is off to the library I go.
After a couple hours of signing, Matt and I headed to Michael Braverman’s Hamptons home where Hamptons Magazine toasted an inspiring list of authors, including yours truly.

Hamptons Magazine’s Dinner at Michael Braverman’s beautiful home.

It was really an honour to be amongst the talented funny eloquent women including Laurie Gelman, who wrote Class Mom (laugh-out-loud funny and reminds me why I’ve never accepted the position of Class Mom), the inspiring Elizabeth Vargas, and my new favourite instagram addiction Jessica Siskin’s Treat Yourself.

I signed hundreds of books for Harbor Books in Sag Harbor (in the process of writing this book, I’ve learned about the beauty and the power of indepdendent book shops – so if you want a signed copy of my book, give Taylor, the lovely owner a ring and she might be able to help you) and I reconnected with Hamptons Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Samantha Yanks who I knew a thousand years ago when I was that PR restaurant girl in NYC and ate way too much – and probably drank too much but who can resist just one more glass of Whispering Angel.

If you want a signed copy of my book, just call Harbor Books in Sag Harbor and I’m sure Taylor will be able to help you xx

Thank you Samantha and Hamptons Magazine for the opportunity to participate in your lovely evening – we SO enjoyed ourselves.
xx

I’m not sure what was so funny here – probably had to do with those glasses of Whispering Angel xx