The Miracle Mile is Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax and La Brea Avenues
The day of
This isn’t as taxing as it sounds. Along with access to The Price Is Right, the other good thing about the Miracle Mile is that it has more fun things to do―all in close proximity so you don’t need your car― than any other part of L.A. This gives me a chance to rehearse my Next-Door Joe persona in a variety of settings.
The first stop is the Farmers Market, the rambling maze of shops and restaurants that’s been a landmark on Third Street and Fairfax for 75 years. It has everything I need for a happy morning, notably great newsstands and the Lotería Grill, which serves the best breakfast dish in the world: chilaquiles, the Mexican concoction of shredded tortillas and cheese and eggs. Note to self: After my Price Is Right victory, have Lotería chilaquiles shipped to me daily.
On the chance that my Price audition might require knowledge of cars, fossils, or fine art, I then hit the three museums that make up the Miracle Mile’s Museum Row. First comes the Petersen Automotive Museum, where I contemplate cars I might buy if I win big on Price. Then I walk to the George C. Page Museum, aka the La Brea Tar Pits, where mammoths and mastodons got stuck in glop 30,000 years ago.
Afterward, I head next door to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. LACMA’s enormous collection, from Rembrandt to Jeff Koons, is a little overwhelming, especially because I’m now brooding over what to wear on Price. As I study Tintoretto’s 16th-century oil, Portrait of a Venetian Senator, I wonder if an ermine-trimmed cape would impress Carey.
Over dinner that evening at AOC, I raise a glass of Monterey County Tannat and drink to my luck.
The big moment
Finally, The Price Is Right. It’s an endurance test: I wait in the predawn line to get an order-of-arrival slip that will let me come back at 9:45 a.m. to be in the studio audience―and maybe, if I convey sufficient “fun” to the contestant screener, compete on the show.
I do get into the studio audience, the applause sign blazes, and there’s host Drew Carey (who happens to be funny even outside the confines of your TV screen). “Come on down!” the announcer shouts, and here comes a woman from Michigan and a guy from Illinois. But not me.
I’m still happy. I didn’t get on The Price Is Right, but I did get to experience one of the best parts of Los Angeles. As we file out of the studio, I realize that the Lotería Grill serves breakfast chilaquiles all day long. So I’ve won big after all.