Tag Archive for: Beverly Hills Vibe

Louis Vuitton X Exhibit Débuts In Beverly Hills

French luxury brand Louis Vuitton launched its first traveling exhibit in Beverly Hills this summer and everyone is invited. The temporary retrospective honors the House’s 160-year history of creative collaborations with artists from Takashi Murakami and Karl Lagerfeld to Cindy Sherman and Frank Gehry. Guests can view the glamorous art and cultural show in the grand two-story building on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Little Santa Monica from June 28th to November 10th.

The impressive exhibit features 180 items from Louis Vuitton’s archives, including pieces such as early 20th-century special-order trunks, iconic monogram bags, elegant Art Deco perfume bottles and window displays commissioned and designed by Louis Vuitton’s grandson, Gaston-Louis. The exhibition will travel on a worldwide tour with stops in fashion capitals such as New York, Paris, London, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Address: 468 N. Rodeo Drive
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
Ticket: Free admission


Persians4cure – Fundraising Gala

Hundreds of elegant guests turned out to support PERSIANS 4 CURE’s Second Annual Charity Dinner Gala and Fundraiser at a posh Beverly Hills estate. The nonprofit charity, founded by Manizieh Yomtoubian, supports innovative research to cure cancer. Violinist Ramin Abrams played beautiful music while guests sipped cocktails and fine wines courtesy of Shokrian Vineyards, Darioush Winery and El Fogonero Tequila. Volare catered dozens of delicious Italian dishes with a Persian twist, such as the gourmet pizza baked in an igloo-shaped brick oven in the back garden, and the popular Tahdig, a saffron and turmeric rice dish with a crispy bottom layer. Nearby, magician Fantastic Fig delighted guests with feats of magic, with more lively entertainment provided by musicians LA Daf Ensemble and comedian K-von. The evening ended with party goers dancing under twinkling stars, topping off a magical night.


The French Laundry – Memorable Dining

At The French Laundry restaurant Chef Thomas Keller has created a world where every detail has been orchestrated for one purpose: your dining pleasure. The setting is a rustic two-story stone house is surrounded by a country garden with vintage roses and seasonal herbs. A friendly hostess guided us through a wooden blue door entrance to a sunlit dining room. Our server welcomed us with a glass of champagne, and thus began a dining experience to remember.

Our meal is a series of small servings of the most delectable food that looked like small works of art. Gazing at each exquisite creation on my plate, I wondered how many persons in the kitchen were involved in putting together all the components. The famous Oysters and Pearls dish, made of pearl tapioca with island creek oysters and white sturgeon caviar, had a touch of sweetness from the silky oysters and a salty sea burst from the finest caviar. The utensil was an adorable doll-size spoon made from mother of pearl. Another classic Keller creation, sweet butter-poached main lobster tail with figs and beets, was flavorful and decadently delicious. For truffles aficionados like me, the most exciting moment was seeing a server walk to our table holding an elegant mohagony box containing a one-pound piece of truffle. The aroma alone can make one dizzy with pleasure upon seeing the server shaving slices of truffles onto the hand-cut tagliatelle. It was one of my favorite entrees for its simplicity and depth of flavor. The meal spanned three hours, with a dozen courses served at a leisurely pace by waiters who seemed to float gracefully among the tables. The staff was attentive, unpretentious and helpful in every way.

The French Laundry features two menus for both lunch and dinner: a 9-course Vegetarian Tasting Menu and the Chef’s Tasting Menu (each are $325, service charge included). We toured the kitchen, where I noticed the five shining gold stars over the hood of the stove, signifying the highest Mobil rating. Everything in the newly renovated $10 million state-of-the-art kitchen was spotless, polished and perfectly organized. A large television screen on one wall shows a live feed of its sister restaurant, Per Se, in New York. To emphasize the menu’s connection to the land around it, Chef Keller serves many of the vegetables grown on a three-acre garden across the street. The lush garden is managed by Aaron Keefer, the culinary gardener for the French Laundry. We walked to the unfenced plot that provides about 300 items, including specialty vegetables such as oyster leaf, kohlrabi and ice lettuce. The affable Keefer plucked some white strawberries and gave us a tasty sample of what will be on the menu.

The sublime dishes using only the freshest harvests and unique ingredients make the French Laundry a spetacular meal. From the impeccable service, elegant ambiance to the extradordinary daily menu– the French Laundry is a dining adventure that you need to try once in your life.


YSL Holiday Beauty Picks

As the year is drawing to a close, we hope you had a fabulous 2018 with many beautiful moments to treasure. Here is our list of recommendations from Yves Saint Laurent Beauté for the holidays. These items will enhance your natural beauty, add some sparkle and bring out your gorgeousness in 2019!

YSL Or Rouge Mask-In-Cream
Wake up to healthier and more revitalized skin with Yves Saint Laurent Or Rouge Mask-in-Crème. It enhances your skin’s natural nighttime recovery process while providing it with instant comfort and gentle exfoliation while you sleep.

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick Collection
Pick up your limited-edition, iconic lipstick, before they’re gone. On the outside, you see the new matte black packaging and bold YSL logo. On the inside, this bestselling lipstick provides intense hydration and antioxidant care, with lip colors that exude feminine strength and edgy style.

YSL Tatouage Metallics
The Tatouage Metallics formula gives lips matte tattoo-like color that is lightweight and non-drying, making it super comfortable to wear at the holidays. The high-pigment color dries instantly, stays fresh, and moves with your lips for up to eight hours of wear.

YSL Or Rouge Eye Crème
This pearly and airy crème harnesses the power of the pistil of the saffron flower. It’s a precious ingredient that embraces the skin while combating the signs of aging. Apply it gently over makeup and concealer for a fresh, bright, dewy look under the eyes.

YSL All Hours Stick Foundation
This formula gives you the best of the YSL All Hours Liquid Foundation, but in a new, easy-to-use buildable-coverage. The cream-to-powder portable size is perfect to use as an all-over face foundation, or as a spot treat concealer.

YSL Top Secret Instant Moisture Glow
This Instant Moisture Glow’s light, smooth formula glides over skin, hydrating and blurring imperfections. When worn alone, skin appears perfected and naturally luminous. Carry it in your purse for an instant pick-me-up fresh look.

YSL Touche Éclat Blur Primer
How do you get that naturally radiant glow? Look no further. The liquid gold gel Blur Primer can be applied under foundation to boost radiance or worn alone to create a natural, sans make-up look. Formulated with four nourishing oils, 50 percent water and hydrating agents, it promises to keep skin dewy and glowing as you dance into the New Year!

Have any questions about Yves Saint Laurent Beauté?
Please call YSL Beauté business manager.

Lydia Golani
(310) 925.4958


The Mayor of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills is known the world over for its magnificent homes, glamorous celebrities, luxury hotels, restaurants and shopping. In the heart of the city is Rodeo Drive. This famous street is recognized internationally as the destination for haute fashion and deluxe shopping, with luxury stores such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.

“The city has all the wonderful aspects of glamour that you see in the media,” says Dr. Willian Brien, Mayor of Beverly Hills and a physician. “There’s also the tranquility of our parks and many diverse restaurants, aside from the vibrant shopping scene.”

“We have one of the best police and fire departments in the country. The response time is two-and-a half minutes from when the call is placed. I can’t give enough credit to the dedicated staff we have working in Beverly Hills,” says the Mayor. I met with the Mayor at his City Hall office. Dr. Brien, a lifelong Beverly Hills resident, is the Executive Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery and director of the Cedars-Sinai Orthopedic Center. He was elected to the City Council in 2009, and became the Mayor in March 2012. Photographs of his wife, Connie Agnew, also a physician, and their four children (Willie Jr, Brent, Kelly and Ashley) are all around his office. On one wall is a prominent photo of Dr. Brien’s grandfather, Chief Justice Earl Warren, a former Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and a former governor of California.

“Beverly Hills is also a safe and lovely place to walk around anytime of the day,” says the Mayor.

I could not agree more. After work, I often take leisure walks around my neighborhood for exercise and fresh air, even sometimes after dark. I have always felt safe and peaceful strolling along the tree-line streets. When friends visit, we walk to our favorite dining spots on Canon Drive and Beverly Drive, or enjoy browsing the luxury boutiques on Rodeo Drive. Beverly Hills is 5.7 square miles and has a population of 36,200, with a median annual income of $81,726, according to City Hall. The city attracts a daytime population of about 250,000 guests, many of whom love to indulge in high-end shopping, catch a glimpse of their favorite celebrities or enjoy elegant dining such as Spago, Avra and Jean-Georges, to name a few.

Dr. Brien points out that shopping on Rodeo Drive is a special and memorable experience where every guest is treated like royalty—far from the image in Pretty Woman where the store clerks were snobby to the movie’s heroine, Julia Roberts.

“Everyone should come visit and you’ll see for yourself,” Dr. Brien says. “Beverly Hills offers something for everyone, for different tastes and budget. You can buy a ten-thousand dollars Chanel suit, or find something for $20 at many wonderful shops on Beverly Drive and self-owned boutiques that have a lower price point. There is no better place to walk around and experience a beautiful and vibrant city like Beverly Hills.”


Chef Thomas Keller

World-renowned American chef Thomas Keller has arrived in Beverly Hills after a 10-week tour promoting his elegant cookbook called “Bouchon Bakery.” On a sunny December morning, Keller joins me at a table at Bar Bouchon, a charming open-air dining patio that overlooks the Beverly Canon Gardens. The round red tables, wicker chairs and sun umbrellas evoke a leisurely ‘South of France’ feeling. Sporting a white chef’s uniform over an athletic six-foot-two frame, Keller carries a calm, assured demeanor and a youthful joie de vivre. It’s been a month since his last visit to Bouchon Bistro, one of six successful restaurants and six bakeries that he owns.

The best-selling author and first ever American chef to earn three Michelin stars for two different restaurants (Per Se in New York, and French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.) has virtually every culinary award under his name. It’s no wonder Keller’s staff revere him. They say he works round-the-clock and oversees every project, from training an American chef for the Bocuse D’or (the Olympics of cooking), to routine menu changes. Keller’s kitchens are connected via real-time video cameras to insure the traveling chef stays connected with his teams throughout the year. When not on the road, Keller’s home is in the quaint town of Yountville, just steps from his French Laundry restaurant, which is credited for elevating American cuisine to a new level.

During our meeting, Keller speaks and laughs easily, sharing his thoughts on the evolution of American cuisine, his culinary philosophy, and even whom, past or present, would make him blush to be in their presence. “Audrey Hepburn,” he answers. Not simply because of her beauty, but because of her generous and kind character. Such standards combined with the desire to create a memorable dining experience have propelled him to become the much admired and celebrated American chef he is today.

An excerpt from my interview with Chef Keller here.

BHV: How would you define the Thomas Keller Cuisine?

TK: Our cuisine is very evolutionary. We have the opportunity to evolve the cuisine in our kitchen is through collaboration with the staff. I think that’s the cornerstone of our restaurant that has given me, and everyone around me, the ability to continue to grow and continue to set new standards through that evolutionary process and collaboration.

How do define our cuisine? Our cuisine is American even though it has deeply rooted French traditional techniques and history involved in it. And certainly I have great affection for France. But we are classic American food.

BHV: What do you think are the key ingredients to your success?

TK: Perseverance. Never giving up. In any professional that you undertake, if you give up at a threat of failure, then you’ll never succeed. I think perseverance is important in anything that you’re doing. That’s certainly has been why I’ve achieved what I’ve done because I continue to work at it. I don’t give up. That’s one key element.

It’s also having people who have motivated and mentored me as a young cook, and who have taught me things that I needed to know early in my career. Those people are very important. Those people who are around me throughout my career that have worked with me, and have worked for me are also a big part of why I was successful.

BHV: What qualities do you look for in your staff?

TK: I look for someone with a desire to succeed, a desire to do a good job. Desire burns inside. If you don’t have desire, then what do you have? You don’t have anything. So it’s very simple.

BHV: What are some setbacks you have experienced and overcame in your career?

TK: I don’t see any setbacks in my career. The failures have given me the success that came after that. Without failure, you can’t have success.

BHV: Please describe what is the ‘Modern Chef.’

TK: It’s someone like me. I’m talking about my generation of chefs who has the ability to rise above their restaurants and embrace other opportunities and still maintain responsibility to the restaurants from where they rose. Today, we have multiple restaurants, we do interviews, and we write books. As for me, I’ve also done movies, I’ve designed china, I’ve designed silverware, I’m on the board of trustees to the Culinary of America. There are so many things I’ve done that didn’t happen for chefs of the last generation. In a nutshell, the modern chef today has opportunities to expand beyond his kitchen.

BHV: What are some fun things that you pursue when you’re not working?

TK: If I do have a stretch of time off, it would be just to relax and do nothing. Watch sports on TV, or any teams from San Francisco. I like historical movies and action movies.

BHV: What is the Thomas Keller legacy that you would like to leave behind?

TK: You can’t define your own legacy. Other people will define that for you.

BHV: What do you think they’re saying now? And do you agree?

TK: I have no idea.

BHV: Perhaps they are saying you’re the greatest chef in America.

TK: You can’t listen to what other people say. (laughs)

BHV: Do you read the reviews written about your restaurants?

TK: Everything that’s been written about you is what you did yesterday. I want to know what we’re doing tomorrow. It’s the same thing with reviews. It’s fantastic to get a wonderful review. You can only find reassurance in the direction you’re going. You can’t look to them as a validation for what you’re doing it.

BHV: If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would that be?

TK: I would love to have dinner again with Julia Childs. I miss her greatly. We had some wonderful times together. Harry Truman would be another person. I think Harry Truman was one of the last presidents who was able to resonate in an effective way with people. Someone like him would be great to have dinner with, and my friends and family.

BHV: What are you pursuing now that is non-cooking related?

TK: Better golf. (laughs)


Il Pastaio Restaurant

Small crowds gather every day for a seat at Beverly Hills’ famed restaurant, Il Pastaio on the corner of Cannon and Brighton Way. Giancomino Drago, the energetic owner and chef, is its undisputed star and host, often greeting guests with air kisses or hugs as if he were welcoming them into his own home. Hailing from Galai Mamertino, a town in Sicily’s Messina region, Drago is charming and strives to have fun at work. [OR treats work a little like play]

I loved to play all day when we were kids. I never liked school. I told my parent, “I’m never going to be a dentist or an accountant,” Luca says, laughing at the memory.

His desires for la dolce vita and merry days seem to play out daily at Il Pastaio, where Drago often stops by at a table and chats with old friends and new. When Spain’s soccer team, Real Madrid, came by for some pasta, the ebullient owner embraced the team and posed for photos.

It’s clear the packed room is his favorite playground. Drago exchanges quick one-liner in Italian with his staff and waves to friends, who can be seen sending him air kisses from across the room. What he is selling daily is not so much a meal, but an atmosphere of pleasure and indulgence in the good life, laughter and “great Italian meals with history.”

“I respect my guests and I listen to what they want,” Drago says, referring to the newly added gluten-free and wheat pasta.

“If they like a special dish but we don’t have it on the menu, we’ll make it to please them,” he says, waiving hello to a guest. “I want everyone to enjoy and feel happy when they come here.”

Through the afternoon, Drago moves about the room and makes everyone smile. In one moment, he shares friendly banter with two stylish young women at the bar; in the next, he embraces a friend who is about to depart. Adding to the vibrant scene are a dozen fast-moving and cheerful waiters who weave seamlessly between the busy tables. The atmosphere is friendly, informal, and often noisy with diners seated close to one another. The house made pasta is delicious and reasonable with most prices falling between $16.95 to $21.50.

As the youngest of eight children from the small town of Galati Mamertino in Sicily’s Messina region, Drago grew up helping his mother and older siblings make their meals fresh daily. In his teens, Drago got his first job at a local restaurant and later enrolled in culinary school. At age 15, he visited his older brother, Celistino, a restauranteur in Beverly Hills, and never looked back. Drago decided to open a small eatery called Il Pastaio in December 1993. Two decades later, it has become one of Beverly Hill’s most popular restaurants.

“When we first opened on Canon Drive, by nine o’clock at night the streets were empty,” says Drago. “Now, it’s busy past midnight!”

Il Pastaio’s popularity also brought a new change with an added private dining area called “The Olive Room” which seats 30 guests and features a wine room with fourteen hundred bottles of wine and spirits.


BG Restaurant at Bergdorf Goodman

The luxury Bergdorf Goodman store is one of my stops whenever I am in New York. On the seventh floor of the iconic New York department store is a culinary gem: BG Restaurant. Known as the place for ladies who lunch, the room is always buzzing at lunchtime where a sea of well-heeled locals with sleek blown-out hair mingle with fashion lovers for a light meal between shopping. On this afternoon, the pale blue room seems aglow in sunlight beaming through its expansive windows, highlighting the glamorous retro style designed by Kelly Wearstler.

“Bergdorf Goodman restaurant is as good as it gets,” says Michael Perricone, Director of Restaurants at BG. He described the dining room as glamorous yet cozy. “Not only is it beautiful; our commitment to quality and service is unmatched.”

A tall gentleman with patrician good looks, Perricone, has been with the restaurant for 25 years, and at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco 10 years prior. He recalls a visit to New York two decades earlier when he saw the BG while it was still under construction. “I knew it was the place for me and told my boss I was interested. A year later (the job) was mine– and I have never looked back,” says Perricone, his blue eyes smiling at the memories. He also oversees The Good Dish, the store’s smaller restaurant on the main level; and all special events catering at Bergdorf Goodman.

I met Perricone over a decade ago while waiting for a table with friends. When he entered the room, the energy instantly picked up. Smartly dressed with beautiful manners, he delighted familiar patrons with witty repartees and asked about their lives, as if catching up with dear friends. The ladies adored him. Mindful of all his guests, Perricone seamlessly switched his attention to new faces and reassured their tables are forthcoming. He commanded the dining room with confidence and charm as he put everyone at ease. Perricone’s gracious presence alone makes it worthwhile to visit.

At BG, the cuisine is only rivaled by the sweeping views of Central Park below. For lighter fares, I always enjoy the Gotham Salad, a delicious fresh take on the classic chopped salad. The restaurant averages 2,500 orders of Gotham Salad a month and the store hit the million-salad mark in 2013. For heartier meals, delicious choices range from Grass Feed Boneless Beef to Organic Chicken and Ravioletti with Shrimp. Since I prefer fish, the Sea Bass and blackened Mahi Mahi are exceptional. For a beautiful dining experience with great cuisine and friendly service, BG restaurant is your destination.


Tatcha – Skincare Inspired by Japanese Beauty Rituals

After a decade of working for large corporations, Victoria Tsai, Harvard MBA, yearned for simplicity and authenticity in her life. On a trip to Kyoto, Japan, she discovered a world of pure beauty, craftsmanship and heritage. A chance encounter with a modern-day geisha changed her life. Thus born Tatcha, a skincare line inspired by the disciplined grace and beauty of geishas. I met with Tsai, the company’s CEO and her business partner, Brad Murray at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills. The luxury store held a special Tatcha event for its discerning clients. The event attracted about 80 chic Barneys’s customers who surrounded Tsai to ask beauty questions.

“I created Tatcha as a way to share my treasure and knowledge I discovered on my journeys East,” said Tsai, the elegant Taiwanese American businesswoman who founded the company in 2009. Tatcha honors Japanese heritage with its simple and refined skincare collection based on a 200-year-old Japanese manuscript that introduced Tsai to the mysterious beauty rituals of geishas. It is believed to be the oldest beauty book written in Japan, and perhaps the only such work of its kind. The name Tatcha refers to the Japanese word for “standing flower” and is the inspiration for the company’s pure approach to effective skin care. They use only natural ingredients like red algae, green tea, peony, wild thyme, and ginseng roots, formulated and made in Japan.

During the afternoon, the debonair company president, Murray also mingled with customers. He told me he met Tsai at a Harvard alumni event in 2009. He has heard about the popular Japanese blotting paper, and saw the potential for expansion. He left his job in private equity to join Tsai the following year. The company’s headquarters is in San Francisco with a growing team of employees.