Back off, Housewives of Beverly Hills!

Yes, I take issue with douchebags tarnishing the image of fabulous places. First stop Jersey Shore, next stop everywhere. These days, people will film anything, endangering fabulousness everywhere.

I know a place in Beverly Hills that's in danger. It's called Villa Blanca, and it's class all the way. The stark white furnishings are crisp and modern. The menu adventurous. But the dark, intrepid hand of reality TV is creeping in on it, since Lisa Vanderpump (a.k.a. "Pinky"), a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills, is a co-owner. Instead of being known for it's posh luxury or knockout Tuna Tartare with balsamic truffle glaze (!), it's known as a breeding ground for this mess. And yes, that was a little fluffy white dog. At the dining table.

you know the type
The place is already filled with workers that look like models. Our hosts looked like Brad  Pitt and Zoe Saldana. Our server was the spitting image of Simon Rex. Plus the place is teeming with standard Beverly Hills clientele: middle-aged women with brassy blonde hair and plastic surgery that makes the bottom half of their face look like a plate mask. You know the look; fat-injected cheeks, swollen lips and Botox-induced rigor mortis. Now it's also filled with gawkers and hangers-on since it's affiliation with the reality show.

I am here to defend the fabulousness! Let it be known for their amazing Tuna Tartare, the captivating interior design, the Asian-Italian fusion and their fearlessness. Not only are they willing to serve unpretentious pub  food such as fish and chips, but their prices are surprisingly fair.

My plate was so wonderful, I had to photograph it. Halibut over mushroom risotto with rock shrimp and a raspberry reduction. Viva La Villa Blanca!


Why I think "the big one" really IS coming...

the supermoon over my neighborhood
Since moving to Los Angeles over a decade ago, countless people have raised their eyebrows at me and said, "The big one is coming." The "big one" meaning an earthquake. It may be hard to hear this after the tragedy in Japan, but they had a lilt in their voice as if almost excited.
I always took the claims about "the big one" with a grain of salt. This is because none of the prophets were seismologists. They were hairdressers, liquor store clerks and accountants. Besides, a series of small quakes also could happen, alleviating the pressure on the tectonic plates and stopping something dramatic from happening.
But something has changed, and for the first time, I'm anticipating "the big one."  

The Ring of Fire is making a near perfect circle with seismic activity around the Pacific. Moving clockwise, the U.S. West Coast appears next in line, and seismologists agree.

Scientists are beginning to uncover evidence of solar flares being linked to seismic activity. Our sun has been lashing out in a most unpredictable manner. Per this video, you can see flashes in the sky (related to solar flares and magnetic fields) right before the Chilean earthquake. Coincidence? People around the world have reported flashes in the sky before an earthquake. It's a known phenomenon. But why all the solar flares and earthquakes now?

Scientists theorize that we could be in our 65 millionth year of orbit. It may take only 24 hours for earth to orbit the sun, but it takes 65 million years for our solar system to orbit our arm of the Milky Way. This can dramatically change earth's stability. Guess when the dinosaurs disappeared? 65 million years ago.

Everyone was sitting on pins and needles on March 19th, when the "supermoon" also happened to be a full moon. A supermoon (or perigee moon) is when the moon is much closer to the earth than usual, and is magnified in size and light. Not only was it closer to the earth than it has been in about 20 years, it also was a full moon. A full moon has all sorts of effects on the tides and earth's magnetic fields. We waited for the inevitable earthquake to trigger, but nothing happened.

Not yet anyway. Everyone predicts we're next in line and that "the big one" could happen within these few weeks, and it will be in the horrific 9 range on the Richter scale. We are watching for strange animal behavior, since that's been classically linked to upcoming earthquakes. After all, millions of disoriented sardines washed up in Redondo Beach, CA days before the Japan earthquake. Everyone is keeping their eyes on the skies for strange lights, and everyone is making plans.

Couples have meet-up plans in open areas should their phones die and freeways collapse. People are throwing sneakers in their cars in case they get stuck while driving in heels. They are stocking up on water and canned goods. Here's a helpful earthquake-preparedness site. Now, all we can do is wait.


The Roger Room

How IS it that in a recession, when well-advertised businesses are struggling to get customers in the door, the Roger Room is packed? 

This place is:

A) Relatively new (opened late 2009)
B) Has NO SIGN (they call it "speakeasy style")
D) Serve expensive drinks ($14- $16)
E) Packed. Just utterly packed.

I was with good people, we enjoyed some old-fashioned cocktails and shared fine conversation. But really? A through E (list above) is killing me. Who are these people and how did they hear of it? Granted,  I was one of them, but that was on a fluke. Trust. 

Did the crowded bar demonstrate the desperation hipsters have to see and be seen at the newest thing? The New York Times reported that the owners call it the reverse of snobbery, with no celeb clientele. That is, unless you consider Cameron Diaz and Fiona Apple celebrities. And if it isn't pretentious, do please explain this: Dress code: Casual but distinct, with designer or vintage accessories.

Like I said, the place was great. But please, consider the list above (A through E) and explain.  



First and Hope

Downtown's First and Hope is getting a lot of hype. Los Angeles Magazine showcased it in their Best New Restaurants issue.  It's a place to see and be seen. And hopefully not just by annoying hipsters.

I'll admit, I had never heard of it. When my girlfriend (who lives downtown) invited me to her vintage-themed birthday party at First and Hope, I assumed that was where her loft was. I brought booze. Imagine my surprise when her address led me to an unassuming strip mall. Imagine the hostesses' surprise upon seeing me lugging in a homemade hot toddie jar and a bottle of Champagne. We all had a good laugh. Well, more them than me; I was looking forward to a house party with gratis cocktails and snacks. Plus I like analyzing people by what magnets they stick on their fridge.

But it was worth it. The decor was crisp, the music was old-fashioned and Billie Holiday classy (a perfect backdrop to our party) and the signature cocktail list? Inventive, retro and fun to drink. But of course, any establishment associated with The Edison is sure to wow and make us nostalgic for "the old days" that we were too young to ever know anything about. 

Here's a smattering of lovelies...

vodka, lemon, raspberry, and casis, splashed with a bit of bubbles

blackberry and champagne variation on this age old cocktail

champagne variation on the ultimate deep south classic- mint, sugar, and bubbles

an elegant combination of scotch, lemon, vanilla syrup & a touch of effervescence

a blend of bourbon, orange liquer, bitters& bubbles, of course!

a L.A. classic- tequila, cassis, grenadine, & fresh lime

This place is a must!


Slap me and call me Susan!

with Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet
with Modern Family's Julie Bowen
I'm not name dropping, swears. Just setting this up, okay? People I've met Brittany Spears. I've gone to parties with Ron Jeremy. I've chilled on the famous orange couch in Central Perk on the set of Friends. But I cannot remember a time I was more gaga to meet someone as I was the other night, when a few cast members of Modern Family were at an ABC party I was at. 
My 12 year-old Macallan

A year ago while Fox was kicking butt seven ways till Sunday with Glee, ABC was quietly putting together the most hilarious, irreverent show since Arrested Development. Or maybe 30 Rock, because let's face it - Tina Fey is a deity.

It was a great party; warm night outside, gourmet food, open bar and really funny people.

My Big Fat Greek Homegirl - Nia Vardalos

luntics, tolerant servers and mind-blowing tastiness

sushi artists wouldn't even let me pour my own soy sauce

abusive dessert table

Wolfgang Puck's Chocolate Mousse Purse, French macaroons & cookies
with Giles Marini
with Doug Savant from Melrose Place and Desperate Housewives


Oprah's Last After Oscar Party

Katy Perry sings with those Staten Island brats with bad tee shirts
With the Oprah Winfrey Show closing shop this year on it's 25th anniversary, I attended her very last  After Oscar Party this week. Oprah may continue this tradition when she takes over her own network., which she (not surprisingly) titled The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). No I will not put in a hyperlink for her - everyone knows.

Last year's Oscar stage
 Ahhh, Awards season. There's The Good: Free industry screenings galore. The Bad: Michael Bay continually believing he is deserving of a nomination. For anything. And The Ugly: The media faking cat fights between the Best Actress contenders in order to sell tabloids. They never do that to the male contenders. Women-hating is so Dostoevsky circa 1850, I mean really.

This year, Natalie Portman was a no-show along with Christian Bale, but there was Anne Hathaway, Melissa Leo, Geoffrey Rush, a surprise visit  from  Katy Perry and we were graced with the presence of the adorable Colin Firth. Sigh.....

Oscar aftermath
I attended this party last year as well. It was the last time Sandra Bullock publicly gushed over her husband Jesse James, telling us how she'd been waiting a long time for a cheeseburger, and how she was driving straight to her husband's Monster Garage workplace to eat some greasy food. We were excited to see Jeff "The Dude" Bridges too. 
Oscar aftermath

At the Kodak Theatre the day after,  the town seemed hung over. While the venue still glittered inside, the red carpet scene on the street was strewn with trash, orange cones and construction materials. The giant gold Oscar statue still loomed out front.

But the one thing at the party that stuck out in my mind was Oprah's head. It was big.

It's like, THIS big.