With award season kicking off, January always goes by so quickly. I went to the Palm Springs Film Festival's opening gala and stayed at the lovely Miramonte Spa and Hotel--if you ever want a weekend getaway away from Los Angeles this is the place to go. As soon as I got back, I started the television critics press tour, where I interviewed numerous celebrities about their upcoming new tv shows.
Then it was time for The Golden Globes, and I was invited to lovely luxury gift lounges like GBK, who creates their special event at The P, an attractive open space with a lovely bow truss ceiling and surrounding brick walls. Their beautiful courtyard is available to rent as well.
If you were a celebrity, you received:
- Napa Technology's Genesis, the first single bottle preservation and dispensing system designed for both sparkling and still wine. Genesis allows you to uncork, preserve, and pour your finest champagne or wine by the glass without wasting a drop. Unlike any other wine preservation device on the market, with Genesis there is no limit to how many bottles can be preserved and enjoyed at the same time.
- LifeCell Skin Care, an all-in-one antiaging treatment formulated to target every aspect of aging skin.
- Jiusko USA, affordable luxury timepieces manufactured in China with precision, quality parts featuring sapphire scratch resistant crystals, high quality Swiss, Japanese and Chinese movements including skeleton, moon phase, automatic and Tourbillon styles available with genuine leather, alligator or stainless steel straps.
- SenseMax, a high-tech designer brand for intimate lifestyle products, bridging the gap between sex toys and innovative technology to deliver an unparalleled sensual experience.
Gifts from a variety of different categories including beauty, health and fitness, fashion, electronics and more filled the luxury lounge and spoiled the celebrities, who took home a giant bag filled with goodies. Tweezerman offered brow shaping gift sets for women in rose gold or alluring eyes and a nail clipper duo + shave brush for men. Barbar Hair Tools provided Mini Max Cordless and rechargeable titanium flat irons. Dr. Liza of the chiropractic + massage, gave her signature red carpet myofascial release fix and gifting the balm. Drew Barrymore has continued her brand promise of "prestige at mass" by gifting a selection of sun frames from her Flower Eyewear line. Guilty Soles, provided high quality, fashion forward footwear. Finally, NIMA Sports - the ultimate portable audio experience for die-hard fans everywhere.
Other great gifts included some unique luxury items from sponsors such as Swimline and Solstice Watersports, who makes unique and functional inflatable products for the whole family as well as maintenance equipment for family pools around the world; and Ezpz, a small business that makes all-in-one silicone serving ware that is a true game changer for mealtime with infants, pets and toddlers.
I loved seeing the unique Su She Art, a female sushi chef creating a unique and memorable experience through a form of living art with models. Su She Art gifted $3,200 worth of Catering which included two Body Models, personalized sushi roll menu and a body painting demo before sushi is displayed on the body. As always, The Artisan Group® gifted celebrities a collection of handcrafted jewelry and accessories, spa and bath products, candles, cosmetics, clutches, pet accessories, stationery and other handmade gifts. I always love all the original jewelry and home decor being crafted by their talented designers.
Gourmet drinks and treats were sampled and gifted at the event by 4 Copas Tequila - The Original Organic Tequila made from organic tequila. Ixlb DimSum Eats - an all-day takeaway dim sum on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood which serves traditional dim sum favorites with a completely new hip, fast-casual approach and all priced at $3.95.
GBK also supported charities like Lambda Legal, a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work and the AFMDA, the American fundraising arm of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's national emergency medical response agency and Red Cross affiliate. MDA, Israel's largest volunteer NGO, is a global pioneer in mass-casualty response, sharing its knowledge in the U.S. and around the world.
Like every versatile actor, Hollywood is ongoingly reinventing itself. While known for its celebrities and star studded events like The Academy Awards, Tinsel town has also evolved into a vital dining destination for tourists and locals with celebrity chefs Curtis Stone, Ludo Lefevre and Susan Feniger whipping up culinary artistry at their impressive restaurants. Fiftyisthenewfifty's Susan Hornik talked to A-list chefs and restauranteurs about the excitement that you can find while dining at their intriguing dinner tables.
Veteran Italian chef/owner Frank Competelli is celebrating thirty years with his restaurant, Frankie's. "When I left New York 30 years ago and I got to Hollywood, I missed New York, so I built a restaurant that reminded me of home - it is Hollywood outside, but New York inside. I picked the Hollywood neighborhood to start in, as it had a New York feel to it, and I wanted to create a restaurant that reminded me of home - knowing that it would attract both locals and visitors to Los Angeles."
Many of Frank's favorite dishes are the items he learned from his grandmother. "I love the traditional Italian staples, including spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chicken parmigiana, linguini and clams, lobster fra diavolo and of course the traditional Sicilian deserts like cannoli."
Over the years, the restaurant has had a number of celebrities visit for a meal. "We have had just about every celebrity dine with us - Frank Sinatra, Mick Jagger, Milton Berle, Stephen Hawkins and even former Secretary of State Warren Christopher."
Executive chef Angelo Chavez loves how much working at the Hollywood hotspot, Pink Taco, reminds him of all the fun diners can have in the area. "Everyone knows where we are. Our restaurant is a lot like the city of Hollywood, it's got a laid-back attitude during the day, its bright and loud once the sun goes down, and it offers something for everyone." he quipped.
"And our guests are as diverse as the neighborhood is. It's not uncommon to be in the patio sitting next to one of your favorite Clippers players or UFC fighters. You might also see your favorite celebrity chef, food writer or singer."
At Pink Tace, diners have many food choices. "We have great coastal Mexican food, spicy chili and a big tequila offering from our amazing bar. Our food is bright and light, and is focused around fresh, quality ingredients. Focusing on the healthier side of Mexican food, 90 per cent of my menu is gluten free, we have a lot of vegetarian options and are vegan friendly. "
If you are heading up Beachwood Canyon, check out the homey diner, the famed Beachwood Cafe. Chef and owner Patti Peck said, "Hollywood is a great place to have a restaurant because tourists from all over the globe come here to see what life is like off-screen. It's nice to know we are a friendly oasis that becomes part of the memories they go home with."
For a change of pace from the hustle and bustle, Beachwood Canyon has a small-town feel. "There are artists, top charting pop stars, famed film and TV actors, directors and writers galore who come because of the relaxed atmosphere and good food."
"We are really the opposite of one of those 'seen and be seen' places. Celebs come here with their kids and friends, and are never bothered. Everybody gets treated the same and I think that's why we are popular."
She added, "I believe a good food joint in Hollywood anchors the community, so that's what I try to do. I've been lucky and successful at it for the last 30 years."
Specialties at the restaurant include handmade pickles, yogurts and jam. "We try to have healthy food that doesn't feel like a punishment. Although, I am over kale. Aren't you? Our food is carefully sourced and everything else we keep as clean as possible."
Franco's On Melrose
Chef Franco De Dominicis left his chef position at the art deco treasure The Biltmore Hotel to pursue his dream of opening his very own restaurant in 2012. Alongside many of Hollywood's most esteemed culinary restaurants, the chef created Franco on Melrose, a traditional Italian trattoria. "We love being in Hollywood. The restaurant is centrally located and is close to the tourist attractions. Many people visiting come to us for dinner as well as the pre and post-theatre crowd."
With its canopied roof top, garden-like indoor and outdoor setting, Neapolitan menu, and an Italian-centric wine list, Franco on Melrose represents the love for food and culture the chef has for his Amalfi Coast home.
"My approach to authentic, traditional southern Italian cooking blends seamlessly with a distinctly Californian lifestyle through consistent use of fresh, locally-grown products," said Franco. "We pride ourselves with the highest quality Italian cuisine we can possibly give and the best service and experience at an affordable price. We have a very inviting, casual yet elegant, intimate venue providing the right combination for any style of events. All of this makes for a successful restaurant and being in the heart of Hollywood is a plus."
Celebrities like Caitlin Jenner, Sean Hayes, Omarosa, Debbie Reynolds and Kevin Sorbo, have dined at the restaurant and recently E! filmed an episode of Famously Single there.\
Susan L. Hornik
Contributor to ETOnline.com, IMDb.com, Spafax.com, Washingtontimes.com, TheRealDeal.com, LAWeekly.com, Zwivel.com, Realtor.com, Industrym.com, Livestrong.com, Complex.com, AllDigitocracy.org, TravelChannel.com, FiftyistheNewFifty.com, Canada's Chatelaine, Good, Daytime Confidential, Videoage, Brainworld, First for Women, Discover Hollywood Magazine, Dish, Maxim, Mademan.com