Blog

Navigation

LA (BEV HILLS): THE BEST BLOW OUT

By Nora Zelevansky / May 29th, 2009

BLOWOUT

If you can look past my slightly strokey expression, my hair looks pretty damn good, no?  Especially since I need a haircut desperately.  Well, it's all thanks to Fantastic Sam's on Doheny.  See, any of you who spend even a fraction as much time dealing with your hair as I do will understand: a blowout can feel like an enormous luxury.

First of all, for some unexplicable reason, hair always looks better when someone else does it (unless they pull out the hairspray).  Second, reading a magazine, instead of toiling away with a round brush, is just amazing.  The problem is even a blow out can be pricey and most of us are not really in the market for extra expenses at the moment.

Turns out, though, that completely unflashy, inexpensive Fantastic Sam's on Doheny is the official blow out destination for everyone: even celebs, Four Seasons Beverly Hills guests and other people with extra cash.  Suddenly, the city's best blow out is an "affordable luxury."

And here's the thing: they don't just do a regular old blow out.  This spot offers varying types of blow outs, including a signature version that gives you that whole coveted Farrah-flip kinda look using like ten round brushes as curlers (see the girl below, who was nice enough to let me photograph her post special blow out, even though I was just some weird stranger).

BLOWOUT2

Regulars (and there are many) actually keep shampoo here too, so they can come in and get their hair done for the week (or half the week) just as they would at home.  And the best news?  The family owners opened a cushy mani/pedi spot next door, so you can get your blow out, manicure and pedicure and walk out looking all coiffed and pretty for like $55.

BLOWOUT3

Crazy, no?

Actually, I think that's called Fantastic.

xo – N.

SACRAMENTO: THE CAPITAL’S BEST NEW/OLD HOTEL

By Nora Zelevansky / May 28th, 2009

2009_05_28SACRAMENTO2

(THE SNACK SENT UP TO THE CITIZEN HOTEL ROOM BY GRANGE RESTAURANT)

 So, yeah, I just got back from Scotland and you'd think that was top on my list of blog topics.  And, well, it is.  BUT I'm working on (hopefully) myriad stories about the trip, so I don't want to be a spoiler for future posts.

Instead I'll focus on Memorial Day Weekend's excursion to Sacramento.  "Sacramento?" you say.  "How very . . . random."  And, yeah, it kind of seemed that way to me too.  But I'm always down to explore a new city and we had a family event to attend.

2009_05_28SACRAMENTO5

2009_05_28SAC2009_05_28SACRAMENTO6

2009_05_28SACRAMENTO42009_05_28SACRAMENTO3

(CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE: ROOM WITH AN IMPRESSIVE VIEW)

Luckily, the area's "first" cool kid hotel, The Citizen, just recently opened in a converted 1920's office building.  So my 'rents, the Drewser and I were hardly going to stay anywhere else, being so fancy and all.

As you can see, the hotel totally lived up to the buzz: the decor was warm, antique-inspired, but not "mothball" (as my father and I like to say).  The rooms were large and airy and light and comfortable and (aside from needing a little additional storage space) basically perfect.  I just loved the various lamp shades, fixtures and old political cartoons (which could skew cheesy, but actually look great).

Also, they sent up an amazing cheese plate on which we nibbled while getting settled (see first image).  I mean, that is definitely one way to my heart.

2009_05_28SACRAMENTO7

2009_05_28SACRAMENTO82009_05_28SACRAMENTO9

2009_05_28SACRAMENTO102009_05_28SACRAMENTO11

(CLICK IMAGES TO EXPAND: YUUUUM)

The hotel's bar is quite nice (try the whisky, mint and lemon muddled cocktail above) and the restaurant, Grange, is truly seasonally inspired.   The food is refined, but quite simple (in a good way).  The breakfast potatoes were a highlight, as was the butterscotch pudding, which tasted more like caramel.  Yuuuum.

My pere, an espresso obessive, fell in love with Temple coffee shop around the corner too, where he said he had one of the best espressos he'd had in ages.  Once he admitted to being a fanatic, the guy behind the counter made his next cup four times before serving (to ensure perfection).  And, apparently, the muffins matched the coffee in quality.  I wasn't up early enough to taste t
he baked goods and find out.  I snooze.  I lose.  But I'm prettier, so.  It's a trade off.

We went wine tasting in Lodi (a nearby suburb), which ain't pretty, but which did offer up some really tasty wine.  My parents were kind enough to grab Andre and me a St. Amant Tawny Port, which we've already started drinking.  It has this amazing butterscotch after taste.

What is with this post and butterscotch?  The weird part is that normally neither of us are huge butterscotch fans, especially Andre.  Who knows . . . the world works in mysterious ways and so do the buds (taste, that is).

We drove through Big Sur (basically my fave place on earth) and had our one bummer of the trip: we arrived at Big Sur Bakery to find it closed for Memorial Day.  Booooo.  Hissssss.  No fresh raspberry danish for moi.

2009_05_28SACRAMENTO12 

(FRIED OLIVES STUFFED WITH GORGONZOLA!)

On the way back down to LA, my parents also suggested stopping for a night in Cambria.  I'd visited the cute town before, but hadn't realized that there's this line of hotels right on the shore there.  It's beyond beautiful.  My father also promised fried green olives from nearby restaurant, The Black Cat, and sure enough they delivered.  They also served a bresaola, lemon and burrata situation that I could eat for all eternity.

Amen.

The next day, after a walk on the boardwalk and many seal sightings, we grabbed sandwiches from delish cafĂ© French Corner Bakery.  I don't do mayo, but my sandwich came with just a tiny bit of this creole aoli stuff that had a great kick.

NO ANDREW, THAT DOESN'T MAKE ME A MAYO LOVER.  YOU ARE.  I STILL HATE THE STUFF.

They also had a KILLER dark chocolate covered macaroon.  KILLLLER.  (That's also my bowling name; Wii and real life).

So, lo and behold, blame the company, blame the family event, blame the good food, blame The Citizen Hotel, but I had a lovely trip to Sacramento.

xo – N.

LA (WEHO): CRUMPLED TWENTY

By Nora Zelevansky / May 27th, 2009

2009_05_27_gr_tea_sanwiches

The Best Link Today:

Okay, I admit it.  I haven't watched the Hell's Kitchen finale, though it's sitting pretty on my DVR list. And, truth be told, I haven't made it over to The London for chow either.  BUT, luckily, Blackburn + Sweetzer is all over that shite and gives us the inside scoop on high tea (as well as the lovely pic above).

I just love tea with cucumber sandwiches and all that jazz.

Cheerio.

xo – N.

LA (AND BEYOND): THE BEST REASON TO START POSTING AGAIN

By Nora Zelevansky / May 27th, 2009

HomeImg

Well, I'm baaaaaack. 

Creepy?  Nah.  Don't be scared.  It's just me.  Lint girl (AAAHHHH!)  No, seriously, don't freak.

I've been remiss.  I know it.  But, seriously, I am living in LA, so flakiness is like a pre-requisite.  Sometimes Mommy just needs a rest, you know?  And another handle of vodka just isn't enough, you know?

Anyhooooz, today's Curry Love Daily Candy Everywhere is compliments of moi (though edited a bit), so thought I'd link to it as an entré back into polite blogging society.

Sorry, Charlies.  I won't leave you again.  Until the next time, that is.

xo – N.

SCOTLAND (EDINBURGH): THE BEST FIRST FEW HOURS

By Nora Zelevansky / May 12th, 2009

Picture 3

Headache?  What headache? 

Jet lag?  What jet lag?  Break from posting?  What break from posting?

I am only hours in and am already deeply enamored with Edinburgh, which feels like a cross between a Medieval Village and Portland.  I LOVE IT HERE.  And I love my hotel, Hotel du Vin, which supposedly used to be a "lunatic asylum." See, the Scotts even say loony bin better!  It certainly doesn't feel like a former institution.  I'd pretend to be insane to stay in a place like this.  It smells like cedar, contemprary design combined with antiques and, of course, a bit of plaid.

Wish you were here!

xo – N.

Picture 4
Picture 5

SCOTLAND: THE BEST REASON NOT TO POST THIS WEEK

By Nora Zelevansky / May 10th, 2009

876033727_b15d84d88e-1

Okay, I don't know what this picture is about, but it came up when I Google searched kilt images, so . . . here ya go.  I'm off to Scotland, lads and lassies, and may not really have Internet access regularly.  Plus, it can be hard to type while double-fisting a finger of Scotch and bagpipes.  Or so I've heard.

I promise to return bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, though, on Monday, May 18 (a.k.a. next Monday). In the meantime, have a great week!

Oh, and this is where I'm really going, at least for part of the time:

Hotel_monachyle_mhor_boutique_copy

xo – N.

LA (SALES): CRUMPLED TWENTY

By Nora Zelevansky / May 8th, 2009

Cohesive Sample Sale

The Best Link Today:

And this one is for men (Cohesive) and women–crazy!  More sample sale action on Saturday.  And I've been to Mike & Chris sales and they're fantastic.  It's like a great sample sale bonanza over here lately.  I guess with the heat, comes the hot.  Or something like that, but something that makes more sense.

xo – N.

LA/SF (THIRD STREET/ST. HELENA): THE BEST TEMPURA WITH GREEN TEA AND CURRY SALTS

By Nora Zelevansky / May 8th, 2009

2009_05_8TEMPURASALTS2
(MISHIMA'S FLAVORED SALTS)

On the Calistoga Ranch leg of our honeymoon, Andre and I got an itch for sushi.  That sounds sort of gross.  Whatever.  Anyway, that sushi yen comes a callin' quite frequently in our shared world.  So, after a day of wine and (yum!) port tasting at this great, quirky St. Helena vineyard Prager Winery & Port Works, we headed out to Go Fish.  Owner Cindy Pawlcyn, who is sort of a local legend, owns several fab restaurants in the general vicinity, although the other two (Mustards Grill & Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen) are not at all Japanese.

Go Fish turned out to be great, a contemporary and lively comparison to some of the stodgier options around Napa Valley etc.  And lighter fare, of course, than some of the others too.  But the dish that stood out most for me was a simple mixed Japanese Vegetable Tempura with green tea salt on the side.

2009_05_8TEMPURASALTS4
(GO FISH TEMPURA WITH GREEN TEA SALT)

Now, I'm a salt addict, of course.  And flavored salt–foggetaboutit.  You dip the fresh fried veggies in sauce and then dab them with salt (which sticks because of the moisture) and basically you've found God.  Or, okay, a higher power.  The power of Grayskull.

I'm such a girlie girl that I just double-checked that He-Man reference (luckily) and wouldn't you know that I've always thought it was called "Graceskull"?  Will & Graceskull.  Okay, I am WAY off topic.

Anyway, once we headed south, I thought it would be a long time until I tasted that green tea salt again.  Until . . .

2009_05_8TEMPURASALTS3
(MISHIMA'S A LA CARTE TEMPURA)

Last night, Andre the Grumpy (cause he was hungry) and I headed around the corner to Mishima for an early dinner.  Turns out that they're now offering a sort of Happy Hour a la carte Tempura menu, so we ordered some stuff (eggplant, shrimp, broccoli).  And, lo and behold, the dish showed up with the usual tasty Tempura Sauce, but also with a tray of salts: a regular rock salt, green tea salt and (the best ever!) curry salt.  It was totally delish.

So, green tea salt was just around the corner the whole time.  I guess there's no place like home.  Now where did I put those ruby slippers?

xo – N.

LA (AND BEYOND): CRUMPLED TWENTY

By Nora Zelevansky / May 7th, 2009

2009_05_06_stuartweitzman_sprinkles

The Best Link Today:

Blackburn + Sweetzer posted a multi-sale list today (multi baaalllll; sorry, flashback to Mario Andretti pinball), including Stuart Weitzman event with free Sprinkles Cupcakes like the above.  Very Sex and The City, being a stiletto and all.

"I'm Samantha, I have sex with eeeverybody . . ."—sorry, but has anyone else watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall on HBO lately?  If not, I apologize for the slightly obscure reference.

So, enjoy the sales!  I'll be in Palm Springs (yet again, which is crazy) roasting my ass off in 105 degree heat by the pool, wearing a massively brimmed, floppy, straw sun hat.  And this is a good thing cause my tummy definitely does not need another cupcake to help it grow.

Just kidding, Mom.  I promise not to tan too much.  Umbrellas for me all the way.

Who am I kidding?  My mom never reads this stuff.  I'm going to have to re-live this entire conversation with her over the phone.

Let me try again:

Just kidding, Dad!  I promise not to tan at all or buy another bag because I know (as even a highly evolved man) you really don't understand why we women need so many effing purses.  Oh, and yes, I know, I shouldn't be complaining about my tummy.  Stomach, I mean stomach.  Cause "tummy" probably annoys you as much as "yummy."

Am I right or am I right?

xo – N.

LA (CULVER CITY): THE BEST BLOODY MARY BAR & (YUM!) TATER TOTS

By Nora Zelevansky / May 7th, 2009

2009_05_7RUSH

Bloody.  Mary.  Bar.

'Nough said.

I heard rumors of the mythical D.I.Y. (that's "Do It Yourself") phenomenon at Rush Street's new "Red-Eye Brunch" (yup, for all you hungover slackers, who, unlike Grandma Pocket Lint, actually go to parties).  Hangover or not, I love a bloody mary and I live for a buffet (yup, grandma again), so I had to check out the Sunday scene for myself.

Sure enough, one corner of the bar was cluttered with a heavenly slew of bloody mary fixings.  They brought me a salt-rimmed glass and away I went to prepare my very own perfect afternoon cocktail.  Faced with the "3 Olive Hail Mary Bar" selection of tomato juice, Clamato, four types of hot sauce and worcestershire (do I get points for spelling that correctly?), spices from Lawry's to celery Salt to Old Bay, horseradish, celery, blue cheese, jalapeno or almond stuffed olives and even marinated asparagus, I was paralized with excitement.  Ultimately, since I live for hot sauce and anything salty, I decided to just use it all.

And I'd do it again.  You know why?  Cause even Andre the Critic said it was a damn good bloody mary.

2009_05_7RUSH2
(MY BLOODY MARY & ANDRE'S ARM)

Anyway, just when I thought brunch couldn't get any better (okay, I admit that I'm not a huge breakfast person, so I didn't have high expections–I'd usually just order lunch), they brought over some breakfast paninis with, yup, tater tots.  Now, for those of you who haven't had a tater tot since camp or something, RUN don't walk to Rush Street now.  In fact, even if you've had a tater tot recently, run to Rush Street because they have the best tater tots I've ever had in my life, I think. (Plus, running might actually work off some of those tater tots.)  The Rush Street tater tots have some sort of tangy flavoring on them that is just out of this world.  It's probably just a boat load of sodium and MSG or something, but BRING IT ON.  Anytime, baby, anytime.

2009_05_7RUSH3 2009_05_7RUSH4
(CLICK IMAGES TO EXPAND: Bloody Mary Seasoning and Heavenly Tater Tots)

For our main dishes, Andre and I ordered lunch cause, well, I'm not a breakfast person.  So, he had this awesome Sloppy Joe (below) and I had a Cobb Salad (below).  The salad, though perfectly good, was a lame choice made from a place of fat ass fear and guilt and it didn't really get eaten cause I was too busy chowing down on tater tots.  Yum.

And now a word from our sponsor. [READ: Insert clever sign off cause I'm tiiired].

xo – N.

2009_05_7RUSH5 2009_05_7RUSH6
(CLICK IMAGES TO EXPAND: Awesome Sloppy Joe and Cobb Salad)