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Category: California Dreaming

Best Artisan Chocolates in Beverly Hills

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet award winning pastry chef and talented chocolatier Kriss Harvey in his chocolate kitchen in the Arts District in Los Angeles. Named as one of America’s Top 10 Pastry Chefs, Chef Kriss was formerly the Executive Pastry Chef at The Bazaar by José Andrés at the SLS Hotel. Looking at his arms, I noticed his tattoos told a story about his culinary journey. He trained under some of Europe’s greatest chefs, including Oriol Balaguer and Emmanuel Ryon in France, and worked in the kitchen of the Ritz Carlton and the Wynn Las Vegas....

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‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’ in Rancho Mirage

As the lyrics of the famous Irving Berlin song goes “If you’re blue and you don’t where to go to, why don’t you go where fashion sits? Puttin’ on the Ritz.” When the Ritz-Carlton resort re-opened in 2014 in the Greater Palm Springs area of Rancho Mirage, the desert community embraced it for its luxury beauty, un-wavering commitment to service, dining and wellness options. Built in the late 1980s as the Lodge in Rancho Mirage, the resort offered the most desirable panoramic views of the Coachella Valley. When it was slated to become a Ritz-Carlton, the financial backer Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy...

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Summer Fun at Shore Hotel in Santa Monica

What used to be the site of a Travelodge and Pacific Sands Hotel, is now the LEED GOLD certified oceanfront Shore Hotel. Located just blocks from the historic Santa Monica pleasure pier and west of downtown Los Angeles, over 50% of the construction waste materials, including metals, concrete, stucco, terrazzo, wood & carpet were recycled or salvaged from the two hotels to build this luxury eco-friendly boutique hotel. Opening in 2011, the hotel offers an open-air, U-shaped design allowing guests rooms to receive natural light, as well as taking full advantage of the Pacific Ocean views. The Shore Hotel...

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Luxury Evening Spa Experience

The spa inside the The Peninsula Beverly Hills was under construction for three weeks to elevate guests experiences and stand apart from the other spas in Beverly Hills. Not only did the spa add new products and services, but this summer they are offering unique spa experiences for this summer. Recently the Global Wellness Institute determined that the Spa economy was a $119 billion business and the global wellness industry grew by 6.4 percent annually from 2015–2017, from a $3.7 trillion to a $4.2 trillion market, nearly twice as fast as global economic growth. The newly enhanced multi-million dollar spa...

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Experience Culinary and Luxury JOY at Sea

I had no idea I would be so pampered in luxury on the revitalized Norwegian Joy during her inaugural sailing to Ensenada, Mexico. Once I presented my passport upon check in, I received a private key card to the Penthouse in The Haven Courtyard. This new, spacious and beautifully appointed concierge enclave offers the most luxurious and well-appointed accommodations. Tapping my card near the entrance on deck 17, the glass door opened to allow me into this exclusive area. A certified butler greeted me and led me to my spacious stateroom cabin 13108. The Haven offers a private bar/lounge,...

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Joachim Splichal’s Domaine De CALA

I was recently invited to celebrity chef Joachim Splichal’s Southern California home for an exquisite dinner paired with his new wines made at Domaine de Cala. We watched an informative power point presentation about how this esteemed chef purchased a run down Domaine located outside of the medieval town of Brignoles, in the  picturesque Coteaux Varois AOP in the heart of Provence.  Joachim’s culinary career began in Provence, where he worked at La Napoule and Antibes, a two and three-Michelin star restaurant. He fondly remembers visiting a truffle supplier near this area, and dreaming of one day buying a...

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Soulful Keanu Reeves Makes Hollywood history

Right before the premier of JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM, celebrity actor and producer Keanu Reeves (John Wick) was invited to participate in the oldest honor in Hollywood – to sign his name and put his hands and footprints in wet cement on the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX. Near the stage was International artist and painter Rob Prior, sweeping fluid strokes of colorful paint to the beat of music. His art is a mesmerizing combination of entertainment and excitement, drawing fans to watch him paint Keanu Reeves as John Wick. Soon many of Keanu’s John Wick cast...

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Weekend Fun in Bucolic Buellton

Planning a weekend getaway, we wanted to go somewhere within two hours from Los Angeles offering beauty, wine and culinary delights. After the winter rain, the Super Bloom is transforming California’s landscape into pastures of Spring wildflowers on full display. In the charming town of Buellton in Santa Barbara County, the verdant green hills are blanketed with vibrant yellow mustard flowers. We decided to investigate for a quick getaway. Buellton in Central California is an idyllic getaway for tasting some of the state’s best wines and culinary fare. It also offers some unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. We...

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The Magnificent Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort

Recently I attended a ribbon cutting ceremony at the opening of the oceanfront Rosewood Miramar Beach Resort. Celebrity actor Rob Lowe sat in front of me, and later walked up to the podium to thank entrepreneur and developer Rick Caruso for building this exquisite addition to the community. As a spokesman for the affluent village of Montecito, Lowe told approximately 150 invited guests, “We are so happy to have this resort up and running, to have place where we can create the kind of memories, that I had at the old Miramar, in the train car, having milkshakes, walking...

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The Ranunculus Super Bloom in Carlsbad

The city of Carlsbad in Southern California celebrates a super bloom this Spring with their famous blooming giant Tecolote Ranunculus fields. Near the center of town, the hills are ablaze with a kaleidoscope of flowers between the Pacific Ocean and LEGOLAND. The Carlsbad Ranch at The Flower Fields is located behind Armstrong Garden Center. This year the ranch offers fun props to enhance visitors photo opportunities. Guests can sit on a tractor or giant chair while posing next to rows of yellow, white, pink, purple, red, golden and salmon colored flowers. Other visitor opportunities include riding in a wagon...

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MacRostie Wines Help No Kid Hungry

Recently I sat down with Gillian Jeske Dodd from Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners at a Taste of the Nation LA preview dinner at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills. She enlightened me about one of the evening’s sponsors, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards. This state-of-the-art winery is located on a picturesque hilltop overlooking the bucolic Russian River Valley in California. Established in 1987, Steve MacRostie Pinot-focused winery is also the home to Thale’s Vineyard, named after Steve’s wife. While pouring a glass of 2016 MacRostie Thale’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, each sip offered appealing clove, brown spice and cherry aromas, with...

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Luxurious La Prairie Spa in Beverly Hills

Taking the elevator up to the second floor, the door opens to La Prairie Spa at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. Recently this 5,000 sq. ft. spa was named a Five-Star Spa by Forbes Travel Guide. It’s the first spa at a Hilton property in North America to win the award, and only the second globally. Curious why this luxury spa received such a prestigious designation, I discovered the staff incorporates the Swiss skincare’s most luxurious products and experiences. Only at the Waldorf Astoria, do they offer a multitude of treatments and three exclusive experiences. The Ultimate Radiance Experience leaves locals...

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