Archive for the ‘Dining in LA’ Category
A Giraffe on Our Wine Tasting Tour in Malibu
Meet Stanley. He just one of the happy folk that we get to visit when we take our Los Angeles private tour on a wine tasting expedition to one of our favorite Malibu wineries, Malibu Family Wines. We know he hears us coming because we like to fly in on one of our luxury helicopters and land in his back yard. He does not seem to mind unless we disturb his kickball exercise. We think he understands that despite the disturbance there will be some fawning attention and food treats to come. Smart animals, giraffes are. Smart people our guests are who allow us to bring them up here into the Santa Monica Mountains above the Pacific Ocean to sample some extraordinary local wines. We fill up the picnic table with a fine gourmet lunch to accompany the wine and encourage them to explore the grounds filled with movie props and a happy and friendly menagerie of beasts. Of course, there are vineyards to marvel at on this relaxed wine expedition so close to the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles.
An Action Lunch on this Private Tour in Hollywood
One of the most entertaining “theme” restaurants around Los Angeles, this one right on the Sunset Strip, is the Saddle Ranch Chop House. From our real cowboy guests enjoying a luxury private tour of Los Angeles to those who are only urban cowboys and wannabees, here is a fun saloon with good food, good music and, yes, a mechanical bull right in the center of all the action. Los Angeles does “faux” right as you would expect in our city of make-believe. The Sunset Strip has always been a stretch of Sunset Boulevard between Hollywood and Beverly Hills where entertainment was the principal objective. Bars, restaurants, clubs, theaters… it is difficult to characterize or even remember from day to day what choices are available for visitors and locals alike looking for something fun to do. If our guests are hungry as we cruise along the boulevard and if they are in a Texas frame of mind then we can pull right into the Saddle Ranch for some good grilling, beers and maybe a little bull-tussling. For our guides it is always fun to see their guests enjoying themselves in a rodeo way and even a little two-stepping to country-western music is a nice change from, say, the Hard Rock Café.
True Taste of Denmark for Our Private Tour from Los Angeles
A group of Danish settlers purchased a Mexican land grant in the Santa Ynez Valley back in 1911 and Solvang was officially a California town. Farming in the verdant valley supported the population and the town grew in size. Construction of the buildings, as can be seen in this tour photograph, emulated designs from the “old country” and a wonderful destination for visitors from all over the world came to be. We arrive in Solvang because many of our wine tours head to this area renowned (almost as notable as the Napa Valley) for its myriad appellations of fine wines. Our SIDEWAYS tour visits many of the wineries noted in the book and movie. However, a wonderful part of any tour to this area just north of Santa Barbara (and about 140 miles from Los Angeles) is a look around Solvang. Of course there are lots of wine stores but even better are the Danish bakeries. We always love directing our guests to try what we consider to be the best baked good there is, æbleskivers. Somewhere between a pancake and popover this baked doughball is served with jam or honey. Around this time of year one should enjoy their æbleskiver with a glass of gløgg (mulled wine). We can walk around to see a replica of the famed mermaid statue from Copenhagen and tributes to Hans Christian Anderson. Very close by is the Mission Santa Inés for our guests who might be traveling the mission trail through California. For our guests wanting to spend a day sightseeing out of Los Angeles we will always suggest a private tour of the Santa Ynez Valley for the beauty, the history, the wine and the æbleskivers.
Private Tour Enjoys Tea Time at the Pink Palace
Before there was a Beverly Hills there was a Beverly Hills Hotel. In 1912 the area looked nothing like the plush, verdant luxury neighborhood it is today. Nor did the hotel. More like ranch land and wide open space, even a race track for automobiles. But the years have been kind to the hotel and the city. A hideaway for movie stars (numerous bungalows and suites) and royalty from around the world this exquisite Mediterranean Revival structure captures the eyes and imagination of anyone traveling along Sunset Boulevard. Our office was abuzz this morning with discussion of an interview with Warren Beatty about his new film RULES DON’T APPLY. Ostensibly about Howard Hughes and Hollywood the hotel was often occupied by Mr. Hughes. Really occupied. As Mr. Beatty tells it, he, a brand new Hollywood star after the success of his first film, Elia Kazan‘s SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, was staying at the hotel…in one room. However, all the neighboring rooms were assigned to Howard Hughes. Mr. Hughes was unique. The stars still come out at the Beverly Hills Hotel. We often stop for lunch at the Polo Lounge and will subtly point out not only the celebrities but faces our Los Angeles private tour guests might not know, those belonging to studio executives and talent agents. Our tour guides not only follow the industry closely (it IS our bread and butter, after all) but most of them have years of studio and entertainment industry experience behind them and have closely encountered many industry people “doing lunch” at the Polo Lounge. Lunch on a private tour can be arranged or even a late afternoon visit for tea. We are very careful with our camera at the hotel. We respect the privacy of those staying there and do not wish to encumber our welcome at the hotel when we visit. However, outside the hotel, even on a rare windswept day with a rainstorm imminent, we can take great pictures of the hotel and our guests.
There is Always Time for Tiffany & Co. When Your Private Tour Gets to Beverly Hills
Early is always a good time to arrive at the exquisite outdoor, top tier shopping area that is Two Rodeo in Beverly Hills. We can first pop in for breakfast at 208 Rodeo Restaurant and watch the early visitors to Tiffany & Co. next door. The morning sun illuminates the nooks and crannies of this European cityscape that is as much fun to walk through as to surrender to luxury consumer desires and enter the shops along the pathway. Besides Tiffany there are Versace, Brequet, Lladro, Jimmy Choo and Porsche Design (and a number of other fashion and design creators) ready to welcome discerning high fashion lovers. Two Rodeo is right in the center of Beverly Hills’ Golden Triangle and at the corner of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard across the street from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Our Los Angeles private tour generally explores all around this part of Beverly Hills besides driving up into the mansion district to look at movie stars’ homes. Our guests can see where the celebrities eat, shop and live and experience some of the amenities themselves at the same time as they are enjoying the VIP treatment we give them.
Big Sandwich, Big Stars – Our Private Tour Lunches in Beverly Hills
Some say that deli is dying. Maybe it’s shrinking. We have lost a few delis here in Los Angeles but overall we have a very healthy deli community where we can stop for lunch or a snack when on a Los Angeles private tour. If we find ourselves famischt when in Beverly Hills then our place to go is Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen. Serving Jewish food lovers not only from the local area but visitors from all over the world since 1945, this lively restaurant maintains all the best traditions of deli that make even New Yorkers feel at home. Large sandwiches, spiced meats, smoked fish, award winning matzo ball soup that’s to die for, fresh rye bread, snappy Kosher pickles…it is difficult to write this when my stomach is gurgling with desire. What’s more, celebrities! Lots of Hollywood show biz people “do lunch” here (breakfast and dinner, too). We often encounter very familiar faces filling themselves up, completely guilt-free, on a steaming pastrami sandwich….or corned beef. The menu is very specific that all frying is done with canola oil. That’s healthy. Chicken products are all cage free. That’s humane. For a healthy and humane deli meal we strongly suggest a visit to Nate ‘n Al Delicatessen in Beverly Hills and an opportunity to dine with the stars.
Our Private Tour Watches Filming at Pink’s
Instead of stopping for one of the world famous hot dogs at Pink’s in Hollywood as we so often do we get to stop to watch Hollywood in action as a film crew has taken over the landmark food stand for some authentic location shooting for a movie or television show. Trucks, trailers, generators, cables, police, the squawking of radios, bright lights, dolly tracks, camera and crew… what looks like a madhouse to the untrained eye is really an army of skilled workers quickly and effectively setting up to film possibly only part of a page of script. When “action” is called it is all worth the effort as the actors inhabit their characters and propel the story forward. In the meantime the guide on this private tour of Los Angeles is thinking about other great places to stop for lunch today. Thankfully there are many extraordinary restaurants, cafés, food trucks and stands that are unique to Los Angeles that can make our custom sightseeing tour even more memorable. From Hollywood to Beverly Hills to Malibu we know how to please our guests when they get hungry and need to refresh for even more exciting exploration of our great Southern California city.
Pink’s is One Special Place for Lunch on a Private Tour in Los Angeles
We try to make every moment of our Los Angeles private tour fun. From picking up our guests at their hotel to dropping them off after sightseeing in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and whatever other destinations are of interest to them we want the entire time to be informative, interesting and most of all … fun! Now this includes our stop for lunch. One of the funnest places we can offer to go with our guests is Pink’s Hot Dogs just around the corner from the Melrose Avenue shopping district. If Hollywood is our morning visit then Pink’s is the perfect place for a lunch break before spending the afternoon in Beverly Hills. Are the hot dogs good at Pink’s? If they weren’t you can bet this little stand wouldn’t be so popular still (fast moving lines since 1939 from opening to their late night closing) and highly regarded. Favored by celebrities and studio workers alike there is always a raucous crowd chowing down on Pink’s kosher hot dogs and assorted side dishes. Making the food choices even more difficult are the regular specials. This visit we had the chance to try out the new Emeril BAM Dog. For those of us who are regulars here the specials tempt us away from our favorites and often become our new favorite dogs to order. Pink’s is only one of the terrific places we can take our guests for lunch. There are other famous food stands, small cafés and even posh restaurants that can make lunch very special when getting to know Los Angeles.
Add Luxury Swimming to Luxury Private Tour
Maybe swimming in the Pacific Ocean is not special enough for our guests on a private tour around Los Angeles. The beaches are very crowded and very hot lately in these dog days of summer. The swimming pool at their hotel is also crowded. What do we suggest to remedy the heat of July and August while out sightseeing? We suggest that we hurry up to Malibu Rocky Oaks for a private tour of a winery and estate so elegant and unique that film production companies are lining up to use the facility for filming. This is luxury at its best. Our guests can have exclusive access to the residence after a private tour of the vineyards and this Tuscan-inspired home. A private chef will prepare lunch and the repast can be served while enjoying the infinity pool that overlooks the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. We do not even have to drive up into the mountains because the estate has its own helipad. The ocean is close enough that occasional winds bring a salty breeze over the pool. Wine, lunch, cool water…this is the ultimate in luxury touring and relaxation. Speaking of which, should we have a masseuse awaiting you after your swim?
Private Tour Fast Food is a Destination for Some
With all the special and unique places to get something to eat during a private tour of Los Angeles we are all constantly amazed by our guests who arrive in Southern California dreaming of a meal at In-N-Out Burger. It seems that they have heard of the family-owned and operated business and its 317 locations and the first thing they discuss with their guide is making In-N-Out a destination on their custom tour. We know where all the Los Angeles restaurants are and most often get to the Hollywood location (photo above) around lunch time. Sometimes we use the drive-thru and eat in the car or drive to a nearby park like Runyon Canyon to enjoy a picnic. If our guests want the whole In-N-Out experience we will park and eat in the restaurant. Good hamburgers, fries and milkshakes to be sure. The Hollywood store is right across from Hollywood High School which makes for good stories and anecdotes of famous alumni as well as movies and tv shows filmed at the school. After lunch we are just blocks from the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard or we can stay on Sunset Boulevard and visit the Guitar Center’s Rockwalk. The old Chaplin studio is very close by. Betcha that Charlie would have loved In-N-Out had it been around in his day.