I read my own column 2 weeks ago, and the opening of Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s sounded like so much fun that I figured I had to go check it out! So I grabbed my friend, Aris, a graphic designer for Disney, and off we went. I WAS planning on waiting till Adam Lambert performed there, but I heard that will be in about 3 months time and I couldn’t wait that long. And after a week of torture from Sears, I needed all the fun I could get.
In recent years, Vitello’s was famous, or infamous, as the case may be, as the restaurant where Robert Blake and his wife shared their last meal. Now it will be known as one of the few places where you can see truly talented Broadway/Cabaret singers on Friday and Saturday nights. And enjoy a delicious meal beforehand!
Being a very slow eater, I appreciated that they let us actually finish the meal before the show started.
I hate supper clubs where the performer has to deal with clinking silverware.
The evening starts off with a 4-course dinner, consisting of generous bruschetta, a perfectly tangy Italian salad, 3 choices of entrée, and spumoni for dessert. It’s worth it to pay extra for a cannoli while you’re there because it’s the best one I ever had! I’m from NY (see the last paragraph of this column), so that’s saying something!
The pleasant service adds to the whole experience, especially if you’re lucky enough to get Phil as your waiter.
The artist-in-residence is Joan Ryan. I’m not familiar with her, but people in the know are very excited that she’ll be performing this coming weekend.
The featured artist the night we attended is two-time Grammy nominee Amick Byram. His rendition of the little-known “Red, Red Rose,” in particular, made me give him my full attention.
In these days of being inundated with reality shows and their mainly lackluster casts, it was refreshing to see real talent.
And so close up! There’s not a bad seat in the house. It was kind-of like seeing a Broadway show, only without all the goony parts.
And we all have front row seats! What could be better? (If you’ve had to sit behind some of the weirdoes I’ve had to, you’d appreciate Sterling’s seating arrangement, too.)
Mr. Byram’s accompanist is Nelson Kole, out of NY, and they seem to really enjoy each other’s talent. The audience must have, too, because there was not even a smattering of superfluous chatter and I forgot that cell phones existed for the duration of the show, which, by the way, was the perfect length of just over an hour.
The whole evening was simply a happy situation, from the service to the audience to the performers themselves. At one point, I looked around the room and noticed everyone was smiling.
You can’t ask for more from a Saturday night in LA. Unless it’s a date with me.
And there’s a long line
for that . . .
Sterling’s Upstairs At Vitello’s 4349 Tujunga Ave. Studio City 818-769-0905
|Vitello's in Studio City
||Singer Joan Ryan
The other night, my New Best Friend (henceforth to be known as my NBF), Sydney, and I enjoyed a true BH girls night out when we attended an Indulge Your Senses event at the Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive, hosted by Jurlique Day Spa. We ladies (and a few guys!) were treated to mini-facials or hand massages.
I was kicking myself that I hadn’t brought a disguise so I could get both!
It started in the bar off the lobby with cocktails and delicious, generous hors d’oeuvres. The staff could not have been lovelier. From both the hotel and Spa. The servers seemed to want to do just that, in particular Irina, a new addition to the hotel.
The waiters really offered us the food, and didn’t stand there acting like they were doing us a favor, which seems to be the growing trend at catered events these days.
Nigel, the super-cute guy who walked us to our facials, had such beautiful speech that I asked where he was from. To my relief, he was originally from Monaco, then London and Australia, and didn’t just have the Madonna-Oprah-Robin Williams phony accent!
Our facialists, Jolene and Emjay, looked good themselves, which I think is always important if you’re telling others what to do in the looks category. (Although, since Jurlique is organic and good for your skin, it’s also about well-being.)
I hate going to a hairdresser who looks like she hasn’t washed her hair since the last millennium.
Or a manicurist whose nails are bitten to the quick. Or, the worst--a dentist who has teeth like the British. (Excepting David Beckham.) I could go on. But I think you get my point.
The patrons were an upbeat, happy lot. And we got goodie bags to boot.
All in all, my kind of shindig!
Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive 360 N. Rodeo Drive 310-273-0300 LuxeHotels.com
Jurlique Day Spa 358 N. Beverly Drive 310-285-9820 jurlique.com
|Luxe Hotel, Beverly Hills
Brief theater thought: I’ve been seeing a lot of plays around town lately, but can recommend only one new addition. It’s “Recent Tragic Events” at the Theatre Tribe in Noho. More amusing than the name would imply. Nice, easy evening of theater.
If you ‘d like to know some places to eat around there, let me know and I’ll address that in future columns.
“Recent Tragic Events” through July 22
Theatre Tribe 5267 Lankershim Blvd. 866-811-4111 theatremania.com
Nathan Burgess, Dawn Burgess and Drake Simpson star in the THEATRE TRIBE Los Angeles Premiere production of RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS, written by Craig Wright and directed by Stuart Rogers and now playing at THEATRE TRIBE, 5267 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. For tickets, please call 1-866-811-4111 or visit www.theatretribe.com.
PHOTO: Sara Shapley
Remember the days of fireworks in Santa Monica? They stopped those several years back for safety’s sake.
They actually tried them at something like 5AM for a couple of years, but only lunatics like me seemed to go. I found a way to work it all out courtesy of Fred Deni and Jim Crystal, restaurateurs extraordinaire.
They own Back On Broadway and Back On the Beach, two of Santa Monica’s most popular restaurants, which have both been on my very short list of favorites for years.
Reviews of them will be in future columns.
Here’s the secret that I hope I don’t regret sharing: Santa Monica presents their fireworks display on the Saturday BEFORE the 4th! Brilliant idea. And Fred and Jim are so generous that they treat their best friends and customers to a dinner catered by them.
Maybe, if you start now, you can frequent their establishments enough before then to be on the list, too. Just don’t say it was my idea!
Back On Broadway 20 Broadway Santa Monica 310-453-8919
Back On the Beach PCH Santa Monica 310-452-8686
And lastly, I grew up in Brooklyn (there’s a shock!), so July 4th was a big deal because we got to see fireworks in Coney Island. I’ll be in NY this 4th, for the first time since I was a teen-ager, but doubt that any of my friends there are fun enough to go to CI with me. I hope I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Have a happy, festive, and most importantly, safe 4th!
Karen’s Restaurant Revue airs on July 11 at 9PM on Adelphia Cable, Ch. 98, 77, or 3. Check local listings for your area.
Karen’s Restaurant Revue airs on Adelphia Cable, Channel 98, Channel 77, or Chanel 3.