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Restaurant Reviews and Commentary from Karen Salkin

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One of the best perks of living and working in the Beverly Hills area is getting to attend functions at the many lovely hotels around here. I think a number of my neighbors take it for granted, but as an original Brooklyn girl, I never tire of the beauty that surrounds me.

I recently re-visited some of my favorite hostelries for special events. After all these years, I still feel like a little girl playing dress-up when I attend. Which is a good thing. I wish the same feeling for all of you, too.


Here's breaking opinion (as opposed to breaking news, because I know nothing for sure; it's just my opinion.)

I think that Jason Kidd is in talks with the Lakers. Here's my story:

karen and jason

I was at a crummy party at Sky Bar the other night, which isn't worth your reading time, so forget that part. But it looked up for me when I spotted New Jersey Net (for now) Jason Kidd at the bar with a couple of friends. I'm obsessed with sports, especially basketball, and my friend, Lauren, had met him before, so we ventured over to say hi.

First of all, he was darling to us, which I was very surprised to see, from all I've read about him. And he was so much better-looking in person than on TV, where I think he looks somewhat severe. (Possibly because he's concentrating on winning games and not talking to us chicks at a bar.)

But here's what I gleaned from the conversation, though he didn't tell me anything. And I didn't want to pry and ask much since I'm a stranger to him, although the first words out of my mouth, upon meeting him, were, "So are you staying or going?" (Meaning from the Nets, not the party.) Lovely opening.

Here are my clues that he's talking to the Lakers:

1. He's staying at a hotel in L.A. at this time of turmoil for the Lakers.
2. He blanched when I told him I hate Kobe.
3. He more than blanched when I then said I hate the Lakers!
4. And most importantly, he semi-stuck-up for Kobe's recent Laker-bashing himself, which I think no NBA player would do, unless they were considering being his teammate.
5. He's getting towards the end of his career, and may think he has a better chance of winning a championship at least on a team in the Western Conference, if not the Lakers in specific.
6. He seemed amused when I told him that I love the Clippers, which would indicate to me that they're not the reason he's out here.
7. When I mentioned that if he stays a Net, he'll be playing in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY, he didn't say, "Yeah, I'll see you out there."

I repeat - I have no proof, didn't ask him directly, and would never break a confidence if he had told me anything. This is all just my opinion from our conversation. (And Lauren observed the whole thing, and concurred. She also said she thinks I put the fear of the Wrath of Karen in him with my "hating Kobe" discourse.) But if you wind-up hearing about it on ESPN, please remember that I broke the story first.

And, if you see me at the games next season, it means that Jason Kidd has temporarily taken over the title of My New Best Friend.


In March, I had written about what I thought was the opening of Century City's newest, hippest lounge, X Bar, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. (Check it out in my archives.) But it turned out that what I had attended then was just the preview.

So, two weeks ago, I happily revisited it for the official opening. It was just as good, with some food and beverages I hadn't tried before. This party was much earlier, having a 5PM start time, but it was just as crowded. That leads me to think it would be the perfect Happy Hour destination, especially if you work in Century City.

I'm thinking it could also be a great and classy alternative to the Saturday night club scene. The couches were packed and in one second you can step outside to the massive, and comfortable, deck area. Might be a smarter way to hang out with your crowd than entertaining at home, and there are giant-screen TVs, for those who want to watch sports or the like.

The attendees at both events were multi-aged, so it seems like everyone's welcomed here, which is a good thing. I can't wait to see how it plays out as the months go on.

X Bar Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel 2025 Ave. of the Stars Century City


I love the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It's just so classy, yet comfortable. I've been to many events here over the years, but somehow missed spending a lot of time at the pool area. So, I was thrilled to attend an outdoor cocktail party there recently to celebrate the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, their sister hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a destination I hope to visit someday in the near future. (Note to myself: get a new passport!!!)

The BH party's invitation said "On the deck of Circa 55," the hotel's latest restaurant. But it wasn't held on some little deck; it was all around the gorgeous pool. I really never noticed just how mouth-watering it is. I could have gone for a swim on the spot!

We met some of the key personnel from both hotels and had appetizers and desserts that were prepared by the chefs from Mexico who were brought in for this special occasion. Unfortunately, my friend, Lucia, who's actually a world traveler, and I kept calling the tidbits by their shape, ("get me some more of the triangle things") or texture (she loved the "crumbly ones") rather than by their exotic Mexican names. But, the main thing is that we ate and enjoyed them.

There was a tequila bar that the rest of the guests seemed to be enjoying. (I don't drink, and Lucia was the driver.) As favors, we received beautiful coffee table books of the area the resort is in.

But my favorite part of the evening was being invited back to the BH location to luxuriate in their recently opened spa. I think it's exactly what I need after all this partying!

Beverly Hilton Hotel 9876 Wilshire Blvd. BH 310-274-7777


What can be more special than an invitation to a private function at a boutique hotel? That's how I felt when I got invited to the launch of the Temptation Hour at the Crescent, probably my favorite in this category.

The crowd for the opening was more than eclectic! Those of us who sat on the patio, near the outdoor-indoor fireplace, were having a good time. This really is the perfect venue for mingling because you can't wander too far away, but you can still roam around and visit with different groups.

What it is is a very upscale, yet hip, version of Happy Hour. It features a creative drink and appetizer menu, with everything named after a sin. (Took me a while to figure that out, being the upstanding citizen that I am.)

I'm so low maintenance, seriously, that I was content with the delicious (in both ways) apples that were all around, in keeping with the Temptation theme. Maybe next time, they'll have the Motown group of the same name perform. I know that would be temptation enough for me!

The Crescent Hotel 403 N. Crescent Dr. BH 310-247-0505


And lastly, the party at the Roosevelt was the worst soiree that I attended at a hotel recently. Quel domage. I know it's always considered hip to hang at the poolside Tropicana Bar, so a function was a good excuse to go there.

I just never get the attraction. On top of it being so dark that you really have almost no idea to whom you're talking, the ground surface is so chopped up that it's hard to walk in heels, and that's what all us girls have on.

The plus is that all the security guys are great! Not a lemon in the bunch that I could detect. And as a former club promoter, (don't ask--you really don't want to know), I can guarantee you that's not always the case.

I won't bust the hosts of the event, but I will tell you that the goodie bags (that were less than generous in number to begin with) contained only the magazine they were launching, a bottle of not-great water, a bottle of bad-color nail polish, and a gift certificate for a hair-cut, with no blow-dry! My friends didn't even opt to get theirs.

Worse than that, though, was the utter lack of food. How do you throw a party called for 8PM, and serve nothing?! We were so hungry that we had to pass on the one fun part, complimentary manicures, to go out to eat. Which just may prove my theory that the old adage, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" applies to ladies, as well. It definitely does in my case. But I think we knew that already.

Roosevelt Hotel 7000 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood 323-785-7244
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