Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I'VE NEVER NEEDED A VACATION MORE IN MY LIFE.  Truthfully, I've had two years of Hell, and not sat down for a second, unless I was so down I couldn't get up. My dear, kind, loving friends, Lucie Arnaz and Larry Luckinbill rented a house on the water on Maui for a month and said, "Come on over." I did. And all we did was laugh, swim, nap, cook, read, and eat. It was a prescription for better health that came from God.
One night we (Lucie, Larry, and his very cool son Nick) went to see Willie Kay, now the most famous entertainer on the islands. He is 100% full-blooded Hawaiian, who packs them in at Mulligan's on the Blue, a club on a golf course in Maui. He can sing anything from rock, to country, to opera, and plays all genres on guitar and ukelele. He is one of the finest musicians I have ever seen. Of course, Lucie (Hawaiian name Luke-pronounced Loo-Kay) and I have purchased ukeleles and are working on duets.
Larry, who is a true renaissance man, took us to Makena Beach where we survived the undertow and thrived. Then we went to the Grand Wailea and played in their pools--many pools--with slides, currents, rope drops, bridges, bars, volleyball nets--and that was for the kids (all except the bar, of course). We joined the kids. P.S. NEVER go on the big slide.
The sunsets and mornings were fantastic, and the bird watching from their house was mesmerizing. It was one of the most enchanting, glorious vacations I've ever had. I love them so.

HAWAIIAN COOKING TIP FROM LUCIE---THE MAUI HOISIN DOG: BBQ Hebrew National hot dogs well done. Condiments--Hoisin, Fresh Pineapple, Chopped Green Onions and Dijon Mustard. You simply have not lived unless you've had a Hoisin Dog.


It was love at first site and it costs between $5000-$6000. Whoops! It's by TOTO. It has a soft, heated seat, a washlet feature that washes you "after," it flushes by itself---it does anything you want it to do. Its seat is elongated to match your "seat." It is the most comfortable place you can ever sit. I was hooked. I soon discovered they had lower-priced models if you chose to wipe and flush yourself!! From that day forward, I was hooked. I spotted them in select airports, restaurants, placed in movies as products---feature stories were done on them--even Whoopi showed hers to Oprah on TV.

Then one day I had to  use the bathroom at a friend's house. I walked into the guest bath without taking much notice. I sat down. Oh my God. My bottom could tell right away that something special was happening. It was the TOTO! I went insane!!!! The toilet was hitting home. I could no longer wait. It was a sign. I had to have it.

The other day I was in the ladies room at Bouchon in Beverly Hills. I opened the door to the stall and there it was. But this time I was calm. No envy. I now have my own. Thank you, Whoopi. Thank you, Ellen/

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Valerie Harper and I like to eat lunch at the first booth on the right at La Scala. We've been doing it for years, and we know that if one of us arrives before 11:59 a.m., we can sit and hold the booth. After 12 pm, La Scala makes you wait to be seated until your whole party is there. You stand as you wait, watching the precious booths being taken, one by one, as you wait for your late guest/guests. I know you know what I'm talking about. WELL, THEY HAVE A NEW POLICY. If you come in ANY time before 12, and you are the only one there, you cannot sit in a booth until one more person arrives. Therefore, if you are a party of three, and the second one arrives, you CAN go to the booth and wait. I WILL MAKE NOTE OF THIS.

Anyway, Valerie and I love to talk. We solve all the problems of the world in each lunch. But by 1:30 pm, if you are still in your booth, people glare at you like they want you dead. If you dare to linger over coffee and/or dessert, they start to hover over you like killer hawks. So we left, but needed another place to sit down. If we chose to go to another establishment, we'd either have to order another lunch, or two iced teas for about $15. "No," I said. "There must be a way to sit down for free in Beverly Hills."

We turned left as we left and I spotted the slightly new shop, Pom Pom, next door. In front they were displaying two padded lawn chairs. Perfect. We sat in the display and kept talking. After a while, people began to stare so we aimed for another place. I remembered the park next to the Montage Hotel. Off we went, and found a number of lovely tables and chairs to occupy. Now I realized we were onto something. Where else in Beverly Hills could we pull this off?

Our next stop was James Perse on Canon. Valerie wanted to buy her husband, Tony, a present. Neither one of us had ever been in the shop, but as soon as we walked in, we noticed a beautifully landscaped inner courtyard with fabulous white lounge chairs that beckoned to us. She picked out the shirt she wanted, and then instead of going to the pay area, we simply walked to the courtyard and landed on the lounges. The sun was shining, horsetail plants and desert grasses were swaying, and we had found place No. 3 to land. We were going to stay for awhile.

Montage Park
E. Baldi's Bench
James Perse

James Perse
Pom Pom

Some time later, as we were walking toward the car, I noticed a cool bench in front of E. Baldi. "Do we dare?" I asked. You guessed it. We sat down again. BY THIS TIME WE REALIZED THAT WE HAD BEEN SITTING IN FREE CHAIRS FOR THREE AND A HALF HOURS, AND WE HAD ONLY COVERED THE OPPORTUNITIES ON CANON! Who knows what the other streets would have for us. SO THIS IS PART NO. 1. Feel "free" to check it out for yourselves.

Monday, July 11, 2011


As you can tell, I love trying restaurants. I am so insane about food and wine, that I have, for years, gone to the Culinary Institute of America in Napa to study once a year. I had never checked out the Hungry Cat, and had heard mixed things about it. Well, I really liked it. It's impossible to find; has no signage except for hidden letters on a window; and decor that looks like a jail cell. BUT, it has David Lentz' food. If you go at lunch and don't order a caviar sandwich (only kidding...it doesn't exist but perhaps he should create one...) the food is not that expensive. I ordered a Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Feta, Red Onions, and Arugula, which was sensational--and only $10.
Wonderful Andrea, the most successful cabaret singer in the country, had the HC Cobb which had fresh shrimp, tuna and crab in addition to all the regular Cobb salad ingredients. When she was through, there wasn't even a remnant on the plate. $12!


I had the privilege of being the "handler" for President and Mrs. Ford one night at an awards event. I was with them from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. They were two of the nicest, warmest, most unpretentious people you could ever hope to meet. They were both up in years, so I took them to nap/rest around 6:30, to allow them to

be fresher for the dinner at 7:30. I had an opportunity to thank her for being so candid, honest, and courageous. I can think of no First Lady who could compare to her in those areas. She never hid anything that was important to her. Thank you, dear Betty, for the help you gave to cancer patients, to addicts---for all these lives you saved and will continue to save.
After being so disappointed by my first visit to the Papaya King on Wilcox (as opposed to their truck, which no longer exists), I went back today to check it out. THERE WAS NO ONE WAITING IN FRONT, AND ONLY THREE PEOPLE WERE INSIDE. The word is out that the dogs just aren't what they should be. I said it before, and I'll say it again---YOU CANNOT GRILL A DOG ON ALUMINUM FOIL. Do they think they need to be soul-free in LA because we have surfers here? Did they dum down for L.A? Without the accumulated grill grease ( New Yorkers understand what I'm talking about)--you have nothing. Look at the Original Tommy's on R

ampart.....no aluminum foil. Pink's.....no aluminum foil. Papaya King......you blew it.


Today I was driving home from lunch at "Turn Out the Lights" came on the radio. I was taken back to that night, many years ago, when I sat in the balmy air watching him in his white suit singing away at the Greek Theatre. He was simply the sexiest being I had ever seen.......that tight suit......his taut build.....his moves in all the right places.......that dreamy voice.....handsome face.....gorgeous teeth. There wasn't a man, woman, or goat in the audience that night who didn't want him. Of the literally thousands of concerts I've seen, I think that was the most electrifying. God Bless you, Teddy. We don't forget.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I have had the pleasure recently of getting to know JAMIE LAUREN. I think she is a really gifted chef. If you want to see for yourself, she has consulted with the about-to-open restaurant VODVIL on Fairfax. It will be her American comfort menu. Last night Jamie, ELIZABETH KEENER and I went to ANTONIA LOFASO'S new restaurant, BLACK MARKET. It's in the old Wine Bistro space on Ventura near Laurel Canyon, and it has been completely transformed into a hip gastropub with a sensational beer, ale and wine list ( as well as cocktails, of course), and tons of small plates of goodies. One thing I was shocked to have tried was the Alligator Hot Dog. I try not to eat meat, but I had to taste. I liked it! I loved her Dill Chips with Malt Vinegar Aioli and the Lemon Pepper Shrimp with Lemon Aioli. There was so much to try----a salad of Escarole, Anchovies, White Beans, Parmigiano and Sherry Vinegar; a Shaved Fennel and Watermelon Salad with Goat's Milk Feta, Watermelon Radish and Tarragon, plus her signature dish, Crispy Collard Greens, Benton's Ham, Cheese Grits, and a Soft Egg. The place is really cool.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Why did I see the new TRANSFORMERS you might ask? I was begged by a friend to accompany him to the screening. Repeatedly. I caved. As I walked into the always-freezing big theatre at Paramount, armed with sweatshirts and lap robes, I settled into the dark. For the next two and a half hours, I was bombarded by the noise of the sound of the movie, and endless battles between some machines. Along the way I spotted Frances McDormand (and felt sorry for her, but then I thought she was probably happy with the check she received), Josh Duhamel, and Shia LaBoeuf. Why does anyone put Shia in action movies? He has no shoulders. For frosting, we were introduced to Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who was absolutely fine. The reviewers are ripping her apart because she's an easy target. Get those chips of your shoulders (at least you have shoulders.)
You know what? For two and a half hours I enjoyed myself. I escaped from our troubled world. Did I understand the plot? Sort of. Did I care? No. I had a good time.


I have always been a fan of John Sedlar, and have been going to his restaurants since the first one in Manhattan Beach. I believe he is an artist, and, without question, "plates" his dishes more beautifully than any chef. Each one looks like a painting. Please notice the plating of a tamale comprised of wild mushroom duxelles dumplings and filet with bearnaise sauce on a "Clockwork Orange" plate.....It was astonishingly good. Next up was the Arepas Caracas--corncakes with shrimp, mango and chiles---just sensational.
THEN IT ALL TOOK A DIVE. The waiter pushed something called Maize Bombay Taj--pork belly confit, chili-lime jicama, mango pickle on a crisp with raita cocktail vinaigrette. It sounds great--right? It's not. They are not plated well-enough to relate to each other so you end up tasting each ingredient separately. The crisp is way to thin and hold nothing together, and, simply, that combination of tastes doesn't work.
The bar is hot; the decor is great; the drinks are cool; and IT IS SO LOUD YOU CAN'T TALK OR HEAR. I would go back at 5 in the afternoon for Tito's Vodka and the apps I loved. Then I'm outta there before the din takes over.


I'm making no jokes here. What Arnold did to Maria is beyond disgusting. Good for her for following through and filing for divorce. You shouldn't always stand by your man. God bless you and your children.


Has Mickey Fine been in Beverly Hills since the 40s? It looks like it, but....no. It started in 1962. It has long been the "home" for stars who abuse prescription medication, but in the back is a counter and booths that are right out of the 40s-50s. Is the food good? Not particularly, but it is OK-enough so you can enjoy a trip back in time. Many of the customers are daily regulars, and as they chat, you can feel like you're in BROADWAY DANNY ROSE.