Of all the chick flicks I’ve ever seen, there’s one that tops them all, the queen of all romantic girlie movies: Pretty Woman.
And to quote another favourite film of mine, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, ‘I just get really happy when they finally let her shop.’ Yes, that epic scene where Julia Roberts character, Vivian, is allowed to buy a dress in a posh shop after a previous snub. She later goes back to the first shop dressed in her new finery to tell off the first sales assistant. The shopping scene in Pretty Woman is definitely one of my favourite scenes of all time, and was my inspiration for visiting the legendary shopping street, Rodeo Drive.
First it was time to indulge another guilty pleasure, my love of reality TV! I love the glitz and glamour of the Real Housewives series, but my favourite of all is The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills. The ladies in the program are all incredibly rich; they throw huge parties and own massive houses with epic wardrobes After reading Caroline’s blog
on her visit to Villa Blanca, owned the inimitable British import Lisa Vanderpump one of the show stars, I knew I had to visit too!
Villa Blanca has an all white interior, shabby-chic furnishing with huge full length mirrors and it is full of beautiful white orchids. The menu is very reasonably priced and contains a mixture of Mediterranean and Asian dishes. As I sat in Lisa’s restaurant I really felt like I was inside the TV show, its really cool to see these places for real.
And with a view directly on to the street, it’s absolutely perfect for people watching!
The starters were good but main courses were fairly average, but we ‘d come for the atmosphere, I just loved feeling like I was on a film set.
Nearby to Villa Blanca is Alene Too, owned by Kyle Richards another Real Housewife. Of course, we had to pop in!
And before exploring Rodeo, I obviously had to get my hair blow dried.
OK, it’s not quite Julia Robert’s tumbling main of red curls, but it was close enough!
Though we didn’t buy anything it was so much fun to explore all the shops on Rodeo drive and walk around in such a pleasant climate (unlike the cold / rain in London or the blistering heat we experienced in 5th Avenue).
To end our Pretty Woman day we popped into The Beverley Wiltshire, the iconic hotel featured in the film.
They’d rather cleverly organised flowers to match my dress exactly ;).
The hotel is totally beautiful and ultra luxurious though its clearly been renovated since Pretty Woman was filmed in 1990, though I checked out the lift to see if it still had the famous seat that Vivian was so impressed by (it didn’t!). We didn’t get to try it, but apparently the afternoon tea in the hotel is excellent.
I loved the climate in LA but I was surprised to experience quite chilly evenings. But fortunately I had a new cropped blazer from The Kooples to keep me warm. I channelled some of my favourite fashion bloggers for the photo!
That evening we headed back to Nikita in Malibu for some more beach front dining.
Nikita was a gorgeous open restaurant with terraces looking out on to the Pacific.
Fire pits at your table burn to keep off the chill.
Unfortunately, despite the fire pits it was still a little to chilly to sit outside (plus i was scared my hair would be set on fire). So we took an indoor seat which still had a fab view of the ocean.
Nikita was really beautiful, but I would suggest it’s a better place to go for lunch so that you can outside and really enjoy the view. However, you don’t just go for the view, the food is also excellent!
Yes, it’s yet another seared tuna dish, this time served with a light raspberry dressing.
Poached salmon with beetroot was beautifully presented and another tasty light bite.
A delicious and perfectly cooked seafood pasta.
And my all time favourite….seabass with artichokes!
The next day was our final day in LA, for this leg of the journey, anyway and we had lunch at Cheesecake Factory in Venice Beach with some family friends. Including this huge slab of dessert!
Mr S and I had a late flight at midnight so we wondered around the shops in Santa Monica to pass the time and we decided to make our last dinner a cracking one!! We headed to The Lobster
located on the Santa Monica pier, jutting out on to the sea and with a perfect view of the beach.
We shared one of our favourites:
A big bowl of mussels and clams in a spicy tomato and white wine sauce which we mopped up with big hunks of bread.
Then it was time to put on a bibs and brandish our tools because we couldn’t come here without having one of their signature dishes!
We got going with our tools and extracted as much of the delicious lobster meat as possible. Prepared with lemon and garlic butter, it was delicious and incredibly decadent.
And now it was time to bid farewell to the third member of our team (the car!!) and board our night flight to the island paradise of Bora Bora and the next part of our big adventure.
Note: Nikita in Malibu is now closed