Via Alloro: Via Alloro isn't just another Italian restaurant in a touristy area of a city. This eatery has much more meaning within its kitchen, its owners, and its name. Via Alloro is the creation of two brothers, Giacomino and Tanino Drago, both of whom grew up in a town in Sicily on a block named "Via Alloro." Coincidentally, "alloro" is also the Italian word for bay leaf. As growing children, the brothers tried their hands at cooking, as it was a strong presence in the family, using the fresh local ingredients they could find. Years later, Beverly Hills is blessed with their honed cooking skills. The building itself oozes the essence of Italy, with its exterior walls a warm russet color. The outside dining area will tranform your meal into one eaten in an Italian piazza with hanging orbs of light, rich red, brown and orange hues and lush greenery to add a touch of nature. The interior is a modern twist on Italian culture with a sleek, yet comfortable decor. The most important ingredient in this mix is the menu, carefully crafted to give a wide selection of authentic Italian fare. Such dishes include ten different salads, several pizzas, soups, appetizers, 14 innovative pasta plates, fish, meat, and even four variations of carpaccio. Diners would be lucky to find just one carpaccio option in a restaurant. The Drago brothers' menu mirrors Italian food culture: a menu with an honest description of dishes with simple, natural ingredients that harmonize to create optimal flavor.
Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop: This healthy, environmentally friendly eatery wants to help you make food choices that are better for your body. The company has set its sight on us having a closer connection and appreciation of our food by serving up customized meals using local organic products. Innumerable dishes can be created with vegetables like tomatoes, avocado, carrots, cucumber baby swiss chard; healthy proteins like tofu, grilled chicken, hummus, and garbanzo beans; and tasty extras like pita chips, bleu cheese, croutons and pecorino romano cheese. And that's just scratching the surface of the salad menu! Innovative dishes like tuna melt quesadilla, classics like grilled cheese, and even gourmet plates with herb potatoes with white truffle oil will most likely overwhelm your senses. A feature of the menu that brings some formality to the restaurant is a wine recommendation next to each meal. Not just your food, but your conducive efforts, will satisfy your body and mind, all for very affordable prices.
Hotel Beverly Terrace: If you're planning on spending a good deal of money on activities, or shopping, you may need to scale back when it comes to accommodations. However, just because you are on a budget doesn't mean you must sacrifice quality, which is why you should stay at Hotel Beverly Terrace. The contemporary customized furniture and artwork set a chic scene in each of the rooms which are all equipped with wireless internet. Guests can also make full use of the pool and garden to lounge around in. Have dinner at the hotel's restaurant: Trattoria Amici, one of Beverly Hills' best restaurants for genuine Italian cuisine. When not spending time at the hotel, Beverly Terrace makes a perfect homebase, as it is in walking distance of so many famous sites, shops, and restaurants.
Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive: If you're the type of traveler who must, and can afford to, have every detail of your vacation be perfectly luxurious, you may want to consider booking a room at Luxe Hotel, the only hotel located right on Rodeo Drive. You can't get any closer to the upper-class California culture, as guests of the hotel are surrounded by 3 blocks housing over 100 affluent stores. As one can imagine, the indulgences provided by Luxe attract worldwide travelers to the subtly lavish 88 rooms; the romantic, al fresco restaurant; and the personal sacturary that is the spa. Prices start at just over $200 a night, so be prepared to pay for your pampering.
Celebrity Helicopters: Being ranked best sightseeing tour in Beverly Hills by National Geographic, taking a ride with Celebrity Helicopters is a must when in California. 12 different tours are available for your choosing depending on personal preference. Names of some of the tours include: Sightseer's Dream, The Hollywood Strip Tour, The Original Night Tour, and the Celebrity Homes Tour. The tour is narrated to give passengers a better understanding of the view. For a small fee fliers can upgrade their package to include champagne, hors d'oeuvres, a t-shirt, and a photo. Pick your day to fly, as they are in business every day of the year. Celebrity Helicopters can also make your special occasions even better by giving you the best view of California. An added plus for flight enthusiasts: Celeb Helicopters even has flight instruction for those who desire a pilot's license! Sign up with the world-renowned flight instructors that will transform you into the best pilot you can be.
Wine and Cheese Tasting: The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills is a godsend for anyone who can't get enough of wine and cheese. This shop represents cheese culture (no pun intended) at its best, by having both wine and cheese experts on hand. Your best bet would be, of course, to stop into the store for the full experience; although, they do have a very informative website. At the store, as well as on the internet, aficionados can purchase items like honey, wine, cheese, cheese trays, gift baskets, truffle products, olive oils, meats, caviar, and even accessories for your culinary experience. What's even better are the wine and cheese evenings that the store hosts monthly. The events are perfect for any size group: single travelers or a large group of family and friends, as it is very casual and laid back. Monthly soirees are held on two or three consecutive evenings as to accommodate many guests; you choose the best night for you. Each month wine and cheese from a particular section of the world is focused upon. Classes tend to fill up quickly, so early reservations are a good idea. Not only are the events affordable (generally under $100), but extremely informative. Spend a night outside the hotel and experience the relaxed and sophisticated side of Beverly Hills' nightlife.
All shopping doesn't necessarily have to be done on Rodeo Drive although most would probably agree they'd like it to be. Even though Rodeo Drive exudes luxury and high quality couture, there are several other shopping centers that provide fashionable items for yourself and your home, just with a little less formality. Here is a breakdown of the shopping hubs and what can be found there:
Rodeo Drive: What is likely to be the most famous strip of stores in the world features companies like Tiffany, Gucci, Valentino, and Dior. Be prepared to spend some serious cash.
Beverly Drive: A little more casual of a location, stores like Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, and XIV Karats are one block east of Rodeo Drive.
Canon Drive: Again, one block east of Beverly Drive that is home to smaller boutiques.
Department Store Row: Also known as Wilshire Blvd., stores such as Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue span four blocks.
Roberston Blvd.: Up and coming stores that sell goods ranging from apparel to home appliances reside on Roberston Blvd, located a few blocks east of what is referred to as "The Golden Triangle," the shopping hotspots previously listed.
Sunday Farmers Market: Every Sunday, rain or shine, Californians take advantage of the great resources they have by staying healthy at the farmers market. More than 60 farmers and vendors supply locals with the freshest seasonal ingredients grown in California. From 9 A.M. to 1 P.M. you can buy fruits, vegetables, juices, breads, and other great items that are so familiar to those on the West Coast.
Paulette: If you have ever been to Europe, or had the opportunity to try them here, you'll know that French macaroons are a top dessert choice. The small saucer-like almond cookies with ganache filling is a treat that is not very prevalent in the U.S. That is why you should stop into Paulette, a store dedicated to the French macaroon in Beverly Hills. Made fresh daily, Paulette's cookies make for a great snack, a delicious gift, or a fun dessert display for a party. Paulette has made it even easier to enjoy her creations! Since she only owns one store at the moment, those searching for the sweet delight can actually place an order and have it shipped to their home overnight. Everyday flavors include coconut, Madagascar Vanilla, lemon, caramel, Jasmine Tea, Sicilian Pistachio, Caribbean chocolate, Columbian coffee, Violet Cassis, and Sweet wedding almond. Seasonal flavors are rose and passion fruit. The upbeat website can help you choose the flavors you'd enjoy by giving you a breakdown of the flavors of each macaroon. When you're in Beverly Hills make it top priority to devour some newly made, pillowy French macaroons.