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  • Pamela Froman

Summer Restaurants and Hangouts


Summer is in full swing and the best way to enjoy it is with a cocktail in hand, some great food or just by kicking back. Celebrate the season and breeze through!

Taking a “daycation” at a hotel is the perfect way to experience luxury amenities without staying the night! Lounge poolside, take a drink and soak in the sun.

Set amid the landscaped gardens The Four Seasons in Westlake Village offers their heated outdoor Serenity Pool where you can relax and reflect while the dedicated staff pampers you with sunscreen applications, snacks of frozen and fresh fruit, and cooling spritzes. Chill out in one of 10 pool side cabanas, each furnished with lounge chairs and a flat-screen television. www.fourseasons.com/westlakevillage

W Los Angeles in West Beverly Hills allows you to take a dip, sip on signature drinks, and savor tasty delights. Set among palm trees, lush florals, and the sounds of a trickling waterfall, this unique and stylish Beverly Hills pool is the perfect retreat. Soak up the sun in a chaise lounge or poolside daybed. Enjoy cool cocktails and yummy bites. Day Passes start at $30. www.wlosangeles.com

Enjoy an oceanfront escape unlike any other at the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot. Located on Ocean Avenue just minutes away from the Santa Monica Pier, the hotel features a brand new pool and luxurious spa amenities for a day of total relaxation and fun. Soak up the sun, feel the salty ocean breeze, sip a hand-crafted cocktail poolside, and relax in the sauna and steam room. For luxury, book a private cabana which includes a bottle of sparkling champagne. Day Passes start at $30. www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/laxlm-jw-marriott-santa-monica-le-merigot/

Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara captures romance and glamour. Take the day to gaze out across the Pacific Ocean while soaking up the sun in the zero-edge swimming pool. Enjoy a full-service spa with an array of treatments that relax the mind and rejuvenate the body. Take advantage of soothing water therapies in the special wet treatment room, or unwind together in the romantic couple’s room. Day Passes start at $50. www.belmond.com/ElEncanto

If you do decide to stay overnight, you can't go wrong the Westlake Village Inn. Lounge poolside, or indulge in a private wine tasting at the nearby Stonehaus restaurant. Utilize complimentary bicycles to enjoy local trails or visit the adjacent 18-hole golf course. You can also rejuvenate in one of the spa treatment rooms! www.westlakevillageinn.com

Summertime is the perfect season to try new and exotic food and drinks. Trying new dishes is like traveling the world – with just your taste buds!

Jet set to Africa at Jaliz Cuisine in Van Nuys, where they specialize in West African and Ugandan food. Signature dishes include Matooke, Luwombo, Goat Meat Stew, Beef Stew, Chicken Stew, Tilapia, Catfish, Pilao, and Chapati. They also stock gourmet dishes like Green Banana, Sweet Potatoes, Ugandan Tea, Kenyan Coffee and more. www.jalizcuisine.com

Romanov Restaurant & Lounge in Studio City brings a high-end Russian dining experience. The environment is reminiscent of the Tsar’s Winter Palace with touches that include warm mahogany and rosewood floors, hand-painted walls, custom-made mahogany tables, chairs that feature gold leaf and an antique gold finish and booths with mahogany accents. Romanov offers an outside patio and lounge adorned in a gardenesque setting. The food includes items like Russian Crepes, Chicken Shashlik and Suzdal Style Fish. www.romanovla.com

The Inn of the Seventh Ray is an icon of the funky Topanga Canyon lifestyle and the area's most romantic restaurant. There is never a bad table on the fairytale-style patio. The restaurant features delicious organic, sustainable and local fare. And dining creekside is an enchanting experience. www.innoftheseventhray.com

Summer is awesome in Los Angeles. With longer days and fun-filled nights there are endless cool hangouts. It's important to take a break from the fast pace and chill out.

An example of the California indoor/outdoor lifestyle is Pedalers Fork in Old Town Calabasas. This spot is a combination boutique bike shop, restaurant, bar and coffee shop. Ride in on your bike, get a tune-up and stay for a bite. The menu offers a huge selection, including Blueberry Banana Johnny Cakes, Zucchini Bread French Toast and Chia Seed Porridge with Dried Fruits. For dinner, choose from Grass-Fed Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork Shoulder, Ribs or Free-Range Chicken. There are 30 beers on tap in the bar as well as a large selection of rye whiskey. www.pedalersfork.com

Music and entertainment is a great way to spend an evening. Aldabella Winery in Westlake Village features a beautiful Tuscan themed tasting room with a cozy and welcoming atmosphere in which you can relax while sipping wine. This eclectic spot features live musical acts four nights a week.

Al fresco season in L.A. is really year-round, but in summer it's especially awesome. Most meals can be enjoyed outside and music provides entertainment.

Nobu in Malibu is truly stunning. The restaurant overlooks Surfrider Beach and the Malibu Pier. It features a minimalist aesthetic with an understated feel, and the menu complements its surroundings. Be sure to ask for patio seating! www.noburestaurants.com/malibu

Sagebrush Cantina is perfect for al fresco dining. You do not want to go anywhere else if you're looking for an amazing Mexican Restaurant that also has a full bar and live music. www.sagebrushcantina.com

Lounges are the perfect space to grab a drink and just relax. As well many offer unique and delicious foods to chow down on.

Q Martini Bar in Woodland Hills features upscale martinis, microbrews, infused vodka, fabulous fruitinis, and a full appetizer menu. It's one of the hottest bars in town. Take advantage of their daily happy hour. Shareable foods include Chile-Limón French Fries, Dry Rub Wings, Shrimp Tempura, and Sautéed Portobello Mushroom among much more.

The Local Peasant is an American gastropub with chef-driven comfort food. They locally source beer, wine, produce, and feature handcrafted cocktails. Try the Peasant Burger. It comes with a fried egg and big wedge fries. The Crab Cakes are delicious and arrive with a corn salad. And the happy hour is a tasty mini version of the dinner meal. www.thelocalpeasant.com

Dine at Nonna because every bite was is the best ever! The Octopus appetizer is light and melts in your mouth. Every dish is put together thoughtfully with high quality ingredients. Try the Roasted Eggplant with Cherry Tomatoes or the Italian Sausage. From the decor to the warm service to the perfectly executed cocktails to the decadent desserts this is definitely a place you need to try! www.nonna.restaurant

Happy Hours are the best way to have a light meal along with some amazing cocktails.

The Sunset Restaurant in Malibu offers Happy Hours weekdays from 3 p.m. - 9 p.m. Food includes Tuscan Bean Mousse, Sweet Potato Fries, Mac and Cheese, Roasted Vegetable Quesadilla and many more delicious dishes. Try it with a shot of tequila and don't forget the ocean view! www.thesunsetrestaurant.com

Unwind Wine Bar in Tarzana offers a Happy Hour everyday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday 9:30 to close. They offer foods like Deviled Eggs, Shisito Peppers, Garlic French Fries, Chicken Sliders along with Sabe Blanco Soju (tequila style) Margaritas and Ty Ku Soju (vodka style) - Cosmo, Apple, or Cucumber martinis. www.unwindtarzana.com

The Six Restaurant in Calabasas has the best Happy Hour in town, everyday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. along with live music and entertainment! Shared plates include Wood Fired Nopalitos, Sauteed Bell Pepper, Buffalo Style Cauliflower, Crispy Calamari & Shishito Peppers and Crispy Brussel Sprouts. Refreshing cocktails include the East Side – Beefeater Gin, Cucumber, Mint, Lime Juice, The Mule – Absolut Elyx Vodka, Ginger Beer, Fresh Mint and Antiox Mojito – Cruzan Aged Rum, Berries, Mint, Lime, and Simple Syrup. www.thesixrestaurant.com

Happy summer!

Sidebar Cocktail Trends


This summer there are some amazing cocktail trends to check out. Taste a drink that transports you to a shaded cabana overlooking the ocean.

Tiki drinks are on trend again, especially in summer. Custom, craft-made tiki drinks are made with layers of flavors, with each bringing an experience all its own. Tiki No in North Hollywood is the perfect place to get drinks to cool off with. They serve a wide variety of classic rum drinks like the Navy Grog, the Zombie, and the Mai Tai. Check out the soon-to-be classics: Coconut Mojito, the Lychee Luau, and the Toasted Marshmallow.

There are some amazing trending drinks for the warm months. Try the Watermelon Mojito. This perfect concoction of sweet watermelon, rum and mint is guaranteed to cool you down on a hot summer day. Or try the Blueberry version – a combo of refreshing mint, sweet blueberries and tart lime.

Fruit is a huge equation in the summer. Of course a classic summer drink is The Strawberry Margarita – a combination of sweet strawberries, tart lime, tequila and triple sec. Margaritas as well as drinks like Daiquiris offer a ton of different fruity varieties from Mango to Peach. Can't decide what fruit floats your boat? Try adding whatever you've got in the fridge to Sangria. Sangria can be made with any combination of wine and fruit. You can also take your Sangria up a notch with the Citrus Mint Sangria, a delicious combination of lemons, limes, fresh mint and dry white wine.

While you may think of aloe as what you put on your sunburn, Aloe Liqueur is beginning to pop up on cocktail menus. Try the Chareau Aloe Liqueur. Using grape eau de vie as the base, Chareau layers the flavors of cucumber, muskmelon, spearmint and lemon peel with fresh pressed Aloe Vera juice. You can find it at Sassafras Saloon in Los Angeles.

Finally, refresh yourself with the pink lemonade vodka martini, a cocktail made with lemonade, Limoncello, vodka and cranberry juice. Bubbles are also a well-known refresher: Add Champagne to Orange Juice and you've got yourself a Mimosa. Or try it with thinly sliced apples for both visual interest and floral fruity flavor. It's like a vacation in a glass.

Drink up!

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