A Stroll Through Rodeo Drive and Melrose in West Hollywood

Represented with five square miles, Beverly Hills looms large in pop culture as a posh and picturesque locale that boasts the world’s most notorious zip code 90210.  Rodeo Drive arguably the world’s most shopping street is a retail mecca for the well heeled shopper.

A good part of my Saturday afternoon last week was spent strolling through this three blocks long street and then dinner and more on Melrose Avenue.  All of high fashion’s most coveted items can be found here.  Here’s what I crossed (selectively my favorite retailers) …

Luxury shoe maker’s in spades of course.  Starting with Tod’s the finest of Made in Italy in men’s and women’s shoes, bags and small leather goods.  Tod’s is mostly known for their men’s driving shoes.

Salvatore Ferragamo was an Italian shoe designer that worked with many Hollywood stars in the 1920s, before returning to Italy to found the eponymous company making unique hand-made footwear. His scientific and creative approach to shoes spawned many innovations such as the wedge heel and cage heel. Film stars and celebrities continue to patronize his company, which has evolved into a luxury goods empire spanning the world.

American designer Tom Ford needs no introduction but I’ll present one anyway … He gained international fame for his turnaround of Gucci and the creation of the Tom Ford label before directing the Oscar nominated film A Single Man.  Born in Texas in 1962, Tom Ford is arguably the most influential designer of the last decade.  His boutique here is luxury on steroids.  A must visit!

The obligatory shots of uber-lux cars cannot be escaped, so here goes … Rolls Royce and Lamborghini.

Moving on to Two Rodeo which resembles a European cobblestone street, one finds shops such as Versace, Tiffany & Co., Persol, Lanvin and Breguet.

Style purveyor Louis Vuitton has a nice large footprint in this vicinity.  I came across a nice pair of Summit Black lace up boots here that will be a definite fall buy for me.  Why 3 shots?  Because they are freakin beautiful, that’s why!

Rounding off with three other notable men’s fashion houses Brioni, Zegna and Canali.

One of my favorite watch brands IWC also maintains a presence in this locale.  Their new releases in the Portofino and Portuguese lines were on display in full splendor here.  Nice, Nice, Nice!

Here is a picture of the , the hotel in Beverly Hills where Julia Roberts stayed in “Pretty Woman”.

Moving on to Melrose Ave. for an early dinner at Luques, home of James Beard award winning chef Suzanne Goin and Award winning Sommelier Caroline Styne for some terrific Mediterranean cuisine.

For an aperitif, I start with the lucques gimlet  wódka with fresh lime juice and mint.

Appetizer featured ricotta dumplings with fresh garbanzos, summer squash, pine nuts and pecorino.  Delicious but scarce portion.  I wanted more!

For my entree’ I ordered the grilled whole fish (Branzino) with yellow tomato confit, asian greens, cilantro rice, and cashew sambal.  You be the judge on whether or not I enjoyed this dish.

By the way, Connie’s dish was equally amazing.  Pan-seared market fish (Sea Bass) with saffron cous cous, roasted apricots, lebneh and pistachios.  I love dining here.  The food is always spot on and the service gracious!

The dining room and the outdoor patio at Lucques are both beautifully appointed spaces.

Skip the dessert here (not because it’s bad) but it’s more fun at Sweet Jane’s just a couple of blocks away.

A dark and decadent Nutella cookie plus a Banana bread pudding will put you squarely in a sweet jane type of coma.  The strong french press coffee will jolt you back to life.

To walk away the calories on Melrose is a pleasure.  What with sights like these, no complaints.  English designer Paul Smith’s shop is fantastic!

Marc Jacobs & the late great Alexander McQueen …

The Penguin Munsingwear store was already geared for fall wear with summer stuff available with deep discounts!

I also checked out Bolt Barbers, a recent opening offering men’s haircuts and shaves.  Will give them a try in the future.  Spent a few minutes chatting with Mike, the sales gentleman upfront and owner Matt and their friendly dog Woody!

It’s a man cave alright!

Parting sights as darkness settled in …

Sunday brunch was at Square One Dining.  Killer brioche toast with warm seasonal fruit and Vanilla cream, omelet with garlic/lemon thyme chicken sausage, roasted tomato and gruyere and Intelligensia coffee.  Pure bliss!

A stop over at Barker Black was mandatory for me.  Did I make any buys this weekend? … Stay tuned.

This 2 day weekend in Hollywood  signaled the end of my summer holiday.  A relaxing couple of weeks it was!

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