Sunday, February 28, 2010


This is more of an opinion than a review.  It is my opinion that Sur is one of  the most overrated and uncomfortable restaurants in Los Angeles.  The reason for this is as follows:
1/  To enter the restaurant you are stopped at the door by an officious man demanding to know your name and if you have reserved.  Seems this is the owner.  The entrance to the restaurant is foreboding in its over the top decor with a statue of some sort facing the door and dividing the restaurant rooms in two.
2/ When I gave my name I was told I was to go to the bar to wait for the rest of the guests.  I explained I was the host for the 5 guests and I would prefer to be seated at the table where I could greet them as they would arrive.  In my little world this is called "good manners".  In no uncertain terms the owner stated that the policy of the restaurant was not to seat anyone until all guests had arrived.  (Good way to get you to buy drinks.)  While explaining my position as a host, a friend who happened to be a frequent customer of the restaurant greeted me, and only then did the owner, seeing I knew "J", begrudgingly seat me at a very large table on a sort of dais  with 6 velvet covered chairs crowded into a much too small place.
3/  While waiting I was approached by a pleasant waitress named Stassi, requesting my drink order.  Being a bit early gave me the opportunity to relax, enjoy my martini and peruse the restaurant scene.  There was literally a "sea" of tables crowded into the two rooms and a terrace, all with white table clothes and candles blazing and the staff bumping into one another and oncoming diners.  My view of the front door allowed me to see who was arriving as well as the frenetic goings and comings of the owner.  I noted how confusing it was for persons entering  the restaurant.
4/  Bit by bit my guests began to arrive except for the guest of honor who was bedded with a cold.  Getting into their respective seats in the small dining area was a feat in itself.  Drink orders were taken by Stassi and  menus, covered in a zebra patterned cloth reminiscent of the old El Morocco, given to us.  Specials were rattled off with of course no one remembering a word after, except for one guest who later repeated the entire Special list.  The menu list was without any dish not already found on the most ordinary of restaurants and without of course, the most ordinary prices. The wine list was similar in lack of creativity.  Beet salad anyone?
5/ The food arrived sorta plunked down on the plate.  There was absolutely nothing outstanding or inventive, which I believe is the usual reason for going to a high priced restaurant.  Or am I an old fashioned grouch?
A good time was had by: good friends, martinis and an "OK" Argentinian 2006 Malbec wine and of course the lovely Stassi.  Will I return to Sur?  Jamais bebe, jamais!

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Rain!  Rain!  Rain!  M has been bedded the last couple of days with a bad cold.  Had him take lots of L52: the miracle homeopathic medicine I had brought back from Paris.  It is a good day to play with my new iMac fantastic computer.  Watching Netflix movies on it.  Now I have to get a more comfortable desk chair.  JOURNEYMAN ARCHITECT is a wonderful documentary CD about the man who created our new abode in Rancho Mirage.  We are so lucky to have found the house, met the architect and to be working on the restoration with his protege'.  Tonite we are celebrating M's birthday with a dinner at Sur.  Then tomorrow we go to Hidden Hills (bout 45 minutes from here) to join our friends at the Documentary Club.   The simple life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Yes, that is what I call Beverly Hills and I am happy to be back here.  Lots has happened this past 10 days. Detoxing after my Paris sojourn, went 2 times to Rancho Mirage to meet with the architect and get the ball rolling. attended a cocktail party at a fantastic Lautner house (Google him), caught up with my desk work, heard an exciting concert at Disney Hall of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra with the Canadian pianist Louis Lortie playing the Beethoven "Emperor" Concerto and appreciated how great my life is with M here in California.  Began to practice the piano yesterday.  Lortie was inspiring.  Beethoven is in my repetoire (as they call it).  M's birthday is this week and will have a surprise for him as well as hosting 6 for his birthday dinner at the restaurant Sur in West Hollywood.  Where else?

Friday, February 12, 2010


Had a good flight home.  Am exhausted what with the jet-lag which gets worse each trip.
Nothing but rest today and a good massage at Brooks Baths on Beverly Blvd.  Love all the B's.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


During breakfast in the lovely breakfast room, it began to snow in big fluffy snowflakes.  Beautiful.  Then, in came Isabell Huppert for a meeting, and shortly after, Natalie Baye escorted by a television team for an interview.  Two of my favorite French actresses.  There is also an Afghan woman here who has written a book and is being interviewed, as well as, Anouk Aimee who will be arriving this afternoon.  WOW!  This hotel is so chic.

Thought it best to check that my phone in the apt. had been disconnected.  Sure enough, they had the wrong date.  It is unreal the stupidity of the employees of these companies.  Of course, they have their jobs for practically their entire life.  Too expensive for the company to fire them, what with the compensation the company has to pay.  Almost like our civil employees.  Took the damned box with the Umericable cable boxes down to a shop where they will be returned to the company so that I am not charged for them.  The shop is a children's clothing store on the rue Dauphine.  The owner makes a little money on the side accepting the cartons to be returned to the cable company.  Hope all is over now with the shutting off of the phone, electricity, cable and internet.  

I have been invited to dinner at ALCAZAR this evening.  An American acquaintance writes a newsletter called Paris Perfect and he is reviewing the restaurant.  Should be interesting.

Had not been to the restaurant in a long time.  In the 70's it was a fabulous night club.  Now, it is a booming, big brasserie.  Good service, good food and reasonable (by Paris standards) prices.  It had evidently snowed while we were dining and the streets were gleaming with the new snow.  My last night in Paris was a joy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Bought a gift for Lionel.  A pair of cufflinks at a favorite shop of his on the rue Bonaparte.  I really don't know if he wears French cuffs, but if not, he can exchange them.  Then went to my meeting to sign the final papers.  Wouldn't you know......they gave me the wrong address for the Notary.  So typical.  The meeting went well and we signed.  The buyer was a nice lady, determined to get every I dotted.  I was my most charming.  GLAD IT IS OVER!!!  Had a quiet dinner with Eric (Laurent was ill....seems to be going around), and to bed early.  Slept like a baby.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Am wrtiting this on Wednesday.  THE BIG DAY.  Yesterday morning it was foggy and cold.  First thing, I high tailed it to the Air France office nearby.  Sign on the door said it opened at 10:15 NOT 10:00.  Again, an enigma Francais.  No seats available for an earlier than planned departure.  So I am still on for Thursday.  Then decided to look for a present for Lionel.  He has been so supportive and helpful the entire time I have had my apartment.  I really appreciate all he has done.  Went to Hermes, rue Saint-Honore.  Nothing in stock that seemed suitable.  Wandered down the street to Loro Piana and found some v-neck cashmere sweaters but still not sure, and then to Zegna where they had the new collection of cashmere polos in pastel colors.  Still undecided.  After a long nap here in the hotel, Lionel and I went up to the apt. to take down the portable air conditioner that he will take to his new apartment.  Joined up with buddies Olivier and JC and Lionel for one last dinner at Trois Petit Cochons.  We have noted that the Chinese have replaced the Japanese usually traveling in tour groups.  Table of 12 very well mannered young Chinese ladies at the next table.  Nice for them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Another gray, cold Sunday.   Not my favorite day here.  Went to the Musee Maillol for an exhibition called Vanities'.  Extensive collection of paintings, sculpture and jewelry all pertaining to and showing skulls.  Yes!  Skulls!  Classic artists, modern artists, etc.  Very strange.  Then to the Museum of Photographie to see a very good show of an American photographer whose name just slipped my mind.  More on him later.

Am heading to the Theatre l'Archipel to hear a 6PM piano recital of music by Jewish composers who perished at Auschwitz.  Meeting Chris and Didier at the theatre and after the concert we will have dinner.  A quiet Sunday in Paris France Europe.

I wanna go back to LA!  Biding my time to sign the final papers on the apartment and catch an Air France flight home.  Seems strange to say but for me in Paris "The bloom is off the rose".

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Had dinner last night with Eric and Laurent at a small restaurant named PIGZ; near Les Halles.  I don't recommend it.  Conversation was interesting and made it back to the hotel at 11PM by Metro.

Pouring cold, icy rain this morning.  Not the best time to be in Paris (at least this year's weather wise).  Then  joined Olivier and Jean-Claude at our usual lunch haunt, Cafe' Beaubourg.  Very amusing when we look at the menu, trying to decide, because each one of us always orders the same thing we've ordered at previous lunches.  JC and O order the Tartare and I order the Penne.  It's always fun and lively with the two of them.  Great time with old friends.  Trying to get a word in is a feat in itself.  And for me, that is saying something.

Headed back to the hotel for a nap and think I will just hang out alone tonight, have a quiet dinner somewhere and count my blessings that all is turning out well.  Except for the drop in the damned Euro!


I can't watch.  They have taken the legs of the piano, swathed it in quilts and at this moment it is being lifted by a huge crane, over the rue de Rennes and put into an enormous truck.  The international movers, Seegmuller, were here just before, packed 28 cartons and "tout vas bien".  The living room looks enormous.  Now the guys are here to weld back the famous "barre".  As I think of it, that was the name of a department store:  Famous Barr.  Might have been New Orleans.  I don't remember where.  They used to buy dresses from me when I was a designer.  You cannot imagine the relief that this part is finished.  Not to deal with the cable/internet company about returning the boxes and their documents that have never arrived.

Immediately after everyone left I dragged my suitcase up to the Hotel de l'Abbeye at number 10 rue Cassette.  Just up the street.  It was a homecoming, having stayed there for 26 years prior to my buying the apartment.  I was given a charming room and waiting was a gift of chocolates from the owner's wife with a note that said "Welcome home".  I will stay there for 6 days and then this part of my Paris Life will have ended.  A very nice ending indeed.

Friday, February 5, 2010


This is supposedly the day of the move.  My luck it is raining this morning.  Also, my luck the euro has dropped.  THINK POSITIVE!

Thursday, February 4, 2010


The Big-Move is beginning.  I took down the art and began arranging all that is to be shipped to the States.  Amazing that after all these years the walls have not changed color under the pictures.  Must be the electric heating.  Grabbed a lunch at a place I have passed hundreds of times on the Blvd. Saint-Germain named Le Rhumerie.  A bustling place specializing in what else?  Rum.  Had a very good salad of smoked salmon and a glass of Sauvignon blanc.  Too early for rum.  The place is run by very animated Jamaicans.  Good find!

Read through a book of Chopin Mazurkas that I'd not played in years.  My piano's Swan Song.  Olivier popped by to take me down to the Cafe' Flore for a cup of tea.  We sat inside where the cognoscenti sit, not on the terrace with the tourists and wannabees.  Olivier was his usual good humored self....full of stories...wearing a 50,0000 euro watch (Yes, you read that right) and making certain everyone in the place could see it.  He is with LMVH and has a HUGE employee discount.  I always enjoy spending time with him because he is an original.  And that is hard to find these days.  He told me an interesting story about Coaches here in Paris who train people for future career advancement.  Positive thinking in business.  Do we have that in the US?  I sure could have used one when I was working.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Not to bore you anymore but they took away the barre.  Piano will leave at 7:30 AM on Friday.  YEAH!
I will move to the Hotel de l'Abbaye on Friday.  Tel:  011 33 1 45 44 38 11.

Went over to the 'other side' today.  To the Marais.  It's called the Right Bank but for me it is the wrong bank.  There are too many people and cars in a town this small.  People seem to be rushing around absolutely frantic!  Frantic to get the bus....frantic to go to lunch....frantic to shop.  They are wild-eyed in their pursuit of something or other. I managed to have a quiet lunch in an Italian cafe' and was happy to get back here on "my" side of town where is seems to be more calm .  Also, there is a rail strike today.  So what else is new?

Laurent and Manuel came over for a last glass of champagne in this apt.  I bit sad.  But! The evening ended on a high note, our having dinner at Chez Fernand, laughing with the serveuse (commonly known as the waitress) and drinking wine.  Paris ain't so bad after all.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Woke up this morning and said to moi-meme, "Think positive"!  Chris had arranged for a different transport company to come to the apt. and see about the removal of the piano.  The guy arrived practically on time (positive thinking works, n'est pas?).  He called his mason about the rail and left a message on his voicemail.  I am praying.

Praying has paid off!  The contractor and mason are coming here tomorrow morning and the move is to be made on Friday.  I have decided to send the piano to our new digs in Rancho M.  I hope it is a slow boat 'cause  the house won't be ready until May/June.  I won't believe it until I see the piano floating over the rue de Rennes.  When they brought it in 11 years ago, I couldn't watch.  Stomach churning.  I don't even bother now to depend on whether they will be on time.  Just hope they show up.

This morning Delphine called and said Dominique's boss at the POLO CLUB/Bois Boulogne does not want a black piano.  He wants a brown piano because the leather banquettes are brown.  Would you believe it?  Not really putting them down, but face decoration the French have not done anything since the last Louis.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Today was another frustrating day with the story of my piano.  Getting the piano out of this apartment is a saga in its self.   Now, my understanding is that the rail (barre) is too dangerous to be moved from the window.  How they will get the piano out: I will never know.  Lunched with Catherine, a very longtime friend and she explained that as in the USA, nobody shows up for their appointed appointments.  Electician, workmen, whatever.  Then tonight, Lionel explained the machinations of the French mentality.  Each culture is different - true.  He explained that the French do not go from A to B, but wander around in between until they get to B.  It is all "maybe" not yes or no.  Anyway, enough of this complaining.  I can always chop the piano in two and throw it out the window.  Am having a glass of Baron Rothschild bordeaux.  Not a great wine but enough to keep me from joining my piano out the window.