Take Mom to the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club for Brunch

Treat you mother to a  champagne Mother’s Day buffet brunch at the charming, waterfront Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club. I love this spot and she will, too.

She’ll love the room with its floor-to-ceiling windows looking out at the Pacific Ocean. She’ll also enjoy the endless champagne and mimosas served with the spread .

 Seatings are at 10:00 AM., 12 noon and 2:00 PM. 

  Price is $54.95 for adults (including champagne and mimosas); $22.95 for children ages 4–11 (plus tax and a 20% service charge).

 BREAKFAST STATION:  Omelet Station Eggs edict Applewood Smoked Bacon, Turkey Sausage Links O’Brien Potatoes with Onions and Peppers Cheese Blintzes with Raspberry Sauce

 SALADS: Chinese Chicken Salad, Caprese Salad, Traditional Caesar Salad Mixed Greens with Caramelized Walnuts, Dried Cranberries and Gorgonzola SEAFOOD SELECTIONS Peel and Eat Shrimp, Crab Claws, Mussels Cocktail Sauce, Lemon Wedges, Clarified Butter and Tabasco

 WHIPPED POTATO MARTINI BAR:  Buttermilk and Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes Toppings: Bay Shrimp, Sautéed Mushroom and Caramelized Onion, Chives, Sweet Butter, Sour Cream, Jack and Cheddar Cheeses, White Wine Cream Sauce CARVING STATION Turkey with Gravy, Cranberry Orange Relish, Miniature Rolls Slow Roasted Rib Eye of Beef with Red Wine Demi-Glace, Horseradish Cream and Grain Mustard Salmon en Croute with Champagne Beurre Blanc

 ENTREES : Citrus Glazed Breast of Chicken BBQ Country Meatloaf Tilapia Veracruz with Olives, Tomatoes, Capers and Fresh Basil Penne Pasta Primavera with Roasted Garlic and Chunky Basil Marinara Cheese Ravioli with Cilantro and Lime Cream Sauce Green Beans Amandine, Fresh Vegetable Medley, Artisan Rolls and Sweet Butter

 KNEE-HIGH BUFFET FOR KIDS:  Weenie Wellingtons, Chicken Fingers, Tater Tots, Mac and Cheese, Cheese Pizza, Lime and Strawberry Jell-O Blocks and M&M Cookies BANANA SPLIT STATION Bananas, Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Creams, Chocolate, Strawberry and Caramel Sauces Whipped Cream, Nuts and Maraschino Cherries

And the grand finale  DESSERT EXTRAVAGANZA:  French Pastries, Assorted Cakes and Cheesecakes Chocolate Fountain with Milk Chocolate, Pound Cake, Rice Crispy Treats, Cubed Fruit, Whole Strawberries and Pretzels BALEENlosangeles will also be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Sunday, May 9, serving its customary menus.

 The Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club – in the Pacific and Bayside Ballrooms 260 Portofino Way, Redondo Beach

For Brunch Reservations call 310-798-5874 , www.HotelPortofino.com

Spa Struck By Displays at Spa Magazine’s Annual Event

The annual Spa 
Magazine Spring Event , which yours truly never misses,  was certainly a star-struck affair featuring  headliner spas and cosmetics companies gathered at the posh Montage Beverly Hills Hotel.

The Diva samples a new treatment from Terranea Spa (one of the spa sponsors), it felt so good

Sheila Cluff, owner/founder The Oaks at Ojai, promotes new menu and cutting edge treatments offered at her spa.Sheila showed  her chef’s yummy, 52.6 calorie dessert, a divine chocolate mousse made with tofu. The Oaks at Oaji, www.oaksspa.com.

Miraval Spa also showed its “ground breaking treatments” offered at the Tucson, Arizona resort.  www.miravalresorts.com

Mii Amo at Enchantment, a destination spa in Sedona Boynton Canyon, gave out this little sampler, along with information on its new “Journeys”: Healthy Body Balance, Rites of Passage and Mii amo Master.

Glen Ivy Hot Springs in SoCalm a 150-yea-old  rejuvenation spa promoted the red clay mud baths, underground moisturizing cabes and massages done under oak trees. www.glenivy.com.

The  Huntingon Spa at the Langham Huntingon formerly a Ritz Carlton (where I’ve spa-ed happily in the past), talked about the spa’s facelift and the Chaun Body + Soul philosophy that incorporates traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture and cupping) for a holistical experience. www.thehuntingtonspa.com.

Until last night I was unfamiliar with Kohler Waters Spa.  I’d heard of the company but dnot the spa which is actually 10 years old and focuses on, you guess it, water treatments that cleanse the mind and body. www.destinationkohler.com.

One healthy getaway I am very familiar with, The Spa at The Grand Del Mar, touted the variety of natural therapies gleaned from resources of near by Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve (which we checked out and hiked through on our last visit). This is one fab spa with top notch treatments. www.thegranddelmar.com.

And the host hotel, Montage, escorted guests to their  spiffy spa for a salubrious hand, exfoliation treatment.

The Diva’s Days of Pampering and Pumping at the Golden Door

Day 6 of the Diva’s Week at the Golden Door

Monday April 20 at home…
Slowly making my re-entry into the real world. It’s not easy. I did get up and hiked, but not as early, more like 8AM, and I exercised and swam–so the Door’s still with me.  But I had lots of catch up on email, snail mail, work, husband etc.
 I still keep the Golden Door Glow, I feel rejuvenated, lighter, tighter, toned and wonderful. It’s just an incomparable week, and did I tell you the tab is all inclusive unless you want tennis lessons or after hours treatments. They even provide a full wardrobe of workout wear as well as kimonos that you can wear to dinner, robes, slippers, toiletries and hats, jackets, windbreakers and gloves for cold mornings. Transportation from San Diego airport’s also included. And of course they feed you three spa meals daily, snacks, beverages, and extra portions or snacks on request.
Saturday April 18 All Good Things Come to an End and so I leave the Golden Door via Amtrak’s Surfliner from Oceanside to Los Angeles.
Do come back for a complete wrap-up of my week and what I got out of it.
Friday April 17
  Pretty much repeat of yesterday with hike, b’fast (waffles and chicken sausage), stretch, Gentle Yoga, personal training session with Brett, makeup (pic posted soon) and now off to lunch by the pool, it warmed up here…come back later for updates. Lunch was great as usual, fresh salmon salad and a cookie for dessert. Rest of day exhausting: makeup, scalp treatment, herbal wrap, massage, dinner (fresh salmon again, but I had a choice and chose it, really delicious finished with a flaky, yummy banana, apple strudel.
Thursday April 16 over the hump day at the Golden Door
Day 5
(you really need to follow my journal daily, which begins at the bottom, hey makes you think)
Okay spa brain really set in. Relaxed, unwound, loose, light, toned and pampered. That’s what the Golden Door’s all about.
Did the 5 mile mountain hike followed by a session in the steam bath and hot tub. Then back to room for breakfast in bed: Mexican-style scrambled eggs in a whole wheat tortilla, fruit (melon, that alas wasn’t ripe enough, unusual for here), coffee. Then off to see Brett, my main fitness squeeze who sets me straight with weights and then stretches me out real good…
Brett sets gym up for cardio-boxing class….


Okay left Brett and came to PC to update you on my progress. Feeling good today, having a friend join me for lunch today. Marta, the maitre d’ of the kitchen whose been here forever and is fantastic at her job–which entails sometimes putting up with primo-divas (I’m not one of those). Anyhow Marta’s setting Glenn and I up by the Koi pond with today’s special: Bento boxes. Okay here’s Glenn obviously enjoying his Bento Box lunch. Glenn said his friends were concerned he wouldn’t get enough to eat and should eat before coming. Chef Dean showed them, Glenn didn’t even finish, nor did I. But we did have room for the Door’s delicious cookies–yep you get cookies.That’s the Koi pond. I hated to see Glenn leave but hey I had a body scrub scheduled and I don’t miss treatments even for best friends. And glad I didn’t. Carolyn, a striking, blonde-haired Irish export was fantastic as she massaged/scrubbed and oiled my weary body.


After the scrub it was time for my pedicure with ace manicurist Teresa, a Viet Namese export who ends her treatment with a fabulous foot reflexology massage. And then it was off to my room for my 5 PM rub by CJ, alas it would be my last from this cool dude as he gets Friday and Saturday off and is replaced by Eric, whom I’ve never had the pleasure of being massaged from. That’s grammatically incorrect, but geez this is a blog.

Dinner followed: salad and fresh fish (forgot what variety, but it was delicious)and corn meal cake that was quite tasty. After the ritual walk to the gate there was a woman who gave hand writing analysis, I skipped it. Not because of lack of interest but I wanted to write this journal which I hope you’re enjoying.

Day 4 At the Golden Door in Escondido, California
Wednesday, Tax Day and I’m plotzed, in spa speak it’s called ‘hump’ day. Actually slept in and skipped the hike, which although I love this activity, my body said “no.” But this is the Golden Door and you are on your own to go with your personal flow, which I’m doing. See below for full account….
Diane Allan and Suzie Fernandez teach classes at the Golden Door

I’m back at the Golden Door in Escondido, California. It’s been a year since my last visit and I was jonesing for some chic r and r and I’m getting it.

Arrived the afternoon of Easter Sunday via Amtrak Surfliner from Los Angeles. I sat in a cushy seat in Business Class, made cell phone calls, read, listened to my Mp3 Player, chatted with the hostess, a lovely Afro-American women with great wit and style. She served pax complimentary wine, water, soda and there was also coffee, tea and snacks, but I didn’t bend to temptation as I was en route to a salubrious week.

The Door’s driver picked me in Oceanside for the short ride to the beautiful bronze gates that enter me into a transcendental world far from reality.

I checked into my Japanese-honjin Inn style room, slipped into a kimono and met the other 17 female guests for dinner–gourmet spa cuisine of salad, fish and yummy guilt-free Key Lime dessert. The Door usually takes 40 people weekly but this being a holiday and a recession (it’s pricey)….

Day 2 (Monday)

up at 5:30 for 6:45 mountain hike (5 miles), back to room for breakfast in bed (aah), but not for long, up and at ’em for back and stretch class, Aerobics, Pilates, lunch, hike (1 1/2 miles), facial, steam, herbal wrap, massage and dinner–a spa cuisine masterpiece by chef Dean. We started with a perfectly seasoned salad with ingredients from the Door’s organic garden and moved on to chicken roulade which was so good it was hard to believe it was low-cal, low-salt, and finally a cannoli, yes they serve dessert and it was divine. After dinner we walk to the gates that open to the real world, but we keep it closed, reality doesn’t exist here. Then a lecture on
how to get the most out of your workout and nutrition but sorry to say opted to go to the steam bath and then read my Robert Parker Spenser Novel in bed.

Day 3 (Tuesday)
Another glorious day at the Golden Door. Slept well and off to the 5 mile mountain, followed by a session in the hot tub , quick steam and breakfast in bed. Yummy cheese toast this morning with fresh strawberries from the Door’s organic garden. Then off to Stretch class, ooooh, felt good and a wild and wacky Boomer’s Aerobics taught by Diane (seen above) to the music of the 60s – 80s. Cool. Then did my own thing (dyot) which including lots of Facebooking and Twittering.

Meet my personal trainer at Noon, Brett, he’s the best, had him last year, or he had me, does great stretch out, which I need after all the exercise I’m doing here.
My wonderful workout with Bret was followed by a fab facial from Ashton. You have choices here and I opted for full cleansing treatment. Divine.

I followed with a session in the Steam to prepare my muscles for a massage from CJ, a cool surfer/biker dude who gives a mean, deep rub that turns me into rubber. Feeling lazy, I decided to have dinner served in my room–another great Golden Door amenity.
Read in bed until sleep came, which actually wasn’t realized soon enough which is why on
Day 4

I slept in and missed the hike. After my oatmeal breakfast in bed I took the Stretch class, it helped. Then I went to the Samurai gym for short sessions on the treadmill and elliptical before meeting up with my PT Brett. My bad, body wouldn’t respond, so he had no alternative but to stretch me out real good.
This was followed by more steam, herbal wrap, more steam, relaxing. I figure it being Wednesday and Tax Day I’d really let myself go into a transcendental state of bliss. It works well here. It is such a beautiful, bucolic setting set in a little valley surrounded by mountains, with lots of lush foliage, orange and avocado trees and of course that organic garden.
Well it’s nearly lunch time. It’s cold out today so no dining by the pool, decided to feast in my room. Wish you were here.

For rates and info go to http://www.goldendoor.com/, there are special weeks and min-weeks offered throughout the year, keep in mind it’s an all-inclusive rate.

The Divaonthego Loves Her New MBTs

I’ve been wearing my new  Baridi White MBTs  for about a month now.

I didn’t think I’d like them at first. The company altered the shoes for a lower pitch. But I changed my mind. They’re great. I wear them to the gym and keep them on while I run the treadmill and do the EFX machine.

They look cool enough to wear around town and are fit to walk, hike or work out in. MBT launched a whole new line of shoes from sandals to athletic styles, so check them out on the web site. These are the best shoes for your feet. I know I now am the proud owner of four pairs.

 I’ve been writing raves about MBTs for a few years now–ever since I scored a pair at an Oscar Swag party. Once I tried them I loved them so much I went out and bought another pair for me and one for my husband Richard.

Richard has a knee problem and was suffering from a plantars faschitis (sp?) anyhow the MBTs enabled him to continue taking morning and afternoon hikes with me. 

Check out www.MBT.com to learn all about these amazing shoes and see the latest designs.

My Favorite Health Club, the SportsClubLA

I have worked out in health clubs, gyms and exercise studios throughout LA, but none compare to the offering at the SportsClubLA (www.thesportsclubla.com)– it’s simply the best when it comes to equipment, classes, style, cleanliness, friendliness, professionalism and bang for your buck.

It may cost more, but it’s worth it.

There are two locations in LA, one on Sepulveda Blvd. in West LA and one in Beverly Hills on Camden Drive near Wilshire. The latter location is a mini version of the Sepulveda flagship, but still more than adequate with its array of equipment, classes, workout areas, steam rooms and spa.