Excellent food, great views at The Sunset (Malibu)

sunset restaurant interior
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The first floor dining room offers a great view of the beach, and, of course, the sunset.

If you’ve got great food, a nice atmosphere, including a view of the beach, and first-rate service, then it all comes together as a fantastic evening out.

The Sunset Restaurant on Westward Road provides all that and more.

Recently remodeled upstairs and downstairs, one can dine in a casual setting (downstairs), or a more private venue with an exclusive tasting menu featuring three “Acts” with 15 courses (upstairs).

Executive Chef Soerke Peters has created a mouth-watering menu for both up- and downstairs.

The Sunset Bistro menu (downstairs) features something for everyone-from burgers to artichoke ricotta ravioli.

The Sunset Bistro menu (downstairs) features something for everyone-from burgers to artichoke ricotta ravioli.

The organic beets in the roasted beets salad come straight from the farmers’ market and the combination with endive, walnut and goat cheese in an orange honey vinaigrette is delightful. For those who love meat, the hanger steak, served with matchstick potatoes, beef jus and roasted garlic aioli, is tender and tasty.

The downstairs special menu features rotating items such as the Lobster Salad-a huge ball of lobster served with tomato confit, chives, avocado and mixed greens-and the smoked salmon flatbread-a thin crisp flatbread layered with lemon cream cheese, dill, mixed greens and topped with thin slices of salmon.

 

The upstairs dining area offers a quieter, upscale experience.

The upstairs tasting menu, which rotates weekly, can feature such fare as Sonoma Valley Foie Gras, served on a brioche, with blueberry rosemary jam and toasted hazelnuts, traditionally prepared Oyster Rockefeller, and Crispy Squid smoked with paprika aioli in Act I, several salad offerings (including the roasted beet and the lobster salad) and clam chowder in Act II. Act III offers meat dishes such as Filet of Beef served with creamed spinach, roasted pee wee potatoes and spring vegetables, or Roasted Jidori Chicken, which is prepared with cous cous, tomato confit, olives, marcona almonds and spinach, as well as fish dishes (scallops with English pea risotto) or the artichoke ricotta ravioli.

The idea is that diners can taste all 15 dishes on the menu, however, if someone wanted to order a la carte, they could choose from the items they wanted as well.

The decor upstairs with its white leather booths, black lacquer tables and chairs, sisal carpets and low-key lighting is like an elegant living room, while downstairs the boisterous and friendly atmosphere is a great place to have dinner with the family or a bunch of friends.

The bar menu at Sunset Restaurant features the exotic to the basic.

After dinner, you can stay for live music Tuesday through Friday night, one of the few venues in Malibu that offer it.

(One “sweet ending” that cannot be missed, either up or downstairs, is the chocolate cake. Made without flour, it is the creamiest, most chocolaty, melt-in-your-mouth delicious cake to be had anywhere.)

 6800 Westward Beach Rd.; 310.589.2027

Hard Rock Rocks Vegas

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The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas offers fine dining, great music and fascinating musical history.

A trip to Las Vegas for many symbolizes casinos and gambling, dinner and shows, lounging by pools and great shopping. For the most part, that’s not far off.

However, if you want to experience fascinating rock and roll history and outstanding live music, as well as some fine dining and drinking, then a visit to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is a must.

The concert venue at the Hard Rock in Vegas hosts performances that range from iconic groups such as ‘80s pop legend Duran Duran, Incubus and The Killers to thumping club music by DJ Tiesto.

Recording the history of rock through memorabilia since the opening of the first Hard Rock Cafe in Los Angeles nearly 30 years ago, is Warwick Stone, Memorabilia Curator and Art & Theme Consultant, whose workshop is located in a former suite in the original tower of Hard Rock Vegas. During a visit a few months ago, a caped Elvis costume was standing in the corner of his workshop, ready for a cleaning. A Britney Spears short, cheerleader costume stood on a table. During a personal tour, Stone talked about how he obtains and negotiates for the memorabilia that fill glass cases and frames throughout the hotel and casino. Stone said first and foremost an item must come with a story–something that verifies the wearer of the costume and where they performed in it. A photo, journal note, letter or something that gives all this is what he looks for. He carefully packages any items that tell the story in frames and cases.

Taking a group through the casino, Stone relayed such details as who made certain costumes, and the back-story behind the costumes before a certain star wore it. The story behind a Michael Jackson white, sequined glove on display in the lobby of the HRH All-Suite Tower that Stone told was of how the singer had gone to a premiere of a movie he made that received poor reaction, except for a man who was a fan and who applauded at the end. Jackson threw the man his glove as he was walking out of the theater. That person was a collector/dealer. Stone also told the story of when he was putting together the display at the hotel’s main entrance of The Killers costumes on skeletons. The band members thought the skeletons were too skinny, so they asked him to pad them. Stone subsequently padded the skeletons several times to the point that the heads look much smaller than the bodies, but the The Killers were happy with the result.

In keeping with the times, most displays have QR codes that visitors can scan to get the whole story on each one. Nirvana and heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold are the two most popular displays based on the number of hits. Make sure to schedule at least a full day to take in all the displays.

After a day of touring, visitors can relax at the Reliquary Spa where a number of treatments are offered. Or, if sun is what

Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers a variety of treatment options, including the Ancient Cane Ritual.

you want-and music, of course-the Rehab pool may be a relaxing spot for some (if you like super loud, thumping club music while you drink your cocktails). Once a super hot party spot that got in trouble for illegal drugs two years ago, screeners now check all bags for any type of illegal paraphernalia. The party is still going on there, but safe and saner now.

For dining at Hard Rock, 35 Steaks and Martinis, which is its newest gourmet food venue, is a must, no matter where you stay in Vegas. First, you’ve got the most creative mixed martinis around, such as the Spicy Signature Serrano Martini. Fresh sliced serrano peppers float in an icy mix of vodka and a lightly muddled hot pepper mix , giving a nice bite to your evening. Or there’s the 35 Gimlet, a mix of vodka, gin, lime juice and the added freshness of cucumber slices.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas offers not only great concerts and a fascinating look at rock history, but now with its newly opened 35 Steaks and Martinis, also fine dining.

The food is just as good as the drinks. Appetizers like the delicate Crab Cake, made with the lump blue crab, Thai spice, red curry cream, and served with mango salad, or the charcuterie of thinly sliced salami and house made pickles are a delicious way to start the evening. For entrees, whether you go with seafood, such as the Seared Day Boat Scallops, which were the most perfectly cooked scallops I’ve ever eaten, or meat, of which there is a delightful choice, from Porterhouse, Prime Rib and Filet Mignon to the Tomahawk Chop (Long Bone Ribeye for two), you can’t go wrong. Everything at this restaurant is top-notch.

There is also a Pink Taco, Nobu and Johnny Smalls (which serves a menu from around the world it seems. Get a chili dog, beef sliders, sushi or asada tacos, they seem to have it all).

As for accommodations, the HRH All-Suite Tower rooms are luxurious and super modern–decorated in tones of white, grey and black, with large wall art featuring, what else but icons of rock and roll.

More information on the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, can be obtained at www.hardrockhotel.com.

The HRH All Suites Tower are sleekly modern, offering the ultimate in amenities.