Monday, May 13, 2013

On The Way to Lisa Vanderpump's Restaurant I Met the Italian Film Star Gabriel Garko

If you're in Beverly Hills, a few suggestions. Use one of the public parking places, make sure your camera is ready, and walk around and have fun. It really is fun. I was just such a snob I had no idea.

I usually think of Beverly Hills from this vantage point...

Vanderpump Rules
As you can tell if you've read anything from this blog, I'm pretty much an Eastside gal. I'm not sure if it's because it's my style, my interests or my pocket book, but I'm comf on the Eastside (Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silverlake, Echo Park, Atwater, Eagle Rock and Highland Park). And yet, when one goes outside one's own comfort zone, the funniest things one might find...

This past Saturday, on the way to Beverly Hills to lunch with some ladies at Villa Blanca, Lisa Vanderpump's gorgeous restaurant, my friend Else and I...

Heverly Hills
We tend to take each other VERY seriously
...decided to take some shots before lunch of this Other Land, this Beverly Hills, this world I rarely really hang out in. There was this magnificent sculpture...

Jamin Pleans
Endless V Sculpture by Juame Plensa
Tourists on a bus...
It was a hot day. That might not have been fun.

Stores that looked like they're made out of jewelry...

Didn't they get the memo that about 170 years ago we started using the "u"?
We paid homage to The Great One...

Even in their parking lot I felt under-dressed.
And we even saw the Beverly Hills version of Graffiti. By becca.

Street Art

Unfortunately the mannequins brought up some of my girl issues...

Chanel Mannequins
And the cars made me feel a little lonesome for John Gielgud...

Car Porn
Ridiculous Car Porn
But I managed to relax and have a really good time amongst all this opulence. In fact, look at me feeling like I'm finally at home in Beverly Hills...

I look good in red
And so that was it. Just us, tooling around. Looking at this and that. And then we had that experience you so often have in Los Angeles when you see a film crew shooting something....

Universal sign of a film shoot.
...which normally you spot, have a mild to lukewarm sensation of interest and then quickly decide to avoid. The truth is, I rarely feel the need to pull over and get out of my car to see what they're shooting. Most likely it's for an ad or something -- I don't know -- something that isn't going to be memorable. But from far away I saw an old-timey car and that seemed different and we became curious.

Gabirl Garko
Gabriel Garko as Rudolph Valentino but he's on his cell phone
Fun, right? I'm thinking Who is this guy? I can barely see him. The sun's shining so bright. And just as we start taking some shots, they drive away. Well, not exactly drive away. I mean this is what a car shoot scene usually looks like...

car on a platform
I asked the tourists with their cameras out, Who was that guy? What were they shooting? No one knew. So me and Else walked around a bit. We figured maybe they'll come back. In the meantime, we got some more pics...

Bervlry Gardens
Pan at Beverly Gardens
Else thought this might have been put in around the 80's.
Tourists and a homeless person sleeping in the park, Beverly Gardens

And then the movie crew came back! We decided to be bold. We asked one of the actors what the movie was about...

He didn't know which got the attention of this guy:

Matte Sapio
One of the film's producers, Matteo Sapio.
Who told us this was an Italian film shoot, about the great silent film star Rudolph Valentino. Then this guy pops in for a snapshot...

Kind of looks like Derek Hough's Italian cousin
And then we asked, So Who is that? And he said, That's Valentino. That's Gabriel Garko. And that's when I met...

Look at my face. I'm shocked. At that particular moment I'm like who is this alien from another planet?  Is this man and I from the same species? What IS Gabriel Garko and what the hell do his parents look like???? (btw, couldn't find any parent pics online).

Wikipedia, not the ultimate source but it will do, says Gabriel Garko is an Italian film actor, a former model, and according to the film's producer, such a huge star, he literally can't walk out his door without being mauled by raving lunatic fans. But in Beverly Hills he's just this gorgeous mystery we stumbled upon. Garko is playing 1920's film star Rudolph Valentino in "Rudolfo Valentino, The Legend."

photo from The Rudolph Valentino Society
Rudolph Valentino's nickname was "The Lover." Fitting, isn't it?  Now I'm a married lady but anyone, male or female, would be weak at the knees looking at this guy. I mean Holy Moly...

So all I can say about that is THAT WAS FUN. I cannot wait for this movie to come out. In the meantime, we had somewhere to be. I mean, we had reservations and they had to get back on their car platform. So off to Lisa Vanderpump's we did go.

Lisa Vandperpump
Lisa Vanderpump at Barnes & Noble, The Grove
Now I'm a major Housewives fan. I mean I might seem relatively hip, cool and edgy (or not, just don't tell me) but I watch RHOBH like nobody's business and have obsessed about it for years. I even went to Kyle Richard's book signing at Barnes & Noble...

Kily Richards
And here I am with Kyle's husband, Mauricio Umansky...

We'll always have those 30 seconds, Mauricio.
But I never went to any of their businesses before. So my RHOBH friends and I decided it was time to lunch, just like the fancy ladies on our show do, at the famous Villa Blanca.

Fun, right? The restaurant, on Brighton Way in Beverly Hills is just downright gorgeous...

There are flowers EVERYWHERE. Sooooooooooooo Vanderpumpian.

Cushy seat sitch
Burrata Appetizer, very yummy

It's mainly California-Med type food.

Else's chopped Salad

My Chicken Salad

Stephanie's Pasta
And the staff was fantastic. This guy wasn't our waiter but we happen to know each other so he stopped by to say hello.

Me with Cutie Waiter, Brent
I mean even the bathroom is rather pretty

Bathroom at Villa Blanca
And not a terribly high bill, though the coffee was a bit of a goose.

Shocked at the price of a cup of joe.
After we paid, and it was all over someone asked us if we wanted dessert....

Hot Molten Lava Cake and Some Good but Odd Ice Cream
Being that we had already paid our tab I asked, "Is it free?" And that's when Stephanie remarked, "Well, there goes any illusion that we belong here." I think it was polite for her to use the "we." :)

Villa Planca
Else, Stephanie and Me aka Yolanda, Camille and Kyle/Kim
It was so much fun. I can't say I was dying over the food or anything. But I don't really think that's why you go. It's a nice, pretty, sophisticated way to spend some quality time with your friends and gab and dish and talk about Italian film stars.

What a day. What an adventure. I'm so glad I went to Lisa's restaurant. My only other encounter with Ms. Vanderpump was at that same book signing. The best shot I got of her was this one. Ahem...

Lisa Vanderpump, looking good
And I'm so glad we took the time to pull over and see what's what with that film crew.

I bet this guy's famous too.
Villa Blanca is located at 9601 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills, CA. Reservations are recommended.

Click here for info for Beverly Hills Gardens 

Click here for Information for The Grove

Until next time, Buongiornio!

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