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Daniel Merriam and his six siblings grew up in Naples, Maine, a rural town in the southwestern part of the state. The Merriam home was filled with a variety of musical instruments and Daniel’s mother was fond of throwing open the windows while she sang, thereby serenading the neighborhood. He deeply admired his father, Fremont, a structural engineer, noting he was “so methodical and efficient.” “My father always enjoyed showing me and my siblings very strange and unique things he had discovered.” Some of these things would end up in the basement of their summer cottage on Mousam Lake. “Our cellar was filled with aquariums filled with pollywogs, sea monkeys and turtles collected from a nearby cranberry bog.” It was about this time that Daniel discovered the joy of art for himself, spending blissful hours alone in his room, until “I had soon drawn enough fanciful images to wallpaper my entire room.”

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We have a few ideas on where to cool off, fill up and enjoy the season. Some places are recently opened, while others are old favorites. However, no matter what kind of food you are in the mood for, it’s a safe bet these spots will also provide air conditioning and a place to sit down, relax and enjoy the summer.

If you’re in a sporty mood, hit Freddie’s 35er Bar in Old Pasadena and wash the cares of your workday or week down with a fantastic craft beer while taking in this summer’s Dodger games, a full day of baseball viewing with your other favorite teams, the hotly anticipated International Soccer Games at the Rose Bowl. There’s nothing better than catching an inning or two with your friends amid a bar staff that’s friendly and with a down-to-earth vibe. As far as we’re concerned, Freddie’s 35er remains the city’s best rec room away from home, as the family-owned and operated spot has 17 flat-screen TVs where you can cheer on your team or favorite athlete no matter the sport.

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Studio City’s Vivian’s Millennium Cafe is a can’t miss when it comes to creating beautifully basic burger plates that hit the right note of nostalgia and deliciousness. The classics are here and in top form, from honest hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chili cheeseburgers, turkey burgers and veggie burgers. However, Vivian’s Burger can successfully compete with the gastropubs, with its Angus patty topped with grilled onions, mushrooms and your choice of melted cheese. Vivian’s popular salads, meanwhile, can be flanked with a steak for a few dollars more. There’s also a New York Steak Sandwich topped with grilled onions on a French roll.

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On that score, The Counter in Studio City and Pasadena not only succeeds, but excels in being all things to all customers in a way that’s authentic and connective.


Yes, The Counter had us at “hello” with its first trademark menu—a clipboard filled with a checklist allowing customers to order their favorite patty (beef, turkey, bison, vegetarian, etc.) as a canvas, to be decorated with all kinds of toppings, condiments, vegetables and sauces. It also allowed customers to utilize their expansive menu to leave the burger building up to the experts if they so desired. Other recent editions include WTF (“Why the Face?”), a turkey burger with provolone, smoked applewood bacon, kettle chips, pickles and mustard on a Hawaiian bun) and the bunless Bison & Brie, which tops a salad of kale, carrot strings, jalapeños and dried cranberries.

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However, when it comes to a place that fills the “gastro” (i.e. fantastic, carefully crafted food) and the “pub” (a welcoming place where you can grab a beer and bite and be yourself) requirements, Tuning Fork is the real deal.What you see is what you get at Tuning Fork, in front of and behind the house. A simple layout with picnic-like tables and an uncluttered bar with a carefully curated selection of California craft beer and sustainable and sustainably produced wines set the stage—whether one comes for lunch, dinner or a show. Besides a talented lineup of musicians, the menu of Chef J’s seasonal comfort food is the star.

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Everything from artisan soups and sandwiches, to world-wide cultural delights, to undeniably indulgent sweets, will entice you while you stroll the exquisitely quaint streets of this historic downtown.


One of the brightest gems is Union, where soulful, field to table cooking, inspired by Northern Italy and the California coast is prepared by Chef Bruce Kalman. Kalman, who was chef at the Churchill and erstwhile Urbano Pizza Bar, and also has his own pickle company, showcases house-made charcuterie, pickles, pasta, local grains, heirloom beans and market produce. Chef Kalman does pork right, with representations of pork meatballs, pork ragu, porchetta, smoked pork chop and slat pork on the menu. Recently a friend declared Union’s version of basic spaghetti, “Spaghetti Alla Chitarra”, with a touch of fresno chile, to be her favorite of the night. Union was recently named #2 on LA Magazine’s list of 10 Best New Restaurants, so reservations are a must!

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The summer heat wave is on its way and our sweaters, jackets and boots are tucked far away in favor of flowing maxis, sexy minis, strappy sandals and breezy tanks. And if images of lazy days at the beach and making footprints in wet sand are not already on your mind, a look at the latest fashion and resort wear will surely change that. 

There is no better way to find your perfect summer look than heading out for a day of shopping at some of our best fashion retailers and boutiques. 

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But don’t get too cozy in that poolside lounge chair. While the metabolic advantages of profuse sweating are well known, a myriad of additional health and beauty benefits will have you running or power walking to the nearest gym or sauna.

Number one, sweating increases endorphins. Yes, that all-natural feel good drug is free, in unlimited quantities. Sweating also assists the body in flushing out the bad stuff, like alcohol, cholesterol and salt. And it also helps purge the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes.  

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There is no denying that our inner and outer selves, our yin and yang, are intrinsically connected. And it’s not just vanity. Inner and outer wellness is what makes us happy, and in turn, we radiate that joy to others. When we are content, we are more giving and better listeners, which makes us better friends, partners and co-workers. Paying attention to our skin health is an integral element of our overall well-being. And while maintaining a home care regimen is essential, the care and guidance of a professional can make all the difference. Blissfully organic or science driven clinical treatments, there is a world of innovative spa procedures for every skin condition.

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Casting your eyes upon The Garden Spa’T from bustling Colorado Boulevard, you would never imagine the organic sanctuary that greets you upon entry, much less the fact that it was created in the mind of a cellular and molecular biologist working for the world’s largest chemical company. Years ago, that was the reality of founder, Tanis Rhines. It was a workday just like any other, but while pipetting at the lab bench, she began pondering how our world had shifted from natural remedies to a world based on synthetic chemicals. In the beauty industry, herbs, flowers and natural oils had been replaced with petrochemicals that we couldn’t even pronounce. Cleopatra’s milk baths and ancient Ayurvedic treatments from India had been replaced with products that contain ingredients that could cause more harm than good.

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Darling Nikki’s Salon in Burbank, founded by Ashley Largey and Jennifer Blue, was inspired by the ambition and can-do attitude of “The Purple One”. In this time, with so many people moved by what Prince accomplished with his music and his quiet philanthropic endeavors, Largey vows she and her team will continue to operate in that fashion. “I was at work when I found out about Prince, and wound up adjusting my schedule in response to the announcement so I could leave”, Largey recalls. “Because Prince will forever be a fashion and music icon, it seemed like a great idea to build a fashion-oriented salon around. Today, the idea could not be more timely.”


Ashley and her team used the occasion to celebrate Prince’s life and to give prospective customers a taste of the services they offer. They also started planning a fundraiser to celebrate his philanthropic contributions, which he did outside of the spotlight.

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Well, Jonathan and Drew Scott had a bit of an advantage in that regard as they started out life as a team. They’ve hosted shows together, recorded songs together and written a book together — there’s seemingly nothing these guys can’t do and they’re not slowing down anytime soon.

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Bringing the sunlight indoors can be as easy as changing or adding a sofa slipcover, alternating window treatments, or opting for vibrantly colored tableware. And if you are considering a kitchen remodel, have you seen the new colored stainless steel appliances? There is a world of choices to suit every taste and budget, and we have the places that can make it all happen.

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Their new showroom is located in the heart of Woodland Hills, less than a mile away from the hip and trendy Village at Topanga shopping mecca. The expanded showroom features their signature furniture collections, showcasing the latest styles and trends in luxury outdoor living. The Woodland Hills location will continue where its predecessor left off – serving the San Fernando Valley, Westside, Beach Cities, Los Angeles County and all of Southern California.


With exquisite showrooms and professional design teams throughout California, Patioworld features a wide variety of international, cutting-edge designs and has a long-standing, well-deserved reputation for delivering the highest quality products with outstanding customer service.

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Founded by Adrian Kalvinskas in 1989, Pasadena’s Distant Lands grew out of his love for travel. From an early age, Adrian followed his mother Louanne on her adventures around the globe, from Morocco to Australia, and to many places in-between. Today, Distant Lands still serves the needs of travelers, whether they are bound for a trekking expedition in Tibet or a relaxing weekend in Santa Barbara. Hailed as a “wanderlust’s dream”, they continue to provide you with the tools you’ll need for traveling anywhere in the world by providing supplies such as maps, clothing, specialty gear, luggage, travel accessories and one of the best travel book libraries this side of the Mississippi. Be sure to check their website for upcoming programs and events.

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Magical spells, dark villains, imagination incarnate at every turn! They invite you to explore the mysteries of Hogwarts Castle, the shops of Hogsmeade, and you’ll be able to taste some of the fare that keeps a wizard wizarding! There’s also new rides, thrills, excitement—the works. The entrance alone is pretty breathtaking. One attendee put it this way: “Coming to the front entrance I was absolutely floored, it was like the gateway was a portal into that world.” Believe it or not, it’s really up to you.

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Shows worth catching, if you need to narrow it down, include case/lang/veirs on June 23rd, celebrating the June 17th release of a new 14-track album by the combined talents of Neko Case, Laura Veirs and k.d. lang. And then, for obvious reasons, don’t miss Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band with Todd Rundgren on July 2nd, Bryan Adams on July 6th, and Boston as part of their 40th Anniversary Tour on July 14th; if you haven’t seen Boston after 40 years of opportunity, maybe now is the time?

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Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the various contributing writers, advertisers and artists
and do not necessarily express the opinions of the Boulevard staff or ownership.
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t notice.

 

 

 

Boulevard Magazine, 11684 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604 - 323.436.7546