Nestled inside the Bonaventure Hotel, experienced masseuses maintain 10,000 square feet of pure serenity spread across 11 treatment rooms. Cordoned off into sections for men and women, the facility flaunts amenities such as hydro-jet showers with seven pulsing showerheads and saunas fogged with soothing vapor instead of fog machines stolen from middle-school dances. Bonaventure Club plucks massage techniques from all over the globe, including Thailand where therapists stretch frames with their hands, knees, and feet to amplify the client's flexibility and energy. Pre- or post-treament, clients can unwind in a relaxation lounge stocked with Perrier water, jasmine-rose tea, and snacks, while flipping through magazines or watching a big-screen TV.
A 150-acre oasis of beautiful flora, Descanso Gardens is cozily situated in a secluded section of the San Rafael hills and offers visitors a refreshing glimpse of Mother Nature when she's not busy. Guests can stroll through the various gardens and soak in the sights of roses by the thousands, examine native California flowers, parley with old oaks, and meditate in a Japanese-themed sanctuary that features a picturesque arched bridge, a tea house, and a pond. Upcoming special events include Botanic Bling on December 11 & 12, hosted by Mark-Alan Harmon, and Enchanted Railroad Storytime on December 18, hosted by professional storyteller Bill Ratner.
For more than 40 years, family-run Red Carpet Wine & Spirits has cherished its relationships with customers, helping novices select bottles and recommending new varieties to suit veteran tastes. Sample a color wheel of red, white, and blue wines with a well-crafted tasting selection and wine card valid Friday–Sunday. Customers receive the card upon entry and can use it to purchase $30 worth of samples such as the 2008 Grgich Hills chardonnay ($4/1.25 oz. taste), with a mellow meld of citrus and baked pear, or the Masi Campofiorin ripasso ($2/1.25 oz. taste), bursting with cherry, spices, and the woodsy flavor of a grandmother's rolling pin. The tasting menu changes frequently to allows Red Carpet's far-reaching inventory to rotate, and Groupon holders will also receive an artisanal-cheese platter for wine and cheese paired as harmoniously as a concert pianist’s left and right foot.
You could argue that every meal at Gaucho's Village includes live entertainment—servers are constantly visiting tables with humongous skewers of meat and slicing off choice pieces with a sword-like knife. To summon such a show to your table, all you need to do is turn a small marker over to display its green side, or turn your "Bring on the Meat" t-shirt right-side out. Then, you select from an array of flame-roasted cuts, ranging from the traditional picanha, or sirloin cap, to tri-tip and filet mignon wrapped in bacon. The blazing churrasco fires backstage also cook lamb, pork, and sausage, and the menu suggests a proper wine pairing for each cut.
Though these meats have been featured on the Travel Channel's Tastiest Places to Chow Down, they aren't the only impressive spectacle at the restaurant. The real show occurs on weekends, when samba dancers and DJs rev up the always-festive atmosphere. Guests who would rather kick back than shimmy along can visit the attached lounge. There, a separate lounge menu boasts empanadas and coxinha—fried balls of chicken and cheese—as well as flavored hookah on a back patio fenced with live bamboo.
Along with its original Pasadena location—which has kept neighborhood liquor cabinets in high spirits for more than 60 years—Mission Wine and Spirits stocks a massive selection of wine, beer, and spirits at its three outlets. Imported vintages from countries such as New Zealand and France share shelf space with more than 15 types of domestic wine. Amateur sommeliers can also choose from a range of ports, dessert wines, and sparkling wines. In addition, the shops fuel good-natured gatherings with domestic and imported beers, spirits ranging from Irish whiskey to absinthe, and digestives that settle stomachs after hearty meals or eating lava on a dare. Mixers such as celery bitters and sweet-and-sour mix spruce up liquors with cocktail flavoring, while nonalcoholic spirits and wines delight the taste buds of abstaining guests.
After opening their first store in Anaheim in 1993, the grocery gurus behind Super King Markets noticed the globe-spanning diversity of their customer base. This keen insight led them to stock shelves with brands from across the world and around the corner, a policy which helped them win LA Weekly's Best Ethnic Deli Counter of 2009, Best Place to Buy Nutella of 2010, and Best Palace of Cheap Produce of 2011. Now expanded to five locations, the store still fills each outpost with fruits and vegetables, quality meats and private-label seafood, and an assortment of shells in the mixed-nut bar. Staff members behind the service deli weigh imported salamis, caviar, and cheeses for their upcoming high-school wrestling matches, and clerks in the liquor aisle dole out advice on each spirited beverages. Additionally, the Los Angeles, Altadena, and Claremont locations invite shoppers to linger longer with an expansive fresh bakery.