ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" wraps its seventh season next week with big finale shows on Monday and Tuesday, and judge Carrie Ann Inaba can use the time off. The Hawaiian-born choreographer has a dance-related website planned for the new year (thedanceinsider.com), and getting it in shape has been more work than she envisioned. "But I love it," she says. "It's allowed me to reconnect with the dance community that helped bring me to where I am today. It's going to be the go-to resource for everything dance."
Bounce to the beat
At sunset, I love to go to the Venice Beach Drum Circle. You don't even have to be a drummer; I just like to get in the center and dance, and you get to dance with such interesting folks, people who are really in tune to the Earth. There can be some strange folks too, though, so watch your purse.
At Eva's place
After the circle, I'd grab some dinner at Beso, Eva Longoria's restaurant. I went there for the first time recently, and the food was excellent. I thought it might be much more of a scene, but although there was a lot of energy in the room, so you felt like you were somewhere very cool, it was very classy and elegant. I ordered the steak, and it was incredible. Great mashed potatoes and wonderful cupcakes for dessert. That's right, cupcakes!
A Valley hangout
Another of my favorite restaurants out here in the Valley is Bamboo on Ventura Boulevard, a great Chinese place. My mom is from New York's Chinatown, so I know good Chinese food, and this place is great, and they have great service. It's always packed, but a lot of families. They also have a great drink called the Bamboo Martini; I have no idea what's in it, but it tastes great, light but a little fancy.
Get a doggy bag
For breakfast, I like the Pasta Papa at Hugo's in Studio City. It's like pasta carbonara with sausage and bacon. You can fry up the leftovers the next day and it's fantastic. I have to work out a little more the weeks when I have the Pasta Papa. If I want to stay lighter, I order the breakfast salad with turmeric rice and egg whites. It's healthy but still a nice, filling meal. I like the teas there too.
And a shopping bag
For clothes, there's a place on Ventura called Maxine Boutique that I always go when I need to get a nice dress on short notice. Every time I go there I find something great. Another good place is Bleu, on the other side of the hill on La Brea. They have the best selection of classy, good-quality stuff. Name brands, but with personality.
For somewhere that can remind me of Hawaii, I go to the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine. It's a spiritual park off Sunset near the beach that blends all the different religions, and that reminds me of Hawaii, because it's such a multicultural place. The park reminds us that we're all in this together as human beings. There's even a great bookstore there.
Pampering body . . .
To keep myself in shape, I'll start the day with a wonderfully deep and stretching BioSync massage with Dana Hubbard, and then while I'm all loose, I go to my chiropractor, Timothy Campbell in Sherman Oaks, who's one of the few who are open on weekends. It's like weekly maintenance for my body.
. . . and soul
The Bodhi Tree on Melrose in West Hollywood is like a spiritual retreat for me. Religious books, health books, recovery books, everything that's good for you. I can wander around there for hours.