Liza’s Bev Gems

Le Grand DavidMost people have a hard time believing that Beverly Hills, California, or “The Hills,” as my generation prefers, thanks to the likes of empty vessel Lauren Conrad and her Kitson-loving clan, is in fact named after Beverly, Massachusetts, where I call home (and Miss Lascaze, too!).

Beverly is a staple of the blue-blooded “Noath Shoa,” the string of preppy coastal towns north of Boston peppered with country clubs and lots of really old ship captains’ homes. In fact, Beverly boasts status as “America’s First Naval Base,” and if that doesn’t get your blood flowing, then check out some other reasons to frequent old Bev:

Tryst
Just voted “Best of Boston, Breakfast (North)” by Boston magazine, Tryst is a fairly recent addition to the sparse Beverly restaurant scene. As long as this warm, upscale American bistro keeps holding its own, however, then I have no reason to complain. Exposed brick, hardwood floors, and minimalist art lends itself to an intimate, unintimidating ambiance. In keeping with the homey yet modern feel, Chef Peter Capalbo crafts updated American comfort classics in generous portions like seared duck (hearty and succulent) and rosemary roasted chicken (oh so tender). Pastry chef Kim Foley slathers the icing on the cake — half-hearted chuckle — with the freshest desserts made with local ingredients; try the rhubarb and strawberry milk cake. I’m telling you: this place is spot-on. I’ve never once had a bad meal there, and I’m definitely not the only one; don’t be disappointed if you can’t get a reservation. 282A Cabot St, Beverly; 781-631-2090

Casa de Moda
You know when you need to get a gift for a friend you haven’t seen since high school or your boss’ niece, and you have no f-ing idea what to do? Go to Casa. This place is a family-owned treasure-trove of unique trinkets, ranging from gourmet bath supplies to hand-crafted stone jewelry to upscale children’s gifts. This hippie haunt also boasts a great selection of ethnic ceramics, kinky (yes, I said kinky) toys, cheeky gift cards, and beautiful papers. They’ve recently started carrying clothing and accessories as well. And definitely make your way up to Casa for Halloween costumes instead of going to those gross open-once-a-year-just-for-a-month Halloween warehouses in strip malls. 272 Cabot St, Beverly; 978-922-8100 (Right up the street from Tryst!)

Cassis
Just a hop across Cabot Street (which, if you can’t tell already, is pretty much the extent of Beverly) is a hidden gem of a French bakery, winner of 2009 Best of the North Shore. Everything is made fresh daily by masterful confectionery craftsmen who stay true to French technique with an exquisite eye for detail. Each pastry is a mini masterpiece, almost too pretty to eat. I love the fruit tartlets (so tasty, made with the freshest custard) and the creamy, fluffy Napoleons. As for cakes, I’m a loyal fan of their take on the strawberry shortcake (Holy crème fraiche!), and there’s homemade bread and yummy panini to boot! 261 Cabot St, Beverly; 978-922-2053

Le Grand David and his Own Spectacular Magic Company
A nearly lost art, Le Grand David and his Own Spectacular Magic Company is a legend in its own right (even written up in Time). Magician David Bull and his family flock (including one of my dearest childhood friends) have been performing this authentic stage show for over 30 years every Sunday at 3:00 pm at the Cabot Street Cinema, a preserved 18th century theater worthy of museum status (complete with 40-foot ceilings, red velvet curtains—the works. Think Moulin Rouge, for real. It runs movies twice-daily as well). David and Cesario, the spectacle’s ring masters, awe the crowd in decadent, handmade costumes and lavish, sprawling sets. I can’t even describe it; you just have to see it for yourself, and this isn’t the cheeseball two-for-one shit you’d see in Vegas. Keep this show alive! Show season starts September 20th. Cabot Street Cinema, 286 Cabot Street, Beverly; 978-927-3677

Posted by Liza

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