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A Taste of Hollywood

Hollywood, a fantastical dream location and lifestyle sought after by many. The fantasy of Hollywood has millions flocking to it every year in hopes to start a glamorous new life and close to 10 million people visiting the small stretch of Hollywood Boulevard annually for their vacations, hoping to get a glimpse of the stars. But what’s real and what’s an illusion? When you come to visit Hollywood, you should want to get a glimpse of the authentic experience rather than the glitz and glam that many imagine. I find that there’s so much more fun memories to be had when you can taste the authentic Hollywood life on your visit. But what’s the best way to do that? Well, the VIVA GLAM team was lucky enough to have our own taste of Hollywood this past month by spending a day at the WB Studio Tour Hollywood and Formosa Café, and we feel we got a true, incredible and authentic taste of what Hollywood has to offer.

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The VIVA GLAM Team on the Central Perk Set from Friends

So, head out to Los Angeles and follow in our footsteps as we tell you all about the best day you can have on your trip to LA, whether you are visiting for the first time or are a local to the area.

The WB Studio Tour Hollywood

Your perfect day in LA can start at the newly updated WB Studio Tour in Hollywood. There are a variety of different tours you can choose from that cater to your specific preferences and interests; however, I feel that the WB Studio Tour, whichever you pick, provides you with an authentic studio experience. While many other studio tours in LA come across more ride-like or gimmicky, the WB Studio Tour gives you a real glimpse into the front and back lot of the WB Studios and even allows you a peak inside real working sound-stages. Certain tours also allow you to walk inside the prop warehouse where you can see many props ready to be rented, and most of them allow you to take a quick walk through the sound-stages on the front lot. Then, you will be transported to the backlot where you will be offered a chance to get out, look around at the facades, and even step inside some of the sets. And, for the Friends fans out there, there is so much to see! In the backlot, you will have the opportunity to take a picture in front of the fountain from the opening of Friends, which was recently moved from the Warner Ranch to the studios as part of the tour not too long ago.

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The Fountain from the Opening of Friends

Aside from this authentic and exciting glimpse into the actual workings of the studios, you will also get to live up your best tourist life in one of the buildings where you can get a coffee at the Central Perk, take photos on the actual set of the Central Perk from Friends that was recreated for you to experience, and take photos on the sets of the Big Bang Theory. Honestly, every time I do this and post these photos, so many of my friends come out of the woodwork to tell me how jealous they are, so you will most definitely steal the show with these social media photos. And in the same building, you’ll get a glimpse of some of the hottest new costume pieces from new Warner properties, which, right now, includes the famous jump suit from Elvis!

And the tour comes to a close at a building filled to the brim with DC Superheroes. See real props, real costumes, and real vehicles from famous DC Superhero films, as well as from the world of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts.

All in all, the WB Studio Tour Hollywood has something for everyone. While it offers some incredible photo opportunities, it also provides an authentic look into the sound-stages and the back and front lots of Warner Brothers in a much more realistic way. It’s definitely something that can’t be missed on your next trip to Los Angeles.

Dinner at Formosa Café

Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect when we arrived at Formosa Café for dinner. What we found was an authentic Hollywood experience shrouded in Old Hollywood history and lore. Having been on the Sunset strip since the 1930s, Formosa Café has been a regular hot spot for Hollywood’s biggest stars. We sat at Elvis’s booth, where the King of Rock and Roll, himself, used to frequent, and next to his booth was Marilyn Monroe’s regular booth as well as John Wayne’s.

Formosa Café was opened in 1939 out of an old streetcar that used to exist on Sunset Blvd. The original part of the restaurant was in there, and while it has been expanded upon over the years, you can still eat at a booth in the original part of the restaurant in the streetcar. There’s also a lovely bar and seating area upstairs on the patio, as well, if you’d prefer outdoor seating. And while the glamour of Old Hollywood is scattered all about this Chinese restaurant, it also has a darker history that focuses on gangster operations, as well. In fact, an old safe was found during one of the renovations that is now on display under a glass panel at the restaurant. When you visit, be sure to ask your server about the incredible history of the restaurant, as each server has their own tales they like to share. The history at Formosa Café is abound, and our server, Alex, was a great storyteller who regaled us with tales of the restaurant throughout the decades. And, of course, Formosa continues to makes new memories as it was just recently featured in Euphoria, as well.

Aside form the incredibly Hollywood-filled atmosphere and history, the food was also delicious. It can be hard to find Vegan Chinese food, but Formosa offered a wide variety of deliciously rich vegan options. The vegan egg rolls were exceptionally flavorful, and the Tofu was uniquely crispy, which can be hard to find with Tofu. But it was masterfully done. And the Formosa Chow Fun was so rich and delicious. It was unlike any Chinese food we have had before.

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The Formosa Chow Fun

So, as you plan your next day trip out into Hollywood, be sure to start at the WB Studio Tour and end at Formosa Café for an unforgettable authentic experience. We’ve lived in Hollywood for decades, and our fun outing reminded us how much we love this glamorous town.

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