Postcard from... Beverly Hills
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Sunday 27 April 2014
In the early 1900s, the neighbourhood now known as Beverly Hills was planted not with palm trees, but with fields of cabbage and lima beans.
Yesterday, the world’s most famous zipcode celebrated its centenary with something a little tastier: a 15,000-slice chocolate cake. The cake, constructed to resemble edible miniatures of Beverly Hills landmarks including City Hall, was due to be served up at a block party on Rodeo Drive yesterday evening. It was 9ft tall, 12ft wide and 24ft long, and it cost an estimated $200,000 (£119,000) to bake.
Beverly Hills was incorporated as a city in 1914, two years after the construction of the famous, pink-walled Beverly Hills Hotel began to attract Hollywood celebrities to the surrounding streets. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford built their lavish Pickfair mansion in 1919, and were joined by the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino. Later the neighbourhood became a setting for films such as Sunset Boulevard.
The Luxe Hotel, which commissioned the cake, said the concoction wasn’t only for consumption by the 1 per cent, though the other 99 are rarely sighted on Rodeo Drive. Efrem Harkham, the hotel’s owner, told The LA Times, “We shouldn’t be thinking about the Marie Antoinette equivalent.”
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