Observation: Melissa Manchester

The singer from New York who lives in Encino talks about her favorite Valley weekends in the L.A. Times Calendar section, available online only to subscribers:

I remember when I first moved out to the Valley, there was a stigma against anyone who would even deign to live here. But I think it’s a terrific place to live in. Tarzana, in particular, is a sort of dusty place, and I always wave to people hello and goodbye and thank you for not staying, because it’s just so lovely and quiet.

On Saturday, we usually go to a farmers’ market, maybe Tapia Brothers on Hayvenhurst Avenue, which is a great old family farm stand. It’s an actual farm, and they have a stall where they sell fruit and vegetables, and then during the holiday season it’s also a pumpkin patch. Or it’s where we get our Christmas tree…
When we feel like having a special dinner, we go to Mistral Brasserie in Sherman Oaks. It’s a very cozy setting: dark wood, crystal chandeliers, French food and a great bar. The service is really convivial. They remember what you drank the last time you were there. Their tarragon chicken is French bistro fare. It comes in a mustard sauce with pommes frites. I also love their beet salad, which is spectacular.