Tlayuda L.A. – Lunch – August 12, 2017 – Hollywood, CA.

Located right on Santa Monica Blvd. in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood, this is best Oaxacan food you will ever eat. Truly this is the little engine that could and can!!

Here’s what I tried:

Starters:

Guacamole and Chips, the guacamole has a great flavor and the chips are large blue corn, which makes for some pretty good dipping.

Tlayudas:

Classic Supreme Tlayuda, extra large toasted tortilla, a spread bean puree, lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, cheese, meats tasajo beef, cesina pork and chorizo. Kind of pizza kind of tostada, whatever it is, it’s unique and very delicious.

Plato Mixto, with Grilled pork loin (cesina), chicken, rice, beans, salad, pico de gallo, cheese and tortillas. This was my favorite dish, the flavors of the grilled pork and chicken are just so perfect, the right amount of seasonings and the right amount of grilling time, just superb.

Enchiladas Verdes, 3 chicken enchiladas served with a side of rice. There is no sauce on the enchiladas, so you can really taste the full flavors of the meat and combination ingredients.

Burrito, with a flour tortilla, your choice of meat, black beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and avocado. A huge king size burrito, for me I can take this home and have 3 other meals off of it so be warned.

Tacos, served on a handmade tortilla with black bean puree, Oaxaca cheese and avocado, two beef tacos, two chicken tacos, two mole sauce tacos. These are not any run of the mill tacos, each one individually great, and each made with the perfect tender meats and accompaniments. My favorite was the mole sauce taco, with lots of rich chocolate type sauce, amazing.

Dessert:

Cheesecake, served with a chocolate caramel sauce, so amazing.

They don’t serve alcohol, but their own made Aguas Frescas are more than satisfying! I also had a hot pour over coffee which was so great, it hit the spot with the cheesecake.

Everything about Tlayuda L.A. has an artsy, colorful style from the walls to the food! You’re greeted with delicious aromas and friendly faces from the moment you walk in. Masterpieces from local artists, a trendy mural and whimsical Oaxacan creatures are painted around the restaurant. Once you have a bite of the rich guacamole or savory meat, you’re hooked. All of that has been carefully designed by Laura Guerrero, whose passion is creating the best customer experience. Laura opened her first business in 2010 and why stop at one? Laura’s successful local and online businesses were flourishing and her desire had always been to own a restaurant. I knew I wanted something that was “pretty, that tastes good” and the Tlayuda definitely exceeds that requirement! “It’s such a great plate and it’s not a main dish in most Oaxacan restaurants; most people don’t even know about it. I wanted to give life to it!” As a lifelong foodie, Oaxacan cuisine has always been a favorite. It’s different and something most people have never tasted before.

Tlayuda L.A. brings together the Oaxacan flavors with a contemporary twist – it’s not your traditional Mexican restaurant! “It’s even better than I expected!” is a frequent exclamation from customers enjoying our Oaxacan cuisine for the first time. Our Oaxacan-trained chefs keep the essence of the flavor while creating new tasty dishes. Our signature dish is the Tlayuda, a Mexican pizza served with succulent meats and cheeses. The fresh, savory food is certainly “Instagram-able!” and has gained a loyal following already. Within two months of opening, we already had regulars coming in multiple days a week!

Whether we’re your usual Taco Tuesday or a date-night destination, Tlayuda L.A. is one experience you will enjoy every time!

About Oaxacan Cuisine:

Oaxacan Cuisine:

Oaxacan food is based on the Mexican staples such as corn, beans and Chile peppers. The appeal of Oaxacan cuisine comes from the variety of ingredients and unique preparation. Oaxaca cheese is one of the most notable items. They make this mozzarella-like string cheese through a complicated process involving stretching the cheese into long ribbons and rolling it up like a ball of yarn. Another popular snack and topping are chapulines which are toasted grasshoppers with a sour-spicy-salty taste of garlic, limejuice and salt. Tlayudas, Oaxacan style tamales and mole sauce are some other favorites.

Oaxaca, Mexico:

Oaxaca is known for its unique cuisine and traditional cultural experience. Oaxaca is a beautiful state in southwestern Mexico with a long coastline and mountainous, tropical terrain. The communities have been preserved because they are so isolated throughout the valleys in the area. The large indigenous population have maintained their individual languages, customs and traditions – in fact about one in six people don’t speak Spanish! The Oaxacan culture has been passed down for hundreds of years.

I am telling you, this was quite a surprise, I would tell you to go out right now and grab some of this very authentic Oaxacan cuisine.

Tlayuda L.A. Mexican Restaurant
(213) 261-4667
5450 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029
* Some content was taken off of their website.

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Dinner – El Floridita – August 5, 2017 – Hollywood, CA.

Forget ever getting on a plane and going to Cuba, right in the heart of Hollywood lays a Cuban Restaurant and dance club that will never make you miss your Cuban roots. The food is spectacular and once the music gets cranking you are exported to a Cuban nightclub, with all of the hot Latin sounds and people.

Woman are wearing scantily clad dresses with high heels, while men are wearing Panama hats, and Hawaiian type shirts. It is very colorful with the fashion and the personalities.

I met Sandra Bonaparte at a few food events and she graciously invited me to come in, as assistant manager, she is owner Armando Castro’s right hand gal. She was a regular back in the day, then she got married, then divorced came back into the fold and Armando asked her to work for him until she found another job, she has been there since.

Armando Castro has a way of booking amazing talent as entertainment, performing at El Floridita gives musicians credibility. Once the band starts you just can’t wait to get out of your seat and Salsa, and thank god for their 8:30 salsa class open to everyone. This class will teach you the basics so you will be ready to get up and dance. Then the great band Clave Dura sets the night on fire. They have a calendar of their entertainment online.

Here’s What I tried:

Cocktails:

Floridita Mojito Don Q Rum, blackberry puree. Fresh mint and soda, after taking a salsa class this drink hit the spot.

Hemmingway Daiquiri Cubano Don Q Limon Rum, sweet and sour, splash of OJ, with crushed ice, done in a coupe glass it is good, named after Ernest.

Cadillac Margarita Patron Repasado, Patron Citronge lime and orange juice, agave nectar, topped with Grand Marnier. This is one great margarita, sweet, smooth, and goes down really well.

Belvedere Bay Breeze Belvedere Vodka, pineapple, ad cranberry juice. This drink is very tropical and inviting.

Starters:

Mojito Rum and Shrimp with Shrimp with garlic, rum, and mint. Served with garlic plantain chips. There is a lot of garlic in this dish, so if you’re planning on kissing someone after eating it be warned. But it is truly delicious and worth it.

Combination of Cuban finger foods – Chicharron de pollo, Croquettes, Papa Rellena, Empanadas, Yuca Fries, Tostones. Each one is amazing, my favorite were the empanadas, crisp light outside dough and beautiful flavored meat inside.

Soup and Salad’s

Soup of the day – Lentil, rich and thick, this soup is a great way to start your meal.

Ensalada Mixta, Tossed green salad with avocado. A very nice fragrant dressing round out all of the Cuban flavors.

Mains:

Paella, Cooking time is 20-30 minutes, but well worth the wait. This seafood casserole is baked with yellow rice, chicken, pork, Spanish sausage, clam, lobster, shrimp, white fish, crab legs, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, Spanish wine, and olive oil. Garnished with peas and pimentos. My dish didn’t have any lobster, but it had lots of fresh scallops, which I love as well. This is a very flavorful rendition of Spain’s most celebrated food.

Sol, Mar, y Tierra, Grilled shrimp, filet mignon, and grilled chicken filet made with Cuban mojo. The seasonings on each and every piece of meat are off the charts, and the onions and peppers really add something special to each bite.

Sides:

Yuca Con Mojo, the Yuca is steamed; it is like a potato but much sweeter, I just love the way they did this side dish.

They walk around during your meal with a huge bowl of beans to accompany your delicious dishes.

Dessert:

Ice Cream Sundae, wonderful and refreshing, just save some room.

Flan, probably the best flan ever tasted!!

Wine:

Concha T Toro Casillero Diablo Chardonnay, this wine was good but really did not add anything to the food.

Sterling, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, this would be my wine choice with all of the seafood dishes, truly a lovely fruity wine.

Terrazas Altos Del Plata, Malbec, Argentina, this wine was very jammy and was ideal with the filet mignon.

Greystone Cabernet, 2014, CA. I liked the pepper, leather quality is this glorious Cabernet, and it went great with the chicken and the filet mignon.

Their world famous salsa Monday’s were made popular by the late Johnny Polanco – Johnny Polanco Y Su Conjunto Amistad played every Monday for 24 years. He was one of the most sought-after bandleaders in the U.S. and gained the distinction for making the type of contagious Latin Music that is truly appreciated by salsa dancers and musicians worldwide. Prince was one of his biggest fans and would often fly into town just to hear Johnny play. Johnny is no longer with us, but the legacy he helped to create lives on, every Monday, week after week.

El Floridita Restaurant in Hollywood was founded in 1987. El Floridita is named after the famous Bodeguita in La Habana Cuba, made famous by Ernest Hemingway, which was there for 300 years. It is the most authentic Cuban experience in all of Los Angeles.

My waiter Diego Hernandez has been at El Floridita for 30 years, he has seen a lot of people come and go. People come from all over, lots of European and Japanese as well as locals, regulars. So its a great special occasion location, including birthdays, and anniversaries.

The interiors very basic, with café style wrought iron chairs and maroon tablecloths. There are white lights that are strewn over the entire place which makes for a very festive experience. The stage is smack dab in the middle of the room so as not to miss anything in any seat. They have a wood dance floor and a bar area. If you don’t want to eat dinner but just want to come to dance you can pay a $15.00 cover charge and hang out at the bar. There are many regulars that come every weekend. Some of them met here and have since fallen in love; it is all so sweet and romantic.

Whatever your passion is you will find a new one here at El Floridita, where the Cuban food will tantalize you and the dancing will lift your spirits. Regulars know the drill and how El Floridita is like one big extended family, it is so much fun that I too will become at regular. El Floridita has offered live entertainment every Monday, Friday, and Saturday for over 30 years. My biggest advise, pace yourself, because you’re in for one unique wild ride. I would say give this place a whirl, from its fancy Latin cuisine to its hot beats you just can’t go wrong!!

Hours: Mon: 11:00 am – 2:00 am, Tue: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Wed: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Thu: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Fri: 11:00 am – 2:00 am, Sat: 11:00 am – 2:00 am, Sun: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm

El Floridita
1253 Vine St,
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(323) 871-8612
elfloridita.com
* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Stout Burgers and Beers – Dinner – July 31, 2017

In the heart of Hollywood in a really happening neighborhood lies a burger oasis. Big bold meaty flavors will make you believe that there is a burger fairy. You know what they say, so many burgers, so little time.

Chef Alexandros Kagianaris said, “When we decided the burger would give us the best palate to create unique pairings, I went to work designing recipes to honor my love of craft beer. The next few months were a culinary & beer lovers dream. I experimented with multiple gourmet burger & craft beer combinations. Working every night on the Stout menu, after 10-hours days, I created the food to pair with the perfect beer.”

Kaglew partners Charles Lew and executive chef Alexandros Kagianaris have created Stout, a neighborhood restaurant that is a simple, upscale restaurant redefining the idea of the local pub – offering a vast selection of artisanal draft and bottled beers from around the world as well as an emerging list of wines together with the finest burger option in Los Angeles. Stout is the authoritative destination for the casual connoisseur, where club goers meet the culinary elite for burgers and beer. Their mission is to serve the finest selection of unique, hand crafted draft micro brewed beers, along with fresh, creative food. Their dedication is to the community by providing extraordinary service in a comfortable atmosphere, which is conducive to increasing our guests’ knowledge of and interest in micro brewed beer while providing its guests with tasty, California light and healthy burger option to enjoy anytime-lunch, dinner, and after-hours.

Here’s what I tried:

Burgers:

Meat:

Truffle Shuffle, with sautéed mushrooms, Brie, truffle aioli. I love the mushroom flavors in this scrumptious burger, yum.

The Morning After, with Rosemary Bacon, Egg Over Easy, Aged Cheddar, Chipotle Ketchup. For breakfast or any time, this burger will rock your world like it did mine.

Six Weeker, Brie, Fig Jam, Arugula, Caramelized Onions. This was by far my favorite burger, the sweetness and the caramelized goodness is off the charts.

Goombah, Parmasiano Flakes, Smoked Mozzarella, Crispy Proscuitto, Lemon Basil Aioli. This burger has a big Italian thing going on, so if that is in your wheelhouse then by all means try it.

Mr. America Aged Cheddar, Lettuce, Fresh Tomato, Red Onion, and Ketchup. Truly All American, the meat is super rare and juicy, a delicious burger.

Chicken:

The Low and Slow, with Stout BBQ Sauce / Cole Slaw / Fire Roasted Chiles / Aged Cheddar / Fried Onions). I heard raves about this menu item and it is all true.

B 56, with, Emi Gruyere, Fresh Tomatoes, Arugula, Rosemary Bacon, Thousand Island. An extremely hearty burger, as a healthy chicken option, it is superb.

Veggie:

Bollywood, with Chutney Mayonnaise, Sharp Cheddar, Arugula, and Roasted Tomato. Very spicy, but you would never miss the meat.

Extra:

Tater Tots, these little gems pop in your mouth, amazing.
Seasoned Fries, the perfect cut, and cooked so that they are crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside.

Sweet Potato Fries, a nice healthy option.
Beer Battered Onion Rings, I love a good onion ring, these hit the spot.

Salads:

Wedge Salad (Iceberg Wedge, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion, Bacon & Blue Cheese Dressing). Right up there with the great steakhouse wedge salads, this salad was right on point.

Arugula Salad (Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing, Parmesiano Flakes, and Crispy Onions). A nice healthy option, with great dressing.

Stout Caesar (Romaine Lettuce, House Caesar Dressing, Parmesiano Flakes, House Croutons). It has all of the great Caesar flavors; I liked this salad as well.

Beer and Wines:

Pale Ales
Oneida Modern Times

Wheat Ales
Apricot Flats – Hangar 24, Redlands, CA wheat ale 7.2%

Belgian Goldens

Curieux – Allagash, Portland, ME bourbon bbl aged tripel 11%

Each beer has its own characteristics and went great with the burgers.

Wine:

Tangent – Sauvignon Blanc, 2014, Edna Valley, this wine went great with the low and slow burger.

Eberle – Chardonnay, 2015, Paso Robles, the veggie or B56 is a perfect match.

Boomtown – Merlot, 2014, Columbia Valley, a very bold lively wine, went great with any of the meaty burgers.

Llama – Malbec, 2015, Mendoza, a big rich wine, went great with any of the beef burgers.

Morgan – Syrah G17, 2014, Santa Lucia Highlands, lots of berry goodness, you can pair with any of the beef as well.

At Stout, they aspire to serve the new-style burger: beef cooked medium rare, organic ground chicken, or a quinoa based veggie option, dressed with a variety of homemade toppings such as onions cooked down to the sweetness of maple syrup, specialty cheeses, smoky bacon, arugula and roasted tomatoes. It will be worth dropping in just for a mid-afternoon burger, and a craft beer.

Tom Hanks and is family are regulars because two of his kids have worked at Stout. Stout really gets cooking as an after-hours eating spot. The clubs get out at 2:00 am and partygoers want to soak up the alcohol and have a place to hang, so business after 2:00 am is really great, and they are opened until 4:00 am.

They grind their meat everyday. Their meats are organic and their chicken is free range, made and delivered fresh every day. They get their breads from Melrose bakery everyday.

Manager Kevin Kuhn took great care of me. There is no competition, they don’t make a typical burger, no substitutions, you can take away but you can’t add. They don’t want to take away from how these recipes were intended. Some of the burgers are named after different places that the chef has traveled to.

The interior is very industrial with a copper round bar back splash that highlights all of their great beers on tap. Distressed concrete floors, recycled glass chandelier made by one of the owners Massai Dorsey, industrial metal chairs, wood table tops, the base is made of plumbing flanges and pipe connectors with t-joints. Flat screen TVs for sports viewing, and a cool out door patio.

So far they have three Stouts in California, also one in Tennessee, and one in Kentucky. They are slated to open three more in California soon.

Stout is Fun, lively and different, next time you’re near one of their three Los Angeles locations give yourself a treat and try it out.

Hours – Every Day | 11:30 am – 4:00 am

Stout
1544 N. Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 469-3801
stoutburgersandbeers.com

* Some content was taken off of their website.

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Friday July 28, 2017 – AltaMed’s East LA Meets Napa and La Rioja – LA Live, Downtown Los Angeles, CA.

You get to feel the warm sun while tasting some of the most amazing Latin inspired dishes ever. As the sun goes down the partying really takes flight, with the hot sounds of some very famous recording artists, it is more then a wine and food tasting, it’s a dancing extravaganza.

Some of the notable talented chefs; Hugo Molina of Seta, making a great paella, Ronaldo Linares of Sabores De Cuba, Denise Portillo of Forking Good, Sandra Cordero of Gasolina, Alejandro Ochoa of La Huasteca, Jonathan Perez of Macheen, David Fuerte, and many others. The food was so inspiring, so many choices with everything being fantastic. I especially liked the 2 completely different paella’s, that were served up by two different chefs. One had more meat and the other just seafood with great flavor. The wines were terrific, always make me love the back-stories of migrant farm workers picking grapes in Napa valley to discover that they to can be wine makers and owners and living this incredible dream.

East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja Restaurants: Bistro Provincia, Breadcrumbs Catering, Casa Oaxaca, Chago Tortas Ahogadas, Chef Joshua Gil, Chef Ronaldo Linares, Chichén Itzá, Del Frisco’s Grille, Don Chente Bar-Grill & Lounge, El Chef Amateco, El Coraloense, El Floridita, El Incomparable Peruvian Cuisine, El Paisa, El Portal Restaurant, El Tepeyac Café, Forkin Good Café, Gasolina Café,Gloria’s Restaurant & Bar, Holbox, King Taco, L.A. Paella catering, La Carmencita, La Costa Restaurant, La Fonda de Los Camperos, La Huasteca, La Monarca Bakery, La Parrilla, Macheen, Made for Chefs, Mama Cheesecakes, Martin Purefoods Corp., Mascarpone Cheesecakes by Chef Turok, Pez Cantina Coastal Mexican Kitchen, Piaggio On Wheels, Porto’s Bakery and Café, Prospect Gourmand, Rocio’s Mexican Kitchen, Roe seafood, Señor Fish, Setá Dine Lounge, Spana Life, Tepeyac Restaurant & Tequila Sports Bar,The Chori-man, The Knotted Apron,The Maincourse restaurant, Tlayuda L.A.,Villa Roma Argentine & Italian Cuisine, Yuca’s, and Zapien’s Salsa Grill.

East LA Meets Napa & La Rioja Vintners: Justicia, Llamas Family Wines, Renteria Family Wines, V. Sattui, J. Lohr, Gustavo Wines, Mi Sueno Reyes Winery, Rioja Wines, Cuatro Cuatros, Feliz Noche, Bodegas De Puente Rus, Ceja Vineyards, Jose Wine Caves, Delgadillo Cellars, Pavo Real, Trujillo Wines, Maldonado Family Vineyards, Mario Bazan Cellars, Voces Cellars, Herencia Del Valle, San Antonio Winery, Robledo Family Winers, VYVA, Encanto Vineyards, Honrama Cellars, and The Main Course Special Reserve By Mario Medina.

East LA Meets Napa takes you on a wine tasting journey, stretching from the famed Napa Valley through many of Spain’s and the Guadalupe Valley quaint countrysides and vast wine regions. It’s new location: L.A. LIVE in Downtown Los Angeles, guests enjoyed tastings from more than 80 top LA restaurants, world-renowned celebrity chefs, and premium vintners from a variety of regions in Spain. This year’s slogan is “Savor, Celebrate, Support AltaMed.”

The event featured music performances by: Ozomatli, Poncho Sanchez, Jose Rizo – Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars, Boogaloo Assassins, Cale – Flamenco, on 2 separate stages.

East LA Meets Napa is the only food and wine festival in Los Angeles that celebrates the richness of Latin food in Los Angeles and the success of Latino-owned vineyards in California. All for a good cause! All proceeds from the festivals will benefit AltaMed’s initiatives and services that create access to health and dental care, senior and HIV services, teen mentoring programs, and more to underserved families in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

LA Live
800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
http://www.altamedfoodwinela.org/

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Dinner – Hopdoddy Burger Bar – Playa Vista, CA. – July 20, 2017

Playa Vista also known, as Silicon Beach is just so surprising, there are so many new restaurants cropping up, it’s just a real delight. Imagine if you live there and you can walk to a market and or a bar restaurant as well as movie theater, in Los Angeles that is a real concept.

The name Hopdoddy’s meaning was a real mystery for me. Hop represents beer; doddy is the nickname for a Scottish cow. Everyone asks that same question.

There are so many strollers and first time families in the area, you see everyone lining up for these terrific burgers. My host John Mitchell is from Houston and explained to me the demographic of Silicon Beach. For all of its new tenants it is just a wonderful way to live and work. The housing is pretty expensive though, but the whole area is brand new. Hopdoody is probably the oldest restaurant having been there for 2 years. With many locations outside of California, including Arizona, Texas, Colorado, and Tennessee. Hopdoddy promised to be the newest, best burgers in town!

The special attention to detail in all of their menu items really makes for a fine experience. Each and every burger is unique with great ingredients you just can’t go wrong and there is something for everyone.

HopDoddy bakes their fresh breads daily and grounds their meats daily as well. They are supporting local purveyors, with no antibiotics or hormones, and all scratch-made sauces.

Here’s What I Tried:

Signature Sips:

Frozen Margarita with Gold Tequila, fresh citrus juices, house-made triple sec, black lava salt rim. A nice and sweet rendition of this classic, the black lava salt adds a great special touch.

Mighty Mule with refreshing sparkler with vodka, main root ginger brew, and fresh lime juice. Not my drug of choice, but if you’re a mule lover I am sure this will tickle your fancy.

Hey Neighbor, Bloody Mary with beet and tomatoes juices, spicy house blend an a black lava salt rim. I always welcome a good bloody Mary and this one is just superb with the added beet juice.

Salad:

Hail Caesar Salad with romaine hearts, baby romaine leaves, spicy-fried chickpeas, tomato, carrot, shaved Parmesan, potato hay, and Caesar dressing. A really amazing salad, the spicy-fried chickpeas make this a salad one to remember.

Baby Kale Salad with baby kale leaves, arugula, feta, watermelon, avocado, sunflower seeds, pickled red onions, pomegranate vinaigrette. I loved how sweet and crisp the watermelon is, it just goes so great with all of the other ingredients.

Craft Burgers:

Thunderbird, with chicken, apple wood smoked bacon, Tillamook pepper jack, pablanos, avocado, pico de gallo, and Chipotle mayo, and green leaf lettuce. The cheese and the bacon make for one delicious burger.

Ahi Tuna with, sushi grade tuna, sunflower sprouts, nori chips, teriyaki, honey wasabi mayo, pickled ginger, green leaf lettuce, white onions, and tomato. A very wonderful burger, I just loved the nori chips, if you love Asian seasonings then you will love this burger

Continental Club with turkey, apple smoked bacon, provolone, arugula mayo, basil pesto, white onion, tomato on whole wheat. Another one of my favorites, I especially loved the seeded bun.

Greek, with Lamb, feta cheese, arugula, pickled onions, tzatziki sauce, olive oil, tomatoes. You get a small sampling of Greek nuances, but it is a delicious combination.

Llano Poblano with Angus beef, apple smoked bacon, Tillamook pepper jack, seared pablanos, Chipotle mayo, green leaf lettuce, white onion, and tomatoes. A nice array of fixings, all working together perfectly.

The Classic with an egg, Angus beef, Green leaf lettuce, white onion, tomato, sassy sauce. John took the liberty of putting a sunny side up egg on top and wow what a great burger. The yoke oozes out all over the meat. It is a pretty simple combination, but really stellar, by far my favorite of the night.

Buffalo Bill with Bison, blue jack cheese, Franks hot sauce, sassy sauce, green leaf lettuce, white onion, and tomato. I really liked the idea, but for me the hot sauce drowned out the flavors.

Sides:

Parmesan Truffle Fries with truffle aioli. The truffle aioli makes all the difference in the world.

Kennebec Fries, so crisp and fresh, fries never tasted so good.

Green Chile Queso Fries, in Texas this is more like a soup then a dip, what ever it is it is delicious.

Shake:

Vanilla Bean, with a bit of cinnamon, order this luscious shake for dessert.

Wine:

J. Lohr Chardonnay, Paso Robles, a nice oak forward chardonnay, it went great with the Ahi Tuna burger.

Storypoint Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma. This wine has a lot of cherry and vanilla, a great pair with the classic burger or the Greek burger.

The interior has many bar type tall tables, which makes for a casual quick dining experience. There is an out door patio with picnic type tables. Hot orange is used for the accent colors of the bar stools. It’s part modern, part fast food, but all of it is fantastic.

There are so many boutique burger places that are hard to keep up. Hopdoddy is really set apart from all the rest. With its very creative take on the burger phenomenon it proves that the old stand by is a great meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even in between. What ever the time and occasion try Hopdoddy for you’re next burger craving. You will become a repeat customer, I guarantee it.

HopDoddy
12746 W Jefferson Blvd, Unit 1120,
Los Angeles, CA 90066
Hopdoddy.com

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Independence – Dinner – July 18, 2017 – Santa Monica, CA.

This is a super busy area in Santa Monica right down the street from the 3rd Street promenade. There are lots of diverse folks making their way to this area, as well as lots of homeless. Independence big east facing windows gives you all of the action outside. From the families walking by to the street artists you get really a huge view of the Santa Monica scene from inside this urban type restaurant.

I just love using rapid transit in Los Angeles, like the Metro Rail and here is yet another application of its use. For me driving down La Cienaga to the Metro Rail Station and hoping on the the Expo line towards Santa Monica on a warm summers night is just the ticket. The Metro rail travels overhead the whole way. Once you’re in Santa Monica all you do is walk 2 blocks and your there, so easy, and perfect for summer time excursion. However my friend said he would drive at the last minute but if I had it my way I would have taken the metro rail.

Here’s what I tried:

Campanula Sour Grapefruit vodka, red bell pepper, mint, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, served in a large coupe glass, it has just the right amount of sweet and sour, and the mint in your mouth is just perfect.

Lynda’s Margarita Tequila, fresh limejuice, agave, basil, cucumber (Available spicy). Named after owners Jonathan Chu’s wife Lynda, this is a perfect starting drink.

Coldwater Vodka, with cucumber, lemon and soda. A nice smooth refreshing cocktail, I like the fresh cucumber flavor.

Starters:

Market Oysters on Ice classic mignonette, house granita, perfectly fresh and delicious and the granita adds the icy texture that I just loved.

Steamed Mussels bacon, caramelized onion, tomato, olives, chili flake, and garlic bread, one of my favorite mussel dishes ever, it was not too spicy and had great tomato nuances.

Fried Garlic-Chili Jumbo Prawns chili aioli, lemon, they serve 3 huge prawns but the sauce was a bit too spicy for me.

Market Salads:

Truffled Poached Egg & Bacon frisée lettuce, truffle vinaigrette, brown butter croutons, green onion. Owner Jonathan suggested I try this salad, and boy was he right. It’s a very French rendition, but the egg yoke, the truffle and the bacon make for one delicious explosion in your mouth.

Entrée’s:

Sautéed Salmon English pea & couscous salad, roasted onions, pickled carrot, and English pea puree. This is a nice interpretation of a staple for most restaurants; I loved the peas in this dish.

Organic Half Roasted Chicken Tuscan kale, pickled red beets, caper-dijon jus. Not some thing I would ever order because of the beets, but they really kept the beet flavor separate, so I would give this dish a good review.

Grilled 8oz. Hanger Steak celery root mashed potato, melted leeks, caper salsa, and port glaze. The steak is cooked rare and the celery root was terrific, but they just did not put enough of the celery root on the plate.

Sides:

Roasted Cauliflower spiced Greek yogurt, green onion, and gold raisins. Cauliflower side dishes are all the rage, and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Braised Greens & Soft Polenta toasted garlic, chile de arbol, and grated grana padano. I love this highly seasoned vegetable as a side.

California Jumbo Asparagus roasted balsamic cremini mushrooms, truffle duxelle aioli, and black garlic. This side dish was very salty, but if you like asparagus then by all means try it.

Parmesan Truffle Fries Parmesan, white truffle, these were amazing!

Dessert:

Banana – Hazelnut Bread Pudding with nutella ganache and Mc Connell’s caramel ice cream, a nice warm desert, and the ice cream was the best part.

Wines:

Chardonnay, Chalk Hill Sonoma, you can drink this wine with the oysters, the salmon and the prawns; it just hit all the right notes.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Broadside Margarita. I would drink this wine with the hanger steak; it is bold and brilliant and works great with the richness of the meat.

The interior is very industrial, there are some communal bar type tables in one area and sit down dining room in another. A large city scape mural by well-known local artist John Park adorns one wall. http://www.johnparkart.com/murals.html. The bar scene is very bustling, and then there are those big glass windows, letting the outside in.

The Independence has been in business for 2 years, before that the same owner Jonathan Chu had his great restaurant Buddha’s Belly, as well as on Beverly Blvd. in the Fairfax district.

Dinner, – 6pm – close, Tues – Sun, Lunch -11:45 am – 3 pm, Tues – Friday, Brunch – 11 am – 3 pm, Sat & Sun, Happy Hour 3 pm – 6 pm, Tues – Friday.

The Independence
205 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310-458-2500
http://www.independencetavern.com/

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Trejo’s Cantina – Dinner – Hollywood July 16th 2017 – and Trejo’s Coffee and Donut’s.

Danny Trejo is an American actor who has appeared in numerous Hollywood films, often as villain and antihero. His films include Heat, Con Air, and Desperado. With his illustrious film career, he decided to step out of his comfort zone and started his fleet of restaurants. I don’t think that Danny thought these taco restaurants would take off as fast as they have, a true success story. But after you taste his fantastic food you will understand why it has become one of Los Angeles hottest new restaurants.

All their branding is a black and white mugshot of Danny smirking. From the logo, t-shirts, coffee mugs, hot sauces, to their to-go branding with each sticker calling out what it is that you’re eating. You almost feel like Danny is in the room watching everything you’re eating and bringing his bad boy image to your complete experience.

Cocktails:

There is no hard alcohol used in these drinks, instead only wine.

House Margarita, with agave wine, triple sec, lime, spicy salt rim. This is a very thirst quenching cocktail; with no reason for tequila, you really don’t miss it.

Watermelon, frozen, agave wine, triple sec, fresh watermelon, lime, sugar rim. On a warm summer day, this is the perfect cocktail for imbibing.

Appetizers:

Trejo’s Mexican Wings made with Trejo’s Hot Sauce served with blue cheese dipping sauce. Located right next-door, is the restaurant “Big Wangs”. This spells out big competition, but Trejo’s Cantina passed the test, their wings are wonderful.

Guacamole with avocado, onion, serranos, lime, pistachios served with tortilla chips, vegan. There are big chunks of avocado and the sliced Serrano’s coupled with the pistachios, make for one unique guacamole.

Cheesy Bean Dip with beans, pickled jalapeño, and cheese served with tortilla chips. This is a very smooth dip with lots of yummy bean flavor.

Chips & Salsa, with fire-roasted tomato and chipotle salsa; served with tortilla chips. This is a very special salsa with its unique fire roasted nuances.

Street Corn, with corn, spices, chipotle cream, and popcorn. I just loved this dish, truly wonderful.

Salad:

Mexican Chopped Salad with kale romaine mix, corn, beans, cherry tomatoes, tortilla strips, cotija cheese, and citrus vinaigrette. A very direct salad, as well as a good healthy menu option.

Tacos:

Mexican White Shrimp Taco with cherry tomato, slaw, beans, Fresno chili, and cilantro. The shrimp are butterflied with a nice light marinade, a delicious taco.

Blackened Salmon Taco with corn, cherry tomato, slaw, orange cream, and cilantro. I just loved the way they blackened this wonderful salmon, this taco is a keeper.

Carnitas with Grilled Pineapple Taco with slow roasted pork, red onion, cilantro, charred pineapple, and fermented red chili sauce. Sweet and spicy, just the way this amazing taco should be done.

Rainbow Cauliflower Taco, corn, cashew cream, pickled onion, and cilantro, vegan. The vegan options at Trejo’s are terrific, and this taco doesn’t disappoint.

Young Jackfruit Taco with, tomatillo slaw, guacamole, pico de gallo, and tortilla strips, vegan. You could mistake this Jackfruit for shredded pork, it’s meaty and delicious, a vegan’s trip to paradise.

Burrito:

Fried Chicken Burrito with beans, cheese, Spanish rice, chipotle crema slaw, and pico de gallo. A huge burrito and one of the best ever, especially with its lovely chunks of fried chicken.

Enchiladas:

Cheese Enchiladas with corn tortilla, 3 cheeses blend, and hatch chili sauce served with rice and beans. This is very nicely done, but the best part for me is the Mexican rice, with its chicken flavor and pieces of corn.

Bowls:

Steak Asada Bowl with Spanish rice, pico de gallo, beans, lettuce, corn, pesto, and cilantro. A very hearty bowl, with lots of meat and big bold flavors.

Sides:

Escabeche with pickled carrots, onions, and jalapeños. Just so you will get all of your veggies you need to order this as well.

Desserts:

House Made Churros, served with the following sauces – cajeta, strawberry, and Mexican chocolate. Crispy and delightful, really a great way to end my evening.

Beer on Tap:

Sans Pagaie, the bruery Placentia, CA. Sour Ale aged in oak with cherries.
Train Spotting, Chapman Brewery, Orange County, CA. American Porter.
Luponic Distortion, Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA. IPA.
Cali Creamin, Mother Earth Brewing Co., Vista, CA. Cream ale on nitro.

Their selection of beers are outstanding, so many lovely choices to choose from, an absolute must for the beer aficionados.

Wines on Tap:

2014 – Parts and Labor, Hobo Wine, Mendocino, CA. Red Rhone Blend.
2015 – Wonderwall, field recordings, Paso Robles, CA. Pinot Noir.
2013 – Neverland, Field Recordings, Santa Barbara, Cabinet Sauvignon.
2014 – Sauvignon Blanc, Tangent Wines San Luis Obispo.
2015 – Chardonnay, field recordings, Central Coast.

All the wines are on tap, and the manager David, told me the reasons why they love it. For one, the cork can sometimes kill the wine and it helps them with storage problems. They have a nice assortment and each one was just perfect with the different types of meats and vegan options.

Since opening their 4 locations, which include three in Hollywood (La Brea, Santa Monica Blvd and Cahuenga Blvd), and one other in Pasadena, they all have really become huge hits. Even the doughnut store has lines around the block. I just had to go and try some donuts as well, and I am here to say that Danny has also managed to make these little wonders something to write about. There are so many flavors each and every one is delicious, my favorite is the Maple Pig, with big maple icing and bacon, OMG!!!Some are a bit more creative then others but all in all, they are very good. When Danny was asked why donuts,he said, “I love donuts and like the police”.

Danny Trejo is the man who always plays the bad guy, but his restaurant endeavors have created a different persona, one of a good guy. He has turned in his machete for a spatula. Even the Trejo’s Truck, which hit the road for the first time to stunning reviews in August 2016, was an instant hit as a tailgate attraction at the LA Rams’ first home game last month.

Trejo’s Cantina in the heart of historic Hollywood, with Trejo and partners Ash Shah and Jeff Georgino, it promises to be a new addition in this very up-and-coming neighborhood. “It’s an unbelievable thrill to be opening Trejo’s Cantina in Hollywood,” said Trejo. “I mean, come on, it’s Hollywood, where even the bad guys look good. I am truly blessed.”

Trejo’s Hollywood Cantina seats 100 people, with 34 beers on tap, and widescreen TV’s for sports events. Their menu features all the signature Trejo’s tacos with some new vegan options as well. They don’t have sour cream, instead they have cashew cream which is a vegan’s delight. Trejo’s Cantina features many original art works including the one-of-a kind animal head light sculptures from South African artist Michael Methven and original murals from local Los Angeles artist Jose Ramirez.

Even though I never met Danny Trejo, his staff says that he is the sweetest guy on earth, and every time they see him they love him even more. He makes surprise visits to all of his 4 locations and stops by and talks to every customer in his establishment. People take photos and just love all of the attention.

What more can I say but to hightail it to the nearest Trejo’s Taco and Donut locations.

Trejo’s Cantina
1556 N. Cahuenga Blvd.
Hollywood, CA.
https://www.trejostacos.com/

Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts
6785 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90038
http://www.trejosdonuts.com/
* Note some content was taken

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The Flats – Dinner – July 16, 2017 – Beverly Hills, CA.

There have been many incarnations of eating establishments at this location, but The Flats is one of those very creative restaurants that will stand the test of time and make you come back for more.

I met one of the owners Lisa Long last November when a fellow publicist asked me to go in and do a smaller taste of the food, at that time they were still looking for investors, but I could tell back then that they really had something. On the evening of my most recent tasting it got so crowded that you could just feel the electricity the air, and that everyone was about to embark on something new and different. All of the diners were having a marvelous time and the place was just buzzing.

The interior is very simple and modern, with Edison boxed hanging light fixtures, and exciting mural art, one by renowned street artist Pulse. There is lots of natural wood, with industrial metal chairs. A great mural of the 4th street Bridge hangs on one wall, the bridge was in downtown Los Angeles and no longer exits. The overall feel will enhance your very exciting dining experience.

The concept is to make Flatbreads the new pizza, but who would ever want pizza again after tasting the crispy delicious flat square crust. With so many innovative flat breads to choose from you have a plethora of new tastes, and that is what farm meets urban is all about.

Here’s What I tried:

Cocktails:

Martini, a traditional Martini in a coupe glass.

Abres Los Ojos, with tequila, orgeat, orange bitters, groundworks cold brew coffee, and chocolate covered espresso beans. Not for the faint of heart, this is a very robust cocktail, full of eye opening coffee flavor, I am on the fence about ordering it again.

Good Bye, Norma Jean, with rose, strawberry, vodka, lemon, pineapple, in a rosé slushee. This cocktail is so delightful, they make it for 2, and served it in a cooper pineapple, a liquid feast for your eyes.

A Walk Down Sutton Street, with elyx vodka, gin, lillet Blanc, dehydrated lemon, toasted thyme. This is a very medicinal cocktail; I would want to drink if I have a cold, because it will clear out your sinuses in a minute.

Saint Brewers Punch, with Bacardi 8 Rum, champagne, Peychaud’s bitters, cucumber, mint, pineapple and crushed ice. With some cocktails you just know if this is your kind of cocktail and Saint Brewers Punch is mine. You feel like you are on a sandy beach under an umbrella with the ocean lapping at your feet. This drink will take you to another place.

Their beverage director Pete is really something, sweet, personable and knowledgeable, he will tell you all you ever want to know about the inspiration of each notable drink.

Charcuterie:

Pho-Cured Bresaola, Candied & Torched Finocciona, Sauerkraut -Cured Ham. All of their meats are curred in house, served with baguettes and donuts chips, and their accompaniments are otherworldly, especially the mustard ice cream, these meats should be eaten every day and celebrated!

Small Plates:

Caramelized Baguette, with emulsified marrow, cola salt. There is something about this bread that you just can’t put your finger on, its sweet but savory and just so delightful.

Octopus, squid ink-braised, chimichurri, green grape, apple, and lemon basil. The presentation is astounding, it’s a big white plate with the squid ink splattered all over the plate but done in a very artsy way. One you get past the art piece you will love the delicious succulent octopus.

Warm Baby Carrots, with caramelized onion, apple cheese, verbena, mint, and macadamia. Its really a carrot sculpture, but with a very delicious mixture of carrots and seasonings.

Korean Fried Duck Leg, with kimchi buttermilk dressing, shiso, currants, tapioca “cracklins”. It is a salad, but the best salad I have probably ever eaten, one of my favorite dishes tonight.

Old School Flats:

Meatball, with marinara, burrata, pickled red onion, and marigold. I just loved the overall flavor especially the way the pickled red onion gives this flat bread a whole new experience.

New School Flats:

Boardwalk with ricotta, shrimp, octopus, Parmesean, boardwalk mayo, chips. You have got to love the tasty shrimp and octopus on this fantastic rendition of a pizza.

Southern-Fried Chicken, with pink lemonade mozzarella, watermelon powder, house Tabasco. A big chunk of fried chicken is the highlight of this perfect flatbread.

Sweets:

Buttermilk Doughnuts, with tres leches, rose, and toasted peanut. They give you 2 donuts both perfectly cooked, with the perfect accompaniments.

“Tiramusu”, with steamed vanilla and coffee sponge, cocoa dust, whipped espresso, mascarpone ice cream. It is deconstructed; the ice cream is the best part.

Wines:

Brander, Sauvignon Gris, 2015, this is the wine to drink with the octopus, with all of its fruit forward characteristics.

Bianchi, Chardonnay, 2015, I just loved this with the Boardwalk flatbread, a nice touch with the seafood in this flatbread.

Bianchi, California sparkling, of course this went great with both desserts.

Consentino, Cab Franc, 2014, a well rounded wine, I would try this with the meatball flat bread.

Bianchi, Syranot, 2012, any of the cured meats would be a taste treat for you with this gorgeous wine.

Chef Kyle Schutte is the same Chef from Wood and Vine, I had the extreme pleasure of trying his very innovative cuisine there as well.

About Chef Kyle Schutte:

At the age of 26, Kyle accepted the Executive Chef position at a new restaurant in recognition and notoriety in the city’s up-and-coming food scene. In July of 2010 Kyle brought his controversial cuisine to the sleepy beach town of, at Vū restaurant. At this forward-thinking small plates restaurant Kyle was named one of the city’s top young chefs to watch in 2011 (Angeleno Magazine), was honored with one of LA’s top five pork dishes (Grubstreet) and Vū was named one of LA’s top 10 hotel restaurants (Huffington Post). In the summer of 2012, Kyle took his talents to Hollywood with the unique challenge of breathing modern life into what was a tired 1960’s diner. There, his innovative take on the classic American diner landed 54Twenty on The Run Down LA’s best new restaurant list for 2012 as well as one of Hollywood’s best restaurants by Discover Hollywood. Kyle was recruited in 2014 by Levity Entertainment Group & Advantage Restaurant Partners to not only right the ship, but also continue his tradition of bringing modern sophistication to unexpected concepts at Roadhouse LA. Located at the historic Hollywood Improv, Kyle and his culinary team bypassed the question “What should BBQ be?” and instead explored “What can BBQ be?” With his Mordernist Global BBQ, Chef Kyle brought the world’s oldest culinary tradition into the 21st century with cutting edge techniques, locally sourced ingredients, global flavors and artistic plating. Over the course of Chef Kyle Schutte’s career, he has gained a reputation for refined, contemporary, locally driven, innovative food that leads the way in culinary trends and plays with diner’s expectations. Kyle’s unique culinary point of view that great food should be fun yet sophisticated, innovative yet familiar and humane yet accessible has allowed his out of the box flavor combinations and artistic plating style to be far more approachable than many of his contemporaries.

In May 2015 Wood & Vine in Hollywood appointed Kyle to the position of Culinary Director where he curates the menu and oversees all kitchen operations. Now under his direction, The Flats: is a modern dining experience, focusing on artisanal flat bread pizzas accompanied by shareable starters, untraditional house-cured meats and a world-class cocktail program. The Flats brings local as well as exotic ingredients, out-of-the- box flavor combinations and artistic plating via an unapologetically accessible culinary medium sure to make it a destination for the pickiest foodies and casual diners alike.

The Flats cuisine is innovative, fun, sophisticated, exciting, and inspired. Don’t wait until you’re in the area, make it a special night to go on a culinary adventure and taste all of the bounty that The Flats has to offer.

The Flats
8400 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
theflatsrestaurant.com
* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Saturday, July 8th – Concern Foundation Block Party – Paramount Studios Back Lot – Hollywood, CA.

Concern Foundation hosted their 43rd Annual Block Party. This year the theme was “Kingdom of Concern: An Evening of Feasting, Revelry and Dance. The food and entertainment event had 4,000 guests with a goal to exceed last year’s $2 million raised to fund research in attendance and focused on immunology based methods to treat cancer.

It was a hot and balmy afternoon into evening in Los Angeles, but just perfect once the sun went down. A night under the stars, there was plenty of things to keep you occupied. Food, libation, entertainment and plenty of Renaissance costumed revelry, just enough fantasticness to make for a very memorable evening.

About the Charity:

CONCERN is an appropriate acronym (CONquer canCER Now) for one of Los Angeles’s best-known and most beloved charities. Since its inception in 1968, CONCERN Foundation, which is dedicated to raising and granting funds to support cancer research worldwide, has broken local ground in many ways: pioneering support of cancer research (specifically in funding young scientists); using the force of celebrity to raise funds; encouraging restaurants and then caterers to share center stage with celebrities to raise money; and pioneering the “block party” fundraiser concept, using the cachet of glamorous Rodeo Drive as a setting. This non-profit organization’s fundraising milestones also chronicle a rich era in the entertainment-oriented social history of Los Angeles.

In the organization’s first two years, the original 15 couples raised $18,000 among just their friends. By 1973, CONCERN Foundation had involved A-list celebrities in its fundraising events. Jack Benny hosted An Evening at the Music Center with Andy Williams, Sonny & Cher and Liza Minnelli. The next year Frank Sinatra joined Williams, Arte Johnson and Jack Lemmon to entertain 900 guests at the first unofficial block party held in the gardens of the Al Hart estate in Bel Air, with lunch served by Chasen’s, the landmark restaurant and L.A. institution that became the event’s food purveyor.

In 1975 the event was moved to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills on the Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend to accommodate the clamor for tickets. That first year the entertainers were Liza Minnelli, Shecky Green, Lily Tomlin, and Roger Miller and a “real” block party had begun. In 1977, the Concern Foundation added a premiere screening (New York New York, at the Wilshire Theater) to the entertainment faire. Thanks to Pierre Cossette, a longtime friend and sponsor of CONCERN, the roster of Block Party performers and auctioneers through the years reads like a Who’s Who of entertainment: Anthony Newley, Steve Allen, Harry James (he played in front of The Daisy, the legendary discotheque), the Lennon Sisters, Connie Stevens, Rich Little, Dick Shawn, Norm Cosby, Minnie Riperton, Glen Campbell, the Manhattan Transfer, radio talk-show host Michael Jackson (as celebrity auctioneer), John Raitt, Les Brown and his Band of Renown, Henry Mancini, Eric Estrada, Leiber & Stoller, Hal Linden, Natalie Cole, Monty Hall and more.

In 1979, other restaurants and caterers began to garner fame from the event. Milton Williams, then L.A. caterer to-the-stars, persuaded Moveable Feast, Josephine, Mr. Chow, Rócoco and The Saloon to join the festivities. Caterers and restaurants that subsequently joined included Randy Fuhrman’s Creative Catering, Parties Plus, Miss Grace Lemon Cake Co, Kate Mantilini, Scott McKay of Chasen’s Chili, Chin Chin, Michael’s, 72 Market Street, West Beach Café, Scandia, Max au Triangle (Joachim Splichal’s first local restaurant) and Trumps. Many of the original Rodeo Dr. participants remain as signature restaurants at the block party including The Grill on the Alley, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs and Factor’s Famous Delicatessen.

In 1996, the Block Party moved to Paramount Studios when even the full length of Rodeo Drive could not accommodate the crowd (plus, event expenses could be lowered, something of critical importance to CONCERN). The event was also changed to an evening event and was now being held on the second Saturday of July. After 9/11, when private events were barred from movie studios, the event moved to the Petersen Automotive Museum for three years until the studio opened again for outside events.

On Saturday July 8, 2017, Concern Foundation for cancer research produce and present the 43rd Annual Block Party, Kingdom of Concern an evening of feasting, revelry and dance on the back lot of Paramount Pictures Studios in Hollywood. The event will be led by event chair Lexy Carroll and a team of volunteers and designed once again by John Ferdenzi of Town and Country Event Rentals. The event is expected to the attended by 4,000 guests with a goal to exceed last year’s $2 million dollars raised for cancer research.

The back lot streets were filled with over 75 food and beverage vendors under the direction of Nancy Eisenstadt, Megan Mulcahy and Whitney Carroll including notable classics such as Vibrato Grill Jazz, Ocean Prime, The Grill on the Alley, Fogo de Chao, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Urban Oven, The Palm and Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs just to name a few. Entertainment will include performances on multiple stages by the Tom Nolan Band, D’ City Sound featuring DJ Dwayne. The evening Master of Ceremonies will be KNX1070 News radio’s Frank Mottek. A/V Masters donated all of the audio and visual components that truly enhance the event and the entire presentation throughout the evening.

The highlight of the evening was the silent and live auction under the direction of this year’s auction chairs Lynne Fox, Wendi Nogradi, Courtney Teller & Madeline Rose. Live and silent auction items and packages include one-of-a-kind opportunities, concert and event tickets, restaurants, staycations, golf packages and so many other wonderful items donated by our friends throughout the community. Last year the silent and live auctions raised over $97,000!

Concern presented the Spirit of Concern Humanitarians Awards to Kelly Stone Singer & Bruce Singer and Eden Alpert. The night featured dancing, interactive entertainment and activities including casino-style games, Brian Kramer Digital photography studio, Island Ink airbrush tattoos and salon and spa services. For the 13th year Concern will help celebrate The Best of LA 2017® on Los Angeles magazine’s street which will feature lounges, photo booths, food stations, DJ dancing, Peerless Coffee and California wineries.

Starting from a simple idea back in the early 70’s and watching it become a reality with thousands of moving parts is the one thing that sets Concern’s signature Block Party apart from most other organizations in this city. It takes a tremendous team comprised of three generations of volunteers all working together each year and this year’s Block Party is on course to be one of our most successful fundraising events yet.

The Block Party is the organization’s largest fundraiser and this year’s theme is “Kingdom of Concern; An Evening of Feasting, Revelry and Dance.” The food and entertainment focused event is expected to attract 4,000 guests with a goal to exceed last year’s $2 million raised to fund research focused on immunology based methods to treat cancer.

Each year, the Block Party honors individuals who are making significant impacts in our community. This year’s Spirit of Concern Humanitarians Award recipients are KELLY STONE, BRUCE SINGER and EDEN ALPERT.

Kelly Stone was born in Pennsylvania but moved to LA in the early 80’s to continue her work as a nurse. Six years later she ends up having 5 trauma surgeries and was in and out of wheel chairs for 4 years. After her downfall, she realized the most important thing to have in life is hope. She started getting involved in the homeless community and later in 1993 with the help of her sister and Sharon Stone; they founded a nonprofit organization called Plant Hope. Planet Hope provides job fairs, housing, summer camps for homeless, disabled and abused families.

Bruce Singer was born in Bronx New York and attended Long Island University and Harvard University for International Law and Foreign Service. After getting his law degree from Whitter College of Law he served as a law clerk for Criminal/Superior Courts in LA. He had many successful businesses but he really got not helping the less fortunate when he met Kelly. Together they have accomplished bigger projects to benefit the sick and homeless.

Eden Alpert has been a part of the Concern foundation since the beginning. Her and her daughter have actively participated in many fundraising events for the cause. She believes that being involved in this cause will make a big difference in the community.

“Concern Foundation is proud to honor these exceptional people for their passion, commitment to philanthropy and involvement in the community,” says Derek Alpert, president of Concern Foundation. “They truly exemplify what Concern Foundation represents to the cancer community, locally and around the world. We recognize the most inspiring people in our community at our Block Party and we provide funding to only the best cancer research scientists that are making a difference in conquering cancer.”

Here are all of the vendors:

Feasting, Libations and Grogs:

Feastings:

1212 Santa Monica, Akasha, AR Cucina, Bar Hayama, Button Mash, Café del Rey, California Sushi Academy, Casablanca Restaurant & Catering Service, Clausen Oysters, LLC of Coos Bay, OR Cornucopia Caterers presents Chef Dennis, Timashpolsky, El Floridita Cuban Supper Club, Factor’s Famous Deli, Farm Fresh To You, Fogo de Chao, Giacomino Drago Group of Restaurants, Hoola Nutrition, Kabuki Japanese Restaurant, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Maria’s Italian Kitchen, Miracle Noodle, Morton’s Beverly Hills, Ocean Prime Beverly Hills, Prufrock Pizzeria, Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, Savore Cuisine, Someone’s in the Kitchen, Souk Shawarma, STK Los Angeles, Stonefire Grill, Tavern, The Flats, The Grill on the Alley, The Hideout, The Independence, The Urban Oven, Trejo’s Tacos, Upper Crust Pizzeria, and Vibrato Grill & Jazz.

Libations and Grogs:

Adam Carolla’s Mangria, Asahi Beer U.S.A., buzzbox premium cocktails, Coca Cola Products, Copa d’Oro, Diablo Pops, Don Q, Duvel, Fireman’s Brew, J. Malcolm Riddle, ‘Your Personal Wine Consultant’, Mama’s Boy Infusions, Pasquini Espresso Co., Peerles Coffee & Tea, Reed’s Ginger Brews, Suja, The Love Song Bar, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Viticoltori Ca’ Di Frara Oltrepo Pavese, and Weaver’s Coffee & Tea.

Sweets and Treats:

Audrey’s Cookies, Bertha Mae’s Brownie Co., BUZZBAR Alcohol Infused Frozen Treats for Adults, Choctál Single-Origin Ice Cream, Dandy Don’s Home Made Ice Cream, DeLuscious Cookies & Milk, Gluten Free Goddess, Just Jan’s, La Provence Patisserie & Cafe, Mychal’s Howl at the Moon Café, Rita’s Italian Ice of Santa Clarita Valley, SuperCool Creamery, and The Fry Girl.

Spa Services Coordinated by Karyn Laitis.

I just love this great party; Concern and company pulls out all of the stops. There is so much delicious food and drinks, and it’s truly a night of merriment. I just can’t wait until next year!!

2017 Annual Concern Block Party
Paramount Studios Back Lot
5555 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038
https://www.concernfoundation.org/block-party.htm

  • Note – Some content was taken off of their website.

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BibiBop – Lunch – July 8, 2017

Now here a great concept, delicious flavorful Korean type food done in a Chipotle concept. The location is right next door to Chipotle where ShopHouse opened for a minute, but don’t let that stop you, these are not the same owners, or for that matter the same food. No this is fantastic Asian inspired, health minded fare. Its counter building food where you pick your ingredients and make your own bowl.

The thing’s that Shophouse lacked Bibibop has capitalized on in a really big way, but once again different owners similar model. I always felt that ShopHouse was just missing something with not serving up the right flavors and really bad sauces. Some of the sauces at Bibibop are Japanese, some are Korean, but all are exactly what the doctor ordered.

A healthy meal inspired by the popular Korean dish “Bibimbop”, literally means mixed rice.

Here’s what I had:

You can choose from:

White rice, purple rice, noodles, or salad.

Hot toppings:

Potatoes, bean sprouts, and beans.

Protein:

Marinated Chicken, Spicy, Chicken, Steak, and Organic tofu.

Cold Toppings:

Lettuce, corn, sesame kale, daikon, cucumber, carrot, red cabbage, cheese, and eggs.

Sauces:

Yum, yum, Teriyaki, Korean red, cucumber wasabi, sesame, and ginger.

So the plan is that Bibibop Asian Grill will take over the leases of 15 closed ShopHouse Asian Kitchen locations, the conversions started in early April and have all 15 locations by early summer. The locations are in Washington D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles, there are a few more Los Angeles locations opening very shortly. They were already very established in Ohio with many locations. Soon 3 more locations in the greater Los Angeles area will open: Hollywood, Brentwood, and Santa Monica.

All of the food is just super fresh and wonderful, I am very excited about this very unique concept and know that Bibibop will become part of the foodies staple here in Los Angeles.

Bibibop
8424 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA. 90048

http://bibibop.com

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