Hello, Dolly! – The Pantages Theater – Jan. 30, 2019 – Hollywood, CA.

To be part of the whole spectacle, live and in person, makes me just gush with delight. In all of its original glory, Hello, Dolly! is a masterpiece of Broadway history. Seeing Betty Buckley on stage was a gift like no other. Her wisdom, and deep smoky voice led the audience down a divine path. This is a role that is made for her; she coveted every moment of Dolly Levi, commanding the theater.

Growing up in Los Angeles during the 70’s I had a drama teacher, Mrs. Meyers, who was a huge fan of the original play The Matchmaker. Part of our acting classes in high school required studying the play, and then working on many of the scenes. So for me, Hello, Dolly! was ingrained in my psyche from a very young age. As you may know, The Matchmaker was adapted into what we now know as Hello, Dolly! in the 1960’s, during Broadway’s heyday.

Producer Scott Rudin and Tony Award®-winning Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars in Hello, Dolly! – the universally acclaimed smash that NPR calls “the best show of the year!” and the Los Angeles Times says “distills the mood-elevating properties of the American musical at its giddy best.” Winner of four Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, director Jerry Zaks’ “gorgeous” new production (Vogue) is “making people crazy happy!” (The Washington Post). Breaking box office records week after week and receiving unanimous raves on Broadway, this Hello, Dolly! pays tribute to the original work of legendary director/choreographer Gower Champion – hailed both then and now as one of the greatest staging’s in musical theater history. Rolling Stone calls it “a must-see event. A musical comedy dream.”

In 1890s New York City, the bold and enchanting widow Dolly Levi, is a socialite-turned-matchmaker. Her latest client seeking assistance is the cantankerous “half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder, and a young artist named Ambrose, who is in love with Horace’s niece, Ermengarde. Dolly’s scheming soon involves Horace’s employees as well as a New York hat maker, as she tries to cover up her own secret romantic designs.

Led by four-time Tony Award®-winning director Jerry Zaks, and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Warren Carlyle, the entire creative team of the Broadway production reprises their roles for the national tour of Hello, Dolly!, including four-time Tony Award® winner Santo Loquasto (Scenic & Costume Design), six-time Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), Tony Award® winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Andy Einhorn (Music Supervision), Robert Billig (Music Direction), Tony Award® winner Larry Hochman (Orchestrations), Tony Award® winner Don Pippin (Vocal Arrangements), David Chase (Dance Arrangements), and Telsey + Company (Casting). Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman, Book by Michael Stewart, and based on the play The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder.

Betty Buckley (Dolly Gallagher Levi) called “The Voice of Broadway” by New York Magazine, is a legendary Tony Award® Winning performer; he is also a 2012 Theatre Hall of Fame inductee, and a 2017 recipient of the Julie Harris Award for Artistic Achievement given by The Actors Fund. Broadway: Triumph of Love (Tony Award® nomination), Sunset Boulevard, Carrie (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination), Song and Dance, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Cats (Tony Award®), Pippin, 1776. London: Dear World, Sunset Boulevard (Olivier Award nomination), Promises, Promises (Evening Standard Award nomination). Television: “Preacher,” “Supergirl,” “Getting On,” “The Leftovers,” “Chicago Med,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Pacific,” “OZ,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Without a Trace,” “Eight Is Enough.” Recordings: 18 solo albums (two Grammy Award nominations), most recently Hope released on Palmetto Records in June 2018. Betty is a teacher of scene study, and song interpretation for over 45 years. Two Honorary Doctorates for her contribution to musical theater from The Boston Conservatory and Marymount Manhattan College.

Producers – Joey Parnes, Sue Wagner, John Johnson. Director – Jerry Zaks, Choreographer – Warren Carlyle, Music Supervisor – Andy Einhorn, Music Director – Robert Billig, Scenic And Costume Design –  Santo Loquasto, Lighting Design – Natasha Katz, Sound Design – Scott Lehrer, Hair & Make Up Design – Campbell Young Associates, Dance Arrangements – David Chase, Music Coordinator – Seymour Red Press, Vocal Arrangements – Don Pippin. Music Coordinator — Seymour Red Press.


Dolly Gallagher Levi – Betty Buckley, Horace Vandergelder – Lewis J. Stadlen, Cornelius Hackl – Nic Rouleau, Irene Molloy – Analisa Leaming, Barnaby Tucker – Jess LeProtto, Minnie Fay – Kristen Hahn, Ambrose Kemper – Garett Hawe, Ermengarde -Morgan Kirner, and Ernestina – Jessica Sheridan.

Ensemble featured Maddy Apple, Daniel Beeman, Brittany Bohn, Giovanni Bonaventura, Elizabeth Broadhurst, Whitney Cooper, Julian DeGuzman, Wally Dunn, Alexandra Frohlinger, Dan Horn, Corey Hummerston, Madison Johnson, Nathan Keen, Beth Kirkpatrick, Ben Lanham, Ian Liberto, Kyle Samuel, Scott Shedenhelm, Timothy Shew, Maria Cristina Slye, Cassie Austin Taylor, Davis Wayne, Brandon L. Whitmore, and Connor Wince.

Musical Numbers:

Act One:
“I Put My Hand In,” “It Takes a Woman,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” “Ribbons Down My Back,” “Motherhood,” “Dancing,” “Before The Parade Passes By”

Act Two:
“Penny in My Pocket,” “Elegance,” “The Waiters’ Gallop,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “The Contest,” “It Only Takes a Moment,” “So Long Dearie,” “Hello, Dolly! (Reprise)”

Celebrities In Premiere Attendance:

Fran Drescher, Carly Hughes, Denise Crosby, Malcolm Barrett, Jennifer Leigh Warren, Lynn Andrews, Keala Settle, Sofia Milos, Patty McCormack, Brooke Lewis,Courtney Reed, Masiela Lusha, Naomi Grossman, Lisa Loeb, Bernie Kopell, Eric Petersen, Richard Portnow, Rob Colletti, Aubrey Anderson Emmons,Thomas Lennon, Ruta Lee, Rachel Bay Jones, Lea Thompson, Reginald VelJohnson, Kitana Turnbull, Dianne Kay, Laurie Walter, Al Sapienza, Kiki Shepard, Patty McCormack, Mindy Sterling, Kym Herjavec, Molly McCook, Kate Linder, Mindy Sterling, Garrett Clayton, Adam Rich, Patrick KilPatrick, Karen Strassman, Jeffery Anderson Gunter, Micky Dolenz, Masiela Lusha, Robert Herjavec, John Krause, Raegan Revord, Katherine Steele, Gloria Garayua, Connie Needham, Armand Mastroianni, Issie Swickle, Aijia Grammer.

History – From The Thornton Wilder Society:

From the very start of his work on The Merchant of Yonkers in early 1937, Thornton Wilder wrote that he was indebted to other plays, specifically a comedy by Johann Nestroy, Einen Jux will er sich Machen (Vienna, 1842), which was in turn based upon an English original, A Day Well Spent (London, 1835) by John Oxenford. Oxenford’s comedy is a one-act light farce about clerks taking a surreptitious holiday. The Austrian Nestroy’s play expands Oxenford’s basic plot, adding music, songs and social commentary.

Wilder made major changes to his sources, especially the introduction of Dolly Gallagher Levi, the matchmaker. After initial frustrations with the Fourth Act, Wilder experienced a breakthrough in March 1938, writing to his mother and his sister, “All my plots – count ’em – and idea-themes all come to a head at the right moment, with Mrs. Levi ruling the Roost.” The Merchant of Yonkers opened on Broadway in December 1938, while Our Town was still playing, with mostly disastrous reviews, and closed after only 39 performances, although it continued to be staged in other settings.

Almost twenty years later, following encouragement and specific recommendations by the actress Ruth Gordon and by director Tyrone Guthrie, Wilder transformed the play into The Matchmaker. The major changes are the new title, which emphasizes the role of Dolly Levi, and the addition of lines, especially a grand soliloquy, given to Dolly. The Matchmaker debuted in Edinburgh, Scotland on November 4, 1954, and was already an international success when it opened on Broadway on December 5, 1955. In 1964 Hello, Dolly!, a musical adaptation of The Matchmaker starring Carol Channing in the title role, premiered on Broadway, and ran for seven years. A film starring Barbra Streisand was released in 1969.

From: http://www.twildersociety.org/works/the-matchmaker/

All in attendance celebrated this Broadway legacy and no one was disappointed. With the perfect sets and colorful costumes Hello Dolly! is a show not to be missed. You travel to a time of simplicity, but with its historical moments we remember the suffragettes of what women had to go through to be part of society and find their place. Nowadays, these kinds of topics would never be written. The way women are treated in our-day-and-age does not allow for being the bride for reasons other than love. Back in those days, a good wife kept the house, and was basically considered a maid. However, the message of women being in power back then did not go unnoticed by me, and I am sure all of today’s feminist audience members. This is an important side note and one that needs to be addressed. The innocence of the time when women were happy to help men take care of their families and households still can be seen in many traditional marriages and families. These values have morphed into other traditions, but all in all, the strength of women in today’s society is something that is very prevalent. The Me Too movement has made all of this come to the forefront and I am glad it did, but one can still appreciate a grand story of when women were treated as the queen of their castles.

The performance schedule for Hello, Dolly! is Tuesday through Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm, and Sunday at 1pm & 6:30pm. Opening Night is Wednesday, January 30th at 8pm.

The Pantages Thaeter
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, Los Angeles
www.HollywoodPantages.com or www.Ticketmaster.com

*Note: Some content was taken off of website.

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Jay’s Gourmet Pizza & Seafood – Lunch / Dinner – December 31, 2019 – Carlsbad, CA.

A sweet little corner restaurant nestled in the small adorable beach town of Carlsbad. From the moment you walk in you know you are in a family establishment. Here all of the staff is family, every one of them working here over the course of many years. Their stories will truly warn your heart, and it’s all part of the overall ambiance. My beautiful, charming hostess, Ashley Hayden, has been working at Jay’s for over 20 years. At age 21 she started as a hostess, she left for a bit but came back, and really loves her job.

They are all so close that Ashley’s best friend Courtney got her job at Jay’s through Ashley. Courtney ended up marrying owner Jay Meotamedi, and they have been married for 10 years now. Ashley’s other friend Shelly also met her husband at Jay’s, which happens to be Jay’s brother Johnny. A true family affair, but even the customers are made to feel like family when they are dining at Jay’s. Jay has had many other restaurants in adjacent cities, but recently closed all of them and puts all of his energy into his one special original restaurant.

Eddie Garcia is the prep chef, and he does all of the homemade fare: like their wonderful meatballs, soups, sauces, and all of their delicious salad dressings. He also makes their bread dough from scratch. Customers know when Eddie is not there, they can tell because things taste just a bit different.

Here is What I Tried:


Fresh Clams in a red or white wine garlic sauce. Oh my goodness, these calms are so huge, with plump tender flavors of garlic and better, a true keeper.

Soup & Salad:

Minestrone Soup: Home made tomato based soup with fresh vegetables, beans & pasta. I always know that the food is going to be great by the soup, and this minestrone soup doesn’t disappoint.

Clam Chowder: New England style with corn and bacon. A nice creamy rendition with added oregano for a real added Italian flavor.

Seafood Salad: Shrimp, salmon, calamari and scallops over house salad, with creamy Italian or vinaigrette dressing. The seafood is served warm, so it’s got its own unique flavors on top of what the dressing adds as an extra creamy zest. Hands down I would have to order this salad every time I would come to Jay’s. It has got everything you would want in a seafood salad.


BBQ Chicken Pizza, with chicken and red onion. This pizza has a very crispy crust, with lots of BBQ sauce and moist chicken – it’s a real winner.


Veal Marsala: Veal and mushrooms in a Marsala wine sauce, with side linguini in meat sauce. The veal is cooked very tender and the mushrooms are large and fruity, the Marsala sauce just took my breath away.


Cioppino: New Zealand mussels, clams, salmon, jumbo shrimp, halibut and crab in a savory marinara sauce with linguini. The mussels in this cioppino are huge and incredibly meaty, and the sauce is very delicate. All in all it’s a great Cioppino.

Fresh Jumbo Scallops with Sea Scallops sautéed in a white or red wine garlic sauce with spinach and fresh tomatoes over linguini. A very light garlic sauce enhances the simple taste of the scallops. If you’re a scallop lover like I am, order this dish – it’s amazing!


Meat Sauce, with home made meatballs or sausage. The meatball has such great consistency and flavor, very much comfort food.

Pasta Ala Pesto: Pesto, Romano cheese, sun dried tomato, and pine nuts over pasta. This is so different then what you would expect. It is a creamy pesto, and the sauce is not super green like a typical pesto sauce, but that doesn’t matter because it is terrific.


Crème Brulee: Nice little fresh raspberries make this one the best of the best list. It is remarkably creamy and delicious.

Triple Chocolate Cake: Layers of rich chocolate goodness make this an extremely decadent dessert that Jay’s offers. Try it, you will be very happy.

Normally I do many wines as pairings with my meal, but since this was a daytime tasting and I had to drive 2 hours directly after, I ordered a simple glass of Chardonnay. However, they do have a nice variety of wines to choose from.

The atmosphere is funky, clean and cozy, kind of like a home away from home. Surfboards adorn the walls, with a fun chalkboard describing their desserts. They have no refrigerators because everything is fresh every day. You can taste how fresh the food is with every glorious bite.

On any given day you will see celebrities – they come in to eat and get away from the craziness of Hollywood, but still do get noticed. John Cena has been seen eating a great seafood meal here.

Customers are locals, as well as tourist folks who come here from Arizona; they come to escape the heat. They also get many people from the close-by Carlsbad Hotel.

Ashley talked about how the neighborhood has changed, and that 6 new restaurants have recently opened. But, she says that her base customers go and try the new kids on the block, but always come back for Jay’s perfect seafood menu items.

I just loved this little Gem in the heart of Carlsbad. It has everything you would want from an Italian Seafood Restaurant, including heart, fantastic food, and charm. It will become one of my staples when I am visiting North County, San Diego.

Jay’s Gourmet Pizza & Seafood
2975 Carlsbad Blvd.
Carlsbad, CA 92008

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Veneto’s – Lunch/Dinner– December 30, 2018 – Oceanside CA.

Located in the historical part of Oceanside, on California US Route 101 (AKA Coast Highway) lays a true original. It boosts delicious authentic Italian food right in the heart of one of America’s most popular surf destinations, so close to the ocean you can see it from the street.

Even though the food here is stellar, the real treat is meeting restaurateur Pino Bottalico. Pino is no stranger to the culinary world having run popular restaurants for the last 30 years. He got his start from his father at the young age of 8 in the Southern region of Italy. Pino hails from Puglia, Italy; at 19 he made his way to Florida and landed a job at Alfredo’s in the Italian Pavilion of Disney’s Epcot in Orlando. After a brief stint back in Italy he came back and continued his culinary career in Encinitas by opening Pino’s, then worked at Tuscany in La Costa and Il Fornaio. Pino was featured in 2 magazines recently; Mainstreet Oceanside, and The Coast News. Veneto’s has been opened for 14 months.

Veneto’s specializes in classic dishes from many regions in Italy. The name Veneto or Venetia comes from the northeastern part of Italy where it is located, between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, Venice and Verona being among them.

Pino is in touch with the community and what Veneto’s old customers want to keep as their tradition. Pino is keeping Veneto’s fresh and exciting, has live music on the weekends and a wine tasting on Tuesday.

The interior is cozy and quaint with a lovely mural of a Venice canal neighborhood (having been there I recognized the area). They play a variety of great music: from Frank Sinatra, Opera, to Nat King Cole, they have it all covered. There was a nice bar scene during their lunch hours as well, tourists, military and locals alike, enjoying their food and friends.

Here’s What I Tried:


Thai Calamari: Lightly breaded squid, cooked to a crispy golden brown, tossed with a sweet chili sauce. These little darlings came with both a nice marinara sauce, and a delicious Thai sweet chili, both sauces were killer.

Funghi Alla Padella: Sautéed seasonal bottom mushrooms in Marsala wine sauce, plump mushroom with an amazing sauce, just the ideal way to start my wonderful meal.

Garlic Knots, Served w/ marinara sauce. These knots are just scrumptious with lots of great garlic flavor, a perfect accompaniment.


Insalata Di Spinaci: Baby spinach, goat cheese, olives, walnuts & crisp pancetta in warm pancetta Italian dressing. The dressing is tangy and the pancetta is hearty, just a nice spinach salad.


Seafood Linguini: Lots of perfect seafood tossed in a wonderful light red sauce, every bite cooked delicately, with nice tomato nuances.

Fettuccini Alfredo: Flat slender noodles sautéed in a rich cream sauce. Oh there is nothing better then a super creamy Fettuccini Alfredo, one of my most favorite pasta dishes.

Osso Bucco: Tender Veal Shank, braised vegetables in a tomato white wine sauce, served over creamy Parmesan risotto. This dish is just like a Jewish Grandmother’s stew but Italian. It is the same type of warm yummy comfort food, and the risotto is the perfect addition.

Stuffed Eggplant Florentine: Fresh marinated eggplant stuffed with ricotta cheese spinach and Italian herbs. Baked and topped with melted mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce served with penne ala vodka. Another super fantastic dish, with all of the right seasonings, cooked to perfection.


Homemade Tiramisu: Layers of ladyfingers cookies and sweet creamy coffee inspired whipped cream, served with a drizzle of syrup. A large healthy piece packed with all of the creamy coffee goodness you would expect, but just a touch more elegant.

Cannoli: Crunchy cannoli shell stuffed with a sweet, creamy, chocolate chip filling. This for me was the cat’s meow. The filling is what I really loved, yum!

I had a couple nice glasses of Chardonnay to taste, but because it was a daytime tasting I did not do my usual extended wine pairing. Their wine list is very good for single glasses. I had a glass of Josh, Craftsman’s Collection. They have a well-rounded list of wines to choose from.

When the word gets out about the great food at Veneto’s it will be a hard place to get into, so get there now! This place is a keeper; in this fun beachside community you can have perfectly authentic Italian cuisine that is fresh and affordable. Mangiamo.

608 N Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 722-1228

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The 87TH Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade – November 25, 2018 – Hollywood, CA.

The 87th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade will be hosted by Erik Estrada, Laura McKenzie, Dean Cain and Montel Williams, featuring Marine Toys for Tots with Nancy O’Dell as this year’s Grand Marshall, with special co-hosts Elizabeth Stanton and Garrett Clayton. Taped for network television, the live event will premiere as a two-hour special on The CW on Friday, December 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET / PT (7:00 p.m. CT). The Marine Toys for Tots program, which is essential in providing gifts to less fortunate children everywhere, will also air to more than one million American service men and women worldwide on American Forces Network. The event will be presented and produced by Associated Television International, in association with The City of Los Angeles.

A true Hollywood yearly tradition, the parade attracts more than one million in attendance each year, with larger than life inflatable character balloons, award winning bands, colorful equestrians, ornate floats, popular characters/novelties, celebrity filled cars and, of course, Santa Claus making the much heralded trek down the over three mile parade route.

12 Pre-Parade Concert Performers: THE TEARAWAYS (Singing “Stuff Your Stocking”), THE BAND OF MERRYMAKERS (Singing “Christmas Everyday”), MAGICIAN ED ALONZO (Star of The CW’s Primetime Hit Show, Masters of Illusion), MIKALAH GORDON (Singing “Mary Did You Know”), BLAKE LEWIS (Singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman”), CLARE DUNN (Singing “More” and “O Holy Night”), ELLIOTT YAMIN (Singing “This Christmas”), KIMBERLY CALDWELL-HARVEY (Singing “All I Want For Christmas”), DAVID ARCHULETA (Singing “Christmas Everyday” and “Holly Jolly Christmas”), ASHANTI (Singing “Let It Snow”), RUBEN STUDDARD (Singing “Every Year, Every Christmas”), RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! (Special Performance).

4 Additional Appearances (Telecast Only): DONNY AND MARIE OSMOND, THE BEACH BOYS Performing Mike Love’s new single “(You’ll Never Be) Alone on Christmas Day”, JANE LYNCH, KATE FLANNERY and TIM DAVIS, LUDACRIS Special Tribute To Marine Toys For Tots.

Pre-Show: Los Angeles Antique Bandwagon/Los Angeles Fire Truck with DELIA IBARRA, ESQ., President of Los Angeles’ Fire Commission)/Los Angeles Fire Department/Vintage Police Cars

5 Live Parade Performances: THE CUBCAKES CREW (Youth Dance Group from Los Angeles, CA), CELTIC IRISH DANCE ACADEMY (Burbank, CA),TRINITY VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE CADETTES (Athens, TX),CAMP BROADWAY (Award-winning youth theatre company from Venice, CA), 34TH & PHUNK (Skilled Hip-Hop Dancers from across the country).

2 Street Performers: Magicians JIBRIZY and NAATHAN PHAN, Stars of The CW’s Primetime Hit Show, Masters of Illusion, will be performing Christmas Street Magic for Grandstand Ticket Holders).



Grand Marshal: NANCY O’DELL, Grand Marshal, The 87th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade Featuring Marine Toys For Tots and Entertainment Tonight Television Icon.

56 Celebrities: Santa Claus, The Man of the Season, with United States Marine Corps Escorts Lieutenant Colonel Matthew McDonald and First Sergeant Bill Holodnak,Lieutenant General Pete Osman, President and CEO of Marine Toys for Tots, http://thehollywoodchristmasparade.org/toyfortots/ , U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard (l to r) Sergeant Jonathan Espinisa (rifle), Sergeant Antoine D. Coleman (U.S. Flag), Sergeant Umberto Rodriguez (Marine Corps Flag) and Corporal Edgar Uriarte (Rifle), Gunnery Sergeant James Dempsey (Drum Major, Marine Band San Diego), Lieutenant General John F. Thompson (P51 Mustang Mini Jet), Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (13th District, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles City Council), Councilmember David E. Rye (4th District, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles City Council), Congressman Adam Schiff (U.S. Representative for California’s 28th Congressional District), State Senator Kevin DeLeón (District 24, State of California), Carl Weber’s “The Family Business” on BET Networks (Ernie Hudson, Star and Executive Producer; Cast Members Darrin Henson, Javicia Leslie, Arrington Foster, Miguel A. Nuñez Jr.; Carl Weber, Creator, Executive Producer and New York Times Author; ND Brown, Executive Producer and Trey Haley, Director), “Leave It To Beaver” (Jerry Mathers), Legends of “General Hospital” (Tristan Rogers, Jackie Zeman, Sean Kanan, Ian Buchanan and Kimberly McCullough), Cast Members from “The Bold & The Beautiful” (Karla Mosley, Annika Noelle, Kiara Barnes and Adain Bradley), Cast Members from “The Young and The Restless” (Kate Linder, Alice Huner and Jordi Vilasuso), Cast Members from “Days of Our Lives” (Deidre Hall, Thaoo Penghlis and Lauren Koslow), Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk” created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; International Bodybuilder and Trainer), Burt Ward (Original Robin from “Batman”), Stefanie Powers (William Holden Wildlife Foundation celebrating the Centennial of William Holden), Kelley Johnson (Miss California USA 2018), Stars of Masters of Illusion on The CW Network (Magicians Ed Alonzo, Jibrizy and Naathan Phan), Kerri Kasem (Producer, Writer, Radio Personality and Daughter of the late legendary Casey Kasem). Accompanied by Neiko Alexander, Mark Wallengren (KOST 103.5 FM), David Archuleta (“American Idol,” Season 7), RJ Word (Singer/Songwriter), Kimberly Caldwell-Harvey (“American Idol,” Season 2) and her husband, Jordan Harvey (Major League Soccer Veteran), Sabrina Sieck (Spokesperson for Ripley’s Believe It or Not!) and Guest Art Jansen (a 109-year-old man), Kaitlyn McCormick (“Masha and the Bear”), GUMBY, with Joan Clokey, President of Clokey Productions/Premavision Studios

114 Award-Winning Bands From Around The Country: Marine Band San Diego with U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard (“Hooray For Hollywood” and “Marine Hymn”),Thomas Jefferson High School Jaguar Marching Band (Bloomington, MN),Korean American Youth Performing Artists (KAYPA) (Chino, CA), Carrollton Trojan High School Marching Band now celebrating their 70th Anniversary (Carrollton, GA),The Salvation Army Band (Los Angeles, CA), O’Fallen Township Marching Panthers (O’Fallen, IL), Habersham Central High School Band (Mt. Airy, GA), Northwest Guilford Marching Viking Band (Greensboro, NC), Pacific American Volunteer Association World Traditional Korean Marching Band (PAVA World, Los Angeles, CA), El Roble Intermediate School Marching Band and Color Guard (Claremont, CA), Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums (an Irish pipe band from Los Angeles, CA), Summit High School (Fontana, CA), Chatfield Senior High “Charger” Marching Band (Littleton, CO), Los Angeles Catholic Schools Band (Torrance, CA).

8 Larger Than Life Inflatable Character Balloons: Cat In The Hat (Sponsored by Entertainment Tonight and Wrangled by Air Force),GUMBY (Sponsored by GUMBY and Wrangled by American Legion Auxiliary Hollywood, Unit 43),Toy Soldier (Sponsored and Wrangled by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!),Penguins of Madagascar (Sponsored by Variety and Wrangled by Kiwanis),Pirate and Chest (Sponsored and Wrangled by Author Services, Inc. and Galaxy Press), Grinch (Sponsored and Wrangled by Unified Young Armenians with Dancers from Gevorkian Dance Academy and Vanoush Khanamirian Dance School, Dhol Armenian Drummers and Flags of the United States, California, Artsakh and Armenia), Nutcracker (Sponsored and Wrangled by Easy Choice Health Care)

4 Equestrian Units: Knott’s Merry Farm (Buena Park, CA) with Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Lucy with spokesperson Tim Klega, Express Employment Professionals Present The Express Clydesdales, Broken Horn Ropers (Sponsored by The Broken Horn Saddlery of Baldwin Park, CA),Majestic Acres (Ramona, CA).

50 Characters/Novelties: United States Marine Corps Color Guard, 36 Movie Picture Cars Supplied by Nate Trumans’ Star Center, including: Barmobile with original Robin (Burt Ward), Green Hornet (Black Beauty), CHIPS Motorcycles, Covertte Summer, MAGNUM PI Ferrari, Griswold’s Wagon Queen Family Truckster, TRUE ROMANCE, PIZZA PLANET Truck, Cars Francesa, BACK TO THE FUTURE Deloreon 1, 2 and 3, Marty McFly Toyota Dream Truck, Highway Patrol, MAYBERRY RFD Police Cruisers, STARSKY & HUTCH, DUKES OF HAZZARD, SMOKEY & THE BANDIT, HERBIE THE LOVE BUG, HERBIE, BLUESMOBILE, BAYWATCH Lifeguard Truck (Ski-Doos), KNIGHT RIDER Kitt, KNIGHT RIDER Karr, Mustang Kitt, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLE Van, Rad Truck, TRANSFORMERS Bumblebee Original, Bumblebee 2, ITALIAN JOB Mini Cooper, FAST AND FURIOUS Jezebelle, AUSTIN POWERS Shaguar, SCOOBY DOO Mystery Machine, JURUASIC PARK Jeep, JURRASIC PARK Explorer, Sci-Fi UFO/Gotham Patrol Car, United States Air Force Color Guard, P51 Mustang and F16 Mini Jets with Lieutenant General John F. Thompson, GUMBY with Joan Clokey, 501st Legion & Rebel Legions including 189 Characters, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (celebrating their 100th Anniversary) with Spokesperson Sabrina Sieck and 109-Year-Old Man, Art Jensen), Esporesto.com Porsche, The Salvation Army VW Bug, Aquarium of the Pacific, Trolley with International Visitors Council Friends of Sister Cities , Masha and the Bear with Kaitlyn McCormick.

14 Floats: Nebuta Marching Unit and Nebuta Float inspired by the popular Nebuta Festival of Aomori Prefecure, one of the largest and most famous festivals in all of Japan that dates back hundreds of years,The Way To Happiness with Kerri Kasem (Producer, Writer, Radio Personality and Daughter of the late legendary Casey Kasem), The Hanart Chinese Latern Festival, Santa Claus and His Reindeer, ushering in the holiday season, accompanied by two United States Marine Corps escorts, Lieutenant Colonel Matthew McDonald and First Sergeant Bill Holodnak.

16 Parade Sponsors: Marine Toys For Tots, which collects and distributes toys bringing annual holiday cheer to young children worldwide, The Salvation Army, founded in 1865, which has brass bands in worldwide regions known for their charitable work, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! – Hollywood now celebrating their 100th Anniversary of everything odd, unusual or just plain weird, Masha and The Bear, the animated television series created by Oleg Kuzovkov, starring Kaitlyn McCormick as the English voice of Masha, Easy Choice Health Plan offering a variety of 2019 Medicare Advantage plans , GUMBY – Joan Clokey of Clokey Productions/Premavision Studios carries on Gumby’s 60-year legacy created by Art Clokey, Esposito Porsche Restoration helping you achieve the body you always wanted, Hanart Chinese Lantern Festival now at the Pomona Fairplex through January 6, 2019 with 1000 larger-than-life lanterns, Carvana, where you can buy your next car 100% online, Banc of California, Express Employment Professionals, putting a million people to work annually Present The Express Clydesdales, an eight-horse hitch with each horse weighing 2000 pounds, standing 20 hands high, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, now celebrating its 20th Anniversary as a non-profit dedicated to ocean conservation and education, Torrey Pines Bank, Los Angeles Nebuta Marching Unit and Float inspired by the popular Nebuta Festival of Aomori Prefecture, one of the most famous festivals in Japan, CalPrivate Bank, Knott’s Merry Farm, celebrating the Merry Christmas, Snoopy!

5 Media Sponsors: The CW Network, Entertainment Tonight , Variety , KOST 103.5 FM, POPSTAR!

More About The Hollywood Christmas Parade:
2018 marks the historic 87th Anniversary of the Hollywood Christmas Parade, an American tradition. The parade is produced by Associated Television International and presented in association with The City of Los Angeles on the streets of Hollywood, CA on Sunday, November 25, 2018. The Pre-Parade Concert is from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. The Parade is from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

During the Red Carpet Arrivals Council member Mitch O’Farrell will present Grand Marshall Nancy O’Dell with a Certificate of Recognition on behalf of The City of Los Angeles. Parade Co-Hosts, Erik Estrada and Laura McKenzie will present an award to Author Services, Inc. recognizing their 10th Anniversary of hosting the parade and their 10th Anniversary of Stories of the Golden Age, which kicked off at the parade 10 years ago.

The 87th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade Featuring Marine Toys For Tots will premiere as a two-hour prime time special on The CW Network on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT (7:00 p.m. CT) and will be seen on Hallmark after The CW broadcast. The parade will also air to more than one million American servicemen and women worldwide on the American Forces Network at 12-Noon on December 25, 2018, Christmas Day.

This parade always gets me ready for the festive holiday season, with all of the joy and merriment. It just kicks the holiday season into full happy mode for me. It would not be the same if I didn’t attend. I just love everything that the parade has to offer.


* Some Content Was Taken Off of Their Website


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Dinner – Pasta Mia West – November 7th, 2018 – Las Vegas, NV.

A little gem of a restaurant, Pasta Mia is in the middle of Sin City, with its two locations; this is one dining experience you don’t want to miss! Pasta Mia West is nestled in a mini strip mall on the West side of Las Vegas. Far enough away from all of the hustle and bustle of the noisy strip, yet close enough to schmooze with the locals – a unique experience, one that I really enjoyed! Pasta Mia West has excellent authentic Italian food with all of the bells and whistles that you would expect from a big city like Las Vegas.

Here’s What I had:

Prosciutto Ham with Parmigiano Cheese – a delightful appetizer, with a delicious array of cheese and prosciutto.

Sea Scallops served with seasonal vegetables – Big fresh bay scallops, with a sweet light lemon sauce, terrific!

Pasta Portofino, with Clams, Mussels, Calamari, and Lobster on a bed of Spaghetti and marinara – I just loved this dish, it had a lovely amount of fresh seafood in a very flavorful red sauce. All of the clams, mussels, and shellfish just popped in your mouth.

Scampi Shrimp in Garlic, Butter Sauce – another great dish filled with nice light garlic flavors, in a balanced butter sauce.

Veal Marsala, Tender Veal breast with sautéed mushroom in a dry Marsala wine sauce – The veal is super tender with a sweet mushroom Marsala sauce that hit the spot.

Fettuccine Shrimp & Mushrooms, Pink Creamy Alfredo Sauce, with Porcini Mushrooms – The porcini flavor adds a subtle nuance to this delicious pasta dish, and the shrimp are butterflied and just spectacular.

Ossobuco, slow cooked in a delicious red sauce – They prepare this dish for hours and hours, many
Italian restaurants attempt to do this the traditional way, but Pasta Mia succeeds with flying colors.


Tiramisu, Mascarpone Cheese, Espresso, Rum, Lady Fingers, and Cocoa – This dessert is so smooth and delicious, just spectacular.


Chardonnay, Meridian, Santa Barbara, CA.

About The Chef: Chef-owner Armando Martinez has been a notable chef in the Las Vegas area for over 29 years. As one of the openers for the famous Piero’s Italian Restaurant, he has served his old world Italian pasta dishes to some of the world’s most iconic celebrities, including Celine Dion, Andre Agassi, and Brooke Shields. Splitting his duties as chef and owner of Pasta Mia West, chef Armando has been celebrated in the Las Vegas area since opening his restaurant more than two decades ago. Chef Armando is a winner of the Award of Excellence and is also a Five Star Award Winner.

Pasta Mia is truly an award-winning Northern Italian cuisine. Having stood the test of time in a city that sees restaurants come and go, Pasta Mia West continues to draw rave reviews for its Northern Italian cuisine, especially its pasta. Linguine with fresh mussels, lasagna Bolognese, and a multitude of other pasta masterpieces stand out here.

Crisp linens set the tone for an elegant dinner, while a garden patio waits to whisk guests away from the noise and random downpours of confetti that beleaguer the Strip.

My meal was so fantastic; every little ingredient was fresh and perfect. I was so happy to be here. This is what I call a hidden gem, a spot that someone has to take you too, but luckily I found Pasta Mia on my own. I would go every time I am in Las Vegas it is just that good!

The interior is very basic Italian, with hand-painted murals of the iconic Rialto Bridge in Venice, the perfect spot for a portrait or selfie. But you’re not at Pasta Mia for the ambiance; the cuisine is the real winner here.

“Rated Excellent” – Zagat, Award of Excellence Winner, Five Star Award Winner, “Pasta Mia’s food is so good, you’ll finish the huge portions even if you don’t want to”! Heidi Knapp Rinella – Las Vegas Review – Journal.

Pasta Mia West
4455 W Flamingo Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89103
Monday – Friday:
11am – 10pm
Saturday – Sunday:
Noon – 10pm

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Lunch – Virgil’s BBQ – November 7, 2018 – Las Vegas, CA.

Located in the LINQ Promenade, which has a great array of restaurants and retail stores, all very pristine and fun, it kind of reminds of Universal City Walk, here in Los Angeles. Las Vegas is filled with excitement; everywhere you go there are unique opportunities for fun. Virgil’s provides excellent BBQ and Craft Beers. They turn into a nightclub in the evenings, with great live music, that only Las Vegas can provide, fun, fun, fun.

In the spring of 1993, Artie Cutler’s restaurant empire was booming. After the tremendous success of Carmine’s Italian Family Style locations in Times Square and on the Upper West Side, Artie wanted to add a new concept to the mix. He wanted to open an authentic barbeque restaurant in the heart of Times Square. He soon found the right location at 152 West 44th Street and began a BBQ exodus along the backloads of the South. They are part of the Alicart food group, which owns Carmine’s in Las Vegas, and both restaurants in Times Square.

Virgil’s was the original New York City BBQ restaurant, and has evolved over the years to become a gathering place known for warm service and exceptional ribs, chicken, brisket, and pork. The vast menu also highlights other comfort food favorites, and a variety of regional cuisines.

The Las Vegas Virgil’s vibe is warm and inviting, with an out door patio, which allows one to be able to watch all of the LINQ’s shoppers, and partygoers. There is always a welcoming smile amongst the staff; they are really there to please you.

Here’s what I tried:



Virgil’s Margarita, Sauza Blue Tequila, Fresh lime Juice, Triple Sec. This is a very flavorful margarita with really great tequila, a true winner.

Watermelon, Corralejo Reposado Tequila, Cointreu, Fresh Muddled Watermelon, Lime Juice. The watermelon is cubed and is in the drink, delicious and or so drinkable,

Virgil’s Slushies, Frozen Kicked Up Lemonade. Spiked with Skyy Citrus, Blueberry, Strawberry, Peach, Grapefruit, or Watermelon. Another delicious cocktail, my favorite of the day.


BBQ Chicken Wings, Virgil’s famous smoked Chicken Wings w/ Bleu Cheese Dip. These wings have a bit of a kick, but they are just tender and moist, a little slice of heaven.

House Made Beer Battered Onion Rings, very sweet batter with the perfect cooked onion rings.

Popcorn Shrimp, Cornmeal Crusted Rock Shrimp Served Over Popcorn with Spicy Remoulade Dipping Sauce. This delicious starter is served over popcorn, and the shrimp is plump and crispy.


Southwest Salad, Mixed Greens, Avocado, Tortilla Chips, Bacon, and grilled Red Onion. This salad has all of the grilled meat that they offer, hearty and flavorful, my kind of salad.


The Burger, Half-Pound Grilled to Perfection. This is a lovely burger with all of the fixings.

Po’ Boys:

Shrimp PO’ Boy, Fried Rock Shrimp, Lettuce, Tomato, Tartar Sauce on a Club Roll. I love a good Po’ Boy, and this one was just the best of the best. With nice breaded shrimp, the iceberg lettuce, tomato, tartar sauce, really was the best part of this sandwich.


Combination Platter; BBQ Combo, Memphis Style Pork Spare Ribs, and Trash Ribs. My favorite part of this combo is the Memphis Style Pork Spare Ribs, its falloff the bone good.

Maryland Crab Cake; Lump Crab Cake Served with Crunchy Zucchini and Cucumber Slaw. The presentation of this wonderful crab cake is very artsy, and the overall appeal is just what any diner would be looking for.

For The Table:

Potato Salad, the potatoes are cut in small in quarters, it’s a very simple recipe, but just fantastic.

Collard Greens, its got a bit of pork cooked into it and has the best Southern flavor ever.

Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, home cooked comfort food at its best.

Mac & Cheese, with a crispy topping, nice smooth cheesy flavor, extremely rich, but wonderful.

Cole Slaw, this Cole slaw has a delicate onion flavor, with a creamy texture.


Key Lime Pie, my favorite dessert, great lime zest, with luscious creamy lime type custard, wow.

Banana Pudding. So rich, with terrific banana hints, a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Fruit Cobbler, with fresh vanilla ice cream, served warm, the ice cream melts all over the cobbler.

You won’t be disappointed by the food or the service eating at Virgil’s in Vegas. I had a variety of meats and sides. Everything was tasty and portions were generous. Service is fast and friendly. The atmosphere is diner style and casual. Location is good for those who are walking the strip and soaking in the sights. Close to all the center strip stuff. Prices are what you’d expect to pay in Sin City.

If your in the mood for authentic Southern BBQ from many different styles and places, Virgil’s if the right BBQ for you. I just loved their variety and different menu items and their attention to detail. Virgil’s BBQ is walking distance from the beautiful Bellagio Fountains, Truly a very memorable lunch in Las Vegas.

Virgil’s BBQ
3545 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 389-7400

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Dinners – Piero’s Italian Cuisine – November 7, 2018 – Las Vegas, NV.

After getting a tasting at the famous Las Vegas Piero’s Italian Cuisine, I ran to tell my Mother’s best friend Ellie Rifkind who lives in the area. She was so excited, exclaiming “Oh my god, I am great friends with the owner Freddy Glusman and his family!” His son, Evan Glusman arranged my terrific tasting.

Her late husband Julie Rifkind had his 75th birthday party at Piero’s. So before I even walked in the door, I felt like I was family.

In 1982 Freddie Glusman opened Piero’s Italian Cuisine on Karen Avenue. It quickly became a hangout for Las Vegas locals and Celebrities like the Rat Pack and Politicians. It especially became a favorite place for Italian businessmen in the casino industry commonly referred to as the “local color”.

Five years later, Piero’s moved to its current location at 355 Convention Center Drive. The restaurant is walking distance from the Las Vegas Convention Center, The Strip, and a short hop from major hotels. The venue is licensed for 345 seats and has six separate dining rooms.

Once you’re inside, you feel like you’re in a time warp, back in the 80’s with a hint of a Las Vegas mobster vibe. After all, they did film a portion of the movie “Casino” here. Scorsese chose to film some dinner scenes at Piero’s, which starred Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. You can recall the whole scene with Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone once you’re sitting in one of their iconic leather banquettes.

The Italian restaurant is a big reminder of old-school Vegas and was called “The Leaning Tower” in the movie.

They are known for their martins, so of course I had to try a few.Every martini is made in a 10oz. glass and shaken tableside in a proper martini shaker.

Here’s What I Tried:


Lemon Drop – This drink had just enough vodka and lemon essence─a great drink!

Cosmopolitan – A very proper Cosmo. Delicious and refreshing!

Kettle One Martini – My go-to martini, the best one here!


Joe’s Stone Crab Claws are the best thing you’re ever going to eat in your life. They are hard to come by, but WOW. Worth it every time and trip during the season. The best crab on the planet.

Garbage Cesar Salad, is a famous rendition of a typical Caesar salad, with hearts of palm. It hits the spot.

Spring Salad, perhaps a healthier salad to order, fresh and lovely.

Pasta Fagioli Soup, I can always detect what a restaurant has to offer by tasting the soup, and this soup was rich, full-bodied and great. A significant indication of great things to come.


Aragosta Alla Griglia, fresh Maine lobster broiled, served with melted butter. What can I say except for a truly perfect Entree? The lobster is moist and delicious–what a treat!

Chilean Sea Bass, fresh and light, a tender cooked fish, just a fantastic fish dish. I would not want it prepared any other way.

Fettuccine a Modo Mio, made with fresh egg noodles, broccoli, porcini mushrooms, pancetta, cream and a touch of tomato. This pasta was one of my favorite menu items. The pasta itself is delicate and fluffy, the sauce is light with excellent porcini flavor, yum!


Creamed Corn, a fantastic rich dish, just spectacular!


Crème Brule, nice crackle top with a sweet, creamy consistency, delicious.

Carrot Cake, a huge multi-layer carrot cake, very traditional.


Resolute, Chardonnay, Napa – 2016. This wine has a delicate fruity aroma with a great feel in the mouth, and it was fantastic with the crab.

Michael David, Chardonnay, Lodi – 2016. Another terrific wine, with a delicate buttery bouquet, a great addition to the lobster.

Turley Juvenile, Zinfandel, Napa – 2016. I am all about the Zinfandel, and this one does not disappoint, great with the Garbage Salad.

Interesting Facts:

Piero’s has a long and impressive list of notable visitors. Notable customers include; Former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird. Las Vegas regulars included the late Jerry Lewis, Mike Tyson, Phyllis McGuire, Steve Lawrence, and Eydie Gorme. “No one gets bothered in our restaurant,” confidently said Mr. Glusman. “I don’t care who the Celebrity is or what they have done, they come here to enjoy the food, and I see to it they are allowed to dine in peace… No exceptions!”

The menu is the same as it was when the restaurant opened with many nightly specials. The decor includes Aldo Luongo lithographs, original oils by José Bellver, and huge fresh floral displays on antique pine tables.

Piero’s is known for its fabulous cuisine, unique atmosphere, and its five-star service. They were even awarded the “DiRoNA Achievement of Distinction in Dining” in 2018.

What can I say about Piero’s? It is the best old-school Italian you will find in the area! When in Las Vegas go to Piero’s. “Legendary Dining Since 1982”, a motto that they truly live up too!

Piero’s Italian Cuisine
355 Convention Center Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 369-2305

* Note some content was taken off their website.

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Sunday – October 28, 2018 – Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation Celebrates It’s 30th Anniversary With Annual A Time for Heroes Family Festival – Smashbox Studios – Culver City, CA.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation celebrated 30 years with their annual A Time For Heroes Family Festival. Olivia Munn, Ariel Winter, Gilles Marini, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Sarah and Erin Foster were some of the notable celebrities who came to show their support by attending the family festival. A Time for Heroes raises critical funds needed to end AIDS in children. Since its inception in 1990, the event has raised more than 35 million dollars toward its goal of creating a world where no child has AIDS. Celebrity guests and supporters enjoyed delicious food from top local eateries, games for all ages, and high-energy entertainment. The festivities kicked off at noon and included a day of fun for both celebrity attendees and Angeleno families alike. Guests enjoyed carnival activities such as hula hooping, life-sized jenga, a virtual reality booth, painting, DIY cookie decorating, and more. The day was capped off with an upbeat performance by HIV-positive Danish singer, Thomas Muchimba Buttenschøn. The global leader in the fight to end AIDS in children.

Jake Glaser, son of founder Elizabeth Glaser, reflected on the changing face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and noted proudly that he and his fellow EGPAF Ambassadors are living full and healthy lives that would not have seemed possible when the Foundation was launched 30 years ago. EGPAF Ambassador Josephine Nabukenya also took the stage to share her personal story, along with Chip Lyons, President and CEO of the non-profit organization. In addition to recognizing EGPAF’s 30th anniversary year, the festival honored Willow Bay, former EGPAF Board Co-Chair and champion for children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. Following her recognition at the event, Willow Bay reminded the audience that the battle against pediatric HIV is not over: “As I thank all of you for this work, please remember that now is not the moment to let up, when over 400 babies around the world contract HIV each day. We have the technology, we have the medicine, and we have a will and a way to finish this very important mission,” she concluded

EGPAF supports over 1 million people worldwide, including nearly 70,000 children, on life-saving medications. Operating at over 5,000 sites in 19 countries around the world, EGPAF has reached more than 27 million pregnant women with services to block transmission of HIV to their babies. This work has prevented over 300,000 pediatric HIV infections since 2004.

The 2018 Heroes Host Confirmed Committee: Adam Irigoyen (The Fosters), Ali Landry (Actress), Alison Sweeney (Days of Our Lives), Andy Allo (Singer), Ariel Winter (Modern Family), Aubrey Anderson Emmons (Modern Family), Bryan Geenberg (Actor), Courtney Cox (Cougar Town), Christine Taylor (Arrested Development), Chuck Liddell (UFC Fighter), Dustin and Lisa Hoffman (Actor), Erin Foster (Barely Famous), Fatima Ptacek (voice of Dora on Dora the Explorer), Forrest Wheeler (Fresh off the Boat), Gilles Marini (SATC movie), Hudson Yang (Fresh off the Boat),Ian Chen (Fresh off the Boat), Jack Dylan Grazer (Beautiful Boy), Jake Short (All Night), John Salley (Sin City Saints), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Justin Hartley (This is US), Kate Mara (Pose), Kristen Bell (Like Father), Lizzy Greene (A Million Little Things), Magic Johnson (Former NBA Player), Marisol Nichols (Riverdale), Mason Cook (Speechless), Med Donnelly (American Housewife), Mena Suvari (American Reunion), Olivia Munn (X-Men), Parker Bates (This is US), Perez Hilton (Celebrity Blogger), Randy Jackson (American Idol), Robbie Amell + Italia Ricci (The Flash), Sara Foster (Barely Famous), Sean Giambrone (The Goldbergs), Steve Guttenberg (Ballers), Tan France (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy), Tia Mowry (Me, Myself and I), Tiffani Thiessen (White Collar), Vanessa Williams (Actress and Singer).

Confirmed Celebrity attendees included: Ariana Greenblatt (Stuck in the Middle), Ariel Winter (Modern Family), Aubrey Anderson Emmons (Modern Family), Chuck Liddell (UFC Fighter), Daniel DiMaggio (American Housewife), Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl), Erin Foster (Barely Famous), Faithe Herman (This is US), Fatima Ptacek, Forrest Wheeler (Fresh off the Boat), Gilles Marini (Separated at Birth), Hudson Yang (Fresh off the Boat), Ian Chen (Fresh off the Boat), Jade Pettyjohn (School of Rock), Jason Dolley (Good Luck Charlie), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Vikings), Joshua Rush (Andi Mack), Kate Linder (The Young and the Restless), Olivia Munn (X-Men), Mason Cook (Speechless), Meg Donnelly (American Housewife), Parker Bates (This is US), Perez Hilton (Celebrity Blogger), Randy Jackson (American Idol), Raegan Revord (Young Sheldon), Sean Giambrone (The Goldbergs), Ser’Darius Blain (Charmed), Sara Foster (Barely Famous), Steve Guttenberg (Ballers), Tia Carrere (Actress and Singer).

The day was so much fun, with all of the kid friendly activities, and delicious food. I turned into a kid for the day, making cardboard cats and hand painted tiles, creative and adventurous was my theme for the day, and it worked.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation

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Dinner – October 18, 2018 – California Pizza Kitchen – Century City – Los Angeles

A real staple in Los Angeles, I have been coming to California Pizza Kitchen since I was a teenager, but this is a new brand of California Pizza Kitchen, much more gourmet and health conscious. Everything is Delectable, sustainable, wonderful. All that you remember, but with a new spin on healthier options with still amazing goodness. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Here’s what I tried:

Small Plates and Flat Bread:

Mexican Street Corn with creamy sweet corn removed from the cob and roasted with smoked paprika, Feta and Parmesan. Served with fresh cilantro, lime and housemade ranchito sauce. I just love corn, the fresher and sweeter is what its all about for me. The marriage of the cheese and seasonings worked, a terrific starter.

Petite Wedge, topped with bleu cheese dressing, Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, chopped egg and Roma tomatoes. Even though it is petite for me it was a half of a pristine iceberg lettuce. The bacon was the best part.

Shaved Mushroom on Spinach Flatbread, with cremini mushrooms, sautéed spinach and California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil with Romano and Parmesan. A nice super crispy crust and the toppings were just delightful.

Crispy man N Cheese, classic mac ‘n’ cheese lightly fried with panko, served on creamy cheese sauce. Little bites of heaven, loved these crispy darlings.


Szechwan Chicken Dumplings, Chinese dumplings topped with fresh cilantro, sesame seeds and scallions. Served with our soy-ginger chili sauce. These were one of my favorite dishes of the night. The dumpling itself is soft and succulent, pretty much everything you would want from a delicate dumpling.

Avocado Club Egg Rolls, hand-wrapped crispy wonton rolls filled with avocado, chicken, tomato, Monterey Jack and Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon. Served with housemade ranchito sauce and herb ranch. I loved these egg rolls and would order them everytime I go to CPK in the future.

Lettuce Wraps, Fresh Shitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and scallions tossed in spicy ginger soy sauce, with Chicken and Shrimp. Another one of my favorite food items, especially the cubed Shitake mushrooms, they really make these lettuce cups.


Tomato Basil Bisque, velvety tomato bisque with a touch of cream, topped with housemade garlic butter croutons. Nice tomatoe flavor and the butter croutons were just out of this world.

Dakota Smashed Pea and Barley, a hearty split pea soup with barley, carrots, onions, savory herbs and scallions. Out of the four soups that I tried, this one for me was the best. Super rich pea flavor added to my overall enjoyment, a real keeper.

Sedona Tortilla, with Vine-ripened tomatoes, tomatillos and corn with mild green chilies, Southwestern spices and crispy corn tortillas. Exactly what you would want from a tortilla soup; with the crispy tortillas on top, this was the added bonus.

Baled Potato, Purée of potato with Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon and scallions. A nice soup, very rich, but I would order the pea instead.


The Original, BBQ Chicken Chopped salad, with Black beans, sweet corn, jicama, fresh cilantro & basil, crispy corn tortilla strips, Monterey Jack and our housemade herb ranch. Topped with BBQ chicken, tomatoes and scallions, and fresh avocado. This has been a staple for me at CPK and it is just as great as always.

Thai Crunch with Crisp veggies and fresh cilantro with chicken and the crunch of peanuts, wontons and rice sticks, tossed in Thai peanut dressing. Another one of my favorite menu items of the night, just loved the dressing.


Fire-Grilled Ribeye: 12 oz. USDA choice ribeye grilled with housemade Pinot Noir, sea salt and topped with bleu cheese compound butter. Served with roasted fingerling potatoes and lemon-garlic wild arugula salad. My mistake by not ordering this steak on the rare side so I will have to come back and try it again, it was too well done for my taste.

Cedar Plank Salmon, North Atlantic salmon roasted on a cedar plank in their hearth oven with smoked paprika and lime. Served with white corn & spinach succotash, topped with Feta. This is a terrific version of a Cedar Planked Salmon.

West Coast Burger The WCB, signature blend of Wagu, Chuck, and Brisket topped with melted American cheese, Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, tomato, pickles, lettuce, and homemade burger sauce, served with crispy potatoes. Ok hands down the best burger ever, loved the smoked bacon.


Shrimp Scampi Zucchini, a lighter spin on a traditional recipe. Zucchini ribbons sautéed with lemon, garlic and white wine, tossed with fresh Italian parsley, Parmesan and a touch of fettuccine. So much garlic you will be swimming in garlic for the rest of your evening, if that is something that you like then by all means order this very yummy dish. If you plan on having a kissing session with your significant other, and they did not eat garlic, then do not order this.

Kung Pao Spaghetti, a twist on a Chinese classic with garlic, scallions, peanuts and hot red chilies, with chicken & shrimp. I loved this dish as well; super fresh meats and the seasonings are just fantastic.


Wild Mushroom, Shaved Cremini, Shiitake, Portobello and white mushrooms with slivered scallions, cracked black pepper, Romano and Mozzarella, finished with Parmesan, and white truffle oil. The flavors of this pie are subtle but truly wonderful, my go to CPK pizza from now on.


Margaritas, Fresh Agave Lime, with Milagro Silver Tequila, Fresh Agave Sour, and Fresh Lime. The combination of all of the ingredients is very refreshing and goes down with no problem, my favorite cocktail of the night.

Socialite Cosmo, Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka, Pavan Liqueur, Cranberry, Agave Sour, Top with Le Grand Courtâge Blanc de Blancs Brut. Another delicious drink, sweet but not too sweet, just right.

Tropical Mule, Grey Goose Vodka, Rum Haven Coconut Rum, Ginger Beer, Monin Passion Fruit and Agave Sour, served in a copper mug. Not the biggest fan of this cocktail, but I am sure there are fans of mules out there.


Salted caramel pudding, rich caramel pudding, black cocoa cookie crumbs, housemade whipped cream, caramel sauce and natural flaked Maldon sea salt. I just can’t say enough about this dessert; you have to eat it all the way down to the bottom.

Belgian Chocolate Soufflé Cake, warm chocolate cake served with triple-thick hot fudge, housemade whipped cream and cacao nibs, with Vanilla Häagen-Dazs. So much chocolate, a wonderful way to end my glorious experience.

Pumpkin Cheesecake, a creamy pumpkin cheesecake over a layer of classic New York cheesecake, on a buttery graham cracker crust. You won’t want to share! The perfect choice for the fall season, with its rich pumpkin flavor, a great cheesecake.


Chardonnay – Clos Du Bois, CA. This wine goes great with the flatbread with its cheesy goodness.

Chardonnay – Josh Cellars, CA. I would pair this wine with the lettuce cups; with the shrimp it adds a great creamy balance.

Chardonnay – Sonoma–Cutrer, Russian River Ranches, Sonoma Coast. Always my go to wine, I would try this one with the shrimp scampi, it adds a nice touch to the overall garlic flavor.

Zinfandel – Sledgehammer, North Coast, CA. You have got to do this wine with the burger, just the right amount of acidity, with it fruit forward berry taste.

Red Blend Colby Red CA. I would drink this with the chocolate soufflé, you can, of course, drink it with the steak, myself I like to drink a bold red wine with my desert instead of a desert wine.

My waitress; Noelly Briseno, who’s parents are from Michoacán, Mexico, she was raised in Los Angeles. Her parents celebrate day of the dead on Nov. 2, the tradition is digging up ancestors bones and cleaning them and celebrating the dead. Really great being able to share her family stories and her charm and wisdom helped my overall experience.

CPK is in a Corner Spot in the newly renovated Westfield mall, it’s the perfect place to people watch. CPK has floor to ceiling windows. The interior is elegant and fun, with yellow chandeliers, a whimsical tile mosaic column, wood crate ceiling, wood floors, a u shaped bar, with lots of Sports screens, a really eclectic interior. An open kitchen, and yellow tiled wood fired pizza oven, adds to the overall excitement, and lets the customers watch what is being created in the kitchen. Music was low, and they played ambient pop. Customers included: kids, families, shoppers, ladies, locals, dates, and singles.

CPK has been opened 2 years in February at this location. The whole Westfield Mall has undergone a great remodel, with all of the outdoor common spaces done with wood and organic plants. They did an amazing job, and you can tell because the crowds have gotten very large.

The next time your in the mood for casual dining and just can’t come up with the right place try California Pizza Kitchen, for a whole new spin on the place that you are used to.

California Pizza Kitchen
Westfield Mall – Century City
(424) 363-1235
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067


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Courtyard By Marriot Hotel – 2nd Annual Westside Fall Food/Wine Fest. – Sunday – October 14, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA

The 2nd Annual Los Angeles Westside Food & Wine Festival benefiting The Westside Food Bank. Showcasing some of LA’s best culinary talent and finest winemakers in Southern California. There were over 25 food, wine, beer, spirit, beer, drink purveyors and vendors providing scrumptious samples no one left hungry or thirsty from this event!

Gold Sponsors Culver City Honda & Culver City Toyota are among quite a few other great sponsors and vendors including Wescom (Big Blue Truck), T Mobile (Truck), Madmen, Renewal by Anderson, Winning Ways, Acme Sign and Design, Get Around Ride Sharing, Figo Italian Blazers/Suits. Live Music, DJ, Strolling Magic and multiple Entertainers including family friendly kid’s stuff.  During the festival (arts & crafts, games, photo booth). There will be food, entertainment, music, sponsors, vendors and giveaways outside.

Westside Food Bank’s mission is to end hunger in our communities by providing access to free nutritious food through food acquisition and distribution, and by engaging the community and advocating for a strong food assistance network. It currently provides a wide variety of nutritious food including fresh produce, high protein foods, and pantry staples to over 70 agencies with food assistance programs in West Los Angeles County, reaching over 108,000 people each year, nearly half of whom are children. Every donated dollar allows WSFB to provide food for 4 nutritious meals. http://wsfb.org/

LA Weekly, Yelp, LA Art Party, The Argonaut, Coast to Coast Newspaper & The Culver City News and The Culver City Chamber of Commerce were the Media Sponsors.

Food Vendors: Stonefire Grill, Benny’s Tacos, Fresh Brothers Pizza, Gourmet Paper Plates Catering, Marriott Hotel Catering, Deep Seeded LA, Fresh Farm to you, Distefano Burrata Cheese, My Mochi, Red Shoe Cakes, L.A. Sweet Tooth Confections, Champaine CBD desserts, Kind Bars, Go Go Squeeze, Panini Kabob (Silent Auction), and Luna Olive Oil.

My favorite desserts of the day were from Red Shoe Cakes, super yummy and so creative. You have got to try it!! Red Shoe Cakes Menu: Tennessee Cider Shooters, Spiced Coke with Jack Daniels Winter Cider and apple bits, layered with vanilla crème and cinnamon sugar sprinkle. Tipsy Turtle Shooters Triple chocolate cake infused with Southern Comfort Caramel Whiskey layered with caramel crème and tasted pecan bits. Slow Wine Sipps, dark chocolate cake kissed with warm Merlot and rolled in premium, sweetened cocoa. Lemon Drop Sipps, Golden cake infused with Absolut Vodka and fresh squeezed lemon juice, rolled in crunchy lemon sugar, Caramel Jack Bites Rich caramel cake swirled with Jack Daniels No. – 7 whiskey and topped with a whiskey caramel ribbon. Nightcap Nibbles Triple chocolate mini pumpkins soaked in Kahlua Rum and Paul Mason VSOP brandy. Crooked Carrot Bites not your traditional carrot cake, very rich with fresh carrot, pineapple, cranberries, and Appleton Jamaican. Dirty Peach Nibbles Vanilla cake topped with a cinnamon spiced peach compote, infused with Paul Mason Peach brandy. It would be worth going just to taste these amazing great desserts. RedShoeCakes.com

Liquor and Drink Vendors: Obvious Wines, San Antonio Winery/Riboli Wines, Smog City Brewing, Embajador tequila, Blossom Brothers Wines, The Scotch Whiskey Society, One Hope Wines, VeroVino Wines, Harajuku Taproom-Baird Beer & Sake, Botran Rum, Zignum Mexcal, My Wine Society, Wood Bottle Wines, Wine Water, Topa Chico Sparkling Water, Kevita Kombucha, Vita Coco, Naked Juice Truck, and Essential Water.

Silent Auction with art, sports, paintings, pictures and unique items to help benefit the Marvin Elliot, Todd Elliot’s father,  medical bill expenses fund.

Last year’s Inaugural Festival was the Culver City Centennial Westside Food & Wine Festival.

This is a great way to spend he afternoon, with delicious food, libation and wonderful people, a nice relaxing vibe.

Todd Elliot Entertainment


* Note some content was taken off of their website




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