Dinner – Emilia – August 14, 2019 – Beverly Hills, CA.

This place is so bright and cheery, with exceptional Italian Food, all the things you crave here in Beverly Hills. A new kid on the block but bound to end up with all of the huge success stories of great Italian eateries in Los Angeles!

This location used to be called The Larder on Burton Way; I never ate there so I know nothing about it. This building is relatively new so you can see all of the great design work in the architecture. The interior of Emilia doesn’t disappoint, its modern but cozy. It just has good vibes all the way around. The interior is very elegant and modern, with light green paneled walls, light colored wood floors, white marble top tables, and a wrap around patio. The Bar area is fun, and part of it is against the wall, with art by Miro. There are high ceilings, brown leather club bar stools, white ball light fixtures, white ball lights strung outside, and nice big windows facing out to Burton Way.

Here’s What I Tried:

Something To Share:

Tortellini Emiliani con Crema di Parmigiano, Housemade traditional tortellini filled with prosciutto di Parma and served in a light Parmigiano-Reggiano sauce. These are bit size mini tortellini, but so flavorful and juicy.

Tagliata di Tonno, Seared tuna thinly sliced and topped with toasted pistachio, drizzled with Italian EVOO and lemon. This is a super protein packed appetizers that is light and flawless.

Insalate:

Insalata di Carciofi, Fresh baby artichoke and hearts of palm salad with toasted walnuts, topped with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, arugula and an EVOO and lemon dressing. Nice and fluffy, with good crunch, but the cheese on top sealed the deal for me.

Insalata di Cesare, Classic Caesar salad with butter lettuce and garlic croutons, topped with 24-month aged Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese. A nice rendition of this very special classic.

Paste & Risotto:

Tagliatelle alla Bolognese, Handmade tagliatelle with a traditional beef and pork Bolognese ragù. This pasta is so delightful, just the right consistency, and the sauce is otherworldly. Italian menus in Italy never have huge plates of pasta; it is just a small plate, which for me is so ideal!

Risotto agli Asparagi, Acquarello Carnaroli rice, with fresh asparagus, crispy prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The very subtle flavor of the asparagus is in every bite, but the super creamy risotto is just the perfect balance.

I Secondi:

Filetto di Manzo al Pepe, Grilled beef tenderloin with a green pepper sauce, served with sautéed oyster mushrooms. The beef is cooked delicately rare and the sauce is deep and luscious, an excellent choice.

Sogliola alla Mugnaia, Fresh Dover sole baked with a lemon and caper sauce, served with sautéed broccolini. The presentation is to show you the whole fish on a platter after it is cooked, but fileted and delicate. The flavor once you have it in your mouth is equally exciting and delicious. What a treat.

Contorni:

Grilled oyster mushrooms, these are grilled with super great flavor, so delicious.

Medley organic vegetables, colorful and tasty, cooked to perfection.

Dessert:

Tiramisu, served in a glass cup, delicate and all consuming, you must have to try this.

Chocolate Cake, this is a rich bold chocolate delicacy.

Pinna Cotta, is bright and fruity, I just loved this dessert.

Wines:

Ferrari, Brut, Trentino Alto Adige, Chardonnay, NV. In Italy they make wine that is grassy and herbal as opposed to our super buttery oaky Chardonnays, and some how it matches the flavors of the food, this wine went great with the beautiful dover sole.

Lunae, Colli di Luni Vermentino, Toscana, 2016. This wine can go with any of the pastas or salads; it has some bright notes and did round out the acids in their dishes.

Planeta, Chardonnay, Sicilia, 2016. A nice light Chardonnay that I loved with the asparagus risotto.

Giovanni Almondo, Nebbiolo Langhe, Langhe, Piemonte, 2017. A super charged red wine that enhanced the flavors of the steak all the way around.

My waiter Raffaelle Mazzarella, was so accommodating, and so sweet, did I say extremely handsome as well. But don’t let a handsome face fool you, he is such a nice person, having moved from Puglia Italy and only working at their sister restaurant, Amici. I suggested that he take up acting, because at some point someone will discover him. He just set the tone for a very elegant evening.

Seems like the word has gotten out about Emilia, with families, locals, and dates, fifty something crowd, and double daters, the night I was there it was a nice full house. Most all of the people enjoying themselves and taking in this new spectacular restaurant. Emilia has only been opened for 6 weeks.

I just love the old school vegetable crudité on ice on the table, a special treat. There is upbeat music, like Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston to fill the air space. There is something about this place that just makes you feels good, and like you are somewhere in Florence or Milan, it’s just that authentic. I will be back; I just loved the whole experience.

Emilia
8500 Burton way
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Emiliasla.com

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Dinner – The Upper West – August 1, 2019 – Santa Monica, CA.

Chef Nick Shipp is a real darling man, and super talented. He has been at the helm here at The Upper West for a while. Upper West opened up in 2010, I came to their grand opening then, and in 2014 I did a fabulous review of The Upper West. Well I am here to tell you that the food has only gotten better. It was delicious back then but the little nuances have increased and everything I tasted tonight was exceptional, and spectacular.

About Upper West:

The Upper West is locally owned and operated since 2010. Upper West’s ever-changing menu draws inspiration from around the world while maintaining eclectic flavors of their very own.

Their bar offers a nightly happy hour from 5-7pm as well an all night happy hour every Monday that serves refreshing craft cocktails, handcrafted beer, and a unique array of small bites. Some of the local favorites happy small bites are braised pork belly lettuce wraps, sausage, and goat cheese quesadilla and lamb nachitos.

What makes The Upper West so special is that their Ingredients are sourced locally from the Santa Monica Farmers market as well as local farmers such as Weiser Farms, Niman Ranch, Jimenez Family Farm, and Harries Berries.

The interior is lively, but organically pleasing. Big tall-trussed ceilings add to the overall charm. The simplicity is the backdrop for their outstanding food. One of the interiors highlights; is that their wall art changes regularly, as they host one local artist for each season of the year. You too will find it enchanting and inviting, a great place to meet for a first date, excellent private party venue for hosting corporate events, birthdays, anniversaries, holiday festivities, rehearsal dinners or have a simple family dinner, but the real star of the show is their amazing food.

The Upper West values community involvement as well as participating and supporting local charities in Santa Monica such as LLS, Breast Cancer Awareness, Venice Family Clinic, Planned Parenthood and the local schools.

My waiter was the very handsome TJ, who was filled with only good vibes; he was as efficient as he was fun. The night I came the place was packed but TJ managed to check in on me, while taking good care of me, and serving my evenings meal.

Jen and James a very handsome young couple were sitting next to me, they offered up a taste of the Smoked Blue Cheese Chips, super yum, got to have a full order next time. But James really new the menu and they had a blast eating all of their favorites. You could tell that they were regulars.

They have a patio where they play great old films; the film that was playing that night, was the iconic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, always a great movie to watch.

Here’s what I tried:

Cocktails:

The Westsider, with Belvedere Vodka, fresh pomegranate, Gifffard PampleMousse, and Rose Cava. A pungent drink, full of action packed ingredients that are guaranteed to blow your hair back. It’s refreshing and delicious.

Strawberry Fields, with Vodka, strawberry, basil, and lemonade. If you’re in the mood for a sweet cocktail then this would be for you, a nice way to start my experience.

Cucumber Martini Wheatley Vodka, cucumber, mint, and lemon. This would be my go-to drink, it’s elegant and a perfect thirst quencher, I just loved it.

Soup:

Sweet Corn Soup, with a veggie fritter. My rule of thumb is that you can always tell so much about a restaurant by their soup, this one is a true winner. Rich corn flavors with a nice creamy edge, just perfect.

Appetizers:

Ivette’s Spicy Salmon Crunchy Rice, with freeze dried soy sauce, wasabi tobiko, avocado puree, lime, jalapeno, and baby shiso. This appetizer is very Asian inspired with lush umami flavors, it is simply wonderful.

Chargrilled Octopus, with gigande bean, potato salad, orange, yuzu aioli, and smoked roe. The presentation is almost prehistoric, with one huge tentacle, but once you get past that you are in heaven. The flavors blend and your taste buds dance, just amazing.

“Baby” Baby Back Ribs, with lemongrass bbq sauce, pickled peppers, cilantro, and grilled pineapple. Too bad this is appetizer size; I could eat a whole entree plate of this. They ribs are succulent, tender and flavorful, a real treat.

Entrees:

Coffee Crusted Red Wattle Pork Tenderloin, with goat cheese mashed potatoes, roasted jalapeno applesauce, and citrus demi. The pork is super tender, but the real star for me is the goat cheese mashed potatoes. The combination of the potatoes and the pork is super dope.

Prime Flatiron Steak, with McDaniel smoked bacon, and Gorgonzola slaw. This steak is super smoky, which I just loved and the slaw added the right crunch, a nice unique steak from all the typical steaks at dining establishments.

Sides:

Wild Mushrooms, with garlic, leeks, farro, and dried fig. I can’t say enough about this little darlings, super delicious.

Grilled Sweet Corn, with avocado butter, Cotija cheese, and smoked paprika. This side dish has a Latin twist, its packs some unique flavors, into one big side dish.

Dessert:

Key Lime Tart, with blueberry jam, coconut basil sorbet, and lavender whipped cream. This is something that Upper West is known for and you can see why once you dive into this luxurious new take on a real southern classic, you too will be hooked.

Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake, with peanut butter ice cream, roasted marshmallow, and strawberry puree. If you’re a chocolate lover then this dessert is for you, and the ice cream is off the charts.

Wine:

Chardonnay, Magnolia, Russian River Valley, CA., 2015. This is not a super buttery wine, but its enables the other flavors of the food to shine. I would do this wine with the Octopus.

Sauvignon Blanc, Les 7 Hommes, Sancerre, France, 2018. This is a grassy herbal wine; it went great with the salmon crunchy rice.

Seven Hills, Walla Walla Valley, Washington CA., 2014, a perfect combo with the flat iron steak.

Pinot Noir Purple Hands, Willamette Valley, OR, 2017. A nice light Pinot that can be paired easily with the glorious ribs.

Chef Nick Shipp is eager to accommodate. He was raised in Forth Worth, Texas. The “Funkytown” native began his cooking career at the early age of 15 and later attended the Culinary Institute of Dallas. Moving west to SoCal, he became immersed in the Wolfgang Puck franchise. Shipp’s culinary peers have chosen him to be in the inaugural edition of the Best Chefs of America 2013. His regional cuisine at The Upper West is creative and inspiring. Some menu items have been on since the beginning, and some others are a work in progress. Your taste buds will enjoy Chef Nicks Shipps blending and subtle nuances with every bite, has been described by food critics as a “mad scientist, where no two dining experiences are ever alike.”

Every month, Chef Nick gets to show off his culinary talents with a special pairing dinner co-hosted by select liquor brands who will walk you through each of the individual tasting notes in accompaniment with each course. They offer whiskey, gin, and wine dinners, with a small intimate group, and everyone always has a great time!

Next time your looking for a great meal and a fun environment try The Upper West, it’s a hidden gem in a super cool part of Santa Monica. Almost like you somewhere in Manhattan or San Francisco without the plane fare.
Quotes on their walls:

“There is no sincerer love then love of a food”, George Bernard Shaw.

“Whiskey is for drinking, water is for floating”, Mark Twain.
The Upper West
3321 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
310-586.1111
www.theupperwest.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

This review is dedicated to Leslie Paonessa, she was a true fixture at The Upper West – enjoying her happy hours very regularly, and they even named a cocktail after her. To me she was a dear friend, The Upper West had her memorial, and they closed the restaurant for her remembrance. Chef Nick said some very sweet words about her as well. She will be very missed, cheers Leslie.

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LA Westside Food & Wine Festival – Sunday – July 21- Culver City, CA.

The 4th Edition of the Annual LA Westside Food & Wine Festival benefiting The Westside Food Bank celebration of Food, Wine, Beer, Spirits, Entertainment, Music, Activities and much more. The Annual Festival returned to the Courtyard by Marriott LA Westside Ballroom, Patio, and back parking lot with an exciting blend of new and returning exhibitors.

It was a nice sunny day in Los Angeles, and this year the turn out was off the charts. This event really blew up, very exciting!

Here’s who all was there:

Food: STK Steakhouse, Fifty One Chinese Kitchen (Food & Alcohol), The Tuck Room Tavern, Panini Kabob Grill, Le Pain Quotidien, LaRocco’s Pizzeria, Jimmy John’s, New School of Cooking, All American Gumbo, Entertainment Friends and Sacred Occasions Events, Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Love Catering, Flame Broiler, Farm Fresh to you, Oil & Vinegar, Kind Bars, chocoMe original Artisan Chocolate, Hannah’s Chocolate Bananas, and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Liquor/Drinks: Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards, Riboli Wines, Vista del Mar Winery, VeroVino Wines, PRP Wine International, Harajuku Taproom Beer and Sake, Calidad Beer, Morandell Spirits/Cocktails (Bettie Page Spicy Rum, Nuda Tequila, 1010 Dakiri, Mojito, Pina Colada, Whisky Chocolate, Whisky Coconut, Dark Rum), Broken Shed Vodka, Uncle Nearest Whiskey, Boochcraft Kombucha, Vita Coco Coconut Water, Suro Cha Tea, Vital Proteins Collagen Water, Purity Organic, Morning Recover, The KOPU Water Company Inc, and Asante Tea.

It was so great to experience an interactive music virtual reality world, photo booth, DJ and Live Jazz Group, a strolling magician, dancing, and great silent auction, also part of the festivities, was a Blackjack Tournament and psychic Tiffani Rose. Fun was had by all!

A portion of the proceeds from the Westside Food and Wine Festival benefit the Westside Food Bank. Their mission is to end hunger in our communities by providing access to free and nutritious food through food acquisition and distribution. Find out more at http://wsfb.org

Media Sponsors: Yelp, Culver City Chamber of Commerce, The Argonaut, Culver City News, Coast to Coast Newspaper, LA Art Party.

There was a big growth spurt this year, and  there are 2 festivals a year, summer and fall. I am sure that the fall festival, on Oct. 13th, 2019, will be just as big and fabulous, so get your tickets now, you simply don’t want to miss out.

LA Westside Food & Wine Festival

Swingentertainment.com
elliot@swingentertainment.com

 

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July 18, 2019 – Jose Iturbi Foundation – LA Philharmonic Celebrates Gustavo Dudamel 10 Year Anniversary – Hollywood Bowl – Hollywood, CA.

I have been to the Hollywood Bowl numerous times, but never like this. The evening started off with valet parking right up agaist the backside of the Bowl, with a lovely reception on the right side of the stage, in the special events tent. There was amazingly great food and drink, with lots of fun conversation. I really felt honored and blessed to be part of this annual event. Thank you so much Harlan Boll, and Donelle Dadigan.

Donelle Dadigan is quite the angel; she gives so much of herself, day to day. She is the founder of the Jose Iturbi Foundation, Mr. Iturbi being her Godfather. She talked about all of the great things that he did in his lifetime and how he affected her life and career. She pointed out many of the people in the audience, as well as their musical background. There were many celebrities in tow. Some political figures where there as well, and gave the Foundation much deserved proclamations. This part of the evening was just so special, all under one tent for The Joe Iturbi Foundation and Gustavo Dudamel’s 10-year anniversary.

Celebrated fans and supporters of The José Iturbi Foundation scheduled to attend as special guests of Co-Founder and President, Donelle Dadigan, include: Burt Ward (Robin/BATMAN); Susan Olsen (Brady Bunch); Geri Jewell (Facts of Life and HBOs Deadwood); Roslyn Kind; (Critically acclaimed Recording Artist), Lee Purcell (Multi-Emmy nominee); Donna Pescow (Multi-Emmy and Golden Globe nominee); Composer Charles Fox (2x Emmy, 2x Golden Globe & 2x Academy Award nominee & Grammy winner); George Chakiris (Academy Award & Golden Globe winner); Lainie Kazan (Tony winner/My Big Fat Greek Wedding), as well as the stars of Knots Landing (Celebrating its 40th Anniversary later this year), Emmy nominee, Joan Van Ark; Emmy winner, Donna Mills; Emmy & Tony winner, Michelle Lee.

Among the special guests of the Jose’ Iturbi Foundation that offered remarks were: CHARLES FOX (Emmy and Grammy winning Composer): “What a fantastic night of music at Hollywood Bowl last night for the Jose’ Iturbi Foundation. Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil were extraordinary as usual with Khatia Buniatishvili was as exciting as it was beautiful and superbly performed. For several of the highlights from film music, a number of very talented members of YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) sat in for some of the Philharmonic members on a number of chairs and played beautifully. The Jose’ Iturbi foundation has been for many years a major contributor and great factor in young musicians lives in helping them achieve their dreams.  Bravo for a great night”.

Lainie Kazan (TONY Winner/My Big Fat Greek Wedding): “I have so much respect for Jose Iturbi and even more so, when I see what his Goddaughter, Donelle Dadigan, is doing with the foundation that bares his name.”

Joan Van Ark (Knots Landing): “O-o-o-o-oh what a night! Dinner and a stirring concert performance under and with the stars . . . all for a chance to inspire and empower young artists to follow their dreams for a career in classical music  by supporting the Jose Iturbi Foundation. Totally unforgettable.”

Donna Pescow  (Saturday Night Fever/Angie? Carol of the Bells): “It was a magical evening at the Hollywood Bowl last night celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the brilliant Gustavo Dudamel. The extraordinary concert pianist Khatia Buniatishvili performed and the evening was sponsored by the Jose Iturbi Foundation.  What a spectacular night of music, inspiration and joy! There were fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl last night both on stage and off. It was a celebration of the LA Philharmonics Gustavo Dudamels 10th anniversary as conductor, the glorious Khatia Buniatishvili performed and it was all sponsored by the Jose Iturbi Foundation whose work continues the great mans legacy. It was joyous!”

Susan Olsen (Brady Bunch): “I am a movie soundtrack geek! So I was in heaven!!! I had just been googling Bernard Hermann earlier that evening!”

Lee Purcell (Valley Girl/Carol of the Bells): “What a wonderful evening we had with the Jose Iturbi Foundation at the Hollywood Bowl celebrating Gustavo Dudamels 10th Anniversary as the conductor of the LA Phil. with pianist Khatia Buniatishvili brilliantly playing Tchaikovsky 1st, the Youth Orchestra LA, and the glorious fireworks-it was truly a night to remember!”

Michele Lee (TONY Winner/Knots Landing): “Just spectacular.  What could be more appropriate? Celebrating the classic music of the past at The Hollywood Bowl, while supporting the future of classical music with the Jose’ Iturbi Foundation.”

Geri Jewell (Facts of Life/Deadwood): “As Donelle pointed out, I have an unusual history with regard to music.  I used to play the organ at my father’s funeral home. I loved to play and it instilled an early appreciation for the importance and the effect music has on an audience. Although often overlooked, because you cant see the music, it sets a tone for a gathering and any scene in a movie or on a TV series.”

Roslyn Kind (Critically Acclaimed Singer) “Music is such an extremely important part of my entire families life.  It is all around us, not only in our films and TV shows, but in our daily life.  It defines us. Supporting the efforts of The Jose Iturbi Foundation is paramount to our future as a human race.”

This Special Concert celebrating Gustavo Dudemel 10 year anniversary with the LA Philharmonic as Music Director and conductor. Gustavo Dudamel Conducts Rachmaninoff, with the Piano solo by Khatia Buniatishvili. The program was wonderful, and Khatia is one of the Seven Wonders of the World!

The Evenings Music Program:
Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 30.
Allegro ma non tanto.
Intermezzo: Adagio.
Finale: Alla breve.
Piano solo Khatia Buniatishvili.
Iconic Selections from Hollywood’s Golden Age:
Korngold – “March of the Merry Men”, from The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Herrmann – Suite from Vertigo, Prelude, The Nightmare, Scene d’Amour.
Steiner – Suite from Casablanca.
Waxman – Sunset Blvd. Suite, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, YOLA National Institute.
Mancini – The Pink panther Theme, Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, YOLA National Institute.

With Gustavo at the helm of the LA Phil excitement abounds. He just ignites his orchestra and everything around him. What a treat to be a part of this huge honor for him!

José Iturbi Foundation: The José Iturbi Foundation was created in 1985 by Marion Seabury and Donelle Dadigan. This not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization was founded in memory of concert great, José Iturbi. The Foundation is dedicated to continuing the legacy of José Iturbi, to fulfill his wish to make classical music accessible and enjoyable to people of all ages and walks of life, and to fulfill his desire of bringing to the public’s attention today’s greatest emerging talents and prize-winning classical musicians. The José Iturbi Foundation has fulfilled his mission by sponsoring blockbuster concerts, holding international musical competitions, and showcasing professional classical music artists in the making.

José Iturbi Biography: José Iturbi was recognized as the world’s greatest classical pianist during the 1930’s – 1970’s. José Iturbi was the world’s most popular classical musician from the 1930’s until his death.

Iturbi’s talent was recognized at an early age. He started piano lessons at age 3, and graduated with first prize honors from the Valencia Music Conservatory at 14 years old. Iturbi received a scholarship to study at the Paris Music Conservatory where he spent his days as a serious student and his nights playing in a Paris café in return for one meal a day, a space to sleep in the café store room after hours, and a few francs. Iturbi always tried to find ways to make ends meet. No matter how difficult times were, Iturbi was determined to remain in the greatest cultural center of Europe – Paris.

In 1913, Iturbi graduated from the Paris Music Conservatory with the first of all first prize honors. He then held the chair of Professor of Piano Virtuosity at the Geneva Conservatory of Music in Switzerland (a post once held by Franz Liszt) for six years until his concert engagements became too numerous to permit his required teaching schedule.

Throughout his long career, José Iturbi concertized to adoring fans and sold-out audiences in every corner of the world. It was commonplace at Iturbi’s concerts for the overflow audience to be seated on stage. This remained his standard from the 1920’s and for the next five decades through the 1970’s! Excitement always accompanied Iturbi on his concert tours!

What a glorious evening under the stars. Elegant sophisticated, and wonderful, just what the doctor ordered on a crisp summer night in Hollywood.

http://www.joseiturbifoundation.org
https://www.hollywoodbowl.com/

(I dedicate this review to my late dear friend Oscar Vazquez; he was from Barquisimeto, Venezuela, same as Gustavo Dudamel.Oscar is very missed, but always in all of our hearts.)

* Some content was taken off of their website.

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Saturday – July 13, 2019 – Concern Foundation’s 45th Annual Block – California Dreaming to Conquer Cancer – Paramount Studios

The evening started early, while the sun was up and very bright, but by the time sunset hits the colors change and you guaranteed to have the time of your life at the Concern Block party, I know I did.

Concern Foundation for cancer research hosted it’s 45th Annual block Party on the back a lot Paramount Studio in Hollywood on Saturday July 13th 2019 featuring multiple stages of live entertainment, casino style games, live and silent auctions, and food, desserts and beverages from over 70 of Los Angele’s best restaurant and caterers. This year, in honor of their lifetime of contribution and effort in support of the concern foundation, Judy Carroll, Lexy & John Carroll& the Carroll Family with the lifetime Giving Award. The event was led by the concern office staff and a team of volunteers and designed once again by john Fredenzi of town and Country Event Rentals.

For the 15th Year in row, concern helped celebrate the Best of LA 2019 in Los Angeles Magazine, and featured lounges, photo booths, food stations, DJ dancing, and much more. The magazine also donates $25,000 each year to Concern to help further the mission.

Here are the vendors involved:

Food & Drinks: Tasty bites: 1212 Santa Monica, Atmosphere Mar Vista, Bar Hayama, Bertha Mae’s Brownie co., Beyond Meat, Bistro Jolie, Button Mash, Buzz Bar, Café Del Ray, California Sushi Academy, Casablanca Restaurant & Catering, Castle’s Creole + Southern Catering, DeLuscious Cookies & Milk, Dylan’s Soul Food on Crenshaw, El Floridita Cuban Supper Club, Factor’s Famous Deli, Farm Fresh to You, Fatamorgana Gelato, Fogo de Chao, Fresh Brother’s, Gluten Free Goddess, Gyu-Kaku, Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill & Jazz, Jayde’s Market, Just Jans, KIND Snacks, La Boheme, Maria’s Italian Kitchen, Marmalade Café & Catering Santa Monica, Mychals, Oak Smoke, BBQ, Ocean Prime Beverly Hills, Pink’s Famous Hot Dog, Porta Via, Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, SITK (someone’s in the kitchen), SLAB, STK Los Angeles, Stonefire Grill, Tavern LA, The Fry Grill, The Grill on the Alley, The Pie Hole, The Urban Oven, Torelli Trattoria, and Wurstkuche.

Cocktails & Refreshment: Asahi Beer U.S.A, Beauty and the Bar, Bulletproof, Buzzbox, Coke Products, Don Francisco’s Coffee, Don Q, Dulce Vida Tequila, Health-Ade Kombucha, Macallan Nude Tequila, Pasquini Espresso Co., Reed’s Ginger Brews, Suja Life, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Trader Joe’s, UPTIME, Weaver’s Coffee and tea.

The Garagiste Wine Festival Micro Winery Testing: Ascension Cellars, Cloak And Dagger, Dewitt Vineyard, Dusty Nabor Wines, Hoi Polloi Winery, Marin’s Vineyard, Montague Russe, Powicana Farms, and RF Wines.

I had a few favorites restaurants that I really enjoyed! Gyu-kaku did a Japanese BBQ beef that was out of this world. Bistro Jolie did a very nice vegetable tart with a fresh basil leaf on top, 1212 did an amazing fried oyster deviled egg, so rich and creamy one of my favorites. La Boheme served a delicious shrimp and scallop Ceviche that was very refreshing. Oaksmoke BBQ had a great smoky brisket, delicious. And of course Pinks had turkey dogs, vegan dogs and jumbo beef dogs, all with choice of their famous chili. Factors had their delicious beef pastrami. Fogo de Chao served their amazing beef, which was succulent and tender. The sushi at Bar Hayama was well worth the long wait; their crab roll was so delicious with real crab. You have to get here early because by 8:30 PM most of the food stalls are packing up their gear for another day.

The backlot streets was filled with over 75 food and beverage vendors under the direction of Nancy Eisenstadt, with plenty of musical and interactive entertainment featuring the Tom Nolan Band and D’ City Sound & Events. Throughout the venue guest enjoyed a photo studio, lounges and SPA services provided by the Beauty Bus Foundation.

One of the highlights of the evening was The Silent Auction and live auction under the direction of this year’s auction chairs Lynne Fox, Bettina Tendler O’Mara, Wendi Nogradi, and Courtney Teller. 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 friends throughout the community.

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 one most successful fundraising event yet.

Paramount Studios
Hollywood 5555 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

https://www.concernfoundation.org/block-party.html
https://www.concernfoundation.org/
#ConcernBlockParty
#ConcernNow
* Note some content was taken from their website.

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LA Westside Food & Wine Festival – Sunday – July 21 – 3-7PM

The 4th Edition of the Annual LA Westside Food & Wine Festival benefiting The Westside Food Bank will be a celebration of Food, Wine, Beer, Spirits, Entertainment, Music, Activities and much more.

DATE: July 21st, 2019

3PM-7PM ENTRY for VIP

4PM-7PM Entry for General Admission

The Annual Festival returns to the Courtyard by Marriott LA Westside Ballroom, Patio, and back parking lot with an exciting blend of new and returning exhibitors.
Your all inclusive Food/Drink ticket allows you to roam the entire event tasting and sampling premium wines, beer, spirits, and gourmet bites from the following confirmed restaurants, caterers, liquor and drink purveyors. More Coming!

Food: STK Steakhouse, Fifty One Chinese Kitchen (Food & Alcohol), The Tuck Room Tavern, Panini Kabob Grill, Le Pain Quotidien, LaRocco’s Pizzeria, Jimmy John’s, New School of Cooking, All American Gumbo, Entertainment Friends and Sacred Occasions Events, Courtyard by Marriott Hotel, Love Catering, Flame Broiler, Farm Fresh to you, Oil & Vinegar, Kind Bars, chocoMe original Artisan Chocolate, Hannah’s Chocolate Bananas,Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Liquor/Drinks: Wilson Creek Winery and Vineyards, Riboli Wines, Vista del Mar Winery, VeroVino Wines, PRP Wine International, Harajuku Taproom Beer and Sake, Calidad Beer, Morandell Spirits/Cocktails (Bettie Page Spicy Rum, Nuda Tequila, 1010 Dakiri, Mojito, Pina Colada, Whisky Chocolate, Whisky Coconut, Dark Rum), Broken Shed Vodka, Uncle Nearest Whiskey, Boochcraft Kombucha, Vita Coco Coconut Water, Suro Cha Tea, Vital Proteins Collagen Water, Purity Organic, Morning Recover,The KOPU Water Company Inc, Asante Tea.

Experience an interactive music virtual reality world, photo booth, DJ and Live Jazz Group, a strolling magician, dancing, silent auction and more.

Blackjack Tournament with $10 buy-in! Win comp tickets to the October 13th LA Westside Food & Wine Festival!

Psychic Tiffani Rose (Small variable fee).

A portion of the proceeds from the Westside Food and Wine Festival benefit the Westside Food Bank.

Their mission is to end hunger in our communities by providing access to free and nutritious food through food acquisition and distribution. Find out more at http://wsfb.org

Currently a Limited number of all inclusive early bird general admission tickets are $50 and all inclusive early bird VIP tickets are $75.

Media Sponsors: Yelp, Culver City Chamber of Commerce, The Argonaut, Culver City News, Coast to Coast Newspaper, LA Art Party.

Event is Rain or Shine. Everyone must bring valid ID.
No refunds. Tickets are transferable to another person for July 21st if you email elliot@swingentertainment.com at least 24 hrs before the event.

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Dinner at The Raymond 1886 – July 11, 2019 – Pasadena, CA.

My last trip to Raymond 1886 was in 2014, that dinner was excellent, my recent meal did not disappoint as well. With a new chef, a new menu and a new bar program there was lots of exciting stuff to keep me occupied.

Part of this review was an adventure; I took 2 trains and an Uber to get there. I love Los Angeles transit and try to take it every chance I get. It adds to the over all experience, it almost like a mini dining vacation, so much fun!

Here’s what I tried:

Cocktails:

Oye Como – Va! – With Tequila, Madeira, CoCo Lopez, Demerara Syrup, House made Horchata, Pineapple Juice, and Lime Juice. Created by Miguel Perez. A super refreshing drink with lots of pizazz, just like I like it.

Magna Doodle – With Vodka, Chareau Aloe Liqueur, Red Grapes, Lemon Juice, Sugar, Egg White, and Angostura Bitters. Created by Jesus Gomez. A super creamy cocktail with a mellow flavor, goes down super easy.

Starters:

Artisanal Baguette with their homemade butters, “everything” butter like an “everything” bagel, and raspberry honey butter. The bread is served steaming hot and the butter just makes your taste buds soar.

Salmon Tartare, over tortilla rounds, super fresh and fragrant salmon makes for one delicious way to start my meal.

Steamed Blue Mussels, green curry sauce, with toasted sour dough. The dipping of the bread in the sauce makes this dish so worth every decadent calorie, just fantastic.

Entrees:

Roasted Duck Breast, with faro, baby spinach, sherry cherry jus. The duck is super tender, but not your typical one with crispy skin. The faro and the spinach addition is amazing, all just what the doctor ordered.

Grilled New York Steak, with maitake mushrooms, fingerling potato, crushed pea, pistachio, and balsamic jus. The mushrooms really made this dish for me, and the beef is served sliced. I ordered mine medium rare, which is the way to go.

Home Made Desserts:

Imported and Domestic Cheese Board assorted, with season pickles and fruit, house made focaccia; there were 2 French cheeses and 1 Swiss, all spectacular, and ones that you would not discover on your own.

Dark Chocolate Semifreddo with Malted Feuilletine, chocolate and mascarpone. This is a very sumptuous dessert; jam packed with superb chocolate flavor.

Wine:

La Guiberte, Sauv Blanc, Sancerre, 2016. This is a very grassy wine, but went great with all of the various cheeses, especially the French ones.

The White Queen, Chardonnay, Sonoma, 2017. I just loved this wine, for me it went great with the salmon, the mussels and the duck.

Scattered Peaks, Cabernet, Napa Valley, 2016. I new find for me, and I went crazy over this one, so perfect with the steak. I will have to take a visit to their winery now in Napa having found it here.

Executive Chef:

Executive Chef Jon Hung is the new secret ingredient at The Raymond 1886, whose brother is none other than Los Angeles based Chef Michael proving that talent, culinary ingenuity, and a keen sense of business runs in the family. Before his cross-country move to helm the kitchen at The Raymond 1886, Executive Chef Jon Hung was most recently at the highly collaborative restaurant Common Lot in New Jersey, which was awarded 4 stars by the New York Times. Chef Hung began his career in New Jersey as owner and operator of The Bagel Box, during which time he received his Certificate of Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of New York. These experiences set the foundation for Chef Hung’s trek towards a new frontier at The Raymond 1886, where his fifteen years overseeing all aspects of his own business made him cognizant and empathetic of all restaurant operations, while his team work skills at Common Lot gave Hung the training ground to create a collaborative environment in the kitchen. “I consider it a failing of my leadership if I do not support the creativeness of my team.” For his all new dinner menu at The Raymond 1886, Executive Chef Jon Hung has stayed within the parameters of tradition while still coloring just outside the lines in texture and flavor profile.

Pastry Chef:

The Raymond 1886’s Pastry Chef Alexa Clark is the sweet to Executive Chef Jon Hung’s savory. Calculated and thoughtful, Clark’s career began immediately following her completion in Pastry and Baking Arts at The Institution of Culinary Education in New York, and in New York and New Jersey based kitchens such as TriBeCa Treats, No Nut Nation, and Local Seasonal Kitchen, before gaining recognition for her contributions at Common Lot and Viaggio Ristorante, with whom she was profiled in the April 2018 issue of New Jersey Monthly. Hung and Clark met at Common Lot and quickly discovered a similar work ethic that only strengthens under the same kitchen roof, synergistically playing off one another with their supportive palates. Clark knew from the get-go that her approach to The Raymond 1886 new dessert menu would be about perfecting balance. Says Clark, “Guests want something they cannot easily make at home, but something that is also familiar.” Clark walks that tightrope with the greatest of ease seen in her delectable treats. Always seeking new opportunities to expand her prowess, Clark has also had the chance to get behind the bar and collaborate with the critically acclaimed 1886 bar team for their new Cocktail Menu and she is looking forward to more collaborations with the 1886 team coming up.

Manager Chelsea Vexland made my experience so fun, she is from San Diego, and has been the manager for the last 3 months. She added a very personalized touch. By the end of my culinary experience I felt like I had made real friend.

The interior is woodsy and dark, but there are many patios if you want an outside feel in the day or night. In the evening the patios have heat lamps, each one has such a homey cozy feel, you will be happy you choose this casual outdoor seating. One of the patios has a rock fireplace. No matter where you dine you will feel wonderful in their charming environment. They play great classic soul and old school music, like Sam Cooke, which really sets the tone.

This restaurant is steeped in rich history, located in South Pasadena was the first major resort hotel of the San Gabriel Valley served as a winter residence for wealthy easterners. Mr. Walter Raymond of Raymond & Whitcomb Travel Agency of Boston built it, Mass. The hotel was built atop Bacon Hill which lies between Pasadena and South Pasadena and was renamed Raymond Hill with the opening of the hotel in 1886. The first and original hotel the original hotel, burned to the ground in 1895. A second building was erected in 1901 and equally replaced the older in grandeur. The hotel was foreclosed following the Great Depression and was razed for commercial development. The Raymond Restaurant is housed in what was a guesthouse bungalow, in all of its original craftsman architecture. They have great black and white photos of the old buildings on the wall; make sure you check it out.

It’s a destination spot for anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, and special occasions. The night I went they had a huge family gathering on one of the patios, good times were had. Whatever the occasion The Raymond 1886 is always memorable, with a fun local crowd, a great destination, worth the travel to South Pasadena.

The Raymond 1886
1250 S Fair Oaks Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone:(626) 441-3136
www.theraymond.com

* Some Content was taken off of their website.

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June 19, 2018 – Lunch – CoCo Queen Rotisserie – West Hollywood, CA.

One of the newest, smartest restaurants to come on board West Hollywood’s already eclectic food scene is Coco Queen Rotisserie. With its fresh innovative take on French Rotisserie Chicken, CoCo Queen Rotisserie promises to be one of Boys Town’s hottest staples.

Meeting with both owners Nathalie Dahan and Angelique Bohbot, I realized the dedication these 2 ladies have to their unique brand. Friends for more than twenty years, Nathalie and Angelique are bringing their French family traditions of family and food – chicken in particular – to this West Hollywood Eatery. “To us, feeding people is more than nurturing the body. It’s nurturing the soul. And, this is something in which we find great joy – making people happy and bringing smiles to their faces.”

For them it is all about women and empowering women, so much so that they have dedicated a new Charity called “The Love Charity by CoCo Queen”, which main purpose is to help women of a certain age who are starting over, because of divorce or other unseen circumstances, and need the camaraderie with other women going through the same thing.

Here’s what I tried:

Salads:

The Mademoiz Elle Salad: Tuscan kale, baby spinach, pomegranate, grape, pistachios, sunflowers, goji berries, bee pollen, chopped nuts, with golden dressing winegrette. A bright fresh-flavored salad, packed with super healthy ingredients, just loved it.

Mains:

Gold Tray, an assortment of different kinds of chicken, piece of chicken roast, 2 chicken balls, 2 nuggets, 1 thigh, and French fries. This grand golden tray has everything you would want to try. Each type of chicken is just scrumptious. I really loved their take on chicken balls, super meaty and wonderful. (All of their chicken is Kosher.)

Sauces:

Traditional French garlic mayonnaise. I can’t say enough about this luxurious sauce, filled with garlic, just delightful.

Dessert:

Nathalie’s Gold Tiramisu, super creamy and elegant, a real keeper.

Wine:

Lupe Cholet Comtess, Chardonnay, Burgundy, France. This is a very light Chardonnay with great an herb terroir flavor, just the perfect wine with any of the chicken dishes.

Everyone has a Coco Queen in their life. You just probably have never thought about it. Or, you may have just taken for granted that it will always be there. Whether it’s your mother’s crepes. Your aunt’s tiramisu. Or, your grandmother’s secret chicken recipe. For these reasons, this business venture is much more than an entrepreneurial endeavor. It is a life passion. “What we’re trying to capture with Coco Queen Rotisserie is a vibe, a feeling and atmosphere of a home cooked meal, that is recreating an environment that feels like home; that feels like you’re sitting at your grandmother’s kitchen table/dining table.”

They want every visitor to feel as if they’ve entered an environment that is reminiscent of their family home. In other words, Coco Queen can be viewed as high-end luxury fast food. Yet, offering fresh ingredients, cooked-to-order, and seasoned with a secret family recipe, all at a reasonable price.

The décor is very fun, with hounds tooth pattern on the outside of the building and the inside floors, it sets the tone for what’s about to happen. As well as the French Chickens that adorn the back wall, clad with berets, and a very lively atmosphere is what this place is all about. Get ready; your taste buds are about to be tantalized. Classy kitsch, with a sprinkle of humor, you too will have to laugh and enjoy their delicious food.

Coco Queen Rotisserie is no-nonsense and just what this great popular neighborhood really needed. The next time you are yearning for a great chicken lunch or dinner, run to CoCo Queen, in the heart of West Hollywood, this place is truly where every kind of queen is welcome.

Coco Queen Rotisserie
8700 Santa Monica Blvd,
West Hollywood, CA 90069
26cocoqueen.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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REAL TO REEL – Portrayals and Perceptions of LGBT’s in Hollywood – June 6, 2019 – Hollywood Museum, Hollywood, CA.

LGBT  7th Annual Event at The Hollywood Museum honoring Lisa Vanderpump, Tyler Henry and Lily Tomlin, and Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell.

Donelle Dadigan, Founder and President of The Hollywood Museum in partnership with Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell (CD13), announced its 2019 salute to the LGBT community’s contributions to the entertainment industry.

The seventh annual “REAL to REEL: Portrayals and Perceptions of LGBT in Hollywood” exhibit, in partnership with Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (CD-13) and LA Pride, is an educational, entertaining and informative retrospective of LGBT images in film, TV, and new digital platforms – featuring costumes, props, photos, and iconic imagery all telling the story of the milestones and influence that LGBT characters and plot lines have had in Hollywood from early stereotypes to modern-day representations. Additionally, REAL to REEL celebrates LGBT Icons – individuals and couples who may be openly LGBT or not, and who support the LGBT community.

The night began with a huge red carpet with Extra and ABC doing live coverage. Once inside there was a sushi counter, a caviar table, delicious hot food table, and the perfect collection of great wines. A very elegant affair.

The stars mingled on with all of us lucky media and friends of the museum for just a fun filled evening celebrating LA Pride and The LGBT community. Having lived ion West Hollywood for over 25 years I couldn’t have been more pleased. Being a huge supporter of LGBT and always loving to go to LA Pride every year, I just relish in the fat that the LGBT community in West Hollywood has become such a big deal. What I love if your straight of gay, it doesn’t matter it is just an honor to be invited every year and be a proud friend of LGBT!!!

Stars Attended:

Lisa Vanderpump (Vanderpump Rules, & Honoree), Tyler Henry (Hollywood Medium & Honoree) Lily Tomlin, Fran Drescher, Peter Marc Jacobson, Kat Kramer (Actress & daughter of Stanley Kramer), Karen Kramer (actress, wife of Stanley Kramer), Jennifer Kramer (Daughter of Stanley Kramer), DEVV TAYLOR (Ready to Mingle), JUDY TENUTA (Comedian), Erin Murphy (Tabitha, Bewitched) Connor Dean (Butch the Bully in the “Cool Cat” movies), Jax Malcolm (CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Sam Harris, Stacia Gates (Cooking it up) , Patti Negri (Good Witch) ,Frank Sheftal- (kabc radio host),Donna Spangler ( Beverly Hills Christmas 1 &2) William Mcnamara( tv & film actor) , Tanna Frederick (influencer// actress), Rachel Royale (influencer/ music artist), Serena Laurel (influencer/ actress),Kathy Kolla ( award-winning director, actress, and screenwriter) Kasha Hovey (Actor), Robbie Dean (influencer), Hair Tahoe- celeb. Fashion designer, Jay Will / Kandie (MTV Hit comedy show “ WILD N OUT), Alice Amter (Big Bang Theory), Christie Pharris – Passions/Queens of Drama, Darcy Donavan (Influencer), Elaine Ballace (The Rich & the Ruthless), Geri Jewell (Facts of Life / Deadwood), Jeremy Miller (Growing Pains), Joey Luthman (Astrid Clover), Jorge Del Busto (Designer), Kate Linder (The Young & the Restless), Kevin Spirtas (Emmy Winner After Forever), Rico Anderson (Star Trek), Roslyn Kind (Award Winning Singer), Sam Harris (Award Winning Singer),Todd Sherry (Life In Pieces).

This year, philanthropist, restaurateur, author, and activist Lisa Vanderpump who is also Executive Producer of BRAVO – TV’s Vanderpump Rules, and reigning Queen for nine seasons of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will be honored with the HOLLYWOOD LEGACY award. In addition, Television personality, physic, medium, author, Tyler Henry who stars on the E! Entertainment series Hollywood Medium will be honored with the HOLLYWOOD FUTURE Award. Tony, Emmy and Grammy Winner, Lily Tomlin and her partner, writer, director, and producer Jane Wagner will be honored with the TRAIL BLAZER award. All of these stars appeared in person to accept these prestigious awards.

Exhibit highlights include costumes and rainbow inspired personal clothing from today’s hottest stars, from television shows and films such as: (Rami Malik) Bohemian Rhapsody, One Day at a Time (Isabella Gomez) Costume, Transparent (Jeffrey Tambour) Costume, Christian Siriano, (Project Runway), Kevin Spiritus (After Forever), Ru Paul’s Drag Race (Bob the Queen), Ryan O’Connell, Costumes from the stars of Grace and Frankie, Julia Roberts, How to Get Away with Murder, The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, Vanderpump Rules (Lisa Vanderpump), Hollywood Medium ( Tyler Henry), Sordid Lives, Cruising, Orange is the New Black, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ray Donovan, Mad Men, Arrested Development, Cabaret. as well as Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, Tyler Perry’s The Haves and Have Nots, Scandal, True Blood, The Good Wife, and more.

Additional exhibit items included famous costumes from Hollywood’s leading designers – Bob Mackie, Zac Posen, Ret Turner, Nolan Miller, Mr. Blackwell and Edith Head.

This year’s exhibit also includes, LGBT Icons including Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury, Judy Garland, Betty Davis, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Liza Minnelli, Bette Midler, Ramon Navarro, Rudolf Valentino, Charles Laughton, Sam Harris, Bruce Vilanch, Sherman Hemsley, Gere Jewell, Jerry Herman, and many more.

The Hollywood Museum’s REAL to REEL exhibition, which coincides with the annual Christopher Street West Pride activities, offers a historic perspective spanning 100 years from silent films to today’s films, TV shows, and digital platforms.

“The museum welcomes the opportunity to create and showcase this important exhibition, sharing with the public the artistic expression and extraordinary significance of the LGBT culture and its effect and impact on the world through the medium of entertainment”, says Donelle Dadigan, Founder and President of The Hollywood Museum located in the Historic Max Factor Building.

The exhibit also included historic LGBT moments with Rev. Troy Perry, including the Black Cat riots (1967), and on display – the infamous sign that once hung at the entrance of West Hollywood’s Barney’s Beanery.

The Hollywood Museum gratefully acknowledges the following ABC, Amazon Studios, Bravo, E! Entertainment Television, BBC America, CBS, Discovery Life, Focus Features HBO, Logo, NBC, Netflix, OWN, Showtime, TLC and 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, as well as organizations serving the LGBT community including ONE Archives, Christopher Street West, The Lavender Effect, The Glaad Awards, Amfar and more.

What a great way to kick off all of the Pride events in my neighborhood, doesn’t get any better than this!

The Hollywood Museum
1660 N. Highland Ave.
Hollywood, CA.
thehollywoodmuseum.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

 

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Pez Cantina – May 24, 2019 – Lunch – Downtown – Los Angeles, CA.

At Masters of Taste in Pasadena this spring I met some great restaurateurs, one of them being Bret Thompson. So when I was invited to do a tasting at Pez Cantina, I jumped at the chance.

It was a busy lunch hour in the heart of Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles. I parked my car far way so that I could walk around downtown and take in the vibe before indulging my culinary senses, so obviously I was hungry.

My waiter Christopher Mesa was spot on as well as General Manager-Jesus Casas, who made sure I was happy all through my lunch.

The décor is fun with great nuances from Mid-Century Modern, with a Latin flair. There is a great open kitchen, with lightwood planked floors. A big punch of color highlights the interior with Aqua blue walls, and aqua blue umbrellas out side. Big over stuffed brown leather club chairs make for one comfy experience. There are 3 banquets with Spanish tapestry type upholstery, and a raised area with orange walls, and drop down retro light fixtures, perfect for a large party. With two outside patios you can enjoy the great spring weather. The bar area is a bit more intimate.

Here’s what I tried:

Cocktails:

Hibiscus Berry Margarita Tequila, hibiscus sour, fresh lime, agave, and seasonal berries. A bit tart, but just a nice way to start my delicious lunch.

Guava Margarita, this is their special margarita of the day, sweet and luscious, a true winner.

Lunch:

Chips and Salsa Flight, including: Salsa Chipotle, Roasted Jalapeno, Salsa Negra, Poblano Crema, Hacabero “Mustard”, and Salsa Diabla. Each one of these dips had its own unique flavor profile and all were so perfect with their amazing hand made tortilla chips.

Kompachi Sashimi Salad with Abaha ponzu sauce, with grilled mushrooms and shaved vegetables. This is a special dish of the day, and it is just amazing. The fish was super fresh and the flavors were off the charts, I truly enjoyed this starter.

2 Ceviche Tostadas, daily dive, traditional preparation, and chile puya aioli. These were the size of a quarter, so you should be able to eat all of them with no problem, and they are unique and different.

Shrimp and cauliflower taquitos, with gazpacho salsa, poblano crema, and cabbage pico de gallo. I am a lover of taquitos, I just adore the fact that they are a compact roll with meaty goodness, and in this case it was shrimp, which is also favorite meat of mine.

Grilled Baby Back pork ribs, with chipotle-bacon marmalade, butternut squash, cashew butter, and onion rings. Ok, I just can’t say enough about these ribs, there are fall off the bone tender and the accompaniments were divine. They give you 2 onions rings, which for me is more then enough, but the rings were just delicious.

Loreto Style Fish Taco, Pacifico beer batter, handmade tortillas, with lime aioli, slaw, salsa negra with rice and beans, Cilantro-lime rice, black beans “de la olla”. The batter on this taco is cooked to perfection and the fish was very fresh. The side dishes that came with it were also nice. The black beans had a fantastic Mexican cheese on top that gave the whole dish a nice creamy zing.

Corn Esquites, ancho chile butter, lime and Parmesan. I just love fresh corn cooked any way, and this side dish is a bit spicy, but enchanted my taste buds.

Dessert:

Strawberry Pistachio Trifle Cake, pistachio mousseline, strawberry gelatin, vanilla bean chiffon, and crème Chantilly. This is the correct way to end my spectacular lunch. The pistachios are crunchy and the vanilla bean chiffon is sort of a palate cleanser, it cooled my mouth down from all of the heat.

Wine:

William Hill, Chardonnay, Napa 2015. This is my favorite wine of the day, it is creamy yet balanced, and it went great with all of the seafood dishes.

Tangent, Albarino, Edna Valley 2015, this wine was not as complicated as the Chardonnay, but equally wonderful, I enjoyed this wine more with fish taco, it lends itself to fruit forward goodness.

Pez Cantina is the latest project by former Patina Executive Chef and co-founder of Milk Ice Cream Parlor, Bret Thompson. Located on Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles, walking distance from MOCA, Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Broad Museum, Pez Cantina is a sustainable Coastal Mexican-style restaurant and bar serving the freshest sea-to-land dishes in an oasis-type of setting.

The vibe is mostly business people having lunch, but everyone is having fun. The staff added to the atmosphere by being friendly and nice. With extremely lively salsa music, it sets the tone for this culinary adventure.

Its worth taking at trip to Bunker Hill, day or night, this will give you a reason for living. Exciting food that will make you feel like you’re on an exotic vacation.

Mondays 11:30am–2:30pm (Closed for Dinner on Mondays)
Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am—–10pm (Kitchen Closes 9pm)
Friday 11:30am–—11pm (Kitchen Closes 10:30pm)
Saturday Brunch 11am–2:30pm; Saturday Late Lunch 2:30pm–4pm;Dinner 5:00pm–—11pm (Kitchen Closes 10:30pm) Brunch Sunday 11am–3pm

Pez Cantina
401 South Grand Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
http://www.pezcantina.com/

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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