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
http://www.pedaids.org/

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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.

Appetizers:

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.

Soups:

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.

Salads:

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.

Mains:

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.

Pastas:

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.

Pizza:

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.

Cocktails:

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.

Desserts:

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.

Wine:

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
cpk.com

 

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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

http://www.swingentertainment.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website

 

 

 

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Blue Point Coastal Cuisine – Dinner Oct. 11, 2018 – San Diego, CA.

This was such a wonderful experience. They have the freshest seafood, and everything is done with such precision and attention to detail, I just can’t say enough about this great restaurant.

Owned by David and Leslie Cohn, they have 24 total restaurants in Southern California. But Blue Point Coastal Cuisine was meant to be a fine dining, all sustainable, seafood experience in the Gaslamp district, and they have succeeded. They really go above and beyond, and want to make every customer happy, so that they come back for more.

This corner spot on 5th Ave., in the Gaslamp district, has such great street views of all of the partygoers that entertaining you while you are doing. The interior has a large aquarium which adds to the over all ambiance. Ceiling fans and large sconce type drop fixtures make for an elegant interior. The music is all about romance, with nice ballads.

Executive Chef Samuel Jeffrey is French trained, so many of his dishes have classic nuances. Chef Di Cuisine, Edgar Sierra came out and sat with me, he explained how he tailored my dishes to me being by myself and wanting to have me try a wide variety of dishes, but all were made in small single tasting portions. My server, the handsome Dave Babcock, has been with the restaurant since they opened, he loves his job and added a nice touch to my overall experience.

Here’s What I Tried:

Traditional Vodka Martini, this is my jam, I love to start my meal with an oldie but goodie. They gave me a sidecar, which I totally love! The olives are stuffed with Blue cheese.

Assorted Fresh Oysters, on the half shell with prosecco mignonette. A nice assortment, every single one was fresh and just astounding.

Blue Point Lobster Bisque, with sherry and creme fraiche. This is one of my favorite soups, but Blue Point Coastal nailed it. Really the best bisque ever. I would just go back to enjoy this soup again and order nothing else.

Wild Mushroom Ravioli, with port wine truffle sauce. Its kind of sweet, with a dash of what tasted to me like vinegar, truly delicious.

Seared Day Boat Scallops, potato galette, green apple, arugula, shaved asparagus, pomegranate, and champagne citrus gastric. OMG, just delightful, a perfect scallop dishes.

Peppercorn Ahi & Blackened Shrimp, with basmati rice, creamy spinach, asparagus, avocado cilantro coulis, and honey balsamic reduction. My fantastic server David said I had to try this, he was right, wow.

Cioppino, seabass, shrimp, king crab leg, clams, mussels, and a spicy tomato broth. This Cioppino has all of its bases covered, and the fish is just superb.

8 oz. Filet Mignon, garlic mashed potato, summer vegetable, and honey ancho pepper sauce. There is just nothing that is bad here; every dish was tasty and perfect, including this steak!

Herb Crusted New Zealand Rack of Lamb, spicy lamb sausage, Japanese eggplant, and flageolet beans. The lamp was cooked rare, and the beans are just the best part of this dish.

Red King Crab, again nothing here is disappointing, these were truly amazing.

Creamy Spinach With Homemade sausage. I loved the spinach in this dish.

They make their own bread daily and it has survived 3 different chefs.

Dessert:

Raspberry Macaroon, citrus mousseline, and cheesecake ice cream. You need a knife to cut threw this glorious huge cookie.

Ice Cream Plate, chef’s selection of three housemade ice creams. These were refreshing and a perfect way to cleanse my palate.

Wine:

Chardonnay, Dry Creek Estate Block 10, Russian River – 2016. This wine goes with any of the seafood dishes, but I liked it with the fresh oysters the best.

Chardonnay, Ferrari-Carano, Sonoma – 2016. One of my favorite Chardonnays, you have to try this with the crab, and the Cioppino.

Zinfandel, Neal, Napa Valley – 2015. Well of course this wine would be perfect with the Steak or the Lamb, its fruity and add a nice balance with the meat dishes.

I am telling you hands down, just the best food of my trip. Take my advice and try this glorious Seafood restaurant in the Gaslamp district, like me you will want to make Blue Point Coastal Cuisine your new destination restaurant in San Diego.

Blue Point Coastal Cuisine
565 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 233-6623
cohnrestaurants.com

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Lunch – Asti Restaurant – October 11, 2018 – Gaslamp District, San Diego, CA.

Right in the heart of The Gaslamp District in downtown San Diego, this Italian restaurant really hit the spot. They have a very lively fun out door patio in the front of the building, so you can watch the world go by, I choose to sit inside and experience the fine dining room ambiance, I was not disappointed.

Here’s what I tried:

Stares Tortino Di Garnchio Dungeness crab cakes served over baby arugula. This a one huge crab cake that had all of the bells and whistles, lots of great crab made me very happy.

Fritto Misto Con Calimari – Fried crispy calamari and vegetables served with spicy red sauce. The perfect combination of calamari and vegetables with a light breading, a true winner.

Salad:

Cesare Salad, with romaine lettuce hearts, croutons and shaved Parmesan cheese, tossed in Asti’s famous traditional Ceasar dressing. A terrific salad with very little ingredients, but everything very high quality and super fresh.

Pasta:

Fettuccine with lobster shrimp and scallops. This dish for me was a showstopper; with very delicate garlic light sauce it is just a treat for your eyes and your stomach. The lobster is a large tail and it is cooked to perfection, yum!

Tagliatelle Bolognese E Funghi Fress Fettucini pasta with meat ragot, and wild mushrooms. A nice full-bodied sauce, but I would go for the Lobster fettuccine if given the choice.

Fish & Seafood:

Salmon Mare Chiaro Grilled, with red wild king salmon, topped with capers and shallots, in a brandy Worcestershire sauce, served with seasonal vegetable. The sauce is very unusual, but super hearty and delicious. It’s thick and brown in color, but it adds specific flavors that blended great with the salmon.

Dessert:

Tiramisu, they make a fantastic tiramisu, you got to try it.

Crème Brulee, this dessert was the best ever, it’s just a creamy wonderland of goodness.

Wine:

Chardonnay Saintsbury, Carneros, 2015. This wine is the perfect choice for all of the seafood dishes; it’s a great blank canvas for all of the seafood flavors.

Zinfandel, Steele, Old Vine, Mendocino, 2015. I would pair this jammy wine with any if the meat dishes at Asti Restaurant.

Adding to the already very Italian atmosphere they play lots of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin ballads, which make you feel like you could be somewhere in The Bronx or New York City.  Whatever the case you too will be pleasantly surprised by all of this delicious fare.

My server, Eric Garcia has been with Asti for 3 years and he made my dining experience unforgettable. A non-nonsense type of restaurant with truly wonderful food, it’s just the right place to try when your in the Gaslamp district, you know what they say, “When in Rome”…

Asti
728 5th Ave.
San Diego, CA
www.astisandiego.com

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Re-Visit – Davanti Enoteca – Dinner – Oct. 10 – San Diego CA.

Right smack dab in the heart of Little Italy in San Diego, lies a great little Italian gem, with very fresh inventive regional Italian food. What I really love about this place is the cozy atmosphere and the fantastic food. I came here the first time back in 2014, so I was really ready for a re-visit.

Here’s What I Tried:

Kettle One Martini – real traditional, exactly what I love, it was a great way to start my meal.

Starters:

Truffle Egg Toast, with egg, fontina, asparagus, and truffle oil. This is just heavenly, the truffle oil adds the greatest touch, but all of the ingredients are aligned, and out of this world.

Salad:

Corn, with wild mushrooms, rosemary oil, arugula, walnuts, and sherry vinaigrette. Crunchy, hearty, healthy, a great salad with lots of colorful nuances.

Pasta:

Pappardelle Bolognese, fresh pappardelle pasta, homemade beef & veal Bolognese, with onions, carrots, celery, San Marzano tomatoes, and pecorino. Like your Nonna used to make, its just that good.

Chitarra Con Scampi, handmade chitarra pasta, fire roasted pomodoro, shrimp, bay scallops, and scallions. My favorite part of this dish is the sensational homemade pasta.

Dessert:

Caramel Crostata, with Oreo crust, caramel mousse, and mascarpone whipped cream. This is a must have, it is luscious and worth every calorie.

Wine:

Chardonnay, Routestock, Carneros, CA, the perfect combo with the salad and appetizer, it is buttery, just how I like my Chardonnay.

Zinfandel, Seghesio, Sonoma Coast. I used to be a wine club member at this winery, so I know all of their Zins very well; this wine was perfect with the Bolognese.

A short but very sweet visit with not as much offerings as I would have liked but that means I have to come back very soon.

Davanti Enoteca
1655 India Street
San Diego, CA
http://www.davantienoteca.com

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The Living Legends Foundation, Inc. Celebrates It’s 22th Anniversary Gala – October 5, 2018 – The Tagylan Cultural Complex, Hollywood , CA.

A great night honoring the real nuts and bolts of the music industry. So many prolific winners graced the stage and amazing performance. The Living Legends Foundation, INC. recognizes legendary music, radio, and retail industry leaders, who have paved the way for so many in the entertainment industry.

The distinguished honorees include Michael Mauldin, CEO of Mauldin Brand, Inc., who will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award; Hurricane Dave Smith, Vice President of Programming and Operations of Radio One Atlanta, will receive the Jerry Boulding Radio Executive Award; Cynthia Johnson, CEO of Aloro Marketing, will be presented with the Music Label Executive Award; Eddie Sims and Belinda Wilson, Partners of Moonridge Entertainment International, will receive the Entrepreneur Award; Denise Brown Henderson, Esq., Principal, will be presented with the first-ever Mike Bernardo Executive Award, which will be given to an outstanding female executive for demonstrating excellence in music and entertainment; and Pat Shields, Partner of Black Dot LLC, will receive the A.D. Washington Chairman’s Award. A special recognition award will be presented to legendary photographer, Bruce Talamon.

The Living Legends Foundation Honorary Chairperson of the Awards Dinner and Gala is Sylvia Rhone, President of Epic Records; and the Event Chairperson is Azim Rashid, Senior Vice President of Promotion of Roc Nation. The host for the evening is DeDe McGuire of the nationally syndicated radio program, DeDe In The Morning, and entertainment will be provided by Kenny Lattimore.

The Living Legends Foundation continues its mission to honor the best and the brightest in the ever-changing and evolving music and entertainment industries. The foundation’s core mission is to honor pioneers and professionals who have broken new ground in the areas of broadcasting, recorded music, marketing, retail, publicity, publishing, digital, creative, and philanthropy.

Performers, Hosts and Award Recipients:
Kenny Lattimore – Grammy Award – nominated recording artist.
Eddie Levert, Grammy Award-nominated Recording Artist (The O’Jays).
Lenny Williams, Hit Recording Artist.
Margo Thunder, Jazz Recording Artist.
Sylvia Rhone, President of Epic Records (Honorary Chairperson).
Azim Rashid, SVP of Promotion, RocNation, (Event Chairperson).
DeDe McGuire, DeDe in the Morning (Host).
Take 6 (David Thomas, Claude McKnight & Alvin Chea).
YoYo, Hip Hop Recording Artist.
Ro Brooks, Showtime’s Shameless & OWN’s HAHN.
Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, Director and Actor.
Michael Mauldin, CEO of Mauldin Brand, Inc. (Lifetime Achievement Award).
Hurricane Dave Smith, VP of Programming and Operations of Radio One Atlanta (Jerry
Boulding Radio Executive Award).
Cynthia Johnson, SVP of Promotion of Columbia Records (Music Label Executive Award).
Eddie Sims and Belinda Wilson, Partners of Moonridge Entertainment International
(Entrepreneur Award).
Denise Brown Henderson, Esq., Principal, (Mike Bernardo Executive Award).
Pat Shields, Partner of Black Dot LLC, (A.D. Washington Chairman’s Award).
Bruce W. Talamon, photographer and author, “Bruce W. Talmon Soul, R&B and Funk Photographs 1972-1982 (Special Recognition).

It was a great night filled with delicious food, with a slight Middle Eastern vibe, great wine, and a huge message by all of the honorees. For me the message is hard work always pays off. I pretty much live by that rule.

The Living Legends Foundations, INC.
Taglyan Cultural Complex,
1201 N. Vine Street, Hollywood, CA.
www.livinglegendsfoundation.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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GEANCO Hollywood Gala – Pacific Design Center – October 6, 2018

A glorious evening under the stars with David Oyelowo & Chiwetel Ejiofor, with a musical performance by James Carrington and Carmen Vanderburg. The events proceeds fund medical and education initiatives for Nigerians in need.

The fundraiser was led by British Nigerians David Oyelowo and Chiwetel Ejiofor as they had discussions on philanthropy in Nigeria and Africa at large.

GEANCO leads special surgical missions and runs maternal and infant health programs in Nigeria. It also donates critical supplies to schools in Nigeria while providing life-changing scholarships to young female victims of terrorism and gender inequality.

Also at the gala was Nollywood star Adesua Etomi, as well as other Nigerians such as Afam Oyenma, Sam Adegoke and Dayo Okeniyi.

About The GEANCO Foundation was established in 2005 by Dr. Godwin Onyema and his family:
While in high school in Nigeria, Godwin was inspired to dedicate his life to medicine by his loving father and a British missionary doctor who cared for his local community.

After graduating from medical school in 1974,
Godwin immigrated to the United States with his new wife, Josephine (Nma). Before he left, Godwin promised to return one day to improve healthcare and save lives in his homeland.

Godwin began his philanthropic effort in earnest soon after his children graduated from college (Gozie – Princeton, Afam – Harvard, Ebele – Georgetown, Nche – Boston College)

Together, they recruited a team of brilliant passionate individuals committed to making his dream a life-saving reality.

A fantastic evening, with great food, enlightening conversation and all for a great cause.

Their mission: To Save and Transform The Lives of the Poor and Vulnerable in Africa.

The GEANCO Foundation
350 S. Grand Avenue, 25th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071
708-439-1462
Geanco.org

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Capital Seafood Restaurant – Dinner – Saturday – September 29, 2018

A very welcomed dining experience to the neighborhood. This is a Beverly Hills premium Restaurant Row, where many have failed, but Capital Seafood promises to become Beverly Hills royalty. I was treated like a quee,n given the best of the best food on the planet. The lobster was a 6 LB. lobster.

King Lai was my gracious host; he is the manager of Capital. He was born in Venezuela, so he speaks fluent Spanish and Chinese. He is charming and super funny. He showed me all of the little nuances of Capital amazing food. King was the manager at harbor Seafood on the Westside. He has been married for 30 years and has 2 kids. He knows the restaurant business; he has working at many many restaurants through out the years. Randy Tsu is Capital’s owner; he hired King to do the day-to-day management job inside the restaurant. Then there was my server Jayson Absalon, who came from the health care industry. This is his first restaurant job. It just seemed like for a newly opened restaurant all of staff was enjoying their duties and everyone seemed like one big happy family. Second in command Oliver Wong was super sweet and made my culinary experience one that I will remember for a very long time.

Here’s What I tried:

Deluxe Dim Sum Platter, 2 pieces, Shu Mai, vegetable dumpling, egg roll. They have a very large separate dim sum menu that they do during the day. I just love the Shu Mai.

Fish Maw with Crab Meat Soup, Served with egg white. This is a very soothing soup with rich crab flavors and the egg white gives it a smooth creamy texture, I would absolutely order this one again.

Maine Lobster With House Special Sauce. The lobster was huge, got t be over 6 lbs. Their sauce will take your breath away, it sweet and spicy with nice garlic essence. The lobster is so tender and flavorful; I will never be able to eat a live lobster again after this extravaganza.

Scallops in a white wine sauce. The scallops are large and the sauce is delicate and perfect, a real winner.

Orange Chicken, Orange peel, red chili, green onion. You get a real orange flavor almost like mandarin orange, but its very apparent. I’ve had many orange chickens but this dish is the best of the best.

Deluxe Seafood Pan Fried Noodle. This is a small noodle, but the edges are crispy, with nice array of fresh fish, one of my favorites of the evening.

Yang Chow Fried Rice, Shrimp, BBQ Pork, egg, green onion, peas and carrots. This rice is very fragrant, they do not put any sauce in it, so its super light and fresh.

Baby Bok Coy In Superior Broth with Garlic. Tiny Bok Choy’s adorn this very garlicky vegetable dish, I just loved it.

I had a lovely Chardonnay to accompany my delicious dinner. Domaine Anderson, Anderson Valley 2015. It want great with all of the seafood that I tried.

What I can say about Capital restaurant it is will be my go to favorite. With a huge menu and just about everything for anyone, whether tour vegan, meat eater, and pescetarian you will find scrumptious delicacies here at Capital Seafood. You must try this place!

Capital Beverly Hills
50 N. La Cienaga Blvd. #130
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
310-855-1234
www.capitalseafoodbeverlyhills.com

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Dinner – Preux and Proper – September 25, 2018 – Downtown Los Angeles

This building is so iconic, it is a corner landmark, that was once a railroad crossing dating back to 1927, and is the last flat iron building in Los Angeles. It was also an oyster house, a beer house, and a brasserie. But has always been a restaurant. To me it’s San Francisco meets New Orleans, how cool!!!

Comfy, cozy, everything you would want from a night or day out. Everything is sustainable, the food is astounding, comfort food at its best, and the vibe is all that as well.

Here’s What I tried:

House Cocktails:

Punk Evans, Absolut Elxy vodka, lemongrass, ginger, watermelon, be ready for some kick ass cocktails, they pack a punch in more ways then one.

Jazz Men, Serrano infused tequila, house jasmine liqueur, agave, cilantro, lime, and coriander salt. A bit of a kick in this one but it went down fast all the while.

Treasure Island (Served In a Pineapple), Stolen smoked rum, orgeat, pineapple, lime, grenadine, lemon bitters. This is like a honeymoon drink for two, delicious, refreshing, and very sexy, served in a glorious pineapple.

Starters:

Proper Dinner Grilled Yellow Sweet Corn, pork cracklins, queso fresco, aleppo, smokey miso aioli. Oh my goodness, is all I can say, the sauce is just the best part of this fantastic corn.

Spicy Roasted Carrots, Golden beets, labneh kefir, roasted greens, crunchy jerk chick peas, okra leaf. For the very healthy, vegan, this will do the trick. The carrots are caramelized and the chickpeas are crunchy and filling, just delicious.

Chicken Liver Pate, Knob creek whiskey, bacon fat, house piccalilli relish, creole mustard seeds, and baguette. The relish got my attention as well as the mustard seed, but everything in this dish is terrific.

Fried Mississippi Catfish, Buttermilk marinade, cornmeal crust, house pickles, celery salt, red remoulade. Another accomplishment by Chef Samuel, the catfish is tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, WOW!

Dungeness Crab Hushpuppies with House bourbon barrel aged green hot sauce, boil spice, charred Poblano butter. They have gotten to be known for these little darlings and you can understand why, the real crab and the butter are the real gift of this wonderful dish.

Mains:

Liberty Farms Organic Duck Breast with Anson mills grits, white truffle, foie gras butter, roasted kale, huckleberry jus. The presentation is otherworldly, coupled with all of the unique ingredients, a must have menu item.

36 Hour Prime Boneless Beef Rib with Garnet yam puree, crispy parsnips, charred leeks, trumpet mushrooms, potlikker demi. How can you cook a 36 hour prime boneless rib to perfection, Chef Samuel nailed this one.

Desserts:

Beignets, pate a choux dough with “bananas foster” dulce de leche & powdered sugar. These are mini Beignets, but the cream sauce is the real show stopper on this very unique dessert.
Custard – Homemade Ice Cream, you just have to trust me on this one and order this.

Wines:

Chardonnay, Stags leap “Karia,” Napa Valley, 2016, with jasmine, white flowers, and white peach.

Petie Sirah, true grit, Mendocino 2015, with white pepper, black fruit, and dark chocolate.
The wines were all a great addition to certain dishes. Their wine list is terrific and of course I would order the best California wines that Preux and Proper has to offer.

Design features are distressed wood floors, original floors, and rafters. It’s a super cool eclectic vibe. Downstairs has only high tops and bar stools.They have a full dining room upstairs, which I was invited to come back to another time on Thursday nights, That’s their Jazz night.

Preux and Proper Story:

Hailing from humble beginnings in Baton Rouge, LA, owner/operator Joshua Kopel wanted to bring a little bit of The South to Southern California. In 2010 he opened Five0Four, a New Orleans style bar, in Hollywood. Four years later, Kopel looked to DTLA, broadened his focus from Bourbon Street to The South as a whole, and opened up Preux & Proper. After a rocky first year in The Fashion District, Kopel was ready call it quits. In walks Sammy Monsour, a third generation chef that grew up in his father’s kitchen in Chapel Hill, NC. Kopel and Monsour hit it off instantly, and what came to fruition was the best kind of Southern. Monsour’s food encompasses his classical training at the CIA, his Lebanese ancestry, and his Southern roots. It’s like your grandma’s food went to school, traveled around the world, and came back to you beautifully plated with one hell of a story to tell. What Kopel and Monsour have done at Preux & Proper is create a truly authentic experience. You can feel it as you walk in, it surrounds you as you dine, as you drink, and then as you drink some more; and Joshua and Sammy hope you take a little bit of their Southern Culture home with you. It is their mission to inspire Southern Culture and Hospitality throughout their restaurant and community.

The Owners/Chefs Stories:

“Monsour is doing some special things in the kitchen.”
— Eater LA

Sammy Monsour – Executive Chef / Partner:

Chef and partner of Preux & Proper and South City Fried Chicken in downtown Los Angles, Sammy Monsour has received acknowledgment and acclaim from James Beard Foundation, Eater, American Culinary Federation and Zagat. He is a third generation chef and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, with roots stemming from his parent’s neighborhood joint in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Sammy’s advocacy toward sustainability has positioned him as the LA Locals Leader for Chefs Collaborative and a proud member of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Blue Ribbon Task Force. Sammy has also appeared on Viceland’s The Untitled Action Bronson Show, Travel Channel’s Food Paradise and been the victor on several of Food Network’s popular reality cooking shows, including Alton Brown’s Cutthroat Kitchen. Samuel grew up in North Carolina went to CIA in New York. Was in NY for 6 years and Boston for 8 years. Everything to him has an n east coat sensibility. He supports The Aquarium Seafood Watch and The Chefs Collaborative.

“An arbitrator of taste in all things Southern within the confines of the city of Los Angeles”
— Voyage LA

Joshua Kopel – The Colonel / Partner:

Joshua is an entrepreneur, restaurateur and environmental advocate. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the spawn of bootleggers and retail giants, he was bred for the hospitality industry. Throughout Kopel’s 20+ year career in food and beverage he has managed venues ranging from the Alligator Bayou Bar, located on Alligator Bayou Road, seated on Alligator Bayou (it was exactly how you’re picturing it in your mind) to the hottest Hollywood nightclubs, bars, and ultra-lounges (far less glamorous than you’re picturing it in your mind). Kopel went independent in 2010, partnering with Mark Egland to opening their first concept Five0Four, a New Orleans-inspired bar, on the Walk of Fame in the heart of Hollywood. Four years later their sophomore effort Preux & Proper opened.
Kopel’s varied interests and talents have landed him several positions of influence ranging from being voted one of the Steamiest Southern Stars by E! Entertainment Television to the elected position of Business Chair on the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council to founding and serving on the Board of Directors of the Friends of Runyon Canyon, a non-profit focused on the protection of local Los Angeles Park areas.

The staff is friendly and fun, my busboy/assistant was Jesus aka Chuy stole the show, who was just was marvelous.

Their customers are very eclectic people, with a laid back atmosphere. The kinds of people that come to Preux and Proper, after work happy hour and then destination people.

All of their background music is upbeat Cajun based. They play old black and white movies with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall; The Big Sleep, Two for The Road.

Chef Sam says a big renaissance is going on in the neighborhood, instead of saying gentrification. He likes to talk about food politics and sustainability. In the immediate area, he says that everyone is welcome and there are no old timers trying to push out the newbies. He says that it is promoting an opportunity for healthy commerce.

Whatever the case maybe, Preux and Proper is a huge hit in my book, I can’t wait to come back!

Preux and Proper
840 S Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
https://www.preuxandproper.com

Hours
Mon – Wed, 4 pm – 10 pm
Thursday, 6pm – Midnight
Fri & Sat, 5 pm – 11 pm
Sunday Brunch 12pm-4pm
Sunday Supper 4pm-9pm

* Some Content Was Taken off of their Website

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