Via Maestra 42 – Dinner – October 2, 2020 – Santa Barbara, CA.

There is always going to be of my reviews that really stand out, because of the food, the ambiance, but in this case the unabridged charm of owner Renato Moiso. His million-dollar smile will make you feel so comfortable, like you have known him all your life.

Renato also has an import company of all things from Italy, so you know he uses the best Italian ingredients from Italy for a lot of his recipes. The restaurant’s name – Via Maestra 42 is Renato’s hometown address in Piedmont. He speaks about family and recipes, and how important all of that was to him growing up.

Here’s what I tried:

Antipasti E Insalate:

Zuppa del Giorno, Fresh vegetarian stock soup, dairy-free. One soup was a broccoli and the other a garbanzo bean, both with amazing unique flavors. Renato told me both his kids are dairy-free and vegan, so he came up with the perfect recipes for them and of course for all of us to enjoy.

Insalata del Buongustaio, fresh creamy Burrata cheese with local heirloom tomatoes and basil. Served on a bed of baby arugula with lemon Parmigiano dressing. Burrata cheese is the best cheese as far as I am concerned; they did a great job on this salad.

Carpaccio di Bresaola Con Rucola, thinly sliced cured beef Bresaola on a bed of baby arugula tossed with lemon Parmigiano dressing, topped with shaved Grana Padano cheese. This cured meat melts in your mouth, paired so nicely with the arugula.

Insalata Portobello. Organic greens tossed with balsamic dressing, topped with Fontina Val d’Aosta cheese roasted peppers and marinated Portobello mushrooms. The presentation is so glamorous, and the mushroom was so tasty with the wonderful Fontina cheese.

Primi:

Ravioli Zuccotto, Pumpkin and ricotta cheese-filled ravioli in a browned butter and sage sauce. Sage and pumpkin is really a no-brainer in Italian cooking and this one hits the spot. I just loved the freshness of the pasta and the combination of ingredients.

Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese, the pasta is cooked to perfection and the sauce is real comfort food, just wonderful.

Polenta del Montanaro, Classic fresh polenta dish, with sautéed Portobello and porcini mushrooms, a drop of white truffle oil. I could not get enough of this dish, the porcini mushrooms are so fragrant, and the brown sauce is just to die for.

Secondi:

Branzino, with sautéed spinach and cubed potatoes. This is a must-have, so flaky and delicious, simple but elegant.

Costolette d’Agnello Alla Griglia, Grilled Lamb chop marinated in a mint vinaigrette served with Truffle mashed potato and sautéed fresh vegetable. The lamb is super tender, and the potatoes are out of this world.

Dessert:

Panna Cotta all’Amaretto, Traditional cooked cream dessert with amaretto crumbs. Topped with dark chocolate sauce. Light, fruity, for a light dessert this one is perfection.

Gelato, they have an incredible assortment of Gelato, made by the company Bindi from Milan, Italy, but they wholesale in the US.

Nipper’s favorite Tortino di Cioccolato Caldo, Rich chocolate soufflé served warm with vanilla beans gelato and fresh whipped cream. This is so decadent, but just mind-blowing. I wish I had room for more food. Next time I am just going to go in for dessert to try this 7th wonder for the world again.

Wine:

Mionetto, Prosecco, Doc Treviso, very light and refreshing, a perfect way to start my magical experience.

Attems, Pinot Grigio, Friuli Doc, 2018. This is a delightful white wine, very fruit forward and I would pair with any salad, or cheeses.

Roero Arneis, Bruno Giacosa, 2018, this wine paired perfectly with the Branzino, it lent itself to add to the buttery nuances in the fish.

Cantaloro Toscana Biologico, 2016, this wine was amazingly great with the lamb.

Barone Fini, Merlot Trentino, 2016, the perfect wine with the lamb chop. A bit dry but jammy as well. Also with the chocolate soufflé, you can’t miss with that combination. Renato paired all of these glorious wines; he did such an amazing job!

Via Maestra 42 is just the best of the best. It offers sumptuous Italian specialties, with a smart ambiance. I got there a bit on the early side, but by the time I left there was a line outside waiting to get in. Renato told me of how his customers are so loyal, when everything was closed his customers gave him anonymous money to stay afloat. He is truly a fixture in this community and knows everyone. Anyone who walked in he greeted and said how are you, where have you been, just like family. I thought I was special, but the truth is he treats everyone with his charming wonderful attitude. Yes he did treat me like a princess, I will admit. He added so many menu items to my delightful dinner. Dessert just kept on coming with more unique samples. Really what a pleasure to have experienced his wonderful restaurant. No need to fly to Italy, it’s all here in Santa Barbara. Renato even texted me the next day to say how great it was to meet me. Ok, so yes I am gushing, all the more reason to try Via Maestra 42 – When in Rome!!! Or in this case – When in Piedmont!!

With tears in his eyes Renato shared with me the passing of his beloved mother Carla, this review is dedicated to her, she passed a little more than a month ago, and I could see what a devoted son Renato is. He told me that his mother was the love of his life. So poignant and beautiful, a real gentleman! Carla told him to in regards to food, “You should enjoy a little bit of everything”, meaning moderation is the key.

Via Maestra 42
3343 State Street
Santa Barbara, California 93105
805.569.6522   www.viamaestra42.com
Hours: Monday – Saturday 8:30am – 9:00pm – Sunday 11:00 – 5:00

In their own words: Via Maestra 42 was born on December 8, 2000 as the culmination of a lifetime spent working in the restaurant business in England, Germany and, of course, Italy. From these roots, sprang forth our vision of what an Italian restaurant should be. Via Maestra 42 was created in order to showcase the wonderful Italian products we have been supplying to restaurants in the area as All Italia Imports since 1993. In creating this extension of our family, we aim to provide an unforgettable dining experience, steeped in simplicity and warmth. We pride ourselves on consistency, using only the highest quality ingredients, organic when possible, in preparing our traditional Italian dishes. We highlight seasonal ingredients in creating the flavors Renato grew up enjoying. Via Maestra 42 is open 7 days a week. We serve a wonderful Italian breakfast Monday – Saturday starting at 8:30, with lunch service starting at 11:30 and continuing throughout the day until our dinner service at 5:00, which is served until 9:00. On Sunday we are open 11:00 – 5:00. We strive to create a memorable dining experience, whether in our restaurant or at your home with our custom catering service.
Ci vediamo presto!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dinner – The Black Sheep – October 1, 2020 – Santa Barbara, CA.

This place is truly innovative and creative. You have to let Chef Robert do what he does best, just deliver his super unique delicious menu items.

The Black Sheep believes that you can play with food, and experiment with it. They like to turn things on their heads, with unexpected elements. They source food from local purveyors. It is part comfort food, part deconstructed, but all of it is delicious.

Menu Gastromique, Chef selected with surprises:

Here is What I tried:

Gazpacho, tangy, flavorful, a great way to clear your palate and get ready for food blast off.

Shishito Peppers, some are hot, some are not, but all were light and delicious.

Green Zebra Tomatoes, with green cherry tomatoes, peaches, minty fine herb dressing, and pickled Fresno chilies. This is a truly gorgeous presentation and very healthy.

Seafood Aquachili with rock cod. Fresno chili and heirloom tomatoes tossed with rock cod, topped with avocado, red onion, micro cilantro and yucca root chips. The little flavor nuances are so amazing, another good menu option.

Mazemen Ramen Noodles with Santa Barbara sea urchin, eggplant tomato sofrito and salmon roe. This is what they are known for, their ramen, and it is a true winner.

Sweetbreads with basil olive oil, purple yam pureed mushrooms and leaks. This dish knocked my socks off. I am not squeamish about sweetbreads, I grew up eating them and love them, this rendition does not disappoint.

Pork Chop, with wild rice, chanterelle mushrooms, and spicy watermelon rind. This dish is for a super hearty appetite, a very large chop with nice wild rice.

Scallops with Gamba Hawaiian prawn, chutney, basil olive oil and micro basil. Another favorite dish of mine, the scallops are cooked to perfection, I would order this one time and time again.

Wines:

Gewürztraminer, Cambria CA, 2019. This is not a wine that you think it would be, but so much better. This wine is just great with any of the seafood dishes.

Pinot Noir, Windrun, Santa Rita Hills, 2017. A nice light Pinot, it was terrific with the pork chop and mushrooms.

Penville Mourvedre Enz Vineyard, 2017, another powerful wine that paired great with any of the meat dishes.

Dessert:

Almond Financier Pastry with salted caramel, just delicious, a great finish to a lovely dinner.

Chocolate Taco corn tortilla, cocoa powder, sugar, caramel, caramelized cocoa nibs, and vegan. So creative, just loved the super chocolate robust flavors in this dessert.

The interiors are whimsical and fun, with a bunch of cool art pieces, and vignettes. During Covid you have to sit outside, but I managed to take a peek at their exciting interior space.

My takeaway from The Black Sheep restaurant is how a family can come together and create a really unique dining experience. You can feel the love of father and son from the moment you walk in the restaurant. The Perez family created The Black Sheep restaurant on the premise of being weird, and being ok with it. Using the freshest of ingredients from the most sustainable sources. Global in scope, The Black Sheep menu features Latin, Asian, and Italian flavors but relies heavily on classic French technique. Chef Robert’s restaurant is one of the only places in town where one can eat sweetbreads, ramen, and Peruvian potato tacos all in one sitting! Robert’s creative, inspired dishes bring people the utmost satisfaction while sometimes leading them ever so slightly outside of their comfort zone. Chef Robert also aspires to do what’s right by sourcing his produce from the farmer’s markets and by being mindful of waste and water use. Ruben Perez is chef Robert’s son and business partner. They have worked hard to cultivate a welcoming environment where guests feel genuinely taken care of and appreciated, and they did a good job. The outdoor seating is very comforting, and where people can be themselves and feel like they are home. Such an amazing family, they hope to create a uniquely unforgettable culinary experience in an unpretentious, fun, casual environment.

It’s sexy, American, Asian Fusion at its finest. In my opinion they have done this and more, this is exactly what Santa Barbara’s exciting culinary scene needed.

The Black Sheep saying, “Come As You Are. Have Good Food.”

The Black Sheep Restaurant
26 East Ortega Street,
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101
(805) 965-1113
blacksheepsb.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Arnoldi’s Café – Dinner – Sept. 30, 2020 – Santa Barbara, CA.

This establishment has been up and running since 1937. Current owners Dave, Kitty, Dede and Jim are keeping everyone safe and offering all of their glorious specialties in their very fun patio, normally a bocce ball court. They had many tournaments back when Covid was not part of our daily lives in 2019. This year the court is being used as their outdoor dining room.

My dear friend Julie Askew, aka Juli Star knows the owner’s daughter Sara Skrinski, so she suggested that I try Arnoldi’s. Julie and Sara are good friends, when I asked Sara and mentioned Julie it was a no-brainer that I come in and do a tasting, was I glad she did!

One of the oldest restaurants in Santa Barbara, Arnoldi’s Cafe was founded by Giuseppe and Ilda Arnold in 1937, at 421 East Cota Street. In 1940, Giuseppe (Joe) quarried local stone and built the present restaurant at 600 Olive Street. Since then, Arnoldi’s, with the bocce ball courts in the garden, has been entertaining Santa Barbarians and visitors from all over the world.

Arnoldi’s has hosted orchestras and dancers since the 1940s’. The mural depicts Logo di Como. Bucky, the Tule Elk, overlooking the bar joined Arnoldi’s following Joe’s 1958 hunting trip to Colorado.

The owners of Arnoldi’s Café, Jim and Dede Nonn, Dave and Kitty Peri, and Carol Smagala, are pleased to preserve the valued traditions of Arnoldi’s. They bought the restaurant having been customers when they found it was closing back in the ’80s.

Here’s What I Tried:

Cocktails:

Vodka Martini, just the perfect way to start my amazing dining experience. Cold, in a proper glass, just the way I like it.

Lemon Drop, refreshing, sweet, just delicious.

Margarita, a good drink option, perfect for this beach town. It hit the spot.

Starters:

Bruschetta Classico, toasted ciabatta bread topped with fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil, drizzled with olive oil, there are lots of cubed tomatoes, and the combination of flavors makes you understand why this appetizer is such an Italian staple.

Calamari Fritti, Fried calamari served with a spicy tomato sauce, light and fluffy, these little darlings are not heavy and will get your appetite going.

Gamberi Della Casa, Sautéed grilled tiger prawns served with a spicy garlic tomato sauce. These are more on the Latin side with its spicy sauce and seasonings, but super delicious nonetheless.

Salad:

Insalata Rucca, Arugula salad, cherry tomatoes and walnuts, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. This is a great salad, the bitterness of the arugula, with the sweetness of the walnuts; just explodes in your mouth.

Insalata Cesare, Classic Caesar salad, this salad is crunchy and creamy, a fantastic rendition of one of my favorites.

Primi Piatti:

Spaghetti Al Frutti Di Mare, Spaghetti with fresh assorted seafood in a light spicy tomato sauce. Jam-packed with fresh seafood, this pasta does not disappoint.

Penne Al Salmone, Smoked salmon, peas, and a light tomato cream sauce. The salmon is smoked which adds a whole other layer of goodness, just terrific.

Lasagna Alla Bolognese, Housemade meat lasagna in a pomodoro sauce. If you’re looking for the ultimate comfort food, this is it. All of the ingredients are melted perfectly into one mouthwatering casserole.

Gnocchi Tricolore, Traditional housemade potato dumplings in 3 different sauces: Pomodoro – Fresh tomato sauce, Gorgonzola – A creamy Gorgonzola cheese sauce, Pesto – Traditional Genovese basil and pine nut sauce. This menu item is the star of the show, you get a bit of everything, you need to order this one.

Secondi Piatti:

Scaloppini Al Marsala, Sautéed veal with a Marsala mushroom sauce served with linguine Alfredo. My star waiter; Sean Feldman said I had to try this, he was right. He has been working at Arnoldi’s for nine years, so he knows what to order. The mushrooms will take your breath away, its just astounding.

Desserts:

Tiramisu Al Limone, Mascarpone cream on a sponge base, covered in lemon drenched ladyfingers. This dessert is really decadent, but worth it.

Gelato, A generous serving of vanilla ice cream topped with your choice of chocolate, strawberry or vanilla sauce. Soothing, delicious, a must-try.

Wine:

Sauvignon Blanc, Brander, Santa Barbara 2016, this is the perfect choice for the appetizer shrimp, its adds to the overall creaminess of the wine.

Chardonnay, Gainey, Santa Barbara County 2015. A great wine with the seafood pasta, it lends itself to the lovely seafood flavors.

Red Blend, “The Big Easy”, Fess Parker, Santa Barbara County, 2017. You can try this wine with any of the red sauce pasta dishes.

Rosse D. Montepulciano, Toscana, I loved this wine with the veal, it stands up to the Marsala in the sauce.

Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon, Banfi Col de Sasso, either the lasagna or the veal is the right choice for this wine.

The outdoor patio comes complete with a pizza oven, large and roomy, just the perfect way to dine under the stars.

I love all of the history that Arnoldi’s had to offer. Don’t just go there for a special occasion; it’s a casual everyday type of environment. So just meet your friends and go. You could also make this your Santa Barbara destination hang out; it’s just that good!

Arnoldi’s
600 Olive St,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 962-5394
arnoldis.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stay at The Villa Rosa Inn – October 1 & 2 – Santa Barbara, CA.

Santa Barbara is paradise; no matter how you look at it, it’s the best seaside town that California has to offer. Once your there it is so picturesque and peaceful, just what the doctor ordered. Mix that in with ocean breezes, views, Santa Barbara will make you wish you could wake up there every morning, until that time comes, let The Villa Rosa Inn be your go-to for a lovely stay in Santa Barbara.

Villa Rosa offers a super quick half of a block walk to the beach, one block from Stearn’s Wharf, a nice size pool in a very private walled-in courtyard, and a glorious relaxing hot tub. The rooms are Spanish Colonial style with a beachy contemporary twist. They have 18 different rooms, all very unique and different. My room had a cute patio, super close to the pool, with a very comfortable bed and European linens. They have a conference room for all of ones business needs while at the hotel. The grounds are very sweet, with lots of statues and sitting areas, and a meditation area. During the pandemic, most everyone was wearing masks in the common areas. Everything was super clean and sanitized, you can see their cleaning people were doing double the work, constantly keeping everything sanitized.

They serve a very simple breakfast, with cereal, sweet rolls, yogurt, fruit, coffee and juice. On the weekends they have a waffle machine with all of the fixings, it was amazing!

Villa Rose has some other properties, Ala Mar Motel, which is a minute away from The Villa Rosa Inn, and is across from the beach. But I was so happy with my hotel, maybe I would stay another time at Ala Mar Motel of the Chantico Inn in Ojai, another sister property.

My room itself had a big huge indoor tub, with an outdoor area that is enclosed and super private, it is hard to describe, but let me tell you anyone would feel super pampered in this great room. It has a large flat screen on the wall with all of the channels. The décor is simply with a great tile seascape on the bathroom wall.

There is so much to do nearby, with lots of super delicious dining options within walking distance. Your right at the beach, so you can lounge on the sand or take a harbor tour, go sailing, go wine tasting, and walk along State Street.

I took the train from Union Station in Los Angeles. The Santa Barbara train station is a couple of blocks away. The train is the Surf liner and cruises along the ocean for a portion of the trip. It’s just stress-free, leaving your wheels at home and just enjoying all of the very captivating things that Santa Barbara and beyond has to offer. There are lots of buses, shuttles, trolleys, cabs, Uber and Lyft to get you around.

In this time of uncertainty, get in your car, or hop on the train and get the heck out of dodge. Santa Barbara is a two-hour drive; it’s the best getaway you can do. So leave your stress and troubles behind and high tail it to the Rivera, in California – you will be so happy you did!

Villa Rosa Inn
15 Chapala St.
Santa Barbara, CA. 93101
www.villarosainnsb.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dinner – Salito’s Crab House and Prime Rib – Sunday – August 23, 2020

With Covid -19 being front and center, Pandemic times have been tough on all restaurateurs. Salito’s Crab House and Prime Rib has figured out how to service their customers in a fun, creative way, with all of their great food and lively atmosphere.

All dining is on their patio, which has an amazing view of the Richardson Bay, perched from the picturesque Sausalito Harbor. There are families, dates, and people enjoying their time away from their sheltering in place. Whatever the reason; I am here to say that their delicious mouthwatering food will make you very happy.

Here’s What I Tried:

Cocktails:
Peach Rose Sangria rose wine, peach and lemons and lime juice. A very refreshing cocktail, just perfect for the mid afternoon lunch.

Pink Lemonade vodka, Lemonade, Pomegranate, a nice delicate light cocktail, with nice citrus nuances.

Watermelon Margarita Tequila, Watermelons, Lime Juice, this cocktail will make you forget all of your troubles, and so easy going down.

Moscow Mule, Stoli Vodka, Squeezed Lime, Ginger Beer. Served in a copper mug, refreshing and delicious as well.

Starters:
House-Made Freshly Baked Crispy Kettle Bread, a gorgeous round loaf that snuggles into an iron kettle, just spectacular.

Calamari Fritti, with onions, and sweet peppers. It is a big serving, with super crisp breading, a great starter.

Crab Chowder, lots of fantastic crab flavors and the creaminess will make you feel like you’re in the dead of winter somewhere on the East Coast.

Yellowtail Carpaccio, with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and ponzu Sauce. The presentation is everything, the very thinly sliced Yellow Tail is out of this world, with its lovely Asian influences, this is a must have dish.

Romaine Wedge, with Point Reyes blue cheese, and bacon. A very crisp pungent salad, that went great with the prime rib, and the Point Reyes blue cheese is off the charts.

Entrees:
Salito Burger Angus Beef, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, and catsup. The grilled onions are a game changer, just spectacular!

Hot Iron Skillet Roasted Combo, Mussels, Crab and Shrimp, for sure their signature dish, one of the primary reasons to come try their food. Oozing with garlic and herbs, and the seafood is so fresh, just delightful.

Prime Rib, Certified Angus Beef, Large Cut, it’s like butter, you don’t need a knife, a delicious robust menu item, that I would have to order every time I came here.

Sides:
Steamed Mixed Vegetables, basic and healthy. A nice break for your palate.

Brussels Sprout Chips, with Lemon oil and Maldon sea salt. One of the seven wonders of the world, crispy, flavorful, if you’re not a lover of Brussels Sprouts you will be after tasting these little darlings.

Sweets:
Limoncello Cake, light as air with nice lemon nuances, make sure you have room for this lovely desert.

Salted Caramel Vanilla Crunch Cake, oh my goodness, I am a fan. Just loved the salted caramel aspect of this amazing cake, yum!

Wines:
Chardonnay – Rombauer, Carneros, a rich smooth creamy Chardonnay, that pairs great with the crab.

Chardonnay – Patz & Hall, Sonoma Coast, more of a buttery Chardonnay, that is very drinkable and goes great with the Yellowtail Carpaccio.

Zinfandel – Coppola Director’s Cut Dry Creek, this is a no brainer with The Prime Rib, hits all the right notes.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Hess Select, North Coast, more of a spicy wine that also paired so great with The Prime Rib.

Jasmin Foster is the General Manager and she really made my experience fantastic. She just has a way of welcoming you and making you feel at home. Jasmine pulled out a bag of good tricks for me to enjoy. I was so happy with her engaging personality and truly remarkable kindness, she is just that way. As authentic as it gets, so make sure you find her when you’re there, she will brighten up your whole experience. After all she got her hospitality chops working at a few 4 star restaurants in Chicago. My server Roberto was terrific, he has been with this restaurant group for 9 years and acts as a supervisor, his service was so on point.

Solito’s is one of 8 restaurants owned by The Stinking Rose Restaurant Group, owned by Jerry and Dante Serifini. Restaurants include: Calzone’s in San Francisco, The Caprice in Tiburon, Crab House at Pier 39, The Dead Fish in Crockett, Franciscan Crab House in San Francisco, The Old Clam House in San Francisco, Osso Steakhouse in San Francisco, The Stinking Rose in both San Francisco and Beverly Hills. All of which are truly unique.

This building used to house Zack’s nightclub back in the 80’s so I am very familiar with this space, it also was Margaretville and Paradise Bay. Solito’s added a much-needed upgrade. The interiors are very nautical with the Bay being the focal point. There are 2 raised patios with an L shaped bar for imbibing. Everyone was doing social distancing and wearing masks. The floors are black and white checkered and there are super cool hanging Edison LED type lights, which add a modern feel to the patio. The real beauty here is that they don’t have a time limit on customer seating, you could stay all day if you wanted, and that’s a pleasure.

The food, the environment, the service, all makes for one very memorable experience. Go for the ambiance and enjoy their super delicious food, you will be so happy you did!

Salito’s Crab House and Prime Rib
1200 Bridgeway
Sausilito, CA. 94965
415-331-3226
salitoscrabhouse.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Iconic Restaurant Row In Beverly Hills Announces the New Kid on The Block, Kazan Restaurant – The Pinnacle of Noodles!!!

Hollywood, CA. ——————– Kazan opened its doors to amazing success in late 2019, largely due to its Chef and owner Ryu Isobe, the brainchild of Tatsu Ramen restaurant on Melrose Avenue and Sawtelle Blvd, who moved on from Tatsu, is now doing his own signature style. The focus is on homemade Japanese style Soba Noodles. At Kazan, everything is homemade fresh daily. Touted as serving the best Soba Noodles in Los Angeles, one try, and you too will know why.

Soba noodle has a history of around 1,300 years in Japan, while Ramen only has 90 years. The current trend in Japan is different types of high-end handmade Soba noodles. The first noodle restaurant in the world that received a Michelin star was also a Soba restaurant. There are many excellent ramen spots in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, good soba, is far tougher to come across – and that’s exactly why Los Angeles is so excited about Kazan.

About Ryu Isobe:

Gifted Chef and Entrepreneur, Ryu Isobe, can taste his food in his imagination before it even touches the boiling pot.

As a self-taught Chef, Ryu has spent more than half of his life in the US, so he understands both Japanese and American culture. He came to The United States when he was 14 with dreams of one day starting his own restaurant. Ryu did a lot of research before even getting close to fulfilling his dream. Graduating from the University of Southern California, USC, with a major in Business Entrepreneurship, Ryu has always had a passion for the Japanese food culture, especially for noodles. He started Tatsu Ramen as his first venture to great success.

Ryu has a photographic memory for creating his incredible dishes. He is one step ahead of the game, after opening up the premier ramen noodle restaurant Tatsu Ramen, he saw a trend of Ramen being over populated and wanted to introduce Los Angeles to the traditional Soba Noodle phenomenon. However, Soba isn’t just a simple dipping noodle. Soba has many different styles. The imagination is the main ingredient of the Soba. “I have no boundaries as a chef”, Ryu explains, “I didn’t get any training from actual chefs, I just get the ingredients, taste it and imagination is the biggest ingredient of my food”. He purchased a state of the art noodle machine; he explored all kinds of flours, different ratios of the water and salt, and a variety of other ingredients. “That’s how I came up with my noodles, also I really wanted to make this kind of mixed noodle, which no one is doing”. Ryu makes 3 types of noodles: the first one is very thin, the second one is a mixed medium size, and the third one is a very thick Soba noodle. Ryu uses a customized blade to create the different thickness of his delectable noodles.

About the Food at Kazan: Typical Ramen style is called Tonkotsu Ramen. It has a cloudy rich pork broth made of pork bones. Kazan on the other hand serves the clear chicken broth, which is cooked for seven hours and vegan broth, which takes 24 hours to make. At Kazan, Chef Ryu utilizes traditional Japanese and French techniques to make his own perfect clear broth.

For starters, you have a nice selection of menu items at Kazan; Lotus Root Chips and Edamame, which goes great with beer; Teriyaki Chicken Leg, served with mixed greens; Shishito Peppers, which are fried and drizzled in a sweet miso dressing; Organic Salad, served with spring mix, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers and tossed in a homemade sesame dressing; Crispy Won tons, stuffed with shrimp and pork; and finally delicious Shrimp Tempura served with a spicy mayo sauce.

Kazan’s specials include; Lamb Chops, with freshly sourced from New Zealand, and grilled in a spicy Japanese sauce. A-5 Wagyu Rib Eye, an imported Japanese Wagyu Beef Carpaccio topped with chives, fresh ginger, and homemade citrusy yuzu-soy sauce. It is prepared by cooking at a very high heat then adding in the combination of multiple oils.

Soba:
#1 – Kazan’s original Shina Soba thin noodle in a clear, yet rich, soy based broth with truffle seasoning. Served with Chashu Pork, white scallion, green onions and our homemade won tons. Kazan makes their won tons every day, they grind the pork by themselves, they chop up the shrimp, and herbs to make a very fancy won ton.
#2 – Kazan’s original Shina Soba thin noodle in a salt based, light broth with truffle seasoning. Served with Chashu Pork, white scallion, green onion, yuzu and our homemade won tons.
#3 – Kazan’s original Hirauchi Soba thick noodle in a creamy and rich broth with truffle seasoning. Served with Chashu pork, white onions and their homemade won tons. This Soba is like a fettuccine Alfredo, but Asian style.
#4 – Kazan’s original Shina Soba thin noodle in a clear yet rich, soy-based broth with truffle seasoning, served with a whole teriyaki chicken leg, green onions, and leafy greens.
#5 – Kazan’s original Shina Soba thin noodle in a salt based, light broth with truffle seasoning. Served with a whole teriyaki chicken leg, leafy greens, green onions and yuzu.
#6 – Kazan’s original Hirauchi Soba thick noodle, made using a customized noodle cutter, in a creamy and rich broth with truffle seasoning. Served with a whole chicken leg, leafy greens, white onions and Parmesan cheese.
#7 – Kazan’s A.k.a “lamb in lava”, this signature dish uses a variety of Kazan’s original noodles, from thin to thick, and is served with lamb chops, cilantro, and a lot of Japanese spices. Coming to the table in a hot pot or clay pot, it is served boiling. The Japanese spices with Miso paste used in this dish are shipped directly from Japan, it’s super spicy and the presentation is exciting to the customers. It takes 15 minutes to prepare…but worth the wait!
#8 – Kazan’s Vegan, “purely vegan, old school”, option has all-of-the flavor with none of the meat. This dish uses a kelp and mushroom stock with hints of ginger, and is served with tofu, white onions and leafy greens, to create an umami flavor.

Beverages include an exclusive private selection of Chardonnays and Cabernets from Kazan’s neighbor, the famous sushi restaurant Matsuhisa. These wines are from Sonoma County, and Kazan is the only restaurant that carries Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s wine outside of Nobu restaurants. Matsuhisa’s royalty is part of the Kazan brand, due to Junko Matsuhisa being Ryu’s silent partner, daughter of Nobu Matsuhisa, and the general manager at Nobu Tokyo. You can enjoy Kazan’s spicy food with a Sapporo Draft, Asahi Draft, Coedo Craft Pilsner and Hefeweizen beer. A nice array of Sake: Winter Warrior, and Junmai Ginjo Premium also is a great pairing with Kazan’s superb food. There is also a variety of soft drinks and a volcanic bottled water.

Thinking of innovative interior designs with his friend, Ryu came up with the idea of using a design called “Dazzle”. This term originally comes from a style of camouflage frequently used on Naval ships during WWI. It consisted of a series of complex patterns and shapes in an array of contrasting colors, making it difficult for the enemy to estimate the ship’s exact position and direction. Ryu chose to design his restaurant in this way because he wanted to have this feeling of Dazzle, that Kazan restaurant is unpredictable. “Maybe we serve noodle, or Wagyu right now, but I’m a free style chef, so I’m going to introduce maybe tacos or something in near future”. Ryu says.

The word “Kazan” means volcanic in Japanese. Ryu says, “I named this restaurant Kazan because there are many Ramen restaurants in LA, and once a volcano erupts it destroys everything around it and creates new nature, creating a new wave of Japanese food”. Kazan’s many signature spicy dishes, and magic ingredients, will make mini explosions in your mouth. The flavors truly ignite your taste buds, as a symphony of notes you never could imagine tasting. Kazan is one of the Seven Wonders in the culinary world, you got to come in and try all of this glorious goodness – from the new kid on the block.

Hours:
Lunch – 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Dinner – 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM

###

Kazan
111 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(424) 512-9101
@kazanbeverlyhills

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breakout Canadian Actress Ekaterina Baker‘s Latest Film – Lionsgate’s “The Asset” Set to Be Released in 2021

Amidst this global pandemic breakout actress Ekaterina Baker has proven to be a bright shining star. With only two years of acting under her belt, Ekaterina Baker has so many acting offers she is truly one of the most sought after actresses today.

Jeffrey Greenstein of Millennium Entertainment recently produced the film “The Asset”, to be released in 2021 – directed by Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Goldeneye, The Mask of Zorro), shot in Romania, starring Iconic actor – Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Maggie Q. Michael Keaton played the film’s lead villain, Ekaterina shared the screen with him, playing the important role of his villainous associate, “Lotta.” Jeffrey says, “Her unique energy and unbridled talent made her an absolute pleasure to work with”.

Ekaterina Baker hailing from Vladivostok, Russia, (a 9-hour plane ride from Moscow, near Japan), had dreams of acting for as long as she can remember. She left her hometown and moved to Toronto, Canada, happily married since 2017, and attending York University with a Bachelor Degree in Marketing, and Psychology. Once through with school she decided that acting was not a fantasy, instead a craft that was her destiny. She has proven to the world that her talent as an actress should be celebrated.

Producer Michelle Lang, cast Ekaterina opposite Mel Gibson in the movie “Fatman”, which is already in the can – starring Walton Goggins, produced by David Gordon Green and Danny McBride, shot in Ottawa, Canada. They were so enthralled by her talent, commitment and technical skills of the craft that they knew they had to have her as their “Helga”, within 48 hours of her audition. Producer Ryan Johnson says of Ekaterina acting in “Fatman”, “Once on set, Ekaterina did not disappoint. Everyone, myself included, was immensely impressed with the talent and work ethic that Ekaterina displayed.”

Young Ekaterina has so many upcoming acting projects; a role in the upcoming project “The Falcon Thief”, based on the bestselling novel of the same name, starts pre-production later this year. “The Falcon Thief” producer; Houston Hill – President of Santa Rita Film Company loved seeing Ekaterina’s work, he says, “I was immediately struck by the depth of her talents, her complete commitment to the craft as well as her astonishing ability to create unique and believable characters that are both real and utterly compelling”.

Actor/ filmmaker Ezra Miller cast Ekaterina in the role of “Emilia,” in the project “Neptune Frost,” which he produced alongside Lin Manuel Miranda, it was directed by Saul Williams, and shot in Rwanda. Another film offer on the table currently is Paul Schrader’s; “The Card Counter,” Ekaterina has been offered to play the role of “Sarah”, the film stars Oscar Isaac, Tye Sheridan, Willem Dafoe, and Tiffany Haddish. And filming the reshoots in California later this year, on “Wild Indian”, with Jesse Eisenberg, Kate Bosworth, and Michael Greyeyes, Ekaterina will play the best friend to Kate Bosworth’s character. Ekaterina is very ambitious, also having produced her first project in 2019, “Bonded”, with Viacom producer Jon Graham, and another juicy leading role with Jon in “Red Menace”, will begin shooting later this year.

Ekaterina Baker’s acclaimed short, 17-minute film “Oksana & Viktor”, produced by Toronto – based, Mark Datuin of
MAD Resilience Films – won the Special Jury Award at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival. Critics are raving about her performance, which is so amazing being that this was her first time ever acting on screen. Ekaterina acted in two of Datuin’s other projects as well, “Eulogy”, and “The Other Woman”.

In addition, it is anticipated that Ekaterina Baker will be part of additional productions as they arise for major studios, television networks, and production companies, including but not limited to Universal Pictures, Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS, Warner Bros Television, Warner Bros. Pictures, Disney, Sony, MGM, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Cinemax, AT&T, Audience, Netflix, Starz, Lifetime, USA, TNT, ION, Lionsgate, Marvel, Bonanza Productions, CW Network, among others.

Ekaterina Baker is a force to be reckoned with, she is talented and hardworking, someone with her acting chops comes around once in a blue moon, she is just that good!

Ekaterina Baker Q & A:

1. What kind of preparation & research do you do to find your characters?

EB: The first thing I do when I get a script is I read it over and over and over again. I read it thinking: “Why is this scene here? What does the audience need from my character in this particular scene? How does this scene push the story forward?” It’s like a puzzle. What is the writer trying to communicate through this scene? How can I honor the writer, the story and the audience?

Then I break it down. What is this piece about? What is the essence? What is the conversations/themes of the movie/scene? What are the two opposing sides… love over fear; personal over professional; shame over happiness… once I know what the themes of the scene are, the fun stuff begins. I break it down into threes. Three acts, three sub-acts, each sub-act into its three, and so on until it’s broken down to every single word. I know, very exciting stuff!

Once I know the architecture of the scene I can look into the character. What does she do, why does she do it, how does she do it, very importantly how does she not do it. What is she saying? What is she actually saying? What my character does not say is as important as what she says. Character is what character does as director Michael Nankin says. Once I know every moment of my scene, once I know what every beat and every pause means to my character and how it gets misinterpreted (or not) by the other character, I can move to work on the relationship to the fellow character. I work on what it is that I am doing to the fellow character and what I need them to stop doing to me. I work on consequence of failing at my objective and the counterpoint (underlying truth). Emotion is energy in motion. Every moment in the scene is something happening to my character even if nothing is happening. Every moment a character does something to the other character.

In terms of my dialogue I never ever memorize it with intention. I memorize it plain, no emotion, no meaning. It is similar to learning notes of a song when playing the piano or steps for a dance. Just as practicing steps and notes, it needs to be done slow, over and over again. Until I have it in my body. When I know it so well that I don’t ever have to think about my steps, notes, lines, I can fuel my character with emotion (I’ll talk about it later) and jump off the diving board into the scene. Fully surrender and let it take me on the journey that was written. I don’t have an idea of what the scene is outside of what’s written. I follow the architecture of the scene just as if I went on a roller coaster and let it take me on the ride.

Now, about emotion. It is called emotional truth of the character. Emotional preparation for an actor is like a muscle for an athlete. It has to be trained consistently, ongoingly, going deeper and more precise each time. No scene could be true if it is “acted.”

I never ever make choices or assumptions. I never invent anything. Everything I do is always lifted off the page. It is always discovered in the writing. I am an instrument, which the story is spoken through. I am an intermediate between the writer and the audience and it is my job to honor both. It is my job to remove myself, let the character speak through me honoring the story. It is never ever about me, it is about the character, the story, and it is about the audience.

So this is what I do when I get a script no matter if it’s 120 pages or a one-liner. I spend hours and hours sitting at my desk, on the floor, lying in bed or on the couch working it till the last beat. That is what I do to make sure I do not have to act in my scenes. No one wants to see an actor acting. The audience wants to see a human being living authentically through the moment – feeling, hurting; laughing… that is when the audience can relate. We as humans can’t relate to an actor doing her job, we can relate to a human being living on stage/screen. Just like ballet dancers we admire, the only way they go out on a stage, let it go and let the movement of the dance, the story of the dance take them on a journey and let that journey speak through them to the audience, is to be so prepared, not only that they don’t have to think of their steps or the story, but that they have no other choice but to surrender and let the story through them.

2. What kind of characters do you enjoy to play most?

EB: This is a great question. When most actors start out much of the time actors gain career traction in roles that others think are best suited for us. Some of the time the suitability is based not only on performance but also on more overt items like age, sex, body composition etc. I have been referred to as a Bond-type girl; which I believe I can play well and it has served me well. I have also had the opportunity to have a couple of roles more specifically aligned with my most favorite comedic type roles. I love comedy so much. I believe humor is one the best gifts of humanity. A great laugh is one of the best experiences in life for me. The ability to provide this type of experience to millions of people is what I value the most.

3. Do you have an acting mentor?

EB: I have been very lucky to come across an incredible acting coach early on in my acting training. He became my mentor. I have been working with Matthew Harrison for over two years now. His approach to acting training is just amazing. He can truly teach a monkey how to act! On a serious note, he has a very detailed step by step system that allows an actor to build their craft. He removes the notion of talent and art from acting and narrows it down to the craft, the process, and hard work. And I believe in that. I continuously train, I truly believe acting is one of those professions where one could always learn and grow.

4. Who are your 5 favorite female actresses and why?

EB: I’ll be repeating myself here a little.

– Nicole Kidman is one of the female actors I respect most. I really love what she brings to her characters. The intensity that’s all within, rather than on the outside, the mystery, the light and the darkness. Her characters pose the most exciting contradiction.
– Susan Sarandon. I love the authenticity of her work. She makes every character shine like a laser beam through the lens and right into the soul of the audience. I watched “Blackbird” at TIFF 2019 and during the entire course of the movie the audience was crying and laughing at the same time. Wow, to be able to do that to the audience. That is beyond, the way she impacts the audience is unlike any other.
– Laura Dern. I just love her characters. She is so amazing at making them be likeable and unlikeable at the same time. It is just so much joy to watch her play.
– Diane Keaton. She’s a great actor and have you seen her style? Do I even have to say anything more…?
– Julianne Moore. I just love the feminine, flowy, gorgeous side of her characters combined with emotional charge and so much sparkle inside.

5. Who are your 5 favorite male actors and why?

EB:
– Bradley Cooper. After I watched “A Star is Born,” I read quite a bit about the creative process that went into that movie and all the work that was put in behind the scenes. I really admire how much work he puts into his characters, how hard he worked and what an amazing result he achieved.
– Billy Crudup. I love his characters. I especially enjoyed watching Cory Ellison in “The Morning Show.” What an amazing work. So exciting to watch the character with so much going on in the inside. It’s like he always has a hint of sarcasm in his eyes. In “After the Wedding” I really loved the boyish, carelessness of his character combined with gentleness and a pitch of irony.
– Sterling K Brown. I love watching him do nothing on screen. He does so much not doing anything. That is mastery.
– Rami Malek. His characters are always so different and so unique. It’s amazing to see an actor discover such different angles of the characters he is playing.
– Matthew McConaughey. Interstellar is one of my favorite movies of all time. His work in this movie is incredible, the story he tells and how he tells it is all so good. I also really admire what he did with his career. The choices he made (and the ones he didn’t). I think it takes a very intelligent, thoughtful, business-oriented person to navigate one’s career in such a smart way.

6. What do you do in your spare time?

EB: Who has spare time? Actually as much as I am very focused on my craft I am a big believer in making sure my priorities are right and I’m living the life that I want in all respects. I love to be active. Snowboarding is an anchor in winter, biking and wake surfing in summer. I enjoy equestrian sports (mostly because I get to pat the horses of course). We have Bruno our incredible four–year-old yellow lab, he makes sure I am walked several times a day, preferably in the woods, covered in mud. I’m also a bit of a foodie and I’m yet to turn away a great glass of wine. I enjoy reading psychology articles and I love to cook (my husband appreciates that interest very much).

7. What is your typical day like?

EB: I’m a morning person. Bruno and I have 30 min Pilates first thing in the morning. Usually includes me trying to move and Bruno trying to prevent any movement whatsoever by lying on top of me the entire time. But, hey, extra weight when exercising is always good. Then we have our salmon and coffee respectively and we start our day with a nice walk. From there I usually have a ton of all that filming prep-work I was talking about and a nice chunk of physical exercise. I have a really great Barre/Pilates instructor that has amazing core workout classes. They will keep me a Bond girl forever (hopefully). Finishing up days with the odd movie is a great wind down for me. I’m a big believer in regularly exercising our brain and bodies’ as well as resting them. It makes life great.

8. What kind of roles are you looking to play in the future?

EB: I love to play meaningful roles that push the story forward and are impactful to the audience. As an actor I am here in service of my audience. If I know it works for them then it works great for me. As I mentioned before I am a bit of a closet comedian. I love comedy so much. Intellectual comedy is the best. Being funny through brain usage is what it is all about for me. That being said, I would love to play a villain and an assassin one day. Those characters are so much fun to work on. I would love to play a character in a WWII movie that tells a story about female character. There are quite a few WWII movies that have male characters at their core; there isn’t a female-driven movie that would tell a story about that difficult time. I feel there are a lot of stories about women during that time (take Night Witches for example) and I’d love to tell one of those one day.

My true dream part, however, is to play Eliza Doolittle in the remake of My Fair Lady. What a good movie! What an amazing character arc. Time to make a remake. What I really want is to tell a story and to impact the audience, to tell stories that carry important lessons and enlist change. Some people say they want to make $10 million a year, I want to make 10 million people cry one day. And then I want to make them laugh of course.

9. What is your fashion style?

EB: I was a tomboy growing up. I wore my older brother’s clothes and hated the frilly stuff. Wearing a skirt or a dress was a punishment when I was a kid. That being said my gorgeous Russian mom showed me the light and brought me up as a proper lady (or at least she tried). And as you know I love being active. So I have a deep closet relationship with both Tom Ford and Mavic as bookends.

10. Do you have a health regime?

EB: I am a big believer that you are what you eat. I do things quite differently from many in North America. I have been shocked and frustrated at how many packaged goods companies have not done enough to promote healthy eating. Obesity in developed countries is one of the major issues of our time. All of the products we consume that are low fat and low this and low that are killing us. I eat largely non-processed foods that are filled with natural good fats. What the modern world has yet to realize but hopefully will someday is that consuming natural food fats is not only great for your health and digestive system but it will keep us all in a Bond girl body much longer than we ever hoped for. So while I am eating away on natural fats, my husband makes fun of me daily asking if I’d like any oatmeal with my butter. I also love to exercise my body and mind every day. Biking, snowboarding, wake surfing, riding horses, Pilates, core workout, hiking, playing games, reading books and articles. Good healthy variety really is the spice of life.

11. Being so blessed – How do you give back?

EB: My family and I are very fortunate. It’s incredible that in such a developed world that there can still be so much hardship. My husband and I support a number of causes but my biggest focus is on dog rescues. There is an amazing organization based in Toronto called Redemption Paws that rescues dogs from all across North America and finds them wonderful homes. We financially support Redemption Paws and have fostered dogs while they waited for a new home. Bruno shares his salmon with them.

12. Where do you see your career in 5 years from now?

EB: The last couple of years have been amazing for me. I have done lots of very cool work with amazing industry veterans. I would hope and expect to continue progressing. I have my sights on a few really fantastic roles for 2020 that will assist in greatly increasing my audience reach. I’m very excited about the next five years for me. I have big aspirations and am looking forward to bringing tremendous and memorable joy, sorrow, fright and every other emotion to millions of audience members in the years ahead.

Ekaterina Baker Links:

The Todd Shapiro Radio Show:
http://thetoddshapiroshow.com/2019/10/the-todd-shapiro-show-ep1279.html

IMDB – imdb.me/Ekaterinabaker
IG – iamekaterinabaker

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 21, 2020 – Dinner Audrey at The Hammer Museum – Westwood, CA.

The Audrey is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. It is hidden in the Hammer Museum in Westwood California, but truly a find amongst all of the food establishments in this area. It is tucked away in the courtyard, which has a super fun, modern twist. It is cozy, and intimate, but at the same time, also boasts a lively bar scene. It’s the perfect place to go on a first date or to meet business associates for happy hour. Audrey opened its doors on Feb 26, 2019.

I went to an event for Milan design travel, and met Miya Luce the GM, she was so gracious to invite me to come in and do a tasting.

The magnificent Hammer Museum has 4 rooms with air bridges connecting them, it makes for one architectural miracle. The outside courtyard area has these very festive spinning top type of chairs.

The museums namesake, Arman Hammer, was an American business manager and owner, most closely associated with Occidental Petroleum, a company he ran from 1957, until his death. He was also known as well for his art collection and his philanthropy. This is a great example of fulfilling the American dream and leaving this perfect legacy for the public to enjoy.

There are 3 distinct areas of the restaurant, the patio, the bar and the dining room. Each one has its own set of attributes. In the summer and spring, the patio is the perfect place for an al fresco lunch or dinner. The bar is super happening with its ultra-modern slick appeal. The happy hour is priced so that you can really enjoy many of their menu items and specialty cocktails. The dining room is quiet and intimate, yet super close to both the bar and the patio. The décor uses orange highlights with blonde wood floors and 50’s style hanging light fixtures around the interior. The trees on the patio are also very festively lit. They have a unique garage type hydraulic rolling door that separates the outside patio from the dining room. All areas make for whatever you want to celebrate, with a nice glamorous tone.

Cocktails:

Lemon Drop, sweet and sexy, just what the doctor ordered.

Traditional Vodka Martini with a sidecar. Just love the sidecar, and the actual cocktail was executed with perfection.

Happy Hour:

Snacks:

Popcorn & Bennster Cheese Frico, beemster cheese, cumin, now this is a happy hour item that you could get addicted to, it is just that good.

Selection of Cheeses: flatbread, dried fruit, this is a small taste of all of this yummy cheeses and fruit, but a great deal for Happy hour.

Something to Nibble On:

Oyster: cucumber-ginger mignonette. These little gems were so delicious, fresh and flavorful, a true winner.

Fish & Chips: magic molly potatoes, crispy fish skin, tartar sauce. Not what you would expect, these are the fish skins, not the filet, so be prepared, but none the less delicious.

Lighter:

Green Salad: sugar snap peas, grapes, avocado, sherry vinaigrette. I loved the sugar snap peas, they add a nice sweet crunch, the rest of the salad is a great combination of sweet and tangy, just amazing.

Endive Salad: rye crouton, anchovy, aged pecorino, soft boiled egg. The rye croutons are simply wonderful and the egg rounds out this great salad.

Heartier:

Corn Soup: Dungeness crab, tarragon, smoked corn. This is a must have here at Audrey restaurant, do not ask why, just try it!

Leek Agnolotti: shallot, manchego cheese, hen of the woods mushroom. The pasta had just been made and the delicate nature of their texture is just astounding, along with an incredible leek flavor, another stellar food item.

Whole Sea Bass: hoja santa, sugar snap peas, guajillo chili, a very colorful dish, the presentation is enough to try this wonderful fish.

Garden Things:

Murasaki Sweet Potatoes: Almond aioli, pickled green garlic chutney, grapefruit, they do this dish right, it is healthy and a perfect marriage of all of its ingredients.

Desert:

They gave me a nice combination of treats, cookies, pana cotta, and a chocolate tart, all just the perfect way to end my great experience.

Wines By the Glass:

Arietta on The White Keys Sauvignon Blanc, St Helena, US, 2016 .

Albert Bichot, Chadooay. Pouilly – Fuisse, Burgundy, France.

Lumen, Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, US, 2016.

Le P’Tit Paysan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast, CA, US 2017.

Cain Concept, “The Benchland”, Napa Valley, US, 2011.

Their wine list is great, full of wines from around the world, all of these wines paired great with my various tastings. Be imaginative and try new wines that you wouldn’t normally try; your taste buds will be surprised. They did a nice service for me where they labeled all of these wines so I could compare.

My server Jacqueline was informative and sweet; she did a great job guiding me through my dining excursion.

I met Dan & Mary at the bar before my sit-down dinner. A very hip couple that lives close by and loves treating themselves to the happy hour menu. They said it is one of their favorite places to come for happy hour, they didn’t want to me to tell many people because they love that this is their little hide away. Mary works at UCLA and Dan is a Netflix employee, both very successful overachievers that let me ask them some fun questions, thanks Mary & Dan.

Located within the Hammer Museum in Westwood, Audrey blends elevated and soulful cooking with a contemporary Southern California feel rooted in the region’s growing seasons. From restaurateur Soa Davies Forrest and chef Lisa Giffen, Giffen cooked at Maison Premiere in Brooklyn and its sister restaurant Sauvage and has experience at Daniel and Blue Hill. Davis Forrest was at Le Bernardin for a while before working on Maple, a delivery-only restaurant, for the Momofuku Empire. The dishes emphasize European flavors and techniques complemented by a full bar offering fresh, bright cocktails and a diverse wine list showcasing small-production winemakers. The modern and inclusive space designed by architect Michael Maltzan and interiors by Fettle Design features a prominent tile installation from renowned Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo.
Accessibility: Audrey at the Hammer fully ADA compliant.

Built around a culinary philosophy that takes heavy cues from the seasons, the restaurant will balance a familiar rusticity with a smart global approach. With a focus on organic, local ingredients mixed with Mediterranean flavors and Italian elegance, Audrey will serve as both a destination for Greater Los Angeles and a meeting place for locals in the community.

The menu highlights innovative dishes and signature hand-made pastas inspired by land and sea. Guests will discover an eclectic collection of wines and fresh, creative cocktails. Prepared and beautifully served, Audrey inspires both the mind and the senses.

Audrey At The Hammer
www.audreyatthehammer.com
10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024 · ~4.1 mi
(310) 443-7037
https://www.audreyatthehammer.com

Audrey is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Monday along with the rest of the museum.

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunday – February 9, 2020 – Roger Neal Oscar Viewing Party – Hollywood Museum – Hollywood, CA.

Another memorable evening in Hollywood, would never miss this very grand party!
“Where Academy Members Love to Watch The Oscars Over Dinner then Join The Nominees After Party” Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O ‘Dell – Classic Film Star Mamie Van Doren and Others To Receive ICON Awards at The 5th Annual Roger Neal and Maryanne Lai Oscar Viewing Dinner, with Icon awards gift suite and after party.

The World Famous Hollywood Museum and Sponsors Emerald Hare Wines and Sino TV Network for the benefit of the Jose Iturbi Foundation. ABC 7’s TV On The Red Carpet Official Oscar Party Coverage with George Pennacchio. George and Simona Papadopolous- Candidate for California Congress To Attend.

2020 ICON Awards:
The Roger Neal & Maryanne Lai Oscar Viewing Dinner will once again honor stars with the ICON AWARD during the pre-show to the Academy awards. This year’s honorees include: Nancy O’Dell for Television, Mamie Van Doren for Motion Picture Female in a rare public appearance, Obba Babatunde for Television (Emmy winner), Andy Madadian for Music (multi million seller Icon), Joel Diamond for Music-Grammy winner, Lee Meriwether for Television, Donelle Dadigan- The Woman in Philanthropy Award and owner of The Hollywood Museum.

During the Oscar Viewing dinner party, tradition has our charities spotlighted receiving a donation check from Roger and Lynn Neal and partners Maryanne and Thomas Lai, that will benefit them from funds raised. The 2020 non-profits this year are: The Jose Iturbi Foundation.

Roger Neal, Dinner Chair said, “Our 5TH Annual Oscar Viewing Dinner, Suite and after party will be our best yet and we are looking forward to a spectacular night.”

Hollywood Museum
1660 N. Highland Ave.
Hollywood, California 90028
(323) 464-7776

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 7, 2020 – Oscar Gift Suite – Wow Creation Media – The W Hotel – Hollywood, CA.

Another year of gifts, how lucky am I!!!!! This year the W Hotel had their upstairs rooms set up for all of the glorious gift giving. Here were some of the vendors: Carefree Boat Club, Wine and Wellness Bag, Michael Sullberg Family Wines, BB’s Pure Heaven Season All (Original Meat Seasoning), Hilton Society, Concierge RN, Archery Jewelry Key Chain, Circus Man, Fresh Home by Partylite, 12 tea light candles, Amore Nichole Eyelashes, Hands Off (baby product), Oh Comadre Candle, To be human psychotherapy stress ball, Lucky Gent t-shirt, Luz Arte bath bomb, Tix Lover T-Shirt, Vita Nourish Water, Sacred Wings teabags/herbs, Nicole Moore, Love Answers Oracle Deck – Coffee Mug, Revealu skin care – hydrating gel with minerals,Donna Leah Designs – clothing for the modern women, Hint – water with watermelon infused essence, Cask Cartel Premium Spirits, Scotch Porter Brand – charcoal and licorice face lotion, SC Enable Oil – all-round booster, Ranch Organics – bar of soap, Niki B’s Soap Company – soap and lip balm, CBD Nutratech – CBD shot, Bedol – alarm clock powered by water, Don Francisco’s Coffee, Vitabrid – Shampoo shot, Dual Mask, Nirvana Bars,Treeting Cards
Traveling Hands Company -infused massage therapy, Perial -Clothing Company, Primal Life Organics – LaMonique, Optimal Rush – Medicated Eye Drops.

I just had the best time, with all of my glorious goodies, and seeing lots of my industry friends, Thanks Mark and Matt Harris!
http://wowcreationsmedia.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment