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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Upcoming October 14, 2018 – 3:00 pm – 7:00 PM – Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

Sunday, October 14, 2018 – 3:00 pm – 7:00 PM – Los Angeles Westside Food/Wine Fest. benefits Westside Food Bank, by Producer & Organizer Todd Elliot Entertainment & Event Planning.
At The Courtyard By Marriot – Los Angees Westside – 6333 Bristol Parkway, Culver City – Tickets at: www.swingentertainment.com.

This promises to be one of the best food event of the fall season, come and meet me there!!!

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Dinner CHAYA Izakaya – September 23, 2018 – Venice, CA.

This was one of the most memorable dinners in my history of doing Jodi Jackson’s Hollywood. The whole dinner was super special and tasty. The freshest ingredients, with the right amount of everything. I just can’t say enough about the delightful, inventive food at CHAYA.

This past spring, the 28-year-old CHAYA Venice officially transitioned into CHAYA Modern Izakaya, inviting guests to discover innovative Japanese-Californian cuisine along with a brand new cocktail program.

The room was filled with ambient world music; the vibe is very relaxed with a gorgeous interior. There are white kites that have been there since CHAYA opened. Nice touches of Asian inspired interiors make for a peaceful Zen type of atmosphere.

Nathaniel Beaumond my server came from Minnesota a year ago, went to University of Minnesota, quite refreshing being that he is not an actor. He added just the right amount of knowledge and charm to my fantastic experience.

CHAYA is reinventing themselves with smaller, shared plates and many more ala carte items on their menu. Kind of family style, where a table can order many plates that can all be shared. The whole restaurant seats around 130 guests, and they also have a very private party room.

Here’s What I Tried:

Specialty Cocktails:

Watermelon Margarita, with Tequila, Agave, and Lime Watermelon. An extremely refreshing cocktail, with nice sour nuances, I just loved this one.

Seasonal Caipiroska, Effen cucumber vodka, Leblon Cabaca, Orgeat, Lime. The cucumber is always a nice addition; it makes me feel like I am at the spa. It has a bit of a kick, but went down very well.

Starter:

Rainbow Roll: scallop, albacore, tuna, yellowtail, salmon avocado, crab. This is the best freshest sushi roll I have ever tried, really remarkable. A great way to start my fantastic experience.

Noodles:

Garlic Chili noodles: chili garlic oil, sprouts, and chives. Another perfect dish, and a great accompaniment to my dinner.

Salad & Vegetables:

Sesame Chicken Salad: black sesame, Japanese cucumber, mizuna, and chili oil. The minute this salad goes in your mouth you taste the bold flavors of the black sesame. I couldn’t get enough of this salad.

Mains:

Seafood Paella: clams, mussels, gulf shrimp, calamari, lobster tail, saffron. All of the seafood is super fresh and delightful, with the perfect garlic flavors.

Ribeye Steak: 14 Oz, three-peppercorn butter. The meat is super tender and the sauce is very simple, but a delicious steak, I would highly recommend this dish.

Dessert:

Peach Parfait: mascarpone cream, brownie. The peach parfait is light and creamy, with a touch of chocolate brownies, how could you go wrong?

Milk Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding: vanilla Ice cream, caramel. This is one of their standout popular items and I can see why, extremely rich and yummy.

Wine:

Sauvignon Blanc Preston, Dry Creek Valley, 2017. Dry Creek happens to be one of my favorite regions in Sonoma County; this wine has a bit of a fruity peachy flavor but just the right amount of acid to counter balance any fruit forward flavors.

Chardonnay, Sebastian, North Coast, 2016. I just love a buttery Chardonnay and this one hit the spot. It paired so nicely with the seafood and garlic in the Paella.

Zinfandel Blend, Killer Drop, North Coast, 2014. Another one of my favorite wines, this is a rich berry, jammy Zin, hitting all of the right notes, pairing with the Rib Eye Steak will blow your hair back.

Groth Syrah, Napa Valley, 2017. This wine had some nice chocolate characteristics, adding the perfect balance with the Rib Eye Steak.

Story of CHAYA

Our family opened Chaya’s mother restaurant, Hikage Chaya in the early 1600s, as a teahouse along a mountain pass near the harbor city of Kamakura, Japan. The combination of fine fish and spices passing through the port and the preponderance of weary travelers quietly made Chaya into a somewhat famous destination unto itself. When the Imperial Summer Villa was completed in 1893, just minutes away in Hayama, our restaurant had truly arrived. Chaya became a Ryokan and established itself as a gathering place for the royal court, government officials, and for those who sought a summer audience with the emperor.

After endearing ourselves to the imperial kitchen more than one hundred years ago, Chaya quickly evolved into the modern era. In the 1970s Hikage Chaya was a landmark destination for weddings and formal events. As Japan turned its attention outwards in the 1980s, we opened La Marée de Chaya in a pioneering step towards fusion cuisine.

Consecutively we landed in Los Angeles, opening La Petite Chaya in Silver Lake and Chaya Brasserie in Beverly Hills. Our marriage of French and Japanese traditions blossomed in the west. One night in 1984 at Chaya Brasserie, the iconic dish Tuna Tartare was born, and throughout the 1990s the restaurants became beloved haunts of actors and artists.

In 2006 we opened M Café on Melrose Avenue: a casual concept serving contemporary macrobiotic meals, anticipating the ongoing craze for simple, nourishing food.

Today we invite you to rediscover Chaya as we open dining rooms for a new century of tradition, food, and health.

About Their Chefs:

At CHAYA Modern Izakaya, our innovative team of chefs have come together for the first time combining their skills and showcasing their Japanese-Californian cuisine in a modern izakaya setting, while utilizing local seasonal ingredients, the highest-quality seafood, poultry and meats. Corporate Executive Chef Yukou Kajino delivers not only a deft hand to creating this inspired cuisine, but also an intimate knowledge of the kitchen, the dining room and its guests, overseeing all aspects of menu development. Driven by the notion that cooking has no boundaries, Executive Chef Joji Inoue exemplifies a “Seafood Samurai,” showcasing his transcendental views through a respected culinary expertise. From introducing special omakase experiences at the Kaiseki Chef Counter, to pushing the boundaries on what one is capable of producing, Chef Joji elevates CHAYA Modern Izakaya’s commitment to innovation. Kaiseki Chef Katsuyuki Wako, whose tutelage and resume speak of his extensive Japanese education and extraordinary skill in the authentic culinary art ofKaiseki, brings balance and harmony to this powerful team with his meticulously prepared and exquisitely served multicourse meals that are as visually appealing as they are flavorful. With a perfectionist eye and Kaiseki palate, Chef Wako brings his seasonal and spontaneous mindset to Chef Joji’s European training, thus continuing the CHAYA cycle of bridging eastern philosophy with Western techniques.

CHAYA Modern Izakaya also unveils a stunning new Cocktail Bar, where custom backlit shelving now fully displays the premium spirits and eclectic sake collection served at CHAYA Modern Izakaya. The sweeping bar counter also offers prime seating for guests to observe the craftsmanship of the bartenders executing each libation with the utmost integrity.

Every day from 5:00 pm until closing they have a great Happy Hour featuring Wines by the Glass, Draft Beer and Cold Sake Flights at special prices. Additionally, several Cocktails especially designed for Happy Hour are available, including Stone’s Lychee Martini, comprised of vodka, St. Germaine, lychee purée and lemon; the classic Highball made with Toki whisky and club soda, or the Last Mule, prepared with bourbon, ginger, cassis and lime. An extensive Happy Hour Small Bites Menu designed by Executive Chef Joji Inoue is also available, enticing guests with hearty dishes like Chicken Kara-age with mango chili and lemon pepper; the slurp-worthy Tequila Ramen featuring creamy chicken broth, braised pork and reposado tequila, or the perfect for summer Salmon Crudo, served with charred tomato ponzu, Fresno chili and yuzu.

CHAYA Modern Izakaya serves Dinner every Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm, and every Friday and Saturday from 5:30 pm to 11:30 pm. CHAYA Modern Izakaya offers Happy Hour at the CHAYA Modern Izakaya Cocktail Bar every Sunday through Thursday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and every Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

I have tried all kind of dining experiences, but this one captured my heart and taste bids. Truly every dish was individual and beyond delicious. If you want an amazing experience where there is so much attention to detail, you too will be pleasantly surprised. The next time you need a place to go in Venice, California, give CHAYA a try, you will be very happy and satisfied.

CHAYA Modern Izakaya
(310) 396-1179
110 Navy St, Venice, CA 90291
thechaya.com

* Note Some Content Was Taken off Of Their Website

 

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September 16, 2018 – Waterside Restaurant – Brunch – Channel Islands Harbor – Oxnard CA.

A super fun filled restaurant with an amazing brunch. The patio was buzzing with lively mimosa drinking fans of the music and the food. Its right on the Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, a true must for any Sunday Brunchers. Whether you are a local or it is a brunch destination, Waterside is a great find with a very cool beachy atmosphere.

Here’s What I tried:

Soups:

Clam Chowder it won 1st place Chowderfest 2018. Big whole clams and a great creamy soup, I would order this every time.

Starters:

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail, 5 large oven roasted shrimp with house-made cocktail sauce. These shrimp are huge and delightful; a nice way to start your experience.

Bagel with Lox & Herbed Cream Cheese, with capers, tomato, and red onions. The best part about this is the herbed crème cheese, really a winner.

Salads:

Waterside Caesar Salad, Chopped romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, house-made dressing, and brioche croutons. This salad is on of my favorite items, with nice bog grilled shrimp and the dressing is superb.

Entrée:

Fettuccine Alfredo, Served in a cream sauce with forest mushrooms and grilled chicken. This is a very rich dish so I would do this as a share first course.

Eggs & More:

Surf & Turf Burrito. Fillet Mignon, shrimp, potatoes, eggs, cheese, and hollandaise. Served with tortilla and house-made fire-roasted salsa. Not my favorite thing on the menu but the plump shrimp makes up for tough steak.

Waterside Brunch Burger, Ground chuck, red dragon cheese, lettuce, tomato, red wine onions, Dijon aioli, fried egg, on a brioche bun, choice of fruit or potatoes. A perfect burger, huge patty with all the fixings a definetly winner.

They did brunch item that was not on the menu that I really loved. It was bread, egg, sweet paotao and bacon, with a thyme rosemary crust. Super light and delicious, who knows maybe they will name the dish after me.

Sides:

Sausage Links & Bacon, basic but hit the spt.

Summer Drink Specials:

Organic Cucumber Cosmo, Organic cucumber vodka, triple sec, fresh lime juice, simple syrup with a splash of cranberry juice. Shaken and served up. A nice rendition of this popular drink with the floating pulp it makes it pretty tangy.

Waterside Pine-Tai, Pineapple Bacardi rum, pineapple & orange juice, splash of grenadine, squeeze of lime. Topped with Meyers Dark rum float. Served on the rocks. This would be my go to, with the wharf backdrop and all of the water and boats this drink makes you feel like you’re on a real vacation.

Blood Orange Mimosa, these Mimosas are bottle less and come around as often as you can say more, the fresh blood orange juice makes it go down real easy.

Melanie was my server she was super efficient and extremely busy, but got the job done.

It is a very lively crowd, families, dogs, puka-shelled men, with football playing on many screens in the inside at the bar. A great festive way to brunch!

If I lived close by you bet I would be here every Sunday, with live music and a great vibe, Waterside Restaurant has my seal of approval, big time. It is really worth a trip to Oxnard to experience this laid back feeling that all if great in the world. Spend a Sunday, its only an 1 hour and a half away, you will feel like you took a much needed vacation, but with out spending all of that hard earned money.

The Waterside Restaurant & Wine Bar
3500 Harbor Blvd, Ste 1,
Oxnard, CA 93035
(805) 985-4677
watersidechannelislands.com

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