Dinner – July 7, 2018 – Trattoria Toscana – Temecula, CA.

Nestled in a strip mall near Costco in Temecula lies a real Italian gem. With so much delicious menu choices and amazing charm, Tratorria Toscana knocked it right out of the park for me.

The interior is very simple from crushed Italian wine bottle art on faux finish terrazzo type walls; Trattoria Toscana will make your every culinary wish come true. You will bask in the art of fine pasta making and spectacular Italian culinary traditions. There are extremely delicious sauces to accompany all of the homemade pasta, which you can watch being made from the front of the restaurant.

The night was so colorful, with Gil performing live music, hits from Engelbert Humperdinck and Wayne Newton. Then there was Gino, who captivated all of our hearts. Gino found his way to Pietro by walking by and asking Pietro about his business. Gino had owned many restaurants in the area for the last 25 years, so Pietro looks to him for his opinion and expertise in the restaurant industry. All of these over-the-top personalities make for one very fun experience.

Here’s What I Tried:

Antipasti:

Fritelle Di Asparage, Golden-fried savory asparagus fritters. They have a Gorgonzola sauce that is served with it. I could just eat that and be happy, but the fritters make for one happy food writer.

Calamari Fritti, tender golden fried squid served with lemon and marinara sauce. This is not the tendril, it is the body of the calamari cut in strips. Any good chef knows to get calamari to be super tender, you either cook it for a long time or really quick. Whatever their method, it was straight up fantastic.

Burrata Octopus, so delicate and delicious, never had octopus this good.

Primi:

Pappardelle Con Funghi, house made wide pasta sautéed in a medley of fresh mushrooms, caramelized onions, and light cream. By far my favorite of the night. Their pasta is done in-house by Fabrizio. There is a little room the has a storefront window so you can see the artist at work. His pastas are truly to die for, and the mushroom sauce, wow!

Gnocchi Alla Gorgonzola, Fresh house made potato dumplings in creamy Gorgonzola sauce. These little darlings are done t perfection and the sauce is just heavenly.

Secondi:

Tortelli with Filet Mignon. So delicate and wonderful, another amazing creation.

Lobster Ravioli with Shrimp, Pietro designed this dish for me and I was at a loss for words.

Chilean Sea bass, the freshest, best fish ever.  Such a nicely presented and executed delicacy.

Dessert:

Tiramisu, made in house and served in a parfait glass, the cream and is super light with just a hint of espresso, super yummy.

Wines:

Sparkling Wine, Lamberti Prosecco, a super bubbly nice way to start my amazing meal.

Pinot Grigio, 2016 J. Hotstatter, DOC, Sudtirol. This is a fruity, dry wine that paired great with the Calamari appetizer.

Pinot Grigio, 2015, Torre Rosazza, DOC, Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This a very drinkable, fresh wine, that added some nice acidity to the Octopus.

Chardonnay Cal Dora, IGT, Abruzzo, hands down this is a wine that you would want to drink with the lobster ravioli with the shrimp on top, the perfect accompaniment.

Scarpone, Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo. This was one of Pietro’s picks; he had a glass as well. Just the best red wine on the planet. This wine went great with the filet mignon tortellini.

Ciu Ciu, Gotico, Piceno Superior.  Another Pietro pick, just as delicious as the last one, but a bit dryer.

Trattoria Toscana Story:

Pietro Cinus, Chef, and owner of Trattoria Toscana, was born on the breathtaking island of Sardinia. A countryside filled with wild asparagus and bright green chard, nestled up to the Mediterranean Sea overflowing with mussels, clam, fish, and squid is where Pietro’s taste for fresh and natural flavors developed. As a young boy, Pietro would spend his time in the kitchen with his mamma, Maria, learning all of her signature Sardinian Recipes.

He then later moved to Tuscany, where he lived for over 20 years, developing his skills as a chef and woodworker. Pietro’s love for high-quality food continued to flourish in the Chianti region. He frequently would venture into the forest to collect wild mushrooms and greens, hunt for wild boar and quail, and then prepare it to perfection for friends and family. For Pietro, the joy of life is to prepare a delicious meal for others to enjoy with a glass of fine wine.

In 2007 Pietro met Blythe, a California-native who embarked on a walking adventure through the Tuscan countryside of Italy. While they did not speak the same language, the connection was instantaneous. Several years, two kids, many language lessons, thousands of dollars in phone and plane expenses later, their love for each other and great food has garnered them much success.

Trattoria Toscana, Chef Pietro draws on his Italian and Sardinian roots by bringing the community a true Italian experience, transporting his guests to Italy for a delicious, enjoyable meal. He believes that the best flavors come from fresh food, using the highest quality ingredients, prepared daily, just as they do in Italy. He says, “We are a scratch kitchen.”

Chef Pietro prepares his dishes with care and passion, attending to every detail. He makes the pasta and bread from scratch each day. He rolls tortellini and ravioli by hand. His gnocchi is made in house with potatoes and imported Italian Pecorino cheese, using his mother’s recipe.

You will find the staples of Italian cuisine, olive oil, and tomatoes, in many of his dishes. He chooses to use high quality, extra virgin olive and truffle oils from Italy to ensure that his dishes have true Italian authentic flavors. Chef Pietro sun dries tomatoes by hand using fresh, organic tomatoes to accentuate the flavors of his dishes, such as his popular dish, Pappardelle con Funghi.

Chef Pietro refrains from making his dishes far in advance, in order to preserve the tradition of serving freshly prepared food. This technique requires time for preparation and provides his guests with a leisurely dining experience, a time to relax and enjoy the company of others, sipping a lovely glass of wine, upholding Italian dining tradition. Cuisine is a passion and a past time in Italy, a time to revel in delightful flavors using just the right ingredients, and investing the time in its preparation every day. His goal is to bring this true Italian experience to his guests at Trattoria Toscana!

They also have a deli on premise as well, La Bottega, so you’re able to take home fresh pastas, deli items in their deli case, and the finest Italian products.

From the food to their staff you will feel like you’re at very special family run operation. Why get on a plane to Italy when you have this fantastic restaurant right in your back yard.

I was so impressed; I just loved the authentic vibe, the feeling of community. Never having been to Temecula I was made to feel right at home and loved every minute of it.

Trattoria Toscana
Palm Plaza
26485 Ynez Rd. Ste.
Temecula, CA 92591
Restaurant: 951.296.2066 | Deli: 951-296-9926
www.trattoriatoscanaintemecula.com
* Note some text was taken off of their website

****Most Important gotta give a shout out to Sandi, Kevin, Frank & Mike for making all of this happen and having such a good time, for my first time in Temecula!!!

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EAA – Wine Wisdom & Vision – June 21, 2018 – Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – Hollywood, CA.

Entertainment Aid Alliance (EAA) presented their annual Wine Wisdom & Vision at the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood.

The event started with a VIP reception in their bar area, lamb chops, beef Wellington and other goodies were served, along with a nice list of hosted cocktails, wine and Tito’s handmade vodka. In the main lobby area there was a silent auction item as well as the buffet, which included sumptuous roast beef and turkey at carving stations with a nice array of side dishes, salad, and pasta.

The entertainment was in the bar with featured awards and performances. I ended up winning quite a few of silent auction items so I was super excited. All of the attendees enjoyed the food and libation.

About The Entertainment AIDS Alliance:
About The Entertainment AIDS Alliance dba Entertainment Aid Alliance (EAA), was founded in 1989 by a group of video industry professionals to respond to the urgent need for funding of AIDS service organizations nationwide. To date, EAA has distributed over $5.7 million to more than 155 national and community based organizations that provide client services to people living with HIV and AIDS, institutions that conduct research for AIDS treatment and prevention, and advocacy groups that help shape and promote public policy advancing AIDS issues. All beneficiaries are required to be non-profit organizations and are evaluated for fiscal management integrity. EAA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by employees and companies in film, home entertainment, music, consumer electronics and game software including distributors, manufacturers, retailers and associated industries.

The Visionary Award was presented to Michael Kerns in honor of his exemplary service in the fight against HIV/AIDS. EAA also announced the establishment of The Maria LaMagra/Heather Hinkel Fund, which provides aid to those living with cancer. Recording artists The Mowgli’s (San Francisco) headlined the evening. Additional entertainment was courtesy of the Magic Castle, Inc., which including a special performance by Dale Hindman, past president of the Academy of Magical Arts. DJ Richie Rich (Lip Sync Battle) was the DJ all evening.

Sponsors:
Tylie, Paramount, HBO, Torrey Pines Bank, Vision Media, Media Play News, The Magic Castle, Sony, WB, DVD & Blu-Ray, Titos, Milk Jar, and Pasquini Coffee.

Can’t wait for next year, but for now I will have to enjoy all of the wonderful DVD’s in the gift bag along with some other fun goodies.

Entertainment AIDS Alliance
1049 Havenhurst Drive, #491
West Hollywood, CA 90046
http://www.entertainmentaidsalliance.net/
www.thehollywoodroosevelt.com/

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Black Business Association – The Business Behind The Music – Tuesday June 19, 2018 – California African American Museum- Los Angeles, CA.

This was an evening of wonderful accomplishments and amazing food! The table décor was beautiful with pink plates and pink roses.

About the Event:

Board of Directors, Gwen Moore – Chairman – GeM Communications, Denise Peoples – Secretary – Peoples Choice Staffing, Inc.,Nathan Freeman – Treasurer – Figueroa Media Group, Inc.

Board Members, Ted Davis – ISComp. Systems. Inc., Lamar Lyons – Rideau Lyons & Co. Inc.,Ezekiel Patten, Jr. – President, Patten Energy Enterprises, Inc.,Rosalind Pennington – President/CEO, BST Consulting Services, LLC.

Legal Counsel, Angela J. Reddock-Wright, Esq. – Founding & Managing Attorney, Reddock Law Group.

President & Chief Executive Officer
Earl “Skip” Cooper, II.

Sponsors & Supporters, Gold Sponsors, Capitol Music Group, Motown.

Silver Sponsors, AEG, SoCalGas.

Bronze Sponsor, Moss Foundation.

Supporters, AFM Local 47, The Ray Charles Foundation, Dillard University, Lionel Richie/Red Light Management, New Frontier Democratic Club, Dickerson Insurance Services, Verdugo Workforce Development Board, Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation.

Corporate Partners, AEG, AT&T, City National Bank, Comerica Bank, Frontier Communications, Northrop Grumman, SoCal Gas, Southern California Edison, Verizon, Wells Fargo Bank.

Dinner Program, Mistress of Ceremonies
Kim Anthony-Morrow – National Director, Urban Philanthropy Institute.

Introduction of Dais Guest, Gwen Moore – Chairperson, Black Business Association, Earl “Skip” Cooper II – President & CEO, Black Business Association.

Invocation, Dinner served, Award Presentation, Entertainment
Ellis Hall – “The Ambassador of Soul”/Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Zipporah Robinson – Vocalist.

Closing Remarks, Gwen Moore – Chairperson, Black Business Association.

Dessert/Networking Reception, Featuring Desserts by BBA Members.

Mistress of Ceremonies – Kim Anthony-Morrow – National Director, Urban Philanthropy Institute Kim Anthony-Morrow brings more than 25 years of experience in the small business and community development sectors to her role as National Director of the Urban Philanthropy Institute, (UPI) a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is dedicated to positively impacting economically disadvantaged communities. Through its award-winning flagship program, Launch and Lead: Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Development Program, UPI currently provides training and support for more than 120 emerging nonprofits and social ventures in 31 states, with a focus on building sustainable organizations that create critically-needed jobs while providing transformative solutions for under-resourced communities.

Ms. Morrow also serves as producer and host of “Urban Philanthropy Live,” Urban Philanthropy Magazine’s weekly interview-formatted podcast that highlights individuals and organizations that are making a positive difference in urban communities.

A passionate social venture advocate and gifted fundraiser, she has sourced more than $20 million in funding for worthy causes and social innovation projects. She is also a highly sought-after keynote speaker, conference panelist and workshop facilitator on the topics of social innovation, nonprofit management and community-building.

Preceding her tenure at the Urban Philanthropy Institute, she served for more than a decade as the Director of Small Business Development for the Black Business Association.

Ms. Morrow is the author of From Gifted to Greatness: Manifesting Your Greatness Through Giving and provides nonprofit management consulting services to individuals and organizations worldwide.

Entertainment:

Ellis Hall – “The Ambassador of Soul”, Singer, Songwriter, Musician & Former Lead Vocalist/Keyboardist at Tower of Power

Ellis Hall, “The Ambassador of Soul” known for singing, songwriting, and as a musician playing every instrument with a strong 5 octave vocal range and was the lead vocalist and keyboardist for the soul-funk band Tower of Power.

He performs with most elite symphony orchestras worldwide including: His first being the Hollywood Bowl under the direction of his mentor Ray Charles. Since then he has performed with prestigious 81 piece orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Marvin Hamlisch conducting to playing with the Boston Pops Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Seattle Symphony ORchestra, Rochester Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony Orchestra and more.

Ellis is currently performing two orchestra concept shows “Ray, Motown and Beyond” features such hits a Motown’s Heard It Through the Grapevine and Tower of Power’s Some Days Were Meant for Rain. With the second half of the show paying tribute to Ray Charles featuring hit songs like, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Unchain My Heart, Hit the Road Jack, and Georgia on My Mind.

Ellis’ other show, “Soul Unlimited” (conducted by Jeff Tyzik) is where he “Ellis-izes” songs from David Bowie’s Let’s Dance to Something by George Harrison, Beatles along with Motown and Soul hits.

Born in Savannah, Georgia and raised partly in Claxton, GA. Ellis has been blind since he was 18 years old, but that doesn’t stop him from his mission in life. In fact, it has been the driving force behind the creation of a 3,800 songs catalog full of Soul, Gospel, Blues, and Pop compositions. Among these works if the official song for his hometown of Claxton, Georgia. He has worked alongside other greats such as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Toby Keith, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Bobby Womack, George Duke, Sheila E., Kenny G and many more. In addition, he was one of the lead vocalists of the California Raisins.

Ellis has also successfully had his hand at Hollywood, recording and performing songs for live action and animated films such as “The Lion King 2,” “Shrek 2,” “Chicken Run,” “Invincible” and “Bruce Almighty”. The Ambassador has even taken acting roles in “Big Momma’s House” (Martin Lawrence) and the crime drama “Catch Me If You Can” (Leonardo DiCaprio). Along with all these amazing films that he was a part of, Mr. Hall was nominated for an Ovation Theater Award for his first stage role in “The Gospel At Colonus” where he not only sang and acted but also walked the stage and stair props with nearly no assistance.

Zipporah Robinson – Vocalist, Zipporah Robinson is an 8th grade Honor Roll student in Oakland, CA with a natural gift in song. She is very active in her church and she blesses the hearts of many each month during youth, funeral and/or holiday services, as well as prayer breakfasts and other events. She is one of the youth participating in Tony’s School of Music directed by D’Wayne Wiggins, grammy award winning producer of Tony! Toni! Tone!. Zipporah is happy to share her talent with a positive attitude and beautiful spirit. She has aspirations of attending Oakland School of the Arts in Oakland, CA in the fall in order to develop her gift even further. She also loves going to the movies, shopping and attending fun activities with her friends.

Siedah Garrett – Grammy-winning & Academy Award-nominated singer/songwriter, Siedah Garrett is a GRAMMY-winning and twice Academy Award nominated singer/songwriter whose contributions to popular culture are unparalleled. A native of Los Angeles, Garrett began her career as a background vocalist when she was just 15 years old. Her experience in the music business has been varied, to say the last. She’s done it all – from being a singer in a variety of local bands in her early days, to catapulting to the member of Michael Jackson’s, Siedah is most famous for co-writing The King of Pop’s megahit “Man in the Mirror” from his chart-topping 1987 album, “Bad”, and as his duet partner on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, that album’s first single. She also toured with Jackson as featured vocalist on his Dangerous World Tour.

In addition to Jackson, artists who have recorded on Siedah’s songs include mentor Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Earth Wind & Fire, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, will.i.am, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Toto, Sheena Easton, Natalie Cole, Barry White, Pointer Sisters, Donna Summer, Dionne Warwick, Patti Austin, Roberta Flack, Al Jarreau, and many others. As a recording artist, her first big hit was the now classic duet with ex-Temptation Dennis Edwards, “Don’t Look Any Further”. She has also toured internationally with Madonna, Sergio Mendes, Wang Chujng, and recently performed alongside pop sensation Aloe Blacc. Film and television productions to use Siedah’s music include Lego Batman, Rio, Rio 2, Dreamgirls, The Voice, and Netflix’s Fuller House, and the hugely successful Playstation video game Nioh.

In 2017, Siedah released her critically acclaimed single “G.H.E.T.T.O.” (Greatness Happens Even Though There’s Oppression) which featured GRAMMY and Academy Award-winning rapper/actor/activist, Common. The single, which is a motivational anthem about not being defined by where you come from, premiered in Essence magazine online. Most recently, Siedah has partnered with Academy Award nominated composer John Debney to create music for a forthcoming musical theater production entitled, “Silent Night”, and is now collaborating with multi-GRAMMY winning composer/producer Harvey Mason, Jr. on the musical theater production of Will Smith’s blockbuster film, “The Pursuit of Happyness”.

Outside of her work as a singer and songwriter, Garrett is also an active philanthropist – using her time, talents and creativity to make a positive difference in her community and throughout the world. Siedah is a frequent guest speaker at colleges, universities and industry conferences, offering her advice and sharing her experiences. She has become a go-to lyricist for special events and social causes, such as co-writing two theme songs for the Special Olympics World Games, the music theme for the World Expo in Shanghai, the American Idol Gives Back campaign, Fergie’s “L.O.V.E. (Let One Voice Emerge)” song to encourage voter participation, her Autism Awareness theme song “It’s Time to Listen,” and her new benefit single, “Carry On”, for the Race to Erase MS charity. Siedah also has taken a particular interest in causes related to HIV/AIDS, earning her the Good Samaritan Award from the Minority AIDS Foundation. An Avid knitter, Siedah is currently working on an initiative – Beanies for Babies – personally knitting 100 caps for children living with HIV/AIDS and cancer.

Valerie Ervin – President, Ray Charles Foundation, as guardian of the Ray Charles legacy, Valerie Ervin is committed to carrying forward the vision and philanthropic mission set forth by Ray Charles.

Prior to being named President of “The Ray Charles Foundation”, Valerie Ervin established her tenure with the organization by working closely alongside Ray Charles and his long-time manager/business partner Joe Adams, as Executive Assistant and Vice President of Operations. Ms. Ervin’s approach to business and the daily management of The Ray Charles Foundation remains consistent with the principles, tenets and integrity with which Ray Charles and Joe Adamas conducted business for more than five decades.

In addition to leading the foundation in its grant-making initiatives, Valeri also oversees the negotiation of music licensing contacts and manages all the commercial, business, marketing and financial interests from revenues generated by the Ray Charles Foundation.

She has been Executive Producer on multiple music and media projects including the “In PErformance at the White House” PBS special honoring Ray Charles, hosted by President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama. In every project, Ms. Ervin endeavors to add value to the Ray Charles brand including the Academy Award Winning biopic, “Ray”.Ms. Ervin has positioned the Foundation as a significant player in the world of American Philanthropy.

Valerie Ervin has received dozens of awards, plaques of recognition and appreciation from the City and County of Los Angeles. Numerous business organizations, entertainers, record companies, secondary and higher learning educational institutions including a Honorary Doctorate degree from Dillard University and other foundations, have all recognized Ms. Ervin for her unrelenting efforts in spearheading the agenda of the Ray Charles Foundation.

Under her leadership, the Ray Charles Foundation has donated millions of dollars in grants, making Valerie Ervin one of the most influential legacy estate guardians.

John Acosta – President, American Federation of Musicians Local 47, John Acosta currently serves as President of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47 representing over 7,000 professional musicians in the southern California area. John also serves as an international Executive Board member of the AFM, Vice President on the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Board, President on the Music Fund of Los Angeles Board of Directors, Director on the Actors Fund Western Council and Director on the Verdugo-Workforce Investment Board.

John hails from the Bronx, New York. His father Juan Acosta was a percussionist from Cuba who worked a sa touring musician with Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. In California, John began his recording career working as a composer, guitarist, producer and engineer for artists on Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Geffen, BMG, Elektra and Capitol Records. John’s work as a musician lead to his work with Local 47, advocating for musicians rights.

The Honorable Dr. Mike Davis currently serves as the President Pro Tem of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioners. Dr. Davis was also the first African American to serve as Chair of the California State Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, and Internet Media Committee in the California State Legislature. He has served as a public administrator at all four levels of government. In the County of Los Angeles, he coordinated the Living Legends Program for Supervisor Yvonne Burke, working with musical celebrities such as Nancy Wilson, Issac Hayes. Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, Etta James and Natalie Cole. In the State Assembly, he coordinated the California Living Legends Program and worked with artists such as Dionne Warwick, Chaka Khan, Kenny Babyface Edmonds, Stephanie Mills, The Ojays, Jeffrey Osborne, and Stevie Wonder. Today Dr. Davis serves as the Chair of the city of Los Angeles African American Heritage Month committee where he works with Our Authors Study Club and has featured the stories of African American musicians such as Charlie Wilson, John Legend, Lionel Richie, and Johnny Mathis.

“Telling the stories of African American musical legends has been a past time of mines because I know this public history is one which inspires and motivates our citizens to achieve great thing in their own personal lives,” Dr. Davis reveals “If any of these musicians, whose work brings joy to our communities, share their triumphs and challenges, it becomes the foundation from which people will take positive action for themselves and others.” Dr. Davis concludes.

Dr. Davis received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Southern California. He is also a member of Los Angeles Musicians Union, Local 47.

The backdrop was also remarkable, The California African American Museum, rich with history and great exhibits.

California African American Museum
600 State Drive, Exposition Park,
Los Angeles, CA 90037.
caamuseum.org

*Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Dinner – Meatos Bistrot Chic – June 18, 2018 – Beverly Hills, CA.

This is a very iconic part of Beverly Hills, Restaurant Row; across from Lawry’s steakhouse, is a very upscale restaurant that caters to kosher food, with the emphasis on meat. You can expect high-end delicious kosher food options at Meatos Bistrot Chic Restaurant in Beverly Hills.

They follow the Jewish law of not serving meat with milk or milk with meat.
Milk and meat in Jewish law: From Wikipedia: Mixtures of milk and meat (Hebrew:, basar bechalav, literally “meat in milk”) are prohibited according to Jewish law. According to the Talmud, these three almost identical references are the basis for three distinct dietary laws: the prohibition against cooking a mixture of milk and meat, the prohibition against eating a cooked mixture of milk and meat, the prohibition against deriving any benefit from a cooked mixture of milk and meat. Milchigs: Dairy. This includes everything that is made from milk, such as cheese, butter, etc. Fleishigs: Meat: This includes everything made from meat or poultry, including their schmaltz (rendered fat).

According to Jewish law, kosher meals are prohibited from combining any milk and meat products. Within the Talmud (the primary source of Jewish religious law), it is forbidden to serve meat with milk, milk with meat, or meat in milk. More specifically, one cannot cook a mixture of milk and meat, one cannot consume this combination, and lastly, one cannot derive any benefit from this combination.

Here’s What I Tried:

Specialty Cocktails:

White Sangria Peach – Orange lemon, white wine and sparkling wine. They do not serve hard alcohol, but their faux drinks are very refreshing.

Champagne Mojito – Sake, lime, and mint. A Very cool and lovely cocktail.

Appetizers:

Stuff Portobello (Gluten free, vegan available on demand) – Marinara, pesto, cherry tomatoes, with Bolognese sauce. A large mushroom filled with a meaty sauce that is really delicious.

Hummus bowl – Roasted mushroom, caramelized onions, beef, and falafel balls. I just loved their hummus, it is very rich and flavorful.

Kefta & Trio de Merguez Plate (Gluten free) – Beef, lamb and chicken (spicy) merguez and beef Kefta. This is a great variety of house made sausages with great big flavors.

Pizza:

BBQ Chicken Pizza – Caramelized onion, BBQ chicken Bolognese, chicken tenders (option to add pepperoni). There is no cheese in this very bold flavored pizza, with an outstanding crust.

Soup:

Butternut Squash Soup (Gluten free) – Creamy roasted butternut squash, truffle oil, herbs. There is no cream, but they captured an amazing butternut squash essence.

Salads:

Caesar Salad – Homemade Caesar dressing, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and croutons. This is a simple salad, with lots of croutons, a great dish for the salad lover.

Fish:

Atlantic salmon (Gluten free) – Fresh Atlantic salmon paned. This salmon is very fresh and cooked to perfection.

Mains:

Entrecote de Paris, 11 oz. (Gluten free) – Grass fed beef served with the famous Entrecote de Paris sauce. Done the traditional Parisian way with a nice Entrecote sauce.

Baby Lamb Chops (Gluten free) – Rich flavor French lamb rib chops. This is made to order, perfectly cooked with great grill flavor, my favorite item for the evening.

Wine:

Pays D’oc Chardonnay – France: I would drink this with the butternut squash soup, or the hummus, either way it is a great pairing.

Hagefen Sauvignon Blanc – California, USA: A nice, well-rounded wine with subtle melon flavors, drink this with the salmon or the salad.

Recanati Shiraz – Israel: This is such a perfect wine with the Kefta and trio de Merguez plate.

Hagefen Cabernet Sauvignon – California, USA: This is a spectacular wine; it went so nicely with the lamb chops. I would come here again just for this combination, it is all you need.

Beer:

Weinhenstephaner Pilsner – Germany,  a light, smooth beer that went great with the Kefta and the trio de Merguez plate.

Bitburger Drive – Another light beer, went great with the humus plate.

An earthy interior, with an outdoor patio, a nice mellow experience. The banquettes are brown leather, with some great religious art on the walls, but all very subtle and tasteful.

Chef Jonas Assouline is at the helm of this delightful Beverly Hills restaurant. Both of my servers, Ryan Briggs and Judge Boothby (named after American actor “Judge” Reinhold Jr.) were sweet and informative, describing specialty menu items and guiding me through my dining experience with a smile.

 

Meatos Bistrot Chic, formally known as Mazal’rella, is owned by Karen and Daniel Attias, both from Paris, France. Before Meatos opened its doors in December of 2017, Mazal’rella was known for preparing cream-based dishes and not meat. Now, Meatos has shifted the focus to tasty meats, which include farm raised fish and fresh vegetables.

If you are in the mood for high-quality, beautifully presented kosher cuisine, then it’s time to book a reservation at Meatos Bistrot Chic. The restaurant is busy on Thursdays and Sundays, leading up to and following Shabbat, so make sure you call ahead or arrive early. For the kosher palate, none of these dishes will disappoint, after all, it is kosher French cuisine at its best.

They have Happy Hour on Mondays – Thursday from 6pm-7pm with many bar discounts.

Meatos Bistrot Chic
111 N. La Cienaga Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(424)-343 0134
https://meatos.us/

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5th Annual – Real to Reel – Portrayals and Perceptions of LGBTQ’s in Hollywood – June 8, 2018 – Hollywood Museum, Hollywood, CA.

Exhibition Opens With VIP Reception at The Hollywood Museum
with a Special Presentation to The Future of Hollywood Award presented to Actress Stephanie Beatriz and the Legacy Award to Actress Julie Newmar.

This event was wonderful; they pulled out all of the stops, including serving a caviar extravaganza and lovely buffet. They did some great acknowledgements and awards; fun was truly had by all. The LGBTQ community showed up and their many supporters.

President/Founder of The Hollywood Museum, Donelle Dadigan, along with Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and Christopher Street West, will proudly kick off an annual exhibit that shines the spotlight on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBTQ) community in television and film through the decades. This year’s event will also feature a special recognition for The Future of Hollywood Award presented to actress Stephanie Beatriz and the Legacy Award to TONY Award winning actress, Julie Newmar.

The Hollywood Museum’s REAL to REEL: Portrayals and Perceptions of LGBTQs in Hollywood exhibition opens to the public on Friday, June 8th, to coincide with the annual Christopher Street West Pride activities.

Background and Information:
Spanning 100 years, the 2018 exhibit is a salute to the LGBTQ community’s contributions to the entertainment industry. Now, in its fifth successful year, the REAL to REEL: Portrayals and Perceptions of LGBTQ in Hollywood exhibit, is offered in partnership with Los Angeles City Council member Mitch O’Farrell (CD-13) and LA Pride, as an educational, entertaining and informative retrospective of LGBTQ images in film, TV, new digital platforms featuring costumes, props, photos, and iconic imagery all telling the story of the milestones and influence that LGBTQ characters and plot lines have had in Hollywood from early stereotypes in silent films to modern-day representations. Additionally, REAL to REEL celebrates LGBTQ Icons by paying homage to those individuals who support the LGBTQ community. Founder and President of The Hollywood Museum, Donelle Dadigan, explains “The museum welcomes the opportunity to create and showcase this important exhibition, sharing with the public the artistic expression and extraordinary significance of the LGBTQ culture and its effect and impact on the world through the medium of entertainment.”

The Hollywood Museum’s presentation places the exhibit in the historical context of Hollywood, which is home to a large LGBTQ entertainment industry population. The exhibit revisits monumental LGBTQ moments in history with Rev. Troy Perry, including the Black Cat riots (1967), and the infamous sign that once hung at the entrance of West Hollywood’s Barney’s Beanery. Exhibit highlights include costumes from Transparent, How to Get Away with Murder, Brokeback Mountain, Superstore, The Walking Dead, Empire, Trans America, Sordid Lives, Cruising, Orange is the New Black, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Ray Donovan, Mad Men, Arrested Development, Cabaret, K-11, After Forever, Orphan Black, Roseanne, Will & Grace, To Wong Fu Julie Newmar, etc. Additional exhibit items include famous costumes from Hollywood’s leading designers; Mr. Blackwell, Bob Mackie, Ret Turner, Nolan Miller, Zac Posen, Rudolf Nureyev and Edith Head to Project Runway with Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum, as well as Days of Our Lives, The Bold and the Beautiful, Tyler Perry’s The Haves and Have Nots, Scandal, Two in a Half Men, True Blood, The Good Wife, much more. This year’s exhibit also includes, LGBTQ Icons including Judy Garland, Betty Davis, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, Rock Hudson, Liza Minnelli, James Dean, Bette Midler, Ramon Navarro, Rudolf Valentino, Charles Laughton, Sam Harris, Bruce Vilanch, Sherman Hemsley, Geri Jewell, Jerry Herman, Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner and many more.

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

About The Hollywood Museum:
The museum houses more than 10,000 Authentic Show Business Treasures spotlighting more than 100 years of Hollywood history – from the Silents to Talkies, to Hollywood’s Golden Era, Film Noir, Television and its Pioneer Years, through the rebellious 60s, special effects 70s, evolving 80s, involved 90s, technological 2000s, and beyond to current day heartthrobs! The Hollywood Museum’s exhibits showcase the best in film, network and cable television, and new digital platforms featuring iconic and fan favorites! Named one of the top tourist attractions by LA Weekly, voted one of the Top 10 Museums in LA by the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, and annually receives the Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor. Located in the heart of Hollywood, at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave – The Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building is the Official Museum of Hollywood and offers visitors the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world featuring the glamour of Hollywood legends and stars – past, present and in the making. See one-of-a-kind costumes, props, photographs, scripts, stars’ car collections, personal artifacts, posters, and memorabilia from favorite stars, films and TV shows. The Hollywood Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

The Hollywood Museum – in the Historic Max Factor Building
1660 N. Highland Ave (at Hollywood Blvd)
Hollywood, California 90028
(323) 464-7776
FACEBOOK: Facebook.com/TheHollywoodMuseum
TWITTER: @HollywoodMuseum
INSTAGRAM: @HollywoodMuseum
http://thehollywoodmuseum.com/

* Note some content was taken off of press release and website

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Rich Little Book Signing – Friday June 1, 2018 – Hollywood Museum, Hollywood, CA.

All I can say is back in the day Rich Little to me was the god of impressionists, appearing many times on Johnny Carson he represented to me what real artistry is all about.

We got to see him and hear him do some of his famous impressions, Dean Martin, Johnny Carson, George Burns among others.

There were so many glamorous celebrities coming in to support Rich Little and the Hollywood Museum. When I am there I feel like I have come home, I always feel welcomed. Thanks to B. Harlan Boll, and Roger and Lynn Neal.

It was a fun memorable evening with help from lots of celebrities: Paul Sorvino, Ruta Lee to name a few. Bringing back all of my memories how television played such a big part in my childhood and beyond. Rich Little was a big part of all of that; I always enjoyed his brilliant impressions of some amazingly talented actors, and comedians.

The Hollywood Museum,
in the Historic Max Factor Building
1660 N. Highland Ave (at Hollywood Blvd)
Hollywood, California 90028
(323) 464-7776
http://thehollywoodmuseum.com/

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The Color Purple – May 29, 2018 – The Pantages – Hollywood, CA.

For me always a heartfelt story, one of redemption and revenge, but with a great lesson. It always makes me cry like a baby, I am just filled with emotions and joy all at the same time.

I had a client a while back La Toya London from American Idol fame and she was in the touring company, she played Nettie. A few years back I went to see her on closing night in Chicago and had the honor of going to the cast party and met all the amazing cast at that time, I was truly smitten. The only real thing between then and now is the set. The installed 3 very high wooden flats that housed many chairs that were hung by hooks. The cast only used these different wooden chars to depict all of the sets of the show. Obviously it took some imagination, and if you never saw the show before you would not have known the difference, for me it was a very ingenious way to pull off this outstanding show.

About the show:
The Cast:
Adam – Darnell Abraham, Guard – Amar Atkins, Bobby/Buster – Kyle E. Baird, Church Lady, Angela Birchett, Nettie – N’ Jameh Camara, Sofia – Carrie Compere, Harpo – J. DAUGHTRY, Squeak – Erica Durham, Mister – Gavin Gregory, Celie – Adrianna Hicks, Church Lady – Bianca Horn, Grady – Mekhai Lee, Olivia – Gabrielle Reid, Preacher/Ol’ Mister – C.E. Smith, Shug Avery – Carla R. Stewart, Pa – J.D. Webbster, Church Lady – Brit West.

Orchestra Conductor / Keys 1: Darryl Archibald Associate Conductor / Keys 2: Wayne Green Guitar (Electric, Acoustic, Dobro, Harmonica, 12 String): Michael Karcher Bass (Electric, Acoustic): Chris Thigpen Drums: Trevor Holder Keyboard Programming: Randy Cohen Music Coordinator: Talitha Fehr Local Orchestra Alto Sax/Clarinet/Flute/Alto Flute: Frank Fontaine Bari Sax/Clarinet/Bass Clarinet/Tenor Sax: Richard Mitchell Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Aaron Smith Keyboard Sub: William Malpede Orchestra Contractor: Eric Heinly

Brenda Russell – Composer/Lyricist, Allee Willis – Composer/Lyricist, Stephen Bray – Composer/Lyricist, John Doyle – Direction/Set Design/Musical Staging, Ann Hould-Ward – Costume Designer, Jane Cox – Lighting Designer, Charles G. La Pointe – Wig and Hair Design, Catherine Jays – Music Supervisor, Darryl Archibald – Music Director Conductor, Telsey + Company – Casting, Richard A. Leigh – Stage Manager.

The Musical Numbers:
Act One:
“Huckleberry Pie” – Celie and Nettie “Mysterious Ways”, The Company -“Somebody Gonna Love You” – Celie, “Our Prayer” – Nettie, Celie and Mister, “Big Dog” – Mister and Men, “Hell No!” – Sofia and Women, “Brown Betty” – Harpo, Squeak and Men, “Shug Avery Comin’ to Town” – Mister, Celie and Company, “Too Beautiful for Words” – Shug, “Push da Button” – Shug and Company, “Uh Oh!” – The Company, “What About Love?” – Celie and Shug.
Act Two:
“African Homeland” – Nettie, Celie and Company, “The Color Purple” – Shug,
“Celie’s Curse” – Mister, “Miss Celie’s Pants” – Celie and Women, “Any Little Thing” – Harpo and Sofia, “I’m Here” – Celie, “The Color Purple” (Reprise) – Celie and Company.

The beauty of the Art Deco glory of The Pantages Theater enhances everything about this show; it remains that most glamour’s backdrop of a venue ever.

It is a more simpler version of the film, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover, but it still follows the same story, a story that resonates in today’s world, not missing a beat, you will be entertained and enlightened, after all it did win The Best Musical Revival Tony in 2016.

The Color Purple runs from May 29 – June 17 2018
The Pantages Theater
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 468-1770
https://www.hollywoodpantages.com/events/detail/thecolorpurple

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Bar 20 – Dinner – May 29, 2018 – Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, CA.

This bar is very hipster, the décor, the people; everything about it brings you back to why The Sunset Strip is so iconic.

It has all been recently revamped and they did a fantastic job, the accents are all red and black, very sleek and stylish. The perfect place for happy hour, a date, or a late night drink. Sip the nectar of the rock Gods in a guitar-inspired cocktail lounge on the Sunset Strip. Fuel up for the demands of the LA nightlife with an exclusive Bar Menu featuring all of what you need and none of what you don’t. Bar 20 also has a brand new breakfast menu! Dine in style without leaving The Grafton on Sunset. Their newly renovated hotel offers on-site access to Bar 20 for drinks and dining.

Here’s What I tried:

Chicken Strips, with ranch dressing, nice crisp flavor with massive crunch, a nice starter.

Lobster Mac’n Cheese, with cheesy béchamel, rosemary breadcrumbs. You get a bit of cheesy goodness with every bite and there is a lot of lobster, it is a delicious dish.

Grafton Chopped Salad, blue cheese, dry cranberries, bacon, chopped egg, grilled chicken, walnuts and tarragon vinaigrette. I loved this salad, and the shrimp are huge and very flavorful.

1/2 Pound Sunset Burger, with signature beef blend, cheddar, apple wood bacon, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, pickle, 1000 island dressing. This is a huge burger, the combination of ingredients with blow your hair back, just fantastic.

They have a happy hour from 4:20-7:20 with half off prices and bar bites, Monday through Friday.

A great way to enjoy the hotel and have a big convenient dining experience.

Bar 20
The Grafton Hotel
8462 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
graftononsunset.com
(323) 491-9006
https://www.bar20onsunset.com/

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Staycation – May 29, 2018, The Grafton Hotel – Sunset Strip – Los Angeles, CA.

In the hottest part of The Sunset Strip in West Hollywood lies an oasis of splendor and relaxation, a real premiere boutique retreat. The Grafton offers a luxurious stay with urban sophistication, without all of the bells and whistles of new hotels in the area. With its 90’s throw back theme, The Grafton is not trying to be the new kid on the block; simply put, the location is well worth the price of one’s stay. You can walk across the street to see some of the best comedy in town, or go down to the fashionable Sunset Plaza with all of its great restaurants and elegant shopping. Guests of The Grafton also enjoy close proximity to some of the Sunset Strip’s most famous hot spots including the Viper Room, Whiskey A Go-Go, and the Rainbow Bar & Grill. You can hop in an Uber and be anywhere in Los Angeles in a half hour. Also, the hotel has a built in hipster bar, Bar 20, which I will cover in my next review.

Their rooms all have a rock and roll theme to make the guests feel as if they are the stars of a rock show: the wall paper depicts a rowdy audience giving an ovation to the guest, who is spotlighted by the color and lights of the room. There are a total of 108 rooms and suites. The subtlety of this makes you feel like you are in a world of music history and debacle that could only happen on the Sunset Strip.

The pool area is the star for me, with great views of the city, I just loved swimming there. It boasts to be the largest saltwater pool on the Sunset Strip. My room was located a few feet away from the pool and even though Los Angeles was in May gray, and it was overcast, I persevered and swam in the cold foggy day. At night there are strung lights that set a very festive tone. There is an also gym that is basic but will do the trick.

If you are interested in a comfortable, state of the art property that’s not too pricey or extravagant, then The Grafton is the place for you. Seeing that I am not a millennial, I was content with the charm of the bungalow style of hotel, even though there were no bungalows. The awnings and the fabric used around the property reminds me of the Beverly Hills Hotel, but instead of a green and pink color palate, The Grafton use a striped black and camel for awnings and curtains. Did I mention that they are totally pet friendly, so take your furry friends with you.

I enjoyed my stay especially because as the crow flies I live 2 minutes away – got to love West Hollywood.

The Grafton Hotel
8462 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
graftononsunset.com
(323) 654-4600

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Re-Visit – Dinner – May 25, 2018 – True Food Kitchen – Santa Monica, CA.

My first visit was a year ago and I loved every bite. The difference with this visit though, was the other menu items I tried, and how the customers have changed. It appeared like all walks of life have discovered the delicious health conscious choices of True Food Kitchen. A good thing, that has gotten even better, and many locals have realized these innovative ways to make new choices for an improved life.

The ingredients and sustainability factor is what True Food Kitchen is all about. True Food Kitchen, is a health-driven, seasonal restaurant merging nutrient-rich ingredients with a flavor-forward menu that rotates regularly to let guests experience great-tasting ingredients at the peak of their freshness. Their open kitchen brings guests closer to True Kitchen’s culinary craft while showcasing that there’s nothing secret about the way they prepare their dishes.

Their scratch bar is brimming with a selection of wine, local beers and seasonal cocktails made
using fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices paired with organic spirits.

Here is what I Tried:

Cocktails:

Basil Cucumber Collins, lemon-infused vodka, cucumber, and basil. A soothing, rich and a truly great cocktail.

Thai Grapefruit Martini, organic vodka, grapefruit, ad Thai basil. You don’t even taste the grapefruit, it is just wonderful.

Lemongrass Margarita, añejo tequila, mango, lime, and lemongrass. Silky smooth, just a seamless drink.

Vegetables:

Spring Asparagus Toast, vegan, roasted cipollini onion, green garbanzo, tahini, mint, and hemp seed. The perfect beginning to a wonderful experience.

Starters:

Daily Market Soup, Tortilla Soup. This soup had a bit of a kick, but was a nice rendition of this popular starter.

Wild Caught Albacore Tataki, gluten free, with avocado, jalapeño, toasted sesame, and yuzu ponzu. Just spectacular, so fresh and flawless, one of my favorites of the evening!

Edamame Dumplings, vegetarian, with dashi, white truffle oil, and Asian herbs. Light and fluffy, with amazing truffle oil flavors, another great way to start your experience.

Herb Hummus, vegetarian, with Greek salad, feta and grilled pita bread. Just the best hummus on the planet and the added Greek salad, wow.

Salads:

Seasonal Ingredient Salad: with gluten free, with watercress, grilled broccolini, asparagus, green garbanzo, goat cheese, raisin, sprouted almond, turmeric chia vinaigrette, and shrimp. This salad is a wonderful healthy way to get your veggies and protein all in the same dish.

Sandwiches:

Mediterranean Chicken Pita with grilled flatbread, romaine, arugula, grape, house pickle, red onion, feta, harissa tahini. This is just the ideal lunch item, the chicken is cooked to perfection, loved it!

Grass-Fed Burger with umami, mushroom, caramelized onion, arugula, Parmesan, mayonnaise, and flax seed bun. I have had many burgers, but there is something so special about this one, all of the ingredients and the way they blend together, you just have to try it to believe it.

Bowls:

Cashew Pad Thai, with gluten free kombu, rice noodle, zucchini, mushroom, eggplant, gai lan, bean sprout, Thai basil, tamarind, with shrimp. It’s just like you would order at a Thai restaurant, but the vegetables are more pronounced and you can just tell that it is healthier.

Teriyaki Quinoa, vegan, with broccoli, heirloom carrot, bok choy, mushroom, brown rice, avocado, toasted sesame, with chicken. The quinoa has a nice pop feel in your mouth, and the flavors are astounding.

Pizza:

Grilled Artichoke & Pesto, vegan, with artichoke, spinach, summer squash, black walnut pesto, lemon, Aleppo chili, and vegan almond ricotta. This pizza is so much fun and creative, no big red sauce, but a full dressed pizza with all of the bells and whistles.

Entrees:

Spaghetti Squash Casserole, vegan and gluten free, with organic DiNapoli tomato, caramelized onion, zucchini, and fresh mozzarella. If you love pasta or a pasta casserole then this if the dish for you, healthy, light, so delicious.

Special:

Responsible Sourced Fish Feature, Skin on sea bass, truly lovely and again very healthy.

Desserts:

Flourless Chocolate Cake, caramel vanilla ice cream, and cocoa nib. This is a very delicate cake that you would never know doesn’t contain flour; I highly suggest you try this one.

Chia Seed Pudding banana, toasted coconut, a lighter dessert, for those of you that prefer puddings or custards.

Wine:

Sauvignon Blanc, Habit Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara, CA. I would do this wine with the lovely Pad Thai with shrimp; it had enough fruit forward goodness to be a great pairing.

Chardonnay, Imagery, Sonoma County, CA. This wine was so terrific with the sea bass, smooth but not too overwhelming, a nice combination.

Red Blend, Skyfall, Columbia Valley, WA. I know this may sound weird but I loved this wine with the chocolate flourless cake, instead of coffee of a dessert wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Long Meadow Ranch Farmstead, Napa Valley, CA. Hands down got to try this wine with the delightful burger.

They take great pride in a menu that caters to nearly every food preference with a variety of gluten-free, naturally organic, vegetarian and vegan offerings.

Their commitment to quality and creativity ensures a menu that encourages exploration all throughout the year. Every meal at True Food Kitchen is an opportunity to further your journey toward healthy living.

What True Food Kitchen really does is make healthy food the new normal; it is delicious and nutritious, so given the opportunity to change ones eating habits, True Food Kitchen makes it super easy.

True Food Kitchen
(310) 593-8300
395 Santa Monica Pl, Ste 172,
Santa Monica, CA 90401
truefoodkitchen.com
* Note some content was taken off of their website.

 

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