Emporium Thai – Dinner, Sat. June 3, 2017, Westwood, CA.

I met John Sungkamee at Taste of The world in Hollywood a few weeks back. Emporium Thai’s food was the best food out of 15 or so restaurants. John was so sweet and asked me to come in and do a proper tasting. His confidence in his restaurant and his good nature made me very curious. I was pleasantly surprised at how much attention to flavor and detail his luscious cuisine is. John greets everyone that comes in and walks around to every table to see how his customers are enjoying their meal. John was a software engineer and quit his job 4 years ago to help his family with the restaurant. At the far side of the restaurant sits a photo of a very sweet woman. His mother Supis was a fixture for many years at Emporium Thai, but sadly she passed away last December and was 88 ½, John has her photo there to remind him of her love every day. Supis instilled in her family a passion for authentic Thai cooking. In 1990 Supis won a green card lottery which allowed their family to become US immigrants and eventually US citizens, the rest is history.

John has 11 siblings and one of his sister’s Jazz is the owner of Jitlada, I did a review a few years back. So for me this was an all in the family type of review. However Emporiums menu is completely different from hers. Jitlada has been in business since 2006 and Emporium has been in business for 17 years. With all of their fame I felt that Emporium’s food was equally delicious and when you’re on the West side you really need to try their scrumptious cuisine.

Emporium Thai has recently been redesigned by Peter Gurski, a two-time Emmy winning interior designer. The interior is soothing with a great water feature in the middle of the dining room and background jazz rounds out the cool vibe.

Here’s what I tried:

Wine:

Chardonnay, Eden Valley, CA. Harmonious and complex, like a creamy burrata mouth feel with crisp apple acidity and touch of oak. This wine went great with the seafood curry.

Beer

Sapporo, a beer is always a great pair with this spicy food.

Appetizers:

Thai Chicken Dumpling, the dumpling is nice golden brown, crispy, all that you would expect and love from a dumpling.

Crying Tiger Beef, beef in an iceberg lettuce bowl. This beef has a great flavor and is super tender.

Salads:

Coco Mango Salad with Shrimp or Tofu – shredded raw mango mixed with dried coconut, fresh chili, limejuice. The sweet and tangy flavor combinations make for one delicious salad.

Soup:

Tom Kha, with chicken in a rich coconut milk and lemon grass soup, with shrimp.

Noodles:

Pad See Ew Westwood with shrimp, and flat noodles with fried egg. I have tried this dish before but never like this, with its rich deep flavors, the best ever.

Rice:

Thai Fried Rice, lots of great vegetable and nice flavor make this rice one to order.

Entrée:

Beef, beefsteak stir fried with fresh garlic, Thai basils and light soy sauce, and mixed vegetables. The meat is marinated with a great tender texture, one of my favorites of my experience.

Fish and Seafood Lovers:

Mixed Seafood Southern Curry, the presentation is just amazing, and the curry sweetness with all of the great fresh seafood, another great dish.

Desert:

Mango with sticky rice, the rice was heart shaped and the mango is super sweet.

Premium Cocktails:

Margarita Martini: Made with TY Ku Soju instead of Vodka, very smooth and refreshing.

Thai Basil Mojito, also made with TY Ku Soju, lovely light refreshing cocktail.

Executive Chef, Gina Sungkamee, John’s sister, is passionate about cooking. She studied for four years at Bangkok’s most prestigious culinary school. She specializes in the cuisines of all regions of Thailand, particularly the cuisine of Southern Thailand, where their family grew up.

Emporium Thai’s many awards include: L.A City Guide: Most Favorite Thai Restaurant 2015 – Los Angeles Travel Magazine , L.A’s Best Thai Restaurant outside of Thai Town – Thrillist, Westwood’s Unmissable Restaurant-The Hip Side of LA 2015 – The Culture Trip (theculturetrip.com) ,THE BEST THAI RESTAURanT IN TOWN 2015 by AskAConcierge@AskAConciergeLA with Sarah Dandashy – One of The Leading Concierge in the World , People Love Us on Yelp Award 2015, U.S.A First Thai restaurant to partner with uberEATS, delivers via uber_LA – uberEATS, Emporium Thai Cuisine has been voted one of the 100 best Thai Restaurants in the US.

Emporium Thai Cuisine uses only the finest ingredients bought locally, they purchase their vegetables from the nearby farmer markets and we shop for fresh seafood, meats and produce daily. They offer a variety of gluten-free and peanut-free items as well as vegetarian and vegan options, also delivery, pick-up and extensive catering service. They have a good happy hour Mon-Sat. 3pm-6pm, with some great prices on food and drink.

Their mission is simple “To create such a memorably wonderful Thai dining experience that you’ll want to return to Emporium Thai often, and rave about us to your friends”. Simply, Khob-Kun-Krub – “Thank You” in Thai.

Emporium Thai
1275 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
http://www.ethaicuisine.com/
facebook.com/EmporiumThai
#EmporiumThai
* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Upcoming event – Culver City Centennial Westside Food & Wine Festival – Sunday – July 2, 2017

I am so excited to attend this event, it promises to be one to remember. Culver City Centennial Westside Food & Wine Festival presented by Wescom. July 2 2017 @ 4:00 PM – July 2 2017 @ 8:00 PM. Courtyard by Marriott LA Westside Hotel, 6333 Bristol Pkwy, Culver City, CA, 90230.

Here are some things you need to know about this great event:
Enjoy 20+ Great Food and Wine/Drink Vendors. Event is Indoor & Outside on the adjacent patio and back parking lot. Culver City/Celebrity Chefs including Kimmy Tang (Owner of many past restaurants including 9021PHO). Free chair massages by fantastic massage therapist Jason Chase for VIP ticket holders. Gold Sponsor Wescom Credit Union, Silver Sponsors Culver City Toyota & Honda- Bringing some of their model cars. Local restaurants participating include Hanjip, Pitfire Pizza, Mayura Indian, LA Gastronomy, Public School, Wildcraft, Panini Cafe, Fresh Brothers Pizza, Luciano Italiano Cuccina, Marriott Hotel, Cava, Naked Juice, Harmless Coconut Water, Le Pain Quotidien, Ococoa Chocolates and more coming. Ambiance Music by DJ Gabe of Culver City and Live Guitar by Kevin G as well as other entertainment including Fantastic Paul-professional strolling magic from America’s Got Talent and a fortune telling psychic.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/culver-city-centennial-westside-food-wine-festival-tickets-34288770636

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Miro Restaurant – One Year Anniversary – Thursday – June 1, 2017 – Downtown LA

Guest Columnist – Mariana Muela

Miro restaurant is off of Wilshire and Figueroa Street in Downtown LA, DTLA. Last Thursday, June 1st, they celebrated their one-year anniversary. Miro offers a variety of food that will satisfy every palate: Italian, tapas and other Mediterranean specialties.

I’ve never driven by this restaurant but apparently a lot of people already knew about it including my Uber driver. From the outside you can get a little glimpse of what the decoration will look like. Once you enter the big large wooden door with the golden M it’s like stepping into a different dimension. The interior is very sleek and minimal. There is a beautiful marble counter top at the bar, as well as incredibly sleek modern light bulbs and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. Then there are gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows that flooded the interior with natural light. Miro restaurant offers a unique dining experience that will surpass all your expectations.

They have an underground lounge that offers a completely different vibe than the one I described above. As you head downstairs through the stonewall stairway, is like you’re going down the rabbit hole that leads you to a bar lounge with a complete different music and atmosphere. This room is more intimate and dimly lit. In addition to this, there’s also an adjacent room called “The Whiskey Room” that offers you an array of different vintage whiskies from around the world. The Whiskey Room is decorated with cozy leather couches and banquette seats, alongside a brick wall that makes perfect for an intimate and exceptional drinking experience after a nice meal upstairs. Perfect way to end the night with your party. However, as this area was more of an informal setting, 2 DJS were spinning electronic dance music as opposed to the live jazz sophisticated music played upstairs.

A little bit after my arrival, I was introduced to Manager Kevin G. Willis, he showed me around, and was telling me interesting facts about the place itself. Funny thing is, that the restaurant is named after the owner’s son.

They offered different types of food including their handmade charcuterie bar. It was good but not exceptional, maybe because I grew up in Spain and I know how to properly judge cured meat. The real star of the night was the hand-made pasta and the cake. The Bolognese pasta with pork meat was exquisite. The noodles were perfectly cooked and the meat was fresh, perfectly blended with the Gremolata and the Parmesan cheese. As a pasta lover, I’ve tried lots of different pastas throughout my stay in LA since I moved here, but this one takes the cake for me. I’ll be back very soon simply for this dish. Chef Gabriel was simply stunning, kneading the dough with his hands carefully forming the Tortellinis.

The cake was delicious as well, the fluffiness of the texture and the simplicity of the ingredients that accompanied the cake (whip cream and fruits), made this cake tasty and light at the same time.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for an intimate experience with your date or simply have a delightful time with friends, Miro is the place to go. The atmosphere itself with all the elements I’ve described here, are destined to immerse you in this memorable modern dining experience.

Miro
888 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA. 90017
213-988-8880
www.mirorestaurant.com

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True Food Kitchen – Dinner – Sunday, May 28th 2017

True Food Kitchen is a health-driven, seasonal restaurant. The restaurant offers merging nutrient-rich ingredients and 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 their 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 wines, local beers and seasonal cocktails that are made using fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices paired with organic spirits. 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.

I loved the interior, with its exposed air conditioning ducts, big huge drum like light fixtures. Even though its modern, it lends itself to being casual but elegant. The food is the real star of the show. Every dish I tasted had its own individual delicious reasons for being so healthy and good.

Here’s what I tried:

Cocktails:

Citrus Skinny Margarita, with ixá organic tequila, muddled citrus, mint, cucumber. Sweet and sour it packs a punch but with little calories, I like that!

Blueberry Royale, with organic vodka, lemon, prosecco, mint. This would be a great brunch cocktail but it went great with my starters.

Ginger Margarita, with añejo tequila, elderflower liqueur, ginger honey, and lemon. It’s a very welcoming soft margarita!

Traditional martini, with olive juice and vermouth. This martini was so smooth that I could not taste the vodka.

Vegetables:

Charred Cauliflower, vegan, gluten free harissa tahini, medjool date, dill, mint, and pistachio. The combination of all of these ingredients makes for one heck of a great guilt-free menu item. The dates give it a wonderful aromatic bouquet that will get your taste buds going.

Starters:

Shiitake Lettuce Cups, Vegan, tofu, jicama, sambal, Thai basil, cashew. It has a bit of a kick, but its concentrated flavors with the super crisp lettuce cup will make for a great starter.

Wild Caught Albacore Tataki, gluten free, avocado, jalapeño, toasted sesame; yuzu ponzu. I just really enjoyed this dish, and ate every piece.

Edamame Dumplings, vegetarian, with dashi, white truffle oil, Asian herbs. One very creative dumpling that I could tell was very popular amongst the folks eating.

Bowls:

Ancient Grains, vegan. Miso glazed sweet potato, turmeric, charred onion, snow pea, grilled Portobello, avocado, and hemp seed. To be a vegan at this time is so wonderful because with a dish like this you are getting so much nutrition that you would not miss the meat.

Red Chili Noodles, vegetarian. Gai lan, zucchini, shiitake mushroom, snow pea, cashew with grass-fed steak. I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious subtle flavors and the noodles were a great addition.

Spicy Panang Curry, gluten free. Organic potato, long bean, bok choy, carrot, Thai basil, coconut shrimp broth, with shrimp. I am very fond of curry and wanted to have one that was sweet with a bold coconut essence and this one satisfied all of my specifications.

Sandwiches:

Smoked Turkey Wrap, with avocado, tomato, cucumber, provolone, hummus. A great menu item for lunch.

Grass-Fed Burger with umami mushroom, caramelized onion, arugula, Parmesan, mayonnaise, flax seed bun. So light and lovely, this was one delicious burger.

Pizzas:

Roasted Artichoke, vegan, with sugar snap pea, smoked onion, roasted garlic, vegan almond ricotta, and black truffle. They make their own crust and the topping on this pizza was super scrumptious.

Wild Mushroom, vegetarian, with asparagus, roasted garlic, and taleggio. This pizza is straightforward with its mushroom earthy flavors, it was very tasty.

Entrées:

Sustainable Sea bass, broccolini, sugar snap pea, roasted mushroom, ancient grains, umami sauce. It’s a wonderful fish that makes for a great entrée choice.

Lasagna Bolognese, gluten free with house-made chicken sausage, mushroom, spinach, lemon ricotta, and herbs. A very hearty lasagna, with wonderful sausage and all of the other ingredients made this dish perfect.

Desserts:

Flourless Chocolate Cake, vegetarian and gluten free, caramel, vanilla ice cream, and cocoa nibs. Imagine, a flourless cake that is a real slice of heaven.

Coconut & Chia Seed Flan, vegan and gluten free. This dessert has wonderful coconut flavors that take away any need for any animal products.

Wines:

Manifesto JB Sauvignon Blanc, a nice crisp taste, worked great with the lettuce cups.

Grogs Leap Chardonnay, the nose is very different from what you get to taste. It’s a very elegant wine that paired nicely with the shrimp curry.

Lincourt Chardonnay, a buttery wine that I would recommend to drink alongside the Sea bass.

Cabernet Sauvignon Long Meadow, spicy, peppery, with a good deal of oak. This wine goes amazing with the burger, and the umami mushrooms.

Petit Syrah EOS, I would drink this wine with the lasagna. The chicken sausage adds a great balance.

Kunde Zinfandel, I used to live around the corner from this winery, so I know it well. This Zinfandel was just good all by itself!!

When it comes to sourcing the best ingredients for their dishes they don’t cut corners. They believe that food is meant to be grown and nurtured. True Kitchen uses organic produce, sustainably raised beef and fish whenever possible. Their wine selection features sustainable, organic and biodynamic options.

It all starts with fresh, honest and thoughtful ingredients that actually taste great together and the passionate people who consciously choose to seek out these ingredients. These are people who respect food. They respect their bodies and the effort it takes to create food that doesn’t sacrifice quality, nutrition or taste.

Their culinary team changes their menu seasonally with four menu changes each year: Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. True Food is alive with progressive energy, optimism, and passion for all that is real and natural and good. Each restaurant reflects these principles, featuring a large open dining room and an open kitchen, designed to bring guests closer to their culinary craft and honor the commitment to transparency. On their natural wood walls is vibrant, locally-inspired artwork to bring a contemporary touch and give a nod to the community.

Concept: All True Food Kitchen locations feature dishes that closely adhere to the principles of Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet. They are intended to be a new kind of restaurant: one in which delicious flavors, healthy nutrients, environmental awareness and an inviting atmosphere come together to create an unforgettable dining experience. Dishes are influenced by Mediterranean, Asian and Californian cuisine, that include soups, appetizers, salads, pasta, rice and noodle dishes, wood grilled dishes, sandwiches and burgers, brick oven pizzas and desserts.

History: Andrew Weil, M.D., met Phoenix restaurateur Sam Fox in the late 1990s at one of Fox’s restaurants in Tucson (Fox Restaurant Concepts operates 25 restaurants in Arizona and the Midwest). After spending time with Dr. Weil, and in particular after cooking with him at his ranch, Fox came to understand how delicious healthy food can be and realized that Dr. Weil’s concept for a restaurant; one that serves great food that just happens to be good for you, could work. On Oct. 27, 2008, the first True Food Kitchen opened in Phoenix, Arizona. It was an immediate success, and inspired Fox and Dr. Weil to open new locations in the southwest, with the long-term goal of a national rollout.

Engrained in True Food Kitchen’s ethos is a commitment to a conscious, community-based dining experience, a commitment that ensures that, no matter how many locations are established, True Food will never become what one thinks of as a “chain.”

Food sources: All True Food Kitchen locations use local, organic sources whenever possible. For example, the Phoenix location receives most of its produce from McClendon Farms, a 25-acre, USDA-certified organic produce farm in Peoria, Arizona.

Green features: The restaurants are decidedly “green” with environmentally friendly accouterment including: high efficiency kitchen equipment, low voltage LED lighting, waterless urinals (saving 40,000 gallons/year), ultra low water faucets, low VOC paint, white oak butcher-block tables and counter tops, reclaimed wood floors , recycled quarry tiles and Natura water purification unit: (True Food Kitchen creates both still and carbonated bottled water in-house. Bottles are cleaned, sterilized and reused, eliminating plastic bottle waste).

Everything about True Kitchen screams love, hope, integrity, and health. You will not have a bad experience as each dish is designed to make you happy and healthy. True Kitchen brings back healthful food that keeps you always in the pink. They address every type of eating styles: from vegan to gluten free, you will successfully find a menu item that fits whatever your dining preference allows. There are numerous locations across California and other states across the US, so there is no excuse for you not to try this fantastic cuisine.

True Kitchen
395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 172
Santa Monica, California 90401
310.593.8300
http://www.truefoodkitchen.com/

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Food Truck – Prince of Venice – Lunch – May 26, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA. – 2017

There are many food trucks on any given day outside of LACMA in Los Angeles. What Prince of Venice has to offer far surpasses any of the other food trucks in Los Angeles. With their freshly made pasta every day with super simple sauces, what more could you ask for?.

They cook their pasta and sauces right in front of you for every order and they make all of their pastas fresh every morning. Alberto Bertoncin, my guide and chef who took over last August, is now at the helm of this amazing truck.

Here’s what I tried:

Casarecce al Pollo and Curry, with Organic Chicken, Light Cream, Curry, Chives. There is something so special about this dish, you just don’t think of curry with pasta and it being on an Italian menu. It is simply wonderful, my favorite pasta of the day. Something I never knew, Alberto told me that they actually have recipes with curry in Italy.

Conchiglie alla Norma, with Eggplant, Tomatoes, Basil, Dried Ricotta Cheese. All of their pasta’s are cooked Al Dente. The only thing that isn’t vegetarian would be the cheese, so this is a great dish for a non-meat eater.

Maccheroni alla Bolognese, with 100% Beef Ground Bolognese Sauce, Parmesan. This sauce is just incredible, like your Nonna used to make. It’s a touch sweet but super hearty with a lot of beef.

Casarecce al Salmone, with Smoked Salmon, Light Cream Sauce, Chive. I have had a similar dish in San Francisco. The problem is that the smoky salmon can come off as being too fishy, but I love its brilliant smoky flavor.

Orecchiette al Pesto with Basil, Parmigiano Cheese, Pecorino Cheese, Almonds, Parsley, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I just adore a great pesto sauce; there is nothing like it and Prince of Venice executed a luscious sauce with the fantastic Orecchiete, fit for a Prince or a Princess.

Special Gnocchi with sausage, which was not on the menu, but made special for my visit. The perfect potatoes gnocchi with a nice red sauce that is a bit spicy, will satisfy any appetite for authentic Italian pasta.

Crown Prince of Italy, Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, is the CEO of Prince of Venice company. The company is exciting and young, full of heritage. Prince of Venice, which is his hereditary title from the 1,000-year-old House of Savoy, takes pride in the quality and authenticity of its handmade pasta. It’s royally good.

They believe that they are the world’s first food truck serving gourmet, organic Italian handmade pastas and sauces, and have been successfully taking over the Los Angeles foodie scene. The Company’s business strategy is to expand operations by adding more Prince of Venice branded food trucks, starting a boutique food and gift shop.

The Prince of Venice food truck has been attracting international media attention, featured on Good Day LA FOX 11, KTLA Channel 5, KCRW, Telemundo 52, W Radio of Colombia, Vogue, LA Times, The Telegraph, The Huffington Post, Gala, The Daily Mail, Boss Magazine, Closer Magazine, The Guardian, Munchies, Hola! Mexico, and L’Italo Americano. “Is likely the most impressive and elaborate food truck operation in the city,” said LA Times. The Prince of Venice was voted Top Best 25 Food Trucks in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine.

Testimonial: Here’s a little bit of inside Intel: Los Angeles Magazine Head Quarters is at 5900 Wilshire in Los Angeles, AKA smack dab along the mid-city food truck corridor. Every day for the last several years, a dozen or so trucks pull up outside the building. We’ve tried all of their bowls and wraps and mash-up monstrosities and watched them closely. The result? We’ve gotten pretty good at smelling out which trucks are worthwhile, and which are going to be gone in two weeks when people realize that their sushi-stuffed cheesesteak is a no-go. The best ones have a clear concept, a tight menu, and a regular line; Prince of Venice is one of them.

So if you’re in the neighborhood, Prince of Venice guarantees super fresh pasta and delicious authentic sauces with great prices. You just need to look online to find them. Conveniently located in Mid-Wilshire, as well as a different location in Beverly Hills, Prince Of Venice makes for easy wonderful eating!

Prince of Venice Food Truck
http://www.princeofvenicefoodtruck.com/menu.php

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

 

 

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Dinner – The Pikey Café & Bar – May 19th, 2017, Hollywood, CA.

This place used to be the “Ye Coach and Horses”, which was a super cool hangout bar. When it became The Pikey, it was redone by restaurateurs Jared Meisler and Sean MacPherson. So many memories at Ye Coach and Horses, but it is so exciting that The Pikey has taken over.

What I truly love about this restaurant is that you can be a Hollywood Hipster or an elder couple and you will enjoy the same atmosphere, drink and food in a very low-key fun environment. For me, The Pikey will be one of my stops on a busy Friday night, or on a boring weekday when you just want to get out of the house. Its old world pub charm will make you want to experience this place time and time again.

Here is what I tried:

Small Plates:

Oysters on the half shell, smells of the sea, very fresh and fantastic.

Seared squid with curried chickpeas and yogurt. This dish is very Middle Eastern with its very exotic spices.

Bibb lettuce with shaved radish, tarragon and snap peas. The tarragon and the snap peas were the best part, the crispiness added the extra texture that was needed.

Big Plates

English pea and ricotta ravioli with mint and bacon broth, this dish appeared different from the one that was shown on their website, it was good but it wasn’t the same dish I was excited about.

Char-grilled beef burger with English barber’s cheddar, tomato and Worcestershire aioli. This was a wonderful burger, with its juicy goodness.

Fish and chips with Romaine and tartar sauce. This dish has gotten many accolades online and I can see why. It’s delicious and the tartar sauce is like no other tartar sauce, so darn great!

Side

Creamed Spinach with pine nuts. Wonderful side with nice earthy consistency.

Sautéed Broccolini with sweet onions, bacon and chili. I just loved this version, great garlic flavors and they managed to keep the vegetable crunchy.

Cocktails:

Laddie Dill, with Svedka Vodka, crushed cucumber, dill, fresh limejuice, salt and pepper, rocks. This is a very refreshing cocktail as its full of nice cucumber flavors. You can imagine being at a spa enjoying this drink.

Fine Jung Thing, with Milagro Reposado Tequila, mango, serrano, fresh lime juice, agave, chili, and rocks. A bit spicy, but still a terrific cocktail.

Wine:

Chenin Blanc/Viognier, Terra D’Oro, Clarksburg, 2014. I like this wine with the raw oysters. With its floral essence, it helps to promote the flavors of the sea.

Sancerre, Jean Vincent, Loire, 2013. This wine was paired excellently with the Bibb lettuce salad, it had a nice balance between the minimal dressing and the tarragon in the salad.

Chardonnay, Angeline, Santa Barbara, 2016. I loved this wine with seared squid; it has all the correct notes, a great combination.

Malbec, Llama, Argentina, 2015. I love Malbec and for me, you can pair this with anything!

Cabernet Sauvignon, 19 Crimes, AUS, 2015, a great pairing with the pasta and the bacon broth.

Syrah Blend, Marietta, Geyserville, CA, 2014. This wine was a perfect no-brainer with the burger.

Chef Ralph Johnson was born in East Dulwich London, and quickly fell in love with food in his grandparent’s kitchen. At age 17, Ralph discovered his love for cooking. While starring on, “Jaime’s Kitchen,” Jaime Oliver’s television show that takes 15 disadvantaged young people and teaches them how to cook, Ralph was at the top of the class earning a job for himself at the prestigious restaurant Fifteen. For years, Ralph cooked at some of the top restaurants in London, including Tom Aiken, St. John and Nahm. During those years cooking at many of London’s finest restaurants, he honed the skills of a worldly chef including the various techniques of French, Italian and Thai cuisine.

In 2007, Ralph moved to New York where he worked at April Bloomfield’s, “The Spotted Pig.” In no time, Ralph moved up from being a line cook to Chef de Cuisine and earned the Michelin Star twice. In 2011 Ralph was noted as one of Zagat’s “30 under 30”. After being in New York for five years, Ralph decided to move to Los Angeles where he is the Executive Chef at The Pikey, which opened in 2012. He utilizes all the tools he learned over the years at The Pikey, an English pub in Hollywood. Ralph has embraced the vast food offerings in California and proudly serves local and sustainable food that warms the soul. Since The Pikey’s opening, Chef Ralph Johnson has been heralded by Johnathan Gold in the Los Angeles Times stating that Ralph’s dinner menu “Is the real deal.” Ralph’s brunch has been named Critic’s Choice top three brunches, in all of Los Angeles by S. Irene Virbila from Los Angeles Times. The Pikey has also been featured in Time Out Los Angeles as one of the “10 fish and chip restaurants in Los Angeles”.

I am all about giving new life to old worn-out establishments and the Pikey has done that in spades. The transformation is astounding, and the food is some of the best in Los Angeles. The difference is there are no snooty airs here, everyone is treated the same and they truly value their customers. This is not some place that you just stumble on. It really needs to be cherished as a noteworthy British Pub, with lots going on that you just have to experience!.

The Pikey Cafe
7617 W. Sunset Blvd.,
323-850-5400
thepikeyla.com
*Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Jersey Boys – The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – The Ahmanson Theater – May 18th 2017.

Jersey Boys is the smash hit jukebox musical that gives us the true, sometimes gritty and always spectacularly entertaining story of falsetto idol Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The blue-collar boys in the shiny lurex suits strode onto the scene in 1965, wowing the public for 20 years with hits such as ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’,’Oh What a Night,’ ‘Walk like a Man,’ and many more. But before fame and fortune comes a difficult, and sometimes not entirely legal, journey to stardom. These blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks became one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time.

Created by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, they wanted to create a traditional ‘documentary’ style story of the blue-collar stars and Jersey Boys came from interviews with the surviving members of the band, cemented by Tommy Devito’s addition: “Don’t listen to those guys. I’ll tell you what really happened.”

Since its debut in 2005, Jersey Boys has become a must-see, embedding itself in the Broadway landscape, playing over 3,000 performances and winning 4 Tony’s, proving that the rags to riches, to rags again, story is an ever enduring theme. Jersey Boys is now on tour for the second time.

Told in 4 parts, each member has an act to tell his side of the story, even it if it clashes with the others. We get the real story of Franki Valli and the Four Seasons. From humble beginnings to the thrill super stardom and back again, via loan sharks, jail time, tense dealings with the Mob and the strength of friendship. Sound-tracked by the irresistibly recognizable hits that keep you coming back for more. The Four Seasons sold over 175 million records worldwide, all before they were 30 years old!

The Broadway hit JERSEY BOYS, directed by Des McAnuff, Mark Ballas will reprise his hit Broadway performance as Frankie Valli for the Los Angeles engagement of the tour. Ballas, known for his Emmy nominated work on “Dancing with the Stars,” made his Broadway debut in the role last fall. Critically acclaimed ‘Frankie veterans’ Aaron De Jesus and Miguel Jarquin-Moreland will play Frankie Valli at certain performances during the week. The cast of “Jersey Boys” will also feature Matthew Dailey (Tommy DeVito), Keith Hines (Nick Massi) and Cory Jeacoma (Bob Gaudio) as The Four Seasons, with Barry Anderson and Thomas Fiscella.

Book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice. Music by Bob Gaudio. Lyrics by Bob Crewe. Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. Managing Director Stephen D. Rountree. Producing Director Douglas C. Baker. Founding Artistic Director Gordon Davidson. Scenic Design Klara Zieglerova. Costume Design Jess Goldstein. Lighting Design Howell Binkley. Sound Design Steve Canyon Kennedy. Projection Design Michael Clark. Wig and Hair Design Charles LaPointe. Fight Director Steve Rankin. Production Supervisor Richard Hester. Orchestrations Steve Orich. Music Coordination John Miller. Music Director Taylor Peckham. Technical Supervisor Peter Fulbright. Casting Tara Rubin, Merri Sugarman, CSA. Company Manager Jason Pelusio. Production Stage Manager Andrew Neal. Associate Producer Lauren Mitchell. Executive Producer Sally Campbell Morse. Tour Booking & Marketing Broadway Booking Office NYC, Music Supervisor, Vocal/Dance Arrangements and Incidental Music by Ron Melrose. Choreography Sergio Trujillo and directed by Des McAnuff.

Cast: Mark Ballas, Matthew Dailey, Aaron De Jesus, Keith Hines, Cory Jeacoma, Mark Edwards, Corey Greenan, Bryan Hindle, Miguel Jarquin-Moreland, David LaMarr, Austin Owen, Kristen Paulicelli, Leslie Rochette, Andrew Russell, Jenna Nicole Schoen, Dru Serkes, Jonny Wexler, Jesse Wildman, with Barry Anderson and Thomas Fiscella.

Jersey Boys Orchestra: Music Director: Taylor Peckham; Associate Conductor: Cameron Moncur; Keyboards: Patricia Diaz, Cameron Moncur, Taylor Peckham. Guitars: Jacob Chidester, Brian LaFontaine; Bass: Ryan Berg; Drums: Mark Papazian Music Coordinator: John Miller.

The night promises to be filled with music. Here is the list of songs performed:
“Ces Soirées-La (Oh, What a Night)”—Paris, 2000, “Silhouettes”, “You’re the Apple of My Eye”, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”, “Earth Angel”, “Sunday Kind of Love”, “My Mother’s Eyes”,“I Go Ape”, “(Who Wears) Short Shorts”, “I’m in the Mood for Love/Moody’s Mood for Love”, “Cry for Me”, “An Angel Cried”, “I Still Care”,“Trance”,“Sherry”,“Big Girls Don’t Cry”, “Walk Like a Man” “December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)”, “My Boyfriend’s Back”, “My Eyes Adored You”, “Dawn (Go Away)”, “Walk Like a Man”, “Big Man in Town”, “Begin’”, “Stay”, “Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got)” , “Opus 17 (Don’t You Worry ’Bout Me)”, “Bye Baby”, “C’mon Marianne” , “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, “Working My Way Back to You”, “Fallen Angel”, “Rag Doll”, “Who Loves You?”

About The Cast:

Mark Ballas (Frankie Valli) has captivated audiences on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for 18 seasons. He’s a two-time champion, nine-time finalist, and 2011 Emmy nominee for his work on the show. Stage credits: Buddy—The Buddy Holly Story, Copacabana, Jesus Christ Superstar, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. He choreographed Pepsi’s Super Bowl commercial starring Sofia Vergara and the Oscar commercial for Shonda Rhimes’ The Catch. He is half of the duo Alexander Jean with wife BC Jean. Their debut single/EP reached #1 on iTunes top music chart. Mark is an accomplished flamenco and electric guitar player. He received his training at The Italia Conti Performing Arts School in London. www.alexanderjean.net

Matthew Dailey (Tommy DeVito) is thrilled to join the Jersey Boys family!. Originally from Denver, CO, Matthew has performed professionally since the age of 9. Most recently, Matthew traveled Spain, Italy, and France in Saturday Night Fever— The Musical. Favorite performances include Cats (Rum Tum Tugger), Seven Brides… Brothers (Daniel/Frank), A Chorus Line (Mike), 1940’s Radio Hour (BJ Gibson), Cinderella (Prince), and Viva Vegas (Elvis). “Special thanks to the entire Jersey Boys team, Dodgers, Merri at Tara Rubin Casting, Craig at Avalon Artists Group, Paul & Alann, my family (especially my Mom and brother). This is for you, Dad.” @mdailey88

Keith Hines(Nick Massi) is overjoyed to hit the road with the Jersey Boys family! Recent Off-Broadway: Cougar the Musical (Buck), Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man (Stefan). Credits include: Les Misérables (Enjolras, WVPT), Camelot FOUR SEASONS (l–r) Bob Gaudio, Frankie Valli, Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito. The Original Four Seasons. Photo: Courtesy of The Four Seasons. Photos by: Joan Marcus, Jeremy Daniel. Cory Jeacoma, Mark Ballas, Keith Hines, and Matthew Dailey in Jersey Boys. PERFORMANCES MAGAZINE P7 (Lancelot, Pittsburgh Public Theater), 1776 (Thomas Jefferson, Pittsburgh Public Theater), Urban Cowboy (Bud, WVPT), The Crucible (John Proctor), Picnic (Hal). Master’s degree in music, Oklahoma City University (voice: Florence Birdwell), The Studio/NY (Jayd McCarty’s acting conservatory). Eternal thanks be to God for his many gifts and blessings, as well as to my family, Arnold Mungioli, and the gang at BRS/Gage for their ongoing love and support. www.keith-hines.com

Cory Jeacoma (Bob Gaudio). Cory is stoked to be making his national tour debut in a dream show of his Regional: Legally Blonde (Warner, Fulton Theatre), Mamma Mia! (Sky, MSMT). In Lincoln Center’s Sinatra Centennial Concert, Cory was the alternate cast for 16-time Grammy Award Winning Artist Sting. Education: BFA in musical theatre from Pace University 2016. “Thank you to Bob, RSO, JV, Amy, Jodi, J&P, Corbin, DBA, the creative team, and everyone else who has pushed him along the way. This one is for the fam, to whom all of my love goes. SO MUCH love.” Twitter/Instagram: @cocojeacoco

Marshall Brickman (Book). Films (author or co-author): Sleeper, Annie Hall, Manhattan, Manhattan Murder Mystery, For the Boys, Intersection; (as writer/director): Simon, Lovesick, The Manhattan Project, Sister Mary Explains It All. Television: The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (head writer), The Dick Cavett Show (head writer/co-producer). He has published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Playboy, and other periodicals and was the 2006 recipient of the Writers Guild of America’s Ian McClellan Hunter Lifetime Achievement Award. Jersey Boys, his first venture into musical theatre, won four Tony’s including Best Musical. The Addams Family, his second theatrical venture (with co-author Rick Elice), ran on Broadway and had national and international tours. He lives in New York City and hopes to die in his sleep, surrounded by his loved ones and attorneys.

Rick Elice (Book) co-wrote Jersey Boys (winner 2006 Tony Award, 2007 Grammy Award, and 2009 Olivier Award for Best Musical) with Marshall Brickman. His play, Peter and the Starcatcher, received nine 2012 Tony Award nominations (including two for Rick), won five (more than any play of the PERFORMANCES MAGAZINE P9 season), and toured across North America. Also on Broadway, Elice wrote The Adams Family (with Marshall Brickman, music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa), which also had productions on tour across North America, Europe and South America. In 2014, The Old Globe presented the World premiere of his new musical, Dog and Pony (music and lyrics by Michael Patrick Walker). Rick is currently writing a musical for Disney Theatricals with Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, based on the film Make Believe, and Superfly (co-written with Seth Zvi Rosenfeld), directed and choreographed by modern dance legend Bill T. Jones. Heartfelt thanks to those whose work in the theatre makes him grateful for the day he was born: Sondheim, Stoppard, Bennett, Prince, Fosse, Robbins, Nichols, Tune, Nunn, Laurents, Stone, Kushner, Taymor, Papp, Schumacher, Schneider, Coyne, Brickman, Timbers, and Rees. Rick thinks about them a lot. He never thought about Jersey much but he does now.

Bob Gaudio (Composer) wrote his first hit, “Who Wears Short Shorts,” at 15 for the Royal Teens, and then went on to become a founding member of The Four Seasons and the band’s principal songwriter. He also produced the hit “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” for Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand (Grammy nomination, Record of the Year) as well as six albums for Diamond, including The Jazz Singer. Other producing credits include albums for Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and the soundtrack for the film of Little Shop of Horrors. Several songs co-written with Bob Crewe have been cover hits for such artists as the Tremeloes (“Silence Is Golden”), the Walker Brothers (“The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore”), and Lauryn Hill (“Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”). With his wife, Judy Parker, Gaudio produced and co-wrote the “Who Loves You” album for The Four Seasons and one of Billboard’s longest-charted singles (54 weeks), “Oh, What a Night.” A high point in his career came in 1990 whenas a member of the original Four Seasons, Gaudio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1995, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which hailed him as “a quintessential music-maker.” To this day, Bob Gaudio and Frankie Valli still maintain their partnership on a handshake.

Bob Crewe (Lyricist). “New York was pregnant in the fifties,” says Bob Crewe, “gestating with possibilities.” Crewe and music partner Frank Slay became independent writer/producers when the category hadn’t yet been invented. In 1957 they wrote and produced “Silhouettes” for The Rays, which skyrocketed to #1. Suddenly, producers in demand, they launched Freddy Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie” and Billy & Lillie’s “La Dee Da.” Crewe’s 1960’s unprecedented producing success with The Four Seasons birthed a new sound, striking a major chord in American pop. “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “Candy Girl,” “Ronnie”—all smashes!. When lead Frankie Valli demanded a solo turn, Crewe and Bob Gaudio wrote (and Crewe produced) “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” which eventually became the century’s fifth most-played song. Crewe ran hot with artists from Vicki Carr, Oliver and Lesley Gore to Mitch Ryder, co-writing with Charles Fox the soundtrack for Jane Fonda’s film Barbarella. Then his own Bob Crewe Generation, exploded with Music to Watch Girls By. In 1972 Bob was in L.A., where he revived Frankie Valli with “My Eyes Adored You” by Crewe and Kenny Nolan. They also co-wrote Patti LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” (#1, July ’75), which was a hit again on the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge (#1, June ’01) by David Ritz.

My highlight of the show was their performances on American Band Stand and The Ed Sullivan Show, where they had it filmed live for the audience to see, this was a smart way to show the technology of that time period.

What a wonderful way to spend an evening, being brought back to a time that was the backdrop to our lives. There is so much spectacular music, songs that bring back specific memories for the young and old. Whatever age you are, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Jersey Boys. (Running until June 24th 2017).

The Ahmanson Theatre
Music Center of Los Angeles County, 135 N. Grand Ave.,
Los Angeles
http://www.jerseyboysinfo.com/
http://www.los-angeles-theatre.com

https://www.centertheatregroup.org/about/press-room/press-releases-and-photos/ahmanson-theatre/2016-2017/jersey-boys-press-kit/
* Note some content was taken off of their site.

 

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Dinner – EIGHT4NINE Restaurant & Lounge, May 12th, 2017

It is such a pleasure to have this kind of restaurant in Palm Springs, where any type of food can be ordered. Extravagant and versatile are just a few words that describe my fantastic experience at EIGHT4NINE restaurant.

Conveniently located in the heart of the fashionable Uptown Design District, EIGHT4NINE is steps away from countless specialty shops and boutiques that offer midcentury modern, retro, and vintage furnishings, home décor, clothing, books, and gifts.

Prior to its extravagant grand opening in September 2015, EIGHT4NINE Restaurant and Lounge was a large historic building that formerly served as Palm Springs’ first U.S. Post Office. Today, the cavernous 1954 building has been elegantly transported into a minimalist modern space with striking crisp white interior punctuated with strategically placed hot pink accents.

Here’s what I tried:

Featured Cocktails:

The Prickly Pear, Milagro silver, fresh lime, and agave nectar, desert pear syrup, served on the rocks with fresh lime. A pleasant change of pace from the other tequila type of cocktail I usually order.

House Dirty Martinis, perfect just the way I like it!

Garden and Land Beginnings:

Olive oil bread made in house, with an herbed butter, pair salad, with fresh shaved, wine-poached, and oven-roasted pear, treviso, St. agur blue cheese, toasted hazelnut, spiced pear vinaigrette. Gluten free. Light and refreshing, this salad makes your palate come alive.

Crab and Corn Chowder with Dungeness crab, sweet corn, apple wood bacon. A gorgeous presentation with a drizzle of olive oil on the top, so elegant.

Sea Beginnings:

Grilled Scallops, Sweet corn and English pea succotash, mascarpone, fresh basil and mint. An attractive array of ideal elements made for one delightful dish.

Charred Octopus, Spanish chorizo, fried farm egg, arbequina olive oil, balsamic. This dish was highly recommended and a lot of restaurants are offering this excellent experience. EIGHT4NINE’s was equally amazing.

Barbecued Oysters, Six grilled oysters, applejack barbeque sauce. Gluten free. The smokiness of these darlings made for one exceptional plate.

Sea Mains:

Lobster Mac and Cheese, Maine lobster, maccheroni al torchio, Gruyere, Beecher’s white cheddar and parmigiana reggiano, Pernod, chile and fennel pangratata, greens. Nice big chunks of lobster with a crawfish on the top as a condiment, really terrific.

Sourdough-crusted Chilean Sea bass, Dungeness crab-stuffed piquillo pepper, saffron aioli, greens. This dish will make you forget about any Sea bass that came before, it is juicy, tender and astonishing.

Lobster Tails, just the best lobster served with carrot sand butter, wow!!

Farm Mains:

Smoked Portobello Mushrooms Pappardelle, Fresh egg pasta, roasted forest mushrooms, piquillo pepper cream, parmigiana reggiano. These mushroom are extremely smoky, so much so that they take over all of the taste in this dish, so be warned.

Land Mains:

Beef Tenderloin, All natural filet of beef, truffled potato planks, St. agur blue cheese and red wine reduction. Gluten free. This is a very large big dish, with all of the bell and whistles its stunning to look at.

Honey-glazed Duck Breast, with Hoisin peach, Sichuan pepper, ginger, sesame rice cake, baby bok choy. The Hosin peach made all of the difference in the world, I just loved the elegant way its presented.

House-Made Dessert:

EIGHT4NINE Layer Cake, Pastry Chef’s choice of the day, an enormous piece of lovely cake. Make sure you share with your other diners.

Branini Toffee S’mores Fondue, House-made Marshmellow, House-made marshmallows with locally made Brandini Toffee chunks, Callebout chocolate, graham crackers, mix berries, This is a very sticky dessert choice and more of a candy than a dessert, but what a spectacle.

Wines:

Sauvignon Blanc, 200 Gainey, Santa Ynez, a nice pleasant citrus style Sauvignon Blanc. I liked this wine with the crab and corn chowder.

Chardonnay, Sonoma Cutrer, Russian river ranches. This is a big buttery Chardonnay; any of the shellfish dishes would be great with this.

Newton Chardonnay 2015 Sonoma. You have to drink this with the Sea bass or the Lobster Tails, it adds to the overall butter texture in the fish.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael David, “Freakshow” Lodi, this is a big hearty wine that you can drink with Beef Tenderloin.

Smith & Hook, Central Coast, Interesting Reds, Zinfandel – Artezin, Mendocino, this pairs well with the duck breast and its Asian nuances.

Zinfandel, Bianchi, Central Coast, I loved this wine with the smokiness in the mushroom papardelle

Kaiken Blend, 2015, Terroir Series. This blend works great with the barbequed oysters.

About the Staff:

EIGHT4NINE Restaurant & Lounge is owned and operated by Willie Rhine and John Paschal.

Willie Rhine is a 23-year-old resident of Palm Springs, who started his career in the restaurant business at the acclaimed Le Vallauris Restaurant in Palm Springs, and later managed two of the busiest and most successful restaurants in the Palm Springs Valley.

John Paschal has been in the desert for fifteen years. John is proud and grateful that his only career has been in photography and he is still going strong after almost 40 years in the business which includes photo shoots with Brad Pitt, Eva Longoria, KTLA News Team Billboards. This also includes cast photos of T.V. shows such as “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless.” Paschal opened Snapshot Palm Springs Studios, which has transformed into a top event space in the desert that hosts parties for major corporations and private clients.

EIGHT4NINE offers Happy Hour cocktails and menu items all day every day. The elegant and spacious lounge features a backlit onyx bar, which makes a dramatic statement. The lounge with its chic and swanky atmosphere is the perfect Happy Hour prescription for fun. The lounge comprises furnishings that offer maximum comfort to entice guests to linger on comfortable bar stools and white patent leather Louis XIV ghost chairs, as well as low and high cocktail tables to suit your mood.

Their singular goal is to provide the best dining experience possible, whether you’re looking for an intimate dinner for two or just want to celebrate life’s special moments with hundreds of friends.

Open Table says (based on over 5,000,000 actual reviews): “When looking for a place to dine out, why not snag a spot at the hottest place in town? The #OpenTable100 Hottest Restaurant in America list highlights hip, new restaurants, hot spots, celebrity chefs and avant-garde restaurants.
We determined the list of honorees after analyzing over five million reviews of more than 20,000 restaurants across the country — all submitted by verified diners.”

EIGHT4NINE’s tempting menu is the perfect counterpoint to the understated white décor. The eclectic and colorful menu selections feature a fusion of comfort food, ethnic influences, and bold originality that are reflected in the menu’s superb culinary creations. To see and be seen, EIGHT4NINE is the perfect place to tap into the community’s pulse point. It has become known as a vital part of the community for hosting numerous high profile charity events and fundraising receptions.

The eclectic menu features a celebration of West Coast Modern American Cuisine, which focuses on both presentation and flavors.

Chef Chuck Courtney brings his impressive culinary experience from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, as well as Northern and Southern California to EIGHT4NINE. During his successful career he has received media coverage in numerous high-profile publications: Bon Appétit Magazine, Wine Spectator magazine, the New York Times, Diablo Magazine and The Contra Costa Times. His cuisine incorporates the diversity of West Coast culinary influences, while utilizing the freshest specialty produce, seafood and meats available. All dishes are prepared from scratch, reflecting each dish’s specific ethnic origins with Chef’s individual creative flair. Albert Gonzalez heads the team that has created the exquisite dessert selection.

In the true Palm Springs fashion of some things being over the top, and yes EIGHT4NINE is over the top, but the hoopla will just make you want to come back for more!!

EIGHT4NINE
849 N Palm Canyon Dr,
Palm Springs, California 92262
(760) 325-8490
http://eight4nine.com/
* Some Content was taken off of their website

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Dish Creative Cuisine – Dinner – May 11th 2017 – Palm Springs, CA.

A gorgeous restaurant right on Palm Canyon in the design district also referred to as “Uptown”. This place oozes sexiness, elegance and fun. You can tell that everyone comes in to Dish with the same thing in mind, a gastronomic experience, and that is what you’ll get and more!

Chef/ owner Joane Garcia Colson grew up in Colorado and is a former lawyer. Chef Joane is classically trained and continually stays abreast of the newest culinary developments and techniques, utilizing her combined training, experience, creativity and knowledge at Dish. She is passionate about food and wine, creating new dishes, and sharing with others. Joane is dedicated to providing her guests with a superior experience, presenting food that both surprises and satisfies all the senses. She creates and develops the menu, emphasizing flavor, both new and unfamiliar. Joane believes in using seasonal ingredients and strives to source and obtain the best local products available. She is constantly working on new dishes and believes in changing the menu frequently to take advantage of seasonal produce and organic products, as they are available. Joane opened Dish on October 1st in 2012 and used her talents to make dining at Dish more than a regular dinner but an experience.

Here’s What I Tried:

Signature Cocktails:

Their full bar features classic and craft cocktails using fresh juices, fruits, herbs, house-made cola, house-made ginger beer, shrubs and cordials.

Bon Vivant, with Crater Lake vodka, Pomegranate Juice, cranberry juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and tonic. They present this cocktail with it bubbling and then a long tube releases the Crater Vodka, the whole presentation is like a magic trick. Now you see the vodka now you don’t!

Dirty Martini, from James Bond, this martini really made an impression.

Desert Sunrise, with Titos vodka, aperol, orange, grapefruit, lime, agave, and grapefruit bitters. A very smooth thirst quenching experience, with all of the lovely citrus flavors.

There was a nice variety of amuse-bouche: a small complimentary appetizer offered, Orancini with mushroom and cream sauce. Zucchini Fritter, potato cake with tzatziki Sauce. Zucchini Ribbon held together with a chive, crostini with avocado and goat cheese, and butternut orange spiced sorbet. These little gems were all terrific, be careful not to eat too much otherwise you won’t have room for all of the first and second courses.

Conversation Starters:

Grapefruit Crab and Avocado Salad, with local grapefruit, avocado, crab, arugula, and a dash of citrus vinaigrette. Chef Joane made the choice for me to try this salad, she made the right call. The crab is sweet and fresh and works well with the sweet grapefruit.

Grilled Brie, with warm blackberry, ginger and jalapeno chutney, crostini. This would be something you would make as a party platter, but here it’s done with such attention to detail that you too will fall in love with it.

Cauliflower, walnut basil pesto, mascarpone, and Romano. A dieters heaven, with very little calories and so wonderful.

Main Topics:

Brandt Farms Beef Tenderloin (7 oz.), bourbon smoked black pepper crusted, spinach, rustic smashed caramelized shallot potatoes, mushrooms, and red wine demi glaze. The presentation of every dish is like a sculpture; so many wonderful things to look at and the dollops of the various sauces are off the charts.

Diver Scallops, hazelnut crusted, parsnip puree, sautéed shaved Brussels sprouts, bacon and apple, and apple gastrique. These were by far my top favorite scallops dish ever and I have tried lots.

Maple and Balsamic Glazed New Zealand Lamb Chops, with thyme, almonds, couscous with feta and mint, pomegranate seeds, and zucchini. The combination of all of these components and the beautiful medium rare lamb chops were just exquisite.

Wines:

Sauvignon Blanc, Justin – Paso Robles, the perfect choice for the brie with its nice peachy taste.

Orogeny, Chardonnay – Russian River, I would try this wine with the grapefruit crab salad, it just works!

Raeburn, Chardonnay – Russian River, it’s got to be the scallops as the star of the show, paired with this amazing wine.

Zinfandel, Concrete Old Vine Zinfandel – Lodi, I just love a great Zinfandel with lamb chops, it really goes great together, with the same sensibility.

Cabernet, Daou Cabernet – Paso Robles, a real winner with the beef tenderloin.

Interesting Reds, Michael David Inkblot – Petite Verdot – Lodi, this wine works great with the lamb as well.

Dessert:

Deconstructed banana Crème Pie, with caramelized bananas, so delicious, fresh and inventive.

Cracker Jack Sundae with Cracker Jack popcorn gelato, such a great refreshing desert, very creative, I just loved it.

There is a Private Chef’s room that is exclusive, and intimate. It is separate from the main dining room with a private back entrance, adjacent to the kitchen featuring a wall of glass so guests can watch the Chefs in action. The Chef’s tasting and themed dinners are offered and are available for private parties.

At Dish, they pride themselves in creating new and exciting contemporary American cuisine with an emphasis and focus on flavor. They use exceptional ingredients including the best available local and organic products whenever possible. At Dish, they believe that food should nurture not only the body, but also the mind and spirit as well. The intimate dining room encourages the enjoyment of their modern cuisine, conversation and connection.

Dish was Winner of Diners Choice, 2015, Open Table. Happy Hour is Tuesday – Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Late Night Happy Hour from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Join Dish at the After Dark “Speakeasy” night with Keisha D. every Saturday night from 10:00pm till midnight, and try their Speakeasy special cocktails.

This place pulled out all of the stops, I just loved how every dish was a work of art, and that the interior is elegant but subtle, using modern décor, but is still comfy and inviting. For me Dish has everything a diner could want: marvelous food, a very sexy enticing atmosphere, paying major attention to detail and a great wine selection. What more could you want?

Dish Creative Cuisine
Uptown Design District
1107 North Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262

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L’Olivo Italian Bistro – Dinner May 10, 2017, Palm Springs, CA.

Located right on Palm Canyon, L’Olivo will get your taste buds going. You will love all the Italian authentic dishes, with L’Olivo being super conveniently located right in downtown Palm Springs.

Taken over 4 months ago by Sal Zavala from original owners Roger and Maggie, L’Olivo was founded in 2009. Some of Sal’s family is from Spain, his father was from Michoacan Mexico and had lived in The Coachella valley for most of his life. Sal got the recipes from the past owner, but added his own take on these great dishes. Most of Sal’s family is working with him at L’Olivo, Aunts Claudia, Marcelia, and Clema. His uncle Jose is the chef, who before this worked at many of the best Desert restaurants, including Trilussa.

Sal wants my readers to know that when you come to L’Olivo you will be taken care of like family with their unique Italian cuisine. He says it’s a mixture of modern with all of the traditional recipes as well. Interior is light and airy, he wants everyone to feel this inviting atmosphere.
Here’s what I tried:

Appetizers:

Scampi, with prawns, lemon, garlic, olive oil, and Pinot Grigio. They serve huge size prawns in all of its garlicky goodness.

Beef Carpaccio, thin slices of filet mignon, virgin olive oil, lemon, arugula. This is tangy and bitter; but the combination is just wonderful.

Bruschetta with tomato, basil, virgin olive oil, garlic crostini, a great staple in Italian cuisine and this version does not disappoint.

Pizza:

Chicken Pesto, fresh pesto, mozzarella, diced chicken, a small pie, but cooked to perfection.

Pollo Carbonara, signature carbonara, mozzarella, basil, and this pizza is different but equally delicious.

Salad:

L’Olivo Cobb, with romaine lettuce, chicken, tomato, boiled egg, bacon, avocado, Gorgonzola crumbles, and Italian vinaigrette. I like this salad because of it cold crisp romaine and of course, the bacon.

Iceberg Wedge with tomato, bacon, red onion, and Gorgonzola dressing. I really was amazed at how replacing blue cheese with Gorgonzola made such a huge difference.

Almond Spinach, Organic spinach, California mushrooms, sliced almonds, Italian vinaigrette. A truly healthy option, that hit all the right notes.

Pasta:

Carbonara, Signature carbonara, parmigiana, black pepper. This pasta was just ok; I would skip it and move on to the mushroom ravioli instead.

Vodka Rose, with Vodka cream sauce, pancetta bacon, and tomato sauce hints. This pasta did not have enough sauce for my liking; I would order the Frutti Di Mare instead.

Frutti Di Mare, with Mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, salmon, marinara broth. This would be my go-to pasta here, the seafood was very fresh and the sauce was perfect.

Ravioli Di Scampi with lemon, garlic, olive oil, pinot grigio, a bit too tangy for my liking, but someone else may just love this robust flavor.

Ravioli Di Funghi, with California mushrooms, Marsala cream wine sauce. By far my favorite pasta of the night, super creamy with great mushroom flavor.

Mains:

Pork Chop, 12 oz. grilled chop, California mushrooms, Marsala wine sauce. A very thick pork chop with scrumptious sauce, a good choice.

Chicken, Polo Al Gorgonzola, Chicken breast, California mushrooms, spinach, Gorgonzola crumbles, Marsala cream sauce. Another fantastic menu item!

Dessert:

Torta Della Nonna, pastry cream, hint of lemon, pine nuts, almonds, powdered sugar. All I can say is just save some room!

Torta Al Cioccolato, moist rich chocolate cake, dark chocolate frosting, dark chocolate flakes. For the chocolate lover this is the desert for you.

Wines:

Robert Mondavi Private Selection, Sauvignon Blanc, California, a perfect wine with the scampi, fresh and fruity with some peach nuances, blended nicely.

Stemmari, Chardonnay, Terre Siciliane, Sicily, Italy. I like this wine with the Frutti De Mare, all the rich seafood goodness picked up the buttery quality in this wine.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection, Chardonnay, California. Enjoy this wine with any of the salads as well as the mushroom ravioli.

Red Wines:

Stemmari, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sicilia, Sicily, Italy. A big bold beautiful wine, for me it worked with either pizza.

Trapiche, Malbec, “Oak Cast”, Mendoza, Argentina. I liked this wine with the chicken and the Marsala sauce.

Ravenswood, Zinfandel, “Old Vine”, Lodi, California. This wine was a great pair with the beef Carpaccio.

Summerland, Merlot, Paso Robles, California, this is the wine to drink with the pork chop.

They offer fresh hand made daily pasta, and in house daily baked bread, pizza by the slices and individual with a variety of toppings. They also have gluten free pizza.

There are so many great places to eat in Palm Springs and it’s hard to decide but L’Olivio is a great choice for lunch or dinner. Excellent home made fresh Italian food and service. Lets get the word out; L’Olivo promises to be one of the finer Italian go to places in The Coachella Valley.

L’Olivo Italian Bistro
333 N Palm Canyon Dr, Ste. 105
Palm Springs, CA 92262
lolivoitalianbistro.com

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