Re-Visit Drago Restaurant – August 9, 2018 – Lunch – The Petersen Museum – Los Angeles, CA.

One of the things that I love about all things Drago is how unique and fresh all of their food is. Each dish is made to order by Chef Juan Carlo, but you will find this at all of their Los Angeles restaurants, made fresh to order by their various chefs. It is astounding how many restaurants they have and their quality control is off the charts. I have never had a bad meal at any of their restaurants. Drago is just simply the best Italian in my immediate area. Each and every dish has its own unique flavors that are all about the best, freshest Italian ingredients.

Housed inside The Petersen Automotive Museum, Drago Restaurant will give you a welcomed break from all of the new and vintage cars that you will see on your visit. Drago also does all of the onsite catering for their many events at The Petersen.

Here’s What I Tried:

Bartender Marvin made me some terrific starter cocktails both with Vodka, both truly delicious. When I asked Marvin for a name, he said call them Marvin’s Connection.


Minestrone, Assorted vegetable soup. I can always know if a restaurant is going to be good by their soup. This is the platform of all cooking in my food 101. This soup was delicate and simple, but just hits the spot.

Antipasti E Insalate:

Cozze E Vongole, Salt spring mussels, manila clams, spicy tomato broth, toasted garlic bread. A lovely fragrant red sauce with nice texture, this appetizer is a must.

Calamari Fritti Con Verdura, Fried calamari and vegetables, lemon capers tartar. This lemon tartare sauce makes the whole dish, it is fragrant and smooth.

Carpaccio Di Bue, Scaglie Di Parmigiano, Mostarda, Beef Carpaccio, shaved parmesan cheese, and mustard dressing. The meat is raw, but super tasty, coupled with the mustard and the cheese, truly a winner.


Cesar, Caesar salad, romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, croutons with prawns. The lettuce is super crisp, with a nice hint of anchovies, really fantastic.

Mele E Indivia, Baby mixed lettuce, pink lady apple, bacon, candied walnuts, and champagne vinaigrette. The apple, candied walnuts and bacon melts in your mouth. The delicious champagne vinaigrette adds the right amount of acid, all in all a keeper.

Kale, oranges, pomegranate, avocado, almonds, focaccia, croutons, yellow beets, dry ricotta, champagne vinaigrette with chicken. Kale is all the rage, but what makes this salad so enticing is the oranges with the ricotta cheese.

Carne E Pesci:

Tagliata Di Ue E Salsa Verde, Pan roasted Flank steak, herbs sauce, seasoned vegetables. Cooked rare, with great flavor, the salsa verde adds just the right amount of tang to the mix.

Filetto Di Branzino Alla Livornese, European sea bass, tomato olives capers broth. The presentation is so beautiful, rich with color, flavor, and the perfect accompaniments. I love the rendition of this Italian staple

Salmone, Pan roasted Salmon, season sauté vegetables. The salmon is crusted but flaky and light. The seasonal vegetables are cooked al dente but add a nice texture to the plate.

Burger, Prime beef burger, caramelized onions, Portobello mushrooms, Fontina cheese, truffle butter, and truffle fries. Possibly the best burger ever, the caramelized onions seal the deal for me.

Paste E Risotti:

Bucatini Carbonara Con Piselli, Bacon, peas, egg yolk, cream, Parmesan cheese. This is always one of my go to pasta dishes when I go to Italy. At Drago, it is done old school way, so amazing.

Fettuccine Alla Bolognese, Fettuccine with meat sauce. Another one of my pastas that I crave, this sauce had a nice mushroom, cinnamon essence, which added to the overall experience.

Spaghetti Con Polpette, Spaghetti with meatballs and tomato sauce. Traditional menu item, more Italian American then typical Italian style dish.

Spaghetti Frusta Di Mare, Shrimps, calamari, bay scallops, mussels, clams in a light tomato sauce. The shellfish is very fresh with a wonderful aromatic flavor.

Linguine Vongole fragrant, Linguine, clams, garlic, fresh parsley. Lots of little clams, the very light sauce is filled with garlic.

Lasagne Bolognese, Baked meat lasagna. Done in a little casserole dish with béchamel sauce baked on the top. This is very delicious lasagna.

Risotto Porcini e Mascarpone, Risotto with porcini mushrooms and mascarpone cheese. If this is done right, it will be the best thing you ever put in your mouth. The combination of the mushrooms and the mascarpone cheese is pure heaven in your mouth.


Siciliana, Eggplant, smoked mozzarella, basil, shaved ricotta. The crust is thin, with an ideal sauce, for a pizza lover this would be the place you would want to have a real authentic pizza.

Barese, Sausage, broccoli, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese. A more robust pizza but does deliver.


Lemon Crème Brule, light, smooth, just what the doctor ordered as a final touch to this unbelievable lunch!!

Chocolate Tart, a wonderfully rich and perfect dessert item.


Champagne Taittinger, “Brut La Francaise”,
Reims, France NV. The magical rise of the bubbles lifts your spirits; the clinking of the glasses is music to my ears, a lovely way to start my experience.

Rose of Pinot Noir, Main and Geary Sonoma 2015. This is the go to rose. The trend now is people drinking a lot of Rose, and this one does not disappoint. I loved this wine with the calamari, it was the perfect marriage of flavors.

Sauvignon Blanc, Cake Bread Cellars, Napa Valley, 2016. I just love this wine. The brand is always great and the quality matches the label always.

Chardonnay, Ronco del Gelson, “ Sietvignis”, Fruili, Italy 2014. This was a nice blend of creamy and fruity, it went great with the Linguine Vongole.

Due Data, “Pietro Caciorgna”, (Celestino Drago Selection) 2016. I can understand why this would be a Celestino Drago selection, it is simply fantastic. It is the wine to drink with the delicious burger.

Brunello di Montalcino, Fattoria dei Barbi, Toscana, Italy 2014. This is by far my favorite Italian wine, the perfect combination with the flank steak.

Server Alfonso Ochoa and Hostess Sabrina were the most welcoming pleasant staff members that truly guided my experience in a very positive way.

If you want real, delicious, authentic food in Los Angeles then this is the place to go. I am always a huge fan of anything Drago. I just love how wonderful the food is and how much effort they put into every dish.

The History of Drago’s Kitchen:

Born and raised in the Messina area of Sicily, the four Drago brothers, Celestino, Tanino, Calogero and Giacomino have owned and operated some of the Los Angeles area’s most prolific Italian restaurants. Featuring hand-cranked pastas, pizza, fresh-baked bread and more, Drago Ristorante offers elevated, yet authentic Italian fare and a heavy dose of classic Italian hospitality that the Drago brothers have been providing Angelinos and visitors alike for over three decades.

Experience contemporary Italian cuisine from the Drago brothers, alongside some of the rarest and most valuable cars in the world inside the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Hours: Sunday – Friday: 11:00am – 6:00pm Saturday: 11:00am – 6:00pm- Last reservation accepted for 4:30 p.m.

Drago at The Petersen
6060 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

* Note some content was taken off of their website.


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Waitress- Pantages Theater – Friday August 3, 2018 – Hollywood, CA.

For me this show was all about the music, delightful and strong, their voices really hit home. Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by 6-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland). “It’s an empowering musical of the highest order!” raves the Chicago Tribune.

Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, WAITRESS tells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.

“WAITRESS is a little slice of heaven!” says Entertainment Weekly and “a monumental contribution to Broadway!” according to Marie Claire. Don’t miss this uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

We celebrate Adrienne Shelly as the writer of the 2007 film WAITRESS, on which our wonderful musical is based. An actor and filmmaker for almost 20 years, she conceived the film while pregnant with her daughter Sophie (“Lulu” in the film), and wrote it in just two weeks. People often ask if Adrienne was a baker, loved pies or if she had been a waitress or had ever lived in the South. She hadn’t. In fact, Sophie was the inspiration for the story. Like many expectant mothers, Adrienne wondered how motherhood would change her life and impact her career. But just like her main character Jenna, once she saw her baby, she immediately fell in love! And she soon realized that she could in fact have it all. In many ways WAITRESS, and Jenna’s story, is Adrienne’s story as well.

Her legacy has many facets, including The Adrienne Shelly Foundation, which her husband Andy created after her death in 2006. With partners including Sundance, AFI, IFP, Women in Film, Columbia University and Boston University (Adrienne’s Alma Mater), and an advisory board that includes Paul Rudd, Michelle Williams and Keri Russell, ASF’s mission is Supporting Women Filmmakers. Since its inception it has awarded 60 production grants to very talented women all over the world.

Please visit to honor Adrienne’s memory and support ASF’s critical artistic mission.

Producers – Barry and Fran Weissler Norton and Elayne Herrick. Director Diane Paulus, Choregrapher Lorin Latarro, Music Supervision & Arrangements, Nadia DiGiallonardo, Set Design – Scott Pask, Costume Design – Suttirat Anne Larlarb, Lighting Design – Ken Billington, Sound Design – Jonathan Deans, Hair & Make Up Design – Richard Mawbey, Associate Director – Nancy Harrington, Associate Choreographer – Abbey O’Brien, Music Coordinator – John Miller.

Jenna – DESI OAKLEY, Cal – RYAN G. DUNKIN, Dawn – LENNE KLINGAMAN, Becky – CHARITY ANGÉL DAWSON, Joe – LARRY MARSHALL, Earl – NICK BAILEY, Mother – GRACE STOCKDALE, Father – JIM HOGAN, Nurse Norma – MAIESHA McQUEEN, Dr. Pomatter – BRYAN FENKART,Ogie – JEREMY MORSE,Francine – KYRA KENNEDY Lulu – (Thurs. 8/2 eve., Sat. 8/4 mat. & eve., Tues., Weds., Sun. mat., Sun. eve.)ELIZABETH LAST Lulu (Fri. 8/3 eve., Sun. 8/5 mat. & eve., Thurs., Fri., Sat. mat., Sat. eve.) CATHERINE LAST Ensemble: MARK CHRISTINE, JIM HOGAN, KYRA KENNEDY, MAX KUMANGAI, MAIESHA McQUEEN, GERIANNE PÉREZ, GRACE STOCKDALE




Understudies never substitute for listed performers unless a specific announcement is made at the time of performance.



“What’s Inside”, “Opening Up”, “The Negative” , “What Baking Can Do”, “Club Knocked Up”, Women “When He Sees Me” , “It Only Takes a Taste”, “You Will Still Be Mine”, “A Soft Place to Land”,“Never Ever Getting Rid of Me”,“Bad Idea”.

“I Didn’t Plan It”, “Bad Idea” (Reprise), “You Matter to Me” ,“I Love You Like a Table” ,“Take It From an Old Man” ,“She Used to Be Mine”,“Everything Changes” “Opening Up”(Finale).
Music Director/Keyboard—RYAN CANTWELL Conductor/Piano—LILLI WOSK Drums—ELENA BONOMO; Bass—LEXI BODICK Cello/Guitar—NICK ANTON; Guitar—ED HAMILTON.

Music Coordinator—JOHN MILLER

Keyboard Sub—ALBY POTTS Local Contractor—BRIAN MILLER.

I really enjoyed this show; from the sets, to the songs, and especially the comedy, it really knocked it out of the park.


Waitress The Musical
The Pantages Theater
(323) 468-1770
6233 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

* Note some content was taken off of website.

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Mild Sauce – Lunch Tasting – July 31, 2018 – Beverly Hills, CA.

Located in a strip mall in an area known as Beverly Hills adjacent lies a real home spun gem. Steeped in family tradition Mild Sauce is a Chicago staple. Owner Kenneth Caldwell, and business partner Chicago Native – Apryl Correa, realized their dreams by bringing the best freshest Chicago Style fried chicken to Beverly Hills. Owning a few Chicken restaurants in Chicago, where Ken learned how to perfect Chicago Style chicken and fish. Named after famous Mild Sauce, which began in Chicago, many years ago, taking that simple condiment and turning into a viable brand.

Everything at Mild Sauce is made fresh every day, Ken does it all himself; he adds his own twist to their recipes. What sets Mild Sauce apart from the A-typical establishments is their use of different special seasons and spices. Ken wanted to give Angelinos the opportunity to taste the most delicious golden fried chicken, and putting his customers in the mindset of a home cooked meal.

I tried their trio combo, which is fried jumbo prawns, catfish and chicken, I had chicken thighs. All I can say is wow; every bite was succulent and delicious, really delightful. Menu includes; Fried Chicken, Jumbo Fried Shrimp, Catfish, and Chicken Strips, all batter fried with different seasonings, just simply delicious. His sides include homemade secret recipe coleslaw and fried okra, which will blow your hair back. All of the food is cooked to order, so make sure you give yourself enough time to wait, it will be totally worth it.

Mild Sauce has become the go to spot for numerous celebrities. Many people are stopping in to Mild Sauce and saying, “I’m from Chicago here to see if its real?” After one bite they know it’s the real deal.

They will be starting a new program soon, with internet delivery only; daily from 11:00pm – 4:00am, with Uber Eats, Grubhub, Yelp, Doordash, Eat 24, and Postmates.

Besides all of the amazing food and great vibes, Mild Sauce plays house music all day and night, another tradition inspired by Chicago, featuring mixes from Chicago’s own DJ Wayne Williams, Alan King, Terry Hunter, and Andre Hatchet, just to name a few.

There is no competition in Los Angeles, because Mild Sauce is the best fried chicken, fish and shrimp anywhere in California.

“It Ain’t Got Sauce On It, It Ain’t Chi-Town, We’re On Top Of Everythang.”

Tuesday – Thursday 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday – Saturday 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Sunday – 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Monday – Closed

Mild Sauce
8500 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
310-652-3310 @mildsaucela

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Taste of Yorba Linda – July 27, 2018 – Yorba Linda, CA.

Why travel this far from West Hollywood to go to another food event. Well I am here to say that this was one of the best food festivals I have ever been to. Lots of different styles of food to choose from. Mostly local Yorba Linda restaurants and huge portions, you did not go hungry at this event.

Truly the best food event in Orange County for over 29 years, with over 50 restaurants, wineries and breweries of Orange County! The evening included a silent auction and great entertainment from The King Salmon Band, lots of great dance music.

Participating Restaurants:

All-American Ale Works
BJ’s Grill Anaheim Hills
Black Gold Golf Club
Bristol Farms
Brookdale Yorba Linda
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Canyon Inn Sports Bar & Grill
Cavaller Wine Exchange
Cedar Creek Inn Brea
Center Catering
Craft Brew Tours
Craftsman Pizza: Bar: Grill
Crepes Bonaparte
Dunkin Donuts
El Torito Yorba Linda
Esther’s Taco House
Eureka Pizza Co.
Fat Freddy’s
Frisco’s Meat & Deli
Gusto D’Oro Italian Cuisine
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
Joaquin’s Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Joya Sangria
Karma Lounge Restaurant
Mimi’s Cafe
Monarch 9 Cafe
Mustache Mike’s
Nikki’s Kitchen
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Phantom Ales
Polly’s Pies Restaurant & Bakery
PRP Wine International
Quigley Fine Wines
Rich Farm Ice Cream
Rita’s Brea
Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Sam’s Club
South Coast Winery
Sprouts Farmers Market
Stefano’s Golden Baked Hams
Sunrise Senior Living
Surf City Still Works
Sushi Fresh
Terra Wood-Fired Kitchen
The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar
The Butchery – Brea
The Cookie Element
The Olde Ship
Tio Chava’s Mexican Restaurant
Tipsy Traveler & Co.
Versai Wine Bar
Wise Guys Pizzeria
YLS Bakery

There were a few stand out food items that I tasted, meats ball and lasagna were amazingly delicious. The shirt rib with mashed potato served in a martini glass with a purple orchid filled your senses with great flavor and even better presentation.

Presenting Sponsors:

The Edie Israel Team

Gold Sponsors:

Digital Label

Silver Sponsors:

All Class RV
Bristol Farms
Diamond Resorts
Gil Cisnero
Peggy Thomas, Insurance Services
Todd Spitzer
County of Orange, CA.
Together We Rise
Windham Worldwide

Bronze Sponsors:

Brea Orange County Plumbing & Heating
First Bank
Grant Romancia Photography
Jimmy Johns
Orange County Credit Union
Postal Annex
Progressive Builders
Smart and Final
So Cal Edison
UC Irvine

It was a hot balmy night filled with libation, taste treats and fun entertainment, next year I will go and stay close by to really be able to get to know the area better.

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40 Years In The Making: Magic Music Movie – Thursday – July 26, 2018 – Beverly Hills, CA.

40 YEARS IN THE MAKING: THE MAGIC MUSIC MOVIE [Paladin]. The documentary chronicles how one of their greatest fans, acclaimed director (and UC Boulder alumnus) Lee Aronsohn, tracked down the original band members four decades later to tell their story. More importantly, he makes a dream come true for himself, fellow fans, and the band, by bringing them all back to Boulder for a sold-out reunion concert that preserves their legacy for posterity. Filmmaker Lee Aronsohn and members of Magic Music.

When I saw this press screening being offered I ran to apply for credentials. Having been a music publicist and working in this business for many years I really wanted to see a behind the scenes view of a band that I had never heard of. Magic Music was a band from Boulder Colorado, and seeing that I had been to Colorado twice in my life, but never Boulder and never during that time.

It’s a real life lesson about how forgiveness cannot only help the person you are forgiving but more important about how forgiveness heals the person forgiving. The band members were young and naive so they really did not know how to navigate the music business and dealing with record labels and executives. Which caused a lot of problems amongst themselves. One of my favorite scenes was when one the band members walked into Capitol Records in Hollywood, to meet with a record executive and was very adamant about not wearing shoes. It did not go over well and a record deal fell off the table.

The music is really fantastic, and you can see where famous bands like The Eagles, or The Grateful Dead were highly influenced by Magic Music’s style.

This was a wonderful documentary, revealing the struggle of a band, chronicled through caricature type drawings. The subtle extra touch was how Lee Aronsohn chronicled all of the political events at that time. I am recommending this film, and I am sure the commonality will find its way to many happy viewers. Movie Movie

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The 2nd Annual Westside Food & Wine Festival – July 21, 2018 – Culver City, CA.

This was a great event, on a not so hot Saturday afternoon, at the top floor of a parking structure at West Los Angeles City College, with a nice cool breeze, just what the doctor ordered. With partial proceeds benefiting Culver-Palms Meals on Wheels.

Boasting gourmet noshes and sips from dozens of local restaurants, food vendors and wine and spirits brands. Culver City Honda and Culver City Toyota showcased and displayed their cars among many other great sponsors.

Restaurant, food and wine vendors included:

Border Grill with Susan Feniger appearing
LA Gastronomy
Truxton’s American Bistro
Il Piccolo Verde
Panini Kabob
Stonefire Grill
Rise and Shine Catering
Rollin Burger
Café Vida
Fresh Brothers
Smitten Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
Fresh Farm to you
Luna Olive Oil
Red Shoe Cakes
Noosa Yogurt
Kind Bars
My Mochi Ice Cream
Ziggy Popcorn
Youngs Market
Sunora agave spirit
Suerte tequila
papaspilar rum
Breckenridge whiskey
Vine Mark Cellars
Embajador Tequila
ZYR Vodka
Paquera Mexcal
Boochcraft Alcoholic Kombucha
Vina Sympatica Sparkling Wines
Boisset Collection Wines
Obvious Wines
Joya Sangria
Wilson Creek Winery
Clos du Bois Winery
Bai beverages
Kevita Kombucha
Icelandic Water
Topo Chico Sparkling Water
Essential Water
Vita Coconut Water
Kreation Juices
Naked Juice
Rebbl Beverages

The Westside Food Wine Festival is presented by Todd Elliot Entertainment, media sponsors include LA Weekly, The Argonaut, Culver City Chamber of Commerce, Culver City News, Culver City Observer and the Culver City Times.

“We’re thrilled to offer another delicious weekend experience for attendees at this year’ Westside Food & Wine Festival,” said Elliot. “With a great line up of restaurants, food, wine and spirits brands and artistry options to explore, and all for a great cause! We have over 50 vendors/sponsors each day with an exciting array of food, alcohol and entertainment.”

Get early tickets for the next one October 14, 2018.

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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ESPY Party – July 17th, 2018 – Regard Magazine – Bel Air, CA

By Guest Columnist – Bijan Khodavandi

This year’s ESPY Party organized by Regard Magazine was set in beautiful Bel Air, California. WWE Diva , CJ “Lana” Perry , who is on E Network’s WWE Diva show was the host of the party. She also happens to be a previous client of Jodi’s. I went to this event on Jodi’s behalf to relay a congratulatory message to CJ, and she was thrilled to receive it. Between taking photos on the red carpet and giving interviews, she was a busy girl. Noticeable from every corner of the event, she was wearing a white tasseled jumper with a plunging neckline that left little to the imagination. She looked stunning. The event brought together professional athletes, top-tier influencers, and industry insiders for a day of gifting, cocktails, and light bites. There were tents throughout the party advertising various companies and their products. These included: Papa & Barkley, a medical cannabis company that produces therapeutic ointments, and oils. As well as Amanda Louise, a luxury swimwear line based out of Arizona. Skyy Vodka, Grand Marnier, and Aperol Spritz were the liquor sponsors for the event, crafting delicious cocktails for guests ranging from a “Watermelon Spritz” to a classic Grand Marnier on the rocks. The party was a major success, and we send our congratulations, once again, to CJ “Lana” Perry on her beautiful cover for Regard Magazine!



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Bastille Day Bash – Bistro 45 – Sunday, July 15th, 2018 – Pasadena, CA.

When I left home many moons ago, straight out of high school, I moved to Berkeley, California. My roommate was also my good friend from high school. She was part of the dance department at UC Berkeley, and became friends with the drama department. Her boyfriend at the time was an actor, so she was part of this wild and crazy clique of actors, directors, writers. I was a part of their social events and gatherings and that is when I met Robert Simon, who at that time was more of a director than an actor. But whatever he was, he was one heck of a powerful guy. Lots of people looked up to him for his expertise and wisdom, you could say he was the king of the drama department. History with Robert was pretty complicated, having enjoyed the company of his brother, as well as another gentlemen who was an actor in that department, names will go unmentioned. That was my past and this is my present. So a few months back I went to a wine tasting in Pasadena and overheard a conversation where Robert was introducing himself, and talking about wines for his Pasadena restaurant. Though this could be the same Robert Simon from Berkeley, but after introducing myself I realized yes this is my lucky day and he was so gracious to tell me about his long-time establishment in Pasadena. We had few laughs and talked about our misspent youth.  I soon contacted him and told him about my being a food writer and having an interest in doing a proper review.

We had tried to work something out in the past few months but when I contacted Robert again he said “oh I have the perfect event to invite you to,” and boy was he right!

He has been doing his Bastille Day party at his restaurant for 28 years now, which includes an amazing prefix dinner. I was completely astounded at the camaraderie and community he has established there in Pasadena. But what was I thinking, this is no surprise.  As a director of actors, he would bring a whole slew of actors together to mount amazing shows. Bistro 45 is just the same concept except for instead of a play, he is creating an excellent gastronomic feast. We were even fortunate enough to hear an impromptu speech he gave on humanity, community, coming together and peace during this auspicious occasion. Robert still knows how to captivate his audience. Happy as a clam, I proceeded to imbibe on all the incredible bounty at Bistro 45.

He asked me to come solo and said he would take care of my meal. When I arrived, he told me that he had the perfect person in mind to join me at my table. When Philip appeared, I was delighted, being sight-impaired I switched up my momentum and helped guide Philip through this fantastic experience. But much to my amazement, even though Philip is completely blind he is not handicapped. His disability has made him a strong man, with no room for pity parties. He told me that he is a Deputy District Attorney in the Los Angeles County Court System and prosecutes in court most days of the week. After spending time with Philip, I realized how lucky I am to have all my senses. But really you could take everything away from me, but don’t take my sense of smell or taste, that would be a tragedy for me. Philip and I talked about everything under the sun, while enjoying the finest French wines and cuisine. He was truly the perfect dinner companion, giving me inspiration, and even more reasons to enjoy my life.

Here’s What I tried:

Rose of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Chateau Saint-Esteve, France 2016.
Mussels, Clams & Fries, the mussels and clams were so fresh, and the preparation was very simple but perfect. The French fries added a nice crisp texture, which of course is very typical in French cuisine. The wine had a nice crisp flavor that added a fruit nuance that could not have been better.

Sauvignon Blanc, Petite Perriere, Loire 2016.
Marinated Alaskan King Salmon Salad with Whipped fresh ricotta, arugula and marinated wild salmon. This dish for me was a palate cleanser along with the wine. The rich garlic flavor from the mussels and clams needed a way to dissipate and the earthy Sauvignon Blanc allowed my palate to be new and cleansed. The combination of salmon, ricotta, arugula, and a kind of sweet vinaigrette made a great impact on my tastebuds.

Merlot Blend, Chateau Mazetier, Bordeaux 2016.
Steak au Poivre, with ratatouille. Ratatouille seemed to always be part of my Bay Area roots, where I met Robert.  So this dish really made me feel at home. The steak was so perfectly cooked, and the wine enhanced all of the meaty flavors.  A true winner.

Petit Fours, these were all different, my favorite being the lemon bars, I just love a good lemon dessert.

The room was very loud with everyone enthralled in conversation; there was no music in the background. The interior had grey walls, with yellow, white, and grey striped banquets, nice wood floors, and elegant café style chairs. The exterior of the building is very art deco, built in 1939. Chef James told me it used be a mortuary, but it has been reconfigured and renovated so that you would never guess its past history! The crowd was older, some women with their friends having a girl’s night out dinner. Everyone truly enjoying his or her Bastille Day dinner party.

You could tell that everything was hand selected with the utmost attention to each flavor profile and product details. Every course was a stepping-stone to a higher purpose of culinary delights. Each dish was so fresh and flavorful, and the wines matched perfectly with all of the married ingredients.

I would run next time to Bistro 45 for a special occasion, or one of their future events. You just know that you will have the best experience and remember all the little nuances that went into the preparation and presentation.

Chef James Lambrinos has an amazing gift, he really knows how to take direction and prepare a meal to remember. He started at Bistro 45 in October of last year; he studied at The Culinary Institute of America. He came out to greet the customers and see how they were enjoying his food. My waiter, Dan, was very efficient and made sure I was well taken care of.

Their Story:

The ultimate dining experience, like no other. Bistro 45 is an innovative New American and French-style cuisine restaurant that embraces both a traditional and contemporary setting. Located in the heart of Pasadena, we create memorable dishes while always featuring the highest quality “ranch to restaurant” proteins and organic produce. Our chefs are dedicated to providing all guests with “food made with love” which pair greatly with our extensive wine list. We believe in catering to our customers in order to provide them with a personal and extraordinary dining experience. Bistro 45 is the perfect spot for celebrations or for a special night out.

Bistro 45 is proud to be a winner in the 2018 Los Angeles Hot List!

My experience was beyond expectations, what a lovely way to spend the evening. Bistro 45 offers an extraordinary sustainable / organically inspired seasonally changing menu which showcases French technique via new American cooking. Also, I took the train from Wilshire and Western, then the Gold line from Union Station, which added to my evening by not having to stress about driving until much later. I am smitten, and I will return. Thanks Robert Simon for reconnecting and being able to experience all of your life’s hard work!

Bistro 45
(626) 795-2478
45 S Mentor Ave
Pasadena, CA 91106

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Dinner – July 8, 2018 – Bluewater Grill – Temecula, CA.

With seven Southern California locations, and one in Phoenix Arizona, Bluewater Grill is guaranteed to make you one happy customer.

Super simple interiors making you feel as though you were in a seafood shack somewhere in New England. Lots of black and white photography of seafood being caught off of various oceanfronts and piers. With its high open beam ceilings, and mixed industrial light fixtures, it will put you in the mood for some very creative cuisine. There are ships knots as dividers, with sailboats cleats as an added design highlight. Super relaxed, embrace yourself into a unique coastal food experience.

Their Story:

Celebrating over 20 years in business, Bluewater Grill was established in Newport Beach, California in 1996, by partners Rick Staunton and Jim Ulcickas. They have since grown into a family of seafood restaurants, located in resort communities, committed to serving guests pristine quality seafood, sustainably caught, and prepared classically or with a modern twist.

Fresh Sustainable Seafood:

They operate their own swordfish harpoon boat, the Pilikia, and serve the finest quality locally harpooned swordfish in season. Their fish is always the most pristine quality available as they purchase directly from fisherman, in season, at the peak of quality and freshness. Being fishermen at heart, they want to ensure the future availability of seafood and make responsible seafood purchasing a core value of their operation.

The Bluewater Experience:

Bluewater Grill’s Mission is to serve great food in a casual, relaxed environment by friendly and knowledgeable people at a fair price. They offer more than 40 varieties of seafood annually, with oysters on the half shell, award winning chowder, a kid’s menu approved by the Kids LiveWell program of the National Restaurant Association, patio dining, full bar and wine list, brunch, and happy hour.

Harpooned by “Pilikia”:

They have their own boat called Pilikia plying the waters of the Channel Islands. Harpooned swordfish is better because it is caught on day boats, it is a 100% sustainable method of fishing and there is no by-catch like there is with nets or long lines. “Pilikia”, which means “trouble” in Hawaiian, has been the #1 harpoon sword fishing boat on the west coast for many years. The boat was custom built in Hoquiam, Washington and supplies their Bluewater Grill Restaurants with direct access to the freshest swordfish for the summer season. Pilikia will ply the local waters off Catalina and the Channel Islands looking to harpoon “The Gladiator Fish.” Selectively harvesting mature fish and processing them only minutes later, the fish is quick cooled in “on board” refrigerators and rushed to the restaurants that same day. Bluewater Grill’s Pilikia gives “real” meaning to “from our boat to your plate”. The freshness, quality and flavor are as good as it gets.

Manager Max was very instrumental in my tasting, as well as my server Jordan, who did a fine job.

Here’s What I Tried:



American Mule – Blue Ice Vodka, ginger beer and fresh lime.

Violetta – New Amsterdam Vodka, fresh lime and pineapple juice, St. Germain Elderflower, Crème de Violette, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and served up.

Pilikia Margarita – Cuervo Tradicional Silver Tequila, De Kuyper Triple Sec, fresh limejuice, agave syrup, orange bitters.

Captain’s Mai Tai – Cruzan Coconut Rum, Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Gosling’s Bermuda Black Seal Rum, triple sec, tropical juices

Cucumber Mojito – Myer’s Platinum Rum, fresh cucumber and mint, fresh lime juice, aloe vera and soda water.

Each cocktail was delicious, with all having the perfect balance between sweet and sour, alcohol and mixers. My favorite was the Captain’s Mai Tai, making me feel like I was off on a deserted island in the tropics. So leave your cares somewhere else and indulge in their specialized cocktails.


House wines by Grand Cru, Chardonnay. This is a great mellow Chardonnay, not too oaked, just a great pairing with Chippino.

Robert Renzoni Pinot Grigio, Temecula ‘17. A nice fruity effervescent, wine, a nice choice for the Seafood Louis Salad.


William Hill, Central Coast ’16.

Annabella, Napa ’14.

Wiens, Temecula ’16.

Trefethen, Napa ’16.

Each Chardonnay had their own individual characteristics. My favorite was the William Hill, with its buttery profile. You can drink this wine with any of the seafood dishes.

Red Blends/Varietals – Leoness Meritage, Temecula ’14. I liked this wine with the Salmon, it is jammy and brought out the sweetness of the salmon.

Red Blends/Varietals – Wiens “Artist Series” Crowded, Temecula ’16, of course this wine paired great with the burger, truly a match made in heaven.ever


Maryland Style Crab cakes, Remoulade, chive oil and micro greens. A very subtle and lovely appetizer, a great way to start my delicious meal.

Jumbo Prawn Cocktail with chive oil and housemade cocktail sauce. These are huge prawns and so delightful, the presentation alone will make you never want a traditional shrimp cocktail.


New England Chowder, this is one of my favorite clam chowders. There are plump huge clam pieces and a very rich creamy soup, hit all the right notes.

Manhattan Chowder, not a huge fan of this type of chowder, but if you are it was a good rendition.


Seafood Louie Salad, Red rock crab, bay shrimp, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, egg, avocado with San Francisco Louie dressing. I just could not get enough of this super rich dressing, which for me that was all she wrote.

Crab & Avocado Salad, Arugula, mixed greens, house vinaigrette, a bit too similar to the Louie, order the Louie instead.

Cedar Plank Salmon, King salmon cooked on a cedar plank and topped with a maple Dijon glaze with scalloped potatoes and broccolini. The salmon was a bit dry for my standards, but I’ll bet if you order it medium rare it would be out of this world.


Sautéed, Spinach, great healthy way to accompany any dish.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Currants, and Garlic. These sprouts are done the right way, cooked to perfection.

Bluewater Burger – “An Aussie Classic!” – Crispy onion, arugula, beet, fried egg, heirloom tomato with housemade fries. Oh what a burger, great flavors, love the onion rings, and the egg on top, wow, wow, wow.


Chipotle Blackened Swordfish, Chipotle dirty rice, corn and avocado relish. This is one of their most popular dishes, and for good reason, really terrific.

San Francisco Cioppino, with a zesty marinara sauce, clams, mussels, crabmeat, shrimp, scallops and fish. A rich mellow sauce with very fresh lovely seafood, it was super delicious.

Prawn Linguine, Grape tomatoes, basil, and garlic and tomato broth. These shrimps are large and plump and the linguini was al dente, just a great pasta dish.

Baby Back Ribs – Dry rubbed and slow roasted with housemade honey barbecue served with French fries and coleslaw. A huge slab of ribs with a nice dry rubbed seasoning, just loved this as well.

Fish & Chips, High Spot Beer Battered Fish & Chips. Since I am British I know good fish and chips and these ones made the cut.


Key Lime Pie, sweet but sour, the crust is buttery and light, a really great pie.

Crème Brûlée, one of the best Crème Brulee’s ever, you got to try this!

They also serve brunch on Saturday & Sunday – 10:30 am to 2:00 am.

I tried the Crab cake Benedict, from the brunch menu, with poached eggs, crabcakes on toasted English muffins with lemon hollandaise and breakfast potatoes. This is a great substitution for the usual benedict, it is flavorful with fresh crab goodness.

Bluewater Grill has been voted “Best Seafood in Wine Country”.

You too will get hooked on the best in fresh, sustainable seafood. Enjoy their seafood market, patio, full bar, happy hour, party platters and a pet friendly space. Centrally located in the heart of Temecula wine country on Ynez road, just off the 15 Freeway. I can’t say enough about the great food at Bluewater Grill. It’s worth a trip to Temecula just to try their spectacular food.


Mon–Thurs: 11am–9pm

Fri: 11am–10pm

Sat: 10:30am–10pm

Sun: 10:30am–9pm

Happy Hour

Sun–Thurs: 3pm–6pm

Bluewater Grill

26700 Ynez Court

Temecula, CA.


Tel: 951 308 2722

Fax: 951 699 6857

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Lorimar Vineyards and Winery – Wine Tasting – Sunday – July 8, 2018 – Temecula, CA.

Lorimar Winery happens to be one of the best wineries in all of Temecula, with its beautiful central location and incredible vistas and views. I have tasted their wines at many Hollywood A list events, like Roger Neal’s Annual Party; The Roger Neal Style Hollywood Oscar Viewing Dinner & Hollywood Oscar Suite, where Lorimar is their sponsor every year. I am so fortunate to have been able to try their amazing wines many years in a row. As well as Lorimar sending me some wines for my cooking show and them being a sponsor on my sponsorship page.

Our tour started out with Richie, our tour guide, taking us through the patio brunch area, where we got to see all of the delicious food items that Lorimar serves up off of its brunch menu and buffet. It all looked scrumptious. We sampled some great sparkling wine during that time.

Here’s what I tried:

California Sparkling wine, a delicious refreshing wine, great for any hot summer day. 2016 Chardonnay, I just loved the buttery creamy nuance, I had to buy one to take home. 2015 Meritage. This wine would be great with any lamb, steak, and meat sauce. Big and bold but the perfect meat lovers wine. 2014 Syrah, this wine would be great with a nice tomato sauce, a filet mignon or a pot roast.

“ A Fusion of Wine, Art Music, and Food”. At Lorimar Vineyards and Winery they will engage your senses with a blend of handcrafted wines, live music, local art, and gourmet food. Lorimar’s captivating views of the Temecula Valley are almost as impressive as their award-winning wines.

Lorimar wines are fruit forward and showcase dedication to producing the best product from grape to glass. Their goal at Lorimar Winery is to create a memory that guests will look back on with a smile and hold close to their heart.

Lorimar Winery – The Dream – What began as a long-time dream for brothers-in-law Lawrie Lipton and Mark Manfield, came to fruition with the opening of Lorimar Vineyards and Winery. In fact, the name Lorimar itself was formed by combining Lawrie and Mark’s first names. A unique winery concept was formed through the combination of their shared passion for music, experiences in hospitality, and culinary and performing arts. The journey began in 2009 with the opening of Lorimar’s Old Town location, a placeholder while the Wine Country location was under construction. In May 2012, Lawrie and Mark, along with hundreds of local residents and guests, celebrated the grand opening of Lorimar Winery, a Tuscan-style winery in the heart of the Temecula Valley. Featuring breathtaking views of Mount Palomar and the Santa Ana Mountains, Lorimar is the perfect picturesque setting to enjoy live music, local artwork, gourmet food, and award-winning wine. Lorimar Winery has a distinct personality, which is built around the perfect combination of wine and music.

Lorimar Wine:

At Lorimar they craft wines that are approachable with a fruit forward style that showcases the strengths of Temecula Wine Country. They create wines using the best of the old world ways combined with today’s more advanced technologies, producing delicious varietals and exciting blends.

Tuscan Style Winery:

Their Tuscan style winery is showcased amidst adjoining orange groves and our 22-acre estate vineyard. Their first vine plantings were of Cabernet Sauvignon in 2000 followed by Syrah, Grenache, Muscat, Viognier and Sangiovese.

Temecula’s wine growing region is unique and special. They are 22 miles away from the ocean, which classifies them as a Mediterranean climate. Balanced with warm sunny days and cool nights, the vines flourish and produce excellent fruit in their climate. The soil composition of decomposed granite and clay drains well and is ideal for retaining moisture reserves deep below the surface roots.

Whatever the occasion it is worth a trip to Lorimar Winery, lush lovely grounds, and a fun vibe,  you will be guaranteed  a fabulous excursion!

Wine Country Tasting Room
39990 Anza Road
Temecula, CA 92591
(951) 694-6699

* Note some content was taken off of their website

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