Lunch – July 5, 2024 – Thai Spicy BBQ – Los Angeles, CA.

I first came in here to order a dish to go and met owner Natty Reinherdt. She was so charming and sweet. Once she found out that I am a restaurant reviewer, she offered me a tasting. I am here to tell you that this is a rare find in Hollywood, or in Los Angeles. It has very limited seating, but the food coming out of this very unassuming place, is just astounding. For sure, my new go to Thai place in Los Angeles. People find this place from Yelp, Google, Instagram, and word of mouth. People come from all over: San Francisco, Boston, New York, etc.

Natty took the restaurant over from her Auntie and changed quite a few things. Her goal was to make Thai Spicy BBQ a real successful business, she has managed to do that and more.  By reimagining some of her aunt’s recipes she took what was a run of the mill Thai food experience to an off the charts meal. Natty said she works and creates from the heart; she embraces the fact that good food and a warm atmosphere make this restaurant a real find. Natty loves to eat and knows what good food is.

Here’s What I Tried:

Drinks:

Thai Iced Tea, a very refreshing iced tea, and Natty does this very sweet, folded straw trick, where she turns a straw paper cover into a white rose. What a nice added touch.

Appetizers:

Fried Shrimp, these shrimps are orange in color with the breading. Must be some kind of extra Thai spices that make it that color. This appetizer is one to order every time.

Fried Tofu, deep fried tofu with sweet and sour dipping sauce. They give you lots of tofu and the sauce is just divine.

Soup:

Tom Kha Soup, hot spicy coconut soup made with galangal, mushroom, onion, and chicken. Their Tom Kha soup is colored white, not orange, and you can tell why. It’s got more coconut milk than most of this same exact soup. This makes for one savory and sweet comforting soup.

Salad:

Glass Noodle Salad, combination green salad with glass noodles, chicken and shrimp, tossed in spicy lime dressing. It is a bit spicy. I would order this every time, it’s a very large portion, super flavorful and fresh, just perfect.

Entrees:

Seafood Fried Rice, this rice has many different types of seafood: mussels, fish ball, crab, shrimp, white fish, squid, as well as a variety of mushroom that I do not think I have ever tried. I like to eat this rice with the peanut sauce.

Pad See Ew, pan fried big flat noodles, in sweet black sauce with broccoli and carrots. The sweet black sauce is enough to try this incredible great dish.

Pad Thai, pan fried noodles with egg, bean sprouts, onion and ground peanut. Everything they do here is unique and fantastic, including this very wonderful Pad Thai.

Northen Egg Noodles, egg noodles in Northern Thai curry. These noodles are rich, thick, and the sauce or soup is just to die for; my favorite thing that I tasted.

Green Curry, their super-secret curry ingredients are just heavenly. Natty would not tell me much, but I did get to understand what it takes to make this curry so delicious.

Spicy BBQ Beef, stripes of super tender beef with a nice spicy dipping sauce.

Their dining room is very alluring, with a flat screen tv on one wall, and lots of things that are all about Thailand. But really, you feel like you’re in someone’s kitchen; it’s small and charming. Natty adds that extra touch of hospitality. She does a lot of the cooking, but has another chef, in the kitchen, who she guides along to prepare the best Thai food anywhere in Los Angeles!

Thai Spicy BBQ

5101 Santa Monica Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA.

90029

(323) 663-4211

https://www.spicybbqtogo.com/

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June 27, 2024 – Dinner – Napoli Italian Restaurant – Loma Linda, CA.

This restaurant, Napoli, has been in business for many years, and after tasting their glorious food, you can understand why; it’s just that good.

Napoli Italian Restaurant has a lot of loyal customers, since it opened in 1994. Owner, Santokh Singh Bhatti really thinks his success is because they haven’t changed anything for many years. He says, “I really don’t mess with an already proven good thing.” His reputation speaks for itself. He came to San Bernardino in 1992 when he opened a convenience store, but in 1994, with very little money, he managed to open Napoli Italian Restaurant, and the rest is history. Many regular customers have been enjoying Napoli since its inception, they come for dinner every week. Santokh is also a Chef; his cooking education came from spending his early teenage years cooking in Wiesbaden, Germany restaurants. He worked his way up from dishwasher to Chef. Even though Italian cooking is very different from German cooking, he honed his European cooking skills there. (Fun fact: And for you, Bollywood fans, Santokh could be superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s stand-in, he really looks so much like him.)

Here’s What I Triied:

Appetizers:

Calamari, nicely breaded and very fresh; a good way to start my meal.

Bruschetta alla Napoletana, homemade toasted bread topped with fresh mozzarella di bufala, diced tomato, fresh basil, oregano, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. These are so darn tasty, packed with garlic and basil; just wonderful.

Salad:

Napoli’s Caesar Salad with Prawns crisp romaine lettuce tossed in a special Caesar dressing, topped with grilled prawns, pine nuts, fresh tomatoes, and homemade croutons. I always want to try a good Caesar salad and they really make a very delicious and special salad. The prawns are super flavorful and tender, and the pine nuts are a great added touch.

Salmon Oreganato, salmon seasoned with blended herbs and grilled, served on a bed of spring mix salad with artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, tomatoes, onions, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and balsamic vinaigrette. They give you lots of salmon and the herbs really take this salad over the top in a very good way.

Pasta:

Ravioli di Portobello, portobello mushroom ravioli with fresh tomatoes and wild mushrooms, in a cream sauce. I just loved this ravioli; it is comfort food at its best; take my word for it and just try it.

Seafood Capellini with Lobster Sauce, angel hair pasta and  seafood. There are plenty of scallops, shrimp, and salmon in this delicious pasta. The lobster sauce is mellow and smooth, just a terrific pasta dish.

Fettuccine Alfredo, fettuccine pasta with homemade creamy alfredo with shrimp. I just loved this rendition of a very classic Italian staple. Wow is all I can say.

Spaghetti Bolognese, spaghetti with homemade meat sauce, with sautéed mushrooms and meatballs. If you like a very deep and rich Italian red sauce, then this is the dish for you.

Meats:

Chicken Parmigiana, lightly fried parmesan-breaded chicken with homemade marinara sauce and melted Italian cheese. The chicken is very succulent, and the blending of the sauces and cheese is just divine.

Veal Marsala, veal with sautéed mushrooms and marsala wine. I loved this dish; it’s got that sweet kick from the wine and the mushrooms are sliced nice and thin; it is one of my favorites.

Pizza:

Napoli’s Meat Lovers, Italian sausage, ham, pepperoni with marinara and mozzarella cheese. This pizza was jam-packed with every Italian meat that you would want on a pizza, and the crust was perfect.

Side Order:

Garlic Bread, they put lots of herbs on this garlic bread, which adds an extra flavor profile.

Dessert:

Tiramisu, beautiful and light; just the best way to end my glorious meal.

I also tried a few fantastic wines that paired so great with my dinner; they have a very good wine list. Remember, reds with meat and whites with seafood.

My server, Rafael, came from one of my all-time favorite places in Beverly Hills, Chaya Brasserie. A place I used to frequent for many years. He wanted to move to Palm Springs, but in 2018, he somehow was brought to the Loma Linda area. He is so happy that his circumstances led him here. He was very charismatic and really guided me through my amazing tasting.

What can I say about Napoli that hasn’t already been said? It truly is a find in this rural area. Fine Italian cuisine at its best! It has all the bells and whistles and will make your taste buds soar. Regular customers, Kerry, Laurie, and Timothy told me how much they love the food at Napoli and come here all the time. You can come here as a destination dinner, or when you’re enroute to the desert; make this your first stop for lunch or dinner and you too will be so happy your stomach is full and satiated.

Napoli Italian Restaurant

24960 Redlands Blvd.

Loma Linda, CA

92354

(909) -796-3770

HOURS – SUN, MON, TUE, WED, THUR, FRI, SAT

11:00 AM – 9:30 PM

https://napolilomalinda.com/
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Red Restaurant & Bar – Pacific Palms Resort – Late Lunch – June 15, 2024 – City of Industry

Sitting high on a glorious hilltop, overlooking the San Gabriel Mountains, you’ll find a wonderful bar and restaurant the City of Industry offers. Red Restaurant is an upscale dining experience where only the finest steaks, freshest seafood, and most stunning cocktails are served. The luxurious restaurant makes the Pacific Palms Resort a must stay hotel in the San Gabriel Valley. Red is perfect for a scrumptious breakfast, power lunches, passionate evenings, or any special event.

Dining with a view at Pacific Palms Resort, you may have realized that Pacific Palms Resort has quite a bit to offer. In fact, this luxury resort is almost a complete world of benefits for its guests, including golf and spa options. But you can’t enjoy all this, or anything else on an empty stomach! That’s why this luxury resort also includes one of the best restaurants in the City of Industry, CA. Red Restaurant and Bar’s fine California style dining stands in contrast to what you’d expect from most resorts. They confidently invite you to bring friends and significant others alike for a dining experience that will satisfy everyone and enjoy the expansive outdoor seating area with spectacular views!

Here’s What I Tried:

Cocktails:

Traditional Vodka Martini: 3 olives; it came with little ice crystals in the glass and was the perfect amount of vodka, olive juice, and vermouth, a great martini.

Lavender Lemon Drop, Grey Goose Vodka, lemon, and lavender. The lavender adds a very soothing quality to this delicious smooth cocktail.

Redgarita, Patron Silver Tequila, Cointreau, pomegranate juice, sweet and sour, and a salt rim. For the tequila drinker, this would be the one to order. It really doesn’t have an acidic element, so it goes down pretty easily.

Pear Martin, Absolut Pear Flavored Vodka, Disaronno, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Another elegant martini type of cocktail, with very subtle pear nuances.

Soup:

Lobster Corn Chowder, there are nice chunks of lobster on the top as you eat the soup. The combination of corn and lobster is so brilliant, one of my all-time favorite soups.

Firecracker Shrimp, garlic lime sweet chili sauce, and honey sesame aioli. They give you a generous portion and the dipping sauce is just to die for.

Crispy Calamari and Vegetables, carrots, onion, jalapeno, and sweet chili garlic lime sauce. I really like the addition of all of the fried vegetables with the calamari, something about it made it healthier.

Sesame Wok Saute, chicken udon noodles or steamed Calrose rice, stir-fried vegetables, peanuts, and wok sauce. This was a surprise; I was told by my server, Joshua Pearson, to try this and it did not disappoint. The vegetables are served crispy and fresh. The chicken is very flavorful and tender, coupled with the amazing udon noodles, this one was a winner.

Red Chopped Salad with Shrimp Garden Greens, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, crispy wanton, and sesame dressing. There are big, huge, plump shrimp in this wonderful salad, I would highly recommend it to start your meal. 

Miso Black Cod, slow-roasted, sauteed baby bok choy, shitake mushrooms, sweet soy miso glaze, and steamed rice. This was my favorite dish; the cod was so tender, and the sweet miso glaze added another layer of goodness.

Grilled New Zealand Rack of Lamb, these little darlings were just delicious, cooked medium rare, they had a tender juicy flavor, and I loved them.

Pan-Seared Blackened Day Boat Scallop, the flavor of this blackened scallop was both crispy, and caramelized, and the amazing flavor of the scallop itself.

Side Order:

Mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, and wild mushrooms. Each side order was perfect.

Dessert:


Baileys Chocolate Mousee Cake, raspberry sauce; a chocolate lover’s dream, with the Cabernet, it covered all my culinary bases.

Crème Brulé, seasonal berries, nice crackling sugar top, delicious, with a nice vanilla flavor. It was a hit with the lamb.

Wines:

Chateau Buena Vista Chardonnay 2020 North Coast, a nice, rounded wine that went well with the chopped salad and with the seafood.

Sonoma Cutrer, Chardonnay 2020, Sonoma, this was a great pairing with the soup, just simply divine.

1000 Stories Zinfandel, 2021 California, you can drink this wine with the chocolate dessert or, of course, the lamb.

Ca’Momi Cabernet, 2019 Napa, nice leathery nuances, it was the perfect addition to the lamb.

It’s just an overall delightful experience. Manager Gerardo made my dining wonderful as well, he knows this area and can give you lots of fun tidbits. His knowledge and experience made my trip extra special. Looking out onto the golf course is really the main event, it is lush and gorgeous, with great views and a great way to enjoy your meal, I would come back here anytime!

Pacific Palms Resort

City of Industry

626-854-2509

Hours Breakfast 7:00am-10:00am

Lunch and Dinner:

Sun-Wed 10:30 am-9:00 pm

Bar: 10:00 am-11:00 pm (Bar Food Menu until 10 pm)

Thurs-Sat: 10:30 am-10:00 pm

Bar: 10:00 am-12:00 am (Bar Food Menu until 10:45 pm)

https://pacificpalmsresort.com *Note some content was taken off their website

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Manohar Delhi Palace – June 14, 2024 – La Puente, CA.

If you find this place on your own or you were brought here by a friend, however, you get here, it’s pretty much the best Indian cuisine you’re ever going to eat. This place is a true gem. Located in a strip mall off Azusa Ave, in the very sleepy City of La Puente, with an unsuspecting exterior. You really wouldn’t know about this amazing place unless you scoped it out on your own.

Manohar’s Delhi Palace is the most ambitious Indian restaurant in La Puente. They really take pride in serving the best. It is Punjabi-style dishes, retaining the original traditions of Northern India.  The methods of cooking that follow Mughal traditions and dishes prepared at Manohar’s Delhi Palace are generally made mild so that you can experience the natural taste of the fresh masalas used in each preparation. In business since, 1990, they use fresh vegetables and ingredients in all their preparation. Sauces are uniquely blended with the finest and freshest root herbs and spices. Food is prepared in cholesterol-free corn oil, they do not use M.S.G.

Here’s What I tried:

Beverages:

Sweet Lassi, a refreshing blend of mango sweet yogurt and water. It is very filling but simply amazing.

Appetizers:

Garlic Nan, the most perfect flatbread with herbs and garlic, what a treat.

Samosa, crisp turnovers stuffed with spiced potatoes and green peas. This is a staple in any Indian restaurant, but somehow, they managed to make it unique with nice seasoning and herbs. 

Tandoori Paneer, soft, juicy chunks of paneer marinated in Tandoori masala with vegetables. A big bold flavor coupled with all of the onions and peppers, a great start. 

Entrees:

Butter Chicken – Murg Makhani, rich and creamy sauce with butter and tomatoes, blended with selected authentic spices. They call this butter chicken because the chicken melts in your mouth, with such aromatic sauce and spices.

Shrimp Masala, shrimp cooked with ginger in a special curry sauce. As a shrimp lover, this one took my breath away, just delectable.

Lamb Vindaloo, tender lamb with a spicy red curry, cooked with potatoes. The meat is super tender and it’s a very different curry from the others ordered, so it was a really good choice.

Shrimp Biryani, an aromatic basmati rice with tender shrimp cooked with nuts, herbs, and spices. I love rice and I love shrimp, so the combination rocked my world. 

Vegetables:

Malai Kofta, mixed vegetable balls, deep-fried, served in tomato, onion, and cream sauce. Fragrant and aromatic, this was a nice accompaniment to the rest of my meal.

Dessert:

Kulfi, Indian-style ice cream. The perfect pallet cleaner, nice soft sweet ice cream with a hint of coconut.

Taj Mahal Beer, super cleansing and refreshing. I love a nice light beer with Indian food. 

They do a huge catering business. The night I came in, manager Ricky told me that the owner Mike was doing a catering job in Stockton California. For them, driving far away is a pleasure, the fact that there are numerous Indian restaurants all over California, but people choose them, no matter what the distance is. There is a nice Indian community here in La Puente. I met many locals while I was dining, all talking about how wonderful this restaurant is and is a staple in their community.

The interior is very clean and upscale, with beige tablecloths, with lots of tables for group dining as well as family-style eating. The staff makes you feel very welcome like you are in someone’s home.

This was a very lucky find for me, I just happened on it because it was so close to my stay at The Pacific Palms, it is literally down the street. But in my world, there are no mistakes, always new finds and lessons to be learned, everything comes from a very positive outlook! It’s always so nice when I get treated the way they treated me at Manohar’s Delhi Palace. Ricky was so generous, he invited me to come in again while I was down the street, but sadly I was unable to. If you’re ever hankering for wonderful Indian food and you’re anywhere nearby, try it, or far away, you too will be very happily surprised. 

Manohar’s Delhi Palace

581 S. Azusa Way

La Puente, CA 91744

626-964-0343

https://www.mdelhipalace.com/
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Hotel Stay June 14, 15, and 16 – Pacific Palms Resort – City of Industry, CA.

It’s like one big mirage, only 30 miles away from Los Angeles. Up on a hill, with spectacular views lies The Pacific Palms Hotel; it’s just the most perfect staycation. With its award-winning views, The Pacific Palms Resort promises to put you in a whole different mind space, relaxing, soothing, peaceful, and just what the doctor ordered.

The pool is very tranquil, you could be anywhere, on a Polynesian island or in Palm Springs. It is tropical and revitalizing. It was a pleasant getaway from the loud bustling city. There is a bar there at the pool if you want to get your drink on. I had this hotel stay since last year, but they were reinviting the pool area, both the jacuzzi and pool are fresh and fantastic, just the right temperatures.

I was given a great food tasting at their premier restaurant Red’s, you can see that review on my website as well.

This is just the perfect place for a golf weekend, whether it’s romantic or just for the fun of the sport, it’s got some great golfing. There are 2 golf courses, Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort; come and play on one of their two championship golf courses, the Ike, and the Babe! Breathtaking views. It has pristine grounds and landscapes, and it’s exciting and rewarding. The Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Resort is one of California’s most noteworthy public golf courses, and a historical site as well. Some of the game’s greatest players have graced these links making it one of the best golf courses in Los Angeles and a memorable round for more than 40 years.

Their guests enjoy these championship links in better conditions than they’ve ever had before. This vintage gem is upgraded with 650 acres of new, lush, green carpet. Fully modernized for the demands of today, and our San Gabriel Valley golf club is one of the best to be found near LA.

The Eisenhower (The Ike), is a Premier Southern California Course. Designed by both William F. Bell and Casey O’Callaghan, locals and fans affectionately call this Los Angeles golf course “Ike” because it attracts golfers from around the world, it is fitting that this 18-hole, classic par 72 course be named for a popular world leader who also happened to love the game. Since reopening in late 2006 after a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Ike continues to win over fans with its traditional features: Lush fairways and large undulating greens. This course has earned its place among the most challenging in Southern California and can lay claim to it. It stretches 5,662 yards from the forward tees to 7,211 yards from the championship tees, with slope ratings from 130 to 145. It’s no wonder that the Ike has been the proud host of many U.S. Open Qualifying tournaments as well as LPGA tour events.

The Zaharias (The Babe) an 18-hole course is named for Babe Didrikson Zaharias, one of America’s most decorated all-around athletes. In fact, in a poll conducted by the Associated Press, Americans voted her the world’s greatest woman athlete of the first half of the 20th Century. Today, the “Babe” welcomes players of every skill level who are eager to experience a remarkable feat of design and engineering. Designers William F. Bell & Casey O’Callaghan designed the Zaharias course to be intentionally narrow and long, maximizing the expansive acreage of the hilltop resort. At 650 acres, the sheer size of the layout remains a novelty among golf courses near Los Angeles. It ranges from 5,363 yards from the forward tees to 6,821 yards from the championship tees. This par 71 features slope ratings ranging from 126 to 138, making the course worthy of the great athlete for which it is named. I actually saw a funicular that isn’t being used anymore, that goes up and down from the hilltop parts of the golf course. My recommendation is to get it back to working again, it really would be such a main attraction. 

The whole experience was stellar, and so close to Downtown Los Angeles, and it’s a great way to spend a weekend.

Pacific Palms Resort

Industry Hills Golf Club
Pacific Palms Resort
1 Industry Hills Parkway
City of Industry, CA 91744

Note Some Content Was Taken Off Their Website.

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Mrs. Doubtfire – The Hollywood Pantages Theater – Broadway in Hollywood – June 12, 2024 – Hollywood, CA.

When I saw the movie, I just loved Robin Williams’s portrayal of the iconic Mrs. Doubtfire, and Daniel Hillard, especially because Robin was a friend. I met him right before Mork and Mindy at The Holy City Zoo in San Francisco. But, what Rob McClure did for this show was just astounding. He is talented, can do anything, and makes it look so easy.  He was the true star of the show. What an amazing actor, singer dancer, and storyteller. I just can’t say enough about him. The other highlight for me was Giselle Gutierrez, her voice was pure and just delightful. A difficult part was playing Daniel Hillard’s daughter, Lydia Hillard. She really completed the singing part of the show for me. Of course, the setting of San Francisco was also a big plus for me.

About the Show: Rob McClure is an American actor and singer, best known for his work on the Broadway stage. McClure made his Broadway debut in 2002 as an understudy in I’m Not Rappaport. From 2006 to 2009, he went on to play several roles in Avenue Q, both on Broadway and on the show’s national tour. His Tony-nominated performance in the title role of Mrs. Doubtfire for the musical’s national tour, launching from Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo, New York. In September, McClure, who created the role for the musical’s Broadway 2021 premiere, was joined by Maggie Lakis as Miranda Hillard plus the newly announced Giselle Gutierrez as Lydia Hillard, Aaron Kaburick as Frank Hillard, Nik Alexander as Andre Mayem, Leo Roberts as Stuart Dunmire, Romelda Teron Benjamin as Wanda Sellner, Cody Sawyer Braverman and Axel Bernard Rimmele as Christopher Hillard, and Emerson Mae Chan and Kennedy Alexandra Pitney as Natalie Hillard.

The ensemble included David Hibbard, Alex Branton, Jonathan Hoover, Sheila Jones, Julie Kavanagh, Jodi Kimura, Marquez Linder, Alex Ringler, Bianca Rivera-Irions, Lannie Rubio, Neil StarkenbergJoey Stone, Gina Ward, Lauryn Withnell, and Julia Yameen. Along with McClure, Kaburick, Hibbard, and Kimura were also members of the Broadway company.

“It is a very rare and special event when the star of a Broadway musical takes the show on the road,”  producer Kevin McCollum said in an earlier statement. “Rob won the hearts of theatergoers and huge critical acclaim for creating one of the great musical comedy roles in Broadway history. I am thrilled that audiences across the country are not only going to be able to laugh and tear up at Rob’s landmark performance but also see a magical onstage chemistry with Maggie, a major talent who I first met when she starred in the national tour of Avenue Q. Our show is all about family, so to have Rob and Maggie leading this on the road, it couldn’t be more perfect.”

Based on the 1993 film, Mrs. Doubtfire follows out-of-work actor Daniel Hillard, who transforms himself into a senior, Scottish woman so that he can be hired as a nanny for his own children after losing custody in a divorce. The work, which features a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, premiered at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in 2019, making the jump to Broadway in 2021. A West End debut began in May following the musical’s U.K. premiere in Manchester last fall.

Mrs. Doubtfire is directed by Jerry Zaks and features choreography by Lorin Latarro; music supervision, arrangements, and orchestrations by Ethan Popp; scenic design by David Korins; costume design by Catherine Zuber; lighting design by Philip S. Rosenberg; sound design by Brian Ronan; hair and wig design by David Brian Brown; and casting by The Telsey Office‘s Craig Burns.

McCollum is producing the tour in association with Work Light Productions, which also serves as executive producer and general manager.

The tour dates through July 2024, including stops in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, Memphis, Tampa, Orlando, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Run, don’t walk to this fantastical journey. It’s just the best of Broadway here in Hollywood. I just can’t say enough about this production, the talent, the music, the sets; everything was simply wonderful.

https://www.broadwayinhollywood.com/

The Hollywood Pantages Theater

6233 HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD
LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA 90028

(323) 468-1770

DoubtfireBroadway.com.

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June 2, 2024 – Manee Valentine at The Catalina Jazz Club – Hollywood, CA.

Remember a time when crooners were king and all you wanted to do is have a martini and get dressed up in your gorgeous glitter and lace outfits. Well seeing Manee Valentine will just make you go back to a time when things were gloriously innocent, but oh so fun. His two special guest songstresses were equally brilliant: Pamela Clay and Wanda Ray Willis. His show is a show not to be missed, check his calendar and next time he is playing run don’t walk to see him in all his glory.

International Jazz Crooner, BMI affiliated and Recording artist, Manee Valentine will celebrate the release of his new album “Lucky 7” – dropped on June 1 (The physical CD will be available at Amazon; digital CD is already available.)

The album “Lucky 7” features 7 original compositions written by Argentine songwriter Ike Montana. Manee Valentine will be performing several songs from “Lucky 7”, and some from his previous CD “Red Soul”, plus he will dazzle his audience by performing many favorite American standards. Keeping with his 7 themes, he has 7 talented female jazz musicians accompanying him: Beth Marlis (guitar) Anne King (trumpet), Amanda Campos (sax), Sherry Luchette (bass), Amanda Mora (trombone) and Ana Barreiro (drums) His very seasoned music director, Karen Hernandez has many accolades, she burst onto the jazz scene in the 60’s, she has many film credits to her name as well, including original songs in “Pretty Woman” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys”. Alongside her is music arranger Carlos Luna, he too has many television credits.

Valentine has the vocal precision and control of many that have come before him, but he has a bit of a Latin twist in there for good measure. Manee Valentine says, “I just love bringing a good story from a great ballad to life, but in my own fresh way! I listen to all the greats and take away what I can use for myself, I take pride in having my own unique style, and I love what I do!”

As the Creative Director of 7Notas Music Designers & Publishing, Manee Valentine has an uncanny and natural ability to create lyrics and melody for his original songs. He specializes in adapting and translating popular songs, including standards and current hits.

Coming from Miami, Manee Valentine was able to get a real feel for what Florida had to offer musically. Miami is the mecca for rich Latin music and is a great place to learn the ropes. But he feels Los Angeles is really the place to be seen and grow as an artist. With Manee Valentine’s velvety smooth voice, and enormous stage presence, he can trigger emotions of better days, and toe tapping happiness of what’s to come. Every generation who are lovers of Jazz and Big Bands, will enjoy his rhythmic renditions and arrangements of the great American songbook. Truly a throwback to a time when crooners were gold, whether interpreting a romantic ballad or singing to the beat of swing, Manee Valentine is a force to be reckoned with.

Manee Valentine Posts:

https://www.lifoti.com/2024/05/lifoti-interview-jazz-sensation-manee.html
https://www.hollywoodvue.com/2024/05/jazz-virtuoso-manee-valentine-announces.html
https://www.woralfi.com/2024/05/manee-valentines-lucky-7-album-release.html

Celebrate with Manee Valentine at The Catalina Jazz Club for the launch of his new album “Lucky 7” on June 2, 2024 (pumpitupmagazine.com)

YouTube Video’s:

Videos for his new CD “Lucky 7”:

“Lucky 7” is on – social media platforms: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify and most music digital platforms.

https://www.facebook.com/manee.valentine/
https://www.instagram.com/maneevalentine/
https://www.youtube.com/@maneevalentine9328

Catalina Jazz Club

6725 W. Sunset Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90028

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May 25, 2024 – Benjarong Thai Cuisine – Dinner – Redlands, CA.

This restaurant is quite the find, tucked away in a forest-like atmosphere, in the foothills of Redlands. The Esri compound is right behind Benjarong. Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) since 1959, and is a privately held company 100% owned by its founders, Jack and Laura Dangermond. 

So, you can take the Arrow train and walk back a few blocks to Benjarong. Their back patio is huge and has live music on the weekends. The patio is tranquil, with foliage filled exotic vegetation. It is lit by twinkling party lights.

The night I visited included a great duo who played adult contemporary modern rock from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. Where else can you find live music with great Thai cuisine. It’s quite the little gem in Redlands, just the best Thai food with great creative menu items.

Here’s What I tried:

Cocktails:

Thai Tea Martini, a great unique idea, so delicious and truly an imaginative cocktail.

Traditional Martini, a great way to start my delicious dinner.

Mojito, lush and tropical; just a wonderful cocktail.

Appetizers

Lumpia, deep-fried crepes stuffed with ground chicken, carrots, potatoes, and onion served with a special sauce. A small egg roll with marvelous flavor.

Fried Wontons, wonton skins stuffed with ground chicken and spices served with Benjarong sweet and sour sauce. These wonderful wontons are full of flavor and super filling.

Satay, with four skewers of marinated and grilled chicken, served with peanut sauce and cucumber relish. The sublime coconut flavors are heavenly marinaded and made my taste buds dance. This is a must-have menu item.

Coconut Shrimp, succulent deep-fried shrimp battered with coconut. These are coated with lots of coconut which makes for a very delicious and satisfying appetizer. Plus, who doesn’t love shrimp!

Salads:

Yum Nuer, slices of perfectly grilled beef sirloin in spicy lime juice and seasoned sauce with cucumber, tomatoes, onions, and scallions over a bed of mixed greens. A very tangy dressing that is both sweet and sour, with nice tender meat slices. It was a nice start to my amazing meal.

Soup:

Tom Kah Kai, a hot and sour spicy soup with chicken, mushrooms, and baby corn in coconut milk. A great, sweet, savory comforting soup. Their rendition was super scrumptious.

Wonton Soup, served with lovely flower-cut carrots and a super flavorful broth; just what the doctor ordered.

Noodles:

Pad Thai, stir-fried, thin rice noodles, bean sprouts, scallions, and eggs with shrimp and ground peanuts on the side. These are nice, thick noodles with very well-rounded Thai spices. They did a great job with this menu item.

Rice:

Gulf of Siam Fried Rice, a mixture of seafood, shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels, imitation crab, stir-fried with eggs, scallions, tomatoes, and onions. The rice is super flavorful, and the added seafood makes for one very satisfying rice dish.

Entrees:

Deli Fish, breaded and fried Orange Roughy topped with ground chicken, ginger, mushrooms, and scallions in a special sauce. They serve it with the fish looking like a flower, and the added ginger just melts in your mouth. This is one of my favorite dishes.

Pad Ka-Pow, beef stir-fry with chili, bell peppers, onions, scallions, and basil leaves in Benjarong sauce. Their Benjarong sauce is just superb! It is a light soy sauce-based gravy, and they use it in many menu items. The beef is very tender, and the sauce is very subtle with white rice. It hits the spot!

Yellow Curry Shrimp, cooked in a special, smooth curry with potatoes, onions, and coconut milk. Another favorite dish, the way they present the potatoes is enough to order this dish.

Panang, with chicken and tofu with bell pepper, cooked in a special, smooth curry and peanut sauce in coconut milk. Anything that they do with coconut sauce is going to be divine.

Dessert:

Mango and Sticky Rice, a sticky delight; it was a great way to end my fantastic experience.

Manager Tan mentioned that they only have 3 woks in their kitchen, and everything is made from scratch. Their head cook, Noon makes most of the food and follows their family recipes. She explained that her customers are very loyal and have been coming for the full 18 years of them being open. Server and bartender, Alexandra Olson started when she was 17, and was taught by Tan how to do everything to run a successful restaurant.

This is the kind of place that someone has to take you to, like it’s their own hidden secret because it really is an amazing treasure in Redlands. You can take the train and make it a destination lunch or dinner, as well as being out on their amazing, beautiful patio listening to live music. I would say to put down what you’re doing, and just get there; you will be so happy you did.

Benjarong

1001 W Park Ave,

Redlands, CA 92373

(909) 792-3235

thebenjarong.com

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Girl From The North Country – Hollywood Pantages Theater – May 15, 2024 – Hollywood, CA.

This is just a spectacular theater piece. It’s got a very tough story, but with the actors and the music of Bob Dylan, it just explodes with fiery passion and extreme talent. The cast’s amazing singing and acting really shined through. But don’t expect a Broadway-type song and dance musical, this one has deep-seated meaning that takes place in a boarding house in 1934, in the shores of Lake Superior, in Duluth Minnesota. It’s all about the Laine family during the Great Depression and their friends and acquaintances struggling financially, with illness, and other life events. The musical focuses on desperation and its effect on the human psyche and includes nearly 30 songs by Bob Dylan. The story follows the family as they try to save their property from foreclosure, and the wife, Elizabeth, struggles with dementia that causes her to become detached and then have outbursts that are difficult to manage. The story is narrated by Dr. Walker, a physician to the Laine family. Nick Laine is the proprietor of a rundown guesthouse. The bank is threatening to foreclose on the property, and he is desperate to find a way to save his family from homelessness. His wife, Elizabeth, is suffering from a form of dementia that propels her from catatonic detachment to childlike, uninhibited outbursts which are becoming difficult to manage. Their children are Gene, who is in his early twenties, and their adopted daughter, Marianne, who is nineteen.

Marianne is five months pregnant, and the father’s identity is a mystery she guards carefully. Nick is trying to arrange a marriage between Marianne and a local shoe mender, Mr. Perry, to secure her future. The social awkwardness is complicated because Marianne is a black girl living with a white family. She was abandoned in the guesthouse as a baby and brought up by Nick and Elizabeth. Gene is unable to get a grip on his life, and veers between ambitions of becoming a writer while having debilitating alcohol binges, a situation not helped when his sweetheart, Kate, announces she is marrying a man with better prospects.

Nick has become involved in a relationship with a resident of the guest house, Mrs. Neilsen, a widow who is waiting for her late husband’s will to clear probate. They dream of a better future when her money comes through, although she scolds Nick for his constant pessimism. Also, staying at the house is a family, the Burkes. Mr. Burke lost his business in the crash. His wife, Laura, and his son, Elias, share a room upstairs. Elias has a learning disability and the family struggles to come to terms with their vulnerable state. Late at night, during a storm, a self-styled reverend bible salesman, Marlowe, and a down-on-his-luck boxer, Joe Scott, arrive looking for shelter. The arrival of these characters is a catalyst, changing everything for everyone in the house.

Girl from the North Country  – book by Conor McPherson and songs with music and lyrics by Bob Dylan. It is the second show to use Dylan’s music after Twyla Tharp‘s The Times They Are a-Changin’. The production premiered at The Old Vic in London running in October of 2017, directed by McPherson. Following the success of The Old Vic production, it transferred into London’s West End at the Noël Coward Theatre in December for a limited 12-week run until March of 2018, with the majority of The Old Vic cast.

It made its Broadway premiere at the Belasco Theatre, beginning previews in February 2020. On May 16, 2022, it was announced that prior to re-opening, the Broadway production was filmed for a future public release. Producers Tristan Baker and Charlie Parsons remarked, “We feel that now was the right time to capture this incredible production … this was the right time with the right cast, and everything fell into place perfectly. This story is beautiful and deserves to be seen by audiences all over, even if they can’t make it to the theater,” while revealing that negotiations were underway to find a distributor.

Musical numbers include 28 songs by Bob Dylan that appear throughout the show. Each is backed by instruments from the 1930s. The Original London Cast Recording was made at Abbey Road in August 2017, and released by Silvertone/Sony Music on CD in September 2017and double vinyl in December 2017. The Original Broadway Cast Recording was made on March 9, 2020, at Reservoir Studios in Manhattan, and released by Legacy Recordings/Sony Music in August 2021.

Stand-out cast member, Jennifer Blood, playing Elizabeth Laine, had an incredible voice, with her physical comedy, she really steals the show. Ben Biggers as Gene Laine has a moody, lonely stance on stage at all times, but it’s his angelic voice that really captures everyone’s hearts. Sharae Moultrie plays Marianne Laine; the audience feels her. She is strong and vulnerable at the same time and has unsurpassed vocal chops, all making her a cast member to watch and cherish. All the other leads had their own essential gifts and talents to round out this terrific cast!

Music Numbers:

Act I

Act I

This is a show not to be missed since it’s an amazing story and includes Bob Dylan’s partial songbook. It makes you think about heartfelt chapters in people’s lives, and transports you to a time long ago, but not forgotten.

Hollywood Pantages Theater

6233 Hollywood Blvd,

Los Angeles, CA 90028

(323) 468-1700

https://www.broadwayinhollywood.com/venues/detail/pantagestheatre
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May 10, 2024 – Casa of Los Angeles –12th Annual Reimagine Gala – Beverly Hilton – Beverly Hills, CA.

This is my charity of choice. Every year I go and have such an eye-opening experience. I bid on the silent auctions, and always win a few, this year was no different. It’s a wonderful way to give back and also get something in return. I just love it.

At 6:00 pm, there was a great cocktail reception-, with bidding on the silent auction. Then 7:00 pm dinner, which included awards, entertainment, and an auction. The dinner started with a beautiful leafy green salad, with a lemon herb vinaigrette. Then there were sumptuous, mashed potatoes with a medley of wild mushroom and baked chicken, with broccoli. It was simply amazing!

There were special performances by, The Divas and Drummers of Compton, and by actress & singer, Morgan Dudley (Jagged Little Pill, The PromDescendants). We were welcomed by the chair of the board, Alaynè Marie Sampson, and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Charity Chandler Cole.

The Casa Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by Dev Stein, the Reimagine Award was presented by She Ready, and the Karen Bass Award was presented by Sydney Kamlager-Dove. Sponsors were Parton Plus, Amazon, and MGM Studios. Los Angeles Mayor, Karen Bass appeared in person and gave a great speech as well.

CASA of Los Angeles (CASA/LA) organizes the community to take action and advocate for children and families in LA County’s overburdened child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Through an intentional, restorative and culturally relevant lens, we train committed, consistent and caring adults who provide equitable access to resources and life-affirming connections. Casa/LA’s vision, is that all children and families impacted by the child welfare and juvenile justice systems have equitable access to the resources and support they need to thrive.

Make time for this charity if you have not already, you will be so happy that you are able to give back.

Beverly Hilton Hotel
9876 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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