It’s just the best musical you will ever witness. From its fun festive costumes, to the innovative set design, and new high technology projections and lights, the show will make you remember why live theater is so important. I saw the production here at The Pantages in 2000, and it seemed like the animals were the same as when I saw it the first time, but there are so many new ones and new innovations that it was well worth coming to see this new show. The colors, the sounds, the dancing, the singing are all perfect. Every part of this show is exciting and reflects all of the mass talent that brings it to life.
Disney’s The Lion King has a very special place in the hearts of Broadway in Hollywood. When the Walt Disney Company was seeking a home for the Los Angeles production of The Lion King in 2000, James M. Nederlander agreed to a $10 million renovation of The Hollywood Pantages Theatre in order to house the landmark production. The theatre was restored to its original 1930’s luster – complete with hand painted gold leafing on virtually every inch of the lobby and auditorium – and technical accommodations for the grand staging of Disney’s all new production. The original L.A. Premiere production ran nearly two years on their beautiful stage. The Lion King was able to truly show what makes it so special. The music and lyrical adaptations by Elton John and Tim Rice, additional music and lyrics by, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymore and Hans Zimmer, and book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi. They created an incredibly lush backdrop that Choreographer Garth Fagan used to merge traditional dance styles with Broadway pedagogy. Director Julie Taymor crafted a now iconic artistic world inspired by traditional theatrical styles from around the globe, and brought this story to life in a way few could have even imagined possible. The Lion King swept the Tony Awards and is now celebrating 20 years of touring North America. In a word, The Lion King is a masterpiece.
Most every theatre goer has a story about the first time they saw this show. Whether it was the awe of seeing an elephant walk down the aisle, the joy of hearing the music as it swells over the Serengeti, or simply the thrill of hearing that “BOOM” of the drums at the end of the first number, no matter how many times you have seen it. this new production is a feast for your eyes.
My favorite cast members were: Rafiki – Gugwana Diamini, Mufasa – Gerald Ramsey, Sarabi – Allison Danielle Semmes, Scar – Peter Hargrave, Simba – Darian Sanders, Nala-Khalifa White. Each cast member delivered stellar performances, their singing alone was enough for me to watch and hear, they are all entertainers to the core. It’s so worth the price of admission, it is just one of the best musicals in the history of Broadway. With Disney at the helm what could be bad, right? Well, I am here to say nothing, it’s just a fantastic ride.
Broadway In Hollywood
The Lion King
The Pantages Theater
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
*Note some content was taken off of their website.
Los Angeles has so many vegan restaurants now, its very difficult to figure out what to try. The Fairfax District has a lot to offer and now you really don’t have to go far to find this wonderful gem, Extra Market, Inc. I have tried many vegan burgers and other vegan food, but I am here to tell you that Extra Market, Inc., has them all beat. Their lovely sandwiches and burgers are just so simple, you can really taste all their fantastic ingredients. Many of these fad type establishments are putting way too much salt in their food. Extra Market Inc. lets you taste their high-quality ingredients.
Extra Market, Inc., is a cafe, a market, and a gallery, founded by Brooklyn-bred skateboarder, designer, and artist Jamie Story. Story used to be a skateboard pro, after he broke his foot, his life took on a new direction and he started designing various products related to skateboards and clothing on his computer. But he always worked in food service and loves to eat. He was a vegan/vegetarian for 14 years and always complained about not being able to find a good plant-based burger. But now he must live up to some mighty taste buds, because his son Benjamin must taste test everything that comes out of his Extra kitchen. He said he came up with many burgers and would not let the public taste it until Benjamin approved, and neither Benjamin, nor Jamie are vegans. He says he is a flexitarian, meaning flexible, not strict with food choices.
The vibe is very hipster, with upbeat reggae music, and simple yet functional interior design. They have exposed beams, with a white brick wall, its part marketplace, part art gallery, part clothing store, with great vegan food, what more could you want!
Here’s What I tried:
Breakfast Sandwich, with egg, cheese, and bacon. The NYC Bodega Classic, on a kaiser roll. You really would not know this is a vegan breakfast sandwich. The bacon is crunchy, the egg is super fluffy, just can’t say enough about how delicious this sandwich is!
Chopped Cheese Sandwich, Chopped Impossible Beef, lettuce, tomato, mayo, Ketchup, on an Uncle Paulie’s Baguette. It’s a deli style sandwich but one that is healthy. Honestly after eating the food here, I did not feel bloated or bogged down. You just feel light and bouncy, totally worth every penny.
Chicken Nuggets, very delicate flavor with outstanding crunch, and the dips were all incredible as well, including buffalo hot sauce, BBQ, ranch, and all plant based.
Burger, house-formed Impossible Burger, American Cheese, Grillos Pickles, Extra Sauce, and a Sesame Bun. Just what you would want your burger to be, delicious and savory, without all the added salt.
Extra Market, Inc.’s arrival comes after it was originally slated to open in March, but the pandemic and global demonstrations pushed back that debut date. Story remembers seeing many protestors coming down his back alley on May 30, 2020, when most of this neighborhood got vandalized and looted. But through Jamie’s unwavering persistence and passion he opened in October of 2020. Extra Market Inc, is housed in a 2,000-square foot shop, and is located just steps from his past collaborator (now VF Corporation-owned) brand Supreme, for whom he skated professionally in the ’90s before teaming with them as a designer. Story has also worked with SSUR, Black Scale, and Stussy, and others. The space also stocks clothing and accessories from Story’s label, $, and there’s a gallery in the back that features art, video installations, and photography. This district is all about street wear, so it’s just the perfect location for everything Extra Market, Inc. has to offer. Next time me you’re in the mood for a fantastic vegan burger head over to Extra Market, Inc, this new experience is at exactly the right time!
This show is just so much fun and very relevant. The music is just wonderful, upbeat, with some very powerful ballads. Everything about Mean Girls is highly entertaining. Based on the Paramount film Mean Girls, it follows the original story pretty close, but honestly if you never saw any of the films you would be ok and able to understand all of the nuances that are in this current touring production. It was announced on Jan. 7, 2021, that Mean Girls would not re-open a result of the continued industry-wide shut down due the pandemic. The show played its last performance March 11, 2020. So, when I got this invite, I was very excited that things were getting back to semi-normal.
Book: Tina Fey, nine-time Emmy Award® winner, movie star, writer, overall genius. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, credit – Mean Girls. Music: Jeff Richmond, three-time Emmy Award® winner, credits: 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Lyrics by Nell Benjamin, two-time Tony Award® – credit – Legally Blonde. Lorne Michaels, Mr. SNL, in my opinion, anything he touches turns to gold. I met him after the show and he told me, “ Anything Tina is involved with I am in!”
New York Magazine calls Mean Girls “HILARIOUS! A smart, splashy new musical that delivers with immense energy, a wicked sense of humor and joyful inside-jokery.” Chicago Tribune says “Tina Fey writes FUNNIER, SMARTER, SHARPER satire than anyone else in the business.” People Magazine declares the show is “FRESH, FUN AND INFECTIOUS – Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin’s songs keep the laughs coming!” The New York Daily News raves Mean Girls “TICKLES THE EARS, EYES AND FUNNY BONE – the direction by Casey Nicholaw packs style, invention and red bull-force energy.” And Entertainment Weekly proclaims it “A MARVEL: DAZZLING & HILARIOUS!”
About the show: Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the wild and vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. How will this naïve newbie rise to the top of the popularity pecking order? By taking on The Plastics, a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.
Stand out cast members for me were: English Bernhardt – Cady Heron, Morgan Ashley Bryant – Karen Smith, Eric Huffman – Damian Hubbard. These cast members really pulled out all the stops, they had great showstopper performances as well. The ensemble and dancers were an integral part of this amazing production.
Mean Girls running time is 2 Hours and 30 minutes, plus intermission.
This show is a must see, running now until January 29, 2023.
It had been a while since I have been in this part of Los Angeles, they have redone the whole city center into this marvelous little village type shopping and dining district. The night I was there, it was chilly, but most of the restaurants have outdoor seating so you only imagine how great it would be to have al fresco dining in the summer.
Edgar Fernandez really enhanced my experience. His resume looks like a who’s who in the global hospitality industry. He is a seasoned veteran, having worked at so many notable hotels and restaurants, but is still very humble. And my server Alejandro Velasco was so fun and accommodating, he also made my evening very memorable! Hank’s is really a wonderful dining option, it is festive and lively, and all the staff treated me like royalty.
Chef Isaias Pena, a wonderful taste master, knowing his amazing culinary skills from his past restaurant I was very excited about this tasting, and it did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, Hank’s has set the stage for his gastronomic skills to grow and flourish.
Hank’s Restaurant in Pacific Palisades & Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s, Double Diamond Burger Is Named “Best Burger” winner. In Los Angeles Times “Best of the Southland 2022!”
Here’s What I Tried:
Table-Side Traditional Martini, a bit dirty, with great cheese stuffed olives, the best.
The Cosmopolitan with Vodka, Cointreau, cranberry, lemon, and lime. A very smooth rendition of this always popular cocktail.
Chicken Potstickers, with radish, daikon sprouts, wasabi aioli, and sesame dressing. These little wonders are so satisfying, just spectacular.
Deviled Eggs, with Gravlax, salmon roe, prosciutto di Parma, and Applewood bacon. This dish is a real art piece, with it’s gorgeous presentation, is a real eye catcher.
Meatballs al Forno, with Mascarpone, with polenta, marinara, Pecorino Romano, and herbs. The polenta is the real joy of this dish for me, comfort food at its best.
Classic Caesar with white anchovies, Pan di Mie croutons, Grano Padano, and olive oil. A great salad, the dressing is what makes it so delicious.
Albacore Tuna Romaine lettuce cups, with thyme marinated heirloom tomato, and red wine vinaigrette.
Prosciutto and Fig Jam Flatbread, with Marinara sauce, mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, and fennel pollen. This flatbread is sweet as well as savory. I just loved this menu item.
Double Diamond, with Tillamook cheddar, tomato, butter lettuce, balsamic onion, and house sauce. If you are a burger lover like me, you will just savor every bite, it’s just that good.
Mashed potatoes and gravy, simple flavor, everything you would want from mashed potatoes and gravy.
Roasted Vegetables, the chef picked a nice array of colorful vegetables, so it’s healthy and amazing.
King Salmon, with Mascarpone polenta, seasonal vegetables, herb butter sauce. The salmon was very fresh and flavorful, coupled with the polenta, a real winner.
New York Steak, a perfect cut, juicy and tender, just what the doctor ordered.
Lobster Risotto, with Butternut squash, Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, gremolata, and truffle oil. This menu item was my favorite, nice thick pieces of lobster with the incredible truffle flavors. I will crave this dish from now on.
Far Niente, Chardonnay, Sonoma, 2020, a buttery, creamy, excellent choice for any of the fish items. On their signature dish menu they recommend this wine with their salmon, and I agree.
Chalk Hill, Chardonnay, Sonoma, 2020, another great wine with any of the fish items as well.
Ridge Lytton Springs, Zinfandel, Sonoma, 2019, this wine is very jammy, it paired so great with the New York Steak.
Double Diamond, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2019, a super nice treat with the burger of the same name.
Hank’s, named in honor of Owner Rick Caruso’s father Hank is located at Palisades Village in the Pacific Palisades and was created to offer guests elevated American classics, handcrafted classic cocktails, draft and bottle craft beers and premium wines served by Coravin offering something for everyone. Executive Chef Isaias Peña’sHank’s Double Diamond Burger is a perfect elevated beef blend of wagyu, brisket and short rib accompanied with Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, Roma tomatoes and Hank’s special sauce on potato bun.
“The Hank’s Team and I are honored by this award and many, many thanks to everyone that voted,” says Peña. “We take great pride in the making of our burgers at Hank’s, and we also have a new menu that has something for everyone featuring steaks, seafood, and a selection of small and shared plates, so we invite you all to come enjoy!”
The customers are varied; dates, double dates, men going out for a drink at the bar, but everyone is having a great evening. There is a very fun jukebox, and lots of black and white photos. An open kitchen highlights their food prep viewing, with an espresso machine, and for sporting events there are 2 large flat screen TV’s. The dining room is small and intimate, with an interesting, tiled ceiling, and checkered floors. The furniture is diner type but a bit more elegant, all of it is designed to be cozy and welcoming.
Hank’s is open every Monday through Friday from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, and every Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 9:00 pm. For more information about Hank’s or to make reservations, please call 424.363.7166 directly or visit www.HanksPalisades.com.
This show is so iconic, to witness this New North American Tour of the Iconic Tony Award-winning musical to premiere at The Dolby Theatre ∙ November 29 – December 18 – is astounding.
Holding onto hope when times are tough can take an awful lot of determination, and sometimes, an awful lot of determination comes in a surprisingly small package. Little Orphan Annie has reminded generations of theatergoers that sunshine is always right around the corner, and now the best-loved musical of all time is set to return in this new production – just as you remember it and just when we need it most. This celebration of family, optimism and the American spirit remains the ultimate cure for all the hard knocks life throws your way.
This new multi-week tour is produced by TROIKA Entertainment, LLC. TROIKA Entertainment’s COO and Executive Producer, Kori Prior says, “We’re thrilled to be bringing such a fresh, new and heartfelt production to audiences across North America starting this fall.” “This show, with its iconic title character, continues to delight generations of theatre-lovers old and new by joyfully singing directly into the face of great adversity with perseverance, guts and guile,” says director Jenn Thompson. “For decades, ANNIE has continued to shine brightly, not only as an appeal to our better angels, but also as an example of the thrill of hope, hard-won: promising a better ‘Tomorrow’ not only for Annie herself, but for all who need her message now more than ever.”
ANNIE is directed by Jenn Thompson, who at the age of 10 stepped into the role of “Pepper” in the Original Broadway production, choreographed by Patricia Wilcox (Motown, A Night with Janis Joplin), with orchestrations by Dan DeLange. Talitha Fehr is the Music Coordinator and Elaine Davidson is the Music Director. The design team includes scenic design by Wilson Chin (Pass Over), costume design by Alejo Vietti (Jersey Boys), lighting design by Philip Rosenberg, sound design by Ken Travis (Disney’s Aladdin), hair & wig design by Ashley Rae Callahan and casting by Paul Hardt of Hardt Casting, LLC.
In the title role of Annie is Ellie Pulsifer, a 12-year-old actress from South Florida, making her tour debut. Christopher Swan will star as Oliver Warbucks. In the role of Miss Hannigan is Stefanie Londino. Also starring in the tour are Julia Nicole Hunter as Grace, Nick Bernardi as Rooster, Krista Curry as Lily and Mark Woodard as FDR. Addison, a stray mutt rescued by William Berloni through the Humane Society in 2017, stars as Sandy. The lovable mutt “Sandy” is once again trained by Tony Award®Honoree William Berloni (ANNIE, A Christmas Story, Legally Blonde). The Orphans are Riglee Rut
The Orphans are Riglee Ruth Bryson, Bronte Harrison, Vivianne Neely, Izzy Pike, Kenzie Rees and Valeria Velasco. The featured ensemble includes Kolten Bell, Bradley Ford Betros, Luther Brooks IV, Harrison Drake, Laura Elizabeth Flanagan, Jataria Heyward, Carly Ann Moore, Kevin Ivey Morrison, Leeanna Rubin, Andrew Scoggin, Sophie Stromberg and Kaley Were.
Hailed by the Chicago Tribune as, “one of the best family musicals ever penned!”, ANNIE features a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards® for their work. The original production of ANNIE had its world premiere on Aug 10, 1976 at the Goodspeed Opera House (Michael J. Price, Executive Director) and opened on Broadway on April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre (Neil Simon theatre). It went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). It closed on Broadway after playing 2,377 performances.
ANNIE was revived on Broadway in 1997 and again in 2014. It has been made into a film three times (1982, 1999, 2014) and was most recently featured as a live television production on NBC. The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever; it has been performed in 28 languages, and running around the world for about 45 years.
ADDISON (Sandy) was adopted by guardian and trainer Bill Berloni in 2017 after an incredible journey. Originally found at the Harnett County Animal Shelter in Lillington, NC., rescue advocates Chris and Bruce Leone saw her photo and reached out to Bill to see if she could be a Sandy. With the help of volunteers and drivers she made her way to NYC thru the Outer Banks SPCA ending up at the Humane Society of New York where she immediately passed her audition and a star was born. Addison dedicates this performance to all the people who believe every animal deserves a loving home.
THOMAS MEEHAN (Book) is a three-time Tony Award winning librettist for the Broadway musicals Annie, 1977; The Producers, 2001 (co-written with Mel Brooks); and Hairspray, 2003 (co-written with Mark O’Donnell). He collaborated on many Broadway musicalsincluding I Remember Mama; Ain’t Broadway Grand; Bombay Dreams (with Meera Syal); Cry Baby (with Mark O’Donnell); Young Frankenstein (with Mel Brooks); Elf, The Musical (with Bob Martin); Chaplin (with Christopher Curtis); Rocky; the upcoming Dave, The Musical (with Nell Benjamin); and the off-Broadway musicals, Annie Warbucks; Death Takes a Holiday (with Peter Stone) and the upcoming The Lady Eve (with Maury Yeston). He was a long-time contributor of humor pieces to The New Yorker, which were published in a collection entitled Yma, Ava, Yma, Abba, Yma, Oona, Yma, Ida, Yma Aga… and Others, by Simon and Schuster. Mr. Meehan, in collaboration with the poet J.D. McClatchy, co-authored the libretto of the opera 1984, composed by Lorin Maazel, first performed at London’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in 2005. He was an Emmy Award winning writer of television comedy, and a collaborator on screenplays, including Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, To Be or Not To Be, The Producers and One Magic Christmas. He was a member of the Council of the Dramatists Guild.
MARTIN CHARNIN (Lyrics). Martin’s career in the entertainment industry began in 1957 when he created the role of Big Deal (one of Jerome Robbins’ authentic juvenile delinquents) in the original company of West Side Story. He played the role for exactly 1,000 performances. Since then, he was involved in over 140 theatrical, television, film, and night club productions as a director, producer, composer, or lyricist. He is one of the dozen people who have won Emmys, Tonys, and Grammys, and the Peabody Award for Broadcasting. Annie, which came to Broadway in 1977, originally ran for 2,377 performances, and has been revived there threetimes. He directed Annie 19 times (after directing the original production in New York), in London, Montreal, Amsterdam, and Melbourne as well as Annie’s 14 national U.S. companies. He collaborated with Charles Strouse, Vernon Duke, Marvin Hamlisch, Mary Rodgers, and twice with Richard Rodgers on I Remember Mama and Two by Two. He wrote for, or directed, Fred Astaire, Ethel Merman, Jack Lemmon, Ann-Margaret, Jack Benny, Anne Bancroft, Betty Hutton, Sutton Foster, Sarah Jessica Parker, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bebe Neuwirth, Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Larry Kert, Chita Rivera, Jane Lynch, Tony Bennett, Jason Alexander, and Jay-Z, among countless others, and for his wife, Shelly Burch (who originated a leading role in the original company of Nine). Most recently, “Tomorrow” from Annie became one of the 100 most performed musical numbers in the last century. CHARLES STROUSE (Music). A graduate of New York’s P.S. 87, Townsend Harris H.S., and the Eastman School of Music, Charles has studied composition with Aaron Copland, Arthur Berger, and David Diamond in the US and Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Charles has composed copious chamber music, two piano concertos, a string quartet and two operas. After which, being broke like most composers, he was a rehearsal pianist and dance arranger for many shows, played in bar rooms, ballet classes, at weddings and strip joints (a particular boon for one who was to write the music for the film The Night They Raided Minsky’s). One morning in 1960 he awoke to find he had written (with Lee Adams and Mike Stewart) Bye Bye Birdie (Tony Award), which is still among the most performed musicals in America, followed by Golden Boy with Sammy Davis, Jr. (Tony Nomination). Then came, Applause (Tony Award), It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman, Rags (Tony Nomination) and Annie (Tony Award). In-between, there have been scores for movies including Bonnie and Clyde and All Dogs Go to Heaven. Throughout his career, Charles has received the Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Frederick Lowe and the Leonard Bernstein Awards for musical achievement. He is married to director/choreographer Barbara Siman and is the father of Benjamin (attorney, author, composer), Nicholas (psychotherapist), Victoria (screen writer) and William (also a screen writer).
JENN THOMPSON (Director) is thrilled to be helming the National Tour of Annie after having appeared as Pepper in the original Broadway run. Recent credits include a World-Premiere musical about another indomitable red-headed orphan; Anne of Green Gables – A New Musical at Goodspeed Opera House, the very same theatre that premiered Annie more than 45 years ago. Other shows at Goodspeed include: Bye Bye Birdie, Oklahoma! And The Music Man. Other recent credits include Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Musical at Children’s Theatre Company in association with Kevin McCollum and Buena Vista Theatrical as well as Chains for Off-Broadway’s Mint Theatre, where Jenn’s 2016 production of Women Without Men garnered both Lortel and Off-Broadway Alliance Award nominations for Outstanding Revival as well as 5 Drama Desk Award nominations including Outstanding Director and Revival. In addition to extensive productions in NYC, Jenn’s work has been seen at theaters across the country including; Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Denver Center, Hartford Stage, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Portland Stage, City Theatre, Theaterworks Hartford, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and many more. Jenn is married to actor Stephen Kunken, they live in Brooklyn NY with their daughter Naomi. This is for Martin, Charles, Tom and Peter. jennthompsondirector.com
PATRICIA WILCOX (Choreographer). Broadway: Motown the Musical (Astaire Award and the NAACP Award for Best Choreography), and A Night with Janis Joplin. Off-Broadway/National: Little Shop of Horrors, An Officer and a Gentleman, Children’s Letters to God, Bowfire, Blues in the Night (NAACP Nomination), Seussical. Regional: A Swell Party (The Kennedy Center), The Secret Garden (DCPA), The Music Man and Bye Bye Birdie (Goodspeed Opera House-Connecticut Critics Circle Award), Diary of a Wimpy Kid (CTC), Peter and the Starcatcher (Pioneer), Camelot (NSMT), Jesus Christ Superstar (Sacramento Music), Hair (ATC), Guys and Dolls (Paper Mill). Winter Olympics: Choreography for Ice Dancing. PattiWilcox.com WILSON CHIN (Scenic Design). Broadway and Off-Broadway: Pass Over (Broadway, Lortel Award nomination), Next Fall (Broadway), Cost of Living (Manhattan Theatre Club), A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet (DR2), Space Dogs (MCC), The Thanksgiving Play (Playwrights Horizons). With director Jenn Thompson: The Secret Garden (Denver Center Theatre), Oklahoma! and Anne of Green Gables (Goodspeed Musicals). Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Eine Florentinische Tragödie/Gianni Schicchi (Canadian Opera, Dora Award). Film/television: Pass Over (dir. Spike Lee), “Game Theory with Bomani Jones” (HBO), “Blindspot” (NBC). Eastern Region Board memb
What a great show, filled with funny bits, great songs, wonderful talent, everything you would want from a Broadway Musical, run don’t walk to see ANNIE.
Now this is so in my wheelhouse. I sent some emails about doing a review in Laguna Beach, and owner Chris Olsen responded saying yes please come and do a tasting. Good wine and fantastic food, what could be better. Manager Victoria Vaughn helped me along the way, with her no nonsense smarts about all things wine, and giving me some great suggestions. This dinner was an all around treat for me!
About Chris Olsen:
While in college, Wine Gallery Co-Founder Chris Olsen enrolled himself in UC Santa Barbara’s infamous wine tasting class that most students take so they can imbibe while earning course credits. In Chris’ case, this class proved to be much more than a novelty; it unknowingly left an indelible mark on his future career.
Chris began taking frequent trips to the nearby wine region of Santa Ynez Valley and Solvang and before he knew it, he’d fallen hard for the wine culture. After a stint in the mortgage business, Chris decided to follow his heart and open a boutique retail wine store back in the town he grew up in, Corona del Mar with childhood friend, Jeff Schroeder.
In his spare time, Chris enjoys wine making (check out his label, Mile 216), cooking, exploring new restaurants, hanging out with his wife and daughter Tyler and son Tanner, running, and catching the occasional wave
At the helm of this wonderful food experience I Chef Josh Mason. He created so many delectable menu items that it was hard for me to say which one I liked best. Every one of them different, never using similar ingredients in any of the amazing dishes.
About Chef Josh Mason:
Born in Indiana, Josh was raised in Arizona with Central coast family roots. His grandfather owned restaurants in northern Indiana and his earliest memories are in his kitchens. Josh started out catering and working in friends’ restaurants right after high school and throughout college. In 2008 he found himself leaving Phoenix and opening a restaurant in Denver with a close friend.
After some time in Denver the restaurant was sold and in looking for his next project his brother introduced him to Chris Olsen. In February of 2009 Josh flew out to Southern California to cook for the Wine Gallery team and was hired on the spot to open the Corona Del Mar kitchen. In 2012 the Wine Gallery Laguna Beach was opened and we have been going ever since. Although he was gone for a few years to work and travel he has always stayed close to the Wine Gallery family in one form or another.
Cooking is and always will be his passion. Josh cooks the way he would cook for his friends and family, always trying to keep things simple and let the ingredients be the star.
About The Wine Gallery:
The Wine Gallery was originally started in Corona Del Mar (in nearby Newport Beach, CA) by Chris in 1999. Due to his passion for wine developed in college in Santa Barbara, Chris opened up a small retail wine store with that name. Over the years, he expanded the operation to do wine tastings, then took on some additional space and added a small kitchen. It developed a great local following.
His dream was always to open a full-service restaurant in Laguna Beach where Chris lives with his family (around a wine concept), and the Laguna Beach location opened in 2012. We are proud of the reputation we’ve developed as a destination for locals who want a casual place to enjoy great wine, fantastic food under the leadership of Chef Josh, live music and wonderful conversation.
Here’s what I tried:
Broccoli Cheddar soup, a very hearty rich soup, perfect for cold fall weather.
Special Green Goddess Salad with shrimp. The dressing on this salad brought me back to my youth, when green goddess was all the rage, I just loved it.
Funghi Pizza with house made mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, goat cheese, truffle oil, garlic, and shallot. The rich mushroom flavors with the delicate cheese make this pizza my favorite, anything mushroom has my vote.
Calabrese Pizza with organic tomato sauce, house made mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, and Calabrese salami. My bar neighbor Brian shared his pizza with me so I gave him slices of mine as well. This pizza was extremely good, just what you would want from an Italian pizza.
Special Pizza – Pink Sauce Pancetta, and asparagus. If you crave spicy, then this pizza is the one for you. They have their own pizza oven, that just makes the crust explode in your mouth with goodness.
Home made Pasta Shrimp Scampi. Any pasta homemade for me is a treat, and this did not disappoint.
Iberico Presa, with Pork. This menu item is so great. The Chef describes it as a labor of love. Its the part of the pork that is the muscle in the shoulder, it just so flavorful and tender. It is really not on the menu, you have to have special pull to get it and I was happy I did. Simply delicious.
Short Rib Tacos with guacamole, pickled red onions, cotija. Slow braised meats and sauces make this a comfort food taco, the meat is fall off the bone tender and the spices are just right.
Chilean Sea Bass, I saved the best for last. It’s a big thick meaty piece of fish, that is so buttery and tasty, you just want to never stop eating this. There are beautiful grilled vegetables that add to everything spectacular about this dish.
Wines & Beer:
Ellies Brown Beer, rich and dark with hints of mineral and tobacco, it is a very great beer.
2019 – Spellbound, California, Chardonnay.
2020 – Raeburn, Russian River, Chardonnay.
2020 – Rombauer, Carneros, Chardonnay.
2020 – Duckhorn, Napa, Chardonnay.
2020 – Chappellet, Mtn. Cuvee, Napa Valley.
2019 – Prisoner Wine Co., Napa, Red Blend.
2019 – Joseph Wagner ‘Quilt’, Napa, Cabernet.
2020 – Turley, Old Vines Zinfandel, Juvenile.
Every wine was paired correctly with all of the various dishes. My two favorites were the Raeburn Chardonnay, it was buttery, but not overwhelming and paired so good with the Sea bass, and the shrimp dishes. Prisoner Napa Blend was terrific with the Short Rib Tacos and the Iberico Presa. If there was something I did not understand about the wine and food pairing then Victoria would guide me, but for the most part I picked these wines myself to go with my meal. Their wine list is so huge; there is something for everyone and every pairing. The wines are all around you. You can either ask them for advice or look around to see what others are drinking. It’s just a slice of heaven no matter how you order.
There was a private party that took over ¼ of the room. They were loud, but you could tell that they were enjoying themselves. It seems like the more wine that is drank the louder the patrons get, perfect right!
My review would not be complete without mentioning Rafael Ortiz. He was so nice, and was just so helpful, he is a great staff member. Rafael says he feels more like family at the Wine Gallery, owner Chris makes everyone feel that way. Rafael should be given lots of attention, in the form of tips, if you know what I mean!!!
I adore a good wine bar and Wine Gallery has all of their bases covered. Whether it’s a destination dinner or if your already in Laguna Beach, this is a must stop for anyone that likes good wine and food.
I met Phelton Calhoun at the Harris twins, Wow Creations, gift suite a few years ago. Then he invited me in and I was able to go do a review last year. I was in one of the Spanish Room, so he decided that I should come back for another stay to try one of their Surf Rooms, boy was I happy I did. It is so different from the Spanish room and the real beauty of this space is that you get to watch the sunset in the comfort of your own room.
As part of my stay I was given a food credit to enjoy at both of their delicious restaurants, The Rooftop and Comedor, both elegant and fun, with mouth-watering menu items.
Here’s what I tried:
MojittoCruzan Rum, Cruzan Coconut Rum, Pineapple and Lime Juice, Mint Leaf, Simple Syrup, Sugar Cane Garnish. If you’re in the mood for something sweet and tropical then this would be your go to drink, they told me in is the most popular drink on the menu.
Pomegranate Martini, with Tito’s Vodka, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Pineapple, Cranberry Juice, and Sugar Rim. Not too sweet, just right. I loved this cocktail.
Fried Coconut Shrimp, with Chili lime sauce, these little darlings are so addictive, you just want to eat a few plates of these. The sauce adds to the overall tropical taste.
BBQ Chicken Sandwich, on grilled ciabatta bread, with cheese and bacon. This is a new menu item, the chicken is cooked to perfection, the bread is super crunchy and the BBQ sauce hit all of the right notes, I would order this one again.
Here’s what I tried:
Vodka Gimlet, it is delicious and refreshing, a great cocktail.
Daou Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles CA. This wine went perfect with the Bolognese and the steak. It has a clean cheery, mineral flavor and would enhance any meat dish.
Wedge Salad, pickled onions, avocado, cherry tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon, and cilantro blue cheese dressing. A great rendition of this ever-popular salad.
Pachamam Pork Bolognese, with Rigatoni pasta. This dish was absolutely delicious, you can tell that the sauce was slow cooked, and every bite just melted in your mouth.
Spanish Seafood Caldo, with shrimp, mussels, scallops, chorizo, and fregola. The succulent seafood paired with the rich gorgeous broth made for one incredible dish. All of the flavors married so well, it’s a for sure winner.
8 oz. Prime Mishima Wagyu Beef Strip loin, Prime Mishima wagyu strip loin, au gratin potato, green beans and chimichurri. The beef is very tender, coupled with a nice chimcurri sauce, another fantastic menu item.
Chef Glen Tinsley brought me a very special menu item that he said was better then desert, so I gladly imbibed. It truly was out of this world.
Fall Squash Risotto. Roasted futzu squash, idiazabal, and black truffle. The truffles are enough to try this one out, so yummy.
Chef Glen is so humble, he really doesn’t want any accolades, and he is just a worker trying to keep La Casa Del Camino’s loyal followers happy. He loves his days off doing fishing trips with friends, but he really has changed the overall vibes of both restaurants. He is a genius disguised as a chef; his creations are just that good. And when you talk to him, he is a wealth of culinary knowledge, willing to answer any questions with his very unassuming attitude.
Cameron my server and bartender was very efficient and super sweet, he made everything seem so easy. He is a staff member that can wear many hats and always has a good attitude.
I just love everything about this hotel and all that it has to offer, what a treat. Next time your looking for a nice relaxing stay by the beach La Casa Del Camino is the place for you!
This adaptation is so riveting, how could you go wrong with the incredible Aaron Sorkin turning this part of American theater royalty into the Broadway smash that is has become. Harper Lee’s, To Kill A Mockingbird – A new play by Academy Award® winner Aaron Sorkin Based on Harper Lee’s classic novel.
Los Angeles premiere of the history-making production of To Kill A Mockingbird. Directed by Tony® winner Bartlett Sher, is inspired by the timeless novel of the same name by Harper Lee. www.BroadwayInHollywood.com
Starring in the critically acclaimed production are Emmy Award®-winning actor Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch, Melanie Moore as Scout Finch, Jacqueline Williams as Calpurnia, Justin Mark as Jem Finch, Yaegel T. Welch as Tom Robinson, Steven Lee Johnson as Dill Harris and Mary Badham (Oscar®-nominated for the role of “Scout” in the feature film) as Mrs. Dubose. They are joined by Joey Collins as Bob Ewell, Richard Poe as Judge Taylor, Luke Smith as Horace Gilmer, Arianna Gayle Stucki as Mayella Ewell, David Christopher Wells as Sheriff Heck Tate, Jeff Still as Link Deas, Liv Rooth as Miss Stephanie, Travis Johns as Boo Radley and ensemble members Morgan Bernhard, Denise Cormier, Christopher R Ellis, Stephen Elrod, Glenn Fleary, Maeve Moynihan, Daniel Neale, Dorcas Swami and Greg Wood. Yeager T. Welch, Steven Lee Johnson, Luke Smith, Jeff Still, Live Roth and Glenn Bleary join the tour from the Broadway production. The tour will also play at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa from December 27, 2022 to January 8, 2023.
ABOUT TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
To Kill A Mockingbird holds the record as the highest-grossing American play in Broadway history. It began performances on November 1, 2018, at the Shubert Theatre and played to sold-out houses until the Broadway shutdown in March 2020. On February 26, 2020, To Kill A Mockingbird became the first-ever Broadway play to perform at New York’s Madison Square Garden, in front of approximately 18,000 New York City public school students, also marking the largest attendance at a single performance of a play ever in world theater. The production resumed performances on October 5, 2021 and concluded its run at the Shubert Theatre on January 16, 2022. To Kill A Mockingbird is currently running at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End starring Richard Coyle.
Set in Alabama in 1934, Harper Lee’s enduring story of racial injustice and childhood innocence centers on one of the most venerated characters in American literature, small-town lawyer Atticus Finch. The cast of characters includes Atticus’s daughter Scout, her brother Jem, their housekeeper and caretaker, Calpurnia, their visiting friend Dill, and a mysterious neighbor, the reclusive Arthur “Boo” Radley. The other indelible residents of Maycomb, Alabama, are Bob Ewell, Tom Robinson, prosecutor Horace Gilmer, Judge Taylor and Mayella Ewell.
To Kill A Mockingbird is designed by Miriam Buether, with costumes by Ann Roth, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, sound by Scott Lehrer and an original score by Adam Guettel. Musical direction is by Kimberly Grigsby, hair & wig design by Campbell Young Associates, casting by The Telsey Office, and design adaptation and supervision by Edward Pierce. The national tour is produced by Barry Diller.
“A ‘Mockingbird’ for our moment. Beautiful, elegant, satisfying, and even exhilarating. Every ounce of know-how available at the highest echelons of theatre has been applied to ensure its success.”
-NYT Critic’s Pick.
“Majestic and incandescent, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ has that intangible but incontrovertible sense of present consciousness that a piece of theater owes to its moment.”
-New York Magazine.
All I know is you too will be pleasantly surprised by this amazing courtroom drama, it hit home for me on so many levels. Its really modern day subject matter, so amazing that it was written so long ago, but still reflects all of our issues now. Run don’t walk to see this masterpiece!
Georgia’s Restaurant is just so good, its owners Nika-Shoemaker Machado and “Nana” Gretchen Shoemaker’s regard everything they do as being “Soul-Delicious.” Nika and her family are from Louisiana, and moved to California in the 70’s, her father handed down their family recipes. With its Creole inspired menu, you can’t go wrong.
They play soul, Motown music, which adds to the overall atmosphere. There’s a nice outdoor covered patio. Its model is counter ordering with wait staff delivering your meal. My server was Presley, who was named after The King, Elvis. She was very sweet and pleasant. There is definitely a bunch of Southern Charm here, and it reflects in every bite. It’s a very well oiled movement, everyone has their part to make Georgia’s experience run like clockwork, and it is a huge success.
Here’s what I tried:
Non-Alcoholic Lemonade, so delightful, with rich lemon flavors.
Hurricane with Rum, orange, pineapple juices, and grenadine. This cocktail is not too sweet; it hit all of the right notes.
Sangria, with white wine with peach cocktail and ginger. Very fruity with a nice balance of acid, but the best part is it goes down real easy.
Corn Muffins with honey butter, just the best muffins and the honey butter – is out of this world!
Cajun Fries, with Cajun seasoning, very delicious.
Onion Rings, I am a connoisseur of onion rings, these were crispy and thick, with great flavor, I would order these every time.
Shrimp Salad, with spring mix, roasted corn, red peppers, red onions, tomatoes, and mango sauce. A perfect salad especially with all of the lovely shrimp.
Shrimp Po’boy on a French roll, with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, dill pickles, garlic mayo, and lemon aioli. A very hearty sandwich, with deep fried shrimp that is succulent and moist, a great dish.
St. Louis BBQ Ribs, a rack of slow roasted pork ribs in signature BBQ sauce. I just can’t say enough about these ribs, they fall off the bone, and the sauce is just remarkable.
Mac & Cheese
Corn on the Cobb
Every side dish was amazing, with completely different flavor profiles. The Mac & Cheese, and the Gumbo were my two favorites.
It is so worth a trip to either Long Beach or Anaheim to try this truly unique Southern Cuisine. There will be some other locations coming in the near future.
Their General Manager Joshua Gonzales was very accommodating. He says, “Georgia’s is good fast casual dining”. Their most popular dishes are Fried Chicken and Fried Catfish. They were featured on KTLA, The Food Network, and Travel Host Magazine.
Georgia’s Restaurant is at the Long Beach Exchange, which in itself is worth the trip, with lots of fun shopping and restaurants. The day I was there they had a small women’s only vendors flee market, which was really wonderful.
Vegan dining is all the rage and there are plenty of reasons to enjoy plant-based food. Smash Me Burger will satisfy every fast food burger craving and then some. They make their own soy based vegan plant patty’s, as well as vegan chicken. If you were blindfolded and did not know it was vegan food you would be very surprised. It is just simply delicious healthy food. You don’t feel sickly full when you are done. You feel rather nourishes and vivacious, with a new outlook on why we are still eating animals. I really try to eat vegan when I am on my own or feeling like I need a break from any unhealthy animal products.
All of their vegan burgers and sandwiches are plant-based. Plant-based street food sensation turned fast casual hit, Smash Me Baby brings the heat. Specializing in vegan hamburgers, and serving plant-based nuggets and sides. The best vegan fast food in Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. You won’t believe that their burgers have no meat and are nut free.
Here’s What I Tried:
Patty Melt, with grilled onions, seasoned plant-based patty, smoked house vegan Swiss cheese, vegan American cheddar cheese, all between two slices of toasted vegan sourdough bread. The crispy bread and the melty vegan cheese makes this a must have menu item.
Double Classic, with two seasoned house plant-based patties, two slices of vegan American cheese, diced raw onions, crispy pickles, and secret sauce, on a soft and airy vegan bun. Just what a burger should taste like, but there are no dead cows here!
Smashed Truffle Burger, with shaved winter truffles, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, two seasoned plant-based patties, two slices of smoked vegan cheese, and truffle aioli on an airy vegan bun. This was my favorite burger; you just taste the lovely truffles in every bite.
3 Street Tacos, with house marinated plant-based meat, pickled onions, house vegan mozzarella, secret sauce, sliced Jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and lime, in a soft flour tortilla. The pickled onions make these tacos out of this world, another great menu item.
Crispy Chips, these are not store bought, these are fresh, golden and delicious.
Fries, with two amazing sauces, it’s a real winner.
6 Chik’n Nuggets, I just loved these, they really taste like chicken but are better. All Deep-fried in the highest quality canola oil!
Smash Me Baby is a great alternative to fast food burgers; it is super tasty, with all of the bells and whistles, except for the meat. They started their brand in Las Vegas. This place is going to be so popular; really I would try it fast while you’re still able to get in the door – without a line. Before you know it Smash Me Baby will become the new go to Vegan spot in Hollywood. I am already hooked!!!