Lunch – Made in Havana – April 10, 2024 – Los Angeles, CA.

Made in Havana is so inspiring. It’s a real true story of a person’s love of home and country, and the hope that all of your dreams do come true in America. I met Noel and Natalie Toledo at a function at The Taglyan Complex for a Lexus car event. They both were so warm and inviting and their restaurant – as the crow flies – is 5 minutes from my residence. I loved what I tasted at the event and was invited to come and try more of their delicious Cuban fare. Boy was I in for a surprise, real Cuban recipes from the heart, every bite has a story, that all emanates from love.

Here’s What I Tried:


Cafecito, Cuban Espresso. A delightful coffee that has rich cream and is so nice and sweet.

Iced Café Con Leche, Cuban Latte. A beautiful refreshing coffee that hits the spot.

Jupina, Pineapple Soda. A very light and refreshing soda with hints of pineapple flavors, it’s very tropical and it went perfect with my Cuban lunch.


Aunt Olga’s Black Beans, a secret family recipe. These black beans are everything, a 60-year-old recipe, with just the right number of seasonings, including my favorite, a pinch of cumin. I asked about the recipe and Noel said he would have to kill me to give me the recipe, just kidding!

Chicken Empanadas, with delicious chicken breast stuffed in pastry, with your choice of house made dipping sauces. The dipping sauced are just divine, my favorite being the mojo garlic sauce.

Beef Empanadas, with deliciously seasoned picadillo beef stuffed in a pastry, with your choice of house made dipping sauces. This one was my favorites, it just is very hearty, jam packed with great Cuban seasonings, lots of ground beef, just terrific.

Chicken Croquettes, the perfect bite, crispy smooth, with ground chicken, and coated in breadcrumbs. With your choice of house made dipping sauces. These little darlings are silky and have a nice subtle well-rounded flavor, just the great way to start my lunch.

Ham Croquettes, Crispy, bite-size logs of smooth ground ham, coated in breadcrumbs. Ham Croquettes (or Croquetas de Jamón) are the perfect breakfast or snack! This side dish has a nice homemade feel, which is chalk full of ham flavor, but truly another great menu item.

Cuban Yucca Fries, with your choice of house made dipping sauces. These are a root vegetable, so they are super healthy. Their texture is different from a potato, they are a bit stringier, but super yummy. Try each dipping sauce with each bite.

The Cuban Sandwich:

Oh So Sweet Cubano, with roasted pulled pork, plantains, Swiss cheese, house made yellow mustard with dill pickles. They serve Aunt Olga’s Beans with every order. This is just the best sandwich I have had in a long time. The sweetness of the plantain with the tangy pickle, and the pulled pork is a beautiful marriage of lovely flavors. It’s just a must have menu item for me.

Grilled Mojo Chicken Sandwich

Chicken Breast marinated 24 hours in their house Mojo sauce with Provolone cheese, sautéed onions and house made curry mustard. For the chicken lover this one is for you. There delicious Cuban bread with its melty cheese offers up some great lunch time eating.


The Cuban Vegan Farmer Bowl with Mojo jackfruit, Aunt Olga’s black beans, Cuban white rice, sweet plantains and topped with pickled onions. For the Vegan, this both has the ingredients and nuances that Cuban food has to offer but not with any meat. It is robust and filling, with nice home cooked flavors. The tangy pickled onions really add a great zest to this amazing dish.

Cuban Philly Bowl, Ropa Vieja (Brisket) served with Aunt Olga’s black beans, Cuban white rice, sweet plantains and topped with sautéed onions. One of my favorites for sure. The onion is sliced very thick, and the brisket is so tender, it just what you would expect your Cuban grandmother to make. It’s just that good.


Curry Mustard, a perfect balance of tangy mustard with curry nuances, just spectacular.

Mojo Garlic Sauce, full of rich garlic flavor, the perfect sauce for the yuca fries.

Cilantro Garlic Aioli. A unique sauce with the delightful refreshing cilantro splash.

Spicy Aioli, hot and flavorful, really a great dipping sauce.


Chocolate Chip Cookies. All I can say is wow, these cookies are huge with great big pieces of chocolate chips, just awesome.

Chocolate Mouse Cake. The chocolate is rich and creamy, a must have dessert item.

Peanut Butter Brownie, this is by far the creamiest tender brownie, it just melts in your mouth. Natalie is the baker; of all of their yummy deserts, she bakes onsite.

It’s really a neighborhood restaurant on busy Beverly Blvd. There are 14 seats outside, with a very small inside with Cuban artwork, and Cuban music. They had 2 restaurants, closed their Cahuenga North Hollywood location in July 2021, their chef had a health emergency, and they just couldn’t run the place without him. But there are plans to open a new one in Studio City soon.

Noel says that Cuban food gets a bad rap, too heavy, and not healthy, so he is doing his take on modern Cuban food. Food that is heathy and not heavy. Made in Havana has been at this location there for the last 3 years. It’s home cooked food at its best.

Made in Havana is really a family affair, Noel’s dad, Manuel Toledo, who is 81 years young, he was a pro baseball player and came to US in 1980. Noel’s Mom, Elba is 78, she comes in regularly to help with lots of stuff, they both live nearby.

Noel wants to educate customers about Cuban culture and food, Noel left Cuba in 1980 lived in Spain for 6 months, that was the plan then, the route of exiled Cubans was to go straight to Spain and then the US. He really doesn’t want to get into all of the politics of Cuba now, but he says you can’t get any food products from Cuba, the government will not allow it for export. Noels dream, is to go back to Cuba and open a Made in Havana there, he says, “wouldn’t it be something – local boys makes good.”

About Noel & Natalie Toledo:

Since emigrating from Cuba, Noel Toledo and his family have been searching for authentic and mouthwatering Cuban food that embodies Cuban culture, heritage, and flavors.

His passion for Cuban food crafted from fresh and flavorful ingredients led them to embark on this new venture of opening a polished fast-casual Cuban restaurant, which is missing from the restaurant landscape.

Through their travels, Noel and his wife have been inspired to cook and are passionate about trying out new recipes while at the same time embracing generation-old family dishes. Their passion is contagious, and it will show in all aspects of Made In Havana

These family recipes and dishes made from the heart have been the inspiration for Noel’s restaurant and will be one of the many culinary highlights of his concept, correctly named Made in Havana.

It’s really a very sweet gem in this very robust neighborhood, and the best news is that there is free parking in the back. So, there is no excuse to get in your car today and run to Made in Havana!!


Monday 12pm – 8pm

Tuesday 12pm – 8pm

Wednesday 12pm – 8pm

Thursday 12pm – 8pm

Friday 12pm – 8pm

Saturday 12pm – 6pm

Sunday 12pm – 6pm

Made in Havana
8116 Beverly Boulevard
Beverly Grove – Los Angeles, CA. 90048 

+1 323-305-7211 Note some Content

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dinner – March 31, 2024 – The Fat Greek – Yucaipa, CA

This is a real find, such great food in a very small-town type of location. There are 2 signs on the 10 freeway one going East and one going West. A lot of their business is from people traveling to and from the desert, but there also is quite the local following. It’s right on the main drag, whoever is dining at The Fat Greek is guaranteed to be transported to Greece and enjoy some great Greek fare.

The Fat Greek has been at this location for the last 18 years, Owner Nicolas Houvardas owned a Mexican restaurant Casa Picante in the eastern part of San Diego County. But this place is really a family affair, with his brother Chris in the kitchen and his lovely 86 years young mom Melachrisi sharing her recipes. Plus, he is very lovely girlfriend Siran, when I was there, she was running out orders and helping anyway she can with the nights service. But her other job is in real estate, so she can really tell you all about this great area and beyond. Otherwise, he has around 8 other employees that all love their jobs. He was born in Canada but spent most of his summers with his immediate family in Greece, for 3 months out of the year.  So, when the opportunity arose to open up a authentic Greek restaurant in Yucaipa he jumped at the chance to have successful establishment in this small town.

Yucaipa is really the up-and-coming new wine region in California. With lots of city meetings happening about the allocation process.  There really is no competition in this area for authentic Greek food, so why not, and they do have great Greek wine as well.

Not only does Nicolas provide this San Bernadino bedroom community with amazing Greek food, but he also is somewhat of a travel guide, mapping out fun trips for his customers on where to go and what to do in Greece. There are many video screens playing informational stories about Greece, alongside dancing entertainment videos, that put you in the right spirit!

The beauty about the building that The Fat Greek is housed in is that it used to be an A & W Root Beer restaurant complete with a drive thru, which is still used to this day. It really helped during Covid for no contact service as well as people picking up. Customers call ahead and pick up their orders through the drive through, so it all works very well.

Here’s what I tried:


Traditional Martini, the perfect martini, with a traditional martini glass.

Greek Martini, this one had Ouzo in it, which made for a very strong cocktail.


Loukaniko (Greek Sausage), Greek-style pork sausage flavored with orange rind and Burgundy wine. Served with fresh Artisan pita bread and tzatziki. The sausage is sweet but savory, the whole presentation and the flavor is just amazing.

Spanakopita, with spinach and feta cheese pie baked in the oven with layers of phyllo dough. The flaky dough and the simple ingredients make this a must have starter.

Hummus & Pita Bread, with blended chickpeas, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, tahini, and seasoning served with fresh Artisan pita bread. This is always a healthy and delicious choice and they do a really great job with their hummus.

Tzatziki & Pita Bread, Greek yogurt dip mixed with cucumbers, garlic, dill, extra virgin olive oil and seasoning. Served with fresh Artisan pita bread. The Tzatziki is filled with rich garlic flavor, it’s also a great accompaniment on any gyros or meat dishes.

Onion Rings, homemade, beer-battered onion rings deep-fried to perfection, with freshly made, creamy ranch dressing. My favorite part of any meal, and these are done to perfection.

Falafel Balls, with ground garbanzo beans seasoned with fresh herbs from our garden, parsley, onions, and garlic. Served with a side of homemade hummus and tzatziki, Greek Kalamata olives, and lemon wedges. These falafels have a most unique flavor profile, I just want to eat them all day.

Fried Calamari Rings, seasoned calamari rings soaked in buttermilk, then lightly battered, and fried to golden perfection. Served with our homemade cocktail sauce. It’s a really nice battered texture, very thick and crisp, but the calamari is tender and piping hot. A great starter.

Soups & Salads:

Avgolemono Soup, homemade classic Greek soup with chicken, orzo rice, and blended vegetables in a delicious egg, and lemon broth. A very southing comforting soup with the perfect addition of lemon added.

Greek Salad, spinach, spring mix, and lettuce topped with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, crumbled Greek feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and pepperoncini, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and house-made vinaigrette. Served with fresh Artisan pita bread. This is a very straight forward refreshing healthy salad, just the best Greek salad I have had in a while, it’s got to be the great homemade dressing.


Lamb Chop Dinner, with three lollipop lamb chops marinated in wine, garlic, and rosemary, and grilled to perfection. Served with rice pilaf, string beans, Artisan bread, and fresh tzatziki. Comes with your choice of Greek salad or soup. The lambchops are seasoned with subtle flavors, tender and balanced, just delicious.

Gyros, Burgers, Burritos, and Sandwiches:

Traditional Gyro, their famous gyro is carved off our vertical spit into thin layers with hefty portions of meat. Wrapped in our Artisan pita bread, and topped with onions, fresh tomatoes, and our homemade tzatziki sauce. The meat on this delicious dish is so flavorful, with the yogurt sauce it’s a real winner.


Moussaka Dinner, this iconic eggplant casserole dish is layered with potatoes, ground beef, and eggplants, and topped with a rich béchamel sauce. Served with rice pilaf, Greek salad, Artisan pita bread, and fresh tzatziki. Probably the best Moussaka I have ever had, with the nice layers, it really hit the spot.


Kadaifi, simply an amazing dessert made with walnuts and other nuts. Scented with ground clove and cinnamon, wrapped into buttery, crispy Kadaifi dough, and bathed in lemon-scented syrup. Save room, you too will be oh so happy.

Flogeres, rolled-up layers of phyllo dough stuffed with honey, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, and dark chocolate. The chocolate is the best part of this wonderful ending to my great meal.

Their restaurant is decorated in the colors of the Greek flag, blue: representing the clear, refreshing, cool and beautiful Adriatic and Mediterranean waters, and White: representing the pure and natural products they offer. they offer authentic, and traditional Greek cuisine, from the recipes of their parents, grandparents, and forebearers in the Greek islands. They use local organic produce. They pure virgin olive oil is imported from Greece. Their herbs are grown from seeds brought here from Greece: oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, dill, and anise, which they pick, dry, and crush by hand. They proudly serve a variety of Greek wines, and beers. Each dish they serve, is made-to-order, with all fresh ingredients at the time of request.

They serve a variety of fresh authentic Greek casseroles, sandwiches, salads, appetizers, beverages, and desserts, prepared daily on the premises, with caring hands. Their portions are generous, and all of their food is made with much love and attention to each small detail. They educate our customers in the particulars of our unique cuisine, the cooking methods, and the ingredients. They gladly share our joy of the craft with all who cross our threshold, and endeavor to offer everyone a fresh, healthy, and delicious Greek meal, their lively Greek music, along with a large dose of the friendly Greek hospitality for which our people are famous. Their policy, as always, is to “EAT GREEK, LIVE LONG”! OPA!

In the past they have had live music and Karaoke which they plan on starting up again. They also do and great business in catering parties, and they have a delivery van. So next time you’re trying to impress your party goers try going Greek!!

The Fat Greek

33265 Yucaipa Blvd.

Yucaipa, CA. 92399

909 – 797 – 6018

*Some content was taken off of their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biscuit and Bean – Lunch – March 15, 2024 – Echo Park, CA.

The biscuit phenomenon has really taken over. If you’re a lover of real authentic biscuits, then Biscuit and Bean is a must try. It all started in Seattle when Michael Lazer visited the Biscuit and Bean up there, Michael was originally from Canada but made his way to Los Angeles with his family 30 years ago. Seattle, Biscuit and Bean owner Ben found that he and Michael had so much in common, both musicians and both loving the hospitality business. That location started serving Biscuit and Beans in 2014. So, after his meeting he decided to license the name and start his own branch here in Los Angeles. But it took a good 4 years to strategize and open his Los Angeles location. Both are very different, but have the same premise, serving mouthwatering biscuits with incredible coffee that people just can’t get enough of. The lines at the Biscuit and Bean in Seattle are always around the corner. Since Michael opened the Los Angeles location the lines are around the corner on the weekends in this very fun hipster neighborhood. Also, it has the perfect location in Dodger town on Route 66.

Michael says his competitor are not other biscuit makers but instead the ever-enticing bagel. He said that Los Angeles has always been a bagel town and he wants to change that.

Their beans are the great brand Fulcrum Roasters. Fulcrum Roasters are a full-service roaster based in Seattle with over 25 years of experience. Their deeply personal relationships, collaborations, and services transform how our customers experience and enjoy coffee. Fulcrum Roasters take pride in their commitment to providing high-quality, expertly roasted coffee and in their dedication to creating meaningful connections with coffee growers and their customers alike.

Only quality ingredients are used at Biscuit and Bean, they believe that the best way to create delicious and satisfying treats is to use fresh, strategically sourced ingredients, and make everything from scratch, just as you would at home.

Their biscuits are made daily using real butter and high-quality flour, resulting in the flaky, tender, and delicious taste that you love. They take pride in the fact that every biscuit and cup of coffee they serve is made with care, using only the best ingredients. It’s like getting a warm, homemade hug with every bite and sip.

Here’s What I Tried:


Fresh Brewed Pour Over Coffee, Snoho Mojo.  This is a very full-bodied coffee, that is guaranteed to wake you up!

Strawberry Macha Latte, the presentation is wonderful, it looks like a Neapolitan ice cream, it is delicious and flavorful.

Mache Latte, just what you would expect, but better.

Horchata Cold Brew, this is a very sweet, luscious, iced drink, I just loved it.


The OG, with sausage, sharp cheddar cheese, fried egg, tomato jam, and homemade biscuit. Break the yoke and watch it run down the biscuit with the lovely sausage flavor, a real winner.

Sea Biscuit, classic tuna melt, with Mama’s Lil Pepper Aiolo, and sharp cheddar. A tuna melt, but with a kick, just a great sandwich.

Clukin BLT, grilled chicken, Schreiners bacon, lettuce, tomato, and Swiss cheese. The bacon really makes this sandwich special. Michael Lazer said he really searched for the best meats possible to serve with his fantastic biscuits, he struck gold, Schreiners is all of that and more. An amazing, delicious biscuit.

The Blvd Burger with ¼ lb. Harris Ranch burger patty, fresh – lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and American cheese. This is a whole other burger, with the biscuit being the bun, it’s really the perfect combination. I don’t think i could ever go back to eating a regular bun burger.

Biscuits and gravy, with 2 kinds of gravy. House made pork sausage gravy, and mushrooms and leeks gravy. The 2 gravy’s are other worldly, just perfection.


Mama’s Lil Pepper Aiolo.

Honey Maple Butter.

Tomato Jam.

Cran-Rasberry Jam.

Mixed Berry Jam.

All of the spreads are home-made, and each one is completely a different experience. My favorite combination is a biscuit with the honey maple butter and the mixed better jam, it’s a must have.


Tater Tots, these crispy plump little darlings, are the perfect accompaniment to my wonderful biscuits.

Michael says his real secret is pouring love into any of his home-made products. He doesn’t believe in rushing the process and the folding of the dough in a very specific way takes time. He starts his biscuit making process at 4:30 am, and by 6:45 am his lovely unique biscuits are ready for the consumer to partake. There are some other places that make biscuits but really, they just are not as good as Biscuit and Bean. When I was doing my tasting, he told me about getting a huge order in the early am of his Gracie’s Good Lovin’ biscuit, it pretty much stopped everything for him to fulfill this order of 28 sandwiches. He said it got it done in 30 minutes with the help of Oscar Maldonada, the friendly faced gentlemen who was also there during my tasting. Oscar been with Michael since they opened, and Michael adores him, and would not want it any other way. Michael feels adamant about his employees loving their work and having a great attitude. It really shows in all of what they do. Michael is very hands on and has a few employees, but for now he is the chef and overseer of all that happens at Biscuit and Beans. He started working very young in fast food restaurants and found his strength in producing and creating music. He has had many jobs, some in the entertainment industry and some in the hospitality industry. He tells me about one special job that allowed him to travel around the world as head of security with a particular celebrity that will go unnamed. He always came back to his real love of food and cooking. When the opportunity presented itself to open this new venture he jumped whole heartedly back into the business.

Biscuit and Bean is just so good, you too will love this new addiction. It’s a very simple interior with an authentic George Nelsen vintage clock, all as a backdrop for their amazing biscuits. So go on your own, or take a friend, anyone who needs to be uplifted and taste something that has been around forever, but Biscuit and Bean is a whole new take on these ever-loving little darlins!

Biscuit and Bean

2501 W. Sunset Blvd. Suite A.

Los Angeles, CA. 90026

Phone: (213) 263-9780

*Note Some Content was taken off their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lunch – March 14, 2024 – GastrobotEats – Los Angeles, CA.

“Cuisine for the curious” – GastrobotEats is nestled in a mini strip mall in mid-city. It’s a place that you could only dream about in the greater metropolitan Los Angeles area. It really is Mediterranean fare at its finest. Delicious healthy food right at your fingertips. It’s a very thought-out brand with lots of innovative concepts. With this family affair of brother and sister all hailing from Istanbul, Turkey, they wanted to bring their family recipes to a larger market.

They started one of their brands Sumac in San Francisco, in just the perfect neighborhood. The word caught on and now their new destination is just as good if not better, because it is housing all 3 brands, Sumac – Modern Street Food, Saucy Greens, and Soupchu. Sumac offers modern street food with Mediterranean roots and Californian twists. Rich with unforgettable flavors, their rice bowls, wraps, and salads will be quick to transport you to the breezy Aegean coastline. Their menu is inspired by favorite Mediterranean street flavors with the added twist of the healthy food culture of sunny California. Their wraps, bowls, and salads are created not only to satisfy your hunger, but to let you have an unforgettable flavor experience. They offer different options for all kinds of foodies, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan dieters. Saucy Greens is a new-style salad shop offering unique green bowls, that stand out with their homemade sauces, which are lovingly crafted from scratch each morning for a full, fresh flavor. Soupchu cooks’ soups and stews. Timeless family recipes are reimagined with new ingredients, offering a comforting selection that includes gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options.

Here’s What I Tried:


Muhammara, with roasted red peppers, pureed with almond flour, and pomegranate molasses.

Carrot Labneh, with sauteed carrot, labneh, parsley, and Allepo Peppers. 

Tabouli, with bulgur, green onion, curly parsley, tomato, cucumber, and pomegranate.

Babaganoush with roasted eggplant, roasted red pepper, and parsley.

Cacik, (Tzatziki), with Labneh, Persian cucumber, dried mint, and fresh dill. 

Hummus, homemade hummus.  

Each side dip was unique with all having completely different flavor profiles, a truly fantastic way to start my Mediterranean food journey.


Homemade Beef Bone Marrow Broth Soup, (Beyran soup). with slow-cooked pulled beef, rice, and Aleppo pepper. Owner Hazer Ozcan showed me the very large beef bone that is roasted to be able to get the marrow out to add to the soup. These bones are boiled for 12 hours to get all the marvelous meaty bone broth flavor.

Chicken Bone Broth Soup, house-made chicken broth, couscous, carrot, celery, lemon, and fresh dill. These bones are boiled for more than 8 hours to bring out this rich decadent broth. This recipe is created by sister Hazet, who studied culinary arts up in San Francisco and is helping to run their restaurant there in San Francisco.

Red Lentil Soup, blended carrot, onion, and potato with caramelized onion with sesame seed and paprika. This is a very comforting soup with a unique subtle flavor, for sure a keeper.

Green Lentil Soup Carrot, celery, and hand-cut pasta with parsley and Aleppo pepper. A much heartier soup that has lots of delicious veggies, just like my grandmother used to make.

Tomato and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Tomato soup with shredded mozzarella cheese. A very light flavorful soup, with deep rich tomato and pepper flavors, just terrific.


Grilled Salmon Salad, with grilled salmon with spring mix, pickled beets, romaine, cucumber, red cabbage salad, radish, and a slice of lemon. The salmon is served warm, and it just melts in your mouth, a salad I would order every time.

Lentil Mental Salad, with herb labneh spread, red lentil balls, crispy onion, tabouli, pickled red cabbage, pomegranate (seasonal) on organic kale and romaine blend with sumac vinaigrette. The red lentil balls are everything to me, one of my favorite menu items here at GastrobotEats.


Falafel Rice Bowl, falafels over muhammara, cucumber, pickled onion, and red cabbage salad, served with basmati rice with fresh dill. Comes with herbed labneh sauce on the side. It’s very difficult to make a great falafel ball, but they really nailed it, nice flavors with a just the right number of seasonings’, a must try.

Butcher’s Meatballs Rice Bowl, with roasted ground lamb and beef shoulder balls, warm chickpea salad with red pepper, and served with basmati rice. The meatballs themselves are reason enough to order this dish, they are meaty with subtle flavors, and the chickpea salad, gives this dish some nice protein additions.

Grilled Chicken Rice Bowl, with marinated organic chicken thighs, roasted seasonal veggies of zucchini, and red pepper, onions. served with basmati rice, with fresh dill. Everyone loves grilled chicken, and this menu item does not disappoint, its tender and moist, and the lovely vegetables, are just what the doctor ordered.


Baklava, delicious rich and buttery Turkish Baklava filled with ground pistachios. Mine was made super special by pairing it with lovely pistachio ice cream and all heated, yum!

This location has lots of diverse customers with many nearby offices to be able to facilitate lunchtime goodies. It also came with a 17’ hood for their stove, that enables many of their recipes to be cooked in a proper way. Also, Hazer lives super close by, so he can be there whenever he is needed.

Hazer Ozcan was so kind, he really delivered on all his great menu items. He chooses to run this business in Los Angeles because his other endeavor is acting. He has studied acting in San Francisco and considers himself to be the real deal. With his movie star looks, I think he really could go the distance. He kind of reminds me of a young Robert De Niro. He studied the Meisner Technique and has many credits on his IMDB page. Aside from all of that with his wonderful people skills and hardworking persona really resonates with his customers, and is the face of his Los Angeles branded restaurant. He is doing a really good job.

During the pandemic their Sumac location in San Francisco weathered the storm by providing many delivery, and togo orders of there sumptuous Turkish street food. Pretty much everywhere in the US, if you were in the restaurant business at that time, then in order to stay afloat, you had to pivot. Sumac did just that and prospered. This area of San Francisco is one of the most charming neighborhoods, and to have this wonderful gem of a restaurant right down the street made them very popular, as well as doing lots of catering. Opening a Los Angeles location was a no brainer, especially having Hazer run this business. The food is spectacular, it is clean, and fresh, and very well thought out. Their family Turkish recipes are very well represented. Their packaging is fun and innovative, using all recyclable paper to-go products. And then their name in Los Angeles, GastrobotEats. It’s a fun name that caters to young and old, and to everyone that knows how technology has reinvented the food industry.

What can I say, if you’re craving meticulously creative Turkish, or Mediterranean cuisine, then give GastrobotEats a try. Like me, you will be so glad that you did.

“Creators of culinary cravings crafted for the curious and caring.”


1096 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 307-6141


5168 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Ángeles, CA 90036
(310) 361-6809


Hours – Everyday
11am — 10pm

Note Some Content was taken off of their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WOW Creations Oscars Gift Suite – March 8, 2024 – The Universal Hilton, Universal City, CA.

WOW Creations Salute to the OSCARS, Lifestyle Gifting Suite. Oscar Nominees, Oscar Winners, Influencers, Sport Stars, and Reality Stars. The Harris Brothers do not disappoint ever, because they make the best suite in Hollywood. They always make everyone feel so comfortable, just like part of one big happy Hollywood family. Some of the other suites are snobby and if you’re not a direct nominee they make you feel like you’re just second rate. But everyone who attends is happy and gifted with great products and lovely compliments. Here are some of the vendors that were there: Kate’s Koffee Sun Chips, Eco MD, Opt Health, Conflicting Loyalties, Aiden Gabor, IV On Call, Children’s First TV, Whey Up , Chroma Italy Shampoo, Dancing Dolphin Essences , Dr. Monica’s Natural Beauty, St. Clair,  Funtology, Shakyre Renee Jewelry, Joy Moy, Jelly Belly, and Max Dahlia.

The hotel provided a great location for their annual Oscar Gifting suite. There was lovely live music happening with a harpist setting the calming environment. Everyone was having a blast, mingling, and comparing notes of their own Oscar and award season experience. And of course, The Harris brothers greet everyone and offer a nice glass of champagne to start their gifting journey. Just loved every minute of all of it!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chicago The Musical – March 6, 2024 – Broadway In Hollywood – The Hollywood Pantages Theater – Hollywood, CA.

What can you say about this musical Institution, this show delivers, and was simply fantastic. This rendition of this incredible piece of musical history did not disappoint.

Chicago is still the one musical with everything that makes Broadway shimmy-shake: a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz, with one showstopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. In the whirlwind of Chicago’s Jazz Age, two of the Cook County Jail’s most notorious murderesses—vaudeville star Velma Kelly and chorus girl Roxie Hart—become fierce rivals as they compete for headlines amidst a media frenzy. Broadway’s longest-running musical has been razzle dazzling audiences for 27 years, and after more than 10,000 performances, 6 Tony Awards®, 2 Olivier Awards, and a Grammy®, with so many accolades it tough to list them all!

Lyrics by Fred Ebb, Music John Kander, Book by Fred Ebb, and Bob Fosse, original production, choreographed and directed by Bob Fosse. Starring, Kailin Brown, Katie Freiden, Connor Sullivan, Robert Quiles, J. Terrell, and Paul Armani. The ensemble was equally amazing, the dancers were so perfect, depicting all of Bob Fosses iconic moves.

They had the orchestra on risers in the middle of the stage with no real set other than them. But it just all worked so well, truly a phenonium not to be missed.

Of course, the wonderful Hollywood Pantages Theater is always something to be seen. It is Art Deco at Its finest. The Hollywood Pantages Theatre, formerly known as RKO Pantages Theatre, is located at Hollywood and Vine in the Hollywood neighborhood of Los AngelesCalifornia, United States. Designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca, it was the last theater built by the vaudeville impresario Alexander Pantages. The palatial Art Deco theater opened on June 4, 1930, as part of the Pantages Theatre Circuit.

The Pantages Theatre Circuit was part of vaudeville, and the new Hollywood theater programmed first-run movies alternating through the day with vaudeville acts for its first two years. But like other theaters during the Great Depression, it was forced to economize and thereafter operated primarily as a movie theater, though live entertainment was presented occasionally.

Alexander Pantages sold the Hollywood landmark in 1932 to Fox West Coast Theaters. In 1949, Howard Hughes acquired the Hollywood Pantages for his RKO Theatre Circuit and moved his personal offices to the building’s second floor. From 1949 through 1959, the theater hosted the American motion picture industry’s annual Academy Award Ceremonies. It continued to be a major venue for roadshow movies into the 1970s. From 1965, it was operated by Pacific Theatres. The Hollywood Pantages closed as a movie theater in January 1977, and re-opened the following month with Bubbling Brown Sugar, the first of the many stage productions that have since become its regular fare.

Now operated by an arm of the Nederlander Organization, the Hollywood Pantages is one of Los Angeles’ leading venues for live theater (the five highest-grossing weeks in L.A.’s theatrical history were all shows at the Hollywood Pantages). The theater has recently presented large-scale Broadway musicals such as Disney’s The Lion King, which ran at the theatre for over two years, and hosted the long-running Los Angeles production of the Broadway musical Wicked.

Every time I see a show that is part of Broadway in Hollywood I am entertained and always excited! It’s time to be treated to Broadway at its finest, check out this season’s great rundown now.

The Hollywood Pantages Theater

6233 Hollywood Boulevard

*Note Some content was taken of their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 7, 2024 – Message In A Bottle – The Pantages Theater – Hollywood, CA.

What an innovative concept, dancing to Stings Songbook – just something you have to see! I love hearing all of his music set to stories through dance. It’s just as simple as that. Sting is a genius and, when you couple that with dance, in all its forms it has to be a winner. Run and don’t walk to see Message in A Bottle. Based on the songs of Sting and choreography by Kate Prince, it’s an extraordinary dance show. It has a very limited run at The Pantages Theater, from February 6 – February 11, 2024.

This is a tale of hope. The story is about the peaceful village of Bebko which is alive with joyous celebrations. Suddenly under attack, everything changes forever. Three siblings, Leto, Mati and Tana, must embark on perilous journeys in order to survive.

The cast of dancers is astounding, they are all incredible: Oliver Andrews, Lindon Barr, Deavion Brown, David Cottle, Harrison Dowzell, Nestor Garcia Gonzalez, Natasha Gooden, Lizzie Gough, Anna Halstrom, Megan Ingram, Ajani Johnson – Goffee, Charlotte Lee, Daniella May, Dylan Mayoral, Serena McCall, Lukas McFarlane, Robbie Ordona, Lara Renaud, Hannah Sandilands, Jessey Stol, Steven Thompson, Gavin Vincent, Malachi Welch.

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE is a spectacular new dance-theatre show from five-time Olivier Award nominee, Kate Prince, inspired by and set to the iconic hits of 17-time Grammy Award-winning artist Sting, including Every Breath You Take, Roxanne, Walking On The Moon and more. With a mix of exhilarating dance styles, high energy footwork and breath-taking athleticism, MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE tells a unifying and uplifting story of humanity and hope. 

A Sadler’s Wells & Universal Music UK Production, with ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company. Co-produced with Birmingham Hippodrome and The Lowry, Salford

About The Pantages Theater:

In the heart of Hollywood, on Hollywood Boulevard, right down the block from Vine Street, stands the Hollywood Pantages Theatre. It’s a fitting location: The Pantages has become one of the greatest landmarks of Hollywood, signifying both the glorious past and adventuresome future of the world’s entertainment capital.

The Hollywood Pantages has a history as grand and diverse as the stage and screen fare which audiences have flocked to enjoy there for half a century. These days it’s one of Los Angeles’ leading homes of legitimate theatre (the five highest-grossing weeks in L.A.’s theatrical history were all shows at the Pantages) and a favorite “location” for tv shows, movies and music videos. In the past, it has been a movie house, with live vaudeville acts between features as well as the site of many gala premieres and “spectaculars.” For ten years the Hollywood Pantages Theatre was the home of the glittering Academy Awards Presentations.

While the use of the Hollywood Pantages Theatre may have changed over the years, the theatre does not appear all that different today. After several touch-ups over the years, the Hollywood Boulevard showplace was renovated at the turn of the 21st century to recapture its 1930 look and luxury. When the theatre reopened in September 2000, some 300 people had repainted nearly every inch of the theatre, restored its outer lobby and missing chandeliers, refurbished its walls and prepared it for the new century.

It’s an iconic spot for all of this great entertainment that I get to write about, so listen to me and go see this great unique show, you will be glad you did!!

 The Pantages Theater


(323) 468-1770

·      Note some content was taken off of their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Aster Hotel – WOW Creations Emmy’s Gift Suite – January 12, 2024 – Hollywood, CA.

It’s always such a blast to go to the Harris Brothers gift suite. They really make you feel so at home. This year it was at a new location, The Rooftop of the Aster Hotel in Hollywood. Capitol records building in tow, the photo opps were just astounding.

I am sometimes wearing two hats, this day was no exception. I was having my three-time Grammy Client Gordon Goodwin, imbibe in everything a good Emmys gift suite has to offer. He had a blast and the conversation kept getting better.

There was a real variety of gift givers, everyone having wonderful stories about their products.

Here are all the great vendors that participated in the gift suite: Hollywood’s Trendiest new Hotel Luxury Classic Massage Chairs Westside Wellness Spa 2024 Oscar Night Gala Asian based biochem skincare www.milestone-brands – Tequila – Gin brand Vegan Anti Age Support oil Gourmet Pancake Mix Hollywood psychic services gourmet treats California CBD California Sparkling Wine Creating equity for historical marginalized group Historic Laguna Beach Hotel Luxury Toothbrushes

www.daxhaircare Spirits and Cocktails luxury cigars Charms and bracelets Gourmet chocolates Certified Hypnotherapist Stella    Singleton-Jones Sculptor – Author Gourmet CupCakes Luxury Floral Designs

Whether I am writing for my website or showing a publicity client the ropes, these suites are always the best days. Filled with love, laughter, and a really comforting feeling from Mark and Matt. Even when I talk to fellow gift recipients, they always say the same thing. This is just the best gift suite, no hassles, just love all the way around. I am happy to be an invitee at every suite the Harris brothers provide!!  Thanks so much Mark & Matt for always including me in your amazing gift suite. Ok – Oscars here we come!!!!

The Aster Hotel

1717 Vine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Phone: 323 962 1717

WOW Creations

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 7, 2024 – Dinner – Opal Restaurant & Bar – Santa Barbara, CA.

Back in 2021, when Covid was still a global pandemic, I went to Santa Barbara on January 11 and did a takeout from Opal Restaurant & Bar for a Birthday celebration. The food was so amazing, but there’s no experience like fine dining and sitting down at the restaurant to enjoy it in real time. The piping delicious dishes come presented from the kitchen and a fantastic meal is born. This is pretty much my latest experience at Opal Restaurant & Bar in Santa Barbara.

Here’s What I tried:


Mandarin Ginger Cosmo, with hanger one mandarin vodka, ginger, triple sec, cranberry, lime juice. A nice refreshing drink, it goes down very easily.

Black Berry Jalapeno Margarita, with ghost tequila, blackberry-jalapeno puree, lime juice, cuarenta y tres. This one has a bit of a kick, but delicious just the same.

Classic Vodka Martini, with 2 olives served in a proper martini glass. They did a great job on this favorite cocktail.


Eggplant mushroom cream soup with mushroom croutons. Very creamy and smooth, the perfect way to start my glorious meal.


Opal Classic Caesar Salad, with fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano and garlic croutons. The perfect amount of everything, I highly recommend.

Pan Seared Fresh Crab Cake on a sesame beurre blanc,

with tender wild red deep sea crab meat cake, a drizzle of wasabi cream, fresh mango salsa and crispy potato strings. A nice rendition of this seafood classic.

Shredded Phyllo Wrapped Tiger Prawns, flash fried served with coconut curry dipping sauce. On Napa cabbage salad with Mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, julienne vegetables, and our sesame Asian vinaigrette. This is their go-to and it is just the best.

Asian Glazed Flash-Fried Calamari, with baby arugula, and crispy Asian rice noodles. It is done in strips and is light and sweet, just heavenly.

Warm Slow Roasted Duck confit on Portobello Mushroom Ravioli,

with toasted macadamia nuts and sun-dried cherries in a Sage brown butter Sauce. I am a sucker for anything mushroom, so this dish scored high on my culinary list.

Pan Seared Fresh Sea Scallops on warm angel hair pasta.

with watercress, avocado, and a roasted red pepper

vinaigrette. This dish is remarkable, it is neither a pasta dish but more of a salad, and the sweet sauce really brings it all home for me.


Homemade Smoked Chicken Pizza with smoked mozzarella and a chipotle glaze, tomatoes, shaved red onions, and fresh cilantro. Their pizza oven is center stage, so you really need to try any of their pizzas.

Homemade Wild Mushroom Pizza, another fantastic pizza, with pesto, goat cheese, smoked mozzarella, caramelized onions, red tomato. arugula, watercress, and gourmet truffle sea salt.

Homemade Basil Fettuccine with sauteed tiger shrimp with homemade pesto, tomatoes, fire roasted red pepper and smoked mozzarella cream sauce. I loved the subtle flavors of the basil fettuccine and, when you add the shrimp, it’s just a real winner.

Vegetable Napoleon, with gorgonzola potato cake, wild mushrooms grilled portobello mushroom, grilled eggplant, sauteed garlic spinach, grilled polenta, roasted red peppers, roasted tomato sauce, fresh grated parmigiana, and Reggiano. This dish is a feat in itself. It is piled very high, and each layer is wonderfully put together. For the vegetarian, it’s an amazing combination for flavors.

Opal’s Paella, with bay scallops, tiger prawns, black mussels, chicken, chorizo sausage*, saffron rice, tomatoes, cilantro, and Anaheim chiles, in a garlic herb broth. The seafood is super fresh, and the flavors are divine.

Herb Grilled Filet Mignon, with whipped truffle butter, Yukon potatoes, sauteed broccoli and green beans and a port wine-Marsala and wild mushroom cream sauce. The cream sauce will make you so happy, and the tenderness of the filet will keep you coming back for more.

Grilled Australian Lamb Chops, with sauteed garlic spinach, whipped Yukon potatoes, rosemary, and sweet onion zinfandel sauce. These are large bone-in lamb chops that do not disappoint.


“Like water for chocolate” Surprise Hint: Belgian Callebaut Dark Chocolate and Raspberries, a delightful chocolate-forward dessert, really great with the Zinfandel.

Tahitian Vanilla bean Creme Brulee, with Rich Custard with a Caramelized Sugar Top. With Fresh Whipped Cream and a Vanilla Bean Creme Anglaise. A very rich, creamy, Brulee that really hits the spot.

Homemade Meyer lemon Tartlet, with Meyer lemon sabayon mousse with creme anglaise and fresh berries. I love anything lemon, so this was a nice way to end my remarkable meal.

Opal’s interiors are very warm and welcoming, with large banquets, large bay windows for seating, beam ceilings, a Euro Asian feel alongside Art Nouveau. There are lovely ceiling fans, wood floors, an open kitchen, and the star of the show is a large pizza oven. My very smart server Shannon Kennedy told me that they cook other things besides pizza in their 500-degree pizza oven.

With a track record of over 30 years, owners Tina Takaya and Richard Yates feel the key to a successful restaurant is the passion for creating the highest quality food and service with a commitment to consistently providing that level of quality every time you dine with us. And now they have another amazing place to dine. I have not been to their sister restaurant OKU. I was invited, so you will see that review sometime soon.

What I truly love about Opal Restaurant & Bar is how they treat their customers and how they have sustained such wonderful food through all of the challenges the last years have brought to the restaurant industry. They have a very strong following, some happy eaters come in once a week, others are local, dates, families, all enjoying the fruits of Opals labor on a regular basis. Manager Matt Phar was also very accommodating, he made sure I was happy and satisfied along my delicious culinary journey at Opals. He told me about the charities that Opal supports, as well as all of the community events with their business neighbors, that they participate in.  Plus, their waitstaff is seasoned and very interested in their customers. They take great care of all customers like family. My direct neighbors, 2 couples who were completely enjoying their meals. They added just the right amount of conversation from folks that are regular customers, thank you, KellyJane, Jamie, Felipe, and Jane. Their menu is creative and unique. From the moment you walk in you are treated like family, and when their marvelous cuisine hits your taste buds you too will know that you don’t need to look any further for the complete wonderful culinary experience at Opal Restaurant in Santa Barbara, California. The true Santa Barbara gastronomic experience.

Opal Restaurant & Bar
1325 State St.
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Phone: (805) 966-9676

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lunch – December 27, 2023 – Kafe Royale – Calimesa, CA.

Nestled in the back corner of a very busy Mini Mall is a great place that you would only know about through word of mouth or if you’re a local. Kafe Royale delivers goodness that you really can’t find anywhere else.

Here’s What I Tried:


Southern Benedict, Country biscuit topped with patty sausage, poached eggs & country gravy. Served with a choice of potatoes. Kafe Royale biscuits and gravy are a showstopper, what more can I say?


Sensational Omelet, with mushrooms, cheddar cheese, bacon, sausage, onions, ham & bell peppers, country potatoes with bell peppers & onions, and toast. A very big omelet, enough for two people easily. The sausage in the omelet is what made it for me, but the smooth cheesy goodness also shined.


Hot Specialty Sandwiches:

Hot Turkey Sandwich, with turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and served open faced. If you missed out on any part of Thanksgiving then this sandwich is for you, especially the gravy part for me.

⅓ lb. Charbroiled Burgers:

Royale Cheeseburger, served with bacon, avocado, sauteed mushrooms and American cheese. A large burger with tasty ingredients, what more could you want.


Fish Taco Wrap, with a flour tortilla with fried cod filet, cabbage, pico de gallo and spicy ranch sauce. These are large wraps, as well as very yummy, so share it with a friend.


Kafe Cobb, with grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado, hard boiled eggs, diced tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles with ranch dressing, and coleslaw. I am a big fan of a true cobb salad and this salad covered all of my bases.

Soup & Chili:

Split Pea Soup, this would be my go-to soup, love the rich creamy texture.

Beef Vegetable Soup, chalk full of all kinds of vegetables and big chucks of heart neat, a nice well-rounded soup.

Homemade Chili Cup, served with diced onions and shredded cheese, a great hearty chili.

Onion Rings, I consider myself an onion ring officiant, and these did not disappoint. Nice hard batter with super tender delicious onions on the inside.

Baby Back Rib Meals:

1/4 Rack, with sweet potato fries, fall of the bone tender, with a great home made sauce.


Cinnamon Swirl Buns, served warm, just the perfect way to end my wonderful breakfast.

Usually, I would pair food with wine, but it was too early in the day, and I opted not to, but they do serve beer and wine. They make all of their sauces and salsa from scratch daily. Meli comes in at 5am every day and is the backbone to these wonderful homemade treats.

They have a very large outdoor patio and 3 dining rooms. They play top 40 and eighties music. You can see families, girls lunch klatch, and regulars in their dining room. The room that I was in had large padded comfy club chairs.

The premiere family breakfast and lunch restaurant for over twenty-five years served top quality, slow smoked meats, and sides. They appreciate their customers, and make sure everyone leaves full and happy. They take the quality of their food seriously, located in the heart of Calimesa, you can pop off the freeway coming or going and enjoy a really delicious meal. They also cater, or you can rent a room for a business meeting or come with friends just to catch up over a good lunch.

Owner Juan has been recognized by the senate for his contributions to the community. Everyone who works here loves their jobs and you can feel it in the atmosphere. Juan hires people he can trust with his business, and it all seemed to work out quite nicely. Manager Teresa made my experience extra special. She has been at Kafe Royal for 3 years. She came from Sun lakes where she worked in their restaurant for 19 years, and then as a young gal she worked at Carrows. Teresa and owner Juan had that in common, he worked at CoCo’s, pretty much the reason why he hired her, and the rest is history. She is a people person and describes her employment at Kafe Royale as her happy place. Teresa says that all the food is made to order, everything is fresh, and everyone works as a team to provide the customers with the best experience possible. Teresa sees this area as what it used to be, a small town, and with the new development a lot has changed. She loves her job and enjoys working with her fellow staff as well as the amazing customers that Kafe Royale has after many years of operating.

They have seasonal specials, which I did not try, but they do a pumpkin pancake special starting at the end of September that sounded very delicious.

I would say when you’re on the 10 Freeway going East or West it’s a nice way to take a break and have some breakfast, or lunch, and be able to enjoy this delicious and very affordable food. It’s got a hometown feel, and the moment you walk in the door you will feel like family, I know I did!

Kafe Royale

1007 Calimesa Blvd. K

Calimesa, CA 92320

(909) 795-7065

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment