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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Numbers:

Act I

Act I

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

Hollywood Pantages Theater

6233 Hollywood Blvd,

Los Angeles, CA 90028

(323) 468-1700
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May 10, 2024 – Casa of Los Angeles –12th Annual Reimagine Gala – Beverly Hilton – Beverly Hills, CA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beverly Hilton Hotel
9876 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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Jake’s Italian Bistro & Brew – Dinner – May 2, 2024 – Yucaipa, CA

This is a great neighborhood place to come, let your hair down, and relax. The ambiance is casual, but what makes Jake’s so great is how the staff makes you feel like you are at home. And the food, well it’s just great! Part Italian, part American, but whatever you order is guaranteed to be tasty, fresh, and just fantastic.

Owner, Jake Litras, comes from a culinary family background. His father owned Two Guys Pasta and Pizza, so Jake really has a handle on what makes an eating establishment successful. From my tasting, he delivered delicious food, at great prices, in a cozy neighborhood atmosphere; what more could you want?

Here’s What I tried:


Prickly Pear Margarita, this cocktail is so smooth, with great pear nuances, I just loved it.

Traditional Martini, they did a great job with my signature cocktail.

Cucumber Cosmo, a very refreshing drink, with a nice neutrally balanced fruit-forward flavor.


Sauteed Mushrooms, whole button mushrooms sautéed in white wine, butter, and garlic sauce, served with toast points. These mushrooms pop in your mouth, with their rich garlic and butter flavor; a winning start to my glorious meal.

Jake’s Famous Chicken Wings, served with carrots, celery, blue cheese, and a sweet chili glaze. I opted for the sweet chili, which is also a bit spicy, but these are the best wings I have had in a long time. Their secret recipe will blow your hair back; a must-try.

Corkscrew Calamari, lightly battered and seasoned calamari served with marinara, ranch, and lemon wedges. A fun way to slice calamari, like a corkscrew, and they land very easily in your mouth. These are piled high; I would order every time as a starter.

Soup and Salad:

Broccoli Potato Cream Soup, a luscious rich, flavorful thick soup.

Wedge Salad, iceberg wedge, Applewood smoked bacon bits, carrots, tomatoes, red onion, candied cashews, blue cheese crumbles, topped with blue cheese dressing, and balsamic reduction. So, hands down, the best Wedge Salad ever. It’s their super creative ingredients that knock this one out of the park. Also, they make all of their own salad dressings. Pretty much everything is house-made from scratch, and it’s all very fresh.

Off The Grill:

Flame-broiled steak with pan-seared shrimp, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. A very tender, yummy steak with the perfect grill marks, just loved it. And the surf and turf part were off-the-charts good!

10 Oz. Grilled Chicken, just a stunning presentation, with nice crosshatch grill marks; a wonderful, low-calorie, healthy menu option.

Handcrafted Sandwiches:

Philly Cheese Steak, ½ lb. grilled and seasoned steak with sauteed mushrooms, crispy onion strings, roasted bell peppers, topped with their house-made cheese sauce, and served on a toasted French roll. It’s a huge sandwich, with a big, bold, and meaty flavor. A perfect lunch item!

OG Pastrami, grilled and seasoned pastrami, melted mozzarella cheese, topped with spicy mustard, and served on a house French roll. I love the mustard; it just adds so much flavor to this sandwich.


Impossible Vegetarian Wrap, there is no way this is not beef, it’s so flavorful, and you really think it’s meat. Just the perfect menu item for the vegan.

Gourmet Burgers:

The John Wayne, ½ lb. Angus beef, Applewood smoked bacon, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheddar cheese, and topped with smoked BBQ sauce. This burger is something else, with the very smokey Applewood smoked bacon, wow, just amazing!


Sicilian Combo, lasagna, Italian sauce, and penne pasta, smothered in marinara sauce, baked until golden brown. You get a little bit of everything, and it’s so enjoyable!

Penne A La Vodka, smoked bacon, Roma tomatoes, and basil, tossed in their house-made vodka sauce, served over penne pasta with shrimp. A delicious pasta, and a huge portion that can be shared with a friend.

Pesto Chicken, grilled chicken breast, sauteed mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted garlic, and parmesan cheese, in a pesto cream sauce over penne pasta. A very comforting pasta with great pesto flavor.

Stone Oven Pizza 14″ BBQ Chicken Pizza, grilled chicken, red onion, gouda cheese, cilantro, and BBQ sauce. The crust is thick and tasty; I just love anything with BBQ sauce! Their pizzas are worth the destination.


Cheesecake, homemade with strawberries.

Bread Pudding, homemade.

Both desserts were out of this world! I would just love to come in for their desserts. Chef Danny Meron really goes to the extreme with the ingredients to make sure it’s true perfection.


Bogle Chardonnay, a bright crisp Chardonnay; it went great with the sauteed shrimp.

Bogle Essential Red, a nice blend of varietals that paired so great with the burger, and of course the steak.

Jake’s mom, Janie Dakan, redecorated the interior 2 years ago, she really spruced everything up. The bar has some great sports heroes adorning the walls, as well as many classic rock posters. It goes along with the great music they play while dining. They also have live music on most Saturdays.

Bartender/Server, Tess Emmons, tells me that 80 percent of their customers are regulars; some come as much as every day. They have 15 flat-screen TVs, so lots of these regulars are coming in for a variety of sporting events. As well as their nightly specials, they have a burger night, a wing night, and a steak night; all highly discounted meals. Chef Danny Meron came from a very well-known place in Redlands, CA called Copehouse. When he was hired, he had only one condition, which was to change up the menu by adding brunch and soon-to-be seafood selection to their huge menu. I am so lucky to be invited back to taste both brunch and the new menu coming in mid-June. Chef Danny got his wish!

Jake’s Italian Bistro & Brew offers up some very delectable grub but with a cheers bar type of vibe. When you’re at Jake’s, you’re family, and everyone knows your name!

Jake’s Italian Bistro & Brew

12170 4th St.

Yucaipa, CA 92399


(Corner 4th and Yucaipa)

Monday 11:30 am to 8:30 pm

Tuesday 11:30 am to 8:30 pm

Wednesday 11:30 am to 9:30 pm

Thursday 11:30 am to 9:30 pm

Friday 11:30 am to 9:30 pm

Saturday 11:30 am to 9:30 pm

Sunday 11:30 am to 8:30 pm

Happy Hour 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday – Friday!
1/2 off Selected Appetizers
$2 Off Pints
$3 Off Pitchers
$10 Buckets of Domestic Beer
$13 Buckets of Imports

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April 25, 2024 – Late Lunch – Cava – Century City, CA.

Cava is a great way to get nutritious Mediterranean food at a great price. It’s a pick your combo type of counter operation. There are many options, you can either have them do one of their specials bowls or pitas or you can choose your own. I opted for both.

Here’s What I Tried:

In my bowl, I did basmati rice, corn, eggplant, lamb meatballs, harissa honey chicken lettuce, pickles, different dips, and garlic salad dressing. It comes with a couple of pieces of homemade pita bread as well.

Crispy Falafel, with hummus, roasted eggplant, pickles, cabbage slaw, tomato + onion, garlic dressing, skhug, roasted eggplant that’s emulsified with olive oil and lemon juice, plus, parsley, onions, garlic. Red Pepper Hummus, something magical happens when fresh roasted red peppers are puréed with chickpeas, tahini, and garlic. Hummus, chickpeas puréed with tahini, lemon juice, fresh garlic, and salt. No oil here! A guest favorite and a CAVA classic.


Strawberry Citrus Made in-house with fresh strawberries and lemon juice. With great strawberry flavor, this drink is a true winner.

Blueberry Lavender, Made in-house from a purée of blueberries and lavender. The blueberry flavor is really all you need to know.

This review is short and sweet because it’s just the best Mediterranean food that is quick, no-nonsense, and not a big dip in your wallet.

About CAVA:

CAVA is the category-defining Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant brand, bringing together healthful food and bold, satisfying flavors at scale. Our brand and our opportunity transcend the Mediterranean category to compete in the large and growing limited-service restaurant sector as well as the health and wellness food category. CAVA serves guests across gender lines, age groups, and income levels and benefits from generational tailwinds created by consumer demand for healthy living and a demographic shift towards greater ethnic diversity. We meet consumers’ desires to engage with convenient, authentic, purpose-driven brands that view food as a source of self-expression. The broad appeal of our food combined with these favorable industry trends drives our vast opportunity for continued growth.


Westfield Century City

10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 2120

Los Angeles, CA 90067.
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Karen Salicath – Jamali’s 8th studio album, part classical, part new age – titled, “Angel Hanael’s Song”, being released on April 26, 2024, through Tunecore and on major digital platforms. Karen’s new project promises to gain international acclaim, particularly with the otherworldly way the tracks are conceived. The highly anticipated first single and first track, “Angel Hanael’s Song,” released on April 8th, 2024, and second single, “Angel Hanael’s Joy,” will be released on April 23, 2024. The album cover art was created by Karen Salicath – Jamali as well.

Karen Salicath – Jamali has a very remarkable way of composing her virtuoso music, she is a vessel for one of her many angel guides. She had a head injury from an accident in 2012, after a 3-year recovery she miraculously began to hear music in her dreams, guided by angels, and the rest is history.

The angel Hanael, her current album’s namesake, is one of the seven archangels. Hanael also known as Haniel, is generally associated with the planet Venus, and is the archangel of joy and intuition. This album has been written and conceived in her dreams by communication from Angel Hanael. There are many roads for composers to create music, but for Karen it all comes organically, and pretty much is out of her control. Karen receives her music in her dreams from a variety of angels. She recaptures all the music once she is awake and at her Steinway grand piano. Karen’s ethereal music process evokes many emotions from herself and the listener, but it’s a rare phenomenon, all her own.

Karen Salicath – Jamaili is no stranger to success, she is a multi-award-winning composer, pianist, producer, artist, painter, sculptor, photographer, and a voting member of the Recording Academy. Karen Salicath – Jamali is also a very accomplished performer, having appeared 8 times at Carnegie Hall. Karen was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, School of Design in Copenhagen, she worked as a painter, sculptor, and photographer for 30 years. Karen participated in 180+ exhibitions in Museums and galleries throughout the world, including the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Karen Salicath – Jamali recent awards include: this year, “The Midnight Gold Record Award”, “The Clouzine International Music Award”. She is inducted to “The Akademia Music Award Hall of Fame”. Karen is the official nominee for “Elite Music Awards”. 2 Nominations from “The Josei Music Award”. Premio “Oscar della Creatività” – Montecarlo. Winner of the “Golden Piano Talent 2d International Piano Competition”. “The Academy Grand Award”. “The Global Music” Silver Award, National Finalist: of American Music” The Ernst Bacon Memorial Award”. and Finalist of “World Songwriting Award”.

Karen has had many accomplishments, but her music is what really makes her soar. She says, “In dreams, my music comes. In dreams, I hear whispers of angels, in the depth of the canvas of life are hidden blessings of sound, I paint hearts full story, brilliant, bold, of love, peace, and compassion.”

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Karen Salicath Jamali

Professional American Artist Painter, Sculptor, Photographer Award Winning Composer & Pianist BMI

Voting Member at Recording Academy/GRAMMY®

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April 17, 2024 – Bella & Yang – Late Lunch – Yucaipa, CA.

Located in a very nice mini mall in Yucaipa California, on the main drag of Yucaipa Blvd, is a delicious half Chinese half Japanese eating establishment that will send your taste buds soaring to another dimension. Bella & Yang is a wonderful restaurant that must be discovered by everyone who enjoys super fresh delectable Asian cuisine.

The interior is huge with a party room in the front of the space, and a full outdoor patio. Bella & Yang offers diners everything they could want, whether it’s a large family gathering or a date night, you will get great service and just astounding food. The design is sleek and lovely with lots of Asian flair, and they play fun pop music in the background.

Then there’s my oh so lovely hostess, Bella Niu, who’s has a very remarkable story on her own. A breast cancer survivor, whose spirit is bright and very hopeful. She is so stoic about her health and how she has gotten a full remission diagnosis, a clean bill of health! With the help of her family and friends she has overcome all the odds. She depended on her friends and families for supporting her through her surgeries and cancer treatments. She feels that she is really blessed in every sense of the word. She is so passionate about her life and serving delicious food to all of her loyal customers!

Her son Oscar works with her as well, he’s the star bartender and knows how to make an exotic cocktail. Oscar is allergic to alcohol so he does everything by smell instead of taste. He can’t try any of his drinks tat he makes, but from what I gathered he is a remarkable mixologist, just the same. He is studying psychology at a nearby college and will be transferring to a bigger college very soon. Bella followed her son to the United States from Beijing, she came in 2017 and Oscars spent his high school years in America away from his mother. Bella’s family are very well-known food suppliers in Beijing, she wanted to do something great in America, by sharing her fantastic recipes and becoming a restaurateur. She only wants to serve food that is fresh, well prepared, and healthy for everyone. Her main goal is to please her customers by providing well sourced menu items, with both delicious Japanese and Chinese cuisine. Her Chef, Chef Yang, came from Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills, and her manager Jagger, really gives the place an added sense of fun, with his colorful personalty. Really everyone who is close by needs to come and try this wonderful food, even if you’re on your way to the desert, and want to stop somewhere that is great and economical, then Bella & Yang is your one stop lunch or dinner hangout.

Here’s What I Tried:

Cosmopolitan Martini, with Vodka and pomegranate, just so smooth and very drinkable, a wonderful cocktail.

Vodka Martini, traditional vodka martini with just the right amount of vermouth and olive juice, my favorite way to start my lovely experience.

Mai Tai, this cocktail makes you feel like you are in a tropical paradise, it’s refreshing and so good!


Eel, they give you 3 pieces, and they do this with all of their sushi, which is very different and very generous.

Dynamite Roll, this is a very nice filling roll with its very creamy cooked topping, so share it with a friend.

Yucaipa Roll, with shrimp tempura, crabmeat, mayonnaise, mixed vegetables, soy wrapped topped with avocado, eel sauce and mango. A delicious creative hearty roll, just a wonderful starter.


Shishito Peppers, drizzled with spicy mayonnaise and eel sauce, some of them are spicy and some are not, but it’s a great way to start my enchanting meal.

Bang Bang Shrimp, with beautiful large shrimp, that are battered and then glazed with a rich sweet sauce, just scrumptious.


Wonton Soup, with seasoned broth with filled wonton dumplings. This is a very simple soup, and the wontons are large and very flavorful. Just what the doctored ordered.


Avocado Salad, with sliced avocado with a variety of vegetables. The avocado is sliced super thin with very lovely greens, and the dressing is just perfect.

Specials and Entrees:

Seasoned Hong Kong Style Beef, Filet Mignon. It is served in a sizzling platter with lots of onions, super tender filet. The flavors are strong and deep, I would order this every time.  I just loved this dish.

Sizzling Garlic Shrimp, it comes to the table in an iron platter that is both steamy and sizzling. I just love a deep rich brown sauce and there is plenty of this in this dish. Its rich aromatic flavors and fresh shrimp make this one a terrific menu item.

Egg Foo Young with shrimp, a very different dish, not your traditional egg foo young, it is fresh vegetables and cooked in egg and battered. Served with a warm rich brown sauce, and lots of it, and fresh vegetables. This new type of egg food young is better than any of them that I have ever tasted! A must have menu item for me.

Noodles and Rice:

Singapore Rice Noodles, with rice noodles, shrimp, chicken, and beef in a yellow curry sauce. If you love curry like I do, this dish is for you.

Fried Rice with combination of beef, chicken, BBQ pork, shrimp, and vegetables. I love a good fried rice with my Chinese entrees and this one does not disappoint.

They have a very affordable Bento Box lunch special and a truly amazing Happy Hour, you can try lots of their menu items for a nice, discounted charge. There really is no excuse here, you can come for lunch or Happy Hour and get the same wonderful food at very affordable prices.

Bella & Yang is quite the surprise, you really can’t tell what’s going on here from the outside. People really need to discover this hidden treasure, it’s just delicious food at fantastic inexpensive prices. Bella has really created something from her heart, you will taste it in every bite. She puts her whole soul into this establishment, she really cares. There is so much more food here that I have to try! It’s worth every minute spent here, like me you too will be so excited that you have such a desirable Asian restaurant so close by!

Bella & Yang

12045 5th St.

Yucaipa, CA 92399.

(909) 790-0001
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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 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, and 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 was taken off of their website.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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