June 17, 2022 Pretty Woman: The Musical, The Dolby Theater – Hollywood, CA.

This show is inventive, fresh and follows the film but with lots more fun and enthusiasm. Based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories of all time, is now on tour! Starring Broadway superstar and Tony Award®-nominee Adam Pascal as Edward Lewis and rising star Olivia Valli as the charming and charismatic Vivian Ward. It springs to life with a powerhouse creative team led by two-time Tony Award®-winning director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell (Hairspray, Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde). Brought to the stage by lead producer Paula Wagner. Features an original score by Grammy® winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance (“Summer of ’69”, “Heaven”), and a book by the movie’s legendary director Garry Marshall and screenwriter J. F. Lawton. 

Featured in the musical is Roy Orbison and Bill Dee’s international smash hit song “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Produced by New Regency Productions, Pretty Woman the film was an international smash hit when it was released in 1990. Now, 30 years later, it delivers on all the iconic moments you remember. Get ready to experience this dazzling theatrical take on a love story for the ages.

The Cast:

Vivian Ward – OLIVIA VALLI , Edward Lewis – ADAM PASCAL, Kit De Luca – JESSICA CROUCH, Happy Man – KYLE TAYLOR PARKER, Philip Stuckey  – .MATTHEW STOCKE, Landlord-  CHRIS MANUEL, Susan -.CARISSA GAUGHRAN, Rachel  – ALEXA XIOUFARIDOU MOSTER, Giulio  – TRENT SOYSTER,  Hotel Staff – MICHAEL DALKE, CHRISTIAN DOUGLAS, JOSHUA KENNETH ALLEN JOHNSON, BRENT THIESSEN, Amanda – ANJU CLOUD, Erica – CARISSA GAUGHRAN, David Morse – CHRISTIAN BRAILSFORD, Scarlett – ANJU CLOUD, Fred -CHRISTIAN DOUGLAS,  Senator Adams – JOSHUA KENNETH ALLEN JOHNSON, Alfredo – CHRISTIAN DOUGLAS, Violetta –  AMMA OSEI.

Ensemble – CHRISTIAN BRAILSFORD, ANJU CLOUD, NELLA COLE, MICHAEL DALKE, CHRISTIAN DOUGLAS, CARISSA GAUGHRAN JOSHUA KENNETH ALLEN JOHNSON, CHRIS MANUEL, ALEXA XIOUFARIDOU MOSTER, KAYLEE OLSON, AMMA OSEI, ALICE REYS, JONATHAN RITTER, TRENT SOYSTER, and BRENT THIESSEN.

Gavin Kalin Productions, deRoy Kierstead, John Gore Organization. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS – Wendy Orshan AND Jeffrey M. Wilson, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR – DB Bonds, TECHNICAL SUPERVISOR – Full Stage Productions, PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR – Thomas Recktenwald, PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER – RL Campbell, COMPANY MANAGER – Michael Anthony Gremo, MUSIC SUPERVISION, ARRANGEMENTS AND ORCHESTRATIONS BY Will Van Dyke. DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY Jerry Mitchell.  Original cast recording available on Atlantic Records. BOOK BY Garry Marshall & J. F. Lawton MUSIC AND LYRICS BY Bryan Adams & Ji

About the The Dolby Theater:

One of the world’s premier entertainment venues, Dolby Theatre is home to Hollywood’s biggest night, the Oscars® and has hosted a myriad of prestigious artists, concerts and events including AFI Tributes to George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks, Tyler Perry theatrical plays, Los Angeles Ballet, Celine Dion, Prince, CNN Heroes, Cirque du Soleil IRIS, Andrea Bocelli, America’s Got Talent, American Idol, PaleyFest Television Festival, and World Premieres for Black Panther, Mary Poppins Returns, and Star Wars–The Force Awakens.

The Dolby Theatre experience begins on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame and leads to Awards Walk which features Best Picture Oscar® plaques for every film to win the honor. The Theatre was designed by the legendary David Rockwell and the lobbies feature sweeping stairways, cherrywood balustrades, and are crowned with a beautifully lit silver dome. These well-appointed lobbies also feature one-of-a-kind photography from the golden age of Hollywood to today’s iconic stars, all mounted on classic silver screens. Onsite food and beverage are provided by the renowned Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events.

Dolby Theatre is located within Hollywood & Highland, and features unique dining and shopping, nightclubs, a six-screen cinema-plex, and convenient parking with 3,000 spaces. Located adjacent to the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre and Loews Hollywood Hotel, the Theatre is in the heart of Hollywood.

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL  – “If you love the movie, you’ll love the musical!”  – BuzzFeed News.

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL – Is “Big romance and big fun!” -Broadway.com.

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL – “Irresistible! A romantic fantasy. A contemporary fairy tale,” – The Hollywood Reporter. 

This is Broadway at its finest; it delivers on all fronts. With it’s great story, great cast, and wonderful music, just the real deal. It runs from June 15 to July 3, 2022, get your tickets now, you don’t want to miss out!!

The Dolby Theater

6801 Hollywood Blvd.

Hollywood, CA 90028

* Note Some Content Was Taken Off Of Their Website.

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Hotel Ziggy Stay – June 14 & June 15, 2022 – West Hollywood, CA.

Whether it’s named after Ziggy Marley or Ziggy Stardust, Hotel Ziggy will take you back to your Rock and Roll roots. It is a fun lively new experience on the world famous Sunset Strip.

Hotel Ziggy is crusading to keep the spirit of the Sunset Strip, an epicenter of music culture, alive and rooted in counterculture and originality. It really checked all of my staycation boxes. Hotel Ziggy is a gathering place for the creative types of LA, as well as a home base for visitors who want to be immersed in the Strip’s rebellious roots, while having a little too much fun at their relaxing, alluring saltwater pool. It’s both a boutique hotel and a neighborhood hangout for locals. The pool offers live DJ sets, lounge chairs, bar service, and swim up guest rooms that serve as your private poolside cabana.

Backbeat is their own live music venue in the lobby. There’s a revolution going down at Hotel Ziggy, hipsters, musicians alike are all flocking to their Sunday night jam.  A weekly lineup of local bands, DJs, and events adds to this festive new spot in West Hollywood.

B-Side Restaurant – Here’s What I Tried:

American Breakfast, with 2 eggs, hash browns, chicken apple sausage, house made biscuit. Their house made biscuit will knock your socks off, a truly memorable breakfast.

Egg Sandwich, toasted English muffin, fried egg, American cheese, sausage patty. It is a bit spicy, but a very meaty hearty sandwich. This breakfast is a great way to start your day off.

Thai style Ribs. This was my favorite dish at the Ziggy Hotel, tender, flavorful, perfection.

Truffle Fries, wow, wow, wow, is all I can say.

Caesar Salad with Chicken, the greens are perfect and the chicken breast adds the just the right amount of protein.

Smash Burger with house ground prime chuck, fiscalini farm house cheddar, pan-roasted onions, lacto-fermented dill pickles, Calabria Chile aioli, and arugula. This burger is out of this world, made very simply but hit all of the right notes.

Arugula Salad, with Parmesan reggiano, toasted pine nuts, shaved fennel, and lemon anchovy vinaigrette. A version of this salad came with my Egg Sandwich and was very delicious.

Meat Balls, you get 3 huge meatballs; bathed in a lovely marinara sauce, just what the doctor ordered.

Free Bird Cocktail, with Vodka, ginger simple syrup, lemon, raspberries, and honey. This cocktail is fun and fresh, it will go down super easy.

There are wonderful elements of the 60’s and 70’s everywhere. The pool boasts a large mural looking very much like Peter Max did it himself. When you first walk in, the chandeliers are all vintage insides of speakers. The photos and art work all over shows that this epic period resonates on. Having been a teenager during this period I can remember lots of the great recording artists and the impression they made on me. All and all it’s a fine trip down memory lane that brings you back like it was yesterday.

My room was just the best. It had just been remodeled and reopened. I was told that I had the premiere room in the hotel. It is a suite with lots of great extras.  Headphone to record podcasts, a turntable, and large bed, with a view of The Strip.  The staff treated me like a queen, with all of the accoutrements. It was my home away from home for my 2 nights. It is so centrally located, you really can do and see so much while enjoying this reinvented hotel.

Hotel Ziggy

8462 West Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, California 90069

(323) 654-4600
https://www.hotelziggy.com

* Note Some Content Was Taken Off Of Their Website.

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June 9, 2022 – Stomp – Pantages Theater – Hollywood, CA.

This show is a real spectacle, but in the most simplistic way. You too will be clapping, tapping and snapping your finger to this percussion filled night of excellence. Matchboxes, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and more fill the stage with energizing beats at STOMP, the inventive and invigorating stage show that’s dance music and theatrical performance, blended together in one electrifying rhythm.

Info About Stomp:

‘One of the most successful off-Broadway productions, Stomp is an energetic mélange of acrobatic body movements, pantomime and rhythms created from everyday objects. A Drama Desk Award winner, Stomp has enthralled critics as well as fans in the U.S., ever since it debuted at Orpheum Theater in 1994. The eclectic theatrical show has embarked on several successful tours since, including a full-fledged tour of North America.’

Stomp Los Angeles History’

‘Percussionist Luke Cresswell and director Steve McNicholas created Stomp in 1991. The show had eight performers, which included acrobats, mime artists and percussionists who used everyday objects, such as dustbins, brooms and buckets to create rhythms. The show debuted at Bloomsbury Theatre in London and got rave reviews. It wasn’t until 1994 that the original cast and crew of Stomp made their way to the U.S., performing in New York City. Eventually, an American cast was finalized for the show the same year.’

Stomp Los Angeles Milestones’

‘Since making its U.S. debut at the Orpheum Theater in 1994, Stomp has delivered more than 5,000 sold-out performances in New York alone. The creators of the show have been roped in for several TV, film and theater projects, such as Pandemonium: The Lost and Found Orchestra. The show was an orchestral version of the concept behind Stomp and was showcased at Sydney Opera House in 2007.

An extended cast of Stomp was put together in 2007 for Stomp Out Loud, which was showcased in Las Vegas at a brand new theater, specially constructed for the show.

A short documentary, entitled Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey, was released in 2002, which got favorable reviews from critics and fans, alike.’

Stomp Los Angeles Cast’

Stomp’s Los Angeles production has an eclectic range of performers, including award-winning tap dancer Simeon Weedall, So You Think You Can Dance star Alexis Juliano and composer Marivaldo Santos, who has worked with such artists as Sting and Wyclef Jean.’

Stomp Los Angeles Live Experience’

‘Despite being around for more than two decades, Stomp continues to fill theaters at big as well as small venues. Stomp Los Angeles tickets are usually sold out really fast, which is why fans should grab them as soon as possible. It is a 90-minute, wordless show, which relies on percussive and acrobatic skills of performers to keep things interesting. Unlike almost all other theatrical shows, Stomp does not rely on narrative. Instead, it relies on novelty, whose highlight is the unassuming objects that are used to create sound textures and rhythms, alive. For instance, fans can expect to see something as unexpected as Zippo lighters and matchboxes as part of the live percussion ensemble.’

Current Los Angeles Cast:

Jordan Brooks, Joshua Cruz, Declan Hayden, Madeline Jafari, Zahna Johnson, Jasmine Joyner, Riley Korrell, Cary Lamb Jr., Max Meyer, Artis Olds, Sean Perham, and Cade Slattery.

What more is there to say, a real phenomenon, go see it!

Pantages Theater
6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

(323) 468-1700

https://stomponline.com
https://www.broadwayinhollywood.com

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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May 20, 2022, King Lear, Wallis Annenberg Theater, Beverly Hills, CA.

There is so much about this performance that you have to imagine. The story and the text is all there, but this special rendition of King Lear brings 2022 technology into Shakespeare space. Who knew that you could do selfies and videos taken off of cell phones as part of this very inventive production. Then there is the acting, really master class for acting students and anyone interested in the thespian universe.  What more is there to say, just go and see it you too will be just amazed at how far these wonderful inventive producers and directors can take this normally depressing story.

And did I mention the acting, especially Joe Morton, wow – the second act he blows the roof off of the joint, he is just that great. Joe does a great job as bringing his comic spryness, playing him not as a doddering old man but as a vivacious, engaging jokester who expects to be treated as the life of the party. He is a force to be reckoned with, he just finished his award-winning, sold-out performance as Dick Gregory in Turn Me Loose, and Joe Morton (ABC’s “Scandal,” the legendary Brother from Another Planet, Netflix’s “The Politician”).

This radical reinvention of Shakespeare’s greatest play explores questions of truth, love and power, and offers a glimpse of redemption. A typical story in our modern day and age, his cruel daughters turn on him after obtaining their inheritance, he becomes vindictive, then turns into a spiteful entitled abstinent shadow of a man. But he was so convincing for me, I just relished in every movement, every word, especially when he engaged with the audience, what a performance. I also really loved River Gallo’s performance, a nonbinary actor who uses the pronouns they/them, plays both Cordelia and the Fool.

King Lear

By William Shakespeare

Starring Joe Morton

Directed by John Gould Rubin


Cast Featuring:

Joe Morton as King Lear
Brie Eley as Regan
River Gallo as Cordelia / Fool
Mark Harelik as Gloucester
Rafael Jordan as Edmund
Zachary Solomon as Edgar / France
Emily Swallow as Goneril
Stanley Andrew Jackson III – understudy for Edgar/France and Edmund
Miguel Perez – understudy for Lear & Gloucester
Danielle Thorpe – understudy for Goneril, Regan & Cordelia/Fool

Composition/Sound Design by Danny Erdberg and Ursala Kwong-Brown reinforce and masterfully transition the emotional impact of the scenes.  The contemporary costume design by Deborah Hartwell reminds us of where and when we are, and the video projection by Keith Skretch makes this a unique and compelling production to experience. There are scenes of devastating floods and fires flash onto two rectangular video panels that face each other from opposite sides of the stage. The production transports us to a modern age in which texting and video calling are standard forms of communication, but there’s something superficial in the appeal to relevance.

The story line shows the violent power struggles within a dysfunctional extended family. Lear demands the love of his three daughters as he decides how to divide his kingdom amongst them and Lear’s loyal courtier Gloucester grapples with his two feuding sons. Rafael Jordan as the scheming Edmund, commands the stage offering powerful soliloquies and Zachary Solomon as Edgar. Brie Eley is flirtatious yet ruthless as the jealous Regan and Emily Swallow portrays an aggressive and treacherous Goneril as she takes on Lear’s emotional and physical abuse. Mark Harelik rounds out the cast as the embodiment of the white-bearded loving, superstitious and clueless, Glouester.

There are also bleachers constructed towards the back of the stage, where audience members can choose to sit, and the stage is set with banquet tables. Christopher Barreca’s scenic design, sharpened into focus by Stephen Strawbridge’s lighting, is organized around a set of banquet tables that, by the end, are flipped over, with their contents strewn across the floor. The whole production is very simple, but in the best way. By the final act, Keith Skretch’s projections are flashing imagery directly onto the audience, a section of which is seated behind the set. Pillars of video screens on either side of the stage project images of storms, forest fires, tidal ways, and desolate landscapes. One of the standout feature’s is the productions innovative use of cell phones to capture live video close-ups of each other as well as to project revealing text messages between characters.

About The Wallis:

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a dynamic cultural hub and community resource where local, national and international artists share their artistry with ever-expanding audiences. The campus, located in the heart of Beverly Hills, CA, is committed to robust and distinctive presentations and education programs curated with both creativity and social impact in mind.

Distinguished by its eclectic programming that mirrors the diverse landscape of Los Angeles and its location in the entertainment capital of the world, The Wallis has produced and presented more than 275 dance, theater, opera, classical music, cinema and family programs since its doors opened in October 2013. Hailed as “au courant” (LaLa Magazine), The Wallis was lauded by Culture Vulture, which proclaims, “If you love expecting the unexpected in the performing arts, you have to love The Wallis.” Its programming has been nominated for 48 Ovation Awards and seven L.A. Drama Critic’s Circle Awards. The campus itself, a breathtaking 70,000-square-foot facility, celebrating the classic and the modern, has garnered six architectural awards.

Designed by acclaimed architect Zoltan E. Pali, the restored building features the original 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office (on the National Register of Historic Places), which serves as the theater’s dramatic yet welcoming lobby, and includes the contemporary 500-seat, state-of-the-art Bram Goldsmith Theater; the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater; an inviting open-air plaza for family, community and other performances; and GRoW @ The Wallis: A Space for Arts Education, where learning opportunities for all ages and backgrounds abound. Together, these elements embrace the city’s history and its future, creating a performing arts destination for L.A.- area visitors and residents alike.

I know some of the reviews have not been too noteworthy, but my own experience was that this is a production not to be missed. It is just so creative and fresh that anyone would say, you really need to witness this new production of King Lear!!!

King Lear’s running time is 3 hours including a 15-minute intermission.  King Lear runs through June 5 at The Wallis in Beverly Hills.

The Wallis

9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.746.4000

https://www.thewallis.org/

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill – Lunch May 6, 2022 – San Francisco, CA.

Last time I was here was April 27, 2019, I was on my way to do a big trip to Mendocino, but Betty Lou’s was calling my name, so I had to try it. There is a sister restaurant called Sotto Mare Oysteria and Seafood that I have done reviews two consecutive Christmas’s. When my friend who lives in San Francisco told me that there is a spin off type place, I jumped at the opportunity to come taste the bounty. And what great bounty it was, all politics aside the food here is as good as Sotto Mare.  Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill opened at the highly desirable intersection of Columbus and Grant Avenues in a prime space formerly occupied by Viva Pizza. Sisters Betty and Louise are third-generation Portuguese from Hawaii, and Hector is from Temascalcingo, Mexico. Hector was executive chef at Sotto Mare since it was opened in 2007 by master restaurateur Gigi Fiorucci and became an instant classic. Betty was the longtime principal server there, and Louise was the manager. Gigi Fiorucci is their brother-in-law. It’s bringing some much-needed revitalization and excitement to Broadway — that southern boundary of North Beach, now known more for its nightlife than for its fine dining.

This time around the food was just as remarkable as in 2019, its just really great ingredients and fantastic food.

Here’s What I Tried:

East Coast Oysters Fanny Bay, just the right amount of these little beauty’s, super fresh and succulent, yum.

Boston Clam Chowder, creamy with lots of clams, everything you would want in a clam chowder.

Combination Crab and Shrimp Louie Salad.  I really crave a good Louie salad, especially the dressing. They did it justice, just one of my favorites.

Mikes Wok Crab, with whole crab, scallions, cilantro, garlic, ginger and soy sauce. This delicious dish is a creation of Betty’s husband, Mike – a concoction of Dungeness crab, ginger, scallions, red peppers and soy sauce; wok tossed with lots of love.  This dish has become a huge favorite!

I always want crab when I am in my fair city, this crab was a bit of an adventure, with lots of terrific flavor. But however you order crab here, just make sure you order it, always the best crab you will ever have.

Seafood Pasta Fettuccine with tomato cream sauce. clams, mussels, prawns, sea scallops, bay shrimp, calamari. This dish won best noodle in the Noodle festival. The Noodle Festival returned after a 10-year hiatus, pitting Chinatown against North Beach in a culinary battle royale. I can totally understand why, it was just amazing and I substituted the linguine for the fettuccine.

Scallop and Prawn Combo Sauté, served with tender carrots and asparagus, and scalloped potatoes. The scallop is very large and meaty and so is the delicious prawn, a true winner.

Wine:

Chardonnay, Ferrari-Carano, Healdsburg, of course this wine paired with all of the fish dishes, just the perfect amount of depth in the wine to add to this scrumptious dish.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Prisoner, Oakville, this wine would do great with a steak, but it was a real winner with the soy notes in the Mike’s Wok Crab.

Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill team takes great pride in being a warm, friendly San Francisco eatery with a top-notch seafood and Italian flair!  I just adored Rosalyn Columbo, she’s been at Betty Lou’s since the beginning, she makes you feel like you are in her own dining room at home. In November Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill will be celebrating their seven-year anniversary.

During the Pandemic they were open from 4-8pm daily, and San Francisco had a curfew at 10 pm. I asked Betty what she wants my readers to know about Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill and she said,  “The food is really really good”. 

The one take away that you get is, eating at Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill, you feel like you’re in your own Mothers home. They just make you feel so welcome, and deliver unique incredible food, that’s it in a nutshell.

Betty Lou’s Seafood & Grill

318 Columbus Ave.

San Francisco, CA 94133

https://www.bettyloussf.com/

(415) 757-0569

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ENTREPRENEUR/CHEF/POP-UP GURU YONATAN CHAITCHIK CURATES A NEW IMMERSIVE INSIDERS FOOD EXPERIENCE

May 13, 2022 – Hollywood, CA. ———-Talented young tastemaker superstar; Yonatan Chaitchik has embarked on a new culinary model in the foodie mecca of New York City.

Monday NYC is a pop-up event. Yonatan is changing what a day off looks like. He selects groups of chefs, sommeliers, and hospitality professionals, hosting delicious food opportunities, with a different mindset and style. Chaitchik says, “We serve on our days off what we would like to eat and drink in a more casual setting, but simplicity is the key. A great simple dish with the best ingredients, paired with an excellent glass of wine, it’s very relaxing for these industry professionals to kick back and enjoy.” The name comes from the day hospitality workers have off; so they all get to recharge their engines, usually on a Monday. It’s a novel concept, created by Yonatan that has blown up in the last few months in Manhattan and beyond.

Born in Israel, Yonatan Chaitchik honed in on his craft in some of the top restaurants in Tel Aviv, starting for Chef Eyal Shani. Then following his instincts he moved to the East Coast three years ago. Studying at The Culinary institute of America, then staging at Carbone. Yonatan Chaitchik is currently part of the opening team at Saga in New York’s upscale financial district, working with Chef James Kent and Restaurateur Jeff Katz. Saga is known for its diverse cuisine, using primary European techniques, which has aided in Yonatan’s overall gastronomic knowledge.

Monday NYC’s menu is inspired by both techniques of the masters, and Mediterranean based cuisine. The food options change often, based on the resident chefs vision and the season, the style of food is really dynamic. Yonatan also brings in a new sommelier and or mixologist each time, giving them the artistic freedom to stage and execute their personal ideas. Yonatan plans to do more pop ups in NYC and other US cities every week.

With so many new unique epicurean ideas, innovator Yonatan Chaitchik promises to be the hot new next wave in gastronomic culture. Twenty-six years young he has his whole life of ahead of him, always inspired and continuing to look for original ways of presenting fun cuisine. His creative juices are overflowing, ideas that only come around once in a lifetime, but this self – proclaimed events and food guru is here to stay.

Instagram:

@yonatanchaitchik

@mondaynyc

Media Inquiries:

Jodi Jackson

JJ Entertainment

323-356-0797

Joddith@aol.com

What were your earliest childhood memories regarding food?

YC: Running into my great-grandmother’s house and looking for white chocolate in the kitchen. She was a brilliant cook, and so is my grandmother, I learned everything from her.

What did your family cook?

YC: My father is a very talented cook. He makes a lot of Italian food and Jewish food. My mom is obsessed with nutrition and health, so we always had amazing organic produce in the house.

What is your favorite food smells?

YC: I’m absolutely in love with the smell of fresh bread out of the oven. I grew up next to a bakery, and this smell is everything to me.

Who are your favorite local chefs?

YC: Ignacio Mattos from Estela, and James Kent from Radicle Hospitality. I admire clean and minimalistic food that bursts with flavor.

Who are your favorite celebrity chefs?

YC: Anthony Bourdain.

What does Monday NYC mean to you personally?

YC: Monday NYC for me is an outlet for young restaurant professionals to express their creativity and share it. Usually it takes years of work until you get that chance in a restaurant. Here we all get to do it on our own terms.

Do your friends and colleagues enjoy Monday NYC?

YC: Luckily my friends are huge supporters and come often to eat with us.

How do you find your chefs for Monday NYC?

YC: At the time it’s been always friends of mine from the industry. I’ve been fortunate to work around amazing young chefs.

How do you find your sommeliers and mixologist for Monday NYC?

YC: When I go eat and drink at restaurants I hunt for people who interest me and connect with them, first, we become friends, then we can work together.

How did you start getting into event planning?

YC: Somehow at every restaurant I worked in, I found myself most attracted to the events. The spirit of this one time project made it exciting for me. When the pandemic closed the world, I was lucky enough to go back to Israel and hone my event skills with the famous Israeli event planner Dzima. He taught me so much and I’m forever grateful.

Did you have a mentor in event planning? 

YC: Dzima was my first mentor, and these days I would say my Manager at Saga, Gracie Estacio is my biggest mentor. She’s a true inspiration to me, and has a rare skill set that makes her an amazing mentor and friend.

Was there a memorable recipe your mother made?

YC: My mother makes a whole-wheat cake with apples and nuts, healthy and delicious.

What was daily life like back in Israel as a child?

YC: I was a very active kid after school; I was active in scouts, judo, and windsurfing.

Did your parents influence your culinary dreams?

YC: My Parents supported me endlessly through my journey. We all love food, so they were always behind me in all my culinary aspirations.

Do your siblings cook?

YC: I have one sister and she is 16, she’s more on the consumer side at the moment.

What was daily life like back in Israel as a child?

YC: I was a very active kid after school. I was active in scouts, judo, and windsurfing.

What kind of ingredients did your family use for your meals?

YC: Olive oil, tomatoes, amazing bread, and tahini.

How was food sourced?

YC: My mother would spend a lot of time finding organic produce she liked, and my father would go to the market in Tel Aviv twice a week to buy meat and other stuff.

How are the grocery stores in Israel?

YC: The quality of products is quite high. We used to buy most of our stuff in the markets, and specialty stores.

Where do you grocery shop now in New York?

YC: I do almost all of my shopping in Essex Market. I live nearby, and I have great relationships with many vendors there.

How did you get your start in the culinary world?

YC: My first job came as a surprise. When I graduated from high school I went to eat at my favorite restaurant that opened a spot near my house, they said they are looking for a worker, so I randomly applied. I never thought of working in a restaurant, but after having a good conversation with the chef I decided to give it a try. After my first day at work I came back home and told my parents I found my destiny in life, I was in love.

What types of schools did you complete?

YC: I went to AOS in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of America.

Why did you want to move to the US?

YC: New York City in the top of the world culinary wise, and I always wanted to work here for the greatest people.

Do you have a family?

YC: I have one sister and two parents, they live in Israel but we are still very close.

How does your family influence your style of cooking now?

YC: They inspire me to cook healthier.

What do you see as the new trend in food?

YC: People are steering away from international luxury towards local and fresh.

What is your favorite food?

YC: I love pasta – in any shape or form, also tomatoes and any fruit.

What is favorite region for cooking?

YC: Italian Cuisine really is a big part of who I am.

What is your favorite region for food?

YC: Right now I’m most fascinated with Turkey. I went to Istanbul before the pandemic and my mind was blown away.

What would you say is your own cooking style?

YC: Super simple, I use very few components, trying to highlight their beauty.

What is your favorite restaurant?

YC: North Abraxas in Tel Aviv. It’s part of the group where I first worked in Israel, for chef Eyal Shani.

What cities have you traveled to?

YC: I’ve traveled all over the world for food – top destinations for me are: Bangkok, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Paris, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, and New Orleans.

What other restaurants do you enjoy outside of New York City?

YC: I had a life-changing meal at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

What was the best culinary city you have ever been to?

YC: Istanbul, no doubt.

How do you see the food scene changing in New York in the next five years?

YC: Old School fine dining is dying away. People are looking for a more nonchalant dining experience.

How do you see your career changing in the next 5 years?

YC: I hope to open my own restaurant and event space in the next five years. Until then I want to keep working with as many people I can at SAGA, and Monday NYC.

What advice can you give a new chef starting out?

YC: Hard work is the only way to get started. The more you give at work, the more you will get back in life-long lessons.

Who would you say influenced you the most in your career trajectory?

YC: The amazing mentors I worked for, people who motivated me to be my best self.

What types of wines do you enjoy drinking?

YC: Personally, I find Burgundy the very best. I also drink a lot of German Riesling and Muscadet from the Loire Valley.

Have you done any education on wine and the wine business?

YC: Not yet, I plan to start my education through the court of Master Sommeliers.

How has the Vegan industry affected your business?

YC: The demand is higher, which forces everyone to be more creative about it.

Do you have some great Vegan recipes?

YC: My mom is vegan, so I often have to adapt my food for her.

Do you have any plans of opening a restaurant in the future?

YC: Absolutely, it’s my lifelong dream, which I hope to achieve in the next few years.

What is a meal that reminds you of your childhood?

YC: Rice with meatballs, my grandmother is super talented cook and she always makes that for me.

Do you enjoy Jewish recipes?

YC: I love Jewish food, especially chicken soup!

What’s your best memory of your family sitting around the table at a Jewish holiday?

YC: Once we spent Passover in the desert with family and friends. No reception or distractions, just us and the stars. It was so quiet and happy without anything but us.

Will you pass along your family recipes to your children?

YC: For sure, my father’s tomato sauce and grandmother’s meatballs will always be with me.

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Lunch and To Go – Pasta Brothers – May 4, 2022 – San Francisco, CA.

Owner Sam Moeini is so nice, and did I say movie star handsome. He was so generous with me, giving me loads of products to stage at my friends home. I really enjoyed our conversations and all he had to tell me about his life, passions and business.  He is a super intelligent, interesting man!

Here’s what I tried and was given:

Fresh Sandwich:

Black Forest Ham Sandwich, super fresh bread and just the right amount of meat. This is a really great choice for lunch.

Pastas:

Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli.

Heart Shaped Truffle Mushroom Ravioli. 

Lobster Ravioli.

Sauces:

Beef Ragu Alla Bolognese.

Alfredo White Pepper and Nutmeg.

Pesto Nut Free IL Pastaio.

Ready Made Products:

Impossible Beef Lasagna Bolognese.

Beef Lasagna Bolognese.

Polenta with Roasted Peppers and Fresh Spinach.

Eggplant Parmigiana.

 

Other Products:

Egg Pappardelle With Hemp Seeds.

Pappardelle All’Uovo.

EVOO Ritrovo Oil.

I basically mixed and matched quite a few different products:

Egg Pappardelle, I made a combo of the Alfredo White Pepper and Nutmeg Sauce and The Beef Bolognese with The Egg Pappardelle, it was so delicious. The very flavorful sauces combined were the perfect way to enjoy this very fresh pasta.

Lobster Ravioli, I made my own sauce with cream, butter, garlic, shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, corn, zucchini, and peas. It was very delicate and amazing.

The Roasted Butternut Squash, I made a very simple sage and butter sauce; this is one of my favorite dishes at some selected Italian Restaurants.  The sage and the butternut squash is very succulent, the best marriage of all ingredients.

Heart Shaped Truffle Mushroom Ravioli, I used the Alfredo sauce on this pasta, it was the perfect combination. If you plan on making a romantic dinner this is the pasta to use, it’s heart shaped.

Eggplant Parmesan,  the perfect amount of sauce, with the very tender eggplant, just the best.

Polenta with Roasted Peppers and Fresh Spinach. I put some of the Beef Bolognese Sauce on the top with some fresh parsley, really that is all you need. It is a simply wonderful dish. Everything is flash frozen, because they do not use any preservatives.

Sam Moeini and his brother Siam, who are identical twins, came from Iran after the revolution and escaped through the mountains, down to the border of Iran and Turkey. It took them three days to cross the mountains, at 30 below, they both lost 45 pounds. They made it to Turkey after 10 days, and then they eventually got to Rome, Italy, and lived there for 4 years. That is where they got their knowledge about pasta and Italian food in general.  He describes their harrowing escape being as dangerous as it gets. The brothers could have been shot at anytime and at one point were chased by wild dogs and wolves. This is the kind of stuff that screenplays are made from. Their chaperons carried raw meat to fend off the wild dogs and the wolves. Luckily they made it and are here to talk about all of their scary adventures, all of this at the young tender age of 17. They then came to America in 1985, with no money. Sam worked at a gas station for $2.25 an hour, as well as going to Contra Costa County College. Sam wanted to be a brain surgeon or a cardiologist. He says, “Even surgeons need to eat.” He loves the artistic side of the food industry, coming from a family of poets and painters.

Sam and his brother are very close and they also have a real estate company together. In 2015 they purchased a food-manufacturing company in San Jose, IL Pastaio Foods, which has been in existence since 1989. Brother Siam has tripled the business since they purchased it. They do manufacturing of up to 40 thousand pounds of pasta a month, selling their products to food purveyors, and restaurants. They decided to have a retail branch to promote products in San Francisco. Sam designed the whole store, which is clean and elegant. He created the logo for his Pasta Brothers for their flag colors. Pasta Brothers opened last September in 2021. Siam runs the San Jose operation and Sam takes care of the local San Francisco retail store. Sam also does all of the administration, licensing, compliances and financing.

Local neighborhood customers are loving their food. It took one and half years to get permits, during Covid. The space was a State Farm office before, many improvement drawings and permits were needed to open. The City was very happy to have them and they got approved.

Pasta Brothers is such a great addition to Divisadero St., from what I made and tasted their pasta is so incredible, just a super great find. The prices were extremely affordable as well. You can take any of their pastas home and treat your friends and family, they will be so happy.

Pasta Brothers

1734 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

(415) 525-4002

https://www.pastabrotherssf.com/
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Satche – April 22, 2022 – Dinner – West Hollywood, CA.

West Hollywood always has so many surprises, and Stache is just one more of them. Its fun, lively, filled with laughter, and surprisingly good food.

Here’s what I tried:

Cocktails:

Life on Mars, with Tequila, fresh watermelon juice, bitters, and mint. I just loved this dink; with the fresh watermelon juice it is very refreshing

Rocket Man, with Belvedere Vodka, espresso, coffee, liqueur, coconut cream. This drink is for the coffee martini lovers and it also gives you quite the jolt.

Purple Rain, Empress Gin, Prosecco, lavender liqueur, lemon, and mint. I just can’t get enough of this drink; the floral nuances are just out of this world.

Moscow Mule Smirnoff Vodka, ginger beer, fresh lime juice. This is a nice rendition of this ever-popular cocktail.

Shared Plates:

Calamari, Lightly breaded, Cajun spices, lemon wedge, and marinara. The calamari is tender and the breading doesn’t overwhelm you, it’s a great starter.

Brussels sprouts, with lemon, garlic, tater tots, crushed red pepper, coconut bacon, and spicy aioli. Another terrific dish for a vegan, and if you are not vegan you too will enjoy all of the marriages of flavors.

Chicken skewers, with herb marinated, BBQ, and tzatziki. The presentation is just astounding, and the flavors of the grilled chicken and tzatziki is a real Greek party in your mouth.

Burrata, with fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and balsamic. The tomatoes are cut in quarters so you really get great tomato flavor in every bite, and the cheese melts down your fork.

Salads:

Protein salad, with mixed greens, beyond chicken, quinoa, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, cilantro avocado salsa, pepitas, cranberries, croutons, and green goddess dressing. The beyond chicken pieces are the perfect way to eat vegan and not miss the meat, I just adored this salad.

Chicken corn and avocado salad, with greens, grilled chicken, avocado, corn, lentils, tomatoes, toasted almonds, and lemon vinaigrette. A very hearty scrumptious salad, the sweet corn makes it simply divine.

Tacos & Burgers:

Street tacos, with jackfruit, cilantro avocado salsa, Queso, pickled cabbage, chipotle, corn tortilla, add avocado. This is truly one fantastic dish, it is tasty and just the perfect vegan indulgence.

Cali burger, with a beef patty, bacon, cheddar, avocado, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, and aioli. A very big burger with all the fixings and then some, just what the doctor ordered.

Mains:

Bolognese Gnocchi slow cooked beef and Italian sausage, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and crostini. This is the kind of sauce your Italian Nonna would make and the Gnocchi’s are rib sticking good.

Steak frites, 8 oz. ribeye, garlic confit, fries. The steak was cooked to perfection, with its great tender texture and amazing flavor, a real winner.

Sides:

Classic fries, thin, crispy, simply delicious.

Truffle fries, of course anything with truffle will delight my taste buds.

Tater tots, nice and meaty, another great potatoes side dish.

Wines:

Nomadica Chardonnay, this is a great very drinkable wine that paired great with the calamari and the salads.

Nomadica Red Blend, it was served chilled and enhanced the flavors of the meat in the burger and the steak.

Calling Stache a LGBTQ restaurant is just the start; it also has a fantastic club in the back and does some very fun activities through out the week. Wednesdays is drink and draw from 6:00-9:00, figure drawing on patio. People come with their drawing pads and draw different poses. Then there is always a happening club scene after dinner. Their customers are LGBTQ, couples, and friends, mixed, young and lively. They play super fun Music: Top 40, along with club mixes.

Handsome Owner Ryan Floyd is from Alabama and he also owns 33 Taps Silver Lake, he is a seasoned restaurateur. Stache used to be Café D’ Etoile and an ice cream shop. They were up against Lisa Vanderpump – Pump and David Cooley – The Abbey to get the lease. Ryan Got approved in December 2019, then once Covid hit they had to stop all construction and not open for more than a year. Stache finally opened in Sept. 2021. The night I was their business was really booming. Everyone was enjoying his or her delicious food and drink. And did I say that everything is very affordable!

It originally opened as a Vegan spot, but very recently they added some meat items to the menu. Trying to appeal to a wider audience, in June they will be open 7 nights a week – until 2 am. I got there at 6pm, but 7:30 the place was jumping, they were showing RuPauls Drag Race finale in the back club area and it was so much fun, and so exciting. (I did order dessert but they got too busy for it to be delivered, just know if you want to go eat – go early.) I actually went home and watched the whole show, to see whom the winner would be, and I am not a regular watcher of that show. But the crowd’s enthusiasm was contagious.

Stache is a great new addition to Boys Town, if I am not careful I will become a fixture in the future..lol!

Stache West Hollywood

8941 Santa Monica Blvd

West Hollywood, CA 90069

https://www.stacheweho.com/
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WOW CREATIONS Celebrity Lifestyle Gifting Suite in honor of the 94th Academy Awards – March 24th, 2022 – The Hilton, Universal City

It was so great to see everyone back in action, after a few years everyone was out. The vendors and the celebrities were so happy that the full Oscars are back. Including gift suites, parties, charities pre Oscar events, all ready to go.

Here were some of the vendors at The Wow Creations Gift Suite:

Prevail Beef Jerky, Don Francisco’s Coffee, Path Water, Turning Point Magazine, Amour Proper, Chef Izzy, OMG Skincare, HVTV, Dj Zel Natural Shea Butter, Royale Roots, Paul Wayne Gregory, Wilkin & Sons, Ltd Honey, Curry Foodie, Capo Cagna Wine, Dee–Lights, Dr. Marty K. Casey, Mollie B, Errbshop, Rice Force, Kira Reed Lorsch Skin Mask,  Living Creators Collective, Man Eater, Michael Sullberg Wines, Optimal Rush, Capaquarius Media,  Loft & Bear, Archery Jewelry, SknVue, Renew, Sundrift,Laguna Gold, American Meadows, Dan-O’s, Misaky, Aztec Secret, Olive Oil  Pantry, Absinthia, Adore Blanc, Soda Jerk, House of Orange, Helen Ficalora, and Lolita Loaiza.

It was just so much fun being treated like a queen and enjoying all that this Awards season and suites has to offer. Thanks so much Mark and Matthew Harris, see you next year!

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March 22, 2022 – Dinner – Le Chat Noir French Restaurant – Downtown Riverside, CA.

I met Chef Jean-Pierre at a wine event is Los Angeles a while back, when I knew I would be visiting Riverside I contacted him and was delighted that he remembered me and wanted me to join him for a lavish food tasting. After decades of successfully running “Le Rendez-Vous” in the city of San Bernardino, owners Jean-Piere and Isabel Serre decided to open “Le Chat-Noir” in downtown Riverside to pamper their connoisseur clients in this area of the Inland Empire. Le Chat Noir totally reminded me of my time in Paris with my Dad. Tasting all, of this lush wonderful cuisine brought me back to my days in France. There is nothing like French food and done right it is the Mother of all delectable gastronomic food. I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner and would come back here anytime to relish in this fancy cuisine again.

This whole area was really a surprise to me. I had seen many stories about The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, but never came down here to see it for myself; all I can say is wow.

Here’s What I Tried:

Les Hors D’oeuvres:

Champignons farcis aux Escargots de Roquefort, Mushrooms stuffed with escargots and a Roquefort sauce. What a creative idea, usually these little darlings are served in ceramic shells, or actual shell, but instead served inside of a plump mushroom. So much rich buttery garlic flavor, this dish delivers great traditional French flavors, a true winner.

​Les Crevettes a la Moutarde, Shrimps sautéed in Dijon mustard sauce. The Dijon mustard comes through in every bite, and the shrimps are butterflied to perfection.

La Soupe:

Soupe a L’Oignon Gratinée au Gruyère, Onion soup with melted Gruyère cheese. You get a very herbed filled flavor, more then onions, which makes for one interesting onion soup, very different from what I have ever tasted, but truly unique and delicious.

Les Viandes:

​Vol au Vent au ris de Veau Xeres, Sweetbreads in a puff pastry served with a sherry sauce with Crimini mushrooms. This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. I never detected a puff pastry, but the sweetbreads were succulent, tender, and utterly out of this world.

La Noisette D’Agneau du Chat Noir, Lamb loin in a lingonberry and gorgonzola sauce. My sever Arturo recommended this dish and wow was he right. The sweetness of the ligonberry, with the tangy Gorgonzola sauce is the perfect combination.

Les Tournedos de Boeuf, Blanc et Noir, Filet mignon in a white and red wine sauce. This steak is cooked to perfection and the sauce just makes it so fragrant and flavorful. My gorgeous plate came with carrot, asparagus and mash potatoes. Jean-Pierre did a mix of all of these dishes on one plate; it was truly the best combination of entrees.

Les Desserts:

La Crème Brulée D’ Alexandra, French vanilla crème brulée. This is a great brulee, with all of the bells and whistles.

Wine:

Aviary Red Bland, Napa. This wine added a lot of depth to my main entrees, with the steak and the lamb, it worked perfectly.

They play French pop music, and opera. Their interiors feature red table cloths with wood floors. French style craftsman chairs, and triangular chandeliers. The overall theme includes, French motif, and Industrial metal wainscoting, with a redwood wall. Their elegant interiors and outdoor patio is just the perfect casual or romantic atmosphere for a flight to France.

The crowd included families, dates, and elders on dates. Everyone was enjoying his or her special night out. Le Char Noir opened 7 years ago on March 17th St Patty’s day. It has had much success including going through the Pandemic and staying open.

During Covid they were allowed to expand their existing patio close to the curb, but with a barrier. City officials dine here so they really wanted to help them.

My server Arturo Solis is from Mexico City, before this he was employed with The Mission Inn. Jean-Pierre’s son, Emannuel worked at The Mission with him and offered him the job. Arturo is extremely hard working; having lots of mouths to feed, with 5 kids and a wife.

My dinner was elegant and I felt very pampered, what an exquisite experience.

Open for Dinner from Tuesday to Saturday:

5.00 pm – 10.00 pm.

Le Chat Noir

3790  9th Street
Riverside, CA 92501

Tel: 951.786.9266

https://www.lechatnoirfrenchrestaurant.com/
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