Friday, December 30, 2016

L'Ami Restaurant

Move over comfort food,L'Ami Restaurant in Santa Monica (on the border of Brentwood) has burst onto the scene in all its splendor.
Hidden behind an original wrought iron gate covered in ivy, it's reminiscent of the grand entrance leading into a magnificent estate on the French Riviera. L'Ami boasts a unique charm and characteristic atmosphere with two beautiful outdoor terraces surrounded by a variety of lush plants, and dotted with dimly lit rooms.
The open-air terrace, arched passageways, and  blue painted ceilings reveal a casual ambience for dining. The bar and lounge, a favorite with the locals, is warm and inviting with a crackling fireplace and white shearling covered bar chairs. The ambience is much like stepping in to the welcoming elegant home of a friend , setting the stage for the main attractions, the cuisine, fine wine and cocktails.
L'Ami  captures Mediterranean culture, rich history, delicious intricate cuisine and regional delicacies that blend together to offer an unparalleled culinary adventure, along with impeccable service. The menu combines owner Marc-Antoine Rambaud's childhood culinary experience with the influence of French-born Chef Francis Bay, and General Manager Tropez Aubour, all born in Southern France. Chef Bey's approach and passion for introducing French cuisine continues to inspire him to combine authentic fresh ingredients with organic and seasonal dishes. His French Mediterranean menu classics are enlivened with imagination, flavor, beauty and tradition.
Bringing a taste of the Mediterranean, Bey mixes simplicity with sopsistication along with some unexpected touches in his elaborate entrees with his fresh and clean flavors. Butternut squash ravioli with Russian kale, Scottish salmon with ginger soy lemon vinaigrette, Maine lobster with  black truffle farro risotto, The Mezze appetizer, Foie Gras Au Torchon are some of his amazing  creations.
Specialty cocktails, beer and fine wines from across the globe will certainly quench yur thirst.
L'Ami for great Westside/LA dining is located at 246 26th Street in Santa Monica, phone: (310) 310-8064 or for dining hours.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Lomita Railroad Museum

On a day created for why we live in California, it was an unexpected treat and surprise to discover not only the city of Lomita, but the  charming Lomita Railroad Museum, dedicated to the proud era of the steam engine that's the hallmark of the Museum.
The Museum, the first of its kind west of Denver, Colorado, was founded in 1967 by Mrs. Irene Lewis who commissioned the Museum in memory of her husband Martin, and bequeathed it to the City of Lomita. The Lewis' had owned "Little Engines of Lomita," a business that manufactured miniature live steam locomotives, and so Irene Lewis was most familiar with the history and operation of railroads. After researching train depots and stations nationwide, she chose to copy the Victorian architecture for her replica of a 19th century depot, the Boston & Maine's Greenwood Station in Wakefield, Massachusetts.
Inside you will find such treasures as the Locomotive Whistles, Locomotive Classification Light Collection, Tie  Date Nails, Keeler Cooler, Link and Pin Coupler, Hand Lantern Collection, and much more.
Outside there's a Southern Pacific Railroad steam locomotive and tender in operation from 1902 to 1960. Close by is a 1910 Union Pacific caboose and a modern all-steel Santa Fe caboose. Across the way is a 1823 Union Oil tank car, and 1913 Southern Pacific,outside braced  box car; and a wooden railroad water tower.
You are welcome to board the steam engine, explore the caboose, and tour the Museum gallery with over 1500 rare and historic artifacts on display.
The Museum located at 2137 Wesr 250th Street, Lomita, CA 90717 is at the corner of Woodward and 250th Street. There is an entrace fee. They are open Thursday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and for more information and reservations phone: (310) 326-6255 or

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Angelo's and Vinci's Ristorante

Ablaze in festive lights, brimming with panache, and surrounded with vintage photos and memorabilia, with just one step through the door you'll have no doubt that you have entered a wonderful eclectic Italian ristorante. Bigger than life, Angelo's and Vinci's Ristorante, is set in the hidden gem of the city of Fullerton, that wondrously has been able to retain the beat of the 1950's.The old building where the ristorante is now housed, has a treasured history of being an old marketplace in the early 1900's, where local farmers brought their produce in from the fields by horse and wagon.
Angelo's and Vinci's was originally opened in 1971 by husband and wife team, Cynthia and Steven Peck (who was a Hollywood dancer and choreographer). After Steven passed 11 years ago, the personable and charming Cynthia took over the ristorante. The perfect hands-on hostess, she walks around her huge establishment, making sure all her guests are satisfied and well taken care of.
Cynthia is proud to talk about the food here. "Love of tradition, inspiration and an infinite capacity for taking pains constitutes the secret of our food! We have an extensive menu, specializing in abundant delicious dishes using the freshest ingredients and imported Italian cheeses."
There are 50 delicious pasta and stuffed pasta dishes, award winning pizzas (from all regions of Italy) with a variety of traditional toppings, and a large assortment of salads.  Appetizers include Calamari fritto, Mozzarella marinara fritto, and a wide  variety of Entrees that highlight seafood, chicken and grilled items, all served with soup or salad.
Of course there is always room for dessert when there's such mouthwatering offers as spumoni, Tiramisu (flown in from Italy),cheesecake with strawberry sauce, chocolate cake and Zeppoli donuts.
. The full bar is ready to enhance your dining experience with a wide variety of wines,beers, liqueurs and cocktails.
. A variety of banquet rooms can be viewed on their website.
Located at 550 N. Harbor Boulevard, Fullerton, CA 92832  phone (714 ) 879-4022

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Inn at Newport Ranch

The sheer majesty of untamed natural beauty unfolds just in time to allow guests to enter into the welcoming gates of The Inn at Newport Ranch.  Perched on the craggy Mendocino coast, this breathtaking hideaway is set in seclusion on a 2000 acre private preserve that was once a former lumber town known as Newport. Here amidst the stunningly varied landscape is this land of "once upon a time!"
The meticulously designed main lodge is where you begin your adventure. Right behind the stain glass doors are plenty of cozy communal areas including a well stocked library set besides a massive fireplace, 2 dining rooms (one intimate, and one that can seat 50) ,and a den with skillfully hand crafted furniture, all beckoning you to sit down, relax and enjoy. Surrounding windows overlooking the ocean are the ultimate romantic spot to view a glorious sunrise or stunning sunset. Each evening from 6 to 7 p.m.guests enjoy appetizers,and area wines from Anderson Valley and Sonoma,perfect to toast your good fortune for choosing this fantastic Inn. Also to your delight, each morning, mouthwatering made to order breakfasts are served here. By request for your dining pleasure, gourmet dinners prepared by a private chef (all including veggies and herbs from the on-site garden) can be arranged at booking.
Evan, one of the personable managers, after a short introduction, handed us our key and walked us into the closest thing to a palace and the perfect place to bed down. Furnished in rustic high-end decor that was so amazing, I knew I might never want to leave, so I set out to enjoy every moment.The door to our suite named 'The Grove,' led us into an entryway where we hung our coats. Next came a den with a crackling fireplace, rugs set out on  gorgeous wood floors, perfectly placed oversize leather chairs with comfy pillows while throws to snuggle in were everywhere. The adjoining living room was a perfect area with IPod docks, WiFi and TV. The kitchen had just the right appliances, pots and pans, and matching rustic glazed dishes, mugs and glasses. and cutlery. Alongside the kitchen area was a small table and chairs, just the place to grab a snack, a hot cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Right outside the beautiful glass doors leading to the back area, were two separate decks with chairs for sunning, along with a hot tub that was welcoming as well.  The beds with gorgeous carved headboards in each of the two bedrooms were dressed in the finest high thread sheets and topped with warm plump fluffy quilts. The two bathrooms were dreamy enough to delight any woman, with walk in showers, thick plush towels and robes.

A highlight here is the 2 hour ATV tour for you to survey your kingdom. Thrill at the verdant hills and meadows, cattle pasture, forest, private and oceanside trails, sea stacks, sandy beaches and the historic cemetery. Horseback riding, hiking and other activities can also be arranged.

The Inn at Newport Ranch is owned by Will Jackson, and Creighton & Cindi Smith are the Inn Managers. Located at 31502 N. Highway 1, Fort Bragg, CA 95437, phone (707) 962-4818 or  and so very well worth the gorgeous drive to get there.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Costero California Bar + Bistro

Making waves as the newest restaurant near LAX, Costero California Bar + Bistro offers a contemporary and engaging environment that serves modern California dining and local craft  beer/
Serving up a variety of classics with a California twist, Costero is an all aroud venue, a hotspot for locals and visitors. "Costero is the perfect blend of upscale casual dining with a convenient yet inviting environment," said Bill Sinclair, Vice President of Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel, the hotel in which Costero is located. "This fresh from California approach not only provides guests with a new on-site dining option, but a place where they can  get together with friends and family, or even make new connections.
Representing an exciting combination of tradition and innovation Executive Chef Orazio Parisi brings his Cordon Bleu skills and Sicilian sensibility to the creation of a menu that emphasizes fresh, seasonal flavors, and a California coastal take on time-honored American cuisine.
You will enjoy a wide range of delectable small plates, savory soups, Neopolitan pizzas, artisinal salads, fresh tacos, sandwiches, large entrees,  vegetarian/vegan options, and decadent desserts. Simply put, no matter what you're craving, Costero will have a culinary creation for you.
Located inside the Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel, 6101 West Century Blvd, Los Angeles 90045, phone (310) 642-4820

Sunday, September 18, 2016

San Mateo County/Silicon Valley- the best of the San Francisco Bay area

"As Fresh as it Gets!"
Board Jet Blue out of Long Beach to San Francisco Airport for an easy and comfortable flight to start your magical adventure and journey.
Get to experience the sights, sounds and flavors of San Mateo County and Silicon Valley with nearly 90 miles of unique San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean coastline  immediately south of San Francisco. It's bordered on the east by the Bay and on the west by the Pacific Ocean, running through Palo Alto and Stanford University to the south. The fascination with San Mateo County and Silicon Valley is the mild climate with plenty of sunshine allowing for many recreational activities including "Play by the Bay!" It is about the glorious outdoors and the scenic beauty, the beaches, hiking trails, redwoods, reservoir, lagoon, flora and fauna and open space. It is sought after for its cultural attractions, shopping, trendy culinary dining on delicious local food, quaint country chic coastal towns, and more recently for its seafood, produce, gourmet goat cheeses, wine and beer that are all "As Fresh as it Gets!'
Where to stay: You can't go wrong staying at the Hyatt Regency SFO; Half Moon Bay Hotel; HMB Lodge; Dinah's Garden Hotel; DoubleTree Brisbane.
What's Cooking: Enjoy 3SIXTY at the Hyatt Regency SFO: Pasta Moon Ristorante & Bar;La Co
 stanera; Three; Dinah's Poolside Restaurant; Sam's Chowder House; 7 Mile House.
Museums & Gardens : Filoli Mansion and Gardens, a National Trust Historic Site; Stanford University, Cantor Arts Center/Anderson Collection. 
Food and Farms: Harley Farm an award-winning goat dairy farm.
Brewing Tours and Tasting Wineries: A Grape in the Fog, Pacifica; ;Half Moon Bay Brewing Company; Flying Suitcase Wines; Domenico  Winery; Russian Ridge Winery; Armstrong Brewing Company.
Outdoors:: Hike at Wunderlich Park; Hike at Stanford Dish; Edgewater Marine Lagoon Cruise; Pillar Point Harbor.

And.... don't miss the chance to mingle with the locals here who sport a carefree attitude, a whimsical and creative spirit that never fails to delight.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

East of Eden-the beautiful Salinas Valley

Stretch your sense of discovery and quest for adventure experiencing the beautiful Salinas Valley in California's heart of the Central Coast. Best known as the "Salad Bowl of the World," this off the beaten path destination offers an excellent wine trail, America's newest National Park, spectacular nature experience, the home and museum of Nobel prize winning author John Steinbeck bursting with stories, and the original farm to table foodie paradise creating all that makes Salinas so irresistible.
Your spectacular journey begins on board the Amtrak on the way to Salinas. In ultimate comfort, get to feast your eyes on one of the most breathaking and gorgeous panoramic views in the world. Along the way pass by Ventura, Santa Barbara, Coast Hollister Ranch, San Luis Obispo, Cuesta Grade, Paso Robles, Salinas River, Salinas Valley, "the salad bowl of the world," King City,location of Hamilton Ranch in East of Eden, and the largest wine producing region in the United States. Look out over farmland, forests, strawberry fields, vineyards, dolphins frolicking along the coast, fishermen bringing in their catch, surfers, lovers holding hands, and children making castles in the sand. Get off in Salinas, John Steinbeck country, where his novels and characters spring to life.
Unpack your bags at the Hampton Inn & Suites located in Salinas (888) 370-0981 www.hampton-inn-and-suites-salinas, and get ready to enjoy such wonders the Hahn Estate Tour of winery and tasting; Salinas ValScenic and Heritage Drive of Salinas Valley;Fog's End Brewery; Ag Venture Tour; Agricultural & Rural Life Museum; Mission Nuestra Senor de la Soledad; River Road Wineries. You will find joy for the palate in Salinas' First Awakenings; Giorgio's; Cherry Bean Coffee House & Roastery; Salad Shoppe; Grower's Pub Steak House and the John Steinbeck House that's open for special occasions.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mezzet Mediterranean Cuisine

I was certainly not expecting a beautiful upscale restaurant in a mall, but then again South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa is not just any mall, and Mezzet is not just any restaurant.
There's a full service  bar and lounge set in the middle of Mezzet's open area that beckons you to enjoy your favorite cocktail or a stem of wine from one of their international varieties. It is just the place to be after a day of shopping, or the setting for a romantic dinner.
Opened  this past June, Co-owner and partner Wallie Nasser gave us an overview of Mezzet and introduced us to Executive Chef Anthony Mattina who created the outstanding menu.
Sampling many of the items on the menu, some of the more popular appetizers included Hummus; Baba Ghanoush;Vine Leaves; and Octopus Carpaccio. Unique salads were the Super Grains; Wild Kale Caesar and Beet Salad with Goat Cheese. Superb Entrees from the Fire Grill were Lamb Kafta; Classic Steak Au Poivre and Salmon Kebab. Moroccan Tangine showcased your choice of Lamb, Chicken or Vegetarian.
If Pizza is what you came for you will not be disappointed with the Margherita; 4 Stagioni; or Grilled Chicken. Mouthwatering homemade pasta feat;ured Penne Arrabiata; Linguine Alle Vongole and  Ravioletti, homemade beef ravioli with Bolognese sauce.
Yummy desserts are presented by your server.
Located at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bear Street, Costa Mesa, phone (714)540-3365

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Jagerhaus German Restaurant

Jagerhaus German Restaurant has  been serving authentic homemade classic food for over 37 years, and for the past 16 years the charming and personable owner Sandra (Sandie) Schwaiger, has continued on with that tradition.
Surrounded by the ambience of a  German cafe, it is the closest thing to actually being there.
Guten Morgen-(  Good Morning) breakfast specialties include German Apple Pancakes, Austrian Raisin Pancakes,  German Pancakes with lemon and powdered sugar, Bavarian Cherry Pancakes, Crailsheimer Potato Pancakes with applesauce, and an assortment of omelettes.
Guten Tag and Guten Abend (Good Day and Good Evening)  brings out such sumptuous delights as Bratwurst, Polish Sausage, Knackwurst and Hot Hot Link Sandwiches; Calves Liverwurst; G.I.Joe special (two pieces of Pork Tenderloin with Swiss cheese on rye; Hungarian Beef Goulash, Sauerbraten; Szegdliner Goulash; Baby Back Ribs cooked in Sauerkraut; Fresh Sauteed Chicken Livers; Braised Lamb Shank; Weiner Schnitzel (lightly breaded veal steak); Rahm Schnitzel (veal steak and creme sauce);Paprika Schnitzel (pan fried pork, fresh red and green peppers); Roast Ham Hock;Grilled Norwegian Salmon; and Grilled Boneless Trout.
There is a gourmet selection of German beer and wine including ice wine and other dessert wines.Refreshing European sodas and sparkling waters are the perfect thirst quenchers.
Did somebody say Desserts! Hard to pick choices include Peach Cobbler; Apple Strudel; Black Forest Cake; German Chocolate Cake and Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce.
There's meeting rooms and  banquet rooms that hold anywhere from 20-100 people.
Open 7 days a week Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Located at 2525 E. Ball Road in Anaheim 92806 (at the 57 Freeway)
Phone (714) 520-9500

Saturday, August 20, 2016

San Antonio Winery

A historical landmark since 1965, San Antonio Winery is the city's only working winery, with the atmosphere of a European wine estate and a welcome as warm as the sun baked hills of Tuscany. In 1917 Santo Cambianica came from Italy and founded San Antonio Winery naming it after his patron Saint St. Anthony. It has since added flavor and flair to downtown Los Angeles.
San Antonio Winery is a pre-Prohibition company and one of the last wineries owned and operated dfor four generations by the same family who founded it. Family owned and operated by Santo's nephews Stefano Riboli and histhree children Santo, Cathy and Steve at the helm.
Maddalena restaurant  named after Stefano Rivoli's late wife, is an indulgence in delicious Italian California cuisine set in an atmosphere reminiscent of an Italian trattoria. Maddalena brought the European charm of famly dining to her restaurant and the essence of her homeland with fresh pastas, grilled entree, salads, and of course wine, a welcome companion at every meal.
. Today it still produces premium quality wines from grapes grown on their vineyard estates in Napa Valley and Monterey,  grower-partner vineyards in Paso Robles, and many viticultural areas of California.
San Antonio Winery and Riboli Family Wine Estates proudly offer these highly rated award winning brands:
Riboli Family Vineyard-Windstream-Opaque San Antonio Artisan Series-San Simeon-Maddalena Kinderwood-San Antonio Winery Specialties and Classics-LaQuinta-Bodega De San Antonio Sangria-II Conte D'Alba Stella Rosa Brand-Villa Alena.
The beautiful Wine Shop is the perfect place to choose the perfect bottle of wine, or if you are looking for a unique gift you will definitely find it here.
The winery is located  at Plaza San Antonio, 737 Lamar Street, Los Angeles 90031; phone (888) 223-1401 or  There is ample free parking.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Holman Ranch: Where the Past is Always Present

Set among the provincial setting of rolling ranch land, vineyards and meadows of wildflowers, the town of Carmel Valley wraps itself around the concept of splendid scenic beauty.
Carmel Valley, lying among streams and forested hills, is famous for its dining, equestrian trails and golf. Blessed with a sunny, temperate climate and gentle winters, it's a perfect environment for its vineyards and wineries.
Bringing an incredible sense of joy, historic Holman Ranch tucked away in the rolling hills of Carmel Valley provides charming gardens, stunning mountain views and serenity. This private estate affords old world charm while providing modern day conveniences. The stunning property immersed in history and romance, includes a fully restored stone hacienda, overnight guest rooms, vineyards, olive grove, horse stables, swimming pool and fitness center. The Ranch provides a unique and memorable setting for weddings, special events, family gatherings and retreats.
Holman Ranch wines are unfined and crafted  to deliver the true varietal of the grape from harvest to table. The estate wines of Holman Ranch include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose's of Pinot Noir,
Their Jarman label named for their family matriarch Jarman Fearing Lowder reflects quality with only the best local grapes used during an artisinal, small batch winemaking process.
The Wine Caves  on the property are completely underground in order to take advantage of the natural cooling and humidity held below.
The fruit of the Olive Groves on the Ranch are carefully hand-harvested and pressed and bottled.
The Holman Ranch Tasting Room offers the perfect backdrop to swirl, sip and savor the different complexities of Holman Ranch Vineyard and Winery Wines. It is located at 19 East Carmel Valley Road, Suite C
Will's Fargo Steakhouse plus Bar is a legendary venue now owned by the Holman family. It's like stepping back in time when fine food and service were the rule. Located at 16 West Carmel Road in Carmel Valley
Holman Ranch is located at 60 Holman Road in Carmel Valley (831) 659-2640

Friday, July 15, 2016

Phoenician Restaurant in Glendale

Ara Kalfayan. the personable and charismatic owner is at the helm of the iconic Phoenician Restaurant in Glendale. Larger than life, Ara is always there to extend a hearty welcome to his devoted loyal patrons, as well as warmly greeting new diners.
The Phoenician dining room, while quite romantic, is also whimsical surrounded by the eclectic decor of various mixed media art  pieces.  If alfresco is your choice, there's a large open patio for you to enjoy.
The cuisine is an array of authentic and sumptuous fine Lebanese dining. Cold appetizers include: Hommos, Baba Ghonouj; Moussaka; an. There's an array of cheeses. Hot appetizers are: Soujook;San Bousek; and Arayes among other delights.. Lovers of salads will not  be disappointed with the Olive Salad or Cucumber and Yogurt. Grilled choices highlight  mouthwatering ,Chicken Shauarma;Lamb Chops, Lamb Shanks, Kebabs and Mixed Grill. Sea Bass; Shrimp Sautee and Shrimp Kabob top the list of Seafood. You can't go wrong with Mezza, Family Style. Top if all off with large  Platters of  fresh fruit , and a various selection of desserts including chocolate and cheese cakes
Knowledgeable and courteous servers and staff are always available to guide you with choices.
Hours are: Sunday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.&  Bar to 12 a.m. -Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12 midnight & Bar to 1:30 a.m.
Friday and Saturday night from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. featured live entertainment includes a singer and guitarist singing Middle Eastern and American music, as well as Belly Dancing.
Phoenician Restaurant is located at 343 N. Central Avenue, Glendale 90213. Call for reservations at (818) 956-7800.  Valet Parking is available.
It's worth the trip.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Thornton Winery in Temecula, CA

Set out for as breathtaking day of wine tasting, gourmet cuisine and entertainment along the lush rolling hills of Southern California's Temecula Valley Wine Country.
Head for the family owned Thornton Winery (overseen by President Steve Thornton), that buzzes with both locals and wine tasters.
Here among the region's micro-climate and well drained decomposed granite soil, boasts an incredible lineup of award winning Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and a variety of Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Vintage ports. The Tasting Room is open year round, and the 1500 foot elevation makes for cool summer nights.
While Chefs  from around the world vy to bring their brand of culinary magic and wine pairing to the tables of Wine Country, Thornton's  is right on top with their  elegant country French Cafe Champagne,/where you  get to dig into the creative dishes of their gold medal winning contemporary cuisine.
Lining the walls of Cafe Champagne are 12 prestigious Gold Awards  for their cuisine and wines, that caught the eyes and the pallets of the Southern California Restaurant Writers.

As if the delicious food and flowing  wine are not enough, every Friday evening Thornton Winery livens things up with live music on their patio from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
July 8 brings Crimson Crow; July 15, Little Lies with Big Truth; July 22, Rolling Stones Tribute Band; and on the 29th B.I.G. August 5 brings Huey Lewis Tribute Band; the 12th Crimson Crow; the 19th-Big Truth; and on the 26th it's Black Hat Pasty.

The sought after Thornton Winery 28th Annual Concert Series lineup features;
Al Jarreau, Saturday, July 16 at 7 p.m.; BWB, Saturday, July 23 at 7 p.m; Dave Koz and David Sanborn, Saturday, July 30 at 7 p.m.; Chris Botti, Sunday, July 31 at 6 p.m.; Michael McDonald, Saturday, August 6 at 7 p.m.; George Benson, Saturday, August 27; Kenny G, Sunday, August 28 at 6 p.m.l Gerald Albright & Jonathan Butler, Saturday, September 10 at 7 p.m.; Pat Metheny, Saturday,September 17 at 7 p.m.;Keiko Matsui, Kenny Lattimore, Michael Lington, Saturday, September 24 at 7 p.m.; Ottomar Liebert, Saturday, October 1 at 7 p.m.; Spyro Gyra & Lee Rittenour, Sunday, Oct 2 at 4 p .m.; Brian Culbertson with special guest Javier Colon, Saturday, October 8 at 7 p.m.; and  Richard Elliot & Peter White, Sunday, October 16 at 4 p.m.
The Gourmet Supper Package includes a reserved table under the covered patio, and a 3-course meal served during the concert.
For tickets phone (951) 699-3021 or

Thornton Winery is located at 32575 Rancho California Road in Temecula. phone (951) 699-0099 or

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Phoenix, AZ

Robin  blue skies smudged with streaks of russet and burnt sienna embrace the majestic red-rock mountains, towering cacti and exotic palms, in the captivating Sonoran Desert landscape. Phoenix, the heart of this desert hub, provides the excitement of old west myths, and a thriving metropolis that's waiting to be explored.
The ancient Hohokam Indians were the first to set the stage for creating an oasis in the Arizona desert by digging primitive irrigation ditches and canals. The 1800's brought a colorful tapestry of cowboys, miners, pioneers, artisans and rogues who came together to tame the land. By 1926 Phoenix was officially put on the map when the Southern Pacific Railroad connected Phoenix with the East creating the resorts and hotels that began popping up across the desert.
Today, Western heritage still influences the culture, architecture, cuisine and art of this desert valley.

Hang your hat at the Wigwam Arizona Resort in Litchfield Park, Designated as a "Historic Hotel of America," the Wigwam is an iconic Arizona landmark and AAA  Four Diamond property and a member of Preferred Hotel's Lifestyle collection. Situated on an estate like setting, the resort spans over 440 acres with distinctive adobe architecture featured in the 331 casita-style  guest rooms including 72 suites. The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, four pools, five restaurants and bars ,and 54 holes of championship golf lead to lasting memories.
Located at 300 East Wigwam Blvd., Litchfield Park, AZ

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Wang Tcheng Chinese Dining & Lounge

Wang Tcheng in Anaheim delights the palate with the presentation of the delicious cuisine of Chef Lance Wang, who along with his lovely wife Penny are co-owners.
An appealing large venue with its own bar and lounge, Wang Tcheng  showcases unique divided areas and interesting nooks and crannies that appeal to both couples looking for a romantic table for two, as well as families and larger groups.
Whet your appetite with such zesty dishes as Wang Tcheng Specialties that include: Arrow Matic Shrimp; Assorted Seafood; Happy Family (all seafood and veggies); Sea Cucumber with Abalone; Sweet & Sour Whole Fish (Talapia); Clams with Black Bean Sauce; and Peking Duck.
There is also the classic presentation of Soups; Vegetable Dishes; Noodles and Rice; Freshly made Noodle Bowls; Stir Fry Dishes and Deep Fried Dishes. A variety of Pan Fried, Fried and Steam Dumplings are also offered.
Wang Tcheng is located at 1199 N. Euclid Street (714) 778-9988  and  is open daily 11 a.m to 9:30 p.m. Their Lunch Menu is available Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Togo's Sandwiches in Chatsworth

Togo's Eateries, Inc. a "West Coast Original" since 1971 known for its big,fresh and  meaty sandwiches that are served with a smile, is celebrating its first location in Chatsworth.
"Togo's pronounced Toe'-Goes, is excited to announce our newest restaurant in Chatsworth, owned by Tom Menik," said Tony Gioia, CEO at Togo's.
The first 250 guest to join the Togo's Tribe will receive a Reward for a free 6" regular classic sandwich. Giveaways   for the Chatsworth community will continue through October 2016. Guests can register at and will need to choose "Chatsworth" as their Favorite Location to become a Tribe member. As a member you will also receive Rewards and special offers.
Togo's is the "West Cost Original" for sandwich fanatics who crave fresh artisan breads, and premium hand sliced meats. Togo's also caters meetings and parties of every size.
Located at 20790 Nordhoff Street, Unit 4, or phone (747) 202-9257 to  place an order and skip the line.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Heart of Yolo County

Yolo County, the perfect getaway with the right combination of town and country, is one of the original 27 counties created when California  became a state in 1850. It is said that the origin of the name may be derived from the native Poewin Indian word "yo-lo" meaning abounding in the rushes.
Located in the rich agricultural regions of California's Central Valley and the Sacramento River Delta,
Yolo County with a population of 200,000 is directly west of Sacramento, and northeast of the  Bay area counties of Solano and Napa. It makes a  great homebase for fantastic regional exploration. Excitement awaits lovers of art, history, agriculture, eclectic museums, cultural attractions,adventure, wineries and fine dining.
Patchworks of trellised  vineyards, countless wineries, and babbling brooks weave throughout the area, enchanting visitors. As far as the eyes can see the natural beauty of trees, rolling hills, wild flowers, sunflower fields, and farmland spill on to overgrown landscapes.
Here too is where you can have the best of both worlds as Yolo seamlessly combines gourmet and organic food.
Highlights in the area include Velocity Island Park, Capay Valley, Putah Creek Park, Davis Farmers Market, Ag Museum, US Bicycling  Hall of Fame Museum, UC Davis Mondavi Performing Arts Center, Shrem Art Museum as well as vineyards and tasting rooms, breweries, shopping and upscale dining.
Yolo County is a treasure trove to experience and explore.
For more information : Yolo County Visitors Bureau (530)297-1900

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Riverside Community College's Culinary Academy

For many, many years the Southern California Restaurant Writers has been presenting a check from the Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund to several schools with a culinary arts department. For 2016 scholarships  were handed out by President Jim Woodin, and Scholarship Chairman Joe Hilbers to Orange Coast College; Los Angeles Harbor College, San Bernardino Valley College and Riverside Community College Culinary Arts Program.
At Riverside as a member of  SCRW  I had the privilege to go along with Jim and Joe to be part of the presentation, The director of the school 's culinary department, Bagher Moghaddam affectionately known as Chef Bobby sat down with us for a delicious lunch in the School Cafe, prepared and served by the students. Chef Bobby told us about their one year program which has produced many award-winning chefs, even at national levels, and that their students are under the guidance of an international team of certified award-winning chefs.
After lunch Chef Bobby was thrilled to lead us on a tour of the college's brand new facility downtown. His enthusiasm and joy was definitely contagious, and we could wee why when we saw the school's new fantastic state-of-the-art kitchen,classrooms and restaurant.


This beautifully dramatic, modern upscale Mexican Kitchen has 2 locations, one in Corona,CA at 980 Montecito Drive, Ste. 110, and the other in Rancho Cucamonga at 7881 Monet Avenue.
Francisco Perez whose dream was to always own a restaurant, worked at several restaurants including being a supervisor at California Pizza Kitchen. Now he and his son Cisco (who had been managing Latin Pop Groups from Mexico) opened Ciscos. Always looking for something new other then tacos and burritos, Francisco and Cisco gave their menu in Luna, a continental flavor incorporating cultures and traditions from across the world.
Specialtles include the ultimate Firecracker Mexican Shrimp; their own version of the Mexican Style Shrimp Cocktail; Cisco's Platter with a taste of many favorites; Drunken Salmon-blackened fresh salmon deglazed with tequila.
Their exquisite  tequila bar has an incredible display of endless choices for your pleasure.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Buca di Beppo at the Original Farmers Market

Buca di Beppo at the Original Farmers Market is officially open.
For a touch of nostalgia be sure and walk through the Market before reaching the newly opened Buca di Beppo.
Previously the home of Planet Dailies L.A., Buca di Beppo underwent a complete makeover before moving it. Although it definitely has the same beat as all their restaurants with family-style dining, and red and white tablecloths, the new Boca features a series of smaller dining rooms and the ability to accommodate approximately 200 diners. There's a vibrant bar area, large outdoor dining patio and private rooms for events and larger groups.
Staying true to its Italian roots, the restaurant is serving up mouthwatering Italian specialties including Bucca's Spaghetti with Meatballs; Spicy Chicken Rigatoni; Chicken Limone; Veal Parmigana; Chicken Saltimbocca; and Salmon Sorrento.
Dolce, Italian for dessert, highlights the Colossal Brownie Sundae; powerfully flavored Tiramisu; rich creamy Cheesecake topped with raspberry sauce and sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts; Chocolate Chip Cannoli;and so many more sinfully delicious offerings.
Located at: 6333 W. 3rd Street in L.A. phone (323) 370-6560

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Anaheim Whitehouse

The amazing and beautiful Anaheim White House Restaurant, a national historic landmark, recently presented their new menu to Members of the  Southern California Restaurant Writers.  At the request of charming and personable Manager Sylvano Iby, Sous Chef David Onesimo Lorenzo presented a magnificen 7 course dinner that included Foie Gras, Sturgeon Caviar, Abalone and Filet Mignon, alll artistically plated, and topped with a mouthwatering dessert.
Many of othe Members already knew of the amazing creations of Chef Lorenzo, as he was previously  the White House Pastry Chef for 14 years. Chef Lorenzo now thoroughly enjoys his culinary artistic talents as Sous Chef, much to the delight of all that dine here.
The staff was amazing and proved it's not a lost art to be attentive and yet not obtrusive, rounding out  the perfect fine dining experience.
In addition to delicious cuisine and fine ambience, it is a tradition (thanks to owner Bruno Serato)
 that for each dinner presented at Anaheim White House, a free pasta dinner is served to a homeless child.That amounts to an amazing 1400 free dinners to underprivileged children nightly.
Anaheim White House is located at 887 S. Anaheim Blvd, in Anaheim. For reservations, phone (714) 772-1381 or

Thursday, April 21, 2016

5th Annual Jazz & Wine Festival sponsored by the Rotary Club in Westlake Village, CA

The highly successful 5th Annual California Jazz & Wine Festival sponsored by the Rotary Club of Westlake Village was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. Hundreds of visitors came out to pay homage to some great causes including the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, the Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists program, and  other Rotary charities both locally and globally.
It was an afternoon of pleasure sampling the fine beverages of over 60 wines, craft brews, and boutique spirits from exhibitors that  included: Distillery Rum, Cutler's Artisan Spirits, Squashed Grapes,Twisted Oak Tavern, Sunland Winery and Ventura Limoncello Company. We also  relished tasting the cuisine from many of the finest local restaurants, the likes of Grissioni Italian Ristorante, Maestro's Steakhouse, Paul Martin's Grill, Spanish Hills Country Club and Urbane Cafe.
On the main stages the sounds of mellow jazz floating through the air featured the artistry of Grammy Winner Tom Scott with his quintet, along with Adam Clark Trio, Paul McCallum & Friends, and Santa Barbara Community College Jazz Big Band. The Bistro Stage was also filled with performing musicians.
We enjoyed a lovely California day under robin blue skies with just enough of a breeze to create the ultimate in comfort.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Seta in historic uptown Whittier

Critically acclaimed Executive Chef Hugo Molina, is at the helm of Seta, a family owned restaurant and lounge in historic uptown Whittier. By his side is his beautiful wife Aricia, who was originally his pastry chef in his Pasadena restaurant. Aricia is now co-owner with Hugo, and Seta's general manager.
Long heralded for his extensive and ambitious menu of Modern American Cuisine, Chef Molina presents a culinary adventure like no other with his rainbow pallet of cuisines. Molina prides himself with using prime, hand selected cuts of meat and the best steaks prepared over mesquite wood.  Cuisines from different cultures include Day Boat Diver Scallops; Mexican Corvina Sea Bass; Alaskan King Salmon; New Zealand Lamb Chops; New York Bone in Rib Eye; and Muscovy Duck Breast. Top it off with such favorites as Passionfruit cheese cake with brulee bananas and cashew nut crust.
The cocktail creations and tailored drinks on the menu compliment Chef Molina's creativity. Enjoy watching Mixologist Robert Gonzalez at the beautiful lounge bar as he mixes the premium liquors, adds house made infusions and blends in seasonal organic ingredients making each drink a work of art.

The warm dark wood interior design transforms throughout the afternoon and evening from a relaxed dining experience into a late night dining lounge. Outdoor dining is also available and private dining and event space is offered.

Located at: 13033 Philadelphia Street in Whittier, phone (562) 698-3355 or

Hours are Lunch Monday through Friday from 11;30 a.m. to 2 p.m.- Dinner-Sunday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cocktail hour-Monday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Late night lounge-Friday through  Saturday up util 11 p.m.  Sunday Brunch is also served.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

"Car Free" fun in Santa Barbara

Showcasing the best that Santa Barbara has to offer, the "Car-Free" way is an easy, fun and unique way to get there. Once there just show your train ticket to receive discounts for hotels, dining, and the many special attractions that make Santa Barbara a premier vacation spot.
We parked our car at the station in Chatsworth,  and boarded the Amtrak Northbound Pacific Surfliner . We sat, back in our comfortable seats, relaxed, and took in the incredible scenery unfolding before our eyes. In Business Class we enjoyed coffee,  tea and sweet rolls during our early departure, arriving Santa Barbara in style in a little over 2 hours.
We walked 3 blocks to the privately owned small historic Hotel Santa Barbara, in the heart of  downtown on State Street, where we spent the night. Offering the perfect blend of history, convenience, charm and comfort, we were warmly welcomed by Nadine Turner, sales and marketing manager, along with the  rest of the attentive staff. Room amenities included a flat screen TV with extended cable and HBO, fridge, free HiFi, and comfy beds with pillow top mattresses.
After settling in we immediately opted to board the Santa Barbara Trolley, where we took the fully narrated 90 minute tour of the 'America Riviera.' After getting our bearings we took advantage of the jump on and jump off feature that the trolley has to offer. Some of the highlights were Stearns Wharf, the Old Mission, the Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Art Museum, Bike Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Zoo. Sailing Cruises, Fun Rentals (bikes) and much more.
We also took advantage of the electric bus (50 cents each) that actually dropped us off right in front of the hotel.
From our location on State Street there were endless choices to dine and shop.
The next morning after a first class Continental Breakfast at the hotel, we took the trolley to the Funk Zone (part of the Urban Wine Trail) where there were blocks of award-winning wine tasting rooms.
Going back aboard the Amtrak Southbound Pacific Surfliner we again sat Business Class and on this late departure we were served a goodie bag and given a choice of soda, wine or water.
Our car was 'waiting' at the train station, and we both agreed that our car-free Santa Barbara experience was a perfect pleasure.

Santa Barbara Car Free is an award winning project founded and led by the Santa Barbara County Pollution Control District with more than 100 community partners dedicated to making car-free vacations through December 31,2016. Find resources and car free discover ideas  at:

Monday, April 4, 2016

Arrive Car Free to 2016 Santa Barbara Car Earth Free Festival & Win Prizes

The Santa Barbara Car Free Project announced that people arriving without a car to the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival on April 16 and 17, 2016 at Alameda Park, can register to win prizes-including the Grand Prize: round trip tickets for two from Santa Barbara to Seattle or Portland aboard the Amtrak Coast Starlight in a private roomette with incredible scenic views and meals included. Additional prizes to  be awarded include: pairs of Amtrak Pacific Surfliner tickets; a one-nights stay at Hotel Santa Barbara; brunch for two at Belmond El Encanto Hotel, passes from Clean Air Express Saturday Services to the Santa Ynez Valley and much more.
For information access day. To find out more about Santa Barbara's Earth Day Festival highlights,visit

World's Largest Zero Waste Tea Tasting Party

On April 3 California Science Center was the scene of an attempt to break the Guiness Record for the Largest Tea Tasting with over 800 guests in attendance including many characters from Alice in Wonderland.
 Live music from around the world,unlimited tea samples, a dessert buffet by Chef Stef Candy, including orange tea infused chocolate brownies, Earl Grey shortbread cookies, lemon curd cups garnished with a blueberry, and orange cranberry scones, with games and prizes rounding out the party.
Celebrating the launch of their product, The TeaBook at it is the new and evolved way to store, share and serve teas, as well as their artistically drawn and collectible line of teas . The TeaBook is chic, stylish, and lightweight and you can organize up to 144 teabags. Just  flip through and pick your tea of choice.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Costa Rica

March 31,2016

Costa Rica Tourist Board and Pro Image hosted an informative trade show and delicious dinner at the Universal Hilton.
A beautiful energetic country, Costa Rica is bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea and the west by the Pacific Ocean. Known as the happiest country in the world, it's where nature is expressed through all its splendor thanks to the extraordinary biodiversity that exists here.
Along with being a pioneer in eco-tourism, there's endless opportunities for adventure including diving, fishing, white water rafting, and whale watching. There's romantic beaches,volcanoes, rainforests and cloudforests, eco-adventure tourism, pure trek canyoning, the ultimate waterfall adventure ,as well as a new tourism program called "Essential Costa Rica."
Costa Rica Kosher Adventures presents Passover with seder nights and onsite synagogue.
There is an amazing selection of hotels, and one of the newest is Croc's Casino Resort, located beach front with incredible ocean views, surrounded by nature and just 90 minutes from the airport.
As for getting there-Alaska Airlines now has a direct flight from LAX to the Juan Santamaria International Airport in the Central Valley region north of San Jose.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

San Antonio Winery

A  historical landmark since 1965, San Antonio Winery is the city's only working winery, with the atmosphere of a European wine estate, and a welcome as warm as the sun  baked hills of Tuscany.
Nearly one hundred years ago Los Angeles was home to acres of vineyards and more than 90 wineries. In 1917 Santo Cambianica came from Italy and founded San Antonio winery, naming it after his patron saint Saint Anthony.

Today, only Santo's winery remains producing premium quality wines from grapes grown on their vineyard estates in Monterey, Santa Barbara and Napa Counties. Their wines have won more than 1,000 awards in national and international competitions.

The winery is located off the 1700-1800 block of North Main Street at Plaza San Anotonio, 737 Lamar Street in L.A.