Fun Food Festival in Santa Monica

On Thursday, March 2 experience more than 150 of the city’s finest dishes and libations under one roof of the Baker Hangar in Santa Monica, while supporting Planned Parenthood Los Angeles’ health services and education programs.

fullsizerender-391

This year Annie Miler receives the honor of Chef of the Year for 2017. Annie Miler is the chef and owner of Clementine in Los Angeles.

Food Fare offers two separate sessions designed to fit everyone’s schedule. The daytime session runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the evening session is from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Experience Southern California’s best chefs, restaurants and caterers. Some of the participants include 71 Above, Angelini Osteria, Baldoria, Button Mash, Da KikoKiko, Kali, Craft Los Angeles, Mozza Restaurant Group, Jon & Vinny’s, miro restaurant, Napoleon & Josephine, Red O Santa Monica, The Butcher’s Daughter, Lucques, An Catering by Crustacean, Mexikosher, Ysabel, Food Haus Café, Local Kitchen & Wine Bar, Malbec Restaurants, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, Petty Cash Taqueria, Racion, Savore Cuisine, Simmzy’s, SOCA, Takami Sushi, Cast Iron Catering, Top Tier Treats, Bar Pintxo, CasaLinda, Chichen Itza Restaurant, Dandy Don’s Homemade Ice Cream, Doma Kitchen, Hal’s Bar & Grill, Hamasaku, James’ Beach, Locanda del Lago, Nawab of India, Phorage, Rosti Tuscan Kitchen, Sugar Rush by iiSHA, The Albright, Thyme Café & Market, Venice Whaler, and Castle’s Catering.

Over 35 participants provide generous pours of wine, cocktails, beer, spirits, coffee, and tea such as Four Brix Winery, The Bruery & Bruery Terreux, Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, Cappuccino Man, Greenbar Distillery, Third Window Brewing Company, Golden Road Brewery, Jardesca, Honest Tea, and New Frontier Coffee. Dirty Sue Martini, Kikori Whiskey, Purity Organic, and Angel City Brewery will be there too.

Shopping includes art, jewelry, handbags, pajama sets, home décor, cashmere throws, and kids’ fashion. There is also a wine and spirit auction.

Advance tickets are $150 for the daytime session and $250 for the evening session.

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles provides care to over 150,000 women, men, and teens each year at our 20 health centers throughout L.A. Over 93% of the work is preventive, including life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, breast health services and health information and counseling. The education and community outreach programs reach 50,000 women, men and teens in Los Angeles County each year.

The festival is at 3021 Airport Ave, Santa Monica. To purchase tickets, go to  www.pplafoodfare.com.

A Peek into the 2017 Governors Ball

The 89th Oscars Governors Ball is once again produced by Cheryl Cecchetto of Sequoia Productions. For 28 consecutive years, she and her team have created a luxury experience for the Academy Awards Governors Ball. Oscar nominees, A-list celebrities and a selected group in the movie industry walk into the space at Hollywood & Highland, and are wow’d. “I’m in the business of creating experiences and memories that linger long after the last dance,” said Cecchetto.

For the 23rd consecutive year, a glamorous menu prepared by Wolfgang Puck and his Wolfgang Puck Catering team including VP Culinary Eric Klein and pastry team Kamel Guechida, Monica Ng and Jason Lemonnier.

In keeping with Wolfgang’s culinary passion, the menu consists of Wolfgang’s Eat, Love, Live (WELL) philosophy of providing fresh, natural and organic ingredients and celebrate local farmers, sustainable seafood and humanely treated animals.

img_0918

This year the red to silver and gold theme party offers more than 50 culinary whimsical dishes, starting with one-bite hors d’oeuvres to small-plate entrees that will be passed throughout the evening, including Puck’s signature smoked salmon Oscars.

New menu items include Moroccan spiced Wagyu short rib topped with a parmesan funnel cake; taro root tacos with shrimp, mango, avocado and chipotle aioli; lobster corn dogs; made-to-order sushi, poke and shellfish station.

img_0920

The ultimate dessert buffet featuring Puck’s sought-after 24-karat-gold chocolate Oscars. Wolfgang Puck Catering CEO Carl Schuster will direct more than 900 event staff through the party of the year.

img_0911

Back to created a flair with flowers is Mark’s Garden, celebrity floral designer. This year Mark has acquired flowers from South America, Holland and a few from Italy. Local flowers from California include blossoms on branches to give height and Ranunculus. “I found these stunning Italian anemones that tie in the red color theme,” said Mark.

img_0895

Piper-Heidsieck the revered French Champagne house known for its red and gold label is serving their Limited Edition 89th Oscars Champagne during the 2017 Academy Awards season. The limited-edition magnum bottles are enrobed in red and have a design of gold encircling the bottle. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay offering sparkling light gold and fine bubbles. The aroma of pear and apple dominate the flavor profile.

They also will have a rare 1998 Magnum made from 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. This black and gold bottle has an elegant essence of sandalwood, gingerbread and orange blossom.

img_0925

The Hillhaven Lodge offers a base of a distinctive blend of straight America whisky. There are four distinctive cocktails made by some of Hollywood’s best mixologists. Other top shelf spirits include Diageo Luxury Brands, including Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka, Tanqueray Premium Imported Gin, Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky and Zacapa Rum.

IMG_0890.JPG

Hillhaven Lodge was a posh spot for the entertainment elite starting in 1927. Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak, James Caan and Allan Carr used to visit often before renowned director and producer Brett Ratner took it over.

img_0950The Coppola Family Wine is the featured wine for the event. Guests will receive a limited edition Director’s Cut “Cinema Premiere 89th Edition” red wine blend and Russian River Valley Chardonnay. The red wine blend is made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Sirah.

For those seeking ideas for throwing their own Oscar party at home, go to http://oscar.go.com/news/oscar-news/oscar-party-ideas-7-ways-to-throw-the-perfect-party. blob:https://wordpress.com/84eab13c-fb34-4abe-a22b-b62d61d1d129

The 2017 Madison & Mulholland Swag Bag

During awards season, a variety of A-list women, award nominees and selected celebrities receive an array of congratulatory gifts from Madison & Mulholland founder, Jane Ubell Meyer. Since 2002, she has offered swag bags filled with items by inspiring entrepreneurs. Inside this year’s bag there are fashionable accessories, ready-to-wear items, luxury beauty products, delicious treats, exotic vacation destinations and home decor items.

50FC1C22-12D2-45E3-8005-B1E0193615F9.png

The confirmed nominees receiving a Madison & Mulholland gift bag includes Emma Stone, Nicole Kidman, Viola Davis, Ruth Negga, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Natalie Portman, Octavia Spencer.

For the first time, you too can own these items by visiting a Pop-Up Shop at Hollywood & Highland, just steps from the Dolby Theater and Governor’s Ball.

Here are a few of my favorite items in the 2017 bag and Pop-Up Store:

fullsizerender-486

Isabella Hearst New York: From the “No Paparazzi” collection. This black Italian leather luxe designer handbag has decorative tassles. It is manufactured in Florence.

fullsizerender-489

To get Red Carpet Ready, experience a new line of Coffee-based body wash and scrubs by Bio Miracle Skincare: made to firm, exfoliate and anti-oxidize skin. The deep hydrating Americano Mask is anti-aging and brightens skin.

fullsizerender-493
For movie star looking hair use Culture Hair Products: A moisturizing trio 1-2-3 hair care system is designed for multicultural, curly, unmanageable, and multi textured hair types. 1 is the Shampoo, 2 is the Conditioner, and 3 is the Finisher. Style your hair with two Brushopolis hair brushes. The Monroe USA Glamour is an hourglass round styling + finishing brush. It’s ideal for chin length to below the shoulder. This makes fine to medium hair straight and smooth, without the damaging heat of an iron. Perfect for lengthening bottom layers and refining fringe. The second brush The Teasdale is a engineered to create maximum volume with minimum breakage. With 3 rows of 100% first-cut boar bristle, each row is at a different level to provide better traction. It’s different than a traditional teasing brush, giving users more volume with less breakage.

fullsizerender-490
Bat your eyes with One Two Cosmetics: Magnetic Eyelashes! These were named “Best of Beauty Breakthrough” by Allure Magazine in 2016. Founder Katy Stoka believes, “Every day may you meet with fresh eyes the beauty of the world and the beauty of yourself.

Don’t let your hands give away your age. Mederma AG Advanced Dry Skin Therapy Hand & Body Lotion: Removes dead cells from rough, dry, sun-damaged skin while helping to maintain skin’s moisture balance.

fullsizerender-491
Pop in a CD by signer/songwriter Eva Keretic – Sky Wide Open to listen to while getting ready for an event. Eva is an extraordinary American vocalist living in Hamburg who sings from the soul.

img_1273

For your next book club pick, read the thrilling mystery and crime novel The Naked Philosopher: by award-winning screenwriter Paul Margolis. It’s fast-paced plot is hard to put down.

Celsius Energy Drink: A healthy energy drink that burns fat and is backed by science. This one-of-a kind product is 100+ calories with each serving.

fullsizerender-494

Treat yourself to a sweet and salty Coconut Macaroons. FreshBakedNY presents Michelle’s Maccs: They are eggless, flourless and covered in Elite Belgian chocolate. Each one is a crunchy and chewy chocolate and coconut bite of bliss.

fullsizerender-487
Truly Spiked & Sparkling is a clean, crisp and refreshing spiked sparkling water with a hint of fruit. With just 100 calories, this beverage has only 1 gram of sugar and 2 grams of carbs per serving – Truly Spiked & Sparkling is made with naturally gluten-free ingredients and contains no artificial sweeteners. It is a great alternative to wine, light beer and cocktails – no mixing required.

To purchase any of these items, visit the Pop-Up Shop at HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND, 6801 Hollywood Blvd #170 (Located on level 2) Los Angeles. It’s open now thru March 14, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Another Winner at The Wallis

Director Emma Rice received a phone call from her mother about a wonderful book that she was reading to her nieces. She urged Rice to bring The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, by Michael Morpurgo (one of the Uk’s most beloved storytellers) to life on stage.

Read my review about how she and others brought this story to The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts –

http://thestagereview.net/2017/02/16/review-946-adolphus-tips-the-wallis/

Peace. Love. Flower Child

After a day riding bicycles in Santa Monica, we ventured into the Bohemian restaurant Flower Child for an early dinner. Guests are transported into a happy world with peace signs, flowers and yoga mats curled into wicker baskets labeled, “Yoga Mat Parking.” This is a go-to spot for fitness enthusiasts coming in after a class, families and those seeking a no guilt, healthy meal.

img_0769

Flower Child is a fast casual spot where guests place their order at the counter and take a number to a table. It reminded me a little of the restaurant chain Tender Greens, yet once I tasted the food, I realized it is much different.

IMG_0758.JPG

Flower Child is a two story, 5,000 sq. ft. space with concrete flooring and white walls displaying interesting murals and artwork. The color palette is navy blue and white with sand colored banquettes and marble top tables with green bases. Upstairs is a full dining area with large exposed air ducts and light green shelves holding plants and little baskets.

img_0751

The restaurant works with suppliers who respect, protect and love their animals and farms. They only purchase organic produce and refer to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Dirty Dozen list, a popular and widely used guide to pesticide levels, identifying fruits and vegetables that have the highest and lowest pesticide residues. Pesticides used on many crops present health risks, particularly to children and those with health concerns, according to EWG.

All of the salads at Flower Child are under $10 and made with ingredients guided by the Dirty Dozen list. For those who are trying to eliminate sugar from their diet, Flower Child has a lemon-avocado dressing that is sugar free and dairy free to slick up the greens and vegetables.

IMG_0763.jpg

Flower Child offers Kombucha on tap and a variety of iced tea beverages that include a Japanese mango sencha green tea. I ordered it and found it both delicately sweet and tangy. It’s made with Japan’s most popular every day tea. There is also a passion fruit black tea and a decaffeinated red mango tisane. Tisane is a dark amber infusion of dried herbs. This one is enhanced with sweet mango. They provide a fresh daily juice and selection of hot loose leaf teas. They also serve local craft beer and red and white wine on tap poured in six and eight ounce glasses. The pinot grigio is quite good.
IMG_0754.jpg

This has become a popular spot for families during the day and early evening. They provide high chairs and a healthy multi-course kids menu for children under 12 for $6.50. Little ones can select a protein and two sides that include broccoli with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, smashed organic potatoes, sweet corn with quinoa, the mac and cheese, brown organic rice or a piece of fruit.

On the regular menu there are symbols designating dishes as vegan, gluten-free and/or vegetarian. They prepare some grass-fed steak and grilled chicken options too.

Bowls are international in flavor with a Thai cashew quinoa bowl; Madras curry bowl with a little coconut; Chinese bowl with forbidden black pearl rice and sweetened slightly with red japonica fruit. One can add shaved beef or shaved chicken onto this bowl for an additional cost.

img_0759

I ordered the Mother Earth bowl filled with ancient grains and a variety of vegetables that included sweet potatoes, portobello mushrooms, avocado, cucumber, broccoli pesto and greens dressed with a red pepper miso vinaigrette and hemp seed. A woman sitting next to us was enjoying a Mexican-style bowl with beans, roasted chiles, quinoa and avocado topped with an egg.

Wraps are popular with four varieties on the menu. They can be made with a whole grain or a flax and chia seed tortilla. There is also a gluten-free pita. The smoked turkey with gouda and avocado hummus is called the Flying Avocado. Others include a spicy non-GMO vegan tofu wrap.

img_0756

Meat eaters will enjoy the grass- fed steak with a French semi-soft pasteurized cow’s milk port salut cheese. It offers a mild flavor that is elevated with a horseradish yogurt. The melted grilled chicken wrap is spicier with melted pepper jack cheese, charred onions and peppers.

Since there are 14 different sides, I also ordered the “mix ’n’ match” sides plate with the option to choose one, two or three specially prepared sides. I chose three dishes, starting with the roasted butternut squash. It offered a delightful crunch due to the toasted mulberries. These little semi-hard berries offer a slightly sweet and tart essence. Mulberries grow on silkworm trees and have numerous health boosting flavonoid phyto-nutrients. There was also some chopped black kale glazed with a rich maple chestnut vinaigrette to provide more texture and flavor.

img_0753

The second side was a Japanese eggplant with Thai basil and chopped cashews. Next to it was a white and creamy gluten-free mac and cheese.

Seeking a sweet ending, Flower Child offers a few desserts that include an olive oil cake and variety of large cookies. We found both very satisfying.

img_0757

Looking for a dining destination to keep your 2017 resolution of eating healthier? Bring your yoga mat and park it by the stairs in a basket before freely ordering a variety of pleasing guiltless options.

Flower Child serves breakfast on Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m. They’re open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. 332 2nd St. (310)382-2901.

This article was featured in the February 16 issue of Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News – http://beverlypress.com/2017/02/peace-love-flower-child/

Valentine’s Cocktails at True Food Kitchen

Exploring the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, my husband and I wandered into True Food Kitchen for an early evening drink after witnessing a spectacular sunset.
The manager Serene Murray welcomed us and escorted us to the bar. She introduced us to bartender Renn Hershey and asked him to make us a few of their upcoming Valentine’s Day cocktails.

img_0717

As we sat on stools at the long, solid wood bar, we watched Hershey pour, shake and garnish a variety of drinks. There is a produce bar behind the bar, for him to freshly juice citrus and ginger to dazzle each one.


(Mixologist Renn Hershey creates four special cocktails for Valentine’s Day – “Hot in the Dark,” “Bows and Eros,” “War of the Roses,” and “Love a Pear.”)

We started by sharing a spicy tequila-based cocktail called “Hot in the Dark.” Hershey told us that it is made with Greenbar Distillery tequila, one of his favorite spirit makers. Greenbar Distillery is a local, award winning husband-and-wife company founded by Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew. They began making spirits in 2004, working with organic farmers who grow aromatic produce to enhance the flavor of their vodka, gin, tequila, rum, bitters and liqueur. Greenbar distributes the world’s biggest portfolio of organic spirits in lightweight bottles with 100 percent recycled labels. They give back to earth by planting a tree for every bottle sold. To this day, they have planted over 500,000 trees.

img_0731

Hershey used Greenbar’s IXÁ organic tequila for this cocktail. The tequila is handmade the traditional way from fully mature agave plants.

After a generous pour of tequila, he added lime juice and a little pomegranate juice for a float of pretty pink color. It was poured into a shallow, champagne coupe. This type of saucer shaped stemmed glass, was originally designed in the 1600s for sparkling wine and champagne in England. Filled to the rim, Hershey topped it with a sliced jalapeno pepper, giving the drink a little kick.

img_0714

We ordered the kale guacamole and baked pita chips. The guacamole was chunky with slices of pink grapefruit, chopped cilantro and roasted poblano pepper. It’s crunchy with toasted sunflower seeds and healthier than traditional guacamole and tortilla chips.

The next cocktail was made with another Greenbar organic spirit – a dark Crusoe rum made with organic molasses, offering a dense caramel aroma. Named “Bow and Eros,” Hershey added fresh ginger juice and honey syrup, coconut cream and a squeeze of lime juice. It tasted similar to a mellow piña colada. Served in a highball glass filled to the top with ice cubes, the frothy yellow beverage was adorned with a pineapple crown leaf and spear of fresh pineapple chunks.

This drink goes well with one of the four pizzas on the menu. The simplest is a Margherita and the sweetest is the butternut squash with smoked onion, kale, vegan almond ricotta, and dried cranberry. The most savory pizza is the chicken sausage with tomato and roasted fennel.img_0723

The most festive looking drink is the “War of the Roses” made with Smirnoff vodka and rose petals. Hershey adds pomegranate juice and rose petal syrup and tops it with a Prosecco float, a slice of lime and a pinch of dried rose petals for decoration. Served in a tall champagne flute, this cocktail pairs well with one of the five bowls on the menu. My favorite is the spicy Panang curry bowl filled with organic potato, long bean, bok choy, carrot, Thai basil and a coconut shrimp broth.

img_0722

We finished with a pleasing, smoky flavored pear and vanilla flavored bourbon drink titled, “Love a-Pear”. The cocktail offers the essence of cinnamon with a trace of lemon juice. It’s hearty and pairs nicely with one of the six entrées, especially the sustainable seabass with grains drizzled with an umami sauce and served with broccolini, sugar snap pea and roasted mushroom.

Hershey said the lasagna Bolognese with housemade chicken sausage would pair nicely with any of the four drinks or a glass or bottle Italian Cannonau Sella & Mosca “Riserva.”

For a sweet ending, the flourless chocolate cake adorned with caramel, vanilla ice cream and cocoa nibs promotes a look of love with each spoonful. The four amorously appealing cocktails we enjoyed are available starting Feb. 10 through Valentine’s Day for $11 each. The regular craft cocktail list is also available.

True Food Kitchen is open for lunch and dinner starting at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday open for brunch 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekend dinner after 4 p.m. $$ 395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 172 (310)593-8300. For other locations, go to truefoodkitchen.com.

This article was featured in the Beverly Press and Park La Brea News on Feb. 9, 2017 – Find True Love at True Food Kitchen

Exploring Washington D.C.

Kicking off 2017, my daughter had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC one week before the Presidential Inauguration to meet a group of people at the EPA. I asked if I could tag along with her and explore our nation’s capital while she was in her meetings. I bought two plane tickets and reserved a room for two nights at the Westin Washington D.C. Capital Center on hotwire.com for $95 a night. I was pleased with the hotel’s location between The National Mall and DuPont Circle. Click here to learn more – https://www.gpsmycity.com/gps-tour-guides/washington-dc-613.html.

img_0207

Washington DC is a city one can explore by foot, metro, bicycle, rental car or Uber. I walked over 30 miles in three days, while exploring new museums, galleries and restaurants.

img_9800

My journey began after we checked in, and my daughter went to her first meeting. Walking to the White House, I noticed Secret Service men standing near security fences and American flags, as bleachers were being installed in preparation for the pomp and circumstance on January 20, 2017.

img_9788

Near the White House is the White House Gifts Store. Walking inside, I noticed it’s filled with Presidential memorabilia including clothing, books, hats, postcards, coins and candy. There were two areas that had Hillary Clinton Inauguration 2017 sweatshirts, chocolate bars, pins and stickers with red discounted sale tags. Nearby were racks of Donald Trump souvenirs. (701 15th Street NW (202)737-9500).

img_0067

Turning onto Pennsylvania Ave., I saw a National Park sign and walked inside The White House Visitor Center. After going through security and a metal detector, I stepped into a historic building with over 90 Presidential artifacts and interactive touchscreens. There was an Ode to President John F. Kennedy display case with a bronze bust, presidential bow ties, cufflinks and photo of the 35th President. Nearby was a President Ronald Regan glass case with photos of the red and green rooms inside The White House, and glass jars filled with red, white and blue jellybeans – the President’s favorite sweet snack.

img_9805

This museum offers information about how the White House was built, with some beautiful photos of the iconic building. Throughout the ground floor of the building were quotes from past presidents, including a famous one by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “I never forget that I live in a house owned by all the American people.”

img_9816

In a semi-private area, I watched a 14 minute film, “White House: Reflections From Within,” featuring fond memories of The White House by past presidents and first ladies. Before leaving I visited the gift shop and bought a few presidential souvenirs to bring home. (1450 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. The visitor center is free and open from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. daily).

img_9824

Continuing along Pennsylvania Ave., I noticed a statue of Benjamin Franklin standing in front of the old and newly restored Washington DC Old Post Office. It was built in 1899 as the city’s main post office until 1914. The beautiful building was almost torn down in 1920s and again in the 1970s while it was an office building with a food court and retail space. In 2013, the U.S. General Services Administration leased the property for 60 years to a holding company owned by Donald J. Trump. After $200 million dollars in renovations, it opened in September 2016 as the five star Trump International Hotel.

img_9842

Upon entering the hotel’s main doors, I was welcomed by a few staff members, as I walked into the grand lobby reception room. With a vaulting ceiling, I admired the metal lattice work that reminded me of standing under the Eiffel Tower. The natural light from the immense skylight illuminated the conversational seating areas and BLT Prime restaurant by David Burke. The decor in this room is filled with cream, royal blue and aquamarine colors chosen by Ivanka Trump, partnering with the design firm HBA.

img_9840

Guests sitting on comfortable couches and chairs have the option of selecting cheese, pastries, champagne, spirits, and charcuterie from rolling push carts. The hotel touts it offers the largest ballroom in the city, aptly called the Presidential Ballroom. (Located on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street.)

img_9877

Walking a few blocks over to the National Mall, I stopped inside the Smithsonian Castle to get a free guide to explore the largest museum complex anywhere. With 19 museums, galleries and the National Zoo all within a short walk or metro ride, I learned that The Smithsonian was established in 1846, and now has 138 million artifacts. There are 11 museums and galleries along The Mall between the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Admission is free to all.

I saw Judy Garland’s ruby slippers worn in the movie The Wizard of Oz, and dozens of formal gowns worn by Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan, and Jacqueline Kennedy in the National Museum of American History.

img_9883

I learned that visitors need an online timed ticket to explore the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture. Unfortunately it was full when I went online, however on my second morning, I walked back to the museum before it opened and was approached by a couple who asked me if I needed a ticket. They had an extra ticket to give to me. I gladly took the sheet of paper and entered the 7 story building wrapped in an ornamental bronze-colored metal lattice.

img_9980

Starting on the ground level, I entered a large glass elevator to take a journey from the 21st century to the 15th. As the doors opened, the area was dark with a low ceiling and shaped like a slave cargo ship. Walking through the interactive museum, I learned about slavery, segregation, life in the American South, Civil Rights, American West, Communities, Music, Sports, Politics, and Entertainment while looking at over 37,000 procured, purchased and donated historical artifacts, documents, photographs and media sharing the history and stories of people who helped build our nation.. The bottom floor offers a large cafeteria with authentic Southern cooking. One could easily spend half to a full day here. (1400 Constitution Ave., NW.)

img_9988

Meeting up with my daughter, we united at the National Mall at the Washington Monument and walked to the Lincoln Memorial. Along the way we visited the haunting fallen soldiers at the Korean Wall Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Woman’s Memorial, and Vietnam War Veterans Memorial.

img_9960

Crossing the street we visited Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr’s monument, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s memorial with a statue of our 32nd President with his beloved dog Fala, and continued over to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, known to be even more spectacular in the spring when the cherry blossom trees bloom along the Tidal Basin.

img_0027

On our last day, my daughter and I visited the interior of the U.S. Capitol on a free guided tour. It started with a 13 minute film “Out of Many, One,” illustrating how Congress is formed and plays in our daily lives. Then we gathered with a guide and stood under the immense Dome. We learned how and when it was built, as we looked up at the Rotunda. Our guide introduced us to 24 of the 100 statues of Presidents and honored citizens in the old hall of the House, now the National Statuary Hall. We toured the Old Supreme Court Chambers and visited The Old Senate Chamber from 1810 to 1959.

img_0090

Anyone can tour the Capitol Visitor Center, however if you would like a tour inside the building, you must get a tour pass by contacting your local Congress representative or call Visitors Services (202)226-8000. There are a limited number of passes available each day at the Information Desk in Emancipation Hall. Go early when the tours begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

img_0008

Dining in Washington DC there are a plethora of restaurants, cafes and fast casual spots. For a quick bite, I recommend Roti cafe and Merzi Fresh Indian Kitchen. For sit down service, I liked Del Frisco’s Grille with its full bar and interesting small plates. Those seeking a nostalgic spot, dine at Old Ebbitt Grill near The White House. Established in 1856, it was a favorite of Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Theodore Roosevelt and is still a popular meeting spot for political insiders, journalists, celebrities and theater-goers. Some celebrity chefs have opened restaurants in DC including José Andrés’s Barmini, Wolfgang Puck’s The Source and Fig & Olive.

img_9847

Washington DC is a safe, clean and friendly city that offers a multitude of free museums, monuments and galleries to explore and admire. Put it on your 2017 Bucket List. To learn more about accommodations, activities and dining options, click on this link – https://washington.org.

This review was featured in the February 2017 issue of NOT BORN YESTERDAY.

Globally Terrific Dishes at Terra Cotta

Walking into Terra Cotta located in the historic Pellissier building, next to The Wiltern Theatre, I recognized the pretty General Manager Susie Moon. She used to work at Otis and Penelope, and is now running this newly opened restaurant smoothly.

img_0305

As she walked us to a table, I asked why the restaurant is named Terra Cotta? “After the signature blue-green exterior terra cotta tiles on the Wiltern Theatre,” Moon told me. “Also, in the Korean culture, we cook a lot with clay pots.” Even though this is located in K Town, near Wilshire Blvd. and Western, it’s not a typical Korean restaurant, its much more global.

img_0306

As we sat down, I admired the visually stunning room with multiple touches of glamour. The tall exposed white ceilings has 10 elegant chandeliers hanging down. The restaurant was designed by Sean Knibb of Knibb Design offering three coveted large tufted black booths, and gold detailing throughout the room. The dark grey walls compliment the ceramic Spanish-motif tiles, wood flooring and textural Venetian plaster columns. At the top of these columns are speakers pulsating club-style music into the lively room.
Opened in November 2016, the restaurant is attracting groups of young women and couples on dates. Others gather to socialize, drink and dine at communal tables before a night of karaoke or seeing a show at The Wiltern.

img_0308

Our sweet server Juliette welcomed us and said, “The cocktails are King here and our bar offers 46 different whiskeys.” She recommended one of her favorite cocktails named Ginger Rodriguez, so I ordered it. It’s made with mezcal, averna, ginger lemon and nutmeg. One sip and my tongue tingled with the strong, yet smooth flavors. The enormous ice cube in the glass prevented a fast dilution of the earthy flavors. This drink was created by cocktail designer and beverage manager Michael Nemčik. He is a respected sommelier, wine director and mixologist having worked at various restaurants in Los Angeles that include Osteria Mozza and Terroni.

My husband started with a glass of 2015 Elena Walch Schiava, a good value compared to many other restaurants in LA. We learned that it is one of Michael’s favorite ruby colored wine with a delicate hint of cherry on the nose and an almond flavor on the finish.
Looking at the menu, Juliet told us that the Executive chef Danny Ye used to be at Nobu NYC. He creates a menu that not only offers Korean elements, but also Japanese, and Latin American influences in his dishes.

IMG_0316.JPG
Enter a caption

We started with a plate of Korean fried cauliflower – a popular dish that appears on almost every table. Cauliflower florets are flash fried in a light batter and doused with a red cho-kochujan sauce to offer a slightly tangy and uniquely spicy-sweet red chili pepper essence. There is a little heat to this dish topped with sesame seeds.

img_0311

Next we shared the signature and delicate toro tataki. Tataki is a Japanese preparation for uncooked fish by pounding it thin. Chef Ye arranges the fish on a plate to look like flower petals, before garnishing it with with a truffled amazu ponsu, avocado and curled shitake mushrooms.

img_0317

Another crowd pleaser at nearby tables was the squid ink fried rice served in an elegant black skillet. We ordered one, and realized this colorful dish could easily be shared with two to four diners as a meal. It’s loaded with dark black kimchee and garlic fried rice colored with squid ink and topped with dayboat seared scallops. Small opened clams were next to eight Argentinian prawns staring up at us. The prawns were still in their hard shell, yet easy to slip off to reveal their succulent and sweet white meat. This is similar to a Latin American paella.

Michael came to our table with two glasses of 2015 Suavia Soave Classico to pair with the saltiness of the seafood dish. It was an excellent crisp and bright white wine offering the aromas of pear and almond with an apple finish. This wine was also a good value.

img_0318

We finished with surf-and-turf experience with a piece of Australian wagyu filet mignon dazzled with a white truffle soy-mirin sauce. It’s served with mashed potatoes and a colorful array of seasonal vegetables. Next arrived a plate of Scottish salmon with a drizzle of miso butter with a side of roasted Brussels spouts that were enhanced with flavorful sliced chorizo.

img_0323

Watching servers bring plates of roasted chicken to other tables, we inquired with Juliet about the dish. She said it was chef Ye’s spatchcock chicken that he roasts and fries to create a crispy and crackly skin. The chicken is served with ramekins of aji verde salsa, aji amarillo mayo and pickled white radish, called Korean Moo. It’s also known as daikon or Chinese white radish. We made a note to try it on our next visit.

img_0325

Pastry chef Jason Licker makes five exquisite treats that include a rich, thin puff pastry filled with green matcha buttercream and assembled into a mille-feuille. It arrived with a scoop of tropical coconut ice cream. Known for winning the title of Iron Chef Thailand in 2014, Licker makes a K – Pop made with frozen chocolate cream with banana-caramel and rolled in chocolate crunch, offering a perfect balance of flavors, textures and temperatures.

After dinner beverages include an array of Taiwanese green and oolong teas, coffee, digestives, cognacs and armagnac. Michael also offers two of his favorite curated dessert wines.

I’m really excited that Terra Cotta opened along the Wilshire Corridor. It’s an ideal dining spot for pre- or post Wiltern shows, group dinners, birthday celebrations, romantic date night and after-work happy hour.

Terra Cotta is open daily at 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., except on Sunday, when the restaurant closes at midnight. $$ 3760 Wilshire Blvd. (213)365-1077.

This review was featured in the February 2, 2017 Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News – http://beverlypress.com/2017/02/terra-cotta-global-cuisine-in-koreatown/

Shatner’s Hollywood Charity Horse Show

img_0400

Each year I look forward to seeing philanthropic actor William Shatner and his wife Elizabeth at their Hollywood Charity Horse Show gifting ceremony with Priceline.com and Wells Fargo Bank. Each year they raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for over 25 children’s charities.

The first Hollywood Charity Horse Show started in March 1990 to help grass root charities. Every year it is held at the Equestrian Center in Griffith Park with a world-class horse show, dinner, a live and silent auction, and A-list musical guest.

img_0412
William Shatner

Shatner along with David DiCristofaro, Wells Fargo Lead Regional President in the Greater Los Angeles attended the gifting ceremony and breakfast to distribute grants to the charities supported by Shatner’s annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show sponsored by Wells Fargo and Priceline.com. DiCristofaro oversees 275 Wells Fargo branches.

This year at The Six Chow House in Studio City, The Gay Mens Choir Los Angeles (GMCLA) opened the gifting event by singing “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. Shatner and his wife are fans of the GMCLA, having seen the holiday show. We learned that Jonathan Weedman, formerly Senior Vice President Wells Fargo Foundation is now the Executive Director at GMCLA.

fullsizerender-485Afterwards, Shatner shared how they need help for this year’s event scheduled June 3.

1. They are looking for volunteers to help before and during the event.

2. For charities wanting to receive a gift, purchase three tables or more. Those who do this, the philanthropy will double the donation gift to that charity.

3. They need people to help sell ads for the program.

4. Donate items to auction the day of the event by May 1, 2017. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/HollywoodCharityHorseShow/

fullsizerender-476
David DiCristofaro, AHEAD With Horses and William Shatner

Shatner is turning 87 year old this year. He continues to work hard for Hollywood Charity Horse Show, to help children and those in need. All the money raised goes straight to the charities, with no administration fees.

Shatner shared with guests a true story of the appreciation one mother has for AHEAD With Horses’. As a mother of two daughters on the autism spectrum, horse therapy has helped her daughters overcome many sensory issues. Her 11 year old daughter can now run and jump without falling or crashing into things, due to her new sense of balance from riding a horse. Both daughters have benefited tremendously by the therapy. AHEAD With Horses – (Accelerated Habilitation Education And Development) has over 48 years of history of providing unique, highly motivating and effective therapy, education and recreation through horses and related experiences to disabled/disadvantaged/at-risk/special-needs children and has earned recognition educationally, medically and scientifically.

fullsizerender-478
Hollenbeck Police Activities League

Hollenbeck Police Activities League builds a bond between cops and kids. Hollenbeck PAL was founded in 1992 through the efforts of Hollenbeck Division of the Los Angeles Police Department and community residents to implement sports activities to high-risk youths in response to the juvenile crime increase in the area. The ultimate goal is a community without crime, where children have equal access to opportunity, and where peace officers help drive the community’s vitality. PAL’s mission is to nurture young people to become responsible, productive, and law-abiding citizens by offering character-building, educational, sports, and life-enhancing programs. American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund received a check too. The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.

fullsizerender-480
Saddles for Soldiers

Saddles for Soldiers is designed specifically by Shadow Hills Riding Club to assist United States Veterans and their families cope with the traumas and stressors returning from combat, long-term depression, re-establishing life skills and readjustment into civilian life by the use of horses.

FullSizeRender-481.jpg
Painted Turtle Gang Camp Foundation

Painted Turtle Gang Camp Foundation – There is no billing department – children with serious medical conditions and their families attend camp free of charge. Through innovative, camp-based programs that offer a great big dose of fun and support, children with more than 30 medical conditions visit The Painted Turtle each year, reclaiming the joys of childhood. A member of Paul Newman’s renowned Serious-Fun Camps (formerly the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps), The Painted Turtle has offered thousands of children and their families hope and encouragement through its Summer and Family Weekend camps since it opened its gates in 2004.

fullsizerender-482
Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse is committed to premiere theatrical experience in Southern California showcasing the most exciting theatrical entertainment in the state and being an amazing forum for launching new work onto the national stage. The Pasadena Playhouse hosts over 3000 young people (primarily 18 and under). Theatre has the power to transform lives and create new possibilities for those engaged with it.

fullsizerender-483
Queen of Hearts Theraputic Riding Center

Queen of Hearts Theraputic Riding Center is a nonprofit facility that offers programs supporting the development of disabled children and adults living in Southern California’s Inland Empire and surrounding areas.

img_0449
REINS Therapeuric Horsemanship Program

REINS Therapeutic Horsemanship Program is a non-profit located in Fallbrook, CA. REINS provides physical, mental, and emotional therapy to a wide range of disabled children and adults through the use of carefully supervised horseback riding. The benefits of this therapy are both mental and physical and include normalization of muscle tone, increased balance & coordination, developments of speech & language, and improvements in body awareness & self-esteem.

fullsizerender-484

Dream Catcher of LA is a Therapeutic Riding Center’s is a Certified Center Member of PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) offering Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies. Joan Blank and the center improves the lives of children, adults, and veterans with cognitive, physical, and emotional disabilities through the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-assisted activities, while serving the therapeutic riding profession through training and education. Learning a riding skill will also have a positive effect on a rider’s self-confidence. The center environment, the companionship and bonding with animals, and the development of new skills are all components in a successful experience. The relationships that develop between riders, volunteers, horses and staff are all integral to a positive emotional experience.