Since its opening in 1989, Toscana has established itself as a sophisticated Hollywood celebrity dining spot in Brentwood. However, its more recent, 7-year-old addition, Bar Toscana has made a name for itself as well. I recently met some friends at the bar to try their new stuzzichini, or finger foods, menu. Executive chef Hugo Vasquez,…

A little bit of Disney Magic at the Bel Air Bar + Grill

  Driving off the 405 freeway onto the Moraga exit, I noticed a striking two-story glass bougainvillea flower window in the front of the Bel Air Bar + Grill. I was invited to a tasting dinner by the owner of the restaurant Susan Disney Lord. She is part of American royalty – the Disney family,…

Cafe Rockenwagner: Ingenious Cuisine with a German Flair

I’ve been fascinated with Hans Röckenwagner since the 1980s, when I used to take clients to his restaurant Röckenwagner in Santa Monica on Main Street. Out of town clients loved the unique interior design, splendid food, and his famous German pretzel rolls. It soon became one of the top restaurants in Southern California. In my…

Bar Toscana – Creative Italian Tapas

Working in a high rise building on San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood, during the late 80s, I frequented the restaurant, Toscana. It was a block from my office and the maitre’d, Francesco Greco, always welcomed my guests and me warmly. He treated us as family with a friendly smile and a heartfelt hug. I usually…