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,…

Rockin’ food, music, fun and craft beers at Rock & Brews

Last week, we took family visiting from out of town to Rock & Brews in El Segundo for lunch before enjoying a day at the beach. The concept behind Rock & Brews started in the summer of 2010 at a KISS concert. Dave Furano, a well-known rock ‘n roll concert promoter (Rolling Stones; Bob Dylan;…

More Than Just a PB&J sandwich

In 1917 peanut butter makers Ray and Blanche Magee made their debut at the Grand Central Market, selling high quality nut butters. Soon it became a culinary sensation and they moved in 1934 to the new original Farmers Market along Fairfax and 3rd. With the celebration of Grand Central Market’s 100 anniversary, Christopher Farber, Grand…

Chef Fest at the Four Seasons Hualalai

Built in 1996 and enhanced in 2009, the Four Seasons Hualalai is an exclusive luxury resort along the Kona-Kohala Coast on the Big Island, Hawaii. Guests staying here are immersed into authentic Hawaiian culture and traditional design. There are 192 guest rooms and 52 suites in the two-story intimate bungalows. Throughout the property is an…

Smile’s di Alba – Where Focaccia is the Star

It’s quiet and peaceful walking around the Arts District on a Saturday morning. The only stores open are a few coffeehouses. Then by 10:30 a.m. the sidewalks become more alive with people strolling around with iPhones and cameras taking photos of the creative street art. Models pose near edgy graffiti in fashion designer clothing, and…

Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is Out of this World

On National Creme Brûlée Day I visited Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken to bite into a creme brûlée filled glazed doughnut. The raised creme brûlée doughnut is filled with luscious cream, just like the traditional ramekin and it’s enhanced with a slightly burnt caramelization on top. Walking inside the modern interior, I first noticed a white…

BIG Sandwiches at Fat Sal’s

Driving along Highland Ave., I’ve noticed people steaming into Fat Sal’s, located in a strip mall on the corner of Fountain Ave. Last week, my daughter and I parked in front of the restaurant to see what the buzz is about. I learned that Fat Sal’s makes “Fat Sandwiches.” In the 1970s the Fat Sandwich…

A new type of Rotisserie – Turningfire

Mike Riboli is a master of spices and rubs, food and wine. His family owns Los Angeles’ oldest winery – San Antonio Winery. With his knowledge in hospitality, food and wine, Riboli recently opened his first restaurant – Turningfire in Eagle Rock. With the help of Chef Chris Stagliano, they serve rotisserie meat plates, wraps,…

Winning Watermelon Dishes in LA

What is the quintessential summer fruit? My vote is watermelon! Some of my favorite chefs are preparing watermelon in fun ways onto their menus this summer. Since National Watermelon Day is on August 3, here is a list of 6 restaurants and bars that feature watermelon on the menu in innovative ways. 1. True Food Kitchen…

Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro

A few years ago while exploring Napa Valley, I visited Thomas Keller’s Michelin star awarded Bouchon Bistro in Yountville for lunch. The menu featured Keller’s roasted chicken, regarded by some as the best in the world. I still remember how I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy skin and moist meat paired with a glass of dry…

85 C Bakery & Cafe Opens in Koreatown

Last week 85°C Bakery Cafe opened on Wilshire Blvd., to an enthusiastic crowd of locals, business people and some tourists. As I approached the new bakery cafe, I noticed a line of fans winding around the corner. There are almost 1000 worldwide. The idea of 85°C Bakery Cafe began as Taiwanese businessman Wu Cheng-Hsueh was…