New Talenti Layer & Gelato Flavors

Talenti recently launched four new Gelato Layers flavors, inspired by beloved childhood treats. The new creative flavors include Confetti Cookie featuring layers of Talenti’s signature vanilla gelato, with vanilla cookie pieces, pink frosting, and rainbow sprinkles. Strawberry Shortcake combines five layers of strawberry gelato with shortbread pieces and tart strawberry rhubarb sauce. Cookies and Cream features both cookies & cream and vanilla gelato and layers of Talenti’s signature sweet dulce de leche and pieces of chocolate cookies and cookie crumbs. Chocolate Pretzel combines salty pretzel and vanilla gelato bases with crunchy waffle cone pieces, and a salted pretzel sauce swirled throughout for the perfect balance of salty and sweet in every spoonful..

The best-selling gelato brand in the U.S. has two new flavors to its Gelato line – Honey Graham Gelato made with a rich and creamy vanilla gelato and a drizzle of sweet wildflower honey. Real golden graham cracker pieces are mixed in for a textured crunch. Peanut Butter Vanilla Swirl Gelato combines Talenti’s signature vanilla gelato with a creamy roasted peanut butter swirl and real mini peanut butter cups mixed in throughout.

Talenti was featured in the Beverly Press on January 21, 2021.

Spill Your Heart Out Valentine’s Cake

Celebrity chef Zac Young is thrilled to share his new interactive ‘Spill Your Heart Out Cake’ for couples and families to enjoy on Valentine’s Day.

This fun and easy, DIY expression of love can be enjoyed throughout the week. Imagine layers of devil’s food cake, with chocolate mousse and frosted in strawberry cheesecake. Then the cake has a separate rosé champagne glaze and festive sprinkle mix. Put it into the ring on top of the cake, remove the ring, and watch the sparkly glaze flow. Young likes to call it a literal outpouring of love.

Click here to watch how to DIY. This The cake feeds six people (or one or two with plenty of leftovers) and is available for nationwide shipping on Goldbelly for $99. 

7 Innovative Beverages in 2021

Volley arrived on liquor shelves in 2020, as the first widely available sugar-free tequila seltzer. Built from just three ingredients—100% blue weber agave spirit, sparkling water, and organic juice—it’s healthier alternative to many of the sweet canned cocktails entering the market. With a 5.25% ABV, it offers less calories per can than a serving of vodka.

It debuts in four flavors: Zesty Lime,  Spicy Ginger ,  Sharp Grapefruit and  Tropical Mango. Absent of artificial additives and flavorings, the effervescent liquid has earthy and herbaceous characteristics of the agave spirit. Purchase in four-packs, either in single flavor option or a variety of all four. The packs are set to retail at $12 on shelves in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Or $14 online, from where they’ll ship by way of 3rd party retailer to anywhere in the US.

 Caribbrew coffee offers a jolt of flavorful aroma from its Haitian coffee or cocoa. The socially-conscious company pays tribute to its culture by offering an exclusive line of Haitian products with the bountiful flavors and rich aromas of Haiti, a purveyor of some of the finest blends in the world. Enjoy a cup of coffee or cocoa as well as coffee-based skincare products that are premium single-origin and direct trade. Feel good and know that this black-owned brand with Haitian roots is making a social impact one cup at a time. All Caribbrew products are cruelty-free, vegan, and handmade with the best ingredients. As the brand likes to say, their coffee keeps you woke by sourcing responsibly, creating opportunities for everyone in their supply chain, and keeping you pleasantly awake on a busy day!

Cutwater Spirits transports you into a vacation state of mind while sipping their new Tequila Margarita or Tiki Rum Mai Tai in a can. It’s a tropical paradise of flavors with a blend of Cutwater Barrel-aged Rum and Bali Hai Tiki Gold Rum. These two rums are mixed with pineapple, citrus and coconut flavors to provide a refreshing cocktail that can be poured over ice or sip from a chilled can.  2020 Gold winner at San Diego Spirit & Cocktail Competition 2020: Best of ClassTiki Rum Mai Tai won a 2020 GOLD Denver International Spirits.

Three Hermits is dedicated to creating products with natural, time-tested ingredients to empower wellness and happiness. The little shots have 100% ALL NATURAL INGREDIENTS that include Turmeric a “Functional Food” defined by the Mayo Clinic as “foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.” Nirgundi is a common ingredient in various healing sciences. It is an analgesic and anti-inflammatory which is effective in treating headaches, and other ailments. Cinnamon is derived from the stem of the cinnamomum tree and helps lower blood sugar levels, boost insulin sensitivity and slow down the emptying of the stomach to reduce sharp blood sugar rises after a meal.

Simple Goodness Sisters’ Syrups The Spritz farm produces fresh, small batch drink syrups by sisters Belinda and Venise. One is a bartender and the other is a farmer on a 10 acre farm in Buckley, WA. Together they make syrups using whole fruit, fresh herbs and organic can sugar. Add to sparkling water or your favorite spirit for extra goodness.

Jaf Tea Each batch begins in the beautiful highlands of Sri Lanka where the unique agricultural climate results in 365 days of peak growth and teas that range from robust and full-bodied to floral and delicate. Keep your pantry stocked with delicious fresh teas this winter. At JAF Tea, they’ve spent the last 75 years perfecting the art of tea cultivation, and now they are the maker of the world’s purest single origin Ceylon Teas available affordably around the globe. From there the leaves are hand-plucked, thoroughly taste tested, and packaged locally to not only preserve the freshness of the leaves, but to also support the growers and their communities. JAF Tea’s unique gift sets are available on Amazon for under $20.This item contains an assortment of 8 exciting fruit flavored black teas – 10 Tea Bags from each: Forest Fruit – Bursting with lusciously ripe wild berry flavors and enhanced with real forest fruit pieces, expertly blended with our premium Ceylon black tea. Blueberry Delight – All the juicy tang of ripe blueberries with the delicate sweetness of real cherry pieces gently fused with our specially selected Ceylon tea. Pink Grapefruit – Packed with the zingy, zesty flavors of ripe and juicy citrus, perfectly combined with our fine Ceylon tea. Sunny Lemon – An invigorating blend of sun-ripened sweetness with the zesty tang of real lemon peel, infused into our superb Ceylon tea. Peach Orchard – Savor the delicately perfumed, sweet flavor of freshly picked peaches, infused into our outstanding Ceylon tea. Passion Fruit – A luscious balance of vibrantly sweet and tangy fruit flavors, expertly fused with our superior Ceylon tea. Creamy Soursop – Creamy and comforting with the rich, tropical taste of exotic soursop, sweetly fused with our prized Ceylon tea blend and Mango Banana – All the tropical sweetness of ripe mango with the smooth, mellow taste of banana, married together with our exquisite Ceylon tea blend.

Drink Droplet is a sparkling, stress-balancing adaptogen drink made in Los Angeles with whole prebiotic fruit puree juices, alkaline water, coconut nectar, Himalayan pink sea salt, organic adaptogens, and aromatherapeutic superfoods. Developed by an all-female team of designers and food scientists, Droplet draws from scientifically-backed plant magic to help you fight stress and feel balanced. Flavors include pretty happy infused with passion fruit + cacao + vanilla bean + rhodiola to boost mood, sharpen focus, fight fatigue. pretty balanced offers white peach + lemon verbena + moringa + ashwagandha to calm and balance, nourish and recover. pretty bright offers yuzu citrus + ginger + reishi mushroom to boost immunity, revitalize, and rejuvenate.

Mírame: a Mexican culinary ‘staycation’

Sitting on the front patio of Mírame, at one of the socially distanced tables near an exterior fireplace, I felt as if I were sitting at a beautiful restaurant in one of the luxury resorts in Punta Mita, Mexico.

Since many of us aren’t flying to Mexico for a summer vacation due to the coronavirus, driving to Mírame in Beverly Hills to enjoy a cocktail and meal feels like a glorious getaway.

The night we dined, the city of Beverly Hills had a pop-up tent a few storefronts away, with city staff members passing out complimentary bottles of hand sanitizer and COVID-19 pamphlets.

As we were led to a decorative Mexican-tiled table, I admired the light and bright work by M. Winter Design, which also designed Jaffa, Manuela, and Bacari on 3rd. The patio’s resort-like ambiance includes white brick walls with nopales artistically hanging from a reclaimed wood plank, and hanging dried flower bouquets. The flooring is stone and brick and reclaimed wood. Beautiful mosaic-tiled tables are socially distanced along a long banquette with Mexican-style rope and wood chairs.

This is not a typical tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole style of Mexican restaurant. Instead, start with chef Joshua Gil’s activated charcoal masa gnocchi with shredded Dungeness crab meat, chunky avocado and sliced tomatoes in a bowl of exquisite corn consommé. Use a spoon to ladle the corn broth to savor every last drop. Chef Gil makes botanical, visually appealing plates of food by sprinkling microgreens and flowers on top. Each one tastes as good as they look.

This ambitious chef and partner Matthew Egan opened Mírame (formerly Gratitude) after L.A. County ordered all restaurants to close their dining rooms. This duo got creative in decorating their front and back dining patios to be so inviting. As business picked up, they obtained permits to put tables along the sidewalk in front of neighboring closed storefronts to enlarge their outdoor seating capacity.

The gorgeous interior space offers a soaring ceiling, large spirits bar and beautiful wall mural painted by Mexico City artist Jorge Tellaeche. Some day, this area will be used to seat diners.

Chef Gil’s innovative menu specialties include ceviches and an Omega Blue kampachi tostada. Served on two crunchy tortilla shells, the chef chops fresh yellowfin tuna and adds sliced avocado and a sumac crema. Sumac is made from crushed red berries from the sumac bush. Its acidic flavor tastes similar to a squeeze of lemon. On top is a shiso leaf offering a hint of mint, basil, tarragon, cilantro, cinnamon and anise. The chef rounds out the flavors with a house-made version of the Japanese condiment yuzu kosho that he infuses with Mexican flavors.

Other creative starters include grilled El Chingon oysters with mulato chili herb butter, and salmon skin chicharones that can be dipped into fermented garlic aioli.

Egan shared that opening during the COVID-19 pandemic was tough at first, but they were committed to providing an experience that reflects the layered culinary history of both California and Mexico.

“We have traveled through Mexico discovering the best spirits and ingredients to bring back to Beverly Hills,” he said.

For those ordering takeout and delivery, curbside service is available.

“We put our entrance next to the sidewalk and introduced curbside pickup when possible, so guests don’t have to come into the restaurant,” Egan said.

Looking at the farm-to-bar beverage menu, we noticed a robust collection of spirits, artisanal products and notable mezcals. A few playful, resort-style cocktails caught our eye, including one made with a 90201 Rhum blend, that our server said is like an elevated daiquiri, and another named Wild Style that is made with peppered turmeric coconut cream, Mexican rum and pineapple, similar to a piña colada.

We opted for two of their creative margaritas, starting with the Green Lantern, a play on the popular green juice health kick. It’s made with tequila, cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro, celery, fennel and lime. On the side of my lowball glass was a blend of crushed tarragon, fennel and taijin to add a salty zip to each sip.

My husband ordered #IYieldMyTime, which was a balance of flavorful mango juice, mezcal, blanco vermouth, green apple and chamoy. I liked the tamarind fruit leather, which was around the rim and wrapped around the straw for a balance of sweet and sour flavors.

The bar also makes a $50 and $150 margarita featuring a 7-year or 18-year añejo tequila, which is then lightly smoked with Palo Santo wood.

Besides cocktails, they also offer an array of Mexican craft beers and wines from Valle de Guadalupe and other regions in Mexico. Each night, they offer a 3-ounce flight of three wines for $32. They try to pair the wines based on your order.

We ordered one flight and first enjoyed a funky natural rosé from Palafox Winery with the Mírame fermented green tea salad.

“This salad is getting a reputation of becoming the new modern chopped salad in Beverly Hills,” our waiter shared.

It’s layered with french-cut jicama tossed with cabbage, sesame, chopped peanuts and corn nuts. Not only is it refreshing, but it’s healthy for lunch and dinner.

Next we had a 3-ounce bubbly flute of Blanc d Noir from Terra Madi, San Antonio de los Ninas, with the delicious kampachi, and finished out the flight with a ruby red glass of Bichi from Tecate, Mexico, to enjoy with pork belly tacos.

Three different tacos are offered, and we opted for the caramelized, slow-cooked pork belly served on a plate with two heirloom red conico corn tortillas. Red corn is exceptionally sweet and nutty in flavor and these tortillas have a pretty pink hue. They are topped with big pieces of tender pork, crushed avocado and chunky tomatillo salsa.

Egan came back to our table to share his knowledge of the wine.

“Bichi means naked, and this No Sapian biodynamic wine is comprised of an unidentified grape variety. The farmer is not certain, but it’s one of my favorites,” he said.

After one sip, I detected its crisp brightness, bursting with fruity notes and a pleasing funkiness in its finish.

For those living it up, the menu offers larger items on the “Seguimos” section including a whole fried Baja snapper, Columbia River sturgeon, whole rack of lamb with grilled figs, baby corn and lamb bacon, and a 35-ounce prime cote de boeuf served with melted leeks and fermented garlic.

We saved room for a stone fruit and pine nut tart made with flavorful masa and a scoop of chamomile tea and goat cheese ice cream.

She also makes a mezcal flan, pineapple miso brûlée and chocolate castellan cake.

Mírame, meaning “look at me,” in Beverly Hills offers a new look or change of pace, scenery and flavors for weary pandemic diners starting at 11 a.m. for lunch to late night. On weekends, it opens at 10 a.m. for brunch. Reservations are available on OpenTable. $$-$$$$ 419 N. Canon Drive, (310)230-5035.

This review is featured in the Beverly Press https://beverlypress.com/2020/08/mirame-a-mexican-culinary-staycation-in-beverly-hills/

Fun, Family-style Dining at Buca di Beppo

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

In the Cardinal room at the new Buca di Beppo at the Original Farmers Market, you can dine at the Pope’s table where a plexiglass box holds a bust of the pontiff. It’s fun to spin the lazy Susan resting in the middle of the table, and the Pope looks you directly eye if the round-about stops in front of you.

The walls are filled with decorations and whimsical photos of famous and happy Italians.

This is the 21st Buca di Beppo location in California.

Looking over the menu, most of the items are served family style with two portion sizes – Buca small that serves two to three people and Buca large that serves up to five guests. Since there were just three of us, we started with the small vegetarian pizza on thin pizza dough with crisp edges. Not only did it have broccoli, tomatoes, onions and peppers, but it had breaded eggplant pieces, too. Our server brought two large Italian tomato cans to our table to elevate the pizza to eye level.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Salads are always good with pizza, so we ordered the classic apple Gorgonzola salad with slices of Granny Smith apples, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries and spiced walnuts. They also make a chopped antipasto in a rainbow of colors served in a large bowl with mixed lettuce, sliced pepperoni, chopped red onion, diced provolone cheese, cubed cucumbers, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, sliced pepperoncini, oregano, diced Roma tomatoes and kalamata olives with a light Italian dressing.

Guests can pair their dishes with a variety of Italian wines. Many can be ordered by the glass, or in a little larger 9 oz. pour that comes in a small glass carafe. There is also a bottle of traditional Chianti on every table. Chianti is made in the Tuscany region and is an Italian favorite that is sometimes wrapped in a wicker basket. It goes well with the spaghetti and famous Buca meatballs that are large, dense and meaty. Our server Justin aimed to please. When we thought the spaghetti was a little dry, he happily brought out more sauce. The servers are extremely friendly and seem to be enjoying their job at this location.

If you order the linguine frutti del mar, a glass of crisp pinot grigio is a light summer wine to pair with the dish.

IMG_1369
Photo by Jill Weinlein

The rosso is an ideal red wine to pair with the chicken saltimbocca topped with prosciutto and sage. There is a sprinkling of artichoke hearts, lemon slices, capers and a glistening lemon butter sauce bringing this chicken dish to a new level.

Guests receive warm Italian bread with oil and balsamic vinegar. They also make a cheese garlic bread that is sinfully good. Both are great for dipping in the Italian sauces on each entrée, especially the layered eggplant Parmigiana, topped with Buca’s homemade marinara sauce, chopped Roma tomatoes, chopped basil and mozzarella.

My favorite dishes are the chicken or veal Marsala cooked until tender, with just a hint of sweetness from the Marsala wine and covered with fresh mushrooms. I also enjoy the broccoli with a pinch of garlic, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.

For little ones with little appetites, Buca offers a kid’s menu that includes six different items and a drink.

I dare you and your party to eat an entire “colossal brownie sundae.” It’s sure to capture attention in the dining room and worthy of accolades to those who finish the enormous dessert. A martini glass is filled with freshly baked Ghirardelli chocolate brownies loaded with Ghirardelli chocolate chips. The brownies are layered with six scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Caramel and chocolate sauces top the ice cream before a mound of whipped cream is swirled making the dessert even taller. Of course it is finished with a cherry or two and a few sprinkles to make it festive.

Buca di Beppo is a birthday celebration destination. They have a special sign stating “Happy Birthday to you” that will be placed on your table and the staff sings a very festive Buca di Beppo birthday song. You will hear the rendition sung at various tables throughout your dining experience.

Tell them it’s your birthday when you make a reservation, and they will present you with a free birthday cake, as long as it is within 30 days of the actual day. This new dining destination is attracting locals as well as tourists visiting Los Angeles, thanks to its food, decor and prime location.

$$ – 6333 W. 3rd Street (323)370-6560. Located in the former Planet Dailies space, next to Mixology 101, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This review was featured in the July 27 issue of the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News – http://beverlypress.com/2016/07/fun-family-style-dining-at-buca-di-beppo/