Avocado. Margarita. Cinco de Mayo

Everyday is a Cinco de Mayo celebration when you sip a margarita and nibble on tortilla chips and guacamole. I learned from registered dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade working with the Hass Avocado Board some fun facts about avocados. Here’s what I learned –

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Photo by Loews Hollywood Hotel

Avocado is a fruit that contributes nearly 20 vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy nutrient-rich food choice. It’s filled with dietary “good fat” that the body needs to help with absorption of nutrients.

Unlike most varieties of fruit, healthy avocados do not contain sugar; they have the least amount of sugar per serving than any other fresh fruit. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, eating vegetables and fruits can help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and may be protective against certain types of cancers. Avocados help in weight loss and maintenance due to its fiber. Eating avocados offers the feeling of fullness with fewer calories. Loma Linda University discovered that eating half an avocado may contribute to feelings of satiety and reduce the desire to eat between meals.

Chefs are aware of the nutritional benefits of avocado and have created avocado toast as a favorite lunch and brunch dish. Fresh healthy avocado in sandwiches or spread on toast may help reduce intake of calories, fat, saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.

Here’s a roundup of restaurants in Los Angeles that will have the healthy avocado in their Cinco de Mayo specials and throughout the year:

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Casa Vega

Casa Vega Seis de Mayo Special
The time-honored 61-year-old Mexican restaurant, Casa Vega invites guests to ease into the day after Cinco de Mayo with a one-day-only “Seis de Mayo” special. Available only on Saturday, May 6, guests who order the signature breakfast burrito made with eggs, refried beans, Spanish rice, guacamole, sour cream, and Monterey Jack cheese, receive a choice of the Rehab Margarita or Michelada for $19.99. The Rehab Margarita rejuvenating ingredients includes electrolyte-replenishing coconut water, alongside pineapple and lime juice, and agave. The restaurant’s new Michelada is made with Modelo Especial, pressed cucumber juice, and housemade spice blend. This special is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. 13301 Ventura Blvd. (818)788-4868.

Loews Hollywood Hotel’s  offers some great specials at H2 Kitchen & Bar until  May 6. Ancho Chicken Taquitos – Blue Corn, Guacamole, Chipotle Crema $10; Creamed Street Corn – Green Chiles, Cotija $8; Avocado Toast – Guacamole, Smoked Salmon, Bagel Vinaigrette $10; Braised Pork Shank – Artichoke, Black Bean Sauce, Tomato Quinoa, Pickled Onion $20; Crispy Kale Cakes – Green Chile, Potato, Roasted Tomato Salsita $12; Morado Cadillac Mary – Loews Patron Reposado, Grand Marnier, Lime, Chambord $13. 1755 Highland Ave. (323)856-1200.

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Photo Loews Santa Monica

Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel’s specials at BarBelle
Enjoy Michelada Marinated Skirt Steak Tacos – Pickled Fresno Chilis, Lime Crema, Cilantro $15; Warm Churros – Delce de Leche, Mexican Chocolate $9; Casamigos Tequila Flight Tasting or a Bucket of 5 Coronas for $28. 1700 Ocean Ave. (310)458-6700.

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The Mixing Room at JW Marriott

Cinco de Mayo Taco Night
The Mixing Room at JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE celebrates May 5 with $4 tacos all night. Options include a Lechon taco made with the tender meat and crispy skin from a whole roasted pig. Put a dollop of guacamole or slice of avocado. They will also prepare a shrimp taco with roasted poblano, onion, lime, and black garlic. All are served with a selection of house-made salsas. Drinks include a Mexican Mule, a tequila sunrise mimosa, and a selection of beers. Sip one while listening to the sounds of live music from an acoustic band starting at 4 p.m. After 8 p.m., a DJ spins lively tunes until 1 a.m. 900 W. Olympic Blvd. (213)216-3390.

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Manuela

Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day at Manuela – On May 5 come celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Manuela in the courtyard of Hauser & Firth from 4 to 9 p.m. Come in dressed to impress to enjoy a variety of tacos and two margaritas, plus a live mariachi band for $35 per person. The next day, come back in starting at 1 to 4 p.m. on May 6 to enjoy mint juleps, daiquiris, wine, beer and passed food while watching the horse races. Ticket cost is $55 per person and includes food prepared by chef Wes Whitsell, one welcome punch and one mint julep. Prizes are given to those who select the winning horses. 907 E. 3rd St. (323)849-0480.

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The Wallace

Fiesta at The Wallace
In Culver City for Cinco de Mayo, The Wallace has put together a fun “Fiesta AF” menu available all night only at the bar on May 5. Choose from five different bebidas at $9 each including Tommy’s Margarita made with tequila, lime, and agave; a mezcal margarita; Paloma made with tequila, lime, and grapefruit soda; Bloody Maria and Michelada. All pair nicely with guacamole. There are four different cervezas at $5 and comidas range in price from $5 to $17.  3833 Main St. (310)202-6400.

Spiced Shrimp
Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern

Cinco de Mayo at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern
Celebrate early on May 4 and May 5 with a special selection of taco plates and margaritas. The bar is making four unique top shelf margaritas that include Sofia’s Skinny margarita. In the kitchen the chefs are making five different taco plates that include a choice of fish, lobster, spiced shrimp, blackened fish or carne aside tacos with Borracho black beans and red rice. They also are preparing sirloin and black bean chili nachos. On Cinco De Mayo, all locations will offer margaritas at half price. 1733 Ocean Ave. (424)292-5222.

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Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre Cinco de Mayo
All day and night Gracias Madre will serve Cazuela Cocktail for Two made with El Charo Blanco, Mandrine, Lime, Lemon, Yuzu Bitters, and Grapefruit for $20. It pairs nicely with Pinches Nachos Gordos that are loaded nachos with house made chips, black beans, bbq Jackfruit, pineapple salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, nacho cheese, chorizo, coconut Bacon and cilantro. Listen to the sounds of Trio Los Brillantes starting at 4 p.m. The restaurant offers their regular Happy hour $6 specials from 3 to 6 p.m. 8905 Melrose Ave. (323)978-2170.

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Photo by Jill Weinlein

Shade Hotel Cinco de Mayo – On Friday, May 5, starting at 3 p.m., the Sea Level restaurant is offering Mexican delicacies that include white fish ceviche with leche de tigre, aji Amarillo chili, fresh cilantro and plantain chips, and fresh roasted guajillo salsa. There will also be tequila flights and top-notch margarita specials all night long at the new waterfront Shade Hotel’s restaurant in Redondo Beach. 655 N. Harbor Drive (310)921-8950.

Fleming’s $100 Cinco de Mayo Margarita
Celebrate on May 4 through May 6 at Fleming’s while sipping a one-of-a-kind $100 margarita served in a beautiful Baccarat’s designed Diamant Highball. Guests are welcome to take home this beautiful glass in its iconic red box. The margarita is made with Tequila Herradura, an ultra-premium 100% percent agave tequila, that has been aged for 49 months. Tequila Herradura’s Selección Suprema is an international award-winning tequila providing a complex balance of the finest cooked agave, married with notes of rich vanilla and dried fruit. This tequila with Grand Marnier Centenaries makes a smooth cocktail pairing with one of Fleming’s signature dishes and guacamole. 2301 Rosecrans Ave., El Segundo (310)643-6911 and 800 W. Olympic Blvd. (213)745-9911.

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Cinco De Mayo Fiesta at Descanso Gardens offers homemade guacamole for their Mexican buffet dinner with a live mariachi performance and dancer Floreo Charro on May 5 at 6 p.m. A selection of dishes include a taco station served with corn and flour tortillas and chopped marinated grilled skirt steak and grilled chicken. There are drunken slow cooked pinto beans with brown sugar, beer and chili; Spanish rice; cheese enchiladas; homemade chicken tamales. Guests can indulge in tri-colored chips to dip in fresh pico de gallo,guacamole, fresh red and green salsas. Finish with churros and caramel flan. 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada (818)949-4200.

Parts of this article are featured in The Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on May 4. 2017

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in Beverly Hills

DSC_0759The newest Fleming’s chain on Beverly Drive is as eager to please their guests as a puppy dog. Smiling hostesses welcome every person walking into the beautiful interior. Joyful servers greet  patrons and share the Fleming’s menu with enthusiasm. “Is this your first visit to Fleming’s?”

Tai Nguyen opened the first Fleming’s in Newport Beach 14 years ago. Now the elegant restaurant chain has over 65 locations. Nguyen is the Operating Partner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. I had the opportunity to enjoy a four-course dinner with him last Thursday night.

We started with a bountiful seafood platter dripping with ice and filled with Alaskan King Crab claws and legs, lobster tails and cooked shrimp. Four of us shared this dish as we dipped the jewels from the sea in Fleming’s cocktail sauce.

The pan crisped pork belly was served with a sweet burgundy onion chutney and creamy goat cheese grits. I paced myself by having a small bite of each, because I knew there would be a lot more food coming. This was paired with a ruby red glass of 46 Diamonds Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tai ordered the Fleming’s salad, because he loves the candied walnuts. I ordered the New Wedge salad and was pleased with its presentation when it arrived. It’s a deconstructed wedge of crispy lettuce offers a DSC_0756hunk of blue cheese that I cut and speared onto a grape tomato. The large strip of caramelized bacon was cut and mixed with the crispy cooked onions.

The Chef at this location is the adorable Brandon Powell. When he stepped out of the kitchen and entered the dining room, Powell received applause from the guests.

Even though I was in one of the most popular steakhouses in the world, I ordered the Scottish salmon. It was barbecued with a slightly sweet glaze and served with a grilled mushroom salad. Tia ordered the same entrée and we both remarked that the fish was heavenly. My friend Toni ordered the Main Filet Mignon served with a béarnaise sauce. Its seared at 1600 degrees to offer a rich flavor. She enjoyed every bite. Across our table, a gentleman ordered the double thick pork rib chop served with an apple cider and creole mustard sauce.

Two side dishes were delivered to the table. The Fleming’s potatoes are blended with cream, jalapeño bits and topped with melted cheddar cheese. They are exquisite. The grilled asparagus is a healthier option to accompany an entrée.

Tai and I played with the iPad wine list. Tai said it’s the first of its kind at any Fleming’s restaurant. Select the “Choose a dish” tab and the iPad will offer at least three wines by the glass and bottle that pair nicely with that specific item. The Wine Director is the beautiful Maeve Pesquera. She selects over 3500 bottles of wine with over 350 varietals of wine and champagne for Fleming’s. Each restaurant offers 100 different wines by the glass. The Beverly Hills location also has a glassed in wine storage room that is climate controlled. It rests in the center of the restaurants and displays an impressive amount of wine bottles.

DSC_0761We finished with a selection of Fleming’s decadent  desserts: cheesecake with blueberries, creme brûlée, chocolate lava cake, ice cream and wafer cookies and a sweet turtle pie.

With Valentine’s Day approaching Fleming’s is offering a special dinner for loved ones. Start with a specialty cocktail of a Venetian Valentine of Mint to Be to be enjoyed with an Heirloom tomato and house made burrata appetizer. The chef will send out an amuse bouche of citrus marinated salmon tartar served with herbed crostini. Next choose a roasted lobster tail with vanilla lemon butter and crispy pancetta mac and cheese or Chateaubriand with creamy jumbo lump crab, topped with a Madeira sauce and accompanied with asparagus spears. This special menu is $69.95 per person. Finish the romantic meal with a rich chocolate budino topped with salted mascarpone whipped cream and add an additional $9.95.

To make a reservation at Fleming’s Beverly Hills or any of the Southern California Fleming’s restaurants, go to http://www.flemingssteakhouse.com

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