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.

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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; Grateful Dead; The Doors; the Allman Brothers; George Harrison; and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), along with his brother Dell Furano (who at the time was serving as CEO of Live Nation Merchandising) brought their friend restaurateur/hotelier Michael Zislis backstage to meet their longtime friends KISS band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. While sipping beers, Dave asked, “What’s better than rock and brews?” Before the beers were finished, the five of them collaborated on the Rock & Brews restaurant concept.

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are the restaurant’s brand global “Rock ‘n’ Roll ambassadors.” They also contribute to key decisions about the Rock & Brews experience and expansion plans.

Zislis, a brewmaster, knows a thing or two about craft beer. In fact after graduating from USC, Zislis opened the Manhattan Beach Brewing Company. It was one of the first brewpubs in the South Bay. With its success, he helped in the urban revitalization in Manhattan Beach and built the area’s first and only luxury boutique hotel, Shade, in 2004. His second Shade Hotel in Redondo Beach opened in 2016.

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The El Segundo location is their first restaurant. It opened in 2012 with an indoor bar and dining room, along with an outside beer garden featuring wooden picnic style tables, and a 360-degree entertainment “Great Wall of Rock” displaying legendary rock icons on oversized canvases, along with album art hung on the walls. The lively restaurant has concert lighting, and multiple flat screens showing some of the greatest rock concerts of all time.

We sat at a table under an umbrella and studied the beer menu, which has a selection of lagers, pilsners, pale ales, fruit, malty, hoppy, Belgian and dark beers. Our knowledgeable server helped us with our beverage selection and food pairings. Under “Opening Acts,” we selected Sgt. Pepper’s jalapeño poppers, guacamole toast and barbecue chicken sliders.

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The menu offers eight different salads, and I ordered the Hotel California Cobb with chopped grilled chicken, applewood smoked bacon, artisan blue cheese, avocado, sweet grape tomatoes and a hard boiled egg dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette. Another appealing salad is the Strawberry Fields made with baby greens, fresh strawberries, sliced avocado, cucumbers and red onions with a sprinkling of candied walnuts and feta cheese, before dressed with a pleasing lemon pepper vinaigrette.

Under the Classic Hits section are beer battered Alaskan cod & chips; five cheese mac n’ cheese; tacos and Red Hot chipotle chili.

Big City Red’s are half pound, all beef hot dogs served on a sesame brioche bun with either natural fries or coleslaw.

My husband ordered from the Headliner section a fresh ahi and avocado sandwich. It was served on a soft, sesame brioche bun that had a spread of wasabi aioli. All burgers and sandwiches are served with choice of natural fries, potato salad, pasta salad or coleslaw. Diners can substitute grilled vegetables, a cup of soup, sweet potato fries, onion rings, fresh fruit, or side of Rockin’ or Caesar salad for a minimal additional charge.

The Rockin’ Fit section featuressix dishes under 600 calories including tri tip taco lettuce wraps filled with avocado, roasted corn and tomatillo salsas, cotija cheese, marinated red onions, cilantro and black beans. My sister-in-law ordered the lighter-in-calories dish and loved it.

The others at our table ordered burgers and crispy, thick fries. The gastropub burger was layered with a sunny-side up egg, bacon, caramelized onions, baby greens, sliced tomato and a garlic aioli spread. It was juicy and filled with savory flavors.

Rock & Brews connects with the community through philanthropic effort supporting schools, veterans and active military organizations.

Recently Zislis and Dave and Dell Furano celebrated with KISS’s Simmons and Stanley the “Bar of the Year” award at the 2017 Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference in Toronto. The FAB awards recognize the best and most innovative concepts in travel-related food and beverage.

Rock & Brews is located at 143 Main St., El Segundo, (310)615-9890; 1 World Way (424)702-4596; Terminal 5 – 500 World Way, (424)702-1619. rockandbrews.com.

This review was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News – http://beverlypress.com/2017/08/rockin-food-music-fun-and-craft-beers-at-rock-brews/

Meeting Football Legend Rosey Grier at the new Shade Hotel Redondo Beach

Attending a charity watch party event benefitting the Los Angeles Rams in Redondo Beach at the new Stand House Redondo Beach, I noticed football legend Rosey Grier talking to a group of fans. Born in 1932, he appears much younger than an 84-year-old man.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Michael Zislis invited over 30 LA Rams legends including Rosey Grier, Dennis Harrah, Nolan Cromwell and LeRoy Irvin to be his first guests at the highly anticipated phase one opening of Shade Hotel Redondo Beach. Located right next to The Cheesecake Factory, this new luxury boutique hotel, is at the center of the Redondo Beach Waterfront Revitalization Project. Each room offers stellar views of luxury boats docked in the Redondo Beach Harbor, and magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island and Palos Verdes.

While guests and members of the Rams staff and fans enjoyed pulled pork sliders, sweet potato fries, panini sandwiches and chips with guacamole, we all cheered the Rams defeat the Arizona Cardinals in a 17 to 13 win. Proceeds from the event benefited the Rams Foundation.

Sitting outside the viewing room on the second level, I approached Grier and asked if I could take a photo with him. Afterwards, I discovered the greatness of a man who has outlived most of his contemporaries.

Photo by Rick Weinlein
Photo by Rick Weinlein

He is one of 12 children and named after Franklin D. Roosevelt,  who was the Governor of New York and  became President of the United States. At the age of three, Grier picked cotton, tomatoes, greens and watermelon in the fields with his family. Once he turned five, he attended school three days a week. “I didn’t get to attend school full time until I was 11 years old,” Grier shared with me.

Even though teachers told him that black children don’t go to college, Grier worked hard and got accepted into Penn State to study and play football. He was one of 50 black students among a population of over 5,000.

After college, he was drafted to the NFL New Giants from 1955 to 1962. One year later he started playing for the LA Rams and became part of the “Fearsome Foursome” with Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen and Lamar Ludy.  He stopped playing for the LA Rams when he tore his Achilles tendon.

Grier told me that he was good friends with Robert “Bobby” Kennedy and was at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, when Sirhan Sirhan shot and killed him. “I took the gun out of Sirhan Sirhan’s hand,” shared Grier.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Now he works on the Milken Family Board and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. As an ordained minister, Grier is a nationally renowned motivational speaker, and has received several national and White House honors and invitations.

Walking by us was owner Michael Zislis. He mentioned, “We are excited to have the Rams back in Los Angeles, and it was a magical way to celebrate the pinnacle opening of our newest Shade Hotel.” Grier and his wife stayed overnight and he loved the room and marine views.

The first phase of the new, 54-room contemporary luxury boutique hotel opened October 2 with a celebrity ribbon-cutting event. Opposite the hotel, along the waterfront is a standalone three-level fully-dedicated culinary building, with party and event space that can accommodate up to 250 guests.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

With the phase one opening, Shade Redondo Beach is welcoming guests. “The next two to three weeks I will be working non-stop,” shared Zislis. The entire hotel and in-house restaurant is scheduled to open in November.

Shade Hotel Redondo Beach is located at 655 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, CA 90277. For more information visit www.shaderb.com.

 

Exploring The New Shops At Terminal 1 LAX

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Terminal 1 at LAX airport now offers a Rockin’ fun experience before and after a flight on Southwest Airlines. On March 1st they opened the phase 1 portion of their renovated terminal that has been undergoing $508 million in renovations.

Crews’ was at the ribbon cutting ceremony, along with the V.P. of Development for Westfield Keith Kaplan, Rock Stars Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Restaurateur and hospitality expert Michael Zislis and representatives from the City of Los Angeles and LAX airport joined the rock stars.

FullSizeRender-209Crews’ currently has retail locations located in terminal 1 and Tom Bradley International Terminal. From 2009 Crews of California’s news & gift locations produced the highest grossing sales per square foot of any news & gift operator at LAX.

This esteem team of retail experts were excited to unveil six new outlets to enhance travelers airport experience. Walking through security, I noticed the lounge area has improved and the baggage claim area received a face lift too.

Here are the six new stores and food options at Terminal 1 as of March 1, 2016 –

1.be relax –  Offering wellbeing and relaxation services in 10 minutes or more in a relaxing spa boutique setting. The spa boutique sells a wide range of well-being, facial products, massage accessories and travel accessories to make airplane trips comfortable. While waiting for your flight enjoy a chair massage, manicure/pedicure or anti-jet lag facial.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

 

2. Brookstone – Started out in the 1960s as a hard-to-find, but useful items and tools boutique. Today, the store operates over 300 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Brookstone stores sell games and toys, travel accessories, bath and spa items, electronics, bedroom products, massage tools, and specialty gifts. The store also offers patrons the chance to try out every product before buying.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

3. I Love LA is filled with fun items to purchase for yourself to enjoy on your flight or to give to those you are about to see at your destination. Kids love this store. It’s colorful and filled with I Love LA items. Soto & Sanchez is the foundation which started I Love L.A. Owned by siblings-two sisters and two brothers – They opened their first I Love L.A. in 1994. They now have three stores at LAX.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

4. Rock & Brews – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Gene Simmon and Paul Stanley of the mega rock band KISS partnered with Michael Zislis and Dave and Dell Furano in 2012 to open their first Rock & Brews. Today, they opened their 15th location. South Bay restaurateur Michael Zislis with Zislis Restaurant Group (Shade Hotel, Rock N’Fish, The Strand House and Rock & Brews) is an expert at luxury hospitality and inspirational restaurants.

Travelers can pick up a rockin’ meal to go from the Rock & Brews’ “Grab and Go” section or get a table in the rock-inspired setting and dine-in. Menu items include breakfast items with a variety of frittatas served with a choice of toast; Benedicts; croissant breakfast sandwiches, Greek yogurt bowl and more. Before your flight sip a Creole Bloody Mary or Guava bellini, while enjoying in the rock-inspired environment.

Lunch items range from a multitude of Craft burgers, VIP salads, Headliner sandwiches, Front row pizza, Opening Act appetizers and RB Specialties with tacos, grilled tri tip and hot dogs. Rock & Brews at Terminal 1 is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
KISS front men Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley joined Westfield and Crews in celebrating the opening of Rock & Brews on Tuesday at LAX Terminal 1. Pictured, from left: Dell Furano, Rock & Brews; Keith Kaplan, Westfield; Nick Buford, Crews;. Paul Stanley, KISS: Deborah Crews, Crews; Gene Simmons KISS; Michael Zislis, Rock & Brews; Dave Furano, Rock & Brews

5. Sol Surf – Offering the quintessential quality surf wear and lifestyle items from the Southern California brand, an airport first. This is a go-to spot to purchase a new outfit for yourself or gift for the person waiting your arrival.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

6. Treat Me Sweet – See’s Candies are featured inside Treat Me Sweet. See’s Candies is a California candy and chocolates company making sweet treats with no added preservatives. Many say it’s the best chocolate and candy in America. See’s is famous for 90+ years of deliciousness and friendly customer service. Get a bag of treats to satisfy your sweet tooth before or after a Southwest flight.

(Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Photo by Jill Weinlein)

30 Days of Devinly Decadence at Zinc @ shade

DSC_0768Since I have vowed to eat healthy during 2013, I was excited to meet Chef Devin Alexander to try some of her dishes at The Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach.

Currently, Devin has 8 popular cookbooks, including the Biggest Loser cookbooks. She hosts America’s Chefs on Tour on PBS and has a show Healthy Decadence which can be viewed on FitTV.

She has also frequently appeared on The Biggest Loser, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and The View.

Devin is adorable with her bubbly personality. When she met restaurant and hotel entrepreneur Michael Zislis, the owner of the Shade Hotel, she cooked for him. He was so impressed with the quality and taste of the food that he offered her to create a 30 Days of Devinly Decadence menu to be served at his Zinc Craft Kitchen in the Shade. As of Jan. 10, 2013, Zislis has lost 5 pounds by eating Devin’s food.

At the age of 15, Devin weighed 70-pounds more than she does today. After being bullied and feeling bad about herself, she learned that if she could cut 100 calories from her diet each day, she could lose weight. In one year, she lost about 20 pounds and felt better about herself.  She realized that you don’t have to deprive yourself of good food to be healthy, and learned how to cook healthier and tasty dishes.

A group of us sat down to enjoy nine of the dishes featured on this week’s menu. Each week Devin will create some newer dishes, so those who want to dine at Zinc daily, will always have a new dish to experience.

We started with a chocolate peanut butter breakfast banana split. What? How can than be low calories and healthy? Devin splits a banana and scoops fresh ground peanut butter. Then she tops it with non-fat vanilla yogurt and high-fiber Grape Nuts cereal to give the dish a delightful crunch. It was satisfying, sweet and healthy.

Next, arrived an egg white goat cheese omelet flavored with fresh tarragon and chives. The goat cheese gives this dish a pop of wonderful flavors. The best part of this dish is it’s only 141 calories.

For lunch Devin serves a bountiful salad with a twist on buffalo chicken wings. It’s a grilled chicken dipped in Devin’s secret wing sauce. The chicken is cubed and tossed with mixed greens, celery, tomatoes, carrots and red onions. This pleasing dish is under 500 calories, even with Devin’s housemade low-cal blue cheese dressing.DSC_0771

The Little Dev burger looks just like a Big Mac, tastes just like a Big Mac, yet is only 317 calories with 11 grams of fat. Compare that to the traditional Big Mac with 560 calories and 30 grams of fat. Devin’s is served with seasoned light-skinned sweet potato chips or a mixed green salad.

Craving Mexican food, but don’t want the high fat and calories? Devin’s grilled chicken enchiladas are only 366 calories. They have a zing to them with Devin’s special seasoning.

Everyone knows that crab cakes are fried and filled with fat, however Devin’s are unfried lump crab “balls” seasoned with panko bread crumbs and served with a salad. Three crab “balls” with a lemon caper dipping sauce are only 215 calories.

I love potato skins, yet never eat them because of all the cheese, sour cream and bacon bits. Devin reconstructs a healthy potato skin type of dish with low-fat cheddar cheese, seasoned sweet potato rounds, nitrite free turkey bacon bits and tops them with non-fat Greek yogurt and sprinkles some green onions. The entire dish is 288 calories with 9 grams of fat.

DSC_0777It’s easy to save room for Devin’s Divine Desserts, because one doesn’t feel overstuffed or guilty for consuming too many calories. Her life altering lemon bundt cake is fat-free, gluten-free and filled with fiber. The entire portion is only 207 calories. Craving chocolate? Devin makes a Godiva chocolate bundt cake that has 239 calories and 3 grams of fat. It’s rich, gooey and oh-so-delicious! The lowest calorie dessert is her banana mania muffin at 131 calories and a trace of fat. It’s gluten-free and has no weird sweeteners that give you a chemical aftertaste.

For drinks her unsweetened passion green ice tea is pink in color and full of tropical flavors. For those craving a cocktail, The Shade Lounge and restaurant are serving Devinly Decadence cocktails that are all under 200 calories. The sparkly greyhound is made with Ketel One, fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice and grapefruit sparkling water. Her frozen blueberry margarita is only 188 calories, compared to 500 to 750 calories. A nice night-cap is the Ripped Russian with Kahlua, Ketel One, and Devin’s all natural Devinly cocoa-infused creaminess. It’s dreamy with only 118 calories, vs. a traditional 450 White Russian.

I walked out amazed to eat all of those low-calorie dishes and not one tasted bland or like cardboard. They were Divine!

Visit The Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach to have you taste buds tantalized and you don’t have to loosen your waistband.

Next week Devin will prepare a Breakfast Chili Bowl, Drippy Ahi Tacos, a Thai beef papaya chopped salad, chocolate-glazed soft pretzel bites and a luscious red velvet bundt cake with a cream cheese glaze.

1221 N. Valley Drive, (310)546-4995, http://www.shadehotel.com