Wolfgang Puck Opens all-day Ospero

Located at the former House of Blues site on the Sunset Strip, Wolfgang Puck recently opened his new all-day restaurant Ospero at the new boutique hotel, Pendry West Hollywood. The entrance is at street level, looking out to the Comedy Store, and is within blocks of his first Spago restaurant that he opened in 1982.

It’s been over 10 years since Puck, one of L.A.’s most famous chefs, has opened a restaurant. Puck became a household name for his award-season dinner parties, one-of-a-kind restaurants around the world, popular airport eateries and a line of culinary delights available at grocery stores.

Sit outside in the afternoon and watch the people and cars go by on Sunset Boulevard. In the evening, if you seek a quieter spot, ask to sit at the back of the restaurant on the al fresco dining terrace. The twinkling lights of the residences at the Pendry and views of greater Los Angeles are beautiful.

At Ospero there is a long dark blue bar and an open pizza kitchen. The low, soft leather teal-colored chairs resting on the Saltillo tile floor create an Italian trattoria feel.

Step into the lobby of the Pendry Hotel in West Hollywood and push the elevator to the 3rd floor to dine at Ospero.

We sat at a table for two at one of the coveted green velvet banquette tables and opened the dinner menu on our smartphones. Ospero features some neighborhood-friendly favorites that Puck made so popular during his days at Spago. There are iconic and innovative salads, pastas and wood-burning pizzas. Ospero also offers vegan dishes, proteins, a really good burger, breakfast favorites, grab-and-go items and a full bar.

We started with Puck’s chopped Chino Farm vegetable salad that our server had the kitchen split into two bowls. It was a generous portion of chopped lettuce with a variety of crunchy cube-shaped vegetables dressed lightly with a balsamic vinaigrette and dusting of parmesan cheese shavings. The salad was very fresh, healthy-tasting and offered layers of pleasing flavors.

Other popular salads and share dishes include a grilled tuna niçoise salad with a soft-boiled egg and meatballs al forno, bathed in a tomato, garlic and basil sauce with whipped ricotta.

Puck’s signature smoked salmon pizza with dill cream and salmon pearls is on Ospero’s menu, along with five others, including a wild mushroom pizza that we ordered and enjoyed. It arrived with Puck’s famous crust, thick and perfectly browned by the wood fire. A generous sprinkling of mushrooms topped a basil pesto spread, and chopped roasted garlic, caramelized onions and melted cheese medallions finished off the pizza.

Other pizzas include a house made lamb sausage with Calabrian chiles, mushrooms and onions; a spicy chicken with melted leeks; and a squash blossom and goat cheese pizza.

The Pendry displays one-of-a-kind art

There are four different pastas, including one named My Grandmother’s Cheese Ravioli, and fresh pappardelle with braised oxtail ragout and fava beans topped with pecorino cheese.

Those seeking grilled fish have a choice between Atlantic salmon served with a fresh arugula and fennel salad on top, or a tender wood oven cooked branzino served with a delicious gremolata and Tuscan kale.

The table next to us ordered the prime beef burger topped with melted white cheddar cheese, a slice of grilled red onion and garlic aioli spread on the bun which comes with fries.

Other proteins include a half Jidori chicken served with Tuscan potatoes and broccolini, and a grilled prime skirt steak served with rosemary and garlic fries.

Stay for dessert and order the creamy Basque cheesecake topped with a farmers market strawberry sauce and the pie of the day. Both are ethereal, rich and is sliced large enough for two to share.

Executive chef Mark Andelbrandt oversees the kitchen with Puck and has enjoyed an extensive culinary resume with the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group. Besides being the executive chef at Spago at the Bellagio Resort & Casino, he works alongside Puck to create one-of-a-kind globally influenced fare.

Now he is managing the kitchens at both Ospero and the more exclusive Merois, which offers stellar views from the Pendry’s penthouse level, creating a fine dining menu using French techniques with an Asian spin.

The night I dined at Ospero, Merois was just opening to hotel guests and private club members. I’ll have to save that experience for another night. Puck’s son, Byron Lazaroff-Puck, oversees both of these restaurants.

Come in for breakfast at Ospero starting at 7 a.m. Lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m. The grab-and-go and pizza menus are available between lunch and dinner. Dinner is served nightly starting at 5 p.m. $$ 8430 Sunset Blvd., (323)918-3420.

This review was featured in the Beverly Press – https://beverlypress.com/2021/05/wolfgang-puck-opens-all-day-ospero/

Wolfgang Puck’s SPAGO Beverly Hills Opens

When award winning celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck opened Spago Beverly Hills, it not only became a local favorite fine dining restaurant, but also for visitors and tourists.

When the restaurant closed due to city and state Covid-19 mandates in mid-March, Puck and his team creatively started a takeout and delivery service.

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Since the health of the staff and customers is the top most priority at Spago Beverly Hills, they trained the staff to follow strict health guidelines. Staff prepared for the day when their guests were allowed to return to dine-in.  Recently with city and staff gave approval Spago Beverly Hills opened its dining room and expanded outdoor patio with the following protocols implemented:

Guests must make a reservation for lunch or dinner before arrival. To make the Spago experience during this transitional time safe and healthy for all, the staff has daily wellness and temperature checks, plus weekly COVID testing.

When a diner arrives at Spago Beverly Hills, they will receive an aromatic spritz from Spago’s housemade Manhattan hand sanitizer upon arrival. They also will be handed a Spago ‘Stash Your Mask’ bag, so they have a clean place to store their mask when sipping a cocktail and enjoying a meal.

Next, they will be asked a few simple health questions and have a quick infrared temperature check reading before they sit at their reserved table. Coat and Bag Check has been temporarily suspended.

To promote a rigorous sparkling clean sanitation regime, staff are required to wear face masks, gloves and face shields. Spago Beverly Hills asks all guests to wear face before being seated at their table, and when they use the restroom or leave the restaurant.

Diners will find improved service steps that include paper sleeves to protect flatware and napkins, tableside wine pours, virtual menus viewed via smartphone, and contactless payment coming soon.

The restaurant offers additional handwashing and sanitation stations, and distancing floor markings to promote servers and guests to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.

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Health guidelines require Spago Beverly Hills to temporarily discontinue outside wine, food, décor or other items to be brought into the restaurant.

The current hours for dine-in include lunch on Friday and Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. Dinner service is offered from 5:30 to 9 p.m., on Wednesday through Sunday. Take-out and delivery is also still available from Wednesday through Sunday.

This review was also featured in JustLuxe.

The Pendry West Hollywood Welcomes Wolfgang Puck

Recently I was invited to a Zoom informational meeting with a panel involved in the new Pendry West Hollywood and Pendry Residences West Hollywood by Montage Hotel & Resorts. Everyone was giddy about the collaboration with Chef Wolfgang Puck returning to the Sunset Strip.

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Wolfgang Puck first starting cooking in Los Angeles in 1975 as a chef of Ma Maison in West Hollywood. His big personality and innovative culinary flair attracted the rich and famous eager to enjoy his elegant fusion of French and California fare. With award winning reviews and a steady following, Wolfgang branched out to create his first flagship restaurant, Spago, in West Hollywood. Spago means “spaghetti” in Neapolitan slang.

Opening in 1982, the restaurant perched on a hill next to Tower Records with the Sunset Strip below, became an instant culinary phenomenon. He hired a team of talented chefs that later went on to open their own successful restaurants throughout Los Angeles.

Puck pioneered “California Cuisine,” and became famous for its haute designer pizzas topped with smoked salmon and caviar, and pasta dishes. Known as the pizzeria to the stars, super agent “Swifty” Lazar held his annual post-Oscar party at Spago, and just about every movie star hoped to secure an invitation.

Spago attracted some of the most talented, ambitious cooks, who later moved on to launch their own successful restaurants. Nancy Silverton and her husband at the time Mark Peel, opened Campanile in 1989, and later La Brea Bakery. Executive chef Govind Armstrong began working at Spago in his teens. Susan Feniger of Border Grill restaurants worked with Puck, as did Chef Neal Fraser before opening BLD and Redbird. Before Providence and Connie & Ted’s, James Beard Award winning chef Michael Cimarusti was the chef de cuisine at the original Spago.

With Puck’s success he opened Granita in Malibu or Chinois in Santa Monica. This accomplished chef earned the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef of the Year, in 1991, and the James Beard Foundation Award for Restaurant of the Year in 1994, but won Outstanding Chef of the Year again, in 1998. Wolfgang Puck is the only chef to have won the Outstanding Chef of the Year Award multiple times.

After 15 successful years in West Hollywood, Puck moved Spago to the more toney Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. “WeHo is different now than when I had a restaurant on the Sunset Strip,” said Puck. “It was funky and known for its wild nightlife and rock music in various clubs. I used to go to The Whiskey, and once I saw Chuck Berry,” said Puck.

Photo courtesy of Pendry Hotels

 

Located on the former House of Blues corner, is a new way of luxury living, The walkable neighborhood of Sunset and Fountain is becoming the hub to live, work and play. It’s the right property for the right time to meet the moment.

Wolfgang Puck will bring a variety of premier dining concepts to Pendry West Hollywood. ‘Now Sunset Blvd., is being revitalized. It’s amazing. The Pendry West Hollywood will be the center of the Sunset Strip,’ said Puck. ‘I like it so much, that I have moved my office here.’

Diners can expect to enjoy Puck’s Michelin-starred, seasonal cuisine, highlighting local ingredients and organic options, along with carefully crafted wine and cocktail lists developed by Puck’s acclaimed beverage team.

“I may create a new fine dining restaurant concept for a new generation of foodies,” said Puck. Plans are to create a casual indoor breakfast, lunch, and dinner concept with an outdoor patio, and a sophisticated rooftop restaurant offering stunning views of Los Angeles.

The restaurants might even have some Spago inspired dishes that fans of the original restaurant enjoyed. “Downstairs is a music room. Musicians like home cooked meals, so I’ll be making fried chicken and comfort dishes,” said Puck.

“It’s an honor to team up with a world-renowned chef and one of Los Angeles’ culinary icons to bring our food and beverage concepts at Pendry West Hollywood to life,” said Michael Fuerstman, co-founder and creative director of Pendry Hotels. “Wolfgang has played a singular role in shaping the City’s culinary identity, and we are excited to collaborate with an LA legend to continue to push the food scene to even greater heights.”

Photo courtesy of Pendry Hotels

 

Pendry West Hollywood is a $500 million dollar project that has taken 15 years in the making featuring 149 luxury guestrooms in an urban oasis and 40 luxury residences with a piazza separating the vibrancy of the hotel with the privacy of residential living.

Besides Wolfgang Puck culinary and beverage venues, guests and residence owners will have exclusive access to hotel amenities, including a rooftop pool and bar, multi-purpose live music and entertainment venue, a screening room, bowling alley, Spa Pendry and state-of-the-art fitness center, and a curated art collection.

Martin Brudnizki, founder of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, vision for the new Pendry West Hollywood is the glamour of the 1930s and 1950s with a contemporary twist. “Sunset is a stretched out Time Square,” said Brudnizki on Zoom. ‘Im creating an inviting public village, that is exclusively perched up above the Sunset Strip with steps cascading down the hill.’

Every resident will have a terrace, some are bigger than others bringing nature and sunshine, a relaxed lifestyle, and uber glamour that inspires a zest for life. The residences start at $3 million for an almost 3,000 square foot private unit.

New to the Pendry Hotel since the coronavirus pandemic, is One Medical, a telecom Medical App, offering check-in with a live doctor 24/7 for associates.

Another Pendry West Hollywood article is also featured in JustLuxe -.

Holiday Sunday Brunch at WP24 by Wolfgang Puck 

For the first time ever WP24 by Wolfgang Puck at The Ritz-Carlton, in Los Angeles at L.A. Live opens its doors to guests and the public for an interactive Sunday brunch. Start with a complimentary lychee mimosa and an array of lovely baked items before you are escorted to your view table.

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Guests are invited into Chef de Cuisine John Lechleidner’s kitchen to watch chef demonstrations and discuss technique with his team at individual Asian stations. “During the holidays, I want guests to visit our home in WP24,” said Chef John.

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Discover the proper way to roll sushi, stir-fry hand-torn noodles and discover how they make Chinese donuts for dessert.

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The Wolfgang Puck’s Peking Duck station allows diners to make their own duck bao bun. There is also an area to prepare congee with scallion, poached shrimp, pork floss, bamboo shoots, chili oils, 10-minute eggs and pickled mustard greens. Another stations offers fresh fruit and salads.

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The smoky Bloody Mary cocktail demo comes with a crystal decanter to refill at your table. Add slices of lemon, lime, olives and celery stalk.

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The special coffee bar offers candy canes, marshmallows, chocolate drops and cinnamon. The triple layer latte is a warm treat.

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On Sunday, December 23 there will be a special visit from Santa in addition to cookie decorating and hot cocoa for kids. Brunch is available for two consecutive seatings each Sunday starting at 11:00 a.m. and the second at 1:00 p.m. It’s priced at $75 per person; $25 for children 12 years and under. The price includes unlimited access to culinary stations, coffee, tea and orange juice. Cocktails are an additional charge. Call (213)743-8800 or go to WP24

My Governors Ball Red Carpet Experience

Excitedly I walked on the 90th Oscars red carpet before the Academy Awards and the Oscars Governors Ball preview. Event producer Cheryl Cecchetto of Sequoia Productions and her team created an elegant white and gold room that “transports those who have won before, those who may win and those who will win in the future, an experience that lingers long after the last dance,” Cecchetto said. “This is the 24th consecutive year, that Puck and the Wolfgang Puck Catering team set the menu featuring 60 imaginative dishes.”IMG_8900

Trays of Master Chef Wolfgang Puck’s amuse bouche, hors d’oeuvres and small plates were passed around the room. It’s the exact same culinary delights that 1,500 Oscar winners and nominees, show presenters and participants will enjoy after exiting the televised Hollywood award show.

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Passed trays included spicy tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, crab stuffed hibiscusn smoked salmon Oscars and black truffle chicken pot pies. Every year, Puck and his team present an enormous seafood raw bar and exquisite pastries and chocolates that include caramel-passion fruit Oscars lollipops, cocktail inspired macarons and a few sweet vegan delights. The highlight of the evening was a Callebaut Ruby chocolate filled with strawberry-hibiscus mousse.

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Servers offered flutes filled with bubbly limited edition Piper-Heidsieck champagne. One was an Oscars Art-Deco limited edition, others included a rare 1998 and 2002 vintage champagne.

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Globally acclaimed mixologist Charles Joly’s presented three specialty drinks – The Protagonist, The Epilogue and The Trilogy. For those looking for a non-alcoholic beverage, The Sidekick is made with cold hibiscus tea, fresh lemon juice, tonic water, simple syrup and sliced cucumber and borage flowers for garnish.

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Glasses of Coppola’s Director’s Cut Oscars 90th Edition 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 Chardonnay, and a 2016 Pinot Noir were poured throughout the evening. Corey Beck, Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s CEO said “The Academy Award is a ceremony that honors daring fearless, innovative storytelling, and in that tradition, we have developed two exquisite Director’s Cut wines that reflect innovative excellence.”

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Tables and the room are enhanced by 5000 succulents with thousands of roses and ranunculus by celebrity floral designer Mark Held of Mark’s Garden. These flowers are from South America, Holland, and California. Following the Governors Ball, the succulent plants displayed will be planted at the Motion Picture Television Fund for the residents to enjoy.

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A Peek into the 2017 Governors Ball

The 89th Oscars Governors Ball is once again produced by Cheryl Cecchetto of Sequoia Productions. For 28 consecutive years, she and her team have created a luxury experience for the Academy Awards Governors Ball. Oscar nominees, A-list celebrities and a selected group in the movie industry walk into the space at Hollywood & Highland, and are wow’d. “I’m in the business of creating experiences and memories that linger long after the last dance,” said Cecchetto.

For the 23rd consecutive year, a glamorous menu prepared by Wolfgang Puck and his Wolfgang Puck Catering team including VP Culinary Eric Klein and pastry team Kamel Guechida, Monica Ng and Jason Lemonnier.

In keeping with Wolfgang’s culinary passion, the menu consists of Wolfgang’s Eat, Love, Live (WELL) philosophy of providing fresh, natural and organic ingredients and celebrate local farmers, sustainable seafood and humanely treated animals.

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This year the red to silver and gold theme party offers more than 50 culinary whimsical dishes, starting with one-bite hors d’oeuvres to small-plate entrees that will be passed throughout the evening, including Puck’s signature smoked salmon Oscars.

New menu items include Moroccan spiced Wagyu short rib topped with a parmesan funnel cake; taro root tacos with shrimp, mango, avocado and chipotle aioli; lobster corn dogs; made-to-order sushi, poke and shellfish station.

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The ultimate dessert buffet featuring Puck’s sought-after 24-karat-gold chocolate Oscars. Wolfgang Puck Catering CEO Carl Schuster will direct more than 900 event staff through the party of the year.

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Back to created a flair with flowers is Mark’s Garden, celebrity floral designer. This year Mark has acquired flowers from South America, Holland and a few from Italy. Local flowers from California include blossoms on branches to give height and Ranunculus. “I found these stunning Italian anemones that tie in the red color theme,” said Mark.

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Piper-Heidsieck the revered French Champagne house known for its red and gold label is serving their Limited Edition 89th Oscars Champagne during the 2017 Academy Awards season. The limited-edition magnum bottles are enrobed in red and have a design of gold encircling the bottle. It’s a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay offering sparkling light gold and fine bubbles. The aroma of pear and apple dominate the flavor profile.

They also will have a rare 1998 Magnum made from 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. This black and gold bottle has an elegant essence of sandalwood, gingerbread and orange blossom.

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The Hillhaven Lodge offers a base of a distinctive blend of straight America whisky. There are four distinctive cocktails made by some of Hollywood’s best mixologists. Other top shelf spirits include Diageo Luxury Brands, including Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka, Tanqueray Premium Imported Gin, Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky and Zacapa Rum.

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Hillhaven Lodge was a posh spot for the entertainment elite starting in 1927. Ingrid Bergman, Kim Novak, James Caan and Allan Carr used to visit often before renowned director and producer Brett Ratner took it over.

img_0950The Coppola Family Wine is the featured wine for the event. Guests will receive a limited edition Director’s Cut “Cinema Premiere 89th Edition” red wine blend and Russian River Valley Chardonnay. The red wine blend is made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Sirah.

For those seeking ideas for throwing their own Oscar party at home, go to http://oscar.go.com/news/oscar-news/oscar-party-ideas-7-ways-to-throw-the-perfect-party. blob:https://wordpress.com/84eab13c-fb34-4abe-a22b-b62d61d1d129

CUT Lounge in Beverly Hills is a cut above

The new CUT Lounge is a recently-opened Wolfgang Puck chic bar and refined lounge located in the former Sidebar space.

CUT Lounge at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills is the chic bar where Sidebar used to be located. The cuisine is “Wolfgang Puck” at its finest with innovative cocktails to match.

img_8203Since we had theatre tickets to see “Merrily We Roll Along” at the Wallis Annenberg Theatre, we needed a quicker dining option than the leisurely, fine dining experience at CUT by Wolfgang Puck.

Beautiful glass and metal doors open to the dark and cozy lounge, where we were led to a table for two in the middle of the room by Tracey Spillane, regional director of operations for L.A.

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Slinking into low, mid-century modern chairs around a contemporary table, Spillane shared with us that Wolfgang and his wife Gelila Assefa Puck worked with Waldo Fernandez to reimagine Sidebar and decorate the room in sophisticated hues of gray, brown and beige.

Terence Leavey, the new beverage director, has some interesting drinks on his cocktail menu, like the Pins and Needles cocktail made with Hendricks Gin, a rosemary sprig, sliced Japanese cucumber and lemon. It was refreshing to sip while looking over the menu. They carry a collection of rare whiskies from Scotland, USA, Canada, Taiwain and Japan. A vintage Negroni cart will soon be a featured attraction.

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To my delight corporate executive chef and partner Lee Hefter and chef Ari Rosenson promoted Hilary Henderson to chef de cuisine. She has worked for the Wolfgang Puck family for quite some time, and most recently, alongside Rosenson as sous chef of CUT Beverly Hills.

We started with the pâté, an ethereal spread served with dark brown bread. The pâté was crusted with honey mustard seeds and decorated with colorful micro flowers.

Another favorite dish was truffle grilled cheese rectangles made with grilled Gruyere and mozzarella cheese topped with decadent black truffle shavings. We also enjoyed the cleverly wrapped empanadas copetin made with Tuscan black kale and Gruyere cheese.

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I found the Alaskan King crab and Santa Barbara uni toast with avocado a fresh and clean tasting dish, with a pleasing cocktail sauce. For those who like oysters Rockefeller, the CUT lounge version is Fanny Bay oysters served tempura style in shells with cucumber relish, coconut and cardamom.

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Spillane has a professional team working in the lounge. Throughout our culinary experience, Dylan Resnik from Northern California dressed in a formal business suit, checked on us and delivered a small plate of grilled Maine Diver scallops dazzled with Meyer lemon, sage and celery root. The handsome Italian Corrado Alfano brought us cavatappi mac and cheese made with fusilli pasta and aged Canadian cheddar from Quebec.

Spaniard Esteban Paulin served us the most tender, dry aged American wagyu sirloin steak skewers placed on a pool of red harrisa aioli. The meat at CUT is grilled over hardwood and charcoal, before finished under a 1200- degree broiler.

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Even though we were in a hurry to get the theatre, I wanted to try two desserts by pastry chef Angela Tong, since she has worked under the direction of Spago Beverly Hills award winning executive pastry chef Della Gossett. Tong’s desserts didn’t disappoint, especially her espresso semifreddo that had a hard chocolate shell covering chicory coffee ice cream enhanced with dark chocolate crumble. The inside was mousse-like and heavenly in flavors. We also ordered her apple cider funnel cake made with beautifully roasted heirloom apples and a dash of maple and chopped pecans. The food, wine and cocktails are definitely a CUT above most Los Angeles lounges and many restaurants.

img_8207CUT Lounge is not participating in dineL.A. Restaurant Week, however CUT by Wolfgang Puck offers a special $95 multi-course Exclusive series menu. It features an heirloom apple salad; sautéed Maine Diver scallops with roasted Italian chestnuts and French black truffles, plus a steak duo of red wine braised short ribs and a dry aged New York steak with a green peppercorn Armagnac emulsion. For dessert, guests will enjoy the espresso and chicory semifreddo that I enjoyed so much. A sommelier will pair the courses for an additional $50 per person.

CUT Lounge is open 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. $$$ 9500 Wilshire Blvd. (310)276-8500.

This article was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on January 12, 2017 – http://beverlypress.com/2017/01/cut-lounge-in-beverly-hills-is-a-cut-above/

Rooftop Skyline Dining at WP24

IMG_6310I have a secret to share. I found the ideal al fresco summer dining spot in downtown Los Angeles. Not only does this outdoor venue serve an upscale, a la carte, Asian-inspired menu and seasonal cocktails, it’s now open for the first time to the public.

Last Friday, we handed our keys to the valet at the architecturally-pleasing Ritz-Carlton at L.A. LIVE before riding the elevator to the 24th floor. After we checked in at the WP24 (Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant) reception stand, a host escorted us to another elevator for a ride to the 26th floor. The doors opened to a large outdoor bar with glass punchbowls filled with white and red fruity sangria. Beyond the bar was a pool, luxury lounge area and chef’s herb garden cultivated for dishes served at WP24.

When a three-piece band played Paramore’s hit song, “Ain’t it Fun”, I knew it was going to be a great night. There is something wonderful about good live music, fresh air, sensational views, colorful cocktails and the scent of a sizzling grill. The outdoor dining lounge offers breathtaking views of the moon, city lights and passenger jets flying overhead.

General manager John-Andre Wielenberg said the area had been under-utilized during the evening. During the day, guests and residents of the Ritz-Carlton enjoy sunbathing, swimming and cocktails from the bar, yet this prime space was quiet during the evening, as guests explored the dining options inside the hotel or at LA LIVE.

When Wielenberg brought WP24 chef de cuisine John Lechleidner to the space, they brainstormed about making good use of the area and decided to offer an inviting ambiance with upscale small bites and table service.

They created an outdoor kitchen for their talented WP24 chefs to grill large prawns, mini sliders and Kurobuta pork. They hired bands to enhance the surroundings with live jazz and pop music.

We sat at a reserved table and ordered a glass of white fruit sangria and a tall mai tai. They also offer mojitos in kiwi, raspberry, mango, coconut, strawberry, peach and traditional mint flavors, and creative cocktails like a champagne float. A selection of beer and wine is available to accompany Lechleidner’s creative small plates. His dishes include fresh albacore ceviche with chilies, chopped Thai basil, cilantro and a splash of citrus.

The Kurobuta pork belly is served in a gem lettuce wrap. It was a little too fatty for me, yet very flavorful with gochujang — a savory, spicy and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt. The lettuce balanced the heat of the dish.

We ordered a cold glass of Lucky Buddha beer that paired nicely with three American wagyu beef sliders served on freshly baked buns and sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds. They were topped with roasted tomatoes and melted Vermont cheddar cheese. FullSizeRender-3

A glass of oaky Inception chardonnay from Santa Barbara paired nicely with the chef’s take on Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, which he serves on French baguettes. Tender roasted Kurobuta pork with tart pickled vegetables, earthy cilantro and chilies give the dish a zing. The chef also serves confit pork belly sliders with grilled cipollini onions, arugula and apricot mustard.

The prettiest dish of the evening was the red curry large grilled spot prawns served on coconut sticky rice with pickled vegetables.

The new pastry chef Megan Potthoff is an expert at creative French pastries. She offers a fresh take on Asian-inspired desserts and makes whimsical treats like the hazelnut praline ice cream pops with a chocolate glaze. We enjoyed the tropical flavors of the coconut tapioca parfait with fresh mango and pineapple shaved ice. Her most creative dessert was s’mores with graham crackers, chocolate squares and house-made passion fruit marshmallows.

Dining is by reservation only. The restaurant is open Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m., through Sept. 5. $$ 900 W. Olympic Blvd, 26th Floor. (213)743-8824.

This review was published in the August 6, 2015 issue of the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News.

Oscar Buzz: Wolfgang Puck Collaborates With Sterling Wines

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Master Chef Wolfgang Puck returns to prepare this year’s Governors Ball, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences official post-Oscar celebration. This elite party immediately follows the 87th Oscars ceremony on Sunday, February 22.

The Ball invites 1,500 guests that includes the Oscar winners and nominees, as well as the show presenters and telecast participants.

Wolfgang Puck and Matt Bencivenga, chef partner of Wolfgang Puck Catering have created a menu of more than 50 imaginative dishes from bite-size hors d’oeuvres to stellar desserts. Some of his signature small plates include a lobster BLT; chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles; crispy artichokes with a citrus-chili gremolata, beet latkes with pastrami duck and apple mustard and slices of his famous pizzas.

Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining and pastry chef Jason Lemonnier, along with Kamel Guechida and Della Gossett are preparing elegant desserts that include coffee Oscar lollipops; peanut butter and jelly lollipops; violet creme brûlée with a blackcurrant jelly and Puck’s traditional 24k gold chocolate Oscars.

Sterling Vineyards Wines

Wolfgang Puck and Alison Rodriguez from Sterling Vineyard
Wolfgang Puck and Alison Rodriguez from Sterling Vineyards

Founded in 1964 by Sir Peter Newton, a British Knight and Oxford scholar. Sterling Vineyards in Napa Valley is modeled after a Greek Monastery.

The lucky party revelers will enjoy the exclusive, custom-made Sterling Vineyards Limited Edition Gold Standard Reserve White and Sterling Vineyards Limited Edition Red Carpet Reserve Red. They will also serve Sterling Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The wines were chosen by Alison Rodriguez to pair with the dishes prepared by Master Chef, Wolfgang Puck. She starts working and selecting wines 6 to 8 months before the Big Day.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

The Gold Standard wine pairs nicely with Puck’s Dover Sole with fennel, chili and orange miso vinaigrette. It’s silky with bright grapefruit, pineapple and pear. This wine also goes well with Puck’s smoked salmon Oscar matzo statue and fresh seafood platters.

The Red Carpet Reserve pairs well with his Wagyu short ribs with hay-smoked kabocha squash puree and his mini-American Wagyu burgers with aged cheddar and a remoulade sauce. The Red Carpet Wine offers exotic spiciness and complex flavors of black cherry, plum and cocoa and a velvety finish.

Wolfgang Puck is the Disneyland of Food. Sterling Vineyard Wines is the ideal pairing.

Watch the 87th Oscars ceremony on Sunday, February 22.

Host Your Own Academy Awards Oscar Party

DSC_0734Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a “Stars Under The Stars” Oscars Preview of the Governors Ball at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Under a canopy of twinkling lights I was in awe to experience what our Hollywood Elite will get to experience on March 2.

One of the first people I interviewed was the lovely winemaker Alison Crary from Sterling Vineyards in Napa Valley. Known as one of the finest wineries in Calistoga, “Sterling is very excited to again, exclusively pour during the Academy Awards event,” said Crary. Directors, writers, actors and actresses nominated and their guests will be offered a glass of Sterling wine as they walk off the red carpet and into the Dolby Theatre. After the awards show, 1,600 Academy guests will proceed to the Governors Ball, where Sterling wines will be paired with the culinary creations of Chef Wolfgang Puck. Guests attending the Governors Ball will sip limited production of 2010 Reserve

Chardonnay and 2008 Reserve Cabernet. Sterling Vineyards is produced by Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines.

Since I wasn’t nominated for an Academy Award this year, I learned from various professional party planners at the event, some easy steps to make my own Oscar Party at home.  

Ballots

Cheryl Cecchetto and Gary Levitt of Sequoia Productions, Renowned Celebrity Event Producers recommended to click and print from the link http://cdn.media.oscar.abc.com/media/2014/pdf/2014/nominees_ballot.pdf to print out Oscar party ballots to distribute to my guests to predict the winners before or during the show. Have prizes on hand for the guest who selects the most winners. Alison Crary recommended a bottle of Sterling wine.

Décor

The Governors’ Ball was decorated in hues of olive, rust, aubergine, turquoise, bronze with subtle splashes of glitter. Use many of these colors as accents in your tablescape, napkins, and glassware.

Mark’s Flowers decorated the tables with garden roses, hydrangeas, moss, birch, and wisteria will be used throughout the space. Pick up DSC_0743these flowers at your local Farmers Market and make some arrangements or place the flowers in vases throughout your home.   

Greeting & Guests Arrival

As each guest arrives, greet them with a range of wines or a signature cocktail.  Don’t forget to be a responsible host and set out water and other non-alcoholic beverages! I may consider a Blood & Sand, first created in 1922 for a Rudolph Valentino movie of the same name. http://cocktails.about.com/od/whiskeyrecipes/r/Blood-And-Sand.htm

Download more cocktail recipes that the stars will be sipping: https://transfer.taylorstrategy.com/message/jumyIRynO2d0776XFtDeKx

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Music

Have John Legend, nine-time Grammy Award winning songwriter-singer playing in the background. He will take the stage at the Governors Ball.

Food & Wine Pairings

Since Sterling Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 12Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 09Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck, along with chef Matt Bencivenga and his team are creating over 50 of his most famous dishes that he has served throughout 20 years at the Governors Ball, I thought I would go online and pull up some of his easy to make dishes to serve at the party, from homemade potato chips, salads and assorted Wolfgang Puck signature pizzas – http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/recipes.

Set out Sterling Vineyard Wines next to the food display with notes of  suggested pairings. Such as pairing homemade potato chips with Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The lively acids in the wine complement to the chips.

Create a pizza bar by purchasing pre-cooked pizza dough and setting out a bowl of sauce, shredded cheese, and a variety of both meat and vegetable toppings.  Each guest can then pick and choose to create their own personal pizzas.  To save time cooking, partially bake the crusts before everyone adds their toppings. The meat toppings  pair nicely with the Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, the vegetable toppings with the Carneros Pinot Noir.

Wolfgang Puck's Pastry Chefs - Romain Lenoir, Della Gosset and Kamel Guechida
Wolfgang Puck’s Pastry Chefs – Romain Lenoir, Della Gosset and Kamel Guechida

Wolfgang Puck’s pastry chefs Della Gossett, Kamel Guechida and Romain Lenoir prepared some of the most exquisite desserts for the Ball, such as chocolate dipped strawberry cheesecake pops, funky chunky chocolate popcorn and tiny golden Oscar statures. Set up a dessert bar with multiple small bites that are perfect for pairing Baileys and coffee.

Follow these tips to host an Academy Award party that is worthy of having your name as a winner on one of the elegant DSC_0749Marc Friedland famous envelopes.

Spago in Beverly Hills

IMG_3224While I was enjoying a Friday lunch at Spago’s in Beverly Hills, Barbara Lazaroff, the co-owner of the restaurant approached each table to personally invite guests to a special charitable event that she and Sherry Lansing, former CEO of Paramount Pictures are hosting. “I lost a parent recently to cancer,” Lazaroff said. “The money raised at this event goes to The American Cancer Society.”

Lazaroff is a dynamic woman who wears many hats – restaurateur, interior designer, public speaker, mother, author, and philanthropist. Walking into each room in the restaurant, her presence and enthusiasm is felt by all.

Wolfgang Puck and Executive Chef and Managing Partner Lee Hefter, have re-invented the entire menu with a new signature iconic California farm to table philosophy.

Sitting under a large skylight, we started our lunch with three different types of Spago’s famous pizzas. The house cured smoked salmon resting on dill crème fraiche was my favorite. I also enjoyed the chicken pizza with caramelized sweet corn and roasted peppers.

IMG_3229You never know who will be dining near you at Spago’s. Guests dining with us in the main room became silent as Sir Sidney Poitier walked into the room and took one of the back booths. This Oscar winning actor, film director, author and diplomat enjoyed lunch with a friend.

We savored the fresh burrata with a generous serving of prosciutto. The salad was presented with sliced figs, baby arugula and old balsamic dressing.

I ordered the Alaskan halibut poached in mushroom nage (a mushroom broth used in poaching), and surrounded by sweet corn, braised pancetta and maitkake mushrooms presented on French earth color stoneware.

The servers couldn’t have been more accommodating to guests. Each made sure our every culinary wish was fulfilled. The service at Spago’s is comfortable and attentive.

Our dessert plate consisted of scoops of housemade farmers’ market sorbet with berries, sliced summer plums and flowers was visually stunning and very refreshing as the temperatures outside reached 90 degrees.

For those interested in Barbara Lazaroff’s event, it’s on July 28 at 4 p.m. at the Pacific Design Center. Dine al fresco with live music, silent and live auctions. Due to her culinary connections, Gino Angelini of Angelini Osteria and RivaBella will be preparing dishes with Rene Mata and Julian Saldana from Chinois on Main. Ari Rosenson and Hugo Bolanos of CUT, Rick Bayless from Red O, Mohan Ismail from RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen and many more.

Tickets are $350 ($250 tax-deductible). For more information, visit CalSpirit.org. The Pacific Design Center is located at 8687 Melrose Ave.

Lunch is served on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 12 p.m. until 2:15 p.m. On Fridays, lunch is served from 11:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Dinner is served from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Friday. Saturday dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. Happy Hour in the bar starts at 9 p.m. until 11 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. $$$ 176 N. Canon Dr. (310)385-0880.

Published in the July 18, 2013 issue of the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News.