What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

Tuesday, 02 October 2018 17:25

The Taste Debuts in Costa Mesa

TASTE News Service October 2, 2018 – The Los Angeles Times has announced the lineup for its inaugural Orange County edition of The Taste.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018 11:17

California Celebrates Wine Month

TASTE News Service, August 28, 2018 — September is California Wine Month, and there's no better time to experience the excitement of the state's annual harvest season.

Thursday, 02 August 2018 11:52

Pasadena Promotes Science, Innovation

TASTE News Service, August 2, 2018 – In an effort to support the continuous advancement of science and technology in Pasadena, the Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau has teamed with Bill Nye and the Planetary Society to showcase Pasadena's innovative spirit.

Wednesday, 03 May 2017 11:16

Margaritas WeHo Style

TASTE News Service, May 3, 2017 - Margaritas became America's most popular drink in the 1970s, kicking Wall Street martinis to the curb, and we never looked back.

Monday, 21 September 2015 13:55

LA Chef, Santa Barbara Fishermen Join Forces

Chef Mike Cimarusti with fish PicmonkeyChef Cimarusti and piscine friendTASTE News Service, September 21, 2015 – Chef Michael Cimarusti has announced an innovative fish-sourcing project for his Los Angeles restaurant, Providence. Working with 16 commercial fishermen from Santa Barbara organized by Captain Brett Wilson, the pilot program is establishing the first-ever Restaurant Supported Fishery (RSF) in the state of California.

Through the Dock to Dish program, participating restaurants receive a weekly delivery of freshly caught seafood, based on the species available to local, small-scale fishermen. The concept is reimagining the seafood marketplace throughout multiple domestic seaports and making wild, traceable and local fish readily accessible to chefs. The pioneering initiative is part of a larger national food movement designed to reconnect chefs and restaurants directly with their local fisheries, and was modeled after the increasingly popular land-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) concept.

With Cimarusti at the helm, Providence will be the first West Coast restaurant participant of Dock to Dish. As a tireless champion for sustainable seafood for over a decade, the Michelin-starred chef is excited to lend his support to the California launch of the new pilot program. At Providence, which celebrated its landmark 10th anniversary earlier this year, he refuses to serve endangered species such as Bluefin tuna, and constantly updates his menus according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch guide.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015 12:12

Universal Studios Hollywood Celebrates 50 Years

Universal Studios Hollywood 50th anniversary logo Picmonkeyh

TASTE News Service February 17, 2015 – The spotlight shines on Universal Studios Hollywood as it celebrates a milestone 50th anniversary with the much-anticipated opening of the “Fast & Furious—Supercharged” thrill ride, “Springfield,” an-all new immersive experience surrounding “The Simpsons Ride,” and a “Nighttime Studio Tour” as part of the theme park’s pioneering epic transformation.

This undertaking—the most ambitious in the theme park’s storied 50-year history—will radically alter and reimagine its familiar footprint as it sets its sights on the next 50 years.

From its humble beginnings five decades ago, Universal Studios Hollywood has emerged as a progressive and exciting theme park, while remaining true to its roots of immersing guests in the world of movie-making magic.

Since its inception, Universal Studios has lifted the veil on Hollywood’s most illustrious industry, placing guests at the heart of favorite movies and television shows. It continues by working in collaboration with some of the most influential filmmakers in the business—Steven Spielberg, Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, Peter Jackson, Michael Bay and Chris Meledandri—to create intriguing rides and attractions. 

“For 50 years, Universal Studios Hollywood has given guests unprecedented access to the world’s most alluring business by inviting them to peek behind the velvet curtain and become part of the exciting movie-making process,” said Larry Kurzweil, President of Universal Studios Hollywood. “We are reimagining over 75 percent of our destination as we build upon our incredible success and expand our vision for the future, and we look forward to entertaining and inspiring guests for generations to come with what will ultimately be an entirely new theme park experience.”

Offered in multiple languages, including Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish and English and led by expert guides, the Studio Tour remains a hallmark Universal Studios Hollywood attraction bringing millions of guests through an authentic movie and television studio and into its elusive world motivated by three compelling words:  lights, camera, action.

Editor’s note: Much more about the studio tour and new attractions for 2015 can be found at Universal Studios Hollywood. If you’re planning a trip to Hollywood, first check out the Los Angeles County section of Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to Southern California wineries and craft beer purveyors.

Monday, 08 September 2014 12:31

A Coastal Option to the Bustle of LA

Santa Monica Pier PicmonkeySanta Monica Pier offers many activities

TASTE News Service September 8, 2014 - Santa Monica is a charming seaside town with aspects of the culture, events and urban amenities of a metropolis. The blend of natural beauty with quality hotels, restaurants and shopping options creates an attractive seaside destination. National Geographic ranked Santa Monica as one of the “Top Ten Beach Cities in the World” – putting it in a class with Barcelona, Sydney and Rio de Janerio.

Perched on the Pacific Ocean at the crossroads of Pacific Coast Highway and California Interstate Highway 10, this city of 94,000 is bordered by the smaller seaside communities of Malibu and Venice. Santa Monica is just eight miles from Los Angeles International Airport and 13 miles from Union Station, the Los Angeles Amtrak terminal.

Broad, glistening beaches stretch for 26 miles along the scenic Santa Monica Bay, with 3.5 of those miles falling within city boundaries. Primary beaches include Santa Monica State Beach and Will Rogers State Beach, both of which are popular for swimming, surfing, running and beach volleyball.

Accommodations

Santa Monica is home to some of the most unique, celebrated hotels in Southern California. Thirty-six properties, ranging from high-style boutique hideaways to oceanfront resorts, provide more than 3,500 hotel rooms. Many of the hotels offer ocean views and are within walking distance from the beaches, pier, shopping, as well as dining and leisure activities.

DiningLa Vecchia Cucina PicmonkeyLa Vecchia Cucina is a fixture on Main

Santa Monica emerged as an international culinary destination in the 1980s and has remained in the top echelon of American dining thanks to its many celebrity chefs and the new generation of culinary innovators who continue to invigorate the city's dining scene. In the vanguard of the local foods movement long before it became mainstream, Santa Monica embraces use of sustainable, organic ingredients.

Shopping

A collection of global retail brands, haute boutiques and unique local offerings has turned the beachside city into an internationally celebrated shopping destination. From Downtown's Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place, to upscale boutiques along the celebrity-filled Montana Avenue and the eclectic retail mix on Main Street, a day of shopping in Santa Monica immerses the visitor in the diverse character of the city.

Among the Area's Attractions

Santa Monica Pier: This Southern California icon was built in 1909 and is one of Santa Monica's most well-known landmarks. It is home to an amusement park and the Santa Monica Aquarium, in addition to dining options that range from gourmet fare to cotton candy and ice cream cones.

Pacific Park: Pacific Park is located on the Pier with rides and attractions such as the five-story West Coaster roller coaster, the nine-story Pacific Plunge tower ride, and the nine-story Pacific Wheel, the only over-water ferris wheel in California.

Pacific Wheel: Pacific Park's 13-story Pacific Wheel is the world's first and only solar-powered ferris wheel. The ferris wheel's 160,000 energy efficient LED lights create an 85-foot high computer generated light show for nighttime beach-goers to enjoy. It also provides riders with spectacular views of the Santa Monica coastline and is a central focal point on the Santa Monica Pier.

Third Street Promenade: The sprawling Third Street Promenade is the hub of Downtown Santa Monica. This pedestrian-only, open-air shopping destination is only two blocks from the city's popular beaches and is noted for its weekly farmers' market, terrific shopping, street performers, ample dining options, and of course, people watching.

Farmers' Markets: Santa Monica offers four weekly farmers' markets where the city's residents and chefs pick up the country's freshest produce, flowers, meats, cheeses, nuts, fish, and more. Travel + Leisure even named Santa Monica's Downtown Farmers' Market as the top farmers' market in the United States!

Tongva Park: A brand-new, seven-acre park in the heart of Santa Monica. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the team behind New York's celebrated High Line, Tongva Park was inspired by the Southern California arroyo landscape of washes and ravines that once defined the site. The urban landscape features an abundant and ambitious plant scheme, contemplative walking paths, soothing water elements, and two viewing platforms offering majestic views of the Pacific Ocean.

South Bay Bicycle Trail: At 22 miles long, the South Bay Bicycle Trail is the world's longest oceanfront bike path. It begins at Will Rogers State Beach, the northernmost point of Santa Monica, then scenically winds its way past Santa Monica State Beach, the famous Santa Monica Pier, through the Venice Boardwalk and past the Venice Pier, all the way through Hermosa and Redondo Beaches to end at Torrance County Beach.

Santa Monica Place: Santa Monica Place reopened in 2010 after an extensive remodel as a three-story, entirely outdoor shopping complex, located just two blocks from the beach and steps away from the famous Third Street Promenade. Anchored by Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, Santa Monica Place also features a wide range of luxury and specialty shops such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Michael Kors, and Emporio Armani. A third floor rooftop deck features gorgeous ocean views and an entire floor of dining, including 'The Market”, where diners will find artisanal cheese, wines, chocolates, olive oils, fresh produce and flowers, and more.

 

MalibuAVAmap Picmonkey

TASTE News Service, July 18, 2014 — Elliott Dolin, proprietor of Dolin Malibu Estate Vineyards, joins 51 other Malibu-based wine grape growers who today become classified as part of the official Malibu Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA). In 2011 Dolin helped initiate the AVA application, a three-year process that concluded this week.

"This is a historic day because the formation of the Malibu Coast AVA finally allows wines from Malibu to identify a 'sense of place' on their labels," says Dolin. "Malibu is world-famous, yet very few people are aware of our wine grape growing history which dates back two centuries. While people sunbathe on the beaches, up here in the hills, our vines have been catching some rays of their own."

Through the AVA application process, a comprehensive study of the region was completed and submitted to the TTB for approval. The region is approximately 46 miles long and 8 miles wide, comprised mainly of the Santa Monica Mountains with 198 acres of vines in production. Elevations range from sea level to 3,111-feet atop Sandstone Peak. The coastal, Mediterranean climate heavily influences the region, offering a large diurnal shift from day to night, with warm dry summers and cool, moist winters. The National Agricultural Statistics Service's "California Grape Acreage Report Crop 2012" documented the most widely planted varietals in Los Angeles County as Cabernet Sauvignon (54 acres), Syrah (15 acres), Merlot (13 acres), and Chardonnay (six acres). The Malibu Coast AVA is also home to two previously established appellations, Saddle-Rock Malibu and Malibu-Newton Canyon.

The Dolin Malibu Estate Vineyards parcel is located near the western boundary in the hills above the Pacific Coast Highway. The area is relatively cooler in climate compared to the rest of the AVA, and ideal for growing Chardonnay. Proprietor Elliott Dolin and his family planted the site in 2006. Dolin Malibu Estate Vineyards currently produces one Malibu wine, an estate Chardonnay. Later this year, Dolin will welcome the addition of a Malibu proprietary red blend. More information on the wines can be found at www.dolinestate.com.

Black Soldier CAAM Museum PicmonkeyCaliforna African American Museum

LOS ANGELES, CA February 18, 2014 - Los Angeles, home to one of the largest populations of Black Americans, is celebrating the city's ethnic diversity with the launch of a three-day, self-guided African American Heritage Tour, presented by the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Board (LA Tourism). From well-known African American cultural finds like the California African American Museum (CAAM) and Leimert Park Village, to hidden historical treasures like Biddy Mason Park and the Battleship IOWA, this comprehensive guide highlights Black Angeleno's pivotal impact on the fabric of LA.

The rich and varied tour begins in South LA and Downtown Los Angeles, then covers LA's Beach communities and Westside. The entire tour can be viewed at: http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/blog/discover-african-american-culture-los-angeles

 

Tomorrows Aeronautical Museum PicmonkeyAviation fans at Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum

Tour highlights are as follows:

Day One - Begin at Watts Coffee House, a community hub born from the ashes of the Watts riots of 1965; see the world-famous Watts Towers; take in the murals sculptures and photography at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC) headquarters; pay tribute to the first 100 years of service by LA's African American firefighters at the African American Firefighter Museum (AAFM); explore the racial diversity of modern flight at Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum; check out the latest March on Washington exhibit at CAAM; enjoy the immersive GRAMMY Museum; learn about the remarkable life of former slave Bridget Mason at Biddy Mason Park; and unwind at Harold & Belle's, which has been serving the distinctive flavors and Southern hospitality of New Orleans since 1969.

Day Two - Visit the observation deck at the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), designed by famed Black architect Paul R. Williams; tour the Battleship Iowa, where African American Navymen served for decades; shop for a one-of-a-kind LA souvenirs at Crafted, housed in a former World War II-era warehouse; explore works of art representing the Afro-Caribbean & South American diaspora at Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA); and dine on fresh seafood at Ports O' Call Village.leimert-plaza-leimert-park PicmonkeyFountain at Leimert Park

Day Three - Visit Leimert Park, the neighborhood popularly known as the "Black Greenwich Village"; read up on Black history or catch a notable author at Eso Won Books; find free, unique art at the Museum of African American Art (MAAA); check out the Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum of Central Africa, on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); stop by the Petersen Automotive Museum to view more than 150 rare and classic cars; visit the Fowler Museum, home of the Arts of Africa and the African Diaspora; soak up the sun at Santa Monica Beach; and savor mouthwatering bites from Chef Govind Armstrong's Post & Beam.

Editor's note: Thinking about visiting Los Angeles? A good resource is www.discoverlosangeles.com. You should also visit Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options, as well as links to Southern California wineries and craft beer specialists.

By Sheryll Alexander

Brian-Malarkey PicmonkeyCelebrity Chef Brian MalarkeyMondrian’s long-running Asia de Cuba food and beverage offerings are no more as celebrity chef Brian Malarkey of BRAVO’s Top Chef and ABC’s The Taste has brought his acclaimed Herringbone restaurant to this landmark Sunset Strip hotel in West Hollywood. Herringbone (part of James Brennan’s Enlightened Hospitality Group) showcases what it calls “ocean-to-table global cuisine.”

WeHo’s award-winning designer Thomas Schoos is behind Herringbone’s new look. Guests can expect organic glam throughout the hotel’s famed indoor-outdoor space. Some of the rather eclectic designs include a long bar made from upside down lobster traps, chandeliers made from ostrich bones and a dining table crafted from a gold-dipped acacia tree root as well as California casual sectional sofas and firepits for relaxing and enjoying the view.

 

Q & A with Chef Brian Malarkey

Why did you choose Mondrian for your next Herringbone incarnation?"Mondrian Los Angeles is an iconic hotel on the amazing Sunset Strip. As a young chef working at Citrus in LA, I used to drive down Sunset Strip in awe of the rich history of WeHo and it has always been a dream of mine to have a restaurant here."

What do you love about West Hollywood as a food, drink and hospitality destination?"I think Los Angeles has an incredible restaurant and chef scene. The overall food culture is so impressive and I’m really excited to be a part of it."

Why is your food based on seafood? What is it about les fruits de la mer that entices you so?"Herringbone is about the “herring” and the “bone.” We really showcase surf and turf dishes; everything from a clam and bone marrow flat bread to smoked salmon tartare. I grew up on the Oregon coast and have always loved the ocean. It’s wild, free and fresh."

What will you offer at your WeHo location that’s different from your other restaurants?"We will be offering more menu items because the kitchen is so large. You’ll see a lot of adventurous and over-the-top surf and turf dishes that we’ve been wanting to try from rabbit and goat to sea urchin and abalone. We’re going to have fun, but also maintain some of the basics like lamb and lobster."

Can you give us some insights into Herringbone’s renovations and decor?"We’ll be taking some elements from Herringbone La Jolla but incorporating several new design details that are a reflection of the hotel itself."

What makes Herringbone the perfect match for Mondrian?"Herringbone’s overall concept is similar to that of Mondrian Los Angeles. It’s somewhat sophisticated and refined, but very fun. The music is great and the vibe is incredible. Herringbone really fits into Mondrian Los Angeles because we’re both all about providing the best possible experience for our guests."

Have you found any WeHo hot spots yet?"Currently, a few of my favorite spots in WeHo are Laurel Hardware and Eveleigh."

Enlightened Hospitality Group manages and operates some of the nation’s top restaurants including Herringbone (La Jolla), Searsucker (San Diego, Austin, Del Mar, Scottsdale) and Gabardine (Point Loma), as well as Stingaree, which is the largest and most exclusive nightlife destination in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

Editor's Note: Readers will find links to the website of Herringbone, as well as to the sites of hundreds of other Dining and Lodging options in the Los Angeles area in Taste California Travel's Resource Directory. In our Directory there's also a new guide to “beer-centric” establishments throughout the state.

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