I threw my dad a surprise birthday party recently. He had a great time, and the guests seemed to really enjoy themselves as well. Success? Weeellllll, I didn't quite have as much fun as others because I had spent the previous 2 weeks running around Los Angeles pulling all the party items together. There's the liquor store, grocery store, drug store and the list goes on.
I need to apologize. I've been neglecting someone, or rather some thing, for quite some time. Beer. I fell so head over heels for wine so many years ago that beer might think I want nothing to do with it. It's not true. Sure, there's vodka too, but dirty martini desires are in a totally different camp, and I just want to set the record straight. I like beer. Warm summer day, ocean breezes, sand under a feet, I'm not reaching for a martini. I want a cold one. Yes beer, I'm looking at you. You're that cold one.
Santa Monica is going strong with new restaurant openings. Wilshire Boulevard is lining up its own restaurant row with Aestus, Brilliantshine, Tacoteca and Cadet. Now if you drive just a few blocks north, Montana Avenue is finally gaining a little traction on the food map. Montana has always been a posh, but sleepy street when it comes to dining and nightlife. The folks north of Montana have been paying for peace and beach proximity, and not so much for the food.
Ox and Son puts Montana Avenue on the Los Angeles dining map at long last. Unique flavor combinations are served on a beautiful dishes, alongside crystal water glasses for a nice, upscale dining experience.
Wendy's is serving up freshly made salads that are hand chopped each day from produce delivered several times a week. It's a great spot for a healthy meal on the go, or enjoyed inside one of their newly remodeled locations with free wifi and comfy leather chairs.
Gary Menes' pedigree at the French Laundry and long lasting Pasadena pop-up has primed him for his first permanent restaurant. Le Comptoir has a vegetable focused tasting menu with the majority of the ingredients growing on Menes' personal farm. If farm fresh food is your thing, go!
Kick up your chicken tacos with a spicy cabbage slaw free from mayo, but full of flavor. Marinated ginger lime chicken is further enhanced with a smoky guacamole for a zesty Mexican meal.
Have leftover white wine in the house? Make a simple, but elegant white wine and lemon caper sauce, perfect for topping any sautéed or oven baked white fish. Layer some quinoa or cauliflower rice under and you have yourself a whole meal.
Swap your animal protein for edamame in this cool zucchini noodle salad, topped with a honey walnut vinaigrette. Great for all your summer picnics!
Torrance is home to many local craft breweries where they make the beer and allow the public to visit and taste their latest creations. Three breweries are within walking distance of each other, making for a fun afternoon of sampling.
Pinot Noir is a finicky, sensitive grape and the best bottles from Burgundy can be hundreds of dollars, but there are other options. We blind tasted and ranked 10 great Pinot Noirs under $25.
Opening a bottle of Pinot Noir? Here are some ideas on food pairings to go with this delicate grape. From starters and cheese to dips, poultry and desserts, try one of these to enhance your evening.
Bangkok, Thailand is a feast for the senses with show stopping sites like the ornate Grand Palace and 150 foot long Reclining Buddha. If you can endure the heat in summer and the year round traffic, you will be handsomely rewarded.
Cambodia was my favorite stop of my trip through SE Asia with the unbelievable ruins at Angkor, the color of the local villages, and the evening action on Siam Reap's Pub Street.
The scooters returned en masse upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam. Wander the city's sights and vibrant markets, as well as the interesting Cu Chi tunnels, an extensive network of underground tunnels used during the Vietnam War and Tet Offensive.