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SEE / SIP / SAVOR D I N I N G + E N T E R TA I N M E N T
The Spirit of California
How L.A.â€™s craft distilleries are bottling local flavor
SPECIAL EDITION 2018
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Serve only the finest meat and poultry from your local butcher. Prime Rib, Crown Roast of Pork, Leg of Lamb,Turkey. Willie Birds are free range turkeys raised in Sonoma, California. Tender, juicy and delicious. Order now for the Holidays.
6333 W. Third St. 323.938.5131 marcondas.com Family owned and operated at the Farmers Market since 1941
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All that glitters is gold
s we celebrate this year’s Dining and Entertainment Special Edition, we want to pay homage to our colleague and Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold who passed away on July 21, 2018. Gold gained prestige writing for the LA Weekly. He eventually moved to the Los Angeles Times where he brought the “people’s food” to his readers. Whether it was a little Vietnamese pho house in Hollywood or lengua tacos at a strip mall in La Puente, it was always about the food. He was equally at home at the Beverly Hills Hotel or any of Joachim’s or Wolfgang’s places as well. He will be missed and often remembered. This year, we are featuring the vibrant Los Angeles distilling renaissance, the rebirth of the iconic Formosa Café in Hollywood, and the burgeoning interest and ultimate golden harvest of heirloom fruits and vegetables. We have covered the original restaurant garden planted almost 30 years ago by Gregg and Bob Smith of Smith Brothers Restaurants. Also featured are several Beverly Hills hotels and noteworthy dining establishments, as well as the much anticipated Academy of Motion Pictures Art and Sciences Museum with its gold-tiled tower.
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We took a look back at Sunset Strip’s billboards during the golden age of rock in the 1970s, and a drive up the 101 to the Golden State’s city of Ventura as a day trip or overnight stay. These are just a few of the Dining and Entertainment entrées inside, so as they say in Hollywood, “Let’s get the show on the road!” Bon Appétit! Michael and Karen Villalpando Publishers
On the cover
hotographer Andrew Kitchen visited the distilleries profiled in our “Spirit of California” issue and shot the compelling cover at the Greenbar Distillery in the downtown Arts District. His incredible photography is used in various places in the magazine. See more Andy Kitchen Photography on Instagram wandering.cowboy.
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Jean-Georges Lunch - the best 60 minutes of your day. B Y K A R E N V I L L A L PA N D O
ollywood glamour of the 1930s and ‘40s inspired the elegant and modern design of the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Beverly Hills. Thick glass doors open to a pearly white marble lobby where professional staff courteously greet guests. The décor of the 170 guest rooms is contemporary chic with white leather walls and celadon green and taupe color schemes. Floor-to-ceiling windows open onto oversized balconies offering impeccable views of Beverly Hills and Century City. The luxuriousness of the guest rooms is matched by the splendor of the rooftop lounge, where glass retaining walls give the illusion of walking to the edge. A fireplace and heaters keep guests warm while they enjoy craft cocktails and nibble on afternoon snacks. The Rooftop by JG serves lunch and dinner, and small plates to share with friends. It’s the perfect spot for people-watching and soaking up some sunshine. Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten opened his namesake restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria, bringing his love for the exotic flavors of the East into his cooking. Vongerichten said he created the menu for Jean-Georges Beverly Hills with the focus on healthier choices, lighter lunch fare and simplicity. A section of the menu is devoted to “Simply Cooked” entrées served with blistered shishito peppers and citrus chili sauce, again with a nod to his Asian influences. King salmon, roasted organic chicken and wagyu beef tenderloin are some of the selections from the “Simply Cooked” menu. More composed dishes are the veal chop Milanese, the grilled lamb chops and the Parmesan-crusted organic chicken. Recently, Jean-Georges Beverly Hills introduced “Lunch 38,” bringing back the power lunch for business meetings or those on a time-sensitive schedule. The prix-fixe lunch in 60 minutes for $38 offers three courses, with eight appetizers, six entrées and two desserts from which to select. Start with a glass of the Jean-Georges label bubbly Billecart-Salmon Champagne. Specialty iced teas are reCrispy sushi tops freshing, like the sea trout on fried rice cakes. blackberry or the
pineapple. Radish slices adorning the ahi tuna tartare are arranged like flower petals. Avocado relish serves as the stem of the flower. A silver carafe containing an emulsified ginger dressing accompanies the dish. Rectangles of fried rice infused with chipotle are topped with sea trout and fresh mint on the crispy sushi appetizer. A warm shrimp salad with two dressings is quite possibly the best salad I’ve ever tasted. The broiled shrimp are bathed in beurre blanc while frisée and butter lettuces are dressed with a black truffle vinaigrette. The two sauces combine in the bottom of the bowl for a superb flavor combination. The basket of house-made bread comes in handy to swipe and savor every last drop. Entrées from the “Lunch 38” menu range from simple to extravagant – angel hair pasta with tomato sauce is a classic favorite, while a wagyu cheeseburger is rich and hearty. Striped bass, steak frites and a bigeye tuna burger are other splendid choices. For dessert, select either the warm chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream, or a light coconut or mandarin sorbet. An à la carte menu is offered as well, if you prefer, but the “Lunch 38” is a perfect opportunity to try several Jean-Georges dishes in under an hour at a terrific price. Experience the Jean-Georges at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills for a power lunch or elegant dinner. It’s heavenly. 9850 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills. (310)860-6666. waldorfastoriabeverlyhills.com.
PHOTOS BY EMILY JILG
The presentation of the ahi tuna tartare resembles a flower, blooming with flavor.
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Lovely amenities await guests in deluxe suites and villas.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills celebrates 27 years with redesigned guest rooms.
he number eight is considered to be lucky in Chinese culture, signifying good fortune. For that reason, The Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills, celebrated 27 years of operation on August 8 at 8 a.m. The hotel, while individually owned, is under the umbrella of The Peninsula, a Hong Kong luxury hotel brand for 90 years. The staff was all smiles on 8-8 at 8 a.m., proud of the service, standards and splendor of the hotel, which recently underwent a four-month redesign of its 195 guest rooms. “We put great care into embracing the charm of The Peninsula Beverly Hills as a welcome haven where guests can feel that they are coming home to their own pied-à-terre rather than a hotel room,” said Managing Director Offer Nissenbaum. “The enhanced rooms stay true to the hotel’s DNA of quintessential Southern California luxury.” It is indeed the attention to fine details
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that sets The Peninsula apart. For instance, guests who reserve a villa suite, or a are five-time returning guest or a VIP receive monogrammed pillow cases for them to take as a personal remembrance of their stay. There are 19 different categories of rooms and varying décor so guests can experience a new environment upon each visit, or decide which décor suits them best. VIP guests receive monogrammed pillow cases for them to take as a personal remembrance of their stay a . ay For example, soft peach, coral and champagne hues and French-inspired checked bed skirts accent a set of standard and grand deluxe rooms, while a second set features a blue and white palette that maintains the French bedding theme.
An aqua, yellow and blue theme greets guests staying in suites and villas featuring canopy beds with botanical prints. The lavish guest rooms have upgraded in-room technology with tablets letting guests control lighting, temperature and hotel services at the touch of a button. As wonderful as the newly designed rooms are, venture to the rooftop pool and restaurant for a day of relaxation, whether it’s splashing around the pool, or enjoying the luxurious spa or a patio garden lunch. Temperature-controlled pool-side cabanas can be reserved for a fee. The Belvedere, The Peninsula’s finedining restaurant helmed by executive chef David Codney, offers a market-driven menu of California cuisine with a Mediterranean flare. The crab-stuffed calamari with puttanesca and garlic aioli leans towards Greece, while grilled octopus with onion marmalade, salsa verde and herb aioli has a more Spanish influcontinues on page 74
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Famous Hollywood café will be buzzing again soon. BY LUKE HAROLD
f the walls at the Formosa Café could talk, they’d regale any lunch, dinner or happy hour crowd with tales from Hollywood’s heyday, when Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner, Frank Sinatra and Clark Gable used to stop in. But those walls, along with the restaurant’s red booths, Chinese lanterns and neon green sign facing Santa Monica Boulevard, haven’t seen any customers for almost two years, following the Formosa’s sudden closure. After a few months of speculation over the the building’s fate, the 1933 Group secured a lease of the building in spring 2017, and it’s months away from a targeted February reopening. Bobby Green, partner at the 1933 Group, also used to be a regular at the Formosa, located at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue, during the 1990s. In the past year, his company has been working to secure the necessary permits to complete the work that needs to be done. “It’s been a rollercoaster of challenges,” Green said. But the new Formosa will ultimately be judged on how well it encapsulates the Hollywood lore from the Formosa’s past, when movie stars, singers and mobsters commingled for untold nights of revelry. To that end, the 1933 Group is working with the grandson of former owner Lem Quon to restore autographed celebrity photos and other artifacts that adorned the walls of the Formosa for decades. And they weren’t just customers. Plenty of the Formosa’s famous denizens helped keep the café going about 30 years ago, when it faced the threat of demolition. In 1991, actors Christopher Lloyd and John Cusack, two of the restaurant’s more contemporary regulars, led 1 0 B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M
informational pickets and looked into protecting the building with landmark status after Warner Bros. cancelled plans to replace it with a parking structure. “I feel pretty good about it,” Quon, 81 at the time, told the L.A. Daily News in 1991. “I’m happy for all the actors that supported me.” “Holly lyw ly ywood movie studios spend thousands of dollars to hav a e something look like av this on their movie sets, and we w hav a e it right here.” av Alison Martino, Vintage L.A.
The entertainment industry has also paid tribute to the Formosa in several memorable movie appearances. In “L.A. Confidential,” an actress playing Lana Turner threw a drink in the face of
a detective after he accosted her and an actor playing Johnny Stompanato, a Mickey Cohen associate. “The movie ‘L.A. Confidential’ comes in here and all they do is set up cameras and shoot, there’s no set design needed,” said Alison Martino, creator of the Vintage L.A. social media pages, last fall when tours of the interior were open to the public. “Hollywood movie studios spend thousands of dollars to have something look like this on their movie sets, and we have it right here.” The 1933 Group plans on staying true to the restaurant’s traditional Chinese and Thai cuisine. “We’re really using the old menu as our inspiration,” Green said. He added that the executive chef will have a lot of discretion to shape the menu. continues on page 72
PHOTO BY LUKE HAROLD
The red booths, trolley section and neon sign will all be preserved in the soon-to-reopen Formosa Café.
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PHOTO BY TINA WHATCOTT
The martini at Musso’s is a classic, served with gin or vodka, and a carafe chilled in a sidecar.
Stirred, not shaken
As the Musso & Frank Grill approaches 100 years of business, the Hollywood institution is enjoying being an industry elder. B Y S A R A H D AV I D S O N
t Time Out L.A.’s Bar Awards 2018, the Musso & Frank Grill was nominated for “Best Legacy Bar.” They didn’t win though – maybe because in 2017, they took home the prize for “Most Iconic L.A. Bar.” Instead, this year Time Out crowned The Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. When The Spare Room coowner Med Abrous went onstage to accept the award, he dedicated it to the Musso & Frank team, calling them up onstage to pose for photos. “It was a nice moment, and not just in a ‘respect your elders’ kind of way,” Time Out L.A. editor Michael Juliano said. “You could tell Med had a genuine admiration for Musso & Frank.” And why shouldn’t he? The bar and restaurant is not only a Hollywood institution, famous for serving everyone 1 2 B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M
from William Faulkner to Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s also known for its incredible adherence to tradition – many of the things that make Musso’s (as it’s colloquially called) special are nearly the same as they were when the restaurant opened almost a century ago. The waitstaff’s uniforms are mostly unchanged; the bar is made of the same wood, reconstructed when it was moved from its original location; the menu is nearly identical to the way it was when the restaurant opened. What has changed is the culture surrounding Musso’s. Andrea Scuto, the general manager, said he feels like bartending in general is becoming less personal and more focused on craft and ingredients. “What’s never been lost at this bar is that the bartender is not just the guy that
prepares perfectly calibrated martinis,” Scuto said. “He is also your psychologist, or your friend, or the person that listens to you and remembers what you told him the night before and the night before and the night before.” Some of the bartenders and waiters have been on staff at Musso’s for their entire careers. Waiter Sergio Gonzalez has been there since 1972, when he came to Los Angeles from Mexico to visit his uncle, who worked at the restaurant. His uncle ended up setting him up with a job, and Gonzalez never left. What’s changed about Los Angeles since 1972? Gonzalez said the way people dress, smartphones at dinner and martinis – specifically, that young people are drinking them more often, and now they’re sometimes being made with vodka instead of the traditional gin. The martini is a Musso & Frank classic. Bartender Graham Miller said the most important element of the Musso martini is that it’s stirred, not shaken. This gives the drink a silkier feel. He also mentioned the fact that every martini is served with a small carafe of a second pour in a sidecar filled with crushed ice. “The sidecar is the secret,” Scuto said. “And the other secret is the bartender.”
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Rice. Spice. Nice. Fusion Chinese meets traditional dishes at Xi’an. B Y K A R E N V I L L A L PA N D O
Crackerjack crispy shrimp
hey say Chinese restaurants are busiest on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Just ask Vicky Mense, owner of Xi’an in Beverly Hills. She has been successfully operating her fine Chinese cuisine restaurant on Canon Drive for 22 years. However, she’s not just busy on the 24th and 25th, she’s booked solid all year long. Mense and her restaurant manager, Cece Tsou, have built the business together. They met on the tennis court where Tsou was Mense’s instructor. Both physically fit, they took their “go get ‘em” attitude from the court to the kitchen, with Mense creating a diverse menu and Tsou managing the staff. Key to her success, Mense said, is to keep evolving and adapting to changing trends and to specific clientele. Mense caters to her kosher customers by ordering separate meats and oils, and she
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caters to her traditional Chinese visitors by offering a special menu with dishes from the mainland. She is also health conscious, telling her Chinese chefs to use only a minimal amount of oil for wok cooking. Tsou said the chefs must work very fast to ensure the food cooks thoroughly and doesn’t burn when such high heats are employed.
“Love and rice!” Cece Tsou Xi’an manager
With more than 100 dishes offered on the menu, Mense refers to her cuisine as comfort food. While it is very comforting to dine at Xi’an, I found the tastes and textures of the ingredients to be sophisticated and top quality.
A group of us gathered around a table to taste a variety of dishes. We were joined by Mense and Tsou, who guided us through the menu and regaled us with interesting and amusing stories about their 22 years in business. Tsou told us she nearly married someone with the American last name Maine. Thankfully she didn’t, she said, or she would have been Cece Tsou Maine (Chow Mein!) Now she has a 16-year-old son, Zane, and a partner for the last eight years. Mense has been married for 42 years, has a son and a daughter, and loves to travel. Her baby, however, is the restaurant. She suggested the temple salad – “it’s a dish Buddha would eat.” Organic mixed greens, radicchio, edamame and water chestnuts are tossed in a light yuzu dressing. The tofu salad is refreshing and cool, topped with an herb sauce of cilantro, scallions and ginger, much like an Asian chimichurri. Chicken wontons are light and delicate in a smooth brown sauce. Crispy Brussels sprouts are topped with almonds, cilantro and a citrus vinaigrette. These starter dishes were just a prelude to bigger flavors to come in the entrées. We spooned poached cod filets in a spicy Asian broth over rice, however, it could also be eaten as a soup, as long as you like it “hot to trot.” Sliced beef tenderloin with crispy spinach over rice noodles was tossed in a light teriyaki sauce. Twice-cooked pork belly was quickly fried, coated in brown sauce and flash fried again, making the pork crispy on the outside yet juicy inside. With so many items on the menu, one could easily dine at Xi’an multiple times and try something new each visit. A full bar, wine and beer is available, as well as takeout. Be adventurous and ask for the Chinese menu. Or stick to your tried and true favorites. Either way, Xi’an, which has been satisfying palates in Beverly Hills for 22 years, will surely satisfy yours. 362 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills. (310)2753345. xian90210.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF XI’AN RESTAURANT
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All the right angles
No matter how you frame it, we have been the fastest growing framer in Southern California for the past 34 years. We are proud of our reputation as both a framer and an employer. We support the ideals of above average wages and health care for all. We consistently give back to the community, such as supporting schools, churches, temples and charitable organizations. Built on an old-fashioned foundation of honesty and trust, we stand proud and look forward to coninuing to serve you and the community now and for the future.
Allan Jeffries Framing
8301 W. Third St. • Los Angeles, CA 90048 • 323.655.1296 • www.allanjeffries.com
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We spoke to three L.A. craft distillers who are true Californians: pioneers and innovators who aim to bring the spirit of the Golden State to your glass.
PHOTOS BY ANDY KITCHEN
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hen Melkon Khosrovian, co-owner of Greenbar Distillery, set out to make amaro, he considered where the bittersweet liqueur traditionally comes from: Italy. “When we taste Italian amari, we’re tasting the things that grow in the Alps,” Khosrovian said. “Which is great, but we don’t live in the Alps.” Khosrovian didn’t want to capture the taste of a faraway land; he wanted to bottle the spirit of California. So he went to Griffith Park to do some research. Greenbar’s Grand Poppy amaro, named for California’s state flower, is infused with ingredients that can be found in the park, like dandelion, lemon and, of course, California poppy. It is both spicy and smooth; when you sip it, its taste morphs several times, lingering before fading away. What could be more Los Angeles than a product that looks simple, but beneath its surface is stunningly complex? When Greenbar opened its doors in 2004, it was the first distillery in Los Angeles since the repeal of Prohibition. Craft distilling was slow to catch on in L.A. Coming on the heels of the proliferation of craft breweries across the country, local distilling gained popularity in cities like Portland, Oregon before taking hold in Los Angeles. Perhaps that can be explained by California’s sometimes arcane liquor laws, which Khosrovian has been active in fighting since he got into the distilling business. 2013 saw the passage of legislation that allowed small distilleries to open their doors to the public for tastings. This was well-timed – the American Craft Spirits Association reports that national retail sales of craft spirits grew by $2 billion between 2012 and 2017. California now has more than 100 craft distilleries, many of which have enjoyed newly relaxed regulations as a result of the Craft Distillers Act of 2015. This allowed craft distilleries to sell a limited number of bottles directly to consumers, serve more liquor during tastings and mix cocktails. The legislation was an attempt to roll back Prohibition-era liquor laws and create parity among wineries, breweries and distilleries. Like so many Californian pioneers be-
fore them, the three distillers we spoke to at the forefront of the movement aren’t adhering to centuries-old tradition; they’re innovators. They’re accidental distillers who never thought they’d get into the industry. And they’re also fiercely proud of their city – when these creators are dreaming up booze, Los Angeles is their muse. GREENBAR DISTILLERY
The heart in Greenbar’s logo is a nod to Khosrovian opening Greenbar with his wife, Litty Mathew. The two began experimenting with vodka infusions when they were first engaged. Khosrovian is Armenian, and toasting with spirits was a big part of dinners with his extended family. The problem was that Mathew hated
everything they were drinking. “She would pick up the glass and put it right back down because to her it tasted like gasoline and nail polish remover,” Khosrovian said. He and Mathew started shopping at local farmers markets for ingredients to infuse into vodka. The first winning combination? Pear, lavender and vanilla bean. They’d sneak their homemade infusions into the family dinners, trying to help Mathew’s preferences fly under the radar. But before long, Khosrovian’s cousins, and his cousin’s friends, and their friends’ friends, were calling, asking for bottles of their own. That’s when they opened Greenbar in Monrovia. From there, the business flourished, finally expanding to continues page 18
Greenbar Distillery owner Melkon Khosrovian makes all of his spirits using organic ingredients and, thanks to environmentally friendly business practices, helps reduce customers’ carbon footprints.
Follow photographer Andy Kitchen @wandering.cowboy
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a converted warehouse in the downtown L.A. Arts District. The fact that all their products are organic, like Khosrovian and Mathew’s discovery of distilling, was somewhat accidental. Once they started producing liquor on a larger scale, they were ordering their produce in bulk from local farmers. When those farmers started growing organic produce, they didn’t let Khosrovian and Mathew know. Instead, the couple noticed the flavor profiles of their liquors changing. When they went to investigate, they found that the organic produce was creating stronger flavors. “That’s when the lightbulb went off,” Khosrovian said. “Organic stuff can help us make tastier liquor. That was the weirdest journey to organic.” Although they didn’t set out to be, now Greenbar is an environmentally conscious operation. Khosrovian said that consuming one cocktail made with Greenbar spirits renders the drinker carbon-negative for the day. That’s because Greenbar has a relatively small carbon footprint already, thanks to their decision to use recycled materials in their bottles’ packaging and skip common industry practices like frosting their bottles or laminating their labels. But even that small 1 8 B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M
carbon footprint is offset by the one tree Greenbar plants for every bottle sold. The positive environmental impact of each tree is so great that it negates the average drinker’s carbon footprint for the day, making Greenbar spirits some of the most “radically carbon-negative consumer products in the world,” Khosrovian said. Since they started planting trees in 2008, they’ve planted more than 700,000 from Belize to Panama. In addition to sourcing their own backyard for organic produce, Khosrovian and Mathew looked to Los Angeles’ food scene for inspiration when they were creating their City Bright gin. Mathew is also an immigrant, born in Ethiopia to South Indian parents. The couple has a deep appreciation for the tapestry of culinary traditions that make this city unique. The gin is infused with flavors from cuisines popularized in Los Angeles by immigrant communities: mint from Middle Eastern cuisines, poblano peppers from Mexican food, star anise and basil from Vietnamese. The ability to capture regional flavors, Khosrovian said, is the entire point of being a local craft distillery. “Who cares about drinking something that a local company makes that’s exactly
the same as everyone else?” he said. Greenbar takes a different approach to whiskey, too. Whiskey is typically aged in white oak barrels, which influences its flavor. When Khosrovian and Mathew started making the spirit, they wanted to try aging it in a different kind of wood barrel. “To our brains, wood started to feel like an ingredient instead of a container, and that allowed us to expand the flavor profile of whiskey,” Khosrovian said. Since most barrel manufacturers don’t make them in any other varieties, they found that white oak was still the way to go for the barrel. But they also found that they could submerge wooden staves into the barrels and tweak the flavor just as effectively as replacing the barrels. Their Slow Hand Six Woods whiskey is flavored with the white oak from the barrel as well as staves of red oak, mulberry, hickory, grape and maple. After they’ve done their job, the staves are hung as decoration in the distillery, a reminder of the spirit’s complexity. Over at The Spirit Guild, also in the downtown L.A. Arts District, founder Miller Duvall and head distiller Morgan THE SPIRIT GUILD
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PHOTOS BY ANDY KITCHEN
The Spirit Guild in the downtown L.A. Arts District uses clementines from founder Miller Duvall’s family farm to make gin and vodka.
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McLachlan also set out to distill the magic of California into gin and vodka made from clementines grown on Duvall’s family farm. Most vodka and gin are made from grain, but The Spirit Guild actually ferments the citrus into the spirits’ bases. Similar to Khosrovian and Mathew, Duvall said his entry into the distilling industry was somewhat spontaneous. He was spending a lot of time on his family’s farm, planting olive trees on the property to turn into olive oil, when he found himself feeling wistful every time he returned to Los Angeles. He literally wanted to bottle the feeling of being surrounded by California’s lush scenery, and that’s when he started to wonder if it was possible to turn clementines into liquor. Contrary to conventional distillery wisdom, it was. “It’s not like we were dying to start a distillery, it was just a serious hobby,” Duvall said. “There was an idea that we could go pro at some point, but it was the quality of what we had produced that made the decision for us.” It was important to Duvall to celebrate his family’s agricultural roots because, as a kid growing up in the Bay Area, he said he often saw farmland being paved over to make way for tech companies’ campuses. “It was a very formative, visceral experience for me to see how agriculture can serve a community, and then what happens when it goes away,” he said. Growing up in the Bay Area also instilled in Duvall a spirit of creativity. Duvall said they did focus group testing to come up with the name for Astral Pacific gin, but McLachlan came up with Vapid vodka off the cuff. Rather than recycle Prohibition-era recipes, The Spirit Guild cooks up liquors that are bright and fresh rather than silky and dense. “We’re not about grandpappy’s recipe here,” Duvall said. “California is a place where we innovate.”
PHOTO BY ANDY KITCHEN
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STARK SPIRITS DISTILLERY
The Spirit Guild isn’t the only distiller incorporating citrus into their product. In Pasadena, Greg Stark and Karen Robinson-Stark make a brandy entirely from oranges. Their Sunshine Orange brandy is a celebration of California as well, but it’s not oranges that hold family significance for the Starks. What does is their aquavit, a traditional Scandinavian liquor that was often featured at Stark’s family’s smorgasbords. When Aalborg, the go-to Danish brand, stopped being distributed in the states, Stark saw an opportunity. Stark didn’t want to just copy the traditional recipe. He put his own spin on it, removing the dill and the star anise. Stark was used to D.I.Y. because prior to opening a distillery, Stark and Robinson-Stark had been brewing beer at home for years, but working day jobs as a software engineer and a grant manager, respectively. RobinsonStark said their beer experience is probably why they’ve been successful at making spirits – their whiskey won a double gold medal in the 2017 American Distilling Institute competition and a silver medal in the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. “Beer is the little brother of whiskey,” Robinson-Stark said. “Anyone who can demonstrably make good beer can probably make good whiskey.” The Skyline gin was another story. It was Robinson-Stark’s baby, and she said she tried over 22 variations before she settled on the final recipe. Finally, she had to release it, and people who tried it said that even though they didn’t like gin, they liked this gin. When she heard this, Robinson-Stark, remembering that she was an amateur distiller, panicked. “I went, ‘Oh my God, what did I do wrong?’” she said. “But fortunately, people who really like gin also like my gin.”
MIX IT UP Cocktail recipes that will make you feel like a bartender in your own home. Greenbar’s Walk in the Woods 1 ounce Grand Poppy amaro 2 ounces Slow Hand Six Woods whiskey Combine the whiskey and amaro in a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Stir until the drink is cool. The Spirit Guild Old Fashioned 1 sugar cube 2 dashes Angostura bitters 2 ounces Astral Pacific gin Orange peel twist Mash the sugar cube and bitters in the bottom of a glass. Add the gin and stir, then add a big rock and garnish with an orange peel twist. Stark Spirits’ Danish Fizz 1 ½ ounce Traditional aquavit ½ ounce fresh squeezed lime juice 1 teaspoon agave or simple syrup 3 ounce sparkling wine Lime peel twist Shake aquavit, lime juice and agave with 5-6 ice cubes. Strain into Champagne glass and add sparkling wine. Garnish with lime peel. Feel like a cocktail connoisseur? Take a cocktail class at Greenbar. For $40-55, you’ll learn how to mix a few cocktails and drink up to three.
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Sunset Strip rock ‘n’roll billboards debut on the silver screen Photographer Robert Landau documents 1960s and ‘70s music industry’s legendary billboards
PHOTOS BY ROBERT LANDAU
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ven though photographer Robert Landau was born and raised in Los Angeles, he sees the city as an outsider would. His father, an Austrian gallery owner with an affinity for the expressionists and a distaste for pop art, cast Landau’s own perspective into sharp relief when he was growing up near the Sunset Strip – and embracing its culture. “There’s an attachment and a detachment that lets you kind of look at [the city] and say, ‘What’s interesting about it?’” he said. “‘What makes it unique? What makes L.A. different than any other city in the world?’” When Landau was a teenager in the 1970s, what he thought made L.A. unique were the hand-painted billboards advertising musicians lining the Sunset Strip. By that time, the Strip was more than a hotbed of Hollywood debauchery – it was also a hangout for Angelenos who identified with the counterculture movement, and Tower Records was their refuge. Record companies took note, buying billboard advertising space to tout new albums by artists like The Doors, the
“People want to dismiss L.A. as this kind of superficial culture. But I think if you scratch beneath the surface you see there is this interesting history.” Robert Landau
Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd. Painted with care by skilled but unknown visual artists, they usually riffed on the artists’ album covers, standing tall above the Strip like stories-high murals. Landau photographed these billboards, meticulously documenting them as they popped up, only to be taken down within weeks. Forty years later, in 2012, he published his extensive collection of billboard photographs in “Rock ‘n’ Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip,” a glossy coffee-table tome that displays the photos alongside text delving into the history of the billboards’ creation. Now, he’s teaming up with Rugged Entertainment to produce “Sign O’ the Times,” a
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For a time in 1969, rumors of Paul McCartney’s death swirled. A teenage prankster cut McCartney’s head off the Abbey Road billboard (facing page; top) and kept it. Years later, Landau found him – and the missing head.
AN ARTIST’S PERSPECTIVE Landau, in his own words, on living an artist’s life in Los Angeles. Who are your influences? European street photographers like André Kertész, Brassaï, Eugène Atget. These were guys that just wandered around Paris and other parts of Europe taking pictures. What I liked about their work was not only was it personal, and you felt a kind of poetic quality to their vision, but at the same time, it just totally documented a whole period of time. How can an emerging artist cultivate a point of view? The best advice I can give is just keep doing it. Even if you’re not making money. By doing the same thing over and over, you’ll start eliminating what isn’t essential to you. Over time, certain pictures felt like they were mine. It just took a lot of time and repetition.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT LANDAU
Where do you go in L.A. to get inspired? I go to a place I’ve never been before and just wander around. It took me forever, but about a month ago I made it out to Highland Park. There’s a neighborhood that’s got a personality, you know, businesses that are not corporate, that are run by people. That’s what I love to do: I take my camera and I wander around to find places off the beaten track that are still genuine.
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documentary that uses the billboards to explore the world of art, music and entertainment in Los Angeles during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Tentatively set to release in 2019, the film will feature key players in the music industry like Robby Krieger, of The Doors; Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records; and Jac Holzman, the Elektra Records founder who signed The Doors and is credited with coming up with the idea for the first rock ‘n’ roll billboard. The team has also spoken with some of the art directors, artists and other music industry insiders involved in the production of the artwork. “People want to dismiss L.A. as this kind of superficial culture,” Landau said. “But I think if you scratch beneath the surface you see there is this interesting history. I think through these pictures, we can open up that whole period.” It’s a period, Landau said, that felt uniquely L.A. Growing up, Landau loved seeing the original signage and artwork that businesses on the Strip – not just record labels, but shops and restaurants – would put up to try to catch the attention of passing drivers. “The Sunset Strip was this crazy hodgepodge of high and low mixed together,” he said. “Good architecture and bad architecture and little diners and fancy restaurants, and to me, that’s what L.A. was about: this mixture of things.”
PHOTO BY ROBERT LANDAU
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Working to restore L.A.’s viticultural heritage Angeleno Wine Co.
alifornia winemaking is synonymous with the Napa and Sonoma valleys, but it all started in Los Angeles in the 19th century. French settler Jean-Louis Vignes arrived in L.A. in 1831 and set up a commercial vineyard near the present day site of Union Station. By 1833, six wine growers in Los Angeles owned about 100 acres of vineyards and 100,000 vines. Vignes, who now has a street named after him in downtown, wanted to keep the industry growing. “He wrote to France asking his relatives, friends, and his ‘more intelligent countrymen’ to come and settle near Los Angeles, for he believed California was destined to rival France, not only in the quantity of wine produced, but also in the quality of its wines,” Vincent P. Carosso, an expert on American business and economic history, wrote in a study on California wine culture from 1830 to 1895. Through the 20th century, the North Coast put California on the viticultural map while winemaking in Los Angeles withered on the vine. But now the owners of the three-year-old Angeleno Wine Company, located at 1646 N. Spring St., about one mile away from the onetime site of Vignes’ vineyard, want to rejuvenate L.A.’s wine culture. “It’s this whole awesome facet to our city and culture that has since been forgotten,” said Jasper Dickson, one of the company’s co-founders, Northern California native and son of a home winemaker. He and his business partner Amy Luftig Viste have made it their goal to open the city’s first urban winery in more than 100 years.
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“We want to bring that back and we hope other people will be influenced,” Dickson said. Their Spring Street space, in a warehouse on the northern edge of Chinatown, will serve as the company’s wine production facility with a tasting room scheduled to open to the public early next year, giving L.A. residents, tourists and all visitors a chance to experience and learn about different wines, no matter their current level of knowledge. “He wrote to France asking his relatives, friends, and his ‘more intelligent country r men’ to come ry and settle near Los Angeles.” Vincent P. Carosso
“To me, wine is not pretentious,” said Luftig Viste, whose dayjob is with the L.A. County Department of Health Services as a program director. “It’s not about impressing people with your knowledge. Drinking is fun, learning about it is fun.” Angeleno Wine Company wines are already available on the company’s website, and at a few local stores and restaurants. They’re made with grapes from the Alonso Family Vineyards in the small town of Agua Dulce, north of L.A. The owner, Juan Alonso, planted 50 grapevines in 1995 and continued to add more. His “crown jewel”
Angeleno’s grapes are grown in the small northern L.A. County town of Agua Dulce.
is the tannat grape, which originated in southwest France and is used for Angeleno Wine Company’s tannat. The company’s Zanja Madre, named for the original aqueduct that brought water to L.A., is a blend of tempranillo and grenache grapes from the vineyards. The last winery to open in the city of Los Angeles was the San Antonio Winery in 1917, which still operates today in downtown. Vignes died in the early 1860s, and Prohibition nearly derailed his vision for the future of winemaking in California. But the U.S. consumed 949 million gallons of wine in 2016 (equal to about 23.7 billion glasses), which has steadily grown from 33 million in 1934, the year after Prohibition ended, according to the Wine Institute, a Californiabased public policy advocacy group. California wine sales grew to 278 million cases in 2017, according to the institute. With the state continuing to realize its potential and a growing consumer interest in wine, it probably won’t take another 100 years for another L.A. winery to open for business.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANGELENO WINE COMPANY
BY LUKE HAROLD
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A fruitful hobby
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL VILLALPANDO
B Y K A R E N V I L L A L PA N D O
Ten years after 285 cabernet sauvignon vines were planted on their Hidden Hills property, the Firestones are now selling their wines at Camarillo Custom Crush Winery.
Rick Firestone and his wife Resa have lived in their Hidden Hills home for nearly 20 years. The property sits on a hillside with sweeping views of the San Fernando Valley. The sloping hill in the backyard, however, was a landscape challenge.
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Their friends own Malibu Family Wines and planted the idea of putting grapevines on the incline. The seedling idea took root and inspired the Firestones to park 285 vines of 100 percent cabernet sauvignon grapes on their land 10 years ago. They have now had six successful bottlings. Firestone said winemaking is just “an expensive hobby” when he’s not working at Malibu Clothes in Beverly Hills. His father started the haberdashery in 1947, and he and his son Ian run the business today, keeping it all in the family. Firestone’s other hobby – photography – also comes in to play with the winemaking. His photographs don the labels on his wine bottles. Firestone
grows the grapes and members of the Malibu Family Wine operation harvest them and produce the wine. Once bottled, Firestone determines the labels that distinguish the various vintages. For example, his 2015 Malibu Coast cabernet sauvignon is called the Switzerland Collection, with a scene of the Chapel Bridge in Lucerne on the label. For 2014, it is the Hawaii Collection picturing the West Maui mountains. Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia graces the label of the 2013 American vintage. Firestone’s wines are now available to taste and to purchase at Camarillo Custom Crush Winery, located at 300 S. Lewis Rd. in Camarillo. The tasting room is open on weekends. Call (805)484-0597 or visit camarillocustomcrush.com.
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©RENZO PIANO BUILDING WORKSHOP/©A.M.P.A.S./ IMAGE FROM L’AUTRE IMAGE
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Lights! Camera! Action!
Academy Museum ready for its close-up. BY LUKE HAROLD
he family of the late Shirley Temple, Steven Spielberg and the Walt Disney Company, who have all created some of the movie industry’s most memorable characters, are on the long list of supporters bringing to life the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the latest addition to Museum Row. The museum’s own cast of characters is also coming together. Last winter, its 12-member board of trustees, including Hollywood legends Tom Hanks and Kathleen Kennedy, met for the first time. One of its latest additions, Brendan Connell Jr., will serve as the museum’s chief operating officer. After 18 years at the Guggenheim, Connell will oversee construction, as well as management of operations, administration, finance and other areas to keep Museum Row’s latest addition on track for a mid-2019 opening. Connell said he wants to make the museum “a must-visit destination for movie lovers.” “I’m a great fan of film and film his-
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Visitors will have a panoramic view of Los Angeles at the top of the V m museum’s sphere.
tory,” he said, adding that his friends and family knew it would be a perfect job for him. Before the Guggenheim, he worked as legal director at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, which provides legal services for artists. “The Academy Museum is thrilled to welcome Brendan Connell to the team at this exciting moment as we approach the 2019 opening,” Kerry Brougher, the museum’s director, said in a statement. “As a seasoned museum executive, Brendan will be an invaluable asset to the institution, rounding out our leadership team with his tremendous expertise in all areas of museum operations, from high-level strategic planning to realtime, on-the-ground tactics.” Cinema fans throughout L.A. will be able to peruse 50,000 square feet of exhibition galleries, two theaters, a rooftop terrace with a panoramic view of the Hollywood Hills and more. The sphere portion of the museum will house the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, which will be open to visitors, and host movie premieres and other special events. The
museum was designed by architect Renzo Piano, whose notable works include the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Shard in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. A $388 million fundraising goal has been set to bring the museum to life. The Academy Museum’s exterior, especially its gold-tiled cylinder at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, also has a lot of history. The structure has been covered in scaffolding as crews have been examining every tile and panel in their effort to replicate the building’s original 1939 appearance. Originally the May Company Building, the landmark was hailed as “the western gateway to the Miracle Mile” when it first opened, according to the nonprofit L.A. Conservancy. Each tile has a 24-karat gold leaf gilded finish, and each one was evaluated using Gigapan, a program that provided 35-megabyte photos that were detailed enough to show every hairline crack and every fly perched on a ledge. Approximately 1,000 of the 4,000-
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Typewriter used by Joseph Stefano to write the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960). Gift of Michael Eisenberg care of “The Estate of Joseph Stefano,” 2016. .
square-foot gold mosaic was damaged. T The project’s building conservation exppert, John Fidler, determined that the ooriginal tiles had come from a studio ccalled Orsoni in Venice, Italy, and had replacements made. re As a historic-cultural monument, the bbuilding’s construction has required cclose communication with the city of Los Angeles Office of Historic ReL ssources, following City Council appproval of the project in June 2015. Then-Councilman Tom LaBonge said it
would be “an iconic addition” to the 4th Council District, Museum Row and the city. Construction on the museum began in October 2015. “We hope to transport visitors to a cinematic environment, somewhere between reality and illusion,” Brougher said. “Like watching a movie, visitors will enter a waking dream – one in which they go inside the movies to experience their magic, as well as the art and science that makes that magic possible.”
Morticia cia Addams dress worn by Anjelica ca Huston and designed ned by Ruth Myers from “The Addams ms Family” (1991).. Gift off Anjelica Huston, n, 2014.
Screen-used close-up pair of the Ruby Slippers, designed by Adrian, from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939).
The Juvenile Oscar® awarded ed to Shirley Temple ple for the eight films lms she made in 1934. 934. Gift of Shirley Temple Black and Family, 2013. Photos by Joshua White, PA.S. P. JWPictures/©A.M.P.A.S.
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Cellist Alisa Weilerstein, a 2011 MacArthur “Genius” fellowship recipient, will perform six Bach solos Nov. 9.
At the heart of The Wallis’ upcoming season is its leadership team’s desire to tell the stories we’ve never heard before – and to make sure as many people as possible are in the audience to hear them. B Y S A R A H D AV I D S O N
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In June, eight local war veterans wrote and performed “Marching On: An Original Play Based on the Lives of Los Angeles Veterans” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Part of local theater nonprofit CRE Outreach’s Veterans Empowerment Theater, the program aimed to help veterans express themselves without censorship or backlash. Focusing on experiences of racism, returning home and grappling with trauma, the production was a perfect example of the kind of programming The Wallis is bringing to audiences this season. “Those stories need to be told,” said Mark Slavkin, director of education at The Wallis. “They and their stories are just as valued to me as any sort of famous person is.” The Wallis, housed in a stately building that’s part renovated U.S. post office, part newly constructed theater and office space, is in the heart of Beverly Hills – a city famous for, well, stories of the famous. But the performing arts center, open since 2013, maintains a focus on accessibility and diversity. The idea that The Wallis is for everyone in Los Angeles is woven into its fabric. There’s a sound-proof box in the top back section of the Bram Goldsmith Theater that’s often used for The
Wallis’ leadership team to discuss the show – but it is also a seating area for families with special needs children who are prone to being vocal, so they can enjoy the show without worrying about disturbing other patrons. The lobby is home to a bar and performance space called The Sorting Room (a throwback to the venue’s epistolary roots) rather than a gift shop, suggesting a focus on community and connection over commercialization. And the 2018-19 season program is peppered with acts by a wide range of voices. This season will see the return of playwright-actor Keith A. Wallace’s “The Bitter Game,” a portrayal of the black American experience that is structured according to the quarters of a basketball game. “Witness Uganda,” a documentary musical, features a man who travels across the world to volunteer in a small village after his New York City church shuns him for being gay. Cellist Amanda Gookin explores issues modern women face through her performance of seven different women’s musical compositions. That’s in large part thanks to Artistic Director Paul Crewes, who joined The Wallis full-time in 2016 after 11 years at the Kneehigh Theatre in his native continues on page 34
FAMILY FUN What to bring the kids to at The Wallis this season. Dance Sundays with Debbie Allen & Friends Free, outdoor dance led by Emmy Award winner Debbie Allen. Every second Sunday of the month, starting Nov. 11. Noon to 2 p.m.
“The Old Man and the Old Moon” A musical folktale by PigPen Theatre Co. March 2–17, 2019, at the Bram Goldsmith Theater.
“Story Pirates” @ The Wallis An interactive musical sketch comedy show for kids. Ages 5+: Dec. 8, 2018, March 9 and May 11, 2019, at 2 p.m. in the Lovelace Studio Theater. Toddlers: Free on Nov. 11, 2018, Jan. 13 and Feb. 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. on the Promenade Terrace.
“Shadow Play” A multimedia performance for ages 2+.
PHOTO BY BRAD ROMANO
Nov. 3–4 in the Lovelace Studio Theater.
“Black Beauty” A modern, musical puppet show that retells the classic story for ages 5+. April 26–May 5, 2019, in the Lovelace Studio Theater.
Jacob Jonas The Company will return as The Wallis’ 2018–19 company-in-residence for four performances Oct. 24–27. B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M 3 3
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England and a few months of programming The Wallis from afar while he prepared to make the move to the states. “I am thinking about diversity,” Crewes said. “I’m thinking about accessibility. I’m thinking about a range of demographics in terms of audience. And I’m thinking about the subject matter that reflects that, so that we are both exciting and interesting and we are finding audiences who may not have come in before.” This is part of the vision he shares with Rachel Fine, who has been at the helm of The Wallis as its managing director since 2015 but was recently named executive director and chief executive officer. Their strategy has been working, according to ticket sales. Marketing and Communications Director Joel Hile said that after Crewes and Fine joined The Wallis, ticket rev-
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enue for the 2015–16 seasons and 2016–17 seasons increased by 30 percent and 17 percent, respectively. While The Wallis is very intentional in offering programming for audiences at all stages of life, Fine said she is careful not to alienate older audiences. When she hears people walk into the theater and comment on the abundance of gray hair in the audience, she thinks, “Why is that a bad thing?” People over 50, after all, have time and disposable income, and are often loyal supporters of the arts. “The arts are just so critical to that population in terms of loneliness, which is a huge factor in not having a good quality of life,” Fine said. “We take people out of their loneliness. We help build community.” This year, The Wallis also offered interactive programming, like Dancing Through Parkinson’s, a weekly class offered as a collaboration between The Wallis and Invertigo Dance Theatre.
“I don’t think that luxury should necessarily be the only focus of this city,” Fine said. “I think arts and culture have a huge role to play.” Looking ahead, the team at The Wallis is also abuzz about the addition of cinema programming. In 2019, The Wallis will partner with Film Independent to present four screening events. Crewes said he was always interested in including film as part of The Wallis’ programming, but was waiting until he knew how to do so in a way that felt true to The Wallis’ ethos. “I think I love work that is breaking boundaries a little bit,” Crewes said. “Work that makes you laugh and makes you cry, all in the same time scale. You come out feeling that you could do something with your life that would make a difference. That gives you hope, not necessarily that the world’s a great place, but that gives you inspiration to do the best you can.”
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C R U S TA C E A N
Cutting-edge Vietnamese cuisine in the heart of Beverly Hills. BY JILL WEINLEIN
ollowing a $10 million redesign, Crustacean reopened earlier this year to offer once again their elegant dinner service. Dedicated followers, locals and tourists exploring Beverly Hills can now walk on water over an enclosed fish pond and revel in more fresh Vietnamese flavors and dishes in this swanky establishment. Chef-owner Helene An is a true American success story. One of 17 children, she was raised in the northern region of Vietnam, but fled the country during the Vietnam War. She began her restaurant career in San Francisco and now, thirty years later, has locations in Santa Monica, Orange County and Beverly Hills.
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Visit midday during the week for Crustacean’s lovely lunch menu. Bánh mì sandwiches are a popular choice, and feature Vietnamese baguettes split lengthwise filled with various savory ingredients. Options include the rib-eye dip with melted aged cheddar over beef and caramelized onions. A beef pho broth dip and house-made potato chips accompany the sandwich. The decadent steak and egg bánh mì sandwich incorporates filet mignon with an egg, foie gras and chicken liver pâté. And the Jidori chicken sandwich is charbroiled and topped with five-spice and a spread of turmeric aioli for added savory flavors. Try other signature favorites, such as
Eight treasure salad.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CRUSTACEAN
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chef An’s crab puffs served with a peanut-mustard sauce; filet mignon and chicken oyster satay; and the lobster and mango salad. In the late afternoon during the week, Crustacean’s legendary Red Hour bar offers signature small bites and handcrafted cocktails. Enjoy the creative and delicious tuna cigars. This whimsical dish features perfectly shaped spring roll tuna “cigars” with black tobiko, or flying fish eggs, giving the appearance of a lit cigar. The crispy outside is made with feuille de brick, a non-buttery French dough, and pairs well with the hightea penicillin cocktail made with a black tea-infused blend of Chivas Scotch, ginger, honey syrup and lemon juice. For dinner, delicacies include the vegan crab cakes made with hearts of palm. These faux-fish treats are served in a sculpted white serving dish decorated with colorful nasturtium flowers. Topped with a swirl of spicy aioli, the pan-fried cakes are delicious.
Dim sum dumplings also shine at Crustacean. Fillings include lamb and Japanese sweet potato, and wild mushroom with ginger and lemongrass essence. To round out the meal, feast on steaming plates of An’s garlic noodles, which pair deliciously with the garlic-
roasted Dungeness crab. For an even more luxurious experience, try upstairs at Crustacean’s Da Lat Rose. The ultra-private restaurant, named after the city in South Vietnam, offers a tasting menu prepared by chef Tony Nguyen. 468 N. Bedford Drive. (310)205-8990.
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Rumfish y Vino
It’s worth venturing outside L.A. city limits to visit this happy coastal community’s coolest spots. BY JILL WEINLEIN
entura is a laid-back California coastal city, about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles. Recently, it was named one of the “happiest cities in America” by National Geographic. Not only is the small surfing town known for its beaches and long, wooden Ventura Pier, but its flourishing culinary scene as well. While exploring the landmarks on downtown’s Main Street, including the Mission San Buenaventura established in 1809, there are an abundance of options to please your palate and wet your whistle. Sit on a sunny al fresco patio with a glass of wine and ceviche, or inside a gastropub with a great craft beer and a burger. Ventura’s thriving beer scene has breweries and tap houses throughout town. All are within walking distance, so park once and discover a great weekend destination or stopping point on a drive up the 101 freeway for breakfast, lunch or a sunset dinner.
Rumfish y Vino
Owners: After honeymooning in Belize, John and Pam Solomon stayed a while and opened their first Rumfish y Vino in 2008. They recently moved home to Ojai and opened up a second location in the heart of downtown Ventura.
Atmosphere: Elegant with a tropical Caribbean beach vibe. Huge outdoor patio with a fireplace and romantic twinkle lights. Experience the flavors of the Yucatán, Belize and the Caribbean while listening to classic reggae, Latin and Caribbean music.
PHOTOS BY JILL WEINLEIN
Most popular dishes: Conch fritters, fresh Peruvian ceviches, tacos, Creole sea bass, Caribbean fish stew and plantain chips. For dessert try the chocolate-habanero cannoli.
Most popular drinks: Orange jalapeño margarita with fresh squeezed juice, pineapple habanero rum fizz, watermelon mojito. The killer rum punch will transport you to Belize after one sip.
Fun fact: Beach blanket throws are offered on the patio to warm guests on chilly days and evenings.
$$-$$$ Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. 34 N. Palm St., Ventura, (805)667-9288.
VenTiki Lounge & Lanai
Atmosphere: After a day at the beach, locals come to this island-themed bar in flip-flops for the best mai tais in town. Sit outside on the lanai among Tikis, flowers and a warm fire pit for chilly nights. Inside the festive Polynesian Tiki lounge, bartenders wear their favorite aloha shirts and make delicious cocktails. Most popular drinks: Navy grog, planter’s punch and Channel Islands mai tai.
Most popular pupus: Sushi, seared diver scallops, Kalua pork sliders and pepper-seared ahi sliders.
Fun fact: VenTiki has one of the best rum selections in California. Sounds of volcanos erupting are heard when certain tropical drinks are ordered. $$ Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 701 E. Main St., Ventura, (805)667-8887.
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Owners: Chef Kelly Briglio and wine curator Tina Thayer.
Atmosphere: Cozy rustic-chic café and wine bar with brick walls and window seats.
Culinary style: Gourmet small plates, sandwiches and wines. A small upscale market with a multitude of wine and more than 140 cheeses from all over the world is adjacent. Most popular dishes: Kel’s “killer” mac and cheese, baba ganoush with seasoned pita chips, and the “purple haze” goat cheese salad with fresh strawberries.
Most popular drinks: Specialty beers, and great wine selection. Non-alcoholic choices include hot pots of dark roast coffees and assorted teas. Fun fact: They offer curated French wine flights and rich Rhône wines. $$ Closed on Mondays. Opens Tuesday through Sunday at 11 a.m. 222 E. Main St., Ventura, (805)641-9440.
Lure Fish House
Paradise Pantry has a nice cheese selection at their adjacent market.
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Atmosphere: Locally sourced seafood restaurant and full bar decorated in an upscale fisherman theme. A chic oyster bar and friendly bullpen-style bar filled with locals.
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Most popular dishes: Fresh oysters and lobster, grilled fresh fish, Lure crab cakes and Sally’s sand dabs.
Most popular sweets: Lure mintini made with local McConnell’s mint ice cream, and the sweet and tart Key lime pie.
Fun fact: Lure also has locations in Westlake Village, Camarillo and Santa Barbara.
$$ Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., except Friday and Saturday when Lure stays open until 10:30 p.m. Happy hour is Monday – Friday, 4-6 p.m. and on Sundays 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. 60 S. California St., Ventura, (805)567-4400.
Owners: Sisters Maria and Anna Fiore.
Atmosphere: Intimate, yet lively trattoria offering classic Italian fare along with live music and patio dining. The Fiore sisters import Italian products weekly. Everything is homemade and fresh from local farmers markets with recipes from their Pugliese roots. Cafe Fiore uses refurbished, reused and reclaimed wood with iron to create a comfortable and homey design. A cozy patio and private dining room is located in the back of the restaurant. Most popular cocktail: Seasonal martinis.
Most popular dishes: Homemade breads, hand-tossed pizzas, and house-made porchetta and tortellacci (very large tortellini).
Café Fiore has been a popular spot for 15 years.
Fun fact: Cafe Fiore is filled with locals who enjoy their weekly specials. Anna and Maria make a point to know everyone’s name. The bar scene is reminiscent of the television show “Cheers.”
$$ Open seven days a week at 11:30 a.m. Closes Monday through Thursday at 10 p.m., 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m. on Sunday. Happy hour: Daily Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. 66 S. California St., Ventura, (805)653-1266. continues on page 75
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hunder claps. Wood beams in the ceiling creak. The warm glow of a chandelier in the living room signals the start of the witching hour. Poltergeists do love a powered-down telly or grainy CCTV screen, but all is quiet for the moment. A moan. It could be the willow tree communing with the wind. Please let it be something less horrifying, like Jason in a clown costume. Freddy sporting a MAGA hat? The moan mutates into a scream. Roars of anguish flood the night. Another bellow of terror. Two distinct sounds now, the dueling serenades of a curmudgeonly Bigfoot and whatever that creature is from “The Grudge.” Is this dear Emily Rose channeling the voice of not one but a legion of demons that must be exorcised? In most cases, closed eyes make the boogeyman go away. But these hellions won’t vanish if you say their names three times. They crave one thing: my soul. And I’m a willing host. So I enter the nursery, turn off the thunder setting on the white noise machine and start feeding Cameron and Logan, the cutest twin monsters west of Transylvania. I owe a lot to the horror genre. More than any other, it prepared me for my first year of parenting. Hear me out. The paranoia of a zombie apocalypse survivor taught me how to keep those kiddos safe. Slasher films are basically morality tales about having too much fun in your youth, which I’m definitely using to mentally shame my sons into submission when they’re older. And what is “Gremlins,” a campy horror film about small creatures that turn into monsters, if not the filmmakers’ own anxiety over being a new parent? Whenever characters on a TV show have a child midway through a season, the result is normally rather dull. Ross and Rachel share a few episodes with little Emma before her screentime dwindles. We didn’t sign up for a parenting show. I have twin boys, and I understand kids often make for boring story arcs in established films and TV series. But in horror, they’re a different thing
altogether. Children are the target in ghost films and liabilities in zombie stories, both of which make great drama. Caring for someone is dangerous in a genre with elevated stakes. Zombies make humans dumb. Walkers, the undead, the infected can all be survived, but one stubborn fool takes chances that put everyone else at risk. Having babies makes you dumb too. I’m convinced I reached the end of pi seven or eight times, but then a screaming child happened and ... what was I thinking about?
ingly safe places as well. The changing table. For most parents, it’s a helpful tool. In our household, it’s a torture device, the masochistic prop of a body horror film, according to the piercing shrieks of my kids each and every Kubrick-forsaken time they have a poopy. Torture films like “Hostel” tap into folks’ anxiety about traveling abroad, but Hostel de Posada is an American sequel. The amount of crying per day seems statistically improbable. Is something insidious at work? Perhaps Logan and
WHO KNOWS WHAT BOOBY TRAPS LIE IN HIDING AROUND THE HOUSE: A QUARTER HERE, A SAFETY PIN THERE, TED CRUZ’S MUG APPEARING DURING A “SESAME STREET” COMMERCIAL SCARING MY KIDS INTO A THIRD-PARTY VOTE. But I still feel prepared for a zombie invasion. Grab some knives, portable tools, lots of water, gas and head for the hills. I may need help filing taxes and still don’t know what a two-point drop in the Dow Jones means, but I can effectively evaluate what resources would transform my home into a Mad Max Fort Knox. A chief task I’m certain can be accomplished with great ease: fortification. Zombie apocalypse survivors fortify to preserve the last remnants of humanity from the undead horde. My wife and I enclose our living room to keep our little zombies safe, and even then, it’s tasking. Who knows what booby traps lie in hiding around the house: a quarter here, a safety pin there, Ted Cruz’s mug appearing during a “Sesame Street” commercial scaring my kids into a thirdparty vote. But treachery can be found in seem-
Cam are telekinetic and accidentally projected their bodies into the astral plane, piquing the interest of an evil spirit who followed them back. That explains all the crying without reason: they see something I don’t. These ideas keep me up at night, when the kids don’t. And this says nothing about what lies beyond the home barricades for our almost-walkers (not in the zombie sense, mind you). Like L.B. Jefferies, glued to his binoculars watching drama unfold outside his rear window, I’m terrified of what lurks on the streets. The twins are mostly smiles and curious faces (though Cameron’s a biter), and I dread the idea of something ruining their sense of wonder. From ogre-like bullies to racist politicians hell-bent on making “The Purge” a government-sanctioned event, I’d rather take my chances with moncontinues on page 73
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and the occasional sunglasses-clad “it” girl. What brings people to Joan’s again and again? Everything at Joan’s is fresh, simple and made with the highest quality ingredients. Each dish feels homey, yet elevated with flavors that are both familiar and sometimes pleasantly surprising. You won’t find molecular gastronomy, but you will find a perfectly tossed salad, with each leaf lightly coated in that just-right amount of dressing—an equally impressive feat. The large dining patio, covered by black The interior at awnings emblazoned Joan’s is light and bright. with the Joan’s moniker, is filled with inviting bistro tables and chairs. The all-white interior is light and bright, featuring a vaulted ceiling and a geometric alabastertiled floor. Diners can sit at communal farm tables surrounded by the
B Y R E B E C C A V I L L A L PA N D O
goodies in the gourmet marketplace area and watch as the open kitchen meticulously creates each dish. Display cases located in different areas of the café are filled with scrumptious cakes and cookies, an excellent selection of artisanal cheeses and inviting daily specials. It’s an idyllic scene for foodies in an environment that feels welcoming to passersby. What truly makes the restaurant great, however, is the woman at the center of it all.
Voted Miracle Mile’s Favorite Neighborhood Bar
Little Bar 757 S. La Brea Ave at 8th St. 323.937.9210 4 4 B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M
PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOAN’S
oan’s on Third needs no introduction. Just the mention of the beloved restaurant brings to mind the luscious vanilla bean-speckled cupcakes, the fresh display case filled with colorful farmers market vegetables and comforting traditional dishes, that decadent short rib melt, and, of course, their iconic Chinese chicken salad. Joan’s is a Los Angeles classic, bustling daily with a crowd of regulars, visitors
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Joan McNamara opened her namesake restaurant in 1995. Her infectious smile and impeccable taste is evident in each detail of the space. “I love what I’m doing,” Joan said as she sat down to chat. It’s evident. She floats about the dining space, hugging old friends, and making new ones and warmly checking in on each member of the large staff. “I love wh w at I’m doing. I feel like this is all my family.” Joan McNamara, Proprietor
She made the restaurant an extension of her own home, to feel like her family kitchen. As Joan said, gesturing around the restaurant at her guests and staff, eyes a little glassy with happy tears, “I feel like this is all my family.” Joan’s takes simple items and makes them exquisite. A regular turkey sandwich, for example, is elevated with the inclusion of a tangy mustard-caper sauce, a flavorful mix of interesting mixed greens
and a perfectly crusty baguette. All the salads at Joan’s are served in deep, shiny metal mixing bowls. Each element of the salads gets integrated evenly throughout – no goodies stuck at the bottom here! Their signature Chinese chicken salad is light and crisp, with cold shaved iceberg lettuce, two different types of crunchy noodles, slivered almonds, crispy pieces of savory chicken, and a rather addictive sweet and tangy dressing. Another favorite is the short rib melt. This decadent and delicious sandwich includes tender, slow-braised short ribs and jack cheese melted between buttery grilled country white bread. Light greens and briney sweet pickled red onions cut through the richness, creating just the right balance of flavors. Recently, Joan’s debuted a new Pasta Night featuring Domenico’s Foods locally made fresh pasta paired with Joan’s variety of sauces. Choices include fresh pappardelle, spaghetti or penne. Pair any pasta with arrabiata, Bolognese or creamy
mushroom Alfredo sauce served in large, homestyle bowls. Enjoy authentic, high quality Italian cuisine in a more casual, light and airy environment. It’s perfect for a nice meal for a young family or even a romantic date without the pressure of candlelight. And, with bowls of pasta ranging from $12-$15 and glasses of house wine at $11, it’s a great deal. 8350 W. Third St., (323)655-2285.
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How does your garden grow? Parkway Grill plowed the field for restaurant gardens. B Y K A R E N V I L L A L PA N D O
Heirloom tomatoes and Thai basil, below.
early 30 years ago, Gregg Smith looked at a notice from the city of Pasadena about his property behind the restaurant, telling him to “clean it up.” What was a nuisance to him – and apparently the city – suddenly became a priority. Then, a lightbulb went off – what if he planted a vegetable garden where his chefs could harvest fresh produce literally in their backyard? His partners shrugged their shoulders at the idea and thought the benefit would not outweigh the cost. But Smith forged ahead anyway, having a vision for something fruitful. He brought in loads of new soil and invested in a large variety of fruits and vegetables. A few months later, Los Angeles Times writer Daniel Puzo’s story in the “View” section of the Sunday paper was published, and suddenly the garden’s “return on investment,” as the partners fretted about, went through the roof. Metropolitan dailies in Denver and Dallas picked up the story and suddenly the popular local restaurant had national attention. The restaurant grew even more popular, not just among Pasadeneans, but diners throughout Los Angeles. This may not sound like such a novel
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PARKWAY GRILL
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idea – many restaurants now have their own gardens from which to pick vegetables. But 28 years ago, it was a very novel idea and Parkway Grill was the first to plant and successfully harvest the fruits of their labor. I had the pleasure of touring the garden with Smith, as he proudly pointed out several varieties of heirloom tomatoes, peppers, passion fruit and herbs.
A full replanting was completed in July with a fall bounty expected any day. The head gardener, Ruben, planted green zebra tomatoes, heirloom bi-color toma-
toes, orange sweet bell peppers, Italian violet eggplant, rainbow carrots and red baron beets. What a shock of color these beauties will produce, and they are 100 percent certified organic. To accent and spice dishes, the chefs will be able to select herbs like sweet marjoram, dark opal basil, Thai lemongrass, Italian parsley and oregano. During a recent awards ceremony recognizing Smith and the garden, the buzz phrase “farm to table” was mentioned. “What’s all this fuss about farm to table? Isn’t everything grown on a farm?” Smith quipped. “We’re not just farm to table – we’re backyard to table!” The garden provides produce for the evening specials, but the restaurant relies on outside deliveries to supply the kitchen with enough fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare all the dishes on the innovative, American cuisine menu. Currently, a light and refreshing lobster salad is a best seller: Maine lobster with with Manila mango, green beans and lemongrass. I’ve personally known this restaurant for 30 years. My husband and I had one of our first dates here. It opened in 1984 and has adapted over the years to reflect
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current dining trends and styles. One of my favorite dishes is the whole catfish – flash fried with slices of ginger and topped with fresh cilantro and a crunchy slaw. It is an entrée, but we like to share it around a table of four for a first course. Grab your chopsticks and dive in! Tiger shrimp corndogs – served on the stick – come with a pungent Thai cocktail sauce. Shrimp linguine in a lemony sauce with arugula is simple yet elegant. Steaks, chops and fish preparations rotate seasonally, with heartier variations in the fall. Wood-fired pizzas are house specialties. They’ve brought back a retro classic s’mores for dessert with two sauces, raspberry and crème anglaise. “Wh W at’s all this fu Wh f ss ab a out fa f rm to tab a le? ab Isn’t eve v ry ve ryt ything grown w on a fa wn f rm?”
Parkway Grill proprietor Gregg Smith in the restaurant’s garden.
Gregg Smith, Proprietor
A stellar wine list, personally developed by Smith over the years, offers bottles from famous wineries and vineyards, with an eclectic variety of small batch growers too. Smith recalls the early days where he had to “prove the restaurant’s value” to winemakers. He’d travel to Napa Valley and show them his menu to convince them his restaurant was of the right caliber. How things have changed. Smith has curated a wine list of more than 400 bottles and an inventory of 3,870. With prices ranging from $30-$750, wine drinkers will certainly find a selection that suits them. Awarded each year in August, Wine Spectator recognizes restaurants for their outstanding wine lists, taking into consideration: variety, pairing with food, wine storage and presentation. Parkway Grill has received an award from Wine Spectator annually since 1999. For more than 34 years, the Parkway Grill has been a top-rated restaurant in Pasadena. I would say their garden – and business – has grown quite abundantly. 510 South Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, (626)795-1001. theparkwaygrill.com.
WAITER EXTRAORDINAIRE Ronald Brown has been a headwaiter at Parkway Grill for 20 years. His service and professionalism are first class. And he can tell a good joke or two. What is your favorite dish on the menu? I always steer guests to the specials, but the flash-fried catfish is probably my favorite dish. I also like our flatbreads that rotate, and the crème brûlée Napolean is my favorite dessert. How much influence do you have on the menu? Does the chef ask for your feedback? The waitstaff tastes the nightly specials and asks for our opinions on each dish.
Where do you go when you dine out? PHOTO COURTESY OF PARKWAY GRILL
My girlfriend and I enjoy going out – everything from a food truck to a fine dining restaurant. I also love to barbecue, so I spend many of my days off firing up the grill. Where do you get your joke material? The golf course, of course! Flash-fried catfish with ginger. 4 8 B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M
PHOTO BY MICHAEL VILLALPANDO
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L.A.’s Top Dogs since 1939
We’ve come a long way, baby!
La Brea & Melrose
Open Sun.- Thurs. 9:30 a.m.- 2:00 a.m Fri.-Sat. 9:30 a.m.- 3 a.m.
@theofficialpinkshotdogs @Pinkshotdogs. #pinkshotdogs
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A local wine and dine favorite on La Brea BY JILL WEINLEIN
ick back and enjoy a late afternoon cocktail on the inviting front patio at neighborhood restaurant Commerson, on the corner of La Brea Avenue and Eighth Street. Inside, the eatery offers a cool, industrial feel with sleek white walls and metal tables and chairs featuring pops of blonde wood. Pendant lighting hangs from the exposed ceiling and large open bar, as flickering votive candles on the tables add a touch of romance.
The wine list is reasonably priced with eclectic offerings. The gin and tonic on tap, made with house-made tonic, juniper berries, citrus peels, rose blossoms and soda water, is a refreshing and ideal drink when it’s hot outside. Start the evening with either the cheese board with strawberry balsamic jam, spiced nuts, honeycomb, thick grilled bread and wafer-thin cranberry-seeded crackers, or the grilled octopus with quinoa salad and agave lime dressing. For something richer, try the
Prime rib-eye steak with herb béarnaise and roasted vegetables.
foie gras on thick, grilled brioche bread with sweet cherry compote. It pairs nicely with a glass of Row 503 pinot noir from Willamette Valley. Entrées include the popular seared diver scallops on a bed of sweet corn polenta with
fried sunchokes and blistered cherry tomatoes, as well as the prime rib-eye steak, which arrives sliced and enhanced with a garlic confit rub, herb béarnaise, and roasted rainbow carrots and broccolini. Pair the latter dish with a generous
The finest prime beef in town. TOMAHAWK STEAKS DRY AGED NEW YORK STEAKS PORTERHOUSE • FILET MIGNON PRIME RIB • RIB EYES TRI-TIP • NANCY SILVERTON’S BLEND BURGERS
At the Original Farmers Market 6333 W. 3rd St. • #350 • (323) 938-5383 huntingtonmeats.com 5 0 B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M
PHOTOS COURTESY OF COMMERSON
At Commerson, culinary prowess meets comfort.
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pour of the bold Mazzocco Sonoma cabernet sauvignon. For something sweet, pastry chef Elizabeth Sencion makes creative treats like the citrus dacquoise. Itâ€™s similar to a parfait with clouds of crema Catalana, matcha whipped cream and Mandarin sorbet. The chocolate parfait, with honeycomb brittle, almond butter ice cream and warm ganache, is also very satisfying after an enjoyable meal. Raymond Eng opened Commerson with the foresight of the Metro Purple Line Extension and new apartments coming in. A neighborhood hit, his restau-
rant offers good service and quality food at reasonable prices. Brunch on the weekend with bottomless Bellinis and mimosas along with one food item from the menu for $35 per person. Dishes include coconut French toast, a caramelized onion and mushroom omelet, pork belly toast and smoked salmon Benedict. At happy hour, Tuesday through Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m., Commerson offers discounts on food and beverages. Fresh oysters are $2 each. Other options include a chicken sandwich, grass-fed cheeseburger, meatball cros-
Seared diver scallops on a bed of sweet corn polenta and fired sunchokes.
tini and farmers market vegetable tempura. Commerson is a welcome addition to the neighborhood
that has morphed into quite a happening area.
788 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323)813-3000.
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LIFE IN THE FAST LANE M
uch like the mechanical masterpieces housed within, the Petersen Automotive Museum has a complex interior of many moving parts surrounded by a shiny, sleek exterior. Since reopening in 2015 after undergoing a $90 million transformation, the museum’s attendance has skyrocketed, recently surpassing 4 million. In homage to founder Robert Petersen’s Hot Rod Magazine and the cars it features, the exterior was painted an eye-catching red and shiny stainless-steel ribbons were affixed. Like the curves and chrome of a custom street machine, the building has an aesthetic that is a tribute to the automobile. “It embodies the essence and look of an automobile moving,” said Deputy Mu-
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B Y E D W I N F O LV E N
seum Director Michael Bodell. “We’ve seen an immediate impact with the public response. It’s driven by the elevated architecture of the building and the exhibits we’re are doing.” “It embodies the essence and look of an automobile moving.” Michael Bodell, Deputy Museum Director
The museum’s mission is to explore and present the history of the automobile and its global impact using Los Angeles as a prime example. It’s location at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, one of the busiest crossroads in the city,
places it at the heart of local automotive culture. The museum is also an anchor for the Miracle Mile and its vibrant Museum Row, where it keeps company with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, the Craft & Folk Art Museum, and soon, the Academy Museum. If location is everything, then the Petersen is in the driver’s seat. The museum was founded in 1994 by publishing magnate Petersen and his wife Margie, who wanted a location to showcase rare and beautiful automobiles but also to educate people about the automotive industry, its history and milestones. The vehicles and exhibits were always displayed in context with automotive
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE KAHN MEDIA/PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
The Petersen puts patrons in the driver’s seat.
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themes presenting a larger picture of how car culture evolved. The philosophy has now been taken to the next level, which follows a top-down approach – literally. Visitors begin on the third floor and work their way down through three levels of displays themed history, industry and artistry. “On the third floor you go right from the Hollywood Gallery, where you see all these iconic cars, to an interactive display with a Model T. You can crank it, you can sit in it,” Bodell said, adding that there is plenty of opportunity for getting behind the wheel and for snapping pictures throughout the museum. “The lighting is set up for photography. Each car is spotlighted by six lights. You can share everything you are experiencing.” Bodell added that the public response has been overwhelming, with a lot of positive feedback about the displays. Special exhibits have also been a driver for increased patronage, with the popular “Porsche Effect” and “The Roots of Monozukuri: Creative Spirit in Japanese Automaking,” running through next April and bringing new visitors to the museum. “Auto-Didactic: The Juxtapoz School,” an exhibit on how art influenced the customization of cars, is planned at the end of September. Another gem of the Petersen Automotive Museum is its newly expanded Vault filled with hidden treasures not frequently
The Hollywood Gallery on the third floor houses iconic cars from Los Angeles’ automobile culture.
“The Porsche Effect” exhibit is on display until April.
displayed on the main levels of the building. Visitors can take 75-minute or twohour tours (for an extra fee) and view 250 of the rarest vehicles in the world, such as a 1923 Mercedes Targa Florio, 1939 Shah Bugatti and a 1966 GT 40 that won the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
“The lighting is set up for photography h . Each car is hy spotlighted by six lights. You can share every r thing ry you are experiencing.”
Bodell said the most important thing is that people enjoy themselves at the museum, and he hopes they learn something new and leave with memories that last a lifetime. He added that with ever-changing exhibits, new vehicles and unique experiences, there will always be something new for hardcore automobile enthusiasts, returning guests and first-time visitors. “People were initially reluctant about the exterior design but fell in love with it. Every time we rotate the exhibits, we see a spike in attendance,” said Bodell, who added that the future also looks bright with the opening of the Purple Line Extension subway project in 2023. “As soon as the Metro opens, we are going to have a lot more foot traffic. This whole area is changing, and we are really excited.” B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M 5 3
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AUDREY’S GILDED KITCHEN
A Q&A with a custom baker whose confections are often pink or gold-flecked – but never too sweet. B Y S A R A H D AV I D S O N
Twenty-five-year-old home baker Audrey Villalpando is now open for business. Self-taught, she draws inspiration and instruction from social media, and loves the new challenge of fulfilling a large catering order – solo. As the only person in her small business, The Gilded Kitchen, she’s often tasked with making it work in the kitchen of her Covina home. We sat down to chat with her about baking trends, her favorite L.A. bakeries and the baking essentials she can’t live without.
Q: What do you make that’s unique? A: I make bite-sized desserts, like mini tarts filled with pastry cream, ganache, caramel or fruit curd. Anything that can be done on a large scale, I can make mini-sized, which is perfect for parties and dessert bars. I also offer cake truffles or cake pops. Those I can do in a couple of different flavors, and I bedazzle them. They’re delicious. They look really amazing. I use edible glitter and sanding sugar that has kind of a sparkle to it, so they’re just really eye-catching. Or I’ll use metallic paints or gold leafing. I’ve also been doing cookie cakes. I make a slab of butter cookie and I cut it into the shape of a heart or a letter with
THE BAKER’S TOOLKIT The baking essentials Villalpando recommends, and where to find them. 5 4 B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M
a razor or a sharp knife. f Then fe Th I’ll bake two layers and just kind of stack them, like a cake. Then they’re decorated with different accoutrements like my truffles or florals, fresh fruit.
Q: What sets your recipes apart? A: I use salted butter in all of my baking, which I know a lot of other bakers would not recommend. But that’s just something I find gives my baked items a little more oomph. I don’t like items that are overly sweet, so I will try to develop recipes that use less sugar.
Q: What are your favorite bakeries in L.A.? A: I love Seed Bakery in Pasadena. They have really great items. They’re using artisan flour, which I think is exciting when bakers start experimenting with different flours. There’s a flour mill in Pasadena called Grist & Toll. I like using their flours, not for everything, because they’re pretty pricey and they have really different flavor notes, but I like places that make thoughtful items that you can tell they’ve really planned out. Another one is Little Flower Candy Co. in Pasadena. I love that place. It’s a candy shop and a bakery, they just make delicious items. They’re all very differ-
Barnabas Blattgold edible genuine gold leaf sheets, loose-leaf booklet, t t, amazon.com
Follow Audrey @the_gildedkitchen
ent than what I create. When I do choose to indulge my sweet tooth I tend to go with items that are not overly sweet and are interesting. I like trying new interesting things that maybe I’m not producing myself.
Q: What have you tried recently? A: I like gourmet plays on American classics, like an updated pie or an updated s’more. Maybe they’re using a really high-quality chocolate or they’re making their graham cracker with a certain type of flour.
Q: What baking trend are you really sick of? A: Unicorn stuff. I’ve seen that it’s so overplayed. No more unicorn horns and all that nonsense. I just tend to not really like things that are gimmicky. It’s good to hop on a trend if that can help your business, but thatt trend needs to die.
KitchenAid stand mixer, 5 qt., Sur la Table, Farmers Market, 6333 W. Third St. P-10
Ozeri Touch II digital kitchen scale, bedbathandbeyond.com
King Arthur unbleached allpurpose flour, Whole Foods, 6350 W. Third St.
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Photo Courtesy of Artisanal Brewers Collective
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New kid on the block Welcome to the neighborhood, 6th and La Brea. B Y K A R E N V I L L A L PA N D O
a Brea Avenue between Sixth and Eighth streets has a burgeoning new vibe. Little Bar started the trend 13 years ago. Next came Rascal and Met Her at a Bar, the popular coffee and waffle shop. Across the street is Commerson, a full service restaurant. Now a neighborhood brewery has opened at 6th and La Brea – and that’s its name. The brewery is part of the same group, Artisanal Brewers Collective, that brought The Stalking Horse, Mohawk Bend and Tony’s Darts Away to the L.A. brew scene. “The La Brea Corridor is an incredible part of town. There is so much great energy along this stretch of La Brea with all the thriving shops and restaurants. We are in-
spired by the artistic and creative vision in this neighborhood and are looking forward to adding a new casual gathering place to the area,” said Tony Yanow, one of the founders of ABC. The bright industrial-chic space with a brewery on-site offers a wide range of beer styles, from west coast IPAs and blonde ales, to English, German and Belgian-inspired varieties. Sixteen taps of house brews and additional guest brews make up the beer list. Craft cocktails using spirits and liqueurs from California distilleries, like Greenbar’s Grand Poppy and Grand Hops amaro liqueurs, and St. George’s Terroir gin and Baller whiskey, make their libations highly intriguing.
In keeping with the interesting beverage program, distinctive California wines are offered, like a Sonoma County Scholium Project Michael Faraday chardonnay. The grapes are left on the vine, producing the orange-hued wine with a smooth finish. A Bonofiglio Vineyard marsanne-roussanne from Mendocino County comes from winemaker Subject to Change Wine Co. The name explains the wines offered at 6th and La Brea – or as General Manager Jesse McBride refers to them, “wacky winemakers.” Both are very interesting and very good. Plus, they paired perfectly with the food. Now before you say it’s “bar food at a continues on page 58
KFC - Korean fried chicken, is finger-lickin’ good!
PHOTO COURTESY OF 6TH AND LA BREA
PHOTO BY EMILY JILG
Sticky rice cakes in shisto pesto.
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brewery,” know that’s the opposite of what 6th and La Brea is serving. Chef Jihee Kim, formerly of Rustic Canyon and Michael Mina in San Francisco, brings her Korean-inspired cuisine to a new level of brewpub fare. Pork-and-beef-stuffed betel leaf rolls are grilled and served with lettuce cups, mint, basil and cilantro. Dip the rolls into a fragrant sauce for a unique Vietnamese-Thai taste. Sticky rice cakes with shiso pesto is a gnocchi-like dish, yet stickier, boasting a lemony, peppery flavor. A must-try is the KFC – Korean fried chicken that has been brined and fried twice. The chicken from Petaluma Farms is fried, coated in potato starch, fried again and then tossed in a sweet chili sauce. The result is juicy, tender chicken with a finger-licking sauce. Please pass the napkins! For a vegetarian option, try the hand-rolled mushroom dumplings with a lime soy sauce bursting with intense flavor. The spiced spuds – crispy Japanese yams – dusted in furikake seaweed powder and a garlic sauce have quite the “wow” factor. Braised short rib with leek kimchi, glass noodles with tofu and a little gem salad with preserved lemon are more shareable plates. And if you are craving some pub fare, be sure to order the burger and fries. Bring the family and sit on the patio. Or stop in after work for a beer and a bite and enjoy the lively scene and friendly servers. Welcome to the neighborhood, 6th and La Brea. We’re glad you’re here. continued from page 56
600 S. La Brea Ave., (323)998-8565. 6thandlabrea.com.
The Gumbo Pot “Best Gumbo in Town” tic New Authen uisine sC Orlean
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PHOTO BY TAYLOR WONG
Buss performs onstage using a looper, which records sounds he makes and plays them back on repeat.
Tricks of the trade
Eric Buss took his inventive, musical, comedy-centric magic show on the road when he was asked to participate in one of the world’s most exclusive magic competitions. B Y S A R A H D AV I D S O N
ric Buss never cheats. That’s what the Burbank-based magician-comedian tells his audience whenever he sets up for his looping magic and music trick. His tabletop looper records the sounds he makes with his props and plays them back at regular intervals, creating a wacky, abstract song. Then, with the song playing in the background, Buss uses his props to do tricks in time to the song. He cracks his egg shaker, a percussion instrument that was making a rattling sound, against the side of a wine glass and a yolk comes out. He makes a glass bottle disappear in a paper bag, placing the bottle inside and then crumpling up the bag. He records the sound of a shuffling deck of cards into the looper, then makes a card disappear from his hand. “I cannot let my guard down,” Buss said. “If you screw up looping something
it reminds you of your screw-up every five seconds when you hear it again, and again, and again.” Still, it’s important to Buss to record those sounds live. When he first started doing the trick, he tried prerecording the track, but it didn’t look natural. Plus, that real-time challenge is what makes the trick fun for him onstage. The stakes got higher for Buss this July when he was invited to perform at the Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques World Championships of Magic in Busan, South Korea. Known among magicians as the “Olympics of Magic,” the championship happens every three years in cities around the world. After qualifying for FISM at a convention in Louisville, Kentucky, last summer, Buss asked the Academy of Magical Arts at the Magic Castle, where he has worked for 22 years, to support his participation. The Academy not only agreed, but the
Magic Castle also hosted a joint performance for Buss and two other local FISM performers in the weeks leading up to their trip to Busan. This gave them an invaluable opportunity to practice the acts they’d be performing at arguably the world’s top magic competition. But Buss said when he stepped off the plane in Busan, he started getting jittery. “I always get nervous before a show,” Buss said, “but this was a different level.” Banners advertising FISM adorned the city, and when Buss arrived at the convention hall, seeing the long lines of attendees waiting to register reminded him that competing was a big deal. It didn’t help that Buss was slated to perform on Friday, the last day of the competition. He watched other acts for four hours per day, four days straight, before taking the stage himself. That, he was told, was a good thing (rumor has it the B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M 5 9
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song that made a joke about me doing a needle-through-a-balloon trick at FISM,” Buss said. “The audience got it right away. If I’m making fun of myself, they can’t really make fun of me.” Buss used the balloon because of the sounds it makes, which added a new, exciting layer to his looping song. And he left that trick in for FISM because he made a deal with himself that he would only go all the way to South Korea (on his own dime) if he was honing an act he could take back to the states and perform at his usual corporate events or on cruise ships. Now that he’s back, those are the gigs he’s settled back into, but he looks forward to attending FISM again in the future. He mentioned hearing people in Busan say this was their 12th or 15th FISM, and he liked the way that sounded. In 2021, the event will be held in Quebec, the first FISM in North America. “It’s a huge buzz in the magic world right now, and a lot of my friends are already registering,” Buss said. “I would love to go every three years for the rest of my life. It’s that big of a deal.” In the meantime, it’s back to the grind, which, doesn’t feel like much of a grind to Buss. “It doesn’t really feel like a job. Really, I’m in my garage, super-gluing a toy to a piece of metal. I just kind of laugh at my career sometimes, but it’s what I do.”
BUSS’ BEST BETS The Magic Castle may be members-only, but these Buss-approved magic shows and venues aren’t. Magic Mondays at the Santa Monica Playhouse Every Monday throughout the summer, $25 per ticket. 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. For information, visit magicmondayla.com or call (310)450-2849.
Magicopolis Events, dates and prices vary. 1418 Fourth St., Santa Monica. For information, visit magicopolis.com or call (310)451-2241.
Scot Nery’s Boobie Trap Every Wednesday year-round, $20 per ticket. 6555 Hollywood Blvd. For information, visit boobiela.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN LEVIT
organizers place the acts they’re most excited about on Friday so they’ll be seen by the most people and stay fresh in the judges’ minds). But it still made for a long week inside his head. Plus, some of the competition was stiff. “The South Koreans are thinking on a different level, and most of what they’re doing looks like CGI live onstage,” Buss said. “It looks like real, true magic.” He saw a magician produce two sheep out of thin air. In another act, the performer disassembled a Rubik’s Cube, then the pieces found their way back together on their own. A different magician sent a fireball in a circle around his body before turning it into a dove. “You cannot go over there expecting to win,” Buss said. “You’ll just set yourself up for disappointment.” Instead, Buss relied on a simple, time-honored mantra: remember to have fun. Buss attended FISM with his wife, Ilysha Buss, marketing director at the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax, and two of his longtime magician friends. All three of them were tasked with repeating this mantra to Buss. “It sounds so elementary, and it sounds kind of dumb to need to be reminded of that,” Buss said. “But when I did hit the stage, I just went, you know what…if I’m having fun, [the audience] will have fun. If I start to stress out, [the audience] is not going to have fun. So I have literally one option here to make it go well.” About two minutes into his act, Buss stopped repeating his mantra and started genuinely enjoying himself. He’d beefed up his normal looping act for FISM, adding flourishes in the few seconds here or there that seemed empty or lagging, and he didn’t need to cover up any missteps with the recording. He even added a few inside jokes specifically for the magic community. One of those jokes was at his own expense, acknowledging that one of his tricks was fairly basic – one a magician should, Buss admitted, be embarrassed to do at FISM. It’s a trick in which the magician pokes a needle through a balloon, but the balloon doesn’t pop. “For FISM, I looped a lyric into the
Buss in his workshop, where he makes many of the props for his shows.
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Pink’s relishes its title as top dog in L.A. PHOTOS COURTESY OF PINK’S
Pink’s Square dedication is Sept. 27. B Y E D W I N F O LV E N
ollywood and Vine may be Tinseltown’s most famous intersection, but Melrose and La Brea signifies something far more tempting for the taste buds. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Council voted to designate Melrose and La Brea as Pink’s Square after the iconic Pink’s Hot Dogs, located near the corner since 1939. Signs will recognize the hot dog stand and its late founders, Paul and Betty Pink, and the city and Pink’s Hot Dogs are planning a big celebration at the intersection on Sept. 27. It will be a fitting tribute to the “Little Hot Dog Stand That Could,” as Paul and Betty’s son Richard Pink calls it, signifying how ingenuity, hard work and a dedication to quality ingredients and service is a chilitopped recipe for success. Pink’s is on many tourists’ must-see lists, and people from all over the world flock to the stand for its 40 varieties of hot dogs. It is also a favorite among locals and celebrities, who sometimes mingle in line waiting for their favorite creations. From the classic with mustard,
chili and onions, to a bacon burrito dog, Philly cheesesteak dog or a spicy Polish sausage, Pink’s has a dog for everyone. Burger lovers also have it made with more than 10 varieties. The really adventurous can sink their teeth into JAWS, a Polish dog-hamburger combo with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. Pink, who operates the stand with his wife Gloria and sister Beverly, said while Pink’s is known for delicious food, just visiting is part of the fun. From joining fellow hot dog aficionados in line to hearing the grill sizzle and smelling the aroma of hot dogs cooking, the anticipation makes that first bite even better. Guests can eat in a dining area lined with photos of Hollywood stars and other celebrities who also frequently crave the stand’s unique fare. Pink’s has named hot dogs after many of them, such as the Brando Dog, a nine-inch stretch dog with mustard, onions, chili and shredded cheddar cheese; the Emeril Lagasse Bam Dog, a nine-inch stretch dog with mustard, onions, cheese, jalapeño, bacon and coleslaw; and the Martha
The America the Beautiful Dog is a 12-inch jalapeño dog topped with pastrami, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.
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Pink’s has been serving up delicious hot dogs since Dorothy wore the ruby slippers, 1939.
Stewart Dog, a nine-inch stretch dog with relish, onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes and sauerkraut. “Pink’s is more than just a hot dog stand, it’s an experience. It is intended to be special,” Pink said. “When you come to Pink’s, it’s one of a kind. We are proud to be part of the fabric of Los Angeles.” Paul and Betty Pink started with a pushcart at the corner in 1939 and in 1946 established the hot dog stand on La Brea that everyone knows and loves. The employees are part of the tradition, with many having worked at the stand for decades. “I am proud of my parents’ legacy and the memory we have carried on,” Pink
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Urth Caffé locations in downtown L.A. (left) and Pasadena (right) feature intricate tile work by California Pottery and Tile Works.
Tile as fine art The brothers behind California Pottery and Tile Works are keeping the style of 20th century California tile making thriving.
hen Urth Caffé’s founders/owners Shallom and Jilla Berkman were planning their Santa Monica café, Jilla, primary designer for each Urth location, found inspiration in the tilework in Malibu’s historic Adamson House. Today a national historic site, California Historical Landmark and a California State Park, the Adamson House was built in 1929 in the popular Spanish Colonial Revival style of the time. Tilework featured throughout was produced by Malibu Potteries, founded in 1926 by May Rindge, Rhoda Adamson’s mother, who discovered an abundance of buff and red clay on her property. Though short-lived (closing in 1932 after a fire), Malibu Potteries’ authentic versions of Mayan, Moorish, Moroccan, Saracen and Persian tile designs continue to inspire designers today. The Berkmans’ architect referred them to Desmond and Sean McLean, brother co-owners of California Pottery and Tile Works, established in 1994 to continue the rich tradition of Cal-
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ifornia tile making and decoration of the early 20th century to meet the needs of today’s architectural, design and building industries. “We were so impressed when we went to their factory in 2002,” Shallom Berkman recalled. “As they showed us around, they told us, ‘We make everything custom here.’ It’s great to go to the factory, see all the clay being formed into tile shapes, the artists drawing and silk-screening designs and then handglazing them before they are fired in the kilns.” CalPot custom-made fountains and tiles were used for the Santa Monica café’s patio, and that began a creative collaboration that continues today. CalPot has created Jilla Berkman’s tile visions for each Urth Caffé, as well as for the couple’s 1917 Spanish Revival home. Each Urth has its signature architectural era. For example, the downtown Los Angeles café, located in a century-old building, is strongly Art Deco. The Pasadena location’s Spanish Re-
PHOTOS COURTESY OF CALPOT
B Y C AT H I E PA R K E R
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vival design is an homage to the city’s architectural heritage with tiles sparkling with 24-karat gold glaze. “People tell us they were so happy we restored an historic building,” Shallom Berkman said of the Colorado Boulevard location. “What they don’t know is that we built it from the ground up. It fits in so well with the surrounding buildings, and it’s built to last forever.” “There is no one doing wh w at they do in the traditional, handmade way. We’ve never been able to find anyone else wh w o does wh w at they do.” Shallom Berkman, Urth Caffé
Las Vegas hotel developer Steve Wynn was so awed by the Pasadena café that he invited the Berkmans to build an Urth Caffé in his new Wynn Esplanade of luxury shops. “And it’s in the lease agreement that we had to match the same quality of tile that CalPot made for Pasadena,” Shallom Berkman said. He calls the restaurant’s focal point, a fountain and matching skylight that has just been installed, “Jilla’s masterpiece.” “The best aspect of working with Sean and Desmond is they encourage creativity and welcome challenges. They basically want you to go wild with your imagination,” he said. “There is no
one doing what they do in the traditional, hand-made way. We’ve never been able to find anyone else who does what they do.” The Adamson House also inspired film producers Glenn and Debra Gainor when they started to remodel their 1925 Hollywood Hills home in its Spanish style. That led them to CalPot to create tile for the interior and exterior of the property. “Once the house is complete, it will be amazing to see the finished product,” Debra Gainor said. “When people come over, they always talk about the tile. With all the work we’re doing, our home could become CalPot’s showroom.” A big part of that “showroom” is the Gainors’ kitchen filled with CalPot custom tile on countertops, the wainscot and crown molding. CalPot’s unique ability to curve tile to fit any angle is showcased in floral border tile wrapping around corners along the edge of countertops and the farmhouse sink. “When we started talking with Sean and Des about what we liked for our kitchen, they helped us with the deco and subway tile. We chose bold, darker colors, colors of vegetables – greens, reds and yellows. And we ended up with this beautiful floral tile mural for the backsplash behind the stove,” she said. “I appreciate that Sean and Des understand their customers’ wishes,” Glenn Gainor said. “They’re inspired by history with an eye on the future. They have a great sense of what came before them and are daring to do what can be done. They can create something that has never been seen before.” The motif for Urth Caffé in Pasadena, left, is Spanish Revival. Tilework at the downtown L.A. location (below, top) is Art Deco. Below, bottom, owners Desmond, left, and Sean McLean operate their factory in South Los Angeles.
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LACMA’s bridge to the future Bold project ensures museums place as world-class art institution. B Y E D W I N F O LV E N
ance art. The goal is to make LACMA more accessible to visitors and create new ways to understand and appreciate the museum’s vast collection and the cultures they represent. “With this project, we have an opportunity to create an accessible museum experience, and a completely new way to understand the arts and culture of the past, the present, and the future,” LACMA CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director Michael Govan said. “The new building will span Wilshire Boulevard and transform the relationship between LACMA and the surrounding park area. At the same time, three and a half acres of new public outdoor space will be opened up, permitting more areas for landscape and outdoor artworks while respecting the Natural History Museum La Brea Tar Pits & Museum and better integrating with LACMA’s West Campus and the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The new design
ACMA recently acquired artist Ruth Asawa’s 1954 “Untitled” hanging sculpture, pictured right, from an anonymous donor during the museum’s 32nd annual Collectors Committee fundraiser. Described by the artist as “open hyperbola forms that penetrate each other,” the piece redefines the notion of sculpture as solid form. It was inspired by Asawa’s 1947 trip to Toluca, Mexico, where she saw baskets being made from a mesh of interlocking wire loops. Asawa adapted the technique and became well known for creating transparent looped-wire sculptures that transform ordinary materials into poetic works of art.
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photo © Museum Associates/LACMA
hile the Purple Line subway promises to define the future of transportation by traveling under Wilshire Boulevard, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is planning its future with a dramatic reconfiguration reaching above the Miracle Mile. The museum has embarked on a bold project by noted architect Peter Zumthor that will change the way people view and experience art while also transforming the local landscape. A 387,500-sqaure-foot mostly translucent structure will replace three of LACMA’s older buildings, spanning Wilshire Boulevard and connecting with a space to the south. Semi-transparent pavilions will support a translucent main exhibition space across Wilshire. The project will free up space around the existing museum campus for outdoor art and special programming. Gardens, plazas and educational spaces will come to life with exhibits, music and perform-
LACMA’s upcoming “Robert Rauschenberg: The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece” exhibit includes the artist’smonumental work consisting of 190 panels.
itself makes LACMA a more transparent and integrated experience, a symbol of Los Angeles’ emergence as one of the truly great art capitals of the world.” The project is currently undergoing an environmental impact report to be completed by the end of the year, and there are hints some changes may eventually occur with the final designs. “We are tweaking things to make them more efficient,” said Miranda Carrol, LACMA’s senior director of communica-
tions. “But there will still be this sort of serpentine shape spanning across to the other side.” Demolition of the Ahmanson, Hammer and Art of the Americas buildings, and the Leo S. Bing Center, is planned for fall 2019, when the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is anticipated to open next door. LACMA plans to reopen in 2023, in concert with the opening of the Purple Line’s Wilshire/Fairfax subway station, which will be just steps away
from the museum’s southern tip. While the project unfolds, LACMA’s western campus will remain open with the Broad Contemporary Art Museum and the Resnick Pavilion, where the museum plans to house most of the collection and exhibitions. LACMA will also bring its art to new parts of the city and existing sites in South Los Angeles and the Charles White Elementary School Gallery near MacArthur Park.
photo courtesy of LACMA
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LACMA’s transformational design features a translucent elevated main exhibit space.
“There will always be something going on at LACMA,” Carroll said. “We have outside space and we are hoping to expand to other satellite campuses. We are expanding our partnerships to have more on site elsewhere.” While the designs of the future unfold, LACMA is also planning for the present, with an exciting line-up of exhibitions and
special programming this fall. Currently on view is “3D: Double Vision,” the first American exhibition to survey 3-D art. Dating from 1838 to the present, the works show viewers new ways to see and live the 3-D experience. Upcoming is “Robert Rauschenberg: The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece,” opening on Oct. 28 and featuring his monu-
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mental work by the same name created over 17 years. The piece is composed of 190 panels that when combined stretch a quarter mile. The “1/4 Mile” showcases the diversity of Rauschenberg’s practice in different mediums, and it will be the first time the work is displayed in its entirety. continues page 78
photo courtesy of Atelier Peter Zumthor
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PHOTO COURTESY OF LA PHIL
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Conductor Gustavo Dudamel and members of the LA Phil celebrate the centennial season of the symphony in Los Angeles.
100 years of symphony Taking it to the streets tap of the baton on the podium pierces the silence. Black-clad musicians lean forward in anticipation. The air tenses. And then – with a flick of the wrist – the music pours forth. It’s another magical evening with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, whose sounds have captivated audiences now for 100 years. In that century, the orchestra’s membership and repertoire may have changed, yet the LA Phil’s passion for its artistry remains a constant and prevailing note. “I have been thrilled to help define and shape the LA Phil over the past decade of our great history, when we have worked with such enthusiasm to make ourselves more diverse, more inclusive and more engaged with our community, while pushing ourselves every day to make music that is magnificent and courageous,” said LA Phil Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. “This centennial season, which focuses so strongly on artistic breakthroughs and inspired educational projects, is going to carry us forward with new momentum.” The 2018-19 season kicks off at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Sept. 27 with “California Soul,” a concert and gala honoring the philharmonic’s home state and its pio-
BY MAURA TURCOTTE
neering artists, from the minimalistic composer John Adams to the prolific Frank Zappa. Led by Dudamel and directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer – of, yes, that Pulitzer family – the performance will feature Coldplay front man Chris Martin and singer Corinne Bailey Rae. Even the concert hall’s exterior will join the celebration with an installation by Refik Anadol projecting video, images and audio from the LA Phil’s archives onto the sweeping curves of the building. “I hav a e been thrilled to help av define and shape the LA L Phil over the past decade of our great history r .” ry Gustavo Dudamel, LA Phil Music and Artistic Director
The festivities don’t end there though. On Sept. 30, the LA Phil brings the music to the streets with a free eight-mile long party stretching from downtown’s Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. In partnership with CicLAvia, the event will feature car-free streets open for people to walk, run, bike and more to the six performance hubs along the route – the
Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, Koreatown’s Liberty Park, Melrose Avenue at North Windsor Boulevard and Hollywood Avenue at Vine Street. The massive festival will host 1,800 musicians, artists and dancers on the streets, in addition to art installations, food trucks, family-friendly activities and more. And for the grand finale of the day – a free concert at the Hollywood Bowl led by Dudamel with popstar Katy Perry, R&B singer-songwriter Kali Uchis, jazz legend Herbie Hancock and the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles. “The LA Phil has earned the reputation of being the orchestra that dares to do more, whether it’s for the diverse range of today’s composers or for the fast-changing communities that we work within and serve,” said Simon Woods, CEO of the LA Phil. “As I look ahead toward this centennial season, I feel that Gustavo and the artistic team have not just stood by the wager they’ve made on boldness and innovation, but have doubled down on it.” The rest of the season includes plenty of big performances as well, with an emphasis on highlighting innovation. Starting in October and running throughout the cencontinues next page
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PHOTO COURTESY OF LA PHIL
tennial, the LA Phil will honor the experimental Fluxus movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, including with a performance by Yoko Ono. In November, the philharmonic will explore the relationship between movies and music, with screened selections of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space
Take a ride with Dudamel in the eight-mile CicLAvia event on Sept. 30.
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Odyssey,” “The Shining” and more, accompanied by live performances of the iconic scores. January 2019 will see the world premiere of famed composer Philip Glass’ new symphony, one of the 50 commissioned pieces for the LA Phil’s centennial. Other season highlights include choreographer Benjamin Millepied’s collaboration with Dudamel in October for evocative performances of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet” by the American Ballet Theatre and the L.A. Dance Project, and the LA Phil’s celebration of Harlem Renaissance composer William Grant Still in February 2019. And as the LA Phil wants to make clear – these festivities are for everyone. The philharmonic will distribute 10,000 free tickets throughout the sea-
son with the “100 for the 100th: Be Our Guest” program, offered through the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, with a focus on those who would be experiencing the philharmonic for the first time. The LA Phil will also take its talents across the globe starting in March 2019, with tour stops in Seoul, Tokyo, Edinburgh, London, Mexico City and New York City. The season will conclude with one last hurrah on Oct. 24, 2019, a hundred years to the day when the LA Phil first debuted, with a grand gala featuring Dudamel sharing the Hollywood Bowl stage with orchestra giants Zubin Mehta and Esa-Pekka Salonen. As Woods believes, the event, along with the entire centennial, will honor not just the last century, but also build excitement for what the future holds. “LA Phil 100 is indeed a celebration of everything that has led us to this moment,” Woods said. “But, more important, it is a new beginning for wonderful things to come for this great orchestra and those who are inspired by its music making.”
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FORMOSA CAFÉ From page 10
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The 1933 Group successfully campaigned for preservation funding last year for the Formosa’s trolley section.
gins have been lost to history. Its architect and builder are unknown, according to the city of West Hollywood’s historic preservation records. The construction date is estimated between 1920-29. But the stories that have persevered through the years – such as Elvis giving a Cadillac to a waitress and John Wayne sleeping over and cooking eggs the next morning – have defined its legacy.
The 1933 Group is compiling a book about the Formosa Cafe’s history that will include stories from its past patrons. So if you were a famous actor, singer or associate of an L.A. organized crime family who used to frequent the place, or just one of many Angelenos who used to stop by for lunch, dinner or a few drinks, visit theformosabar.com to share your story.
PHOTO BY LUKE HAROLD
One of his business partners, Dimitri Komarov, said last year, after reopening plans were announced, that the new Formosa would offer a “modern twist” to the Mongolian beef, Beijing chicken, pad thai and other popular dishes from its previous life. Through 20 years in business, the 1933 Group has created its own niche bringing back some of L.A.’s oldest, unique venues, including the barrelshaped bar Idle Hour in North Hollywood, Highland Park Bowl and Sassafras in Hollywood. Tail o’ the Pup, a hotdog-shaped hotdog and burger stand that used to be in the Beverly Grove area, is the company’s latest undertaking. “It’s much more rewarding than building out a new space,” Green said. Several key details of Formosa’s ori-
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HORROR FILMS PREPARED ME FOR TWINS From page 43
sters under the bed. Maybe vampires got it right: never grow old, save money on food, mooch blood off people with unironic mustaches, live forever. At least then my little bloodsuckers would be safe at the top of the food chain. They’re up all night anyways. A good horror film doesn’t phone in the final moments. You know what I mean. That cheap ploy to subvert resolution. Nobody confirms the zombie kill. Michael doesn’t really lose his head. The killer with a hook survives and waits under the bed. Raising babies is a good horror film with a dash of hope that that won’t end like “The Omen” or “Children of the Damned.” I’m thinking something closer to “It” – a few good scares along the way but still fun.
BESIDES, I DON’T NEED TO MAKE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL TO LIVE A HAPPY, FULFILLED LIFE. IT FOUND ME ALREADY, AND THE JOY ON THEIR FACES IS BETTER THAN ANY WITCH’S BREW.
My boys ain’t going down first. They’re making it to the end, like Ash in “Evil Dead II” with a chainsaw arm and a few snappy one-liners, ready to take on Leatherface, the Thing and the balancing act of their first steps. Raising them is frightful at times, but if the Abbotts can work together to defeat creatures that otherwise force them to reside in a quiet place, I’m thinking a few
more sleepless nights will pass quickly. Besides, I don’t need to make a deal with the devil to live a happy, fulfilled life. It found me already, and the joy on their faces is better than any witch’s brew. In the meantime, I gotta do something about the doggy door. They learn quickly how to escape our Jigsaw maze of a house. Crazy little Cujos.
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The Belvedere at The Peninsula Beverly Hills From page 8
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The Fabergé egg tastes as decadent as it is visually stunning.
thoughts of Julia Child. An orecchiettie duck confit pasta is rich and elegant with sundried tomato and escarole. Whole roasted cauliflower was garlicky good and roasted fingerling potatoes were extra crispy and may have had just a touch of butter. How to finish an elaborate dinner? Why not a Fabergé egg, filled with chocolate cake with a painted chocolate shell. Decorated in gold leaf and vibrant colors, it’s a work of art and a spectacular sweet ending to a fine-dining experience. A visit to The Peninsula Hotel Beverly
Hills is a first class event from the moment the bellcap greets you at the portecochere. Guests are treated as if they are being welcomed to a home, bypassing typical check-in procedures and being escorted directly to their rooms. Spend an elegantly comfortable evening enjoying all the amenities the charming hotel has to offer. The Peninsula Beverly Hills, a AAA Five Diamond hotel in the heart of Beverly Hills. 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310)551-2888.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PENINSULA BEVERLY HILLS
ence. Additional starters include the steak tartare on grilled sourdough – a generous portion perfect for sharing. A fresh-tasting salad of beets and burrata was brightened with orange segments and blackberries, and watercress gave it a peppery finish. We enjoyed our first courses with a glass of Failla Sonoma Coast chardonnay. Our waiter suggested a taste of the house chardonnay from Keller Estate, which had a bit more minerality to it, is a nice alternative, however, I preferred the Failla. Dover sole flown in from England arrives daily, so I opted for the extravagant entrée. Plated in a copper sauté pan, the delicate fish is served with a lemonbrown butter sauce, haricot verts and marcona almonds – a very traditional and delicious preparation that evoked
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Fluid State Beer Garden
Atmosphere: Comfortable, light and bright with a horseshoe-shaped bar and a large open outdoor deck with picnic tables. It’s great for groups where guests order food and drinks at the counter. Most popular drinks: This tap house showcases 24 rotating beer lines from independent craft brewers from all over the state. They also have creative spirits and a wine list with two whites and two reds on tap at all times.
Most popular dishes: Chef Aaron Duncan makes sourdough pizza from a starter made from pinot noir grapes. The pizza is served by the slice or by the entire 18” pie. They also have Mary’s organic chicken wings, a hearty half-pound meatball and a loaded pickled vegetables plate. Fun fact: Fluid State is located in a unique 1937 historic building in down-
town Ventura. The owners redesigned the entire space and added a bar top made out of a 150-year-old redwood tree from Santa Cruz County. $$ Closed on Mondays. Open Tuesday through Thursday from 3 to 11 p.m. Open Friday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. 692 E. Main St., Ventura, (805)6283107.
Topa Topa Brewing Co.
Owners: Kyle Thompson, Jack Dyer and Casey Harris.
Atmosphere: Newer building with 1216 rotating taps of handcrafted beers.
Most popular drink: Chief Peak IPA. The brewery makes a Pilsner that is less hop-forward and lighter bodied.
Most popular dishes: They don’t serve food, but have really good food trucks on-site and a pizzeria next door.
Fun fact: They are a 1% For The Planet member and donate 1 percent to the nonprofit dedicated to protecting the en-
vironment. It’s a family-friendly spot with games for the kids, and dogfriendly for pooches on a leash. $ Opens at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Opens Monday through Saturday at 12 p.m. 104 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura, (805)6289255.
Atmosphere: Relaxed industrial-style alehouse with over 100 IPAs, ales, ambers, stouts, saisons, fruit beers and ciders, and more. The bar has multiple televisions displaying different sporting events.
Most popular dishes: Angus beef burgers, salads, short rib poutine and German-style pretzels with a choice of artichoke cream cheese dip or mac and cheese sauce.
Fun fact: Won Best Beer Tap Selection in Ventura County from 2012-2017.
$$ Opens daily at 11:30 a.m. 545 E. Thompson Blvd., Ventura, (805)643-0906.
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Tangy Brussels sprout salad 1 pound of Brussels sprouts 2 eggs Marcona almonds Pecorino cheese Red onion 2 lemons Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
mily Jilg, writer and photographer of The Hungry Shrimp, strives to document and create food that embraces the culture of Los Angeles. Whether she is trying a new recipe for two or cooking an elaborate dinner party, she pushes the boundaries as she develops as a home chef and food blogger. Find more of her recipies and photo-centric food creations @thehungryshrimp.
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White vinegar Pickling spices Sugar, salt to taste First, hard boil the eggs. Let them cool and then place them in a bowl. Pour in enough white vinegar to cover, add a pinch of white sugar, salt and pickling spices. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Next, mandolin the Brussels sprouts on the thinnest level. Once all Brussels sprouts have been sliced, quickly blanch them in salty water for about 45 sec-
onds. You still want them to be bright green and have bite, but not chewy. Immerse the blanched Brussels sprouts in an ice bath for 5 minutes. Transfer the well-dried Brussels sprouts into a bowl for mixing and set aside. Now let’s make the dressing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the zest of 2 lemons, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, the juice of 2 large lemons, a dash of Worcestershire, ½ cup of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Set aside at room temp. Toast 1⁄3 cup of marcona almonds in a dry pan over medium heat. These go from toasted to burned very quickly so watch them carefully. As soon as you smell their aroma, take them off the heat and
out of the pan. Roughly chop and add to the Brussels sprouts once cooled. Next, add ¼ cup of diced red onion to the Brussels sprouts and almonds. Grate ½ cup of pecorino cheese into the bowl. Lastly, take the quick-pickled egg out of the pickling liquid and gently shave it into the bowl (I use a micro plane). Once all ingredients are in, dress the salad and toss. Serve immediately and enjoy!
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Grown-up tomato soup and grilled cheese This tomato and bell pepper soup is a fan favorite in my household. It has the charm and character of your childhood tomato soup but elevated to a more sophisticated taste. Entice your dinner party with this playful yet elegant duo. 4 yellow bell peppers 1 package of cherry tomatoes 4 Roma tomatoes 2 heirloom tomatoes 2 quarts of chicken stock smoked paprika salt pepper olive oil bay leaves red pepper flakes 3 cloves garlic 1 sweet onion 1 cup heavy cream saffron
handful of sage crème fraîche fontina cheese olive bread Chop the onion and add to a large stock pot. Let the onions slowly sweat and caramelize on low. Next, roast all the tomatoes on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. While the tomatoes are roasting, char your bell peppers directly over the open flame on your stovetop. Each bell pepper should be charred black before putting them in a plastic bag with a wet paper towel. Let them steam in the plastic bag for 510 minutes. Once they are cool enough to handle, gently remove the skins and discard. Roughly chop the roasted bell pepper and add to the stockpot with the onions. By this time, the tomatoes should be nice and roasted and somewhat caramelized. Remove from the oven and add the tomatoes to the stockpot. Season the stockpot with more salt and pepper, and let the tomatoes, onions and bell pepper marry together. Next, chop your garlic
cloves and add to the pot. Cook just until you smell the garlic, then add the 2 quarts of chicken stock. Now add 2 bay leaves, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, a few threads of saffron, a pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes (more if you like spice) and let it simmer on low for about 45 minutes. The more these flavors can marry together the better – so time is good for this soup. After about 45 minutes of simmering, take out the bay leaves. Use a hand blender to emulsify the soup to a silky consistency. Slowly add in the heavy cream while the hand mixer is on to ensure the cream doesn’t curdle. At this point you should have a delicious, creamy tomato-bell pepper soup! Top
with a dollop of crème fraîche. and serve immediately. To make it a more complete meal, add grown-up grilled cheese. It’s very easy! Simply grate fontina cheese on slices of olive bread and top with a few sage leaves. Broil until cheese gets bubbly and gooey. It’s a perfect duo.
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Dance fans will also experience a moving tribute with “Merce Cunningham, Clouds and Screens” opening on Oct. 28. The exhibit pays tribute to the legendary choreographer Cunningham and features many works including Andy Warhol’s “Silver Clouds” and Charles Atlas’ “MC9” (short for “Merce Cunningham to the ninth power”), with excerpts from 21 dances for videos Atlas made with Cunningham. The openings continue in November with “Outliers and American Vanguard Art,” an exploration of a period in American art history when avant-garde artists and outsiders intersected. In December, the museum welcomes “The Jeweled Isle: Art from Sri Lanka,” with 250 works spanning nearly two millennia of Sri Lankan history. The experience at LACMA continues with special exhibits, as visitors enjoy thousands of pieces from the permanent collection and participate in gallery tours, lectures and hands-on courses. Music ranges from concerts to intimate small performances, and film screenings are held regularly. And no visit to LACMA is complete without snapping a photo at “Urban Light,” artist Chris Burden’s tribute to vintage streetlights. LACMA will always remain a destination for art lovers from around the world, and the museum’s plans for transformation will ensure it remain so for generations to come. Although big changes are just around the corner, LACMA’s future as one of the world’s premier arts and cultural destinations has already been secured. continued from page 68
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Let us stock your bar for the holidays Wine • Spirits • Champagne • Beer • Kegs
Bogie’s Liquor 5753 Melrose Ave. Corner of Melrose & Vine
(323) 469-1414 www.bogiesliquor.com We Deliver • Open 7 days 6 am - 2 am
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KAREN VILLALPANDO Editor & Publisher
MICHAEL VILLALPANDO CEO & Publisher
Contributors: Sarah Davidson, Edwin Folven, Luke Harold, Emily Jilg, Tim Posada, Maura Turcotte, Rebecca Villalpando, Jill Weinlein Graphic Design: Sarah Davidson, Karen Villalpando Photography: Andrew Kitchen Photography @wanderingcowboy Proofreader: Maura Turcotte See, Sip Savor, Dining & Entertainment Magazine, 2018 Serving the communities of Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, the Miracle Mile, Hancock Park and Park La Brea. Los Angeles Office 5150 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 330 P.O. Box 36036 Los Angeles, CA 90036 Beverly Hills Office: 8444 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2B Beverly Hills, CA 90210 323.933.5518 www.beverlypress.com
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BACK TO OUR ROOTS
As gardening becomes more popular, home growers turn to heirloom seeds for produce thatâ€™s environmentally conscious and nutritious.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF BAKER CREEK HEIRLOOM SEEDS / RARESEEDS.COM
B Y S A R A H D AV I D S O N
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very heirloom seed tells a story. At least that’s Jere Gettle’s philosophy. There is some debate in the gardening community about the definition of an heirloom seed – Gettle’s seed company, Baker Creek, defines an heirloom seed as any that has been passed down through generations and has a history – but some say one must be at least 50 years old to earn the distinction. Before he was the owner of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., he was a young boy living on his family’s farm, and he was obsessed with seeds. He learned to read by poring over seed catalogues, and when he got older, he began saving seeds and bringing them to flea markets and swap meets. At age 17, he put out a seed catalogue of his own featuring 70 heirloom varieties. Now Gettle is 37 and Baker Creek, based in Mansfield, Missouri, a town of 1,200 in the southern part of the state, puts out an annual catalogue that features approximately 1,850 varieties of heirloom seeds. Every fall, Baker Creek hosts the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, which attracts 20,000 visitors annually. Featuring a giant squash tower, vendor exhibition booths, tastings and a pumpkin contest, the expo has been more successful than the Baker Creek team ever dreamed. 2018 marked its eighth year – the event wrapped up on Sunday, Sept. 13, and will occur again next fall. “It started out just as an idea to bring gardeners and like-minded people together,” said Kathy McFarland, Baker Creek’s media and public relations representative. “From the beginning, it wasn’t expected to be an annual event. It was expected to be a one-time thing.” The expo’s success mirrors a national growing interest in gardening. Ian Baldwin, an analyst and commentator for the 2018 National Gardening Survey, said that in 2017, 77 percent of households reported working with plants inside their homes or in their gardens. That’s the highest participation rate the survey has seen since it began collecting data 35 years ago. It’s in large part thanks to millennials, Baldwin said. People under 35 were slow
to take up gardening due to the economic downturn of 2008 and a general trend toward reaching milestones like marriage and home ownership later in life. But now they’re major spenders. Baldwin said that in 1997, the biggest gardening spenders were women over the age of 55. Now, it’s males under 35. He attributes the recent boon to millennials’ skepticism of mass consumerism, concerns about the environment and an overall rise in attention paid to health and wellness. “I give [millennials] credit for this,” Baldwin said. “They started the growyour-own boom, which is still booming.” People under 35 were slow to take up gardening due to the economic downturn of 2008 and a general trend toward reaching milestones like marriage and home ownership later in life. But now they’re major spenders.
That’s where heirloom seeds come in. The other distinction Baker Creek uses to classify an heirloom seed is that it must be open pollinated (meaning it can pollinate without the help of a gardener or a laboratory) and produce a plant that’s the same from year to year. Varieties that require this kind of intervention are also called hybrids, which McFarland said might contain fewer nutrients than heirloom varieties, but are not necessarily bad. Usually, they’re developed to help transport produce long distances – tomatoes, for instance, have been bred to hold up better in a truck and last longer on supermarket shelves. “We’re seeing a big movement toward people wanting to know where their food has come from, how it’s grown, et cetera,” McFarland said. If a seed is a story, it’s fitting that they’re becoming available to be checked out at a growing number of public libraries. McFarland said she has seen a
How to grow your own food – whether you have one pot or a whole plot. 1 / Educate yourself Among seed libraries, online resources and apps, it’s easier to learn how to garden than ever. Plus, “gardeners are so willing to share their knowledge,” McFarland said. 2 / Plant something you want “If you’re planting vegetables, plant something you want to eat,” McFarland said. “If you’re planting flowers, plant something you think is pretty.” 3 / Decide if you’re going to save your seeds Saving seeds means growing a plant to maturity, harvesting the seeds, saving them over the winter and planting them the next year. “If you want to save seeds, beans, tomatoes, are the easy things to save seeds for,” McFarland said. 4 / Choose the right container If your yard allows for a large garden plot, you’ll have flexibility in terms of space. But if you’re doing container gardening, make sure you’re planting in the right size container. Some pepper varieties, salad greens and cucumber varieties can be grown in containers, McFarland said. 5 / Don’t over-shop McFarland said that desire is the most important tool at a beginning gardener’s disposal. “Anybody with a little pot, some sunlight and water can grow something in that pot,” she said.
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rise in libraries housing seed collections along with books to encourage home gardening and promote biodiversity. Santa Monica’s Fairview Branch Library began offering seeds early in 2018. Patrons can take home packets of seeds, grow the plants to maturity and harvest their seeds for donation if possible. Growers, however, are not required to return the exact seeds they borrowed. from page 81
If a seed is a story r , ry it’s fitting that they’re becoming available to be checked out at a growing number of public libraries.
Seed Library of Los Angeles also hosts seed exchange meetings and collections at various locations throughout the city, including the Venice High School Learning Garden and the Altadena Public Library. For a $10 suggested donation, members can check out seeds and gain access to educational resources. Seed Library of Los Angeles encourages seed collection and donation as well, but does not require it, as it can be hard to guarantee seed saving will be successful. Eleuterio Navarro, chair of Seed Library of Los Angeles, said that the organization’s goal is to conserve the biodiversity of our food systems. As large corporate seed companies buy up smaller seed houses, he said, they might leave less popular seeds on the shelf. “A corporation’s intent is to grow for profit,” Navarro said. 8 2 B E V E R LY P R E S S . C O M
This can prevent them from ever being grown again. Less variation in crop groups can leave food sources vulnerable to blight. That’s why Gettle and his wife have dedicated themselves to collecting rare heirloom seeds. McFarland said Baker Creek often receives donations of large heirloom seed collections from people
who have inherited them from older relatives, and Baker Creek also makes many seed donations to libraries. And there’s their annual celebrations of heirloom produce. Before the expo every year, McFarland said there is a Baker Creek crew in Petaluma harvesting the squash for the 20-foot squash
tower. This year, a pumpkin grower named Richard Larsen etched a design into a pumpkin he expected to weigh 1,000 pounds by the time of the expo. “The main word I would use is excitement,” McFarland said. “It is phenomenal, the number of varieties of things that are there on exhibit.”
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