Ventura BLVD November | December 2021

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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021

20 SURPRISE UPSIZE Teddi Mellencamp invites us into her family’s Encino urban farmhouse.

28 HIS HAT’S IN THE RING Meet LA mayorial candidate and Encino resident

34

Ramit Varma.

34 IN DEEP

AND THEN SOME...

The boom of the high-end luxury aquarium business.

47 ’TIS THE SEASON

40

A curated selection of holiday gifts

URBAN COWGIRL Equestrian-inspired fashions to usher

82

in the new season

PHILANTHROPIC VANGUARDS Beacons of our community

40 THE SAUCE

50 WHERE THE LOCALS GO

95

Restaurateurs Daisy and Greg Ryan and

REAL ESTATE

their staff share the best of Los Olivos

Spectacular local listings

56

66

STARS OF THE VALLEY

114

IN THE CAN

Pasta|Bar and Shin Sushi get

LAST WORD

Valley native Tomas Crowe and two partners

the coveted Michelin star.

Treasures that last

prepare for nationwide distribution of their canned cocktail Dezo.

60 A MOVING MILESTONE Reflections on Casa Vega’s 65th birthday

56

72 SWEET CENTENNIAL The venerable See’s Candies brand—still going

64

strong after 100 years

CALIFORNIA CORNICOPIA A sweet and savory gift basket that supports

78

local farmers.

SOMETHING IN THE WATER A unique thermal springs experience at

COVER

The Springs Resort & Spa in Colorado.

Teddi Mellencamp photographed by

90

Shane O’Donnell

SEEN Faces spotted around town.


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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

PUBLISHER

Linda Grasso

Michelle Villas

Robin Sanders

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

robin@thegoldenstatecompany.com

Darren Elms

Nikki Smith

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VENTURA BLVD IS A DIVISION OF THE GOLDEN STATE COMPANY

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY MICHAEL BECKER

EDITOR’S LETTER

Sometimes people get stuck in complaining ruts, re-

his wife, Delphine, for more than a decade. One rainy night

peating negative things, with eyes half open, on rote

during the height of the pandemic, the couple came to din-

response. Example: “There are no great restaurants in

ner. As we sat at our kitchen table eating my homemade

the Valley.” They’ll kvetch, without any real effort to

chili and sipping red wine, Ramit shared that he was seri-

discover what’s out there. To them I say: Read on! As

ously considering a run. And when he sold his online tutor-

you will learn on page 56, the Valley has two recently

ing business this past year, the decision was cemented.

anointed Michelin-starred eateries: Pasta|Bar and Shin Sushi, both in Encino. With the previously starred

to endorse political candidates. But I do want to share

Asenabo in Studio City, the Valley now has three eater-

that I know Ramit to be a smart, capable, no-nonsense,

ies that have earned Michelin recognition—restaurants

personable, kind human being. And, by the way, I

considered world-class in food, presentation and service.

was one of those friends who told him not to run. My

And those designations are but a microcosm of the dining

grandfather was a U.S. congressman for 17 years for

scene here. From the eateries about to open at The Shops

what was then known as California’s 24th District. And

at Sportsmen’s Lodge to recent debuts in the heart of

my grandmother, standing dutifully by his side all those

Sherman Oaks (including Taisho), the Valley is rife with

years, always played down the glamor of the job. (I still,

excellent dining opportunities.

by the way, have all the formal dinner gowns she wore to

In this issue, you’ll meet Ramit Varma, an accomplished

from various first ladies such as Jacqueline Kennedy and

young sons and is running for mayor of Los Angeles (page

Nancy Reagan.) Instead, she would stress the exhausting,

28). Shortly before he announced his candidacy in October,

dull aspects. “It is hard and sometimes tedious work with

some friends told the political newcomer not to pursue

long meetings and boring after-hours social events,”

such a thankless job with its unprecedented challenges.

she’d say. “They call it public service for a reason.”

But Ramit was undaunted. He believes that the old politi-

Suffice to say, I wouldn’t want to do it. But Ramit does—

cal guard is shackled due to overriding self-interest, and

and I wish him all the luck.

In all candor, I have been good friends with Ramit and

Follow me on Instagram @she_sez

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the White House, plus matchbooks, notes and invitations

entrepreneur who lives in Encino with his wife and three

that he can bring about change.

16

I don’t feel it’s my role as a lifestyle magazine editor

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays—and see you in the New Year!

Linda Grasso, Editor-in-Chief


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NOVEMBER/ DECEMBER 2021 FULLY SUBMERGED Sherman Oaks native Tomas Crowe and his canned cocktail, Dezo. More on page 66.


surprise upsize HAVING MOVED FROM THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS TO ENCINO, TEDDI MELLENCAMP AND HUSBAND, EDWIN ARROYAVE, ARE EMBRACING THEIR NEW URBAN FARMHOUSE—AND VALLEY LIFESTYLE. Written by Amber Klinck | Photographed by Shane O’Donnell

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“ONCE I HAD THE BABY I WAS LIKE, ‘I CAN’T BE IN A PANDEMIC WITH A NEWBORN, NO BACKYARD AND HANGING OVER THE SIDE OF A CLIFF.’”


Edwin Arroyave had lived in the Hollywood Hills for most of his adult life. “I loved the views, and we were happy there. Although we have kids and could have used more space, quite honestly, I fought moving to the Valley,” he says. But when Edwin and his wife, Teddi Mellencamp, welcomed baby number three (Edwin also has a 13-yearold daughter), the couple felt desperate for more square footage. And then came the pandemic. “Once I had the baby I was like, ‘I can’t be in a pandemic with a newborn, no backyard and hanging over the side of a cliff,’” Teddi explains. The couple found space—and more—in one of Encino’s south-of-the-Boulevard neighborhoods: a brand-new 8,500-square-foot modern farmhouse, with an open floor plan and filled with natural light. “The moment I walked in and saw all the pocket doors, especially the one that frames the entire backyard—with that view straight through to the pool and giant waterfall cascading off the pool house roof—I fell in love with it,” recalls Edwin, the founder and CEO of Skyline Security.

The expansive, open kitchen is at the center of the house. Countertops are marble; the brass accents run throughout.

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The foyer boasts 24-foot ceilings with a large, striking chandelier, giving the entrance a hint of drama. The

prep kitchen, perfect for hosting catered events. “The

wide-plank oak floors pair beautifully with the house’s

kitchen I absolutely love because from here I can see

contrasting white and black palette, with subtle gold

everything,” Teddi says. “I can see in the back, I can see

accents adding a modern sophistication.

my kids in the playroom, and if there’s a game on, we can

The line between indoor and outdoor living is soft-

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watch it. My husband is a huge Rams fan.”

ened with ample access to the home’s outdoor space.

The move may have meant leaving their view in the

All the glass sliders in the home are pocket doors. “If

hills, but today the family, which includes 9-year-old

you want, you can pretty much open the entire bottom

Slate, 7-year-old Cruz and 19-month-old Dove, enjoys

floor,” says Teddi, who owns and operates All In By

the perks that come with living on a nearly half-acre

Teddi, a fitness coaching company and is also a former

property. “I love that we pretty much packed this

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member.

backyard with everything,” Teddi says. The couple

The kitchen has not one, but two massive marble-topped

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islands as well as a generous walk-in pantry with its own

A dual floor-to-ceiling gas fireplace, accessible from both the living and the dining room, is a striking focal point of the home.

transformed a basketball court into a pickleball court.



Slate and Cruz in their playroom, which opens onto the backyard.

“Pickleball is a whole thing these days,” Teddi says. “And it can also be used for basketball.” There’s plenty of space for outdoor cooking and

side has a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace. On the wall

covered lounge with a large TV.

hangs a portrait of Teddi and Edwin’s daughter Slate. Teddi’s father, musician John Cougar Mellencamp,

heated pool and dramatic waterfall, which, Edwin

painted it during the start of the pandemic. “It was our

notes, “reminds me of a club I used to go to in Vegas.”

housewarming gift,” Teddi notes.

Next to the pool is Teddi’s gym. “It was clutch for me

The home has seven bedrooms and seven baths. The

during the pandemic,” she says. “I love to work out in

master suite on the second floor has two massive his-

the morning before my kids wake up.”

and-hers closets with glass cabinets that give the space

After a full day in the pool or playing games outside,

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An entire side of the formal dining room slides open for a nearly al fresco dining experience, while the other

entertaining, multiple play areas for the kiddos, and a The focal point of the yard is the 50- by 17-foot

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large enough to store 200 bottles.

a boutique feel. The master bath has a dreamy tub and,

the family can wind down in their home theater. Off to the

like the rest of the structure, is flooded with natural

side, an old-fashioned popcorn machine adds extra charm.

light while still maintaining privacy.

While the home is ideal for kids, it also has plenty of

Teddi says that home bonuses aside, the neighbor-

perks for adults, especially when it comes to entertain-

hood has been a welcome change for the family. “The

ing. Just off the formal living room is a fully stocked,

kids love it. The Valley has great schools, and being able

marble-encased bar with a speakeasy vibe. Tucked

to walk to everything—it’s great. We’ve built a good

under the stairs is a temperature-controlled wine room

community here.” ■


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His Hat’s in the Ring MEET ENCINO RESIDENT AND ENTREPRENEUR RAMIT VARMA, WHO HAS ENTERED THE 2022 RACE FOR LA MAYOR. When it comes to being a political newcomer, Ramit

within very similar parameters as city officials. With

Varma says he views it 100% as a positive. “I believe

my firm, I had not only a business partner, but an in-

this city needs a drastic change in its methods. We have

vestor, a board of directors and a very strong manage-

massive resources, and we know the city needs to be

ment team. We had tens of thousands of customers

transformed. But the career politicians who run the city

and channel partners. To get anything done, we had

are more focused on their political careers than on get-

to understand all those viewpoints and make decisions

ting things done.”

that balanced multiple priorities. I learned how to com-

In 2002, Ramit, with a partner, started an online ac-

municate and find common ground.

ademic tutoring and test preparation services company, Revolution Prep, which was sold to a private equity firm

WHAT ADVANTAGES AND CHALLENGES DOES IT

this past year. Here VB editor-in-chief Linda Grasso

PRESENT BEING A POLITICAL NEWCOMER?

queries the candidate about his qualifications for the

I only see advantages to my outsider status. Not only

job, his vision for the city, and the unusual ride he took

have I never held an elected office, but I am not inter-

to his wedding.

ested in any future office—at any level. That means I can wholly focus on doing the job at hand—making LA

YOU ARE MARRIED WITH THREE YOUNG KIDS. YOU

a word-class city for all Angelenos.

JUST SOLD YOUR COMPANY, AND MY SENSE IS THAT RESULTED IN A DECENT PROFIT. WHY DO YOU WANT

HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THE HOMELESS CRISIS?

TO BE LA’S MAYOR?

I have a plan to reduce homelessness by 50% in nine

I moved here to study for my MBA at UCLA in 2000. I

months, by 90% in 18 months, and to get to func-

fell in love with LA almost immediately. I connected

tional zero homelessness by 2024. It has been done in

deeply with the eclectic tapestry of the city–the artists

several cities in the U.S. and in almost the entire state

and artisans, the businesses both large and small. But in

of Colorado. My plan is well researched and modeled

the years since, I’ve watched this city deteriorate due to

on those. We need to stop trying to create permanent

homelessness, affordability and public safety. We have the

supportive housing for every homeless person. Not all

resources to make LA a world-class city, but our elected

homeless people need or even want that. We should

officials have been unable to address these problems.

start by getting people off the streets with transitional housing in small clusters. Then we focus on building

WITH YOUR FORMER COMPANY, REVOLUTION PREP,

support and services, and we implement 24-hour care

YOU HAD A PARTNER AND YOU MADE DECISIONS

for the mentally ill and addicted residents. We have the

TOGETHER. HOW DO YOU ENVISION WORKING WITH

money already allocated in the budget. We just haven’t

15 COUNCILMEMBERS TO GET THINGS DONE?

had competent leadership. The city raised $1.2 billion

In the vast majority of businesses, the leaders work

in 2016 to address the issue of homelessness. Yet in six

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years, it has only completed seven projects for 489 units

when I talk to residents, they’re often not even sure

at $600,000 per unit. That’s absurd and unacceptable.

they live in the city of LA. In the media, you would think that LA is just downtown. I think the Valley is

THERE HAVE BEEN CALLS TO SCALE BACK THE LA

seen largely as an afterthought by the political machine.

POLICE DEPARTMENT AS A WAY OF MITIGATING

It’s time for the Valley to show its muscle.

DANGEROUS AND SOMETIMES DEADLY ENCOUNTERS WITH THE PUBLIC. WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THIS?

HOUSES IN SHERMAN OAKS AND STUDIO CITY START

I do not believe we should be scaling back the LAPD.

AT ABOUT A MILLION DOLLARS. A HOUSE IN ENCINO

There are neighborhoods that are desperate for a greater

JUST SOLD FOR $15 MILLION. WHAT WOULD YOU DO

police presence, not less. I think we need to provide the

ABOUT AFFORDABLE HOUSING?

resources to the police to patrol these neighborhoods so

We have been so irresponsible with development for so

that every Angeleno can feel safe walking the streets.

long that we have a huge hole to dig ourselves out of.

That said, there are some neighborhoods where trust

Supply is so tight, we don’t even have enough housing

between the police and the community is strained. To

units for the population from 1991. So we need to sup-

rebuild that, the LAPD needs to develop more training

port property developers in constructing more build-

for police officers and supplement their work with more

ings—ones with lots of housing units. I understand the

mental health professionals. The debate around public

concern around traffic, but we actually have the tech-

safety has been reduced to a false choice: You are either

nology right now to alleviate this problem. I believe we

with the police or against them. That is wrong, because

can bring more housing online and reduce the number

we are all for safety. We need the LAPD. We just need

of cars on the road. The line between public and private

them to be better.

transport is already blurring. We need to lean into that. With tens of thousands of housing units coming online,

A MAYOR’S POLITICAL PERSUASIONS CAN INFLUENCE

prices will begin to settle down.

DECISION MAKING. SHARE A BIT ABOUT YOUR OVERARCHING POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.

SHARE WITH OUR READERS SOMETHING FUN OR

I’m an independent. I think that the tribalism created by

DIFFERENT ABOUT YOURSELF.

the parties is one of the saddest parts about American

In Indian weddings, the groom usually comes in on a

democracy. I am somewhat right of center on some is-

horse. When I was a kid, my cousin rode in on a horse

sues, and somewhat left of center on other issues. All my

for his wedding and I said, ‘I’m gonna ride in on an

thinking is guided by rationality, practicality and empa-

elephant when I get married.’ When I got engaged, my

thy. My mayoral opponents are all Democrats—like the

mom reminded me of this. So for my wedding I rode

entire City Council. I think it’s important to have healthy

down Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica to the ceremony

debate and creative tension in any organization, and we

on an elephant. I had to get about 30 people to sign off

don’t have that with one-party rule.

on the event. Police were worried the elephant would freak out. The fire department had to make sure we

THE 2020 CENSUS SHOWED THE VALLEY WITH 40%

weren’t blocking any routes, and sanitation had to

OF LA’S TOTAL POPULATION. DO YOU THINK WE GET

make sure the elephant had a poop bag. It was one of

OUR FAIR SHARE OF CITY SERVICES?

my first experiences with city government! ■

I would say no. I’ve lived in the Valley for 10 years, and

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in deep DOG OWNERSHIP ISN’T THE ONLY THING THAT EXPLODED DURING THE PANDEMIC. AQUARIUM SALES HAVE SKYROCKETED. HERE, A LOOK AT SOME OF THE HIGHER-END TANKS, AND WHAT IT TAKES TO OWN ONE. Written by Anne M. Russell

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xxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxx XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX Written by Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx | Photographed by Xxxxxxxx Xxxxxx


Call it the Revenge of the Fish Nerds.

counting, while Tiemens’ “1,000 Gallon Planted Discus

Fishkeeping, long seen as a mildly

Aquarium” has logged 1.2 million views. ums has improved. The use of lighter-weight acrylic

hot new thing. “Today’s hobbyist is

instead of glass for tank construction has made larger

a different hobbyist,” says veteran

tanks possible, while innovations in lighting, water

aquarium expert Eric Cohen of Among the Reef, an ultra-high-end online

breeding have made fishkeeping easier. High-end aquarium keepers, however, rely on professionals like Tiemens, Groover, and Armand Schmide

partner Jordan Yallen. “Now they’re

of Underwater Depot in Sherman Oaks to provide setup

Several unrelated factors converged to set off the home-aquarium explosion. First there was the pan-

and ongoing weekly or monthly maintenance. All three report that the pandemic kicked the home maintenance business into high gear. For many newbie fish enthusiasts, the long-running

demic. Stuck at home, Americans rediscovered a love

Animal Planet reality show Tanked was their first expo-

for animal companions of all kinds—and aquarium

sure to custom tanks. (Cancelled in 2020, the show still

creatures were no exception. Nic Tiemens, co-owner of

airs in reruns.) While there’s no question that the show

the high-end tank design and maintenance company

spurred interest in fancy home aquariums, it also set up

Infinity Aquarium Design, says he saw a huge increase

some unrealistic expectations.

in new installations and upgrades to existing tanks.

“It takes a year to be ‘fish-ready’—to prepare the

“Between 2019 and 2021, we saw a 400% growth in

ecosystem and to build up live stock,” says Groover.

revenue. We got a lot of remodels, but it was also new

“The TV version isn’t real. You can’t really do a tank in

tanks as well,” he says.

day.” A tank needs a month of conditioning and water

Ken Avchen, a longtime DIY aquarist who lives in Reseda, upped his fishkeeping game during the pandemic. He added the reef tank he’d long dreamed

cycling before you can add fish—carefully and a few at a time, starting with the toughest (and cheapest). The pandemic has made the process even slower.

of to his existing 110-gallon saltwater and 50-gallon

Spot shortages in glass and acrylic make it harder to get

freshwater collection. “Now that I’ve gotten into the

a tank, and air transport from fish-collecting hot spots

corals in the reef tank,” he says, “I barely look at the

like Fiji and the Philippines has only resumed slowly.

saltwater tank.”

Hawaii has imposed a near total ban on fish collecting

A second factor in the hobby’s explosion seems to be the democratization of once-arcane knowledge that could only be tapped by querying fish store owners. “When I was a kid,” recalls Julian Groover, co-owner

in its waters. So as demand has grown, supply has been constrained and prices have increased. Groover estimates that a finished reef tank with

of Aquarium City in Canoga Park, “you’d go into these

saltwater fish and corals runs about $10,000, while the

dark, grungy stores and there’d be this gruff man at the

maintenance—including cleaning, medical treatments,

counter. The internet has changed that.”

and emergency response when necessary—is $500 to

Now, thanks to YouTube, almost anyone can learn

|

chemistry and monitoring, and animal transport and

“fish concierge” service he runs with cool, edgy extroverts.”

36

And lastly, the technology surrounding home aquari-

geeky hobby, has evolved into the

$1,000 a month. Schmide, who focuses more on fancy

to be an aquarist. The video “Million Dollar Fish

freshwater tanks, says his crew starts at $85 a visit.

Tank,” for example, has over 3.4 million views and

Tiemens, who serves the ultra-luxury, pure custom


Top and bottom: two different views of a 500-gallon aquarium/TV combo in Calabasas designed by Infinity Aquarium Design. The 65-inch flat screen hides custom-made cabinetry that raises and lowers with the push of a button.

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37


“This 2,600-gallon saltwater aquarium had to be craned into the home,” says Nic Tiemens from Infinity Aquarium Design. “It was a $100 million property in Bel Air, so they wanted something really spectacular.”

end of the market, says his average setup is $30,000

stun fish for easier collection. That practice kills the

to $50,000, with ongoing maintenance costing up to

invertebrates that make up the reef itself.

$2,500 a month. Fish are extra, but Tiemens notes that a healthy tank with a thoughtfully curated selection of

far the only species reproducing with proven success

compatible fish shouldn’t need frequent restocking.

in tanks are clown fish (a.k.a. “Nemo”) and blue tangs

One aspect of the aquarium business that’s increas-

stony corals, which through selective breeding have

To the new wave of fish enthusiasts, that matters.

become reef tanks’ psychedelic superstars with names

“This new generation of hobbyists is committed to

like Space Invader Pectinia and Berry Bliss Goniopora,

sustainability,” Tiemens says, adding that he believes

are also relatively easy to breed at home. In addition to serving as personal fish concierges to

patterns. He believes that the resurgence of interest in

customers and their rare, $15,000 and $30,000 speci-

freshwater tanks is due in part to the greater sustain-

mens, Among the Reef partners Cohen and Yallen are

ability of freshwater over saltwater. Most freshwater

determined to make captive breeding a reality for more

fish are aquacultured, while most marine fish are still

species. They’re starting their effort with the Japanese

collected in the wild.

wrought-iron butterflyfish and are now completing the

There is also a heightened consciousness of the toll

|

(a.k.a. “Dory”). Soft corals and small and large polyp

ingly come under scrutiny is its environmental impact.

it has driven a significant change in aquarists’ buying

38

Captive breeding would seem like a solution, but so

construction of a new breeding facility near LAX. “I’ve

the aquarium trade takes on the oceans. Last year, a

always been driven by the conservation side of things,”

documentary called The Dark Hobby indicted the industry

says Cohen, who is a second-generation aquarist and

for its unsustainable collection practices, which in some

was a frequent guest on Tanked. “Every fish is a life;

non-U.S. regions include dosing reefs with cyanide to

every coral is a life.” ■


TANK STYLE: HOT OR NOT? SIX TYPES OF HOME AQUARIUMS, RATED BY POPULARITY ON A SCALE OF ONE TO FOUR. FRESHWATER If you had a tank as a kid, it was probably this kind: dull fish, plastic plants, ceramic pirate ship.

Q LIVE PLANTED An advance in technology and the aesthetic influence of Japanese designer Takashi Amano upped the ante on freshwater tank drama. Now you can have stunning aquascapes, thanks to pressurized carbon dioxide injection that feeds plant growth.

Q Q Q NANO A niche within a niche hobby, micro tanks are darling, but tricky to maintain because even small changes in water pH or purity can have a big negative impact.

Q Q Q MONSTER These tanks, some as large as 5,000 gallons and featuring large predator fish, have waned in popularly as the novelty of having expensive fish that kill each other wore off.

Q Q REEF This is the ultimate in marine aquariums: not just gorgeous saltwater fish, but an entire ecosystem of live corals and other ocean dwellers. The saltwater equivalent of live planted.

Q Q Q Q SALTWATER Until recent breakthroughs, keeping soft corals and other invertebrates alive was too difficult, so saltwater tanks were populated with real fish but resin coral facsimiles (seen here).

Q Q Q


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Where the Locals Go THE TEAM AT LOS OLIVOS’ NEWEST EATERY, BAR LE CÔTE, ON THE SPOTS THEY FREQUENT TO REFUEL AND RELAX. Written by Heather Platt

The rolling landscape and world-renowned wineries

Brad describes his menu as soulful. “Some are classic

of the Santa Ynez Valley have been drawing visitors for

Spanish dishes and some are more whimsical.”

years. Now, thanks to the latest venture by the team

We asked the Bar Le Côte team for their favorite local

behind Bell’s in Los Alamos, the town of Los Olivos has

places—and everyone chimed in. From coffee shops to

added another reason to visit. Chef Daisy Ryan and her

wineries, here are some of the team’s favorite haunts.

husband/partner Greg Ryan, both of whom worked at Per Se in New York, have teamed up with chef Brad Mathews

NELLA KITCHEN & BAR

to open one of the most anticipated restaurants of the

“Nella’s welcoming dining room embodies classic

year, a European-influenced seafood tavern. The menu

Central Coast California aesthetic. It’s a great place to

at Bar Le Côte flexes the team’s connections to the best

enjoy a meal of locally sourced ingredients cooked with

fish, meat and produce from around Southern California.

classic Italian flavors, or to wind down a busy week

“Sourcing quality seafood is the soul of BLC,” says

with a gin martini.” —Greg Ryan, co-owner

Brad, who attributes his passion for sourcing the best product to his childhood. “My father was a butcher and

STORM WINES

I think having a full understanding of where our food

“Storm Wines is my favorite place to have a glass of

comes from was something that was instilled in me

gamay in Los Olivos. The tasting room is so bright

from my youth.”

and comfortable. I love spending time there.” —Brad

Brad previously helmed kitchens at Fishing With

Mathews, chef/partner

Dynamite and The Arthur J in Manhattan Beach. These experiences, along with his time as R&D chef and VP of

JEDLICKA’S

sales for the Morro Bay Oyster Company, influenced his

“There’s a great deal of comfort that comes with re-

passion for local seafood. He beautifully conveys it in

turning home to the Santa Ynez Valley after spending

dishes like fried Pacific Gold oysters served atop hand-

time in New York, Los Angeles and Austin. There’s a

cut steak tartare or exactingly cooked Spanish octopus

sense of style in the valley I wouldn’t trade for any-

with paprika-roasted fingerlings, frisée and saffron

thing, and it starts and ends with Jedlicka’s. I’ve been

aioli, or dry-aged striped bass from Liwei Liao served

coming here for clothing since I was a child, and now

with parsnip puree, lemon preserves and chervil.

I shop Jedlicka’s for my son, Henry.” —Daisy Ryan,

“I think it is my responsibility as a chef to truly value

co-owner

the hard work of the farmers/fishers and what their

50

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day-to-day actually looks like. To me, cooking is truly

STOLPMAN VINEYARDS FRESH GARAGE

the easy and most rewarding part of the journey. I feel

“The Stolpman Fresh Garage is an excellent place to

fortunate to use their product,” he explains. In a word,

grab a glass of wine or do a diverse tasting from some


Clockwise from top: Storm Wines owner Ernst Storm with his two kids in the tasting room; Neighbors Coffee; Storm Wines; Nella Kitchen & Bar


of the winery’s most interesting labels. Ash and the

Bar Le Côte. Their nitro iced coffee is delicious. Plus,

team create a fun and celebratory atmosphere while

Blair and Emmy are so great, serving each cup with a

pouring some seriously good wine.” —Grace Gates,

smile.” —Jakob Kidd, line cook

general manager

COMMUNITY CRAFT SOLMINER

“Community Craft is a wonderful bar that has become

“Husband-and-wife team David and Anna make or-

my favorite industry hangout spot in Los Olivos. There

ganic wines, and if you’re lucky they have something

is a great list of rotating beers on tap and a mix of local

open from their certified biodynamic deLanda Vineyard,

and global wines. Every time I walk in, Erin has such

located about a mile away from the tasting room. A

great energy and is one of the loveliest people I’ve met

must-visit for those familiar with Austrian varieties

in town.” —Luis Gomez, sous chef

like Gruner Veltliner and Blaufrankisch, and for those who are open to new experiences!” —Emily Blackman,

CARHARTT FAMILY WINES

beverage director

“The Carhartt tasting room is definitely the place to be on your day off. It’s a whole vibe and a half with their

52

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NEIGHBORS COFFEE

beautiful outdoor tasting area and the staff who always

“I stop at Neighbors Coffee, the hip mobile coffee truck

make sure you have a good time!” —Jose Gomez, lead

parked in town, almost every day before heading into

line cook ■


wood & water Kitchen & Bar serving seasonal New American Cuisine with multicultural influences and flavors. Featuring the freshest seafood, sustainable protein, and farm-to-fork produce.

13359 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks, CA 818-855-1661 Woodandwaterla.com

Globally Inspired Menu “Voted one of top 10 Best Overall Restaurants in Los Angeles” -by 2021 Opentable Diner”s Choice

14015 Ventura Blvd Sherman Oaks 818-301-3700

982 S. Westlake Blvd #8 Westlake Village 805-230-9944

pearldistrictrestaurant.com

|

53


LA’s Best Kept Secret, Located on Beverly Glen & Mulholland! Market · Cafe · Wine & Spirits 2964 Beverly Glen Circle Los Angeles, CA 90077 310.773.9483 jaydesmarket.com @jaydesmarket We’re Open Daily!

BISTRO JOLIE A hidden gem in Los Angeles, Located on Beverly glen & Mulholland! Serving Burgers, Salads, Pastas, Full Bar & More! 2922 Beverly Glen Circle Los Angeles, CA 90077 310.773.9484 bistrojolie.com

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THE SAUCE

SILVER PLATED Pasta|Bar is one of two Valley eateries to get a coveted Michelin star. For the juicy details, turn the page.


THE SAUCE

The Pasta|Bar experience includes Margarita’s fresh-baked sourdough bread, farm fresh 56 | seasonal produce, and artistic handmade pasta dishes.


THE SAUCE

Stars of the Valley PASTA|BAR AND SHIN SUSHI ARE AMONG THIS YEAR’S STAR RECIPIENTS IN THE CALIFORNIA EDITION OF THE MICHELIN GUIDE, THE ESTEEMED FRENCH MANUAL OF FINE DINING. HERE, A LOOK AT THE VALLEY RESTAURANTS WHO NOW HAVE MICHELIN BRAGGING RIGHTS AND A LOOK AT WHAT IT ALL REALLY MEANS—FROM AN ECONOMIC AND PERSONAL STANDPOINT. Written by Jean Trinh | Photographed by Liam Brown

When a Michelin Guide camera crew arrived at Pasta|Bar

one day? Of course. If you don’t believe in yourself,

in September, it was under the pretense that they would

then there’s no point in trying. And I not only believe

be interviewing the Encino restaurant team about the

in myself, I believe in us as a team, a company, and

return of the awards to California after a year’s hiatus

everybody who’s a part of it,” Phillip says.

due to the pandemic. So it came as a complete surprise to owner Phillip

The Pasta|Bar concept features an upscale tasting menu that, as Phillip explains it, is their interpretation

Frankland Lee and his squad—which includes his pastry

of Italian food through the lens of farmers market sea-

chef wife, Margarita Kallas-Lee, and executive chef Nate

sonality. It’s an intimate experience, with just 16 seats

Tauer—when Michelin revealed that they had actually

and an open kitchen counter format. Like the chef’s

won a star and they were really there to film the win-

other two Valley restaurants, Sushi|Bar and the tempo-

ners’ reactions. Not only that, the institution bestowed

rarily closed Scratch|Bar & Kitchen, Pasta|Bar is tucked

the husband-and-wife duo a star for another one of

away on the upstairs level of a low-key shopping plaza.

their restaurants: Sushi|Bar in Montecito. That one is

Chefs and cooks each bring out and introduce elegantly

helmed by Phillip’s brother, chef Lennon Silvers-Lee.

plated dishes like ocean trout rolled in an everything-

“I started crying,” Phillip recalls when he heard the news. He was in Austin at the time of the filming and was on Zoom video. Margarita was at Pasta|Bar with

bagel spice, and slices of charred Wagyu steak paired with a Korean-inspired fried dumpling. Phillip considers the Michelin Guide to be the gold stan-

their team and says they were all “in shock. It was re-

dard of the fine dining world. “I wanted to be the best in

ally cool to have everyone there, so every single person

the world, and the only way you can be recognized as the

on the team was able to hear the news.”

best is if you get a Michelin star,” he says.

Receiving the accolade had been a lifelong goal of

The Guide, which has been run by the French tire

the chef, an Encino native who’s had stints at other

company since 1900, returned to Los Angeles in 2019 after

Michelin-starred restaurants like Alinea.

unceremoniously leaving for nearly a decade. Its then-

“Did I believe that I would have achieved my goal

director Jean-Luc Naret said the reason for its departure

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57


THE SAUCE

was that “the people in Los Angeles aren’t foodies.” An offical with the Visit California tourism board was quoted as saying that after it partnered with and paid Michelin $600,000 to expand its presence beyond San Francisco to all of California, Michelin brought the guide back to LA in 2019. Michelin’s anonymous inspectors use a threestar rating system, and award other merits like Bib Gourmand (what they consider to be good food at more reasonable prices) and Plates (for restaurants that have “very good food” but aren’t in the aforementioned categories), when they judge restaurants. While revered by well-heeled travelers and foodies, there are chefs, restaurateurs and food critics who have differing opinions about what it ultimately means to win a Michelin star and what it does for a business. Chefs can face immense pressure after making it in the guides, often having to keep up with customers’ high expectations. Chef Skye Gyngell said in a 2012 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald that it ended up being a curse that she received a star at London restaurant Petersham Nurseries Cafe. “Well, since we got the star we’ve been rammed every single day, which is really hard for such a tiny restaurant. And we’ve had lots more complaints.” Chef Marco Pierre White renounced his three stars for his eponymous London restaurant in 1999, while chef Sébastien Bras asked Michelin to leave his starred Le Suquet in France out of the 2018 guide for similar reasons. Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Bill Addison doesn’t always agree with the Michelin Guide, but “as someone who loves Los Angeles dining, I’m happy for whatever attention restaurants can garner,” he says. “It’s been such a challenging moment during an ongoing pandemic.” The only other Valley eatery to receive a Michelin star this year was second-time winner Shin Sushi, also housed in an unassuming Encino strip mall. The Taketoshi Azumi at Shin Sushi

58

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THE SAUCE

“IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, THEN THERE’S NO POINT IN TRYING. AND I NOT ONLY BELIEVE IN MYSELF, I BELIEVE IN US AS A TEAM, A COMPANY, AND EVERYBODY WHO’S A PART OF IT.”

eight-seater, with omakase experiences, is run by chef-

reason, that they heard from somebody that this place

owner Taketoshi Azumi, who takes a poetic approach

got a star before.”

to nigiri, featuring cuts of tai (sea bream), iwashi (sardine), and sweet shrimp. “There’s an obvious wealth of sushi excellence all

Phillip Frankland Lee says he’s already seeing the immediate effects, noting that seatings have sold out for future months. Pasta|Bar, which debuted at the

over the Valley, but in its really close, minimal atten-

height of the pandemic with makeshift seating on the

tion to seasonal nigiri—it’s simply beautifully present-

mall’s second-story communal patio, came out of the

ed—Shin Sushi deserves more attention than it gets,”

need to fill an empty space and keep his staff employed.

Bill Addison says. Azumi was taken aback when he first received a Michelin star for Shin Sushi two years ago. “We just opened this restaurant in July 2018 and we received a

He admits it had been a challenge dealing with the slow nights. “But now with this, it just takes us to a level that can allow us to operate a little bit more comfortably.” Matthew Kang, who’s been Eater LA’s editor for seven

star in 2019. I started as a sushi chef in Japan, and it

years and prefers local food reporting over Michelin’s

has been over 20 years. I was honored to receive one

anonymous style of reviewing, has seen the difference a

Michelin star for my own restaurant.”

star can make. “A lot of restaurants need that Michelin

Keeping up the stars can be difficult, but once a

star because that means that they’re going to get a con-

restaurant receives one, it can mean returns for future

stant supply of international travelers and people travel-

business. Take Asanebo, a sushi restaurant with omak-

ing from across the U.S. that feel like, ‘As Michelin-

ase offerings in Studio City. Chef-owner Tetsuya Nakao

starred place, it’s probably a good restaurant.’”

opened the spot in 1991 and snagged Michelin stars in 2008 and 2009. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get any stars this year, but

Getting stars can be a bright spot during this still-dim time. “I don’t think it’s an easy thing to do: maintaining your business, trying to keep your staff, and paying rent

people still recognize this restaurant as having a star,”

and bills,” Asanebo’s Kunio says. “For those who are

says Asanebo manager Kunio Kaji, who’s been at the

actually able to get a star even during that hard, COVID

eatery for nearly a decade. “They come here for that

time, they should really feel proud of themselves.” ■

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59


Christy Vega and her parents, Ray and Charlene, at the restaurant in 2012.


THE SAUCE

A Moving Milestone ALTHOUGH CASA VEGA’S BELOVED FOUNDER DIDN’T SURVIVE THE PANDEMIC, THE VENERABLE RESTAURANT NOT ONLY SURVIVED, BUT THRIVES—AND IS NOW CELEBRATING ITS 65TH BIRTHDAY. Illustrated by Nikki Smith

When Ray Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956, he was following in his parents’ footsteps. They founded and ran Cafe Caliente, a Mexican restaurant on Olvera Street, for 18 years. Ray was never shy about sharing his motto: Work hard—and when you think you’re done, work more. And that ethic clearly paid off. Casa Vega is still going strong 65 years later. This anniversary year, however, is bittersweet. In January, during the second pandemic shutdown, Ray died from COVID at 86. For daughter Christy, at the helm of the eatery since her father retired 10 years ago, it was crushing. “I had lost the restaurant and my father and wondered how to survive such a dual loss. I asked myself, would I be able to get the restaurant

So does she think the Casa Vega legacy will continue with her four sons? “All my sons show interest in the business: My oldest,

back up and running again? Would it ‘turn on’ without

Jackson (17), works one night a week during school and

Dad? After a bit, I could feel my family watching from

a full shift during summers. My 15-year-old is asking to

heaven telling me it was my turn to save the restaurant

work as a busser during school breaks. All the boys were

again and to make them proud. So I dried my tears, put

with me at the restaurant during the pandemic, pack-

on my chef shoes, and got back to work.”

ing orders, running pickup orders to cars. They saw me

Luckily, Casa Vega, which has had some of the same employees for decades, did turn back on. And Christy says she and her family are humbled by the support they got from the Valley community and loyal customers.

fighting so hard to save our legacy. I think as a family, we all appreciate Casa Vega a little more now.” Not surprisingly, an LA institution as beloved as Casa Vega draws its share of Hollywood fans. Here

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THE SAUCE

we share reflections from some of the celebrities who have enjoyed tacos and margaritas in those signature red leather booths. Dakota Fanning “Casa Vega has become a home away from home for me. The familiar atmosphere, faces, and most of all, the food are all so comforting. Christy is simply the best, and she is continuing her dad’s legacy and making him proud.”

Helena Kallianiotes “Me and Marlon (Brando) lived up the street from Casa Vega—up on Mulholland—and we used to go there several times a week in the ’70s. Sometimes we’d take Marlon’s children. We’d walk in, pass the bar—Marlon did not drink—and we’d sit in the first booth on the right in the dining room. It was dark, and he liked it because no one would bother him. Back in those days it was just Mexicans and Valley folk in there. You rarely saw celebrities. We saw Jack (Nicholson) and Angelica (Houston) in there a couple of times but that was about it. Marlon liked Mexicans a lot—one of his wives was Mexican—and he liked Mexican food, especially Casa Vega’s burritos.” Sandra Bullock “Now more than ever, I think about those places where the best memories of my life have occurred. Those places where you know upon entering that you’re almost guaranteed to make more memories. To me, the high-backed red booths of Casa Vega are like a hug. They have hugged me while me and my kids have inhaled too many desserts. And they have kept me supported while I’ve inhaled too many mango margaritas with my friends. I have missed my Casa Vega hugs during this crazy time!”

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A snapshot of the eatery on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks from the early 1970s.

Dennis Dugan “I’ve been happy regular since 1969, when I came from New York to LA to star in a play. The first night I arrived, a friend took me to Casa Vega. When my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I fell in love with the food, the margaritas (many), the atmosphere of joy and celebration, and Ray, who treated an unknown actor like a celebrity and friend. “Later that year, not having much luck acting, I was down to my last $25. I decided to blow it all at Casa Vega. When I finished my dinner, Ray brought me the check. It was for $0.00. I asked him why. He told me that it was for good luck. The next day I got a guest star role in a TV show. It started my career. I figure 50% of it was my audition and 50% was the guacamole and chips.” ■

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THE SAUCE

California Cornucopia FOR GIFTING GOURMANDS AND FARM-TO-FORK FANS. Photographed by Lisa Riznikove

Foodocracy is dedicated to promoting a more independent and sustainable food system by helping small-scale California farmers. For the holidays, the online retailer has assembled a curated selection of handcrafted, artisan goods. With everything from whiskey-spiked nuts to an exquisite sage honey, The Taste of the Golden State Gift Box retails for $79.95 at shopfoodocracy.com. Whiskey Spice Walnuts | Organic nuts toasted with Jameson Irish Whiskey, vanilla, sugar and spices, from a fifth-generation San Joaquin County family farm. King City Pink Beans | These organically grown beans from Pescadero have a thin skin and a dense yet creamy interior. Great for bean broth, with sauteed greens, or baked. Seka Hills Extra Virgin Olive Oil | Estate-grown olive oil produced by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation tribe in the Capay Valley. Piment d’Ville Chile Powder | This tasty farm-to-jar powder is harvested from red Espelette chiles grown on a woman-owned farm. California Black Button Sage Honey | From coastal scrubland and chaparral plant communities, this golden white sage honey has a light floral flavor with a hint of pear. Heirloom Herb and Flower Seed-Bearing Lollipops | After savoring the organic candy laced with edible herbs and flowers, plant the biodegradable stick and grow an herb or flower. ■

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in the can THE STORY OF HOW THREE 20-SOMETHINGS FOUNDED THE HEALTH-MINDED CANNED COCKTAIL DEZO. Written by Linda Grasso Photographed by Kat Mueller

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When it comes to college drinking,

THIS CAN HAPPEN

we can all agree: Not much good

The trio began experimenting. “We had like a bunch of

comes from it. However, that is

of them tasted really good. We all looked at each other,

partying at Tulane University

like, let’s see how far we can take it,” says Tim.

morning in the spring of 2018,

For the next five months, they experimented and researched in their spare time. They brought on a mentor who ran wholesale distribution for

he was riding in the car with his

Anheuser-Busch. They learned everything they

fraternity brother Tim Demirjian.

could about the canned alcoholic beverage industry,

Recalls Tomas, now 25: “I was so hung over. I said,

marketing, and branding, all while trying to come up with the right formulation. The goal was to create

‘Listen, man, I can’t keep doing this, drinking like this

a ready-to-drink beverage with electrolytes and no

and feeling hung over the entire next day. There has to

added sugar or preservatives.

be a better way.’” The two business majors began a conversation about

“The first couple of iterations were absolutely disgusting and we were a little discouraged,” recalls

how to make an alcoholic beverage that tasted good but

Tomas. “Then there was one where the flavor profile

was somehow not quite as bad for you.

perfectly matched what we envisioned. We passed it

“We wanted a way to enjoy the drinking experience

around and we all looked at each other and said, oh my

but wondered if there was a way to use revitalizing

god, this is really good. We could sell this right now.

ingredients that could mitigate how you feel the next

Like this can happen!”

day—so that you don’t have to sacrifice your productivity for your socializing,” Tim, 26, explains.

Tomas tested out the first formulation, made with coconut water, with his Notre Dame alumni buddies.

The two put their excitement aside as gradua-

“We would invite them and random girls we knew to

tion festivities got underway. Tomas, a Notre Dame

Tim’s parents’ apartment and do blind tasting tests. I

High School graduate, moved back home to Sherman

think our friends have been the biggest focus group that

Oaks. Tim moved to LA, sharing an apartment with

we’ve had to date,” he says.

Marc Kessler, a University of Richmond graduate

Two more drinks were created with watermelon and

whom he grew up with in Boston. Marc’s family owns

cactus water, and the product name was chosen. Dezo

Boston’s historic Bell in Hand Tavern and has run it

is a riff off the French des eau, which means “of the

for generations.

waters.” The tagline: “Respectfully Wild.”

“Marc starts telling me about this coconut-water-

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for a couple hours, and we got to the point where one

not the case with Tomas Crowe’s during his senior year. One Saturday

68

plastic cups in the kitchen and just played mixologists

Up until that point, Dezo had been self-funded. “I

based beverage cocktail that he was making back at

had a few thousands in my bank account and I was like,

his family’s bar. It has electrolytes and antioxidants,

this is going to last me six months, max. We need to

so you hydrate, but it’s mixed with gluten-free vodka.

figure this out quickly. We all quit our jobs, knowing

Immediately a light bulb went off in my head and I

that if we didn’t raise money in that six-month period,

said, ‘Hey, you got to meet my friend Tomas.’”

we’d be screwed,” Tomas remembers.


Tomas Crowe, Marc Kessler, Tim Demirjian

Electrolytes + Antioxidants + Vitamins + Gluten Free Vodka

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OUT TO LAUNCH

Competition in the canned alcoholic beverage indus-

To launch the product, the trio knew they needed some

try is fierce, and mammoth companies like Anheuser-

serious capital. They took a trip to Boston and tapped

Busch continue to jump into the marketplace. Still, the

into Marc’s family network. From the get-go, his fam-

guys are undaunted.

ily thought it was a great idea. In fact, it was his mom’s

“Today I believe we still have the highest quality

reaction that suggested the demographics they had in

product. Sure, there have been bigger players coming to

mind were too limited.

the market with some innovation—seltzers and things

“She absolutely loved it, and to us that was an indication that this wasn’t just a drink for partying 20-somethings,” Marc, 27, quips.

like that. But through all of it, we still have the best quality product,” Marc states. Aspirations are big. “Over the next few years we

They also went to New York and met with a J.P.

want Dezo to be a household name just like White

Morgan investor who put in $50,000. Ultimately they

Claw, Spindrift, LaCroix. We want Dezo across 50

raised $750,000, and after some initial success were

states,” Tim says.

able to secure a major distributor. The launch was planned for April 2020. Then COVID

FORMULATING THE FUTURE

hit, halting everything. Tomas admits it was both a

When it comes to the day-to-day, responsibilities are

blessing and a curse.

divvied up. Tim focuses on marketing, fundraising and

“COVID gave us a chance to digest our launch strat-

strategic partnerships. Tomas concentrates on digital

egy, focus more on digital, and get our direct-to-con-

marketing initiatives and production. Marc handles

sumer online store going. Being bullish on digital and

account relations and strategic partnerships with enter-

direct-to-consumer helped us to get some initial sales

tainment groups.

volume,” he explains. Dezo officially launched in August 2020, but the first production run was a disaster; the cans leaked due to

Today they are focused on continuing sales momentum while staying balanced as young entrepreneurs. “There’s been tons of crazy excitement, but also

excessive salt. With orders hanging in the balance, they

some valleys. And then there is the fear of failure. We

were forced to change the formula just four weeks from

have 30+ investors that we’ve looked in the eyes and

going live.

told we are going to make this investment turn into

Finally sales started coming in, and the founders

something. They include family members and friends—

were able to raise another $800,000, mostly from their

people we have real connections to and relationships

initial investors.

with,” says Tomas. “It’s been one hell of a ride,” Marc concurs. “There

RECYCLING SUCCESS

have been times when we’ve felt cash-strapped and

Currently Dezo is available in Massachusetts and

things weren’t working correctly and we didn’t have

California and it is expected to be available in Nevada

answers. I believe that being able to stay focused and

by year’s end. In SoCal, it’s being carried by liquor

collected through the roller-coaster that is building

stores, most Ralphs, and the upscale nightspots owned

start-ups is one of the most important skills. And I

by LA hospitality company H. Wood Group, which in-

believe this ride is just getting started.” ■

clude Bootsy Bellows and The Nice Guy.

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as seen in

Ventura Blvd is part of the Golden State network, a family of digital, social and print media brands celebrating the people, pursuits, lifestyles and ideas of California. In every issue, we share one story across our network that explores topics beyond the limits of the Valley—stories that speak to the meaningful impact our state and residents are making on the global stage. To learn more about Golden State and discover more articles like this, visit goldenstate.is.

sweet centennial A PEEK INSIDE THE HOLIDAY GIFT FAVORITE SEE’S CANDIES ON ITS 100TH BIRTHDAY. Written and photographed by Tamara Palmer

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When it comes to gift giving, See’s

quality standards and hand-create the different swirls

Candies is one of California’s most

and markings that top many candies. In case you’re

beloved and longest-lasting brands.

picturing that famous I Love Lucy scene where Lucy and Ethel get hilariously overwhelmed by the chocolates

Its enduring appeal is both strong

coming down the line, rest assured: Everyone here is

and nostalgic. Our grandmothers gave

calm and methodical in their tasks. (Although I did see

the white box with the black logo

a couple Christmas candies fly off of a conveyor belt.) See’s sources its precious cacao from Guittard

filled with chocolates, just as so many

Chocolate, a family-owned factory founded in 1868

of us do—especially at holiday time.

and located in Burlingame, just 5 miles from the San Francisco kitchen. A great many other confection-

The first See’s Candies store opened in 1921 on

ers who use Guittard charge customers $75 or more a

Western Avenue in what is now Koreatown. Founder

pound for their products, but a 1-pound assortment

Charles A. See used the recipes and an image of his

of See’s starts at under $24.50. That’s pricier than the

mother, Mary, to create the flavor profile and brand

50 cents a pound that the boxes fetched at the height

identity that stands to this day. Her recipes for fudge

of the Great Depression, but in today’s candy market,

and Victoria toffee—both available during holidays—

See’s remains a bargain.

are still used. By the time World War II erupted, See’s was so

The company was family-owned until 1972 when it was purchased by current owner Warren Buffett. The

popular that the company urged customers to be more

billionaire told shareholders in a 2019 meeting that the

conservative in their purchases and to buy war bonds

company’s outlook is sweeter than ever. “We put $25

instead. Today, the company’s two kitchens in South

million into it,” he said, “and it’s given us over $2 bil-

San Francisco and Los Angeles collectively produce 26

lion of pretax income, well over $2 billion, and we’ve

million pounds of candy per year.

used it to buy other businesses.”

The original candy kitchen in San Francisco debuted

See’s is marking this milestone anniversary with

in 1936. The Los Angeles facility and the South San

boxes of centennial assortments that contain classic

Francisco headquarters came along in the mid-1950s.

pieces like the Molasses Chips as well as newer ones

In 2018, I got a chance to tour the South San Francisco

such as the Raspberry Truffle. Also available are two

kitchen, which was fascinating.

limited-edition Centennial Sweets—jars of Lemon

The kitchen combines state-of-the art technology

Drops and Peanut Butter Bites—as well as Centennial-

with old-school equipment such as the massive copper

branded tote bags, mugs, and even a miniature replica

kettles—still the best way to make ingredients like but-

of the Graham Brothers delivery trucks that the com-

tercream filling. An intricate system of pipes carries

pany used back in the Roaring 20s.

liquid chocolate around the building like veins bringing

It’s See’s first centennial anniversary, but Buffet and

lifeblood to the heart. Willy Wonka got us all fantasiz-

its legions of fans are betting that it won’t be the last,

ing about pipes filled with chocolate, but here they are

as new generations of sweets lovers give and receive

in actual practice.

those coveted white boxes. ■

Humans, many of them with the company for decades, are also involved in the process. They sort for

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THE CALIFORNIA MEDIA AND CONTENT COMPANY.

Explore our brands at

goldenstate.is


@ourgoldenstate


something in the water WITH IMMUNITY AND GOOD HEALTH IN MIND NOW MORE THAN EVER, HEAD OFF THE BEATEN PATH TO REJUVENATE IN THE THERMAL WATERS OF THE SPRINGS RESORT & SPA IN COLORADO. Written by Linda Grasso

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I’ve been to a lot of spas and resorts

the New Mexico border on the western slope of the

aimed at health and wellness, but I’ve

Continental Divide, at 7,126 feet above sea level. This

never experienced anything quite like

combination of high desert plateau and the Rocky

The Springs Resort in picturesque Pagosa Springs, Colorado, population 2,000. Situated about an hour’s drive from the cowboy town of

Mountains creates a mild climate, especially in the summer months. Pagosa sees around 300 days of sun each year, as well as four distinct seasons. I visited in fall and got a chance to see the leaves

Durango (closest airport) on the banks of the trout-filled

changing. Another great time to go: July or August, when

San Juan River, The Springs is built around a true natural

wildflower season is in full swing. If you choose to visit

wonder: the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world.

in winter, wrap your stay around skiing at mom-and-

The sight is mesmerizing: a large rock formation emits

pop Wolf Creek Ski Area; it boasts the most snow in

steam amid a vibrant, aqua-colored pool. The Mother

Colorado and is just a 20-minute drive away. After taxing

Spring, as locals call it, feeds 25 smaller pools. The water

your muscles, you’ll welcome a rejuvenating soak in The

originates from 6,000 feet below the surface—a result of

Springs’ healing waters.

volcanic activity. It contains 13 minerals, including potas-

Don’t expect high-end dining and restaurant service at

sium, magnesium, zinc, lithium, iron and manganese.

this resort. The food is tasty and fresh, but uber casual. As

Such mineral-rich water promotes healthy skin, low-

are the rooms—clean and comfortable, but rudimentary.

ers blood pressure, strengthens bones and muscles, and

This place is all about the wellness benefits of the hot

increases energy.

springs–with a little local fun mixed in. Here’s a sug-

The town of Pagosa Springs is 35 miles north of

gested itinerary for a three-night visit.

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ARRIVAL EVENING

Gaze up at the vibrant formations while listening to a lecture

Go easy after a day of travel and dine outside overlook-

from the local astronomy experts, the San Juan Stargazers.

ing the soaking pools and San Juan River at the resort’s Barefoot Grill. After dinner, dip into one of the pools, which range from

DAY 2 Head across the bridge to the popular, mountain-chic Root

98 to 104 degrees. If you book the Crystal Sound Bowl expe-

House Coffee + Shop for breakfast. Walls are reclaimed barn

rience, you’ll soak to deeply relaxing, reverberating sounds

wood; seating includes plush leather Murano chairs. The

of crystal singing bowls being played by a resort therapist.

cute married couple who own the coffee house—interior designers by trade—are about to be featured in their own

DAY 1 Kick off the day with 8 a.m. aqua yoga. During class you

HGTV show. Don’t miss their homemade cinnamon bun. Walk off those calories with a guided Forest Bathing Hike

are right-side up and fully immersed in deep stretching

on Reservoir Hill. The idea is to bathe yourself in the sights

and muscle toning.

and sounds of the forest.

Grab a bite at the on-site Cafe eatery. Splurge on

Keep your hiking shoes on to walk in the footsteps of the

crepes, a specialty. Take a leisurely stroll along the paved

Ancestral Puebloans at Chimney Rock National Monument,

Riverwalk as it snakes along the water. Veer off into the

a 20-minute ride away. On your guided tour, learn about

charming town, where you’ll find shops and eateries.

the archaeological structures and artifacts, how they lived

Back at The Springs, take a quick soak and then luxuri-

and how they survived—their average lifespan was 30

ate in a spa treatment or two. The wellness program has

years. The site contains 200 ancient homes and ceremonial

recently been redesigned by industry veteran Sharon Holtz,

buildings. At the peak, you’ll revel in 360-degree views of

formerly of Terranea in Palos Verdes. I tried the signa-

Colorado and New Mexico.

ture 60-minute Magnesium Muscle Melt because I’m a

Enjoy a leisurely dinner at Pagosa’s upscale eatery, Alley

big believer in the benefits of that particular mineral. The

House Grill. Surroundings are elegant; the Americana food

treatment was heavenly. After a complete body exfoliation,

is fresh and delicious. A nice wine selection and inventive

a shea body butter is applied, followed by a massage with a

cocktail menu cap off the experience.

woodsy, citrusy aromatic oil. Take a 20-minute drive to the scenic overlook of the

DEPARTURE DAY

Pagosa Valley for some Instagram pics. Or even better, have

On your way out of Pagosa, stop at Blondie’s Fruit Stand for

the front desk arrange a sunset hot-air balloon ride for

local goods. Pick up a dried Hatch Chile ristra and a bag of

some mind-blowing views.

sweet Adobe Milling Anasazi pinto beans.

Head over to local hot spot Riff Raff Brewing Company.

If time allows, explore the charming town of Durango,

Order an artisan flight and sip beer produced by geothermal

only 20 minutes from the airport. With friendly store clerks

energy. (The brewery harnesses the heat from the resort’s

and throwback prices, Durango is a distinctive experience.

Mother Spring.) Try the green chili ale—just the right

Much, in fact, like The Springs Resort & Spa. ■

amount of heat. Stroll through town and choose an eatery that suits your fancy. The Mexican food at Kip’s Grill & Cantina is excellent. Back at the resort, take some time to enjoy the night sky.

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The Springs Resort & Spa pagosahotsprings.com 800-225-0934


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PHILANTHROPIC VANGUARDS Amid the holiday season, we offer a salute to some of the people and organizations in our community working to better the lives of others. We hope you enjoy and get inspired by this Philanthropic Vanguards profiles section. Discover what these beacons of the Valley are doing and explore ways of how you too can help.

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MICHAEL & REBECCA NEIDORF HEART OF THE BRAIN FOUNDATION

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INTERSECT LOS ANGELES PAWSITIVE CHANGE

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PAULA DAVIS PROVIDENCE SAINT JOSEPH FOUNDATION

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CLAUDIA & SANDY SAMUELS PROVIDENCE TARZANA FOUNDATION

WRITTEN BY LAURA L. WATTS PHOTOGRAPHED BY TAMEKA JACOBS & SHANE O’DONNELL

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


PHILANTHROPIC VANGUARDS

L to R: Michael Neidorf, Isabel Neidorf, Becky Neidorf

Featured Charity:

MICHAEL & REBECCA NEIDORF

L

os Angeles-based nonprofit organization Heart of the Brain was formed in 2018 by Michael and Becky Neidorf with a mission to find a cure for brain cancer. Their daughter, Isabel, was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable oligodendroglioma brain tumor in 2003. She has endured thousands of seizures over her lifetime, causing learning disabilities and cognitive delays. Now age 23, Isabel has persevered thanks to the cutting-edge treatments at UCLA. Heart of the Brain fundraises to support research at UCLA’s Brain Tumor Center, with the goal of developing earlier detection techniques, discovering new and improved treatments, and ultimately preventing the disease altogether. Colette Weintraub works with the Neidorf family as executive director of Heart of the Brain.

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WHY DOES HEART OF THE BRAIN FOUNDATION SUPPORT THE UCLA BRAIN TUMOR CENTER? “We are trying to bring more awareness to this disease. We don’t know how much it’s going to take, but what we do know is to do nothing is unacceptable. The work at UCLA has kept our daughter alive for 18 years.” WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENTS DURING THE RECENT CRISIS? “We still had tremendous support in spite of a worldwide pandemic and raised more than $400,000 last year. Hopefully we will reach $500,000 this year.” WHAT ARE SOME WAYS WE CAN ALL BE OF HELP TO OTHERS AS THE HOLIDAY SEASON APPROACHES? “We believe that it’s important to give back and pay it forward. We are a young and emerging nonprofit foundation with a big

HEART OF THE BRAIN FOUNDATION 310-481-5000 | hotb.org

heart and an even bigger goal. Together we can make a difference and help support the doctors who work hard on behalf of patients to find a cure. Every dollar brings us one step closer, and we are very grateful for the help of our supporters. Thanks to the generosity of our corporate partners, 100% of your donation goes to brain cancer research and treatment.” TELL US ABOUT A LOCAL HERO. “Our brave hero is our daughter, Isabel. She is the driving force for our foundation, the best gift we ever received and our inspiration. She has been an active participant in our foundation, and for the past five years during the holidays she has provided gifts for the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. Isabel recently graduated from the Pathway at UCLA Extension, an educational program for students with intellectual and other developmental challenges.”

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PHILANTHROPIC VANGUARDS

INTERSECT LOS ANGELES Michelle Stevenson, Founder

Featured Charity:

PAWSITIVE CHANGE 661-556-7178 | marleysmutts.org

M

ichelle Stevenson began making candles as a hobby in 2015. She had worked in high-end retail management, founded a dog training business, and also worked with dog and cat rescue organizations. In 2018 she launched Intersect Candles with the mission of “Intersecting our passion for the home with our love of animals.” The company uses unique blends of safe, premium, crueltyfree ingredients—such as coconut and soy waxes and essential oils—to create a variety of candles. They donate more than 10% of their profits to the nonprofit Pawsitive Change. WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO SUPPORT THIS CHARITY? “I chose Pawsitive Change because I believe strongly in rehabilitation of humans, and I have a love and passion for animals. Pawsitive Change (aka Marley’s Mutts) is a rescue group that partners death row dogs with incarcerated inmates who apply to be part of this program. Once approved, inmates are given a dog for 14 weeks. Dogs live with the inmates, who are trained weekly by professionals from Marley’s Mutts on how to rehabilitate the dogs—working on socialization, basic obedience and manners. At the end of the 14 weeks, dogs are given a Canine Good Citizen certificate and then adopted by their forever families (sometimes by the inmates’ family members). The inmates learn a rewarding vocation; 50% of those who have been through the Pawsitive Change program and were later released now work in the dog service industry.” WHY SHOULD WE SUPPORT LOCAL NONPROFITS? “Simply put, they need our help.” TELL US ABOUT A LOCAL HERO YOU KNOW. “Zach Skow, the founder of Pawsitive Change and Marley’s Mutts. He has 13 years of sobriety and was near end-of-life prior to finding his calling to create a foundation of hope and opportunity for incarcerated people and pets so both may find a path home.” WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENTS DURING THE RECENT CRISIS? “Having the perspective of thinking globally and not selfishly. And vaccination.” WHAT ARE YOU ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL FOR TODAY? “Being of service to others without expectation.”

Michelle with Tessa and Bella

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WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE PROFESSIONALLY IN 2021? “I hope to continue to grow the business and find homes in additional boutique retail stores, in the hopes of giving back even more to Pawsitive Change.”

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PHILANTHROPIC VANGUARDS

PAULA DAVIS Featured Charity:

PROVIDENCE SAINT JOSEPH FOUNDATION 818-847-4673 | supportsaintjoseph.org

P

aula Davis and her husband and high school sweetheart, Tim, raised two children, Renee and Tim Jr., while also managing an insurance claims business. They started the firm in their garage, and grew it over four decades into a nationwide franchise corporation employing more than 120 people locally, with 160 franchise locations. Having spent more than 30 years as an executive at the company she cofounded, Paula is now semiretired, though she retains her title of vice chair of Woodland Capitol Holdings. She devotes much of her time to her five grandkids, philanthropy and other interests. Tim and Paula are major donors to Providence Saint Joseph Foundation and are recognized as Mission Leaders. They are also generous donors to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Woodbury University and YMCA of Burbank. Paula was recently invited to join the board of directors of Providence Saint Joseph Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the health and well-being of area residents—especially those who are poor or vulnerable. The foundation raises funds to benefit the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, helping the hospital purchase items not otherwise covered through the operating budget such as medical equipment, clinical education and training, and technology. WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT LIVING IN THE VALLEY? “There is such a community feeling here in Toluca Lake. Everyone has a sense of belonging. We all come together in a time of need. We are supportive of the community and each other. It truly is such an amazing community to be a part of.”

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SHOULD EVERYONE GET INVOLVED IN NONPROFIT WORK? “It’s a little bit addicting! If you’re capable of giving, you should. It is a privilege to give back—incredibly gratifying and inspiring. And in some ways I feel it is our obligation.” HOW DID YOU BECOME CONNECTED WITH THE PROVIDENCE SAINT JOSEPH FOUNDATION? “We gave our first gift to Providence Saint Joseph in 2001 supporting the Disney Cancer Center. I was asked in 2016 by my friend Judy Angel to cochair the Minutes Matter campaign to raise $78 million to fund a much-needed new emergency department and urgent care facility at Saint Joseph’s. We started at ground zero and put together a committee made up mostly of close friends, with the goal to raise $5 million in Toluca Lake for the critically important imaging center within the emergency department. At one magical event, we raised $850,000 in donations and pledges in a single evening. We have raised slightly more than $5 million and are still going.” WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF SINCE BECOMING INVOLVED WITH THE FOUNDATION? “I have learned so much about myself since becoming cochair of the Toluca Lake Committee. I learned that I was more of a leader than I ever thought I was. I’ve learned I can confidently speak in front of people, and they listen. When you speak from your heart and truly believe in what you are doing, you can actually make a difference. This entire experience has been a gift to me. I received so much more than I gave. It is time well spent doing something for the good of everyone.”

ARE THERE HOSPITAL LEADERS TO WHOM YOU ARE CLOSE? “I’m mostly close with the emergency department physicians and caregivers through my involvement with the emergency services campaign: Dr. Campen, Dr. Sato, Dr. Simic and Debbie Buffham, as well as Dr. Mena—an amazing oncologist at the Disney Family Cancer Center who also serves on the board.” WHAT OTHER ORGANIZATIONS OR CAUSES DO YOU SUPPORT? “I’m involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and have a very personal connection to it. For many years I was a member of La Providencia Guild for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. We are also donors of Woodbury University and YMCA Burbank.” WHAT ARE SOME WAYS WE CAN ALL BE OF HELP TO OTHERS AS THE HOLIDAY SEASON APPROACHES? “We can all be a lot kinder. Kindness goes such a long way. You never know what someone is going through or what kind of day they’re having. Simply being kind could change someone’s entire mood. It’s so simple but so meaningful. Do things for others. We host a family in need for the holidays, and it is such a rewarding experience.” WHAT ARE YOU ESPECIALLY GRATEFUL FOR TODAY? “I’m grateful for my health, my friends and my incredible family.”

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PHILANTHROPIC VANGUARDS

CLAUDIA & SANDY SAMUELS Featured Charity:

PROVIDENCE TARZANA FOUNDATION 818-757-4384 | tarzanafoundation.org

D

r. Claudia W. Samuels was born in New York and moved to the Los Angeles area with her family when she was a teenager. She graduated from Granada Hills High School and attended the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and the University of Southern California. While earning her master’s and doctorate degrees, Claudia taught undergraduate classes at both UCLA and USC. She also taught English at the American Jewish University. Claudia worked for various antiquities galleries in Beverly Hills and coauthored the book The Numismatic Legacy of the Jews. Sandy Samuels attended Fairfax High School, where he met Claudia at a Latin Club party. He then attended Princeton University. Claudia and Sandy both graduated from college in 1974 and were married shortly thereafter. Sandy attended UCLA Law School and practiced as a financial services attorney for more than 40 years. He is a professor at both Loyola Law School and California State University, Northridge. In 1979, Sandy and Claudia moved “over the hill” to the San Fernando Valley and purchased their first house in Van Nuys. They have been Valley residents ever since, now residing in Encino—a stone’s throw from Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center. Together they have raised three children, now in their 30s, and they have one granddaughter. WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THE VALLEY? “Everything we want is available in the Valley without the hustle and bustle of the city. The area boasts lots of wide streets, much greenery and an abundance of breathing room. Our synagogue, where we have met many lifelong friends, is located in Valley Village. There are plenty of cultural and

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entertainment venues only a few exits away on the 101 Freeway. Plus, the world-class Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center is right in our midst.” WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK THAT THE MEDICAL CENTER DOES? “This is embodied in its mission: ‘Compassionate care for the poor and vulnerable.’ We are never more vulnerable than when we are in the hospital. Having a hospital that provides such compassionate care available in our community is invaluable. Several of our family members and some of our dearest friends have found themselves at Tarzana Medical Center at one time or another. Our three children were born in the hospital, and each of us has been in the emergency department over the years. We experienced ‘compassionate care’ from the inside, and we reflect on this with a large measure of gratitude. Actually experiencing the Providence mission is aweinspiring. Each doctor, nurse and health care professional we have encountered seemed to embody the mission intuitively.” HOW DID YOU BECOME CONNECTED WITH THIS FOUNDATION? “In 2011, Claudia was invited to become a board member by the late Earl Greinetz, the first chair of Providence Tarzana Foundation board of governors, and by Patty Williams, who was then serving as the director of the foundation.” WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A GIFT? “Having a strong foundation with a strong culture of philanthropy is like icing on the cake. It enables the medical center to acquire cutting-edge equipment, like the da Vinci Robot, the Ion machine used in thoracic surgery, Giraffe beds for the NICU and much

more! Being a member of the Providence Tarzana Foundation board of governors has reinforced the tremendous value of philanthropy directed toward Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center—a precious gem in the midst of our community. And philanthropy directed to the Providence Tarzana Foundation is a fantastic opportunity for grateful patients to express their gratitude. Additionally, it is important to note that the Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center is so welcoming to the large Jewish community that resides in the region. The new hospital will continue its long-standing tradition of putting mezuzahs on the doors of all rooms in the new medical tower and will provide a multifaith presence throughout the medical center.” WHAT DO YOU HOPE THE MEDICAL CENTER WILL ACHIEVE IN THE FUTURE? “The new five-story medical tower just received a $50 million gift this year from Don and Andrea Friese, and the Tarzana Medical Center is on its way to reaching its fundraising goal through the Tarzana Reimagined campaign, led by our foundation campaign chair Claire Marks and by our board chair Dr. Jerry Einziger. At the forefront of leading research, clinical trials, and surgical and interventional cardiac care, our doctors are known for their continuing dedication to the advancement of heart and vascular treatment. The Providence Tarzana Foundation will be looking to fund more projects, including cuttingedge medical equipment and a newly renovated cardiology department. And in the neurosciences, Cedars-Sinai and Providence are building a Comprehensive Stroke Center within the next few years. The partnership with Cedars-Sinai is an important milestone in achieving all of these goals.”

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION



SEEN

Evening to Remember The Toluca Estates home of Donald and Elizabeth Savant was the site of an elegant benefit orchestrated by philanthropist Paula Davis for the Minutes Matter More Than Ever campaign to build a stateof-the-art emergency department at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. With a poolside cabaret performance by Eric McCormack, the event raised more than $500,000.

Tatyana Landau and John Landau

Timothy Davis, Paula Davis, Eric McCormack, Janet McCormack, Elizabeth Savant, Sofia Savant, Donald Savant

Paula Davis and Joe Candido

Edward Romano, Dr. Dan DeHovitz, Dr. David Sato, Vivian DeHovitz

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Fred Roggin, Robert Carter, Darlene Carter

Susan Georgino and Victor Georgino


SEEN

Marc Sedaka, Samantha Sedaka, Janet McCormack

Mark Goldman and Sara Goldman

The Aquabatix swimmers performed for the crowd.

Angela Khurdajian, Timothy Davis, Steve Srour, Orit Srour

Gino Angelini, Elizabeth Angelini, Mickie Zupancic, Dean Zupancic

Walter Hill and Bonnie Hill

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SEEN

Laugh In WeSPARK Cancer Support Center celebrated their 20th anniversary at the Skirball Cultural Center with May Contain Nuts! A Night of Comedy. WeSPARK Executive Director Nancy Allen was honored for her 20 years of service and dedication to the nonprofit. Master of Ceremonies Alonzo Bodden kicked off the program, which featured Kevin Nealon, Wendy Liebman and Tom Papa. The funds generated through the special evening benefit WeSPARK, which enhances the quality of life for cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones through its free programs and services.

Marcus Miller, Brenda Miller, Marcella Gibson, Alonzo Bodden

Rachelle Carson Begley and Ed Begley Jr.

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Sharlene Miyagishima and Kevin Nealon

Scott Williams, Nancy Allen, Bob Gale


SEEN

Block Party My Valley Pass hosted the 1st Annual Totally Valley Block Party at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks. The event featured local food vendors and breweries, live music, and games. Proceeds from the beer garden benefit

PHOTOS BY JARED COWAN

Hope of the Valley.

Physical Feats Sherman Oaks resident Max Wiseman (16) finished fourth in his age category and 72nd out 1,565 participants at the Malibu Triathalon. His efforts raised more than $17,500 for pediatric cancer research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Bob Iger and Max Wiseman

Dr. Alan Wayne, Michael Sandler, Max Wiseman

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R E A L E S TAT E

Top of Dixie Canyon near Mulholland Stunning views, tennis court, pool and amazing private grounds. 3610 Dixie Canyon Ave | Sherman Oaks

Andrew Manning

5BD, 5.5BA | Apx 6,911 SqFt | Over 1 Acre Lot

REALTOR®️ - Luxury Property Specialist

Offered at $6,395,000

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CA Properties

http://3610dixiecanyon.com

818-380-2147 | DRE #00941825 andrew@andrewmanning.com


GEORGE OUZOUNIAN

GINA MICHELLE

• Ranked Top 1% in the Nation 2019,2020,2021 / Real Trends • • Los Angeles Business Journal, Most Dynamic Broker 2021 • • LA Magazine Top 100 Real Estate Agent Teams in L.A. County • • LA Magazine Real Estate All Stars, 2020, 2021 •

The Agency Top Producer Chairman award 2020 - George Ouzounian The Agency Top Producer All-Star Award 2020 - Gina Michelle “George Ouzounian is not only considered to be in the top l % of brokers in the country, but I think he is the best in the country. He is so knowledgeable, caring, considerate and reliable. He took care of everything for me, every step of the way, from the beginning to the end, the same as if I was his own family. In my book he is wonderful. If you want first class, trustworthy, and the best, it’s George Ouzounian and his team at the Agency.” --JB

“Best agent and broker experience to date - in our Sale and our purchase. I’ve purchased and sold 8 homes in the last 20 years and never have seen a harder working team! You don’t just get Gina but her team. Never have we had personal service through every step from offer, inspections and close. They make it easy and advocate for you! Others have just given us the MLS and made us look on our own. They are the perfect balance of tech and personal interaction. Hire them!” --JT

WHO YOU WORK WITH MATTERS. GEORGE OUZOUNIAN Director, Estates Division m: 818 900.4259 DRE# 01948763

THE AGENCY A Global Marketing and Sales Organization THEAGENCYRE.COM

GINA MICHELLE Director, Estates Division m: 818 850 1458 DRE# 01503003


MOST NOTABLE RECENT SALES

16836 Marmaduke Pl | Encino

11480 Amanda Dr | Studio City

Closed at $8,695,000 Represented Seller

Closed at $5,995,000 Represented Buyer

17970 Rancho Dr | Encino

1432 N. Kings Rd | Hollywood Hills

Closed at $5,850,000 Represented Buyer

Closed at $3,925,000 Represented Seller

21149 Entrada Rd | Topanga

5150 Gaynor Ave | Encino

Closed at $3,800,000 Represented Buyer

Closed at $3,500,000 Represented Seller

13804 Valley Vista Blvd | Sherman Oaks

25490 Prado Del Bellotas | Calabasas

Closed at $3,500,000 Represented Seller

Closed at $3,350,000 Represented Buyer




ng Co

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MATTEPSTEIN.COM SOMATT@AOL.COM 818-681-2000

to

Matt Epstein #1 #2 #5

Agent San Fernando Valley Agent Los Angeles Agent Nationwide for

Top one-half of 1 percent of more than 1,250,000 REALTORS® nationwide

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Follow me on Facebook: MattEpsteinRealty Follow me on Twitter: @SoMattEpstein Follow me on Instagram: @MattEpsteinRealEstate

CalBRE# 01121162

With proven results from the market leader, why call anybody else?

Dreaming about getting away from it all, and yet it’s difficult during these unprecedented times. Just an hour away in Oxnard, Ventura and Santa Barbara the dream of long luxurious days by the ocean, kayaking through a harbor, bicycling near the beach and watching sea lions, dolphins and pelicans sounds pretty good - doesn’t it?

3550 Alana Dr. – SC- $1,975,000 3Br+2.5Ba in 2,680 SqFt on a 14,326 SqFt Lot- Beautiful one story mid century ranch home in Sherman Oaks. Situated on a 14,000 sq ft lot. It features lots of natural light, hardwood floors, open floor plan, fireplace, and much more. The backyard has a covered patio that overlooks the manicured and lush backyard.

1257 Brockton Ave PH#4– LA- $1,200,000 3Br+2Ba in 1,720 SqFt on a 13,368 SqFt Lot – Amazing 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom penthouse in a secure building in a prime Westside location. It features an open floor plan, formal dining area opens to a spacious living room with a fireplace. The sunny balcony offers views of Palos Verde & Catalina Island on a good day (and downtown every day), which makes this unit ideal for entertaining. This home also offers an In-unit washer and dryer, guest parking, and additional storage space.

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13952 Davana Ter - SO- $2,350,000 4Br+3.5 Ba in 3,308 SqFt on a 6,208 SqFt Lot- This stunning & sophisticated remodeled home in Sherman Oaks. Features 4 bd and 3.5 ba, views of the neighborhood three fireplaces throughout and much more. The backyard has a large covered patio and grassy yard to run & play. There are designer touches throughout which help to create a stunning home to be enjoyed.

SO LD

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I’ve been assisting many of our clients who are now buying weekend/ vacation homes in Ventura and Santa Barbara County. Call me if you’re interested, and I’ll show you how that feeling of vacation can be yours more than just once a year!

13328 Galewood St.– SO- $1,600,000 3Br+3 Ba in 1,854 SqFt on a 9,258 SqFt Lot– This beautifully landscaped one-story home located in one of the best neighborhoods in Sherman Oaks. It features a large open living room w/ a fireplace & floor to ceiling windows with a view of the valley, dining area & a modern kitchen. The backyard has heirloom roses, lemon, olive, & apple trees that add to the beauty and joy of California living. This 1953 home is GreenPoint Rated, highly insulated with a new, hyper-efficient HVAC, level-2 electric car charger, and new, energy-efficient washer dryer. 11680 Sunshine Ter.– SO - $1,180,000- 2Br+2Ba in 1,484 SqFt on a 6,686 SqFt LotCharming 2 bd 2 ba home in prime Studio City neighborhood s. of Ventura Blvd. Hardwood floors run throughout this beautiful home which is filled w/ windows & lots of great natural light. Very large living room w/ brick fireplace & a fantastic wood-paneled vaulted ceiling dining room/ family room. And to top it off there’s a beautiful backyard with multiple sitting areas w/ room for a pool. Also includes a two-car garage.

Call for your FREE market analysis! © 2019 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS. Buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information.


Nobody does it better...

Fine Estates®

coming soon Amestoy Estates $5,395,000 Brand New Single Story

sold

sold

16957 Encino Hills Drive, Encino $2,500,000 Encino Hills

4903 Woodley Avenue, Encino $2,399,000 Encino – Hesby K-8 School

18164 Chardon Circle, Encino $2,335,000 Lake Encino

sold

sold

sold

sold

sold 5212 Lubao Avenue, Woodland Hills $2,300,000 Woodland Hills So. of Blvd.

17177 Adlon Road, Encino $2,200,000 Encino Hills

17035 Oak View Drive, Encino $2,001,000 Encino Hills

5414 Genesta Avenue, Encino $1,799,000 Amestoy Estates

sold

sold

sold

sold

4903 Newcastle Avenue, Encino $1,783,000 Encino South with ADU

4411 Gloria Avenue, Encino $1,700,000 Encino Cul-De-Sac

17130 Clemons Drive, Encino $1,550,000 Encino Hills

5814 Graves Avenue, Encino $1,007,000 Encino Village

818.285.3688 www.CarolWolfe.com DRE #00477745

WALL STREET JOURNAL


$2,000,000,000+

CLOSED TRANSACTIONS Lifetime Sales Volume

Type to enter text

5,500+ CLOSED SALES Lifetime Estimated Sales Transactions

INNUMERABLE

SATISFIED CLIENTS Andrew was the #5 Individual Agent Nationwide for BHHSCP Network in 2020 Proud to be Named Among “The Thousand” Winners as One of the Nation's Top 1,000 REALTORS® Curious to Know What Your Home is Worth? Call Andrew for a Complimentary Market Evaluation Anytime

FEATURED LISTING

25305 Prado de la Felicidad l Calabasas Estates of the Oaks l Villa Bellezza is an Italianate tour-de-force masterpiece l 7BD l 10BA l Apx 15,745 SqFt Home l Built 2019 l Set upon apx 1.28 usable acres Offered at: $29,995,000 l Co-listed with REALTOR® Chris Lucibello l BHHSCP l DRE: 01885864

FEATURED LISTING

3610 Dixie Canyon Ave l Sherman Oaks 5BD l 6.5BA l Apx. 6,911 SqFt Home l Expansive Gated Private 1+ Acre Lot l Now offered at: $6,395,000

Presented by

ANDREW MANNING l REALTOR® Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices CA Properties 14141 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks CA 91423

818 380 2147 PH l andrew@andrewmanning.com DRE LIC #: 00941825 © 2021 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHHS and the BHHS symbol are registered service marks of Columbia Insurance Company, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting this information. Based on information obtained from the MLS as of (include the date data was obtained). Display of MLS data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the MLS. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. Listing status may have changed by the publication date. Buyer is advised to verify current status at the time of publication.


MICHAEL BERGIN |

LUXURY ESTATES DIRECTOR

OV E R $ 4 2 M I L L I O N S O L D I N 2 0 2 1 YO U R G O -TO R E A L E S TAT E E X P E R T

JUST SOLD

5115 Encino Avenue, Encino

$8,995,000

7 Beds

7.5 Baths

9,000± Sqft Living Space

Represented Buyer

HANCOCK PARK

TO L U C A L A K E

C H AT S W O R T H

SAN GABRIEL

STUDIO CITY

VALLEY VILLAGE

GLENDALE

VA L L E Y G L E N

THOUSAND OAKS

W E S T H O L LY W O O D

ENCINO

STUDIO CITY

I N T E R N AT I O N A L

For Sale - New York

LOS ANGELES | NEW YORK | HAMPTONS | UK | FRANCE | MIAMI | SPAIN | ITALY SAN FRANCISCO | PORTUGAL | FT LAUDERDALE | RUSSIA | DUBAI | ASPEN

For Sale - Talum, Mexico

Michael Bergin Luxury Estates Director 310.600.0715 Michael@MichaelBergin.com DRE 01845572

Your #1 Real Estate Expert Compass is a licensed real estate broker and abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdraw without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. Exact dimensions can be obtained by retaining the services of an architect or engineer. This is not intended to solicit property already listed.


SUSANNA NAGY Your local real estate expert $50+ Million Sold YTD in 2021 | #1 in Client Service

SUSA N N A N AGY | (8 1 8) 4 8 1 -1 602 | ZN AGY@ K W.CO M Susanna Nagy, Realtor Keller Williams DRE#01832306 Each office is independently owned and operated


Oren David Mordkowitz ESTATES DIRECTOR | REALTOR ®

818-933-5866 JUST LISTED

5320LouiseAve.com

CalDRE License #01246402

oren@orenestates.com JUST LISTED

IN ESCROW

2022SBentley102.com

5320 Louise Ave. | Encino | $3,495,000 2022 S. Bentley Ave. #102 | Westwood | $879,000 17218 Rancho St. | Encino | $2,489,000

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

12847 Titian Ave. | Granada Hills | $955,000 4714 Park Granada #202 | Calabasas | $618,000 17711 Corinthian Dr. | Encino | $1,699,000

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

4721 Alonzo Ave. | Encino | $2,520,000 17821 Twilight Ln. | Encino | $3,589,000 4149 Adlon Pl. | Encino | $2,100,000

SOLD

SOLD

SOLD

4944 Garden Grove Ave. | Tarzana | $1,189,000 16456 Westfall Pl. | Encino | $1,989,000 4915 Rupert Ave. | Encino | $2,499,000

Curious what your home is worth? Contact Oren for a complimentary home analysis!

OrenEstates.com



ACTIVE 14860 VALLEY VISTA BOULEVARD, SHERMAN OAKS | $2,695,000

ACTIVE

ACTIVE

ACTIVE

10225 VALLEY SPRING LN, TOLUCA LAKE $3,295,000

4202 NAVAJO AVE, TOLUCA LAKE $2,590,000

10531 VALLEY SPRING LN, TOLUCA LAKE $2,495,000

PENDING 4650 FORMAN AVE, TOLUCA LAKE $5,195,000

PENDING

SOLD

23 TOLUCA ESTATES DR, TOLUCA LAKE $4,495,000

3621 SHADY OAK RD, STUDIO CITY $3,825,000

CRAIG STRONG DRE # 01450987 VP, Luxury Home Sales Top 1 % Nationwide #1 Individual Agent Companywide 1.3+ Billion Total Sales Volume strongrealtor.com

Compass does not guarantee the accuracy of square footage, lot size, or other information concerning the condition or features of the property provided by the seller or obtained from public records and other sources and the buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of that information. CalBRE 01450987


17143 ADLON ROAD

EN CIN O HIL L S | $ 7, 499,90 0

6310 MIRROR L AKE

L A K E H O L LY W O O D | $ 6, 299,0 0 0

6 BEDS | 7.5 B AT HS | 8, 4 0 0 S Q . F T. | 23, 493 S Q . F T. L O T

6 BEDS | 8.5 B AT HS | 6,50 0 S Q . F T. | 10,14 3 S Q . F T. L O T

5100 SOPHIA AVENUE

5750 KES TER

EN CIN O | $ 3,995,0 0 0

VA N NU YS | $ 3,98 0,0 0 0

6 BEDS | 6.5 B AT HS | 5,057 S Q . F T. | 10, 247 S Q . F T. L O T

16 BEDS | 12 B AT HS | 8, 4 0 0 S Q . F T. | 6, 249 S Q . F T. L O T | IN E S CR OW

24309 BURBANK BLVD.

4177 FAIR AVENUE

W O O D L A ND HIL L S | $1, 499,0 0 0

4 BEDS | 2 B AT HS | 1,94 4 S Q . F T. | 10,0 07 S Q . F T. L O T

DANIELLE PERE T Z

DANIELLE.PERE T Z@THE AGENCYRE.COM 818.644.1477 LIC. #01897529

S T UDIO CI T Y | $1, 299,0 0 0 | IN E S C R O W

3 BEDS | 2 B AT HS | 1,596 S Q . F T. | 6,320 S Q . F T. L O T


ALG

A D I L I V YATA N GROUP

16041 Woodvale Rd | Encino

FEATURED

9 Bed | 13 Bath | Approx: 19,500 sq ft | 55,103 sqft lot Offered at: $26,000,000

ALG GROUP

Adi Livyatan

New Construction and Luxury Home Specialist Wall Street Journal Ranked #15 in CA | #28 in the Nation Mobile: 818.919.4060 • Office: 818.285.3220 Email: adilivyatan@yahoo.com

www.AdiLivyatan.com

DRE# 1892750

SOLD OVE R $25 0 M I LLION I N 2 0 2 0


THE DINSKY TEAM JUST LISTED

12810 WADDELL ST | VALLEY VILLAGE 4 BD | 3 BA | 2,514 SF | 6,579 SF LOT

JUST LISTED

4218 FARMDALE AVE | STUDIO CITY 3 BD | 2 BA | 2,161 SF | 6,756 SF LOT

3167 LAUREL CANYON | STUDIO CITY

IN ESCROW

15247 SUTTON ST | SHERMAN OAKS

15284 RAYNETA DR | SHERMAN OAKS 3 BD | 3 BA | 1,582 SF | 5,389 SF LOT

IN ESCROW

IN ESCROW

4610 CEDROS AVE | SHERMAN OAKS

JUST LISTED

IN ESCROW

11847 LAURELWOOD #205 | STUDIO CITY

IN ESCROW SOLD

11934 HARTSOOK ST | VALLEY VILLAGE

JUST SOLD

11520 DONA PEPTIA PL | STUDIO CITY

LET US SHOW YOU WHY WE TRULY ARE THE BEST VALUE IN REAL ESTATE.

ANDREW DINSKY 310.729.3393 Andrew@TheDinskyTeam.com DRE #01724985

THEDINSKYTEAM.COM

Each office is independently owned and operated. The information contained herein has been obtained through sources deemed reliable but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy. Buyer to verify accuracy of information. DRE #01724985 & #01811831


T H E # 1 A G E N T AT W I S H S O T H E B Y ’ S I N T E R N AT I O N A L R E A LT Y

JUST LISTED

JUST LISTED

JUST SOLD

JUST SOLD

3541 Valley Meadow Road

14558 Valley Vista Boulevard

4220 Sunnyslope Avenue

11130 Blix Street

JUST SOLD

3100 Doña Clara Place

JUST SOLD

4132 Wilkinson Avenue

MICHAEL J. OKUN B R O K E R A S S O C I AT E DRE#01430979

81 8 .41 5. 1 819 Michael@theMJOgroup.com theMJOgroup.com

Find out why we’re the best choice in Real Estate!

Michael J. Okun, Broker Associate DRE#01430979, is the #1 agent at Wish Sotheby’s International Realty (Broker DRE#01916623) by sales volume for the 5-year period preceding July 2021. All of the above properties are listed and/or sold by Michael J. Okun. © 2021 Wish Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® and the Sotheby’s International Realty Logo are service marks licensed to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and used with permission. Wish Properties, Inc. fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each franchise is independently owned and operated.



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Ask how you can get ahead in the home buying process. John Musso Home Lending Officer 818-518-1008 john.musso@citi.com citi.com/johnmusso NMLS# 448606 Terms, conditions and fees for accounts, programs, products and services are subject to change. This is not a commitment to lend. All loans are subject to credit and property approval. Certain restrictions may apply on all programs. This offer contains information about U.S. domestic financial services provided by Citibank, N.A. and is intended for use domestically in the U.S. 1

Final commitment is subject to verification of information, receipt of a satisfactory sales contract on the home you wish to purchase, appraisal and title report, and meeting our customary closing conditions. There is no charge to receive a SureStart® Pre-approval. However, standard application and commitment fees will apply for the mortgage loan application. ©2021 Citibank, N.A. NMLS# 412915. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. Citi, Citi and Arc Design and other marks used herein are service marks of Citigroup Inc. or its affiliates, used and registered throughout the world.


LAST WORD

Lasting Treasures A HOLIDAY SEASON THAT, NOW MORE THAN EVER, EMBRACES THE PAST. Written by Lisa Harris | Illustrated by Nikki Smith

Everyone has their favorite holiday traditions, whether it’s

Dad would do the honors of dragging in the tree, its

your mom’s delicious turkey or your uncle’s hangover-in-

fragrant needles blanketing the living room floor. A Johnny

ducing eggnog. And sure, there are the stresses: the over-

Mathis Christmas record would be playing on repeat. I

spending, the overeating, and those annoying moments like

remember the flick of the match lighting the candle on the

when you’re cornered by your aunt who always asks the same

menorah and the aroma of Mom’s famous latkes filling

question: “Why are you still single?”

the air as family arrived. Grandma would bring her annual

But for me, holiday joys exceed the stresses. And this year

box of See’s candy, which would be devoured in a matter of

I’m feeling particularly nostalgic. Maybe it’s because we live

seconds, save for one half-eaten vanilla walnut fudge piece.

in such unpredictable times, but I’m appreciating more than

Hours after the gluttonous feast, the traditions continued.

ever the innate comfort of familial holiday moments.

We’d jump in the car, dressed in our finest footed pj’s and

As a child, I knew the season was upon us when Mom took down a certain old cardboard box, dented and bent from years of little hands rummaging through the holiday

matching Snoopy blankets, and drive down Oxnard Street in Woodland Hills to Candy Cane Lane. I’ll never forget the last holiday we spent with Grandma

tchotchkes and knickknacks. “Remember this?” we kids

before she passed. She was hunched over her walker, her

would squeal, as we picked out our favorite things: the Santa

body curved in a perfectly shaped U. Opening a pair of new

drawings we made in second grade; glittered macaroni shells

slippers, she quipped, “You know, you don’t have to get me

under globs of Elmer’s glue; Mom’s tarnished lion menorah

anything. What the hell do I need? I have all this stuff. It’s

soiled with melted wax; the familiar scent of pine cones and

just stuff, and you can’t take it with you. It’s not important,

stale candy canes. Ah, the holiday box in all its wonder.

not one bit.” She paused for a moment and then delivered

I also clearly remember the drive along Ventura Boulevard,

a line that still reverberates in my head: “You know what’s

my face pressed against the fogged-up window, rows of

important? The moments and memories. Now those you take

Christmas trees lined up like soldiers. Getting the tree was

with you.” And I’ve done just that, Chanukah bush and all. ■

always a family tradition, but in our house it wasn’t always referred to as a tree. “Remember, kids,” Mom would state

Lisa Harris lives in Westwood with her husband, two kids, and

as she pulled up to the lot. “If Grandma asks why we have a

two pugs.

Christmas tree, you tell her it’s a Chanukah bush. Got it?”

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EXCELLENCE THROUGH EXPERIENCE SH

ER NE W LI MA ST N IN OA G! K S

SOUTH OF THE BOULEVARD IN THE ROSCOMARE SCHOOL DISTRICT. CALL FOR DETAILS 818.380.2151

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Pick your doctor as carefully as you pick out the perfect tree.

Choose the medical group voted best by Daily News readers for 13 years in a row. What makes a medical group the best? It’s not just online scheduling and bill payments (though we do offer that). It’s not being able to reach someone in the middle of the night (we have you covered there, too). You want a doctor who knows that there’s no such thing as a “routine procedure.” You want a doctor who listens. You want a doctor you can trust. We’re proud to be those doctors, caring for you since 1923. And thanks to our affiliation with Providence, chosing a Facey doctor means a seamless experience at our clinics and the area’s top-rated hospitals. If you haven’t already, choose a Facey doctor today and see for yourself why Daily News readers have voted us the best medical group since 2009. For a list of the health plans we currently accept, give us a call or visit our website at: www.facey.com/insurance

Mark Geller, M.D. Internal Medicine & Endocrinology Jody Levy, M.D. Internal Medicine Daniel Lewis, M.D. Internal Medicine Mina Moussavian-Assadi, M.D. Pediatrics Jayvee Regala, M.D. Pediatrics Jeffrey Shukhman, D.O. Internal Medicine Hitasha Singh, M.D. Rheumatology Dafna Trites, D.O. OB/Gyn Tina Verder, M.D. OB/Gyn Diana Wong, M.D. OB/Gyn

Tarzana Primary Care & Women’s Health 18133 Ventura Blvd • Tarzana, CA 91505 818-466-7700 FA C E Y. C O M/T A R Z A N A

1-844-MY-FACEY

@F A CEYMEDI CAL