Friday, November 27, 2015

One day last week it was all about the Irish at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.  The event was sponsored by Tourism Ireland and attended by media and travel promoters.
Entitled "Jump to Ireland" the event explained how Ireland has become increasingly popular with Americans as a tourist destination.
Alison Metcalfe, executive vice president of Marketing for Tourism Ireland told how 2015 has developed as the third year in a row where over one and a third million vacationers visited the island nation.  And being the favored European destination for ten percent of American travelers to Europe.
So to the strains of Irish music and dancing, video presentations of popular and scenic Irish destinations and a buffet dinner that of course included corned beef it proved to be both an educational  and most pleasant evening for those attending.
We learned about what is called the Ancient East where one is exposed to the five thousand year history of Ireland's people.  Other favored destinations include the Wild Atlantic Way, The Causeway Coastal Route as well as cities like Cork and Dublin.
To learn more about a vacation to Ireland contact Tourism Ireland, l345 Park Avenue, New York 10154, on the web at

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

We found Renaissance in Hollywood a very busy restaurant when we visited last week, with only one or two empty tables to be seen.
This was no surprise and fortunately we had made reservations in advance.
Executive Chef Phil Christodoulou's fame has spread far and wide and two years ago he was named Chef of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers.  Both his luncheon and dinner menus offer exciting choices and specials change daily.
As the dining room for the Manor Hotel, Renaissance is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.  It is located at 5930 Franklin Avenue in the heart of Hollywood, Telephone 323 960-3222.
Greeting us as we entered was Maitre D' Gerald Marini who also is a Sommelier and responsible for the restaurant's outstanding wine list.
We opened with a most interesting Ahi tuna salad and followed with Coquille st. Jacques scallop with spinach in a cream sauce.
A dazzling array of desserts followed.
Showing once again why Renaisance has earned some of the highest awards of the Southern California Restaurant Writers for many years.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Our recent dining experience proved that Seta in Whittier is still one of the best restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.
Our acquaintance with Chef owner Hugo Molina extends back decades to when he had a restaurant in Pasadena and the Southern California Restaurant Writers named him Chef of the Year.
Seta has much to offer.  It includes two bar lounges, an artfully contemporary designed dining room as well as a private dining and conference room. 
Ably assisting Hugo is his wife and partner, Aricia Alvarado, who besides being a pastry chef acts as general manager.
Hugo lists his menu as a steakhouse but the menu shows concepts of both Latin and Asian fusion that display his original, creative concepts in cuisine.
The two bar lounges display a large number of original cocktails as well as popular local brews.  The one intimate bar lounge is open on weekends till 2 a.m. with live entertainment.
Our dinner included a Dungeness Crab Cake and whole prawn on a bed of flavored mashed potato.  Here steaks arrive with a choice of five unique sauces.
We also marveled at a dish with squid, applewood bacon, wild mushrooms and an orange  champagne beuerre sauce.
Our dessert was a stacked strawberry shortcake.
Seta is located at 13033 Philadelphia Street in the heart of downtown Whittier.  There is ample off street parking directly across the street from the restaurant.  For more information call 562 698-3355.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Los Angeles Harbor College Culinary Arts Program includes an international series of dinners where the students prepare the cuisine of a single country or region.
We were there one night this week to explore the cuisine of Azerbaijan as were Los Angeles consulate officials of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The student wait staff were all dressed in the costumes of that country and the menu explored the cuisine with a salad of vegetables with  a chicken liver pate.  Then two soups, the first a beef meatball and the second Hedik, multi bean, hearty grain soup.
The intermezzo was Axerbaycan Uzum serbeti, a grape sorbet.  The entree, lamb shank with saffron rice, grilled eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.
Our dessert was Baklava, filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and rosewater syrup as well as spiced poached fig in white wine with lavender ice cream.
Directing the outstanding culinary arts program at Harbor College is Chef Giovanni Delrosario.
These international dinners are held each semester and are available to people not connected to the college.
We are happy and proud to state that the Southern California Restaurant Writers with their Doris Crandall Scholarship Fund includes Harbor College in the list of community colleges the program supports.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


The Belvedere Vodka-007 Spectre pre-screening  last evening in Hollywood proved to be an exciting event.
Certainly we thought so.  Spectre was a fast moving film with dazzling scenes of Mexico City, London, Rome and Tangiers that made it an exciting traveling adventure.
Most enjoyable was the cocktail reception that opened the event at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood.
Here we had the opportunity to taste some of the Belvedere Vodka drinks presented that evening.
First the Belvedere 007 Martini with two oz. of vodka, .25 of dry vermouth and of course shaken, not stirred.
Our favorite was the Belvedere Spectre 007 Martini which included two oz. of vodka, .25 of dry vermouth, .15 oz of Sicilian Green Olive Brine and one Sicilian Green olive.
A taller, mellow drink in a highball glass called Belvedere Double O included .75 oz of vodka, .75 French Dry Vermouth, .l5 oz. Italian Sweet Vermouth and topped with sparkling lemonade and garnished with an orange slice and olive.
These delights were accompanied by a wonderful selection of appetizers.
As for those in attendance, a chic group of smartly attired and handsome young men and women that offered opportunities for admiring people watching.
After 007 and his beautiful companion drove off into the sunset those that wished to extend the evening did so at nearby Warwick on Sunset Blvd. to enjoy another Belvedere Vodka cocktail.