Saturday, January 28, 2017

It was a trip down memory lane when we visited  the Classic Auto Show being held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Here were literally hundreds of automobiles from earlier eras. 
This was the first year of this show, and we wondered why, since Los Angeles has always been regarded as king of the highway when it comes to the number of cars on the road.
The South Hall of the Convention Center was a showcase for makes and models of classic cars, both domestic and foreign. 
We looked over the collection of Chevy pickups until we found one just like the 1960 that hauled our first camper on countless trips.
Then there was a large grouping of Ford Thunderbirds including the first two seaters and later models with a back seat just like the 1967 we owned for some years.
Most of the cars have been beautifully restored and look like they just left the dealers floor display.
My companion was captivated with a Rolls Royce from the 1930s which she thought would be perfect for traveling from Mall to Mall in the San Fernando Valley.
The show also features a Celebrity Theater which will provide advice on  ways and means of becoming a car collector.
Interestingly the Auto Show is an import from the UK.  But here in Los Angeles many local car clubs are showing their cars as well.
The Auto Show continues through tomorrow, Sunday January 29.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Where do you keep those first growth French chateaux wines, those one hundred year old bottles of Port or Madeira.  Well now there is The Cellar Beverly Hills. 
We learned all about this unique wine stronghold recently when The Cellar held its official opening.  Here we met Sam Bialosky, founder and president of The Cellar who told us about the many services that will be offered for those who chose to store their precious vintages there.
The Cellar moves far past the mere storage of fine wines with a concierge, on demand wine delivery, a full service wine app and amenities like a comfortable lounge for tasting wines on premise.
Sam Bialosky emphasized the full service that will be offered at The Cellar.
The opening event was well attended and included exciting appetizers and a hosted bar.  Here we chose an exceptional pinot noir from Huntington Vintages in Santa Barbara.
Who would have guessed that Beverly Hills had a cellar but yes there is in the building located at 9250 Wilshire Blvd., with adjacent garage valet parking.
After touring the unique facility we decided our own wine storage area needs a sharp upgrading.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

How do you continue to improve as five star restaurant?  One man who manages to do this on a continuing basis is Ara Kalfayan, proprietor of Phoenicia.
 For years the restaurant has acquired fame for its authentic Eastern Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisine matched with a superb wine cellar which includes vintages from around the world. But especially from Lebanon which has been making wine for over two thousand years.
Some of these Lebanon wines are exclusive at Phoenicia and have a history of their own.
Chateau Kefraya is produced in the Bakaa Valley just 18 miles from Cana where the Bible tells us Jesus turned water into wine.
Chateau Ksara makes French styled blends and the winery dates back to 1857. Chateau Fakra offers red wines from the Kfardebvian Valley north of Berut.
We opened with appetizers that included Hommos; Labm, Lebanese cream cheese served with garlic; Warak Enab, grape leaves stuffed with rice, oil and vegetables, cooked in lemon juice and olive oil, and Tabbouleh, chopped parsley, crushed wheat, tomatoes and onions.
Some hot appetizers we tasted included Kibbeh Makli, beef dumpling stuffed with ground beef; Bourghoul , onions and pine nuts as well as San Bousek, freshly prepared dough with ground beef and pine nuts and Rekakat, a selection of Lebanese cheese baked in a pastry dough.
Our samplers of grill selections included Beef Kafla, ground beef, onions, parsley and spices, grilled on skewers.  One of our favorites are the lamb chops mari­nated with spices.  Also chicken breast kabob, per­fectly prepared rice and the best french fries we have had in a long time.
This is a restaurant where everything is done well and most professionally. For us  our visit on Wednesday evening was once again a most  memorable dining experience.
Phoenicia is located at 343 North Central Avenue in Glendale with valet off street parking. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. except on weekends there is live entertainment with a 2 a.m.closing time. For more information or reservations call 818 956-7800.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Of  the famous name restaurants to be found on Topanga Canyon boulevard  we found  that Bazille,  located on the third floor of Nordstrom, must be included
Our recent luncheon there proved to be an outstanding experience.  Recently remodeled the restaurant includes a full bar, open kitchen and dining room nicely spaced with both booths and more informal tables.
Our server was Samantha who told us all we needed to know about Bazille, its menu and hours of operation.
The luncheon menu offered many choices and we opened with the artichoke cream soup of the day.  From a list of starters that included Four Cheese flatbread, ahi tuna poke or grilled Bruschetta we chose the crisp calamari.
From the beginning my dining partner and I decided to share everything ordered.  So we next decided on the prime rib French dip which included white chedder cheese on  roasted parmesan baguette with au jus and two dips for the french fries.
Besides sandwiches and pizza, the luncheon menu also showed a wide selection of entrees including flat iron steak, shrimp linguine and roasted wild salmon with mushroom risotto.
For dessert it was white chocolate bread pudding with chocolate and raspberry sauces, fresh raspberries and whipped cream. 
Our drink, several refilled pots of Earl Gray tea.
The food at Bazille is contemporary and there is an excellent wine list.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday thru Saturday with breakfast served during the day.  On Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Nordstrom Bazille is located in Westfield Topanga Mall, 21725 Victory Blvd., Canoga Park, Ca.
Telephone 818 884-7900 Ext. 1610.