Monday, February 15, 2016

Can You Feel the Love? Rockin' Brunch & Parties are Valentines for the Grammys.

By Laura Medina

Since Valentine's Day falls smack dab in the middle of Grammy Week, love takes on many different forms.

Some of it is support.  Sometimes, it is admiration.  Sometimes, love is nourishing both the heart, the soul, and of course, your stomach, giving what you need that's been lacking for a time.

Well, tons of Grammy parties hitting Hollywood this past week has expressed so much love for how much love people have for music, especially how regional music and food come to define American culture and food that the whole world loves it enough, wanting to be part of it.  That's one form of love.

It's also the presidential campaign year, Flea and the Red Hot Chili Peppers showed their love for Bernie Sanders by throwing a very affordable ($40 for balcony seats) fundraiser for Bernie.

The influential and heir apparent to Andy Warhol's throne, graphic designer and Charleston home boy, Shepard Fairey expressed his love...and support for Bernie Sanders by releasing then selling this very limited-edition "Red Hot Chili Peppers 'Feel the Bern," campaign poster at the fundraising concert.  It's currently now a rare collectible.

Full Live Concert at The Ace Hotel Theater in Revitalized Downtown LA.

Bernie Sanders is feeling the full-on love from coming-of-age Millennials, loaded with college loan debts and stretching their parents' health care policy.  Flea feels their pain.

Admiring Bernie's rejection of corporate Wall Street, the Red Hot Chili Peppers returned the Gen-X love by doing a fierce fundraising concert (remember, the balcony seats only costed $40, enough change leftover for Shepard Fairey "Feel the Bern" poster) while Vampire Weekend represented Millennial love by joining Bernie in Iowa.

For a no-nonsense seventy-something man, Bern is doing damn good among the youth voters. 

Bernie opened the concert, by televising a personalized greeting just for the Ace Hotel Theater audience, directly from New Hampshire, expressing how much love he feels from both West Coast and East Coast audiences...right before his impromptu appearance on Saturday Night Live. 

Obviously, Bernie's opening greeting is campaigning his political policy to warm up the crowd.


The financially frustrated youth voters (who can only afford the $40 balcony seats and jam-packed the rafters) got a "$500 per a ticket"-quality rocking show from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

This Gen-X punk rock/rap/funk band aren't no fledgling, struggling newbies looking to break in.  The Red Hot Chili Peppers represents the new Gen-X establishment.  They and a few fortunate celebrities were the lucky ones to get the $250/a seat on the ground floor to get up-close and personal with the band on stage.

Anthony Kiedis and Flea did not disappoint.  Anthony and Flea jumped, in unison and on cue, in center stage for a good, long, steady 10 minutes for awesome photo ops.  Those boys sure know how to throw a concert.  Why, they're professional as they are fierce.  By being fierce is their way to returning the love and respect to Bernie and his financially-strapped, young supporters.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers also showed their love for David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust by covering one of his more obscure songs.

Despite selling out the $40 balcony seating tickets, The Red Hot Chili Peppers didn't water-down their performance, which only raises my money and following for Bernie. 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers may be wild and Vampire Weekend may be the uber Millennial prep-rock band but they're clever enough to use their musical clout, during Grammy Week, to support whom they believe in.  This is how Grammy Week starts during a political year.
Lt. Governor of Louisiana, Billy Nungesser at his very first "Only In Louisiana" Grammy Brunch in Los Angeles.

Things don't have to get political but love is also a part of admiration of a place, a culture, musical heritage, and food.

This is the tenth year the state of Louisiana threw their very popular "Only In Louisiana" Grammy Brunch at the Conga Room in L.A. Live Complex.

                                       Welcome to the Grammys, Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser by this scribe.

This year's "Only in Louisiana" Grammy Brunch is also an unofficial coming-out party for the newly-elected Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Billy Nungesser.

This scribe jokingly asked this new Lt. Gov., "Is this what you expected to be when you got elected to Lt. Gov.?"

After attending Mardi Gras a few days before representing the office during Grammy Week, he warmly said, "It's absolutely the best job in the world."

“Louisiana has a rich history of GRAMMY® nominees and winners,” Lt. Governor Nungesser said. “Year after year, we celebrate multiple nominees in several categories showcasing Louisiana’s significant contribution to the nation’s musical roots.”

To honor Louisiana’s special connection to music, Lt. Governor Nungesser personally demonstrated his support by becoming an official associate member of The Recording Academy before the brunch.

From witnessing the popular attendance and steady nominations for Louisiana musicians and singers for the past 56 years straight at the Grammys, especially in Los Angeles, Lt. Gov. Nungesser explained the steadfast popularity for Louisiana music...and the food, "There are people in Louisiana, who have a lot of love and passion for the culture, the music,...and the food. Can't ask for a better job."  There is no usual home-pride egotism here but radiating warmth that wants to be sharing with the world.

 Okay, this scribe will admit to it.  While standing in line for the yummy Creole/Cajun buffet, a Louisiana gentleman informed this salivating scribe, "Louisiana is the soul of America.  The music. The food." 

You can feel the soul at the "Only In Louisiana"Grammy Brunch.

Lt. Gov. Nungesser, catching the two live sets during the brunch, "You can see on the stage, today.  When these people play, their passion bleeds out into the audience."   

                                            The "Only In Louisiana" Grammy Brunch.
Speaking of food...Lt. Gov. Nungesser, "The food, the shrimp, the crawfish, is's like no other place in the world."

Pondering the success of Louisiana culture, music, and food (compared to Charleston, South Carolina having the first theater in America and being the home to international acclaimed Spoleto USA), he answered, "It's the people."  "You know, we grow up with the culture, the food, the music, 'How's your mama?' 'Where you're at?'; and that love for making someone feel special."

"I saw that when I was parish president of Plaquemines Parish.  Five hurricanes, three flooded my parish and the big oil spill.  People came from all over Louisiana, actually all over the country, but we helped our neighbor, cooked food for them, played music from them.  So, I think the friendly, out-going, making everyone the part of the family; it's contagious in Louisiana."

Once this scribe learned this is the tenth year of the State of Louisiana throwing their "Only In Louisiana" Grammy Brunch during Grammy Week, Lt. Gov. Nungesser explained how it come to be,...

"I think it was the Lt. Governor's idea (back then ten years ago) to show the hospitality back then.  That it was such a success.  You can see by the packed house today, that the tradition is continued.  We'll be back, again next year, bigger and better with more great Grammy nominees...from Louisiana.  This year (this year's Grammy Awards) we have 18 (nominees).  We had two of them were today, (on stage performing at the brunch); and every year, since 1960, we always have a Grammy nominee which is phenomenal for such a small state, like Louisiana."

Commenting on the continuous nominations among contemporary Louisiana musicians, such as Mickey Ekko, Brittany Spears, and Trombone Shorty, he said the key to Louisiana's musical success is it's people, "It's the culture in Louisiana, that's everybody is family.  We're friends and we sit on the porch, play music and eat and passed the good times."  

This year, Louisianians contributed to 18 GRAMMY®-nominated recordings, representing genres from Rap, Country, Jazz, Blues, Zydeco, Pop and more. Other nominees with ties to Louisiana include Jamison Ross, Lil Wayne, Buddy Guy, Terence Blanchard, Michael Cerveris, Tim McGraw, PJ Morton and Lead Belly.

It's Louisiana's tradition of welcoming, accepting, and absorbing multi-culturism through-out the years, that enriches its heritage, making Louisiana unique among the states.  It freshens itself up every year while still connecting to its roots.

Every year, since 1960, per capita, Louisiana has had more GRAMMY® nominees than any other state.

The name “GRAMMY” actually came from a Louisiana citizen, Jay Danna of New Orleans, who submitted the title in a national contest held in 1958 by The Recording Academy. 

Since 1960, the GRAMMYs® have been honoring Louisianians’ significant contributions to the nation’s musical landscape. Artists from Louisiana have been nominated for a GRAMMY® award 56 out of its 58 years, a real accomplishment for a state of our size.

Louisiana returns the love by...

"If there's one thing that we know how to do in Louisiana, it's throw a party!” Lt. Governor Nungesser said. “There’s no better way to celebrate those from Louisiana who are honored with a GRAMMY® nomination than with food, drink and music.”  

For the brunch, Louisiana teamed up with celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck to create a menu featuring a shrimp and crawfish boil, grilled pork belly over Anson Mills grits, crispy duck, muffalettas and other dishes celebrating Louisiana’s famous cuisine. 

Speaking of as love...Louisiana knows there's vegetarians among themselves so they broke out this delectable and sturdy Butter Lettuce with Lemon Shallot Dressing and Pickled Okra.

 The Fried Green Tomato Parmesan in Melted Mozzarella and Red Sauce was an hit!

 Fried Green Tomato Parmesan
Servings: 2
  • 2 green tomatoes (sliced 1/4 inch thick)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano (grated)
  1. Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper.
  2. Dredge the tomatoes slices in the flour, then dip them in the egg and finally dredge them in the corn meal and flour mixture.
  3. Fry the tomato slices in the oil until golden brown on both sides, about 1-3 minutes per side.
  4. Place the fried green tomato slices on the bottom of a baking pan.
  5. Spread the marinara sauce on top of the fried green tomato slices.
  6. Spread the cheese on top of the marinara sauce.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until the cheese is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
 Grilled Pork Belly in Red Wine Sauce over Anson Mills grits:

 Pork Belly with Red Wine Reduction Recipe:

Red Wine Sauce:
Red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
Beef broth
Olive oil
1 Shallot
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 sprinkle of sugar

In a saucepan, cook shallots and garlic in olive oil and melted butter. Before they begin to brown too much add red wine (quite a bit) and beef broth (a splash will do). Put into the mix s+p, a bay leaf and a dash of sugar. Keep it at a steady boil until it reduced down. Strain out the bay leaf, garlic, shallots and serve with the meat and vegetables.

Grilled Pork Belly:

Pork Belly (~2lb)
Granulated garlic

First dry and score the skin of the pork belly before rubbing it with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. In the meantime toss the chopped vegetables with a bit of red wine, salt and parsley and preheat the oven to 250F. 

Anson Mill Grits: Simple Buttered Antebellum Quick Grits

Equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (ideally, one with gently flared sides called a Windsor pan), a small saucepan, a fine tea strainer, and a wooden spoon.
  1.   Place the grits in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan (preferably a Windsor saucepan) and cover them with 3 cups of water. Stir once. Allow the grits to settle a full minute, tilt the pan, and skim off and discard the chaff and hulls with a fine tea strainer. Cover and let the grits soak overnight at room temperature. If you are not soaking the grits, add an additional ¼ cup of water and proceed to the next step.
  2.   Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the first starch takes hold, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the grits are creamy and fully tender and hold their shape on a spoon, about 15 minutes if the grits were soaked or about 30 minutes if they weren’t. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and stir in the utter with vigorous strokes. Add more salt, if desired, and the black pepper.
 Crispy Duck with Savory Peach Sauce.

Here's something similar to it:

Duck with Moscato Peach Sauce #SundaySupper
  • 1-5 lb Duck
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary
  • Sauce
  • 1-16 ounce bag frozen peaches, thawed
  • 1/2 cup White Moscato
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1Tablespoon duck fat
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1Tablespoon rosemary
  • Braised Kale
  • 1 9-ounce bag kale
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut duck in half and remove excess fat. Pierce skin with small knife cuts being careful not to cut meat.
  2. Place on a rack in a shallow pan.
  3. Brush with oil and sprinkle with rosemary.
  4. Bake at 325 for about 2 to 21/2 hours until duck reaches 160. Periodically remove rendered fat from pan.
  5. Rest duck for about 15 minutes then transfer to kale lined platter before cutting.
  6. Braised kale
  7. Place kale and broth in a large skillet. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 2-3 minutes to soften. Drain. Arrange on platter. Drizzle with lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Sauce
  9. Place peaches in blender and pulse to puree. Add remaining sauce ingredients, puree. Transfer to a 2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly until thick and heated. Serve warm in individual side dishes. 
Crawfish Boil Recipe:
Serves: 7

Peach Crumble Dessert Recipe:


  • 6 cups sliced peeled ripe peaches
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Place peaches in a greased shallow 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, peel and cinnamon; sprinkle over the peaches.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Stir in egg until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the peaches. Pour butter evenly over topping.
  3. Bake 35-40 minutes. Serve with ice cream if desired. Yield: 10-12 servings

Banana Foster Cream Pie with Nutella Crust in Push-Pop Sticks or something similar to it:

Chocolate-Hazelnut-Banana Pie


Make It

Tap or click steps to mark as complete
  • Whisk chocolate and 1/2 cup COOL WHIP until blended; spread onto bottom of crust. Top with bananas.
  • Beat dry pudding mix, milk and chocolate-hazelnut spread in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Stir in remaining COOL WHIP; spread over bananas.
  • Refrigerate 3 hours.
    Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Push-Up Sticks or something similar to it:
     Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon cocoa powder
    1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
    1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
    2 large eggs, room temperature
    2 tablespoons red food coloring
    1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
    1 pound cream cheese, softened
    2 sticks butter, softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
    Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

    In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

    Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
    For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

    In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

    Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

    Cook's Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

    Bloody Mary:


    • 4 Campbell's® beans 100% vegetable juice
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 18 tsp ground black pepper
    • 18 tsp hot pepper sauce
    • celery


    Mix vegetable juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire, pepper and hot pepper sauce. Serve over ice. Garnish with celery stalks.
    Tip: If you like, add 3/4 cup vodka to vegetable juice mixture.
    Also delicious with Calcium Enriched V8® or 100% Vitamin A, C & E Healthy Request® V8®.



    8 ounces orange juice
    Dry Champagne
    2 ounces Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
    4 curls orange peel

    Rinse and chill Champagne flutes in freezer to frost glasses. Pour 2 ounces of orange juice into each flute, about 1/3 of the flute. Fill almost to the rim with Champagne. Top each glass with a splash of orange liqueur and garnish with a curl of orange peel.
    The Tuesday after the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Bernie Sanders fundraising concert and a couple of days before "Only In Louisiana" Grammy Brunch, Louisiana Soul was rising at UCLA's Royce Hall on Mardi Gras.
    It's ain't Mardi Gras unless there's crawdads a.k.a. crawfish.  Uncle Darrow's Creole catered the simple but classic crawfish boil where prim and proper Westsiders need learn to pinch and suck crawfish properly, to get all the meat and juices and all.
    Once dinner was over, it's time for Red Baraat opening.  This fusion of Indian Bhangra meets New Orleans Jazz Band is a further extension of making traditional New Orleans jazz fresh, re-invented, and modernized for the twenty-first century, following in the foot steps of accepting and adopting new elements and new culture without abandoning it's Afro-French Classical Music roots.
    The main headliners, Butler, Bernstein and the Hot 9 were straight-up New Orleans Jazz, teaching the kids a thing or two.  People jumping in their seats, is how folks burn calories, Los Angeles.
    Let's keep the party OK! Magazine's Grammy Party at Lure Nightclub in Hollywood.
    Last year, it was Jason Derulo.
    Now, it's Rob Schneider's daughter, Elle King, who took center stage but she's very much her own woman.
    During this very brief set, she sang her hit,  "Ex's & Oh's" then did a naughty Valentine's for the ladies, "My Neck, My Back."  You just have to watch the video and read the lyrics to get it, but she does have her dad's "snide" sense of humor.
    Whatever buffet Ok! Magazine lacks, they made up for it by having awesome sponsors:
    Sure, Slim Fast was there to launch their latest snack foods, their version of pop chips and peanut butter bites.
    Of course, Young Hollywood lives on candy and pops and Gummi Bears and those cool Vanilla Tootsie Rolls.
    However, Perfumania Bar has what you need when you're party-ing all night for a week for the Grammys, a library of fragrances that will keep you fresh from sun-down to sun-up.
    Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb is a blast of bold powdery fresh florals, covering night club essence.  
    KISS' Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley brought in a packed house of Gen-X and Baby Boom fans at the Morrison House Art Gallery, an art gallery specializing in pop culture historical rock photos.
    In celebration of Grammy Week, Morrison Hotel Gallery honored KISS with a career-spanning photographic exhibit, The Legacy of Kiss, and debut the first edition pieces from the KISS + UKIYO-E Project.

    KISS founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were on hand for the opening. Surrounded by a huge crowd of media and fans, the rock & roll icons posed for pictures, letting their swagger hang out. Snapped with the rock legends was Morrison Hotel Gallery co-owners and iconic photographers Timothy White and Henry Diltz.
    Some very famous faces were spotted in the crowd of fans and friends. Alice Cooper, members of Anthrax, Dj Ashba of SIXX:AM and many other well-known faces, were there to support AMERICA'S #1 GOLD RECORD AWARD WINNING GROUP OF ALL TIME (In All Categories) (RIAA) and the opening of this very special exhibit at Morrison Hotel Gallery.
    Guests admired the celebrated images that are a part of the KISS exhibit, taken by photographers that have shaped the careers of many artists, and have become pop culture legends in their own right. They include Bob Gruen, Danny Clinch, Lynn Goldsmith, Neal Preston, Norman Seeff, Patrick Harbron and Travis Shinn.
    The exhibit will also include the debut of the KISS + UKIYO-E Project which showcases the traditional Japanese art. These unique and stunning multi-colored wood block prints, are first edition prints and limited to only 200. This 'KISS Ukiyo-e' project started in fall of 2014 and has culminated in these wonderful pieces of fine art that will be on display for the first time, ever, as part of this exhibit.
    The exhibit is open to the public and will be up thru February 17th.



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Drew Watts said...

This is amazing. I just love such events and also thankful that you shared it here. Last week I was at a similar though small local event venue NYC with my friend. We both had such a great time there and remembered so many things from our past.