Tuesday, June 30, 2015

California Classic Cuisine, The Beach House at Lover's Point in Pacific Grove, California

By Laura Medina


Central California, especially the Inland Central Valley is the world's, as well as America's fruit and vegetable basket, producing half the world's produce.

Monterey, Pacific Grove, and the Carmel area are a short one-hour drive south below San Francisco.  San Francisco existed before Los Angeles.  For the outsider and the visitor, they are pleasantly startled that San Francisco/Central California Cuisine is nothing like the Los Angeles' faddish/trendy vegan/gluten-free dishes, the bubbly, bouncy but appearance-conscious sister to the south.

Being a capital of bountiful produce feeding the world, the visitor will be surprised that Central California Cuisine doesn't specialize in raw, vegan, gluten-free meals.

Because of the bounty of the best quality fresh produce and the grazing cattle and the access to the seafood, it attracts the world's best and most serious chefs...real chefs; and they want to utilize their skills on the best produce possible which means...

The beef, dairy, seafood, vegetables, and fruits are cooked, sauteed, grilled, creamed, and broiled to the best of the chefs' ability.  No models-actresses, aka "mattresses, here.

The Beach House in Pacific Grove, California, is a timeless classic that still carry the tradition of Classic California Cuisine that was set foot when San Francisco was founded, meaning the best fresh ingredients cooked in Classical French Traditional Cooking.  Sorry LA blonde, vegan, anorexics.  San Francisco/Central California region is proud of their centuries-old cuisine that stood the test of time long enough to set the world's culinary standard that many others have tried to duplicate in America and the globe.


Even though The Beach House is new, it's former identity was The Bath House Restaurant. The name and owners may had changed but they still stick close to the Classical French menu where the dishes are treated as comfort food in the chilly and foggy Central California Coast air.  This is where warmth, comfort, and trustworthiness precede over trendy and flashy.  The Beach House also kept The Bath House's classic Central California wood, Craftsman-style architecture.  Who says California doesn't respect history?

If you get a corner table, you can look out the windows and watch triathletes 


Okay, this is still the cultural and ethnic-melting pot that is California.  Asians and their Asian-American descendants were central (yes, pun intended) to the development and history and culture of California.  To those who deny and don't believe it, remember this...California is on the Pacific Ocean...duh.

This is why the supposedly trendy Firecracker Shrimp, is on the menu, a sweet-fiery fried, glazed shrimp, sprinkled with sesame seeds, fried and glazed in crispy shrimp tossed in a spicy, sweet Thai aioli.

The sweet-fire crunch combo compliments the stereotypical but proud fresh produce of The Beach House Salad, a simple but bold salad tossed with mixed greens, dried cranberries, orange segments, blackberries, granny smith apple, goat cheese, toasted pecans, honey-citrus vinaigrette.


The biggest hit was "Classic Californian," the Baked Scallop Pot Pie.

Because of the Nordic, Mexican, and Asian immigrants turned fishermen and farmers,  the flaky puff pastry crust meets succulent plump scallop swimming in classic Bechamel Sauce. 

After filling up on the hearty and cozy dinner, just stepping out onto Lover's Point Park then climbing on the rocky outcrop is enough to burn calories and fill you up with fresh ocean air.

Just climbing on the rock outcrop, jutting out into the Pacific Ocean is an unique Californian treat.

The west-east Pacific Ocean breeze circulating the vineyards are the same breezes shaping the slating trees.  Trippy.

The Beach House sitting on Lover's Point both satisfies the stomach and the eyes in a Classical California way, what a souvenir.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The W Westwood/Los Angeles is Revamped with Help from Evan Ross, Trina Turk, & the new STK, the Disco Steakhouse.

By Laura Medina

The Sophie Blake & M Dot Studios presentation was a warm-up to STK's and the W Los Angeles' (The W Hollywood is across town and not the same) revamp.

At the Sophie Blake's jewelry trunk and M Dot Studios' runway show and a performance by Quin, the attendees, such as this scribe, were treated to what the W Los Angeles is up to.

The STK at the W Los Angeles in Westwood.

Gone are The Whisky Blue Restaurant and Chef Dakota.  In are the new DJ stage (small enough for an intimate acoustic performance), a larger main stage for a band (such as Evan Ross and his back-up band), a bar, and an inner courtyard for "performance art/painting/graffiti, then lo and behold, the brand new STK at their brand new home, the W Los Angeles in Westwood.

In a need of a rejuvenation for both parties, the W Los Angeles needed a new restaurant and STK needed a new, larger, and fresher space.

To celebrate the new relationship and the new stage (literally and metaphorically), W Los Angeles and STK invited loyal fans and influential tastemakers to the new W Los Angeles & STK.

Folks were treated to a Trina Turk fashion/resort lifestyle presentation ringing around the pool...

in the booth tents...

as a Midnight Summer's Dream...The women got a kick posing with the young lad swinging in the tree. He didn't mind...

No.  These weren't enough in fashion eye candy.  A painter is lucky to paint and color in a blank Trina Turk dress printed with Trina Turk patterns waiting to be filled in...

That artist is living every artist-wannabe-fashion designer's dream.  She gets to just paint, not construct the blueprint patterns nor sewing the construction nor figure out the pattern. Just relax and paint the dress in any color combination.  Fun.

Remember, this is STK's revamp debut too.  The food, the food is a beef-lovers/paleo/Atkin's Dieter's dream.  Skewers of filet mignon marinated in pineapple juice.  Burger sliders as teasers of course.  Fries thick as bricks and crunchy.  Two buffets of dry-aged Italian beef, cheese, and crudo with three dipping sauces.  Ever since returning from Carmel, California, this scribe acquired a taste for garlic/artichoke dip.

"Discotheque" must the reigning theme of the year because two nights after the W Los Angeles/STK debut, Giorgio Nightclub celebrated its two years in being at the Standard on Sunset with a Dita Von Teese performance,"Father of Disco, Giorgio Moroder Got Toasted by Dita Von Teese on His Birthday." http://luxurist.blogspot.com/2015/06/father-of-disco-giorgio-moroder-got.html

If the Trina Turk fashion presentation and the STK returning as a "Disco Steakhouse" for the "Sex & the City/Entourage" set, the W Los Angeles maximized its new space by throwing a special performance by Diana Ross' son, Evan Ross and this band on the W Los Angeles' new full-fledge stage.  

With a full stage, a DJ/solo performer stage, and a jazzed-up steakhouse with a deep experience in feeding rockers (STK catered the headliner at last year's "Made In America" Festival in Downtown Los Angeles), the W Los Angeles will be filling up with music industry events and parties in no time.

Remember what Marky Ramone told his scribe when selling his tomato sauce at Whole Foods, "We musicians gotta eat."

Father of Disco, Giorgio Moroder Got Toasted by Dita Von Teese on His Birthday.

By Laura Medina

DJ Adam 12, left. Giorgio Moroder, middle. Bryan Rabin, right.

Giorgio Moroder, the father of Disco and Electronic Dance Music threw a two anniversary
 of his namesake nightclub at the Standard on Sunset in West Hollywood.

Naming a nightclub after him wasn't good enough.  Nope.  The generation of DJs, such as DJ Adam 12 and Bryan Rabin, honored him with an exclusive party that most would envy because they invited Giorgio's friends.  His legacy span decades and includes a who's who of former club kids turned celebrities, the ink of RuPaul, Rose McGowan, and Jared Harris.

Dita Von Teese did her classic bath tub strip-tease act as a present to the Father of Disco.  She's the resurgent pioneer of the classy burlesque.

On Saturday, June 27th, producers Bryan Rabin and DJ Adam 12 celebrated the 2-year anniversary of the now famous, Giorgio's, A Modern Discotheque named after famous dance music producer Giorgio Moroder on at The Standard Hotel, Hollywood (8300 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069). After a remarkable two years of creating one of the most exclusive and sexiest nightclubs in the country, Bryan and Adam have continued to bring out the who's who of fashion, music, lifestyle, movers & shakers, it-girls, drag queens, celebutantes and debutantes on the eve of one the greatest civil rights decisions to date, the legalization of same-sex marriage.

This night was no different as Giorgio's was bursting with once in a lifetime performances and DJ sets that rang to be truly magical. The event also served as the only album release party for Giorgio Moroder's Déjà Vu, which is getting rave reviews and already has a number one single on the books. The crowd of disco lovers looked on and danced the night away as Giorgio performed a tremendous DJ set. All of the sudden one of Giorgio's famed songs "Love to Love You Baby" began to fade in and surprise performer Diva Von Teese performed a riveting number to the song in a sensual, fun, white-porcelain bathtub sequence set up on stage. Dita Von Teese was a true vision and the intimate performance sent the night into a tailspin as DJ Adam 12 took over the stage proving why this is the most epic on-going dance party in Los Angeles.

The night culminated with a celebratory cake and candle moment bringing the 2-year anniversary celebration full circle with confetti blasts raining on the disco dancers that have supported this party since it's inception. As Giorgio Moroder so eloquently said, "There is a club in Los Angeles called Giorgio's. It's owned by a friend of ours. It's the most 'in' place right now, and they only play disco. It's only Saturday. It's always full, almost impossible to get in. I think disco is not a dirty word anymore."

Giorgio's is a weekly Saturday night dance party for people who want to express themselves through fashion, beauty, and dance and is located on the famed Sunset Strip hidden away behind the kitchen of The Standard Hotel, Hollywood. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Finally, Panera Bread Opens in Beverly Hills.

Co-owned by USC All-American and NFL Football player, Keyshawn Johnson and First Picks Bread Company, LLC, they finally brought the latest and newest in the real "Beverly Hills" on 239 South Beverly Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212, south of the more touristy Beverly Hills, north of Wilshire Blvd.

The more residential Beverly Hills, south of Wilshire, finally has a decent and affordable bakery with both savory and sweet breads and pastries with series of technologies to make it easier for customers, such as Rapid Pick-Up area while using their web, mobile app, kiosk or old-fashion cashier.

This Panera Bread has dedicated seating, shelf space, and order-status monitor. There's a special "To Go" path that leads them directly to "Pick-Up" area without bumping into dine-in diners.

In a few months, this 239 South Beverly Blvd.location will roll out meal delivery to tables and fast lane kiosks where guests can save customizations, past orders, and "favorites" for easy ordering on their next visit.

Gourmet and tech-fast, that's the Beverly Hills' Panera Bread for you.

Whole Foods' "Get Ready for Action" Week is Now

By Laura Medina

Since last Wednesday, it's "Ready for Action" Week at all Whole Foods.

Lace up the tennis shoes, roll out the yoga mats and hop on the stand up paddle boards – it’s summer and Whole Foods Market is celebrating with its first ever “Ready for Action” Week. Stores nationwide will host events and demos highlighting products for active lifestyles like protein powders, superfoods and sunscreens. 

For those looking to kick off summer with all the proper supplies, Whole Foods Market is offering a “Ready for Action” bag in stores Saturday, June 27th for $12. Bags include summer essentials for outdoor adventures, like arnica gel, sunscreen, aloe vera, protein powder and deodorant.

Shoppers will be able to stock up and save 25 percent on protein powders from June 26 to 28!

Saturday, June 27

Soul – Cycle Saturday Ride with VEGA protein at 10am  - All customers that purchase VEGA proteins tubs will be entered into our raffle

Vegan Post-Workout Energy Bites Demo from 12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. – Nutritionist Ashley Lytwyn shows you how to make yummy post-workout energy bites that are vegan!

Sunday, June 28:

Yoga on the Patio lead by Yoga Works at 10 a.m. - Join us and YogaWorks for a refreshing morning yoga session. YogaWorks will also be donated 1 Month free memberships to raffle off to our customers.  

Eating Healthy to Match an Active Lifestyle at 1 p.m. – Join wellness coach Christina Tanios for a cooking class and lecture on how healthy eating and active lifestyles go hand in hand.

DIY Roll on Essential Oil Blend from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. – Create your own essential oil blend for stress relief.

Monday, June 29

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas Demo 3-6pm – Stop by for a recipe demo making crunchy roasted chickpeas with nutritionist Ashley Lytwyn.

DIY Roll on Essential Oil Blend from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. - Create your own essential oil blend for stress relief

El Segundo
Wednesday June 24: Optimal Weight lecture and tour w/ Paige from Vega from 5-7 p.m.

Thursday June 25: Yoga Class by Yoga Works at 11am
Join us for an early morning yoga session!

Saturday June 27th Cross Fit Workshop 11am-2pm
We’ll be hosting a Cross Fit workshop at our store. Invo coconut water will be given away to attendees!

Sunday June 28th Active wear Fashion Show at 1 p.m.
Join us for an active living fashion show, where we’ll have models wearing Satva (organic made, yoga-inspired lifestyle apparel), Threads 4 Thought (sustainably produced apparel) and LA Relax.
Monday June 29th Made Right Here Bath Soaks at 5 p.m.
Learn how to make bath salts to soak away all of life’s little pressures and surprises

Tuesday June 30th  Team Member Picks throughout the day
Join us throughout the day for demos and team members choosing their favorite Whole Body active living products (bars, proteins, hydration picks).

Saturday, June 27  - Dethrone Base Camp
Discussing heart-pumping, muscle-building fitness. A tightly knit, supportive community built around building strong hearts.

Wednesday, June 24 – Tuesday, June 30 Ready for Action Gift Basket Raffle
$30 value, no purchase necessary! The giveaway runs the entire Ready for Action Week.

Sunday, June 28 – Cyclepathic Fitness
Discuss Brazilian Bootcamp’s intense cardio workouts. Get fit and have fun!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grand Marnier's Raspberry Peach for Summer

By Laura Medina


Let's face it, Summer time is ripe with the bounty of fresh, juicy fruit that mere mortals don't know what to do with it.

The ingenious ones think of cocktails but even them are too busy and too tired to pluck, dice, mash, and shake them into cocktails.

Leave it up to the pros at Grand Marnier to come up with Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, just in time for the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year.

Great time for a pool party and a proper launch...

The first one up is the simplest one, Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach Spritz.  Pour 1/3 Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach first into a tall glass,  dump some simple fresh berries and slices of oranges then top it off with either mineral water/club soda or lemon-lime soda.  Easy-pleasy.

The more advanced mixologists do think creatively and seasonally, Grand Marnier Liquor Snowcone syrups!

Concocting the snowcone syrups may be time-consuming but so well worth it on the longest day of Summer.  Yum, adult snowcones by the pool...

Speaking of pool parties, Grand Marnier set up a GLAMSQUAD hair-styling pop-up tent for updos and braids.  A flower crown booth to dress up for Summer and DJ Rashida and DJ Eque.

Grand Marnier stepped up their game when R&B crooner, Luke James and V. Bozeman gave mini concerts to the people in the pool.

You don't have to have the fancy singers and the fancy pop-up makeover booths to throw your own Grand Marnier pool party.

Just follow these recipes for your own pitcher...

Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach Bellini, just add champagne or sparkling wine.

Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach Spritz, pour in 1/3 liquor into either a pitcher or tall glass, dump into some berries or sliced fresh fruit then fill in the rest with club soda or lemon-lime soda.

Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach White Sangria, 1/4 Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, 1/4 Sauvignon Blanc, fresh lemon juice, toss in some fresh fruit then top off with soda water.

Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach Spicy Margarita, 1/4 Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, 1/4 Don Julio Blanco tequila, fill in the rest with Blood Orange Juice, sprinkle in some serrano pepper then squeeze in some lime.

See, easy.

L.A. Beer Week Unintentionally Started a New Afternoon Tradition: Pairing Beer with Desserts.

By Laura Medina

LA Beer Week's Beer & Dessert Pairings at Bow & Truss.

This week only, Los Angeles' one and only craft beer brewery, Golden Road Brewing Company, is happily sponsoring this week's L.A. Beer Week and partnering up with North Hollywood's Spanish bistro, Bow & Truss, http://bowandtruss.com/ for an innovative, limited-edition Beer & Dessert Pairing, only at Bow & Truss, only this week.

The cuisine and concept...and this scribe will admit...and portion-controlled tapas sharing are female-friendly where diners have equal menu options of vegan and meat.

The large platters of each dish is meant to be shared but Bow & Truss wouldn't judge if you hop the whole plate because you love a certain dish so much.

Still, for get-togethers and a "Girls' Night Out," the concept of tapas-sharing isn't a bad idea at all.  It's figure-friendly as it is wallet-friendly.

The dishes themselves are flavorful as they are low-calories.

Dining on the tapas appetizers as the main entrees...to be passed around then shared...got rid of the guilt of feasting on the Beer & Dessert Pairing and leaves enough for the pairing.

Pan de Higo, left. Harissa Grilled Shrimp, middle. Scallops Tostones, right.

The "dinner" started with a breakfast-sque Pan de Higo, a rich, moist, and dense loaf of fig bread paired with blue cheese-like St. Agur Butter and fresh sliced figs with a pot of balsamic vinegar to drizzle all over.

The tapas dinner becomes progressive more "meatier" with the second appetizer course of the Harissa Grilled Shrimp, think of more it as a Moroccan BBQed Shrimp.  The bold spiciness out-weights the shrimps' low-calorie count.

The third and last tapas course was the sweet and crunchy Scallops Tostones.  Instead of traditional Spanish flavoring of European meets North African like the Harissa Grilled Shrimp, the Scallop Tostones incorporated New World mix of mangos and black bean drizzled over crunchy fried plantains chips.

This was enough protein to qualify as dinner yet left enough room for the goal of the dinner...the ultimate Beer & Dessert Pairing.

Golden Road Brewing Company kindly provided the five sampling-sized beers and Bow & Truss kindly conceived and baked dessert uniquely coordinating with the beers.

You mind, the five beers don't come in the usually huge guzzling mugs. 


These beers come in figure-friendly sample-sized semi-shot glasses to accompany the equally dainty pastries.  The desserts are more tart than torte and the cherry brownie was truffle-sized than a chunk.

Yes, this girly scribe will admit this.  This singular "Beer & Dessert Pairing" gears more towards the taste of "Sex & the City" take on traditional but staid and boring afternoon tea of little liquid refreshments with petite pastries.  But considering "Sex & the City" is all about progressing stylishly on age-old traditions,  the dainty beer sampling just replace the pot of tea.

Bow & Truss with Golden Road Brewing Company unintentionally invited a new afternoon refreshment, afternoon beer and pastries.

Girls are people too.  They like beer like the next guy and they do relish a nice cool brew just like anyone, especially after a long week; and nope, beer and sweets isn't gross.

In fact, it can be quite refreshing.  Since people are now swimming in craft beers, from home and abroad, Americans are now just discovering "shandy" or beer cocktails to liven up their average brew.

The first beer & dessert pairing is the simplest and the most refreshing, pouring Raspberry Cilantro Syrup/puree in a shot glass of light and crisp Berliner Weiss.  This scribe kept sipping it through-out the whole dessert course.

The second dessert is the Pineapple Rosemary Cake to counter-point the bitter beers and vice versa.   

The third dessert is the Strawberry Tart, dainty slices of a strawberry delicately hatted on a dollop of creme fraiche on flaky cracker of butter crust.

The fourth dessert of Roasted Plum Tart nestled in a baby pie crust is a mouth popper, yum.

The fifth and final dessert, the simply chic Cherry Brownie is a sweet reward for a job well done and a week well-earned.

It'll be nice if Bow & Truss and Golden Road Brewing continue the new tradition of "afternoon beer" for those who needs sweet and quench sweltering under the Summer sun.

It'll be better if you hustle over to Bow & Truss and request this unique "Beer & Dessert Pairing."  Great for Happy Hour and a Girls' Night Out.

Bow & Truss is at 11122 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA and http://bowandtruss.com.

Hurry up and sip!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hofsas House, California Hospitality.

By Laura Medina

Rich in Central California history, that's singular within the state, Hofsas House is a sixth-generation owned hotel owned by the Theis Family.

Carrie and her brother, Scott, carry on the family tradition of Bavarian-Californian hospitality that Carmel-by-the-Sea is well-known for.

The Hofsas House Hotel is so warm and accommodating...and built like a multi-tiered, pink frosted cake...that it makes for a great Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and anniversary gift.

The hotel rooms are more suite than a standard hotel/motel room.

They're spacious enough to have a combination bathroom sink/microwave/mini refrigerator and coffee pot.  There's a coffee basket of coffee, creamer, and sugar on the counter.

With a village packed with gourmet restaurants and cafes and bakeries, trust this scribe.  You'll need the microwave and mini frig to store and heat your gourmet leftovers.

Every morning, Hofsas House kindly puts out a Continental Breakfast of fresh local fruit and flaky, local pastries.  Never miss the almond croissants or the ham & cheese croissants, encrusted in cheese.  They always brew up a hefty helping of coffee.  They always tell you can pick up a basket and tray to bring the pastries and the coffee or tea back to your hotel room.

Upon checking in then settling in, you are kindly greeted by either a wine, two glasses, and a box of local Lula's Wine Chocolate Truffles or the "Monterey Wine & Cheese Pairing," a bottle of wine and cheese, two glasses with crackers.  

Hofsas House is located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the town and the neighboring Carmel Valley, are part of the fertile Central California Country, a.k.a. "The Wine Country."  A agriculture region that is  rich enough to be the world's product basket, where the soil both grows grapes, almonds, and the cattle to milk for gourmet cheese.  Yep, with Hofsas House's welcoming snack packages, you're tasting the local culture that sets the global standard for basic gourmet cuisine, cheese and wine...and don't forget the nuts, almonds and pistachios.

The Monterey Wine & Cheese Pairing for $30 is nice to snack by their pilot-gas fireplace.  The neatest feature is that the fireplace comes with a "off & on" switch like a light switch.  This scribe has left the fireplace on overnight for warmth on cold Carmel-by-the-Sea nights.  Guess what, the fireplace is well-controlled and you can switch it off when you wake up in the morning.  Neat.

For the sweetie, whether it's your significant other or yourself, you can either fork out $60 for the "Beach Fire & S'mores Bundle" with a blanket and a flashlight that the staff provides or you can get it for free when you book Hofsas House's"Family Reunion Package," where the whole family roast S'mores on the picturesque Carmel Beach where the sea breeze constantly blow west to east, keeping Central California well-tempered.

Carrie and Scott and their staff are cupids when it comes to activities, packages, and much-needed directions for stressed-out Los Angeleno escapees who seek tender, loving care in forms of fresh, regional cuisine, produce, and outings.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is pretty darn close to San Francisco; and Carrie can point you in the right direction.

There are all sorts of activity packages for all sorts of tastes.

If driving up north for 5 to 8 hours leaves you dry, tired, and thirsty ,you can park the car for good at Hofsas House then tour the town's "wine tasting tour" when you purchase the $65 "Wine Tasting Passport," a deck of wine flight card entitling the holder to 4 tastings per a card, that are good for 14 various wine bars scattered all over Carmel-by-the-Sea.  You can buy the deck at Carmel Chamber of Commerce between 5th and 6th.  How's that for gourmet bliss?

Mind you, Carmel-by-the-Sea is no place to be loud and rowdy.  It's a place to slow down and chill.  Carmel folks are proud to be polite, warm, and easy-going.

If you snag Hofsas House on Father's Day or the Family Reunion package, the preppies wouldn't feel left out.  In fact, they'll be tickled pink...and green...when they find out that Carmel-by-the Sea is directly below the world famous golf course, Pebbles Beach.  Yes, the one on TV.

Do tell Hofsas House that you need the fresh air of golfing and they'll hook you up with two of the golf courses they partnered up with, when you get their "Golfer's Delight" package.

When you book a minimum two nights stay, you can pick either the Quail Lodge Golf Club for $50 for a 9-hole round of golf for two with a cart and range balls.  Use this code HHQUAIL to get this course....

Or, you can splurge $185, per a golfer, for the NCGA sanctioned Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, including cart and the free usage of Poppy Hills Golf Course's rental clubs.  Use HHPOPPY code for this.

If real estate sight-seeing is more your thing, Carrie can suggest doing the 17 Mile North Drive.  Pebble Beach Corporation's main beautiful road.  For a mere one-time $10 entrance fee (it costs nothing to leave and return on one day), you can either impress a date or go day-dream about the grand mansions and the unique winds-swept Californian beaches when you drive safely, looping around the Monterey Peninsula.  The $10 one-time fee is worth it.

If your significant other is your dog or "fur baby," and you can't bear to leave her or him behind, Hofsas House welcomes them with their "Doggie Welcome Package."

It requires a minimum of a two-nights stay and $25 for one dog and $40 for two dogs.  Your fur baby is greeted with: an Hofsas House Dog Frisbee, a collapsible dog bowl, a special dog bed, a letter from their Pet Concierge, Cajun; a walking and hiking guide, a treats package, tips for your doggie's stay, and a free issue of Coastal Canine Magazine tailored to the doggie tourist. A great way to treat Fido on his birthday!

Letting go of Carmel-by-the-Sea can be tough, like taffy, so Hofsas House tosses in a "Third Night's a Charm" package where the third night is 1/3 off.  It's good through November to February excluding holidays and the AT&T Golf Week.

Each room has a back balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Carmel Beach.  If you asked politely, Carrie can loan you Hofsas House's pink binoculars.  Remember to return them when done or checking out.  Just the fresh ocean air and the view is worth relaxing in the balcony, sipping hot cocoa or coffee or tea and milk.

Hofsas House's unique Californian Hospitality, so close to Central Valley's Wine Country, is so worth a warm and cuddly get-away from Hollywood's hustle and bustle.  Yes, you can guzzle all the wine you want and munch on local, yummy pastry carbs to really calm down your jangly nerves.  Hofsas House wouldn't mind.  In fact, they'll help you be cozy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Combatant Gentleman for the Young Man Rising Up in Life.

By Laura Medina


Since Father's Day is about matured manhood, let's chat about the emerging men entering the first stages of adulthood, nailing that first job then keeping it long enough to get married.

There are plenitude of young ladies entering the job market clothes but what about the young men?

Combatant Gentlemen fills in that wardrobe gap between baggy College slacker and the established but expensive senior executive.

That transitional stage or years is also when a young man falls in love and marries his first wife.

These young men need a good starter wardrobe that will last them for, at least, a decade.

This is why William Morris Endeavor stepped in to be an investor for this upstart Combatant Gentleman, named after Entourage's Ari Gold, the peppery but damn good talent agent.

William Morris Endeavor recognized their potential Young Turks needs a decent wardrobe at a decent price point.  Remember, starter jobs have matching starter salaries.

When the talent agency firm recognized what Combatant Gentlemen co-founder and CEO, Vishaal Melwani, a third generation tailor whose family ran Versace boutiques in Vegas for nearly two decades, is trying to do.  They, along with VegasTechFund (led by Zappos’ Tony Hsieh); William Morris Endeavor; David Marcus, current president of Paypal; and Tom Ryan, former CEO of Threadless, jumped right in.

Their headquarters are in Orange County with fitting rooms outfitted with a fitting-room mirror displaying the prices with an embedded Microsoft Kinect camera to give you a second opinion. 

“We want to be the bad-ass version of Men’s Wearhouse, and disrupt fashion in the suitmaking world by providing modern cuts at affordable prices. We call it retail 3.0,” Vishaal Melwani.

L'Occitane for Father's Day, Chic & Affordable Thru Out the Year...

By Laura Medina

Beverly Hills' L'Occitane Barber Shop 

With the depart of The Art of Shaving's lush barber shop on the side of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, it's time for the venerable and trustworthy L'Occitane of Beverly Hills, with their rare in-store barber shop, to uphold quality shaving for the men.

This is a great and affordable way to treat dad on Father's Day, taking him to the L'Occitane of Beverly Hills.  Whatever he sees and spots in that boutique, is what they will use on him.

L'Occitane Father's Day Shaving Gift Sets

To be fair, L'Occitane provides and supplies quality shaving and men's skincare year-all at fair prices, making him able to sustain a quality skincare routine.  Affordable enough for the kids to pay for it.

The Beverly Hills' barber shop is a rare find and should be taken advantage of while visiting Beverly Hills.

The men's skincare and shaving line are split into two collections, Cedrat Skincare Collection and Cade Star Gift.

NEW Cédrat Men’s grooming collection! Cédrat conveys a fresh, delicate, citrus fragrance that is light, yet refined for a perfect masculine balance. Specially designed to address a man’s daily grooming needs, all skincare products are formulated with organic Corsican Cedrat extract to offer a multi-benefit men care line. The fragrance and body care products offer a fresh and light, authentic citrus scent to cleanse and perfume skin, while the skincare range focuses on hydration and anti-shine.

In other words, no more "borrowing from the ladies" when it comes to his multi-purpose skincare needs.

L'Occitane's first men's skincare collection is Cade.  It was the first for men because of the Cade Plant's healing and invigorating properties in soothing skin after shaving (After Shave Balm and Cream) a man's face, as in the cuts and the nicks on the face.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Family Day, Father's Day, & Other Festivities at Holman Ranch & Will's Fargo Steakhouse & Bar.

By Laura Medina

The Gates to the Holman Ranch's Gardens, Vineyard, Pool, Carriage House, & BBQ Patio.

Nestled on the edge of the California Cowboy-sque town of Carmel Valley, in the fertile and verdant hills of Central California, the secluded Holman Ranch is a retreat and winery rich in the Californian Ranching history that is now, an escape from urban Los Angeles and the urbane San Francisco. 

A Californian Western respite from the hubbub of Hollywood, Holman Ranch brings Central Californian culture and history into today and cuisine through its restaurant, Will's Fargo Steakhouse and Bar.

The guest rooms.

Setting foot on the Holman Ranch estate is like stepping back in time.

Imagine if the Cartwright Family from "Bonanza" opened up a Bed and Breakfast then tossed in a winery and an olive oil farm with a good ole barbecue patio, converted the carriage house into a dancehall/fitness shed and added on an equestrian course, that's Holman Ranch today.

When you settled into your guest room, you might be greeted by the Holman Ranch peacock, their unofficial mascot.

Since the ranch is so rich in vegetation and wilderness, don't be surprised if you glimpse a deer buck, a lizard, or a wild boar.  One of the many activities you can enjoy is scavenger hunting. 

Horses & Equestrian Course.

In fact, Holman Ranch uses it's past as present "gift theme retreat" packages to bring out Dad's "Inner Cowboy" for Father's Day.  Some of these activities are so fun that they can bring out the whole family's "Inner Cowboy and Cow Girl" for the spouse and the kids.  Stuff that the family can do together and alone.

Celebrating Father's Day or even Mother's Day or as a wedding/honeymoon or as a really awesome corporate retreat or events where folks pretend to be cowboys and cow girls on the range, where they can rope dummy cattle during a roping clinic, horse-back riding, and square dancing at a premium BBQ dinner, can make their holidays, vacations, birthdays, and events memorable. A 180 degree flip from the usually nightclub scenario.

As for Dad on Father's Day, with the daughter, they can do archery, fishing, and skeet shooting, photography nature, and bird watching.

Chapel & fitness class at the Carriage House.

If you want to go "deep" inside and out, Holman Ranch thought of everything...away from the city life.

Other than the obvious choice of conducting weddings, people can use the chapel to mediate as a part of the ranch's "Wellness and Spirit Package," to cleanse then connect mind, body, and spirit such as: doing yoga or pilates inspired by the rolling hills in the fresh air.  It's recommended you do a buddy-system hiking or mountain biking through the trails, just in case you encounter wild life.

Since we're in the heart of the world's fruit and nuts and produce basket, take advantage of Holman Ranch's "Culinary Escape" and "Wine Lover's Delight."  

"Culinary Escape" offers a wide range of cooking classes, from the novice to the expert chefs learning more about the locale produce for their own knowledge.

Yes, Holman Ranch and the Carmel Valley is part of Central California's fertile Wine Country where soil and climate and the East-West Breeze meet to produce the world's finest wines...to pair with award-winning cattle.

Holman Ranch Vineyards & varietal grapes.

In their "Wine Lovers' Delight," ideal for the foodie single or to enrich the honeymoon, the owner will take you on the tour of the winery and the vineyard themselves.  During the tour, you'll learn to sip, savor, and learn wine and course pairings.  They'll even show you the whole process to the bottling.

They even have house-pressed olive oil and vinegar tastings.

If you prefer simple, you can always hang out in the pool, next to the vineyard.

Game Room 

The night time can be relaxing but it doesn't have to be boring, especially for the dudes, the dads, and the family.

At night or taking shelter from the noon day sun, folks play games in the saloon-like Game Room, where folks can play pool, card games, shoot darts, or keep up on the tournaments on the big, flat screen TV.  

BBQ Rose Patio.

The bar can be fully stocked and there's a catering kitchen.  The Game Room opens out to the BBQ Rose Patio to throw...a BBQ. 

The Game Room is a great place to throw a bachelor party for the grooms.

Stone Terrace.

For Mother's Day or a Girls' Getaway, Holman Ranch can do afternoon tea, a bonfire with S'mores, estate wine tasting, wine and cheese reception, picnics, or yoga and pilates.

If you want to throw a wedding then honeymoon there or schedule a corporate event or party, please contact Holman Ranch at events@holmanranch.com

For horse-back riding or equestrian training, reach them at horses@holmanranch.com

Will's Fargo Steakhouse & Bar
16 E Carmel Valley Rd
Carmel Valley, CA 

It doesn't have to be isolating.  If you make a quick right out of the Holman Ranch Estate, you're immediately into the town of Carmel Valley where Holman Ranch has the Holman Ranch Tasting Room (where you pick up your guest room keys while you're tasting and sampling the wine) and their own restaurant, Will's Fargo Restaurant.

French Onion Soup, Will's Fargo Steakhouse.

Will's Fargo Steakhouse hired a French chef from the Brittany region, reinforcing and continuing Central Californian Coast's love of traditional French cuisine using the freshest produce from their own backyard which is the country's and the world's produce basket.

Roasted Free Range Chicken in Sauce Marchand De Vin a.k.a. "Red Wine Reduction Sauce."

For a main entree, you can order Roasted Free Range Chicken on a bed of Sauce Marchand De Vin, a.k.a. Red Wine Reduction Sauce, probably made with Holman Ranch red wine.

The "French Red Wine Reduction Sauce" is practical, local, wise, thrifty, and anti-oxidant rich.  An healthy dish without you knowing this. 

Holman Ranch Pinot Gris

Holman Ranch describe their Pinot Gris notes as freshly sliced peaches and wild honey.

Chocolate Truffle Cake with Olive Oil Ice Cream.

Another deceptively healthy dish is the dessert.  No meal is complete without dessert.
At Will's Fargo Steakhouse, the chef uses Olive Oil as the fat in their vanilla Olive Oil Ice Cream to top their gooey Warm Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake, their version of a chocolate lava cake.

If this hearty and decadent meal gets you all concern about fat and a fit figure, don't worry.

With all the ranching, hiking, horse-back riding, and square dancing, you'll be as fit as a fiddle, without the city stress, at Holman Ranch.

To make arrangements while sipping their wines, contact their offices at their Holman Ranch Tasting Room at http://www.holmanranch.com/contact.html and at 19 E. Carmel Valley Road, Suite C, Carmel Valley, CA 93924 or at Tel (831) 659-2640 or Fax (831) 659-6055 or at info@holmanranch.com