This Weekend! A Trio of Festivals: Honda Evening Under the Stars, Richstone Family Center Endless Summer Beach Party, and LA Food & Wine!

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  This weekend, Angelenos and South Bay citizens have three food and wine events to choose from, two of which support worthy social causes right here in our neighborhood.

Honda’s Evening Under the Stars Gourmet Food & Wine Festival

World-renowned saxophonist Kenny G will serenade a summer night audience at the 31st annual “Honda Evening Under the Stars” Gourmet Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, August 26, 2017, from 6 to 9:30 pm at American Honda’s campus in Torrance. Presented in partnership with the Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce, this year’s event will support the healthcare of South Bay kids, with proceeds benefiting Torrance Memorial Pediatrics and Vistas for Children.

This is one of the great opportunities to experience a world class food and wine festival right here in the South Bay while supporting a cause. This year’s proceeds will benefit the renovation of Torrance Memorial Medical Center’s North Patient Tower, which will house new pediatric, neonatal intensive care, and mother/baby Units.

Paricipating restaurants include Bettolino Kitchen (follow this link to our review), Kincaid’s (follow this link to our review), and many more of your South Bay Favorites. Follow this link to the Facebook page for more details. For tickets, follow this link to Torrance Memorial’s website.

Richstone Family Center’s Endless Summer Beach Party

In celebration of its 43-year history of helping vulnerable children and families in need throughout the Greater South Bay, the Richstone Family Center will host its 4th Annual Endless Summer Beach Party on the Beach at King Harbor on August 26, 2017. This special celebration honors the Richstone Family Center, the families supported there, and the many volunteers and donors who have worked tirelessly over the years to make the center’s child abuse treatment and prevention programs possible.

Guests can experience cuisine from top South Bay restaurants like Bluewater Grill’s oyster shooters & smoked salmon canapes; Kalbi braised short rib blue corn tamales from Standing Room; and Mahi Mahi Ceviche from Hermosa Beach Fish Shop.  Beverages providers include HopSaint Brewing Company, 3 Wheel Cafe, and Plough Wooden Valley.

Follow this link for complete details and to purchase tickets!

Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival

Presented by Coastal Luxury Management and founding partners FOOD & WINE and Lexus, Los Angeles Food & Wine returns with its 7th annual all-star chef line-up and exclusive programming on August 24-27, 2017. Featuring the celebrated restaurants throughout Los Angeles, the festivities will include tasting events hosted by culinary luminaries Curtis Stone and Tyler Florence along Downtown’s Grand Ave. and afternoons at the Lexus Grand Tasting taking place at Santa Monica Barker Hangar.

Here’s a list of the main events for the weekend:

  • Ultimate Bites of L.A. hosted by Curtis Stone will kick off the festivities on Thursday, August 24
  • Night Market on Grand Avenue on Friday evening, August 25
  • LIVE on Grand hosted by Tyler Florence on Saturday, August 26, featuring a musical performance by Wyclef Jean
  • Lexus Grand Tasting at Barker Hangar on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27, featuring over 25 celebrity chefs including Lexus Culinary Master Jon Shook and 200 wines to sample. Lexus owners will also receive complimentary parking at the event.

Tickets are available to purchase by visiting or by calling 855-433-LAFW (5239)


Summer Festival Season Kicks Off with LA Food Fest 2017

This weekend the LA Food Fest returns to the LA Collesium for a full day of all things tasty.
Keeping in line with other great festivals, the LA Food Fest is going back to a “one ticket for everything” model. This means that your GA or VIP ticket — which will set you back $65 or $95 respectively — gets you in the door and entitles you to all of the food tastes, beverage samples, and ice cream social goodness that your #stretchypants can handle. VIP guests are offered entry one hour early and get access to other perks.

This year’s line-up is composed of a “curated selection of 100+ of Los Angeles, So Cal, Baja and Mexico City’s best award winning chefs, restaurants, trucks, street carts and stands”.

That basically means there will be something good for everyone! Not to mention the addition of street carts and internal chefs means guests will be sampling signature dishes not available at any other food festival in LA.

This Weekend! Get a Taste of the South Bay’s Blue Zones

This Sunday, some of your favorite South Bay restaurants will share how you can make healthy eating delicious and fun.

On March 5, from 2 to 5 PM, the Taste of Blue Zones event will take place at the Manhattan Beach Civic Plaza.  Guests will have the chance to taste foods from a wide array of South Bay restaurants including Captain Kidd’s Fish Market, Fresh Brothers Pizza, Jus Poke, and many more.

The cost of the event is just $25 for adults and children ages 12 and over.  The little ones 11 and under can participate for free but must be pre-registered with an adult ticket purchase.

All proceeds from the Taste of Blue Zones will benefit the Hermosa Beach Education Foundation, Redondo Beach Educational Foundation and Manhattan Beach Education Foundation.  The benefitting organization can be chosen at the time of purchase.  Support your local Ed Foundation by partying for a cause!

For more information including the complete list of participating restaurants and to purchase tickets, visit the Beach Cities Health District website.

Finding Artisan Bread in Manhattan Beach

About 4 months ago, the LA Times published an article about Martha Stewart’s recent trip to LA. There, she was focused on visiting LA area bakeries to see what she could find.

In that LA Times article dated May 20, 2016, she states, “Everything in L.A. is with a twist, which is nice. It shows great creativity,” she added. “I think La Brea Bakery really started it. I remember eating fabulous bread in San Francisco at ACME and thinking, ‘Oh, there can’t be anything better than ACME,’ then I tasted Nancy Silverton’s and now tasting some of these wonderful offshoots.”

z_truckDrago (Santa Monica) Bread Bar (El Segundo) and Lodge Bread (Culver City) are all specialty bakeries that make premium bread. Drago is best known because they supply Mendocino Farms and Bread Bar seems to operate in the wholesale and catering space.

Loaves from Lodge Bread Co

Loaves from Lodge Bread Co

Lodge Bread doesn’t provide the usual baguettes or loaves. Instead, they bake whole-grain, long-fermented, high-hydration loaves that are baked extremely dark (think pumpernickel). They are also dense and quite heavy.

The bread smells wonderfully nutty and when you bit into it, you find it amazingly moist inside. Because this bread is so dense, it’s not well suited for sandwiches. Instead, I think the bread makes a wonderful avocado toast or simply served with a gourmet butter or fruit preserve.

Lodge Bread Co has a truck that sells bread in other locations like farmers markets. I happened to catch them in front of Two Guns Espresso in Manhattan Beach last weekend. I learned that they will be at Two Guns next Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oct. 1 and will move to another location.

Sprouted Rye Bread

Sprouted Rye Bread

I purchased a sprouted rye that was dark brown and quite heavy. After sampling it, I agreed with my wife that it would pair well with a nice soup.

Lodge Bread Company’s brick and mortar operation is located in Culver City.

Lodge Bread Co

Fun Experience at the 1st Annual Enchilada Festival

My aunt and I enjoy similar things in life. We both enjoy travel, food, wine, museums and Japanese American history. As a child, I even traveled to Mexico with her. Together we visited Acapulco, Taxco and Mexico City.

Usually, I’m current on my LA area food festivals, but she told me about one that I didn’t know about – The Enchilada Festival. Just like any other country, Mexico has many different styles of cuisine and because of that, there are many regional versions of the enchilada.

La Casita Mexicana and its sister restaurant Mexicano played host to a month-long tribute to the enchilada. This festival was the result of a collaborative effort between chefs Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo. Between the two restaurants, over 24 different enchiladas were featured. Upon perusing both menus, I decided to go to Mexicano.

mexicanoMexicano is located in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. My wife and I arrived before Mexicano opened which gave us an opportunity to explore the mall. Of course, I had to check out the food court and I was impressed at the diverse offerings: New York Pizza, Japanese, Chinese, Hot Wings, Mexican, Creole, Burgers and Yogurt.

Walking towards the restaurant, we could see through the window and watch the tortillas being made by hand. By the time we walked to the front of Mexicano, it was open; we were only the second table seated.

Beautiful collection of folk art

Beautiful collection of folk art

The restaurant is beautifully decorated. Mexicano gives you the feeling that you left LA and are vacationing in a luxury Mexican resort. Beautiful Mexican tile is abound, folk art from different parts of Mexico are mounted in the wall. Mexicano was definitely a treat for the eyes.

Paloma, Classic Margarita, warm chips with refried beans and cheese

Paloma, Classic Margarita, warm chips with refried beans and cheese

To set the tone for the meal, we ordered a couple of drinks. I had the Paloma and my wife requested the classic Margarita. Classic Mexican glassware was used and I appreciated the fact that they didn’t skimp on the amount that was served. Both drinks were very good.

There was a choice between 3, 5 and 7 enchiladas per person. Figuring that 7 was a bit too much, I prepaid for 5 enchiladas per person. Yes, that is a lot, but I already had in mind that we were going to have boxes to take home.

Foreground: Mole Enchilada with three sauces; Background: Enchiladas Mareñas

Foreground: Mole Enchilada with three sauces; Background: Enchiladas Mareñas

My wife’s #1 and #2 choices were the mole enchilada and enchilada suizas. I agreed with her #1 choice, but my #2 choice was Enchiladas Mareñas – stuffed with shrimp and cooked with guajillo chile and topped with a tomatillo sauce.

The mole enchilada was creatively presented with three different mole sauces. The first was the mole poblano. This is an extremely complex sauce that is made with Mexican chocolate and several different types of chiles. It is both spicy and sweet. The green mole achieves its color from the use of romaine, cilantro, serrano peppers and tomatillos. Pumpkin seeds, chile peppers, cinnamon and cumin give the red Pepian sauce a unique taste.

Enchilada en Nogada

Enchilada en Nogada

Enchilada en Nogada was the most interesting of the group. This was a creation of chefs Jamie and Ramiro. It is filled with ground pork, dried fruit, walnuts and candied cactus. It is topped with pecan cream and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. To me, it was more like a dessert dish.

I hope they bring back the enchilada festival next year. It was fun getting immersed with enchiladas this way. As my wife and I shared each enchilada, we exchanged comments. I believe the freshly made tortillas really enhanced the experience. If you have an opportunity to try this, I recommend that you watch out for the festival next year.

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