Marty Neehin

San Diego: Tequila and Taco Music Festival Returns April 6-7, at a New Venue

Tequila and Taco Music Festival Returns to San Diego April 6-7, at a New Venue

The 8th annual Tequila and Taco Music Festival returns to San Diego at its new venue in Thrive Park at Snapdragon Stadium on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 7.

8th annual Tequila and Taco Music Festival at Snapdragon Stadium April 6-7

Festival goers will enjoy an enticing array of tequila tastings, delectable tacos, artisan vendors, and an exciting lineup of live music performances.

8th annual Tequila and Taco Music Festival

8th annual Tequila and Taco Music Festival

This annual festival has etched itself as a regional highlight, drawing thousands of attendees from across the state.

“We are thrilled to bring the Tequila and Taco Music Festival to Snapdragon Stadium for an unforgettable weekend of festivities,”

Vincenzo Giammanco

CBF Productions President

“This event is a celebration of delicious Mexican food, craft tequila, and great music. We look forward to welcoming attendees from near and far to join us for a memorable experience.”

8th annual Tequila and Taco Music Festival

A carefully curated and diverse selection of over 20 premium tequilas, from smooth blanco by Nosotros Tequila to aged añejo by Rancho La Gloria, will be available for tequila enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Attendees will also enjoy different variations of traditional street tacos and innovative creations from over 15 local and regional chefs and eateries including Global Tacos GrillBarra CrudaBaja Tacos and more.

Beyond culinary delights and libations, attendees will enjoy two days of live music spanning various genres, including Shaggy and Ozomatli. Artisan vendors will also be on-site, showcasing unique crafts from Temascali and Kopacetic Kreations, jewelry from JorgeGeorge and Roni’s Treasures, apparel from Alberly and SD Cork Hats, and much more.

Tickets are available for purchase online, with various options to suit individual preferences. General Admission ($24.99) includes admission into the festival (food and drinks purchased separately);

Margarita Experience (2 for $50) includes admission for two people who will receive a complimentary margarita upon entry (food and additional drinks purchased separately;

Tequila Experience ($59.99) includes admission into the festival, a souvenir tasting cup upon entry and six .5 oz samples of craft tequila.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

About Tequila and Taco Music Festival

Tequila and Taco Music Festival is an annual celebration of Mexican culture, culinary delights, and live music held at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California. Featuring tequila tastings, gourmet tacos, live music, and artisan vendors, the festival offers attendees an immersive and vibrant experience.

About Snapdragon Stadium

Snapdragon Stadium is a premier event venue located in San Diego, California, renowned for hosting a variety of concerts, festivals, sporting events, and community gatherings throughout the year.

About CBF Productions

CBF Productions is a leading event production company dedicated to creating memorable experiences that bring communities together. With a passion for excellence and a commitment to innovation, CBF Productions produces a diverse range of events that inspire, entertain, and delight attendees of all ages.

1000 Stories Wines delivers Mendocino, Lodi Wine Country “Big Flavor” with Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel

1000 Stories Wines delivers Mendocino, Lodi Wine Country “Big Flavor” with Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel

At 1000 Stories Wines, they share that same bold roaming spirit, which is why each of their wines tell incredible stories of exploration and discovery.

1000 Stories Wines delivers Crowd-Pleasing Big, Bold taste with Bourbon Barrel Aged Zinfandel

In every bottle thy hope you’ll find journeys, encounters, people and places—stories that stoke the roaming spirit in all of us so that once your grass of wine is finished, you set out once again to create the next chapter in our stories.

Margaret Leonardi from 1000 Stories Wines

Margaret Leonardi from 1000 Stories Wines

Today we’re talking with Margaret Leonardi from 1000 Stories Wines.  The below conversation has been editing for length and clarity.  For the full, unedited version, check out our FlavRReport YouTube channel.


Just to get to know you a little bit better, can you tell us more about what inspired you to get into the wine business?

Margaret Leonardi: I’m originally from an organic dairy farm in Northern California, so just the county north of here.  We’re in Mendocino County. I’m from Humboldt County, so just the closest wine growing region from home. The wine industry is so much more glamorous and romantic than the dairy industry. I’ve been making wine since 2009. Now my whole life is the wine industry.

My husband is a winemaker too. We live in a vineyard. We’re in the middle of harvest right now. We’ve been harvesting for over a month now. We’ll harvest hopefully through Halloween.

How’s it going this year? Are the grapes looking good?

Margaret Leonardi: Pretty average yields. It’s a little later as a whole than normal harvest.  Not noteworthy, but maybe a couple of weeks depending on the region, the variety.  It’s tasting good. The chemistries are nice. Good acids. So far we’re happy but we’re only halfway done. 

The brand is called 1,000 Stories.  On your website it mentions each of your wines tell incredible stories of exploration, discovery. Where does the idea of stories come from?

Margaret Leonardi: There’s a lot of stories around how we came up with the name and how we got from point A to point B, but everyone has their own rendition, which is just ironic that it’s 1000 stories. Our consumer is adventurous, and likes to roam and wander and connect with people.  So all those people, each adventure you go on, and each new connection you make, you have new stories, and you have new stories to share, and you can share our wines together. 


You mentioned the word “explore”.  Up in your area is Yellowstone National Park, and a thousand stories that you guys partnered with Yellowstone Forever.

Margaret Leonardi: That’s a new partnership for this year.  The official non profit partner with Yellowstone, and their main focus is bison conservation.  With our label, our mascot is a bison.  The partnership promotes bison conservation, make sure their population is safe and healthy.

It’s a beautiful design. Tell me about how the bottle itself was created and how you decided what should be on that bottle?

Margaret Leonardi: We have three SKUs that are bourbon barrel aged. Our first is the Zinfandel, the OG of the portfolio, this came out first and then in the Bourbon Barrel Age side, we also have a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Red Blend.  

Then we have an American Barrel Aged section that’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, so not Bourbon Barrel Aged, just American Oak.  That would be used for normal winemaking, and then we have our newest corn sku, it’s a Sauvignon Blanc, and this is just stainless steel and some concrete aging.

The Bourbon barrel aged [popularity] has grown. We have customers who want more diversity, more variety. So we’ve expanded the set. 

On the Zinfandel [label], we have our mascot the bison.  Another noteworthy thing with this is on the Zin, because it was our first.

Each time we get bourbon barrels, we go through a 3rd party broker. So we’re not working directly with any distillers.  We have a mix of the distilleries these bourbon barrels are shipping to us from, so they’re all different. 

We’re filling finished Zinfandel in these barrels and then we taste each one.

Some can be really bourbon-y, really potent.  A lot of fresh dill. Some can have less bourbon influence and it’s more smoky, toasty. 

So we have to really craft each one. We’re tasting a bunch of lots and crafting the blend for the finished product.

That’s when we decided to put the batch number [on the bottle]. Because as a whole, the backbone of the wine tastes very similar, but there are some little minute differences. We wanted to convey that to the consumer with the batch number because you can tell [each bottle] tastes a little different.


Bourbon barrel has become very popular.  How was that method chosen at your winery?

Margaret Leonardi: It was a practice from the original winemaker, the founding winemaker, Bob Blue, who just retired a couple of years ago. 

We were innovating, thinking of new wine ideas, and this is a practice that he used 20 plus years ago. [Back then] French oak wine barrels were pretty pricey, like a luxury commodity to use. So he was looking at different alternatives to age his wines here at Fetzer. 

He had this idea. Bourbon and whiskey barrels were cheaper.

We bought some bourbon barrels and tried it.  We were like, we should bottle this, not blend this into a bigger portion. This should be its own bottle. That was in 2014, our first vintage. 

I started with the company in 2015. I was here at the beginning, so I saw some of the evolution and then Bob has retired and he’s passed the torch to Sebastian and I.

Let’s talk a little bit about the different varietals. The process, the styles aromas, flavor notes.

Margaret Leonardi: The first original Zinfandel is our classic.  I say classic because Zinfandel’s kind of an American grape variety, it’s very Americana.  It goes with our whole spirit of the brand, and It’s what Mendocino County and Mendocino is known for.

We grow really great Zinfandel’s up here, it’s a nice and warm climate. We’ve also expanded, now we’re sourcing some of the fruit from Lodi as well, which is also a really great growing region for Zinfandel.  They’re also known for their Zin.

It’s blended with some Petite Syrah.  Just to give the color a little more enhancement. Some more tannin structure. We want the whole backbone of the blend to be bold. You’re supposed to match the bison. Big style, bold characteristics. We pick them when the fruit is really ripe. It’s pretty hot.  Then we finish it in bourbon barrels and we can  use a little bit of American oak, French oak in there too, just to give it some oak enhancement. Usually around 15 percent alcohol in the finished product.

The unique part of the Zinfandel itself is the blackberries.  It’s really juicy, some cranberry and then the bourbon barrel aging process is just where you get some like dried herbs, oregano, thyme.  Toffee characteristics from the toastiness of the bourbon barrel itself. 

The point is to have a really strong wine. We want to have a really strong wine. We don’t want it to waft bourbon and we don’t want the bourbon to sit on top of the wine.  We want them to be really integrated and just like a finish, not overwhelming or overpowering.

It’s very well balanced. Were there any challenges in finding the balance or was it pretty straightforward?


Margaret Leonardi: It’s not pretty straightforward. We wish.  The barrels coming from the distillers can vary.  They can be emptied the week before [and be very fresh]. They can be emptied a month [and be less fresh]. So how much has evaporated, how much has been absorbed into the wood.  Those are unknown factors. So it’s a bunch of trial and error. So it’s fun, but it’s a lot of work. We want some consistency, but we want a little bit of difference. 

You’ve mentioned Sebastian Donoso. Tell us about him. How the two of you balance roles.

Margaret Leonardi: He’s the winemaker for the Bourbon Barrel Aged Wines. Before we were both collaborating with Bob, it was more like a team effort.  When Bob stepped down, we also had the new American Barrel Aged Pinot and Chard and the Sauvignon Blanc’s brand new.

Sebastian took the Bourbon Barrel Aged because he was working on those more, and then I took the other half.  We work together.

Before we move on, I don’t want to forget the Sauvignon Blanc. Process, styles, aromas, the taste?

Margaret Leonardi: This just came out in April of this year so I’m really excited. I think it’s still working its way across the nation, but I’m really happy with this wine. I really like the way it came out and I got to make it from scratch. I made exactly what I wanted.  It’s nice when you make something that you really like to drink too.  The fruit that we source for this comes from the majority from the Arroyo Seco region, so down Monterey, central coast of California, which is just a really nice growing region, Bay Area influence.  Warm days and then cool evenings. A little bit comes from just up here in Mendocino County. Then the rest is from Lodi. 

A unique thing is it’s blended with 10% Viognier. The Viognier is an ironic blender for Sauvignon Blanc, but it’s like in the spirit of things bold, I have this Viognier that I really like.  It’s really concentrated, ripened flavors. A lot of peach and nectarine flavors, so I thought it could be really interesting in a Sauvignon Blanc.

I fermented them separate and then blended this percentage in there and It’s really interesting because the Sauvignon Blanc has a little bit of grassy, grapefruit, citrus aromas, 

The Viognier twist makes it almost a little floral, but you get those white peach, stone fruit flavors pop a little more because of that Viognier.

It’s all stainless steel, fermented and aged, so it has no oak contact. I do some concrete eggs. I think it enhances the texture and makes it a little more mineral-y.


Are you a foodie?  Can you please suggest some really delicious dishes that pair with these bottles?

Margaret Leonardi: That is a nice thing about our portfolio expanding,  because before we had the three reds. So it’s similar food pairings. Now that we’ve expanded, we can have almost a wine for any dish. The Zinfandel and all of the bourbon barrel aged wines go really great with barbecue or smoked meat, ribs, red meats.  It’s a good “occasion wine”, right? If you’re going to a friend’s house for a barbecue or somewhere where you want to grab a bottle of wine, but you aren’t sure what – it’s a crowd pleaser, it’s a perfect conversation starter.  Sporting events soccer games, Super Bowl, that kind of thing.

Then the Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with oysters, light sauce pastas, cream based pastas.  It’s also great just appetizer wine. I think the Viognier is different. It is fun to start with it. So if you’re coming over and not sure what to open or if you’re having a dinner party, it’s like a great wine to kick off the night with.

You can explore it and then it transitions well with food, especially as it warms up a little.

Where we can find you follow and find that all this stuff both to buy as well as on social media

Margaret Leonardi: The brand as a whole is available through our website.  They’re also available at any grocery stores around the whole country.

For our social media, our Instagram is 1000 Stories Wines. We have a Facebook, a YouTube, and TikTok.  


Your Coffee Can (and Should) Taste Better, explains Maurice Contreras at Volcanica Coffee

Your Coffee Can (and Should) Taste Better, Maurice Contreras at Volcanica Coffee

Just about everyone has their coffee preferences.  But the truth is, most of us aren’t enjoying coffee the best it can be and we don’t even know it.  The beans, the grinding, the flavor (or lack thereof).


And before you ask, nope, good coffee doesn’t need to be expensive.  Actually most great coffee is more affordable than the bad stuff you’re currently drinking.  True story.


But I wanted to get answers and advice from a coffee expert, so I had a conversation with Maurice Contreras from Volcanica Coffee.

Maurice Contreras Volcanica Coffee

Maurice Contreras, Volcanica Coffee

Native Costa Rican Maurice Contreras started Volcanica Coffee to import excellent-tasting coffee from volcanic regions, such as his homeland, to consumers. He started the company in his garage and now operates a coffee plant near Atlanta with 20 employees, including his wife and two adult children.


What is your favorite thing about coffee?


My favorite thing I like about coffee is really the flavor. That actually was how I got started. I’m from Costa Rica and for a long time I would do annual trips with the family. It was a family vacation. One of our trips we did a coffee farm tour. And just got to learn about coffee. And this is back in 2004. One of the things that dawned on me is how coffee in Costa Rica was so much better than coffee in the United States. I just didn’t understand why a 3rd world country had better coffee. The quality of coffee in the United States has really come down over several decades. So that’s when I thought that there was an opportunity to bring better tasting coffee or specialty coffee as it’s known today to the United States. That was really how it got started. It really was more about the flavor and just enjoying the richness of a Costa Rican coffee.


Is there a simple reason why first world coffee just isn’t as good?


Yeah, the general sense was because it became more of a highly produced, big production, big coffee house; and I’ll tell you a quick story. A lot of people don’t know this, the word Maxwell House, it actually is a chain of hotels. Some of them are still in existence. And so Maxwell House started from the Maxwell House Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. They served breakfast and they had really good coffee and it became really popular. It became very famous, and then eventually it became its own brand Maxwell House, and then it ended up getting acquired by corporate conglomerates. And that really good tasting coffee just turned into [not-great] coffee.


So that’s really what happened to coffee in the United States. At one time, back in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, people would really appreciate good coffee and then just kind of lost sight of what good coffee was.



From a coffee lover’s point of view, what would you say to convince them to give your coffee a try?


That coffee really is an enjoyable drink to be appreciated and enjoyed for the flavor of what it is. It’s not just something to wake you up. But really coffee and all the different varieties, there’s a lot of flavor notes, a lot of different flavors to be enjoyed. A lot of it depends upon the different regions. My recommendation is try it out and get some good coffee with some flavor notes that you enjoy. Like, for example, Ethiopian coffees, they have a lot of berry notes, a lot of fruit tones, even red wine notes. Some of those things can really open up people’s perspective on coffee.



Before we jump more into coffee, I wanted to ask you about your background as far as the work you did before Volcanica Coffee


My career was in marketing specifically I was in the wireless telephone industry. It really was just about creating a brand. I was part of the startup team at TracFone Wireless which is now a part of Verizon. I was the National Director, I created the brand. In fact, there’s still a lot of things in the brand that I created. I had a passion for marketing.


It was kinda like, “Hey, gee whiz, what if I created my own brand and just created a business?”


And so I actually was on a hunt for a couple of years thinking what would be a good business? And then I just kind of stumbled on coffee because it was staring me in the face.


There’s such a message in there. The success you’re currently riding is because you took industry knowledge of marketing, a personal passion for coffee, and took the risk of putting them together in a business start-up.


Yep, that’s true. It was a risk because I was making a good living, I had a young family, I didn’t wanna affect any of that. It was something part-time, working nights and weekends, that’s how it all started out. I


How did your family feel about that?  Was there anxiety?


It was definitely a struggle and I loved spending time with them and being with them. But part of how I resolved that was I would just wake up early in the morning and spend 1-2 hours before I had to go to work doing this. I didn’t want to neglect my family and I didn’t.


There’s so many people out there who aspire to take those steps and they always find reasons not to, but you found a way.  When people are drinking your coffee, they’re not just drinking delicious coffee, they’re supporting someone who took a huge chance, who followed his passions.


So segueing to the actual coffee part now.

Your website mentions coffee regions and how the region’s soil contributes to the taste.  A lot of our audience who’s into food and wine will realize the terroir aspect is very familiar to that.



Can you pick two or three regions and explain their soil and how it contributes to the taste?


I’ll start with African coffees. Their soil is very unique. Coffees from Africa tend to have a lot of berry notes, a lot more flavor of fruit which is very unique and very different compared to coffees from Indonesia.


Indonesian coffees tend to be lower in acidity. Acidity provides flavor but they’re still very good tasting coffees, even though they’re lower in acidity.  


Also the coffee in Indonesia, Sumatra, for example, Papua New Guinea, and even Hawaiian Kona coffees, those tend to have a lot of boldness. When you taste the cup, your mouth just tends to [recognize] that bold flavor, which you don’t get in African coffees. So those are a couple examples.


So really it is like old world wine versus new world wine. A noticeable difference in mouth feel depending on what region you’re going after.


When people ask, Hey, what kind of coffee should I buy? I always ask, what kind of flavors do you like? Start there. Then for people that are experimenting, try different coffees from different regions.





You mentioned that you’re from Costa Rica.  So tell us more about the Costa Rican volcanic regions.


It’s the most popular coffee growing region in Costa Rica, the Tarrazu area, which is very mountainous, goes up to 5,000 feet above sea level south of San Jose. Very steep. 


The coffee beans, because of the volcanic soil, have a lot of flavor. It’s a very mild flavor, but very flavorful as well. And because of the elevations, the beans are also very dense. They’re a harder bean. In fact, there’s a designation strictly hard bean that is used in the industry because of that. 


Being from Costa Rica I came here [to the U.S.] when I was a baby.  My mom would tell stories about how she would assist with her father, which is my grandfather, in the harvest. Because my grandfather was a teacher, he would work out in the rural areas of Costa Rica where the coffee bean farmers worked. They would assist during harvest time with picking coffee beans off the tree. There was the connection going back a couple generations in our family.


There has been a coffee influence throughout generations of your family.


Yes. For decades, maybe even a century, coffee was the number one product for Costa Rica. Today it’s tourism.


I’m glad you brought up tourism. We cover a lot of travel. If somebody wanted to visit Costa Rica, maybe even a specific coffee lover, is there a place you can recommend to come visit?


One of the farms that we work with actually has an Airbnb right on their plantation. We’ve had several customers that have made trips there and have gone and stayed at the house. It’s gorgeous.



More people are working from home and making coffee at home. A lot of us making coffee wrong. Can you just walk us through step by step the best way to grind and brew your coffee?


The single largest improvement in the freshness of your coffee is by grinding your beans at home.  A lot of people don’t know this: buying ground coffee, because it’s in smaller particles, tends to deteriorate very quickly. So you’re not enjoying the best of what coffee can be. 

So first of all, grind at home and it’s the type of grinder.

We recommend a burr grinder. The other type of grinder is a blade grinder, which is a cheap type grinder, which does not do as well as a burr grinder. 

Second thing is you wanna match your grind type to how you’re brewing. So there’s different levels, how fine or how course you want the coffee.  If you’re doing a French press, you want to have a coarse grind.  The opposite spectrum is an espresso grind. It’s almost like very fine sand. So if you had coarse coffee and an espresso maker, you’d have a bad cup of coffee. And the opposite too.  If you had a French press where you’re using espresso ground coffee, you would not have a good tasting coffee. A lot of it has to do with the extraction and this is the chemistry behind coffee.

Then in the middle of that would be like a traditional drip grind, which most people have which is a medium coarseness of a grind type. That works best to pour over or a drip grind.


Once you buy the equipment, you’re saving quite a bit of money by doing this all at home. More value and quality out of doing it at home?


Oh yeah. A cup of coffee outside can cost $3-6. At home, 50 cents per cup. Plus you’re controlling the flavor, how hot it is and how fresh it is.


How many cups do you think the average coffee person drinks per day?


The average is between one to two cups per day. Wall Street Journal says 66% of Americans have had coffee within the last day.



So with volcanic, you’ve mentioned low acid. Tell us more.


Low acid coffee is actually a natural occurrence. There’s no additives that need to be added, at least we don’t add anything to our coffee. It’s just how it’s sourced. How it’s brewed also affects acidity. 


So for example, the cold brew method tends to lower the acidity of coffee. Even more than if you brewed it traditionally in a drip grinder. It benefits people who suffer from acid reflux; and different types of indigestion abnormalities can benefit from low acidic coffee just because the pH is a higher number. 


We have a lot of customers thanking us because they could not drink coffee before they heard about our low acid coffee, so now they can drink coffee again. 


We have a blend of different coffees called the low acid coffee, plus 12 or 15 other coffees that are also rated as low acid. We rated them, we’ve done the pH levels on all of them, and all of them fall into that category of being lower in acidity.



Volcanica has built up a really strong community on your social media avenues.  What have the results been like?


We’re on all the major socials: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok. It’s very easy to find us.  We take customer feedback really seriously. We’re always looking for input and ideas. 

We’ll get a request [to] carry a type of coffee or coffee from a region and we’ll always look into it. 

We offer 100% customer satisfaction. We take returns, even when the customer just didn’t like a coffee, which is no fault of ours.


When someone does suggest a new bean, a new region, is that an easy outreach to investigate, or is that a whole process?


It is a whole process.




What’s a great online shopping strategy for finding the right coffee beans?


Align yourself with a brand that has a quality product. Look at customer reviews, their roasting technique.   Then it’s a matter of what type of coffee do you like? What flavor notes? Something mild? Berry notes? Lower in acidity?


So I go onto your website to buy some beans.  What’s a safe way to pick a bean that I’ll probably enjoy?


We carry over 150 different coffees, which is a lot. Visiting our website you have to know your preferences. Having some [filtering/search ] tools out there would be beneficial to people helping the selection process, that’s actually on our roadmap for the future.


Part of the reason why we have 150 coffees is because we’ve been listening to our customers over the years.


Tell us something about Volcanico Coffee that not everyone knows.


We love to give back. We’ve been blessed, we’ve been very successful, so we donate 1% of our website sales to an organization called Charity Water. They build water projects in impoverished communities around the world. This year we’re actually sponsoring a well in Ethiopia for a particular town. We know that we buy a lot of coffee from Ethiopia and we’d love to give back to them.



What is the future of coffee?


The future of coffee is specially curated lots. We call them our “Private Collection”. Farmers that are actually fermenting their coffee with mango, peach, different types of fruits. We have a few of them right now. We’re hoping to be carrying more in the near future.


Our audience is listening right now. What would you like them to do?


If you’re interested in finding out more about coffee and experiencing coffee, start exploring. We offer a great cup of coffee. Great different flavors and varieties. We even offer decafs, flavored coffees, something for everybody.







Your St. Patrick’s Day Starts with a stiff Irish Coffee, from Volcanica Coffee

Kick off St. Patrick’s Day with a stiff Irish Coffee and keep the celebration going late night with an Irish Espresso Martini.

Volcanica Coffee recipes are below that will give the good luck of the Irish!

Volcanica Coffee St Pattys Day has suggestions

Volcanica Coffee St Pattys Day has suggestions


1.5 oz of Irish Whiskey

½ oz of coffee liqueur

½ oz of Bailey’s Irish Cream

2 oz of cooled espresso using Volcanica Coffee’s Café Cubano Miami Espresso Blend

  1. In a shaker glass, pour in your ingredients. Fill with ice and shake until shaker is frosty.
  2. Strain into martini glass.


1½ to 2 oz (45 to 60ml) Irish whiskey, to taste

4 oz (120ml) fresh-brewed Dark Roast Costa Rica Nespresso Coffee Pods

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 oz (60ml) heavy cream, very cold

Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish


  1. Fill the cups with hot water to warm them up.
  2. Whip the cold cream until thick, but not stiff; it should still be able to run off of a spoon. Set aside. Tip: The key to success for whipped cream is to keep it very cold, so put your whisk and a stainless steel bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes before.
  3. Pour the warm water out of the coffee mugs. Fill ¾ full with coffee, add the brown sugar and stir well until dissolved. Add a few drops of coffee into the whipped cream and stir to combine.
  4. Add the whiskey into coffee and stir to combine.
  1. Hold a spoon upside down over the coffee, the tip touching the glass edge and the surface of coffee. Gently pour the cream over the back of the spoon, allowing it to gently pool on top of the coffee; filling to the top of the mug. Do not stir. You should obtain a lovely layering that looks like a pint of Guiness!
  2. Using a stenciled shamrock, sprinkle cocoa powder over the cream to make a beautiful drawing.


Volcanica Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster


Volcanica Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster that imports 150+ exotic coffees from volcanic regions around the world. The mineral-rich soil from volcanic regions produces coffee that is aromatic and remarkable in taste.  The company carries a broad line of estate, peaberry, decaf and flavored coffees.

Volcanica Coffee’s website offers subscription and individual purchases. For more information, visit

Los Angeles’s Akasha Presents Dine-In Seder and Two Nights of Passover TakeOut

Los Angeles’s Akasha Presents Dine-In Seder and Two Nights of Passover TakeOut

Join AKASHA and Rabbi Mark Borovitz for a Passover Seder on April 6

Chef Akasha Richmond Packages Her Acclaimed Holiday Dishes for Four or More Celebrating an “At Home” Jewish Holiday with a Portion of Service Charge

Akasha Passover Benefit World Central Kitchen for Ukraine


Chef/Owner Akasha Richmond, Partner Alan Schulman of AKASHA RESTAURANT

Akasha Richmond and Partner Alan Schulman’s AKASHA present their annual Passover Seder on Thursday, April 6, 2023, and Passover To-Go for takeout and delivery on April 4 and 5, 2023.

Guests attending AKASHA for Passover Seder will congregate the second night of the holiday for a reception, followed by an informal service led by Rabbi Mark Borovitz.

The complete dinner with Akasha’s specialties follows.

Pricing for the Seder is $145, including wine and beverages; $65 for children under 10. Reserved ticketing is available on TOCK.

Celebrate Akasha Passover with At-Home Selections


For at-home celebrations, AKASHA offers à la carte selections designed for two-four adults (or more with children). All dishes are ready-to-heat to make it as easy to enjoy Passover in a family setting.

Passover food rules are strictly followed, and the dinner is “Kosher Style,” containing no dairy. A portion of the service charge will be given to World Central Kitchen, which is serving thousands of fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing home as well as people remaining in the country.


Thursday, April 6, 2023

Reception starts at 6:15 p.m., Seder & Dinner at 7:00 p.m.
Seder led by Rabbi Mark Borovitz

Chopped Chicken Liver • Green Bean & Walnut Faux “Liver”
matzoh & gluten-free matzoh

Seder Plate

matzoh & gluten-free matzoh

Sephardic Fish Balls
tunisian tomato sauce & meyer lemon horseradish

Akasha’s Matzoh Ball Soup
fresh dill & carrots

Entrees – Choose One

Red Wine-Braised Creekstone Farms’ Brisket
rainbow carrots & potato pancakes

Chicken Tagine with Caramelized Onions & Preserved Lemon
rainbow carrots & potato pancakes

Matzo Meal-Baked Eggplant

almond cheese & cashew ‘parm”
nonna’s tomato sauce, cauliflower with capers & raisins, baby artichokes

Dessert – Family Style
flourless citrus-almond cake & berries
chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons & meringues

Pricing & Details

Adults, $145 – includes wine or juice, coffee & tea

Children under ten, $65 – includes grape juice
Exclusive of tax & 22% service charge

Tickets available on TOCK. Seating is very limited.

Passover food rules are strictly followed

Dinner is prepared “Kosher Style” and contains no dairy.
Vegetarian entrée contains eggs & gluten.



Pickup & Delivery on April 4 & 5, 2023


everything you need for the seder

seder plate

everything for the seder plate – roasted shank bone
roasted egg, haroset, parsley, horseradish, lettuce, sea salt, (for salt water), $20.00

box of matzo

kosher for passover matzo, $9.00

sephardic haroset

dates, apricots, raisins, honey, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, orange, spices
1/2 pint, (serves 4), $16.00

beet horseradish

roasted beets, horseradish, lemon
1/2 pint (serves 4-6), $7.00

Appetizers & Starters

akasha’s chopped chicken liver

mary’s chicken liver, caramelized onions & eggs,

1 pint, (serves 2-4) gluten-free, $18.00

vegetarian mock ‘liver’

green beans, walnuts, cashews, caramelized onions

 1 pint, (serves 2-4) gluten-free, $16.00

matzo ball soup

chicken broth, carrots, celery, herbs
two matzo balls (serves 2), $18.00

vegetarian matzo ball soup

vegetable broth, carrots, celery root, herbs
two matzo balls (serves 2), $18.00

Entrees & Sides

passover brisket

grass-fed beef braised with onions, tomatoes, & red wine
(serves 4) gluten-free, $85.00

chicken tagine

braised chicken thighs with onions, golden raisins, preserved lemon

1 & 1/2 lbs chicken thighs
(serves 4), gluten-free, $60.00

matzo eggplant bake

olive oil & matzo meal roasted eggplant, nonna’s tomato sauce, basil
almond ricotta cheese, cashew ‘parmesan’
(serves 4) vegan (contains nuts), $70.00

potato pancakes-1/2 dozen

yukon gold potato pancakes, fried in olive oil
come frozen for reheating, gluten-free, $15.00


house-made from local apples
1 pint, $12.00

roasted asparagus & leeks
serves 4, vegan & gluten-free, $35.00

rainbow carrots with olive oil & dill
serves 4, vegan & gluten-free, $24.00


all desserts are made following “Passover” food rules
everything is gluten & dairy-free.

citrus almond cake

apricot & orange glaze
gluten-free , contains nuts, (serves 4-6), $24.00

coconut macaroons

3 chocolate-dipped & 3 plain macaroons
gluten-free, $12.00

chocolate matzo toffee

brown sugar & vegan butter toffee matzo crunch, semi-sweet chocolate, cacao nibs, sea salt
vegan & gluten-free, $20.00

Pricing for AKASHA’s Passover To-Go is priced à la carte; deadline to order is 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, 2023. All orders can be placed on TOCK with pick-up times throughout the day. Delivery is also available by DoorDash servicing the area. For further information, the public may call the restaurant at 310.845.1700.

Napa’s Heitz Cellar congratulates Master Sommelier Erik Elliott, MS

Napa Wine Country’s Heitz Cellar congratulates Erik Elliott, MS

Heitz Cellar is excited to announce that Estate Director Erik Elliott has passed the Masters Exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas.

Erik is one of 10 individuals who successfully met the qualifications to be awarded the title of Master Sommelier. The results were announced at the Krug Reception on August 31, 2022, at the Royal Sonesta in Portland, Oregon.

Heitz Cellar Authority

The Master Sommelier Diploma is the highest distinction a professional can attain in the beverage service industry.

The Master Sommelier Diploma Examination consists of three sections:

a verbal theory examination,

a wine assessment exercise using the Deductive Tasting Method,

and a practical component that focuses on hospitality, beverage service, salesmanship, and overall business acumen.

Candidates must receive passing scores in each section to earn the highly coveted Master Sommelier title.







Carlton McCoy, MS.

(Lawrence Wine Estates, CEO)

All-New Expanded Terror Feat’d in Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood runs September 8 – Oct 31

All-New Expanded Terror Feat’d in Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood runs September 8 – Oct 32

All-New Expanded “Terror Tram” Features Jordan Peele’s Blockbuster Films, Nope and Us, in a Crossover Experience at the Original Jupiter’s Claim Set

During Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, Beginning Thursday, September 8

In Addition to “The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare,” the Terrifying Line-Up Includes“Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” Inspired by the Cult Classic Film, along with All-Original Haunted Houses, “La Llorona: The Weeping Woman,” “Scarecrow: The Reaping” and “Universal Horror Hotel,” and the All-New Jabbawockeez Hip-Hop Show

When Halloween Horror Nights Kicks Off Thursday, September 8

This year’s iconic “Terror Tram”

expands to include a cinematic twist on Jordan Peele’s blockbuster films in a crossover experience that reimagines Us, featuring The Tethered, a revolutionary army of vengeful doppelgangers, whose uprising invades the all-new Jupiter’s Claim set from the filmmaker’s latest pop nightmare, Nope, as part of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, which kicks off on Thursday, September 8.

The “Terror Tram” is unique to Universal Studios Hollywood, inviting guests to explore by foot parts of the famous movie studio backlot, home to some of the most notorious movie sets. Once guests disembark the Tram, the terror is unleashed.

This year, the villainous Hollywood Harry unravels “Hollywood Harry’s Halloween,” a nightmarish spectacle with a demented cast of characters that winds past the iconic Psycho House then through Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds set.

As guests make their way through a choreographed massacre at the Jupiter’s Claim set from Nope, they will encounter The Tethered from Us in a frightening finale of epic proportions. After the success of the 2019 “Us” house, this experience will feature all-new choreography by conceptual artist and choreographer Madeline Hollander.

The madness continues with thrilling haunted house experiences. The full line-up follows:

  • “The Weeknd: After Hours Nightmare” takes guests into the twisted mind of multi award-winning artist The Weeknd as they step into a surreal living nightmare filled with grotesque characters and themes inspired by his music and short films.
  • “Halloween” ventures back to where it all began in an eerily authentic haunted house that depicts the most chilling moments from the critically-acclaimed original film.
  • “The Horrors of Blumhouse” brings to life Blumhouse’s supernatural thriller The Black Phone and horror-comedy Freaky. 
  • “Universal Monsters: Legends Collide” expands on the thrilling legacy from Universal Pictures as the most notorious horror icons, The Wolf Man, Dracula and The Mummy, come together for the first time ever in an epic battle.
  • MGM’s “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” traps guests in a frightening funhouse of murderous clown-like creatures.
  • “La Llorona: The Weeping Woman” features the legend of La Llorona who comes to life to terrorize the living as she mourns the children she murdered.
  • “Scarecrow: The Reaping” finds that Mother Nature’s retribution against the homesteaders for their sins of the past will be carried out by the farmland’s scarecrows who have remained mute witnesses – and are now guardians of destruction for anyone who crosses their path.
  • “Universal Horror Hotel” lives ups to its reputation as the original owner, who was executed years ago for his dastardly deeds, continues to haunt the place today – and guests must escape his vengeful spirit or risk becoming a permanent resident.
  • Award-winning hip-hop dance crew Jabbawockeez brings an all-new, high-energy show nightly to this year’s event, featuring their gravity-defying dance moves, special effects and pulse-pounding music.

All-new scare zones will taunt and torment guests as they navigate the darkness from one terrifying house to the next:

  • “El Pueblo del Terror” is an extension of “La Llorona: The Weeping Woman” as the horror continues once guests exit the haunted house and discover there is no escaping the frightening legend along with other supernatural characters from Latin America’s most frightening myths.
  • “Sideshow Slaughterhouse” turns New York Street into a battle zone as the performers and workers from a seedy carnival sideshow are on a murderous rampage.
  • “Clownsawz” features a demonic troop of clowns who band together to terrorize guests with chainsaws as they enter the park.

Guests also can revel at select theme park attractions open during the run of event, including “Jurassic World—The Ride,” “Transformers™: The Ride-3D,” “Revenge of the Mummy—The Ride”

and “The Simpsons Ride™.”

“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” will also be open during Halloween Horror Nights, inviting guests to experience some of their favorite attractions, including “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™” and “Flight of the Hippogriff™.” For the first time ever, Death Eaters™, a group of Voldemort’s most devoted followers, will roam Hogsmeade™ village, looking to find others willing to show loyalty to the Dark Lord’s cause.

Halloween Horror Nights tickets can be purchased online or at the Universal Studios Hollywood front gate, providing guests with Early Event Admission to select houses, beginning at 6pm each night of the event (subject to change). Various ticket options are available for purchase; click here for more information, including terms and conditions:

  • R.I.P. Tour is a premium product, inviting guests to scare with a VIP treatment that includes an expert guided tour of the event with exclusive experiences along the way.
  • Universal Express includes one-time express to each haunted house, Terror Tram, ride and attraction. Express access is a separate line with a shorter wait time and does not apply to food and retail locations.
  • After 2 P.M. Day/Night
  • Popular passes: Frequent Fear Pass and Ultimate Fear Pass, which allow guests to experience the scares again and again.
  • General Admission

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror inspired by TV and film’s most compelling horror properties.

The event begins on Thursday, September 8 at Universal Studios Hollywood with eight frightening haunted houses, and on Friday, September 2 at Universal Orlando Resort with 10 terrifying haunted houses. Both events will run select nights through Monday, October 31.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Beverly Hills’ The Wallis Names Manuel Prieto Director of Education

Beverly Hills’ The Wallis Names Manuel Prieto Director of Education, an innovative leader and tireless champion of equitable arts education.

Manuel “Manny” Prieto, an innovative leader and tireless champion of equitable arts education, has been named Director of Education of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, announced Executive Director and CEO Rachel Fine.

Manny Prieto oversees for The Wallis

Prieto, a resident of Los Angeles who assumes the post on September 1, 2022, will oversee the strategic planning and operations of The Wallis’ highly regarded GRoW @ The Wallis education and outreach programs, which serve a broad and diverse sector of the community.

He will collaborate with Fine and the organization’s artistic staff and Board of Directors to ensure the education department programs and initiatives align with the mission, vision, and core values of The Wallis.

Manny Prieto’s passion for music and art

A committed and enthusiastic advocate for the arts, Prieto most recently served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles Music and Art School (LAMusArt), a non-profit arts education institution in East Los Angeles with a 77-year history of making arts education a tangible reality for thousands of underserved youth in the community.

In that role, he has worked to recontextualize and combat the often outdated standards of fine and performing arts so that a new, diverse, and more modern cohort of students can experience the enrichment that creativity offers.

Prieto succeeds Mark Slavkin, The Wallis’ first Director of Education, who led the department for and retired after seven years, building a successful and admired program emulated by other institutions.


“Manny Prieto is a dedicated arts education pioneer and advocate,” says Fine.

“A visionary and community-focused trailblazer,

he is dedicated to ensuring arts education and outreach programs remain indispensable in our complicated and evolving world.

On behalf of The Wallis’ Board of Directors and staff, we welcome Manny enthusiastically to our senior management team. Under his strategic guidance, The Wallis will continue to prioritize its education department to serve the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles communities with forward-thinking educational programs that reflect the rich cultural diversity and needs of our great cities.”


“I am tremendously excited to join The Wallis as Director of Education,” says Prieto. “The Wallis is unwavering in its commitment to providing opportunities for audiences of all abilities, ages, and interests so they never stop learning and engaging in the performing arts – a guiding tenet of my life’s work thus far. The arts are where we create community, heal our divides, discover and embrace our visions, voices, and power to be creative agents of change, and foster a safe space to thrive. In my new capacity with The Wallis, I look forward to applying my expertise and belief in the power of the arts to facilitate an environment that encourages the community to think like artists and experience collective success as creative people.”


About Manny Prieto

During Prieto’s eight-year tenure with LAMusArt, he helped make the arts — and their benefits –a day-to-day experience for young students in East Los Angeles. He effectively strengthened the organization’s infrastructure by broadening board involvement, expanding program offerings and scholarship opportunities, upgrading working conditions and renovating work spaces, adopting a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy, doubling the organization’s budget to over $1 million, creating an organization-wide curriculum framework, and implementing community building among staff and faculty. Prieto is proud of the organization’s mission and is also proud to reinvest in the East LA community as a means to bring forth its vibrant creative potential. When Prieto took the position of Executive Director, at a mere 25 years old, he had a vision for LAMusArt as a hub for accessible and safe collaboration, expression, and instruction so that students could see viable examples of what the arts can bring to their lives. His vision didn’t come without risks – he expanded free programming, pushed students toward challenging repertoire, and invited audience members to explore art forms unfamiliar to them. During his tenure, the community experienced considerable growth and transformation.


Prior to joining LAMusArt, Prieto worked in the education department at Center Theatre Group (CTG) coordinating accessibility programs at the Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Kirk Douglas Theatre and implemented bilingual curriculum for their education department initiative “The Shop: Theatre In Your Everyday Life.” He has worked as an educator at CTG and P.S. Arts, among other Los Angeles institutions, leading discourse on pedagogical strategy, artistic curricula, and theatrical design. As a designer, Prieto has worked on productions for E! Network, CTG, Pasadena Playhouse, Cornerstone Theatre, El Teatro Campesino, 24th Street Theater, and LATC.


Prieto earned a B.F.A. from the University of Southern California in Theater Design and a M.A. in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University. He was co-chair of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Council, a member of the steering committee of the Latinx Theatre Alliance-LA and a former LACDAC internship program participant and peer mentor. He brings his background and perspective as a student of design and an arts educator to his role as a leader and works for the communities he himself recognizes from childhood – communities with abundant artistic potential and very few resources. He has remained an authentic and steadfast captain through many evolutions and challenges in the arts landscape, never losing sight of a greater sense of purpose.


About the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts:

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is a dynamic cultural hub and community resource where local, national and international artists share their artistry with ever-expanding audiences. The campus, located in the heart of Beverly Hills, CA, is committed to robust and distinctive presentations and education programs curated with both creativity and social impact in mind. Distinguished by its eclectic programming that mirrors the diverse landscape of Los Angeles and its location in the entertainment capital of the world, The Wallis has produced and presented more than 350 theater, dance, music, film, cabaret, conversation, and family entertainment programs since its doors opened in October 2013. Hailed as “au courant” (LaLa Magazine), The Wallis was lauded by Culture Vulture, which proclaims, “If you love expecting the unexpected in the performing arts, you have to love The Wallis.” Its programming has been nominated for 79 Ovation Awards and nine L.A. Drama Critic’s Circle Awards. The campus itself, a breathtaking 70,000-square-foot facility, celebrating the classic and the modern, has garnered six architectural awards. Designed by acclaimed architect Zoltan E. Pali (SPF:architects), the restored building features the original 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office (on the National Register of Historic Places), which serves as the theater’s dramatic yet welcoming lobby, and includes the contemporary 500-seat, state-of-the-art Bram Goldsmith Theater; the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater; an inviting open-air plaza for family, community and other performances; and GRoW @ The Wallis: A Space for Arts Education, where learning opportunities for all ages and backgrounds abound. Together, these elements embrace the city’s history and its future, creating a performing arts destination for L.A.-area visitors and residents alike. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is led by Chairman of the Board Michael Nemeroff and Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer Rachel Fine.


For more information about The Wallis, please visit:

LA Phil: Café Tacvba in Un Segundo added to 2022 / 23 Season at Walt Disney Concert Hall

LA Phil: Café Tacvba in Un Segundo added to 2022 / 23 Season at Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association announced an additional program for the 2022/23 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall:

Café Tacvba in Un Segundo, Concierto Acústico, on Friday, Oct. 21 and Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, at 8 p.m.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday, May 25, at 10 a.m. PT.

Grammy-winning Café Tacvba, the group The New York Times called:

“Mexico’s most visionary rock band,”

never tires of pushing boundaries, taking chances, and exploring the possibilities of sound—all while making madcap music that’s a whole lot of fun.

Related:  Dead and Company Launch Summer Tour at Dodger Stadium 

On the Mexico City group’s latest album, Un Segundo MTV Unplugged, they recorded new acoustic versions of their songs with a full orchestra.

Across two nights at Walt Disney Concert Hall, they will recreate the magic, linking up with an orchestra to reimagine music from across their highly celebrated and deeply influential catalog.

Related: John Mulaney adds Hollywood Bowl Visit to his 2022 Comedy Tour

Tickets for Walt Disney Concert Hall are available online at, via phone at 323 850 2000 and at the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office.

Prior to attending, audiences are encouraged to view the LA Phil’s updated COVID protocol guidelines posted on the website:


LA’s Historic Hollywood Venue The Magic Castle adds New Executive Chef Benoit “Ben” LaFleche.

LA Phil Introduces Club 101 for The Hollywood Bowl and The Ford summer seasons

LA Phil Introduces Club 101 inaugural membership program for The Hollywood Bowl and The Ford summer seasons

The Hollywood Bowl and The Ford summer seasons are finally upon us, and we invite you to become an inaugural member of Club 101, a membership program specifically designed to enhance your experience at our historic summer homes.

Membership Levels for Club 101

Each membership level includes a unique set of benefits catered to amplify your experience at our two iconic venues.


LA Phil’s Club 101

Related:   Gwen Stefani headlines annual Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl Friday, June 3.

Perks vary across the levels of Club 101, but we’ve highlighted some of our favorite enhancements here:

  • Designated Club 101 picnic areas at the Hollywood Bowl and The Ford
  • 20% off Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine Marketplace items
  • Access to tickets, valet parking and nightly seat upgrades at the Hollywood Bowl and
  • The Ford (based on availability, for select concerts)
  • A Hollywood Bowl backstage tour and on-stage photo opportunity
  • Complimentary Hollywood Bowl “Night in the Pool” for select concerts

Make a Deeper Giving Impact with Club 101

In addition to gaining access to exclusive benefits when you join Club 101, your gift will make an even deeper impact toward supporting our venues and the LA Phil will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to Deanie and Jay Stein, up to $101,000.

Related:  John Mulaney adds May 7 Hollywood Bowl Visit to his 2022 Comedy Tour

Additionally, by supporting our venues at any Club 101 level by May 1, you will receive an exclusive invitation to an onstage event at the Hollywood Bowl on May 11.


Celebrate the Annual AbilityFirst Food & Wine Festival June 5 in Pasadena, CA.

Club 101 This Summer

Join LA Phil for a summer of music, enrich your concert-going experience, and become a supporter of the LA Phil by selecting your Club 101 membership today!

Since its opening in 1922, the Hollywood Bowl has been the premier destination for live music in Southern California, hosting everyone from Billie Holiday to The Beatles to Yo-Yo Ma under the iconic silhouette of its concentric-arched band shell.


LA Phil: Café Tacvba in Un Segundo added to 2022 / 23 Season at Walt Disney Concert Hall

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