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Italy’s Trentodoc makes history with Sparkling Wine, Giacomo Malfer reveals their Tasty Secret

Italy’s Trentodoc has a history of producing incredible sparkling wine, Giacomo Malfer reveals their tasty secret.

We had the chance to sit down with Revi Trentodoc’s Giacomo Malfer to talk about the Italian Trentino region, their multi-generational family business, favorite foods, and of course their legendary sparking wines.


Listen to the podcast here:



Giacomo, Can you share some of your favorite memories that include a wonderful sparkling wine celebration?


I’m very happy to talk about Revi and my family and my world. One of the best memories that I remember with sparkling wine Trentodoc was my 30th party. I invited a lot of friends. The bottles, one by one [were poured and put] on the floor [lined up] around the house. But, the most important thing was the joy, the happiness, to enjoy that party.



In history, Trentodoc sparkling wine is the best product for celebrations. So celebrating my birthday or other important things in life is one of the best things that we produce of that kind of product can make because We work our life to produce something people enjoy the best highlights of the life. So what’s better? And one of my best memories is my 30th birthday party.



You mentioned celebrating with your family. Tell me what it’s like growing up in a winemaking family.


Paolo, my father, for me is a common star because when I was young, I never wanted to go on with the winery. It’s funny to know because today it’s my life. Sometimes [I feel like] it is my girlfriend. Francesca is my real girlfriend. So it’s matches perfectly now with my life and with my private life.

Courtesy of


Someone said that if you love your work, you’ll never work a day in your life. I think that idea is very important. As I said earlier, there is something very beautiful about making something that people used to celebrate.

I remember when my father Paolo would talk about wine and producing wine, his eyes would shine. That shine was one of the first things that was useful for me to start and work in the wine industry. I remember that Paolo said to us to do what we wanna do, not follow the winery. Because it was his passion, not his first job. He said, ‘this is my passion. I want to work with Revi as a passion.’ In fact for 30 years that was not his job. He started when he was 13 years old.

He was in a classroom with only females.  He found a book with an article on Dom Perignon. He came home and asked my grandfather [for] some white wines because we were an agriculture family. And he said, I wanna make champagne now. And my grandfather laughed, because my Dad was just a young boy. But you know what? He said, okay, you can try a very small batch.

My grandmother made bread each week, so Paulo asked my grandmother for some yeast, and put it inside with the sugar.

And on Christmas of 1963, my family enjoyed the holiday with methodic champagne noir. Because in Italy at that time we could name the methodic champagne, the classic method with the second fermentation in the bottle. And so after that, he studied at school, and then he started with Revi in 1982. And for 30 years it was his hobby.

I believe it was one of the most important things, to grow up with passion, in my father, in my brother Stefano and in me, because he’s never forced us to follow that.

We both studied economics. But I remember many memories about when my grandmother would take the broth to the people who helped my father in the winery. I have some memories that is between the brain and the heart. I believe that premise was the first seed to grow the passion. After that, my brother Stefano, the producer and manager; we followed because we were tasting all the time with my family together. We are looking for a very clean, very fresh identity wine of our region.

The best thing that I believe our father gave us is a way to read the wine world. This is the identity. We always want to find in Revi our territory. He was one of the first to produce the zero dosage. We have been producing zero dosage or pas dose, you know, that is the same since 1983. The first harvest of the first vintage of pas dose Revi was 1981. It was very, very uncommon for that period, even just five years ago it was uncommon. But 40 years ago.

I believe inside that particular label is the philosophy of our winery, and we want go on with that. So the second generation, me and my brother Stefano, for sure, we wanna follow that.


There’s a lot less magic in economics than there is in sparkling wine. Was there a moment when you realized, ‘I need more magic?’


Yes, I remember. When I was 13 or 14 years old, and I was helping my father in the vineyard, I didn’t like it because it was very warm and some activities were very slow. My friends would go to the swimming pool, and I was with my father. So I said, I want my office, with my shirt and air conditioning and not be here.

But at the end, I really love the people and finding magic. Because it all starts from a piece of wood and arrives at the end in a bubble, in the most beautiful moment that you put that wine in a glass and enjoy with your friends and your family.

There was not a very clear moment when I changed my mind and said no economics, but wine making for sure.

I made the commercial part of the winery. So economics is important and now it’s the economics of a winery. I found a very good way to have a little bit economics and stay in the best [wine] world.

I always tell my friends and my girlfriend, we are working for something that others work for the Saturday night or the Friday night. That is super beautiful, because celebrating is the best thing. To enjoy life is to celebrate the big things and the small things. The small things could be simpler, pizza with friends.


I think the theme that I’m learning is the magic of celebration. Let’s seque to the magic of your region.


Yes, for sure. The [Dolomite] mountains area is one of the important things. And thanks to the mountain region, we can have the freshness, the aromas that come up from the difference in temperature between day and night.

At the same time, we have a region that goes from 200 meters in altitude over to 700 meters. More than 70% is over 1,000 meters in altitude. So it’s a very mountain region. And the valley also is a mountain valley, because the fresh air comes down from the mountains and goes through our vineyards. That’s increases the performance and the structure we find in our glass of trentodoc.

Wine Enthusiast awarded us as one of the best wine areas for Trentodoc because we can have the maturity of the grapes, and at the same time we defend the freshness. So we have a balance between the complexity, the perfumes, the aromas thanks to the mature grapes. We don’t forget and lose the freshness, the acidity freshness, very important to enjoy, because at the end, one bottle, one glass, you have to drink to enjoy it.
Another thing that is important here is the soil, limestone, there are different soils. And that gives us some different shades about Trentodoc. This is one of the most important things not only here in Trentodoc, but in the wine world.

Drinking is a way to take a trip in your life. It’s very nice to drink the same wine, the same grapes in the same area, but at the same time, find something different. Not only because its comes from different wine growers, but because the soil, the terroir.

For example, Albano, the small village where I come from, where Revi was born.
Re Vino [translates to] “king wine”, because it was one of the best areas in Albano, my village, to produce grapes for wine. Albano was named from Veronelli, one of the best and most important, wine journalists in Italy.

Why? Because many private people in the area made their own classic method, sparkling wine. It was an agricultural village, but they didn’t make only still wine. They made sparkling wine. So that is the terroir. That is the the know-how, the idea of one place, not only the type of soil or the wind.


Here in Trentino, in our vineyard we have some of the best soil, Cavaliere Nero.
Cavaliere Nero is 100% Pinot Noir, it’s clay and red marble. Now red marble was the motherstone. And we have clay. It is a very important Pinot Noir. It is a very important red pinot noir dressed by the bubbles.


Sticking with the region for a moment, tell us about what’s it like living in that area today?


It’s a mountain region so we have ski slopes we can enjoy in the winter season. But the mountains are really magic during the summer. On my summer holidays, I want to go to the sea. We have one of the best lakes in Italy, Llago di Garda.



A few weeks ago there was the Gambero Rosso event, where I tasted your sparklers for the first time. Let’s talk about the bottles.


You tasted the classic one, Revi Brut Trentodoc, the Revi Reserve 2012.
Revi Brut Trentodoc has 40 months on lees. Both are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Chardonnay grown here in Trentodoc gives very good aromas, good acidity, good freshness. Pinot Noir in more in altitude, gives us the body.

Courtesy of


In the Pinot Noir of the brut, it’s only for the body. Not for the structure.

With aging, the wine comes out with notes of Pinot Noir. In fact, in the Reserva 2012 or other Revi, when it stays many months on the yeast, you find the perfumes of the Pinot Noir, we have the classic line: Revi Brut, Revi Rose, Revi Dosaggio Fero. They are all made with a cuvee of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. 20% white and more in the rose, because we have 70%, helps us to give a lot of structure and body.

Chardonnay is a major part of it and that is very important for the Brut as for the Reserva, because it gives us the freshness in the Reserva.

People always ask me which is my favorite, the Brut or the Reserva?

It really depends. It depends on the time of day and my mood. In the summer when it is warm, I like really a glass of fresh Brut classic, because it’s simple. I want to chill out a little.

Then on the same day at dinner we drink a glass or a bottle of Reserva tasting and pairing with some foods.

With the Brut, the tasting notes are apples. One of the classic notes. Toasted nuts. All very light and delicate.

If you ask me what to expect if you taste a glass of Revi Brut, you have to expect some fresh apples, some flowers, a little toast, and freshness and joy on the palate.
For the food pairing, some salami or fromage, very simple aperitivo that you can have in your house.

One of the best pairings that I really love is with pappardelle or a pasta with white ragu and parmesano, because it’s delicate and a little bit salty. Parmesano’s taste is not so aggressive, it’s also delicate. And with the Brut I love a lot.

I love pappardelle, I love pasta for sure. I’m Italian, you know, so… I’m a pasta lover.
Thinking about Reserva, you can really go all over the world with the taste. You can also pair with fusion cuisine, you can have some more taste.

In our Reserva, we have the structure, the body, the complexity at the same time, the very freshness. So you can enjoy that glass with some fatty foods, because it’ll clean up your mouth and have structure. Carpaccio, branzino, fresh fish.

Is there a unique or surprising food that you wouldn’t traditionally think pairs well with your wines and yet it did?

I love surprising myself with pairing foods. As you were talking, I was thinking of risotto with porcini, with gouda.

During the [pandemic] lockdown I stayed with my family and during our Sunday meals, we had a violet rosemary [herb sprig] inside a glass was amazing.

I believe, one of the best important things, if you are in a winery, in a restaurant, you have to taste and try. Be curious.

Something we really aim for with our audience is helping someone who’s curious and eager, helping them understand what they’re trying so they can have more appreciation for the taste and the flavor.




Can you walk us through the process of the classic method?


The first part, it’s common, like still wine. You grow the grapes. It’s very important to have high quality raw materials at the start. Then you have harvest after one year. Then you press, you have the first fermentation, that is the vinification.

The very important different thing about sparkling wine and a classic method, for example, in 100% Chardonnay is when you want to have a chardonnay for a base of sparkling wine, you have to have more acidity. So your harvest is a couple of weeks [earlier]. It depends on the velocity of the maturation.

But we can say between one and two weeks before, because you have to preserve the freshness, the acidity.

Then after harvest, you have a different vinification. It depends if you want to, to make a rose or a white wine. In that case, you have a maceration on the skin of the grapes of Pinot Noir. If you want a Blanc de Noir, a white wine from Pinot Noir, you have to separate the skin of the grapes, from the juice.

After the first fermentation we make the cuvee. We sit with my family and taste, and discuss which kind of chardonnay goes inside with some percentage of Pinot Noir.
For example, we talked about the Revi Brut and 80% of Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Noir. So [a blend of] Chardonnay 1-2, and 7 with 20% of Pinot Noir or a [blend of a] couple of Pinot Noirs, it depends on the vintage of the year.

After that, we put inside the Liqueur de tirage, so yeast and sugar, like [if you] make bread. You put all inside a bottle and you cork. So, the yeast starts eating the sugar and give us the bubbles.

That activity let’s the yeast work.

One important thing for Trentodoc it it’s made with only grapes of the Trento area: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Blanc.

First of all, we use Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In Revi we use only Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

To be Trentodoc, it has to stay on the lees, for a minimum 15 months. To be Vintage Trentodoc, it has to stay for two years, 24 months. We have two years on the grapes of just one harvest.

For example, the 2018, to be Reserva Trentodoc has to stay minimum three years on lees, so 36 months with just one harvest.

After that, we have the bubbles inside the bottle, also the yeast. So we have to make the. [Years ago] we made it all by hand, today is automatic. It’s useful to clean up the wine from the yeast to have at the end of this activity a brilliant sparkling wine. Then we have the disgorgement. The isgorgement is made with glass, so we freeze that part of the yeast.
And with the pressure between six and seven bar with the disgorge. So we open the bottle, the pressure pulls out that cork freeze of yeast, and we have a very brilliant, sparkling wine.

If we don’t add [anything] because, sparkling wine is special wine, because we can add sugar, and with the sugar, we can define the type of Trentodoc sparkling wines who had, for example, de Natura, de Dossagio Ferro, after we have the extra Brut Brut, and go on with more sugar wine.

We can add something to create a very secret recipe of each winery. At the end, a couple of month minimum to recalibrate the sparkling wine, with this liquor disposition. We have the magic done. From some grapes to a glass full of emotional, nice moments and full of bubbles.

Outstanding. The magic and the science involved,.

Our payoff is when magic and technique meet, because that is sparkling wine.


As we wrap up, where can we find Revi, browse and shop?


I wanna ask your audience to be our ambassador. You have to go and ask [restaurants and shops] about Revi. When you find Revi, you have to try Revi.

When you don’t find Revi, you have to ask for it.

You can find us on Instagram and on our website

Island-Inspired Cocktail Bar ‘Gin Rummy’ Opens on the Westside Memorial Day Weekend

Gin Rummy – An Island-Inspired Cocktail Bar Opens on the Westside Memorial Day Weekend

Renowned Los Angeles bar proprietor Jared Meisler (The Roger Room, Bar Lubitsch, The Friend and The Little Friend) and the exemplary team of David and Patti Reiss of Reiss Co. (The Brig and The Alibi Room) announce the opening of a new westside cocktail establishment, GIN RUMMY, on Friday, May 26, 2023.


The cocktail program is masterfully led by Beverage Directors Danilo Kim, formerly of The Alibi Room and Nueva and Marcus Ragas, whose resume includes The Chestnut Club and Caboco.

Located at 822 Washington Boulevard, Marina del Rey, adjacent to Meisler’s popular Little Friend, GIN RUMMY takes over NUEVA after a successful three-year run.

Meisler states that he and his partners saw a need for a large and welcoming bar space in the neighborhood.

Meisler states:

“I’ve always loved the cocktails that come from beach cultures, just as much as I love the imagery and feel of beachy bars. I see a through line between a Tiki Bar, a Cuban Rum Bar, a Mexican Cantina, a Brazilian Quisque, a Spanish Chiringuito and a Venice Beach watering hole. They’re all timeless, relaxed, and fun, serving fantastic and unique drinks…

“…Gin Rummy is an homage to all things Beach Bar, from Nautical to Tropical, in a vintage parlor.”

At this gateway to Venice, GIN RUMMY invites passersby to escape to the tropics and get swept away, sipping exotic cocktails and enjoying delicious snacks in a pirate’s lair.

Gin Rummy’s spacious 200-seat setting…


The spacious 200-seat setting… reimagined and designed by Jared Meisler creates a colorful and ornate island paradise marrying nautical and South Pacific themes with contemporary design.

Enter Gin Rummy’s large front door…

Enter GIN RUMMY through the large front door just off Washington and take in the huge zinc-top mahogany bar with shelves stacked with vast arrays of rum, gin, tequila, and mezcal along with decorative tchotchkes of ships in bottles.

A large bank of skylights above the bar provides soft sunlight during golden hour as guests relax in a convivial state of mind.

When dusk turns to night, the far wall is illuminated by a row of vintage island-themed pinball machines giving GIN RUMMY a timeless, comfortable feel.

As one’s eye travels the room, imbibers take in giant redwood beams supporting a tongue and grove ceiling adorned by funky glassware. Native and tribal prints cover the bar stools and wood booths.

Scattered around the room are mini palm trees and lush tropical plants adorned with brass ship hardware. The thick posts are wrapped in nautical rope and accented with imagery of Caribbean and Polynesian life, ocean and boats and jungle paintings. Other notes include large bone-inlaid mirrors, woven wood light fixtures, rattan chairs, and lazy ceiling fans for a sultry Key Largo effect.

On Gin Rummy’s Outside…


Outside, the convertible indoor/outdoor patio exudes a tropical sandy beachy village vibe, adorned with wood carvings and carved wooden mirrors. The natural oak tables are painted with checker and backgammon boards, inviting guests to linger and play games comfortably in reclined rattan chairs. Lush tropical foliage is covered by a mahogany pergola illuminating the space with brass ship lights.


Gin Rummy’s playful craft cocktail bar program


At GIN RUMMY, Beverage Directors Marcus Ragas and Danilo Kim have created an inventive and playful craft cocktail bar program and menu:

Fun drinks equal a fun vibe. Look for categories of FROZEN RUMMYS, STIRRED and TIKI, classic and imaginative HIGHBALLS, as well as the irresistible COCKTAILS FOR FOUR that look back to the legendary Trader Vic’s from days gone by.

GIN RUMMY offers several NO BOOZE options for the sober crowd or designated driver.


GIN RUMMY is open daily: Monday – Friday: from 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday: from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. and Happy Hour: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. nightly.


Hemingway Daiquiri with Rum, Grapefruit, Luxardo Maraschino & Lime

Guava Daiquiri; Mango Ango

Habanero Honeysuckle

Frozen Margaritas

Pina Colada




Banana Manhattan

MSG Old Fashioned

Tail of The Cock with Oaked Cachaca, Cynar, Carpano Antica & Orange Bitters



Agave Zombie

Velvet Falernum

Pina Colada

Nui Nui

Jungle Bird

Marina Fog Cutter

Tropical Itch; Rye Tai

Pain Killer (for two, served in a pineapple)



Gin & Tonic

Super Paloma

Captains Wheel

AK Mojito

Yuzu Spritz with Gin, Yuzu, Aperol & Champagne



Reina Picante

Strawberry Caipirinha


Corpse Reviver No. 47 with Chamomile Infused Gin, Yellow Chartreuse,

Lemon, Orange Curaçao, Absinthe & Chamomile Smoke

Nitro Charged Carajillo



Scorpion Bowl with Vodka, Gin, Light Rum, Dark Rum, 151 Rum, Pineapple, Orange & Lemon

Fish Bowl with Vodka, Coconut Rum, Blue curaçao, Lemon & Pineapple.


For guests who prefer sans alcohol, there are creative NO BOOZE options, including Passionfruit Picante Spritz with Passionfruit, Tamarind, Lime, Black Lava Saline, Thai Chili & Mineral Water; Virgin Mint Margarita with Spiritless Jalisco Tequila, Lyres Orange Sec, Lime & Agave; and Not Gin & Tonic with Ritual Zero Proof Gin, Rosemary, Sea Bean, Lemon Basil, Juniper Berry and Fever Tree Tonic.


For a complete list, please visit GIN RUMMY’s online drink and spirits menu


GIN RUMMY offers a selection of satisfying nosh to enjoy

while sipping on delicious cocktails and dreaming of the Pacific.


Crispy Cauliflower

Tempura Calamari

Coconut Shrimp

Fries and Sweet Potato Fries

 Onion Rings



(with Buffalo, BBQ and Lemon Pepper Mango Habanero Thai Chili)

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

 Chicken & Chips

Vegan Chicken & Chips

(Sauces – Chipotle Aioli, BBQ, Hot Honey, Creamy Ranch, Vegan Ranch, Cocktail Sauce, Tartar Sauce, Thai Chili, Honey Mustard, Yellow Mustard, Buffalo & Mango Habanero)


Smokey Caesar

Kale Salad

Aaarrrugula & Quinoa



Zucchini & Squash

Shrimp; Chicken


Carne Asada

(served with Salsa and Onions)


Key Lime

Chocolate Chess

Banana Cream

(for a complete list, please visit GIN RUMMY’s online SNACKS menu)


Monday – Friday: from 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Saturday and Sunday: from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Happy Hour: 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. nightly


GIN RUMMY offers customized Event Planning by appointment at 

Hank’s in Palisades Village is celebrating National Hamburger Day this Memorial Day Weekend on Sunday May 28th

Hank’s in Palisades Village is celebrating National Hamburger Day this Memorial Day Weekend on Sunday, May 28th, with a special Burger Combo Deal all day and evening.


Visit Hank’s for National Hamburger Day Sunday, May 28th


Hank’s in Palisades Village is celebrating National Hamburger Day this Memorial Day Weekend on Sunday May 28th

Guests can enjoy any one of Hank’s Hamburgers, including Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s award-winning Hank’s Single and Double Diamond Burger, which was named “BEST BURGER” WINNER in the Los Angeles Times Best of the Southland 2022,” with a choice of Side and Draft Beer ($25) on National Hamburger Day, Sunday, May 28th, 2023!


Hank’s in Palisades Village is celebrating National Hamburger Day this Memorial Day Weekend on Sunday May 28th

Executive Chef Isaias Peña, courtesy of Hank’s Burgers


Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s award-winning Hank’s Single and Double Diamond Burger


Hank’s, named in honor of Owner Rick Caruso’s father Hank and known for its delicious burgers, friendly service, and lively and inviting atmosphere, is the perfect place to celebrate National Hamburger Day this Memorial Day Weekend with family and friends.

Hank’s will be open on National Hamburger Day, Sunday, May 28th, 2023,  from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm; 1033 N. Swarthmore Avenue Pacific Palisades, CA 90722; 424.363.7166:

 Follow Hank’s on Facebook @HanksPalisades and Instagram @hankspalisades

LA Father’s Day: Le Portteus Wine Decanter offers Flavor and Class for Dad [Gift Guide]

This Fathers Day, Le Portteus Wine Decanter, pours flavor and class for your foodie, wine-drinking Dad (and the whole family).

Father’s Day is around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with a unique and elegant gift for the wine-loving dads in your life? 


Father’s Day: Le Portteus Wine Decanter offers Flavor and Class for Dad

Father’s Day: Le Portteus Wine Decanter offers Flavor and Class for Dad


Le Portteus Red Wine Decanter is a perfect choice that rethinks the wine sipping experience.


Its thoughtfully designed hand-blown glass piece increases oxygen exposure, releasing natural aromas and deep flavors, which improves the taste by softening astringent tannins and releasing fruit and floral notes.


“I’d been envying a friend’s decanter for ages, so finally broke down and got one. It comes with cleaning beads, a cork stopper, and a cleaning wand.

Decanting really does make a huge difference

with medium-to-heavy reds.”

Debbie Adams, Amazon buyer


According to the experts at Portteus, wine enthusiasts have long known the importance of decanting wine to enhance the drinking experience, and Le Portteus takes it to the next level with its high-quality crystal, slanted spout, and wide-bottom design that makes pouring effortless without wine drips and stains.


Le Portteus Wine Decanter offers Flavor and Class for Dad

With a capacity of a full 750 ml wine bottle, it also doubles as a chic decoration on kitchen counters, bookshelves, bars, libraries or serving areas, and is sure to be a conversation starter.


“Beautiful design. Made a very good statement at our dinner table!

Also looks great sitting at the counter as decoration.” 

MJ, amazon buyer


Moreover, what sets Le Portteus apart is its convenient cleaning beads that come with a cork and stopper ball for efficiency, making it easy to clean without worrying about scratches or grime.

Plus, high-grade steel pellets are an easy cleaning solution that can be used repeatedly, giving peace of mind to the dad who loves wine but doesn’t like the hassle of cleaning his decanter.

Father’s Day: Le Portteus Wine Decanter


“Le Portteus Red Wine Decanter is the perfect gift for the wine-loving dad who will appreciate the enhanced wine-drinking experience and its chic design.”


Browse the Le Portteus Red Wine Decanter here and find out more for this perfect Father’s Day gift.

A Must for Wine Lovers


This wine decanter is an essential edition to your wine accessories.

Decanting wines will increase the oxygen exposure thereby releasing its natural aromas and deep flavors. As a result, improving the taste by softening the astringent tannins and letting the fruit and floral aromas come out.


Superior Quality


The lead-free crystal wine decanter is handcrafted with highly durable crystal, and guaranteed to withstand the test of time!

With the capacity of a full 750 ml wine bottle. In addition to our high quality crystal vase, our decanter set also includes a fine cork ball stopper.


Spill and Stain Proof


The slanted spout and wide bottom of this wine aerator decanter makes it an effortless and elegant pour, eliminating the frustration of wine drips and stains. Making this the perfect wine gift set for aerating red wines, releasing satisfying flavors and aromas, and indulging your taste buds with peace of mind!

Clean Easily


These cleaning beads are uniquely designed to be gentle on delicate decanters for alcohol and tough on dirt and grime, removing any buildup without leaving a scratch. These high-grade steel pellets are an easy cleaning solution that you can reuse repeatedly.


Gifts with Class


Every Le Portteus crystal vase wine aerator goes through a quality assurance product inspection and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Le Portteus Decanters and Carafes make great gifts for friends or wine lovers, and you can be sure they will love them!

An excellent idea for birthdays, housewarmings, anniversaries, wedding registries, and more!


Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Guided Tasting led by Antonio Gallon with Marina Nordic of IEEM USA – Wine Review

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Master Class & Guided Tasting “The History Teller” led by Antonio Galloni, hosted by the Consorzio and Marina Nordic of IEEM USA.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has a long history and tradition of producing memorable bottles, so today should be a phenomenal event..

As expected, the room was crowded with curious and distinguished palettes.  Sommeliers, wine educators, wine critics, wine journalists, importers.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Region

The event featured Andrea Rossi, President of the Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulcino and Antonio Galloni, Wine Critic & Founder of Vinous, who led the tasting.  

Andrea Rossi, President of the Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulcino

Andrea Rossi, President of the Consorzio del Vino Nobile di Montepulcino

Rossi spoke about the Consorzio and Montepulciano while Galloni explained the Vino Noble di Montepulciano region with intrigue and excitement

The Vino Nobile production zone is positioned between Val di Chiana and Val d’Orcia at altitudes from 820 and 1900 feet. 

Antonio Galloni, Wine Critic & Founder of Vinous, led the tasting.  

Antonio Galloni, Wine Critic & Founder of Vinous, led the tasting.

The climate is influenced by nearby Trasimeno Lake, its soils composed of marine fossils, sandstone, salt rich clay and precious silt deposits.

The Sangiovese grape is locally called Prugnolo Gentile. Within their local Producer community, it’s name is mostly interchangeable. 

Montepulciano in Tuscany is the center for Vino Nobile’s vinification efforts where both vinification and aging takes place and are supervised  in the municipal area.

Vino Nobile is aged for a minimum of two years, including one year  in oak barrels;  and  three years total in order to earn the title Riserva.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Tasting

There were 11 wines tasted in total.  

“Alboreto”  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2020

“Alboreto”  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2020

“Alboreto”  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2020

From Fattoria della Talosa made from 100% Sangiovese. 

The vineyard is at 350-400 meters above sea level.  After a careful selection of grapes, from the last week of September to the first week of October, the fermentation time is about 15-20 days. 

Then malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel. The maturation is for 2 years in big barrels and stainless steel for another 2 months. The finished wine continues to be aged in bottle before release. An easy drinking win, hints of plum, blackberries, a kiss of strawberry and pepper. An excellent start to the day.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2020 docg from Dei

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2020 docg from Dei

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2020 docg from Dei

Made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Canaiolo. 

The soil is mostly clay with sand (tuff) and the vineyard is at 300 meters above sea level. Soft pressing of the grapes followed by spontaneous fermentation with the use of indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Maturation on the skins for 15 – 25 days with pump over’s. Aging for at least 24 months of which a minimum of 18 months is in wood. The wine remains in-bottle for some time before release. 

On the nose, hints of cherry, plum and violets with a hint of coffee and a touch of vanilla. Pair it with braised beef cheek with mashed potatoes.

“Asinine” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Selezione 2020

“Asinone” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Selezione 2020

“Asinone” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Selezione 2020

Made from 100% Sangiovese.  

The vineyard is at 380 – 400 meters. The soil is clay and silt with embedded fossils. Fermentation is in stainless steel vats for 20 to 25 days with cultured yeasts from the vineyard. Malolactic fermentation in 6,000 to 8,000 French oak vats.

A vibrant wine with hints of red currant, cherry, strawberry, plum, violet.  Pair it with ribeye

“La Braccesca”  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2020

“La Braccesca”  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2020

Made from 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot.

The vineyard is at 290 meters. The soil is sandy loam. Each grape variety was harvested separately, de-stemmed and delicately crushed. Then transferred into stainless steel vats where alcoholic fermentation took place at a controlled temperature to preserve the fruit’s aromatic profile. Maceration on the skins for 10 days.  Malolactic fermentation.  Then the following spring, the bottles were aged approximately 12 months. Then bottled in spring 2020 and aged for one additional year in the bottle. 

Red currant, strawberries, cherries and a subtle hint of spice and vanilla. 

 “Vigna d’Afiero”  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg Selezione 2020 from Tenuta Valdipiatta

“Vigna d’Afiero”  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg Selezione 2020 from Tenuta Valdipiatta

“Vigna d’Alfiero”  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg Selezione 2020 from Tenuta Valdipiatta

Made from 100% Sangiovese. 

Vinification is in steel tanks at controlled temperatures. Maceration on the skins for 20-25 days. Daily pump over and délestage at the beginning and in the middle of fermentation. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks for 20 days. Malolactic fermentation in stainless steel. The wine is aged in French barrels at 20% new oak for 18 months, then aged in bottle before release. 

A delicious and complex flavor.  Black cherry, dark chocolate, balsamic notes and a touch of vanilla   Pair this with duck, roasted and grilled meats.

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2020 Boscarelli

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2020 Boscarelli

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2020 Boscarelli

Made from 85% Sangiovese and 15% Canaiolo. 

Alluvial and sandy lime soil with silt, clay and stony structure. The grapes are picked manually. After de-stemming and soft pressing, they are fermented in oak vats. Indigenous yeast is used in the fermentation process that lasts about a week.  Aged in Slavonian oak casks, where malolactic fermentation occurs. Maturation takes from 18 to 24 months, then aged in the bottle for several more months before the release.  

Strawberry, blueberry and sage notes.  Medium body, medium tannin.  Suggested pairing:  grilled, roasted or braised meat and manchego or other seasoned cheese. 

Luca de Ferrari of Boscarelli shares stories and insight about their wine

Luca de Ferrari of Boscarelli

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2019 Avignonesi

100% Sangiovese.  

This bottle is even more special, as it employs Pied de Cuve, a process used by winemakers wanting to use wild yeast from the vineyard to ferment their wines. The process aims to build a population of viable (alive yeast) and vital (strong) in the wild yeast culture in a small volume of wine.

20-25 days of maceration.  Pied de cuve used for the first bath of grapes in advance, select yeasts which are naturally present on the skins.  Then these grapes become the basic yeast used for the fermentation.  At least 18 months in Slavonian oak barrels and then at least 6 months aged in bottle.

On the nose, strawberry and red currant with subtle vanilla and spices.  Well-balanced, medium body,  ripe cherries and plum.  Elegant tannin that creates a nice balance against the flavor and mouthfeel.  Surprisingly long finish. 

Would pair well with traditional Italian dishes, prosciutto, pecorino.    

“Tenuta Calimaia” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2020 Marchesi Frescobaldi

90% Sangiovese (Prugnolo Gentile) and 10% red grape varieties.  

Maturation in oak barrels for 24 months.  Bottle aged for 4 additional months.

Intense ruby red in the glass.  Nose is vibrant with cherry, sage, cardamom.  Dark chocolate.  Body is bold and velvety. Heavy tannin.  Long dry finish.


“Silineo” Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2020 from Tenute del Cerro

Fermentation and maceration at controlled temperature with daily pump overs.

Goes through malolactic conversion then 18 months of aging.

Cherry and red currant on the nose.  Earthy, cedar, vegetal.

Pairs well with roasted chicken, and sharp cheddar.

"Messaggero" Vino Nobile de Montepulciano docg 2018

“Messaggero” Vino Nobile de Montepulciano docg 2018

“Messaggero” Vino Nobile de Montepulciano docg 2018


95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo Nero.

The grapes are handpicked, fermented in small containers to facilitate extraction of the skins.  Fermentation is made with natural yeast, in full respect of the area, when the wine is still in contact with the skin, for 18-20 days.    Then transferred to Slovenian oak casks for 18 months, then 6 more months in oak.  During this period, they decant to make the wine clear and prepare for bottling.

The nose is pronounced with black currant, blackberry, blueberries, spice and leather.  Full body, medium tannin, long finish.

Would pair well with aged pecorino, ribeye and game

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2018 from Villa S. Anna

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2018 from Villa S. Anna

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano docg 2018 from Villa S. Anna

85% Sangiovese, Mammolo Canaiolo, 8% Colorino, 7% Merlot.

Fermented with a 20 day maceration.  Then 24 months in Slavonian oak barrels, French Oak, barriques.  After bottling, kept in bottle for another year.

Ruby in the glass, Dark cherry on the nose with tobacco and licorice.  Light body, medium tannin, dried cherry, raspberry, crushed herb, medium finish.

Pairs well with game meats, venison, seasoned cheese.


Mother’s Day is just around the corner, Celebrate with your family in Los Angeles at A.O.C

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, Celebrate with your family in Los Angeles at A.O.C


Celebrate Mother’s Day with acclaimed brunch and dinner menus


A.O.C., Los Angeles’ ground-breaking small plates restaurant at the forefront of the city’s best dining since 2002, celebrates Mother’s Day,  May 14, 2023, with its acclaimed brunch and dinner menus at both 3rd Street and Brentwood locations. Spacious seating is offered on outdoor patios and indoor dining rooms.


Brunch features favorites of Dungeness Crab Omelette with Watercress, Basil Pistou, Burrata & Crème Fraîche; Shrimp and Buttermilk Biscuit with Celery Sofrito, Pea Tendrils & Shrimp Gravy; Spanish Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffle with Chile-Cumin Butter, Jamon Serrano & Maple Syrup; Vanilla Bean French Toast with Harry’s Berries & Santa Barbara Pistachio Aillade; Stout-Braised Brisket Hash with Horseradish Cream, Poached Egg & Pickled Red Onion; Scrambled Egg Focaccia Sandwich with Hook’s Cheddar, Hill’s Bacon & Chive Crème Fraîche; Roast Turkey Focaccia Sandwich with Mozzarella, Green Harissa, Avocado & Castelvetranos; and the A.O.C. Burger with Gruyère, Dijon, Caramelized Shallots and Crispy Onions, served with French Fries.

Don’t miss Suzanne’s indulgent Sticky Buns with Munak Walnuts and some other special treats for the table


Don’t miss Suzanne’s indulgent Sticky Buns with Munak Walnuts and some other special treats for the table, including Lemon Blueberry Oatmeal Streusel Muffin and Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Coffee Cake.

Three new tempting spring desserts by Pastry Chef Tristyne Frutos

There are three new tempting spring desserts by Pastry Chef Tristyne Frutos –  Meyer Lemon Bar with Blackberry Compote, Almond Streusel and White Chocolate Ice Cream; Ode to the Samoa Cookie with Chocolate, Dulce De Leche & Coconut Sorbet;  and Harry’s Berries & Cream Coupe with Strawberry Sorbet, Vanilla Ice Cream & Diplomat Cream.

For Mother’s Day Dinner menu

For Mother’s Day Dinner menu, try the wood-oven focaccias of Bottarga, Red Onion, Cippolinis, Calabrian Chili & Meyer Lemon or Jamon, Sheep’s Milk Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, Marconas & Salbitxada.  Suzanne’s newest salads include Spring Greens with Broccoli Kibbeh, Avocado, Fava & Feta; Arugula with Blood Orange, Pickled Rhubarb & Fresh Ricotta; and Endive with Radishes, Meyer Lemon Cream & Oil-Cured Olives. Other dinner highlights for the season are Lobster & Kanpachi Ceviche with Cara Cara, Urfa & Pistachios; North Pacific Halibut with White Bean Brodo, Nettles, Black Olive & Artichoke Salsa; Prawns with Saffron Pasta, Fennel Sofrito, Spinach & Sourdough Crumbs; and Harissa-Spiced Lamb Chops with Fava Bean Purée, Cumin Yogurt & Pickled Carrots.

Inspired selection of Caroline Styne’s curated wines and beers and expertly mixed market cocktails by Head Barman Ignacio Murillo


Enjoy an inspired selection of Caroline Styne’s curated wines and beers and expertly mixed market cocktails by Head Barman Ignacio Murillo, featuring spring drinks – Kingdom, with Suntory Toki Whiskey, House Strawberry Aperitivo, Rhubarb Bitters & Orange; Sugar Daddy with Gin, Lime Juice, Sugar Snap Pea Syrup & Kiwi Puree; The Fulton with Bourbon, Lemon Juice, Oat & Banana Syrup; Ruta Oaxaca with Mezcal, Tequila, Lime Juice, Pineapple & Opal Basil; Molcajete with Tequila, Lime Juice, Cilantro-Avocado Syrup, Orange Juice & Jalapeño Juice and the award-winning Green Goddess– Green Tea-Infused Vodka, Cucumber, Arugula, Jalapeño & Absinthe Rinse (also available as a mocktail).


Brunch is served from 10:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; dinner is offered from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Reservations are available on OpenTable, and takeout can be ordered online at for pickup. Delivery is available from DoorDash.

Come have a taste! Hollywood Bowl Previews their Food + Wine Menu for the 2023 Season

Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine for the 2023 Season presented by Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association announces it’s menus for the 2023 Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine season.

Eighth year with award-winning chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne


Now into the eighth year with award-winning chef Suzanne Goin and restaurateur Caroline Styne, Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine promises exceptional dining for visitors to the iconic venue.

Goin and Styne’s culinary history has defined Los Angeles tastes since 1998 when they opened Lucques, their legendary first restaurant.

At the Hollywood Bowl, their California-inspired offerings include three restaurants and three marketplaces.

Additionally, menus for the Terrace and Garden Boxes, which can be ordered a day in advance, are created by four-time James Beard Foundation award-winner Suzanne Goin.

Vibrant Summer Dishes

Goin’s vibrant new summer dishes pair beautifully with the exceptional wine and beer programs curated by Caroline Styne, the James Beard Foundation’s 2018 Outstanding Restaurateur of the Year award recipient. Overseeing the broad range of dining options serving Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine’s thousands of nightly guests is Executive Chef Jeff Rogers.

Hollywood Bowl’s Wine Selection


This year Caroline Styne has expanded the retail wine selections in the three marketplaces, broadening the varieties and options for wine lovers visiting the Bowl.

In addition to increasing the selection of her popular canned wine offerings, she has also added a number of vegan and organic bottles, as well as a collection of natural wines from producers including Broc Cellars, Johan Vineyards, Lo-fi Wines, Angeleno Wine Company and more.

Returning for the 2023 season are the fan favorites Winemaker Wednesdays and Sunday Market Tastings – a 14-week program of complimentary wine tastings at the Plaza Marketplace with guest winemakers, importers and sommeliers hand-selected by Caroline to give the venue’s visitors an immersive and personal experience with her favorite people in the wine world.

Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine’s dining options


Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine’s many dining options include three sit-down restaurants, street-food kiosks, pre-ordered picnic boxes and a full-service dinner delivered to your box seat. For private events, Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine provides catering at several locations for groups both large and small.

Notable additions for the 2023 Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine portfolio include:

  • Suzanne’s Fried Chicken:  This kiosk serves an all-inclusive bucket of chicken in two sizes, complete with sides of cornbread, coleslaw, house-made ranch dressing, honey and hot sauce

  • Bar West, with batched craft cocktails, made with soju and other wine-based liquors by A.O.C.’s head barman Ignacio Murillo

  • The Plaza’s new South LA Cafe, a thriving Black-owned, family-owned and community-owned and -focused company, operates daily  7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and  during performances

  • State-of-the-art customer self-checkout at Marketplace East, where guests can have their entire purchase of up to 12 items scanned at once

  • Food kiosks – fried chicken, tacos, pizzas/BBQ and Kitchen 22 – have ordering stations, or guests can order from the Hollywood Bowl app or posted QR code

  • Additions of smaller Sweet Shop and soft serve ice cream stations around the grounds to increase availability

  • New beer pads for grab-and-go beers with self-checkout

  • Comprehensive compostable food ware and greenware program used throughout all disposable food services


Highlights for the 2023 menus include:


Supper in Your Seats – Available by pre-order online until 6 p.m. the day before a performance, Supper in Your Seats offers curated three-course dinners or customized meals from à la carte selections delivered right to your box seats.


Menu Highlight: The Angeleno – summer fruit and arugula with Leonora goat cheese, jamon and candied pecans; a choice of soft polenta, wild mushrooms, Swiss chard, mascarpone and gremolata or slow-roasted salmon with farro tabbouleh, summer vegetables and cucumber yogurt; and dessert of crème fraîche cheesecake with stone fruit and blackberries.


Newly available Supper in Your Seats items for 2023 include:


  • chopped Greek salad: romaine, cucumber, tomato, black olives and feta

  • summer fruit and arugula with Leonora goat cheese, jamon and candied pecans

  • tortiglioni pasta with heirloom tomatoes, pancetta, parmigiano-reggiano and garlic breadcrumbs (can be prepared vegan)

  • diver scallops with saffron risotto, young spinach and Meyer lemon salsa

  • braised short ribs with shell bean ragoût, rapini and whole grain mustard


Ann’s Wine Bar by A.O.C. – Showcasing a wine list personally curated by Caroline Styne, Los Angeles’ favorite wine bar comes to life at the Hollywood Bowl with a wine-friendly menu of artisanal cheese and charcuterie, farmers plates, grilled flatbreads, market-fresh salads and A.O.C.-style fish and meats.

There are also craft brews and farmers market-driven cocktails made with soju and other wine-based liquors.


Newly available Ann’s Wine Bar by A.O.C. items for 2023 include:


  • grilled flatbread with summer squash, taleggio, sun-dried tomato pesto

  • apricots and pickled cherries with soft ricotta, jamon and coriander hazelnuts

  • cherry tomatoes with sweet peppers, stracciatella, basil pesto and torn croutons

  • quinoa dumplings with spiced tomato, sugar snaps, pea shoots and feta

  • cumin lamb chops with black beans, cucumber, roasted poblano, Urfa and pistachios

  • milk chocolate torta with rum caramel and coffee cream


the backyard – The al fresco dining area, adjacent to the amphitheater, is flanked by two large wood-burning grills and offers an updated seasonal market-driven menu of summer salads, an extensive raw bar and side dishes, in addition to the wood-grilled selection of fresh fish, seafood, organic chicken, chops and steaks.


Newly available items for the backyard in 2023 include:


  • hamachi tostada with avocado, cucumber, citrus and salsa macha

  • avocado bruschetta with cherry tomatoes, feta and piri piri

  • heirloom tomatoes with Jimmy Nardellos, butter beans, aloreña olives and paprika

  • whole sea bream with couscous, golden raisins, pistachios, kumquat and chermoula

  • grilled lobster with toasted cornbread, succotash salad and smoked tomato butter

  • chicken paillard with pecorino pudding, haricots verts, spring onions and mustard breadcrumbs


Picnic Boxes – All four of Suzanne Goin’s complete picnic boxes can be pre-ordered a day before a concert and picked up at the Plaza Marketplace or delivered to your box seats.


Menu Highlight: The Maple Drive – Grilled wagyu with arugula, cherry tomatoes and preserved lemon salsa; summer succotash salad; feta stone-fruit salad with beets, dandelion and hazelnut vinaigrette; 2 cheeses, pain aux fruits, nuts and dried fruit, fig jam; and crème fraîche cheesecake with stone fruit and blackberries


Kitchen 22 – Made-to-order beef and veggie burgers, Suzanne’s Spanish fried chicken, grilled Comté cheese on Larder sourdough and savory sandwiches anchor the Hollywood Bowl’s tribute to classic American fare.


Menu Highlight: Big and Juicy Burgers


Marketplaces – Three Marketplace locations – Plaza, East and West – specialize in “grab-and-go” salads, sandwiches, farmers’ market-driven main courses, charcuterie, cheese plates, desserts, and Magpies Softserve ice cream pies and sundaes.


Showcasing the best of Goin and Styne’s casual Larder café-marketplace, these Hollywood Bowl venues also feature a large selection of hand-picked wines, craft beers, sodas and waters, as well as salty and sweet snacks including cookies and brownies, candy, nuts and crackers.


Lucques at the Circle full-service dining experience for Pool Circle


Lucques at the Circle – This is a full-service dining experience for Pool Circle subscribers, showcasing a seasonal made-to-order menu and exceptional wine list styled from the award-winning cuisine of Lucques.


Menu Highlights:

  • ricotta gnocchi with chanterelles, sweet corn, spinach and sage brown butter

  • “three sisters” gazpacho: yellow tomato, avocado, pepitas and queso fresco

  • dandelion and radicchio with roasted wild plums, pecans and crumbled goat cheese

  • arugula and Weiser melons with cucumber, Urfa, lime and pistachios

  • grilled ribeye steak frites with arugula salad and smoked tomato butter

  • Spanish stuffed chicken, romanesco, pickled golden raisins and Marcona aioli

  • pistachio baklava Magpies: chocolate crust, almond pound cake and fudge


Authentic street foods and snacks


Street Food and Snacks – Authentic street foods can be found throughout the grounds of the Hollywood Bowl, including Suzanne’s fried chicken, tacos (including vegan), artisanal pizzas, pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, assorted sandwiches and beverages.

The Sweet Shop offers signature desserts, cookies and brownies, coffee and ice cream. Visitors will find L.A.’s Magpies Softserve’s ice cream pies and their mix-in ice creams, which include nondairy and vegan options.

Please visit Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine for more information about the food and wine experiences available at the Hollywood Bowl.

Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922

One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922 and plays host to the finest artists from all genres of music, offering something for everyone.

It remains one of the best deals anywhere in Los Angeles; to this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many classical and jazz performances. In February 2023 the venue was named the Outdoor Concert Venue of the Year at the 34th Annual Pollstar Awards, an honor bestowed 15 previous times.

The Hollywood Bowl was also named Amphitheater of the Decade at the 32nd Annual Pollstar Awards as well as Top Amphitheater at the 2017 and 2018 Billboard Touring Awards.

For millions of music lovers across Southern California, the Hollywood Bowl is synonymous with summer.

Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine is presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in partnership with The Lucques Group and Sodexo Live!

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.







Cinco de Mayo in LA! Qué Padre & The Smoke Label Host Smokin’ Celebration at Palisades Village

Qué Padre & The Smoke Label Host Smokin’ Cinco de Mayo Celebration at Palisades Village

Qué Padre, the Pacific Palisades popular modern Mexican restaurant located in Palisades Village, is excited to announce its upcoming Cinco de Mayo Celebration on Friday, May 5th, 2023.


Cervezas, Cocktails, Tequila, Margaritas Tequila and more!


The party runs from 12:00 Noon to 9:00 pm featuring The Smoke Label artisan smoked Blanco and Reposado Tequila Tastings, Coronita Buckets, Cervezas, Qué Padre Cocktails, Signature Margaritas, Tequila Flights, and Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s full Modern Mexican Menu and signature dessert!

Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s full Modern Mexican Menu


Qué Padre’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration promises to be an unforgettable experience for tequila lovers and food enthusiasts alike.

The Smoke Label, a premium tequila brand, infuses its tequilas with smoke from mesquite wood, offering a unique and delicious twist on the classic spirit. Guests can sample The Smoke Label’s smoked Blanco and Reposado Tequilas, which pair perfectly with the restaurant’s modern Mexican cuisine.

In addition to Tequila Tastings, Qué Padre will also be serving $20 Coronita Buckets and $5.00 Cervezas, as well as Qué Padre Cocktails, Signature Margaritas, and Tequila Flights. Executive Chef Isaias Peña’s full Modern Mexican Menu and signature Tacos – Carne Asada, Grilled Chicken, Carnitas,Beef Birria, Mushroom, Shrimp, Fish and Al Pastor – will also be available for guests to enjoy and to finish off the perfect meal, guests can indulge in Chef Peña’s Mexican Chocolate Churros for dessert!

“Cinco de Mayo is an important day for celebrating Mexican culture, heritage, and achievements,”

says Chef Peña.


“We are thrilled to offer our guests a unique and unforgettable Cinco de Mayo experience with our smokin’ celebration, featuring The Smoke Label smoked tequila tastings and our full modern Mexican menu.” 

Qué Padre will be celebrating Cinco De Mayo on Friday, May 5th, 2023, from 12:00 noon to 9:00 pm.

For more information about Qué Padre or to make reservations on Cinco de Mayo, please call 310.461.8226 directly or visit

Walk-in guests are always welcome.


Qué Padre is a modern Mexican restaurant

Qué Padre is a modern Mexican restaurant located in Palisades Village, Pacific Palisades, CA. Executive Chef Isaias Peña offers a full Modern Mexican Menu and signature Tacos, while the bar offers an extensive list of tequilas, margaritas, and cocktails. The restaurant is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend breakfast, and offers both indoor and outdoor seating.

The Smoke Label is for top shelf tequila and mezcal lovers

After falling in love with the smoked flavor of mezcal years ago, Founder Jennifer Erwin began smoking premium spirits in her kitchen and experimenting with flavors. She made several journeys to Jalisco, Mexico, and created her dream spirit – an artisan crafted smoked tequila with highlights of vanilla and a smooth smoky bouquet. TSL is for top shelf tequila and mezcal lovers – it’s the perfect blend of both flavors. A decadent spirit with a touch of smoke.

The Magic of Honey (and its Health Powers) is getting Rediscovered and Darko Mandich is leading the way

The magic and power of honey is getting Rediscovered and Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich is leading the way

Honey has been a staple in my people diets for their whole.  As a result, many of us take it for granted.  But that’s changing thanks now.

Let’s find out in an exclusive interview with Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich.

Darko Mandich is a food entrepreneur in San Francisco. After spending almost a decade in the European honey industry as a business executive, Darko committed to reimagining the honey industry to become sustainable. Darko immigrated from Europe to California to launch Mellody, the world’s first plant-based honey brand. Darko is an advocate of saving the bees and wild pollinators.

Mellody Food's Darko Mandich

Mellody Food’s Darko Mandich


Recently, I had a chance to talk with Darko.

Why honey? Was it a personal passion or where did the interest come from for you?

Honestly, at that time, it was a great opportunity and a very interesting company that had many different divisions all related to food and agriculture.

It’s my grandma’s fault that I got into the food industry because I remember when I was a kid, my grandma and my mom and dad, they were running a tiny tavern in the Mediterranean coastline.

Seeing people gathered around the food, seeing people running around prepping the food. In my family, whenever we would have guests visiting our home, there’s always gonna be like plenty of food. And I think that subliminally inserted in my brain. Even though I pursued business and entrepreneurship, that’s something that excites me. In the background of all of that was food. I don’t mind that because I’m a foodie myself.


Honey is being Re-Discovered. Why did honey become so important to us today?


There’s so many angles to that. If you ask consumers in the US their preferred sweetener is honey. Why? Because people understand that honey has the sugar part that gives you a kick, gives you energy; but honey also has a very exciting non sugary part to it, which makes it a better for you. I would say [it’s] the best sweetener out there.

Also, there’s something about the mythology of honey.

There’s this Greek goddess of honey. Honey has been presented as a divine product across many religious books in different religious and history is telling so many interesting stories about honey.

Around 200 years ago, they unsealed Egyptian pyramids, got inside, found a bunch of things, and amongst others there was honey in a pot. And you know what? That honey was edible. And no food in the world would actually stand against that shelf life because, [of honey’s ] special combinations of sugar acidity, pH. Now I’m nerding up.


But the thing is, honey is very special. It will never go bad. There’s kind of official shelf life to honey, but honey will actually never go bad.

And I think if you connect all these things and consumers looking for better solutions, looking for something that can satisfy them, not only on a taste, but on a nutritious level, honey [has] become so popular. I had a chance to witness this across my decade old career in the US and before that in Europe.

And look, I was very excited about honey. I didn’t know much about it when I joined that [first] company, but when I started learning about it, I was like, ‘Wow, this product is really amazing.’


Is the honey currently available at Eleven Madison Home?


This is the product from a direct to consumer collaboration. We just launched with three Michelin star, Eleven Madison Park in New York City.

Eleven Madison Home's The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

Eleven Madison Home’s The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey



Yeah, the honey is currently available. The Specialty Tea and Honey Box launched for the Mother’s Day collection and Earth Month.

It’s a specially curated box of artisanal teas coming from different parts of the world with honey and also amazing, shortbread cookies. All plant-based, also made with our honey. That’s available right now

Sometime very soon a standalone jar [of honey] will also be available to Eleven Madison Home.

Eleven Madison Home's The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey

Eleven Madison Home’s The Specialty Tea and Honey Box featuring Mellody Honey


Tell us again what’s available, how to find it; and how to follow you and support you.


Yeah, follow us on Instagram and TikTok at MellodyFoods

In terms of purchasing, head to and you can purchase it there.

Saving the bees is learning more about them. Learning more about pollinators and you can do that on our social media.

And finally, if you’re equally passionate about bees and plants as we are, ask your favorite restaurant to reach out to us to offer Mellody in your favorite restaurant. It can be a vegan restaurant on non-vegan.

We are gonna work with all the restaurants that reach out to us where people ask to see our product offered, either on the menu, either within a meal, or just if you order a cup of tea and you want a side of Mellody.


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