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This section provides the most popular news from our blog connected to Los Angeles.

Secret of Caesar salad: John Robert Sutton Reveals on “Foods That Matter” Podcast

Secret of Caesar salad: John Robert Sutton Reveals on “Foods That Matter” Podcast

The Caesar salad was NOT invented in Italy!

The iconic dish, celebrating its 100th birthday this year, has roots in Tijuana, Mexico.

Foods That Matter John Robert Sutton

Foods ThatMatter John Robert Sutton

To celebrate, podcast host of CurtCo Media’s Foods That Matter and seasoned food archaeologist John Robert Sutton joined Juan José “Tana” Plascencia, the owner of Caesar’s Restaurant – home of the first Caesar salad – in person.

To eat some original recipe salad and chat about how, why, where, and by whom the dish came to be one of the most popular menu items in the US.

John and Tana’s intriguing conversation, starting with the recipe’s origins and ending with its worldwide prominence, is available on Foods That Matter on all major podcast platforms. You get a firsthand look at the backstory of Caesar salad, delving into all the rich flavors and history that made it such an important influence in the dining world.

Near or visiting Tijuana?

Join Tana at the centennial celebration at Caesar’s Restaurant on July 7, 2024. Plus, if you tell Tana that you listened to this episode of Foods That Matter – Celebrating 100 Years of Caesar Salad with the Origin Story that Starts in Tijuana, Mexico – he will give you the authentic recipe to take home!

About Foods That Matter:
Come along for a culinary thrill as Foods That Matter transports foodies to corners of the world through stories of adventure with food archeologist John Robert Sutton, also known as ‘The Indiana Jones of Food.’

John unlocks the secrets to the globe’s extraordinary cuisines, as he’s been doing throughout his travels in over 120 countries while enriching top grocery stores and Michelin-starred chefs with the finest ingredients and powering them with quality products.

The presenting sponsor of Foods That Matter is Watkins, award-winning extracts, spices & herbs, seasoning blends, grilling rubs & marinades, artificial dye-free baking decorations, and more crafted in the USA since 1868. The show is available on podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, SpotifyYouTube and Goodpods.

About CurtCo Media:
CurtCo Media – with its talented producers and creative team – provides listeners with quality podcasts, featuring authoritative hosts, distinguished guests, and inspiring storytellers. The company presents many nationally-recognized series, covering topics such as scripted sci-fi (SOLAR), luxury (Cars That MatterTravel That Matters, Wines That Matter) and others.

Los Angeles Drinkers saying ‘Yes’ to less: Sommarøy Spirits Expands wider to Whole Foods

Sommarøy Spirits Expands Grocery Footprint at Jewel-Osco and Whole Foods

No more martini-induced headaches

Dreaming of an easier way to wake up the next workday without a martini-induced headache, or seamlessly transition to a glass of wine at dinner without feeling out of control? There are now more choices for the nearly 65% of adults nationwide moderating their alcohol intake.

Sommarøy Spirits – mid-strength gin and vodka with zero carbs, lower calories and two-thirds the alcohol of traditional spirits – is expanding its grocery footprint, offering more consumers a sophisticated, full-flavor option to embrace true moderation.

The no- and low-alcohol market grew by more than 7% in 2022 according to IWSR. on YouTube on YouTube

With an ABV of 27.5% – one-third less than the alcohol content of traditional spirits – Sommarøy is officially defining the mid-strength category as spirits between 25-30% ABV. As a result, retailers like Jewel-Osco and Whole Foods Market are now reserving shelf space to meet consumer demand for quality spirits between non-alcoholic and full proof.

Already available in major beverage retailers like Total Wine & More, Lee’s Discount Liquor and Binny’s Beverage Depot, Sommarøy Vodka is now available in 73 Jewel-Osco stores in Illinois and Sommarøy Gin is available at 53 Whole Foods stores across 12 states, with distribution anticipated to expand significantly by year’s end.

“People don’t want all or nothing when it comes to moderating their drinking

sometimes you want a mellow buzz

without going completely non-alc

or settling for a watered-down cocktail.

More consumers can now add the solution directly to their shopping carts.”

James Cosma

CEO and co-founder

Sommarøy Spirits

Sommarøy Spirits gets industry buzz

Landing on-shelf at major grocery retailers across the country are just some of the brand’s recent successes.

Sommarøy Spirits have also been awarded various industry accolades, including the New York International Spirits Competition (NYISC) Low Proof Spirit Producer of the Year. Sommarøy Gin and Vodka have won NYISC Silver (92 points) and Gold (94 points), 2024 SIP Awards Double Gold and Gold, a 97 and 95 rating from The Tasting Panel Magazine and Gold (93 points) and Silver (88 points) from Beverage Tasting Institute, respectively.

Start your moderation-minded journey today.

To find a retailer near you, mid-strength cocktail recipes and stay in the loop with the latest news and product drops, visit and follow @SommaroySpirits.

Sommarøy Spirits are premium craft-distilled Vodka and Gin with zero carbs, lower calories and two-thirds the alcohol of traditional spirits.

Crafted in small-batches with legacy distilling techniques, Sommarøy Gin and Vodka are 55-proof (27.5% ABV), unflavored and gluten-free with a smooth taste that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks or mixed in a cocktail.

In addition to availability online at, Sommarøy Vodka and Gin is available in more than 320 retail locations across the country (and counting) – including Whole Foods, Jewel-Osco and Total Wine & More. It is also available regionally in Illinois at select and Binny’s Beverage Depot locations, Nevada at Lee’s Discount Liquors and other independent retailers.

Sommarøy Spirits can also be found in Chicago at Gibson’s Restaurant Group, Boka Restaurant Group and Ballyhoo Hospitality locations. To find Sommarøy near you, visit and follow the brand on Instagram and Facebook at @SommaroySpirits.


Beverly Hills Favorite Choice for Healing, Find out Why Patients Choose Vivie Therapy

Feeling Pain? Beverly Hills Vivie Therapy can help with 100s of 5 Star Reviews

We talk so much about food and drinks, nights out,  and travel all the time, but we don’t always talk about our bodies and our health; keeping ourselves in shape and in fitness. 

Vivian Eisenstadt from Vivie Therapy

Vivian Eisenstadt from Vivie Therapy

That’s why I wanted to talk with Vivian Eisenstadt from Vivie Therapy. 

Joe Winger: 

Can you tell us a little bit about your professional background and what kind of certifications it takes to be the owner of Vivie Therapy?

Vivian Eisenstadt:

I am originally from Brooklyn, New York, and I got my bachelor’s in Athletic training from Brooklyn College.

I went on to get a second bachelor’s in Health Science from Turo College in Long Island, where I also got a Masters in Physical Therapy. 

Then moved to Los Angeles where I worked in Cedars Sinai outpatients, Physical Therapy Center. 

While I worked there, I actually went on to get an extra credential called Orthopedic Specialist.

Then when they opened Cedars Sinai Spine Center, I was one of the physical therapists who went there and integrated physical therapy into the spine center to collaborate with the spine doctors and help them understand actually what physical therapy was. 

I became a director of a pilates-based physical therapy center in Brentwood and then later in Beverly Hills.

That inspired me to open up my own place. 

I first opened up in a gym on Robertson Boulevard, and now I have been working on my own, in my own space since 2005.

I went on to get a Spiritual Psychology Degree in 2014, which I really think has taken my ability to help a person heal holistically.

By holistically, approaching physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, chemical at the same time. When you address them all you get more. Totality and healing and more long term results.

Joe Winger: 

Something you said a minute ago that I want to touch on and go deeper on is you help the doctors learn more about physical therapy.

What did you teach those doctors about physical therapy?

Vivian Eisenstadt:

The doctors actually didn’t really know much about physical therapy as most doctors don’t know.

It might’ve changed over the past 20 years. 

But doctors are taught chemicals and drugs and surgeries.  Physical therapy is actually how to avoid all of that, or how to get past that phase to get ultimate healing. 

Physical therapy is an art by which, when a person gets injured, the body will heal, but there are speed bumps along the way to healing, such as the creation of scar tissue, or creating habits that you had when you were in pain, like limping, that you don’t want to have because that’ll lead to other issues and will not help you heal correctly.

So physical therapy is about getting better quicker and getting better in a way where you prevent future injury and where you could be stronger. 

If somebody gets injured because their body was out of balance and their weakest spot is what got affected, as physical therapists, we evaluate the entire body and see, where is the source of the pain.

Like you can have an ankle that is always in pain, but it could be coming from the fact that your lower lumbar vertebrae in your back are out of place. 

So physical therapy is a really good way for someone to analyze where your pain is stemming from in a different way than doctors do. 

In a way that if it is repaired, you get fully better and move on with your life.

Joe Winger: 

Almost like a body detective. Is it more affordable than most surgeries and hospital operations? 

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

Unfortunately, the insurance companies try not to pay. 

So I have so many patients where we’ve submitted our reports and they’re just finding reasons not to pay, but for some reason they listen to doctors and they’re like, “Oh, you need a shot.  Here’s a shot.” 

It’s amazing the different listening that insurance companies have. You will save money in the long run when you go to a physical therapist.

If you go to a proper physical therapist who will help you not only heal from your current issue, but help you address the underlying causes and the underlying reasons, like neck pain due to poor posture.

Then you come in, we teach you how to sit straight. 

So not only are you making your back feel better, but you won’t end up in my office again. 

I tell my patients that the best compliment you can give me is to send your friends to me. 

I don’t want you in my office. I just want you to refer your friends and family.

Joe Winger: 

I’m assuming there’s a wide range of services you offer. 

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

We have physical therapy evaluation, which is about an hour where I help detect where your pain is coming from and all the different things that are feeding into it.

So you have the evaluation, which includes the treatment, and then we decide what kind of path we want to go on together. 

Massage Therapist on Staff

Follow up sessions are an hour, and then we also have a massage therapist on staff.  An amazing one who’s been working with me, Marcia, since 2002. 

You might just need a lot of deep tissue work, so you’ll get a couple of massages.

Then we also have modalities that help your body feel better as a whole. 

Detox Foot Baths

For instance, detox foot baths that pull out the toxins from your body. The less toxins in your body, the more you feel better. 

Infrared Sauna

We also have an infrared sauna, another way to detoxify. 

We get a lot of people post chemotherapy or radiation, or if you’re on meds for a while and you want to sweat them out. So we help you sweat them out in the infrared sauna. 

Lifestream Generator

We have a machine called Lifestream Generator, which puts a high frequency of electricity through your body, and that works on every level because our brain is made up of electric signals. 

If you put a high vibration in you, it kicks out the low vibration.

So we’ve seen people feel emotionally different after they come here, like sleep better or feel more motivated or have more energy throughout the day or just be able to process things that they weren’t able to process without it.

Joe Winger: 

Are there common, everyday people living their life – nothing traumatic may have actually happened to them – yet they could heal better, they could feel better by coming to visit you?

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

What’s fascinating is that when people think that they need to feel better, they think of like a massage. Okay. 

Physical therapy is people that are actually trained to analyze your body and find out where your imbalances are and then directly go and start working on them.

Not just work around your body and hope they get somewhere that feels good.  The longstanding effects.

People come to me usually because their lawyer sent them for a personal injury case or their doctor sent them for physical therapy or they know that they need physical therapy because of an injury. 

But over the past, but once they come in and I give them a couple of treatments, they didn’t realize that they could feel as good as they feel.

They thought that their “normal” was the way you’re supposed to feel, but their “normal” is out of balance in general. 

Once you get put in alignment and put in balance, you don’t remember how it feels until you’re feeling that way again. 

Then you’re like, “Oh my God, I didn’t know that I could feel this way.”

You don’t know until someone does it to you because nobody promotes wellness as preventative. We do. But not enough people listen.

I always say people come to me when they’re ready to get better and not a day before. 

I try not to make them feel bad about it. 

I truly believe that people step into my office when they’re ready to get better and some people come in and they’re just not ready to get better. 

You can just see it in just our interaction. And that’s okay too.

Everybody’s on their own agenda and their own souls path. 

So I help the people where they’re at.  

Joe Winger: 

I went on Google and Yelp, just wanted to see how many physical therapists were in the area. And you probably know this, there’s a lot.

If someone’s out there looking for a physical therapist, why would they choose Vivie Therapy? 

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

That’s an easy one. The reason why people would want to come to Vivie Therapy as opposed to other ones is because I am a sole practitioner.

I am a physical therapist who will be with you the entire time. 

Most of these physical therapy centers are playing the insurance game where they’re trying to get as many people an hour because they have to deal with all those insurance issues that I mentioned where they don’t pay a lot so then it’s a numbers game.

I have dedicated myself to being an extremely good diagnostician. 

So we figure out what’s not working very early in the game, and then we get straight to work. 

As you can tell by my over 200 reviews by now, that I come in, I do my job, I get you in and out of here as soon as possible, as quickly as possible.

You get quality of care. You are heard here. 

I am here to listen to what is going on for you. Most of the time, the patient is what tells me what’s wrong with them. 

Unlike in most doctor’s offices and many physical therapy offices, I’m not on autopilot. 

I’m present. I’m in the conversation. I’m here to see why you’re in my office and what you want to get out of it.

Then we just get straight to work.

Joe Winger: 

You have a lot of machinery at your office.

Can you walk us through some of the more popular pieces? 

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

Being a physical therapist, I have the standard physical therapy modalities, ultrasound, electric stim, infrared light, which is amazing at getting the cells to stimulate them to work harder in an area. 

But I also have all the Pilates equipment that you would need.

I have spinal traction.

I have some alternative modalities that have helped me when I had Epstein – Barr and got my own body into remission, a Whole Body Vibration Machine, which you stand on. 

It was originally created by the cosmonauts so they wouldn’t lose muscle strength and bone density in space.  When patients go on there, I feel that they get better in 2/3 the time. Because we’re not just working on the muscle or the tendon that’s injured, but we’re making the body actually pump your blood around and move your lymph around and put oxygen in the cell and release serotonin, testosterone ,growth hormone, all that the whole body vibration machine does. 

So unless you have an underlying illness, I start my patients on that machine because it’s literally like working out and getting the body into a healing state.

I find that has made such a big difference and it also turns on your muscles.

You could ask somebody to turn on their transverse abs for posture.  But if you’ve been sitting in a chair your whole life, your body just forgot the signal. 

Now, the good thing about muscles is that once you turn that signal on, muscles have memory.

So the whole body vibration machine actually uses lower motor neuron contractions to turn on those muscles. 

Then afterwards, when I ask you to find them, there’s a chance you could find them.

Joe Winger: 

When you’re talking about all this, I can see your eyes light up.  You’re inspired. You’re passionate. 

Is there a moment that just sparked you, realizing you wanted to devote your life to this?

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

I was lucky. [Author] Wayne Dyer has this thing called “The shift.”

It’s a moment in your life where you remember [everything about it]: where you were, what the temperature was, like a light bulb, the aha effect. 

I was a tomboy my whole life.  I was a basketball player, but in The Jewish Hebrew schools where your average height is 5’6”.

Then I went to Brooklyn College and the average height is 5’11” for someone who wants to be on the girls basketball team. 

So what’s a little me to do? 

I became an athletic training major and for our field trip, we went to an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy place and I walk in and: “Aha!”.  

That was it. There was life before that and life after that. 

This will satisfy the doctor / lawyer side of the family. And I’ll be able to work with sports for the rest of my life if I want. 

I went back to school, got the list of classes, and that was the end of that. 

It’s funny because when they tell you to go and do residencies when you’re in physical therapy school, you’re like, Oh, you got to try this.

You got to try geriatrics. 

You got to try cardio. 

You got to try everything. 

I’m like, Nope. I know what I’m doing. 

That’s exactly what I did from the first job I had out when I was done was in an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy place. 

Joe Winger: 

So you have a new patient. They come into your Beverly Hills office. Is there a common misconception by new patients that you have to help break through?

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

There’s a couple of things that sadden me a little bit. 

One is people really just don’t know what physical therapists do. At the same time, I’m different than most physical therapists on top of that. 

Most people go to other facilities where they’re given to one person and given some ultrasound and then given exercises.

I don’t hang out in other physical therapy places often, so I have nothing to compare it to.

But when people come here, they’re in gratitude over how much we accomplish in one hour.

They feel, in general, 50% better quickly.

Then the other 50% takes a while. 

The fact that I’m able to actually make a 75% shift in their symptoms by the end of the first visit. That’s the expectation you should have.

Some people have gone to therapy for 6 months not knowing what they should expect just because their doctor told them to go. 

I tell people that if you don’t feel significantly different over a month or two, then that might be your plateau and you should look somewhere else.

People have to be an advocate for their own wellness and not just hand over the power to whoever is treating them.

Joe Winger: 

Let’s talk about the life cycle of a patient.

Can you walk us through an average or a common problem from  beginning, middle, end to any patient story working Vivie Therapy?

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

Yeah, postural issues are my bread and butter. 

People sit at computers, they sit in cars, they’re just sitting all day. So we get a lot of neck pain and headaches and tingling down the arms and low back pain.

First, I isolate exactly where the pain is coming from.  

I teach ergonomics, how to sit the right way, proper stretches to do throughout the day.

The same way you bring your car in to get your tires [rotated] and your oil changed.

For the same reason you have to take care of your car, you have to take care of your body. 

So if you’re gonna be sitting at a computer for 8 hours a day, you’re gonna have to set your timer and get up every couple of hours. 

Do a little stretch in the doorway or stretch when you get home.  Stretch in the morning before you go to work.

Make sure you’re sitting correctly.

Make sure that your laptop or desktop is in the right angle. 

Take  appropriate breaks, drink enough water. Handle your stress.

But everybody’s a different amount of each of that. 

Fixing the immediate issue is part of looking at why are they in my office.

Joe Winger: 

All your different patients.  All the different industries you’ve services.  Any memorable stories?

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

One thing being in the entertainment industry, in Hollywood, is I get a lot of actors.  Literally actor’s tools are their body. 

So I’ll get patients that are in the industry, that are in front of the camera, and they’re standing like crap.  They’re sitting like crap.

I’ve seen their Callbacks improve because how you hold your body…  How you do anything is how you do everything.

So when an actor has a nice elongated neck, broad shoulders and an open heart chakra.  They’re presenting themselves to the camera, chances of them getting hired improve significantly. 

So literally their job depends on it. 

They come in because their neck hurts. But the truth is their neck hurts because they’ve been [hunched] over the computer and on their phones.

Another thing I’ve seen is a beautiful actress who I just started working with. She went to an Oscar party and she was wearing the most beautiful dress and her posture was so crappy and it made her look so ugly. 

What’s the point of getting yourself together if you don’t know how to present your body physically to match the time, energy and effort it took for you to put on the beautiful dress and get your makeup done by five people?

Another one was a pilot that I had.

Imagine if the guy that’s flying your plane is not focusing on what he’s doing because his neck hurts?

When I saw the pilot and I made his neck feel better, he started telling me about just how distracting it is to be in pain while he’s trying to fly a plane with the 300 passengers on it.

So the importance of pain not being the primary thing you think about in your life is just life altering.

Another one is doctors. 

Doctors don’t know what physical therapy is in general. When I work on them. I feel like they haven’t learned what physical therapy is and what it does. The reason I say that is that patients should advocate for themselves. 

When they go to a doctor, the doctor is going to want to give you drugs or surgery, not because that’s all he gets paid for, even though that’s all he gets paid for, but because that might be all he knows.

Instead of having somebody stick needles into your body, they could possibly hit a nerve. 

Ask your doctor to take you to physical therapy.

To give you a prescription to physical therapy, and be adamant about it. 

Be your own advocate. 

You can just go to a physical therapist and then go to a doctor if the physical therapist feels that what they’re doing can’t make you feel better.

Unfortunately, because of the way that the wellness industry has been presented in the past 50 years, people think of going to a doctor first when they’re in pain.

Where I hope in the future, unless it’s something severe, if it’s just an ache or a pain, choose to go to a physical therapist first, then go to a doctor.


Joe Winger: 

I know you love your neighborhood.  Talk about your favorite things in Beverly Hills.

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

I like my mornings where I take my four dogs on an hour walk. It’s very quiet in the neighborhood.  That’s where I prepare my day, talk to my East Coast friends because they’re three hours ahead. 

My mornings are always pretty sacred, special and consistent for me.

Then after work, I like going to restaurants, Hillstone in Santa Monica. Excellent. 

I love that I live in Pico Robertson, which is 20 minutes from Hollywood, 20 minutes from the water, 20 minutes from downtown, 20 minutes from the restaurants I want.

I’m very localized.

I’ll get patients from Brentwood, Malibu, Santa Monica, Palms, Culver city, West LA. Mid Wilshire, Koreatown, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood.

Some people really travel to see me because of word of mouth.

I’m proud to say that I’ve probably hit my tipping point in terms of working with personal injury lawyers around here, working with doctors around here. 

At this point, word of mouth.  If you’re happy, you’re going to tell people what to do when they need you, when they need someone like me as well.

Joe Winger:

A lot of people who are reading this are foodies.  Any great food spots in your neighborhood?

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

Just in the Pico Robertson area. Yeah. Dr. Sandwich. The food is just that good.  I get the chicken shawarma bowl to-go.  You’re pointing to all the things you want in it, you can have everything that’s in there. 

Peppers, cauliflower, mayo cabbage, with the hummus, tahina and their laffa bread.

[For me] each bowl lasts three meals. So you get your bang for your buck. 

Trattoria Bella Roma SPQR

I think it’s not such a best kept secret of the neighborhood, because I see a lot of people that come from West LA and West Hollywood come down, like people travel to this place, 

It’s an authentic Italian restaurant with the guy from Italy making your food.

I just like hearing him talk about the food because he’s talking about the soup and the “no sugar, no this..” and he’s got gluten free penne.  So he’s catering to the neighborhood.

But the food is spectacular.

I like places that I could bring people, they go, “Oh let’s go there again sometime!” You always want to impress your friends in the neighborhood.

Some people eat to live and some people live to eat. 

Summer Fish and Rice

Another place around here.  Summer Fish and Rice. It is one block south of Wilshire, right off Robertson.  And again, good food, good sushi. An amazing spicy tuna crispy rice. I don’t know if I want to talk about this place because it’s crowded enough as it is. You don’t want too many people knowing about your places.

Joe Winger: 

Tell us what kind of dishes you make at home.

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

I make Every plate, they send it to you with the cards and I become a chef with every plate.

The food is so good because you just follow it verbatim.  Last night I had chicken with garlic rice and carrots, this soy buttery dressing on top. 

Another time I had chicken lettuce cups. Another time you make some burgers with fresh fries. I’m just saying I am not a cook. I am a direction follower from Every Plate.

Joe Winger: 

Whether it’s cooking food or eating food, is there any therapeutic value with the food we love?

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

Usually when you crave something, it means your body needs it. 

If I’m craving tomato sauce, it usually means I’m low in magnesium. And you are what you eat. 

At every moment we’re coming from a physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and chemical place. When you move one, you move them all.

That’s why they say drugs and alcohol, low vibration, so people feel sluggish

Things with nutrients and high vibrations, you feel better. 

At every moment,  your body’s either going towards balance or away from balance.

When you give your body what it needs nutritionally, you’re going to be more towards balance. 

When you do things that hinder your body’s wellness, you’re going away from balance. 

Homeostasis is your body’s homeostasis. Consistent, trying to balance everything you’re giving it. Of course, what we put in our bodies is literally what makes us or breaks us.

So you need to remember that. 

But know your game so you know how to play. I’m an excessive moderate. I never tell somebody it’ll only be one way. What’s the use of living longer if you’re living miserably? 

It’s not about how long you live. It’s about caring about yourself and loving yourself.

What does it look like when you love yourself?

Usually when people are physically abusing their body, there’s a mental and emotional part of that. So it’s one thing if you’re going on a vacation and you’re eating wonderful food because you’re just enjoying your space.

Or whether you’re eating sugar and ice cream at night because your marriage sucks.

 There’s  how and why you’re doing what you’re doing matters as much as what you’re doing.

I believe that the intention of what you’re doing will affect how your body takes it in. 

Joe Winger: 

As we wrap up Vivian, tell us all the ways to learn more and to get in touch with you?

Vivian Eisenstadt: 

For more information, you can go to www.VivieTherapy com. 

You can also reach us by phone at 310 623 4444. We are also at VivieTherapy on Instagram, Vivi Therapy on Facebook, Vivi Therapy on Twitter,

I also created a word for pain free. Vivie.


Ordering Chinese food in Los Angeles? HungryPanda want to Help

Ordering Chinese food in Los Angeles? HungryPanda want to Help

Leveraging their industry-leading delivery services, the HungryPanda app seamlessly connects food, people and culture.

HungryPanda goes further with Asian food culture

The ‘Golden Panda Award’ is a symbol of excellence in the global overseas Chinese food industry, setting the highest standard for culinary achievement.

It stands as the world’s exclusive international honor specifically dedicated to recognizing restaurant businesses in the food delivery sector. This prestigious award embodies commitment to promoting and celebrating outstanding achievements in the realm of international Chinese cuisine.

Kitty Liu from HungryPanda

Kitty Lu from HungryPanda

Joe Winger: 

We are here today with Kitty Lu from HungryPanda. 

Help me get to know 

Kitty Lu: 

HungryPanda serves a niche market for Asian communities.  We were established in 2017, founded in the UK when our CEO and the founding team were studying in Nottingham University.

The platform was born from a very simple, but compelling need experienced first hand, by the founders as international students, struggling to find authentic Chinese food in the UK. 

From that outset, HungryPanda started to really focus sharply on that particular niche market, tailoring our user experience with Chinese interfaces to overcome culture and language barriers.

That’s how our app got started.  We are very lucky enough to be growing really fast within the past six years. 

Now we expanded into 10 different countries, including: US, Canada, UK, France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, and Singapore.

Hungry Panda

Joe Winger: 

Different cultures, maybe different ways people use their phones, different apps.

What challenges has HungryPanda faced as you enter the very competitive North America market?

Kitty Lu:

Local regulatory requirements that we need to meet.  Every country, every region has different regulations, and especially with food delivery.  

The U.S. is actually coming out with all the new regulations lately, therefore that’s one of the challenges as well.

Also intense competition from established local and global brands. 

When we entered the North American market, Door Dash, Uber, the giants, had already occupied the mass market.  In the Asian food delivery market, we also have competitors like, Chow Bus and others.

Obviously we were the new brand going to the market. 

Therefore, that’s the main challenge that we faced. But, we were actually quite confident and, lucky enough because we have a very good team structure. All of our team members have experience opening markets in different countries.

So unlike Uber or DoorDash, when they are opening a new market, for example, North American market and Australian market is very different. People have different consumer behavior. But for us the good thing is, although we are in different countries, we are serving the same type of people, which is the  overseas Asian customers, therefore the consumer behavior is rather similar.

Although we have the challenge, it’s easier for us to actually dive in and then adapt in a rapid rhythm.



Joe Winger:

Is North America the toughest audience when it comes to regulations?

Kitty Lu: 

With regulations, we’re talking more towards the drivers, how do we protect them?

Obviously there are minimum standards. Because what we call the “gig economy” is still considered a new industry, no matter what part of the world.  

North America, Australia, the UK, all the countries are coming out with new regulations to actually protect this particular industry.

We are all at the same stage, growing from a new industry to a more mature industry.

Joe Winger: 

Your company released a food trends report from 2023.  What’s the biggest takeaway? 

Kitty Lu: 

Consumer interest in the authenticity and quality in food.  

When you talk about Chinese food in North America or  the UK, the first thing you think of is actually Cantonese food because [it] arrived first.

Now we can see all the hot Sichuan hot pots and malatang, all these are more modern and, trendy or more northern cuisine start to really get in the picture. popularity. 

This is something that’s blowing our mind as well.

It’s a strong signal to the food industry to really focus on the authenticity, offering high quality ingredients. This is something I think is actually quite interesting.

Joe Winger: 

Talking about trends, anything was surprising?

Kitty Lu: 

The most popular category is definitely Boba tea.  Now, as.

As we can see the hot pot, stuff actually, coming on top of, all this fried chicken, bubble tea and stuff. That suggests our local consumers start to really adapt into a more authentic flavor Chinese food instead of people always ordering honey chicken, spring side pork. 

They learn to really understand, oh, that’s you know, Chinese people eat in China, they really start to learn and understand and admire about the spice actually in the food.

This is something actually I find quite interesting.

Joe Winger: 

That’s really a big change. 

Based on your 2023 report, any predictions for 2024?

Kitty Lu: 

The rise in the family demands, so AOV ( average order value) keeps growing. Food delivery is not growing accommodating only for one person, two person, but it’s starting to expand, for more towards a family’s demands. 

We can anticipate the age group that actually accepting or keep using the food delivery services actually start to grow and expand as well. 

Also predicting new services for delivery companies. We can actually see the trend that many people start to order.

Pick up orders from the app and you can go straight to the restaurant to pick it up without waiting.  It’s helps you jump the queue.

When you order a pickup it’s actually cheaper than ordering at the shop itself.

Therefore, this is actually one of the trends that we can see. It’s actually start to grow.

Joe Winger: 

How do your users want the experience to go for them?

Kitty Lu:

During the pandemic, everything had to be contactless. Therefore the pickup feature was actually created during that period and blossomed afterwards.

Joe Winger: 

Now you just mentioned the pandemic. Your company learned a lot from that experience, like how much packaging matters. 

Can you talk a little bit more about what you learned about packaging?

Kitty Lu: 

First thing we need to discuss is the difference between Asian food and Western food. 

When it comes to Chinese food, generally it’s very heavy on sauces. Therefore, restaurants have to elevate the packaging standards to ensure the food quality can remain consistent.

When you order Chinese food, you expect it to still be hot, to have the best of flavor. Iit often [comes] with soup and if the packaging is not good, it actually leaks. 

That has always been a challenge that Asian food delivery faces.

China created a new trend with laminate packaging to make sure all the packaging is sealed and kept warm. That helped the whole industry globally to maintain higher standards.

Joe Winger: 

There’s nothing worse than when you get the package to your house and it’s broken,  ripped, it’s spilled.

The superior packaging isn’t about looking pretty necessarily. It’s about keeping your food secure.

Kitty Lu: 

That’s right.  Another thing we have to consider is [being] environmental friendly.

The Chinese food industry has been blamed for using too much plastic to begin with. Therefore, the new packaging uses aluminum.

Joe Winger: 

So your HungryPanda app itself has a lot of features. Can you let’s talk through some of the most popular features?

Kitty Lu: 

Comparing with other apps, one thing we find quite convenient is that on the front page we have a very full restaurant list with tabs: by distance, by popularity, by discounts, by reviews, by delivery times. So it’s very easy for you to access. 

Other apps  have the categories but limited restaurants. 

Joe Winger: 

What’s the best way for an Asian restaurant to make the most of this opportunity of this new food trend?

Kitty Lu:

I think In the age of technology leveraging online platforms for visibility, working with a food delivery platform is definitely one of the ways to help them really engage with consumers.

When we talk about foodies, they are young, they’re always on social media. They’re always online. Therefore, promoting yourself in front of them is very important. 

We use our channels to really promote different restaurants to help them to expand their reach within their comfort zone.

Joe Winger: 

What’s your favorite food? What would you order on your app?

Kitty Lu: 

My favorite food is [the same as] the trend report.  Sichuan malatang.

So that shows the report’s authenticity.  The audience like the food like a real Chinese person.

The reason why I like the malatang is because not only is it delicious, but it’s actually quite healthy as well.

It’s a hot spicy soup, but you put in fresh vegetables, fresh meat, it’s like you’re cooking your own hot pot

And it’s a very balanced and nutritious meal. Flavorful when you put all these different ingredients into one pot of soup. Brings you more flavors and it’s very fast [to make].

Joe Winger: 

What is HungryPanda’s user coverage look like?

Kitty Lu: 

We have about 30 cities covered in the U. S. Obviously, New York, L.A., all major cities itself. I would be more than happy to provide you with the full on city list. We’re in Canada as well and just over 80 cities all around the globe.

Joe Winger: 

For the audience who’s watching and listening right now, what’s the best next step? How can they enjoy this app? 

Kitty Lu: 

If they haven’t downloaded it yet, give it a try.

For new users, we actually have new user vouchers available for them to have a few free deliveries. 

You can order to deliver, you can order to pick up it’s very convenient to use, very simple.  Obviously we have a much wider supply for Asian food.

Therefore, if you are a Asian food lover, you should have HungryPanda on your phone.


Stuck in LA Dating App Hell? Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with

Stuck in LA Dating App Hell?  Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with

We’re with Andrea McGinty, dating expert from

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with

Today’s conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here

So often we talk about food and wine and it’s usually for dates, romantic nights out, date night, anniversaries, vacations

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with

Today we’re going to get to the source of what those date’s are actually about. So with us is a dating expert, Andrea McGinty from 


Joe Winger: 

So just to start things off, what inspired you to become a dating coach?

Andrea McGinty: 

You mean what inspired an accounting / finance major to become a dating coach? 

I started this when I was in my 20s. So this is the 1990s. 

There’s no Google yet. There’s no online dating.  It’s going to happen in the late 90s, but it hasn’t happened yet. At that point I was living in Chicago and I was getting married and five weeks before the wedding, he called it off and it was like – boom!

What do you do? First I cried, of course…

Anyway my friends started fixing me up on dates, still in your 20s and you know how those dates go, 

They know someone that’s single, so they think you should like them, blah, blah, blah…

After some of those dates I was really thinking about it and I thought, it’d be great if there was a place you could go, like an executive recruiter for your professional life. 

The same thing for your personal life. 

And of course, there was nothing like that at the time.  Even in high school and in college I fixed up two of my suitemates. They’re still with their husbands that I fixed them up with.

I was already good at this and I thought I could start this. 

Anyway, fast forward.

I started a company in Chicago called It’s Just Lunch. Where people meet for lunch. We do all the work.

Fast forward, 15 years later, it’s still the same.

[At my first dating company, It’s Just Lunch] we had 110 locations globally and then I sold.  Timing was perfect because online dating was coming out of its infancy and it was a mess it at first, just the scammers, the crazies, the horrible stories, 

I thought, “Oh, wow, there’s a need. People have no idea what to do online and how to date.” 


Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with

Joe Winger: 

Is there one big lesson to learn how to be more successful with dating in today’s world?

Andrea McGinty: 

I think there’s a couple, there’s probably two lessons to learn. 

#1 is you need to understand how to navigate online dating because there’s over 1400 sites out there. 

#2 you’ve got to be really careful that you don’t give up too quickly. 

Most people give up in the first 2-3 weeks because they go online, see a bunch of people, they probably went on the wrong site by the way too, like not the right site for them at all. Then they see these people who like them and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is online dating, forget it, I’m done, gone.” 

And it goes back to they didn’t do it right, they had no idea what they were doing.

Joe Winger: 

Can you bring some clarity to that and help somebody understand what are the first few steps are and how to do them correctly?

Andrea McGinty: 

Absolutely. With online dating you need…

 #1 you need to be really careful that you’re choosing the right site.

When we’re talking about 1,400 sites out there, I tend to work with the top 25 sites. When I’m working with a client I start initially with a zoom call with a client and get to know them what they’re looking for. 

I work primarily with the 40 – something 50- something, through the 60s age group. Second time around, second acts in life type of thing. 

Back to the right site…

When I’m choosing a site for a client after the zoom call, I’m thinking about. “Okay, what sites do I think they belong at?” And it’s very different if you’re in Los Angeles versus Houston versus Washington versus New York City or Orlando, Florida.

[The sites are] so different, how the sites function and the type of people that are even on the site. 

I’m strategic too. I use three different large companies for research. I use Gallup,  Pew and Statista.  I pay to get research on a monthly basis and it really tells me the percentage of men to women on a site. 

Some sites that are 80% men. Some sites are 80% women 

You might be having an awful time on a site because you’re a woman and you’re at a site that’s 80% women. You’re in the wrong place. 

So I do the homework with the research. Geographically where you live, level of education, income. Is that site’s membership increasing, decreasing?

#2 Your pictures. 

Oh my gosh. I’m like a crazy person with photos because you have to have really great photos. I don’t mean LinkedIn photos, I don’t mean glamour shots, and not selfies.

The candids are nice because it’ll show you and your friends. Out playing pickleball, out playing tennis, out having drinks with your girlfriends. The professional shots. Depending on where you live, you’re just gonna get some great shots up against a graffiti wall in Brooklyn or a nice shot by the beach that are just a little more.

You want a couple full body shots. 

You want the photos to be current, within the last year.   Just like you don’t want to be surprised when you show up on the date and there she is.  She has a few more wrinkles and a few more pounds than what I saw online. 

It’s like you’re not being truthful about the whole thing. 

Online dating is a visual medium. You’ve got to be presenting yourself. My LA and Orange County market, Dallas market, they get that.  But there’s other parts of the country. I’m like no, we are not putting that picture of you online. There is absolutely no way.

#3 Your profile

Once they look at your photos online, if they like what they’re seeing, they’re going to read about you.  It can’t be the same old stuff. Like I like to walk on the beach and I look as good in a tux as I do….   it puts me to sleep. 

So a short, sweet, interesting, quirky profile sells. 

A lot of times it’s hard to write about yourself. That’s why it’s nice to have somebody like me, write about you.

[Summarizing]  You’re on the right site.  The right photos. Your profile. Now it’s looking through high potential dates for you….

#4 Looking for High Potential Dates

Putting in algorithms, putting in search filters. That’s something I teach people how to do because otherwise it’s like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack and you want it like a needle in a little Easter basket.

Once we throw those filters and algorithms on, it gets rid of  80% of the people. Now we’re down to some of these people that look like high potential people for you. 

#5 Send messages

We found 10 “someone” ‘s and now we send messages.

We don’t send them a weak heart or any of that kind of junk because men get so irritated.  Because half my clients are men, they get so irritated with this. 

Why are these women sending likes and hearts and no message? 

That’s my constant battle with women.

Hey, you’re in your 40s, you’re not 90 when women had to wait to be pursued. We’re not living in our grandparents era, right? We’re equals. We can reach out to the men too. 

The men totally appreciate when a woman sends a well crafted, interesting, short three sentence message.

The messaging is super important because you don’t want the: “Hi, how are you?” – or this is horrible. “Hi, you’re so good looking.” “Hi, you’re so beautiful.”

It was like, copy paste, they threw that out to the world, they sent that to everybody.

So now you’ve sent a message, hopefully he / she messages back. 

#6 Schedule a date

The next thing is let’s get that date scheduled. This can all be done with just a couple texts on both people’s part:

“Okay, yeah, I’m totally interested. How’s Friday, at 5:30p at Bistro 110. Let’s meet for a glass of wine?

Because chemistry only takes place in real life. 

Joe Winger: 

In reality, do most dates get set up that quickly?  It seems like there’s more delays and game-playing?

Andrea McGinty: 

From the time you first send a message to someone, if the date has not been scheduled within five days of that initial text.  There’s a 90% chance the date will never occur. 

I’ll say to my client, “We’re going to go right for it right now.”

Write a couple of cute lines that are just for that person and then be like:

“You know what? I don’t really need to text you anymore or talk to you anymore because I’m ready to meet you. I’m super interested. How’s Friday night…?”

Sometimes you’ll get back a reply, what’s the rush? 

I think to myself, what isn’t the rush here? 

What do you want to talk about? Can’t you just get dressed? 

We both live in Beverly Hills for goodness sakes. How long would it take us to get together and meet, right? We’re both in New York City.  C’mon. Let’s do this in person. 

If you’re getting those people that are drawing out the process, you either just cut bait. Just block them, goodbye, gone. 

Or you say, you know what, if you don’t reply, you’re going to end up on my waiting list. 

And you do it with a little humor, add an “LOL”  

That can work too, where people crack up and they’re like, yes, I would love to meet you Saturday. Let’s grab lunch.

Joe Winger: 

In today’s world of different levels of politically correct, cancel culture, different levels of sensitivity, regardless of whether you’re in a very conservative culture, progressive culture, etc.

How do we deal with any level of uncomfort when it comes to online dating?

Andrea McGinty: 

First of all, you’re not in the workplace dating right now. Cause that’s where a lot of that happens, right?

This is where I say “Women, you’ve got a big advantage right now because you can feel very comfortable and free reaching out to men and get over that whole thing”.

Women wait to be pursued.  There was this book that came out in the 90s: “The Rules.”

Wait to be pursued by the man and then don’t respond to him for three days. What the heck is that about? 

No. Reach out to men. 

Now for men, you’re not going to send stupid messages like, “Oh, you’re so gorgeous and sexy and blah, blah, blah”

Nobody wants that message. 

You would find that offensive too.

As far as men reaching out to women, just do it in good taste.

Women are there to meet men.  Creepy doesn’t happen very much online anymore. We’re out of that 2000 – 2010 era where more of that stuff happened. 

There’s so many more hoops. Both parties jump through [hoops] on top notch dating sites now and dating apps now that verify that you are who you say you are and verify some information about you.

Joe Winger: 

Most of the people watching this, they’re into food. That means fine dining. They’re into wine and cocktails and collecting wine. 

What kind of a goal can they look for if they come to

When they approach and connect with you, what should they be thinking about and preparing so they know how to best represent themselves in that first conversation with you?

Andrea McGinty: 

Just be real with me and, people that are foodies and wine collectors, there’s a lot of us out there. There’s a lot of people out there that will find that very attractive. 

There’s a lot of people that like to try different wine bars, they like to go up to Napa.  Maybe that’s your third or fourth or eighth date, 

Be real with what your interests are and… talking about food. 

This goes back to when I’m writing your profile, when people just say, “Oh, I like Italian food.” I’m like no.  Give me something here. 

“I like carbonara with peppers and from Trattoria is amazing.”

It doesn’t have to be written in a snobby or snooty way, but it’s just like fun. Like you’re describing what you like to eat or your favorite foods or it could be talking about, you like this vintage of wine.

Be very specific with me because that’s how I can help you the most and be really upfront no, no PC woke stuff with me because this is your personal life.

Joe Winger

What are some realistic goals for your online dating experience?

Andrea McGinty: 

We’ve got to make sure that we’re not listening to all the noise out there. We’re not listening to our negative friends about dating and friends and family can be two really negative forces because you get one of one of two things. 

If it’s family, maybe a lot of them are married and they’re like, Oh, you’re good looking. You’re so awesome. You don’t need to do online dating. That is like for losers. 

That is so not the story anymore. 

You’ve got friends that are like, “Oh, I just tried Bumble. It was horrible”. “I did hinge. It was horrible.”

A lot of dating is going in with a good attitude. I’m not talking about rainbows and unicorns; and everything’s perfect or anything like that.

We spend a lot of our 20s and 30s becoming successful and working on our careers.

By the time we’re 40s, even 50s we’re there career-wise. So now, it’s time to focus on our love life. 

That could be two very different pictures: it could be a second act because you’re divorced. 

Or it could be you’ve been single and just all your efforts have been going into career and friends and travel and all this other stuff, good stuff you’ve got going on.

But you wake up one day and you’re like:

“Hey, I’m 45 and I’m single. What’s up with this?”

Go into online dating, approaching it the way you did your career.  Strategically.  It’s no fun to think about your love life, like strategically, hire somebody, think about how you play golf.

You didn’t just go out on the golf course. You took a bunch of lessons.

Everybody’s playing pickleball now.  But you didn’t just go out on the court, even if you played tennis before. You took a couple clinics, right? 

That very quickly threw you into the intermediate range all of a sudden because you put some effort into it. 

Same with dating.

But if you want to do it effectively and pretty effortlessly, just like you did with golf, hire the pro to do this stuff for you.

My typical male client tells me I take 80% of the workload off him because he doesn’t have to think about it anymore.

I’m coming up and presenting ideas to him, presenting women to him and just getting them through. All of the hoops and the messaging and all that stuff. Getting them to the good dates because they’re out there.

There’s some markets, like Los Angeles and New York, that can be big complainers about dating. I think because they’re trying to do it on their own. 

When I get online and go on the good sites in those two markets, there are so many good people on there.

It’s just a matter of having somebody doing a good portion of the work and pushing you. 

And oh, here’s the other thing, accountability. 

When you’re working with me, you have accountability because you’re going to talk to me next week. And I’m going to say:

 “Okay, Tell me what happened to you last week.”

“How’d that date go?” 

“Did you call back that other one that we talked about?“

I did text her after the date you said you were going to, what happened? 

So that little push along the way and keeping you on track too.

Because we’re in a culture where, we’re educated, we’re taking great trips, we’re dining out.  We’ve got a nice group of friends that we love to hang out with. 

It can be really easy to sweep this all, to the wayside. There’s no reason because there’s a loneliness epidemic in the U.S. and we all know if you’re with somebody, that you really enjoy hanging out with you’re going to live longer and you’re gonna live happier too.


Joe Winger: 

You’re offering great dating tips.  Thank you. 

Let’s say you’re someone who’s done the work on your protile,  messaged all those people, asked for a date, and they’ve all disappeared.

What’s that person doing wrong?

Andrea McGinty: 

You kinda gotta take responsibility for it. You’re doing something wrong. 

Here’s the deal. You don’t know what you’re doing wrong.  

But that’s stuff I can fix.

That’s another thing. You have to stay away from those free sites or sites that have free people on it because there’s no skin in the game there. They’re just dilly-dallying around, playing around on there and not really serious. 

Part of it is recognizing the statistics that you’re going into up-front that for every 5 texts you send, 1 person is going to respond back.

I give my clients homework on a weekly basis, two sessions. That’s all I ask of them. 

During those two 30 hour sessions they have to send out 8 messages.  So I know by the time I’ve talked to them, they’re going to at least have gotten back 3 responses.

If their photos are really good, they might have 8 responses back. 

If they haven’t already booked the date, craft the email, craft the text, craft the message that’s going to get that date in person. And get us there. Get us there.

Joe Winger: 

Andrea McGinty from dating expert. 

Any requests from the audience watching and listening?

Andrea McGinty: 

I would just say, take a look around my site, maybe take the dating quiz that I have on the site. It’s fun. And it’s really fast. It’s 10 questions, and it goes right to me. It doesn’t go to any of my people. And. I can rate you and what you’re doing and tell you whether or not I can help you too.

So if you do take that quiz, give me as much info as you can. I don’t mean personal info, but like where you live, your age, but that’s all going to be on there. But take that quiz because that’s a good way to contact me and see if we might be a good fit and maybe I can help you if you really want to meet somebody.

George Gallagher Gets Lucky with Law in BET+ Perimeter TV Series from Tyler Perry, Armani Ortiz

George Gallagher gets lucky with the law in BET+ Perimeter TV Series from Tyler Perry, Armani Ortiz

We’re with actor George Gallagher. He’s currently on BET+ new show, “Perimeter”.

Today’s conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here


George Gallagher gets lucky with the law in BET+ Perimeter TV Series from Tyler Perry, Armani Ortiz

George Gallagher in BET+ “Perimeter” TV Series from Tyler Perry, Armani Ortiz

Joe Winger:

Talk a little bit from an actor point of view. All the different characters you’ve played, what’s your preparation process like?

George Gallagher: 

It tends to vary from role to role. I utilize a lot of different disciplines.  But for example, on Perimeter I play an attorney who takes on cases that others wouldn’t necessarily.

He knows where his bread and butter comes from, but he likes to challenge and, when dealing with that, I’d watched a lot of different things. 

I watched Better Call Saul. 

I watched different lawyer shows and I consulted with some attorneys and did some research and, I have a relative who’s an upper echelon attorney in the tri state New York area.  I spoke with her in some detail about different things and went through the script actually, and to try to make it make sense for me in a very real, visceral way. 

But also honor the world that Armani Ortiz and Tyler Perry had created. 

So it varies quite a bit. I like to be really spontaneous and instinctive with everything. I like to go off the moment of what I get from the other person and what happens in the moment.  

How I respond to things 12 words or less, unfortunately is not my specialty, but that’s why we have writers to give me dialogue.

Joe Winger: 

Talk about Lance, the character you play in Perimeter.  

George Gallagher: 

Working on the show is one of the gifts of my creative, professional career. 

Armani Ortiz is the young writer-director visionary, who has created the show and put it forth with Tyler Perry as executive producer. And he also directed the Tyler Perry documentary, Maxine’s Baby, about Mr. Perry’s life that’s doing quite well right now. 

He’s really an extremely talented young guy. He really invited me into his world,  to create whatever I wanted within certain parameters. He was very collaborative with the actors. He allowed us to rehearse, work through things, but also give it our own flavor.

I come from the theater and actors that work in that studio tend to have that background because we can work quickly. We’re autonomous. We have some process and technique and I believe that we’re able to collaborate with others in a way that’s immediate, and in theater, you’re out there in the unknown and there’s no one to cut you out.

If you have a bad moment, the audience sees it.

So actors really learn how to hyper focus in real time. That was a bit of the experience. Once the cameras were starting to roll, but we did have an incredible cast. 

Most of the people came from California, some from New York. I’m really drawn from both coasts that came to Atlanta to film and work on the show.

It’s a great story. It’s period. It takes place in the nineties surrounding Freaknik, which was a really popular hip hop festival in Atlanta. The Olympics is in the backdrop, when they had them here in the early 90s.  The whole city, the airport expanded. It really put Atlanta on the map as a major metropolitan city.  So that’s all happening in the backdrop.  They had the first black mayor at the time. 

My character, Lance, is a high end attorney who has a very private clientele that pays him very well. Their cases might be a little more challenging.

He represents people who are, sometimes stepping outside of the law and in the criminal world and which makes it all the more challenging. 

But back to your earlier question, I was researching lawyers that had taken on different civil rights cases that are a little more controversial in terms of dealing with the system and upholding a belief in the system.

Someone like Alan Dershowitz, I watched Reversal of Fortune. 

He took on a lot of civil rights cases and then went and defended someone that everyone thought was a murderer.

But the reason why he did those things and which was an underlying, or rather an overtone of that novel and the film Reversal of Fortune.  It’s really about if you believe in the legal system and making sure that everyone has a fair and just defense, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

My character, Lance, is from a different world than I am. 

Malcolm, who’s one of the main characters on the show, that I defend and I represent.  I don’t want to give too many spoilers away, but it’s a really exciting world.  

People should check out the show and see where it takes everybody.


Joe Winger: 

When you talk about the cast there’s a range of different names.

Any specific lessons you learned from any of the cast?

George Gallagher: 

There’s one scene in particular where my client’s brother ends up getting arrested. He’s looking at some serious charges and we have to go visit him and give him some reassurance and get more information about his case.

Both of the actors, Malcolm Xavier, who plays Malcolm on the show and Jalen Gilbert, who plays his brother were extraordinary. 

We shot in a visitation room in a police station and when this actor walked in, I felt like he was really in jail or in prison. 

The guy transformed.

I’d met him [before] and we rehearsed the scene and everyone’s nice and we’re in hair and makeup and shooting the crap and talking.  Then you get on set and it’s not the same human being, which is such a gift as an actor when you have.

It forces you to really respond and you’re just in the moment. The three of us had a really exciting dynamic and I thought it translated really well on film. 

It reminded me of things as an actor, which is if you believe it, if you really believe it, the audience will believe it too.  Everybody around you on that set will believe it. 

If you don’t. then it’s kind of luck of the draw and you’re hoping for the editor [and music score] to help you. 

If an actor is really meant to be an actor, and they’re worth their grain of salt, it comes from them living in this danger zone.  And this guy, he came out, he was dangerous. You felt like anything could happen.

He reminded me of a young Denzel Washington.

And Malcolm was also exceptional. It was impossible to not believe they were brothers. You could feel the affinity, but also the sort of rage that was brewing between the two of them. 

George Gallagher on-set

Joe Winger: 

That vibe helps inform your performance as well. It just makes the whole scene more alive and in the moment for you.

George Gallagher: 

Absolutely.  You just feel like you’re there with another human being having an experience and you forget you’re an actor and that you’re in a story and you just really like suspension of disbelief.

As actors, we get to live many lives, which is what I love the most about acting. 

Armani Ortiz really set the stage for that to happen to us. 

Also making it feel authentic and real. The art direction, the cinematography, every department was really on point. 

Joe Winger: 

You’ve played some really intense roles.  After a day on a set that heavy, as a human being, as an actor, how do you relax?

George Gallagher: 

That’s a really good question. A different film that I did, called “Altered States of Plaine” is about a guy who falls asleep and wakes up in different parts of the world. He doesn’t know why it’s happening to him and he resorts to drug induced insomnia to stay awake.

It’s very bizarre film and it balances a lot of psychological aspects. 

Sometimes in a role you do immerse yourself and you work to within an inch of your life.  [Afterwards] you come out and shake it off and sometimes you’ve got dings in the fender that aren’t going away.

But as an actor generally I just laugh and shake it off.  The camera eats all that stuff up, hopefully we all can shake hands and go out for a drink later on and bury the hatchet. 

Joe Winger: 

It sounds like on your current show Perimeter, it does have a more congenial vibe. 

George Gallagher: 

Absolutely. I’ve worked on two projects there [Tyler Perry Productions] now.  It’s one of the most positive environments you could ever step into as an actor. Tyler Perry Productions hires the very best of the best of people.

I remember in California walking on the Paramount [lot] for an audition and everybody looks so happy.  They had a twinkle in their eye.

[I mentioned it to a friend and they replied]  “They’re all winning the game.”

I was like, you’re right.  There is that gratitude, you get a job for that week.  You’re part of the 1%.  You’re very lucky. It’s a privilege.

Joe Winger: 

You’ve been outspoken about the future of Hollywood, digital storytelling, AI.  You’ve had publicly a very positive outlook on what the future looks like. 

George Gallagher: 

I don’t believe the human soul will ever be duplicated and replicated. 

I think they’re going to get interesting products and effects that are going to look really cool and fascinating, but there’s still going to be a storyteller that’s a human being behind that.

But I still think that writers, storytellers, actors, and people in the visual, there’s still going to need to be human beings manning this. 

There’s always going to be a need and a desire for communal experience. A human being telling stories and artists, but it is probably going to alter a lot.

The audience determines at the end of the day, it’s about what they want.

George Gallagher with actress Nikiva Dionne "A Heart for Christmas"

George Gallagher with actress Nikiva Dionne “A Heart for Christmas”

Joe Winger: 

Our audience is very food based, wine based, cocktail based, I’m not sure if you identify as a foodie.

What’s your favorite dish? What do you love to cook? 

George Gallagher: 

My pronouns are asparagus, broccoli, and spinach. [George laughs]

I love food. I’m big into real food, raw foods organically grown, supporting local farmers, salads greens. 

There was a dish that I used to make, sausage and pepper penne.  

I use turkey sausages because I like it a little healthier.  I would make it with fusilli because it soaks up the sauce better.  Getting the oils and the fats into the sauce, and then the fusilli just grabs it and soaks it all up, and then I would add almonds into that dish.


Maybe some spinach. Definitely have to have green peppers and some spicy peppers, bright colored rainbow diet.

If I cook it too much, then it’s a mess.  But I’ve gotten better at it over the years. It’s edible.

Joe Winger: 

You finished shooting “A Heart for Christmas” in Los Angeles. Can you talk about the movie and what you play?

George Gallagher: 

Absolutely. I just wrapped “A Heart for Christmas”. I play Dr. Carl, who’s really driven, sort of type A person who is engaged to the protagonist in the film, breaks it off early on and because he’s got his own sort of, he’s a quasi McDreamy meets McDouchey sort of doctor. A little bit of a God complex, and he’s quite pleased with himself.

It’s a Christmas film and it’s fun and has a lot of humor and charm. 

We shot for a few weeks in LA and all around Pasadena.  We got to experience Christmas in the summertime.

It should be out sometime before this Christmas.

Joe Winger: 

Anything in the future we should be looking for you? 

George Gallagher: 

On Netflix, the new film Six Triple Eight starring Kerry Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Dean Norris, and Sam Waterston.

That was also directed by Tyler Perry. 

I play a character named Levi who’s a business executive and it takes place around the Second World War. 

Part of the film was shot in Atlanta, some in Europe: England, Germany, all around the world.

It’s one of the biggest productions I’ve ever personally been involved in with a lot of great actors and had a terrific script. I think people are going to really like the story.

Joe Winger: 

You’ve made the unorthodox choice as an actor of leaving Los Angeles, having a family life somewhere else. What inspired that move?

George Gallagher: 

It’s been a blessing in so many ways I can’t even tell you. 

We live in a suburb of Atlanta north of the city.  Having my children be born in Los Angeles and being from the New York area, I’ve never not lived in a major metropolitan area.

You really just can provide a better quality of life for your family.  I moved here [from the New York area].  I heard Tyler Perry was quarantining and was going to keep production going.

I thought nothing stops that guy. Those are the kinds of people I want to work with. I said to my wife and family, “Let’s go to Atlanta. We can always come back to New York later.”

It’s just amazing.  It was like everything that I had wanted and planned for.

Very rarely in my life have everything unfolded exactly the way I’d hoped and envisioned it. But this was one of those situations and it’s an hour from New York.

It’s green, it’s beautiful, and people are friendly. You get great organic food and there’s farmers everywhere. We have, of course, Georgia peaches everywhere.

Joe Winger: 

As we wrap up any social media, any websites?  What’s the best way to follow you, find out more about you?

George Gallagher: 

Feel free to follow me on Instagram. It’s GeorgeGallagher7.  Facebook is George Gallagher

East LA ‘ Birrieria Chalio ‘ Serves Big Flavor Birria from Raul Luis Family Secret

East LA ‘ Birrieria Chalio ‘ Serves Big Flavor Birria from Raul Luis Family Secret

One of East LA’s most popular restaurant serves Kings, Queens and Food Royalty.  You can get a taste if it too.

Raul Luis brings Flavor with East LA’s birria

Today’s conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here

Joe Winger: 

We have a really special treat today. We’re talking with Raul Luis from Birria the restaurant here in East LA. We’re going to talk about family. We’re going to talk about flavor. We’re going to talk about how he creates these amazing dishes. And then we’re going to talk more about how you can have a bite and taste his the food from his restaurants.

Raul Luis, thank you for joining us today.

Raul Luis: 

Thank you for having me here. I’m very honored to be here speaking to you.

Joe Winger: 

What’s the most important message you want the audience to hear today?

Raul Luis: 

I think we can start talking about how Birria came to LA. How do we get it here? What caused that trigger to start selling the food here in LA? 

My dad was given a certain skill set, handed down to him to make birria.

Birria is chivo goat meat. He used that skill set back in Mexico. He came to the U. S. when he came over during the Bracero program. He was talking to his buddies and he told them he’s a Barriario. He doesn’t know how to cook birria. So they would ask him if he would cook that dish from because that dish was only traditionally eaten during those special once in a lifetime events, baptisms, quinceañeras, weddings.

So the common denominator in all those events was the birria. 

You went [to an important life event], you knew you were going to have birria. I tell people the story because I remember being small myself when I was young, that we wouldn’t eat meat too often because we were vegetarians, not by choice, but because of circumstance.

When someone was having a party, we said, “Wow, we’re going to eat birria today.” We knew we look forward to, we’re going to eat meat. It’s time. Let’s get ready to go eat some meat. Get ready, put on your Sunday clothes and go. When my father came to the U S People knew about him. They asked him to cook their dish for him.

When he cooked the meal for someone’s wedding, quinceanera, baptism, for their special occasion, he would cook extra. 

So his friends would come over. When his friends would come over, he would serve whatever portion it was, usually like a whole carcass of lamb, 50 pounds. And then there was some leftover, so he would feed his friends.

And he would tell the stories when he would feed his friends. His friends wouldn’t leave. They would stay there for hours and they would be talking and my dad was, “I gotta go do my Sunday [errands], my day off. We gotta go to our family.  They were there for hours and all their memories, all memories, special occasions.

Remember this? Remember that? And my dad said, “Man, what? Why are you talking? Why are you staying here so long? 

It was the food. 

He didn’t realize the time. It was the food that was triggering those special [memories], triggering their mind. 

They’re time travelers, they’re going back to other special events.

I tell people,  it’s those once in a lifetime events that are much more exponential, much more magnified because it was somebody’s wedding.  It was somebody’s baptism. 

That’s how it began, by cooking.


Joe Winger: 

Your father was an amazing person. Back in the early 1960s, back in Mexico, he’s working in a tiny little five chair restaurant in the Mercado before migrating here to the US.

What have you learned from him taking this huge life journey?

Raul Luis: 

I look back, how do the immigrants do this? How do they leave their country, leave everything behind? 

He had a small spot, maybe five people to sit there.  He would sell on the weekends. Business wasn’t that brisk. 

They were opening up a new spot, but they required a down payment to secure it. So he had to come to the U.S. so he could save up some money. 

They asked, does anyone know how to cook? Dad raises his hand. I’m a birriero. 

So he began cooking birria for the farm workers. He was limited because now he was out of his comfort zone.

He was no longer in Mexico. He didn’t have access to all the spices that he used back home. 

In the preparation of the different birrias, before they put the red adobe sauce, it’s white.

All the farm workers ate it up, but the people who were in charge wouldn’t eat it because it wasn’t easy on the eyes. People eat with their eyes. 

[So he changed his process]

Why don’t you add the red before? 

So, we marinated before we cook it, 

[The second change]

There wasn’t all the spices we needed, so the chef that was there helped them get new spices or tweak the recipe a bit.

That’s what happened.

You have aspirations, and dreams, as many immigrants.  They come to the U. S., make some money, go back.

He never went back. 

Once you plant roots, then it’s hard to go back to your country of origin. 

Joe Winger: 

Fast forwarding to the present day.  Your Birria in East LA is very popular.

What’s the most common dish at the restaurant?

Raul Luis: 

We’re known for Birria.   9 out of 10 plates will be the Birria. 

Sometimes we have new customers who want to try it but are hesitant.  I explain our 10-hour cooking process [to get them excited.]  Underground pits, cooking it with the mesquite wood to add that flavor.

The gaminess, the taste, our process, all that fun stuff, secrets.

Raul Luis ‘s East LA Birrieria Chalio most popular dish

Joe Winger: 

Can you walk us through the flavor and process? 

Raul Luis: 

It’s a 2-day process. You get the [goat] carcass, cut it up into pieces. 

The ribs, the neck bone, the French rack. There’s all these different cuts. Every single cut has a different taste profile and texture. So when you walk in, it depends on you. How dirty do you wanna get? 

Do you wanna get down and dirty?  You get the bones. 

I tell people the neck is the best because it’s so tender, so soft, not too much fat on it. 

If you’d like the nerve, then you get the ribs.

The flavor is amazing. In the bones, it’s amazing. 

There’s people who don’t like to deal with the struggling or getting dirty. So they go with the all leg meat. That’s the drier part.  It’s good, but it’s not. Not my first choice.

We cook it, we steam it, we marinate it, let it sit for about 24 hours and we put it into a our pressure cooker.

Part of the science is the way you stack it up, like a pyramid, and then they put firewood under it.  If you don’t stack it correctly, part of it won’t cook. 

You have to put it up a certain way to make sure that all the meat gets cooked properly. 

We take it out.  We’ve got to separate it so we can have all the different parts. Distinguish the leg from the neck bone from the ribs, put that aside. Then we put it in the oven so we can get like a slow roast, nice little crispy.  Tender on the outside, real soft on the inside.

The most important thing is the consommé. 

That’s the broth, we call it the “honey”. You can’t have it without the consomme. The birria isn’t birria without the consommé. That’s what gives it the flavor. That’s what takes it to the next level.

Some people say, “Oh, I had birria.”  No you didn’t.  That was a taco.

No, you’ve got to have it with the consommé.

The new movement with the birria, they dip the sauce. It’s the same concept, but I would like to think that our consommé is a little more intense, more flavorful, because we use the broth from the goat and from the mince that it distills.

So it’s really flavorful. You got to try it. 

East LA Birrieria Chalio from Raul Luis – A Family Secret

Joe Winger: 

You have a deep family history, you have a cultural history. Obviously food is part of that history. Can you talk a little bit about the cultural value and the meaning behind Birria and why it’s important to you?

Raul Luis: 

I tell people it’s made to feed kings and queens.  How? 

Because in our region, Central Mexico, the birria is eaten by most of the population in Mexico.  About 85-90% are Catholic. 

So one of the first steps when a child is born, they take them to the church and that’s where he becomes a king.

They baptize them. They have a festivity. There’s a party going on.

Then the second phase is they feed the Quinceaneras. 

That’s a rite of passage where you go from childhood to adulthood for the girls. So now you feed the princesses. 

The next step is when the lady gets married, she’s the queen.

All three of those things, traditionally, was birria. 

That’s the only thing that was in common.  That helped people look back to those special occasions. When people eat the birria, they go back to that once in a lifetime event. 

It’s time traveling for them. 

It’s the memories. 

Fast forward to when we came to LA, the parents would bring their kids, [and now their kids say] ”I used to come here 20 years ago. My dad used to bring me when I was a kid.”

So that’s what it does. It brings the family together. 

Raul Luis Battles Fast Food Giants …and Wins (kinda)

Joe Winger: 

You mentioned some fast food places now working within the same cuisine.  Rubbing you the wrong way.  

Raul Luis: 

Yeah, it’s fascinating how many people called me [about it].

Del Taco and a few other places that were selling birria, but they’re not selling it the way it’s supposed to be. That’s wrong. At first I was a little worked up explaining that they’re missing the point here.  What it means to the people from back in Mexico. 

But there’s always a silver lining. Now the dish is mainstream. 

I would have never been able to do that. These guys with these big budgets are able to cross over and speak to different generations, different ethnic groups.

Before, when we first opened up our restaurant. [Everyone would ask]  “What’s it called? What is that?  I don’t know what that is.”

Now people know when before they didn’t. 

So I give them credit for being able to make people aware and bringing attention to this dish. 

I see myself as the missing link. I’m the one that’s going to fill in the gaps to tell what the dish really means, what significance it has, what historical cultural value it has.  That’s what I’m doing with our YouTube channel at Birria World.

East LA Birrieria Chalio leads the Birria Movement

Joe Winger: 

Let’s talk about the Birria movement. Everyone says you are the leader.  What does the future of Birria look like in East LA and in the country itself?

Raul Luis: 

In a perfect world, everybody would switch over from beef to goat, which is actually one of the most eaten meats across the world.

If you go to the Middle East or China, they eat that dish.  Here in the U. S., it’s not as popular. 

Introducing them to the dish so they can try out the different textures, different profiles. They can see that there’s another option. 

I source from a vendor in Texas.

The meat we use is paleo certified. It’s halal, all this special stuff. Probably a little more nutritional than beef.

There’s more taste, more flavors in the meat. 

My job is to go out there and have people be aware that [this] exists. 

There’s potential growth across the US to be provided for different ethnic groups and different generations of people.

Joe Winger: 

You’ve had world-famous food stars visit you.

Raul Luis: 

Anthony Bourdain came to our LA location.  I guess he saw something before everybody else did and realized it was a special dish. 

The second person was Jonathan Gold.  He was a writer for the LA times. He wrote beautiful articles on us.  He also saw what the dish meant to our community. 

They gave it a little approval. Come on, try it. Take your turn. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. I’m sure you’ll be back


Joe Winger: 

Raul Luis with his Birria restaurant in East LA. Tell us all the ways that our audience can find you and learn more about you.

Raul Luis: 

They did a documentary, “Mexi Papa: Chronicles of Birria” on YouTube.  That’s just the basic history of how Birria got to LA and the US.

Then you can go to Birria World on YouTube.  We do a birria tour, going to different restaurants, we showcase how they cook it, why it tastes different, how it’s served differently in certain regions. 

On Instagram, you can go to Chalios Birria for my Texas location and East LA Chalios Birria Instagram.

Then on Facebook, it’s a Chalios Seminary.



LA’s best kept Sushi Secret: Yama Sushi Marketplace celebrates 40 years

Yama Sushi Marketplace, LA’s best kept secret, celebrates 40 years

This June 2024, Yama Sushi Marketplace, a rare gem in Los Angeles will celebrate 40 years of the freshest Sashimi and Sushi Angelenos have come to crave and if possible, keep a secret.

“Please don’t tell anyone about this store” whispers one customer while another admits that “It is just not right to gatekeep this any longer!”

In June 1984, Kenzo Yamada and his wife Nobuko opened Yama Seafood on Las Tunas Drive in San Gabriel.

After many years working as a fish power broker in Los Angeles, Kenzo Yamada or “Yama San” decided to open up his own shop where because of his contacts, was always assured the freshest and best cuts of fish when he visited the fish market every morning.

Today, these same fish companies provide Yama Sushi Marketplace with the freshest fish from all over the world, delivered daily.

The network of Japanese sushi specialists is quite impressive and Yama san knew them all, from Nobu Matsuhisa (Nobu Restaurants), Katsuya Uechi (Katsuya Sushi) and  Kazunori Nozawa (Sugarfish and Kazunori).

No doubt that Los Angeles was ground zero for Sushi in the USA

There is no doubt that Los Angeles was ground zero for Sushi in the USA, especially with the guidance of Noritoshi Kanai of Mutual Foods (Japanese Food Distributor who introduced Sushi to the American palette).

Although through the years, many larger Japanese Super Markets began to grow in Los Angeles, Yama Seafood stayed true to form, giving customers personal service to choose the freshest cuts of Salmon, Yellowtail, Blue Fin Tuna as Yama San would personally slice each serving of sashimi for the customers.

Nobuko San, his wife, would run the front and cook the most delicious side dishes for customers, and customers were always given a bag of ice to keep the fish nice and cold.

One of Yama’s first employees, Enrique Moreno (“Kike San”) became Yama’s right hand man, and helped create the now famous Yama California Roll.  “We wanted something special with the correct balance of filling, texture and rice”.

Last year, in 2023, the Los Angeles Times recognized Yama as having LA’s Best California Roll, and still today, customers line up at Yama for this special sushi.  It is true that customers would literally fight over the last California Rolls in the fridge as two customers famously played a tug of war with the last California Roll Sushi as it went flying into the air and spilled on to the floor.

Yama Seafood was San Gabriel’s “Best Kept Secret”

Although Yama Seafood was San Gabriel’s “Best Kept Secret,” many customers through the years heard about Yama and still to this day travel across state lines to grab the Yama Sashimi and Sushi.

Yama San was a fixture in San Gabriel as many customers had a very close and personal relationship with him as he was always very generous with his support of the community.

In May 2021, Yama San decided it was time to pass the torch, and the Kohno Family of San Marino, stepped in to take over this precious gem.

“The actual interview took 6 months”

Scott Kohno

the CEO of EJL Entertainment

Yama San wanted to make sure that he could trust the next generation to maintain the quality and vision that he firmly established in San Gabriel.

With Scott’s extensive background in retail and food throughout the USA and Asia and his family’s experience in finance, marketing and operations, the store was gradually upgraded, and an expansion plan of the new Yama in West LA (opened 2022) and a brand new Yama in K-town (September 2024) commemorates an exciting time for the Yama Sushi Marketplace brand.

Today, Yama Sushi Marketplace has been named the “Adult Disneyland” by one of Yama’s customers as it transcends just a typical market or restaurant.

From the freshest sushi prepared by sushi chefs on the hour every hour,  to the largest selection of Sake, curated by Scott’s wife, Wendy a Kikisakeshi (Sake Sommelier) Yama has something for everyone.  Unique Shoyu (soy sauce) with Matsutake mushrooms, fresh wasabi, party platters including the new Temaki Time Hand Roll Party Platter and unique gifts and kitchen goods from Japan make the shopping experience second to none.

Whether it is the monthly sushi making or sake tasting classes or the cute Japanese stationery products, Yama is a store that is truly a feast for the eyes (a customer literally walked into to the store with her eyes shielded so she would not be tempted by Yama’s Specialty Gift Table.  “I just want sushi today and cannot get distracted by these tempting Japanese gifts!” she insisted.   A West LA Father holding the hand of his 4 year old daughter commented “thank you so much for bringing this store to West LA.  My daughter and I love Yama and it is now our Friday Night Date Night!”

To commemorate Yama’s 40th milestone, Yama will feature special events during the entire month of June, including retro nostalgic dishes from 40 years ago, mystery grab bags, special 40th anniversary merchandise and the festivities will conclude with the June 29th 40th Anniversary Celebration featuring a Blue Fin Sashimi Cutting Demonstration and Japanese Taiko Drummers.

Yama Seafood LA is a Japanese sushi marketplace

Yama Seafood is a Japanese sushi marketplace with 39 years of history in the San Gabriel Valley. They specialize in offering authentic Japanese meals that customers can enjoy at home, including a variety of party platters.

Both of their stores (San Gabriel and West LA) feature a unique selection of imported Japanese products, snacks, sake and beer, carefully curated and seasonally refreshed by their dedicated team. Additionally, they cater to diverse dietary preferences with grab-and-go items like Chicken Katsu, Somen Salad, and an assortment of Vegan Sushi options under our special brands, Sushi With Attitude and Vegan Sushi With Attitude.

This combination of tradition, quality, and variety makes Yama Seafood (Sushi Marketplace) an ideal destination for anyone seeking an authentic Japanese culinary experience.

For more information, to order online or for grand opening & anniversary celebration activities please visit:

A night of Incredible Flavor for a Worthy Cause: 35th Annual “A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters!” at Burbank’s Warner Bros Studios Saturday, May 18th

Celebrate The 35th Annual “A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters!” on Saturday, May 18th

A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters

Courtesy of California Winemasters

The countdown to the 35th Annual “A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters” has officially begun!

Courtesy of California Winemasters

This year’s celebration coming up on Saturday, May 18th, 2024, from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the iconic Midwest Street Backlot at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, promises to be a culinary extravaganza like no other and is set to attract approximately 1,200 wine and food enthusiasts, all coming together to support Cystic Fibrosis research and care.

A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters

Honorary Co-Chairmen Glenn Salva, Estate Director for Antinori Napa Valley, and Sam Marvin, Chef & CEO of Echo & Rig Steakhouse / Courtesy of California Winemasters // Courtesy of California Winemasters

The event proudly announces Glenn Salva, Estate Director for Antinori Napa Valley, and Sam Marvin, Chef & CEO of Echo & Rig Steakhouse in Sacramento, and Las Vegas, as this year’s Honorary Co-Chairmen. Their commitment to this cause adds a distinctive touch to an already illustrious event.

“A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters!” on Saturday, May 18th

A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters has earned its place as a WINE SPECTATOR “Top 10 Charity Wine Auction” and a BizBash Top 100 Event.

The evening will showcase the talents of over 50 Celebrated Chefs and Restaurateurs alongside 75 Award-Winning Wineries and Winemakers.

With local Angeleno’s and guests from  across the county in attendance, this year’s event promises an unforgettable experience for all.

Courtesy of California Winemasters

This year’s Celebrated Chefs and Restaurants include:

AK’s Mercado

Alexander’s Steakhouse Pasadena

Alisal Ranch

Angustina – Mezcal Y Cocina

Ayara Thai

Bacari Restaurants

Backyard BBQ

Bistro 45

Blossom Catering Company

bon meez

Café Eighteen48


Chameau Catering

Chef Charly

Chef Joseph Manzare

Chef Scott Renney

Cooking with Corralez

Drago Centro

Echo & Rig Butcher/Steakhouse

Eden Hill

Enebla: Recipes from an Ethiopian Kitchen

Epicurus Gourmet

Espelette Beverly Hills

FIVE on the Hill

Georgia’s Restaurant

Heavy Handed

Local LA Catering & Events by Chef David Lefevre

Lil Pig


Maestro Pasadena

NOÉ Restaurant & Bar

Ocean Prime Beverly Hills

Original Tommy’s Hamburgers

Pez Coastal Kitchen

Primal Alchemy

Rikas Peruvian Cuisine

Sea Level @ Shade

The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills with Breads from The Underground Bakery

The Front Yard at The Garland

The Hook and Plow

The Poke Bistro

Trefethen Family Vineyards

Urban Press Winery & Restaurant

Warner Bros. Food Services

Wok Star Catering by Chef Katie Chin


Desserts will be presented by Magpies Softserve, The Beverly Hilton, Truffles ‘N Coffee and Unique Distributors, Inc. / Florentino Ice Cream.

Award-Winning Wineries and Winemakers

This year’s Award-Winning Wineries and Winemakers will include Ackerman Family Vineyards, ADAMVS, Alta Colina Vineyard & Winery, Anomaly Vineyards, Antinori Napa Valley, Aperture, Arrow&Branch, Baldacci Family Vineyards, Barbieri and Kemp Wines, Barnett Vineyards, Bernardus Winery, Boars’ View, Bremer Family Winery, Cadre Wines, Calafia Wines,Chenoweth Wines, CHEV., Chimney Rock Winery, CIRQ Estate, Convene By Dan Kosta, Cornerstone Cellars, CourAvant,Crocker & Starr, Domaine Carneros, Donald Patz Wine Group, Duhig Wine, DuMOL, Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Earthshine Wines, Farella, Glass Slipper Vineyard, Grgich Hills Estate, Guarachi Family Wines, Hitching Post Wines, Hyde de Villaine,Hyde Vineyards Estate, Jaffe Family Wines, JONATA, Kindred, LOCALISM Wines, Lombardi Wines, Mailbu Vineyards,Mending Wall, Merus, Mi Sueño Winery, Monochrome Wines, Monte De Oro Winery, Murder Ridge Winery, Navarro Vineyards, Olivia Brion Wines, Outpost Wines, Paradigm Winery, Parallel Napa Valley, Patz & Hall, Peter Michael Winery,Post Parade, Pott Wine, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Sans Liege Wines, Sciandri Family Vineyards, Scott Harvey Wines, Silverado Vineyards, Skylark Wine Company, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, Talisman, Tercero Wines, Terre et Sang, The Hilt Estate, The Setting Wines, Three Wine Company, Tom Eddy Napa Valley, TOP, Trefethen Family, Truchard Vineyards, and VIVIER Wines.

Don Francisco’s Coffee is the official coffee provider and FIJI Water is the official water provider, along with beveragesCelsius and VitaminWater at Winemasters 2024.

Guests will have the opportunity to participate in the legendary auction with over 600 silent and live auction items, featuring rare wines, unique experiences, and exclusive items. The event’s auction is a testament to the generosity and support of the community in making a tangible difference in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis.

Anticipated net proceeds of $1,500,000 will contribute to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s crucial research and care programs. Over the past 34 years, this event has raised an astounding $36 Million, playing a pivotal role in transforming the median age of a CF patient from 12 years old to 56.

“We cannot express enough our gratitude for the unwavering support

we’ve received over the past 34 years

from some of the world’s most prominent Wineries, Winemakers, Chefs, and Restaurants,”

Olivia Younan

Development Director

Cystic Fibrosis Southern California Chapter.

“As we celebrate our 35th Anniversary, we extend an invitation to everyone to join us for this special occasion and make a meaningful impact on the lives of those affected by Cystic Fibrosis.”

Ticket Information: The 35th Annual “A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters” will take place onSaturday, May 18th, 2024, and this is a 21+ event. VIP Guests can enter at 5:00 pm and General Admission will be from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm. Tickets are on sale now until Saturday, May 11th, 2024.

For more information on the 35th Annual “A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters, please visit


A Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters is a WINE SPECTATOR “Top 10 Charity Wine Auction” and BizBash Top 100 event that showcases 55 celebrated chefs and restaurateurs and 75 award-winning wineries and winemakers. 1,200 guests from all over the USA are in attendance.

The event features over 600 extraordinary silent and live auctions.  Anticipated net proceeds of $1,500,000 will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s vital research and care programs. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system.

The event has raised $36 million in 34 years and in that time, the median age of a CF patient has gone from 12-years old to 56.


The mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is to cure cystic fibrosis and to provide all people with the disease the opportunity to lead full, productive lives by funding research and drug development, promoting individualized treatment, and ensuring access to high-quality, specialized care.

Little River Inn in Mendocino Brings Memories this Spring: Mother’s Day brunch, Anderson Valley Pinot Festival and more!

Little River Inn in Mendocino Brings Memories this Spring: Mother’s Day brunch, Anderson Valley Pinot Festival and more!

This time of year brings all kinds of delights to the historic Little River Inn on the splendid Mendocino Coast of Northern California.

Their lavish gardens are bursting with colorful flowers, Sunday brunch will once again be served at their restaurant, a Mother’s Day brunch to remember is planned, wine-lovers can take advantage of a Pinot festival package in the nearby Anderson Valley, and epicureans will be thrilled by an Uni and Whiskey pairing dinner that coincides with the coast’s popular Urchin Fest this June.

Sunday Brunch is Back

The return of Sunday Brunch at Little River Inn’s restaurant.

The public and the Inn’s guests are welcome to indulge from 8am to 11am every Sunday. Dishes on offer include Ole’s Favorite Breakfast, which is two Swedish hotcakes, two eggs, and a choice of bacon, pork sausage or chicken apple sausage; Avocado Toast with Radish, Sprouts, Tajin, Cotija cheese, and a Baby Lettuce Salad; and a Seasonal Frittata with Baked Eggs, Chef’s Selection of Seasonal Vegetables, Cheese, Homestyle Potatoes, and a Choice of Toast.

Celebrate Mom!

On Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, Moms will be treated to a feast at brunch from 8am to 12pm.

The regular brunch menu is available, plus specials for Mother’s Day, including a crispy Croque Madame sandwich and delectable Bread Pudding French Toast. Mimosa flights will be on offer, with exclusive flavors like Pineapple/Lime/Cayenne, Grapefruit/Thyme, Guava/Rosemary, and Strawberry/Mint. Guests pay an additional $35 for four 6-ounce mimosas. To make a reservation, call 707.937.5942.

Mendocino's Must-Visit: Little River Inn Brings Memories this Spring: Mother’s Day brunch, Anderson Valley Pinot Festival and more!

Experience the AV Pinot Festival Package

Nobody does Pinot Noir like Anderson Valley, with an unmatched combination of ruggedly beautiful terrain and casually elegant tasting rooms, it is a true hidden gem.

There’s no better way to experience fantastic wines and stellar atmosphere than at this year’s Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival (May 17-19).

Little River Inn has crafted a package – good May 16-20, 2024 – that includes two nights in an Ocean view room and two tickets to the festival. More than 50 wineries will pour, including more than a dozen prestige labels from Napa and Sonoma that covet the fabulous local fruit.

Some of the county’s best chefs will serve Pinot-perfect pairings, and attendees will have the opportunity to bid on exclusive wine and experiences during the ever-popular silent fundraiser.

There will be a Grand Tasting that includes Rosés and Sparkling Wines in addition to those phenomenal Pinots, educational seminars with winemakers, live music, a BBQ, and more, all set next to the beautiful vineyards of Anderson Valley. AV Pinot Festival Package, good May 16-20, 2024, $990 for three nights or $714.50 for two nights (two-night minimum). To book, go to and search for the festival dates.

Uni Meets Whiskey at an Exclusive Dinner

Little River Inn’s Chef de Cuisine Joe Perez crafts delectable uni-centric dishes and whiskey expert Jonathan Darrow brings his wisdom around Japanese whiskies to create a one-of-a-kind pairing experience in this not-to-be missed dinner. Guests learn about urchin and the local tidal environment while enjoying 6-courses and a variety of Japanese whiskies, along with one special cocktail. The event is timed to take place during the area’s annual Mendocino Coast Purple Urchin Festival from Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 16, when the coast hosts multiple urchin-related events and local restaurants offer special uni dishes. Uni and Whiskey Pairing Dinner, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Little River Inn’s Abalone Room, 6:30 pm, $250 per person, and tickets can be purchased here.

Exceptional Oceanic Cocktail for Kelp and Urchin Fest 

Little River Inn has confected a cocktail specially for Urchin Fest (which is joined this year by the North Coast KelpFest!, a month-long exploration of the beauty and benefits of the irreplaceable underwater ecosystem). The Van Damme Seaweed Spritzer is composed of locally foraged seaweed- and cucumber-infused vodka and dry cucumber soda, and garnished with a seaweed pickled cucumber ribbon. Available for the duration of the KelpFest! at the Little River Inn restaurant and Ole’s Whale Watch Bar, from May 18 to June 16, 2024. Price: $15.

Little River Inn

Little River Inn is a family-owned and operated historic resort in Northern California that is home to a chef-driven restaurant, a nine-hole Audubon-certified golf course (suitable for all skill levels), professional tennis courts, and the friendliest service on the Mendocino Coast.

Ideal for the entire family (and pet-friendly as well), the Inn has 65 guest rooms ranging from the economical to the luxurious. Several private meeting and special event spaces with stunning ocean and garden views make the Inn an excellent venue for small- to medium-sized events and corporate retreats.

The restaurant, helmed by CIA-trained Executive Chef Marc Dym, is a destination unto itself and the delicious, often hearty California coastal cuisine has a dedicated following, with many items, such as Ole’s Swedish Hotcakes and the Blackberry Cobbler, lauded by visitors and locals alike.

The dinner menu can be enjoyed in the charming dining room or outdoor garden area, while breakfast is available via room service, to be savored from the comfort of one’s own private deck (or even in bed).

Ole’s Whale Watch Bar is a classic local hangout where guests gather for libations or a casual bite, and at certain times of the year, to watch the migration of the gray whales. The Inn also offers massage services in both the spa room and also in-room. Overseen by fifth-generation owner Cally Dym, Little River Inn was proud to celebrate its 80th anniversary in 2019.

Little River Inn is located two miles south of Mendocino overlooking the Pacific Ocean, at 7901 N. Highway One, Little River, CA 95456. For reservations and additional information, call 707.937.5942 or visit

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