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LA’s Tracie May Shines Global Spotlight on Asian Flavor as Vietnamese Publicist and Foodie

LA’s Tracie May Vietnamese Publicist and Foodie Shines Global Spotlight on Asian Flavor

Tracie May made a name for herself in Los Angeles for 25 years as a luxury publicist and event planner leading hundreds of Opening Night parties, events and red carpets.

Then in an “Eat, Pray, Love” – inspired move, she decided to take a leap and move across the world.  

In 2020, she relocated to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and became the Senior Editor of Epicure Vietnam Magazine, the most prestigious culinary and hospitality publication in Asia.

Today we catch up with Tracie to talk about life in Vietnam.  The people, the culture, and of course the food.

Publicist Tracie May Indulges in Delicious at her role with Epicure Vietnam Magazine

Joe Winger: 

What’s the most important thing that you want to share during this conversation?

Tracie May: 

Don’t be afraid to take the leap of faith. Honestly, I took a massive leap of faith, uprooting my entire life.  

I had a big life in LA.  I was there for 25 years, and to take that leap of faith to relocate to Vietnam.  It was never even on my radar.

People thought that I was insane when I said I was doing this. It was not supposed to be for the long term. But the whole point is, you never know where opportunity is going to come. You don’t know what your future looks like, until you write your own story.

I am proof positive that anything is possible if you just take a risk for yourself and your happiness, because the energy or the universe will provide for you if you’re truthful, connected and really get specific about what you want.

Tracie May with Chef Eden Daus of Lesung, holding Epicure Vietnam Magazine

Tracie May with Chef Eden Daus of Lesung, holding Epicure Vietnam Magazine

Joe Winger:   

You are now the senior editor of Epicure Vietnam Magazine.  Tell me a bit about the magazine and your role.

Tracie May: 

It’s a really beautiful, glossy print publication. They also have online and social [media presence].

It’s available in every VIP lounge, every business lounge at every major hotel, airline and club lounge. It has a lot of subscribers. 

Focuses on culinary, luxury travel, hospitality, wine, chef profiles. [Food and beverage] business profiles as well as features on certain resort properties.

I was really lucky to [connect with] the publisher.  I sent her a bunch of my writing samples. I joined the magazine about 17 months ago. 

My main focuses are editing content, making sure the English is perfect, and dealing with editorial and the marketing teams.

But my favorite part is running the news section.  [It’s] basically my curation of what’s hot in [food & beverage] in Saigon and all over the world. 

I get to eat the best food all the time. 

The majority of the restaurants that we cover are very high-end, gorgeous, [food and beverage] in town. So I get to eat a lot of amazing food which is awesome. 

The food in Vietnam is extraordinary.

Joe Winger:

As a USA foodie, what’s a lesson you’ve learned about Vietnamese cuisine that you want the world to know about?

Tracie May: 

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned, and it is evident in my extreme weight loss of 75 pounds in 2 ½  years, is it’s whole real food.

They are not jacking up their cows and their pigs with hormones. Organic is actually a thing here. The quality of the food, it’s not processed crap in a box that is run by Monsanto.

Because of the climate here, Dalat, which is the region in Vietnam where most of the produce is grown, some of the most unbelievable tasting produce is grown there. 

The fruit is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted. 

A watermelon is the sweetest, juiciest, delicious thing you’ve ever put in your mouth; and it’s available from every little fruit stand that is on Quốc Hương.

I walk to my local [stores] because I like to support locals here and have my little bag and pull my produce and all of it is grown on their farm, 

It’s just that’s how people eat here. There is no Kraft macaroni and cheese. There is no processed, boxed chemicals here. 

Because of that, the quality of the flavor profiles is so superior. 

So that is the biggest difference.

The reason why there’s such an obesity problem in the U.S. is the abundance of processed food.

[Here in Vietnam], even fast food.  We’ve got McDonald’s and Popeye’s and KFC. But the taste of a Big Mac or a Whopper with cheese is far different than anything you can get in the States because of the quality of the meat that they use.

That is the biggest difference of why Vietnam is so globally recognized as such a foodie hub.

Joe Winger: 

You’re doing a lot to bring attention to Vietnam as a foodie hub.

Tracie May: 

I was the guest judge on Top Chef Vietnam, and I was the guest judge on the finale of this show called Super Cake, Banh Xeo, which was basically, Build a beautiful cake. And these Vietnamese national TV, reality shows which showcase culinary.

So that was fun.

Joe Winger: 

If somebody from the United States comes to Vietnam for a few days, from a food point of view, what must we try? 

Tracie May: 

Saigon is incredibly vibrant and there’s too much to do.  For the best Vietnamese food hands down It is in district one, which is basically the city. 

Mạ Quán 

Mạ Quán

Mạ Quán 

It’s gorgeous. A restaurant with Vietnamese cuisine that focuses on historical dishes from the imperial city of Huế to the north and in Hanoi to the Mekong Delta and is visually stunning.

The flavors are unbelievable. For sure if you want to eat an extraordinary Vietnamese meal, that’s a place, hands down, highly recommended. 

Lesung

Lesung

Lesung SGN 

In the last 3 months I was introduced to Malaysian cuisine.  Spicy,  sambal based, chili based. The chef / owner is a fine dining chef, who’s a celebrity chef here. He wanted to get back to his roots and he opened this restaurant that’s very reasonably priced.  Fine dining, but in a casual setting, not expensive and truly authentic Malaysian cuisine.   All of his grandmother’s recipes and it’s home cooking at its best. That is a must go. 

Noriboi Omakase

Noriboi Omakase

If you love sushi, Noriboi is an extraordinary omakase restaurant in Thảo Điền, in the town where I live. 12 to 18 tastings of caviar, and the best uni flown in from Japan, and extraordinary toro, and you can’t imagine how good, it’s insane.

Joe Winger: 

You took a very dramatic pivot a few years ago and it turned out so well. 

Tracie May: 

I knew that I had to make a change. I knew that I was unhappy.  Even though I had great friends and a great life and did really cool stuff in LA, I felt like I was just trapped in a hamster wheel.

I was bit by the “Eat Pray Love” bug. 

Decided that, life’s too short to be unhappy.

There is a big, wide, beautiful world out there. Why not explore it while I have the chance?

I happen to have family who live in Saigon, and we conspired together.

I sold my car, put everything in storage, all the paperwork, packed my two dogs and three suitcases and got on a plane.

The original plan was to hang out in Southeast Asia for three months.

Leave my stuff with my family, get a backpack and travel throughout Southeast Asia and go pray with some Buddhist monks.  Have my Tomb Raider moment in Angkor Wat in Cambodia and go do a lot of scuba diving.  Then three months later, go home [to the United States] and face the music. 

But COVID happened, my life shifted. So I stayed. 

I couldn’t have imagined a more incredible life that I’ve been able to curate for myself than I have been able to in Saigon.

Tracie May at Tet Lunar New Year 2024 party

Tracie May at Tet Lunar New Year 2024 party

Joe Winger: 

Your background is a world class publicist in North America.  Because of the pandemic, you went from a publicist to a “stay at home mom” figure.

Tracie May: 

I did, but I still had to pay my bills, right?

So I had a free place to stay because my family was paying the rent. When [my family] got stuck in the US during COVID, when Vietnam closed their borders, they got locked out for 10 months. 

Suddenly I’m a mother to 2 kids in an international school. I’ve got to take care of their three dogs, my two dogs, their villa, all their stuff, in a country that I didn’t know and a language that I didn’t speak.

It was all about pivoting.

At the time I had hot pink hair.  All the expat moms, they’ve got kids and they live in a compound because their husbands run Nike or Adidas or…[some huge company]

There’s me, this newbie from LA with my fuchsia hair riding my family’s electric bike with the kids on the back taking them to school.

The [expat Moms are] like, who and what is this? 

Originally I became the talk of the town. 

I live in a bubble, a little enclave within the city, it’s expat land. 

I really think in the beginning I made friends out of total pity.  Suddenly they were like, “Let’s take you to lunch.”  So there were several luncheons introducing me to society and I created my clan. 

The one thing that’s hard about here is that the expat life is very rotational because a lot of the families are on contract.

If you work at the consulate, you’ve got a 2-3 year contract. 

Once the contract is done, you’re back home. I don’t want to leave. 

So one of the hardest things about making really close friends here is that they leave. So it’s a lot of continual rotation.

I have friends who’ve been here for 14 years up to 35 years who felt the bug like me and decided no, this is where you want to be right now. This is a good place to be, but yeah, that’s basically how it happened.

Joe Winger: 

A minute ago, you used the phrase “talk of the town.”  Let’s dive deeper.

You’re getting huge growth on social media. Food and dining, lifestyle, travel in this genre. Your face is everywhere. Your voice is everywhere. Your name is everywhere. 

What’s it like living your life, when someone sees your face, name and recognizes you? 

Tracie May: 

It is bizarre. 

I have no idea how it happened, especially in Vietnam.  Local Vietnamese don’t speak a word of English. 

There’ve been so many times that I’m walking my dogs up my street or [I’m] on the back of a “Grab” bike, which is our version of Uber and they see me, look at my picture before and say:

 “Sorry, Madame. Are you Madam Tracy?”

And show me a picture of myself. 

I’m sure it’s due to doing TV appearances on Top Chef Vietnam and other major, national primetime TV shows here with millions of Vietnamese watching.

It’s bizarre, especially coming from Hollywood where all my focus has always been the promotion of others and the promotion of brands.

Suddenly I’m the [one being] promoted and I just find it really funny. But I’m grateful. 

Joe Winger: 

How has publicity changed from LA to Vietnam?

Tracie May: 

I wear a lot of hats here [in Vietnam].   I’ve become the “go to” event producer.

I was a pretty major event producer in the States and produced [around] 250 fashion shows in three continents around the world, a bunch of parties in LA, and red carpets.

There’s tons of talent in Vietnam.  So now I’m doing it for major Western companies who want a sprinkle of American or they want a real Western perspective for [their event], I’m the girl they call.

One of the events I produced was the 25th anniversary of the Sofitel Saigon Plaza Hotel

That was a huge event inviting every government official, major CEO, all of their massive VIPs. 

Tracie May with Artist Jerome Pichard

Tracie May with Artist Jerome Peschard

I’m actually about to produce another event with Sofitel for one of my clients. One of the most talented people I’ve ever met in my entire life, Jerome Peschard

He’s a French artist with the same story as me, except he got here, fell in love with Saigon and just never left .  He met his wife and has a bunch of kids.  He has become the most collected artist in Asia globally, for specifically pop art related to historic, historic Vietnamese French and machine and pop art and he does it all.  Composite art. 

I brokered a deal with Sofitel on the 21st of July in celebration of the 60 year anniversary of the Sofitel Hotels and Resorts global brand, their Diamond Jubilee.

We are doing a two month installation, exclusive installation of his works being some are 2.6 meters x 1. 5 meters  – large scale, which are going to be in the lobby as an installation in collaboration with the hotel.

It’s a massive thing, and they called me, so I’m really honored. 

I get to work with him every day and he’s a total rock star.

Tracie May living her best life in Vietnam

Joe Winger: 

What’s the theme at this point in your life?

Tracie May: 

The moral of the story is “Don’t be afraid to take the leap of faith.”

Joe Winger: 

It sounds like you crossed your fingers, closed your eyes and took the jump. 

Was there a big concern before taking that jump? How did that big concern work out for you?

Tracie May: 

It’s very personal.

The concern wasn’t about work. I knew that I could work internationally. I knew I could do PR online and still service clients abroad. No matter where you are in the world, the cream rises to the top and you will figure it out.

On a personal level in the sense that I have always been a serial monogamist. I had a really petrified, paralyzing fear of being alone.

The idea of being 50 and alone again, scared me. Having to start over again, scared me. 

What I’ve learned from that is, I have no problems dating. I have no issue being alone. I actually revel in it because my life is so public now. When I get to be in my underpants, watching Netflix with my two dogs, eating a ham and cheese on freshly baked sourdough baguette with some tomatoes and lettuce; and some truffle aioli from my friend’s company. That’s my happy place. 

That has been the biggest lesson that being alone is okay. Being alone is actually a good thing. 

I don’t need to have a partner or a marriage to justify and qualify who I am. I’m just fine on my own. 

Joe Winger: 

What are the ways to find you and follow you online? How do you want people to find you?

Tracie May: 

It’s all about the gram, right? My Instagram is @_TracieMay_  

Or you can find me as Tracie May on LinkedIn.

My blog is here, but I rarely update it because I never have time.

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 HungryPanda.co 

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.

HungryPanda

HungryPanda

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.

 

Weekend Wine Trip to Colorado: Winemaker Ben Parsons from The Ordinary Fellow reveals wine, food and nature in Palisade CO

Weekend Wine Trip to Colorado: Winemaker Ben Parsons from The Ordinary Fellow reveals wine, food and nature

Ben Parsons, Winemaker and Owner of The Ordinary Fellow in Palisade, Colorado

Ben Parsons, Winemaker and Owner of The Ordinary Fellow in Palisade, Colorado

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

Joe Winger: 

Just to touch on background a little bit, you were the winemaker and founder of a very successful urban winery, the Infinite Monkey Theorem

Then you chose to move on to where you are now at The Ordinary Fellow

What was that transition like for you?

Ben Parsons: 

The Infinite Monkey Theorem was really about disrupting the wine industry and trying to make wine fun and relevant and accessible. 

We were the first ones in the U.S. to put wine in the can. We started kegging in 2008. 

It was really about creating these urban winery spaces, just a tap room for a craft brewery in a city where everyone could come down and enjoy. 

After 11 years of taking that to a 100,000 case production distributed in 42 states, there was a really good opportunity for me to get back to what I wanted to do, which is being in a vineyard.

Even though that might sound like a cliche, there is something quite romantic about farming and being surrounded by nature and really trying to make the very best wine you can from Colorado fruit that you grow and putting it in a bottle versus buying someone else’s wine and putting it in a can, they’re like two very different things.

I had an opportunity to take over a vineyard in southwest Colorado down in the Four Corners just outside of Cortez, where the Four Corners meet. 

It was in disrepair and hadn’t been pruned in four years. So I got back in there and now it’s looking really good.

So that’s taken 4 years.  Yeah it’s relatively small. It’s 13 acres of Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Sits at 6,000 feet elevation. So very high for a commercial vineyard. And it’s beautiful. 

It sits on a national monument called the Yucca House, which is an un-excavated ancestral Pueblan ruin from between the 10th and 12th century.

Starts at Mesa Verde, which most people are familiar with for the ancestral cliff dwellings from the Pueblans down there. It’s just a beautiful location. 

Yeah, two very different things, but kind of coming full circle almost as to what I got me into the industry in the beginning, back in the late 90s.

And now back there, but doing it on my own.

 

Palisade Colorado Winemaker Ben Parsons takes a Vineyard Tour

 

Joe Winger: 

Your famous quote in the wine world: “I miss being in the vineyard”

So for our audience, who’s going to go to wine country this weekend or this summer, when they take a vineyard tour, what should they be looking at?

Ben Parsons: 

As to how wine gets from a vineyard and a grape to a bottle. Most people think it just ends up on a grocery store shelf and that is not the case.

It’s really the idea that you could grow something from rootstock, farm it, suffer the vagaries of agricultural production, deal with all of those challenges,  do it in a sustainable way. 

Ben Parsons, Winemaker and Owner of The Ordinary Fellow in Palisade, Colorado

Ben Parsons, Winemaker and Owner of The Ordinary Fellow in Palisade, Colorado

Determine when you’re going to pick that fruit. Take it into the winery. Ferment it. Turn it into wine. Age it in a barrel. Bottle it. Decide on the branding. Decide on the naming. Come up with a label design. 

Take it to all of those small awesome restaurants that everyone wants to hang out at because they’re making great food and getting good press.

You see my wine or I see my wine on someone else’s table, drinking it and to think where that came from.

And how many times those grapes got moved from a to b and then back, from b to c and then c to d whether it be like shoveling grapes with a pitchfork for a destemmer. 

Or shoveling fermented grapes into a press with a Home Depot bucket.

Or picking that case up and taking it from here to here, that got handled so many times, so much went into that, that I think there’s a huge disconnect amongst most consumers. 

Palisade Colorado Winemaker Ben Parsons on the Area’s Natural Beauty

Joe Winger: 

You chose to be in Palisade, Colorado making your wine. 

Tell us a little bit about the region and why someone should come visit you in Colorado?

Ben Parsons: 

Palisade is beautiful. It’s on the Western slope of Colorado. It’s about a 4 hour drive West of Denver over the mountains.

About 4 1/2 hours East of Salt Lake City. 

It’s an American Viticultural Area designate called the Grand Valley and it’s pretty stunning. 

You come through this Canyon called the Back Canyon on the North side, you have these book cliff mountains that  rise above you on the South side, you have the Colorado River, and it’s a very niche microclimate. It’s definitely an agricultural community.

What a lot of people don’t realize, because they just drive straight past on I-70 is it’s proximity to all things good, outdoorsy. 

Within 28 minutes I could be at a local ski resort called Powderhorn. It got 32 feet of snow last year 

I’m an hour and a half from Aspen.

I’m an hour and 20 minutes from Moab. 

I’m a 10 minute drive from Fruita, which has the best mountain biking in the world. 

It’s all old Indian territory. There’s wild mustangs up on the book cliffs. 

It’s known for its fruit. It’s actually known for its peaches, believe it or not.  Some of the best peaches grown anywhere in the United States. Arguably the best. 

But it’s a very small microclimate. 

Palisade is around 4,500 feet elevation. There’s about 26 wineries you can tour and visit. Take a few days, spend a weekend. 

There’s some good local restaurants, growing their own produce and making real good farm to table food.

Grand Junction is a city that in the last 5 years has really exploded. 

And Grand Junction is 10 minutes from Palisade. It went through a series of boom and busts during the oil shale boom business back in the day, but now it’s strongly focused on tourism.

Lots of people are leaving the front range of Denver, Colorado Springs and  moving to the Western slope for a kind of quality of life.

Also we have a lot of California transplants because it is cheaper to live. You are outdoors all the time. You can travel long distances very quickly.  I put 42,000 miles on my car this year delivering wine all over the state of Colorado. 

I feel like the state and this particular area has a lot going for it.  Definitely more than enough to fill a long weekend or a week’s trip. 

Exploring vineyards, food, farms, outdoor opportunities. 

Taking a trip to Moab, it’s really pretty. It’s one of the reasons I moved here. 

I’d been in the city for a long time. I grew up just South of London in England, but I lived in London for some time and I loved it when I was young.  I love Denver as well.

When I started the Infinite Monkey Theorem, that was really when a lot of people were moving to Denver and it was becoming something substantial. 

It was one of the fastest growing cities in the country at that time. 

I feel like we were a big part of pushing that growth and in tandem with the other food and beverage scene, like craft breweries and good restaurants.

Joe Winger: 

You’ve mentioned different restaurants and food and dinner.  Our audience primarily are foodies.   We’re in Colorado for a wine weekend, we come to the Ordinary Fellow for a wine tasting.

Can you suggest a few places and different cuisines that are a must visit within 20-30 minutes of you?

Ben Parsons: 

In Palisade there’s a good restaurant called Pesh. One of the former line cooks at a linear in Chicago started it with his wife, maybe 5-6 years ago. It’s excellent. 

In Grand Junction, where most people stay there’s a few good restaurants started by this guy, Josh Nirenberg, who has been nominated for James Beard award several times for best chef and has one called Bin 707,  Then he just opened a third called Jojo’s. He also has a kind of trendy taco spot called Taco Party, which is a fun name. 

If you like craft cocktails, there’s a new place that opened called Melrose Spirit Company. Guy opened it in a hotel that was recently renovated. Really cute, really excellent cocktails.

Joe Winger: 

Let’s get into the wine geek stuff now and talk about your vineyards. You have Colorado Box Bar, Hawks Nest.

So let’s talk through terroir, soil type, elevation. 

Ben Parsons: 

So Box Bar, It’s in Cortez, sits around between 6,000 feet elevation.

It’s on this weatheral loam that has some clay in it, which has these water retention properties. It is essentially a desert. So you do have to drip irrigate, there’s less than 7 inches of precipitation a year. 

So very little rainfall which is good in some ways in that there is very little disease pressure.

You’re not having to spray. There’s no necessity to spray for powdery mildew or anything down at our vineyards. 

It’s essentially farmed very minimalistically. 

Lagging very sustainably, which I know people appreciate. 

Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay. We’re just planting some Chenin Blanc and some Charbonneau, which is an italian red varietal as well. 

Hawk’s Nest is not my own property, but I work with a grower called Guy Drew who planted four different kinds of Pinot Noir and two different kinds of Chardonnay there.

That vineyard is at 6, 800 feet and that is the highest commercial vineyard in North America. 

Similar soil properties as the Box Bar. Making some really good Pinot Noir. 

I think what’s interesting about Colorado is we have a very short growing season, 155 – 165 days.  Napa has 240 days. That’s frost free days. 

So the thing is that we have such high sunlight exposure because of the elevation and the ultraviolet light that we have the same number of degree days as Napa Valley. So we can ripen like Cabernet Sauvignon, but we’re ripening it in a shorter period of time.  That’s fairly unique. 

The Ordinary Fellow is really focusing on traditional French varietals from Chenin Blanc Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah.

Most recently we took over a vineyard in Utah so I’m actually farming a vineyard about 1 ½ hour drive from Moab called Montezuma Canyon Ranch. 

That’s this ancient sandstone with a little bit of clay in there that was planted in 2007. 12 acres of Chenin Blanc, Merlot, Riesling Chardonnay.  We made an awesome Utah Rosé vineyard last harvest 2023, which we just released. 

You don’t see that many wines from Utah so that’s why I’m excited about it. 

I think there’s only 6 wineries in Utah and I’m not sure that many of them get their fruit from Utah.

Joe Winger: 

You mentioned that you have one of the highest peak elevation commercial vineyards in North America.

What are the benefits and the disadvantages to such a high elevation?

Ben Parsons: 

If you think about spending any time on a mountain, it can be really warm, but as soon as the sun goes down, it gets very cold. 

So having high elevation vineyards, even though you might be in a quite a hot growing region as soon as the sun goes down, the temperature does drop.

You have a large diurnal temperature shift. 

So in Cortez, in the growth, during the growing season or during ripening, say late September, mid September, late September. We could be 85 to 90 in the day, but 45 to 50 at night, which is a really big temperature swing. 

It basically means that the vine has a kind of chance to just shut down and rest.

From an enology perspective, you can retain more natural acidity in the fruit because it’s not being metabolized by having a lot of sunlight constantly and higher temperature. So we don’t have to make any artificial acid additions or anything like that you may have to do in more established wine regions in the United States. 

Our wines all have really great balance to them and really good acidity. None of them are overdone. They’re not big, jammy, overly alcoholic. 

They’re all well balanced between acids, tannin, alcohol, sugar, but they’re all bone dry. 

There is no fermentable sugar in any of them, which leads to palate weight and mouthfeel, but but they’re not sweet per se. 

Even my Riesling is bone dry.

Joe Winger: 

During the Infinite Monkey Theorem days you led the canned wines movement.  

How does it feel seeing it become so incredibly popular and any big lessons you learned from that experience?

Ben Parsons: 

I genuinely believe that [we led with canned wines].  In 2009 we entered into a R and D project with Ball Corporation, the largest supply of aluminum cans in the world. 

To figure out how to can wine and everyone thought it was stupid and everyone just turned their noses up at it and thought that RTD wine and RTD drinks were stupid.

It’s a tough question because I think that canned wine is good because of its use application, primarily.  Where you can take it and where you can drink it. 

Now, very rarely do I see people putting the best wine they’ve ever made in a can. So I think it’s all about where you want to drink it, who you want to drink it with.  There’s definitely this kind of utility aspect to it. 

Also price point wise, you don’t see that many canned wine, four packs above $16,

I would say so. Yeah, price wise, it’s fairly economical from a sustainability perspective. It makes a lot of sense.

But from an absolute quality perspective, you’re probably still going to be buying bottled wine over canned wine. 

It’s all about where you’re going to consume it. 

Sometimes when I see it I think about when you start any category, there’s always those people that are out there doing it way before anyone else is doing it.  It’s those people that usually don’t reap the benefits of it because they put all of the effort into it. 

I look at LinkedIn occasionally and I’m just baffled by people that think that it’s a new thing.  It just blows my mind. 

Joe Winger: 

You have an excellent sparkling wine and you’ve mentioned England’s excitement about the sparkling. 

Why is England falling in love with sparkling wine? And why should all of us be falling in love with sparkling wine?

Ben Parsons: 

Historically, England has consumed a lot of sparkling wine. 

But in terms of actually growing grapes and making their own sparkling wine, that’s happened in the last 20 years. 

That’s one of those unfortunate advantages of global warming in a kind of isolated geographical area that previously, you wouldn’t have been able to ripen Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier.

It would have been a challenge making really good sparkling wine in Kent and Sussex and Southeast England where a lot of it is made. 

But with a few degrees temperature rise, that’s now possible. And it’s the same chalk escarpment as champagne. They’re very close to each other.

They’re just separated by 24 miles of the English Channel, right? 

So they’re actually geographically very close to each other a little further than 24 miles, but climatically very similar. 

So actually, a lot of French champagne houses have bought up land in Kent and Sussex over the last 20 years and have been planting that, and now some of the bubbles are coming out.

Joe Winger: 

When I have an opportunity to speak with an Oregon winemaker, we often talk about the challenges based on their region. Do you feel like you are also in a region [Colorado] that’s more problematic?

Can you share a lesson you’ve learned from solving some of those problems?

Ben Parsons: 

The whole industry because of the shortness of the growing season, it’s always on a knife edge because you can have late spring frosts that can come through a bud break and just wipe you out.

But you can also have these freak-like early winter freezes in October where there’s there’s still fruit hanging or maybe it’s just come off and it goes from 70 degrees in the day to 8 degrees suddenly, and the sap still flowing in the vines and then all of the vines, the trunks split, the cordon split.

That’s what happened in Palisade maybe 3 or 4 years ago now. 

Then in Cortez where Box Bar is, last year we had a hailstorm come through just after the bud break. So our Chardonnay was out and got wiped out. Then the secondary buds pushed and we went from a crop of 36 tons to 10 tons overnight.

That’s just agriculture anywhere. Unfortunately that’s just one of the risks.

Joe Winger: 

Let’s talk about wine. Their flavor profiles. The different bottles you offer.

When we come visit your tasting room in Palisade, Colorado any hints about what they should be excited to taste?

Ben Parsons: 

 

Blanc de Noir

Yeah the sparkling wine, that’s Blanc de Noir, so that’s 100% Pinot Noir. That’s about as geeky as it gets, because that’s single vineyard, single grower, single clone of Pinot Noir. only 8 months in barrel.  The base wine was barrel aged for about 6 months, and then it was entourage, lying on its utilise in a bottle for six months.

Then it’s put on a riddling rack and hand riddled one bottle at a time. Then disgorged by hand, just take the top off, put your thumb over the top of it so nothing comes out and then no dosage.

So again, just super geeky, like really bone dry, like really crisp, great acid. So that is that wine is super hands on.

It’s delicious. It still gets those more developed, brioche-y notes. Texturally it’s very pleasing on the palate. I think we make really good method champignons, bottle fermented sparkling wine. 

 

Chardonnay

A lot of people these days think it’s trendy to not like chardonnay, because they heard somewhere about that, but there are actually some really good Chardonnays out there, which aren’t all aged in new French oak and haven’t all gone through like a creamy buttery secondary fermentation. And I think mine is one of them. It was aged in 8 year old barrels.  So there’s really no influence on it at all. 

It’s all hand harvested or whole cluster pressed. I think that wine has a really pretty texture, like this palette coating texture but it has really good acidity and it smells like a ripe peach or a dried apricot. It’s really pretty.

Pinot Noir

Our red pinot noir.  Again that spent just 9 months in neutral barrels so I think there was a trend like 20 years ago to put everything in a brand new barrel and every winemakers thought it was cool, but you know in the last 5 – 6 years, I think that has changed 

Winemakers are really trying to let the soil and let their vineyards speak for themselves.

Minimal kind of intervention to a certain extent. It is the trend.

Our Pinot Noir has done really well. It’s on the much lighter side. I would say it’s more like a German style Pinot Noir, like lighter with really good acidity, firm tannin. Beautiful aroma.

I think all of our wines are just very well balanced. Very food friendly, very clean. They’re not funky. I’m very proud of that.

Joe Winger: 

I’m assuming balance and the clean is a style choice by you? 

Ben Parsons: 

Balance is easy because it’s done in the vineyard because of the elevation and the retention of acidity.  It’s just about when you pick it. So you’re tasting [the grapes] for flavor and like phenolic ripeness and the seeds being brown, et cetera, but you’re also testing a few for your pH, your titratable acidity and your sugar levels. Then you make an informed decision as to when you’re picking it. 

The cleanliness part of it really just comes down to the fact that I feel like winemakers, even though this doesn’t sound very romantic, you’re almost just like an insurance manager in that you don’t want to mess it up.

So you make informed decisions, preemptively.  You top your barrels, like every 2-3 weeks, you do things to make sure the wine, does not end up flawed  through a secondary characteristic developing.   

Sometimes that’s a flavor enhancer and sometimes that’s good, but when it’s overdone…  I believe there are a lot of wines that they get away with it these days.  To me it’s just bad winemaking.

I’m definitely kind of a minimal interventionist 

Joe Winger: 

I always feel like white wine doesn’t get enough love and respect. People love talking about the complexities of reds.  You make a phenomenal Riesling

Ben Parsons: 

Interestingly I really don’t drink red wine anymore. Occasionally I’ll drink some Pinot Noir, but I much prefer drinking white wines. I think a lot of people in the industry crave acidity, and yeah, my reasoning is a good example.

The general consumer in the U. S. still thinks that all raisins are sweet. I think that’s just a common misconception, that’s purely a stylistic choice from the winemaker, and my choice is to allow the yeast to ferment all of the sugar until there is no residual sugar.

To have a wine with high natural acidity that pairs well with food. That’s my choice as a winemaker. Those are the wines that I enjoy most that kind of just leave your palate just like this rasping acidity. Take the enamel off your teeth, and but have beautiful aroma.

Our Riesling is starting to show some characteristics from being in the bottle for 18 months. Where it gets those kind of, it’s tough to say about making it sound bad, but those more kerosene-y , kind of petroleum, kind of eraser like notes, which are very typical of Riesling, intertwined with really nice citrus and green apple.

Yeah, and like really just good structure. That benefits from growing at elevation here for sure.

Joe Winger: 

Petit Verdot is probably lesser known, less popular, but it deserves all the love anyway. 

Ben Parsons: 

Petit Verdot, interesting, like one of the six red Bordeaux grape varieties. Bordeaux is maritime climate. It’s much cooler than Colorado.

It doesn’t really get the chance to ripen as well as it does here. So when it can ripen, it doesn’t just need to get blended into Cabernet Sauvignon or something to just give it more tannin and more structure. 

Here it can stand alone as a single varietal. 

The greenness is gone. The tannin is not like just rip your face off tannin.  It’s well developed. Like silky, velvety, firm, but not like really dry and like Petit Verdot can be.  Aromatics are very lifted on it, and it’s not a massive red wine by any means.

That’s grown at a vineyard about half an hour from Box Bar called Canyon of the Ancients and that vineyard was planted in 2006.

Unfortunately we only made about 99 cases of that wine. It’s fun to introduce people to wines that they probably haven’t heard of, but wines that that can stand up to any good red wines that you may have heard of.

Palisade Colorado Winemaker Ben Parsons reveals his Favorite Food

Joe Winger: 

Do you identify yourself as a foodie?   Can you pick 1-2 of your bottles and your favorite dish for dinner tonight?

Ben Parsons: 

Yeah I would definitely pair my Riesling with a Thai curry or even a panang curry. I think it does really well with oriental food that has some level of heat to it. But also I think it does really well with a charcuterie plate, some almonds and some cheese. I think you can’t go wrong with that. 

Then my Petit Verdot, for example I think there is more tannin in there.  For those of us that like the light grilling you couldn’t go wrong with serving that with a ribeye. It’s delicious.  Or if you’re cooking a little heartier food in the winter, maybe a lasagna.  Something that can really work with that tannin.

I think my wines do well with a lot of different food just because of the balance that they have, they’re not going to overpower the food and vice versa, which is what it’s all about. 

But I also enjoy them, just having a glass on its own, to be honest.  When I get home from work, sometimes I love that.

Joe Winger: 

I’m watching your Instagram videos quite a bit, and it seems like you’re having a lot of fun sharing knowledge, showing your vineyard, showing what it’s like day to day.

Ben Parsons: 

The one time that I do enjoy social media is when you’re in the vineyard or you’re doing something that seems that other people might never have seen before.

I’m in awe of where I am because I feel like it comes across in those videos. It’s pretty down here today, and those are beautiful vineyard sites.

Or if you’re filtering a wine or racking a wine or, trying or shoveling grapes.

Just the imagery comes across and really shows how much work is involved in it. I always struggle when it’s like go take a photo of a bottle of wine in front of a restaurant.  I don’t know how you make that look cool.

Find more about Ben Parson’s The Ordinary Fellow website, instagram

More about Palisade, CO

 

Stuck in LA Dating App Hell? Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

Stuck in LA Dating App Hell?  Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

We’re with Andrea McGinty, dating expert from 33000Dates.com

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

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 33000Dates.com

Dating Expert Andrea McGinty makes it easy with 33000Dates.com

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 33000dates.com. 

 

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 33000Dates.com

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 33000Dates.com?

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.

Right.

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 33000Dates.com 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!”

https://www.facebook.com/yamaseafoodla

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.

https://www.facebook.com/yamaseafoodla

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.

https://www.facebook.com/yamaseafoodla

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”.

https://www.facebook.com/yamaseafoodla

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: https://www.yamaseafoodla.com

Premiere Dining Destination Just an Hour from LA! Conejo Valley’s Selvin Restaurant and Lounge, Grand Opening June 2024

Ventura County ‘s Selvin Restaurant and Lounge, the Conejo Valley premiere dining destination Grand Opening June 2024

Selvin’s Restaurant and Lounge opens in June 2024, becoming Conejo Valley’s premiere dining destination for all occasions.

Selvin Restaurant and Lounge

Selvin’s Restaurant and Lounge

Ventura County’s dining destination

Ventura County’s dining destination provides a lush interior oasis serving a signature California coastal cuisine menu and mixologist-crafted cocktails. It is located next to the Palm Garden Hotel, TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s number-one Choice since 2019, fostering a welcoming neighborhood vibe and inviting you to relax, celebrate, and savor the moment with us.

Chef John Vega’s stellar culinary background

At Selvin’s, guests can expect a culinary journey curated by, Chef John Vega. With a stellar culinary background from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Napa, he’s celebrated for his exquisite palate, creative flair, and extensive experience working at the Three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago. Having honed his skills in prestigious kitchens, Chef Vega brings a wealth of experience and a passion for culinary excellence to Selvin’s.

Special Grand Opening Menu

To celebrate the grand opening and to thank guests for joining, Selvin’s is offering a limited-time tasting menu and complimentary signature cocktails to the first 97 guests.

Conejo Valley’s  Selvin Restaurant and Lounge

Featuring timeless dishes that exemplify the restaurant’s commitment to freshness, innovation, and American cuisine with a Coastal California twist, the restaurant will showcase the breadth of its culinary ambitions.

Sweet Corn Agnolotti

Sweet Corn Agnolotti, Selvin’s Restaurant and Lounge

Featuring tantalizing starters, a variety of shared plates, elegant main courses, and divine desserts, from all of the finest locally sourced ingredients. This is the perfect place for quick meetings, family and friends gatherings, and corporate and social private events.

“Our hospitality team isn’t just a group of individuals;

we’re a family united by a love for creating memorable experiences.

With boundless energy and fresh perspectives,

we infuse each dish and every interaction with our passion for hospitality,

ensuring that every visit is not just a meal but a memorable experience.”

Steven Ortmann

Chief Operating Officer

Selvin’s Restaurant and Lounge is the brainchild of a team that’s passionate about bringing an extraordinary dining experience to Ventura County.

Bruzu, Selvin Restaurant and Lounge

Bruzu, Selvin’s Restaurant and Lounge

Inspired by the rich culinary landscape of coastal California and the contemporary American dining ethos, Selvin’s aims to be an establishment where every visit celebrates the vibrant, diverse flavors that define the community.

Conejo Valley Selvin Restaurant and Lounge Owner Harry Selvin

Harry Selvin, Owner and Founder has been a community icon for decades. Traveling the world for years, Harry’s always had an itch for hospitality. Acquiring the Palm Garden Hotel in 2012, warranted Harry the opportunity to transform hospitality in the Greater Conejo Valley.

Vegas Vesper, Selvin Restaurant and Lounge

Vegas Vesper, Selvin’s Restaurant and Lounge

In the years ahead, Steven Ortmann and his team decided to create something special to celebrate the legacy of Mr. Selvin, introducing Selvin’s Restaurant + Lounge.

“Building a restaurant with a passionate management team

is like crafting a symphony;

each member brings their unique instrument,

but it’s the harmony of our passion

that creates the perfect dining experience.”

Harry Selvin, Owner

Their mission is to create a space that feels like home but inspires a sense of adventure, allowing visitors and locals alike to create memorable moments over exceptional hospitality. Welcome to Selvin’s — where good food, great drinks, and even greater company await.

Selvin’s is the premier restaurant and lounge

Selvin’s is the premier restaurant and lounge found next to the renovated Palm Garden Hotel. Modern yet classic, the food is described as California coastal cuisine. Indoor dining, outdoor patio, champagne room, and banquet event space make Selvin’s the perfect place for any celebratory occasion.

Executive Chef John Vega

John’s culinary journey began as a young prodigy at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Napa, where he quickly distinguished himself as one of the institution’s brightest talents. His exceptional skills earned him a coveted position at Alinea, a world-renowned Three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Chicago, making him one of the youngest chefs to grace its kitchen. Fueled by fond memories of bonding with his father in the kitchen, set against the backdrop of classical music, John understands the intimate nature of food—the power it holds to create lasting memories and forge meaningful connections.

Driven by an unwavering commitment to perfection and a relentless desire to explore culinary boundaries, John embarked on a quest to craft unparalleled dining experiences.

For reservations, contact at reservations@selvins.com

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Eve Bushman’s Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2024 Las Vegas

Eve Bushman‘s Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2024 Las Vegas

Last Saturday night, at Resorts World Las Vegas, Eddie and I covered our very first Wine Spectator Grand Tour tasting!

Eyeballing this one for a while, as all the wines scored 90 points or greater – any 90-point and up wine awarded blind by Wine Spectator means a lot in my opinion – and there were 235 wineries represented!

I had some California favorites I wanted to try, and of course dozens from around the world.

But, knowing me, covering the event was going to take most of my time and I would be lucky to hit up just so many tables, with that in mind these were my favorite wines and their numerical scores:

Vina Almaviva Puento Alto 2021, 96.  

Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Benchland Select 2019, 91.

Bodega Catena Zapata Nicolas Catena Zapata Mendoza 2009 (Cab and Malbec), 94.

Cesare Amarone Valpolicella Classico, 2018, 91.

Louis Roederer Brut Champagne Collection 244 NV, 93.

Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Signature 2019, 93.

Charles Heidsieck Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne, NV, 93.

Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Family Reserve 2019, 94.

Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2021, 94.

Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District 2021, 94.

Croft Vintage Port 2017, 97.

Cuvaison Pinot Noir Napa Valley Los Carneros Small Lot Spire 2021, 92.

Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Signature 2018, 92.

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2021, 92.

Frank Family Chardonnay Carneros 2021, 92.

Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Kathryn Hall 2016, 96.

Laurent-Perrier Brut Rose Champagne Cuvee NV, 92.

Marques de Caceres Rioja Gaudium Reserva 2018, 91.

Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Velvet Glove 2019, 94.

Pasqua Amarone Della Valpolicella Mai Dire Mai 2013, 91.

Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2019, 93.

Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2019, 91.

Roederer Estate Brut Rose Anderson Valley L’Ermitage 2015, 93.

Sandeman Tawny Port 20 Year Old NV, 92.

Schramsberg Vineyard Brut Rose North Coast 2020, 93.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District S.L.V. 2018, 94.

Taub Family Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford Beckstoffer Vyds Georges III 2019, 93.

Tensley Syrah Santa Barbara County OGT 2021, 94.

Torbreck Grenache Barossa Valley Hillside Vineyard 2021, 93.

Trimbach Riesling Alsace Frederic Emile 2016, 94.

Vina Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Vineyard 2021, 96.

Vina Montes Purple Angel Colchagua Valley 2020, 93.

Yalumba Cabernet-Shiraz South Australia The Caley 2018, 95.

Zenato Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2018, 92.

Event Notes

You can get there 30 minutes or so in advance to check in, get your wrist band and wine glass voucher.

Lots of people lined up to get in, but once the clocked chimed the appointed hour, we were in the large tasting room within minutes.

The dining room had plenty of seating, with different food options – Italian and Mexican – and a dessert table. We went for the pasta, carbo-loading for our stamina, which we enjoyed after the first hour.

Bathrooms were close by, plenty of water stations, pour out buckets and if there was a line at a table you could just go to the next one.

IMHO there is no reason to wait at a particular table at this event as you know everything they are offering is a top-scoring wine. The winery representatives were extremely knowledgeable about their wines.

View the wineries that participated here.

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards.

You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.

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