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Family and Flavor first with Howell’s Standard and their Hot Honey

Taste Howell’s Standard Hot Honey, The Wellness Superfood Packed with Flavor and Family

Howell’s Standard provides raw, natural honey in its purest form, a variety of herb and fruit-infused honeys, and products from the hive. 

They are a small family-owned company in Northeast Maryland that appreciates the gifts of nature and artistic expression.  Find their website,  their Instagram and their in-person farmer’s market experience.

Howell's Standard Delivers Flavor, Family and a Healthy Flourish with their Hot Honey

Below, Alexander and Monica Howell visited for a conversation about family, flavor, health benefits and the magic of honey.

Howell's Standard Delivers Flavor, Family and a Healthy Flourish

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  Find the full, unedited conversation on the FlavRReport YouTube channel.

 

My understanding going back to the beginning is, this whole company was a COVID baby, meaning the idea of it launched during the pandemic. Is that accurate?

 

Alexander Howell: So I’ll give you a bit of a backstory. We had, like you said, started around the boom of COVID. During that time with all the sickness going around, one of the things we decided to do was to figure out how we can stay healthier and keep the entire family more healthy during that entire time.

One of the things we decided to do was to cut out a lot of white and processed sugars because it’s the cause of a lot of health issues, cancers, things of that nature. After that we [realized] we can’t just not have any type of sweetener at all.  We’re not that strong. 

We went across a couple of different sweeteners. We tried agave, we tried monk fruit.  We tried all those, [but] they didn’t hit the spot for us. 

Then we were at a farmer’s market [and] tried some raw honey.  Once we had tried that, it’s like the entire world just opened up for us because.

We started researching it more and found out there were tons of health benefits tied into raw honey itself. 

Once we started consuming it ourselves, we felt the changes.  A lot more energy naturally, our skin started looking a lot better, our hair started looking better.  Then we decided instead of keeping this a family secret, we can share it with the world.

Monica Howell: So I’ve got a slightly different angle on it. Everything Alex said is definitely true. Pre COVID, I had always been an entrepreneur at heart, always dabbling in something, always doing a little side things.  They say you have to have multiple streams of income.

So I was always looking for the next best option. Prior to COVID, I was creating body butters and detox masks and sugar scrubs; and just looking for things that were positive for your skin in a natural manner. Honey was one of the ingredients that was always on my shelf. 

[Honey] is one of those ingredients. It’s a wonderful connector. I had really only ever thought of honey as this thing that was on aisle number eight of the grocery store always next to the maple syrup.  A condiment to get with your fried chicken.

But once I started having success with personal skin care, the products that were most sought after, that had the best outcomes for my skin all had honey in them. 

During COVID, we just really started to come together more, having more conversations. Bringing together the things that we were doing individually as a group and kind of figuring out 

We started minimizing ingredients.  Looking at that 20 line ingredient list on the back of everything and saying what can [remove]?

 

Something you both touched on was the zero to one aspect.  Talk a little bit about the process from idea to reality.

Monica Howell: So for me, it was checking boxes. Throwing something on the wall and seeing what sticks, that old spaghetti adage.

There’s so many layers, so many things that I wasn’t aware of honey as a whole.

Figuring out how we could integrate this into our lives, and then how we then convert that and transition that into something that was revenue generating, seeing there was a niche.

We started with friends and family. Letting people that would trust us, try things out.

A lot of the response was ‘I don’t like honey’ or ‘I already have sugar. I don’t need to do this.’

But we said, it’s open your mind, let’s look into something a little different. Let’s consider it in a different way and move forward from there.

One thing that I think stands out for us is the fact that everything that we do, all the honey options that we have available are all beneficial in some way, shape or form. You get the benefit of those things that are being infused into the honey. So everything is purposeful.

Everything added is to expand the benefits of the honey into something beyond. 

Each honey is different, with different infusions.  We call them varietals.  Essentially a varietal is a honey that the beekeeper and the farmer have integrated hives into that particular crop. The honey has a flavor and nuance.  Then we have our infusions. 

Local honey is where I go. That’s all I want.  Our local [honey] in Maryland is not the same local that’s in Texas. What’s local to California is not what’s local to Utah. What’s local to Utah is not local to Maine. But when you look at it, all those honeys have a slight variance and nuance in flavor because of what’s being pollinated.

Our plants aren’t the same here as in Hawaii. So when you say I enjoy wildflower, the enjoyment of your wildflower might taste completely different than what I’m used to because of the plants that are growing. It doesn’t necessarily all taste the same. 

 

When you started with this idea, were you aware of the different varietals, the regions and how that affected honey?

Alexander Howell:  We definitely didn’t know how intricate and how deep this kind of rabbit hole of honey goes.  It’s a very nice and very informative learning experience for two reasons. One, just so we are aware of the benefits and can tell our family, but also so we can now have those kinds of conversations with our customers.

Monica Howell: Even something as a variance from season to season.  Literally your spring honey can be a completely different product from your fall [honey] and your winter honey.

The amount of moisture that’s in the air, that can even be from location to location. April showers bring May flowers. Those April showers are happening, there’s a ton of moisture in the air. And then when you’re getting into the fall, you’re having the bees that are pollinated when you’re getting into the fall, there’s a variance in that same region.

That same area has shifted the temperature. You’re just coming out of 90 degree weather. There’s still flowers out. But the pollination process that’s happening, the bees are what they’re collecting now, it can be different. 

In the U. S. alone, there’s over 300 different types of honey.  Over the world, there are thousands.

The interesting thing is when we’re bringing those varietals together in one place, you actually taste them side by side, [you can taste and notice] there are definite differences that you may never [have noticed otherwise] .

Someone says, “I don’t like honey. I say, “Well you haven’t tasted my honey.”

They find out, they dont like wildflower from North Carolina, but they love sage from California or macadamia nut from Hawaii – it’s amazing.

 

You’ve both mentioned farmer’s market experiences, sampling and buying. Let’s talk a little bit about those experiences.

 

Alexander Howell: As far as farmers markets goes, we’ve gotten the entire spectrum of reactions – ‘Oh, this is some of the best I‘ve ever had in my life’, or ‘This is nasty’

I appreciate either side of the spectrum, it’s just very honest and blunt. In person, you get to actually see that emotion, you get to see that interaction, you get to not only see what they think but maybe they brought a friend or a family member of theirs – their husband, their wife, their kids, their dog.

We get to see what your dietary needs are, your favorite flavors, your favorite vegetables.  If you have a health issue, what type of things we have that could possibly help.

It’s even as simple as someone getting a gift for somebody who’s a pescatarian who likes to cook so, ‘What do you have for this?’

And I can then give them a whole range of stuff [to browse].

Monica Howell: We’ve been selling at farmer’s markets for 2.5 years. By far, it is my favorite. People who grew up going to farmer’s markets. Beekeepers that have grown up in their Grandma’s backyard.  

We always get somebody that says, ‘Oh, my grandma had honey. And I’m already familiar.’    I always challenge them to taste something that’s a little different, 

We get people who are extremely health conscious.  They are looking for natural options.

 

On your website, there’s a lot of products What are the major categories and what are one or two or three that you really want to highlight that are currently available?

Monica Howell: We do some switching out from season to season, but for the most part, 25 items. A combination of the varietals and the infusions. 

We’ve got an amazing macadamia nut honey that comes from Hawaii.  You get a honey that has a certain butteriness to it, a nice weight to it.  A little nuttiness at the end. It’s amazing in coffee. It’s amazing on top of a banana bread, really good in yogurt. Also good to cook with. 

Our blueberry is from Maine. A little bit of a nuance of that blueberry flavor. It’s a little sweeter than some of the other honeys. It’s amazing on bakery goods and breakfast. So instead of using traditional maple syrup, we’re using the blueberry honey on a Belgian waffle on a pancake. Amazing on yogurt and things like that. 

Then we’ve got our infusions. So the infusions essentially are different botanicals using a particular honey.

I’m using an extra white honey from Iowa. If you’re looking on the spectrum of honey, not only does honey change area to area, there’s water white honey, all the way down to your dark amber honeys.  So there’s an entire rainbow of different types of honey, based on what’s being pollinated and what’s growing. 

Your darker honeys have more of a molasses flavor, probably 10 – 20 x the antioxidants that you’re getting then like a water white honey. But when we’re considering what to use to infuse, I’m usually going with that lighter honey.

Our elderberry honey is super important.  We’re taking a ground elderberry from the actual berry, not the elderberry flower. And we’re grinding that up and then infusing that into honey over a period of time. That allows you to then take that elderberry on a regular basis, either in as a sweetener for your tea or actually adding it into a yogurt.

Alexander Howell: Some of the things that I like to highlight, because I’m a foodie, I’m always trying to find honey that would elevate the taste.

One of those is Hot Honey. Anything from chicken, to beef, to pork, to seafood, to shellfish. I love it all. One specific thing is strawberries. It sounds a little out there, but it’s amazing. 

And also the vanilla.  I love it on my baked goods, banana breads, cornbread, really good on cinnamon rolls. Instead of the sheet icing I’ll put the honey. Even simpler like a latte or a cup of tea.  Put some of your pancakes or crepes. 

It’s the two different honeys on two different ends of the spectrum, but at the end of the day they both serve their purposes 

Monica Howell: We are working with a few bartenders and mixologists that have taken our honeys and creating mocktails. Super fun.

 

One thing to acknowledge,  the audience is a large majority of our conversations are wine based. So it’s with winemakers and chefs.

Do any of these honeys pair better with any specific kinds of varietals of wine?

 

Alexander Howell: One of the best ways I do like to enjoy wine with honey is charcuterie. 

Monica Howell: Charcuterie and honey go hand in hand. It’s like a whole little puzzle of delicious-ness.

I like Merlot.  Something becoming more popular are meads. So mead is wine essentially made with the foundation of honey versus grapes.  There are a lot of brewers that are starting to play with mead. So you’ll find mead in all different varietals, some that very much tastes like wine and some that tastes closer to beer.

We’re not necessarily pairing the wine so much with the honey as helping the person that’s hosting the event, creating that perfect board, that perfect accompaniment to it.

What’s the best way to learn more about you? Website, social media? How can we follow you more?

 

Monica Howell: Definitely the website is the easiest way. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram. The unique feature of what we do in-person. That’s the benefit of coming to see us at a farmer’s market.  We also are actually on a couple of stores in the local area, local by design, which is an Annapolis mall in Annapolis, Maryland, where our product is available on their shelves.

You can find gifting boxes and samplers on the website too. 

Howell’s Standard provides raw, natural honey in its purest form, a variety of herb and fruit-infused honeys, and products from the hive. 

They are a small family-owned company in Northeast Maryland that appreciates the gifts of nature and artistic expression.  Find their website,  their Instagram and their in-person farmer’s market experience.

Howell's Standard Delivers Flavor, Family and a Healthy Flourish with their Hot Honey

Below, Alexander and Monica Howell visited for a conversation about family, flavor, health benefits and the magic of honey.

Howell's Standard Delivers Flavor, Family and a Healthy Flourish

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.  Find the full, unedited conversation on the FlavRReport YouTube channel.

 

My understanding going back to the beginning is, this whole company was a COVID baby, meaning the idea of it launched during the pandemic. Is that accurate?

 

Alexander Howell: So I’ll give you a bit of a backstory. We had, like you said, started around the boom of COVID. During that time with all the sickness going around, one of the things we decided to do was to figure out how we can stay healthier and keep the entire family more healthy during that entire time.

One of the things we decided to do was to cut out a lot of white and processed sugars because it’s the cause of a lot of health issues, cancers, things of that nature. After that we [realized] we can’t just not have any type of sweetener at all.  We’re not that strong. 

We went across a couple of different sweeteners. We tried agave, we tried monk fruit.  We tried all those, [but] they didn’t hit the spot for us. 

Then we were at a farmer’s market [and] tried some raw honey.  Once we had tried that, it’s like the entire world just opened up for us because.

We started researching it more and found out there were tons of health benefits tied into raw honey itself. 

Once we started consuming it ourselves, we felt the changes.  A lot more energy naturally, our skin started looking a lot better, our hair started looking better.  Then we decided instead of keeping this a family secret, we can share it with the world.

Monica Howell: So I’ve got a slightly different angle on it. Everything Alex said is definitely true. Pre COVID, I had always been an entrepreneur at heart, always dabbling in something, always doing a little side things.  They say you have to have multiple streams of income.

So I was always looking for the next best option. Prior to COVID, I was creating body butters and detox masks and sugar scrubs; and just looking for things that were positive for your skin in a natural manner. Honey was one of the ingredients that was always on my shelf. 

[Honey] is one of those ingredients. It’s a wonderful connector. I had really only ever thought of honey as this thing that was on aisle number eight of the grocery store always next to the maple syrup.  A condiment to get with your fried chicken.

But once I started having success with personal skin care, the products that were most sought after, that had the best outcomes for my skin all had honey in them. 

During COVID, we just really started to come together more, having more conversations. Bringing together the things that we were doing individually as a group and kind of figuring out 

We started minimizing ingredients.  Looking at that 20 line ingredient list on the back of everything and saying what can [remove]?

 

Something you both touched on was the zero to one aspect.  Talk a little bit about the process from idea to reality.

Monica Howell: So for me, it was checking boxes. Throwing something on the wall and seeing what sticks, that old spaghetti adage.

There’s so many layers, so many things that I wasn’t aware of honey as a whole.

Figuring out how we could integrate this into our lives, and then how we then convert that and transition that into something that was revenue generating, seeing there was a niche.

We started with friends and family. Letting people that would trust us, try things out.

A lot of the response was ‘I don’t like honey’ or ‘I already have sugar. I don’t need to do this.’

But we said, it’s open your mind, let’s look into something a little different. Let’s consider it in a different way and move forward from there.

One thing that I think stands out for us is the fact that everything that we do, all the honey options that we have available are all beneficial in some way, shape or form. You get the benefit of those things that are being infused into the honey. So everything is purposeful.

Everything added is to expand the benefits of the honey into something beyond. 

Each honey is different, with different infusions.  We call them varietals.  Essentially a varietal is a honey that the beekeeper and the farmer have integrated hives into that particular crop. The honey has a flavor and nuance.  Then we have our infusions. 

Local honey is where I go. That’s all I want.  Our local [honey] in Maryland is not the same local that’s in Texas. What’s local to California is not what’s local to Utah. What’s local to Utah is not local to Maine. But when you look at it, all those honeys have a slight variance and nuance in flavor because of what’s being pollinated.

Our plants aren’t the same here as in Hawaii. So when you say I enjoy wildflower, the enjoyment of your wildflower might taste completely different than what I’m used to because of the plants that are growing. It doesn’t necessarily all taste the same. 

 

When you started with this idea, were you aware of the different varietals, the regions and how that affected honey?

Alexander Howell:  We definitely didn’t know how intricate and how deep this kind of rabbit hole of honey goes.  It’s a very nice and very informative learning experience for two reasons. One, just so we are aware of the benefits and can tell our family, but also so we can now have those kinds of conversations with our customers.

Monica Howell: Even something as a variance from season to season.  Literally your spring honey can be a completely different product from your fall [honey] and your winter honey.

The amount of moisture that’s in the air, that can even be from location to location. April showers bring May flowers. Those April showers are happening, there’s a ton of moisture in the air. And then when you’re getting into the fall, you’re having the bees that are pollinated when you’re getting into the fall, there’s a variance in that same region.

That same area has shifted the temperature. You’re just coming out of 90 degree weather. There’s still flowers out. But the pollination process that’s happening, the bees are what they’re collecting now, it can be different. 

In the U. S. alone, there’s over 300 different types of honey.  Over the world, there are thousands.

The interesting thing is when we’re bringing those varietals together in one place, you actually taste them side by side, [you can taste and notice] there are definite differences that you may never [have noticed otherwise] .

Someone says, “I don’t like honey. I say, “Well you haven’t tasted my honey.”

They find out, they dont like wildflower from North Carolina, but they love sage from California or macadamia nut from Hawaii – it’s amazing.

 

You’ve both mentioned farmer’s market experiences, sampling and buying. Let’s talk a little bit about those experiences.

 

Alexander Howell: As far as farmers markets goes, we’ve gotten the entire spectrum of reactions – ‘Oh, this is some of the best I‘ve ever had in my life’, or ‘This is nasty’

I appreciate either side of the spectrum, it’s just very honest and blunt. In person, you get to actually see that emotion, you get to see that interaction, you get to not only see what they think but maybe they brought a friend or a family member of theirs – their husband, their wife, their kids, their dog.

We get to see what your dietary needs are, your favorite flavors, your favorite vegetables.  If you have a health issue, what type of things we have that could possibly help.

It’s even as simple as someone getting a gift for somebody who’s a pescatarian who likes to cook so, ‘What do you have for this?’

And I can then give them a whole range of stuff [to browse].

Monica Howell: We’ve been selling at farmer’s markets for 2.5 years. By far, it is my favorite. People who grew up going to farmer’s markets. Beekeepers that have grown up in their Grandma’s backyard.  

We always get somebody that says, ‘Oh, my grandma had honey. And I’m already familiar.’    I always challenge them to taste something that’s a little different, 

We get people who are extremely health conscious.  They are looking for natural options.

 

On your website, there’s a lot of products What are the major categories and what are one or two or three that you really want to highlight that are currently available?

Monica Howell: We do some switching out from season to season, but for the most part, 25 items. A combination of the varietals and the infusions. 

We’ve got an amazing macadamia nut honey that comes from Hawaii.  You get a honey that has a certain butteriness to it, a nice weight to it.  A little nuttiness at the end. It’s amazing in coffee. It’s amazing on top of a banana bread, really good in yogurt. Also good to cook with. 

Our blueberry is from Maine. A little bit of a nuance of that blueberry flavor. It’s a little sweeter than some of the other honeys. It’s amazing on bakery goods and breakfast. So instead of using traditional maple syrup, we’re using the blueberry honey on a Belgian waffle on a pancake. Amazing on yogurt and things like that. 

Then we’ve got our infusions. So the infusions essentially are different botanicals using a particular honey.

I’m using an extra white honey from Iowa. If you’re looking on the spectrum of honey, not only does honey change area to area, there’s water white honey, all the way down to your dark amber honeys.  So there’s an entire rainbow of different types of honey, based on what’s being pollinated and what’s growing. 

Your darker honeys have more of a molasses flavor, probably 10 – 20 x the antioxidants that you’re getting then like a water white honey. But when we’re considering what to use to infuse, I’m usually going with that lighter honey.

Our elderberry honey is super important.  We’re taking a ground elderberry from the actual berry, not the elderberry flower. And we’re grinding that up and then infusing that into honey over a period of time. That allows you to then take that elderberry on a regular basis, either in as a sweetener for your tea or actually adding it into a yogurt.

Alexander Howell: Some of the things that I like to highlight, because I’m a foodie, I’m always trying to find honey that would elevate the taste.

One of those is Hot Honey. Anything from chicken, to beef, to pork, to seafood, to shellfish. I love it all. One specific thing is strawberries. It sounds a little out there, but it’s amazing. 

And also the vanilla.  I love it on my baked goods, banana breads, cornbread, really good on cinnamon rolls. Instead of the sheet icing I’ll put the honey. Even simpler like a latte or a cup of tea.  Put some of your pancakes or crepes. 

It’s the two different honeys on two different ends of the spectrum, but at the end of the day they both serve their purposes 

Monica Howell: We are working with a few bartenders and mixologists that have taken our honeys and creating mocktails. Super fun.

 

One thing to acknowledge,  the audience is a large majority of our conversations are wine based. So it’s with winemakers and chefs.

Do any of these honeys pair better with any specific kinds of varietals of wine?

 

Alexander Howell: One of the best ways I do like to enjoy wine with honey is charcuterie. 

Monica Howell: Charcuterie and honey go hand in hand. It’s like a whole little puzzle of delicious-ness.

I like Merlot.  Something becoming more popular are meads. So mead is wine essentially made with the foundation of honey versus grapes.  There are a lot of brewers that are starting to play with mead. So you’ll find mead in all different varietals, some that very much tastes like wine and some that tastes closer to beer.

We’re not necessarily pairing the wine so much with the honey as helping the person that’s hosting the event, creating that perfect board, that perfect accompaniment to it.

What’s the best way to learn more about you? Website, social media? How can we follow you more?

 

Monica Howell: Definitely the website is the easiest way. You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram. The unique feature of what we do in-person. That’s the benefit of coming to see us at a farmer’s market.  We also are actually on a couple of stores in the local area, local by design, which is an Annapolis mall in Annapolis, Maryland, where our product is available on their shelves.

You can find gifting boxes and samplers on the website too. 

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“Exhilarating and Breathtaking” Eve Bushman Covers Riesling in Germany’s Mosel Region

“Exhilarating and Breathtaking” Eve Bushman Covers Riesling in Germany’s Mosel Region

I found myself describing the experience as both exhilarating and breathtaking, and these two words have now taken on a new meaning for me, probably forever. Raimund added to my thoughts when he said that here, we “always sit in the green.” 

Middle Mosel, aka Mittelmosel, wine region of Germany

Middle Mosel, aka Mittelmosel, wine region of Germany / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Have you been to the Middle Mosel, aka Mittelmosel, wine region of Germany? I had learned about the area, saw photos of the steep vineyards and their ancient stone sundials dating back hundreds of years, during a tasting with Raimund Prum from S.A. Pruem many years ago. Fast forward to this year, and we planned our first trip there, where we stayed at the S.A. Pruem guesthouse and visited with Raimund again! We also toured and tasted with Eifel-Pfieffer, C.A. Immich-Batterieberg, Villa Huesgen and Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler.

A sundial in their vineyards

A sundial in their vineyards / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Know before you go: Rieslings are not all sweet! They range from bone dry to sweet. And though “Riesling is King” in the Mosel we enjoyed sparkling wines and rose, as well as Pinot Noir during our tastings. Not all wineries are in Bernkastel-Kues, many are in towns all roughly within 30 minutes of each other. 

Wineries to Tour and Taste

S.A. Pruem: We must start with this winery as they are the reason we traveled to the Mosel for wine. I had met Raimund Prum in 2013 when he led a class for Ian Blackburn of Learn About Wine. Fast forward to this past May 2024, when I finally got to see Raimund again – this time at his home and winery. Raimund inherited the 800-year-old family winery in 1971 and has “expanded from 8.6 acres to 27.9 acres.” 

His family had used money that they made from their apple farms to fund their wine growing business. Back in those days 100% of the people living in the area worked in the wine industry according to Raimund. Nowadays young people may leave, but they come back.  

Raimund is a busy man, representing the winery almost all over the world. But he doesn’t do this alone. Raimund’s wife Pirjo, a WSET Diploma graduate, represents the brand in U.S. and Finland. Saskia, their oldest daughter, took over as the owner in 2017.

They produce many still and sparkling wines, from dry to sweet Rieslings to Rose of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. I had the opportunity to try most and had a hard time not finishing every sample that was offered. And though other places in the world make Riesling, Raimund said that the “character of the wine is different here” which began over 2,000 years ago by the Romans. (Many Roman pressing stations have been found along the Mosel.)  

Weingut Eifel-Pfeiffer

Weingut Eifel-Pfeiffer / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

During the days we visited we had many opportunities to talk, but at our appointed time for our interview Raimund took us on a drive to the top of one of his vineyards, and it happened to be the oldest one that also is famous for its sundial. His tallest vineyards are 336 meters high, and the Mosel River is at 136. The ground is a combination of lush earth, wildflowers, and different types of slate rock – the rock in particular adds to the minerality found in the wines.

mother and daughter Tanja Gorgen-Eifel and Mia-Katharina Gorgen. 

Mother and daughter Tanja Gorgen-Eifel and Mia-Katharina Gorgen from award-winning Weingut Eifel-Pfeiffer.  Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Eifel-Pfieffer: Did you know that award-winning Weingut Eifel-Pfeiffer has been in the same family since 1642, and is currently worked by three generations? We had a fabulous tour and tasting with mother and daughter Tanja Gorgen-Eifel and Mia-Katharina Gorgen

We also learned that they only produce Riesling wines, have the coveted 1A rating which means that some of their vineyards are considered the best in the area, motivated Romanians work the steep vineyards, rainfall can’t always be counted on as it changes from year to year, and they have a total of 10 hectares over 30 kilometers in the Middle Mosel. 

Their low-alcohol, not-overly-sweet, fresh, and mildly acidic wines are made from single vineyards – and also a blend of different vineyards that are only from the same area. Riesling “show character of each vineyard that you can really taste in the wine…the structure, minerality and acid” according to mother and daughter. 

There are less winemakers now than there used to be: several of the smaller wineries have been absorbed by the larger ones as it’s been noted over time that it’s too cost prohibitive to run a small one-hectare winery.

2021 Mia from Trittenheimer Altarchen

2021 Mia from Trittenheimer Altarchen / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

These Rieslings pair well with all types of food – German, Indian, Chinese to name a few – and China just might be the largest importer of Eifel-Pfieffer wines. I was super impressed with all of their wines, from dry to sweet, but must give a special nod to a 1990 vintage from Trittenheimer Apotheke and the 2021 Mia (made by Mia while she finishes up winemaking school) from Trittenheimer Altarchen

Immich Batterieberg

Immich Batterieberg wine roster / photo credit: Ed Bushamn

Immich-Batterieberg: This time we had the opportunity to sit down and taste with winemaker Gernot Kollmann while learning all about Immich Batterieberg. Let me just start by saying we liked every wine that Gernot opened for us. Most were very dry, all are organic, and 96% of the wines that they make are Rieslings. 

Immich-Batterieberg where we were able to sit down with winemaker Gernot Kollmann

Immich-Batterieberg where we were able to sit down with winemaker Gernot Kollmann / photo credit: Ed Bushman

What makes them special: they are the largest owner of old and ungrafted vineyards in the Mosel, all rocky and steep, and the winery dates back to 1425.  

Seventy-eight percent of the 80k bottles they produce a year is exported to Japan, Italy, U.S., Switzerland, and the U.K. They receive top scores from Suckling and Parker, and those top-scoring wines sell out quickly.

The wines are a perfect example of the trend toward dry white wines (which means not sweet) and the continual production of lower alcohol wines.

Pic credit: Ed Bushman 

Villa Huesgen: If you are looking for a grand tasting experience, Villa Huesgen is it. Of course, if you have the opportunity to be charmed by Adolph Huesgen VIII himself, then it’s even more special. Adolph’s wine curriculum vitae is almost as interesting as the winery alone! He regaled us in stories of his many collaborations (from Australia to South Africa), work in wineries in California (he started his career at Robert Mondavi as the European sales director with Michael Mondavi) and what he and his family have currently achieved (sparkling, still, rose in the original blue bottles Riesling were first made in) at Villa Huesgen. 

Adolph Huesgen VIII

Adolph Huesgen VIII / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

The Huesgen family established the vineyard nine generations before, in 1735. The art nouveau-styled estate was built in 1904. They grow Riesling and Burgundy grapes, currently have their first block of Chardonnay in barrels and make more dry than sweet wines. They import to 35 countries.

We tasted ten wines, one of which recently was listed as one of the top nine Rieslings in the world by the Robb Report April 2024. We would have a hard time not liking any Villa Huesgen wines.

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler: This estate is right in the popular part of Bernkastel-Kues, and just adds to the beautiful Mosel landscape. We were greeted by Stefan Pauly, who led us on a tour of the building and the many tasting areas for their guests. As this was the last tour of our trip, we “drank it up” for the history, and of course, the wines. We tasted many Rieslings, and even a beautifully made Eiswein, and were thrilled to discover that our local Total Wine stores has the exclusive label, Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler, and it’s very reasonably priced though it sells out every year. (Made a mental note to go there as soon as we get home!) 

Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler

Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler // Photo credit: Ed Bushman

We learned that the winery was founded in 1556, they own 22 kilometers of vineyard along the Mosel, and they even offer an alcohol-free wine. One of the tasting areas we saw had a slight walkable ramp and was large enough to “seat a whole boat” of tourists that preferred not to climb up or down ancient steps for a wine tasting.

Stefan Pauly for Dr. Pauly Bergweiler wine estate

Stefan Pauly for Dr. Pauly Bergweiler wine estate / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

When to Visit

We happened to be in Bernkastel-Kues area of the Middle Mosel during Open Wine Cellar Days, which this year began on Germany’s Father’s Day. The holiday and the multi-day event brought many German tourists to the area, which added to the trip for us to “pick up some local color” so to speak. The event shows off many wineries not just during the day for tastings but also for night for tastings, meals, and live music. We chose to stay at the guest house at one winery, S.A. Preum, which made it even more convenient to walk over each night. We have been told that there are always wine festivals, so I highly recommend that you look at the calendar for these before planning your trip.

Raimund Pruem from Weingut S.A. Pruem

Raimund Pruem from Weingut S.A. Pruem / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

We got to Bernkastel-Kues from the Frankfurt airport, we rented a car and enjoyed the easy freeway routes and arrived just under two hours. We went in May, as we tend to pick times of the year when tourist areas are less crowded with summer travelers.

Bernkastel-Kues city

Bernkastel-Kues area / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

Besides wine tasting many tourists rent bicycles and e-bikes, tour on motorcycles, rowboat, parasail, take a boat tour and hike the vineyards. It’s a very walkable area in town with many wine bars, brew pubs, restaurants, and shops along the cobblestone streets. In other parts of the Mosel River, you can find sandy beaches and even water skiing.

Gastehaus at Prum

Gastehaus at Prum / Photo credit: Ed Bushman

There are many hotels along the Mosel River, we chose to stay in a suite at the Gastehaus at Prum and we would definitely return. Beautiful accommodations, locally sourced breakfast, and of course wine! 

 Find on Instagram: @VisitMosel @EifelPfieffer @ImmichBatterieberg @VillaHuesgen1735 @Weingut_PaulyBergweiler @S.A.Pruem

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.

 

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 June 21 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.

 

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