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Take a Deep Dive into Pop Culture with Media Path Podcast cohosted by Woke Boomers Fritz Coleman, Louise Palanker

Take a Deep Dive into Pop Culture with Woke Boomers Fritz Coleman, Louise Palanker on Media Path Podcast

Fritz Coleman and Louise Palanker are hosting a virtual dinner party.  It’s a fun time, a good time, with lots of laughs, smiles, and a deep dive into pop culture past and present.

Have you ever become obsessed with a topic and taken a deep dive into consuming all you could uncover about it?

Media Path Podcast is here to indulge your creative obsessions. Co-hosted by Los Angeles weatherman/humorist Fritz Coleman and filmmaker/columnist and co-founder of Premiere Radio Louise Palanker.

Take a Deep Diver into Pop Culture with Woke Boomers Fritz Coleman, Louise Palanker on Media Path Podcast

Today we had a conversation (via zoom) with Fritz Coleman and Louise Palanker.  This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

For the full conversation, visit our YouTube channel here.

 

 

What’s the best way to introduce this fun, flavorful conversation?

 

Louise: We tell folks, this is what you would be talking about if you got together with a group of friends anyway. What have you been watching? What should I stream? What’s good? So this is where every conversation eventually devolves. We just get there very rapidly

Fritz: Wheezy and I grew this podcast out of a friendship we’ve had for about 35 years, where we found out surprisingly and wonderfully, that we see eye to eye on lots of entertainment, movies, books, TV shows, and we thought, why not make this a podcast? It is a continuation of our common interests in our conversation.

So that’s what we do. We start each show with some suggestions on what people can watch, listen to, read, and that takes eight minutes. And then we always have a guest on; guests from all walks of life. We found that one of our sweet spots is television personalities from the Los Angeles area particularly ones from our growing up period, the 1960’s and 1970s boomer material and older.

But we do everything. We do politicians, we do singing stars. We’ve had very interesting books and topics that aren’t generally known to the public. I’ll give you an example. Two weeks ago. We had a show about a man who wrote a book about a woman by the name of Connie Converse, who I suppose you could describe as one of the great undiscovered musical talents in America.

She was a great songwriter and a great singer. She was never discovered, which was sad and then she just magically and mysteriously disappeared. So the book this guy wrote was about somebody that not everybody was familiar with, but it was fascinating because it was like a, ‘whodonnit’ and also the heartache of an undiscovered musical talent, that lady that started in Greens Village and all those things.

All that to say it’s Weezy and I discussing stuff we find fascinating and we hope you come along.

 

From the episodes I’ve watched, it feels like the most interesting dinner party you’ve been to in a long time.

 

Fritz: We appreciate that.

We’re gonna use that as a sales tool from now on. The most interesting dinner party you’ve ever been to. Yeah,

Louise: the food is awful. 

Fritz: My dinner with Weezy. 

Louise: Yeah, there’s some hard candies and it’s bring whatever you can in your purse because we, I’ve got some granola bars on the coffee table, but that’s it.

Fritz: We want the intimacy of a conversation among friends and so you, you analyzed it well. Beautiful.

 

Because everyone watching and listening loves food. Do you have a favorite food you’d recommend either you per personally and enjoy or something that we should be eating or cooking while we listen and watch your show?

 

Louise: I’m gonna recommend some water. This comes out of a filtration system near my sink. It’s just lovely.

Fritz: I happen to be a fan of Northern Italian cuisine. I won’t name specific dishes, but in general, I love risotto with a great protein like shrimp or chicken.

I love penne with a bolognese sauce. I love capellini alla checca, which is a great when you add shrimp to it and then you add a checca sauce, which is the red sauce with garlic. And so I like Northern Italian Cuisine. I don’t cook, but I can buy the best food in America. Just walking out my front door here.

Louise: Have you ever put salmon on a pizza?

Fritz: I’ve had that actually. That’s actually very good.

Louise: Very good. Goat cheese. Wonderful. I love let’s see, chicken parmesan, I think that’s what I would order.Maybe that sounds very pedestrian. But comfort foods are delicious.

Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, chicken parm. That’s the kind of stuff – any potato really, you can’t do anything to a potato that would offend me.

Fritz: I’ll tell you, LA is wonderful for that lately cuz there’s all sorts of interesting fusions going on. You have Vietnamese food and Italian food and a fusion menu.

And if you like to experiment with different palettes, this is a great city to do it in. It really is, thanks to Wolfgang Puck and some of the gourmet chefs in the town. Completely

 

I think what we’re all, what we’re all noticing immediately is the two of you have phenomenal chemistry. What’s the origin story?

 

Louise: Yes, absolutely. We know each other quite well. It’s very natural, and I’ve been podcasting since you could, you go back to 2005 whenever you got that new iPhone that said, would you like to listen to a podcast? And then you said, what’s a podcast? And then the adventure begins. 

So I’ve been doing it from jump and Fritz was contractually obligated to not speak outside of his news job about anything that did not concern a weather pattern. Your newsman cannot have an opinion. That’s very distracting, especially now in our divided sensibility.

Fritz: You just can’t say anything smart, that would embarrass the station. That’s all.

Louise: So you couldn’t do commercials. It makes sense if you’re talking about the weather, you don’t wanna be thinking, oh, this guy sells batteries. You just, you wanna just get your weather cast.

So as soon as he retired we jumped on board together because I had done four podcasts before this one, and I was prepared in terms of what a podcast requires, how difficult it is. And so for Fritz, I just need his mind, his preparation, his wit and his fascination with all things interesting.

And he’s more than ready to take on the podcasting world. He’s the best. 

Fritz: And this is not a brag but it’s true. You cannot manufacture chemistry. You can see two people on television. You hear them on the radio or hear them in a conversation, and you know that these two people should not be in the same room together, let alone host their own presentation.

But we just have a natural thing that was born out of our friendship really, and our common interest in stuff. One of our sweet spots is baby boomer and older music, old rhythm and blues. Weezy’s interest in music goes back to the old harmony groups like the Mills Brothers, cuz she was personal friends.

So all those things we find fun and so when we get in there we I think that the fun we’re having resonates to the audience. I hope it does. 

Louise: We geek out together. It’s like watching Jimmy Fallon. You’re just so giddy that he’s that giddy. So hopefully we bring that kind of enthusiasm and just to get to meet the people that we grew up watching.

And also the excitement of when you have an author reading the book and then getting to talk to the author and, rather than having to scour YouTube for interviews that the author did, because now you’re fascinated. We actually get to talk to the person. And so we find that exciting. It’s like going to grad school for free.

Fritz: One of the great joys is having a topic that you don’t know anything about. For instance, this Connie Converse topic and the one we’re having this week we’re preparing for now, this is a guy that wrote a book about the friendship between Henry Ford, John Burrows, and Thomas Edison.

These three geniuses in a different venue, each one, but they all had this spectacular friendship and they all took a road trip in a model T Ford.  I knew a little bit about Henry Ford, you know it from the Industrial Revolution and extreme antisemitism. But I didn’t realize that he had interests outside there. Louise and I are just gonna be blank slates and come into this interview with just being inquisitive, and that’s always fun.  You discover something you had no idea about.

Let’s talk about both of your backgrounds.

We’re gonna go to Fritz second. Louise,  bring everyone up to speed about what you’ve accomplished and those other podcasts you’ve worked on so people know the background that you bring to this show.

 

Louise: Yes, I began my career as a studio page, and it was one of those things where you get your foot in the door and one thing leads to the other thing.

So I became a studio page at a place called Metro Media Tape. We were doing all of the Norman Lear sitcoms. We had the John Davidson talk show. Which was where a person like me gets to meet Van Johnson. It was just crazy. Look, I’m from suburban Buffalo and here I am with Van Johnson.

It was crazy. So I’ve always just been so grateful to work in entertainment. I just consider it to be an honor. But that led to a job at a show called PM Magazine, which led to me meeting Rick Dees who was a local radio personality. I went to write his syndicated countdown show, which is called the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40, which led to me meeting other personalities at KISS FM and forming a company with them called Premier Radio Networks.

And that was a 15 year rocket ship that led to that company being sold to Clear Channel, which is now iHeart Media. At one point I went to one of my partners and I said, Hey, Craig, what are what’s the chance of me having my own show? And he said, none. And I said, I have two words for you, podcast.

Because he didn’t know that they were just the one word at that time. And I, that’s how new it was. I was doing standup comedy at the time, so I went to do standup comedy that night and I said to my friend, Laura Swisher, have you heard of a podcast? And she said, I just heard about it today.

It was just like, it was hot off the press, right? So we were like, let’s make one. That led to 100 episodes of Weezy In The Swish, which was my first podcast. And then I did one with K with teenagers where I was like giving teenagers advice cuz like I love to mentor young people.

And that one was called Journals Out Loud. And then I did one with some of my comedy friends called things I Found Online, which was people our age discovering the interne. Then Fritz retired and now I’m working with Fritz.

I never was a radio personality at Premier. I was a creator. I was in charge of all of the creative output, but Premier had shows that did not involve or include me other than behind the scenes. 

And now Fritz obviously. My words, you’re an LA icon. For more than 40 years…

 

Fritz: Contactually, you have to say that about me.  Every time you introduce me. I’m an LA icon.

 

Not only do you own LA TV, but you own LA stages because for those who don’t know, seeing you live is a phenomenally fun, entertaining evening.  Was it a very conscious segue to get into podcasting?

 

Fritz: My involvement with her podcast is totally her both blame and her gift that she gave to me after I retired.

People find this hard to believe. Real meteorologists hate this story, but I’ll tell it to you anyway. I was working at the Comedy Store in 1982 and because I talked on stage about having done the weather earlier in my broadcasting career, the news director from Channel Four and his wife were in the audience that night and he came up to me after the show and he said, I really enjoyed your show, particularly the thing about doing the weather in the Navy, but not knowing anything about it.

He said, would you have any desire to come to Channel Four and do some vacation relief, weather forecasting? I was making $25 a night at the Comedy Store, and so I almost passed out. I said, of course, when do you want me to start? He said you have to audition. So I auditioned and got the job, and I did two years as a vacation relief guy on the weekends.

Filling in on the weekends and filling in for people on vacation. And then two years later, I was bumped up to the weekday weather cast position and I retired two weeks shy of my 40th anniversary. And it’s just unbelievable. I didn’t set out to have a career in weather. This opportunity presented itself.

I could continue to do standup. I came out here from Buffalo, New York where we Weezy’s from to do standup. Even as the weather job I was able to continue to do standup. And so I had two careers. One paid for my children’s education. The other exercised my ego, and as they, it both worked out.

 

How do you two decide on the topics and when you bring up your guests, how do you decide on your guests?

 

Louise: We get a lot of offers coming our way now.  There’s definitely people that we go after. But we have so many folks that are pitching, when someone has something new that comes out, they make the rounds. And so we just know what our sweet spots are and we email each other with our producer Dina, and we say, does this sound good? 

So for example we did not know anything about that Elvis story that you’re talking about. And when it was pitched to us, we just said Absolutely. Exactly. This is what we wanna delve into. So that is what you’re referring to, is a book about a woman who researched Elvis’s health history and discovered that he wasn’t a drug addict because he enjoyed drugs. He was a drug addict because he was trying to feel normal. He was born with disease in 9 out of the 11 systems of the body, and this is why everyone on his mother’s side dies in their forties, including Elvis.

Fritz: That was a great example of what I was talking about.

Weezy and I were just flabbergasted. I mean we’ve all known a lot about Elvis, especially Weezy and I, because we’re students of music, but there was so much in there that we didn’t realize. And that’s a great example of discovering things that you weren’t aware of that made the podcast so much fun.

Louise: And the book is by Sally Hodel and it’s called Elvis: Destined to Die Young.

I think so many people are looking for that level of knowledge and a deeper dive. I think both YouTube and podcasts allows for those deeper dives.

 

What do the two of you look for when it comes to interviews? Is there different angles you’re both looking to achieve or how does that happen?

 

Louise: If we find it interesting, we just believe that other folks will find it interesting. So we just gauge it on what fascinates us.

We’re a pretty good barometer.

Louise: We’re always looking for politics. We both call ourselves “woke boomers”.

We’ll take it. And we love history. We love biographies, we love documentaries. We’re both news junkies. We love TV, especially the TV that is close to people because they grew up with it. We believe firmly that what you loved at 10 you love forever. We talked to Marty Croft and we talked to former child stars and we talk to folks like that.

This week we talked to Nellie Oleson,  Alison Arngrim from Little House on the Prairie as well. We love talking to those folks and learning what life was like as a child growing up making the television that other kids were so in intrigued by, and of course the music of our era, sixties, seventies, eighties,

Fritz: We had two documentary filmmakers on a couple of about a month or so ago.  They made a documentary about Blood, Sweat and Tears, which was one of the iconic groups of the late sixties and early seventies. They and Chicago were the first bands to use horns in mainstream rock and roll. But there’s a great backstory about how Blood, Sweat and Tears were bamboozled into making a tour behind the Iron Curtain.  They were the first American rock band that had ever been allowed to tour behind the Iron Curtain.

And there’s hundreds of hours of video of these guys experiencing Romania and all these less than welcoming countries. And that was fantastic because, again, we’d always been fans of Blood, Sweat and Tears.  But this was an aspect of their career we didn’t know anything about. That was fantastic.

And we had Bobby Columby, who was the drummer for Blood, Sweat and Tears in the studio with us. It was really fun. 

 

You both brought up in your own ways, “happy accidents” with guests.  Can either of you suggest guests we should go back through your archives and find?

 

Louise: My favorite episode features Joyce Bouffant. She wrote a book called My Four Hollywood Husbands. It’s absolutely a tremendously entertaining read. She was married to James MacArthur, The son of Helen Hayes. So this kid who has a impoverished childhood and suddenly she’s hanging out with Helen Hayes. Launches a career of taking care of alcoholic husbands and finally winding up with the man of her dreams.

And it’s just, it’s quite a ride and remarkably entertaining. 

Fritz: And we have guests that will always be our favorites. One of our only repeat guests, Henry Winkler, who happens to be a close friend to Weezy’s.  We had him on, but not because he’s a close friend. Because when you just have a very casual conversation with him, you realize his appeal to the world.

He’s one of the most down to earth, non-condescending, brilliant guys who never talks down to you. He’s just the loveliest man in the world and who has had an astonishing career. And we’ve had him on, and we’re gonna try to get him on again because he has an autobiography coming out soon. So we hope we can coerce him into coming back on.

But yeah, we love those too. We haven’t had anybody else on twice? I don’t think so. Adam Schiff. The politician. Now his life has changed because he’s running for senator from California.

Louise: He’s Fritz’s Congressman, so he’s congressionally obligated to attend our podcast.

He’s wonderful and very funny guy as well. We’re always just really honored to speak to him. Another favorite show of mine is: The Steve’s. Steve Young and Steve O’Donnell, both wrote for David Letterman. Steve Young has created this documentary called Bathtubs Over Broadway, where Steve Young becomes obsessed with industrial musicals.

It’s on Amazon Prime right now and it still gets a lot of views.

It’s fun to talk to Pat Boone and Vicky Lawrence and Johnny Whitaker and Christopher Knight. All of our comedian friends, but those are the stories that you love. Uncovering is things that you didn’t know were there and that delight you.

 

Let’s tell the audience where to find your show – Where do we find you?

 

Louise: Anywhere you type Media Path Podcast  it’s gonna come up.  Website, podcast, youtube, iphone.

Fritz: I have a new comedy special, which is streaming on Tubi. It’s called Unassisted Living. It’s just describing life for people of our demographic: that is old people and their parents.

 

That’s gonna be fun.  Can we find you live on stage soon?

 

Fritz: I think I’m gonna be having a residency at the El Porto Theater in North Hollywood, California. It’s a fairly legendary theater, called the Maryland Monroe Forum.

And I’m gonna be doing a show there once a month for a while as I work out new material. And I’ll be advertising that on social media and elsewhere. 

 

Find the Media Path Podcast: https://www.mediapathpodcast.com/

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Performance and Spirit:  ‘Lovers and Other Strangers’ at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio Fri-Sat nights only thru Feb 2024

 

Performance and Spirit Stand out with  “Lovers and Other Strangers” at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio.“Lovers and Other Strangers” runs at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio Fri-Sat nights only through February 2024.  The Taylor Acting Studio is an indie theater that hosts actors workshops, classes and shows at 2401 W. Magnolia Blvd in Burbank, CA.  

Cast attends Grand Opening of play “Lovers and Other Strangers” at The Taylor Studio, Los Angeles, CA, February 17th, 2024

 

Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio

Starring cast of Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio

For those unaware of “indie theater”, it’s a typical “black box” theater.  What it lacks in production budget, it makes up for in spirit and talent.  It’s a place where you discover hidden gems.  And tonight, we found several.

Singer Vanessa Bejine attends Grand Opening of play "Lovers and Other Strangers" at The Taylor Studio, Los Angeles, CA, February 17th, 2024

Singer Vanessa Bejine attends Grand Opening of play “Lovers and Other Strangers” at The Taylor Studio, Los Angeles, CA, February 17th, 2024

The concern was how well would a risque 1970s sex comedy play in LA’s woke 2024.

Let’s find out… 

Lovers and Other Strangers at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio

I didn’t walk into the show thinking of it as a “Girls Night Out”, but tonight it definitely played in that direction.    The packed theater was 70% women, who laughed, giggled and gasped throughout.

“Lovers and Other Strangers” at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio

Charly Taylor, Bradley Holzer, “Lovers and Other Strangers” at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio

Scene 1: Brenda & Jerry

Starring Charly Taylor, Bradley Holzer

What if your best and worst date was the same date?  Holzer’s “Jerry” tries to make his date night a little sexier while Taylor’s Brenda terrorizes him with naive or not-so-much wishy-washy responses.   

Taylor’s Brenda is electric as she walks on stage against Holzer’s kinetic energy.  It’s a high energy, flirty scene that stays fresh thanks to the performer’s chemistry. 

Painfully relatable.  Hilarious.  And it sets the tone for the night.  Laughing. Squirming. Following these characters through a maze of love, romance, disgust, bitterness.  

Phillip Latini, Elizabeth Kyokwijuka

Scene 2: Hal & Cathay

Starring Phillip Latini, Elizabeth Kyokwijuka

Do you love dialogue?  Phillip Latini and Elizabeth Kyokwijuka clearly love their dialogue and are having so much fun.  

Like a tennis match where they volley their bleeding hearts (and heartache) back and forth.  Heartbreak, swing, betrayal, swing, jealousy, embrace. Then repeat.  Latini offers a sneering performance demanding Kyokwijuka’s intensity and delicious she delivers. Great scene!

Art Santoro and Eugenia Kuzmina at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio

Art Santoro and Eugenia Kuzmina at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio

Scene 3: Johnny & Wilma

Starring Art Santoro and Eugenia Kuzmina

If you’ve seen Kuzmina’s work on the big screen before you know how easily she holds her stage presence.  

Tonight Kuzmina’s “Wilma” steals the scene in the first few moments with a quiet confidence and a misbehaving perfume bottle. Then like a cat and mouse game, she taunts, teases and plays Santoro’s Johnny until he can’t take it anymore.  He’s a mountain of a guy who’s gentle until he’s not.  When Santoro fires back it becomes a chess match. Physically, emotionally, psychologically.  Tossing and turning – the more they fight, the more their chemistry builds and what does that say about love?

Charly Taylor and Nathaniel Wyatt

Charly Taylor and Nathaniel Wyatt

Scene 4: Susan & Mike

 

Starring Charly Taylor and Nathaniel Wyatt

In tonight’s opening scene, Taylor is electric.  Now she visits us again. In this scene she shows another side  – calmly keeping pace while Wyatt takes the spotlight burning through his dialogue.   He bares his soul with vulnerability, angst, anger, desperation. 

Nathaniel Wyatt has leading man relatability.  Think Tom Hanks in 1984’s massive hit “Splash”.  If he and Charly Taylor aren’t pitching themselves (Hanks and Darryl Hannah, respectively) to the studios for a remake, the movie-loving world is missing out.

 

Sergio Lopez, Jordan Whitney

Sergio Lopez, Jordan Whitney

Scene 5: Bea, Frank, Rickie & Joan

 

Starring Eugenia Kuzmina, Sergio Lanza, Sergio Lopez, Jordan Whitney.

Throughout the night we’ve seen couples wrestling with every quirk and detail of relationships, healthy and not.  Here we see two married couples, one older, one younger – and how both couples are dealing with all of romance’s issues.

Sergio Lopez should win acclaim for his performance in this scene.  In a room full of bombastic characters, your eyes keep going back to him as he makes the subtlest of feelings quake the entire theater.

Sergio Lanza brings heart to the room and a baseline to Lopez’s reactions.  Lopez and Lanza should work together more often.  As Lanza’s internal boiling builds, he fills the room with emotion that all of the actors play off in the second half of the scene. The ensemble harmony is so flavorful and fun.  

Cue Jordan Whitney’s entrance who brings sunshine on a cloudy day.  Moments later, she informs Kuzmina’s performance in one of the highlights of the evening.

Eugenia Kuzmina reveals herself as a character actress

Eugenia Kuzmina reveals herself as a character actress. You know her best from several turns in Hollywood blockbusters, most notably gangsters and spies in big-budget Guy Ritchie movies.

But tonight she’s having a blast playing against type.  She’s moody and vulnerable.  Playing a lowly housewife with a lifetime of regrets. A woman in the audience goes from sobbing to full-on guffawing within seconds thanks to Kuzmina’s heartbreaking monologue in the second half of the scene.

One specific beat is so raw, honest, yet bitterly funny.  Kuzmina captures the mood.

It’s the perfect scene to end the show on.  

Eugenia Kuzmina

Eugenia Kuzmina

 

Indie Theater at Burbank’s Taylor Acting Studio is a fun date night

Why is indie theater important? Because in a town like LA, you can be sure these guys aren’t doing it for the money or the fame.  They’re performing for you tonight because they love it.

Director Jennifer Taylor Acting Studio

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Years ago, I was sitting in a black box theater and after the show I noticed an Oscar-winning filmmaker getting up from his seat in the back row.  On the walk out, I nudged him about why he was there.  He replied, “Eh, I had a tough week.  Got me cynical.  These kids helped remind me that I love storytelling.”  

Joe Winger at the premiere weekend

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If you love storytelling, give indie theater a try.  Pick a restaurant within walking distance.  Make it as date night.

Los Angeles’ A.O.C. Welcomes Celebrated Guest Sommelier Bobby Stuckey MS Feb 28

Los Angeles’ A.O.C. Welcomes Celebrated Guest Sommelier Bobby Stuckey MS Feb 28

Caroline Styne and Suzanne Goin welcome the co-owner of Frasca Food & Wine and Scarpetta Wines to A.O.C. on 3rd Street for an evening showcasing his boutique wines.

Caroline Styne and Chef Suzanne Goin will host a special evening at A.O.C. on Wednesday, February 28, 2024, featuring James Beard Foundation award-winner Bobby Stuckey of Boulder’s Frasca Food & Wine and Scarpetta Wines.

Bobby will serve as Guest Sommelier, showcasing the imported wines of Murva and his own Scarpetta Wines.

Caroline Styne has curated wine flights to be enjoyed during dinner, and guests can also choose from featured bottles from Murva or the Scarpetta wine library.

Additionally, A.O.C. will offer a selection of Italian cheeses for wine pairings. The menu will be à la carte, and reservations for the event are encouraged.

“I am beyond excited to have my idol,

Bobby Stuckey, working the floor with us at A.O.C.”

Caroline Styne

“His charisma and dedication to outstanding hospitality are inspirational.”

This evening presents a rare opportunity to meet Bobby Stuckey, a highly talented and charismatic figure in the hospitality industry.

WHEN:

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

5:30 – 10:00 p.m.

WHERE: A.O.C., 8700 W. 3rd Street Los Angeles, California 90049

Phone: 310.859.9859

Bobby Stuckey began his distinguished career in restaurants in his home state of Arizona, working his way from dishwasher to management, establishing his position as one of the leaders in the hospitality industry.

He joined the staff of The Little Nell restaurant in Aspen as a sommelier in 1995. During his five-year tenure, The Little Nell received numerous awards for wine and service, including Gourmet’s “Best Wine Service” Award; Mobile Travel Guide’s Five Star Hotel and Restaurant Rating; Wine Spectator’s Grand Award; and a nomination from the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Wine Service.

In 2000, Stuckey moved west to work with world-renowned chef Thomas Keller at The French Laundry in Yountville, California.

Within his first year, Stuckey led the acclaimed restaurant’s team to earn the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Wine Service award and San Francisco Magazine recognized him as “Wine Director of the Year.”

The French Laundry received the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant Service in 2003. It was during his tenure at The French Laundry where Bobby met his future business partner, chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson.

With the vision of opening a neighborhood restaurant reminiscent of the Italian frascas they had visited in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, Stuckey and Mackinnon Patterson opened their first restaurant, Frasca Food and Wine, in August 2004, in Boulder, Colorado. Having researched and traveled throughout Italy many times, both were deeply inspired by this region in particular — the international influences of its cuisine, the profusion of local ingredients in its rustic yet elegant dishes, its passionate relationship between food and wine, and the gracious hospitality of the locals. Receiving his Master Sommelier Diploma in 2004, Stuckey has been bestowed with some of the restaurant and wine industrys’ highest honors such as James Beard Foundation nominations for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional, Outstanding Wine Service, and won the prestigious award for Outstanding Wine Service in 2013.

In 2007, Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson launched Scarpetta Wines to produce Friulian white wines. They now produce over eight varietals. In January 2011, Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson opened Pizzeria Locale Boulder, a full-service, contemporary pizzeria inspired by the traditional pizzerias of Naples, Italy located adjacent to sister restaurant Frasca with a similar attention to hospitality in a contemporary, laid back, interactive atmosphere. The partners also own and operate fast-fine versions of Pizzeria Locale Denver, with four locations in the Denver Metro area.

In the fall of 2017, Stuckey and Mackinnon-Patterson, along with partners Peter Hoglund, and Continuum Partners’ Mark Falcone, opened Tavernetta in Denver’s Union Station neighborhood. Located directly off the Union Station train platform, Tavernetta is inspired by Italy’s vast culinary traditions, with a menu that celebrates authentic regional classics from across the entire country in an approachable and welcoming environment. In December 2019, they opened Sunday Vinyl, a European-inspired wine bar & restaurant dedicated to providing the highest quality analog listening experience, adjacent to Tavernetta in downtown Denver.

Frasca Food and Wine celebrated 15 years in 2019 and the same year, under Bobby’s direction, the restaurant won the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Service (changed to Outstanding Hospitality for the 2020 Awards thanks to Bobby’s recommendation).

ABOUT SCARPETTA WINES:

Scarpetta — The drivers of Scarpetta Wine are Bobby Stuckey M.S. and Lachlan Patterson former chef de partie at The French Laundry. They conspired to open a restaurant in Boulder, Colorado and thanks to a fateful trip to the Alpine region of Italy they had their inspiration… the cuisine and culture of Friuli. Always digging deeper for Friulian inspiration, Bobby and Lachlan travel to the region several times a year, even taking their entire staff along for a week of eating, wine tasting and general Friuli-worship every summer. It was only natural that when Bobby and Lachlan dreamt about starting their own wine label they looked first to the beautiful whites of Friuli, and Scarpetta was born. Murva – Moraro and Mariano del Friuli, Isonzo – The wines produced by Alberto Pelos at Murva are pure and vibrant.  Alberto, who spent many years as winemaker at Vie di Romans, describes the vineyard soils that comprise Murva’s vineyards as dolomitic, with small pebbles rich in iron and aluminum, and a high sand and clay content (feretto). He farms 4 hectares of vineyards that he owns, and 1 hectare that he farms in the center of town which is part of a community outreach program to support troubled youth.  The Murva wines have distinct salinity and energy that are not to be missed by any lover of Northern Italian whites.

ABOUT THE LUCQUES GROUP:

With the opening of Lucques, their flagship restaurant, in 1998, James Beard Foundation award-winning Chef/Author Suzanne Goinand award-winning Restaurateur Caroline Styne planted the seeds for The Lucques Group, a Los Angeles hospitality company that comprises two fine dining restaurants – A.O.C. in both Los Angeles and Brentwood. Along with these culinary enterprises, the company also owns the Larder Baking Company and oversees Hollywood Bowl Food + Wine, which curates all the food and beverage outlets at L.A.’s iconic music venue. The duo also operates two new restaurants – Caldo Verde and Cara Cara, and the new Dahlia cocktail bar at the Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel. The Lucques Group is dedicated to seasonally influenced cooking and focuses on sourcing local, organic produce from which Goin creates soulful dishes that are bold in flavor, vibrant, layered and complex.

Pasadena’s Newest: Pez Coastal Kitchen Brings Incredible Taste and Romance with Upscale sea and farm-to-table, seasonal California cuisine

Pasadena Newest Pez Coastal Kitchen brings Taste and Romance with upscale sea and farm-to-table, seasonal California cuisine

Executive Chef & Proprietor Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez proudly announce the official Grand Opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen, their new upscale seafood focused eatery in Pasadena on Thursday, February 15th, 2024!

Grand Opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen Thursday, February 15th

Executive Chef Proprietor Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez proudly announce the official Grand Opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen

Executive Chef Proprietor Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez proudly announce the official Grand Opening of Pez Coastal Kitchen // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Located on the corner of Union Street and North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena’s hottest culinary spot, Pez Coastal Kitchen promises a lively and innovative dining experience with a focus on sea and farm-to-table, seasonal California cuisine.

Pez Coastal Kitchen's Oysters on the Half Shell

Pez Coastal Kitchen’s Oysters on the Half Shell // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Executive Chef Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez are a dynamic husband and wife team that have made a significant impact in the hospitality industry. With their passion for culinary excellence and warm hospitality, they have created a signature name for themselves in the Los Angeles dining scene and beyond and they are now joined at Pez Coastal Kitchen in Pasadena with their magnetic team of top industry professionals Director of Operations Chris Mesa, Chef Joe Gillard, General Manager Brittany Player, and Bar Manager Mike Dane.

Pez Coastal Kitchen's Bar

Pez Coastal Kitchen’s Bar // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Chef Bret Thompson’s culinary journey began at the renowned California Culinary Academy in San Francisco where he then honed his skills at esteemed establishments such as Aqua in San Francisco, Roy’s in Hawaii, and Pinot Blanc in St. Helena, California.

Seeking international inspiration, Bret traveled to Spain to study under Chef Martin Berasategui at Restaurante Martin Berasategui, a Michelin 2-star establishment in Lasarte, Spain.

He further expanded his culinary repertoire in Lebanon at Atlas Café, then studied under Chef Bernard Loiseau at La Cote d’Or his Michelin 3-star restaurant in Saulieu, France, and then L’Arpege, Chef Alain Passard’s Michelin 3-star restaurant in Paris.

Throughout his career, Bret also had an extensive tenure with The Patina Group, working at multiple restaurants, running catering operations and ultimately becoming the Corporate Executive Chef overseeing all restaurant operations for the entire group.

Pez Coastal Kitchen's Dining Room

Pez Coastal Kitchen’s Dining Room // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

In 2007 to 2022, Chef Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez owned Milk Ice Cream, and in 2015 they decided to embark on a new culinary adventure together as the proud owners of Pez Cantina, their seasonal, modern, coastal-inspired Mexican restaurant and bar, located in downtown Los Angeles which quickly became a beloved dining destination and in October 2021, they expanded with a new location in Montebello, California, LA Burrito Co.

Thompson and Thompson-Ramirez’s newest venture will continue their commitment to sea-to-table and farm-to-table cuisine, but as Chef Joe Gillard joins Executive Chef Bret Thompson in the kitchen, the focus at Pez Coastal Kitchen will be on innovative techniques such as curing, smoking, and the specialized dry-aging of seafood which will be a distinctive feature.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Rosemary Paloma

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Rosemary Paloma // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

This new concept will focus on seafood, but will also extend beyond, encompassing meat, poultry, and a unique emphasis on the curing and smoking of meats and seafood, known as Sea-cuterie.

Executive Chef Bret Thompson is excited to go back to his European roots.

“I’m excited to serve seasonal cuisine with a big seafood nuance.”

Executive Chef Bret Thompson

“We will be showcasing shellfish towers like you might see in the streets of Paris at the brasseries. We’ll also be doing whole fish fries, and we have a massive open ice area where guests can see all the fresh seafood, we will be serving each night including whole fish, shrimp, oysters, sea urchin, and whatever is in season.”

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Seafood Tower

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Seafood Tower // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

The Pez Coastal Kitchen Menu starts off with Appetizers which include Chilled Beets with hazelnuts, burrata, winter greens and a hibiscus vinaigrette, the Pez Caesar prepared with gem lettuce, black kale, pepitas, colossal nori crisp, and white anchovies, Black Mussels a la Bouillabaisse with smoked pepper rouille and sesame griddle cake, and Crispy Sweetbreads Fritto Misto with a black lime aioli.

The Chilled Seafood and Crudos decadently spotlight Pez Coastal Kitchen’s seafood at its finest starting with a Chilled Seafood Tower for Two showcasing a ½ lobster, six jumbo shrimp, twelve oysters, four crab claws, and two scallop aguachile shooters, with a selection of sauces – black garlic aioli, mignonette, and salsa macha, Daily Oysters on the Half Shell, Dry-Aged Kingfish Crudo, Hokkaido Scallop Tartare, and Steelhead Trout Rillette served with American sturgeon caviar, forbidden rice cake, and pickled shallots.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Spaghetti alla Chitarra

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Spaghetti alla Chitarra // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Pez Coastal Kitchen Entrees

The Entrees are recommended to be enjoyed family-style featuring Whole Fried Fish, Alaskan Halibut, Seared Jumbo Scallops served with a smoked ham-celery fritter and truffled apple salad, Smoked Baby Back Ribs, Prime Center Cut Filet of Ribeye with a green peppercorn demi and Pez fries, Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Manila clams, mussels, and uni nage, and Crispy Half-Chicken with chicken “lule”, petite roasted carrots and radish, apricot, sage, and carrot demi.

Pez Coastal Kitchen Veggies and Sides

And finally, a selection of exceptional Veggies and SidesPotato Gratin with bacon, gruyere, and cippolini onions, Yam Skins with green tahini, whipped feta and Marcona almonds, Hickory Smoked Cauliflower Steak with a spicy kumquat glaze, and shallot yogurt, and Brussels Sprouts with Red Boat caramel, seed crunch, and black garlic vinegar.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Citrus Olive Oil Cake // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Dessert

Dessert is equally exciting with innovative delights such as Warm Chocolate Butterscotch Peanut Butter Cake with honeycomb ice cream, Citrus Olive Oil Cake served with mascarpone pistachio cream, limoncello granité, and strawberry, Mint Chip Ice Cream Brownie Sundae with Chocolate Strings, and Chai Spice Poached Pear with hazelnut crunch, tart yogurt, and blackberry compote.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Mint Chip Ice Cream Brownie Sundae

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Mint Chip Ice Cream Brownie Sundae // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Bar

Complementing the mouthwatering menu is the well-stocked Pez Coastal Kitchen Bar, a long contemporary bar with a stunning emerald marble bar top, high ceiling, and magnificent fans making it a haven for cocktail enthusiasts and diners alike.

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Matcha Sour

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Matcha Sour // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

Bar Manager Mike Dane has curated an exceptional cocktail program, featuring the Rosemary Paloma, Matcha Sour, Chartreuse Colada, and the signature Happy Wife, Happy Life comprised of Redemption High-Rye bourbon and Liquid Alchemist Apple Spice with a sugared apple crisp, along with an extensive selection of Premier Spirits, Wines, and Beers

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Lounge & Bar

Pez Coastal Kitchen, Lounge, Bar // Photo Credit: Jakob N. Layman

 

Pez Coastal Kitchen sits in a historical building that was built in 1896 and was completely transformed and redesigned by Margee Drews Design to exude a California-Mediterranean coastal feel across multiple spaces.

Guests enter a beautiful light and airy dining room with a stunning feature wall, large plush booths and banquettes with sleek wood tables surrounded by plush greenery, warm and welcoming lounge separated from the dining room by grand Mediterranean arches with high industrial ceilings and romantic Havana-style fans, a prominently placed cocktail bar and open kitchen.

drinks with friends, intimate dinners, group gatherings, or special events

Whether for drinks with friends, intimate dinners, group gatherings, or special events, Pez Coastal Kitchen promises an exceptional experience for all who walk through its doors!

 

As Co-Owners Executive Chef Bret Thompson and Lucy Thompson-Ramirez continue to innovate and reinvent themselves, and Pez Coastal Kitchen in Pasadena promises a unique blend of California coastal cuisine, thoughtfully crafted cocktails, specially curated wines, and their dedication to excellence ensures an unforgettable dining experience that celebrates vibrant flavors and genuine hospitality.

The Pez Coastal Kitchen official Grand Opening is Thursday, February 15th, 2024.

Pez Coastal Kitchen will be open for Dinnerevery Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, and every Friday and Saturday from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

For more information about Pez Coastal Kitchen or to make reservations, please call 626.210.0775 directly or visit www.PezPasadena.com.

About the Author
Joe Wehinger (nicknamed Joe Winger) has written for over 20 years about the business of lifestyle and entertainment. Joe is an entertainment producer, media entrepreneur, public speaker, and C-level consultant who owns businesses in entertainment, lifestyle, tourism and publishing. He is an award-winning filmmaker, published author, member of the Directors Guild of America, International Food Travel Wine Authors Association, WSET Level 2 Wine student, WSET Level 2 Cocktail student, member of the LA Wine Writers. Email to: Joe@FlavRReport.com

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