Celebrity Cruising The Streets

Celebrity Cruise Food and Spa Truck

Celebrity Cruise Food and Spa Truck

I’m used to seeing food trucks parked on major streets around Los Angeles and was surprised to see a Celebrity Cruise food truck parked in Pasadena.

This summer Celebrity Cruises hit the road visiting various sites in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura, Riverside, and even Palm Springs.

The “Taste of Modern Luxury Culinary & Spa Tour,” is Celebrity’s first-ever gourmet restaurant on wheels. Skilled chefs prepare dishes found in the restaurants on its fleet of 11 ships.

The food truck menu offers crab cakes with roasted pepper capanota that taste just like the ones served in  Tuscan Grille. Barbecued baby-back pork spring rolls with a chipotle cole slaw are similar to the dish onboard at QSine and a grilled chicken with basil pesto panini is the same recipe served at the Porch.

Other menu items served from the truck are from the Celebrity Cruises’ signature restaurants Bistro on Five and Grand Epernay. Each dish is $8 with a beverage. Celebrity donates 50% of the food truck proceeds to a charity.

While waiting for your order to be prepared, Celebrity has a AquaSpa staff member offering free shoulder massages. Visitors can also enter their names IMG_4987to win a free Celebrity Cruise vacation. There are plenty of brochures for you to take of upcoming cruises to the Caribbean, Asia – Pacific, Alaska and Europe.

On the Celebrity Cruise website they are offering the food truck to come to your  corporate campus or event. Click on this link: http://www.celebritycruises.com/genericHtmlTemplate.do?cid=mul_mul_mul_brndgn_1301_mul_mul_la_9710&pagename=taste_of_modern_luxury_tour.  Tell Celebrity Cruises why the “Taste of Modern Luxury Culinary & Spa Tour” should come to your upcoming event by emailing to  SoCalEvents@celebrity.com.

Halloween Destinations in So Cal

Come get into the festive Halloween mood by visiting one or all of these great October attractions –

DEL MAR’S Halloween Hideout

Adults have a scary good time from October 1 to October 31 at L’Auberge Del Mar’s Halloween package. Enjoy a special room rate, $25 cocktail credit and Halloween treats from the kitchen. The resort will offer transportation to and from any Halloween dining or event within a five-mile radius. Rates start at $229 midweek and $289 on the weekend. For reservations visit www.laubergedelmar.com or call 800-245-9757.

Zombie Nights at the Westin Bonaventure 

Be prepared to be scared as you enter the Bonavista Lounge on October 31 from 8 to 11 p.m. Zombies come alive on the haunted 34th floor of downtown Los Angeles’ famous hotel. Live entertainment will relax your soul as Zombies strut about the lounge. Sip a Crystal head vodka cocktail and enjoy some frighteningly good appetizers. Hopefully you will be a winner in one of the many giveaways.  404 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles (213)624-1000.

Paradise Point October Deal

DSC_0278Stay in a waterfront bungalow or suite, free kids breakfast at the resort’s legendary Barefoot Bar & Grill and a $50 “Island Allowance” for kids to spend on kayak rentals, a game of mini-golf, ingredients for s’mores, or whatever they wish across the resort’s 44 acres. Families can also take advantage of the resort’s five tropical pools, 18-hole putting golf course, tennis courts, full-service marina, beach bonfire pits and fleet of beach cruisers, quadracycles and Segways.

More than 100 San Diego family attractions, museums, restaurants and transportation companies are offering free kids admission this October. Paradise Point’s central location makes the resort a perfect home base for visiting participating attractions like the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the USS Midway Museum and Belmont Park. Across the street from Paradise Point, families can take advantage of spectacular Kids Free San Diego offers from SeaWorld San Diego. The world-famous marine theme park is offering one child, ages 3 to 9, free admission to the park with one full-paid adult admission, and one free child pass to dine next to Shamu with one paid adult Dine With Shamu ticket. Kids, ages 10 to 13, are also invited to participate for free in SeaWorld’s Dolphin Encounter and Dolphin and Beluga Interaction Programs with one paid adult participation.

For more information on Paradise Point’s “San Diego Kids Free Package,” or for reservations, visithttp://www.paradisepoint.com/packages/kids-free-october-in-san-diego  or call (800) 344-2626.  All participating offers are valid Oct. 1-31, 2013, and age limits and other restrictions vary by venue and activity.

IMG_4651LEGOLAND® California Resort offers kids’ and their parents Halloween celebration in San Diego with Brick-or Treat and Brick-or Treat Party Nights, presented by Shutterfly.  Every Saturday night in October, the family theme park’s Brick-or-Treat Party Nights boasts a variety of family activities including a new Ghost Cruise Ride experience,  an expanded Brick-or-Treat Trail including a special station at SEA LIFE™ Aquarium. The  new LEGOLAND Hotel gets into the Halloween spirit with its own Brick-or-Treat entertainment, be sure to ride the disco elevator.

Following last year’s valiant effort to break the World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as vampires, the Park is kicking-off this year’s Brick-or-Treat celebration on October 4 with another attempt at breaking the record. Beginning September 28, guests help construct a giant 10 foot tall LEGO® Lord Vampyre statue one brick at a time.

Every weekend in October (Oct. 5 & 6,12 & 13, 19 & 20, 26 and 27), children 12 and under can trick-or-treat on the new ten-station Brick-or-Treat trail gathering goodies, tastyIMG_4727 treats and other surprises. The LEGO themed treat stations offer a safe, fun and entertaining trick-or-treating experience for all to enjoy.   Also new, the Park’s Coast Cruise boat ride becomes “Ghost Cruise”, featuring a special LEGO Monsters Scavenger Hunt and storytelling experience.

Every Saturday night in October from 5 to 9 p.m., the Park transforms into a not-too-spooky Halloween celebration. Brick-or-Treat Party Nights features costume contests, nighttime trick-or-treating on Brick-or-Treat trail, festive music, entertainment, interaction with the “Boo Crew”, the animated light show “Spirits of Halloween” after sundown and fireworks cap off the night at 9 p.m.

Several ghoulishly fun areas of LEGOLAND are open late for Party Nights on October 5, 12, 19 and 26, including Land of Adventure, Castle Hill, Imagination Zone and Park favorites: Coastersaurus, Safari Trek and Fairy Tale Brook. Kids can participate in fun activities like Hubble Bubble’s Ultimate Dance Party hosted by Hubble Bubble and Frank Rock, the Haunted Hideaways and a LEGOLAND pumpkin patch building activity with glow-in-the-dark treats for nighttime fun. As children “boo-gie” down during Party Nights, they will also love interacting with the “Boo Crew” including Silly Scarecrow, tap dancing skeletons, the amazing Brickzini, Dr. Hyde’s percussion cart plus the interactive show “Mail Order Monsters,” entertainment from the “Wichettes” and a splash artist creating Halloween-themed paintings to music.

San Diego 09 022SEA LIFE Aquarium offers guests a bonus Brick-or-Treat station filled with treats and other aquarium surprises. A special themed daily dive show featuring underwater pumpkin carving, a Halloween puppet show and daily creepie crawler appearances every Saturday and Sunday in October also add to the Halloween fun.

Book a night at the LEGOLAND theme hotel to admire their Halloween decorations. The is nightly entertainment from the Boo Crew’s Dr. Rodney Rathbone and his monster fighting crew. Kids enjoy the Halloween theme building activities.

In the Halloween spirit, community sponsor Union Bank is donating 300 tickets to local Boys and Girls Clubs allowing members to visit this year’s Brick-or-Treat festivities during the first weekend of the month-long celebration. All Brick-or-Treat and Party Nights festivities are included in the price of regular one-day admission to LEGOLAND California.  During Brick-or-Treat, LEGOLAND is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. SEA LIFE is staying open until 8 p.m. on Saturdays for those wanting to explore the Aquarium after dark. Guests planning to attend Brick-or-Treat Party Nights can only purchase special tickets online or at the front gate in advance for just $30 at http://www.LEGOLAND.com or call 760-918-5346.


Back Camera

Every year we take a trip to Disneyland in October to get into the festive spirit. The park is transformed into a lively autumn/Halloween celebration. The fun begins  the minute the tram leaves the parking garage to take visitors to the entrance of the park.  Main Street Disneyland has been transformed with more than 300 pumpkins and a 16-foot-tall Mickey Jack-o’-lantern.

The Haunted House with its 999 residents is decorated with Halloween decor, featuring Jack Skellington and buddies from the Tim Burton film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”  Space Mountain is even more scary with a new Ghost Galaxy. That is by far my favorite ride, because it is so dark inside and I never know where the next turn will be.  Star Tours offers new destinations and adventures in 3-D. Big Thunder Round-up has barnyard animals and a creative display of carved pumpkins and beautiful autumn displays.

Cruella de Vil, Jafar and Captain Hook wander around the park tricking guests into having a fun time at Disneyland. There is also a Dia del los Muertos celebration.

2013 Mickey’s Halloween Party Dates and Ticket PricesDSC_0155

Ticket Includes

  • Admission to the Disneyland Park up to 3 hours prior to the event’s start time.
  • Complimentary parking for one vehicle. Larger vehicles may require an additional fee.
Dates and Times Advance Ticket Price Annual Passholder Advance Ticket Price Ticket Price on Event Date
Friday, September 27, 20137:00 PM to midnight SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT
Tuesday, October 1, 20136:00 PM to 11:00 PM $59.00 $51.00 $67.00
Friday, October 4, 20137:00 PM to midnight SOLD OUT SOLD OUT SOLD OUT
Tuesday, October 8, 20136:00 PM to 11:00 PM $59.00 $51.00 $67.00
Friday, October 11, 20137:00 PM to midnight $67.00 $67.00 $67.00
Tuesday, October 15, 20136:00 PM to 11:00 PM $59.00 $51.00 $67.00
Friday, October 18, 20137:00 PM to midnight $67.00 $67.00 $67.00
Monday, October 21, 20136:00 PM to 11:00 PM $59.00 $51.00 $67.00
Wednesday, October 23, 20136:00 PM to 11:00 PM $59.00 $51.00 $67.00
Friday, October 25, 20137:00 PM to 12:00 midnight $67.00 $67.00 $67.00
Monday, October 28, 20136:00 PM to 11:00 PM $59.00 $51.00 $67.00
Wednesday, October 30, 20136:00 PM to 11:00 PM $74.00 $74.00 $74.00
Thursday, October 31, 20136:00 PM to 11:00 PM $74.00 $74.00 $74.00

Ticket and Event Information

  • May not be combined with other discounts.
  • No ticket is required for Guests 2 and under.
  • Space is limited and tickets are available while supplies last. Subject to capacity and other restrictions
  • Tickets are valid for admission to the designated party and to the theme park beginning at a specified time prior to party commencement.
  • Tickets are nonrefundable and may not be sold or transferred for commercial use.
  • Days and times of operation and all other elements including, but not limited to, operation of attractions, entertainment, services, stores and restaurants, appearances of Disney Characters and applicable theme park may vary and are subject to change without notice.
  • No Smoking at Mickey’s Halloween Party: Mickey’s Halloween Party is a completely non-smoking event, and there will be no designated smoking areas within the Park. Exit and re-entry is permitted to designated smoking areas in the Esplanade outside the Disneyland Main Entrance.

Purchase Tickets in Advance—

Buy your tickets now and print them at home. Advance purchase prices available until one day prior to applicable event date. Online purchases unavailable on day of event.

Buy Tickets Online Now

Or call Tickets & Reservations at (714) 781-4400. Guests under age 18 must have parent or guardian permission to call.

IMG_0199QUEEN MARY’S Dark Harbor

For 17 terrifying nights starting on  Oct. 3 the Grand Dame is transformed into a sinister new circus themed maze. Horrifying freak shows will give you thrills and chills.

This year, the Captain celebrates Dark Harbor by raising a circus of horrific spirits, malevolent circus entertainers and other unfortunates.

Tickets start at just $20. The Dates include Oct. 3 – 5, 11-13, 17-20, 24-27 and 31. With extra nights on November 1 and 2. Come for a scare from 7 p.m. to midnight. To learn more go visit http://www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor/#sthash.dgFTOLWi.dpuf.


Come celebrate autumn at a family-friendly Harvest Festival on Saturday – Sunday, October 19 and 20. All the activities are free with the purchase of an admission. On Saturday, October 19 Acorn bear takes toddlers ages two to four and their parents or guardians on a trek with singing, story time, crafts and exploration in the Rose Pavilion.

Both days there will be costume parade at the Center Circle at 11 a.m. Afterwards, Heidi Sweiberg plays in the Sukey Jump Band. Bring your ukulele to the Under the Oaks Theater for a jam session. Or go to the Main Lawn for seasonal crafts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Patina Restaurant Group will be selling hot dogs, corn and other autumn far from their  Chuckwagon. Food is available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. near the Under the Oaks Theater. For those with a green thumb, visit the Hay Bale Gardens at 11:30  a.m. Hay or straw bale gardening is an innovative way to create an above-ground contained garden.

General admission is $9. Seniors and Students with an I.D. are $6. Children 5 to 12 are $4. Under 4 and younger are free. 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge – (818)949-4200.

8 Resorts Where Pets Are Welcome

Back Camera

My Ginger loves to travel

My furry mutt is the love of my life. It’s not always easy for me to take her with me on my travels, yet I try to stay at properties that are “pet friendly” whenever possible.

I get out and explores the scenery more while walking my dog. It’s also a great ice-breaker to talk to guests at the hotel or residents in a community when out walking your dog. You are bound to stop when you approach another dog and owner with a smile. While the furry friends are getting to know each other, it’s a good time to for travelers to ask about favorite restaurants, dog-friendly parks, and favorite walking trails.

If your dog meets the following requirements, then he or she can travel with you too. Dogs must be quiet, leashed, cleaned up after, and crated when left alone in the room.

Here are some of my favorite spots to stay with Ginger:

City Dog


The W in Westwood in one block from Westwood Village and two blocks from UCLA

W Los Angeles – Westwood has a special Pets are Welcome program for cats and dogs that are 40 pounds or less. Upon arrival, guests and their four-legged friends receive a special welcome amenity, information about the pet services available through the Concierge, custom W pet bed, food and water bowl for floor mat, pet in-room door sign, and a special treat at Turndown. The fee is $25 above the daily room charge, plus a non-refundable $100 cleaning fee.

Additionally, The Backyard also offers a special Fido’s Kitchen menu, including Milo’s Chopped Veggie and Chicken Salad with carrots, apples, spinach, cucumber, and poached chicken; Pepper’s Seafood Goulash with ground salmon, oats, spinach, and kale. 930 Hilgard Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024 – (310) 208-8765 – http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=97518

The Lake Arrowhead Village is fun to explore with a dog

The Lake Arrowhead Village is fun to explore with a dog

Mountain Air Dog

Lake Arrowhead Resort is pet friendly with a limited amount of rooms available. Multiple well-behaved pets of any size are allowed for a fee of $25 per pet, per night. Please confirm availability at the time of booking to avoid disappointment. I was told that I would be responsible for any damages. Ginger was not allowed in the pool or the restaurant, however nearby is the Lake Arrowhead Village with dining, shopping and magnificient views of the lake. Ginger loved to look at all the ducks and bark at a few. Duck food is available for purchase for under $1 at Belgian Waffle Works. 27984 Highway 189, Lake Arrowhead, CA, (877)411-3436

Beach Loving Dog

the cliff in laguna 003

Dogs are welcome to join their owners at The Cliff in Laguna

Inn at Laguna Beach is the only hotel right next to the beach and charming town to offer your pooch room and board and dog walking. Wonderful paved walking paths and grassy parks are steps outside this property. Ginger and I enjoy waking up in the morning and evening to Heisler Park. It’s just north of Main Beach. Heisler Park offers spectacular views of the Laguna Beach coastline. We take a half-mile stroll along the paved path and meet new friends relaxing for a picnic on the grass or waiting for a handout while their owners are barbecuing with friends.

I bring Ginger’s bed, food and water bowls and treats. If you would like the Pampered Pooch package it’s $75 per dog, per night and can be added onto any room rate. The package includes a comfortable dog bed, dog bowl and toy for use during stay. They offer a doggie treat each evening at turndown. If you choose, a licensed dog walking service will walk your dog on a 15-minute walk. The Inn will allow two dogs under 40 pounds per room. However, they are not fans of pit bulls or pit mixes. You must complete a pet waiver upon check-in. The Cliff restaurant within walking distance  of the Inn at Laguna Beach allows well behaved dogs to join their owners outside – (949)494-1956. The Inn at Laguna Beach is located at 211 N. Coast Hwy.
(949) 497-9722.

Palm Springs Loving Dog


Ace Hotel is Very Dog Friendly

Ace Hotel and Swim Club loves animals. They have a dog friendly park where Ginger can run around and do her business. She loves to sit with me when I hang out by the pool. She is not allowed in, but that’s ok, because she doesn’t like to swim anyways. The outdoor patio fireplace and patio garden rooms are pet friendly. The fee is $25 per day for the first pet and $10 for each additional pet. It’s close enough to walk to shops along Palm Canyon where Ginger finds many water bowls to quench her thirst. During the summer it does get quite warm, up to 115 degrees. Ginger and I like to visit the desert in Oct. to May for optimal temperatures for hiking, walking and sitting outside to enjoy the dry warm air. 701 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs – (760) 325-9900.

San Diego’s Mission Bay Dog

Ginger just makes the maximum weight requirement to stay at Paradise Point right on the bay. They offer a Petite Pooch program where I must sign a pet policy upon check in. I must agree that Ginger weighs less than 15 lbs.

Since she is the sweetest little pooch, I don’t have to worry about the not aggressive clause. I always bring her current vaccination sheet. She also must be free of ticks and fleas.

Paradise Pointe has a great beach to explore with your pooch.

Paradise Pointe has a great beach to explore with your pooch.

She is always under my control anytime we are outside of the room in the lobby, public 
areas, and guestrooms.

Ginger is not allowed at Baleen, Barefoot Bar & Grill, Tropics, the resort pools, Spa or 
Island Market. If Ginger ever had an accident I would have to pay an additional $150 cleaning fee.  The Pet Fee is $250 per stay, to be paid in advance to the Resort, however $150 is refunded upon our departure, pending inspection of the guest room, once they see that Ginger is a very well behaved pup. 1404 Vacation Road •San Diego, CA 92109 •Phone: 858.274.4630 •Reservations: 800.344.2626 www.paradisepoint.com.

Santa Barbara Beach Fun

A friend of mine brought her pooch to Bacara Resort & Spa for a birthday celebration. She could walk along the beach with her dog while on a leash and could bring the dog to the glorious pools, as long as she rented a top level cabana for $150. The property also has a nearby nature trail for the two

Dogs aren't allowed to swim at the glorious Bacara pool, but they can in the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Dogs aren’t allowed to swim at the glorious Bacara pool, but they can in the nearby Pacific Ocean.

to explore. Housekeeping left clean up bags for her. It did cost $150 for a one-time non-refundable pet fee. She sat with her dog outside at the Bistro Restaurant terrace to dine together. It offered a casual and relaxed atmosphere to dine and enjoy sweeping views of the coastline. The locally-sourced ingredients offer an Italian flair.  They also could sit together in the healthy dining option, Spa Café.

Bacara is happy to accommodate any dog weighing up to 50 pounds. Excessive barking dogs that bother guests will have their owners pay a $50 disturbance fee. 8301 Hollister Ave  Goleta, CA 93117 – (805) 968-0100 – www.bacararesort.com

Ojai Valley Inn welcomes pets

Ojai Valley Inn welcomes pets

The Ojai Dog

Ginger and I had a fun time at Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. The five diamond pet friendly program included Ginger’s name on the outside of our room. The grounds have plenty of dog friendly areas that we explored together. It did cost $150 for Ginger. If she had a sibling or friend it would cost $50 more for a two dog maximum. The resort only allows a certain number of pets, so be sure to inquire when you make a reservation.  905 Country Club Rd, Ojai, CA 93023 – (805) 646-1111 www.ojairesort.com

Carlsbad Pampers Dogs

A friend excitedly told me about The West Inn & Suites hotel in Carlsbad, CA. She said they offer a new room service menu just for dogs. The service is a tail-wagging addition to

the numerous pet-friendly amenities already offered by the hotel. The new Canine Cuisine menu offers a range of mouth-watering entrées for Fido and friends, including a deboned rotisserie chicken, chopped juicy beef and bacon burger, chopped meatloaf shepherd’s pie and a mixed vegetable burger with rice and potatoes. Each gourmet dish is freshly prepared by chefs at the hotel’s Bistro West restaurant and features farm-fresh ingredients from the property’s own 3-acre farm. Each dish is also offered in various portion sizes to accommodate the appetites of all sized pooches. 

 Upon arrival at the West Inn & Suites, four-legged friends are treated with the highest level of customer service. Pets are welcomed with a special treat at check in and their names are displayed on the welcome chalk board at the front desk. Inside their rooms, pets can expect to find numerous amenities and delights. Treats and pet aromatherapy sprays are available to help Fido ease into vacation, while dog bowls and doggie beds are specifically sized per pet to offer the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. For the adventurous pup, the hotel’s Pet Concierge can suggest an abundance of local pet-friendly activities ranging from local dog beaches to the best day care facilities while visiting LEGOLAND for the day.  The hotel also has a pet-friendly patio at adjacent Bistro West restaurant and has and onsite dog park with a pet drinking fountain for refreshment after playtime.

West Inn & Suites will offer a special introductory package for guests traveling with pets, starting at $209 per night, plus tax. The package includes deluxe accommodations, choice of one Canine Cuisine entrée, use of the hotel’s pet park and pet concierge, preferred pet-friendly seating on the Bistro West patio and daily in-room cleaning and placement of pet beds, bowls, treats and amenities. For reservations, visit www.westinnandsuites.com or call (760) 448-4500.

Enchanting El Encanto in Santa Barbara

IMG_1688The first time I visited Santa Barbara’s newest luxury resort, El Encanto, I didn’t want to leave. I was only there for 24 hours, yet I enjoyed every minute. The stunning Orient-Express Hotels, Ltd. property opened in March 2013, after over seven-years of extensive restoration.

Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. is a luxury hotel company and sophisticated adventure travel operator since 1976, when it purchased Hotel Cipriani in Venice and then shortly thereafter recreated the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London, Paris and Venice, along with other European cities.

Today the Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. brand embraces 45 hotel, cruise and luxury rail businesses in 22 countries, including distinctive properties such as Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Grand Hotel Europe in St Petersburg, Hotel Ritz Madrid, Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Maroma Resort and Spa on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.  The company also operates six luxury tourist trains, three river cruise operations and one of New York’s most iconic restaurants. www.orient-express.com

During my one night stay, I visited El Encanto’s infinity pool, had an elegant afternoon tea, enjoyed a healthy breakfast made by renowned chef Patrice Martineau and later relaxed with a one-hour spa treatment.

The themes running throughout the resort are hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies. El Encanto is located along the butterflies migratory path. As a tribute, the resort is offering a deal – Monarch Butterfly Migration Package from October 15 through March 15, 2014. Rates start at $570 per night and include luxury accommodations, a ‘Diamond Dusted Monarch’ welcome cocktails, a ‘Healing IMG_1722Cocoon’ spa treatment, and a $60 daily breakfast credit.

With Autumn Approaching

Schedule a day at The Spa at El Encanto to experience and learn the secrets of eternal youth with an 80-minute session created with hand-picked sage from the lush gardens at El Encanto. The restorative $240 treatment features a body scrub, relaxing massage, and soothing scalp therapy to stimulate circulation and kick-start cell renewal for an all-over fall glow.

 Seasonal Delights

IMG_1680Chef Patrice Martineau at El Encanto’s Dining Room and Terrace has designed an innovative fall menu that incorporates contemporary California-coastal cuisine infused with Asian touches and French flair. Working in Japan, he favors Japanese herbs, including wasabi and burdock. Many of these are planted  in the Chef’s garden ready for his daily picking. The menu incorporates local uni and prawns, to Silver Mountain Aged Cheddar courtesy of the hotel’s very own Holstein cow, Ellie.

Savor and Sip Afternoon Tea

Having once supervised the culinary offerings at The Savoy in London, Chef Patrice Martineau has introduced an exquisite “High Tea”  from the china to the freshly made French pastries. Porcelain artist Lissi Kaplan hand-painted each china tea set. When I experienced the afternoon tea, I has a choice of  loose leaf green, white and black teas while indulging in traditional delicacies including raisin-saffron scones, clotted cream, homemade preserves, savory egg salad, and crisp cucumber sandwiches.  The tea begins daily between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. and starts at $20 for the ‘Light Tea’ service. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance.

Enchanting Treasures

My children and I enjoyed strolling around El Encanto’s seven-acres. We found five unique and colorful ceramic pigs hidden throughout the property. We inspected the Chefs Garden, and pointed out the numerous hummingbird feeders. Afterwards, we took another dip in the heated swimming pool and gazed out at the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands.

To learn more about El Encanto – go to http://www.elencanto.com/web/ele/el_encanto.jsp

LA County Fair – Now through September 29, 2013

565001_10151816257495861_1926214413_nThis is a good weekend to visit the LA County Fair. There are so many ways to see at the fair at a discount. Eat the creative food, ride on the thrilling rides, and listen to some great music.

Check out how the community is celebrating the Fair in town with discounts and giveaways.

Bath & Body Works County Fair—a fun, playful take on a favorite local pastime.

image004-1Since the Fair is in town, on September 21 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., select Bath & Body Works stores will be transformed into festive county fairs, complete with Blue Ribbon interactive experiences. Join Bath & Body Works for the Blue Ribbon Pumpkin Review—an activity where you’re the judge. Simply smell the range of NEW BBW Pumpkin candles and select your favorite. You can even take your top picks home! Next, visit the White Barn Home Fragrance area for the World’s Best Candle Challenge—take a trivia quiz to learn about all the ways Bath & Body Works’ superior candles enhance the home.

Those who make a home fragrance purchase will receive a FREE exclusive four-ounce preview edition of the Harvest Gathering Candle, complete with cello wrapping and tied with baker’s twine – the perfect housewarming gift for anyone this fall.

Discover what’s in store for fall at your local Bath & Body Works store this September. http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/category/index.jsp?categoryId=3782179&cp=4090263


Local College students are rewarded with students, faculty and staff receiving one free admission on their respective college day with proper ID. See your college’s respective Recreation or HR Department for coupon. Alumni will receive $10 admission on their respective day with promo code, only valid on tickets purchased through our online shopping cart. Coupon required for all college day discounts. Participants are encouraged to wear school colors on their day. Please contact your respective college’s Recreation or HR Department to retrieve a coupon.

*Coupon required to receive discount


Costco stores are offering a discount package for only $59.99,. It includes four any-day Fair admissions, one parking pass and 44 RCS ride/game tickets. Rides and games require multiple tickets.

Star Trek™ Day at the Fair – Sept. 14, 2013

Free Fair Admission 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. for guests in Star Trek attire. Star Trek exhibit admission not included. Costumes are permitted, no weapons allowed.    At the Grandstand Stage – Demi Lovato is performing. To find out more about the entertainment at the Fair click here – http://lacountyfair.com/2013/entertainment/concerts.asp

If you attend on Wednesday September 18 they are offering the following promotions:


The Fair hours now to 29 are as follows: (remember the fair is closed Mondays & Tuesdays)

Wednesdays noon-10 p.m.

Thursdays noon-11 p.m.
Fridays noon-midnight
Saturdays 10 a.m.-midnight
Sundays 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

    • Carnival Midway opens at noon weekdays, 10 a.m. weekends and remains open every night after the posted nightly closing time
    • Commercial buildings close at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays
    • Parking gates open one hour prior to opening times.
    • Parking entry gates close one hour before posted nightly closing time.
    • Admission gates close 30 minutes before posted nightly closing time.




Thai Restaurant Week

DSC_0054The first National Thai Restaurant Week begins September 16 -22 in New York, Pennsyvania and New Jersey. Dinners will be discounted if a customer orders one of the three “must-try dishes” listed on the menu. Even though Thai food is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, Americans tend to only order Pad Thai, Satays, and my favorite Tom Kha Gai soup.

The Thai Trade Center in Los Angeles and the Thai Government want Los Angelenos to be more adventurous when dining out at a Thai restaurant. There are over 600 Thai restaurants participating in Thai Restaurant Week nationwide. On the West Coast there are over 300 restaurants participating during the West Coast Week from September 23 to September 29, 2013.

Try one of the speciality dishes from Northern and the Northwestern regions, Central Thailand and the spicier and hotter Southern areas of the county. There are currently two restaurants participating in Arizona, almost 60 in California, two in Colorado, four in Hawaii, one in Idaho, one Montana, two in New Mexico, three in Nevada, six in Oregon, 11 in Texas, 24 in Washinton and one in Wyoming.

I was invited to a media tasting of six popular Thai restaurants in Southern California. The event was held at Saladang Song in Pasadena. Each restaurant presented three DSC_0049traditional dishes for guests to experience.

Saladang Song starting with Yum eggplant with grilled shrimp and a delicious spicy lime dressing. It was fantastic. We all raved about the deep fried sweet potato with a slightly sweet cucumber salad. I adored the sweet grilled salmon served with steam broccoli. It was tender and flavorful. 383 S. Fair Oaks Ave. Pasadena (626)793-5200.

IMG_4841For those living in the San Fernando Valley, the popular Lum-Ka-Naad in Northridge served a fantastic Aeb Pla – a traditional grilled turmeric curry fish cooked in a banana leaf. The Goi -Soi is usually a shrimp dish marinated in dry and fresh chilies, lime juice and shallots.

The owner of the restaurant, Alex Amsombalee, told us, “We call it dancing shrimp, because when we put the freshwater shrimp into the marinade, they start dancing.” Today he prepared the dish with medium-rare thinly sliced beef. It’s a famous dish in the Northwestern part of Thailand. Last was the Kuagling Kradook Moo – bone in pork spare ribs cut into pieces and pan-fried with a slightly hot curry paste. This is a popular dish in the Southern province areas such as Krabi. (8910 Reseda Blvd. Northridge (818)882-3028.

I’ve been eating at Chan Dara for over 20 years, so I was happy to see the staff at this Thai Restaurant Week event. They IMG_4846prepared Thai Lollipops made with lamb chops in a Thai curry sauce and served with steamed bok-choy and luscious coconut rice. Everyone wanted seconds of the Maine lobster salad with avocado and tomato served over greens and dressed in a Thai chili-lime vinaigrette. They still have two locations – 310 N. Larchmont Blvd. Los Angeles – (323)467-1052 and 11940 W. Pico Blvd. West Los Angeles (310)479-4461.

I really liked the staff at Lucky Elephant in San Dimas. They were very friendly in explaining the dishes they brought to the event. The Hormok Kanom Krok – salmon fish cooked in red curry and coconut milk was outstanding. Everyone wanted to try a shrimp donut IMG_4830served with a sweet sauce. They also served a salad of deep fried enoki mushroom that was served in a Thai sour and spicy sauce. 531 W. Arrow Highway (909)592-4242.

Isaan Station had a beautiful display of Som Dtum Goong Sod – a Thai shrimp dish. The Nham Dtok Mhu/Nue was made with spicy charcoal grilled pork or beef with red onion, mint leaves, lime juice, rice powder, cilantro and green onions. The dish Kohr Moo Yang is a charcoal grilled pork neck with a Thai spicy sauce. The restaurant is located at 125 N. Western Ave. Suite 111, Los Angeles (323)380-5126.

To learn more about Thai Restaurant Week go to (323)383-9117 – ThaiRestaurantWeek@gmail.com or it’s http://www.facebook.com/ThaiRestaurantWeek,

The Thai Trade Center Los Angeles is located at 611 N. Larchmont Blvd. 3rd floor (323)466-9645 – ttcla@live.comhttp://www.thaitradeusa.com

Rosh Hashanah Dining in Los Angeles

STREET 006Rosh Hashanah is celebrated from sundown on Sept. 4 to nightfall on Sept. 6. Why cook all day when some of the best chefs in Los Angeles are preparing Rosh Hashanah dinner? Here are my favorites”

Susan Feniger’s STREET
Start with a chilled BEET BORSCHT with horseradish creamHEIRLOOM TOMATO AND PARSLEY LEAF SALAD with a Harissa Vinaigrette

SEPHARDIC LONG COOKED EGG – mashed with feta, olive oil, and avocado;
served with chicken liver pate and Lebanese flatbread.
(vegan version made with smashed potato, olive oil, and avocado)

Entree includes a CUMIN HONEY BRAISED BRISKET with applesauce and cilantro cream

WOOD OVEN ROASTED CAULIFLOWER – fried olives, orange chimichurri


This New Year meal is $45  per person. 742 No Highland Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90038 – 323-203-0500


New Year Dinner at Taste

Enjoy a three-course Rosh Hashanah dinner for $29. Start with a dill matzo ball soup for the first course.ROSHHASHANA_tp_2013

The main entrée is a pomegranate glazed salmon and finish with a cast iron bake honey cake. Space is limited.

Taste at the Palisades
538 Palisades Drive
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
P: 310.459.9808

Rosh Hashanah at Jar – Sept. 4 and Sept. 5

Suzanne_headshot-125x125A special prix-fixe dinner features an apple celery salad, pot roast with carrots and caramelized onions,Fish of the Day or lemongrass chicken. Mashed potatoes and pea tendrils are served family-style. Dessert is a honey roasted fig tart with Mascarpone cream or chocolate pudding.

The meal is $45 per person. Lobster Monday will resume on Sept. 9.  8225 Beverly Bvd. (323)655-6592.



Canter’s Deli will be closed on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. They are open seven days a week, except on these two holidays.DSC_0657