By Bonnie Carroll

SOS Taste of the Nation L.A. was held at LOEWS Santa Monica Beach Hotel and hosted by American Express, and was co-chaired by Mary Sue Milliken, Border Grill and Teresa Siriani. Milliken gave a short speech on the importance of giving back and said that SOS personified this highest of intentions. The annual event brought together a lineup of LA’s best chefs including, Ben Ford, Govind Armstrong of Chadwick’s; Joe Miller of Joe’s and Scooter Kanter of The House; Suzanne Goin of Lucques and Loise Le Balch of Josie; Nancy Silverton and Kim Boyce of Campanile; Sally Cook of Cuidad. The cocktail reception was sponsored by Shari Robbins of Jame’s Beach; Tara Thomas of Traxx; Christine Banta of Michael’s in Santa Monica; Alyson Thurber of The Lobster; Brooke Williamson of Zax; Jeffrey Nimer of Lavande; Suzanne Tract of Jar; Peter Horsch of The Mariposa at Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills, Ron Tolle of Azzurra Point in San Diego and Raphael Luenetta of Jiraffe. Diners enjoyed a family style four course dinner while Miss Sylvia St. James, The Gospel Aires and The legendary Clara Ward Singers of the House of Blues brought the audience to their feet to dance and join them in song. This was an SOS event that really "rocked," thanks to the many sponsors and foodies who support SOS.

Concours on Rodeo in Beverly Hills featured the food of Luxe Rodeo Hotel chef Reiner Schmidt, and crowds of people filled the renowned "street of dreams" to view a collection of the worlds most beautiful classic automobiles. The VIP tent was a meeting place and cool down area for classic car collectors and privileged press as well. De Mori Ristorante, a new dining venue on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, has replaced the Texas motif of former Reata Restaurant with vibrant color and authentic Italian cuisine. The choice location proved to be a hot spot during the Concours on Rodeo, and is becoming a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Piccolo Paradiso Ristorante, a new venue opened in Beverly Hills by Giacomino Drago, member of the Los Angeles Drago Dynasty, is a charming compliment to the Beverly Drive restaurant row. The petit ristorante is the third Giacomino has opened in the area. He also owns II Pastaio and Il Buco in Beverly Hills.

"Keep it simple, fresh and innovative" is the philosophy of Giacomino. His offerings include e pennete al basilico con ricatta fresca bottarga (basil penne with fresh ricotta and shaved dry-pressed tuna roe) or guaglie of mattone (marinated boned quail with sauteed rapina) served with assobuca con polenta (veal shank with soft polenta). Desserts include zuppe inglese (layered sponge cake with chocolate and vanilla custard and touch of alkermes liqueur.

The venue was inspired by Giacomino’s favorite movie, Cinema Paradiso, and it is cozy, warm and overflows with the tempting aromas of authentic Italian cuisine. The servers are thoughtful, handsome and conscientious. Giacomino, a star chef in Los Angeles, adds a personal touch by socializing with his guests. For reservations call 310-271-0030.

Patina Group has a new villa style venue on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles called Zucca, offering authentic Italian dining in the heart of the Downtown area. This makes 16 venues where Joachim Splichal’s fantastic cuisine can be enjoyed. I recently visited the Plaza Café,© at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) on Wilshire Boulevard, with my family, and it was such a delightful respite between visits to the different exhibits. I also enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Empresario Restaurant in the Music Center before an enchanting LA Opera performance, and was surprised by the many changes the Patina Group have implemented to provide delicious food in a timely fashion for those on a tight time schedule to make a performance. Pinot also offers charming picnic style dinner selections to enjoy at the Hollywood Bowl, and has a gift catalog brimming with stylish items for your home. For locations, reservations and catering information call 323-467-1628 or visit

A date night at The Grove and The Farm of Beverly Hills Restaurant in the historic Farmer’s Market can be like a trip to Disneyland. The Grove Theatre is an elegantly done movie theatre with old world charm, and the Farm of Beverly Hills Restaurant is connected from an entrance in the theatre lobby. Movie goers enjoy menu items that include everything from the signature steak with garlic mashed potatoes to a variety of sandwiches, soups and appetizers. An advance call can secure your favorite dinner to enjoy in your seat while watching your favorite movie. The Farm of Beverly Hills is a popular venue, where the chef works at serving healthy menu items, as well as decadent delights like a chocolate brownie with ice cream that is covered with chocolate sauce. The show outside the restaurant is equally entertaining, with live musical groups, a water show, and vendors selling their gift items in a glittering park setting. Locals and tourists rush to revel in the many attractions in the new center that is filled with endless shopping and dining options. Visitors would be wise to take their American Express card for this stroll through the grove adventure, where shopping is often the premiere pastime.

Food fit for a king in a flash! Ala Zing at available through Omaha Steaks offers a complete menu of mouth-watering meals that go from freezer to table in minutes, including gourmet recipes from seven sensational chefs who do their magic for foodies through FiveLeaf-Cuisine Solutions and the historic Nebraska steak company, which was founded in 1917 and is still owned by the Simon family. The instant cuisine can be ordered online, delivered to your home and enjoyed in just minutes by calling 800-288-9055 or

The world renowned chefs creating these handy entrees and desserts are Daniel Boulud, Mark Miller, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Antoine Westermann, Reine Sammut and Gerard Bertholon. Entrees include braised lamb shank with roasted vegetable strewn barley and Thai barbecue sauce, chicken picadillo with quinoa, spring vegetable bouillabaisse, duck turnover with red wine sauce, grilled Norwegian salmon with French green lentils, and salmon escabeche, and more with a variety of sauces and desserts, including David Glass’ New York cheese cake, and chocolate truffle cake. If you can boil water, you can enjoy "Mac & Cheese" butter poached Maine lobster with orzo and creamy lobster broth and Mascarpone cheese created by Thomas Keller of the French Laundry Restaurant in twenty-five minutes flat, and it is outstanding.

Omaha Steaks are the purveyors and marketers of premium steaks and other frozen gourmet foods, offering the finest USDA-approved, grain-fed Midwestern beef that is naturally aged for full flavor and tenderness. Other items include appetizers, lamb, veal, pork, seafood, poultry, desserts and specialty foods, along with perfectly proportioned ready-to-serve and easy-to-prepare gourmet foods. For the easiest way imaginable to shop, call their 24 hour service, seven days a week go line at 800-288-9055, or go to

Wolfgang Puck and Barbara Lazaroff’s 20th Annual Food & Wine Festival, at Universal Studio, once again attracted the finest chef’s from around the world to provide hungry charity supporters Meals on Wheels, and other area worthy causes, samples of their spectacular signature dishes. Chef’s representing all venues in the Puck empire, from LA to Las Vegas, along with Joachim Splichal, Stephen Pyles, Francois Payard, Mark Miller, Kerry Hefferman, Tom Collichio, Bradley Ogden, Nobu Matsuhisa, Charlie Palmer, Larry Forgionne, John LeGrove, Jimmy Schmidt, Jonathan Waxman, Vincent Guerithault, Pierro Salvaggio, Lucciano Pellegrini, Thorsten Leighty, Sam Leong, Lissa Doumand & Hiro Sone, Floyd Cardoz, Alan Wong, Eric Ripert, Todd English, Paul Prudhomme, Cludia Flemming & Michelle Antanishek, Nancy Silverton & Mark Peel all were present, and delighted guests with their culinary surprises. Early in the evening, a rainbow appeared over the food court area where chefs were setting, and Wolfgang raised his hands to the heavens in a special gesture of thanks. My favorite this year was a sampling of fondue items presented by Executive Chef Jennifer Naylor of Granita Restaurant in Malibu.

Casa Antigua Cantina, located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, provides lively and sophisticated menu selections for diners seeking true authentic Mexican cuisine prepared and presented with style by a chef who has worked at the best hotels in Cancun, as well as Maxim’s de la Paris in Mexico City. Renowned chef Denis Jean-Louis Ferrari and partner Ximena Diez Barroso joined forces to create a warm atmosphere, reminiscent of all that is wonderful in Mexico, where really fine Mexican cuisine is paramount. Ferrari has a delicate French touch and originality in recipe preparation that provides diners with a unique experience that brings them back. The menu is an epicurean tour of Mexico that incorporates tropical dishes from the Yucatan Peninsula with Aztec-influenced sauces from Central Mexico, soups from the southern regions and seafood from the Pacific Coast. I have visited fine hotels in Cancun, as well as eaten in the best restaurants in Mexico City, and chef Ferrari at Casa Antigua can hold his own against the best of them. Actually, he may be the best of them! For reservations 310-820-2540.

W Hotels - City to city comfort and consistency. From Los Angeles to San Francisco is a short flight, and arriving visitors at either end are privileged to experience the exciting and delicious menus created by two of the worlds finest hotel chefs. Executive chef Jeffrey Amber at San Francisco’s W Hotel XYZ restaurant, a luxuriously sleek cruise line inspired dining room, nestled below one of the sexiest cocktail lounges in America, offers the finest in novel cuisine combinations, along with an outstanding wine list. Dining at XYZ is memorable for visitors, not only for chef Amber’s food fantasies, like lobster pancakes with caviar and lobster essence creme fraiche, but also because it is an extremely exciting new venue.

Los Angeles W Hotel MOJO & MOJITO Restaurants add spice to a visitors fun experience of the "city of angels." Executive chef Reza Motamednia offers a stylish neuvo Latino menu in the Mojo, their formal restaurant, featuring a hot red cocktail bar, and Mojito, the outdoor café, overlooking a waterfall and the contemporary pool area. Chef Motamedria’s menus are filled with exciting recipes that are beautifully presented. Color and taste reign, and the flavors rock. Signature ceviches, lobster asada salad, which includes arugula, mango, papaya, pineapple and blueberry drizzled with coconut chile vinaigrette, are favorites at the patio venue. Dinner features seared Foie Gras on a corn cake with mango jalapeno relish and cinnamon sour cherry sauce, as well as grilled coriander-scented salmon atop corn, organic tomatoes and red bean salad with cilantro lime mojo.

All W Hotels are managed (and in some cases owned) by Starwood Hotels and Resorts, and they all provide a wonderful guest experience. The rooms are airy, organized and comfortable, while the hotel staff provide outstanding service that includes amenities not seen at many hotels. W Hotel in San Francisco has the energy of a New York hotel with the comfort and convenience of a smaller city, that features some of the best shopping anywhere. W Los Angeles has a more relaxed Latin feeling, but is minutes from everything you don’t want to miss in L.A. I love W Hotels. They are hip, slick, very cool and perfect for travelers of all ages, especially business travelers. For San Francisco call 415-817-7836 or W Los Angeles 877-WHOTELS.

Linda Pernice Kavanagh
MaxEx Public Relations, LLC

102 Alton Road
Stamford, CT 06906
P 203.323.4185 F 4183

Other Writer's Related Links:
Food is Love

Toque New York/ Boston Spring 2005

It's a Matter of Tasting...

In the Mood for Exceptional Contemporary French Cuisine
without all the Pomp and Circumstance?

Toque New York/Boston Summer 2002

Writer Linda Kavanagh - Profile





Events |  Food & Beverage International |  NutraFoodies |  California the Magazine
Home |  Food |  Wine |  Chefs |  Restaurants |  Advertisers |  Recipes
Travel |  Forager |  Who's News |  Directories |  Newsletter |  About Us |  Media Kit

©2006 Food&Beverage International
All rights reserved. | Contact Us |