Catalina Island Restaurant Scene

Catalina Island is a place like no other. Consistently named one of the best island getaways by media outlets and digital influencers nationwide, Catalina Island, located just 22 miles off the Southern California coast, is a unique blend of laid back vibe, rich and historic past, features water and land activities to suit any taste and modern day amenities and services for every budget.

 The Island is constantly evolving to offer visitors the best experience, whether it’s to relax and rejuvenate or rev up the action. Following are some of the most exciting new happenings on the Island this year, from new restaurants, hotels, cultural attractions and retail stores.


El Galleon (pre renovation) 


El Galleon (Pre-Renovation)

The iconic El Galleon Restaurant has been acquired by the owners of Bluewater Avalon, Jimmy Ulcickas and Richard Staunto, along with local entrepreneur, Caleb Lins, and other local investors, with a plan to update the historic destination for the next generation of Catalina Island visitors and locals.

Opened in 1967 by Jack and Nora Tucey on Crescent at Front Street, El Galleon is an Island institution known for its eclectic atmosphere, extensive menu and karaoke bar.

The new owners will maintain the legendary El Galleon name and concept, update the interior and simplify the menu to combine the most popular items – ribs, steaks, prime rib and chicken, classic sandwiches and burgers, and fresh, locally sourced fish in season – with a series of rotating specials. Plans call for El Galleon’s lively karaoke bar, neighborhood happy


Toyon Grill by Bluewater

Toyon Grill by Bluewater is now open and is a result of a partnership between Bluewater’s owners and the Catalina Island Conservancy. Located at the new Trailhead Visitor Center, which also has a retail store, tour operation, gallery and roof deck that doubles as an educational, event and wedding venue, Toyon Grill is named after the Toyon bush, or California Holly, native to Catalina Island and Southern California. According to legend, the Toyon is so plentiful in Southern California that developers of Hollywood mistook it for “holly” and named the burgeoning community “Hollywood” by mistake.

Consistent with the Conservancy’s commitment to sustainability, Toyon offers fresh, hyper-local ingredients. Along with breakfast, lunch and dinner, Toyon will feature specialty coffees, small-batch craft beers, cocktails and California wines. Grab-and-go picnic boxes will be available for adventurers exploring the island. Much of the Pacific swordfish, white seabass and other fish served at Toyon Grill will be caught in waters off the Island by Bluewater’s own boat, Pilikia, or by local fisherman.Info: 310 510 8599

Long Beach, CA: Taste of Japan Event 2019


LONG BEACH, CALIF. – Tickets are now on sale for inaugural Taste of Japan, a cultural festival celebrating Japan, taking place at the iconic Pike Outlets in Downtown Long Beach. A celebration of the art, culture and cuisine of the island nation, this family-friendly event will be a treat for all the senses, featuring a wide variety of Japanese culinary treats available for sale, as well as beautiful Japanese art and goodies. Traditional Japanese guitarists, drummers, martial artists, and samurai – among others – will be on center stage to entertain the crowd. For the adults, Taste of Japan offers a special VIP ticketed beer and sake garden, which will include an eclectic variety of all-you-can-drink beer and sake, as well as some special food items.

Food experiences will include everything from sushi to fresh-baked goods, to BBQ, soups and noodles. Taste of Japan Sapporo will be on-hand with its iconic beer, alongside Orion brews, and others. Suntory whisky will be on-hand alongside Hiro sake making it a beautiful tasting experience. Handmade and artisan crafts, as well as toys and anime vendors will also be featured.

Enjoy Japanese pop culture, shopping, entertainment, activities will be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. The Pike Outlets on South Pine Avenue in Long Beach. Structure parking is available and ride sharing for the sake drinkers is encouraged.

Guests can take advantage of early bird pricing online now! Tickets are now on sale, and available here. 

  • GA: $5 pre-sale ($7 at the door)
  • VIP: $60 pre-sale ($80 at the door)
    • VIP tickets includes access to GA food and goods for sale, entertainment, as well as access to all-you-can-drink Japanese beer and sake garden + small variety of complimentary food items in the beer garden only
    • Must be 21+

For more information, visit or stay social at @tasteofjpn on Instagram and Facebook. The event is put on by the Tonoshii Project and TreImage.


Golden Foodie Awards – A Celebration of the Culinary Industry of Orange County


The Golden Foodie Awards voting is August 11 – 17.  All voting will take place at

This year we are excited to have new hosts: Aarti Sequeira, TV host and cookbook author and Neil Saavedra host of the popular Fork Report radio show.

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Below are some important event facts.

  1. FACT: The Golden Foodie Awards are the ONLY food awards in Orange County where the votes are audited by a third party accounting firm.
  2. Who picks the winners?  We believe Democracy is the best policy. The GFAs are the People’s Choice Food Awards. It is important that people decide who wins.
  3. Who votes? This is a People’s Choice Award. During the week of August 11 – 17, all food and drink loving members of the community are invited to cast their votes.  Voting takes place at –  (NOTE: The titles of Chef of the Year and Pastry Chef of the Year are determined by Industry votes)
  4. As a restaurant, can I pay to win? Absolutely not. This is not a pay-to-play process — awards are determined by a democratic system in which the one with the most votes wins.
  5. As a restaurant, do I have to work with a public relations team to win? Of course not. However, if you have PR representation, use it — after all, their job to promote you. If you do not, you certainly don’t need it. Be creative with your marketing and outreach. If you are active on social media, use it. If you have a large database of loyal guests, ask them for votes. Your loyal customers are the ones you want to reach out to. Campaigning is permitted in any democracy. So long as there is no bribery, couponing, discounts or other incentives offered in exchange for votes. Should that happen, the restaurant will be disqualified.

Types of Tea and Their Health Benefits


It is believed that tea leaves have been steeped in water and enjoyed as a hot beverage since as early as 1000 BC in China. Ever since, tea has stuck around as a fan favorite, largely due to the soothing experience of sipping a hot cup of tea, but also because of the unexpected health benefits that different types of tea offer. Read our tea guide to find out the individual benefits of green tea, oolong tea, and more! You may find that your tea of choice offers an unexpected benefit.

If you’re looking to prevent risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, green tea may help to protect you while oolong tea may be able to help prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease. If your goal is to achieve weight loss, try drinking yerba mate tea, as it can quell hunger cravings and also may increase calories burned throughout the day.   READ MORE

Cuts of Meat and How to Pick Them


Info contributed from The right cut of meat is crucial to cooking. Oftentimes we don’t know much about the animal from which the meat comes. If we can get back to the animal’s anatomy, we can better choose the cut that is right for our dish. The less a muscle is worked, the more tender it will be. Generally, the tougher meats are at the front and rear of the animal. This is because the front and hind sections do most of the work over the animal’s life, through walking and supporting the body.

Tender cuts are the easiest to cook, and are also the most expensive. These areas contain the least-worked meat with the largest amount of intramuscular fat. This type of fat is referred to as “marbelization,” and is rated in the United States by the USDA as Prime or Choice. Only about 3% of beef cows are rated Prime, and about 54% are rated Choice. Prime typically contains the more visible marbelization of fat. This fat melts at a lower temperature, and results in meat that needn’t be cooked to high internal temperatures. These cuts of meat can be prepared medium-rare or rare.  READ MORE

So Cal: Nékter Juice Bar, a healthy Breakfast and Snack Choice for the Person on the Go

While in San Diego, I got a chance to visit Nekter Juice Bar to grab some grub.   Preparing for a day of Comic Con, I needed to take the kids for some nourishment.  One can easily do six to seven miles in a day.   The kids got the Acai bowls.  If you are admitted unhip person.  Heck, I may be unhip for using the expression, “hip” then let me explain the acai bowl.


It is a Brazilian dish made of frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit. It is served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, and is commonly topped with granola and banana, and then mixed with other fruits.  At the San Diego location, bowls were about $9 each.

As for me I ordered, the vegan ice cream.  They offer four choices.  I selected the orange twist which sort of reminds you of a creamsicle.  The other selections include chocolate haze, monster cookie dough,  and peanut butter swirl.  Let me warn fellow weight watcher smart points folks that 180 calorie serving is high in smart points.  Nevertheless, the handcrafted coconut milk based delight doesn’t disappoint.  The vegan ice cream priced between $4 and $6 bucks.


Orange Twist

There are locations in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Porter Ranch, Thousand Oaks and more.

Click Here to Visit their website





Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef Stardom Lands Her own Food-Centric show on Hulu

Colorstream Media

lookbook-padma-promoteHulu is expanding its foray into original food programming with a new series starring Top Chef‘s Padma Lakshmi. The streaming network announced the project today at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour.

The Untitled Padma Lakshmi Series is described as a “living cookbook” made up more from people and culture than recipes. Curated by author and chef Lakshmi (Top Chef), the 10-episode series embraces culinary traditions from the first Americans to the latest arrivals, all alongside Padma’s perspectives and personal connection to each story.  READ MORE

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On a Quest to End Childhood Hunger, Ayesha Curry and Steph Curry Launch Eat Learn Play Foundation

Colorstream Media

2018 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - Day – Today, two-time NBA MVP and three-time NBAChampion Stephen Curry and renowned restauranteur, chef, The New York Times best-selling author and TV host Ayesha Curry announce the launch of Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation, a family-founded charity with a mission to help end childhood hunger, ensure universal access to quality education and enable healthy, active lifestyles.  READ MORE 

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Decadent Delights of Sidecar Doughnuts and Coffee


While on a mini-vacay in San Diego, doughnuts caught my attention like a doggie in a window.  My pupils enlarged, tongue salivated and mind wondered, How much did those marvelous delights cost?  No ordinary 67078448_10156922507176865_4852540822245081088_ndoughnuts, these read gourmet creations.  On average the stunning creations cost $5 a pop and five dollars well spent.   I thought about the doughnut  I devoured all day.  As any woman, I also thought about the calories.   Again, like the cost I thought, these donuts are worth it.


My mouth watered at the sight of the Blueberry corncake doughnuts, glazed old fashioned doughnut, the maple frosted bacon topped doughnut and the whimsical marshmallow topped S’mores doughnut.   Kindly, the bakery staff offered cut two doughnuts for me to take a bite into,  the amazing blueberry corncake reminiscent of cornbread and the incredible old fashioned donut, dense cake-style and balanced in sweetness.


Sidecar hosts location in Costa Mesa, Santa Monica, Torrance,  and Del Mar Highland Town Center.

Open daily at 6:30am
Sunday – Thursday ’till 6:00pm
Friday & Saturday ’till 9:00pm

Visit their Website:

Light and Freshing, Cucumber Cheesecake Recipe


Many years ago, I would have turned my nose to the thought of cucumber cheesecake.  But with signature spas adding cucumber to water, experiencing more latin cuisine which introduce the cucumber with lime or just with a splash of Tajin, now it’s easy to imagine the infinite possibilities of cucumber.

Recipe at