Drink

Spook-tacular Halloween in the OC

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in News

Spook-tacular Halloween in the OC
How lucky are we that Halloween falls on a FRIDAY this year?! Stay up to the Hallo-“wee”-n hours. Sleep in on Saturday. Perhaps even keep the Halloween-weekend going with a party on Saturday like my crazy, fun neighbors do. Dressing up and going out? Hire a car to drive you around to these not-to-miss events in the OC – Orange County, that is:

Yelloween

If “Yelloween” makes no sense to you at this moment, trust me when I say when my day is done, I want to go out sipping the deliciously decadent “yellow label” Veuve Cliquot through a straw in a marble bathtub. But, you don’t have to wait until that scary day to sip this anything-but-scary champagne, Veuve Cliquot, on a Halloween sort of day. Head to Fig and Olive Newport Beach for their “Yelloween” Spook-tacular night.

In the spirit of Halloween, FIG & OLIVE Newport Beach is partnering with Veuve Clicquot on Friday, October 31 from 9:30pm – 1:00am to host an enchanted “Yelloween” party. Orange County residents are invited to Fashion Island to celebrate the spooky holiday in style with Halloween cocktails, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, special décor, and a Yelloween photo booth. The bewitching bash will be amplified with soulful house and new Downtempo music by St. Tropez‘s celebrity DJ Julien Nolan.

Guests can sit in the lounge—complete with Veuve Clicquot Champagne and a complimentary dessert plate (limited seating available)—or reserve a table in the dining room to enjoy a prix-fixe menu ($45) or à la carte options. Walk-ins are welcome to enjoy the spirited festivities, though reservations are strongly encouraged. Lounge reservations can be made by emailing: yelloween@figandolive.com. Dining reservations can be made by calling 949.877.3005;  Or, experience the…

**Costume Contest…

If Newport Beach is not your spook-tacular locale of the night OR, if you are ready for a “two-party” Halloween evening, head just a few miles south to the newly opened Tortilla Republic Laguna Beach where Executive Chef Chris Tzorin and his team are hosting the first-ever “Boo Ball” complete with spooky-yet-tasty fare:

Tortilla Republic Halloween

With ocean views and breezes from nearly every seat in the house, Tortilla Republic Laguna Beach hosts its Inaugural Boo Ball. Offering a costume contest at midnight and an “Adult trick or treat” and photo booth all night long beginning at the eerily hour of 8pm.

From 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tortilla Republic will provide a Boo Bites menu, which includes Seared Albacore Tuna Bites with ancho Chile crusted, mango & radish slaw, avocado, and salted chili lime; Huarache de Hongos Bites with crispy corn flatbread, cremini & oyster mushrooms, roasted shallots, baby arugula, and Monterey Jack & Manchego cheese; TR Boo Sliders with three mini hamburgers featuring premium American Wagyu beef, roasted poblano, caramelized onion, chipotle aioli, watercress, and sweet potato fries with cilantro & lime zest; and Prime Tenderloin Steak Taco with fajita rub, salsa de mesa, and tequila slaw.

Whether a one-party, two-party, or group night out event, please don’t drink and drive. Call Uber, have a friend drive, hire a limo for the night, dress up and let someone else do the driving. Spooky-fun is fantastic. Anything else… not worth it. Safety first, fun second!

Fig and Olive Newport Beach
151 Newport Center Drive
Fashion Island
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 877-3005

Tortilla Republic Laguna Beach
480 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 393-4888


Laguna Beach Oceanfront Dining at Driftwood Kitchen

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Laguna Beach Oceanfront Dining at Driftwood Kitchen
Driftwood Kitchen
Summer may have ended but the ocean views and summer weather sparkle nearly year round at the recently opened Driftwood Kichen, the newest oceanfront dining experience in Laguna Beach from well known Sentinel Restaurant and Hospitality Group. Sentinel is the team behind The Deck on Laguna Beach and Fireside Tavern in Costa Mesa so it is no wonder the group chose Driftwood Kitchen to cozy up next door to The Deck.
The Deck at Driftwood Kitchen
Leading the team at Driftwood are restauranteur, John Nye, and Excutive Chef Rainer Schwarz who are also founders and partners, along with Colby Durnin, of Sentinel Restaurant & Hospitality Group. As you can see, before you even enter the rustic beachy oceanfront restaurant, you are in good hands. Chef Schwarz brings an extensive, acclaimed culinary experience to life at Driftwood. Having begun cooking at age 15 in an old Austrian castle, Chef Schwarz has cooked around the world in five-star hotels and restaurants in Switzerland, Germany and France. Interestingly, I discovered that Chef Schwarz’s culinary travels led him to work with the esteemed Chef Joachim Splichal at the Von Pfyffer in Switzerland and before long, Chef Schwarz waved goodbye to Europe and traveled to Carmel and then Los Angeles working with Chef Splichal at what has become Patina Restaurant Group. But Chef Schwarz achievements don’t stop there. He had much success in Vail, Colorado before returning to Los Angeles and launching Public Kitchen and Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Now, Laguna Beach is thrilled to have his talent behind the fresh, delicious, inspiring coastal cuisine at Driftwood Kitchen.

Seared Ahi at Driftwood Kitchen Seared Ahi at Driftwood Kitchen

When I asked Chef Schwarz what influence his culinary journey brings to Driftwood Kitchen, he explained, “I draw inspiration from many places for this menu. Here, the menu features diversity and freshness the ocean provides.” Sounds good to me and I couldn’t wait to dive right in to sample some seafood and steak selections. To my delight, fish is prevalent on the menu which includes Whole Fried Branzino, Soft Shell Crab, Surf and Turf with Maine Lobster Tail and Petit Tenderloin that features a Bearnaise sauce, Zuckerman Farms jumbo asparagus, and Yukan Gold mashed potatoes, and a mouth-watering New York Steak with Peppercorn Sauce and homemade French Fries.

Seabass with Tomato Halibut with Roasted Tomato

But this coastal cuisine inspired menu with a touch of “turf” is not all that will inspire you, the craft cocktails are bottoms-up some of the best I’ve tasted.

Tenderloin with Pepper Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce

Shares Director of Operations, John Nye, “Our Cocktail Program at Driftwood Kitchen pays homage to the location’s rich history. The Stateroom Bar presents a cocktail menu featuring classic libations reminiscent of the historic tenants.” And who were those tenants? One unforgettable Hollywood actor, Slim Summerville had his home library there and he may have enjoyed a fine whiskey or bourbon, too.

Cynar Town cocktail at Driftwood Kitchen Cynar Town cocktail at Driftwood Kitchen

Among the classic cocktails are selections such as “Cynar Town”, gin with sweet vermouth, cynar artichoke liqueur and orange bitters, “Salad Bar”, sage liquor, kale, sweet red pepper, and lemon sour – almost sounds like one of my cleanse drinks minus the liquor, of course, and “Rock My World”, your own customized Manhattan with a lunardo cherry that is worth the bite and the drink and they pair perfectly with culinary sensations such as Oysters on the Half Shell with Uni (shown below).
Uni Oysters at Driftwood Kitchen

Whether you opt for the mesmorizing oceanfront deck views or the cozy al fresco patio with oversized couches and firepits, Driftwood Kitchen is a Laguna dining experience unmatched by any other.
Deck view from Driftwood Kitchen
Driftwood Kitchen front patio
Driftwood Kitchen
619 Sleepy Hollow Lane
Laguna Beach, CA
Open daily: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
visit: driftwoodkitchen.com
(949) 715-7700

Mac 'n  Cheese at Driftwood Kitchen

SMores deconstructed at Driftwood Kitchen SMores deconstructed at Driftwood Kitchen


Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Fourth Annual LA Food & Wine

4th Annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival

LAFW 2014 downtown
Over a balmy August weekend, celebrity chefs from all around the world converged in Los Angeles for the fourth annual Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival. Produced by Coastal Luxury Management, LLC which also produces the star-studded Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival now in its 8th year, this year’s festival highlights included the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Celebrity Chef Challenge, Asian Night Market with Iron Chef Morimoto, tribute dinner to culinary icon, Nancy Silverton, and Grand Tasting events both Saturday and Sunday with participation from over 100 restaurants and 150 wineries representing some of the top culinary talent in the Nation.

Iron Chef Morimoto Iron Chef Morimoto

This unforgettable gastronomic culinary immersion took place over 4 days in the heart of downtown Los Angeles with smaller culinary events transpiring in nearly every part of the city. Festivities kicked off on Thursday night with the Ultimate Bites of LA presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred®.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Chef Challenge winners board

The red carpet event was attended by celebrities and culinary stars such as Ben Ford, Lorena Garcia, Michael Chiarello, and festival CEO and co-founder, David Bernahl. Amid the fanfare, the first-ever chef challenge presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred® revealed the winning champion chef team of Fabio Viviani and Ray Garcia.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Chef Challenge winners 2014
Viviani and Garcia won the best street taco and cocktail challenge by impressing judges, including Food & Wine magazine’s Justin Chapple, with their Mango Chicharron Chile Relleno Taco. The grand prize of $20,000 was presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred® and benefitted the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
Chefs Viviani and Garcia preparing their tacos
Friday’s Power Lunch series stretched from Santa Monica’s One Pico with Elizabeth Falkner to Sven Mede, to Downtown LA’s Faith & Flower where Ferguson Crest wines, owned by Fergie Duhamel of the Black Eyed Peas, paired wines with Dominique Crenn and Executive Chef Michael Hung’s inspiring menu.
Elizabeth Falkner
Food and wine never tasted more inviting into the night than at the Asian Night Market where hundreds of food lovers enjoyed sashimi, 5-spice pork belly taco from Jet Tila, Chris Oh’s “Flaming Ball” from Seoul Sausage, and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Chicken Dumpling who gracefully pleased legions of fans by participating in selfies and fan photos. Other highlights included a Lamb Ramen from EggSlut’s Alvin Cailan.
Asian Night Market
Saturday and Sunday’s afternoon Grand Tasting events certainly held up to their name with seminars, cooking demonstrations, book signings and the Lexus Grand Tastings held at LA Center Studios where chefs dished out signature fare and top wines poured all day and into the night.

Chef John Cox sharing sea urchin Chef John Cox sharing sea urchin

Kicking off the Saturday evening grand event was a live performance by Common for the Lexus LIVE on Grand event hosted by Michael Chiarello. Then, sounds Afro-Caribbean style music from the children’s ensemble amaWolseley Marimbas flowed through the air while guests enjoyed a putting green and patio lounge and cocktails in the Airstream 2Go from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Hitching Post wines
Just a few steps away at the beautiful Cathedral of St. Vibiana in downtown, Dinner with the Michelin Stars served up culinary decadence with chefs such as Michael Cimarusti, Dominique Crenn, David Kinch, and Pierre Gagnaire whom I had the pleasure to meet at a private Mandarin Oriental event in West Hollywood.

with Chef Pierre Gagnaire of Mandarin Oriental with Chef Pierre Gagnaire of Mandarin Oriental

As mentioned above, the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival is now in its fourth year. Generously supported by Food & Wine magazine, Lexus, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, JENN-AIR, Delta Airlines and Chase Sapphire Preferred®, the four-day epicurean event showcases the finest in food and drink throughout Los Angeles.
Graham Elliott Graham Elliott
The star-studded lineup has included celebrated chefs such as Giada DeLaurentiis, Graham Elliott, Curtis Stone, Michael Chiarello, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Thomas Keller along with LA favorites Michael Voltaggio, Rory Herrmann, and Matsuhisa Nobu.

Chef Luigi Fineo at LAFW 2014 Chef Luigi Fineo at LAFW 2014

A Coastal Luxury Management, LLC (CLM) production, co-founder and manager David Alan Bernahl II creates unique experiential opportunities in the hospitality, entertainment, restaurant, and event sectors. Named 2012 and 2013 by Inc Magazine as one of the “Top Food & Beverage Companies”, CLM has also been included int he annual Inc 500/5000 ranking of the fastest-growing privately owned companies in the United States.

Challengers, Chefs Elliott and Ford Challengers, Chefs Elliott and Ford

For more information about Coastal Luxury Management, contact media@clm-ca.com
Susan with Iron Chef Morimoto
Goose Island Pale Ale
Miraval Provence
Chefs Viviani and Garcia before the win


Fourth Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

Fourth Annual LA Food & Wine

Fourth Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine

This weekend, a host of culinary celebrities arrive in Los Angeles for the Fourth Annual Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. Delighting foodies, wine lovers, and culinary aficionados, the star-studded festival begins Thursday, August 21 through Sunday, August 24. Further event details and tickets here: LAFW.com

Interviewing Michael Chiarello at LAFW 2013 Interviewing Michael Chiarello at LAFW 2013

Leading chefs preparing signature dishes and doing live culinary demonstrations include Scott Conant, Michael Chiarello, Michael Mina, Ben Ford, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Nancy Silverton, Graham Elliott, Ricardo Zarate, Fabio Viviani and more. Presented by Food & Wine magazine, the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival is hosted in Downtown Los Angeles with special events in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood and will also feature mixology seminars, book signings, and tastings from world-class wineries. One expert highlighting fine wines is Sommelier, Ryan Arnold. I had the pleasure of speaking with Ryan about his participation in this weekend’s festivities and his love of wine.

Ryan Arnold Ryan Arnold, Divisional Wine Director for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

“I fell in love with wine when selling it to restaurants,” shares Arnold. “Now, on the buying side, I enjoy being more creative in selecting the wines, working with the chefs, talking to guests, and helping to educate young people and servers about the wines.” As Divisional Wine Director for Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Arnold starts with the chefs when getting inspiration for the restaurant wine list. Together, they discuss the chef’s vision for the menu taking into consideration seasonal changes, the audience, and the price point of the menu. From there, Arnold creates an esoteric yet balanced wine list which once set, he begins right away training the staff on the wine selections. “Server confidence about the wines,” explains Arnold, “is one of the most important elements to the dining experience.” Arnold puts staff through a rigorous wine training and holds mandatory wine classes for staff every two weeks in which they have to present featured wines to him and the rest of the staff. “Wow,” I exclaimed, “no pressure!” To which Arnold laughed and replied, “the staff is the gateway to the dining experience. Knowledge is key but must also be well presented.”
LAFW 2013
Having been in the wine industry for more than 20 years, Arnold shared his thoughts on current wine trends. “The Western region of the country tends to go with the California wines while the East coast still prefers old world wines,” states Arnold. “In the Midwest, you’ll see a balance between both domestic and old world wines.” What is he seeing now? “There is a new movement toward lower alcohol wines,” says Arnold, “with balanced, crisper, fresher styles.” I’ll drink to that!

Susan, Scott Conant and Albert Evangelista Susan Irby, Scott Conant, and Albert Evangelista

You can meet Ryan Arnold, Chef Scott Conant (shown above), and many other celebrity chefs during this weekend’s Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival. For event details and tickets, go to: LAFW.com


Summer Cocktails at Tommy Bahama

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Food

450 Indigo

It’s officially summer, which means extended daylight, warm afternoons and some leeway to relax and take-it-easy. Tommy Bahama restaurants help in the pursuit to celebrate the season with three unique and refreshing cocktails to enjoy all summer long. These drinks feature the brightest flavors of the season, ranging from blueberries to white peaches to titillate taste buds.
The complex and sophisticated Tommy Bahama 450 Indigo offers a combination of exotic ingredients. Start with Reyka Vodka, St. Germain Elderflower, lemon juice and simple syrup, mixed with lightly pressed blueberries to give the drink its vibrant indigo color. But the real secret however is the Giffard Crème de Violette Liqueur which adds a hint of violet and lavender. The drink is finished when it’s poured into a glass rinsed in absinthe.

South Shore Sipper South Shore Sipper

The Tommy Bahama South Shore Sipper is a nice update to rum cocktails mixing Flor De Cana Four year with Scratch Sour mix, Passion Perfect Puree, Orgeat, and two dashes of Cherry Bitters. One sip of this tangy blend of flavors and it’s like you’ve escaped on a summer getaway. This is sure to become a classic among rum drinks.

White Peach Bellini White Peach Bellini

For something “easy like Sunday morning” and ideal for brunch, the Tommy Bahama White Peach Bellini hits the spot. It’s light, tasty and simple to make at home for friends and family. Start with some White Peach Perfect Puree and add peach liqueur. Shake it up and strain into a champagne glass and top with sparkling wine. The result is a fragrant and mouthwatering cocktail that is best enjoyed on a balmy summer day. Enjoy the recipe here:  White Peach Bellini 
These creative cocktails along with a full menu of other signature drinks and island-inspired cuisine are available at the 13 Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar locations across the country.


4TH ANNUAL TASTE AWARDS

Posted on by Bikini Lifestyles in Hollywood

TASTE AWARDSBikini Lifestyles featuring the Bikini Chef Susan Irby winner of the Best Health & Fitness Programand NOMINATED: Best Food or Drink Radio Broadcast. THE TASTE AWARDS 2013. Celebrating the year’s best in food, fashion and lifestyle programs on television, in film, online and on radio.