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When giving, more than just the thought counts

This holiday season, support small LGBT-allied businesses

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Lisa Vanderpump and Ken Todd’s local Los Angeles empire now includes one of the best dog boutiques in the world, located on the increasingly trendy West 3rd Street near Crescent Heights Boulevard in Beverly-Grove.  It’s a rescue chic boutique for a cause.

In part one of the Los Angeles Blade’s Shopping Favorites, we focus on a mix of our favorite LGBT-owned or friendly merchants (both online and storefront), from  charitable chic to the purely indulgent.

We encourage you to give without expecting to receive.  And we also encourage you to donate money to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Homeless LGBT Youth Program at Highland.

Vanderpump Dogs
The gift that also gives back — Vanderpump Dogs is a chic dog rescue concept dedicated to creating a more humane world for dogs, while keeping them and their companions looking stylishly fabulous.
This glamorous storefront dog rescue and pet boutique is owned by Lisa Vanderpump, the British restaurateur, author, actress, and television personality

Best known for her role on the reality TV show, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

Offering grooming services and a gorgeous selection of niche brands, the brick and mortar was inspired by Gigi the Pom, Lisa Vanderpump’s own precious pup. Go in and #shopwithapurpose at LA’s most fabulous rescue center.

Lilly, 15, could not be bathed or cut due to a diabetic related series of infections, but once clear she dashed over to her favorite groomer at Vanderpump and got transformed. (Photo by Cody Masters)

Troy Masters, Los Angeles Blade publisher and former West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister are big fans and both get their dogs groomed there.  “Vanderpump transformed our 15-year-old Lilly back into a puppy again,” said Masters.

If you visit, be prepared to fall in love with the dog of your dreams.

“What we’re trying to do is create more humane treatment for dogs worldwide,” Lisa Vanderpump told the Los Angeles Blade.

The store is located at 8134 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles. You can call 323-852-DOGS or visit vanderpumpdogs.com to make an appointment for your pooch’s grooming.

Pals Socks
Pals Socks is a company dedicated to “defeeting” bullies one foot at a time. Using mismatched socks to showcase how difference is cool, the line was created by a young L of LGBTQ living in Philly.

“I wouldn’t say that me being attracted to ladies made me launch this brand in particular. I just am a very empathetic person, and was also a kid who was ‘different,’” Lavon says.

“When I was younger I sometimes stuttered… I was weird, apparently. I want more kids to grow up being comfortable with people not exactly like them…I don’t like seeing all this hate, bigotry, fear of people not exactly like them. I’m just trying to put more positivity into this world and create something that can create positive social change, not just a simple novelty,” Lavon adds.

Pals encourage playful dialogue between two different friends — you don’t need to match to be best Pals. Our hashtag is #defeetthenorm

You can find Pal Socks in L.A. at stores such as: Books and Cookies, the Library Store, Dustmuffin, and Ron Robinson. Or just visit palssocks.com

NiK Kacy’s debut collection consists of five basic traditionally ‘masculine of center’ styles now created in a unisex sizing and proportion for all individuals. (Photo courtesy NiK Kacy)

Nik Kacy Footwear
NiK Kacy Footwear is a brand inspired by the fashion needs of both its founder and the larger LGBTQ community.

NiK Kacy says they designed the first collection to provide a solution to address the divide between shoe designs and the gender binary. Being unable to find shoes that fit their gender expression and their feet.

“I still feel the discomfort and embarrassment of being mis-gendered on a daily basis. Most people I come into contact with mis-gender me. I try to take the time to educate them about what non-binary means and how making assumptions about one’s gender is so archaic (not to mention politically incorrect and offensive),” Kacy says.

Their desire for gender equality extends beyond gender and features styles ranging from masculine, feminine, gender-neutral, to high-heels in a gender-equal size range from 34-47 (US women’s 3.5 to men’s 14). Subsequent releases include a unisex utility holster that is completely adjustable to fit all body spectrums.

Kacy’s hope for the holidays, under the current administration, is that they’re able to find a little piece of their souls and stop taking away the rights of so many deserving Americans.

“I’d like them to reverse most of the horrific decisions/changes they have made in the past 12 months… my Christmas wish this year, is to remove everyone in the administration related to or working for Trump and Pence and bring back BO [Barack Obama] and JB [Joe Biden]. I can wish for a miracle, can’t I,” Kacy says.

NiK Kacy is a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise. Visit the store online at nikkacy.com.

The ideal package is round and firm and it can easily be achieved with a quick visit to the new RounderBum on Santa Monica Boulevard. (Photo courtesy RounderBum)

RounderBum
RounderBum is hoping to change the world one pair of men´s undergarments at a time.

With a growing trend of men who take care of their appearance, RounderBum created a men’s line for those who want to look more attractive and athletic.
In comes RounderBum, offering men’s shapewear. From a patented designed padding to seamless and fusing manufacturing, the company looks to help every man feel more confident, and look more, ahem, masculine.

RounderBum’s signature padded technology uses hidden padding made of flexible polyurethane that conforms to every body shape, with hidden bands that lift and define the muscles with a subtle and discreet effect.

As retailer Andrew Christian, the famous men’s undergarment store, closes shop with plans to relocate to Downtown LA in January, the men of WeHo can rest assured that RounderBum is anxious to help showcase the goods.

No date has been set for the grand opening of the new flagship store at the northeast corner of San Vicente and Santa Monica Boulevard, located where American Apparel once ruled.

In the meantime, Larry Block’s Block Party is happy to be of service; Block Party carries some choice RounderBum gear.

RounderBum will be located at 802 North San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, and you can visit them online at rounderbum.com.

There’s an almost fetish art to grooming and Barber Surgeons Guild just off Santa Monica Boulevard delivers. Every WeHoan wants a little pampering, with an edge. (Photo courtesy Barber Surgeons Guild)

Barber Surgeons Guild
File this one away under the purely indulgent, but irresistible category.

Barber Surgeons Guild provides high-quality grooming products and services, combining grooming with advanced medical procedures, backed by Dr. Justin Rome, a plastic surgeon who runs and oversees the store.
BSG originates from the history of barber surgeons who were the medical and grooming experts throughout the Middle Ages.

BSG products are formulated by master barbers and an expert medical team; offering shampoos, conditioners, pomades, texture liniment and hair serums, each product is scientifically structured with an active ingredient to ensure hair is healthy, thick, stylish and strong.

In addition to the traditional barbershop experience, BSG also offers advanced hair therapies including hair regeneration.  It’s artisanal grooming and a whole lot more.

Barber Surgeons Guild is located at 805 Larrabee St., West Hollywood. You can make an appointment by calling 310-975-7094. Or visit barbersurgeonsguild.com for more information.

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Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Melissa Clark’s potato salad & chicken thighs

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – There’s a story behind today’s column, and it is seriously serendipitous. Fortuitous AF. Lucky as a ladybug. It begins with the mint plants that sprung up overnight in my garden, which has been neglected for so long that it’s difficult to imagine anything ever did or would grow there. 

So, obviously, I wanted to make a mint-forward dish tonight. I turned to my favorite resource, the New York Times Cooking app, and decided to make this recipe for lemon potato salad with mint because (1) it has a five-star rating, and, more importantly, (2) it comes courtesy of one Melissa Clark. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Every single recipe of hers that I have made has been top-notch. I highly recommend her book, “Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France.” (She has published more than three dozen cookbooks and I’m sure all of them are just as fabulous, but sadly my bookshelf is only so capacious.)

Anyway, my husband, as I may have mentioned in the past, fervently believes that a meal without meat is like sex without an orgasm. So, I grabbed some boneless skinless chicken thighs from my freezer and continued browsing NYT Cooking in search of something to do with them…

…and discovered this garlicky chicken with lemon-anchovy sauce by (guess who?) Melissa Clark! A perfect pairing. Both dishes are deeply savory but brightened up thanks to lemon and fresh herbs. Plus, I happened to have an abundance of lemons. Thanks, Costco. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

I hope that story didn’t put you to sleep. One minute you’re young and fun, but then sometime in your 30s instead of shot-gunning Four Lokos and dancing at the club you’re getting excited about buying a new medicine cabinet. I don’t know what to say. Life comes at you fast. 

Recipes were slightly adapted below: 

  1. Boil two pounds unpeeled waxy potatoes (I used Yukon Golds) in a pot of generously salted water for, depending on their size, 15-25 minutes. Drain and cut the potatoes into 1.5-inch pieces
  2. Whisk together the juice of one lemon, ½ cup good extra-virgin olive oil, 1.5 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon Turkish pepper (or ground cayenne)
  3. Transfer hot potatoes to a large bowl and toss with your dressing. When potatoes have cooled to room temperature, toss them again with ½ cup thinly sliced scallions and ¼ cup mint leaves (torn if they’re really large)
  4. Serve at room temperature 
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Season 4-6 chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Mince 1 garlic clove and set aside
  2. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil on medium/medium-high. Add 5 smashed garlic cloves, 5 anchovy fillets, 2 tablespoons of capers, patted dry, and a large pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until the garlic browns and the anchovies dissolve, about 3-5 minutes
  3. Add chicken thighs and cook until well browned, about 5-7 minutes. Flip them and transfer skillet to the oven to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
  4. Transfer chicken to a plate and put your skillet back on the heat. Add your minced garlic and the juice of half a lemon, cooking until fragrant – about 30 seconds – while scraping the fond from the bottom of the skillet. Return chicken to the pan and cook for another 15-30 seconds
Photo by Dan Balinovic

Transfer everything to a serving platter. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the chicken, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve.

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Business

Walt Disney company shareholders reject anti-trans policy

Anti-trans activist Chloe Cole, who opposes gender-affirming care for minors and supports bans on such care addressed shareholders

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Partners is a 1993 copper statue by Blaine Gibson depicting Walt Disney holding the hand of the most popular character he created, Mickey Mouse. (Photo courtesy of the Walt Disney Company)

BURBANK, Calif. – The annual Walt Disney Company shareholders meeting took on a contentious environment Wednesday as far right anti-trans activists attempted to push through a measure that would force Disney to pay for services for transgender people who choose to detransition.

Anti-trans activist and California resident, 19-year-old Chloe Cole, who opposes gender-affirming care for minors and supports bans on such care following her own detransition, has traveled across the nation testifying in legislative hearings, addressed shareholders.

“Disney pays for gender transition interventions, but not detransitioning care,” Cole said.“ Therefore, the company discriminates based on gender identity, under [government] regulations.”

Los Angeles based journalist Lil Kalish reported that Cole spoke as an advocate for Do No Harm, a group of conservative medical professionals who are skeptical of gender-affirming care, and presented the proposal on behalf of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative group that challenges what they see as abuse and corruption in government and business.

Kalish noted that lawmakers in Florida, which is home to the Walt Disney World Resort, recently failed to pass a bill that would force state insurance plans to cover “detransition treatments.” Other states have tried to pass laws that create a private cause of action for patients and families to sue medical facilities.

According to Kalish, the anti-transgender proposal was one of several advanced by far right conservatives. One shareholder proposal targeted the company’s contributions to politicians who support anti-abortion laws and former President Donald Trump’s stolen election claims. Another from the National Center for Public Policy Research, a Disney shareholder, urged the company to disclose its charitable contributions of $5,000 or more and criticized Disney for pursuing “radical gender ideology” by contributing to organizations that support the LGBTQ+ community, such as GLSEN and the Trevor Project.

Ultimately the board rejected these proposals.

During the course of the meeting, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger defeated hedge fund activist investor Nelson Peltz of Trian Partners. The New York Times reported Trian had spent $25 million to get shareholders to vote for its two board candidates. Iger’s victory ended the months-long fighting over the future direction of the entertainment giant.

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Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Steak salad, two ways

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – I have already played “16 Carriages” about two dozen times. Are y’all listening to Cowboy Carter? What an album! Beyoncé really said, “I ain’t playin’ wit you, Jolene!” 

Pin on What Do You Meme (Expansion Options)

Anyway, today’s column is a love letter to cold steak – which I was craving, thanks to Carla Lalli Music’s recipe in “That Sounds So Good” and accompanying YouTube video, in which the meat is sliced thin against the grain and served on a bed of arugula with shaved parm and a homemade Caesar-ish dressing. 

My husband, however, prefers romaine lettuce and blue cheese dressing, so I figured why not make everyone happy and do the dish both ways? 

It can be tricky to re-heat steak without cooking the center beyond a desirable point of doneness, so this is really a perfect way to eat leftovers if you made (or ordered) too much! Just remember to add salt if you’re using steak that’s been sitting in the fridge because the cold dulls flavor. (In my opinion, however, the texture is better.

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Season 2 boneless New York strip or Ribeye steaks generously with salt and pepper. Allow to rest for about an hour at room temperature
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high for about five minutes. Add a tablespoon of neutral oil and wait until it begins to smoke. Add the steaks and cook for about 2 minutes, and then turn and repeat on each side – being sure to render the fat cap – until the internal temperature is about 112° to 115° F. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and allow to rest/cool
Caesar-ish dressingBlue cheese dressing
With a mortar and pestle, grind three anchovy fillets together with salt and pepper until a paste forms. Transfer to a bowl and add 1 garlic clove, grated, the zest of ½ a lemon and juice of the entire lemon, and ½ cup of mayonnaise. Stir to combine and add more salt if neededIn a large bowl, combine ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, ¼ cup minced parsley, ¼ cup sour cream, ½ tablespoon lemon juice, ½ tablespoon white wine vinegar, and ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese. Stir and add more salt if needed
  1. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Use a vegetable peeler to shave some Parmesan cheese curls. 
Photo by Dan Balinovic

Serve steak and Parmesan over a bed of arugula, chopped romainelettuce, or other greens along with whichever dressing you made. Season steak with flaky sea salt.

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Business

Out LA Dodgers executive & husband buy GYM Sportsbar & Grill

Eric Braverman, an openly gay executive, oversees the Dodgers’ PRIDE Business Resource Group & launched the club’s first Pride Night in 2013

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GYM Sportsbar and Grill West Hollywood (Photo by Ed Uyelp)

By Paulo Murillo | WEST HOLLYWOOD – Erik Braverman, the openly gay senior vice president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, his husband Jonathan Cottrell, and other investors under Bravecoot Ventures LLC, are on the verge of acquiring Gym Sportsbar and Grill in West Hollywood located at 8919 Santa Monica Blvd (also known as Gym Bar).

The purchase is currently pending approval according to the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

Braverman is in his 14th year with the Dodgers and has had a major impact on the growth of the Dodger brand as it continues to expand beyond the world of baseball. In his role as Senior Vice President, Marketing, Communications and Broadcasting, Braverman manages the Dodgers’ local and national broadcast relationships and directs the club’s marketing and communications initiatives, helping drive ticket sales and place the club in a position to lead the Majors in attendance each of the last seven years.

He also oversees the club’s internal productions, creative efforts and the Dodgers’ social media, which has set the standard for fan engagement and grown to become one of the most followed teams in baseball across all platforms.

An openly gay executive, Braverman oversees the Dodgers’ PRIDE Business Resource Group and launched the club’s first Pride Night in 2013, which has helped foster the team’s strong year-round relationship with the LGBTQ community and grown into the most well-attended annual event of its kind in all of sports.

Braverman resides in West Hollywood with his husband, Jonathan Cottrell. They both exchanged vows in front of close friends and family at Dodgers Stadium on January 2022.

“Jonathan and I are excited to share this news publicly,” reads a post on Braverman’s instagram account regarding their purchase of Gym Sportsbar. “We would also like to take a moment to recognize and thank our incredible partners, without whom this would not be possible. They all share the same enthusiasm and passion that we do for GYM Sportsbar and Grill West Hollywood.”

In a joint statement, Braverman and Cottrell expressed their dedication to preserving and enhancing Gym Sportsbar’s legacy, envisioning it as a beacon of community, diversity, and excellence in West Hollywood. They emphasized their goal of creating an inclusive space that respects the past while embracing the future, fostering connections and camaraderie among patrons, according to OUTSPORTS.

Gym Sportsbar dates back to 2005 when it first opened as Gym Bar in NY. The WeHo location first opened in October 2, 2009 at 8737 Santa Monica Boulevard. It closed at that location shortly after celebrating 10 years in 2022. It reopened a few blocks away at its current location as Gym Sportsbar and Grill in 2021.

Rick Schmutzler, one of the founders of Gym Sportsbar, expressed confidence in Braverman and Cottrell, stating they are well-positioned to lead Gym Sportsbar into the future with new partnerships and opportunities, reports OUTSPORTS. With over a decade of operation in Los Angeles and a recent relocation to West Hollywood, Schmutzler is stepping away from the business, trusting Braverman and Cottrell to guide its trajectory.

Operating a bar entails significant effort, but Braverman and Cottrell affirm their readiness for the task ahead, supported by their entire investment team.

**************************************************************

Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings over 20 years of experience as a columnist, reporter, and photo journalist.

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The preceding article was previously published by WeHo Times and is republished with permission.

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Food

Kane’s Cuisine: 갈비탕 Korean beef short rib soup (Galbitang)

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – I apologize for not publishing a column last week. It was my birthday. Truthfully, I was planning on making something, but I had too much celebration while at brunch. Peter Chang’s Chinese restaurant south of Dupont Circle, Chang Chang, is delightful

So, I am back on my game this week with a delicious Korean dish, galbitang (갈비탕). 

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Soak 2.5-3.5 pounds bone-in beef short rib in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Fill a large pot with about 8 cups water. Bring to a boil and drop in the ribs, cooking for about 3 minutes
  3. Drain the ribs again. Wash the meat under cold running water and clean the pot
  4. Return the ribs to your pot. Add 13-14 cups of water, along with 1 pound Korean radish, one onion, quartered, the white and light green parts of 2-4 scallions, 8-12 cloves whole garlic, and a 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into three equally sized pieces. Add 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and a dash of fish sauce
  5. Bring to a boil and leave at a boil for 30 minutes over high heat, uncovered
  6. Reduce the heat to medium. Remove radish and set aside. Discard the other vegetables. Add 2 cups water and continue to boil, covered, for about an hour. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Serve with rice and/or rice noodles. Garnish with scallion and/or fresh herbs.

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Advice

Giving up drinking is killing our relationship

What happens when one partner is sober and the other isn’t

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I’m a 38-year-old guy, was single for most of my 30s, which I didn’t like at all, and I finally met a great guy last Memorial Day Weekend. 

Until New Year’s I would have said that everything was going great. I was on Cloud Nine. Eric is kind, handsome, smart, and a great catch.

But in December he decided to do “Dry January.” It was kind of on a whim I think. We were out with some friends and one of them said he was not going to drink at all for the month of January. He thought alcohol was playing too big a role in his life so he wanted to see what life would be like without it. Another friend said he would do it too, and then Eric said he would.

I wish we hadn’t gone out that night and then this whole thing wouldn’t have happened.

So, as the month progressed, Eric started talking more and more about how much better he was feeling without alcohol in his body or his life.

I don’t think we drank that much pre-January. Yes, we’d have something to drink every time we went out, with friends or just together, but not to excess.

At some point, Eric started saying that he wasn’t really enjoying going out with our friends, as he wasn’t drinking and they were (except the two friends who were also doing the Dry January thing). This meant I’d either go out without him (which I didn’t like) or we’d stay home, or go out just the two of us. But then if I’m drinking and he’s not, it just feels awkward. He hasn’t said anything but I feel like he’s judging me whenever I have a drink.

I was hoping he’d relax about the whole thing at the end of the month but now he’s decided he doesn’t want to drink anymore at all.

To make matters worse, he says that the month made him think more about the big role alcohol plays in his life (his words) and he has started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

So where does this leave me? I do want to keep drinking. I’m just a social drinker and I don’t have a problem with alcohol. I think it adds a fair amount of fun to my life. Plus, all my friends drink (including the two who did Dry January) and it’s a big part of our socializing. If you don’t drink when everyone else is drinking, it’s really not fun and it feels weird.

At this point Eric doesn’t go out with the friend group we were going out with because he doesn’t have a good time as the only non-drinker. (I get it, that’s one of the reasons I drink when my friends are drinking.) So I go out sometimes without him, which as I mentioned doesn’t feel so good, and which I don’t think is great for our relationship; or I don’t go out with my friends, which I don’t like.

I love Eric and I could see us having a great life together but his not drinking has opened what feels like a chasm between us.

How do couples handle this situation, where one person wants to stop drinking and the other does not? The impact is seeming increasingly huge to me and I don’t see how to make it stop being a divisive problem.

Michael replies:

I don’t think that Eric’s sobriety needs to be a divisive problem, if you can tolerate that you don’t get to have your life with Eric be exactly as you would like. 

This is the same dilemma that everyone in a serious relationship must face. Our partners are always different from us in some important ways, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first. And we have to figure out how to live with these differences, contentedly for the most part.  Our partners face the same challenge. 

Of course, not every difference can be (or should be) resolvable. For example, if one person is determined to parent and the other person is determined to be child-free, it makes great sense to part ways — unless one person decides they’d rather stay with their partner than have it their way.  

You and Eric have to figure out if your differences around alcohol are a deal-breaker, or if you can find a way to build a solid relationship, even as you drink socially and he is sober.

Whether and how you do this are for the two of you to figure out.  That said, here are some ideas for your consideration: 

  • Can you accept Eric’s not joining you for some or even many of your social activities?
  • Can you and Eric talk about what might help him be more comfortable joining your friends now and then?
  • Can you ask Eric what it’s like for him when you are drinking, rather than assuming that he is judging you? (Important question for your consideration: What led you to make that assumption rather than asking him?)
  • If Eric is making friends in Alcoholics Anonymous, would you want to join him at times when he socializes with them? 

The main ingredients here are generosity, flexibility, collaboration, and curiosity.

Speaking of curiosity, rather than wishing that the two of you had missed that invitation to participate in Dry January, how about being curious about Eric’s decision to stop drinking? I suspect that your dismissiveness has a negative impact on his desire to be close to or confide in you. If you are curious about this important life change that Eric is undertaking, you will certainly learn a lot about your boyfriend, and likely deepen your connection.

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at michaelradkowsky.com. All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to [email protected].

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Autos

Glam rides: BMW X6 and Range Rover Velar

Impressive standard features elevate these lower-priced options

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BMW X6

Many sport-utes with ho-hum styling still impress me by offering scads of standard features and a low MSRP. But sometimes it’s hard not to be seduced by what I call glam rides—pricier vehicles with plenty of attitude. You know, like something Cassandro might drive. 

BMW X6 

$75,000 

MPG: 23 city/26 highway

0 to 60 mph: 5.2 seconds

Maximum cargo room: 59.6 cu. ft. 

PROS: Outré styling, posh cabin, raw power

CONS: Less rear visibility, limited storage, costly options

IN A NUTSHELL: Trust me, it’s hard not to fall in love with a BMW X6. This recently updated crossover, with its coupe-like profile, swept-back grille and breathtaking acceleration, had me at hello. High ground clearance and oodles of high-tech features turn this high-end hauler into one helluva wild ride.

Sure, the sharply sloped roof hampers rear-seat headroom and cargo capacity. But up front there’s more room than expected, along with a dramatically curved digital dashboard. And the ginormous panoramic moonroof helps make the interior feel quite spacious. 

How good is this BMW? Zipping up to Baltimore last month during a day of downpours and clueless commuters, my husband and I started rethinking our promise to never buy a budget-busting vehicle. For us, bad weather and heavy traffic usually result in clenched teeth, heavy sighs and my swearing like a sailor. Yet the hushed cabin, 16-way power front seats and ability to control the stereo and other functions simply by waving my hand were all very Zen. Ditto the finely tuned suspension, steering and braking, which anticipated my every move. Instead of shying away from rush hour on our return home, I leaned in. 

Myriad safety features — from forward-collision alerts and blind-spot monitors to lane-departure warnings and a 360-degree camera — batted away any concerns about fender benders. Same for the option packages that allow you to park the X6 automatically, store familiar maneuvers and drive hands-free at up to 85 mph.  

Power in the base-model — which is what I test drove — comes from a lively 375-hp turbo, with a 48-volt hybrid system to improve gas mileage. There’s also a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive for sure handling on slippery roads. Pricing begins at $75,000, but options on my test car brought it up to—whoa!—88,000. 

For more grit and growl, there’s the xDrive60i, with a 523-hp twin turbo that helps this Bimmer sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds. And the top-of-the-line X6 M Competition with a 617-hp V8 is even faster at a blistering 3.7 seconds. But I am much too afraid to drive this gnarly high-test model—it starts at $128,000. 

RANGE ROVER VELAR

$63,000 

MPG: 19 city/25 highway

0 to 60 mph: 5.2 seconds

Maximum cargo room: 70.1 cu. ft. 

PROS: Refined design, chic interior, lotsa storage

CONS: Tepid base engine, more sedate handling, pricey

IN A NUTSHELL: While Range Rovers are known for being oh-so-classy, the Velar is much sassier than the rest of the lineup. 

The sweeping front fascia would make Ariana Grande proud: Svelte grille, sporty wraparound headlights and stretched, corset-like air ducts in the bumper.  

Inside, the look is spartan but elegant. All knobs and other switchgear are mostly hidden or activated by an 11.4-inch infotainment touchscreen that seems to hover in front of the dash. Even the ubiquitous cruise control and stereo buttons on the steering wheel seem to have vanished, though look closer and they are tastefully integrated into the design. 

While the Velar may be classified as a compact vehicle, it looks and feels much larger. Compared with the midsize BMW X6, both have ample seating for five people. Front-seat dimensions are practically the same, but the supposedly smaller Range Rover has better back-seat headroom and legroom. It also holds almost 20% more cargo. 

Built on the same platform as the popular Jaguar F-Pace, the Velar has a relaxed ride compared to the more athletic BMW X6. Power is less aggressive on the Range Rover, with choice of two competent but hardly rip-roaring engines. 

Build quality is impressive, including the optional leather-free interior that uses an upscale composite of wool and polyurethane. And while even the base-model comes with interior ambient lighting and a premium Meridian stereo, you can opt for the 17-speaker 3D system for an even more “Maestro”-like experience.  

Overall, the Velar may be less of a rabble rouser than the BMW X6, but there’s still plenty here to dazzle the senses.

Range Rover Velar
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Food

Kane’s Cuisine: Shortcut chicken and dumpling soup

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – Alexa Weibel’s quick chicken and dumplings, via New York Times Cooking, is such a good recipe that it will have me walking back proclamations I’ve made in previous columns. For example, when I insisted on using freshly cooked chicken for my chicken pot pie. Or when I’ve poo-pooed the use of shortcuts in cooking elsewhere.  

I thought about doing an Oscars-themed dish this week, but honestly here in Washington we’re experiencing gale-force winds and it’s freezing. The night, in other words, called for chicken and dumplings. 

Store-bought gnocchi and rotisserie chicken seriously cuts down on the cooking time. But homemade chicken stock and fresh herbs are doing the heavy lifting, here. 

You might even say this dish is perfect for a mom who works two jobs. Who loves her kids and never stops: 

Even Republicans Panned Sen. Katie Britt's Kitchen-Table SOTU Response

In a large pot, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter on medium heat. Add 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces, 1 medium-large leek (or two if they’re on the smaller side), white and light green portions, thinly sliced, 2 medium celery stalks, sliced into ½ inch pieces, 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed, 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves, and 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Photo by Dan Balinovic
  1. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes
  2. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes
  3. Gradually add 5 cups homemade chicken stock (yes, you can use store-bought. I guess.) and 1 cup heavy cream. Bring to a boil over high heat 
  4. Stir in a 16-ounce package of fresh store-bought gnocchi. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups picked store-bought rotisserie chicken, shredded

Garnish with fresh dill and serve

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Kane’s Cuisine: Molly Baz’s citrus-braised beef

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

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Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipe

WASHINGTON – Last week, you may recall we made pork shoulder, slow-cooked on the stovetop with orange zest and warm spices, for carnitas tacos. Today, we are making beef chuck roast, braised in the oven for more than three hours with an orange-lime-cilantro-garlic salsa, for…well, we have some options! 

You can nestle the meat into warmed corn tortillas with queso fresco and raw onions. You can serve it over rice, polenta, or potatoes – don’t forget to add your favorite garnishes and accoutrements. You could even spoon some alongside (or overtop) fried eggs, beans, and tostadas for an otherworldly plate of huevos rancheros. 

The recipe comes courtesy of Molly Baz. I am a huge fan of hers, and you can sign up for her Club for just $5/month for amazing dishes like this one. 

  1. Salt 3.5 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 3-inch cubes
  2. Cut 4 strips of zest from an orange and set aside
  3. In a blender or food processor, add ¾ up white distilled vinegar, 10 cloves garlic, ½ bunch cilantro, 1 packed tablespoon fresh oregano, the juice and pulp of 3 oranges and 2 limes, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 jalapenos, cut in half and into 1-inch pieces. Blend until “a green, speckly puree forms” 
  4. Preheat oven to 325° F. Peel and thinly slice 2 onions. Reserve a big handful for garnish later on and use the rest to scatter along the bottom of a large Dutch oven
  5. Place the beef atop the onions. Scatter orange zest around them. Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil overtop. Pour in the braising liquid along with 1¼ cup water
  6. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer to the oven for 3.5 hours, basting “with some of its juices once every hour and returning the lid, until the beef is fork tender and shreddable.” 
  7. Remove from oven and increase heat to 425°. “Remove the lid and scoot any onions off the surface of the beef to expose the flesh. Use a spoon to kind of prop the beef so it’s sticking out of the liquid by a bit.” Cook until the meat is caramelized and liquid has reduced, about 15 minutes 
  8. Shred and serve…however you like!
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Kane’s Cuisine: Tacos de carnitas with charred corn-scallion salad

LA Blade White House correspondent Christopher Kane shares his love and passion of cooking writing in his weekly column

Published

on

Photo by Dan Balinovic

The LA Blade’s intrepid Washington D.C.-based White House correspondent serves up another of his delicious weekly recipes

WASHINGTON – We’re having company tonight. So, unfortunately, I did not have time to write an introduction for this week’s column. Or maybe y’all are relieved to see the recipes without having to scroll past paragraphs of text with lengthy anecdotes and digressions galore. If this is you, please don’t tell me – I am laboring under the impression (delusion?) that these columns are considered an entertaining read. 

The taco recipe comes courtesy of Tara Duggan & Kim Severson via New York Times Cooking, with minor adjustments. The corn salad is Alison Roman’s, with minor changes in the methods for charring as explained below. You should make both dishes. Even when I skimp on the introductions to these columns, as I have this time, I am always giving you 100% effort in the kitchen. 

Photo by Dan Balinovic

Tacos: 

  1. Cut 3 pounds pork shoulder into one to two-inch cubes and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large pot
  2. Add enough water – or, as I did, a mixture of water and chicken stock – until the meat is covered by two inches. Add seven strips orange zest, five cloves minced garlic, one large onion, diced, 1.5 teaspoons red pepper flakes, one cinnamon stick, two bay leaves, 1.5 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, one teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  3. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 90 minutes. Skim and discard scum from the surface. Add more salt if needed and continue simmering for 30 minutes and then allow the meat to fry a bit
  4. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Spoon carnitas onto corn tortillas 

Garnish with cilantro, raw diced onion, and queso fresco.

Corn salad:

  1. Shuck 6 ears of corn. Coat them with olive oil and season with salt before cooking them on a grill – or, as I did, with a blowtorch – until at least half the kernels are blackened
  2. Grill or use a blowtorch to char a bunch of scallions
  3. Roughly chop the scallions. Once corn is cool enough to handle, strip the kernels off the cob. There are many ways to do this, but in my opinion the easiest method is with a large, sharp chef’s knife and a large cutting board, using a bench scraper to collect the kernels and transfer them to a large mixing bowl, along with the scallions
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Add two tablespoons olive oil and mix well. Add one cup chopped cilantro, six coarsely chopped pepperoncini peppers, ½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice, and ½ cup chopped corn nuts or sunflower seeds

Top with queso fresco 

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