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Meet the non-binary star of Dan Levy’s ‘The Big Brunch’

“That show, my castmates, the whole experience changed my life. I feel confident again. I got sober” – Catie Randazzo



Catie Randazzo (Photo Credit: Elise Freimuth)

By Evan Caplan | WASHINGTON -Just as a meal is more than a sum of its ingredients, restaurants are more than just furniture, fire, and food.

For Catie Randazzo, working in restaurants was “the first place that I felt I could be my true authentic queer self. Randazzo, who uses they/them pronouns, went from staffing the local Dairy Queen in Columbus, Ohio at 16 to starring in HBO’s recent “The Big Brunch,” hosted by Dan Levy (it aired in November). Randazzo, who now calls Los Angeles home, has taken the spotlight in stride: a chef, leader, and role model in equal parts.

Randazzo, who began in the service industry in several chain restaurants, says that “growing up in a Pentecostal household, it’s where I finally felt free. The chains provided consistency, efficiency, and the meaning of a restaurant family.” After graduating from culinary school, they worked in Portland and New York City before returning home to Columbus to open their own food truck.

“I moved home in 2013 to open my first solo venture, a food truck called Challah! that did riffs on classic Jewish street food. I fell in love with Jewish food and culture while living in New York,” they say. “I wanted to celebrate it. It is still an influence in my cooking today, and it always will be. It’s kind of funny though, former Pentecostal, a queer kid, does Jewish food, but it works.”

Randazzo then opened and gained acclaim for their first brick and mortar restaurant, Ambrose and Eve, a modern American restaurant. It closed in 2020 due to complications from the pandemic. Yet it was there at Ambrose and Eve that Randazzo earned the titles Best Chef 2019 and 2020 from The Columbus Underground, Best New Restaurant 2019 from Columbus Monthly, and recognition from the New York Times and Chicago Tribune. Randazzo was being seen for cooking prowess, and leadership outside the kitchen.

“Ambrose was magical. I was able to create a safe space for my staff, where they could be themselves, and insert their ideas to grow as bartenders, cooks, and servers,” Randazzo notes.

As the pandemic shuttered restaurants everywhere in 2020, Catie became a trusted fixture in Columbus, lending support to local nonprofits including Star House, a drop-in center for displaced youth; and helped establish Service!, alongside other local chefs focused on feeding and supporting service industry staff. Randazzo also volunteered mentoring queer children who wanted to become chefs, and at youth drop-in shelters. 

When a friend sent Randazzo a note about applying for “The Big Brunch,” “I was still mentally recovering from the loss of my restaurant. But the more I read about the premise of the show, the more I thought I should apply. I also had only been out as non-binary for a few months and was nervous to put myself out there like that. Also, it’s Dan Fucking Levy. Like, come on.”

On “The Big Brunch,” 10 chefs from diverse backgrounds fought to win $300,000 from the judges: Levy, chef Sohla El-Waylly and restaurateur Will Guidara. Through the show, Randazzo dug deep, and made major life changes – moving to Los Angeles and taking up the mantle as executive chef of Huckleberry Bakery & Café in Santa Monica.

“That show, my castmates, the whole experience changed my life. I feel confident again. I got sober. I found a new version of myself that I am in love with. I met a girl. I moved to LA. I got a fucking kick-ass job doing what I love. I had been lost for so long, and it feels like I am home. I hope that through the show, people can hear my story, and it may help and guide them to stand up, speak out, and be themselves.”

Today in LA, diners at Huckleberry can get a taste of how Randazzo sparkled in The Big Brunch – their signature approach to unique, seasonally inspired food, and their penchant for telling stories through nostalgia. A couple dish highlights: a veggie quiche from the farmer’s market, and cereal milk pancakes inspired by weekend breakfasts made by their father. 

Randazzo promises to continue their trajectory. “I think my work supports the need for queer safe spaces just by being visible. Sometimes, just having someone see you can make all the difference.”


Evan Caplan is a freelance writer, editor, and eater, in the food, restaurant, hospitality, and travel spaces, focusing on where culture and cuisine collide.



The annual LA Times 101 list is here at last



Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – The 101 list is here, celebrating some of the best food in L.A.

Search vegetarian, Asian, Mexican and more categories, or find the perfect restaurant for a special night out or in. With a map to highlight the best places near you, the 101 could spotlight a hidden gem just around the corner.

So before you decide on dinner plans, check out the 101.

Read more here!

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Hit Instagram smash burger pop-up Chris N Eddy’s debuts in Hollywood

The duo are ready to serve up their acclaimed tasty burgers in their first brick-and-mortar restaurant on Sunset Blvd.



Screenshot via KTLA 5 Live

LOS ANGELES – KTLA 5 Live aired a segment Friday on Instagram sensation Chris N Eddy’s who have spent months of serving smashburger-style cheeseburgers to lines of hungry diners out in parking lots.

Now the duo are ready to serve up their acclaimed tasty burgers in their first brick-and-mortar restaurant at 5539 Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. The 5 Live crew visited the shop that has made a name for itself through enticing Instagram photos of their sliders, tater tots and fries.

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LA’s comeback, a lesbian community leader has a starring role

There’s a sense of relief and excitement as LA starts to reopen



Madonna Cacciatore, (driving) and spouse Robin McWilliams in the new Discover LA advert

LOS ANGELES – Nearly thirteen long months have passed since the coronavirus pandemic first gripped the greater Los Angeles region as well as the rest of the Golden State.

However, now with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reporting that its Health Metrics data continues to reflect reduced transmission of COVID-19 in the County and test positivity remains at the lowest levels of the pandemic- coupled with 53% of the population getting vaccinated, there’s a sense of relief and excitement as LA starts to reopen.

Having a role in that reopening literally is Madonna Cacciatore and her spouse Robin McWilliams who are part of an ensemble cast in the recently released Discover Los Angeles dot com television commercial celebrating the sights, sounds, places, and destinations in LA.

Cacciatore, a transplant from the Lone Star State of Texas, in addition to being an actor is also Vice President of the Board of Directors at L-Project Los Angeles, the former Executive Director at Christopher Street West/LA Pride, and the former Director of Special Events at Los Angeles LGBT Center.

McWilliams is the owner and CEO of MadCatch Entertainment, a management company representing some of the most amazing theatrically trained actors, singers and writers in the Los Angeles, and NY area.


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Arts & Entertainment

West Hollywood’s ‘Out On Robertson’ official launch

The Robertson program is having its official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Saturday, May 1, 2020, at 7 p.m.



Soft launch of OUT on Robertson, April 17, 2021 (Screenshot via KCBS LA)

WEST HOLLYWOOD – Mayor Lindsey P. Horvath, Mayor Pro Tempore Lauren Meister, and city council members John D’Amico, John M. Erickson, and Sepi Shyne are set to celebrate the official launch and ribbon cutting of WeHo’s OUT on Robertson program May 1.

Because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local businesses, especially restaurants, in August 2020, the City began its Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permit program, known as OUT Zones, by offering streamlined approval for businesses to use sidewalks, on-street parking spaces, and private parking lots as areas to expand operations.

Starting Saturday, April 17, the City expanded that program with a ‘soft launch’ of OUT on Robertson, a pilot program that closes N. Robertson Boulevard south of Santa Monica Boulevard and north of Melrose Avenue to vehicular traffic each Saturday and Sunday, between 6 p.m. on Saturday and late-night on Sunday, in order to transform the restaurant/retail area into a pedestrian zone with COVID-19 safety protocols.

“Closing this highly trafficked and bustling stretch of Robertson will provide a pedestrian-safe space that allows for appropriate social distancing as the Public Health Department eases capacity restrictions while still monitoring the spread of the virus,” said City of West Hollywood Councilmember John M. Erickson. “COVID is not over and we all must remain vigilant about protecting our own health, and the health of others. I’m looking forward to safely seeing you — at a distance and with your most fabulous masks on — OUT on Robertson!”

The Robertson program is having its official ribbon-cutting ceremony, Saturday, May 1, 2020, at 7 p.m. 

OUT on Robertson will embrace, on weekends, what compact OUT Zones throughout the City have been offering for months: a place to enjoy sunny days and balmy nights while maintaining social distance, aligning with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s health and safety protocols, and supporting community businesses.

People exploring West Hollywood’s OUT on Robertson are reminded that the City of West Hollywood has a mandatory face-covering requirement and people are urged to be mindful of maintaining six feet of social distancing for dining, shopping, and personal care under the sun and stars

Plentiful parking is available in the five-story West Hollywood Park structure located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard, adjacent to the West Hollywood Library. Additional parking is also available at 650 N. La Peer Drive. For those using rideshare services, the City has established Drop Zones at the corner of Melrose Avenue and N. Robertson Boulevard.

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Give Daddy what he deserves



If you are going to see daddy this weekend for Father’s Day, you might consider bringing him a gift. There are so many unique and fun ways you can “I Love You” and Los Angeles Blade has a few gift idea for you.


Gelson’s is offering a wide selection of thoughtful gifts which make it easy to celebrate with your #1 guy. Here are some fun options that Dad is sure to love: Cowboy Ribeye steak with a bottle of Big Poppa’s double secret steak rub; Grilling tools; Cheese/charcuterie plate; Sees candies, peanut brittle and Toffee-ette’s; Father’s Day balloon bouquet; Selection of Wine & Spirits and Wine Accessories.

Customers can place their orders and pre-pay online then visit their local Gelson’s during their reservation time.

Consider bonding with dad in the kitchen by ordering a Blue Apron box. You will get lots of great dishes for the family to cook. All the meals sound amazing–you can order the ingredients to make Southern-Spiced Chicken with Potato Salad & Maple Green Beans, Seared Steaks & Lemon-Caper Butter with Oven Fries, Curry-Peanut Chicken with Sushi Rice & Marinated Vegetables or Mexican-Spiced Shrimp Tacos with Guacamole & Poblano Pepper! Yum!

A great way to bond with dad is to take a cooking class together. Impastiamo is an amazing new online cooking platform. You can take an array of great cooking classes via Zoom through them! And all the chefs involved are incredible! Most of the money goes to the chef, many of whom are really hurting during this difficult time. Classes are only $12.50 and can be booked via the company’s website.

HomeSomm is making fresh homemade pastas and sauces for you to prepare at home. You pick up, head home, boil water, heat the sauce and assemble. There is nothing better than fresh pasta! Plus Owner/sommelier Chris Lucchese, a wine expert,  will be giving you wine recommendations for your meals! Chris will be opening up a new wine bar this fall!

A great place to take dad for lunch is Lady Byrd Café, a charming, neighborhood gem nestled up in the hills of Echo Park. Committed to providing environmentally friendly farm-to-table, fresh, organic ingredients, with a wide variety of options for vegans, meat eaters and those with anyone looking for a delectable and unique dining experience, their selection, curated by Chef Fred Reyes, is sure to impress. He offers a fresh take on American cuisine, utilizing flavors that will undoubtedly please everyone’s tastebuds, drawing particular inspiration from French, Italian and Mediterranean cuisines.

Carvery Kitchen has some fun stuff planned on their Instagram for Father’s Day! So check them out! The restaurant is known for their excellent meal prep delivery and helping their community, as well as their slow roasted meats. Dad will love their new and exciting twist on your typical deli food. And if you are in need of paper products (tp paper, paper towels etc.) and other grocery items (like pasta) they have that too! For children under 18: free grab-and-go meal available for curbside pick-up (child must be present) 8:00a – 7:00p. Just drop by, no advance order necessary. For seniors 65 and over: 30% off all meals (free delivery). Order by phone or online.

Interstellar (Santa Monica)

The internationally-inspired all day café will be offering a special bone-in prime rib dinner, seasoned with a garlic pepper rub, and choice of truffle fries or mash potatoes that customers can order ready-to-eat, or they may choose to sear the meat themselves at home. Additionally, Interstellar has created a “beers and brews” beverage add on, which includes 4 beers of the customer’s choice (options ranging from LA’s Boomtown Brewery to Japan’s Kirin-Ichiban) alongside a box of fresh cold brew coffee, made with beans from Onyx Coffee Lab. Preorders are encouraged and can be placed via phone at 310.310.8820.

Urban Plates (locations throughout Southern California)

The chef-driven, fine casual brand that focuses on delicious, craveable and affordable foods made with clean, whole food ingredients will offer a Ribs Family Meal for Father’s Day (available 6/17-6/21). The composed meal includes four half racks ribs, large side of roasted old bay potatoes, large side of harissa corn on the cob, and 4 slices grilled rustic bread. The Family Meal is priced at $59.95 at all locations.

El Torito + El Torito Grill (locations throughout LA and OC; see here)

El Torito will offer its award winning all-you-can-eat Sunday Brunch Buffet with Father’s Day special menu items within the buffet, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Buffet allows guests to visit many stations where we will serve them from a variety of offerings like their favorite Hot Mexican Entrees, a Taco Station, Fresh Salads, Dessert Bar with Banana Locas made to order and other tempting sweets. Servers will take orders for made-to-order omelets, traditional menudo and pozole and freshly carved tri-tip and ham as a Father’s Day special. Plus, bottomless mimosas! Prices vary by location; reservation can be made online via OpenTable or by calling the restaurant location of choice.

Acapulco (locations in Glendale, Costa Mesa, Downey and Marina Pacifica)

Acapulco will offer a special all-you-can-eat Sunday Brunch for Father’s Day from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Guests can select from a variety of offerings like Mexican Entrees, Taco Station, Salads, Dessert Bar with Banana Locas made to order and other sweets. Servers will take orders for made to order omelets, traditional Menudo and Pozole and—special for Father’s Day—a carving station with tri-tip and ham all brought to you at your table. In addition to bottomless mimosas, Acapulco will serve $5 Bloody Marys, Micheladas, Cadillac Margaritas and select Bottled Beers. $29.99 Adults / 8.99 Kids; reservations can be made online via OpenTable or by calling the restaurant directly.

SOL Cocina (Playa Vista, Scottsdale, Denver, Newport Beach)

Inspired by the best of coastal Baja California, SOL’s kitchens feature a unique spin on fresh, healthy, coastal Mexican food, lovingly made from scratch. Treat the family to Sol Cocina’s Father’s Day brunch and dinner will be available Saturday and Sunday, all day. Menu highlights include the award-winning Taco Vampiro made with a double tortilla with cheese, serranos and green onions, guacamole, chipotle sauce, cotija cheese, and salsa fresca with choice of carne asada or grilled chicken; Pork Carnitas (available for dinner only), and the Grand Clase Azul Margarita. Reservations can be made online via OpenTable here, or by calling the restaurant.

Solita (Huntington Beach and Valencia)

Simplicity at its best for the father who loves specialty Mexican dishes and good food. Father’s Day menu items include the Pork Belly Dorado Tacos house-smoked with amarillo hot sauce, onions, cilantro & slaw; Skirt Steak Asada made with wood-grilled angus steak, avocado, jalapeno toreados, scallions, and chimchurri, served with 2 sides, among others. Round of the meal with specialty margaritas, craft cocktails, or select from a wide selection of tequilas or beers.

Las Brisas (Laguna Beach)

Celebrate Father’s Day, all day, with Las Brisas’ four-course prix-fixe brunch ($75, includes bottomless mimosas) and dinner menus ($85). Brunch highlights include Prime Rib with mole-potato puree and charred scallion; Crab Scramble with scallions, crème fraiche, crispy potatoes, and fresh corn tortillas; and French Toast with seasonal fruit, cacao nibs, toasted macadamia nuts, and tangerine butter, among other menu favorites. Dinner features the famed Halibut Veracruz with capers, olives and rice; Steak & Lobster Enchiladas with guajillo sauce, tomatillo sauce, black beans, and rice, and more. At Las Brisas—the historic landmark restaurant perched cliffside with a view of the Laguna Beach coastline—the menu is inspired by the traditional authentic cooking found throughout Mexico. Our chef inspired recipes are perfected by adding simple ingredients to the region’s wealth of fresh seafood. Reservations for dine-in are available via OpenTable or by calling the restaurant at  949.497.5434.

Health/Well Being

Even a case of Hint Water wouid be a nice gift. It’s so important for your dad to stay hydrated! And Hint has a range of great flavors for you both to try!

ELSIUS is a healthy energy drink with no crash or jitters, unlike traditional energy drinks, and clinically proven to accelerate metabolism, burn fat, burn calories, boost endurance and help build lean body muscle. It is a great drink for dad since it has 7 essential vitamins; zero sugar, no added artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, no aspartame, no high fructose corn syrup, non-GMO and very low sodium.

FitFighter  is a  strength and conditioning system originally designed for the fire service and based on their own patent-pending Steelhose free weights and iOS training app. Give dad the timeless, priceless gift of strength, spirit, and service with a FitFighter Steelhose Home Gym Set, Made in the USA out of real fire hose, complete with iOS workout app, safe for kids, and perfect for home exercise.FitFighter was originally designed for FDNY Firefighters and is now available to the public. A portion of Steelhose sales sponsor the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation supporting Veterans, First Responders, frontline healthcare workers, and their families.

If your dad is big on smoothies, look into Roma Desai Patel’s fantastic organic, plant+based protein powder called Tejari Blends. It’s all organic, plant based protein powder. Roma is an ex-Coke employee who became very passionate about nutrition. She is coming out with new flavors next month, Cacao and Vanilla!

If dad loves to exercise, he will love RECOVƎR 180°, a new holistic hydration drink with 3x the electrolytes and half the calories compared to other leading sports drinks. RECOVƎR 180° is available in three all-natural fruit flavors – Blood Orange, Açai Berry, and Citrus – and has a roster of professional athlete supporters, including NFL Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Major League Baseball National League MVP Christian Yelich and heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder.


Lgbtq dads may be interested in Revtown, a performance denim brand that brings to mind luxury brands like AG and Joe’s –  but at a fraction of the price – $79 per pair. It is a great fit for you. These premium jeans are designed with the performance and comfort of an athletic pant, but with the look and feel of designer jeans.

Revtown is adapting to how people are purchasing by making great fitting garments and our proprietary digital tailor is what really makes us stand out..With their Digital Tailor,  you can size yourself with 96% accuracy in four clicks.

Daekshinco is a men’s and womenswear denim brand that just launched their first collection. Daekshin denim is made from Japanese selvedge denim. Selvedge denim refers to any type of selvedge that is made by means of using one continuous cross yarn which is passed back-and-forth through vertical warp beams.  With this method it gives maximum stretching capabilities. This gives extra space for comfortability that is hard to find in most denim products.

Deborah Lindquist is a fantastic an eco clothing, accessories, and home decor designer who has styled celebs like Sharon Stone, Pink, Jessica Alba, Christina Aguilera and Rihanna. She has amazing masks you can buy dad that use leftover pieces from her upcycled denim jackets, embellished with appliques, studs, rhinestones and silk leopard, sari, vintage kimono prints.


For the dads who love lipstick, check out Dirty Mind Cosmetics, lipsticks that have a range of vibrant fun colors, are vegan and cruelty free. This new indie makeup brand is sexy and carefree.

Avalon Organics Vitamin C Collection ($14.99-$29.99, Whole Foods Market, Powered by Vitamin C, Avalon Organics® introduces the new Vitamin C Collection, a skincare line that provides consumer tested results, imparting a glow for rejuvenated skin. The complete line is infused with our Triple-C Complex, Olive Squalane, Kakadu Plum, Turmeric, Licorice Root and Milk Thistle, to allow you to take healthy, brighter skincare into your own hands! The formulas in the Avalon Organics® Vitamin C Collection are dermatologist tested!, on June 16th and in-store at Sephora on June 26th)

The ultimate powerhouse for brightened, perfected and even looking skin. Formulated with Algenist’s patented Alguronic Acid, and an exclusive blend of Vitamin C from Blue-Green microalgae, antioxidant Phycocyanin, and AHA, BHA & PHA, this exfoliating peel visibly reduces the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Algenist’s proprietary Blue C technology allows this powerful peel to work deep into the skin’s surface to reveal fresh skin that has more radiance, a smoothed texture, even skin tone and an overall brighter complexion amplifying the skin’s radiance.

Goodhabit Rescue Me Glow Potion Oil Serum ($80 on; Travel sized (15ml) available in September for $26)

This triple-layered elixir combines the powerful effects of an oil, serum and essence into one do-it-all formula, while our proprietary BLU5 technology minimizes and helps prevent future signs of aging caused by artificial blue light. The top layer is packed with antioxidant-rich oils that infuse skin with moisture, while repairing damage, restoring elasticity, and imparting a rejuvenated look and feel. The serum phase helps prevent water loss, locks in hydration, and strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier. The rejuvenating essence phase plumps up fine lines, fades dark spots, and provides intense hydration. Instantly, skin looks and feels smoother, softer, and more hydrated with a radiant glow.

Alterna, the visionary creator of luxury haircare products free of harsh chemicals and additives, is thrilled to announce the launch of an entirely new collection aimed at celebrating consumer individuality and self-expression. Building upon the belief that hair care is self-care, My Hair. My Canvas. is the newest expression of Alterna Haircare’s transformational experience. Created to empower the millennial woman to define beauty on her own terms, these versatile and indulgently playful products offer her the products she needs to create a healthy foundation via the “blank canvas” that is her hair.

Bosley Professional Strength Bos-Renew Rejuvenating Scalp Scrub ($19.99 at and

For those looking to improve scalp health and hair appearance, this soothing and exfoliating charcoal-infused scalp shampoo detoxifies, moisturizes and invigorates a compromised scalp to help attain optimal scalp health. Gently removing debris and buildup from the scalp and hair, this energizing product is made with essential oils and Bamboo charcoal to gently cleanse, moisturize and balance for healthier-looking hair. To be used 2-3x a month, this product is designed to enhance absorption of Bosley Professional Strength hair and scalp treatments.

For Doggy Dads

EarthyPup is the first of its kind, a sustainable/eco-conscious dog subscription box. The best eco-friendly option for dog owners and their pups. My dogs love their dog biscuits!

Hound & Gatos’ new dry food for dogs and cats features real poultry, fish or meat as the #1 ingredient. Plus, these recipes are packed with a spectrum of healthy superfoods, like blueberries, cranberries and dandelion greens. The result is a great tasting, limited ingredient diet that’s made in the USA and pea, chickpea, lentil and white potato free. Three grain free options are available for cats and three grain free options are available for dogs. Additionally, two varieties made with the finest ancient grains, such as spelt and quinoa, are available for dogs.

For many of us working from home, our pups have recently become our newest coworkers; reward their hard work (and keep them busy) with Frankly Pet’s Beef Wraps, available in both natural and chicken flavors. Made in the USA, these chews are 100% collagen, making them a tasty way to strengthen joints, prevent injuries and ensure that your dog’s nails and coat are at their healthiest. Perfect for all life stages, from puppies to senior dogs, the rolls are a great addition to any pup’s balanced, healthy diet!

Charlee Bear’s new Bearnola Bites are everything they’re baked up to be! That’s because they’re crafted with wholesome ingredients pet parents would find in their own kitchen pantry, like cranberries, peanut butter, honey and oats. Made without wheat, corn, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives, each crunchy cluster is bursting with irresistible aroma and taste. Plus, Bearnola Bites are perfectly sized for training or just for fun. Made in the USA by a family-owned company, four delicious flavors are available, including Blueberry Pie, Cranberry Cobbler, PB & Honey and Pumpkin Spice. Thanks to Charlee Bear, granola isn’t just for pet owners anymore!

HandsOn Gloves are a revolutionary grooming tool that make bathing and deshedding as easy as petting your pup. The scrubbing nodules help shampoo get to the hard to reach undercoat and can easily handle shampoo bottles, hoses or leashes and leads without slipping. Plus, they gently clean matted or muddy fur, especially in the more sensitive areas like legs, face and ears, with ease.

Caru Pet Food’s new Daily Dish Smoothies can be served in three delightful ways: squeeze up and directly feed to the pet, pour into the pet’s bowl or use as a topper to moisten or enhance the flavor of dry food. They contain no artificial preservatives or colors and are wheat, corn, soy and GMO free. Formulated as a special treat for dogs or cats of any age, size or breed, it’s a deliciously healthy snack to add excitement to their diet. Daily Dish Smoothies are simple to serve for a unique bonding experience.


Have you been made more aware of the seemingly endless sound of scratching in the walls and attic since you’ve been adhering to the COVID-19 “Stay at Home” order?  Several media outlets have recently published the significant increase of residential rodent infestation, due to restaurant closures and the lack of normally accessible food sources.  As rodents tend to carry an abundance of harmful bacteria and disease, this issue should not be overlooked especially at the present.

Zeev Dorfman, owner and founder of Southern California’s Rodents Stop, is a revolutionary in the Pest Control industry, utilizing non-toxic and proven solutions to effectively manage and eradicate rodents from your residence.   An independent and family-owned rodent clean up and control company, Rodent Stop services Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Bernardino Counties, applying their highly effective and years vetted five step treatment:

Staffing Properties founder Sam Palmer developed his company after identifying a need for himself and his growing family.  He lived for several years with his fiancée, Formula One Racing heiress Petra Ecclestone with their children at their Holmby Hills residence “The Manor”, the famed 56,000 sq. ft. luxury estate built by Aaron Spelling and sold last summer for the California record breaking price of $119.7M.   Managing a home of that magnitude required a sizable staff, and Sam found that locating the right personnel to form a cohesive team was extremely challenging.  Therefore, he launched Staffing Properties as the concierge solution to help those in need curate and assemble a top performing arsenal staff at a reasonable price.

The company’s recruitment process is simple and effective.  Staffing Properties’ teams of field experts begin by meeting with the potential client in order to identify their specific needs for a well-functioning home.  Once the precise requirements are determined, they organize a cost-efficient pricing strategy and begin the talent search in order to present a short list of potential candidates who have been thoroughly vetted by the company’s acute screening process.  Whether a staff of several dozen is required, or a modest work force will suffice, no project is too big or small and Staffing Properties ensures that a personalized, optimal and synergistic team will be forged.


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Dine at home, stay at home LA gourmet style

Local dining guide for a lost summer



Now that Los Angeles’ shelter in place has been extended through July, the restaurant industry is facing even more serious challenges and tougher restrictions. To help increase revenue, the City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has teamed up to create a new ad campaign, asking consumers to order direct from area restaurants vs. using third party dining apps.

“With over 25 percent of our West Hollywood workforce in hospitality, our restaurants are essential to the economic wellbeing of our community,” stated Genevieve Morrill, Commerce president and ceo of The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

“The City of West Hollywood and the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce wanted to help drive business to our restaurants offering takeout. For those with their own delivery operations, we are encouraging patrons to skip the app and order directly.  We want our businesses to make it through this pandemic.”

Los Angeles Blade’s Susan Hornik talked to Weho restaurants about the pandemic and its impact on their business.

Amarone Kitchen & Wine
8868 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
PHONE: (310) 652-2233

Sandro Oliverio, who owns the Italian restaurant, Amarone in Weho and Hard Times Pizza in Echo Park, is frustrated with the shelter in place extension for restaurants.

“For those of us that are white table cloth, sit down restaurants, this is detrimental, as we can only pay staff and rent for so long before it becomes unaffordable. But what other option do we have? Eat like we are in a ICU, gloves, masks and distancing. Not for me… I’ll need to think outside the box and find alternative income with the Amarone space.”

Olivero has kept his kitchen staff working on to go orders and deliveries. “Business at Amarone is down at least 80 per cent, but we are taking this time to repaint and beautify the space.”

A compassionate man, Olivera has also stepped up his philanthropic efforts.

“We feed the homeless that are hungry, with no exception, as long as they respect the social distancing rules, wear a mask and wait outside as we prepare something for them to eat. We are also creating an event to feed our first responders, where we match any donation of 50 guests or more, til we reach our capacity. One for one. We believe in the old saying, put your money where your mouth is. You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. I prefer to be the latter.”

Crazy Rockin’ Sushi
Manager Lydia is excited to be working with the Weho Chamber on the campaign.

“Through this initiative, we will have the opportunity to interact with people in building meaningful social and emotional relationships. We are very much a part of the local economy, and this will help us improve our strong and successful community around West Hollywood.”

At the beginning, the restaurant was faced with tremendous challenges. “But as day by day passes, we are doing much better now.“

Walk-In and Phone Order customers get a 10 percent discount.

Kung Pao Bistro
7853 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
PHONE:  (323) 848-9888

Meison Lay, co-owner of Kung Pao Bistro, is thankful the community has been supportive of his restaurant, which has been in business for nearly 20 years.

“We believe in the #WeHoStrong mentality, and believe the West Hollywood community will continue to come out to support local businesses during this health crisis, which has affected everyone in so many ways,” Lay said.

“Financially, we have never been so hard-hit. However, the support and rally of our community has afforded us to keep our entire kitchen staff on the payroll, because they have families to support also. We want our staff, who is like family, to be taken care of.”

Lay believes this is not a time for restaurants to think about profits.

“More importantly, we just want enough to support our staff. We appreciate the love that LA has given us, so we give back in return by doing what we do best — cooking up a bounty of Chinese food — and then donating it to our healthcare and community heroes who have worked so hard and risked their lives to protect ours.

For Lay, business and the future of the restaurant was questionable during the start of the pandemic.

“All of our dine-in and corporate catering services suddenly stopped overnight and was a big financial shock to us. However, we thank our community for ordering in from us and being supportive, as we learned a new way to operate in light of COVID-19,” Lay acknowledged.

Lay also modified their way of providing meals to customers, such as a contact-free delivery/hand-off option and taking extra steps in sealing and packaging food so that there is minimal contact during transport into the customer’s home.

“Also, we reduced restaurant hours, so that our staff can take extra measures in sanitizing our establishment, from the kitchen equipment to the door handles, credit card terminals, and pens that customers use.”

Ordering directly from their website, will give customers free delivery for as long as this stay-at-home ordinance is in place.

“We are offering special dinner packages that we had never offered before, that will include appetizers through dessert,” enthused Lay. “We have temporarily been granted the right to sell alcohol to-go, so we are selling our 2 most popular cocktails, the Lychee Martini and Hibiscus Margarita. It is pre-mixed by our staff and ready to serve at home.”

8289 Santa Monica Blvd,
West Hollywood, CA 90046
PHONE: (323) 654-0020

Conservatory Restaurant has used the Cafe as a no contact window for food and beverage pick up, noted Paul Kalt, owner. “We’ve been able to serve the neighborhood and offer a sense of normalcy for people that may be out for a walk and want to stop by and order a coffee or a cocktail, or pick up food on their way home.”

Kalt emphasized that Conservatory wants to support as best as possible and is so grateful for healthcare workers. “First responders are invited to come by any and every day and order a non-alcoholic beverage at Conservatory. On Fridays, the restaurant offers a free burger and fries to hospitality workers in need of a meal, all just need to show id and pay stub.”

Their cocktail/wine/beer and all day food menu are available for takeout or delivery. “We tried to offer a range of options such as Box Meals for Brunch or Dinner, Spring Sangria Carafe, Mimosa Kits, a wine list offering variety, etc.”

8352 Santa Monica Blvd,
West Hollywood, CA 90069
PHONE: (310) 986-2717

The West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is a great organization that truly supports local West Hollywood businesses and  connects that community. That is why IPPUDO is a proud member and active member of the Chamber.

As a traditional sit-down restaurant, business is not where it was pre-COVID. But we are so thankful for the West Hollywood community and our guests who have embraced our new takeout and delivery options. For sit-down restaurants, so much of the dining experience is about the service and ambiance, while we can’t provide that in full to our guests right now, we strive to provide them with a delightful ordering experience and a tasty ramen meal at home.

IPPUDO’s parent company has donated to various healthcare organizations across the country. IPPUDO West Hollywood is currently working on plans to support healthcare and hospitality workers In the West Hollywood community. Stay tuned for details!

Barney’s Beanery
8447 Santa Monica Blvd,
West Hollywood, CA 90069
PHONE: (323) 654-2287

A J Sacher, director of operations for Barney’s Beanery, is committed to the safety of his customers but is concerned for the future of his restaurants.

“The LA County Department of Health has to do more than just extend a stay-at-home order for three more months. Where is a medical response to this crisis?  What have they done to extend testing, develop treatments, develop a vaccine, or provide a path to restart the economy?  Economic ruin is their only medicine, and that’s just not good enough.”

Their current carryout menu, which includes carryout cocktails and food, can be found at “We have special pricing on a variety of items and we are adding new ones every few days.

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Great American Eat-In, LA gourmet style delivered



The effect Covid-19 has had on bars, coffee shops, breweries, restaurants, etc, has been absolutely devastating. Those that remain open have adjusted to a whole other way of doing business, solely relying on to go orders and local deliveries.

From alcohol delivery to restaurants serving as grocery stores, many restaurants are turning to creative options to keep their business alive and make it through this difficult time. Los Angeles Blade’s Susan Hornik put together a comprehensive list of restaurants throughout Los Angeles: if you have a few extra dollars, please support them.

Carvery Kitchen
8832 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Carvery is launching a kid’s meal prep delivery and helping its community. The restaurant is known for its slow roasted meats and its new and exciting twist on your typical deli food. And if you are in need of paper products (tp paper, paper towels etc.) and other grocery items (like pasta) they have that too! For children under 18: free grab-and-go meal available for curbside pick-up (child must be present) 8:00a – 7:00p. Just drop by, no advance order necessary. For seniors 65 and over: 30% off all meals (free delivery). Order by phone or online.

Beverly Glen Deli
2948 Beverly Glen Cir,
Los Angeles, CA 90077
Family-owned Beverly Glen Deli is open to the stars business for take-out and delivery… the beating celebrity heart of Bel Air is full of delicious food and good people.

Hilltop Coffee
Inglewood location
170 N. La Brea, Inglewood, CA 90301
323-743-8100 (for pick-up and take-away)
and also View Park/Windsor Hills
4427 W. Slauson Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90043
For orders from Slauson, please visit Postmates, UberEats, or Grubhub for delivery service.

The Other Door
10437 Burbank Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
North Hollywood’s favorite bar is offering an expanding line of essentials for isolation, including their curated experience boxes, as well as liquor, beer, wine, potions, and cocktails for contactless pickup and delivery.

Drago Bakery
3828 Willat Avenue
Culver City, CA 90232
Owner and Executive Chef Celestino Drago has created a special Take-Out Menu at Drago Bakery in Culver City that will feature freshly baked and freezable essentials that guests can pick-up and prepare at home. Chef Drago and the Drago Bakery team will be offering the following Take-Out Menu every Monday through Friday for pick-up from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm – Fresh Pasta Package ($55) which will include a choice of Lasagna Bolognese, Chicken and Mushroom Lasagna, or Vegetarian Lasagna that will serve up to 10 guests and be packaged cold. Main Proteins such as the Chicken Breast with Marsala and Mushrooms ($80), and a Beef Stew with Red Wine & Spices ($95), will also be packed cold and serve up to 10 guests. To place a special Take-Out Order please call Drago Bakery directly at 310.280.6004 or stop by Drago Bakery anytime Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Drago Bakery will be offering Take-Out Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Gus’s Barbecue 
808 Fair Oaks Ave
South Pasadena
Gus’ offers Take-Out at all locations and online ordering through their website for both Lunch and Dinner. Gus’s Barbecue in Claremont and Porter Ranch each offer Delivery through Postmates and Grubhub, and Gus’s Barbecue in South Pasadena offers Delivery through Postmates. Each restaurant has a special Take-Out Menu at each location that can be found at Take-Out and Delivery Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, Friday from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, Saturday from 8:30 am to 11:00 pm, and Sunday from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm. (also has locations in Claremont & Porter Ranch)

Il Pastaio
400 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Offering Take-Out for both for Lunch and Dinner every Monday through Sunday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm to support their community and guests’ in-home dining needs. It will also will be offering a slightly reduced Take-Out Menu, but guests will still be able to order many of their favorite Drago Family dishes. To place a Take-Out Order directly, please call Il Pastaio at 310.205.5444 and feel free to utilize Il Pastaio’s Curbside Pickup as the City of Beverly Hills has made it possible for guests to pull right in front of Il Pastaio during this time. Il Pastaio will be offering Take-Out and Delivery Monday through Sunday from 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM.

Holy Cow BBQ
264 26th Street,
Santa Monica, CA 90402
4130 Sepulveda Blvd.,
Culver City, CA 90230
Holy Cow is open for take-out, delivery and curbside pickup at both locations from 12 noon – 9 PM.

Bagel Broker
7825 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Bagel Broker is offering take-out and delivery orders M-F 6am – 5pm and 630am – 4pm on the weekends.

The Kitchen
4348 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Silverlake’s The Kitchen is doing take-out and delivery (through Postmates) from 11am – 9:30 PM –  (as an FYI, the owner is LGBTQ+)

10645 W Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90064
2323 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004
The restaurant has two locations and is offering take-out, delivery and curbside from 12 noon – 9 PM daily.

Il Segreto
2932 Beverly Glen Circle
Bel Air, CA 90077
will be offering Take-Out every Monday through Sunday from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM to support their community and guests’ in-home dining needs. Il Segreto will be offering a slightly reduced Take-Out Menu, but guests will still be able to order many of their beloved traditional Italian dishes. To place a Take-Out Order directly, please call Il Segreto at 310.474.8644. Guests can also order from Grubhub if they prefer delivery. Il Segreto will be offering Take-Out and Delivery Monday through Sunday from 5:00 pm to 9:00 PM.

Messhall Kitchen 
4500 Los Feliz Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
 (323) 660-6377
Messhall Kitchen in Los Feliz is offering take-out from 12-8pm, and has also opened a little market in the restaurant offering essentials (milk, eggs, meats, produce, canned goods, sugar, water, toilet paper, etc.).

Conservatory in West Hollywood
8289 Santa Monica Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 654-0020
The restaurant has moved to take out and delivery with an all day amazing menu, and the cafe will remain open daily (from its pick up window only) for as long as able. Their to go beer/wine/cocktail menu is also available for delivery and take out, which will change week to week with different specials.

Boomtown Brewery
700 Jackson St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Thank goodness we can still pick up some of the best beer in Los Angeles, lovingly crafted by locals in the heart of DTLA’s art’s district. They’ve got a long history of giving back to their local community with non-profit partnerships and now they’re here to offer us craft brews to enjoy during our Netflix binges. Pickup buys can be done from their loading dock from 10:00am-7:00pm

Vintage Wine + Eats
12023 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Vintage Wine + Eats has been solidly serving Los Angeles from Studio City as the wine bar kicking the stuffy conventions of the old wine scene to the curb with fun twists on American Classics and great vino. They’re not closing their doors, but are switching to a delivery system packed with discounts and of course… great wine choices. They’re offering takeout and delivery (no wine with delivery, but you can still get their tasty eats via Grubhub and Postmates) from 11am to 6pm daily. Call with your takeout order and receive 20% OFF (there’s plenty of parking in the back).

They hope to spread a little joy during these uncertain times so if there’s anything they can do for their patrons, reach out via email at [email protected], via phone at 818-505-0207 or through Instagram at @vintagestudiocity.

The Federal Noho
5303 Lankershim Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Look, times are hard, and there’s no greater balm for the soul than comfort food, and in that arena, there’s no greater hometown hero than The Federal in No Ho. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup? Tater-Totchos? Yes, please. They are open for pickups and delivery and are offering 20% off all orders above $20 that are either picked up or delivered by them (just call (818) 980-2555) They’re also available for delivery on Grub Hub, Post Mates, and Door Dash.

418 N. Fairfax Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90036
For fantastic Indian food, check out Badmaash! You can call & place an order for curbside pickup at both locations… and they are also doing delivery through Doordash and Caviar.

El Tejano
11122 W Magnolia Blvd
North Hollywood, CA 91601 or
801 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017
You better believe Covid-19 isn’t going to stop the El Tejano locations from serving up the best Tex-Mex in Los Angeles, because if we have to be alone, we need Enchiladas and Queso. They’re open every day from 12:00pm-9:00pm for takeout or delivery and are giving a 20% discount on all takeout.
Delivery is available on Uber Eats, Postmates, Door Dash, and Grub Hub.
Wine, beer and GROWLERS available for to go.

Tipsy Cow
15005 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 986-8472
The Tipsy Cow has great Short Rib Cheese-stake Sliders, Lamb-burghinis, Brussels Sprout Gratin and much more. Delivery and takeout is available from 12:00pm-8:30pm

Big Wangs
5300 Lankershim Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91601
Sporting events have stopped in the wake of the Coronavirus, but LA’s best sports bar Big Wangs is still cooking up delivery and takeout for days (and all day everyday). So, when you and your pals host a video chat for a Hulu binge, you can still have bitchin’ wings by your side keeping it real. They’re open every day from 12-9 for takeout or delivery and are giving a 20% discount on all takeout.

The Thirsty Merchant
12430 Riverside
Valley Village, CA 91607
(818) 821-1169
While we’re missing the games portion and play time of a visit to The Thirsty Merchant, we’re happy to report we can still get our hands on hand made pretzels, amazing salads, fresh never frozen burgers and perhaps most importantly…. Frosé to go. They’re open every day from 12:00pm-9:00pm for takeout or delivery and are giving a 20% discount on all takeout.

If you are looking for smoothies, juices, and acai bowls, Nekter Juice Bar is open for delivery and to-go orders. Special Deal this Week: Get a FREE KID’S DRINK with any adult menu item purchase. Check out their website for a location nearest you.

Nick + Stef’s
Downtown LA
330 S Hope St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Hours: Every day 11AM-8PM (hours have been extended & Sat/Sun added)
Option: Curbside pickup, call to order. New Butcher Shop + Wine Cellar launched.

The Kitchen For Exploring Foods
1434 West Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Hours: Every day 11AM-6PM (Sunday added)
Option: “Gourmet To Go,” call to order. “Corner Store” setup open for produce and pantry dry goods.
The Kitchen at Descanso
1418 Descanso Dr
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Monday-Friday 11AM-5:30PM / Saturday-Sunday 10AM-5:30PM
Option: GrubHub; Complimentary fruit included

Tangata at the Bowers Museum
2002 N Main St.
Santa Ana, California 92706
Phone: 714-567-3623
Tuesday – Friday 11AM-2PM
Option: Curbside pickup, call or email to order. Patina Provisions store offers essential grocery items like chicken, pasta, rice, milk, bread, eggs, and toilet paper. Call or email to order and schedule a pickup time.

Open Face Food Shop
5577 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90016
Offering delicious and nutritious, vegetable-filled Danish-inspired dishes will be available for Take-Out for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner every Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, and on Saturday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm They will be offering Executive Chef Lene Houck’s Traditional Menu and an expanded HYGGE-TO-GO Menu including special Family Boxes that will be changing daily and feature fresh Farmers Market produce. Associated with relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude, Hygge has long been considered a part of the Danish national character. Guests can enjoy fresh and delicious items such as the Egg Salad & Pork Danish Open Face Sandwich offering a curried egg salad with leek and pickled herring sandwich paired with a pork loin, apple, braised cabbage, and pickles for a delicious and nutritious Lunch. Meat lovers are in luck with the Hakke Bøf, a Danish-style open-faced burger made with grass-fed beef, caramelized onions, shaved Brussels sprouts, and quick-pickled cucumber on top of Nathan’s Artisan Sourdough. For something sweet, Chef Lene’s Almond Cake is scrumptious and served with homemade labneh and blueberry compote. Open Face Food Shop will soon be offering Online Ordering and will have updates at Open Face Food Shop offers Take-Out Tuesday through Friday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, and on Saturday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

Yojisan Sushi
260 North Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
This Beverly Hills spot will be offering Take-Out every Monday through Saturday for Lunch from 12:00 noon to 2:30 pm and for Dinner from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm to support their community and guests’ in-home dining needs. Yojisan Sushi will be offering a slightly reduced Take-Out Menu, but guests will still be able to order many of their favorite fresh fish dishes. To place a Take-Out Order directly, please call Yojisan Sushi at 424.245.3799. Guests can also order from Postmates if they prefer delivery.

Yojisan Sushi will be offering Take-Out and Delivery Monday through Saturday for Lunch from 12:00 Noon to 2:30 pm and for Dinner from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Ray’s + Stark Bar
330 S Hope St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Open every day 12PM-8PM, you can pick-up and delivery available via GrubHub. Or call 323-857-6180 to order curbside pick-up.
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA, 90036
Curbside pick-up on available at the Wilshire near LACMA’s Urban Light area every day 11AM-8PM.

Urban Plates has waived DoorDash delivery fees; initiated Curbside No Contact Pickup and launched ready to eat Family Meals, which include mains (cage-free chicken, grass-fed steak, sustainable salmon) and two sides (like mac ’n’ cheese, rosemary roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, etc.), plus fresh baked bread. They are also introducing a “Heat and Eat” option, where the meals arrive chilled, so you don’t have to grocery shop. Another plus: 50% off all bottles of wine.

The Kitchen For Exploring Foods
1434 West Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Open every day 11AM-6PM “Gourmet To Go,” call to order. “Corner Store” setup open for produce and pantry dry goods. The company is offering curbside pick up menu, offering favorite dishes off the menu. Available for $45.95 per person. Full menu available third party delivery apps. Enjoy an extra 20% off the entire order when you call and order directly from Katsuya

Umami Burger (all locations)
Founded in Los Angeles in 2009, Umami Burger has been named GQ’s “Burger of the Year,” Men’s Journal’s “Best Burger in America” and one of the “25 Most Innovative Consumer Brands of 2016” by Forbes’ CircleUp25. Currently, Umami Burger has over 27 locations globally including in California, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Japan, Bahamas and Mexico with additional locations planned around the world. sbe, the leading lifestyle hospitality company that develops, manages and operates award-winning hospitality venues, is Umami Burger’s majority shareholder. For more information on Umami Burger, please visit or follow @umamiburger or #umamiburger on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Caviar | Free delivery & $3 off $15+ orders
DoorDash | Free Delivery & up to $5 off
GrubHub | Free delivery & $3 off $15+ orders
Postmates | Free delivery
Uber Eats | Free delivery & $3 off $15+ orders
*Offers subject to change Phone: (310) 237-6174

Tangata at the Bowers Museum
2002 N Main St.
Santa Ana, California 92706
Phone: 714-567-3623 Email: [email protected]
Open Tuesday – Friday 11AM-2PM with Curbside pickup, call or email to order, Patina Provisions store offers essential grocery items like chicken, pasta, rice, milk, bread, eggs, and toilet paper.

The Raymond 1886 (Pasadena):
1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91105
The Raymond 1886, Pasadena’s beloved Craftsman Cottage is offering Take-Out and Delivery for families to share at home for Lunch and Dinner during the week, and for Brunch and Dinner on the weekend. They are offering a 10% discount on all takeout orders when calling the restaurant directly and curbside pickup. The Raymond 1886 will offer Delivery through DoorDash and Grubhub, and they are working on becoming available via Postmates as well. The Raymond 1886’s Take-Out Menus can be found at For some tasty comfort, guests can order The Cuban Sandwich prepared with pork belly, black forest ham, Dijon, mojo sauce, swiss cheese, pickles, served on Cuban bread with Parmesan fries, or the restaurant’s famous Raymond Curry made with marinated chicken breast, sautéed vegetables, rice, and golden raisins, peanuts, and fresh coconut shavings served on the side. The Bolognaise made with veal, pork belly, beef, rigatoni, pomodoro, Grana Padano and crispy sage, is another top Take-Out choice for a delicious meal that feels homemade without all the fuss! The Raymond 1886 offers Take-Out and Delivery every Tuesday through Friday for Lunch from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, for Dinner from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm, for Brunch and Lunch every Saturday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm, and for Dinner from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm.


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a&e features

Meet me at the Formosa, again

Iconic eatery takes diners back to Hollywood’s Golden Age



The iconic Formosa Café has begun yet another exciting new chapter. (Photo by John Paul King)

Anyone who has lived in Los Angeles for more than a decade would surely be able to tell you why, when the Formosa Cafe reopened at the end of June, it was a very big deal.

Nestled within easy lunching distance of Hollywood, West Hollywood, and even Beverly Hills, its lush and vaguely exotic exterior has been beckoning passers-by for decades. Founded by prize-fighter Jimmy Bernstein in 1925 inside a retired Red Car trolley in 1925 near what was then the United Artists studio lot, it became known as a hot spot for Hollywood’s most chic-and-famous faces, a reputation it maintained through most of its long and storied existence. Bogie and Bacall, Liz Taylor, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Rock Hudson, River Phoenix, Johnny Depp – these are just a few of the names on a list of celebrity patrons that reads like a “Who’s Who” of Hollywood history. Gangster Bugsy Siegel even had a private office set up in the back room during one of the shadier periods of the Formosa’s past life.

The hipness of its Hollywood heyday was long gone, however, by 2015, when then-owner Vince Jung made an effort to rebrand the vintage eatery and bar for a new era by ripping out the original interiors and replacing them with a more contemporary all-grey environment. It didn’t work; patrons were underwhelmed with the change, and they missed the old-school Chinese restaurant décor that had always been integral to the Formosa’s iconic vibe. When the restaurant unceremoniously closed its doors in December of 2016, it may have been unannounced, but was not necessarily unexpected.

The Formosa has always been a survivor, though, and with its much-anticipated re-launch, the Cafe has begun yet another new chapter by drawing on its strongest capitol – its status both monument to and part of the mythic Golden Age of Hollywood. To that end, its resurrection has been orchestrated (by Bobby Green of The 1933 Group, also responsible for the recent rebirth of several other vintage Los Angeles spaces) to immerse visitors right in the middle of that mythic age and make them feel a part of it.

Stepping into the new Formosa, you are first struck with the overwhelming impression you’ve walked into a deep red fever dream of mid-Century faux-Asian exotica – and that’s exactly the desired effect, of course. Rescued from storage, restored and expanded, all the Café’s classic elements have returned in their garish glory, along with a few additions; included now is a new area in which the long-beloved Yee Mee Loo Bar (an L.A. classic that closed in 1989) has been lovingly restored, complete with an exhibition of ephemera documenting and celebrating the Asian-American contribution to Hollywood history. The original trolley section, from which the rest of the Café was expanded in 1939, has also been restored and returned to full public use; as the restaurant’s website proudly points out, it has been confirmed as the oldest surviving Red Car in existence, dating back to 1904.

Every corner and cranny is packed with artifacts, from the nearly 250 vintage headshots (all original) adorning the walls, to the collection of Elvis-shaped liquor decanters owned by The King himself, to Bugsy Siegel’s no-longer-secret floor safe. Surrounding it all is the meticulously recreated custom wallpaper, décor, signage, furnishings, and everything else you’ve remembered (or imagined) about the Cafe’s legendary past. It’s an overstimulating visual landscape, loud as the echoing cacophony of excited voices filling the space thanks to the building’s complicated acoustics.

Yet as “too much” as the whole thing seems, in fact it’s “just right.” You might be overwhelmed, at first, but you are sure to be walking the entire restaurant before your visit is over, soaking in the atmosphere and delving into the details of each piece of history proudly displayed throughout. Sure, it’s all a little over the top, but it’s also a little thrilling; like the copious neon that surrounds the Formosa’s bars, its glare beckons you, invites you to make yourself comfortable and stay awhile.

Once you do, you can choose from an array of evocatively named cocktails (the Bijou, the Blood and Sand, the Ghost of Sam Goldwyn) while you peruse the refreshingly compact menu to select your evening’s meal choices. The offerings are entirely new creations by chef David Kuo (of Mar Vista’s Little Fatty Taiwanese restaurant), described on the Formosa’s website as “a retrospective of Formosa’s culinary evolution since the 1920s” designed to give patrons “another way to connect to a part of L.A.’s gastronomic history.” These are re-imagined renditions of traditional Chinese restaurant staples – hearty, traditional, and basic – but like the Cafe’s atmosphere, these dishes are all about the details, and they are anything but ordinary.

There are familiar classics – egg rolls and pot stickers, fried rice, orange chicken – but there are also choices for the more adventurous, like “Squid Ink Xiao Long Bao ‘XLB’ soup dumplings” and “General Tso Cauliflower.” There are vegan and vegetarian recipes (you’re still in 2019, after all, even if you are surrounded by 1939), various levels of “spicy,” and everything is rendered with special touches; almost every dish contains an ingredient you wouldn’t expect – toasted coconut, cilantro, pickled Fresno chiles – and is served up freshly prepared, ensuring that, even without the history-steeped environment, your meal would still be far more memorable than a trip to Panda Express.  From the family-style selection made by our party, the star attraction was the Walnut Shrimp – exquisitely battered and glazed, with honey aioli, candied walnuts, sesame seeds, and shaved radish as a colorful complement – but everything was delicious, so don’t be afraid to choose something off the beaten path.

The food, satisfying as it may be, has never been the main attraction at the Formosa, though. Its identity is defined by its proximity to legend; functioning as a threshold space where the world of fame and glamour intersected with the everyday life of the city around it, it has always been a place for those in love with Hollywood – the romance of it, the excitement and the bravado and the wildness of it, the idealized vision of a dream factory reflecting back its own image. While it’s well documented that the Formosa has been frequented by famous guests over its decades-long tenure, far more of its customers have always been fans and tourists, hoping to catch a glimpse of a favorite star or sit in a booth where once they sat. The new Formosa has cannily embraced that core essence of its longevity, and the result is an electric, almost giddy experience that – at least in the month-and-a-half since its unveiling – has drawn crowds from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. every single day.

It’s pure showmanship – but then, isn’t that what Hollywood is all about?

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Spoonfed | Bar Joe is a whole heap of loving goodness

A new genre of food: SoCal comfort



Hollywood has a secret garden restaurant and you’ll be glad you found it. (Photo by Spoonfed)

If you’re looking for a cozy place to hang out for hours that makes you feel at home, check out Hollywood’s Spoonfed Bistro. The gay owner, Sean Loeffel, is as warm as his restaurant, welcoming guests to try a multitude of delicious dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, that will make you want to return, again and again!

“Our cooking style is healthy Southern California cooking with a Midwest comfort food twist,” Loeffel says.“The idea of starting this restaurant has been brewing since I was very young and fresh out of college, but more seriously, at the beginning of 2016. I had a muse which was an old service station, and I fanatisized about turning it into a restaurant. Eventually, that place changed, grew, transformed and became Spoonfed.”
A native of Chicago, Loeffel grew up in a big family, which is reflected in his cooking.

“As the ninth of 10 children, everyone took care of each other and cooking was always a family affair, involving all the children and gathering around a dinner table. It was passionate, messy, and filled with creativity,” he acknowledged.

After graduating from Southern Illinois University, Loeffel began in the hospitality industry early, first as a waiter at the Ritz Carlton and subsequently working his way up the ranks at the Four Seasons for 17 years, where he honed his knowledge of cuisine and service as the Food and Beverage Director, working with top chefs in Chicago, Seattle, Hawaii and Los Angeles.

The experience of working with the founder and creator of the Four Seasons Hotel, Isadore Sharp, impressed upon Loeffel the importance and necessity of creating the ultimate experience for guests, and inspired him to continue to learn, grow and be of service to the guests, staff and community.

Whether you are eating indoors or outdoors, during the day or at night, you will love the restaurant’s comfortable design. Counter service at the bar allows for guests to move quickly through their day. Alternatively, you can relax on their 3,400 square feet patio, a lovely green oasis of flowering plants and fountains.

Menu Highlights

A quaint hotspot, celebrities such as LL Cool J, the cast from “Grey’s Anatomy,” Kobe Bryant, Anne Heche, have all been spotted here. The restaurant serves a few different menus all day, and Loeffel has lovely recommendations for each meal.

“For breakfast, I really like the steak and eggs, Apollo breakfast, blueberry orange ginger-ale cakes and our avocado toast. That’s one of my favorites!” Loeffel suggests.

Opening at 7 a.m. daily, Spoonfed features a coffee/espresso menu in keeping with the burgeoning Los Angeles coffee scene. Other breakfast items include the breakfast tacos, peanut butter French toast and chia seed parfait.

For lunch, brunch or dinner, Loeffel loves the Taylor Street Italian beef sandwich, Spoonfed burger with crinkle fries and Jaeger schnitzel

Spoonfed’s chopped salad, flat bread pizzas, harvest bowl, tuna melt, house-made chicken soup and a daily rotating selection of 13 salads. All menus include a selection of vegetarian and vegan items as well as gluten-free options.

If you are winding down your evening, you can check out’s Spoonfed Bar Joe, which features tasty bites, a selection of innovative custom craft cocktails as well as classic drinks.

“I love my families’ paddock cottages clam dip, our Wisconsin cheese curds with honey mustard, salmon tartare and Cook County flatbread,” Loeffel enthused.

Spoonfed also has an impressive bakery too, where you can purchase a variety of yummy items. Guests can indulge in a large selection of breakfast pastries, freshly baked daily.

Then there’s dessert! While the restaurant has a huge selection of pies, assorted cookies, tarts and cupcakes, Loeffel adores their house-made bread pudding.

“But my absolutely ultimate favorite is my mom’s recipe, chocolate buttermilk cake,” he quipped.

The restaurant also sells numerous retail products including chocolates, flavored popcorn, sweets and a vast array of confections, a fun happy hour and free events ongoingly happening at the venue.

Blade Tips

In this crazy cold (for us, at least) weather, check out their delicious oat milk, guaranteed to warm you up on cool nights!

While you are at the restaurant say hi to Loeffel and his chef, they make a fantastic roasted tomato soup!

Bar Joe (Photo by Paul Vu. Courtesy of Spoonfed)

(Photo courtesy of Spoonfed)

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a&e features

Cuties is more than just a place where everybody knows your name

Struggles in Hollywood as a groundbreaking LGBTQ café makes appeals



Cuties is located at 710 N Heliotrope Drive in Los Angeles. (Photo by Leslie Foster for Cuties)

Cuties Coffee Bar is in trouble.

Opened last summer and funded by an Indiegogo campaign, the East Hollywood café is an extension of “Queers, Coffee, and Donuts,” a monthly pop-up which provided a safe space and gathering point for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, genderqueer, non-binary and trans communities.  Founded by Virginia Bauman and Iris Bainum-Houle, its mission has been to build “a queer-centered community space.”

Bauman, who is a transgender woman, and Bainum-Houle, who identifies as queer-femme and gender-fluid, wanted to create a coffee bar that was geared towards LGBTQ+ people and their allies.  Instead of catering to the tropes of LA’s trendy scenesters, they set out to make a location where members of the queer community could feel welcome and comfortable.  The project, which they conceived in 2015, became a priority for them after the Pulse Nightclub shootings and the election of Donald Trump – along with his barely-concealed anti-queer agenda – made it clear that there was a dire need of safe gathering places, especially for the most marginalized members of the community.

Cuties Coffee owners Virginia Bauman and Iris Bainum-Houle. (Photo by Leslie Foster for Cuties)

For its first year, Cuties operated as an anomaly in the LA queer scene, a rare and much-needed social environment that wasn’t a bar or a nightclub – something very important for the sizeable sector of the LGBTQ+ population who are underage or don’t want to be surrounded by alcohol.  They have hosted community events, support groups, workshops, film screenings; they have provided a meeting location for activist groups with no space of their own; they have kept their supporters and their clientele informed and in the loop with a regular newsletter which has become a highlight of the week for its many subscribers; and they have done it all while providing gourmet-quality coffee and donuts, along with other high-grade beverage and food items.  They even offer a “community tab” which allows customers to “pay it forward” by buying an extra cup for future guests – providing a tremendous service to those café patrons who face financial hardship.

Like most new small businesses, though, the café has had a hard time meeting its financial needs.  Even after reducing hours and labor, and trying to curtail waste, its revenue is failing to cover operational costs.  Its founders have been subsidizing it to keep it in business, but, according to Bauman in a piece she published on Medium, “we are reaching the end of our ability to do so.”

In an effort to save this important queer communal space, Bauman and Bainum-Houle have returned to the crowdfunding model that allowed them to open it in the first place.  Cuties has launched a campaign on Patreon to provide ongoing support for the café.  Their goal is $12,000 a month.  At the time of this writing, the counter on their donation page read $4,167, so they still have a way to go.

They’re not asking for money to help them maintain a profitable coffee shop, either.  The funding they seek is necessary in order for them to offer the kinds of community-supportive services that have been the real reason for Cuties all along.

In the latest edition of the Cuties newsletter, Bainum-Houle reached out to readers, expressing the importance the café has had for her personally.

“Creating Cuties is the most empowering and meaningful experience of my life,” she wrote.  “[It] has connected me deeply to a community I’ve been isolated from for most of my adulthood and for that I will always be grateful. It has also given me the opportunity to connect others. On the hard days (and there are many) the ability to bring the community together is what keeps me going.”

She went on to describe the effect the café has on the community. “I love seeing your faces light up when you come into the shop for the first time. I adore seeing you connecting in the cafe over coffee. I delight in providing you with moments of whimsy and softness in a world not built for either.”

She also stressed the importance of providing a haven for the queer community.  “LGBTQIA+ folks deserve a safer space that is all ages and open every day of the week. We deserve to make a living wage at a place of work where our orientation, gender and pronouns are respected. There is power in getting people in a room together, together in our common difference to build community. I want that work to continue.”

She concluded with a heartfelt plea for help that is also a rallying cry for the community and its supporters.  “I want Cuties to exist. I want this to succeed. I hope you want that, too.  Thank you for getting us this far… The future is unclear but what is certain is our community’s resilience, dedication and effervescence. Let’s show our community and the folks cheering us on both near and far that this can work. Thank you for going on this journey with me and I hope it can continue… If you are not yet a Cuties’ patron now is the time!”

For their Patreon contribution, Bauman and Bainum-Houle have suggested a donation of $10 per month, but welcome any amount from $2-$250.  There are rewards for different tiers of support, too.  $10, for instance, gets you a free cup of coffee every month; for $35, you also get “the queerest mug on earth,” and there are more deluxe premiums all the way up to the $250 level, which includes all the other rewards plus a donut-making class with Virginia Bauman herself!  And starting at the $5 level, you can rest assured that part of your donation will go into Cuties’ “Extra Love” bucket, which allows financially-challenged individuals access to community events taking place in the café. 

There are other ways you can help. 

Sharing the Patreon link on social media, newsletters, event pages, even via text and email is helpful – as Bainum-Houle puts it, “Call your family members who say they have ‘nothing against gay people.  Tell them to put their $ where there mouth is.’”

You can also reach out to press and media on the café’s behalf and write reviews on Yelp! or Google; and, of course, you can also visit the shop and participate in its community events.

Whatever means you choose to show your support, you need to do it soon.  According to Bauman’s Medium post, they were hoping to meet their goals by the end of August or “we will likely have to close our doors.”

Bainum-Houle’s newsletter entry is more optimistic, promising a “ramped up” schedule of events this fall for one “final push,” so it may not be too late.


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