Author: Jill Weinlein

Sipping Brander Wines 71 Stories above Los Angeles

Share: Allison Levine from Please The Palate invited a group of wine experts to a Santa Barbara Wine Road Trip luncheon at the restaurant 71Above inside US Bank, located in downtown Los Angeles. Sitting in the dining room, I appreciated the 180 degree spectacular views of the Hollywood sign to Palos Verdes. Sitting near Jennifer Dudley from Brander Wines, I enjoyed three of her wines with 71Above chef Vartan Abgaryan’s two course lunch. Levine introduced us and explained how the Santa Barbara County is a wine region located along the coastal range of North and South America. The transverse mountain...

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Chihuly Art at the Catalina Island Museum

Share: After cruising to Catalina Island on one of the fast and smooth Catalina Express boats, I dropped my bags at the upscale Pavilion Hotel and walked to the new Catalina Island Museum to meet Gail Fornasiere for a tour of the new Chihuly exhibit. The newly opened museum is 18,000 square feet of interior and outdoor exhibit space. Much different from the former 3,000 square-foot Catalina Museum on the ground floor of the Catalina Casino (not a gambling Casino, once a dance pavilion). This new museum offers elegant cultural opportunities for tourists and locals to enjoy. Renowned glass...

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Sipping Pali Wine Co.

Share: One of the most sought after neighborhoods in Southern California is Pacific Palisades with it’s unique Alphabet neighborhood near the center of town, and the celebrity enclave of Huntington Palisades with its breathtaking Pacific Ocean views. The Riveria is another high-end neighborhood near the upscale Riveria Country Club. Two arbitrage guys working in Santa Monica got into the wine business in 2005. Tim Perr and Scott Knight co-founded Pali Wine Co., sourcing most of the grapes from the top vineyards in Santa Barbara County and Sonoma. Later they purchased 50 acres of land in the Gypsy Canyon Road...

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Luxury Biodynamic Farming in Malibu

Share: One of the first members of the biodynamic farm One Gun Ranch I met was Waffle, a rescue donkey. Waffle was near Billy, a light yellow retriever who limps from a broken back. These are two of about 30 rescue animals that help make this bucolic place a success. It all started with Alice Bamford and Ann Eysenring. Bamford grew up enjoying the fruits of the land from her mother Carole, owner of the Daylesford Organic in England. Mom harvested her organic garden and prepared dishes from the fresh produce. Bamford wanted to continue the tradition for her...

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Las Vegas Winning Meal at Mandarin Oriental

Share: After winning at the roulette table at the ARIA Resort & Casino, my friend and I celebrated at the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel with a decadent lunch at MOzen Bistro before flying back to LA. Walking into the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, we immediately noticed a pleasing aroma of citrus tea notes, instead of cigarette smoke. The purifying air system filters the essence of orange, tea and cypress through the lobby and corridors of guest room floors. We learned the older hotels in Las Vegas just don’t have the updated air purifiers. Since the 47 stories high Mandarin...

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