Saturday, August 19, 2017

It's business as usual for beleaguered Barcelona

PR form sends out press release highlighting special tour passes around the Catalan Capital
Patti Pietschmann

It was surprising to receive a press release today about special tours available in Barcelona so close to the horrific terrorist attack that happened there on Aug. 17. The email told of  nine new experiences introduced this month [August 2017] and said that  the newly-expanded Barcelona Pass is the perfect way to discover Spain's second city. Are their heads buried in the sand or are they optimistic that tourists will continue to go to Barcelona?  

While the chances of more terrorist attacks there are slim, it would seem that many people might consider skipping it for now. Of course that would be a shame, not to mention playing into the hands of the terrorists.  Barcelona is such a wonder.  I have been there any times, several by cruise ships and a couple of times on a land trip.

If you're still planning to visit this Spanish city, read about these special tours with the all-in-one city card which helps save money and time on  sightseeing in the Catalan capital. The Barcelona Pass ( includes more than 20 attractions and tours across the city. Barcelona Pass holders make significant savings compared with the cost of individual tickets to attractions, while enjoying fast track entry at selected popular sites.

The pass is priced from €109 per adult or €69 per child for two days; three-day passes are also available, while an optional travelcard can also be purchased for the duration of each pass.  And the newly-introduced attractions ensure there is plenty for every visitor to enjoy:
Heritage sites for history buffs 
  • Liceu Opera Guided Tour - a 50-minute tour of one of the city's most beautiful and historic buildings, which is among the most important opera houses inEurope.  Normally priced at €16, the guided tour is included with the Barcelona Pass.

  • Casa de les Punxes - opened to the public in 2016 after being closed off for more than a century, the Casa is one of Barcelona's most iconic Art Nouveaubuildings.  Normally priced at €12.50, entry is included with the Barcelona Pass.
Family-friendly experiences 
  • Barcelona Zoo - see live feedings and discover more than 300 species of wildlife, from giraffes and lions to alligators and Komodo dragons.  Normally priced at €19.90, entry to Barcelona Zoo is included with the Barcelona Pass.

  • CosmoCaixa Barcelona - fun, hands-on interactive experiences bring natural science and technology to life at this popular cultural centre.  Normally priced at €4, entry is included with the Barcelona Pass.

  • Museu de Cera de Barcelona - famous historical figures and pop culture celebrities stand side-by-side at Barcelona's wax museum.  Normally priced at €15, entry is included with the Barcelona Pass.

  • CaixaForum Barcelona - contemporary art museum located in a former textile factory, hosting regular exhibitions, guided tours, film screenings and concerts.  Normally priced at €4, entry is included with the Barcelona Pass.

  • Museum of Ancient Egyptian Culture - considered one of Europe's best museums devoted to ancient Egypt, more than 1,000 items including jewellery, statues and sarcophagi are on display.  Normally priced at €11, entry is included with the Barcelona Pass.

  • Museum of Modernism - the only museum devoted to Catalan modernism, this houses an impressive collection of works including some by master architect Antoni Gaudí, and is a true hidden gem of the city. Normally priced at €10, entry is included with the Barcelona Pass.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art - an outstanding collection of more than 5,800 items, focusing on post-1945 Catalan and Spanish art.  Normally priced at €10, entry is included with the Barcelona Pass.

The new attractions join a Barcelona Pass portfolio which already includes must-do city experiences such as a tour of FC Barcelona's legendary Camp Nou football stadium and entry to Gaudí's masterpiece, UNESCO World Heritage site Casa Batlló, as well as a hop-on/hop-off city bus tour, walking tour and many other experiences. Barcelona Pass holders also benefit from special offers and discounts on various tours, retailers and restaurants across the city, as well as a free guidebook.
The Barcelona Pass is available for purchase at and can be shipped globally or collected on arrival in the city.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pittance Chamber Music presents music to soothe the soul

A much-needed night of spirit-raising entertainment

A Patti Pietschmann pick

What the world needs now, during this time of stress following the horrific terrorist attacks in Barcelona and the turmoil in the White House, is soothing music. So mark your calendar and get your tickets for the  Pittance Chamber Music's eclectic night of  Mozart, Berg, Brahms and Bernstein, featuring principal players from the LA Opera Orchestra, along with Domingo Colburn Stein Young Artist, soprano Elizabeth Zharoff, on Saturday, September 16 at 3 p.m. in the Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall, The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, downtown Los Angeles.

Among the most extraordinary musicians in the world are those you seldom see – the musicians of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra. Founder and Artistic Director Lisa Sutton, who is also Assistant Concertmaster of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, formed Pittance Chamber Music in 2013 to shine the spotlight on these remarkable yet invisible artists, bringing them from the pit to the stage to perform in small ensembles, hence the name Pittance.

Pittance Chamber Music
’s roster of artists is drawn from a large pool of talent including members of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra as well as Los Angeles Opera resident vocalists, resulting in a unique variety of repertoire not often heard together in one program.

Hailed by the Independent (UK) as "a delight from start to finish," Zharoff will sing the lush, romantic "Seven Early Songs" by Alban Berg, as well as a selection of songs by Leonard Bernstein, in honor of the composer's 100th birthday anniversary. In her free time, Zharoff composes and designs game audio from her home studio and has created sound for over a dozen games, across multiple platforms. Also featured on the program is Mozart's exuberant Quintet for Horn and Strings, featuring the LA Opera Orchestra's Principal Horn, Steven Becknell. Principal Clarinetist Stuart Clark, whose performance last season was hailed by Classical Voice as "eloquent virtuoso playing" will perform in Brahms’ sublime Clarinet Quintet.

Tickets cost  $35 for  General Admission; $20 seniors; Student Rush $10 (at the door only), and are available online at or at the venue on the day of the concert, if tickets remain. 

The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is located at 135 North Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In 'training' how to explore, absorb and capture more of the world on Instagram

Riding the rails throughout Europe provides time to really connect with nature

Patti Pietsschmann

Take the slow train. Catch the scenery. Record it all on Instagram, Facebook or  other social media. Sit back and relax.  This is not for people in a rush. 
Here are just a few  ‘Instagrammable’ European train journeys from Rail Europe, distributor of European train tickets, passes and tours. Itineraries are available for booking via or by phone at 1-800-438-RAIL.  

SWITZERLAND-Gotthard Panorama Express is a new train designed for those in search of breathtaking landscapes. Start on a boat ride across Lake Lucerne, before seamlessly connecting to Reuss Valley and then travelling through the St. Gotthard mountain range. After passing through the Gotthard Tunnel, travelers arrive in Ticino before winding through quaint Swiss villages on the way to either Bellinzona or Lugano.

GoldenPass --shines as one of the brightest stars in Switzerland’s rail network, the GoldenPass line stretches nearly 150 miles from Lucerne to Lake Geneva. Travelers enjoy unforgettable views of so many of Switzerland’s highlights from Montreux to Zweisimmen as they relax aboard panoramic trains. While these ultra-modern, ultra-comfortable trains will appeal to many Swiss holiday revelers, others undoubtedly will embrace the romantic, luxurious ride provided by GoldenPass Classic Belle Epoque coaches. These beautiful trains boast unique “wine cellar” coaches that serve an assortment of wines and regional specialties.

Glacier Express is famous for its panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, breathtaking rivers, peaceful alpine pastures, magical castles, and charming villages. It’s also famous for its unrivaled pampering of travelers throughout the train journey. The Glacier Express is the ideal way to travel from the eastern to the western Swiss Alps by train. Along the way, venture across steep mountain passes and impressive viaducts. The Glacier Express voyages through 91 tunnels and across 291 bridges while you experience the alpine wonders of Switzerland.

NORWAY where sensational views of high peaks, jagged rock faces and craggy mountain slopes loom into view as you journey around via rail. Travelers often take the train from Oslo to Bergen, one of Norway’s prettiest cities encircled by 7 mountains. Here the train tracks snake along creeks—iced solid in winter—and through the mountains.  From Bergen, head north to Alesund, where you can mix it up with your transport choices and connect from a train to a boat that glides through the fjords. From Alesund, it’s just a short trip to Andalsnes, the departure station of the Rauma line, a scenic train that travels through magnificent alpine landscapes, overlooking fjords and passing by the impressive 5,000-foot high Trollvegen cliffs. 
To book a Scandinavian vacation, visit Rail Europe, here.

GERMANY by the Rhine Valley Line that connects some of the country's  quaintest Rhine villages, where vineyards sit on terraced hillsides below looming medieval structures. There may be more charm packed into this 62 mile stretch than anywhere else in Germany. The Rhine Valley offers romantic German landscapes straight from a fairy tale. Take the Mittelrheinbahn (MRB; Central Rhine Railway service), which follows the left bank between Mainz and Koblenz, stopping at all stations. The best part? Hopping from train to boat or vice versa using the same ticket! 

Black Forest Line--this scenic  route rolls from the small town of Offenburg, through grassy fields to Hornberg, and past deep green pines to Donaueschingen. The train then runs down to Singen where it joins the Upper Rhine Railway to the shores of Lake Constance (Konstanz). Donaueschingen makes a good place for a pit stop, about an hour and a half into the route. Foodies will find plenty of places to tuck into hearty Black Forest dishes such as the Schwarzwalder Shinken (ham) or Kalbsrouladen (veal roulade). 
Both routes are available on a Eurail pass, which can be booked through Rail Europe.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Cunard celebrating 50th anniversary of QE2 with special sailing

Hail to the Queen

In honor of her 50 years of service, Cunard has curated a special 17-day celebratory cruise on the QE2 from Southampton on Friday, September 8, 2017. The voyage will include Venice’s iconic canals, mythical Mount Etna in Sicily and Corfu's leafy beauty.

“This Mediterranean cruise is perfectly timed to pay tribute to QE2’s launch and naming by HRH Queen Elizabeth II 50 years ago. When QE2 came into service in the 1960s, many critics said she wouldn’t last a decade in the age of the jet but her unique design as a dual-purpose ship meant that she was versatile enough to operate both as a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship,” said Cunard’s vice president Angus Struthers. “Given how famous and loved she was, we felt this was a great opportunity to pay tribute to this Cunarder’s remarkable life onboard our newest ship, Queen Elizabeth; herself designed to offer a perfect luxury cruise holiday.”

Festivities focus on five special theme days, each of which will be accompanied by QE2 inspired menus, talks from special guests, historical snippets in the daily program, past-passenger gatherings and QE2 quizzes.

Themes include Moving in Royal Circles which looks back at the unique and special bond between QE2 and the Royal Family; The Falklands which acknowledges the ship’s service as a troop ship in the 1982 conflict; Triumph of a Great Tradition examining the QE2’s remarkable career achievements and the long history of Cunard ‘firsts’, and World Flagship in tribute to QE2’s 26 world cruises that made her an icon in cities across the globe.

The grand finale takes place on QE2 Day – September 20, 2017 - exactly 50 years since the ship was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Events will include a QE2 ball, and a historical retrospective of the ship’s service life to be hosted in Queen Elizabeth’s 850 seat Royal Court Theatre.

Special guests connected to QE2 include Captain Ian McNaught, QE2’s last Master, who said, “This voyage is a significant and timely tribute to the world’s best loved ship. QE2 remains the longest serving express liner in history. She carried 2.5 million passengers over 5.6 million miles; that's further than any passenger ship - ever! This remarkable ship sailed alone on the North Atlantic
for most of her career. She carried the Cunard tradition from the bygone era of the ocean liner and sustained it into the 21st century. The QE2 carried Royalty, celebrities and served in the Falklands War.”

He added: “What I remember most as her Master, were the passengers. Everyday people who saved up to experience life onboard the world's best loved ship. Many came back time and time again. That is a tribute to the countless people who served as QE2's crew, each one making the experience special and memorable. QE2 has been gone for nearly a decade now, however on her 50th anniversary the memory of her is strong. It is very fitting to be acknowledging the QE2's remarkable career here onboard Queen Elizabeth."

Other invitees include Commodore R. W. Warwick who served as QE2’s Captain for 13 years; QE2 social hostess Maureen Ryan who served onboard the original Cunard Queens as well as Queen Mary 2; and maritime historian Chris Frame, author of a series of books about QE2 and Cunard.
For additional information contact your Travel Consultant, call Cunard Line at 1-800-728-6273
or visit


  • QE2 was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 20 Septembr 1967.
  • The ship was the last large transatlantic liner built in the United Kingdom.
  • During a service career of almost 40 years, she sailed over 5.6 million milesand carried more than 2.5 million passengers – record numbers that are yet to be broken.
  • In 1982, QE2 was requisitioned for use in the Falklands War and sailed with 3,000 troops of the 5th Infantry Brigade.
  • QE2 was a favorite of the Royal Family having entertained HM. The Queen, HRH. The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH. Prince Charles and HRH Princess Diana to name just a few.
  • During the ship’s career, she sailed on 26 world cruises, carried celebrities and heads of state and attracted crowds in every port she visited. 
  • QE2 was very fast and had a usual service speed of 28.5 knots, with a top cruising speed of 32.5 knots making her the fastest passenger ship to sail in the 21st century
  • QE2 was launched by Her Majesty The Queen on 20 September 1967. The launch was celebrated in many countries of the Commonwealth 
  • ·QE2 was the longest serving flagship of the Cunard fleet and the longest serving express transatlantic liner in Cunard’s 177 year history 
  •   QE2 was the last large express liner to be built in the UK 
  • · QE2 made 806 Transatlantic Crossings in her career 
  • · QE2 sailed over 5.6 million miles – the furthest distance by any passenger ship – ever 
  • · QE2 carried 2.5 million passengers 
  • · QE2 was the first ship to carry a reigning British Monarch as a passenger in 1990 
  • · Cunard’s first ship Britannia could have fitted into QE2’s Grand Lounge 
  • · QE2’s anchors weighed 12.5 tons each – one now resides on QE2 mile in Southampton 
  •  Each year QE2 used more than 3 million eggs and enough cling-film to wrap the ship many times over 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Racism starts early and needs to end now

White supremacists evoke deadly violence

My parents were snow birds who took me out of school each year to head for the balmy, warmer shores of Florida. Sometimes I took my books and studied at home. But on a couple of occasions when we were staying longer, my folks enrolled in junior high at two Florida schools (one public, one private).  That was actually when I first heard a teacher say the ‘N’ word in the most hateful way,  and learned  about racial prejudices.

Needless  to say I was shocked with Mrs. X called black people that and continued with racial slurs.  My Florida classmates were used to this type of talk and some held her beliefs, but not all.   Well, back at my Long Island, NY school I was an A student.  I found the education at these two southern schools lacking and well behind, so I pretty much aced all my courses except deportment, which Mrs. X failed me for speaking out in defense of blacks. I remember raising my hand every time she uttered the N word and telling her that that wasn’t nice and that we didn’t talk that way in New York. She nearly slapped me.
Hopefully Florida schools have parted with such bigotry in the classroom. However I’m sure the damage was done to some students who accepted the teacher’s word, maybe some of them or their kids are same  deplorable ones who caused so much grief and harm in Charlottesville. They may have learned their hatred from similar teachers.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

New York bar pays homage to Oscar Wilde

New watering hole has longest bar in Big Apple

Patti Pietschmann reporting

("I can resist everything except temptation"  Oscar Wilde)
Born Oct.16, 1854 in Dublin, author, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde was a popular literary figure in late Victorian England, known for his brilliant wit, flamboyant style and infamous imprisonment for homosexuality. 

And on Oct.16 he will be further immortalizes by the Oscar Wilde , a new bar in  the NoMad district of Manhattan, that will be the longest bar in New York City at 118.5 feet. Located at 45 West 27th Street which is the former headquarters of NYC’s Bureau of Prohibition and the mob who reportedly listened in on the federal agents, the 5,874 square-foot Victorian themed bar also features an additional standing whisky bar and a private events room.

Driven by Wilde's motto “a public place for private affairs” the bar offers over 300 whiskeys and 32 beers on tap, many of which are sourced from New York State.  Johnny Swet is the head mixologist of Oscar Wilde who crafted the cocktail list that reflects both the Victorian and Prohibition eras, including gin slings, bee’s knees, absinthe drip, and much more. Signature cocktails include “50 Shades of Dorian Gray with Plymouth gin, cherry liqueur, Chinese 5 spice, and citrus, as well as “Oscar Wilde’s Potent Elixir,” which features cognac, gin, Guinness, cassis, lavender, Champagne and orange zest. All cocktails are available for $14 each.

“We named our newest bar after Oscar Wilde, since he was longtime friends with Lillie Langtry, a successful British actress and socialite of the late 19th century and the namesake of Lillie’s Union Square and Lillie’s Times Square,” says Co-Owners Tommy Burke and Frank McCole. “Coming from County Mayo and County Monaghan in Ireland, we grew up reading Oscar Wilde and studying his literature. We want the bar to celebrate his legacy and become an inclusive destination for all.”  

 Oscar Wilde is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m, everyday. It will  offer lunch and dinner service with items such as Crispy Cauliflower Buffalo ‘Wings’ buttered in rice flour and tossed with a Sriracha butter sauce, as well as the signature Wilde Burger, made with imported Irish Beef and topped with crisp house made pickled and chili aioli. Those in search of lighter fare can opt for dishes such as the Cured Salmon with fried capers, crème fraiche, jalapeno, and salted cabbage slaw.

 Design features and artifacts for the bar were hand-selected from around the globe and  include a Belgium piano from the 1890’s, a standing clock from England from the 1880’s, painted glass from Milan dating back to the late 19th century, marble carved in Vietnam, one-arm bar chairs from Mexico, antique fireplaces and more.

Oscar Wilde is located at 45 West 27th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue;  212-213-3066.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Only in LA? gas station threatens to call police when woman makes mistake lottery ticket

No joke, this happened
By Patti Pietschmann

So I walk into a Mobil station on Fairfax Blvd. in Los Angeles and fill out two lottery tickets. One for the Power Ball, the other for Mega Millions. Both jackpots are over $300 million.  There were many people buying tickets and said clerk was multi-tasking. When he gets to me,  he asks for $20. I gasp and say, "but one's $2 and the other i a dollar.  He claims I made 20 picks, but I just filled out two tix with 6 numbers marked on each.

I say that I', sorry if I made a mistake (which I still don't understand), and can't you just void it out.
"No," he replies rather sternly, "I have to call the police."  Say what? I ask if he can't  just call the lottery and tell them a customer messed up. "Nope, gotta call the police."

Needless to say I am stunned.  "Do I have to wait for them," I ask. He just kept  repeating that he had to call the police. I started to conjure up scenarios of me with my hands up or calling my husband to bail me out of  jail because I was charged with screwing up a lottery ticket. It seemed liked a scene out of Dr. Strangelove.

 He finally relents and tells me I don't have to wait.  I didn't pay for the tickets (watch my numbers will come in).  As I was leaving a woman walking out with me said he was trying to intimidate me to paying the 20 bucks.

This goes in the books as one of the weirdest things to happen in LA.

Moral of this story: be careful filling out that lottery ticket.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wow six hour-long massages for $210 at Sparagon Studio City

Super prices for great rubs

by Patti Pietschmann

I shelled out just $210 for six glorious hour-long massages. Just happened to discover this little spa after lunch at a Chinese restaurant next door. I noticed the special printed on the window, went home and immediately checked it out on line.

I Had my first rub from Thailand-born Jack who did a combo Thai/Swedish that hit all the right aching spots like my lower back. Going back once a week now. Clean and courteous little spa. Lots of packages. Going to bring my hubby for a couples massage.
 Six 60-minute massage with Reflexology, Hot/Cold stones, Aromatherapy and specialty drinks. (Its a $744 value).
Order on the web site, Right away they email you the gift certificate and then you can call to book your treatment.  Each certificate is valid for Swedish or Thai & Swedish Combination massage, each massage includes Hot Stones, Aromatherapy, and Reflexology. You also have a choice of  specialty drinks such as Hot Japanese Green Tea, Iced Tea, Lemonade, Orange Juice (subject to availability). 
If you book on your birthday, the spa may provide a complimentary cake or surprise gift (subject to availability).  Do go on the website to see the spa menu. 
Sparagon, 12265 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA, 818-763-6601.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Beverly Hills makes BOLD move too lure big spenders/shoppers

Clever way to get people to eat, drink and shop in gilded Beverly Hills  

Patti Pietschmann

They're calling it BOLD (Beverly Hills Open Later Days). And it  sure it. A clever campaign that sounds pretty much like  a way to give people plenty of time to spend more. But the  Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau, who lunched the campaign, is also throwing in a few freebies.

The  project was kicked-off by mayor Lili Bosse at a reception at the Luxe Rodeo Hotel. Bosse said, "We're thrilled to announce this initiative as it reflects the best of Beverly Hills today and signals the start of a new era for the city. The exciting vibe, energy, and charisma will make visitors want to come during the day and stay through the night. We are luxury, elegance and community, and we are BOLD!"
Photo by Patti
Throughout the month of August, visitors to Beverly Hills can  shop at nearly 90 retail businesses such as Chanel, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton et al on every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in  until 8 p.m. 
Free stuff 
  • Fashion Influencer Store Appearances and Other Fashion Happenings: Notable fashion influencers will be making appearances to share style advice with Beverly Hills shoppers. On August 5, Brad Goreski will be at Louis Vuitton and on August 24, Marianna Hewitt will share her favorite tips and tricks at Ferragamo. In addition, on one of the nights of BOLD, Live Mannequins strategically placed at various retail stores will come together in a surprise performance.
  • Food: Various Beverly Hills restaurants are participating in BOLD as well, including Gratitude, Bouchon, Ocean Prime, and La Dolce Vita, offering specials to shoppers who show a receipt after making a purchase in one of the participating BOLD stores between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on BOLD nights. Each Saturday, food & beverage carts will provide local favorites on Rodeo Drive too. Details on participating restaurants can be found here.
  • Art & Culture: Ed Massey, known for his vibrant artwork on the Lifeguard Towers from Palos Verdes Peninsula to Malibu's Zuma Beach, shares his "Portraits of Hope: Neon Nights" exhibit at the historic Beverly Hills Sign and Lily Pond, which has been transformed with more than 1,000 art discs painted in eye-popping, fluorescent colors. 3-D glasses will be available so visitors can witness the colors rising from the water. The Paley Center for Media will stay open late to share the American Horror Story costume exhibit, and offer special opening weekend screenings today from classic Beverly Hillsthemed sitcoms including I Love Lucy, The Jack Benny Program, and The Beverly Hillbillies among others. Additionally, the extraordinary Hershey Felder has returned to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, for the Los Angeles Premiere of his newest work, "Our Great Tchaikovsky," and will be performing through August 13.
  •  Entertainment and activities: On BOLD August nights live DJs appear at Two Rodeo Drive, including one of LA's premier DJs, DJ Reprise who will be performing tonight, as well as onAugust 5, 12 and 19.  And each Thursday night, the always popular Concerts on Canon will delight audiences in the Beverly Canon Gardens—between the Montage Beverly Hills and Bouchon Bistro—with performances featuring the sounds of New Orleans Jazz, Salsa, Brazilian Jazz and Classic Rock.
  • Slick summer Ride & Drives: Maserati Beverly Hills displayed their convertible models of the Levante, Levante S, Ghibli, Ghibli S, Quattroporte, and Gran Turismo Coupe on Rodeo Drive and offered free Ride & Drives of the Ghibli S, Levante, and Gran Turismo. Ride and drives with other luxury car makers will continue August 11, 18, and 25 from 5-8:30 p.m. onDayton Way in front of Cartier.
 Beverly Hills has partnered with Lyft to provide one-time only $5 off any ride to Beverly Hills every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in August from 5:30-8 p.m. These can be redeemed by entering the promo code BHOPENLATE in the promos section on the Lyft app when the ride is initially booked. Designated BOLD drop-off locations are at Beverly Canon Gardens and Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel. Quantities are limited.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A pair of superstar chefs bring Soul to Hollywood

Sleek and stylish Soul Restaurant & Bar wows the taste buds

Patti Pietschmann with photos by Richard Pietschmann

Chef Smith with the Diva

Diva flanked by Chef Jones on left and manager Jose

Soul in smack on Hollywood Blvd
Soul is the dream come true of two  highly skilled chefs Yealang Smith and  Giulian Jones.  The sleek restaurant was 10 years in  the making according to Chef Yealang--a gracious, lovely woman. It finally opened the first week of August 2017 and was  a welcome entry to Hollywood's culinary landscape. We were pretty much first nighters and loved everything about it from the hot Hollywood slick decor to the food and service.

Cool vibes fill the airy space which is almost too hip  and cool for the bustling Boulevard. And it was a busy summer night in tinsel town with tourists jamming everywhere.

But inside Soul we relaxed with a great bottle of Licco Chardonnay, selected by manager Jose, as we studied the tasty-sounding menu.  The two founders of Soul came over to the table. Celebrity Chef Jones runs the kitchen, Chef Smith conceptualized the place and did it right.

We loved every dish from the hot, freshly baked beignets that chef sent out first, through the outrageously tasty corn bread, BBQ small bites and halibut entree--all created with soul and tastes.

Here's  peek at the menu

Signature dishes from "Small Bites"-- Smoked Trout on toast with Fennel Slaw, Braised Meat Boulettes, and Sweet Buttermilk Cornbread with Charred Corn, among others. The "Garden" showcases a Jerk Chicken Cobb, Dino Kale, Little Gem and Wedge salads, while "Flatbreads" include House BBQ Chicken and Roasted Kombucha Squash with Spicy Turkey Sausage.  Main entrees include the House Ground Short Rib (brisket burger on toasted Brioche, Rhubarb Ketchup and Horseradish Butterchips, a vegetarian Beet Burger, Deep Dish Pot Pie, Choice Ribeye & Poached Lobster Tail, as well as, Fried Catfish and Salt & Pepper Potato Chips.  Sumptuous sides are Deep Dish Mac-n-Cheese, Burnt Sweet Potato, Slow Braised Greens, and Black-eyed Pea Succotash.  

You have to order the cornbread

 Desserts are simply divine and  include heavenly  beignets, bread pudding topped with house made whipped cream and caramel run sauce, and flight of cookies & milk (nine freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies with whole chocolate and almond milk); 
and seasonal creations such as this yummy savory we ate last night--

Soul is located in the heart of Hollywood steps from the TCL Chinese IMAX Theatre and other attractions.  It is open  for dinner Sunday - Thursday 4 p.m. - 11 p.m., Friday - Saturday 4 p.m. - 12 a.m. Bar is open until 2:00 am.  Valet parking is available from 5 p.m. for $8.00. Call for reservations: 323-962-7685.
Photo Gallery from opening week visit
Perfect wild halibut
Photo Gallery from opening week visit
Small bites smoked BBQ platter comes with tender pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket, in-house smoked chicken and wait for it--three tangy sauces.
Soul's food is fairly-priced at just $15 for the platter above, $24 for our fresh, wild halibut, salads for $12 and $13, cornbread is $7 and easily serves four, a choice rib eye with poached lobster tail however will set you back  a well-worth $38.

You must have wine to truly enjoy Soul's foodie delights and the menu offers perfect pairings beside each dish. We stuck with the Licco Chard but next visit will pair with courses for sure. They have lots of wines available.

Hurry and book your table as this restaurant could quickly become the heart and soul of Hollywood and hard to get into once the A-list hears about it.  After all Yealang once had a catering company that fed such famous faces as Toni Braxton, Snoop Dog, Master P, TLC and many others such as Eddie Murphy. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bye Bye Miss American Pie You Tube Video with lyrics

Drove our ballots to the voting grounds and then the music died

Play it again, Sam, you can change the words to reflect today's political scene

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Theater in LA: world premier of 'Grey Nomad'

Dan Lee's funny play opens Sept. 11th
A public service announcement by Patti Pietschmann
Support your local theater

Not to be missed:   

L.A.'s Australian Theatre Company production of   'Grey Nomad,' Dan Lee’s funny, engaging comedy about two retired couples who have dedicated their lives to RVing around Australia. It’s an hilarious road show that captures the unique sense of camaraderie and almost supernatural devotion to a lifestyle of perpetual circumnavigation led by the free range, baby boomers of Australia who call themselves “grey nomads.”

• Directed by Iain Sinclair,
• Starring Ros Gentle, Wendy Hammers, David Ross Paterson, Paul Tassone
• Produced by Jackie Diamond, Nick Hardcastle, Nate Jones and Joshua Thorburn
• Presented by Australian Theatre Company

Mark your calendar:

Performances Sept. 11 – Oct. 8:
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 11 (Opening Night), Sept. 18, Sept. 25; Oct. 2
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15*, Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6
• Saturdays at 5 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23*, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.: Sept. 16, Sept. 23, Sept. 30, Oct. 7
• Sundays at 6 p.m.: Sept. 17, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 8
* American Sign Language-interpreted performances will take place on Friday, Sept. 15 and Saturday, Sept. 23.

A visiting production at the
Skylight Theatre
1816 1/2 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles

Reserved seating: $39
 General admission: $34
Grey Nomads (ages 55+): $29
Call 866-811-4111 or or follow at, or @aussietheatreco