Saturday, June 16, 2018

Debbie Reynolds son Todd Fisher to do book signing at TCL Chinese Theatre

"My Girls"  pays tribute to his late mom and sister who died a day apart 
Patti Pietschmann  

Fans of the late  Carrie  Fisher and Debbie Reynolds might want o put this on their calendars. Next Tuesday, June 19, Todd Fisher will be signing his book, "My Girls" at a ceremony at Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theatre.  The book signing starts at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a screening.

The revealing and touching tribute to his Mom and sister is filled with moving stories of growing up among Hollywood royalty and illustrated with rare  photos and memorabilia.

As every follower of these two superstars know, Carrie and Debbie left this world in December 2016--although it doesn't feel that long ago--but both live on in movies and memories. The back-to-back passings stunned the world and of course loved ones, especially Todd Fisher
 who somehow retained his grace and composure under the glare of the media spotlight as he struggled with his own overwhelming grief.

The son of "America’s Sweethearts" Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, Todd grew up amid the glamorous wealth and pretense of Hollywood. Thanks to his funny, loving, no-nonsense mother, Todd remained down to earth, his own man, but always close to his cherished mom, and to his sister through her meteoric rise to stardom and her struggle with demons that never diminished her humor, talent, or spirit.

Todd shares his heart and his memories of Debbie and Carrie with deeply personal stories from his earliest years to those last unfathomable days. His book, part memoir, part homage, celebrates their legacies through a more intimate, poignant, and often hilarious portrait of these two remarkable women than has ever been revealed before.

With thirty-two pages of never-before-seen photos and memorabilia from his family’s private archives, Todd’s book is a love letter to a sister and a mother, and a gift to countless fans who are mourning the deaths of these two unforgettable stars.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Hawaiian Airline addresses concerns about flights to Big Island in wake of Kilauea eruptions

Important reading for anyone planning on flying to Hawaii

Patti Pietschmann

Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines

Like the airlines like to say when they thank passengers for using their company,  "we know you have a lot of choices for flying,"  and you do when it comes to getting from the Mainland to the Hawaii. We go to Maui twice a year or more and alternate between Delta and Hawaiian for a few reasons. One is that they both operate convenient nonstop flights from Los Angeles. Our main reason for booking  Hawaiian however is its First Class lie  flat seats which are so heavenly comfy especially when flying back and just want to recline and relax. Both airlines provide good inflight service, most of the time and edible meals in First Class.

view from my Delta seat en route to Maui


Hawaiian also services the Big Island where, as you probably know, Kilauea has been erupting violently,destroying many homes, spewing toxic fumes, ashes and lava everywhere. So a lot of would be visitors are concerned for their safety. Because of that and cancellations, Hawaiian has issued the following assurance and answers to many travelers questions.

Have Hawaiian Airlines flights been impacted by the recent Kīlauea eruptions?
Our scheduled flights are operating normally, including all interisland flights, our once-daily, non-stop flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Kona, and our three times a week service between Haneda and Kona.
 Is flying in and out of Hilo International Airport (ITO) and Kona International Airport (KOA) still safe?
“Safety is our primary concern, and the flight activity that is currently underway is completely safe,” shared Ken Rewick, Hawaiian’s vice president of flight operations. “We are extremely conservative when it comes to flight operations and we monitor conditions on an ongoing basis.”
  • Operations at KOA – which is approximately 100 miles from Kīlauea – remain normal as the west coast of the island is unaffected. However, guests with respiratory disorders are advised to monitor air quality readings due to the regular presence of vog (volcanic fog).
  • ITO also remains open for business. The airport is roughly 30 miles from Kīlauea and has not been affected by the recent volcanic activity. Our airport team is in contact with state and federal agencies monitoring air quality for any potential health hazards.
Reid Shigeoka, Hawaiian’s senior manager of ITO and KOA airport operations, says both airports are working diligently to answer guests’ questions and to ensure they are aware of resources available to them. “However, we have noticed that many of our guests have taken the initiative to educate themselves prior to their trip, and have already adjusted any affected plans,” he said.
Take a walk in the shoes of two Hawaiian Airlines employees on the ground in Hilo and learn about their experiences during the latest Kīlauea eruption. Click here to read our recent post “Kīlauea 101: Kama‘āina Q&A.”

How can I adjust my current travel reservation?
Hawaiian offered a flight change fee waiver from May 3 through June 10 to provide immediate flexibility to guests who booked their travel to Hilo or Kona prior to the recent eruption activity. We’ve resumed our normal fare rules. If you have questions about your upcoming trip, please contact our Reservations Department at 1-800-367-5320.
Guests are advised to check www.HawaiianAirlines.com for the latest updates on scheduled flights.

How is Hawaiian Airlines supporting residents and employees on the Island of Hawai‘i?
We are deeply saddened by the immense loss being experienced by so many of our Puna neighbors. We have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground to determine how Hawaiian can best support displaced Puna residents – some of whom are our own employees.
We have and will continue to provide assistance to agencies and organizations leading relief efforts on the Island of Hawai‘i. A snapshot of our involvement includes:
  • Monetary donations
  • Flights for first responders temporarily relocating to the Island
  • Shipments of food, water, and medical supplies for the Red Cross and Salvation Army
  • Distribution of various goods, including food and water
  • Team Kōkua volunteers providing boots-on-the-ground assistance at local shelters
We will continue to rely on the organizations managing the shelters and support services to identify individual cases where we can provide additional assistance.

How can I stay updated with the latest alerts during my trip?
Those planning a trip to the Island of Hawai‘i who have questions can contact the Hawai‘i Tourism United States Call Center at 1-800-GO-HAWAII (1-800-464-2924).
To learn more about the Kīlauea eruption, including alerts and updates, visit:
For real-time updates on environmental conditions, visit:

What areas should I avoid, and where do you recommend I visit instead?
Visitors should avoid hazardous areas close to the lava activity within the Puna district. (See map below)
Being the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, the Island of Hawai‘i offers visitors a lot of ground to explore outside of the affected areas. If you’re looking to adjust your plans, we highly recommend building your itinerary using our Insider Guides, created by kama‘āina for a truly local experience, or by visiting the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority website.
We also recommend using #ExploreIslandofHawaii on InstagramTwitter and Facebook before, during and after your tropical adventure!
Pocket Map Big Island May 2018 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Grab a bite or overnight at the Hyatt Regency at LAX


Flight time is the right time to stay or eat at Hyatt Regency LAX
Patti Pietschmann
Lunch at unity LA photo by RichardPietschmann
 Got a layover in LA or just want to eat a good meal before boarding your foodless flight, consider the newly reimagined Hyatt at LAX.  Just about  a  block away from the terminals,  it's the most convenient  place to stay for travelers who like to  fly out of bed and grab a bite of breakfast before tackling the terminal.  

The hotel has pushed boundaries of innovation and design with vibrant mid-century modern furnishings in each guestroom, including the Hyatt Grand Bed, the market-leading wall-mounted 55-inch television with HDMI streaming capabilities, free high-speed Wi-Fi internet, and tranquility sliding door on a well-lit modern bathroom with rain shower head. All spaces in the guestroom have been designed for ease of working, relaxing and staying connected to who, and what, is most important to guests at any time.
  
What’s more the food’s great at unity la where  chefs cook up an innovative menu using the flavors from different Los Angeles neighborhoods.  The focus is on  locally sourced meat, seafood and poultry.

Breakfast at unity la phtoto by Richard Pietschmann
A few breakfast selections to sink  your teeth into include Huevos Rancheros and Tres Leches French Toast.  For dinner there’s  Drunken Noodles (a favorite) Charred Korean Sticky RibsBeef Carnitas, and Wild Baja Striped Bass. And if that sweet tooth is acting up you can quench it with  Tres Leches with California strawberries and vanilla whipped cream and Crème BruleeCheesecake served with roasted peach compote and raspberry coulis.
 
Patti at the bar shot by Richard Pietschmann
Last time we were there we had lunch at unity la bar – which for  lunch and dinner offers a varied menu with plates designed to be shared in a millennial-friendly communal, casual environment. Some good choices to fuel you for that long flight include yummy carne Asada Fries (a guest favorite), Spicy Tuna Poke Bowl, and Ginger Vegetable Dumplings.  And if you just want a hamburger, you got I, or a sandwich, flatbreads and of course adult beverages such as l handcrafted cocktails with ingredients from local distilleries, including Greenbar Distillery’s organic liquors, and aviation themed cocktails like Terminal Relief and Ginger Jetstream. There is a good list of California wines and local craft beers on tap from hyperlocal breweries such as Three WeaversSmog City,Hangar 24 and Eagle Rock Populist.

You can also buy food to go to enjoy later on your flight, but remember you can’t bring foods such as soup or yogurt through security.

The hotel has an inviting pool, gorgeous rooms, a club lounge (for extra fee), fitness center,  and great, friendly staff.              

  


 Pool and room photos by Richard Pietschmann
Book a suite like the one we stayed in above and below photographed by Richard Pietschmann





Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport is the only airport hotel with direct shuttle service, which is provided complimentary to registered hotel guests and runs every 10 minutes between the hotel and airport.
For more information about Hyatt Regency Los Angeles International Airport, call (424) 702-1234 or visit www.losangelesairport.regency.hyatt.com. Follow the hotel on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.






               


          


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Celebrate the 4th of July with a bang at a family hoe down/BBQ

There's gonna be a barn dance and BBQ at Will Geer's Theatricum Botanicum on July 4

Patti Pietschmann
Ian Flanders

















Be there be square from 11 in the morning 'til 5 p.m.
Yup a pie eating contest photo by Ian Flanders
Then dance off the calories photo Ian Flanders
Activities include  live music, a barn dance, pie-eating contest, a quirky watermelon seed-spitting contest, cake walk, horseshoes, relay races, dunk bucket, family games, silent auction and more. Barbeque and fixin’s, beer and wine available for purchase. Folk and country fun!

Put it on  your calendar, July 4 at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Topanga CA (midway between Pacific Coast Highway and the Ventura Freeway). Bring something warm it gets chilly in this open air venue at night.

Call for tix: (310) 455-3723 or go to  www.theatricum.com

Admission info:
• Adults 13 and up: $20 before July 3 at 5 p.m.; $22 at the door
• Kids ages 5-12: $8 before July 3 at 5 p.m., $10 at the door
• Family Pack (2 adults + 2 kids + 5 free raffle tickets): $50 by July 3 at 5 p.m. only (not available at the door)
• Ages 4 and under: Free

Friday, June 1, 2018

Just another evening of impossibly fine dining at Il Piccolino Restaurant in WeHo

The most delicious and carefully crafted cuisine served in a charming setting

Patti and Richard Pietschmann

It's where to get the best Branzino in LA (among other dishes)



That's Silvio, host with the most
“Is that Robert De Niro  or Al Pacino who just walked in, I asked my husband Richard? I always get those two super stars mixed up. We were seated at a lovely table at the alluring Il Piccolino in West Hollywood. The little hideaway, nestled  just off Robertson Boulevard, attracts show biz types who go there with the  main purpose  to dine on some of the best and freshest Mediterranean/Italian cuisine in town. It’s not like the Palm, Spago or Grill  on the  Alley where  celebrities  go to work the room  and be seen, but you do catch some shop  talk here and there.

Last  night one could hear snatches of conversation about the latest Twitter storms created by Roseanne Barr with her  unfathomable racial slur  that caused ABC to give her highly-rated show the boot, and Samatha Bee’s rant  about Ivanka Trump that went a bit too far even  for the outspoken host of the TBS Wednesday night hit show Full Frontal with Samatha Bee. But for the most part eating took center stage. And, like our fellow patrons, feast we did.


It helps to know the co-owners,  Silvio De Mori and Eddie Kerkhofs,  veteran restaurateurs and self-professed  foodies. Not that everyone who walks into the place, that is open contiguously from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.,  isn’t treated equally. They sure are. But  Silvio   or Eddie always send over some special dishes.  Last night Silvio  was  on duty and he outdid  himself ordering enough food  for the two of us to serve 10.  “How do you eat so much and stay  slim,” asked  a person at the adjacent table? I felt a bit like a glutton. But they didn’t know the trick is to taste and bring the rest home, which we did.


We began our foray into foodie bliss with a  imported foie gras that  melted in your mouth. Then came a pate you wouldn’t believe, laced  with pistachios, mama mia. While we thought we’d just look a take a photo, the French onion soup, place on the table, was too tempting so we ate the whole bowl  which was generously laced with imported gruyere  cheese. I  thought that would be it for me but I couldn’t  resist he red beet risotto or the polenta that just danced with my taste  buds. There was also a house-made fresh sheet pasta  pesto with fresh burrata and asparagus that would have been foolish to pass on.

Our arms were also twisted  to  have dessert because we know how good they are here. So we dug  into  a marvelous bowl of marinated strawberries with whipped cream, the heavenly, signature chocolate mousse and the salted caramel—we  were in foodie heaven.
(Follow the foodie foto trail Richard and I created)

beet risotto 


Pate en croute with  pistachios

Onion soup




That was some veal chop  just about the best I ever had

Cheeses at Il Piccolino (courtesy of  Il Piccolino)


























Il Piccolino  is located at 350 N.Robertson Blvd., (but it’s actually just around the corner) 310-659-2220, reservations are a must. Dress is California chic casual. A few people wear  designer jeans, but many men don  jackets and women tend to  doll up a bit.




Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dining and drinking at the best spots in south Maui's Kihei and Wailea

A Foodie and tippler's guide to the best of south Maui
Patti Pietschmann with photos by Richard Pietschmann


Amazing tender steak at Bev Gannon's Upcountry HGS

We've been visiting Maui for years and always on the look out for good eats. It used to be a challenge but times have changed and there are now more really good restaurants on the island than ever before. It may have all started with Beverly Gannon's 30 year-old Halemaiili General Store. Or possibly with Peter Merrimen's many good offerings.


But many chefs have raised the bar on dining in Maui just as Chef Mavro has done on Oahu. You do get hungry and thirsty after a day of water sports, hiking, swimming or touring and these spots will quench your appetite (all personally tried and true).


Ahi carpaccio at HGS



Mouthwatering Ahi Poke at HGS




Happy foodie (Richard Pietschmann) at Haliimaile

Haliimaile General Store Chef Bev Gannon's foodie haven in Upcountry, where the cuisine is heavenly no matter what you order. There's also a great happy hour during which you can sample the fare for less, but save room because dinner's a must do, and Bev's portions are large.
Patti and Richard at Gannon's Wailea
Gannon's this beautiful branch of Chef Bev's fantastic foodie havens sits on a gorgeous golf course that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The food delights the palate, the views are awesome and the staff tops. There's a nightly happy hour that's well worth trying.


shrimp cocktail at Gannon's Wailea


Gannon's 
 Kalua pig spring rolls are Richard's favorite


Kaana Kitchen
at Andaz Maui serves up some great food--and a spectacular view 
if you request lanai seating....


Wonderful watermelon salad at Kaana at the Andaz


Marvelous Munchong fish at Kaana kitchen

Humhuma....at Grand Wailea romantic lagoon setting and great food

Heavenly hamachi at Humu


Such a romantic setting on little lagoon at Humu at Grand Wailea




This Mahi Mahi was surreal as always at Humu

Favorite watering holes for happy hour

5 Palms at Mana Kai Kihei -- for happy hour -- smack on the beach, the joint is jammed from 3 to 9 p.m. for happy hour where you get great appetizers for nearly half price and cheaper drinks. Love the ribs and the roaster Brussels sprouts.


Tasty garlic laden Brussels Sprouts




Ribs t
hat fall off the bone and melt in your mouth

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman in Wailea has a short, sweet happy hour with cheaper eats than normal hours, good pours and lots of beers on tap.

Fred's and Moose McGillycuddy's - Kihei An upstairs/downstairs duo with Mooses being the spot for happy hour and watching sports on several flat screen TVs and Freds for Mexican fare.


Fred's Mexican food

Cafe O Lei Kihei is a fave spot for a great 'blue plate' special lunch. The restaurant's across the main drag from the beach but is always full  with eager eaters. Lunch without drinks or  wine is easily under $10 if you get the daily special--which is always tasty.


There are many other good restaurants on other parts of Maui, but we've concentrated on southern shores because it's where we stay in Kihei at Mana Kai condos.