Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

I’ve been to Bottega Louie several times while living in Los Angeles and it never fails that there’s a long wait, but worth it (this time 1.5 hours). But, once you get past that hustle and bustle you are in for a delicious treat in this Italian restaurant in the Brockman Building at the corner of 7th and Grand in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.

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Plus it looks very ritzy and fancy, but you’d be surprised that it’s reasonably prized.

Floor-to-ceiling windows put the whole shebang that is Bottega Louie on full display: gray-veined marble floors, bare white walls, imposing pillars and a ceiling high enough that Cirque du Soleil trapeze artists could do their act. There’s a roaring wood oven where pizzas are freshly made at your request, the market up front with many sweet goodies (their macaroons are to die for in my opinion), gleaming open kitchen where the cooks make food into art pieces (you’ll be mouthwatering) and the bar area near the front serves creditably as a cocktail lounge, a wine bar and a café.


Credit: (at)TinaTastesLA on #Instagram

It’s believed that this is the most successful of the dozens of restaurants that opened in downtown back in 2009. Bottega Louie is a project of investors Keat Bollenbach and Daniel Flores, with a kitchen run by Sam Marvin, a Patina veteran whose mid-’90s Melrose café Modada was credited with jump starting the fondue revival, among other things, and who guided the past few years of Le Dome. The restaurant is designed down to the colors of the macaroons in the bakery case and the typeface on the butcher paper. (credit: Jonathan Gold, LA Weekly)

This dining gem serves mostly American-Italian classics, like stuffed artichokes, fried calamari, and clams oreganata, sliced steak, eggplant parmesan, and crisply sautéed branzino drizzled with a sauce fragrant with anchovies, garlic and olive oil. Though, two of my all-time favorite pizzas are the crisp-edged Neapolitan-style and Artichoke pizzas that come out of the big wood-burning oven.

This was my first time I visited Bottega Louie for brunch so an order of the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes served with Vermont Maple Syrup was a must! They were delicious as expected. Look Below!


As you exit the Bottega Louie you’ll be drawn to some of their pastries, sweets, cakes and of course macaroons (yes, I hand-picked a box of them to go).

Bottega Louie is an easy place to be happy with a lot of noise and people!

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Are you looking for a short and extremely relaxing getaway close to home in Southern California then I have the best recommendation for you!

I was pleasantly surprised with this trip by my gf to The Ranch at Bandy Canyon as my 27th birthday gift. I think it was an exceptional gift because it wasn’t like she went to the store — bought me something, wrapped it and that was it. It was a great feeling to see all the thought and detail she put into surprising me with a perfect getaway/road trip to this gem that sits in the San Pascual Valley (Escondido area) in Southern California. She knows how much I love nature, hiking, cabin-life, getaways and horses so she saw all things included in this secluded rustic location and got us there.


We arrived on a sunny Sunday afternoon after many guests had departed from a wedding reception the previous day. The venue is popular for wedding celebrations and a beautiful one too. This is one we may consider for ours!


Also, summer camps, picnics and children’s birthday celebrations take place at the site with an array of fun activities that will keep your child and their friends entertained.

Even before you enter the ranch and you drive on a windy uphill road you begin to notice how peaceful and disconnected from society you can get to be. It’s a great feeling and one that everyone needs to live every once in a while. As you approach the ranch there’s no reception and Wi-Fi at the grounds is weak, but I am telling you now so that you are prepared. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with disconnecting from society and social media every once in a while. Get ready for re-charging those internal batteries in your system.


Giant eucalyptus trees line-up the road as you drive into The Ranch at Bandy Canyon and as soon as we checked-in the gal that greeted us was super welcoming and accommodating to our needs. She guided us to our nicely furnished cabin and handed us a basket of food (muffins and fruit) and wine for our stay.


We settled into our cabin and then ventured out to the grounds and explored on our own in a 20-30 minute walk. The ranch is fairly small so you can walk through it in 10 minutes, but with capturing different corners of this beautiful place we took longer. There’s a stream that runs through the ranch, a pool and jacuzzi, a lodge which is the oldest building in Escondido. There is a piano, a fireplace and lots of room to enjoy people’s company. I overheard that they will be transforming the lodge into a restaurant which I think will be great because currently there’s no restaurant in the grounds. Recently I saw they opened a much needed General Store that offers coffee bar, snacks, drinks and souvenirs.


There’s a patio area we loved as well that is great for an outdoor reception with a fountain in the middle of the courtyard and with a fireplace where we enjoyed s’mores in the middle of the night.


My favorite area of the ranch were the stables with the horses for sure. We walked there and hung out with my favorite animals. I love horses! We didn’t have the chance to ride them, but it was still great to see them.


We went back to our cabin and got ready for dinner that day. We went to a nearby restaurant called Cordiano Winery outside the ranch that overlooked some vineyards and mountains. We had some delicious pizza cooked in the oven and wine.



We watched the sunset and that was an unforgettable experience.


We made it back to our cabin and took a dip in the pool late at night. We had the entire pool and jacuzzi to ourselves so that was very relaxing.


We heard nature at its finest accompanied by a full moon and the stars shined bright that night. This was an experience we don’t usually get to live with all the hustle and bustle in Los Angeles and The Ranch at Bandy Canyon supported this exuberant view. Thank you!


We woke up the next day and ate some of the goodies that were given to us in the basket, we sat in the patio overlooking the ranch, heard birds chirping and drank coffee.



We took another morning stroll around the grounds. This time we got on the swing and the hammocks to relax some more. When was the last time you got on a hammock?



As you can see you’ll do a lot of nature walks and disconnecting while visiting this place and don’t expect to do something major, but that’s the beauty of this place that you simply get to relax because nowadays that’s a luxury.


We checked-out of the ranch and we drove to two California missions on our way back to Los Angeles. We also made pit stops at the Oceanside and San Clemente piers.


Our fun getaway came to an end too soon, but it was the perfect one to spend quality time and celebrate another successful year.


If you are looking for a fun place to escape with your significant other that will be inexpensive and worthwhile take a look at The Ranch at Bandy Canyon and their cottages so that you can pay a visit for a weekend escape.


To see more images of this trip, visit my photo album on my Facebook. 

To learn more visit:

Mexico joined the eighth annual Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE as culinary destination of the year. As a Mexican that’s exciting! The festival took place from October 15 – 18, 2015 and it was recently recognized as the #3 food and restaurant industry event in the U.S. by BizBash for the third year in a row. Designated as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, Mexican cuisine has been making an indelible mark on the world as countless chefs and gourmands continue to redefine the meaning and expression of Mexican cooking. YUMMY!

Chefs Margarita Carrillo & Arnie Marcella presented a dish inspited by their trip to Guadalajara at the Mexican Pavillion inside the NYCFWW

Mexico’s gastronomy has never been more exciting than it is today, making it a great fit for its culinary destination of the year distinction at the festival. Thought-provoking chefs, boundary-pushing artisans and innovative creators are changing the landscape and contributing to an unparalleled gastronomic movement in a country where food is central to its culture. Its lively markets and street food, rich flavors with thousands of years of history, combined with modern and innovative cooking techniques are taking the country’s cuisine to new heights.

Chef Elena Reygadas

The tastes, smells and textures of Mexico’s modern gastronomy will came to life during the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival to not only delight the palate, but also inspire a journey through all of Mexico. From winemaking regions of Baja California to the coffee fields of the south, to cheese production in the north to the mole of Oaxaca and the mouthwatering cochinita pibil of Yucatan, there’s something to discover in every corner.

Mexico’s presence at the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival highlighted the country’s visionary gastronomic movement, which includes a focus on fresh ingredients. The festival offered the opportunity for collaboration between top Mexican and American chefs to create and interpret dishes, exploring bold new culinary territory.

Dish by Chef Enrique Olvera

The most representative flavors of Mexican gastronomy were featured at three key events at the Festival with the participation of celebrated chefs.

1. Mexican Pavilion. Mexico hosted a special pavilion at the Festival’s signature Grand Tasting presented by ShopRite featuring Samsung® Culinary Demonstrations presented by MasterCard at Pier 94. Mexican and American chefs teamed up at the pavilion to offer a collaborative interpretation of Mexican flavors.

Duck Tortas inspired by Chef Jehangir Mehta's visit to Puebla, Mexico

2. Mexico’s Dinner with Enrique Olvera and Jordi Roca. Enrique Olvera, whose restaurant Pujol in Mexico City is ranked No. 16 in the world, welcomed renowned pastry Chef Jordi Roca to his New York City restaurant, Cosme, for this special dinner. Roca is the youngest of three brothers who oversee seminal Catalan restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, ranked No. 1 in the world, in Girona, Spain.

3. Tacos & Tequila was presented by Mexico hosted by Aarón Sánchez. Host of hit Food Network shows Chopped and Taco Trip, Aarón Sánchez was joined by top chefs presenting creative taco interpretations at Urbo, a culinary multi-plex located in the heart of Manhattan.

One of the dishes by Chef Enrique Olvera

During September and October, Mexico will also host special tours for top chefs across the most important cities in the country. Tours will highlight Mexico’s flourishing gastronomic scene and foster collaborative relationships between participating American and Mexican chefs.

Text Credit: H+M Communications and EsteeEatz

Esta nota fue escrita en colaboracion con Carmen Melgoza de #LatinoFitClub

Amigos de AVivirLA en esta ocasión regreso con una nota para contarles mi experiencia manejando el 2015 Mazda 3 en enero 2015. ¡WOW que carro tan padre! Tuve el placer de manejar este carro por toda una semana completa y la verdad que ahora lo extraño. Este es un carro súper futurístico y muy avanzado en tecnología y fue la opción perfecta para el viaje a Napa, California.


Mi novia y yo aprovechamos el carro muy bien y realizamos un viaje de Los Ángeles a Napa lo cual son aproximadamente 7 horas. La oportunidad de manejar este carro fue toda una súper experiencia agradable. Nuestra primera parada fue en Bakersfield y de ahí seguimos el camino a Modesto y el siguiente destino fue Mountain View y después Napa.


Fue increíble como con tanta parada y manejada la gasolina nos rindió muchísimo. Para empezar el carro es súper económico en gasolina. Si no calcule mal, el total de tanques llenos de gasolina que gastamos durante la semana que lo tuvimos fue aproximadamente 2 y que incluyera un viaje de ida y vuelta a Napa y manejarlo en la ciudad, sin duda alguna no fue nada mal.


El carro que me toco manejar estaba completamente equipado, pero las características estándar incluyen un equipo de sonido con cuatro altavoces, USB y entradas auxiliares y botón de arranque con tan solo tener un chip cerca. Con el Mazda 3 era de solamente oprimir un botón y el carro encendía.


Entre las características opcionales incluyen Bluetooth, control de crucero, navegación, doble zona de control de clima automático, esto fue la gloria  ya que mi novia es más friolenta y yo más caluroso así que fue padre para que cada quien tuviera el control de la temperatura. También incluye nueve altavoces de un sistema de sonido Bose, quemacocos y monitoreo de punto ciego. Esto se me hizo súper increíble y muy seguro ya que los sensores se encienden y te dan una alerta en los espejos cuando un carro está muy cerca o está en tu punto ciego. ¡MUY BIEN!


Otra característica muy padre es el control de crucero adaptativo y una cámara de la vista trasera. Los revisores están de acuerdo en que las características y controles del interior del Mazda 3 están bien diseñados y simples, y que el sistema de información y entretenimiento opcional es fácil de usar.


Definitivamente fue una gran oportunidad tener la oportunidad de manejar el Mazda 3 porque es muy diferente escuchar de otras personas el sentir de un carro a que uno mismo lo experimente. Vaya sorpresa me lleve con lo equipado que esta el carro y confieso que fue uno de mis carros favoritos cuando quería comprar carro nuevo hace dos años y ahora me arrepiento bastante de no haberlo comprado. Pero por ahora me conforme con manejarlo por una semana.


Se dice que no se puede calificar un carro por completo si no se maneja en diferentes aéreas y afortunadamente lo manejamos en la autopista, freeways, carreteras muy y menos transitadas, y en la terracería. También en ciudades grandes, pequeñas y pueblos donde radican pocas personas. Esta experiencia nos permitió calificar muy bien el sentir del carro — cual es muy fácil de manejar, sin escuchar el sonido exterior, y es muy cómodo que al igual suave.


Aún sigo sorprendido con el gran ahorro en gasolina, ya que el Mazda3 viene con un motor de 4 cilindros pues nos fue súper bien y definitivamente nos quedamos dentro de nuestro presupuesto para este viaje. Si tuviera que calificar este carro del 1-10 le daría un 10 en excelencia y me arrepiento bastante de no haberlo comprado cuando lo tuve contemplado. ¡Sera para la próxima!


Definitivamente, el carro tiene un look súper deportivo y muy moderno, es compacto pero súper cómodo y la cajuela cuenta con bastante espacio.

En este viaje disfrutamos mucho de Napa, el compartir unos ricos momentos con amigos, que por cierto también les gustó mucho el carro  y que decir de todo lo que disfrutamos manejar el carro.


En Napa disfrutamos de diferentes viñedos, wine cellars e hicimos una gran picnic con amigos de la universidad. Napa es hermoso y si algún día tienen la oportunidad de visitar asegúrense de tener un conductor asignado porque hay vino a morir. Jaja

En el pasado he visitado Napa y sus viñedos más comerciales y en esta ocasión nos fuimos a unos menos populares y más pequeños en la famosa Silverado Trail. Tuvimos el placer de probar el famoso vino de Regusci Winery y el sparkling wine de Mumm Napa.


Nos encantó escuchar las historias detrás de cada viñedo, como hacen el vino, y todo lo que realiza cada lugar para tener un vino autentico e único. En Mumm Napa tuvimos la oportunidad de hacer un tour por sus instalaciones desde la fermentación del vino, proceso de embotellamiento, cellar y su tienda.


Nuestro viaje fue inolvidable y no hubiese sido posible sin el Mazda 3, los bellos paisajes de Napa y su rico vino. A mi novia y a mí nos encanta el vino entonces trajimos a casa varias botellas para tener vino el resto del año y recordar el viaje juntos a través de unas copas de vino.

Y recuerden que si están buscando una opción para un carro económico, deportivo y súper futurístico, sin duda este carro puede ser tu mejor opción.


Editado julio 2015: Necesito agregar que para mi novia esta fue su mejor opción ya que buscaba un nuevo carro meses después de esta experiencia y se compró el Mazda 5 que es un poco más grande que el Mazda 3 y con más actualizaciones.


Para más detalles visita Mazda 3 y checa todo lo que te ofrece este carro. ¡Gracias a nuestros amigos de Drive Shop por la maravillosa experiencia!

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