Back in December, a few days before their opening on New Year’s Eve, I shared news about the latest S Bar in the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Unable to attend that first night Eddie and I rectified our loss by visiting them two weeks later. From the outside in, we were excited with just how the place looked. Once seated we had our chance to sample as much as we could – the atmosphere, art, drinks, food and music – and by the end of our time there we were left thinking, this is not the bar for selfies and to be seen, at least not for us. This is the bar of 2022, where all of your senses will be gratified in luxury. Let me share why. (And for those of you that just want to skip reading, photos and videos can be found here and here.)
I took a lot of photos of the S Bar before we even entered, it’s that grand looking. When you exit the parking garage elevators onto the Casino floor it is one of the first things you see on your immediate left.
Gold glimmers, lights from the interior flicker to catch your eye, and the hostess waits for you to find your way to her. Once inside the big sparkly bar will definitely catch your eye, in the center of the room and a fantastic focal point. But then, after you are seated on one of several cozy areas, your eyes will be drawn to the framed black and white photographs all around you, and the two from the owner Sam Nazarian’s private contemporary art collection that he removed from his home to share with his guests: a large Marilyn Monroe and a second piece of art, a seated naked woman. Both will make you catch your breath.
There were two main sitting areas, and a third private VIP lounge tucked away and conveniently located near one side of the bar – giving the impression that you would have private access to the bar. This is intentional.
Near the front entrance is an area for musicians. On this night we benefitted from a talented electric violinist that played along to current popular favorites. She was amazing.
Then at this point, before you have really taken it all in, one of the many attentive members of the service staff will greet you, offer you several types of water, offer the drink and food menus.
We usually order our favorite drinks at bars. But when it’s a new bar, with what we understood to be very experienced barmen, we asked our server which cocktails she thought we might like based on our tastes.
Neither of us like sweet drinks, and she made great suggestions. Eddie went for “The Second Rodeo” which was described on the menu as Green Chile Vodka, Spiced Hibiscus, Lime and Rose Kombucha. Eddie has never had any of these ingredients, and I was proud of him for trying something out of the box. And one of the reasons the drink was suggested was because it came on fire. After blowing out the flame Eddie had his taste and declared it spicy but not too spicy, and enjoyed all of the unique flavors.
Another recommendation was for me, to try the “Palm Reader” which was crafted with Bourbon, Cacao Rum, Licor de Elote, Palo Santo and orange bitters – and if you watch the video you can see that our bartender also served the drink on the rock with a little bit of white chocolate shavings! After we lingered over these for an hour…we did try our usual Sazerac (for Eddie) and an Old Fashioned (for me) and they were just as yum-worthy.
A note on the bar itself: all top notch equipment including cut crystal mixing glasses, copper jiggers and strainers, clear ice (they even have clear tall Tom Collins ice), and house-made simple syrup and bitters.
We started with the Charcuterie board and probably could’ve stopped there as it was more than enough for two for dinner with all kinds of meats, cheeses, nuts, jellies and toasted Crostini. But we didn’t. The “Tarte Flambee” flatbread that came next just slayed us, it was described as a loaded potato on flatbread and it didn’t disappoint as it was loaded with onion, bacon, Crème Fraîche, Fromage Blanc and chives! We finished with a beautiful Tuna Poke tower with large wonton chips.
Friends we were happily surprised to discover sitting at the bar had the Deviled Eggs, Wagyu Sliders and were about to order the Charcuterie board and Lobster Mac when we left!
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.
Nightlife Destination to Feature an Elevated Cocktail Program by Renowned Master Bartender Yael Vengroff
Las Vegas, NV (December 20, 2021) – S Bar, a concept by visionary Sam Nazarian and sbe’s elevated dining brand Disruptive Restaurant Group, joins the Las Vegas nightlife scene by bringing a sensual and elegant social space to The Strip. Debuting New Year’s Eve, the venue will deliver a craft cocktail experience and lush lounge ambience along with high-energy entertainment to Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino guests and visitors from around the globe.
Celebrating the culture of mixology, S Bar will feature innovative libations paired with a tempting array of decadent shareable bites by sbe Director of Culinary Thanawat Bates. The concept also will offer an eclectic live entertainment experience by integrating classic instrumental sounds with modern tunes and unexpected DJ sets by west coast resident artists. Lounge enthusiasts will be welcomed by brass tones, luxe drapery, plush seating, and a polished black marble bar adorned by iconic art pieces from one of the world’s most collected photographers, Terry O’Neil.
S Bar’s focus will center around its curated craft cocktail program, designed by award-winning master bartender Yael Vengroff, who also is Head of Bars & Mixology Programming at Katsuya and S Bar. Named “American Bartender of the Year” by the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, Vengroff is dedicated to crafting visually stunning cocktails that combine simple spirits with unexpected ingredients such as aloe vera, yuzu tonic and umami bitters. Vengroff’s new S Bar Las Vegas menu cocktails will include:
- Moonage Daydream, Pisco, Salted Honeydew Peanut Cordial, Tarragon, Lime, Egg White
- Umeshu Highball, Ume Whiskey, Amaro Montenegro, Shiso Plum Wine, Bubbles
- Palm Reader, Bourbon, Cacao Rum, Licor de Elote, Palo Santo, Bitters
- Tiger Julis, Mandarin Vodka, Cognac, Campari, Cinnamon, Black Tea, Hazelnut
- Starry Night, Pear Brandy, Lemon, Butterfly Pea Flower, Sparkling Rosé
S Bar has become a key brand within Sam Nazarian’s Disruptive Restaurant Group (DRG), emerging as a Los Angeles mainstay known for sophisticated interiors, impeccable hospitality, and elevated menus. The much-anticipated S Bar Las Vegas debuts its sultry lounge December 31 and will feature a DJ set by emerging Los Angeles native BYNX, who produces melodic House sounds combined with Indie Nu Disco.
To make S Bar Las Vegas reservations and for more information, visit https://www.sbe.com/nightlife/s-bar/las-vegas
Hours of Operation:
Sunday/Monday – Closed
Tuesday – Thursday 5pm – 12am
Friday – Saturday 5pm – 2am
The S Bar Story
Each S Bar reflects the character and edginess of each location and the creatives who inhabit them with sophisticated interiors, world-class cocktails, rare spirits, and deliciously elevated bar menu. A Hollywood classic originally conceived by Phillippe Starck, S Bar was imagined as an intimate neighborhood bar, striking the perfect balance between culture and sophistication and raw elegance, evoking the spirit of an artist’ gallery. S Bar embodies casual elegance, sensuality, and a sense of belonging.
To make reservations and for more information on all S Bar locations, visit https://www.sbe.com/nightlife/s-bar.
About Disruptive Restaurant Group
DRG, Disruptive Restaurant Group, incubates and operates globally renowned culinary brands including
critically-acclaimed restaurants, lounges and nightclubs. By partnering with an impressive roster of internationally renowned culinary talent, DRG concepts are committed to innovation and setting new industry standards. Restaurants within the portfolio include Katsuya by Chef Katsuya Uechi, Sa’Moto by Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Hyde Sunset Kitchen and Cocktails and the much anticipated opening this winter of Casa Dani by Michelin Chef Dani Garcia.
About Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino is set on 120 lush acres featuring Mandalay Bay Beach, a tropical pool paradise with real sand. The Michelob ULTRA Arena, award-winning restaurants, exhilarating entertainment, unique shopping, Shark Reef Aquarium and the 2-million-square-foot convention center combine to make Mandalay Bay a captivating Las Vegas resort destination. The resort offers three distinct hotel experiences: Mandalay Bay with 3,211 luxurious rooms and suites reflecting a modern tropical ambiance; Four Seasons Hotel, a AAA Five Diamond hotel offering 424 rooms and suites; and the luxury all-suite Delano Las Vegas. Mandalay Bay is operated by MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM). For more information and reservations, visit mandalaybay.com, call toll free at (877) 632-7800, or find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Seasonal Santa Barbara County-Inspired Cocktails are Created By The Lark,
Pearl Social, Loquita and La Paloma Café’s Talented Bar Team
Acme Hospitality’s bar team, led by Alberto Castillo (The Lark and Pearl Social), Michael Bowlds (Loquita) and Sam Hamlin (La Paloma Café), has designed a new menu of hand-crafted cocktails, reflecting the change of season in Santa Barbara County.
Nine fresh cocktails include Flora Rosa and Saguaro (The Lark); Accident in Paradise and Bird is the Word (Pearl Social); Del Maguey Mezcal Flight and Verde Eastside (La Paloma Café); and Las Fallas; Siderias and El Caqui de España (Loquita).
All fall drinks are priced from $12-14; $30 for the Mezcal Flight and are now available through December. High resolution photos available.
ACME HOSPITALITY’S SEASONAL COCKTAILS 2021 available now through fall and winter season
jalapeno-infused reposado tequila, guava, lime, ginger cordial, rosemary $14
flora rosa highlights the beautiful romance that tequila has with spice
the jalapeno infusion provides the right blend of spice and bite that is brought
together and brightened by notes of ginger…
tropical hints of guava as a finish gives this cocktail the perfect amount of complexity
vida mezcal, ancho reyes chile liqueur, lime, mint, basil, grapefruit peel $14
vegetal/herbaceous brightness and hints of spice complement the mezcal, blending fresh crisp flavors of cucumber mint and lime with the natural smokiness of the spirit and stimulate the palate before dinner
Accident in Paradise
tequila, pineapple, cilantro-mint-cucumber, lime, firewater $12
pineapple and cilantro go perfectly together;
blending with firewater brings out all the flavors in this most refreshing of cocktails
Bird is the Word
mezcal, pineapple, campari, lime, salt $13
perfect balance between smokiness, bitterness, and sweetness
a pinch of salt so when shaken perfectly complements the agave
Del Maguey Mezcal Flight
a rotating selection of single village© mezals $30
warm the palate with aromas, flavors and rich textures
each taste takes you on an adventure…remember… sip it, don’t shoot it
mezcal, cucumber, agave, lime $15
a take on the classic eastside with mezcal instead of gin and
cucumber puree replaces muddled cucumber
the smokiness of the mezcal pairs beautifully with the subtle sweetness of the cucumber; the puree adds brilliant color and texture
rye, rum, carpano, vermut $14
inspired by the popular festival holidays in valencia that occurs from september 1-5
it is marked by flower offerings, fireworks and substantial communal bonfires
Siderias (de Pasado Verano)
gin, lime, passionfruit, manzanilla sherry $14
in spain, parties and festivities that honor tradition are referred to as “siderias”
this drink highlights the first tasting of spanish ciders when they are ready
El Caqui de España
mezcal, lime, persimmon, sherry $14
caqui is spanish for persimmon, featured in this cocktail
spain is the largest producer in the world of this autumn fruit
All seasonal cocktails are priced from $12-$14; $30 for Mezcal Flight
131 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
131 Anacapa Street, Ste B, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
202 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
La Paloma Café
702 Anacapa St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
The mission of Acme Hospitality is to bring together the community to experience warm hospitality and the highest quality food, beverages and ambiance while venerating the diversity of Santa Barbara and the Central Coast.
ABOUT THE LARK:
The Lark’s menus are locally sourced and responsibly grown, using the highest quality seasonal ingredients based on the abundant bounty of the Central Coast. Drawing inspiration from the coastal regions of the Mediterranean Sea, The Lark’s food is beautifully plated, featuring bold flavors designed to delight the senses while staying rooted in the climate, geography and inspiration of Santa Barbara, the American Riviera.
ABOUT PEARL SOCIAL:
Pearl Social is a romantic, intimate cocktail bar, social destination and live music venue where people come to celebrate life while enjoying the music and ambiance of this dynamic new space. Pearl Social is the ideal place to grab a hand-crafted artisanal cocktail before or after dinner at one of the Funk Zone’s most popular restaurants – The Lark or Loquita. Pearl Social’s name gives a nod to the celebrated first lady of Santa Barbara, Pearl Chase, a local activist who worked tirelessly on the historic preservation and beautification of the popular coastal city. Pearl Chase was an intelligent and courageous woman who deeply loved her adopted hometown of Santa Barbara and spent her life committed to bettering it.
Loquita, an endearing Spanish colloquial term for a wild and fun-loving young girl, is a love letter to the Spanish origins and history of Santa Barbara. The menu presents a variety of authentic Spanish pintxos, tapas, paella, charcuterie and cheeses; seafood and meat dishes sourced from Santa Barbara’s ranchers, farmers, and fishers.
ABOUT LA PALOMA CAFÉ:
La Paloma is an approachable neighborhood restaurant, patio and watering hole, picking up just where it left off. La Paloma Cafe is a thoughtfully crafted California barbecue restaurant where flavors reflect the past and present of our local community. Paying tribute to the age of the vaquero, La Paloma uses indigenous ingredients prepared with Mexican and Spanish influences and cooked over California live oak.
For further information on Acme Hospitality, visit
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WALLA WALLA’S NEWEST BUSINESSES SPOTLIGHT THE VALLEY’S BOUNTY
(WALLA WALLA, Wash.) – Walla Walla is so nice, they named it twice. Honored for the second consecutive year as America’s Best Wine Region, and boasting a flourishing farm-to-table culinary scene, this rural-chic town in central Washington has earned a reputation for continually building upon its successes as opposed to resting on its laurels. With its sweeping landscape of wheat fields, vineyards, and farmland, not to mention its health and safety-minded Peace of Mind Pledge, Walla Walla continues to delight and entice visitors with no fewer than 11 new businesses opening their doors in recent months.
Among the most notable, a new luxury winery resort, three new restaurants, three new tasting rooms, and four other businesses, including a curated grocery store, an elevated general store, an artisan showroom, and an educational hops tour.
“It gives me great joy to see these new businesses opening their doors,” Says Robert Hansen, Executive Director of Visit Walla Walla and Walla Walla Valley Wine. “The common theme running through these new businesses is a unified connection to place and community supporting the local landscape, artisans, and history that makes Walla Walla so genuinely unique.”
Following is a list of some of the notable businesses that have opened their doors in Walla Walla in recent months:
DINING & RESTAURANTS
The Kitchen at Abeja: Those with a taste for wine country living have yet another reason to visit Abeja, a 38-acre historic Walla Walla farmstead and home to the acclaimed Abeja winery and bucolic Inn at Abeja. The Kitchen at Abeja, which opened July 13, offers a fine dining experience showcasing innovative wine country cuisine and celebrating the Pacific Northwest’s seasonal bounty. Dinner guests choose from a five or seven-course prix fixe menu, as well as an optional wine pairing menu. Executive Chef Elodie Li, who returns to her home state after two years of cooking in Michelin two-star restaurants in Provence, France, collaborates with Abeja winemakers Dan Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler on the menus, updated weekly. Surrounded by the winery’s vineyards and gardens, The Kitchen at Abeja is a rich, refined wine country experience.
The Kinglet at Whitehouse-Crawford (opening early 2022): Farther on the horizon is The Kinglet at Whitehouse-Crawford, a new bistro eatery in the historic Whitehouse-Crawford Planing Mill building, from acclaimed Seattle Chef Maximillian Petty. A multiple James Beard semifinalist, Petty’s menu will range from exuberantly curated items, which built his reputation at Eden Hill, to a bar and lounge area that will stay open later with a snack-heavy lineup, including a pizza oven and an extensive cocktail program.
Kinhaven Winery: This new family-owned small lot winery and vineyard is perched atop a picturesque knoll in the Southside winery district of Walla Walla. The property, with 8 acres of Merlot, Cabernet, Carmenere and Malbec, enjoys unobstructed views of the Blue Mountains and is the perfect setting for family and friends to connect while enjoying their thoughtfully crafted wines. Purchased in 2019 by Terry and Lisa Davenport, who also own the recently renovated Boyer House. From dining in the vines to weddings, the combination of Kinhaven Winery and Boyer House sets up for the perfect family and friend gathering.
5 Dollar Ranch Brewing: Self-proclaimed as “Walla Walla’s best new brewery in 2021,” this newcomer opened in June 2021. Located on the south side of town along the Oregon border on twelve acres of farm property, with sweeping views of the Blue Mountains. An evolving menu of hop offerings is fit to appease the novice to beer connoisseur. The location is both dog and kid-friendly. According to brewer and owner Josh Hulett, while he loves all of his beers, the Hazy’s are not to be missed.
Hoquetas Wine Company: Located at the Port of Walla Walla wine incubator facility in the Walla Walla Airport District, Hoquetas Wine Co. opened its doors in September of 2021. Started by musician turned winemaker Robert Gomez and his family, the winery focuses on producing wines that are both expressive and representative of the region’s terroir. Hoquetus, a musical method where vocal parts alternate to create a single melody, speaks to Gomez’s musical approach to winemaking, where the ingredients are carefully composed to create a melodious pour.
Runway Market: Located in the airport district of Walla Walla’s wine region, Runway Market is a sparkling wine bar serving up local bubbles. The Market serves an assortment of food options, including picnic boxes, paninis, flatbread pizza, and various other grab-and-go options. All tastings include complimentary gourmet popcorn. Cathy Bay and her husband opened Runway Market in 2021 with the hopes of being a stop for not only bubbles and food, but laughter and celebration.
SPECIALTY, ACTIVITIES & OTHER
Walla Walla General Store: A new home, kitchen & gift store founded by Jean Bender and Peggy Frasse. The store opened to locals & visitors alike on May 6, 2021. From small delights, such as penny cent candy to homewares from makers such as Simon Pierce, Walter G textiles, Riedel and Staub – there is something for everyone at the Walla Walla General Store. Much more than just a retail space, co-founders Jean & Peggy envision the store as a space for community. Following a successful summer Art Series, resident Allison Palmer will host a continuation of “Make for Joy” there this fall. Weekly Monday-Wednesday classes will begin in September, and continue through December.
Walla Walla Brews Cruise: Walla Walla is known for wine, but it’s also home to plentiful craft beer and cider. Alongside thousands of acres of vineyards are century-old wheat fields and orchards stretching across the valley. Generations of wheat farmers have made their home in Walla Walla and now support a growing community of brewers. Walla Walla Brews Cruise tours are knowledge-based tours where you will learn about the process of brewing beers and crafting cider, with a guided discussion of varying styles of alcohol.
Foodscape Walla Walla: Foodscape could technically be described as an online grocer, but it’s so much more. It’s a place to acquire food, talk about food, or gather meaning from food. It was started by Hannah MacDonald, a longtime chef, local, and significant influencer on the Walla Walla food scene over the past decade. Foodscape highlights the area’s bounty, from food to all the agriculture offerings: produce, meat, and seafood. They also directly import hundreds of spices from all over the world, as well as other specialty products like olive oil, seafood, and vinegar. Foodscapes give locals and visitors alike the tools that they need to cook any cuisine under the sun.
About Walla Walla:
Nashville, TN— Pennington Distilling Company earns 17 medals from the American Distilling Institute and the American Craft Spirits Association annual competitions.
Davidson Reserve® is a big winner at the coveted 2021 ADI Judging of Craft Spirits Award earning Best of Class, Best of Category, and Gold. The Davidson Reserve® Four Grain Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey, made with corn, wheat, barley and rye, topped the judging in the Distilled(1) & Certified Craft Distilled Spirits™ Whiskey division (specifically “grain to glass” distilleries).
Jeff and Jenny Pennington, co-founders of Pennington Distilling Company, state “We are very proud that our Davidson Reserve® Whiskies continue to showcase our passion to distill the best Tennessee Whiskey on our category. Our entire team works hard every day to make Davidson Reserve an award-winning whiskey.”
Pennington Distilling Company also earned a Silver medal for the Davidson Reserve® Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey, a Bronze for the Davidson Reserve® Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey and a Bronze for each vodka, Pickers Vodka® and Walton’s Finest Vodka®.
In addition to the ADI awards, Pennington Distilling Company had an impressive tally at the American Craft Spirits Association Awards with the Davidson Reserve® Single Barrel Straight Tennessee Whiskey winning a Gold medal and eight Silver medals for other Davidson Reserve® whiskies and Walton’s Finest Vodka®.
About Davison Reserve
Davidson Reserve is the truest expression of what originally inspired the Pennington’s to open a distillery in Nashville. It’s the first locally distilled six-year-old Tennessee Whiskey since Prohibition and is a reflection of Tennessee’s heritage and history that connects us to a long (and storied) history of distilling alcohol in our home state.
Davidson Reserve joins the very small club of Tennessee distilleries that perform every function of the production process on-site. At our facility in West Nashville, we do everything except grow the grain, which is sourced locally from Renfroe Farms just up the road in Huntington, Tennessee. Davidson Reserve is one of the first distilleries in Tennessee to receive the sought-after “bottled-in-bond” designation since the laws were changed in 2009.
About Pennington Distilling Company
Pennington Distilling Company was founded in 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee by husband-and-wife team, Jeff and Jenny Pennington. Located in the heart of their hometown, the Penningtons have personally crafted the finest in Tennessee Whiskey, vodka, and sipping cream.
From hand-selecting local farmers, gathering the best non-GMO grain, and remaining committed to “grain to glass“, to aging whiskey in oak barrels, combined with unique and flavorful spirit recipes, the Pennington Distilling Company brands are not only fan loved but also award-winning. The brands have garnered over 69 awards to date in competitions such as the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the International Wine and Spirits Competition, SIP Awards, Beverage Tasting Institute/Tastings.com Awards, and the American Distilling Institute Awards.
For almost ten years, Pennington Distilling Company has worked diligently to bring the finest alcoholic beverages to the ever-changing and highly competitive spirits industry. The Pennington Distilling Company family of brands includes three proprietary mash bills: Davidson Reserve Tennessee Straight Sour Mash Whiskey®, Davidson Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey®, and Davidson Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey®. Davidson Reserve Four Grain® and Davidson Reserve Genesis® are both Tennessee Straight Bourbon whiskeys created by blending small batches of these mash bills together.
Pennington Distilling Company also produces Pickers Original Vodka® with additional fruit-infused flavors including Blueberry, Blood Orange, and Pineapple; Pickers Unplugged Vodka Soda® in assorted low calorie, zero carbohydrate, and gluten-free flavors; Pickers Crafted Cocktails® in assorted flavors; Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream® (Cream Liqueur made with Tennessee Whiskey) available in Original®, Mocha, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice; and Walton’s Finest Vodka®, which is named after Jenny’s father and made with 100% Tennessee red winter wheat.
For more information about the company, please visit www.penningtondistillingco.com.
Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream, Pickers Vodka, Davidson Reserve Whiskey, and Walton’s Finest Vodka are registered trademarks. ©2020 Pennington Distilling Company. Pennington Distilling Co., Nashville, Tennessee. PenningtonDistillingCo.com. October 2020. Please Enjoy & Drink Responsibly * 21 + ONLY
Los Angeles, CA – Come celebrate and be part of the fifth annual Masters of Taste, as L.A.’s premier outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival returns and will be taking place on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the field of the Iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl with 100% of the proceeds going directly to benefit Union Station Homeless Services!
Masters of Taste is introducing Chef Vanda Asapahu as Host Chef of Masters of Taste 2022 which also happens to mark the 5th Anniversary of this celebrated event which had to be canceled in 2020 due to the Pandemic. Masters of Taste 2022 Culinary Master and Host Chef Vanda Asapahu is the chef and owner of Ayara Thai Cuisine and she has participated since its inception in April 2016. Asapahu went to college at UCLA and to graduate school at Yale, then she spent four years living, traveling, and working her way through Thailand before returning home to Los Angeles. During Asapahu’s stay in her native country, she took extensive notes, which included absorbing Bangkok’s street food scene and reviving old family recipes. After cooking with relatives and eating her way through the streets and countryside, Asapahu brought back these treasured old recipes and new flavors to share at Ayara Thai. While her mother Anna Asapahu still helms the family kitchen, Asapahu is the vanguard, taking up the torch of her family’s culinary tradition at Ayara Thai Cuisine, and in May of 2019 Ayara Thai Cuisine was named one of MICHELIN Guide California’s 2019 Bib Gourmands.
“I have had the pleasure of participating in Masters of Taste since its inaugural year,” states Asapahu. “As a proud UCLA alum (Go Bruins!), I’d give anything for the opportunity to cook, eat and dance on the field of the Rose Bowl. The most amazing thing about Masters of Taste is that 100% of the proceeds go directly to benefit Union Station Homeless Services and not many food festivals can say that. Union Station Homeless Services is committed to ending homelessness in Los Angeles.”
Masters of Taste 2019 was a sold-out event that attracted over 3,000 guests and garnered media attention all throughout Southern California and beyond. The fifth annual Masters of Taste 2022 is also expected to bring over 3,000 food and beverage enthusiasts together for one afternoon to celebrate this exhilarating festival, which will include the finest fare from over 100 Culinary Masters and restaurants, delectable sweets prepared by L.A.’s top Sweet Masters, top Beverage Masters who will be featuring signature handcrafted cocktail tastings from over 25 spirit brands and bars, a premier 50-Yard-Line Cocktail Bar featuring top Mixologists from four of L.A.’s most distinguished drinking destinations, select wineries, local craft breweries, cold-pressed juices, cold brew coffee, live entertainment and much, much more.
100% of the proceeds from Masters of Taste 2022 will directly benefit Union Station Homeless Services, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping men, women and children experiencing homelessness, rebuild their lives. Union Station is part of a premier group of human services agencies in L.A. County that are leading the way to end homelessness in our community. Union Station offers an array of services including street outreach, meals, shelter, housing, case management and career development. In the last four years Masters of Taste has raised over $2 Million in support of Union Station’s life-saving programs.
Mark your calendars and save-the-date for the return of the fifth annual Masters of Taste 2022!
Ticket Information: Masters of Taste 2022 will take place on Sunday, April 3rd, 2022, and this is a 21+ event. A VIP Power Hour will be held from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm and General Admission will be from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Tickets will go on sale Sunday, August 1st, 2021. For more information on Masters of Taste 2022, please visit www.MastersofTasteLA.com.
Masters of Taste
Pasadena Rose Bowl
1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103
VENICE, California – THE BRIG, the iconic Westside watering hole, reopened on Friday, May 28, 2021. Owned and operated since 2000 by the reputable Dave and Patti Reiss (Reiss Co – Nueva, The Alibi Room & Vito’s Pizza), are newly joined by notable Los Angeles restaurateur Jared Meisler (Nueva, Roger Room, The Friend & The Little Friend). Fresh off their recent successful launch of Nueva, the trio has teamed their talents in reintroducing their fans to THE BRIG 3.0. Taking guests back in time to experience what was Babe Brandelli’s original Brig, featuring a late sixties mid-century esthetic of terrazzo floors, wood paneling, light earth-toned walls, smooth sounds of vintage Soul, Rock & Roll, and of course, Babe’s raison d’être – boxing.
THE BRIG, located at 1515 Abbot Kinney Boulevard (where it meets Palms Blvd.), with its bohemian charm and charisma reflecting the neighborhood’s diverse spirit, has always been the gateway to Los Angeles’ premier dining and shopping mecca in Venice, California. When travelers first glimpse THE BRIG’s iconic sign above the illustration of renowned Golden Globes boxer and former owner, “Babe” Brandelli, they know they have arrived in the heart of the Abbot Kinney district.
The Babe’s other passion, THE BRIG’s drink menu, has been re-mastered by Meisler and the reputable Raul Yrastorza, who crafted the tequila and Mezcal collections at Nueva, El Carmen and Las Perlas. The bountiful options include playful takes on boxing-centric craft cocktails, a who’s who of local brewers, California winemakers, kombucha and sparkling cider craftsmen, as well as a fresh take on the obligatory spirits menu. And to make a good situation even better, Meisler and the Reiss’s have invited sought-after sandwich aficionado UNCLE PAULIE’S to join the party, setting up shop at the far end of the bar, offering their classic Italian-American sandwiches in-house to match the playful beverage program.
THE BRIG’s storied marquee guides visitors to its entrance. Once through the weathered door, guests are greeted by a newly refreshed mid-century interior, influenced by the popular modern stylings during the early years of “Babe” Brandelli’s Brig. On the left lies a long Brazilian mahogany bar handsomely fitted with nougat leather barstools accentuated by brass fixtures. Behind the bar, patrons can ogle THE BRIG’s broad collection of distinctive spirits showcased below three large rectangular wood-framed mirrors that allow guests to observe the comings and goings around the room. There are three large flat-screen televisions perfect for upcoming spectating events. Complementing the bar are intimate mahogany banquettes covered in camel ultra-suede. Venturing deeper into the hull of THE BRIG, find subtle rise leading to an elevated play area where L-shaped, camel-colored bench seating frames the vintage maroon Valley-Dynamo billiard table. Large globes hang from the ceiling, effusing soft light reflecting off back-painted mirrors, flowing with varying shades of colored glass. The walls are adorned with Ellsworth Kelley-inspired mid-century geometric works of art.
At the rear of the bar is the entrance to the newly added expansive patio, flanked by the famed Art Mortimer mural-with-in-a mural. Guests can lose themselves in this spacious outdoor seating area as they wind through a mix of Ficus trees and colorful picnic-style tables and benches reminiscent of the mysterious corners and out-of-the-way spots found in yesterday’s fern bars. The setting exudes the relaxed southern California style and vibe for which Venice is known. Whether it is a warm summer evening or First Friday, it will be the place to see and be seen.rum
THE BRIG continues with its popular MOJITOS menu, including SPICY with Havana Club Rum, Mint, Lime & Thai Bird Chili; MEZCAL with Mal Bien Mezcal, Mint & Lime; ABSINTHE with Pernod Absinthe, Mint & Lime. HOUSE COCKTAILS include BANTAMWEIGHT with Passion Fruit, Aperol & Prosecco; KNOCK OUT with Vodka, Cucumber, Mint, Ginger & Crushed Ice; D0WN BY LAW with Rye Whisky, Fernet Branca & Angostura Bitters, Stirred and Served Up; SOUTHPAW with Reposado Tequila, Hibiscus, Mandarin, Averna, Served Tall & Over Ice; MAIN EVENT with Blanco Tequila, Ancho Chili, Pineapple, Lime, Served Tall & Over Ice; and SLUGGER with Bourbon, Baronjager Honey Liqueur, Lemon, Habanero Bitters, Stirred & Served on the Rocks. Meisler also adds a SHOT & BEER menu including “BABE” BRANDELLI with Bourbon + Rolling Rock Bottle; JULIO “EL CESAR” CHAVEZ with Tequila + Carta Blanca Bottle; RAY “BOOM BOOM” MANCINI with Ferrari (Half Fernet/Half Campari) + Peroni Bottle; JAMES “LIGHTS OUT” TOMEY with Elijah Craig + IPA Can; and “MARVELOUS” MARVIN HAGLER with Mezcal + Grapefruit Radler Can. (For a complete list, please visit THE BRIG’s online drink and spirits menu)
THE BRIG is open for service Monday – Friday from 4:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m., and Saturday & Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. For those seeking a refined private experience, THE BRIG offers customized Private Events by appointment.
Beverages will be available for takeout.
ABOUT JARED MEISLER:
Jared Meisler, raised in Los Angeles, discovered his passion for nightlife and bringing people together while playing music in clubs on the Sunset Strip. Meisler began his career promoting shows and parties and booking fellow musicians and DJs in old mansions and warehouses throughout Los Angeles. In 2006, Meisler partnered with restaurateur and hotelier Sean MacPherson. Together they opened Bar Lubitsch, an art deco-styled Vodka bar in West Hollywood, then the instant classic – The Roger Room, followed by The Pikey, a high-end pub on the Sunset Strip. Desiring to expand his network, Meisler partnered with Artist Andre Saraiva to open The Friend, in Silverlake which instantly became a hub for artists, musicians and all creative types. The Friend, known as one of the coolest bars in town, expanded to Venice with The Little Friend. The Little Friend is located just behind the former Sunny Spot in Venice and led to the successful collaboration with Dave & Patti Reiss (Reiss Co) and the transformation of Sunny Spot into Nueva in 2020.
ABOUT DAVID & PATTI REISS (REISS CO):
Dave Reiss is an icon of the L.A. scene, responsible for opening Swingers on Beverly, Red, Sugar, The Brig, and half a dozen other properties. Patti met Dave while working in marketing at New Line Cinema, having spanned an extensive career in the entertainment industry from Warner Music Group to BMG. Patti is no stranger to the food world, having founded a family baking company patronized by hotels and gourmet food shops in the Twin Cities. After The Brig, Patti and her husband Dave opened a series of properties under the Reiss Co umbrella, beginning with Beechwood in 2004. Together, the two share an entrepreneurial spirit that has grown over the years into the vibrant Reiss Co portfolio of restaurant and bar concepts providing outstanding food, wine, cocktail, and service in exceptional spaces throughout their Los Angeles community.
1515 Abbott Kinney Boulevard, Venice, CA 90291
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NEW YORK (PRWEB) – The Busker, a “new-to-world” Irish Whiskey, is proud to announce that it was named the top Irish Whiskey Blend in a blind, independent tasting of industry experts. The Busker “Triple Cask Triple Smooth” was blind-tasted against four leading Irish whiskeys in similar price points, including Proper Twelve, Jameson, Bushmills and Tullamore D.E.W. The panel consisted of five renowned industry experts, including Andy Seymour, Julie Reiner, Anu Apte, Sean Kenyon and Jackie Summers. The panel judged each spirit on appearance, nose, aroma and finish. Awarded the highest aggregate score, The Busker “Triple Cask Triple Smooth” was recognized as a standout among the judges for its distinctive taste in a world of similar-tasting Irish whiskeys.
“The Busker is unique, unlike any other of the whiskies we tasted,” said Andy Seymour, owner of Liquid Productions and partner in BAR. “All the others were going in the same direction, and this stood out right away. The Busker has a bolder and richer taste that we all immediately picked up on.”
“The Busker is an apple among oranges,” said New York-based Julie Reiner, known for her award-winning beverage programs at Clover Club and Leyenda. “This is a whiskey that bartenders will embrace because it will perform excellently in craft cocktails.” The panel noted that the bold flavors of The Busker make it suitable for sipping as well as for cocktails that might overwhelm less distinctive Irish whiskeys.
The Busker “Triple Cask Triple Smooth” combines the Busker Single Grain with a high percentage of The Busker’s Single Malt and Single Pot whiskeys. Matured and finished in three different casks (Bourbon, Sherry, Marsala), this whiskey brings a new definition of richness and smoothness to the Irish whiskey landscape. The flavor profile of The Busker “Triple Cask Triple Smooth” blend is ideal for multiple consumption occasions, from sipping neat or on the rocks to classic cocktails that don’t typically use Irish whiskey, like Manhattans, Sours, tiki drinks, Old-Fashioneds or even the Vieux-Carre. These are cocktails that craft bartenders embrace and cocktails that are trending at-home with consumers.
“Our team at The Royal Oak Distillery set out to make an Irish whiskey that would appeal not only to Irish whiskey drinkers, but also to bourbon lovers,” said Ignacio Llaneza, Vice President of Brand & Trade Marketing for Disaronno International in the U.S. “We’re able to achieve a fuller, rounder whiskey with a higher malt content in the recipe, and triple cask finishing in Bourbon, Sherry and Marsala casks. Ultimately, we want to provide a journey into Irish whiskey at an affordable price point. Based on the tremendous feedback from our esteemed judging panel, quite frankly we believe The Busker has the potential to become the preferred Irish whiskey in the United States.”
Jackie Summers, creator of Sorel Liqueur and named Drinks International’s “100 Most Influential Bar Industry Figures” (2020) and Imbibe 75 (2021), noted that “The Busker was the outlier, and the only bottle I would drink and buy again.” Denver-based Sean Kenyon, the person behind award-winning bars Williams & Graham, Occidental and American Bonded and recognized as Tales of the Cocktail’s American Bartender of the Year (2014), agreed, calling The Busker blend “a real stand out, something interesting in the Irish whiskey world where the others go in the same direction.” Anu Apte, behind a number of award-winning Seattle bars including Rob Roy, No Anchor, Navy Strength, Vinnie’s Wine Shop and The Bar Bazaar enjoyed The Busker’s round, soft and integrated notes. “The Busker brings an exciting and very different new distillate to market,” she said.
The blind tasting recognition follows The Busker “Triple Cask Triple Smooth” receiving a “Best Buy” rating and 94 points in the April 2021 issue of Wine Enthusiast. This impressive ranking outclassed the other major whiskey brands, and was the highest-rated Irish whiskey when measured against similar priced competitors.
About The Busker
The Busker is a “new to world” Irish Whiskey that is born out of a modern Ireland, where the contemporary and bold meet at the crossroads of tradition. The Busker is produced at the Royal Oak Distillery, in County Carlow, Ireland, located on an 18th century estate in Ireland’s Ancient East region. It is the only distillery in Ireland which offers all three classic Irish styles of whiskey – Single Grain, Single Malt, & Single Pot Still, which make The Busker Single Collection. The Busker portfolio also includes The Busker Blend which is a beautiful blend of The Single Collection. The Busker uses different casks during the maturation process of their whiskeys including Bourbon casks, Sherry casks and Marsala casks. Most recently, The Busker took home multiple top accolades at the 2020 LA Spirits Awards: The Busker Single Malt was awarded the 2020 Platinum Medal and Best Irish Whiskey, while the Single Pot Still and Blend were awarded the Gold Medal.
For more information, visit http://www.thebusker.com and join the conversation at @thebusker_official