Category: Food & Drink

Dining for a Cause

Hotel Casa del Mar donating portion of proceeds from special dish to The Bay Foundation By Kamala Kirk From now until Feb. 14, guests dining at Hotel Casa del Mar’s Catch restaurant will have the opportunity to enjoy a limited-time dish that will also benefit a good cause. The restaurant is serving dry aged Japanese snapper with Santa Barbara Uni and preserved vegetables, and will donate 20% of the proceeds from the dish to The Bay Foundation. Hotel Casa del Mar previously donated to The Bay Foundation over the holidays, and later the chefs and corporate food and beverage director were inspired to raise awareness for their meaningful work as well, creating a special dish to help the cause. “Our team learned about the wonderful work that the Santa Monica Bay Foundation is doing when we profiled them for our vlog and in-room magazine, Waves,” said Charlie Lopez-Quintana, VP and managing director at ETC Hotels. “We’ve donated to the foundation before, but we were so inspired by their work that our culinary team set out to create a dish that would help give back in a bigger way. We hope that those dining at Catch will enjoy the new Uni dish and, beyond that, we hope they are inspired to look into the meaningful ways that the foundation is making a huge difference here in our backyard.” Catch at...

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A New Kind of Note

Santa Monica’s Buena Vida Tea Bar & Garden celebrates the good life By Kamala Kirk After a long and successful career in the Latin music industry, Mayra Vazquez decided to switch gears and pursue her passion for tea. Just last week, she and her fiancé, Marcelino Miyares Jr., opened Buena Vida Tea Bar & Garden in Santa Monica. “I’m a foodie and before I fell in love with tea, I was studying wine and took courses,” Vazquez said. “Then tea found me. Wine and tea have share a lot of similarities in terms of the different notes, characteristics and growing regions. During the pandemic, I used my free time to educate myself all about tea. Once you start studying its origins and history, it’s hard not to fall in love. I had always dreamed of owning a little café in the community where everyone knows your name. It’s been an incredible tea journey.” Buena Vida is Spanish for “good life,” and the tea shop reflects Vazquez’s love for entertaining friends and family. “I’ve always loved having people over and this is like an extension of having friends come hang out in your backyard,” Vazquez said. A Santa Monica resident since the 1980s, Vazquez walked by the cozy space on Montana Avenue when it was a flower shop. “I was in love with the space, it was so cozy,” Vazquez...

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Year of the Tiger

Sugarfina debuts Lunar New Year Collection for good fortune, health and prosperity By Kamala Kirk Chinese New Year falls on February 1 and 2022 marks the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese calendar. To make festivities sweeter and richer, luxury candy retailer Sugarfina has released a Lunar New Year Collection to honor the abundance of celebrations. The exclusive release commemorates both sunrise and new moon festivities with a new innovative shadow box packaging seen in the matching day and night Bento Boxes. The collection includes a 2-piece Candy Bento Box ($23) filled with Peach Tea Bears and limited-edition lychee-flavored Lotus Flowers; an 8-piece Candy Bento Box ($80) with additional sweet treats including Peach Blossoms and Tangerine Bears; and a red and gold 9-piece Mini Trunk ($120) featuring an abundance of seasonal favorites and classic best-sellers. The collection also features lucky red envelopes to give the gift of good fortune and welcome sweet prosperity all year long. “We continuously analyze consumer insights through Sugarfina’s loyalty program to clearly understand our evolving customer base,” said Scott LaPorta, CEO and co-investor of Sugarfina. “Through this, we identified that a significant number of our audience celebrate Lunar New Year. For the fifth year in a row, we are thrilled to offer customers a luxurious, new Lunar New Year collection featuring innovative packaging to make this holiday feel extra special.” Sugarfina has stores...

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Special Spirit

Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.’s Jetway wine seltzer lands in LA By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. was at a bar in Italy when he discovered an amaretto spritz. He was so taken by the spirit that he subsequently founded Jetway, an ultra-premium wine seltzer. “I like this so much that I want it to be successful so I can keep buying this,” Hammond Jr. said with a laugh. “I have a friend in Italy in Milan and we had a gathering of his friends at this local bar. I had an amaretto spritz and I loved the ability to have many of something to consume while interacting. We were buzzed, but everyone was chatting. I love the idea of that pairing. I wanted to make a version of that, but I wanted to take the stuff I didn’t like from it and make it uniquely my own.” Unlike hard seltzers, Jetway does not contain cane sugar or artificial flavors. The first offerings — a sauvignon blanc and a rosé of syrah and cabernet sauvignon — are sourced from the McNary Vineyard, which overlooks the Columbia River in Washington state. Both are blended with distinct and rare ingredients that enhance well-being — including elderflower, yerba mate, Fijian ginger and yuzu — all of which were handpicked by Hammond Jr. as they are inspired from his travels...

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A New Twist on Sandwiches

Café Lovi brings challah to Santa Monica By Michele Robinson The recently opened Café Lovi in Santa Monica puts a twist on challah to create a new type of sandwich. Owner Benedetta Jasmine Guetta is using her Italian-Jewish heritage to make these sandwiches featuring the traditional braided Jewish bread. For those who aren’t familiar with challah, the semi-sweet, fluffy bread is usually eaten during major Jewish holidays like Shabbat, and its origins date back to Biblical times. “Challah is our special thing,” Guetta said. “It’s my favorite food to eat at any given time of the day, and it makes the best sandwiches. Everyone who tries it loves it.” Guetta opened Café Lovi on October 11, just 10 days after purchasing the space from her previous employers at Priscio. Prior to opening her café, Guetta waitressed at that Italian café. Hit hard by the pandemic, the previous owners sold the business to pursue a different career. Luckily, Guetta was in a position to purchase the place and revamp it. “It took two days to clean the kitchen, redesign the space and paint it white,” Guetta said. “I was on a tight budget so the interior is minimalistic, yet I wanted the place to feel new, bright and clean.” To make the café more sanitary, Guetta used disposable and compostable cups, cutlery and plates. She wanted everything to be single-use...

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