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Coffee cigarettes and doughnuts! Dessert at Thermador in San Francisco. Though i am against smoking ,the tobacco scented cream -filled white chocolate cig was tasty!

It's a lot more gourmet than you'd expect, but "Grub" does live up to it's name. You'll find homey specialties, like thick juicy burgers topped with cheese and chili or crispy fried chicken. All of it served up in a little cozy spot where you can roll up your sleeves and dig in. For me, the bacon quesadilla and drunken steak, a perfectly cooked filet mignon marinated in beer, were the highlights. The seven layer dip with a surprise kick makes you realize why something old can and should be new again!

The beautiful Greystone Mansion and gardens were the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of wining and dining for a good cause.

Hors d’oeuvres from some of LA’s top spots were paired with many of California’s premium wineries.

STK’s steak tartare cones drizzled with truffle oil and Michael’s white asparagus with morel mushrooms were the stand-outs.

Of course, there were plenty of wines to choose from but Realm’s Cabernet is one of my new favorites.

Jennifer Lavin, E! News Supervising Producer (Left) and Lisa Summers Haas, VP Communications for ET/The Insider (Right)

Dinner at Bottega in Napa Valley was delicious! It was Fabio's brilliant idea to stop in, but thank you Michael for cooking!

It's always fun to be stuck in the middle of Sophie and Alain Gayot!

4 baked apples (cut into 8ths and bake with butter, cinnamon, and sugar on 320 deg. for 25 min)

muddle with 3/4 oz apple cider

1 oz Licor 43

2 oz Elijah Craig 12yr Bourbon

Add ice, shake long and hard

Strain into prepped cocktail glass

Garnish with fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg on top

Rim:

Dip rim of glass in caramel then coat with

a mixture of graham cracker crumbs and sugar

place in refrigerator to chill

“Raising the Bar”

It was a tough and tasty competition! Three talented bartenders belly-up to the bar for the second round in LA’s cocktail competition “Raising the Bar” at David Myers’ Comme Ca. We started with one of my favorites, the classic “Sidecar”… and after 3 rounds of stiff drinks, we happily ended with a tie breaker featuring Gin. Bartender Hector Bury of Joe’s in Venice took on Comme Ca’s Tim Loden who snapped up this month’s trophy with a Gordon’s Cup. Also, I can’t help but dream about last month’s Church and State cocktail queen Shana Street’s liquid dessert, called “Not Your Grandma’s Apple Pie”! My mouth is already watering over next month’s competition at Boa on Sunset.  Cheers!

…THE POLO LOUNGE & RESTAURANT…

In the romantic indoor/outdoor setting, dimly lit by candles and white lights dazzling among the trees, it is very likely that you might spot a Hollywood celeb or two sinking into one of the massive leather booths that surround the dining room. But company aside, the big star here is the food! We happily made our way through a five course meal and wine pairing. The Wagyu beef sliders were divine…So good, we asked for seconds. The classic preparation of a seared foie gras on top brioche french toast was just the way I like it. Both dishes literally melted in your mouth. And to top off the perfect dinner, we had to ask for dessert… a rich, light and airy chocolate soufflé. I was star struck!

 sophie gayot and victoria recano

For more information check out the review on Gayot.com: http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/polo-lounge-beverly-hills-ca-90210_2la00200-02.html

We were guests of Charlie’s in Malibu for my birthday dinner.  From the mouthwatering margarita to the fun fare, it was a comfortably chic spot to celebrate.  I especially loved the appetizers; tender and juicy ostrich, thick crispy crab cakes, and coconut shrimp with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce. Their selection of wines by the glass offered a variety of options for each varietal and for every budget.

Get to know ‘Charlie’ even better by visiting: http://www.gayot.com/blog/charlies-restaurant-malibu-happy-hour/ as well as http://www.charliesmalibu.com/Charlies