FOH – “FRONT OF THE HOUSE” A FEAST FOR THE SENSES...

              I was invited to try a new menu at a super-cool restaurant in Downtown LA. I hesitated at first, knowing that it was going to be a long journey from Santa Monica to Flower Street. But I braved the traffic anyway, always game for a new menu tasting. The restaurant was FOH, which means “front of the house.” Cute name. We walked in. Cute waiters. Cute place. My husband and I were shown to a comfortable booth. Guess where? At the front of the house! We settled in, ready for a good time. What we didn’t know was how large the “tastes” were going to be! Yowza. We ordered our drinks first. FOH has an eclectic wine list, with a decent price range. Scanning the list, my eyes traveled to Italy, France, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Australia, even Serbia before heading back to California. I chose a Cuvaison Chardonnay from the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. It’s $15.00 a glass, or $58.00 a bottle. While sipping my wine, I begin to survey the cocktail list. Whoever designed the menu was a computer programmer prior to becoming a mixologist. The drink menu was designed like a navigation page. “In the Sticks” was one area, “Nice and Refreshing” in another area, as well as “Good and Strong” (how I like my drinks and my men) and Well Worn Path (the way I felt after the drive from Santa Monica). For example, a drink listed in the “In the Sticks” section included the “Tourist Trap,” made from FOH Rum blend, lime, Orgeat, Tiki mix and bitters. The limit on ordering this was only two. A good first date drink. Another example was the “Nooner,” located in the “Nice and Refreshing”...

Burning the Candle At Both Ends!...

I woke up with a bad cold today. Maybe it was because in the last two weeks, I got an average of 6 hours of sleep a night, partied every night the first week with friends in Chicago, and when I got back, worked an average of 15 hours a day to catch up, ate like crap, and to top it off,  managed a grand opening event for a client in their emergency room – disease central! Time to get my shit together. I’m not in my 30s anymore. I used to be able to do that and more, but lately, my energy is running noticeably lower, now that I’ve surpassed the big 5-0. But, I am convinced it doesn’t have to be that way.  I took some time to inquire about what are the top things I should do to maintain the highest level of energy. Here are a few tips, especially for women, I found from visiting Web MD and a variety of other sites: Don’t Skip Breakfast — or Any Other Meal Web MD reports that studies show folks who eat breakfast report being in a better mood, and have more energy throughout the day. Also, I came across studies published in the journal of Nutritional Health that found that missing any meal during the day led to an overall greater feeling of fatigue by day’s end. Ok, so my diet sucks. I will be better about this. It’s now 12:18, and I haven’t had breakfast yet. Increase Your Magnesium Intake Eating a balanced diet can help ensure your vitamin and mineral needs are met. But, according to Web MD,  if you still find yourself pooped, you could have a slight magnesium deficiency. (I am quite sure they don’t mean a...

The Power of the Blow Job!...

Check out The Power of the Blow Job on Leno!! https://cision1.box.com/s/2dpibrxu494pke2vqvgk Ok, ladies and gentlemen, it’s not what you think! This is a story on Dry Bars, a hair salon where all they offer is professional shampoos and blow jobs — as in blow dry! It’s kind of like your mom or grandma used to do, once a week, and never touched it until the next week she went to the beauty parlor. This is a hip, new updated version of the concept, and the perfect pick-me-up for your hair. It’s only $35.00, less than a mani-pedi, and you come out looking much better than you did walking in. And one opened in Santa Monica. I took a friend there recently, who is always looking for the perfect relaxed curl for her long, very curly hair. We walked into the sunny place, with yellow as the anchor color of the interior and accessories, and cool dance music flooded the airwaves. We were led to the dry bar and asked to take a seat. By the way, it wasn’t quite a dry bar — we were offered mimosas the minute we sat down, which we gladly accepted. The next step of the process was choosing a specific blow-out. The owners are super-creative with their branding — descriptions of everything mimic a bar menu. There were five styles to choose from. We were asked to” Pick Our Poison.” “Straight Up” was simple and straight; “Manhattan” was sleek and smooth, “Southern Comfort” was big hair with lots of volume; the “Cosmopolitan” was lots of loose curls and the “Mai Tai” was messy and beach-y. My friend chose the “Cosmopolitan,” aka “lots of loose curls.” The first step in the process was to shampoo her hair, using Happy...

The Fountain of Youth Has Gone to the Dogs!...

I love animals. I mean love, love, love animals. Sometimes more than most people. I have decided to get a dog. I told my resistant husband that getting a dog it a great way to  improve the quality your of life, feel better, and look younger. (He went for it!) And it’s true. Want to lose weight, eat better, improve health certain health conditions?  Get a dog. Here’s how: You can’t let a pet go without food, so you’ll have to go to the grocery store on a regular basis. Start them out on a good brand of food found at Whole Foods or a similar venue. Then you can shop for yourself and your dog at the same store. Some of the dog food they carry at Whole Foods looks better than some of the steaks I’ve seen at those “other” grocery stores! You can’t keep a dog inside your house all the time, (especially if they poop, and they all do) so you’ll be “forced” to take a daily walk, keeping you and the dog in great shape. My trainer, Fabian, says all you need is to walk two miles a day, every day, to begin to see a difference. My new dog will made sure of it. And,  If you take your dog to your local dog park, you’ll be able to meet other dog enthusiasts, or maybe find a new love (for those who are single.)  I am certain that dog parks have a “pick up” rate higher rate than any tragically hip nightclub or bar. Certain health ailments and conditions have been shown to be improved by having a pet. Sitting and stroking a cat lowers blood pressure – yours and the cat’s. I’ve read that even people with...

Healing With a Prayer, a Master and a Chair!...

My beloved kitty, Humphrey, died a couple of weeks ago. I cried all night long and all day long. My eyes were puffy and red and I was exhausted. I worked that whole day. Most sane people would have gone right to bed after work, but my friends talked me into going to a 3-hour  yoga class. It will make you feel better, they said. Besides, they said, it’s a new kind yoga, called Shakti Naam, and it was beingtaught by the founder himself, Dr. Michael Joseph Levry. I acquiesced, thinking to myself that I would just cry if I went home. Maybe I would feel better. Mind you, I have not done yoga in a very long time. I was NOT in the mood to be twisted into a pretzel or stand on my head. I started with an hour-long introductory class, teaching the basics, how to stand (hips tucked under, all five toes gripping the floor, neck tall, head square.)  Ok, I can handle that. Then came a series of simple, but effective poses and several  healing chants. I was beginning to relax into it. And I did begin to feel better. The hour flew by. I was ready for the master, Dr. Michael Joseph Levry. My friends situated themselves around me, giving me moral support. But, they also put a chair right behind me, in case I had to rest or sit down. Really?  No frickin’ way. I may be a tad over 50, but I am in decent enough shape to get through this. At 7:30 p.m., Dr. Levry  stepped on to the platform. He held command of the group in a strong, yet loving way. He started a welcome prayer. As I listened, I realized that it was for...

Saving Thousands with Home Beauty Remedies!...

So, I am tired of spending THOUSANDS of dollars a year looking “younger than 50.” Over the past year, I purchased 4 different eye creams (one was $400) and they all have worked really well, or at least I thought so. Over the past year, I acquired several different facial moisturizers – one for day, one for night, one for summer, one for winter, one when my face is drier than usual, one when my face is more oily.  Damn that Barney’s cosmetics counter!    They sure know how to sell their product. Then there’s the deep hair conditioners, the foot cream, the hand cream, the body cream, the body scrubs, facial masks, astringents, pore minimizers, facial brighteners, vitamin C cream, and teeth whiteners.  Shit, I have spent so much on stuff. And  I’ve only used half of it. Used the vitamin C cream once, facial brightener a few times. Oy vey!  Stop the madness!  My neighbor is the president of a private label cosmetics company and said that many products we use in the kitchen can double as beauty aids. Love that!  As a person who does many things at the same time, I love that I can look younger, eat and save a lot of money as I catch the latest “The Voice” on TV. Through several hours of talking with my neighbor and others in the beauty business, here’s my short list for home remedy beauty aids. Can’t wait to try them! Facial Scrub 3 medium size strawberries, 1 tablespoon of honey. Mash strawberries and fold in honey. Using small circles, massage the mixture into your face for 3 minutes; then rinse with warm water. The natural fruit enzyme in strawberries sloughs off the dull top layer of the skin. The honey...

Who Wants to Look 7 Years Younger Without Cosmetic Surgery?...

Who doesn’t want to look 7 years younger with or without surgery?  I am not against a little nip and tuck here and there, but the majority of face lifts in Los Angeles scare the crap out of me. I don’t want my eyes to look stretched, or my hairline to be moved, or my jaw line to have that tell-tale “pulled back behind my ears” (that have also been moved) look either. Now, before I start getting letters from all the plastic surgeons who live here, and I know a quite a few of you, I do know that there are some that do amazing work, with none of the tell-tale signs. And, looking younger in the face is a small part of looking younger. I consulted my Go-To-Gay Stylist to the Stars for the top things you can do to achieve an overall younger look without turning to surgery. He recommends the following: 1. Hydration, hydration, hydration. Drink lots of water. Our bodies are made up of mostly water. Not only does drinking it keep you full, it hydrates the skin, and gives you energy. He also recommends replacing your soft drinks with water – NOW!  Ok, ok – I am going! 2. Institute a regular skin care regime. Aim for flawless skin. Get facials once a month. Stay out of the sun and use a good sunscreen. Wash your face at least two times a day, once in the morning, and once at night. Never sleep with your make-up on. Use a high-quality, hydrating eye cream and moisturizer. I have this one covered. There’s nothing more “older looking” than a woman with deep wrinkles and skin beyond her years from being out in the sun too much, drinking too much, not...

Subscribe to Good Taste LA!...

PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO GOOD TASTE LA! Hi — I missed you!  I am back and ready to continue my Good Taste LA Blog.  I write about everything that is in good taste, or tastes good.  I also house my Hot Flash Universe blog on this site. I’ve been having so much fun in the last two years! I got a new dog, Zoey, I got a short haircut, have lots of new PR business and  I still find time to have my Grey Goose Citron Martini, and discover new places that have good taste or taste good.  And I’ve taken up nature photography! Stay tuned for more stories! Love, Barbi          ...

Male Manopause!

In the last few months, my husband has been unbearably irritable. Surely the reasons can’t be because  I sometimes don’t change the empty roll of toilet paper, or turn the lights off when I leave the room, or forget to load the dishwasher, or don’t have time to put the wet laundry in the dryer. And it is absolutely not parking too close to his car, or taking up the whole bed, leaving him with a tiny corner of the King, or leave the water running full speed when I brush my teeth. And I am positive that it’s not that sometimes I leave the top off the toothpaste,  take long shower leaving him with no hot water, or talk incessantly to my friends and relatives on the phone when he’s watching sports. He’s been dealing with all my obnoxious habits for more than 20 years. That, along with my great sense of humor,  generosity,  intelligence, great cooking skills and general cuteness. No, it could not be me. No, it’s gotta be something else. I did some research on the internet, and aha! Maybe he’s going through manopause!  I learned that male menopause involves  hormonal, physiological and chemical changes that occur in ALL men between the ages of 40-55, though it can occur as early as 35 or as late as 65. In his book, Male Menopause, author Jed Diamond lists the top warning signs of male menopause. My husband has a several of them: Taking longer to recover from injuries. (Or talking longer about injuries) Decreased memory (How about selective memory loss?) Feeling fat. (He rides his bicycle 100 miles a week and thinks he’s fat – nice!) Sleep disturbances. (from my occasional snoring?) Irritability. (Bingo!) So what’s a man going through Manopause to do?...

Healing the Body and Soul To Slow the Aging Process...

A moving bus is not a sound that heals. A horn blowing from a car is not a sound that heals.  A jackhammer in the middle of the afternoon when you’re trying to write a story for the Santa Monica Mirror is most definitely NOT a sound that heals. But certain sounds do heal, as I found out a few weeks ago. I recently visited Naam Yoga, an international yoga, healing and wellness center – located on 4th between Wilshire and Arizona in Santa Monica. I had heard about a powerful treatment called Harmonyum, a transformational healing modality that in part, uses sound for lasting change. Naam Yoga LA’s Executive Director Jane Mirshak explained that Harmonyum directly sends healing energy to the source of the nervous system, brain and heart. I learned that it is excellent for pain, insomnia, hormone imbalance, stress and anxiety, learning disorders, fertility, heart disease and immune system challenges. It also strengthens and balances the autonomous nervous system by promoting the body’s capacity to heal itself and slow the aging process. Slow the aging process?  Now you’re talkin’!  When can I start? I made an appointment for the following week. The day of the appointment, I toured the facility. It looks a lot smaller from the outside; once you’re inside, it’s another story. First, there’s a large reception area, with a communal table for people to wait for classes or just relax. Then, I followed Jane down a long, narrow industrial-looking hallway, lined with beautiful large pictures depicting peaceful spiritual places around the world. This hallway ran alongside their 3,000 square-foot, sky-lit studio which holds over 300 people. A variety of yoga classes are taught there, as well as those fun Zumba classes. Just at the end of the hallway, there was another peaceful area with several tables and chairs for relaxation and socializing. After taking my shoes off and heading up the stairs, there...

Eating Raw, Live and Organic to Look Younger – But Does It Taste Good?...

A few weeks ago, I met with an interesting potential client, Adam –  a chiropractor, healer and book author. He also did not eat meat, and ate only raw and/or organic food. I told him I would give him some free  PR counsel if he would give me a lesson in getting to know and understand the benefits of his meatless diet. He told me not only would I lose weight, he said that I would be more clear in my thinking, feel better and look younger!  Awesome. But does it taste good? We walked (yes walked, how healthy already) to a place called Real Food Daily (RTD). It’s quite the institution for organic, meatless and raw foodies. I learned RFD’s food is balanced according to Eastern health philosophies and heart-healthy Western nutrition recommendations,  and is made from fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, plant proteins and high quality natural condiments. Interesting. But does it taste good? Real Food Daily serves a 100 percent plant-based menu – no meat, fish, fowl, dairy, eggs, butter, or saturated fats from animals or animal by-products. Tough to swallow from this meat-and-potato girl from the mid-west!  But, I was still “game” for the culinary adventure.  But does it taste good? We were seated in an upstairs area, and a thin, pale waiter handed us menus. (I thought to myself, if he ate meat, he’d have a rounder, healthier glow to him.) I ordered the Not-Chos, with melted cashew cheese, black beans, Pico de Gallo, tofu sour cream and guacamole for $11.75. It was so delicious!  It tasted just like the traditional version, so exciting.  Losing weight,  getting a clearer head, looking younger and feeling better never tasted so good. Adam ordered a Pro Kale salad, curly green kale massaged...

Unexpected Pairings in a Private Atelier, a Bel Air Estate and a Lush Vineyard...

Nancy Gale is the founder and the designer of coveted luxury handbag line, JAMAH (www.jamah.com). I’m the founder of GoodTasteLA.com, an entertaining new blog that covers everything under the sun that I consider is in good taste or tastes good! Recently, Nancy and I were in Paso Robles, brainstorming about out-of-the-box ideas to partner with friends – the owners of Paso Robles-based Lone Madrone Winery, who just happened to have won the distinction of winemaker of the year from The 2013 San Luis Obispo County Wine Industry Awards. While talking, we had an epiphany. We realized that the way wine is described is very similar to the way JAMAH’s luxury handbags are described. JAMAH and Lone Madrone share words like supple, buttery, woodsy, smooth, bark, shimmery, textured, distinctive and earthy, among others. Eureka!  We’ll have a wine and bag pairing!  Brilliant. Here’s how we envisioned it would work: Lone Madrone will supply a tasting of 4-5 wines. Each wine will be paired with handbags that match the description of the wines. We rushed back to Los Angeles and put it into motion. Within a few weeks, the  first event was organized, an intimate gathering at JAMAH’s private atelier, titled “Uniting Luxury – the Tastes and Textures of the Seasons. After an aperitif on the ocean-view patio for 20 guests, the wine was poured. A sinewy model graced the room, tantalizing guests with a luxurious JAMAH handbag, the perfect pairing for the luscious wines they were tasting. For example, Lone Madrone paired the 2009 “Old Hat” a dry farmed combination of Zinfandel & Petite Syrah; briary, vibrant red berry, a hint of chanterelle and an intriguing smokiness. Dark, yet bright fruit gives flavors of black cherry and dried cranberry. With excellent balance and beautiful tannic...