Planned Parenthood LA Food Fare Celebrates 40th Year

Photos by Ben Brown

The Planned Parenthood Los Angeles (PPLA) Food Fare brought in its landmark 40th year in grand fashion, bringing together some of the most noteworthy restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries in Los Angeles, as well as attracting major players from as far as Las Vegas. The event, held in Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar on the first Thursday in March, per tradition, drew more than 2,000 supporters and food fans and raised $1.3 million for PPLA. 

PPLA Food Fare 2019 Chef of the Year, Helene An of Crustacean Beverly Hills, joined PPLA Guild President Karen Morin Green in kicking off the event. An’s legendary garlic noodles were then one of the seemingly infinite offerings that welcomed guests when the Hangar’s doors opened. 

Restaurants were out in full force, with staples such as Rao’s, Ayara Thai, Upper West and Momed serving up specialties from curried short rib to killer meatballs. Tacos were among the crowd favorites, with players from Border Grill and Madre to Pinches Tacos and even Firestone Walker dishing out carne asada and fusion poke creations alike. Pink’s, which joins Crustacean as one of the few restaurants that pre-dates the PPLA Food Fare itself, took pride in serving full-size ‘stretch’ dogs. Boneyard Bistro and Granville added to the event’s heavy side with brisket sliders and chicken mac ‘n’ cheese. Viviane, Salt’s Cure and Takami Sushi were just a few more of the incredible list of venues supporting PPLA with signature tastes. 

Wine, beer and spirits were much abound, with the likes of Navarro Vineyards, Angel City Brewery, Craftsman Brewing Company, Kikori Whiskey and Infuse Spirits among the libation purveyors. Additional drink providers included Suja, Pasquini Coffee Co. and the ever-growing Elixir G. 

Dessert has long been a highlight of the PPLA Food Fare, with groups like Valerie Confections, The Pie Hole and Jennifer Pennifer Bakes creating salted caramel cheesecake, bite-size Nutella pies and other decadent creations. Pazzo Gelato’s ever-changing selection, from hazelnut to raspberry white chocolate and beyond, kept people coming back.

40 years of experience has made the PPLA Food Fare one of the best-run food festivals in Los Angeles, with spectacular ambiance, a jovial crowd, and extreme attention to detail ensures lines are minimal to non-existent. Expect PPLA Food Fare 41 to return Thursday, March 5, 2020. For more information, visit PPLAFoodFare.com.

Old Vine Café Reopens as Old Vine Kitchen and Bar in Costa Mesa

Old Vine Kitchen and Bar, an Orange County favorite that began as [the award-winning] Old Vine Café in 2007, has recently reopened with a fresh look. Located in The CAMP in Costa Mesa, right next to its original location, this Italian destination holds an elevated but homey feel, where fine dining doesn’t have to sway guests from being themselves. 

The redesigned restaurant features a long bar and adjacent lounge space, with an intimate dining room and heated patio. The open-space concept is tastefully sectioned using custom metalwork from sculptor Mark Gerardi. The walls are lined with paintings by artist Paul Cole, who also hand-painted the restaurant’s menu canvases. 

Chef-Owner Mark McDonald has curated breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour menus that integrate Italian favorites, including daily hand-made pastas, with a touch of Latin and Asian influence in various places. Partner Sommelier-Owner Kate Perry completes the experience with an intriguing wine selection as well as a full cocktail program to go with that new bar. The duo comes together with four tasting menus with wine pairings, including dedicated vegetarian and vegan menus. 

While the look may be new, Old Vine Kitchen and Bar picks up right where the café left off in terms of community engagement. McDonald and Perry continue to partner with local farmers, participate in nearby food and wine events, and lead twice-annual trips through Italy, known as the Splendors of Italy tours. For more information, call 714-545-1411 or visit OldVineKitchenBar.com.

The Raymond 1886:
A Historic Pasadena Brunch

Once the guest cottage of the famed Raymond Hotel, an abode with celebrity allure since its founding during the place’s namesake year, The Raymond 1886 transitioned into an eatery more than 30 years ago and continues a rich legacy of hospitality in South Pasadena. Now with a new chef at the helm and an ever-evolving menu, this historic destination melds LA’s evolving culture with its iconic past.

Quaint and cozy fill every room in this labyrinth of a structure—which seems about three times the size of its true square footage—with dark wood and rustic features emulating a true 19th century feel. A new patio is found outside each window, each secluded and intimate in its own right, with small fountains casting a tranquil background chorus. The crowd spans across young families, elderly couples and large millennial groups, but the one thing they all have in common is the desire to sleep in: The brunch rush doesn’t start until about noon. 

The menu is every bit as classy as you’d expect, with a healthy touch of fun added to your brunch classics. Executive Chef Jon Hung, younger brother of acclaimed LA Chef Michael Hung, is proving that there’s just something in the water for that family to produce such culinary talent. Delightfully tender steak and shoestring frites, heavenly biscuits topped with rich chorizo and perfectly cooked eggs, and a Dutch baby German pancake with seasonal berries and whipped cream create a spectrum of flavor for the palate to choose from.

Hung does get a slap on the wrist for his ‘al pastor’ breakfast burrito, which places just a paltry amount of meat atop an enormous burrito that should be filled with fewer [albeit delicious] eggs and more of that great pork. But he mostly makes up for it with his devotion to wholesome ingredients and scratch-made sauces. His pastry chef also churns out a decadent cinnamon roll…order extra cream cheese frosting!

Bar 1886, or just ‘The 1886,’ delivers an equally high-end cocktail program, plugging deep flavor into some very strong drinks. You’ll find your classic Bloody Mary, a mimosa sweetened with housemade curacao, and a beautiful Ramos fizz gin, a play on the sloe gin fizz, with whipped egg white orange peel to look like a sunny side up egg when viewed from the top. For more information call 626-441-3136 or visit TheRaymond.com.