While meandering the winding streets and hidden walkways of Paris in 1990, Mike Farwell stumbled across a small bar near the Louvre named Willi's Wine Bar and became enamored with its menu of seasonally inspired cuisine and thoughtful wine pairings. After years working with wine at restaurants and wine bars, he decided to import the concept, teaming up with chef Claud Beltran during their shared stint at Madeleine's Restaurant to create Noir Food & Wine. Farwell draws on his wine knowledge and Beltran on his culinary expertise to craft menus that work together beautifully, much like a straight-laced police officer and a loveable canine in witness protection. Farwell's constantly updating wine list features a stunning 600 bottles—of which nearly 150 are California pinot noir—43 different wine flights, and more than 50 vintages poured by the glass.
Beltran adds a Cajun twist to the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine to complement Farwell's wine selections, earning him praise from the Los Angeles Times in 2009 for "turning out some of the best cooking of his career." The menu features a rotating selection of seasonal dishes such as seared Hudson Valley foie gras with rosemary apricots and white-pepper honey as well as a selection of charcuterie and artisan cheese. The restaurant earned a "very good" to "excellent" Zagat rating for food quality and service as well as a place on its Best New Restaurant in LA survey.
A natural rock fountain quietly bubbles its wine suggestions to patrons as they clink their glasses together on the spacious outdoor patio. The cozier main dining area features rows of dark-wood tables covered in crisp, white cloths and a series of posters from Willi's Wine Bar on the chocolate-hued walls. Each Monday, the wine bar fills with enophiles for events including wine classes, winemaker dinners, and live entertainment.
Emilie Davidson Hoyt's interest in natural beauty products can be traced back to a single bar of lavender soap tucked beneath her pillow. A memento from one of her father's business trips, the fragrant bar remained close to Emilie while she slept, comforting her with its calming aroma. Throughout her childhood, Emilie suffered debilitating migraines that made her ultrasensitive to the chemicals and fragrances typically found in cosmetic products. Her condition was so bad that one of her high school teachers predicted she wouldn't succeed in college or keep a steady career.
Not only did Emilie graduate from college, she went on to found her own natural skincare company, LATHER, which initially only made olive oil–based soaps. Those soaps have since been mentioned in The New York Times, and the company has gone on to produce a full line of body, face, hair, and home products, which have appeared in other renowned publications. Emilie’s products nourish customers not only at three retail locations, but also at spas, boutiques, and hotels across the globe.
LATHER’s holistic, organic-leaning products beautify users without synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, or animal testing, and contain paraben-free preservatives and sulfate-free cleansing agents whenever possible. They also serenade olfactory senses with essential oils, vitamins, and rare fruits and herbs, and now arrive in earth-friendly EcoPure packaging, which, unlike a mummy's “No Microbes Allowed” t-shirt, accelerates natural biodegradation. LATHER maintains environmentally conscious practices, such as an in-store container recycling program and donations to worldwide reforestation projects.
During his training at King's College Hospital in London, Claude Matar mastered the old-fashioned art of listening. Today, he still believes that the key to providing a successful diagnosis lies in taking the proper time and energy to listen to each client's concerns. Though he no longer practices medicine, the nutritionist, board-certified naturopathic physician, and founder of Pasadena Weight Loss Center has used his ears and his education to help thousands of clients achieve their individual health goals, including former Dallas star Linda Gray and professional football champ Dwight Hicks.
To help clients shed inches, he utilizes the highly personalized Matar method, a system he believes offers patients their best chances for long-lasting results. It begins with an in-depth evaluation including a nutrient analysis, thyroid tests, and identification of any factors inhibiting weight loss. Matar then consults with the client to develop a plan focused not only on diet and exercise but also on strategies for improved sleep, hydration, and detoxification. He and his staff stay in daily contact to answer questions regarding progress or tips for turning uneaten bear claws into table art and will also reevaluate clients' success at a weekly face-to-face meeting.
The label all natural isn't lip service at Aveda. Bound by its mission to "care for the world," the company has created strictly selective criteria for what goes into its products. The most notable rule: 50% of every ingredient's molecular weight must come from a plant, a nonpetroleum mineral, or inorganic matter obtained exclusively from sustainable sources. Though the dedicated stylists and aestheticians at Bokaos may not be the ones fiddling with chemistry sets to formulate these eco-friendly products, they do stand by them 100% during every service.
For instance, hairstylists revamp outmoded styles with color formulas made from 99% natural ingredients, and they add bounce and movement to strands with Aveda retexturing systems enriched with certified organic ylang ylang. Meanwhile, aestheticians beautify skin with an array of facials and body treatments that use exfoliating salt glows culled from the Dead Sea, as well as plant-based waxing services augmented with skin-soothing essential oils. Once hair and skin is prepped, makeup artists swoop in to finish the look, melding a special foundation with water before applying it to faces with an airbrush, hiding blemishes, skin discoloration, and Sharpie’d chemistry notes for up to 20 hours.
The Slaw Dogs owner, Ray Byrne, probably didn't realize at the time that the Thai coleslaw he brought to a barbecue would become the inspiration for a business featured on ABC and mentioned in Travel + Leisure. According to a Food Network spot on The Slaw Dogs, Byrne tossed some of his extra slaw onto a hot dog and realized that he'd made a tongue-shattering discovery. With that slaw dog as his guide, he opened a hot-dog joint where his original discovery stars on the menu, jazzed up with accents of satay dressing and sesame aioli. But unlike Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and then pretty much sat around eating Cheetos and playing scratch-off lotto tickets, Byrne isn't satisfied with a single invention. In fact, LAist praised Byrne for his ability to "take seemingly clashing flavors and make them work together," as evidenced in the Green Monster dog with garlic salsa verde or the gigantic TNT Super dog, a tortilla-wrapped spread of bacon pastrami, beer chili, and fries.
The Slaw Dogs also lets patrons build their own dream dogs out of 11 different franks, 10 sauces, and more than 50 toppings, such as kimchi, goat cheese, or truffle oil. The possibilities are almost endless; a group of Caltech students recruited by the Food Network calculated a whopping 35 quintillion total combinations.
Over the course of the summer, Street Food Cinema rolls out more than forty events that showcase the greatest hits of the silver screen and the LA food-truck scene. When the gates open, guests spread blankets on the grass and pop open coolers. Live bands play until dusk, when crowd-pleasing movies such as Fight Club and The Sandlot across the big screen. Meanwhile, a rotating food-truck schedule assembles a diverse curbside lineup, which might include asian-inspired tacos from Komodo or the gooey delights of The Grilled Cheese Truck. Their events also feature movie-themed games projected on the big screen for audience participation. During showcases, artisan vendors are on hand selling fresh baguettes, fine meats, and sweets for purchase.
Street Food Cinema's eclectic assemblage of food, music, and films has picked up attention beyond the park's bounds, snagging mentions on NBC4 and in the Huffington Post's Broke Girls Guide. Other videos of the events in action can be seen here. It's also become known for its philanthropic work: each year the organization supports one designated local charity.