Archives for the month of: May, 2012

I wish customer Randy’s handwriting was as good as his drawing abilities. I would give him full credit.


This photo of Octavio is from the “Chef’s Wall.”

It was with a “heavy heart” that I read about the closing of Palate Food + Wine, Octavio Becerra’s solo adventure in Glendale.  I’m sure it will only be a temporary bump in the road for this talented Chef who started his career in Food back at the Cadillac Cafe in 1984.

From the Palate website:

“It is with a heavy heart and profound sadness to announce the closure
of palate food + wine.

The spirit and essence of the dream that was palate
lives on in our hearts.

We are happy to have shared so many stellar times with all
that experienced palate and are grateful for those moments
spent together breaking bread and raising a glass.
We give thanks to everyone who contributed to the life of
palate food + wine and look forward to the future.”


Shopkeeper Claire Joseph was one of the first pioneers on the forgotten stretch of Yucca that connects the Hollywood Hills to Hollywood. According to Google Maps the store is closed, but it looks like her creations are available at the Grau Haus.

Jennifur Brandt is busy, busy, busy starring in her own life movie. Jennifur, who now goes by the name, Jennifer Brandt Taylor or J.B. Taylor has decamped from Southern California to Garrison, New York where she  is the co-owner of the Thunderwing Press.  When she was 16, which was before blogs and the internet, and post mimeograph machines, she published her own ‘zine, Pesky Meddling Girls which was later published as a workbook, Life is a Movie Starring You.  She is the author of Vintage L.A.: Eats, Boutiques, Decor, Landmarks, Markets & More., and has her own blog, J.B. Taylor, a Twitter page (?)(account?), Facebook page called Vintager, and a husband, Nic Taylor.

We were on the cusp of a brave new world of technology when I hired Warren Seabury to do our PR. Warren, a Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop regular (he loved our spaghetti) ,had worked with songwriter Jimmy Webb and other famous clients for years. He had long since retired from the day to day business of Public Relations, but he knew the principles of PR. These principles did not change even with the new technology of emails, the internet, bloggers, and “social media”. Warren spent a lot of time on the details of our press package including the size and weight of the cardboard insert, the type of manila envelope etc. I rolled my eyes, but when he said “trust me” I went along with it. Wouldn’t you know within one week of our old-fashioned snail mail press launch we were contacted by the New York Times. They sent their Hollywood reporter, Bernard Weinraub, who interviewed me. The Times sent a photographer, who coincidentally captured Michelle Phillips (a former client of Warren’s) eating lunch that day, collected recipes and published a half-page article which was then reprinted in Herald Tribunes all over the world. This taught me a valuable lesson.  There are no accidental success stories in Hollywood!

I’ve known Mark Carter a long time.  He was fortunate to have worked as a pastry chef at L’Ermitage with Chef Jean Bertranou along with John Sedlar, Roy Yamaguchi, Ken Frank, and the first woman to crack the glass ceiling, pastry chef Olivia Erschen. The kitchen at L’Ermitage was one of the first opportunities for American-born cooks to learn the craft in a serious kitchen.  After L’Ermitage, Mark was the pastry chef at the Biltmore Hotel, had a successful run as a restaurateur with his wife, Stephanie, at Duplex on Hillhurst  in Los Feliz.  Mark and Stephanie moved to Northern California where he opened Carter Doughnuts and Onyx Baking Company.  He then went to work for a wine company and as an art consultant.

When I think of how many things have changed since  we opened the Coffee Shop in February of 1994 it makes my head spin.  There was no internet, so no You-Tube, no Wikipedia, no Google, no blogs. Information came from TV, radio, books, magazines, etc. all filtered through the powerful gate-keepers. Since we were located in a hotel, it was the hotel guests that kept us going until we built up a word of mouth reputation in the neighborhood. We weren’t far from recording studios and the room prices were budget friendly so we got our share of recording artists. I’ll admit I had never heard of Burning Spear when he and his fellow musicians stayed at the Hotel, but it wasn’t as if you could just look them up on the internet and download them from iTunes.

Neal lived across the street from the Coffee Shop in the Hollywood Tower, so he was a regular and we saw him a lot. He was consumed with Comedy and had moved to California because of his passion. We were excited for him when he moved back to New York and created Colt .40 Feinberg, a regular call-in character on the Howard Stern show.

The talented musician, Michelle White, more famous in France than her home country sings with a silky, soulfulness that hints at her families’ musical roots. (Her father is Tony Joe White)