Bite at the Beach crowd shot

Manhattan Beach and the surrounding community are going through a culinary renaissance. Several excellent restaurants have opened in the past few years and their gourmet offerings have made the South Bay area a destination for fine dining. On Saturday May 15, 2015, the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Congress gathered many of these local merchants and added regional craft breweries to present the 2nd annual Bite at the Beach tasting event.

“New German Cooking” cookbook from Brauhaus Schmitz

It was an exciting evening in Pennsylvania, as Jeremy and Jessica Nolen launched their new cookbook, “New German Cooking,” with a big bash on February 4, 2015. The Nolens are head chef and pastry chef respectively at Brauhaus Schmitz, the famed German beer hall in Philadelphia, where the launch party was held. The space is inviting – with exposed brick and warm wood enveloping you in a classic Philadelphia style. The front entry and narrow hallway make first-time visitors think the restaurant space will be small. But in fact, Brauhaus Schmitz runs deep into the building.

Lettuce Rage at The El Rey Theatre

It was a night for innovation at the El Rey Theatre on Wednesday February 4, 2015, as the modern funk revolutionaries from Brooklyn, New York known as Lettuce took over. Lettuce is a big ensemble band that has been together for over 20 years. They got their start as students at the Berklee School of Music in Massachusetts, and several of the band members have other projects that keep them busy, but when they get together in front of an audience like the one at the El Rey, musical fireworks explode.

Birdman movie poster

Is it art imitating life? Or life imitating art? When it comes to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s brilliant “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” it really doesn’t matter. What matters is how fascinating his film is to watch.

“Birdman” tells the story of Riggan, a once world-famous film actor whose career is totally in the trash when we meet him. Masterfully brought to life by Michael Keaton, Riggan’s claim to fame was as the Birdman, an action hero whose movie appearances raked in millions. But once Riggan walked away from that film franchise (and money train), his career never really recovered and his fame slipped. Now he’s used his own cash to mount a show on Broadway, in the hopes of becoming a respected star once again.

Eric Lindell, Stanton Moore and Rob Mercurio with Dragon Smoke at The Mint

A musical line up of Louisiana all-stars joined forces for one of their rare live appearances together at the intimate venue in Los Angeles on December 9. Ivan Neville, Eric Lindell, Stanton Moore and Robert Mercurio delivered a two set show of tightly arranged tunes that were familiar to the adoring fans in the club. The packed house of New Orleans music lovers sang, danced and cheered throughout the show.

Sean Conley and his Mama's Boy Infusions tequila

Tequila has grown into one of the biggest and trendiest spirits in the United States. It seems like every week a new brand launched by a celebrity, restaurateur or multi-national beverage giant hits the market. In this seemingly saturated segment, how can a small producer stand out? That was the challenge confronting Sean Conley, the creator of Mama’s Boy Infusions. Conley has years of experience bartending in Los Angeles. He knew the bad reputation of poorly made tequila and set out to change opinions. After years of tasting, mixing and refining ideas, he came up with something special. His tequila uses a unique bottling process that infuses tequila with fresh fruits and chili peppers.

The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, home of Flavor! Napa Valley 2014. Photo courtesy Jenny Peters.

There’s no better time to take a road trip from Los Angeles to the Napa Valley than in November, just in time for the annual Flavor! Napa Valley extravaganza – organizers call it “a celebration of food, wine, fun” and they are not kidding.

Patrick Bruel live in concert courtesy of Live Nation

French singer Patrick Bruel played before an adoring, packed crowd at downtown L.A.’s Orpheum Theatre on Saturday night, November 8. The show was a love fest between Bruel and what was obviously a horde of ex-pat French fans that relished the chance to see their musical hero in person.

Los Angeles Magazine Food Event 2014 sign

One of the most anticipated food events of the year took place on a Sunday afternoon in October at the majestic Saddlerock Ranch in the Malibu hills. Los Angeles Magazine puts on this spectacular culinary feast that is simply called The Food Event. The home of Malibu Family Wines, makers of Saddlerock and Semler wines served as the site for this tasting event. More than 40 of the finest restaurants and food purveyors in the greater Los Angeles area provided samples of their menus. Guests tasted some amazing food, drank a variety of wines, beers and cocktails while enjoying a beautiful autumn day at the scenic ranch setting.

Marin Cilic won the men's singles title at the 2014 US Open

They don’t call it The Big Apple for nothing. New York City is known for being big, loud, crowded and brash. While there are many professional tennis events held throughout the year, the last of the four majors, the US Open, held in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York reflects the spirit of the City. It is the biggest, loudest, most crowded, most expensive and perhaps, most anticipated event among the worldwide tennis faithful.

Taking the new 2015 Audi A8s to the top of the world. Photo by Jenny Peters.

There’s a reason that Audi Racing keeps winning competitions like the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race – they have won that 13 times in the last 15 years – and Jet Set Jen found out firsthand exactly why.

It’s because of the top-notch German engineering that Audi puts into every one of their vehicles, from those incredible R18 e-tron racers to the sleek new 2015 A8 models we got the chance to test drive through the mountains above Aspen, Colorado.

Kerri Walsh-Jennings and April Ross dominated at the AVP Manhattan Beach Open. (Photo copyright Andy J. Gordon 2014©)

Many consider the Manhattan Beach Open the crown jewel of the pro beach volleyball circuit. It has been held at this iconic beach since 1960, and each year’s winning team gets a plaque on the pier with bragging rights for all time. This year’s winners were Phil Dalhausser/Sean Rosenthal on the Men’s side and Kerri Walsh-Jennings/April Ross for the Women. Both teams have been dominant in the 2014 beach volleyball season so while their victories at Manhattan Beach were hard earned, they were definitely not unexpected.