Hank’s & Executive Chef Isaias Peña Celebrate Second Consecutive Win as “BEST BURGER” in Los Angeles Times’ “Best of the Southland 2023!
In a delectable triumph of culinary excellence, Hank’s Restaurant at Palisades Village has clinched the coveted title of “BEST BURGER” in the Los Angeles Times’“Best of the Southland 2023”Readers’ Choice Poll for the second year in a row.
The man behind this phenomenal burger, Executive Chef Isaias Peña, and his team at Hank’s have reason to celebrate, and it’s a victory well-deserved!
Executive Chef Isaias Peña – Photos Courtesy of Hank’s
Hank’s, named in honor of Owner Rick Caruso’s father Hank is located at Palisades Village in the Pacific Palisades and was created to offer guests elevated American classics, handcrafted cocktails, draft and bottle craft beers and premium wines served by Coravin offering something for everyone.
Photos Courtesy of Hank’s
Executive Chef Isaiah Peña’sHank’s Single and Double Diamond Burger is a perfect elevated beef blend of wagyu, brisket and short rib accompanied with Tillamook cheddar, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, Roma tomatoes and Hank’s special sauce on potato bun. To celebrate this exciting honor Chef Peña will be offering a Hank’s “BEST BURGER” Special which will include a Hank’s Single or Double Diamond Burger, Choice of Side (Fries, Onion Rings, or Salad), and Beverage (Wine, Draft Beer, or Non-Alcoholic Drink) for $25.00per person all throughout the month of November 2023.
“The Hank’s Team and I are honored to receive this award for the 2nd year in a row and many, many thanks to everyone that voted,” says Peña.
“We take great pride in the making of our burgers at Hank’s, and we also have a new menu that has something for everyone featuring steaks, seafood, and a selection of small and shared plates, along with our new cocktail list, so we invite you all to come enjoy!”
Hank’s is open every Monday through Thursday from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, every Friday from 11:30 am to 10:00 pm, every Saturday from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, and every Sunday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. For more information about Hank’s or to make reservations, please call 424.363.7166 directly or visit www.HanksPalisades.com.
Chilli No. 5 Introduces Spicy Advent Calendar with 24 World Hot Sauce & Spice Flavors!
Chilli No. 5, the world-renowned supplier of premium spicy condiments, is excited to announce the launch of its very first Spicy Advent Calendar. Launching in a limited edition, get your hand on it to spice up your holiday season like never before as you countdown to the most magical time of the year with Chilli No. 5’s Spicy Advent Calendar.
Chilli No. 5 Introduces Spicy Advent Calendar with 24 World Hot Sauce & Spice Flavors!
Get ready to experience an epic journey through the world of heat and flavor with our handpicked selection of 24 delectable hot sauces, fiery flakes, chilli oils, and exclusive spices that will leave your taste buds stimulated. Chilli No. 5’s Spicy Advent Calendar is the ultimate gift for those who appreciate bold flavors and are eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival.
“Chilli No. 5 has always been about redefining the way you experience spice, and our Advent Calendar is no exception,” says Rumble Romagnoli, founder of Chilli No. 5. “We’ve selected a thrilling assortment of our finest creations, as well as some exclusive surprises to make your holiday season unforgettable.”
Key Features of Chilli No. 5’s Advent Calendar:
A Flavor Journey: Discover 24 unique and handcrafted hot sauces and condiments, each designed to awaken your taste buds in a different way.
High-Quality Craftsmanship: Chilli No. 5 is known for its commitment to sourcing the finest ingredients and creating exceptional flavor profiles.
The Perfect Gift: Whether for yourself or a loved one, Chilli No. 5’s Advent Calendar makes for an unforgettable gift for spice enthusiasts and food lovers alike.
The Chilli No. 5 Advent Calendar is available for purchase starting today on the Chilli No. 5 website. You will put your hands on our most famous products and limited-edition :
Chinese Hot and Sour
Perfect Piri Piri
Hot Spicy Ketchup
Sriracha Cha Cha Cha
Ever so English
Spicy Sweet Chilli
Pure No. 5
Chilli No. 5 Reaper Flakes
Chilli No. 5 Burger Spices
Chilli No. 5 Tandoori Spices
Quantities are limited, so don’t miss your chance to add some extra spice to your holiday season.
Spice up your holiday season with Chilli No. 5’s Spicy Advent Calendar and embark on a flavorful journey like no other. This December, unwrap the heat, unwrap the flavor, and unwrap the joy of Christmas with Chilli No. 5.
To explore the rich flavors of Chilli No. 5’s and elevate your culinary Christmas dinner, visit our Website.
Chilli No. 5 is a gourmet hot sauce company that was launched by British entrepreneur Rumble Romagnoli in October 2020 during Lockdown because of a lack of healthy spicy sauce options to pair with take-outs and eat-ins. Chilli No. 5’s portfolio of 18 artisan hot sauces is inspired by global cuisines and is designed to add pizzazz to a wide range of culinary creations. Designed for gourmands who wish to live a healthy active lifestyle, each hot sauce is made with only the finest ingredients and infused with superfoods, antioxidants, and supplements, as well as Chill No. 5’ exclusive five chilli blend. These powerful ingredients may help with sleep deprivation, libido, concentration, weight loss, and depression. Sauces are available in 200 ml sustainable glass bottles, 100 ml land-fill friendly pouches, 25 ml glass tasting vials and most recently 15 ml mini glass bottles. Chilli No. 5 sauces bring your food to life. Discover The Sauce of Life!
Zayn Malik joins Mixoloshe as Chief Creative Officer and Co-Owner
The global superstar launches a custom Lychee Martini flavor, with a unique can design inspired by his own tattoos.
The fast-rising, award winning non alcoholic beverage brand, made with clean ingredients and nothing artificial will make its retail debut at Walmart, launching across the US with the retailer by end of October
Mixoloshe, a female founded and award winning non-alcoholic beverage brand, announces its partnership with celebrated award-winning artist and entrepreneur Zayn Malik, who has joined the company as the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) and Co-Owner.
The partnership will center around reshaping the narrative of the non-alcoholic beverage industry, as well as deep creative collaboration on marketing initiatives and upcoming flavor launches.
Additionally, Mixoloshe will launch in 500 Walmart stores across the country, marking the brand’s anticipated retail debut.
Zayn’s first flavor launch is a non-alcoholic Lychee Martini, a refreshing and exotic drink, that is sweet, floral, and slightly tropical. The can design is also captivating and unique, featuring replica illustrations of his own most beloved tattoos.
Mixoloshe was founded in 2022 to redefine the booming non-alcoholic drink category with a clean, alcohol-free take on cocktails and premium spirits that taste like the real thing.
Their collection offers a non-alcoholic range of popular cocktails, such as a Mojito, Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic, and Margarita, as well as non-alcoholic Tequila, Whisky, and Gin, all made with real ingredients, and low in sugar, calories.
Mixoloshe’s soft seltzers and non-alcoholic spirits have been recognized globally as best in class, and in 2023 they were honored with the Bartenders Spirits Gold Award, Ascot Award Gold for Taste, and the SIP Awards in Gold, Silver, and Bronze, to name a few. Their collection includes 8 canned non-alcoholic cocktail varieties, including the newly launched Lychee Martini flavor, and three bottled non alcoholic premium spirits.
“The non-alcoholic beverage market is ready for disruption, which can create immense growth potential. We see consumers already shifting preferences towards healthier and alcohol-free alternatives, which provides an opportunity for a brand like MIXOLOSHE to redefine this industry. I could not be more excited about the chance to make some noise in the category of non-alcoholic beverages and build one of the most talked about drinks in the world.” – Zayn Malik
“Zayn is a creative visionary both in music and beyond. His passion for innovation and his ability to captivate audiences will undoubtedly help us redefine the narrative around the non alcoholic beverage category, with a fresh perspective on making healthy lifestyle choices and living well, irrespective of your beverage preferences,” said Kristina Roth, MIXOLOSHE Founder and CEO. “I’m looking forward to working alongside him and shaping a future for this category where the glass is always half full of possibilities.”
Soft seltzers are available in a 12 pack, and retail for $29.99. Non-alcoholic spirits are available in a 750 ml bottle and retail for $29.99.
Mixoloshe is a female-founded line of non-alcoholic seltzers and spirits that are formulated to taste and smell boozy without the booze. Whether you’re booze-free forever or just for the night, these drinks are the perfect inclusive answer to an age old question—what are we drinking? High in flavor and low in calories, MIXOLOSHE packs a party into every can of soft seltzer and bottle of non-alcoholic spirits. With a mission and ingredients that are anything but fake, the brand offers booze-free cocktail alternatives that taste like the real thing. Party tonight with no regrets tomorrow.
At 1000 Stories Wines, they share that same bold roaming spirit, which is why each of their wines tell incredible stories of exploration and discovery.
In every bottle thy hope you’ll find journeys, encounters, people and places—stories that stoke the roaming spirit in all of us so that once your grass of wine is finished, you set out once again to create the next chapter in our stories.
Margaret Leonardi from 1000 Stories Wines
Today we’re talking with Margaret Leonardi from 1000 Stories Wines. The below conversation has been editing for length and clarity. For the full, unedited version, check out our FlavRReport YouTube channel.
Just to get to know you a little bit better, can you tell us more about what inspired you to get into the wine business?
Margaret Leonardi: I’m originally from an organic dairy farm in Northern California, so just the county north of here. We’re in Mendocino County. I’m from Humboldt County, so just the closest wine growing region from home. The wine industry is so much more glamorous and romantic than the dairy industry. I’ve been making wine since 2009. Now my whole life is the wine industry.
My husband is a winemaker too. We live in a vineyard. We’re in the middle of harvest right now. We’ve been harvesting for over a month now. We’ll harvest hopefully through Halloween.
How’s it going this year? Are the grapes looking good?
Margaret Leonardi: Pretty average yields. It’s a little later as a whole than normal harvest. Not noteworthy, but maybe a couple of weeks depending on the region, the variety. It’s tasting good. The chemistries are nice. Good acids. So far we’re happy but we’re only halfway done.
The brand is called 1,000 Stories. On your website it mentions each of your wines tell incredible stories of exploration, discovery. Where does the idea of stories come from?
Margaret Leonardi: There’s a lot of stories around how we came up with the name and how we got from point A to point B, but everyone has their own rendition, which is just ironic that it’s 1000 stories. Our consumer is adventurous, and likes to roam and wander and connect with people. So all those people, each adventure you go on, and each new connection you make, you have new stories, and you have new stories to share, and you can share our wines together.
You mentioned the word “explore”. Up in your area is Yellowstone National Park, and a thousand stories that you guys partnered with Yellowstone Forever.
Margaret Leonardi: That’s a new partnership for this year. The official non profit partner with Yellowstone, and their main focus is bison conservation. With our label, our mascot is a bison. The partnership promotes bison conservation, make sure their population is safe and healthy.
It’s a beautiful design. Tell me about how the bottle itself was created and how you decided what should be on that bottle?
Margaret Leonardi: We have three SKUs that are bourbon barrel aged. Our first is the Zinfandel, the OG of the portfolio, this came out first and then in the Bourbon Barrel Age side, we also have a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Red Blend.
Then we have an American Barrel Aged section that’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, so not Bourbon Barrel Aged, just American Oak. That would be used for normal winemaking, and then we have our newest corn sku, it’s a Sauvignon Blanc, and this is just stainless steel and some concrete aging.
The Bourbon barrel aged [popularity] has grown. We have customers who want more diversity, more variety. So we’ve expanded the set.
On the Zinfandel [label], we have our mascot the bison. Another noteworthy thing with this is on the Zin, because it was our first.
Each time we get bourbon barrels, we go through a 3rd party broker. So we’re not working directly with any distillers. We have a mix of the distilleries these bourbon barrels are shipping to us from, so they’re all different.
We’re filling finished Zinfandel in these barrels and then we taste each one.
Some can be really bourbon-y, really potent. A lot of fresh dill. Some can have less bourbon influence and it’s more smoky, toasty.
So we have to really craft each one. We’re tasting a bunch of lots and crafting the blend for the finished product.
That’s when we decided to put the batch number [on the bottle]. Because as a whole, the backbone of the wine tastes very similar, but there are some little minute differences. We wanted to convey that to the consumer with the batch number because you can tell [each bottle] tastes a little different.
Bourbon barrel has become very popular. How was that method chosen at your winery?
Margaret Leonardi: It was a practice from the original winemaker, the founding winemaker, Bob Blue, who just retired a couple of years ago.
We were innovating, thinking of new wine ideas, and this is a practice that he used 20 plus years ago. [Back then] French oak wine barrels were pretty pricey, like a luxury commodity to use. So he was looking at different alternatives to age his wines here at Fetzer.
He had this idea. Bourbon and whiskey barrels were cheaper.
We bought some bourbon barrels and tried it. We were like, we should bottle this, not blend this into a bigger portion. This should be its own bottle. That was in 2014, our first vintage.
I started with the company in 2015. I was here at the beginning, so I saw some of the evolution and then Bob has retired and he’s passed the torch to Sebastian and I.
Let’s talk a little bit about the different varietals. The process, the styles aromas, flavor notes.
Margaret Leonardi: The first original Zinfandel is our classic. I say classic because Zinfandel’s kind of an American grape variety, it’s very Americana. It goes with our whole spirit of the brand, and It’s what Mendocino County and Mendocino is known for.
We grow really great Zinfandel’s up here, it’s a nice and warm climate. We’ve also expanded, now we’re sourcing some of the fruit from Lodi as well, which is also a really great growing region for Zinfandel. They’re also known for their Zin.
It’s blended with some Petite Syrah. Just to give the color a little more enhancement. Some more tannin structure. We want the whole backbone of the blend to be bold. You’re supposed to match the bison. Big style, bold characteristics. We pick them when the fruit is really ripe. It’s pretty hot. Then we finish it in bourbon barrels and we can use a little bit of American oak, French oak in there too, just to give it some oak enhancement. Usually around 15 percent alcohol in the finished product.
The unique part of the Zinfandel itself is the blackberries. It’s really juicy, some cranberry and then the bourbon barrel aging process is just where you get some like dried herbs, oregano, thyme. Toffee characteristics from the toastiness of the bourbon barrel itself.
The point is to have a really strong wine. We want to have a really strong wine. We don’t want it to waft bourbon and we don’t want the bourbon to sit on top of the wine. We want them to be really integrated and just like a finish, not overwhelming or overpowering.
It’s very well balanced. Were there any challenges in finding the balance or was it pretty straightforward?
Margaret Leonardi: It’s not pretty straightforward. We wish. The barrels coming from the distillers can vary. They can be emptied the week before [and be very fresh]. They can be emptied a month [and be less fresh]. So how much has evaporated, how much has been absorbed into the wood. Those are unknown factors. So it’s a bunch of trial and error. So it’s fun, but it’s a lot of work. We want some consistency, but we want a little bit of difference.
You’ve mentioned Sebastian Donoso. Tell us about him. How the two of you balance roles.
Margaret Leonardi: He’s the winemaker for the Bourbon Barrel Aged Wines. Before we were both collaborating with Bob, it was more like a team effort. When Bob stepped down, we also had the new American Barrel Aged Pinot and Chard and the Sauvignon Blanc’s brand new.
Sebastian took the Bourbon Barrel Aged because he was working on those more, and then I took the other half. We work together.
Before we move on, I don’t want to forget the Sauvignon Blanc. Process, styles, aromas, the taste?
Margaret Leonardi: This just came out in April of this year so I’m really excited. I think it’s still working its way across the nation, but I’m really happy with this wine. I really like the way it came out and I got to make it from scratch. I made exactly what I wanted. It’s nice when you make something that you really like to drink too. The fruit that we source for this comes from the majority from the Arroyo Seco region, so down Monterey, central coast of California, which is just a really nice growing region, Bay Area influence. Warm days and then cool evenings. A little bit comes from just up here in Mendocino County. Then the rest is from Lodi.
A unique thing is it’s blended with 10% Viognier. The Viognier is an ironic blender for Sauvignon Blanc, but it’s like in the spirit of things bold, I have this Viognier that I really like. It’s really concentrated, ripened flavors. A lot of peach and nectarine flavors, so I thought it could be really interesting in a Sauvignon Blanc.
I fermented them separate and then blended this percentage in there and It’s really interesting because the Sauvignon Blanc has a little bit of grassy, grapefruit, citrus aromas,
The Viognier twist makes it almost a little floral, but you get those white peach, stone fruit flavors pop a little more because of that Viognier.
It’s all stainless steel, fermented and aged, so it has no oak contact. I do some concrete eggs. I think it enhances the texture and makes it a little more mineral-y.
Are you a foodie? Can you please suggest some really delicious dishes that pair with these bottles?
Margaret Leonardi: That is a nice thing about our portfolio expanding, because before we had the three reds. So it’s similar food pairings. Now that we’ve expanded, we can have almost a wine for any dish. The Zinfandel and all of the bourbon barrel aged wines go really great with barbecue or smoked meat, ribs, red meats. It’s a good “occasion wine”, right? If you’re going to a friend’s house for a barbecue or somewhere where you want to grab a bottle of wine, but you aren’t sure what – it’s a crowd pleaser, it’s a perfect conversation starter. Sporting events soccer games, Super Bowl, that kind of thing.
Then the Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with oysters, light sauce pastas, cream based pastas. It’s also great just appetizer wine. I think the Viognier is different. It is fun to start with it. So if you’re coming over and not sure what to open or if you’re having a dinner party, it’s like a great wine to kick off the night with.
You can explore it and then it transitions well with food, especially as it warms up a little.
Where we can find you follow and find that all this stuff both to buy as well as on social media
Margaret Leonardi: The brand as a whole is available through our website. They’re also available at any grocery stores around the whole country.
Hunted Alba White Truffles — Chilli No. 5 Unveils Limited Great Taste Award-Winning Hot Sauce with
Chilli No. 5 launches a new batch of 50 bottles of magnificent White Truffle Hot Sauce to compete with Truff, the industry leader and USA truffle sauce master.
The only difference is Chilli No. 5 uses real white truffles from Alba in the Piemont and has won the Great Taste Award in 23.
Priced at £25/30€/$ per 100ml, it solidifies its position as one of the priciest and fanciest hot sauces in the global market.
Every October, Chilli No. 5 founder Rumble Romagnoli visits Alba in Northern Italy to hunt and handpick white and black truffles that are used to make a yearly batch of the Chilli No. 5 White Truffle Hot sauce.
Truffle Hunter – Renzo, and Lagotto Romagnolo truffle dog – Charlie
The team has a dedicated Truffle Hunter – Renzo, and Lagotto Romagnolo truffle dog – Charlie to find the best truffles in the world. They also benefit from access to the truffle forest that has belonged to Renzo’s family for generations.
“Truffles are like diamonds. They cannot be made.
You have to find them.
“…Each one is unique. Close your eyes and bring the forest to life with this uber-umami white truffle sauce unmatched so far in the industry.” – Rumble Romagnoli founder says.
Romagnoli adds “You can understand that no expense was spared in sourcing the finest white truffles, carefully handpicked to ensure their unparalleled quality and aroma. Blended with a mix of fresh mushrooms such as Porcini, Ceps, Chantrelles, Girolles, and Morilles, this creation is a true culinary gem.”
According to the Great Taste Award Judges “It becomes clear very quickly that this sauce has been made with real skill. The truffle is very much present but tamed at all times. The additional mushrooms combine for a really characterful sauce that offers umami in spades but has some acidity, tang and sweetness too. On top of all this artistry, there’s the late and subtle arrival of chilli heat to round it all off. This is a very complex sauce, but very accessible too.”
This unique White Truffle Hot Sauce will be a versatile addition to kitchens, grills, and BBQs all over the world used not only as a condiment, but also as marinade, and a BBQ sauce. Traditionally, truffle is used on plain pasta, risotto, or grilled meats to enhance the complexity of this unique flavour. The intoxicating aroma and robust, earthy flavour of white truffles create a truly sensory experience that will transport you to a world of culinary luxury.
Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce is a limited-edition offering, available for a limited time as only 50 bottles are produced each season. This new batch left the Chilli No. 5 kitchens today, so don’t miss the opportunity to add this rare delight to your upcoming culinary repertoire.
Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce is the perfect choice for discerning home cooks, food enthusiasts, and those seeking to impress guests with a touch of decadence. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, hosting an intimate dinner party, or simply indulging in a gourmet home-cooked meal, this sauce will leave a lasting impression.
This limited-edition White Truffle Hot sauce goes with everything and is perfect for a chilli sauce gift in its designer sustainable packaging.
To explore the rich flavors of Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce and elevate your culinary creations, visit Chilli No. 5’sWebsite.
French Bloom delivers flavor, elegance and subtlety without the boozy battle.
You want to celebrate. You want to “pop the cork”, enjoy the flavor, but you don’t want the after-effects. The drunkenness. Certainly not the hangover. And women? Of course there needs to be ways to elegantly celebrate even (and especially) during pregnancy. Imagine a pregnant-friendly wine?
It’s a situation that should have been solved already. But now it has and with style. It’s a subtle, elegant, flavorful answer.
French Bloom Re-Invents the Game
Now everyone can share “moments of pleasure” as their website mentions. French Bloom’s organic de-alcoholized chardonnay and pinot noir, alcohol-free French sparkling cuvées combine French tradition with innovation.
French Bloom Co-Founders Maggie Frerejean – Taittinger and Constance Jablonski
The Team Behind French Bloom
Maggie Frerejean – Taittinger and Constance Jablonski bring different and complementary skill sets. Equally important, they bring the desire for the vision and the motivation for innovation.
Through their innovative and female-founded brand, French Bloom gives an alternative and inviting drink to those wanting to celebrate elegantly and differently, making the most of the precious moments shared with friends and family.
If the names sound familiar, Constance is a globally-working fashion model you’ve seen representing Estée Lauder and countless luxury brands.
Maggie is director of the Michelin Guide and married to Rodolphe Frerejean-Taittinger, chief executive of Champagne Frerejean Freres.
Carl Héline, the former head of Champagne Krug, joined French Bloom.
Let’s Taste French Bloom
Pale pink in the glass. Rose petals, freshly picked red currant, raspberry aromas on the nose. Indulgent white peach notes on the palate. Elegant. The organic French grapes give a nice acidity. Well-balanced complexity of minerality and freshness. Tartness and a rounded balance on the finish.
Certified Vegan- Organic- Halal
No sugar added, 4,2g/ 100ml
A blend of de-alcoholized organic French Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, organic grape juice, Gensac spring water and natural organic flavors such as lemon.
Organic French Bubbly, 0.0% Alcohol
Medium golden amber in the glass. Minerality and pear aromas on the nose, that just keep opening and opening. Pear, banana, melon, white flowers. An explosion of complexity on the palate. As the flavors open, Granny Smith apple, spicy citrus. A full-bodied mouth with a luxurious, zesty finish that keeps going.
De-alcoholized organic wine, organic grape juice, French sparkling Gensac spring water, organic lemon juice, organic natural flavors.
Jøyus non-alcoholic wines are making big moves in the beverage industry. Not just for #SoberOctober, but its award-winning tastes help you celebrate all year-long,
Jøyus non-alcoholic wines not only taste like wine, but great wine. With the industry awards to prove it.
Recently I sat down with Jøyus leader Jessica Selander.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. You can find the full, un-edited conversation on our YouTube page.
Can you give us a personal story, maybe that includes the celebration of wine, if you have one?
Jessica Selander: The story is very personal and the funny thing is I get so nervous before talking about things because when I started Joyus, I did not originally [think about] doing things like this, being so face forward.
I thought I would create a product that I was really excited about. Eventually I came to realize, how do I do that without telling the “why did I do it?”
The whole reason that Joyus exists and it influences everything I do is because I’m sober. I quit drinking alcohol 17 years ago now, which just feels like a fantastical amount of time.
For me, it’s been very rewarding. I’m very glad about it. But it was definitely something that was really hard and very personal. It wasn’t something I shared about publicly. So that’s also why this is a journey of getting comfortable talking about my sobriety, my recovery.
I like the taste of wine. I like beautiful glasses. I like the smell of wine. I love the community and people; and hanging out and celebrating. It literally says ’let’s celebrate’ on our bottles. How great sparkling is for summer, but sparkling is such a happy thing.
You know what I mean? Something good happens in your life and people are like, let’s celebrate. Let’s pop some bottles. New Year’s Eve is such a beautiful idea of let’s start over. Whatever happened last year, whatever terrible things went down, there’s a brand new year.
It’s a new idea that we can celebrate either that past year that was good or celebrate the potential of a new year. That’s going to be better and that’s sparkling.
And for me, I didn’t have any options.
I started Joyus nine years ago. People ask me how long the company’s been around and we launched about two years ago. So it took me a very long time to figure it out, to save up the money to do it because as you can imagine, nine years ago, people thought it was crazy.
They’re like, ‘That’s a terrible idea. Nobody wants that’. And I’m like ’I want it’.
Having quit drinking, I had a lot of friends that also didn’t drink. I had a lot of people in my life too, who were just light drinkers – could give or take alcohol. Then I have two kids and there’s a huge percent of the population that quits drinking for nine months [because they’re pregnant], sometimes even longer.
You can get into medications, you’re not supposed to drink on it. Anxiety medication, not supposed to drink on it. Heart medication, cancer treatments. There’s a lot of medical stuff too, that you could go down the list.
So I get a lot of people now who are like, ‘Oh, it’s not alcoholic. It’s trending.’ And that’s a thing now.
Early on in my sobriety, I actually used to drink a lot of soda pop out of glass bottles, and then eventually discovered non alcoholic beer.
Non alcoholic beer is definitely having a really cool movement right now. There’s so many different options for non alcoholic beer, but the beer has always been around.
I was like, this exists and it tastes like beer. What’s up with non-alcoholic wine?
There was one sparkling [non-alcoholic wine] in the entire country and that’s all you could find. There was one white and there was one red and that was it.
For me these options were really sweet. They were very affordable, which is nice, but they didn’t have the complete experience that I was going for. I wanted non alcoholic wine that tastes like wine.
I wanted something that I could bring to a gathering and bring to a get together and have it feel appropriate and look appropriate and just look like everybody else’s [alcoholic] bottles. Smell like everyone else’s bottles that you just wouldn’t even know that it was non alcoholic until you saw it on the label. And that’s what I did.
So after trying to find it for forever, eventually I was like, I’m going to do it myself. And I had no idea that this whole sober curious, non alcoholic world would take off like it has at exactly the right time.
So part of me is very frustrated that it took so long. But part of that too, it was like saving up the money to start the company.
This is a bootstrap company. I like making my own decisions. A side effect after getting to this point is I’m 100% in control of all the decisions, which also means that I can control the quality because [it] is incredibly expensive to make.
Let’s talk about your sober story. What it means to you, how you got there, what your mission is, how that helps others.
Jessica Selander: So for me, I can’t drink alcohol. What happens when I put alcohol in my body is that I make decisions I don’t want to be making.
I tried a lot of things. I tried cutting back and it didn’t work. I tried replacing [the drinks and that didn’t work].
My life became pretty chaotic.
I stopped drinking and once I get my life in order, then everything will be fine. I can drink again.
Then after not drinking for a period of time, I was like, Oh, you know what? There’s actually something to this and it’s something deeper and it’s probably the best thing I ever did, honestly, in my life.
I would not be the person I am today on the inside if I had kept drinking.
I have a wonderful spouse and I’ve got amazing kids and I’m able to be a parent and be a person and do that clear eyed and there’s a lot of my upbringing was not the most positive.
Sober curious, it’s a hashtag now.
I’m not saying alcohol shouldn’t exist. I’m not that kind of person whatsoever.
On a personal level it is so exciting to see other brands pop up. The first time I tried non-alcoholic tequila, it blew my mind. It was amazing. The spirits are interesting because some people build it up from science and some people are de-alkalizing; taking the alcohol out.
So that’s the really interesting thing about this. Normally spirits are completely separate from wine, which are very separate from beer, but in non-alcoholic, we’re all in the same swimming pool and everybody’s doing it differently and everybody’s got their own take and you can try one non-alcoholic whiskey and it’s incredibly different from another one.
Community not competition is one of our core values. Normalizing non drinking is a big one. It’s not necessarily replacing alcohol either. I’ve talked to people in the wine industry who are very offended by the idea of non alcoholic wine. I’m like no, it’s backwards. You’ve got it backwards. Non-alcoholic wine is a love letter to wine. You love wine so much that you still want to have it. You just can’t have this one piece that’s in it [the alcohol], but I want everything else.
I want to cheers that glass with other people. I want to drink that red with a really strong stinky cheese. I want to pop that celebratory cork. I want to Rose all day. I just can’t.
I think that wine is very important culturally. It’s so interesting historically. The process is this fascinating mix of art and science. I love everything about it. Getting deeper and deeper into it too, because I want Joyus to be around for forever and I want to make the best possible non-alcoholic wine.
There’s so much stuff to perfect that I could spend the next 50 years just working on non-alcoholic red – period.
You mentioned you’re seeing other competitors in the marketplace. How many different ways are there to make non-alcoholic wine? Are some ways higher quality than others?
Jessica Selander: I can give tips. Our wine is a dealcoholized or alcohol removed wine, which means it’s gone through the whole winemaking process.
It’s aged, it’s fermented, and then we have removed the alcohol from it. Our bottles also say it’s non alcoholic. Sometimes you’ll see a bottle in the store and it just says non alcoholic on it. It doesn’t say dealcoholized or alcohol removed. They’re interchangeable. That means it wasn’t fermented.
So if you’re looking for a wine that is really going to taste like wine or have that fermented taste, look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed.
[Look at the label on the bottle] look for dealcoholized or alcohol removed, because it could say that it’s a non alcoholic red or a non-alcoholic grape [varietal] and it might just be a juice, that hasn’t been fermented or ages but comes in a wine bottle.
What are your goals in the present moment and in the near future to help your company continue to be a leader in the industry?
Jessica Selander: I think goals are accessibility. Normalizing sober drinking. Making [non-alcoholic bottles] easy to find. We do ship off our website, which is great. We’re shipping from Seattle. We ship everything ourselves. If you’re out East, it’s going to take four or five days to get to you.
Also starting to talk to restaurants, getting into more restaurants is a big one. I’ve had anniversary dinners with my spouse and I’m drinking an Arnold Palmer.
I’m calling restaurants and I’m calling grocery stores and they’re still really skeptical that it can be good and that people want it.
Do you think it’s just audience reaching out? Is there a tipping point?
Jessica Selander: Yes, that really helps having people being in a restaurant and saying, “Hey, what do you have that’s an alcoholic?” Because restaurants are saying nobody’s asking for it.
Here I am double digit sober and I had never gone into a restaurant and asked for it.
I would look at the [menu’s] non alcoholic section, which is always juice, soda pop, iced tea and stuff. If it’s not on the menu, I would never ask them for anything. Here I am for over a decade, not telling them that I want this thing. So we started doing more education on social media and online.
If you walk into a restaurant, ask them “What do you have that’s not alcoholic?”
Just pregnant people alone. There’s a large percentage of the population.
Is there science that says a pregnant woman can drink this and have zero concerns?
Jessica Selander: Yes. So this is super interesting. In the United States we’re the most strict in terms of alcohol. If you go to the UK, they have different, actually higher limits for how much alcohol can be in something. The US’s rules come from prohibition when you can’t sell, make, transport alcohol.
The government said once it gets under 0.5%, it’s not alcohol anymore. So that’s where that number comes from and sometimes people see it and say, “Oh, there’s a little bit of alcohol in this.”
There was a study done in Germany where they tested a lot of grocery store items. What they found was there’s a lot of stuff in our grocery stores that had a little bit of alcohol in it. Very ripe bananas, which we feed to toddlers have some alcohol in them. Orange juice is another one.
American hamburger buns. But it also makes sense, bread, yeast and we have more sugar in our products, right? Bread actually has more alcohol than people realize.
Let’s talk about your wine’s flavors and aromas and the winemaking process to get there.
Jessica Selander: I knew what I wanted and I was incredibly picky about it.
We launched with the sparkling white and the sparkling Rose’ and people were asking for a Rose’ with no bubbles.
I thought it would be easy. It was not easy.
Stills are very different from sparkling. I’m a balance of “I know what I want. I’m going for this thing and very focused”, but then I’m also balanced with listening. So we do a lot of focus groups. I do want feedback. I do want opinions.
We were working on it. Everyone’s saying it’s good, it’s great. But I didn’t think it was good enough. We were supposed to launch it in summer and I pushed everything back. Back to the drawing board.
What if we did this? What if that? Talking to people, reading science and chemistry books
Was it like working for the right blend?
Jessica Selander: It’s tweaking so many different things and pieces in the blend. But it doesn’t always work out. If you tweak a blend, sometimes other notes will come forward that you’re not expecting, or sometimes you’ve diminished things that you didn’t intend to diminish.
The still Rose is a great example, it didn’t have that click and so I just kept working on it. And that’s the one that won Double Gold and Best in Class in the San Francisco International Wine Competition, which is one of the biggest and oldest blind tastings in the world and the biggest and oldest blind tasting in the U.S.
Can you share any details and lessons you learned taking on the world of winemaking?
Jessica Selander: There’s so many things. We’re not just making wine. We’re wholesale, we’re distributing, we’re direct to consumer. We have so many different facets.
I could talk for hours about how our wines are very low in sugar and they don’t have the alcohol in them. So our [bottles] probably freeze easier than anything else on the market. So shipping during the winter.
I’ve had conversations with other non alcoholic people too. Everybody’s doing it differently and that’s the hard part too, where I feel like there’s a solution for every problem.
We’ve gotten better and better at winter shipping, but it’s not quite there yet. Figuring out what can we ship in that’s going to have thermal protection, but isn’t going to contribute a ton of garbage. We’ve got the most eco-friendly, innovative winter shippers. They’re made of corn.
They’re expensive as hell, but it’s better than styrofoam. We have to keep everything under 50 pounds for UPS and 12 bottles of sparkling is 51 pounds in these corn shippers.
That thermal protection is still not enough, so we added heat packs.
Let’s talk about your wines.
Jessica Selander: We have four varietals. We’ve got our sparkling white, a sparkling Rosé. Still Rosé, a Cabernet Sauvignon. I love our red a lot. The reds are hard. They’re the most complicated; red wine has the highest alcohol content to begin with.
What flavor notes should we be looking for?
Jessica Selander: It’s definitely an American Cab. More fruit forward. It’s not grape juice. It’s fermented, it’s aged in American oak so you’ll get some green-ness to, like forest floor. The longer it’s been open the more tasting notes you’ll get. I like it more and more throughout the week because the fruit notes settle down. Black currant, cherry, some leather
The still rosé, watermelon, a nice floral to it.
Sparkling rosé. Slightly floral. Some orange blossom to it. Blackberry, but some people say raspberry. Some people say strawberry. They’re very summery
I think sometimes tasting notes feel in excess because we all taste things very differently.
Our audience is foodies. Let’s talk a little bit about some of your favorite meals that you think would pair that your favorite pairings with your wines
Jessica Selander: I bake. I come from a big family, so I can pretty much cook anything.
I heard someone say one time that baking was more science. And cooking was more art and I do agree with that.
Let’s talk about the wine competitions. How you see them, what the experience has been like, and of course, what their results have been.
Jessica Selander: I did not know that competition was as big of a deal as it is [which was a blessing]. So what happened was I was beating my head against the wall being like, “They taste like wine!” And my brother said, nobody believes you. You have to enter them into wine competitions. You need to prove to them in their own landscape that you belong there.
So, here’s this competition. The first one, the sparkling rosé won gold and sparkling white won bronze.
Then I looked deeper into what the competition was [and realized it was the acclaimed San Francisco International Wine Competition & World Spirits Competition ]. It was a blessing because I think I would have been scared to do it. Then [next year] I do it with the Still Rose and the Cab. Then hearing back, you’ve got the highest a non-alcoholic has ever gotten and you’re Still Rose is the best non-alcoholic wine of any varietal entered from all over the world.
I was only wondering if it was even going to place, and here it ends up winning the best.
I was at a grocery store [today] I’ve been trying to get into for two years where the head buyer won’t even try it. So it’s [frustrating] but the more of these awards that we stack up, at some point in time they have to not ignore it. They’ll be like, Oh, this is a real thing.
We haven’t [hit that goal], it’s not normalized yet. We’re in over 300 stores and in almost in every state.
If you want more non-alcoholic near you at a restaurant and grocery store, what are the step-by-step, simple direction
Jessica Selander: This is super easy for people.
So if there’s a grocery store or a local market that you shop at already, you just go into the wine department and say, “Hey, what non-alcoholic wine do you have?” And let them know you want it. Verbally say it
It’s the same thing in restaurants. I do it myself now too, where I get the menu and I’m not seeing what the stuff on it. And I just ask and say, Hey, what non alcoholic stuff do you have?”
Tell us how we can learn more about Joyus. Shopping and following on social media.
And on the website, there is this Find Joyus store finder map. So you can look on there and find us closest to you and working hard to add new stores pretty much weekly and email, email us. There’s a contact form on the website. Email. If you’re like, Hey, there’s a store by me. I want them to carry you. Email us. And we will call them and we will try, we’ll do our best and we’ll call them again three months later and we’ll call them again.
Wolfsglen, Westwood’s premier cocktail and dining destination, features New American cuisine and a hot Cocktail Scene. They’re getting a lot of rave reviews already!
‘This food is Yum!’
“Love the vibe. We’re coming back next week”
“omg. THeir desserts, fire!”
Located at 1071 Glendon Avenue in Westwood, Wolfsglen is Westwood’s premier cocktail and dining destination featuring New American cuisine with a global Angeleno influence complemented by an array of expertly crafted cocktails.
Inspired by the legacy of John Wolfskill, a former state senator and pioneer rancher who played a pivotal role in the development of the land where Westwood Village now stands, Wolfsglen blends history, culture, and cuisine into a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Sammy Espinoza – General Manager , Photography by Tonelson
Quietly opening its doors in November 2022, Wolfsglen is the brainchild of new hospitality team CFO Mark Garcia, Director of Operations Fernanda Hay, General Manager Sammy Espinoza, Chef Fidel Guzman, Sous Chef & Pastry Chef Moriah Castañeda, and Bar Manager Edward Ruiz.
Wolfsglen’s culinary journey begins with Chef Fidel Guzman
Wolfsglen’s culinary journey begins with Chef Fidel Guzman, whose New American seasonal menu embraces global Angeleno flavors, showcasing the finest seasonal and fresh ingredients.
Photography by Tonelson
The To Start features delectable dishes like Brown Butter Labneh, Hummus with chili crisps, Burrata with grilled and flambé peaches, Esquites, Mushroom Arancini, Shrimp Toast, Steak Tartare, Shawarma, and Bone Marrow & Black Garlic, among others.
Photography by Tonelson
Handmade Pastas take center stage with Chef Fidel’s Rigatoni Diavola, Cacio e Pepe, and Bolognese, each prepared to perfection.
Photography by Tonelson
The Entrées boast mouthwatering selections such as Pan Roasted Pork Chop with a togarashi-whiskey glaze, Steak Frites, Wolfsglen Burgerwith candied bacon, spicy aioli, and arugula,Beyond Burger, Roast Chickenwith aji verde and pea tendrils, Seared Salmonserved with a pineapple ginger glaze and miso potato purée, Seared Striped Bass, and Cauliflower Steak with curry and raisin chutney.
Photography by Tonelson
Leave room for dessert
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! Culinary duo, Chef Fidel Guzman and Sous Chef & Pastry Chef Moriah Castañeda present an array of tantalizing options, including Homemade Peach Pie, Mango Sweet Rice, Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake, and Ricotta Donuts with blueberry compote and lemon curd.
Photography by Tonelson
Wolfsglen’s bar program
Wolfsglen’s bar program, originally created by Fernanda Hay, now under the expert guidance of Bar Manager Edward Ruiz, offers a diverse range of perfectly balanced and playful cocktails. Signature creations include the Razz-Mez-Tazz made of mezcal, mango, spicy bitter, agave and Tajin, Purple Rain comprised of gin, blueberry purée, lemon, and butterfly pea flower, Geisha’s Kiss with Masumi sparkling sake, elderflower liqueur, and lychee purée, and Black Gold prepared with Neft vodka, simply syrup, cucumbers, and activated charcoal, with even more to try.
In addition, Wolfsglen also offers specially select White Wine, Red Wine, Rosé, Sparking, and Beer + Cider.
Courtesy of Wolfsglen
Wolfsglen’s is the ideal destination
Nestled in a historic two-story building developed in the 1930s, Wolfsglen showcases beautiful high ceilings, modern design, a lush patio for al fresco dining, and private event spaces. It is the ideal destination for lunch, dinner, drinks with friends, intimate gatherings, or special events. With its rich history, elegant ambiance, and mouthwatering cuisine, Wolfsglen promises an unforgettable dining and drinking experience for everyone!
Wolfsglen is open every Sunday and Monday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm, every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11:30 am to 12:30 am, every Friday from 11:30 am to 1:00 am, and every Saturday from 5:00 pm to 1:00 am.
Wolfsglen offers Howlin Hour every Tuesday through Friday from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Late-Night Howlin Hour every Friday and Saturday from 11:00 pm to 12:30 am.
For more information about Wolfsglen or to make reservations, please call 310.208.1071 directly or visit www.Wolfsglen.com.
Bruce Springsteen Urgently Cancels Shows with Health Scare – Find out why here
Bruce Springsteen announces that he has paused all of his September concerts for health reasons. Why? He’s getting treatment for symptoms of peptic ulcer disease.
Springsteen’s official social media says”
“Over here on E Street, we’re heartbroken to have to postpone these shows.”
“We’ve been having a blast at our U.S. shows, and we’re looking forward to more great times.
“We’ll be back soon.”
The announcement includes that “the decision of his medical advisers is that he should postpone the remainder of his September shows.”
The surprise comes three weeks after Springsteen postponed a pair of dates in Philadelphia, citing a vague illness.
Earlier 2023, Springsteen’s health forced him to miss being in a celebration by his native New Jersey with a declaring “Bruce Springsteen Day”. That bow out was due to Covid.
Now Thursday night’s show at the JMNA Wireless Dome in Syracuse, NY is the first victim to this postponemwnt.
Springsteen, 73, and the E Street Band had several dates set to play this month in Baltimore, Pittsburgh (twice), Uncasville (Connecticut), Albany, Columbus and Washington, D.C.
So far the tour is scheduled to resume November 3 in Vancouver, with two Los Angeles stops at the Kia Forum in early December.
Here is Springsteen’s full statement:
“Over here on E Street, we’re heartbroken to have to postpone these shows. First, our apologies to our fabulous Philly fans who we missed a few weeks ago. We’ll be back to pick these shows up and then some. We’ve been having a blast at our U.S. shows, and we’re looking forward to more great times.”