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Rich Journey is the internet portal for distinguished gentlemen and elegant ladies living in sophisticated society.  We strive to provide our readers with chic trends which characterize their dynamic lives.  We review health spas, restaurants, travel destinations, food delicacies, and luxury hotels.  We strive through an arduous journey of health and beauty products to afford our overburdened friends with the knowledge of efficiency in relaxation and beautification.  While relaxing and consuming gastronomic desires, we chase it with our suggested liquors and wines. Read on as you begin your Journey into the world of luxury.

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Life Beyond Jollibee- "Bhings Masaya (Happy) Lumpia" 

Bhing's Masaya Lumpia has just opened in Honolulu, Hawaii. Arriving in March of 2015, she brings her homecooking to the islands where she makes a Cornucopia of delicious Filipino foods satisfying and local resident of Hawaii. Like her food, her beautiful soft smile and famous "wink" is very alluring - patrons find themselves wanting to go back again and try other dishes.

Asa Meza Opens in Hollywood- Blend of Asian and Latino Delights the Palate

ASA MEZA is a new spot in Hollywood just at the corner of Hollywood and Vine that boasts a stunning library style interior and an outdoor patio area that will become a big hit in the upcoming summer months.  They opened up in early February and in the first month business was a bit spotty, but it is slowly picking up now that the word is getting out.

Ayara Thai Cuisine in Westchester- Authentic and a Local Favorite

 It was a cool Monday night when I stopped in to Ayara Thai Restaurant in Westchester and the place was buzzing with a real cross section of customers. Service is brisk and well coordinated by an almost 100% Thai staff, and the fact that about 50% of the customer base was also Thai was another good sign walking in.  The owner is Vanda Asapahu and she works with her mother in the kitchen ensuring that the quality of the food never waivers.    

Locanda del Lago- Popular Italian Eaterie Remains a Party Place

This Italian restaurant in Santa Monica at the Third Street Mall is a success story with a loyal group of regulars who come to enjoy the food of Chef Gianfranco Muniz.  Every last Thursday of the month, they put together a special menu for about $55 or $83 with a full complement of wine pairings, so I happily attended Bite of the Beast featuring lamb last week, or more specifically NimanRanch Lamb.

Cassells Hamburgers Joint at the Hotel Normandie- A Throwback to 1948 

The Hotel Normandie in Koreatown is now host to Cassell’s Restaurant, a place that has been around since 1948 but not in the same location. It has been open since December 2014 at the Hotel Normandie, a hot new spot in Koreatown which is still a work in progress as they are seeking to upgrade the spot for more events and parties. Cassell’s brings a touch of now to the place despite all the old signs on the wall brought from the old location. The atmosphere is very lively but quite noisy since the tables are very close together, but the staff couldn’t be more welcoming and I for one look forward to returning.

HEY 19 Launches in Torrance-Southern Style Barrel House

Demi Stevens knows how to launch a restaurant quickly and cheaply and turn it into a quick success, and she might have done it again with Hey 19 in Torrance.  Demi is also the owner of Ortega 120 just round the corner that has become a destination restaurant known for its Mexican food and Tequila cocktails. Hey 19 is more of a Southern Road House that would not look out of place in Arkansas or Louisiana, and the food served here is pretty tasty and you will not be paying Hollywood or Beverly Hills prices in this very unpretentious place.  

SHARKY’S Woodfired Mexican Grill, A Small Food Chain on the Rise (Health Eating Habits an Obsession for the Owner and Founder)

I recently had the opportunity to meet up with the founder of Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Mexican Grill Steve Paperno in Chatsworth and got an idea as to why the chain of 21 restaurants is doing so well.  The menu strives very hard to use fresh, natural and organic ingredients and uses unique stone ovens and mesquite-grilled cooking styles to enhance the flavor. At the moment all the restaurants are based in California but Arizona and Nevada will be coming soon, maybe after the 2015 opening in Portland. 

The Sausage Man Comes to West Hollywood at LINK

Yes this new restaurant right next to the busy Beverly Center wants you to come in and try their gourmet sausages, just like the foodies in Atwater Village at Link and Hops. Link restaurant also has a full license, so the cocktail offerings are equally important here. Décor wise, the spot is full of bench like tables but it s quite tastefully done and comfortable enough and a pleasant ambience.  The menu is very hard to read however unless you have the eyes of a five year-old, but the owner promised that that would be one of the first changes they will be making.

Lillet Debuts Its 2010 Reserve de Jean Lillet at ACE Hotel

Maison Lillet recently launched its Jean de Lillet 2010 Reserve at a trendy invitation only at the ACE HOTEL in downtown Los Angeles and RICH JOURNEY was there to check it out.  Brand ambassador Claire Needham was on hand-mixing up the cocktails as a band were playing Hot Club De Paris music- Django Reinhart style to the fifty or so guests in attendance at the rooftop bar.

Authentic Italian Food at Obica in Century City- Milan Chef Runs a Tight Shift

Obica Italian Restaurant in Century City is a very authentic place although I believe it prefers to be known more as a Mozzarella destination.  Of course the famous cheese is an important part of the mix, but with chef Simone Santpietro running the show it is a lot more than just that.  The Milan chef has been in America about six years I think, and he loves it here in Los Angeles, even though the restaurant itself and especially the kitchen is quite small by all accounts.

Morro Bay and the Delights of the Pacific Coast Highway

Morro Bay in California is a quiet sleepy fishing town north of Santa Barbara that is famous for the massive pyramid style volcanic rock that juts out of the Pacific Ocean and dominates this rather charming town.  My first ever visit there in October was combined with a trip to Cambria about 15 miles to the north and close to the Hearst Castle in San Simeon.  Wine enthusiasts are also in good shape as the rapidly expanding wine mecca of Paso Robles with over 250 wineries is only thirty minutes away.

Tequila Herradura Unveils Limited Edition Coleccion de la Casa

Rich Journey was live in Mexico last week to be one of the first people to taste the latest release from Tequila giant Herradura. The tasting of the Coleccion De La Casa with a Scotch Cask finish was held in the distilleries executive tasting room along with six other prominent spirits writers and the companies Master Distiller Teresa Lara and Master Taster Ruben Aceves who also serves as the distillery VIP tour guide.

Ole Smoky Moonshine Lands Major Distribution Deal- Now Available in 49 States

Moonshine has now been legal for about 4 ½ years and of the handful of companies selling right now, OLE SMOKY out of Gatlingburg, Tennessee seems to have the upper hand.  About 750,000 cases of the stuff a year are now being shipped in the USA, and the international market is about to open up as the perception of what moonshine is becomes clearer.  

Pump in West Hollywood-Is  it Good as the Hype

Pump in West Hollywood has now been open since May, 2014, and initially reservations were impossible to get due to the anticipation of the opening, and the celebrity of reality television star Lisa Vanderpump.  Now things have settled down and you can now get in to the classy restaurant, although reservations are a must on weekends and for a Gay Sunday brunch.  

Champagne Jacquart and the Cuvee Alpha Female Head Winemaker Visits Beverly Hills

The new winemaker for Champagne Jacquart was in Beverly Hills this week for a private tasting whch included their premium release called Cuvee Alpha.  Her name is Floriane Eznak, and although I do not know what percentage of champagne producers have women as their head winemaker, but this particular one certainly knew her stuff.  She has only been on board for three years, so her wine will make its debut in 2015, and observers will be keenly waiting to compare to previous years.

Highland Park Launches Dark Origins Single Malt

Highland Park Scotch Whisky has a rich heritage from its home base in Orkney where it is one of the few distilleries in the farthest Northern outpost of the British Isles. The new Dark Origins expression is inspired by the tenacity and fortitude of the Highland Park founder Magnus Eunson. Legend has it that the distiller was a Scottish version of a ‘bootlegger” over 216 years ago in Orkney avoiding the hated tax collector as he distilled his dark whisky for the people. During daylight hours he provided spiritual salvation in his church, and at night he was a secret distiller.

Jabushe Skin Care from Sweden- Secret Ingredient Promises Big Results- 51% Reducation in Fine Lines and Wrinkles Proven in Studies

This is a new line of skin care products being imported from Sweden that have a secret patented Ingredient called  QA-100. This magic potion has been studied and published by Dr.Harry Beitner of the British Journal of Dermatology. It is a combination of three active anti-ageing ingredients : Lipoic Acid, Acetyl  carnitine and Coenzyme Q10. What you can expect is to start looking as fresh and healthy as a Swedish woman, with the smoothing out of wrinkles and a general youthful  glow to the skin.

Grey Goose Launch New VX Product - Rich Combination of Vodka and Cognac

September sees the release of the latest product in the Grey Goose empire, VX Grey Goose, a combination of their brand leader vodka and cognac.  A soft launch of private tastings in select cities saw RICH JOURNEY (www.richjourney.com)  treading the boards in West Hollywood this week for a very select gathering that included two of their brand ambassadors, bar owner David Kaplan and roving ambassador Guillaume Jobien.

Campo de Escanto Pisco from Peru - Powerful Spirit Making Inroads into the Market

I know very little about this spirit from Peru, but the people behind it seem very nice and it is really a labor of love to spread the word about it in the USA.  The spirit is also very nice, although maybe a little too strong to drink neat, and lot more acceptable to use in a cocktail. However I was assured that you will never experience a hangover after drinking this stuff, and after trying a few fruity style cocktails at a recent tasting in Santa Monica with the San Francisco folks from Campo De Escanto I am more than happy to spread the word.

Cabernet Sauvignon from Tanner Dafoe Winery: Boutique Operation sets a high Standard

Only 142 cases of the 2010 Tanner Dafoe 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon are produced and since this is a wine you can keep for up to 15 years we must assume that if you can force yourself not to drink it, it is a good investment. This full bodied and very rich wine builds on the 2009 release offering more in the high tone aromatics and just as elegant. The Santa Ynez based winery also has an excellent 2011 Rogues Blend that is as subtle and sharp as the very sleek and all black packaging of the product indicating something out of the ordinary and special to the consumer. Based out of a small and rocky vineyard at the eastern end of the valley in the Buellton area, Tanner Dafoe are determined to produce wines as good as those coming from Bordeaux and they seem to have captured the essential spirit of the wine. Grape breakdown for the Rogue’s Blend is 75%  Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc.

Madera Kitchen Opens in Hollywood- Promising Young Chef Mixes Rustic with Mediterranean

Madera Kitchen on Cahuenga Blvd in a slightly unfashionable part of Hollywood should be judged alone on the food and the design of the place which makes it a very promising new spot. Opened in March and with a very talented young chef Kirk Plummer in charge, a quiet Wednesday night meal turned into a veritable feast. The prices are also extremely reasonable for a restaurant of this quality, with the highest menu item being the market fish entrée of the day and the Skirt Steak at $25. There is a very appealing patio area which is a perfect place to eat as well, and overall this is a very comfortable spot.

Schramsberg Sparkling Wines and the Political Connection

Schramsberg Wines are based in Calistoga, California, and the relatively high end Winery has been family owned since 1965 at the original estate started by German Immigrant Jacob Schram in 1862. Interestingly at that time their were 21 wineries in Napa Valley utilizing less than 50 acres of vineyards planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The winery ceased operations in 1912 seven years after the death of Jacob Schram, and re-opened in 1965 when the property and land was purchased by Jack and Jaimie Davis. Today the winery is run by Hugh Davies, who was born a month after his family took over.

The Silver Trumpet Changes Approach in Costa Mesa

The Silver Trumpet at the Avenue of the Arts Wyndham Hotel in Costa Mesa is yet another dining option in a city that has more restaurants per resident than any other city in the USA. This is a perfect spot if you are going to the Segerstom Arts Center which is a short walking distance away. The hotel itself has completed a $20 million renovation, and the results are quite stunning. The restaurant alone is sleek and stunning including the classy new Silver Trumpet Patio Bar and Lounge which has launched an innovative cocktail menu and wines from around the world.

Fort Bragg-A Remote Retreat on the Mendicino Coast 

Fort Bragg is a quiet Northern California coastal town off the Mendocino coast, and part of the fun is getting there since this is quite a remote destination. We flew in to San Francisco and then drove north on Highway 101 to Highway 128 West all the way to the coast before heading up Highway 1 to Mendocino Village and then Fort Bragg. Mendocino County gets up to 1.8 million visitors a year thanks to its 80 miles of Pacific coastline, 85 wineries, 23 state/national parklands and over 500 diverse accommodations. Nearest airport is Sonoma County Airport aka Charles M.Schulz

Pursue Skin Launches in Beverly Hills

There is a new player in town in the crowded skin care/anti aging world, and PURSUE from Beverly Hills might just have the legs and stamina to succeed in this constantly evolving market. Nice packaging always helps, and in this case the company comes up a winner. An attractive powder blue look will go well on the shelves of the high end Spa’s the company is selling to, before national and eventually global markets are conquered. Products work both for men and women as well and there is a real buzz about Pursue in the industry.  A lot of time, money and planning have gone into this venture by a gentleman who is not a beauty industry veteran, but who seems to have surrounded himself with a good team.

Brokers London Dry Gin is the Worlds Best?

Here is a gin that comes highly touted as the “World’s Best Gin” from the makers of course. The people at Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Plymouth , Tanqueray and Oxley might have something to say about that, but in all honesty Whitley Neill remains my favorite.  However the list of awards for Broker’s is impressive, such as Gold Medal at International Spirits Competition (Germany 2009) and the Masters Award at Gin Masters (London 2008).  More recently, Broker’s was the Chairman’s Trophy Winner at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge (New York 2010) racking up a whopping 97 points beating out such luminaries as Beefeater (96), Citadelle Reserve, Tanqueray and the excellent Plymouth who all had 93 points.

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