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.

Jeffrey Saad inside his new restaurant La Ventura.

Herradura tequila and Jeffrey Saad’s La Ventura, a new upscale Mexican restaurant in Studio City, CA, held a special dinner event that offered food pairings with the premium tequilas. Saad is a talented chef, known nationally for his Food Network and Cooking Channel appearances. Herradura is among the top premium tequilas on the market. The pairing dinner proved to be a winning combination.

Peter Himmelman at Mint

Two talented musicians shared the bill on a warm August night at The Mint in Los Angeles. Peter Himmelman, a local guitarist, singer and songwriter calls Los Angeles home. His resume includes a long list of film and TV compositions. Jon Cleary is from England, but has called New Orleans home for over 20 years. He is a funk and R&B keyboard, guitar and song writing dynamo. Each musician, along with solid supporting players, gave a strong performance at The Mint.

kerri walsh jennings hitting over agatha at The Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball.

Long Beach, California was the site of a spectacular, multi-faceted beach celebration called The Asics World Series of Beach Volleyball Thousands of fans enjoyed a week of world class volleyball, live music and fun activities. The featured event was the FIVB Grand Slam, a beach volleyball tournament featuring the best male and female players in the world competing for prize money totaling $1,000,000. After six days of grueling competition, the top seeded teams from the USA emerged victorious to capture the gold medals.

Turkuaz publicity photo

A live show by a band that you’ve heard good things about, but never seen is always fraught with risk. Will they live up to expectations or disappoint and be quickly forgotten? Turkuaz, a nine piece band from Brooklyn, NY with a solid pedigree (graduates from the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston) exceeded expectations during their energetic show at The Mint in Los Angeles on July 9.

Roca Patrón logo

The name Patrón is synonymous with high end tequila. They created the market for quality tequilas in the United States while dispelling the idea that this misunderstood spirit is only appropriate for frat boy party shenanigans. Patrón proved that a well made, expertly marketed tequila could transform the industry. Their new small batch line, Roca Patrón, is designed to compete with the ultra premium brands that have recently entered the market. Based on Patrón’s track record and their marketing machine, the new Roca Patrón tequilas will dominate the ultra premium segment.

Abita Brewery logo

New Orleans is known for great food, jazz, culture and debauchery. While tourists in the city can find more than their fair share of each, the southern Louisiana area features other attractive destinations. New Orleans visitors looking for nearby travel adventures can enjoy a riverboat ride, see grand estates and go on bayou tours. Another interesting destination is a day trip to the Abita Brewing Company. Beer lovers know that Abita is ubiquitous with New Orleans. What they may not know is that Abita is a Louisiana success story and the brewery is an easy trip from New Orleans. Visitors will learn about the history of the brewery, enjoy a tour and get the chance to sample their many delicious beers.

Mainopoly logo

The games began on Memorial Day weekend (Sunday, May 25, to be exact) as local businesses along Santa Monica's Main Street came together to raise money to support the street's 14th Annual Summer SOULstice– to be held on June 21-22 – and to help the Heal the Bay foundation, by hosting MAINopoly: A Taste of Main Street, which was a foodie version of the classic board game Monopoly.

Neil Patrick Harris brought his whole family to see Cirque du Soleil "Totem."

The circus is in town! Tuesday evening, January 21, 2014, was a star-studded night at the premiere of Cirque du Soleil's Totem at the Santa Monica Pier. Celebrities turned out in droves to see the show, first hitting the Tapis Rogue (red carpet), including Neil Patrick Harris, Alison Janney, Jason Alexander, Paris Hilton and Mario Lopez.

Gov't Mule at Fonda Theatre with Robbie Kreiger

Gov’t Mule returned to the Fonda Theatre (formerly the Music Box) for a special pre-Halloween show on October 30th. Each year they select a classic rock band to cover for the occasion. They chose The Doors for the 2013 special event and raised the level of anticipation by announcing that guest guitarist Robbie Kreiger, a founding member of The Doors, would join the band for the entire cover set. The sold out show was filled with Gov’t Mule fans who remember The Doors music reverentially and even a few who may have seen the original band. The place was sold out and many came in wacky costomes. The first set covered a broad spectrum of old and new Gov’t Mule material and the second set was a laundry list of Doors classics.

Herradura tequila bottles at Loteria Grill tasting event

Herradura tequila and Jimmy Shaw’s Loteria Grill joined forces for a series of tastings that paired food selections with the premium tequila. Herradura is one of the oldest makers of fine tequilas and Loteria Grill is well respected in Los Angeles for their authentic Mexican cuisine. What set the series in motion was Shaw’s fondness for the Herradura brand and his custom designed signature private reserve double barrel reposado that was bottled recently and introduced at the tasting series.

Taste of Mexico Association Event crowd shot with projected logos

LA Plaza, the historic site of Mexican-American culture and heritage in Downtown Los Angeles was an appropriate location for the 2013 Taste of Mexico event. Authentic Mexican cuisine, fine booze and live music could be found at the open air site. On this beautiful night, hundreds of attendees enjoyed a diverse array of bite size treats from a who’s who list of Los Angeles restaurants. A number of fine tequila, mezcal and beer companies were also offering cocktails and tastings of their products. The Taste of Mexico Association, whose goal is to enhance and promote Mexican cuisine, put on a fine culinary evening that showcased some of the best Mexican food and drink in Los Angeles.