3321 Pico Blvd Santa Monica CA 90404

Oscar Night viewing party

This story was originally seen on BeverlyPress.com as Oscar Night Viewing Party.

Dress up and head to Upper West Restaurant to watch the 88th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 28. The Oscar viewing party begins at 4:30 p.m. Guests can vote for their favorite Oscar contenders and win prizes. Upper West will donate 25 percent of the evening’s proceeds to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training. The suggested donation is $20. Reservations are recommended. 3321 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310)586-1111.

February: A Busy Month for Upper West Restaurant

Thi article was originally posted as February: A Busy Month for Upper West Restaurant on Huffington Post.

Valentine’s day came and went with a flurry. As usual, the trendy Santa Monica restaurant Upper West catered to a sold out crowd on the most romantic night of the year. Next in line for Upper West is an opening reception for artist Brooke Harker on Sunday, February 21.

Photo courtesy of Brooke Harker, Heart of the View, ink, oil & acrylic on canvas, 36″ x 93″

Harker just returned from her second trip to Italy where her lively paintings were featured in two solo exhibitions. The latter took place in January 2016 at Satura Art Gallery in the old town district of Genoa, Italy. In 2015, she completed an artist residency on a farm in Italy (about an hour south of Rome) where she created the works for that collection. There she lived the artist dream, entrenched in Italian culture…painting and visiting historic landmarks. Harker, a Los Angeles based cityscape artist (known for capturing the energy of busy LA scenes as well as numerous cities around the world), gained this opportunity due to her ability to depict urban perspectives which transport viewers into the colorful worlds created on canvas.

Harker revealed that one of the challenges she encountered in Italy which truly changed her as an artist, was that she had to re-adjust her work-to-life ratio. Italians are known for being relaxed, drinking wine, and enjoying social interactions in the middle of the day…that was a foreign concept for the hard working artist. “I really thought I would paint in Italy like I did in LA…with speed, force, and an unyielding pursuit of a goal. Instead, I encountered many people who were just sure that I couldn’t enjoy my life while working. I learned that Italians want everyone to enjoy their lives. After weeks of fighting it, I gave up and allowed myself to adapt to the culture. I agreed to embrace life differently. I took more breaks and soaked in the details… Perhaps that was an ironic and humbling shift for me.” One can only assume that this point hit home for the artist since her work spotlights the beauty of life’s details in the midst of an active scene.

Photo courtesy of Brooke Harker, Avalon Days 2, 62 x 75, ink oil acrylic on canvas

At Upper West, Harker will be showcasing various selections of her cityscapes, some of which caught the attention of Italian curator Alfio Borghese and landed her that opportunity to paint LA in Italy. This solo exhibition titled “Memoirs of Cities” will feature images from downtown LA to coastal areas such as Laguna Beach, Dana Point, Catalina, as well as some from San Francisco, New York City, and Tokyo.

As Harker has resumed life and painting in LA, she said she continues to apply what she learned abroad in future collections both inspired by Italy and US cities. “Perhaps there is always room to enjoy moments more,” said Harker. “There is nourishment in colors and in savoring life’s details the same way there are vitamins in food. Being healthy is a matter of choosing which moments to take in just like we choose our meals.”

A fan of the restaurant, Harker said she is excited about showing her work at Upper West. “I’m quite impressed with the food at Upper West…the dishes are like works of art!”

The artist continued, “I paint the fleeting moments that for a split second fuel me. One such moment inspired Broadway & 6th, which features a bustling scene in downtown Los Angeles. The crosswalk flashed a countdown of seconds while I crossed the street. I left the camera display screen off and didn’t look through the viewfinder when I snapped photos over my shoulder. It was a game to see what I could capture by chance and from that moment of play, this painting was born.”

Photo courtesy of Brooke Harker, Broadway & 6th, ink, oil and acrylic on canvas, 45″ x 90″ x 3.75″

Harker’s vibrant depictions of gritty urban sprawl make for a lively and colorful exhibition adding to the ambiance and exquisite American fusion cuisine at Upper West.

Looking forward to the following week…the Oscars will once again be celebrated at the restaurant. Upper West will host a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society fundraiser and donate a portion of the proceeds to the nonprofit. Harker has also agreed to donate a portion of sales on original paintings that day. “The condition affects children and families everywhere,” added Harker. “Regardless of methods used to treat cancer, my heart goes out to those who suffer the loss of loved ones.”

Sara K. Fay (LLS volunteer and organizer) explained, “The work that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is doing to create a world free of blood cancer is simply unparalleled. No other organization has been as dedicated to researchers, hospitals, patients and their families than LLS. In fact, LLS has been involved in EVERY major blood cancer breakthrough in the last 50 years, and in that time span, survival rates for blood cancers have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled. They’ve invested $1 billion to get those results. Their commitment to the cause is clear.”


It was Fay’s idea to start the fundraiser three years ago. In 2011, at the age of twenty-three, she lost her Dad to acute myeloid leukemia. Since then she has helped to raise more than $100,000 for LLS to fund research, cures, and patient support programs. Last year, Lindsey Adelstein joined forces with her, and this year, Cameron Iverson has also joined the planning team.

The viewing party begins at 4:30 pm (at the start of the red carpet event). Attendees are encouraged to dress for the occasion and participate in the Oscar winner prediction challenge. Prizes and additional drawings will be part of the event. There is a suggested donation of $20. The full menu will be available.

Upper West is located at 3321 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. For more information or to make reservations, call 310.586.1111 or visit TheUpperWest.com. To find out more about LLS, see LLS.org.

Artichoke Yum: Santa Monica Eat Well Week

artichokes+produce+peteThis article was originally seen as Artichoke Yum: Santa Monica Eat Well Week, courtesy of NBC Los Angeles.

Many people will open their refrigerator door and give it the hard eye over the first days of the new year, as is tried-and-true tradition.

We’re told to clean our pantries, or at least dispose of old candy and other temptations, and the cookie jar? That has to be emptied ASAP.

But eating out as a new year dawns is another matter. Not every restaurant, or region, highlights our healthier longings come January, though one local burg makes the commitment to more conscious eating each and every year.

It’s Santa Monica, and Eat Well Week, which begins a few days into January. Eat Well Week gives a flavorful framework to the group effort held on behalf of some city restaurants, restaurants that both want to get on board with their customers’ early-in-the-year resolutions and highlight some interesting dishes.

That will be done, in 2016, via the star of the show: the artichoke. People dining out at participating eateries won’t be eating the prickly favorite in its steamed, mostly nude form; rather, a variety of dishes, centered around the thistle, will get the Eat Well Week love.

That love’ll be all around from Jan. 11 through 16, when Border Grill, Pono Burger, Rawvolution, The Albright, and other Santa Monica-based venues will serve up artichokes in numerous ways. Upper West is going with a chargrilled artichoke, complete with chimchurri, pomegranate, and other goodies, while FIG Restaurant has an Albacore Tuna Rice Bowl (the marinated artichokes up the entree’s general zing).

There’s a social media contest, too, which gives users a chance to pick the best dishes and nab a prize.

Are you a through-and-through artichokean? The 2016 theme of Eat Well Week was picked just for you then. Trying all the various artichoke dishes at participating Santa Monica cafes does not, unfortunately, get you out of cleaning your own fridge, so best get on that before Jan. 11 arrives.

Autistic Teen Chef Turns Food Aversion Into Cooking Passion

This article was originally seen on Yahoo Food as Autistic Teen Chef Turns Food Aversion Into Cooking Passion.

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — When Chase Bailey was diagnosed with autism at 2, his mother feared he’d never enjoy a typical childhood. Indeed, he hasn’t. Between appearances with celebrities and hosting his own cooking show, Bailey’s life feels anything but typical.

During the past two years, the 13-year-old has spiced up ramen noodles with Korean-American street food guru Roy Choi, simmered butternut squash soup with Sting’s daughter, Fuschia Sumner, and baked hundreds of bright blue frosted cookies for guests at an Autism Speaks gala in Los Angeles where he was introduced by Conan O’Brien.

The days when Bailey would eat nothing but pizza, chicken, french fries, chocolate chip cookies, and chips with dip almost seem like a faint memory.

“He wasn’t even eating food until he was 8 years old,” said Nick Shipp, executive chef at The Upper West, the Santa Monica, California, restaurant where Bailey helps cook dinner once a week. “For him to go from that to cooking and eating all kinds of different things, it’s pretty remarkable.”

Chase Bailey takes a holiday spice pound cake out of the oven. (Photo: AP)

After her son’s diagnosis, friends and acquaintances prepared Mary Bailey for the worst. He’d never be able to have a job, some said. He’d probably never learn to socialize. And he’d never be independent.

“You just hear a lot of things that are downers,” she said.

She immediately placed her son in school and therapy. At home, she struggled to get him to eat. Like many on the autism spectrum, Chase found food overwhelming. The sight, smell, feel and taste of almost everything put on his plate tipped his sensory system over the edge.

“I didn’t like how it looked,” he said. “I didn’t like how it smelled.”

Then he started watching cooking shows with his grandfather. He got hooked on seeing people enjoy the food they were eating. Within six months, he started asking to try some of the foods he saw on shows like Cooking Channel’s “Eat St.” and Food Network’s “Chopped.” Among his early requests: fried alligator, frog legs and beef tongue.

“He was just devouring it,” Mary Bailey recalled with a laugh.

13-year-old chef Chase Bailey, left, and actress Fuchsia Sumner, who recently taped a holiday special with Bailey. (Photo: AP)

Two years later, he confided to his mother that one day he wanted to have his own cooking show.

“She was like, ‘Why wait?’” Chase Bailey said.

Setting out with her home camcorder and using a friend’s kitchen, they recorded the first episode of “Chase ‘N Yur Face” and posted it to YouTube. The show quickly caught the attention of autism groups and, realizing the impact they could have, Mary Bailey began looking for ways to enhance the production. She hired a professional film crew and started incorporating cooking and shooting episodes into her son’s homeschool curriculum.

Chase Bailey, using the cooking shows he watched as inspiration, started reaching out by email to chefs he admired and invited them to tape episodes with him.

“It was no big deal,” Bailey said nonchalantly. “I’m like, ‘If they’re doing it, I’m doing it.’”

In the show, a confident, charismatic Chase whips up everything from cupcakes to braised rabbit. The show — which now has more than 30 episodes online — has garnered tens of thousands of views.

A holiday spice pound cake with some strawberries baked by 13-year-old autistic chef Chase Bailey. (Photo: AP)

“I love that there’s a story behind it,” said Sumner, an actress living in Los Angeles. She recently taped a holiday special with the teen. “Food is emotional.”

The most challenging part, Mary Bailey said, has been learning how to produce a show. She spent 20 years in the corporate world before leaving a management position to focus full-time on her son. Chase Bailey said his biggest challenge was learning how to fry chicken while talking in front of a camera.

“To see your child go from little to no speech, no eye contact … having extreme food aversions, all of these symptoms, to almost the exact opposite,” Mary Bailey said, “I don’t know, it feels miraculous.”

Chase Bailey dreams of one day seeing his show on television and wants to open his own restaurant. He also hopes his experience can help others with autism.

“Don’t be afraid to be you,” Chase Bailey said.

“Hear, hear,” Sumner said. “Be yourself because everyone else is taken.”

Opening Reception Sunday At Upper West For Artist Emily Van Horn

144553699242634This article originally appeared on smmirror.com as Opening Reception Sunday At Upper West For Artist Emily Van Horn.

For Venice artist Emily Van Horn, her paintings represent the distillation of accumulated experiences and how they’ve been instinctively contained and translated. She describes each piece as beginning as a journal entry using paint instead of words.

Locals will be able to enjoy her latest works beginning this Sunday, Oct. 25 when she exhibits her works at Upper West restaurant at 3321 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica. An opening reception, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 4 pm to 7 pm Sunday. The works will stay on the restaurant’s walls for about three to four months.

In recent years Van Horn has been a part of various group shows and events in Santa Monica and Venice, include the Venice Art Walk, Venice ArtBlock and various other local exhibitions. Van Horn runs a private practice of energy healing, something she has done since 1993.

She says she got into painting because she was always around other artists. She says she also went to a lot of museums. “I was an appreciator of art,” says Van Horn, who was born and grew up in Long Beach. Van Horn remembers how she got into painting “almost like an accident.” “I kind of just fell into it,” she says.

She recalls when she took a collage class at a community college for fun, she incorporated what she learned into her painting.

With the support of her professor, she was propelled forward into improving her art.

Inspiration for Van Horn is not typical; to her, it is a “mystery, the creative process.”

Color, line, shape, and collage now become the vehicle for creating a visual map of where she’s been and where she wants to go, she says.

Painting is an “internal process” for Van Horn; she always paints works with an intention of having them be uplifting to the viewer.

Despite that, a healing quality sinks into her work because she works in the energy healing field, which leads to Van Horn having a unique view of her own artistic process.

Her enjoyment of painting and her style is a part of her “fascination with color.”

Van Horn’s love of color, combined with her background of appreciation of art, museums, and collage, makes for an abstract style.

She acknowledges the notion, adding: “not everything you create is something you fall in love with or are drawn to aesthetically; what you create is what needs to come out.”

Her advice to all artists who need motivation and guidance is simple yet profound.

“Follow your heart; follow your intuition,” she says. “Don’t listen to others. Keep going, keep creating.”

To keep in contact with Emily Van Horn, visit her website at www.emilyvanhorn.com. For more information on Upper West, visit theupperwest.com.

Book Your Event

For more information or to book your next special event, contact Fred at: fred@theupperwest.com or call (310)586-1111

Customer Comments


Heard about this place as "a new Santa Monica Restaurant hot spot". It definitely is that exactly. Super cool vibe, great straight-forward menu and killer bar selection. The crafted beers on tap put this place on the radar for me and the signature cocktails are delicious. I had the Honey Rye and my girlfriend had the Pepperoncini Martini. The first time I went I had the Burger, which was really good...the second time I went with the Braised Short Ribs...YUM. The decor inside is classy, but not pretentious. Perfect place for date-night or just hanging out at the bar. Bravo Upper West. You'll be seeing a lot of me and my friends! All night Happy Hour on Monday nights?...I'm in

Candy N.

I've been to this Santa Monica restaurant twice, and both times it was for a birthday party.

The atmosphere is amazing, the drinks are perfect, and the food is always pleasing. I think the most recent time I went, I got the salmon, and it was really good!

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