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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.

Irvine chef, 13, to cook at Autism Speaks gala

10733910_10153590974421590_8995617737084301345_oIt was an honor to cook along side aspiring chef Chase Bailey at this year’s Autism Speaks!

This article originally appeared in The Orange County Register Click Here to View the full article. 

IRVINE – Chase Bailey, a 13-year-old aspiring chef, is set to cook Thursday alongside some of the country’s gastronomic greats at the Autism Speaks to Los Angeles Celebrity Chef Gala at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.

Chase, who was diagnosed with autism as a toddler, will be working as sous-chef alongside Nick Shipp, executive chef of the Upper West restaurant in Los Angeles.

The Irvine teen will be introduced by late-night TV host Conan O’Brien and share how his relationship with food changed his life.

When he was younger, Chase had strong food aversions, a symptom often associated with autism, but watching cooking shows on TV inspired him to try new foods. Since then, Chase has created a YouTube cooking show and launched a food-focused website.

Cookies made by Chase will go home with attendees in their goody bags, organizers said.

Check out Chase’s work at chasenyurface.com.

– Sarah de Crescenzo

Santa Monica’s newest selfie moment: street art off the I-10

la-et-cm-la-s-newest-street-art-selfie-draw201-003Have you taken a selfie under the floating silver crown yet? We are loving the new mural by Artist Gus Harper! Thank you so much Los Angeles Times for the mention and Gus for making our block a little cooler

This article originally appeared in Los Angeles Times as Santa Monica’s newest selfie moment: street art off the I-10

 

The museum selfie may be having a moment — and not surprisingly, so is the street-art selfie.

Artist Gus Harper’s “The Minor Identity Crisis Mural” went up last week in Santa Monica on the exterior of a graphic design firm visible from Interstate 10, at the Centinela Avenue offramp. A floating, silver crown in the mural is drawing selfie snappers who have been posing beneath it, as if wearing the headpiece.

The 75-foot-long mural appears on the exterior of Romero Thorsen Design and the project was coordinated by the nonprofit organization Beautify Earth. The artwork is divided into 14 panels, some of which are abstract patterns, while others are more narrative, depicting human silhouettes.

Each panel represents a different chapter in a person’s life, the artist said.

“It’s about overcoming fear and reaching your potential and becoming your best version of yourself,” Harper said.

While Harper was painting the mural, passersby stopped to take photos, he said. Patrons of a nearby restaurant called the Upper West have taken a particular interest in the mural, wandering over to snap selfies under the crown.

Interactive street art has been a popular phenomenon for a while. Since 2012, artist Colette Miller’s floating angel’s wings on Hewitt Street in the downtown L.A. arts district have drawn celestial-minded selfie snappers posing between the feathery appendages. In Austin, the design firm Creative Suitcase’s toast and butter pad mural — “You’re My Butter Half” – for the United Way for Greater Austin building draws selfie-happy couples.

Harper’s selfie-sticky crown, however, was a happy accident, he says.

“The crown — I accidentally put that in there and it just happens to be the right height when you stand under it,” the artist said.

Funding for the project was provided by the Pico Improvement Organization.

 

 

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

Monk-

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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