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Dine at The Masters Table

LONGINES-Chef-Yves-INTERVIEWChef Yves Mattagne sits casually on a white couch in the Masters Club lounge overlooking the dining tables that surround the equestrian ring. A native of Belgium, his charming accent and warm smile pour into his culinary vocabulary, as he explains how he prepares a cold gazpacho with warm lobster to serve 600 tables at the Longines Masters in Los Angeles this weekend. He uses this description to illustrate how he has mastered the art of serving his cuisine at the Longines Masters. 

A celebrated Michelin chef, his flagship restaurant in Brussels, Sea Grill, is where his creativity comes alive. He serves the ‘fruits of the sea’ in their most natural state, using foraged pine tree bark to smoke fish a la minute, wild mushrooms for risotto (and for stuffing chicken), seaweed in water to infuse and bring out the natural flavors of seafood, allowing the freshness to come out. 

To prepare the ringside dining menus, Chef Yves uses local ingredients sourced in Los Angeles for his mise en place, improvising and interchanging ingredients for the event. Each menu for the Longines Masters will be different for lunch during showtimes as well as the gala dinners. For over five years with Longines Masters, the chef has served his fine cuisine during the equestrian events (previously known as Gucci Masters) in Hong Kong and Paris, as well as Los Angeles.

Cooking for this event takes serious planning. As he described a soup, I wondered how it is possible to keep the heat and temperature just right for each serving— cold gazpacho with warm lobster in the center takes finesse. The ingredients are prepared in the kitchen then brought out on a cart to each table for service. The waiter serves the diners from the temperature gauged serving dishes. He chooses local produce and arranges the menus to appeal to a multicultural audience, with much more than seafood and a variety of dishes.

Chef Yves describes how he creates a dish at his main restaurant in Brussels by describing the fragrance of herbs, how he uses a small amount of butter to enhance flavor, a special pepper from Kazakhstan, and his own selected spices. As an example, he explains the process of making langoustines smoked on a hot stone a la minute, dousing the langoustine with a splash of whiskey, serving it with a creamy chestnut soup garnished with shaved white truffles. He prepares a white fish poached in seaweed-infused water for about ten minutes, allowing the sea salt and seaweed to bring out the freshness of the fish. He cooks scallops in tact inside of their shell by opening and cleaning out the shell first, keeping the scallops inside. He then puts seaweed inside the shell with some special pepper and sea salt, then cooks them in a steamer. The scallops are served at the dining table as the server places each scallop upon the diner’s plate, scooping it out, freshly cooked within its shell.

“Keep all the flavor, all the natural things. I serve this kind of dish [scallops steamed within their shell] with soup of watercress, garnished with an emulsion of oyster and caviar. That’s my way of cooking.” Chef Yves Mattagne

The chef forages for his own ingredients, such as pine tree bark and morel mushrooms. He first poaches the bark to remove the spores and bacteria. Then he cleans the inside of bark and encloses fish within, steaming fish, such as sea bass, with pinecone-infused sea salt inside of the pine bark. The result is a flavor imparted to the fish that perfumes it with the essence of pine while keeping the natural flavors. 

To Chef Mattagne, the prepared dish “must be beautiful and kept in its natural way.” He emphasizes that “the food must be kept as it is, do not take away its natural taste, cook slowly to bring out the natural flavor, heat it so that it comes warm, do not cook quickly.”

Chef Yves Mattagne will share his menus for the Longines Masters event in an upcoming post, along with a recipe to be featured from the menus. 





Love is All You Need in a Breakfast Bowl {RECIPE}


I’VE BEEN IN THE MOOD for overnight oats. It’s easy to make, all ready to eat by morning, and absolutely delicious whether I’m on the go or have a moment to savor breakfast awhile. I’ve made different recipes so far using oats as a base, but creating and discovering new flavor mixtures has become even better because I’ve added buckwheat. Might I even say buckwheat has become an overnight sensation in my fridge? Yes, it has paired up with oats and transformed my breakfast entirely. When you start your day with love in a bowl, good things happen.

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Last Day of Summer in Palos Verdes


Terranea-Last Day of Summer-Palos-VerdesThe weather was perfectly summery and Californian as I opened the sunroof and windows, with long hair blowing wildly in the wind. My youngest daughter, seven, carried an armful of dolls into the car for her entertainment, while my ten year old daughter listened to music through her headphones. The drive was clear and we were sailing smooth on the southbound 405 freeway from the heat of the San Fernando Valley, with the Labor Day holiday to thank for an open road.

We arrived just a little earlier than our reservations at Catalina Kitchen. Outside on the patio, the light, the temperature, everything I could have wanted for an early dinner, was idyllic. As I noticed there were other families sitting around us at the neighboring tables— we were but a small nucleus of three— mom and two daughters.

Our waiter came to the table and gave me the run down of dinner specials, but we had already decided on one thing: pizza. Brick oven pizzas listed on the menu as Margherita, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, Farm, bacon, salami, tomatoes, white cheddar, Bianca, white cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan, goat cheese, sage, Rocket, oven roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan, olives, wild arugula, lemon oil, Prosciutto, gorgonzola, prosciutto, tomatoes, oregano. The girls were quite satisfied to have only pizza, however, I was eyeing the heirlooms and mozzarella salad, with an impulsive decision to ask for the truffle parmesan fingerling potatoes as well. With a quick glance at the wine list, a glass of Chardonnay was my treat, while my youngest insisted on her favorite cocktail of lemonade. My ten year old didn’t want iced tea as I suggested. That’s fine. Her iPhone battery went, much to my pleasure, and she actually made conversation. I was so happy to share a place that I love— Terranea. My daughters were talking and laughing together rather than bickering and teasing each other. Glass of wine in hand, I took a deep inhale.

The sky reminded me of a Maxfield Parrish painting as the sun slowly sank into the ocean’s horizon. Not quite dusk yet, the glass lanterns above us on the patio glimmered in the reflected light, and everything glowed with a golden hue. 


Our Margherita pizza arrived first. Nothing fussy, just fresh from the oven with a thin, crisp crust, neither greasy nor heavy, with ample amounts of fluffy mozzarella cheese. The tomatoes appeared roasted, sliced in their skins, grown in the Terranea gardens, as I’m sure these tomatoes, as well as the basil, green and fragrant, chopped in chiffonade ribbons and strewn upon the surface of the pizza, were all grown here. I’ve come to know the kitchens of Terranea, as my previous visit was a private dinner at one of the villas, where Chef Bernard Ibarra explained how they source their produce locally, growing a harvest of vegetables and herbs, as well as create their own signature sea salts. The difference in flavor is remarkable. Separating the slices out for both of my daughters, they savored, didn’t complain, and my youngest tasted the tomatoes instead of casting them into a discard pile on the side of her plate. 



The fingerling potatoes, rustic in their skins, were placed on the table in an iron skillet. I’m not expecting truffle oil and fortunately the subtle hint of truffles mingled with the parmesan. It was real truffle and not the cloying oil. The waiter did not offer ketchup, thank goodness, nor did he come around often asking if I’m “still working on that” — two peeves of mine. I’m in heaven. We were simply allowed the leisurely pleasure of eating good food. Potatoes, dusted with parmesan, nothing complicated. 


Once my girls were well into their second slices each, I took my time and noticed how this last day of summer seemed to go on longer, bringing me back to childhood, when hours elongated their shadows and moments like this impressed into my memory. 

Terranea-Catalina-Caprese-CloseupThe last days of summer when I was a girl were spent running outside in my backyard, barefoot on the damp lawn, with sprinklers arcing out their feathery droplets. Tomatoes grew abundantly in our garden— plump-bodied, juicy, flavorful ripe tomatoes. 

Terrane-Catalina-Kitchen-Caprese-SaladThe Heirlooms and Mozzarella Salad arrived with its golden slices of tomato that looked like mango, with a pillow of burrata, olives, basil, avocado, pine nuts, olive oil and balsamic. I gave a slice of this golden tomato to each of my daughters to taste— their eyes widened tasting its flavor. This was a true heirloom tomato.


Before sunset, my daughters wanted to swim. We left the table to walk around in the balmy air, circling the swimming pool until we found the right lounge. As my littlest girl dove into the pool, I wrapped myself in a warm swath of hotel towels, letting go into the last few hours of the day, as the cerulean blue sky changed into deep indigo. The fire pits began their warming blaze, and laughter came from my two girls at the setting of the sun into a blue horizon of night. 

Catalina Kitchen, Terranea Resort Hotel, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275 (310) 265-2800  Reservations: (866) 802-8000


Luscious Lemon Cheesecake {raw vegan recipe}


One of my favorite desserts is lemon cheesecake with an irresistibly luscious tangy lemon flavor. I’m not saying that because I want to tempt you with this raw vegan recipe, because even the best cheesecakes cannot compare to the fresh taste of this lemon cheesecake, so convincing is not necessary. Nothing but good stuff is involved here, though you’ll think you’re being naughty. 

I’ve tried several raw vegan versions of cheesecake recipes and came up with my own along the way. I will say that once you’ve tried cheesecake this way, it may become part of your kitchen repertoire. Forget the heavy amounts of fat and dairy. Cashews and coconut nourish that craving for something substantial and rich tasting. Sweetened with maple syrup (or honey), it’s a far better way to satisfy your sweet tooth. My children love this as well, which makes me happy, though I do have to save a sliver of it to enjoy before they eat it all up. Don’t worry about your basic kitchen skills either. All you need is a food processor or a high speed blender and a few basic ingredients.

The crumb of this cheesecake is made with dates and almonds. The dates can be very moist and replace both butter and sugar. The almond meal is your flour. That’s all you need. 

The filling is a creamy, full-bodied “cheesecake” made with raw soaked cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest. 

Top with fresh raspberries for a festive and summery dessert.



This lemony cheesecake is creamy, lemony tart, not too sweet and healthier than real cheesecake. Raw Vegan & Gluten Free. Enjoy!


  • 1 cup pitted dates (soaked in warm water if too dry, drained)
  • 1 cup raw almonds or almond meal
  • vanilla, just a splash


  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked in filtered water, drained
  • 3 large lemons, juice and zest
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk 
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)

Add dates and almonds to a food processor and pulse blend until crumbly. If you are using almond meal, add in like flour. Remove and set aside. It will stick together when you form it into your tart pan. If it’s too wet, add more almond meal while processing. Add more dates to make it moist. 

Lightly grease your tart pan with a light amount of coconut oil (or vegan butter).

Take handful amounts of crust and press it into the pan with your fingers, packing it down with your palm. My method of forming the crust against the fluted edge of the tart pan is done by using my thumbs to press it against the edge until it is uniformly shaped. Place in freezer to set, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

1-Raw-Vegan-Cheesecake Crust

While the crust is setting in the freezer, make the filling. 

Add all ingredients into a high speed blender and mix until creamy. I use my Vitamix for this recipe. The full body texture of blended cashews gives it a velvety feel, with the addition of coconut cream to make it extra luscious. If it is too thick, add more lemon juice to help it blend. Don’t worry, the mixture will thicken even more when it sets in the fridge. It should be the consistency of thick pancake batter with enough pour to come out of the pitcher. If you are using a food processor for this step, scoop it out with a spatula and it should stick. Taste your filling. It should be tart and not too sweet. Adjust the flavor with more or less maple syrup/honey or lemon juice. In my opinion, the more lemony the better. 

Take the crust out of the freezer and carefully pour the filling inside enough to fill to the rim. Don’t over fill if you have extra leftover— save the filling for making fruit topped parfaits or anything that you’d like. I think a spoonful of the extra cream with raspberries makes a perfect breakfast treat. 

Once the crust is filled, zest some extra lemon rind all over the cheesecake. You can also make candied lemon slices by drizzling thin slivers of lemon with maple syrup and letting them set in the fridge awhile. 

Place the cheesecake in the fridge to set. My method is to set it without plastic wrap so it doesn’t ruin the texture of the cheesecake. Otherwise, the wrap will stick to the surface and cause it to come off when you remove the wrap. You can always freeze it later once the cheesecake has set. 

Delicious as it is or topped with fresh raspberries. Serve very cold. Slightly thawed cheesecake from the freezer is great for summertime entertaining or after family meals, just make sure it doesn’t reach room temperature once you’ve left it out or it gets mushy. I like this served extra cold from the freezer and it cuts better that way. Enjoy! 






Chomp Eatery Takes a Juicy Bite Into Healthy Eats


Cold-pressed juice has become a thing in Los Angeles, with many juice shops offering a variety of fresh juice cleanses, yet most of them stop the blender right there. Not so with Chomp Eatery and Juice Station. This local spot in Santa Monica offers healthy food and a plateful of options in addition to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free fare. When you come in to grab a cool down of fresh juice, your tastebuds will also be tempted, and not just by vegan tempeh bacon. Chomp uses real Applewood bacon on their grass-fed burgers. Their menu boasts a variety of breakfast bowls (with granola, goji berries and cacao nibs) and breakfast burritos (Applewood bacon or homemade sausage, eggs, potatoes, cheese, avocado, Chomp salsa, tomatoes, red onions) plus many lunch choices to satisfy your stomach. Sink your teeth into their Chompotle Wrap, for instance, made with all-natural chicken, mixed greens, red onions, mushrooms and tomatoes wrapped in a savory spinach tortilla. I enjoyed my grilled veggie wrap overflowing with freshly grilled veggies, homemade pesto and greens, plus generous amounts of avocado. 


Chomp Eatery is stationed within an unassuming mini-mall along Santa Monica Boulevard. You could almost miss it if you weren’t looking. But owner Rolan Pongpuntara knows her lunch crowd. Customers from all over the Santa Monica area come in for their daily green juice fix and their paleo burger. The interior is inviting, earthy and just the kind of place to linger for awhile. It’s neighborhood-y vibe makes a quick stop for juice turn into a sit down lunch.


Greens, cold pressed juices, cleanses and wellness bowls can be enjoyed by those wanting a vegan/vegetarian choice (the wellness bowls use Greek yogurt), while wholesome BLT stacks and luscious wraps come with a side of fries or beer battered onion rings, mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries or salad. The meats are always fresh from free-range sources and the sauces are made from scratch in-house. Chipotle aioli, BBQ, basil aioli, cilantro aioli, ranch, pesto sauces are all made in the Chomp kitchen. Meat lovers will be so happy that there’s high quality gourmet grass-fed beef burgers, steak, BBQ grilled chicken, while veggie wrap sandwiches and salads satisfy those veggie lovers. Chomp Eatery’s signature “cheat day” meals are cheesy bacon tater tots, steak fries topped with marinated steak and a fried egg, popcorn chicken, and a donut burger. I told my omnivorous meat loving guy that Chomp wasn’t all juices and salads. Then I described the donut burger in detail: USDA Angus beef, American cheese and Applewood bacon on a glazed donut. His eyes lit up huge. This is how I’ll get him to drink green juice, or maybe green lemonade? Because the freshness of parsley, spinach, cucumber, kale, celery, romaine, lemon and agave sweetened lemonade is a perfectly refreshing way to cleanse your body and hydrate. 

What also appealed to my eye was the coconut pandan chia pudding. An Asian style vegan dessert? Yes, please. Vegan cupcakes, or old-fashioned s’mores and fresh churros are available too. And a really good chocolate chip cookie is always a happy thing. 


Kids (and picky parents) will be happy with the kids burger served on a brioche bun, or an old fashioned grilled cheese on organic 21 grain toast, or an organic peanut butter and jelly. School starts soon and during September kids lunches to-go will make busy moms like me less stressed when it’s there to take along while getting a good dose of fresh. Dad might also feel better about an organic grass-fed free range burger for their little one rather than a salty grab-and-go at the drive thru. Because us moms find out about those guilty pleasures, so you can brag that the burger was the healthiest choice. Back that brag right up with buzz words like free-range, grass-fed, and fresh not frozen, just so mom gives you a kiss for doing that rather than the evil eye. 


During the fall and winter months soup is brewing in their kitchen for their signature soup cleanse. Owner Rolan pours herself into renewing the menu with fresh menu concepts. Her soups borrow flavors from her native Thai upbringing, using lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, coconut and other south Asian ingredients. Offering a seasonal soup cleanse gives her customers the sustenance they seek while eating clean organic food. Even the juice cleanses are meant to be part of a daily meal rather than the only meal, if one chooses. More advanced juicers can go for the 3-day cleanse if they want, and the 1-day cleanse is perfect for those who are too busy to only drink juice beyond a day. My personal experience in juicing gave me better insight, having once struggled with a juicer at home. Creating my own blends wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, plus the dreaded clean up of the machine made me appreciate the cold pressed juices all the more.


Rolan has spent much time perfecting her special juice and smoothie blends, like the Chomp Greens made with apple, spinach, cucumber, kale, celery, parsley, lemon and lime or the nut milk blends like the Chocolate Wasted made with raw almonds, raw honey, purified water, Himalayan sea salt, raw cacao, raw maca and cinnamon. The Chocolate Wasted nut milk was rich with an almost malty Ovaltine flavor due to the maca root powder and raw cacao. I could not get enough of it and finished my glass as if I were six years old guzzling chocolate milk down, complete with my nut mylk mustache. 


I tried the 1-day juice cleanse package and was pleasantly surprised at how much better I felt within an afternoon. I had also never tried activated charcoal before, which is what makes the black lemonade turn its dark color. The Immunity Shot gave me a buzz of ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper and lemon.


Unique blends of smoothies such as the Pistachio de la Crème made with almonds, pistachios, dates, purified water, sea salt, avocado, kale, spinach, coconut water, cinnamon, vanilla, organic vanilla protein powder (Sunfood vegan brand made with sprouted brown rice protein, lucuma, vanilla and coconut palm sugar).


Not only does Chomp Eatery provide vegan, vegetarian and grass fed meat choices, but they also have that tempting “cheat day” menu in case you feel like chomping into a little indulgence to wash down with that green lemonade. Because Donut Cleanses aren’t on the menu yet.

Chomp Eatery & Juice Station, 1612 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404 (424) 238-3398

  • Juices are raw, unpasteurized, gluten-free, bottled and cold-pressed
  • Organic Coffee & Espresso
  • Fresh Grass-Fed Beef & All Natural Free Range Chicken 
  • Gluten-free, Dairy-free and Vegetarian options available
  • No trans-fat oils
  • No refined sugar
  • No processed items used in their kitchen

This post was made to promote a restaurant that I prefer and my opinions are genuine. Promotional posts are not paid or endorsed and my experience in this article is based on appreciation for a business I fully support. Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding this business. I do not write about places and dining experiences that cannot measure up to my discerning criteria. ~ Stephanie