Talking with Heather Dorak of Pilates Platinum

Heather Dorak of Pilates Platinum

For awhile after I started food writing, there was a point where I had let go of all physical activity. At some point, I felt the repercussions, and decided to give the Pilates studio a few blocks away from my new Hollywood apartment a go. I had an inkling that I’d like Pilates, but I ended up really loving it.

I’ve gone through the distance running, Bikram yoga, Anusara-influenced yoga and spin phases in my child through adult life, but I found Pilates to be just what I needed, because I really need consistent strength training – especially since I’ve had shoulder surgery and am now perpetually conscious of it and my upper body strength. I have also found my prior yoga training really helpful for proper form while I’m on the reformer, and now whenever I’m not even in the studio, I love the extra attention I subconsciously pay to my posture, even while at the desk. In short, I highly recommend Pilates!

But it all wouldn’t have been possible without Heather Dorak, the still-twenty-something entrepreneur extraordinaire who started it all. She is an inspiration, just as working out regularly has also had an influence how it has influenced how I think about food. I asked a Heather a few questions about her lifestyle and her relationship to food:

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Get Out the Vote: Election Day Food & Drink Specials Around Los Angeles

Tavern Red State Burger – Pork, pork, pork, Manchego, Romesco

As November 6th rolls up, we’re reminded, again and again, that the best reason to vote is to realize our civic duty. We, as a society, have been preparing for next Tuesday for a long time (Californians, with all our propositions, you know what I’m talking about). Decisions will be made as a collective whether or not we decide to personally participate, so why not embrace it?

Whether you take-away a savory dinner to enjoy at home or await the returns in camaraderie at one of the viewing parties, your “I Voted” sticker will score some points with your taste buds and your wallet anywhere around town. If you voted absentee, perhaps you’ll want to carry your stub or some other proof with you so you can make your case. Check below for a deal near you:

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Dine LA Restaurant Week Happens Now: My Picks

Duck "Shawarma" With Oven-dried Tomatoes, Fig Confit & Garlic Spread on Homemade Whole Wheat Pita | Momed

I’ve been kind of sleeping on this one, because we are already half-way through the first of two weeks of this season‘s restaurant week. But don’t let me be the example, because if there are a couple restaurants in LA you’ve been meaning to check out, now is the time to see if they’re participating in Dine LA. From the Quickfire Challenges that have been held around the city (and culminating last night with Chef Eric Greenspan of The Foundry on Melrose winning the dessert challenge finale) to the incentive to dine at least three times with your American Express (but not before registering your card here), there has been a good amount of hoopla surrounding this fall’s Restaurant Week installment. You get a prix fixe 3 courses for varying price points.

So, if you have an American Express and plan on dining out at least three times, be sure to register it because if you spend at least $21 each time, you’ll get a $20 statement credit.

Of course, not all restaurants nor menus are considered equal. I browsed the list and pulled the ones that I’d be most interested in. Keep in mind there are three different price points each for lunch ($16, $22, $28) and dinner ($26, $34, $44) – and not all restaurants serve a Dine LA prix fixe for both. I also highlighted a menu item that particularly piqued my interest.

The Bazaar by Jose Andres ($$$) – Catalan Pork Sausage
Bistro LQ ($$) – Ham Hock
District ($$) – Venison Chile Relleno
Drago Centro ($$$) – Veal Osso Bucco
Eva ($$) – Cod and Caponata
FIG Santa Monica ($$) – Red Beet Risotto
The Foundry on Melrose ($$$) – Miso Honey Glazed Duck
Laxy Ox Canteen ($) – Veal Breast with Pee Wee Potato Salad
Locanda del Lago ($$) – Lobster-Dill-Ricotta Ravioli
Ortega 120 ($) – Petite Sterling Silver, Pasilla Pepper, Queso Oaxaca, Red Chile Potato Hash
Petrossian ($$$) – Crab Risotto
Piccolo ($$$) – Pumpkin pasta w/Black Truffle Filling
RH Restaurant ($$) – Roasted Boothbay Harbor Lobster
Rivera ($$$) – Banana leaf-braised pork shoulder
Urban Noodle ($) – Urban Noodle House Special Noodles

I admit, there is no way I’m going to make it out to half on my list so I’m leaving it up to you. They are all restaurants that I’ve had good experiences at so you can call these educated guesses. So get out there and experiment. You’d be remiss to not take the opportunity to try the restaurants you’ve always been curious about.

Sunday – Friday

October 3 – 8, 10 15, 2010

Lunch, Dinner (Not all restaurants serve both)

Dine LA List

All over Los Angeles

Picks For Fashion’s Night Out Los Angeles

Studio Beauty Mix, Fred Segal Melrose

Tonight’s the night! Exactly a year ago I was in New York during Fashion Week and had an absolute blast during the first ever Fashion’s Night Out. Goodie bags, champagne, cocktails, discounts, free make-overs, cupcakes – you name it. But we’re doing our best here, in LA, so I thought I’d highlight the events going on around town that I would want to hit up.

For the complete listing, just head on over to the Official LA FNO site, which groups the retailers by neighborhood. You can also check out Mondette’s run-down, which expertly and succinctly lists what each store is doing for tonight’s special occasion. The @FNOlosangeles and @FashionWeekLA twitter accounts are also great resources. And while you’re out there on the town, don’t forget to bring your appetite because the food trucks will certainly be out in full force.

I’ll be elsewhere tonight but if I were to make a night out of succumbing my wallet to temptation (and a portal to get me all over town in a jiff), I’d go here:

Custo Barcelona, Beverly Center

  • Free Custo Jelly Bag with $50 purchase. I love Custo’s vibrant designs and mix of fabrics and patterns. Not for gals who are most comfortable with the little black dress.

A Ferris Wheel and surrounding shops, Rodeo Drive

  • I’ve never seen a ferris wheel on Rodeo Drive, so maybe this is just a cheap thrill. Still, Rodeo’s the perfect place to be a tourist in my own city since the price points at many of these shops boutiques shoot my moon. A girl can dream…and canoodle.

Paige Denim on Robertson Blvd.

  • I love Paige Jeans. The store in LA will be giving away a prize every hour on the hour starting 7 PM. If you buy a pair of jeans, you’ll get a Carasoin Spa gift. Refreshments and bites will be served.

The Dandy Warhols play Fred Segal, 8100 Melrose

  • I can’t really argue with putting music in the mix, especially on an occasion celebrating fashion. The Portland alt rock band will be playing a live set. And while you’re there…

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Makeup & Go With Ease & Without the Pitch

Makeup & Go! Studio

Today marks the fruition of probably the most obvious beauty concept in recent history. Makeup & Go! opens today, offering pay-for-play, custom services to ladies (and fabulous gents) looking for a touch-up or full face of makeup with all the expertise of a makeup artist and without the hassle of warding off product pitches.

Partnered Beauty Products

It all started when founder and Hollywood veteran Lori Sale was looking for a place to get her makeup done for a night out, and did so at the department store. You can probably guess what happened next – she walked away from the counter an hour later and $300 poorer. She and Janet Hector, formerly the SoCal Sales & Marketing Director at Estee Lauder, collaborated to make the services-based studio a reality.

At Makeup and Go!, a touchup starts at only $18. Or, you can start with a fresh canvas for $35 (Go! Flawless) – which includes an application of airbrush foundation formerly only done in the studio - or step it up to an evening look for $60 (Go! All Out). Throw in an additional mini lesson so you can replicate the look at home for the Go! Academy package at $70. You can also get airbrushing done on your legs, neck and arms for $20 per body part (good for my scaly legs on a stockingless night out!).

Dressing Room With Clothes Steamer

It’s also a perfect business model for the makeup artists, who for the first time don’t have to worry about selling product to keep the revenue streams flowing. Instead, they can do what they’re trained to do while using prestige partnered brands on their clients – specifically Smashbox, Tarte, Mark and Juice Beauty products. And if you should want to know where to get what your artist used on you, he or she will direct you in the right direction so you can get in, purchase and get out.

Situated around the studio is a gift shop, which provides great last-minute, yet still-thoughtful and unique options to present to that fabulous host of the party. All price points are available, as well, starting with unique, $20 vases all the way up to $80 marble cheese boards with cutlery for Father’s Day. I also thought the buckets of flowers (available on weekends) were a lovely thing to have for beauty clients heading out, for instance, to attend a production inclusive of actor or director friends.

On June 10th, Makeup & Go! will expand with their Bubble! counterpart, which will offer blow-outs as well. Bubble! will feature the line (Malin + Goetz), who makes top-notch hair products, so you can rest assured that your hair is handled with the best stuff out there. So, you can make a full half-day of getting pampered while getting ready – hair & make-up without the photo shoot, if you will. I had the opportunity to do a preview and got the Go! Flawless service and was absolutely thrilled with what artist Rachel did with my makeup. Now go get yours!

For today, the grand opening, the Fishlips Sushi truck (@fishlips_sushi) will be serving in their parking lot behind the studio from 12 – 2 PM.

Mon: Closed
Tue–Fri: 8 AM – 8 PM
Sat: 10 AM – 8 PM
Sun: Noon – 6 PM

Schedule of Services
Call or schedule online

Makeup! & Go
13038 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049


Makeup & Go! Gifts

DryBar Is Anything But: Good Hair on a Budget

Get a blow-out for $35

DryBar in Brentwood may be a place to get your hair blown out, but the place is anything but dry … or boring. It’s the spa treatment on a budget – because before DryBar, the only time you got your hair styled was when you put up with a dramatic hair cut. And on their opening weekend, it was clear that Alli Webb – the female entrepreneur who dreamed it all up – had filled a niche. Bloggers and other Crave LA representatives arrived in our Best of Tours-provided Chevrolets to find the place absolutely packed to the brim – and on opening weekend. Now, what is the big deal?

“No cuts. No color. Just blowouts,” is their motto. For $35, choose from a menu of styles including Straight Up (classic), Mai Tai (beachy), Southern Comfort (volume), Cosmopolitan (loose curls) and Manhattan (straight & smooth). And on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM – 2 PM they’ll comp you a mimosa and croissant for their brunch blowouts. Or get your complimentary cocktail during happy hour by scheduling your blowout on Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 – 9 PM. If you end up loving the place and becoming a regular, packages are also available.

What a fun, cost-efficient way to get away or pamper yourself with friends! The place is expertly designed with white Victorian flourishes and freshened up with a yellow trim. So girly yet energetic! Make your appointment soon, as on opening weekend we had heard they were all booked up!

11677 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

Coral Tree Cafe Panini-Off Gives Top Honors To Vegan Entry

First published as a special to on January 26, 2010

The stage was set and the pressers positioned. After countless entries were submitted last December, five finalists emerged to go head to head at The Coral Tree Café Panini-Off last Tuesday, January 19. Brentwood would be the setting to determine just who makes the best panini in town. A rainy January night would prove to be the perfect backdrop, as few things are more comforting than hot-pressed sandwiches.

Cecilia Fabulich’s fusion-esque Shanghai Spice Pork Loin Panini was the sweet-spicy selection of the night and came with a topping of pickled onions. Michael Haddad’s Breakfast Panini with Egg, Prosciutto, Gruyere and Chive Oil was a perfect morning hangover solution. Firefighters crowded around Tsz Chan and her comforting Holiday Ham Panini to ask for seconds (and thirds and fourths – but who’s counting?).

But there would be crowned winners of the night. Nico Juber’s Perfect Panini with goat cheese and turkey bacon was the “People’s Choice” – the results of which were reached by tallying everyone-but-the-judges’ single favorite panini. But it was Chloe Coscarelli’s unique Mango Masala Panini recipe that won the judges’ favor. The Gourmet Institute student, whose recipe included spiced chickpea masala, roasted cauliflower curry and tamarind mango chutney, went home with a $250 gift certificate to Coral Tree.

The judges on hand for the ultimate sammich show-down were Robert Niksefat, Coral Tree Café co-founder, Senior Editor Mar Yvette of Citysearch Los Angeles, Founder of Joshua Lurie, Co-editor of LAist Lindsay William-Ross and CEO/Founder of Chefmakers Cooking Academy Richard Klein. In all, $700 was raised for the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund which is part of the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association and will go towards support for family members of firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty.

Coral Tree Cafe Brentwood
11645 San Vicente Blvd
Brentwood, CA 90049


Coral Tree Cafe Panini-Off: The Finals

Steak Panini at Coral Tree Cafe

Photo credit to The Delicious Life

As previously reported, Coral Tree Cafe will be hosting their first-ever Panini-off tomorrow (Tuesday, January 19) evening. After thorough review through all the submissions, five finalists and their named recipes have been chosen to go head-to-head, each of which will be at his/her own station:

Tsz Chan (Temple City) – Holiday Ham Panini
Chloe Coscarelli (Los Angeles) – Mango Masala Panini
Cecilia Fabulich (Marina del Rey) – Shanghai Spice Pork Loin Panini
Michael Haddad (Burbank) – Breakfast Panini with Egg
Nico Juber (Los Angeles) – Nico’s Perfect Panini

So head on over to Brentwood tomorrow to witness this sammich-off, 10% of the proceeds of which benefit the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund, part of the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association. I’ll see you – and the who’s who in LA food as judges – there!

Tuesday, January 19, 2009

8 – 10:30 PM

Coral Tree Cafe Brentwood
11645 San Vicente Blvd
Brentwood, CA 90049


Who’s Got Your Panini: Coral Tree Cafe Hosts Panini-Off

Photo credit to ghholt on Flickr

On Tuesday, January 19, Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood will be hosting a “Panini-off” to find the best panini in LA. Five finalists will showcase their sammiches, selected from a pool of submitted recipes. It could be yours: To enter, download the application form from the Coral Tree Cafe website to proffer your worthy panini recipe. You never know until you try!

Before you set to work in your kitchen, though, it would help to remember that there will be four main categories: taste, visual presentation, creativity, and practicality (easy-to-eat). The winning recipe will be added to the Brentwood Coral Tree Cafe menu board and its presser will be awarded a $250 gift certificate.

Who are the judges? Only the Who’s Who in LA food:

Coral Tree Cafe co-founder Robert Niksefat
Senior Editor Mar Yvette of CitySearch LA Founder Joshua Lurie
Co-Editor of Lindsay William-Ross
CEO and founder of Chefmakers Cooking Academy Richard Klein

The chosen five finalists will be expected to attend (so remember January 19!) and prepare their paninis on-site at their own, situated “Panini station.” Recipe submission deadline is at 5 PM on Thursday, December 31, 2009 – so don’t sit on this one!

As a token of gratitude for saving the Brentwood location last September from a damaging fire, proceeds from the event will benefit the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association: 10% of the day’s revenue will go to the non-profit organization, which offers programs to provide assistance for local firefighters and their families.

Send all Panini-Off entry forms to: coraltreecafe [at] or if you dare, snail mail to:

Panini-Off Recipe Competition
C/O RFPR, Inc.
5225 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 718
Los Angeles, CA 90036

I’ll be at the finals with multiple paninis in hand and mouth.

Tuesday, January 19, 2009

(Recipe submissions accepted until Thursday, December 31)

Coral Tree Cafe Brentwood
11645 San Vicente Blvd
Brentwood, CA 90049


Jeffrey Sebelia For Fluxus: Store Opening Event Saturday


Are you a fan of Project Runway? Personally, I dropped off the grid this latest season on Lifetime but I sure remember Jeffrey Sebelia and his yellow plaid couture gown. He’s definitely one of my favorite designers in the entire series! This Saturday you can see his latest designs in the Fluxus Spring 2010 line – including his exclusive “capsule collection” – at Brentwood Gardens. At the opening of this outpost (they currently have one in Larchmont), you get 25% off the entire line during 1-4 PM so it’s a good time as any to check out the edgy silhouettes and unique-but-breezy fabrics in his line. Fluxus is also introducing new, electric colors so you’ll be ready to “pop” once Spring rolls around – or before.

There will even be featured couture pieces created by Jeffrey so hey – whether you’re a fan of Project Runway or a fan of fashion and shopping, this is the time to preview. Sebelia himself is slated to appear.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1 – 4 PM

25% off during event

Fluxus at Brentwood Gardens
11677 San Vicente Blvd., Ste. 109
Los Angeles, CA 90049