The Food Event

Camechana from Public School
Camechana from Public School

by Jeff Hoyt


The heavens were threatening, but blue sky prevailed over clouds high above the hills of Malibu where The Food Event by Los Angeles Magazine was held this past Sunday. At Saddlerock Ranch — home to Malibu Family Wines and producers of Saddlerock and Semler Wines — thousands of diners queued up to try the latest creations from more than forty LA-area restaurants washed down by wine, beer, vodka, Veev, and even Sri Lankan spirits!


We certainly didn’t get a chance to try every dish, but our favorite was David LeFevre’s sword squid from Manhattan Beach Post (M. B. Post) served over fava beans. We also enjoyed smoky fried chicken from Plan Check Kitchen + Bar, live prawn from The Royce at the Langham, lamb chops from The Strand House, squash blossom tamales with mole from Malo and Más Malo and adobo short rib tacos and smoked camechana — a spicy Mexican seafood cocktail made with shrimp, scallops and halibut — from Public School, which will be opening soon in Culver City after a successful downtown launch.

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Panoramic View from a suite in the Park Hyatt Aviara
Panoramic View from a suite in the Park Hyatt Aviara

by Jeff Hoyt


How could anyone turn down free airfare? That was the choice I recently made when American Express offered me 250,000 Membership Rewards points to plan my family summer vacation. If you’ve never had to wake a sleeping child from a nap to fold up their stroller to get through security; if you’ve never had to prove to the TSA that milk in a baby bottle was truly milk in a baby bottle; if you’ve never had to submit to the complete pat-down inspection because you wanted to carry milk in a baby bottle onto a flight; if you’ve never had a child screaming on a descending airplane because the tyke was too young to alleviate the pressure in her ears; if you’ve never had to wrestle ill-fitting baby seats into a rental car in the rain at the airport while the pint-sized passengers lustily vented their frustrations; then you would never understand why I would take my family via car to San Diego rather than accept free flights anywhere else.

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Travel More for Free

Driving up the coast in a Land Rover
Driving up the coast in a Land Rover

by Jeff Hoyt


I recently wrote about how charge and credit cards bonus points can be used to travel for free. That is certainly true, but the more you know, the more bang you’ll get for your no bucks!


I have accumulated more than 150,000 American Express Membership Rewards points on my own. But American Express offered to give me an additional 250,000 points to book my family summer vacation through them, and I was thrilled by the opportunity.

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Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast

The northern end of Pismo Beach
The northern end of Pismo Beach

by Jeff Hoyt


When people think of Northern California, their thoughts often turn to San Francisco. Southern California cities that come to mind include Los Angeles and San Diego. But what about the Central Coast of California? Unlike other parts of the Golden State, there are no large cities in the area, allowing the focus to be on its natural beauty. As you cruise the Pacific Coast Highway south of Monterey all the way to Santa Barbara, you’ll enjoy rugged mountain vistas, coastal and ocean views, verdant farmland and picturesque vineyards.


Sandwiched between Northern and Southern California makes the Central Coast an easy place to visit for Californians as well as visitors from around the world looking for a different experience than Disneyland and the Golden Gate Bridge. Although the weather is pleasant year-round, we think the best time to visit is during the harvest.

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Travel for Free

Travel for free with American Express
Travel for free with American Express

by Jeff Hoyt


Who hasn’t received one of those marketing postcards that offer a 3-day, 2-night Florida vacation that seems too good to be true? Do you know anyone who went on such a trip, because I don’t! But there are legitimate ways to travel for free.


I’ve been accumulating credit card bonus points for years. Some I’ve turned into Amazon gift cards. Others, I’ve stockpiled. On my American Express card, I’ve been able to accrue more than 150,000 Membership Rewards points just by buying things I normally buy, whether at gas stations, in stores, or online.

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