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Food, Entertainment, Travel

Our Take on What's New


Hit or Hype? Two Takes On

Los Amores de Julia

Like with any Latino endeavor we want them to succeed in the greatest way possible. But we also have an obligation to report on our honest experiences with each new review.

We had high hopes for Los Amores de Julia as they continue to expand with a newer location in Pico Rivera. 

We ate on two separate nights to see how consistent they were with food, service, and overall vibe. They were consistent - but not in a good way.

First the vibe. Los Amores de Julia is a mashup of Don Chente restaurants and Kalaveras bars. An open spaced concept with a bar area, neon lights, music, and waiters who sing and dance for birthday and other celebratory events.

Although seating for dinner on both occasions was quick and accommodating, and the overall service was attentive, the desire to turn over tables for new guests made it impossible for our server to be friendly. On both nights we wanted to speak with a manager to get more insight and had asked a total of five employees if the manager on duty could visit with no luck.

The food was hit and miss both evenings. Ordering different items and different drinks ended in a combined average rating by our four staffers of a 5 out of 10. This included pricing, taste, quantity, authenticity and/or unique take on a traditional meal.

The one food item that disappointed the most was the carnitas plate. Earning a 3 out of 10 for portion size (or lack thereof) to pricing. Although tasty it had too much bone and what seemed to be tendons than actual meat (there were cubed pieces provided - this is where the tasty part comes in). Their tortillas and salsas were good.  

Los Amores de Julia is still trying to discover its niche. On the one hand it could become an enjoyable higher-end establishment if it focused on its menu or a night life destination for younger Latinos. In its current orientation it is neither, nor is it a family restaurant because of the quasi-party atmosphere.


Whatever it leans towards will most likely be determined by the patrons who want to see it as one experience or the other. We say for now it is a good hangout for friends gathering or a stop in for a date night.


Le Meridien Hotel Offers a Step Up in Class

Right next to the Santa Anita Park Racetrack in Arcadia, California, and near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, is a new concept in boutique hotels called Le Meridien.

Privately owned but co-branded with Marriott Hotels (so rewards members can earn points), Le Meridien offers a step up in class, elegance, and warmth.

Guests can expect five-star service and dining at three-star pricing.

The hotel has the feel of downtown Los Angeles chic hotel without the trendiness. It is vibrant and sophisticated in its design and extremely welcoming.

Upon entering, you are immediately drawn to the vibe of the bar area, a.k.a Longitude 118 Active, well lit, and engaging with plenty of seating, TVs, and model-esque mixologists. Offering specialty drinks and a variety of top shelf liquors and spirits, this is a definite must visit even if you are not staying overnight.


The rooms are handsomely appointed, especially the suites with views of the mountains and the racetrack. Where you would expect to pay an exorbitant amount for a night's stay, Le Meridien is surprisingly affordable with several discount rates available including AAA, military, senior, and Marriott members. 

The dining experience at Le Melange (watch the movie Tortilla Soup for the meaning), Le Meridien's restaurant, is next level with American-Asian-Mexican inspired fusions. The pork belly is one of the best we have ever tried. Breakfasts are ample and unique and there's High Tea offered Friday thru Sunday. Private dining is also available. There is an added gratuity charge of 21 percent for the High Tea service, with pricing starting at $76 per person. Call for menu items as they change often.


If you are looking for gathering or event space, Le Meridien has plenty of meeting and ball rooms. For families, there's a garden area, heated pool and is minutes away from the Arcadia mall with theaters, shops and eateries.


There is a valet and overnight parking is $29 per night.

If you are looking for a unique luxury experience without the hassle of a downtown drive, you may well be pleasantly surprised at what Le Meridien offers.

Le Meridien.jpeg

SeaWorld San Diego ​is a Summer Must!

Summer 2021 would not be complete without a trip to SeaWorld in San Diego, California.

Over the years SeaWorld has evolved into a top-tier themed park combining adults rides (rollercoasters) with kid friendly rides and areas (Bay of Play), shows, educational programming, live music, and adult entertainment and lounge areas.

Pricing is still a bargain when compared to other themed parks and SeaWorld has some of the best specials around for summer  including a 3-for-1 ticket offer, which includes admission to SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Though it has had it share of public relations challenges over the past few years with regards to animal treatment, as charged by activists, the new SeaWorld has revamped its shows to include educational components that are seamlessly integrated and showcase the exhaustive protective treatment they have for all animals under SeaWorld's care.

The educational components are great for adults and kids alike and feature useful information on the species and calls to action for audience members to help protect and preserve the environment.

Also new for 2021 is Cirque Neon World - watch as performers showcase their acrobatic skills, dancing abilities, and breathtaking athleticism all performed to worldbeat music, surrounded by elaborate sets, and complete with brilliant costumes, and sensational makeup. 

If you want to get your groove on, SeaWorld has  

Club Sea Glow featuring high-energy DJs.

And for the kids there is the Ignite fireworks finale along with the Electric Floating Acts featuring imaginative characters, artists, acrobats, and entertainers roaming all throughout the park. The live music performances including the Static Shock pop-rock and high voltage brass band are a hit with kids who are able to dance and sing-along to their favorite songs.

For those adults who want to unwind, there is Glow Bar - a vibrant outdoor lounge area with luminous cocktails, alcohol-infused fruit sorbet, and other treats.

Finally, SeaWorld San Diego is offering free tickets to U.S. military veterans for themselves and three guests to visit the park through December 24, 2021.  U.S. military veterans and retirees must register online at in advance

and verify their proof of service through the qualification process. 

For tickets, special promotions, and information on attractions, please visit 


Hortencia Olmos

June 2021

As the dog days of summer slip into fall and kids return to school there’s still time to have a memorable summer experience – and the good news is you won’t have to go far!

Welcome to staycation 2019 and the Downtown Los Angeles explosion of exploration. The epicenter in DTLA is the JW Marriott Hotel.

First remove any previous notions you may have of what a hotel is because the JW Marriott reimagined the experience for business travelers, families and weekenders looking to relax. And boy did they nail it!

Amongst the newer developments in DTLA, the JW has a glitzy geometric glass exterior and is perfectly located at L.A. Live - the nerve center of social interaction.

Tons to do around the JW including a concert at either the Staples Center or Microsoft Theater, eateries including Wolfgang Puck, Katsuya, Rosa Mexicano and Shaquille’s, dance at the Conga Room, explore music history and present at the Grammy Museum, or people watch along the corridors that connect each venue.

The real excitement, however, is to be found inside the JW Marriott’s expansive lobby and entrance areas. It has the liveliness of Time Square in New York during the day and the robust party vibe of the Vegas strip at night.

Enjoy a meal and drink at the neon infused Glance Lobby Bar. Decorated with vibrant colors and boasting one of LA’s most delectable menus, it’s a great spot to meet with friends before or after a concert or Lakers game, or to simply enjoy on a date night.

Be sure to check with the concierge’s desk and ask about any current promotions including free wine tasting, vouchers for a free movie at the Regal Cinemas, or free popcorn from Lucky Strike (bowling).

The amenities of the hotel are impressive with spacious rooms featuring impressive views of the city. The JW Marriott has perfectly balanced classic elegance with a modern touch. Yes, the décor is trendy, but the underlying feeling you get from entering the hotel is classy and sophisticated, both timeless features.

Staff is more than willing to serve and accommodate needs and are amongst the friendliest ever encounter by this writer.

Now that you are situated, your staycation can get underway.

Refresh yourself by lounging poolside with the sun doing its magic of replenishing the spirit. DJs and servers are the norm on weekends.

You may want to rejuvenate at the Spa Sanctuary featuring a unique Garden to Glamour Treatment known as the Watermelon Vodka Tini Body experience. Also, the staff at the spa are experts at providing CBD facial and body treatments to relax your muscles and ease any tension – these are a must try.

Once you are ready to take on the nightlife be sure to include a stop at WP24 on the Ritz-Carlton side of the JW. Located on the 24th floor the restaurant bar combo has stunning views of downtown and has an abundance of rich appetizers on one end and full meals at the other. The bar features abstract specialty drinks your waiter will be more than happy to share with you; if you really want a memory try the Hot Child in the City drink made with Mescal.

An absolute must experience is the JW’s Mixing Room. A bar, restaurant and dance club rolled into one with live DJs playing music of all genres to the delight of visitors. Meet new friends, enjoy a romantic night with your special friend, or, as I did, meet one of the members of a band just coming off stage from their performance at the Staples Center.

The great thing about the JW is it doesn’t feel like a hotel, instead you get the sights and sounds of colorful city inside, the vibrancy of a club or music festival outside and the attentiveness of staying with family.

Pricing for rooms varies and there are local and monthly promotions available. Based on the amenities and offerings of the JW and where it is located, stays are reasonably priced and affordable.

If you are still looking for that summer getaway, we recommend the JW Marriott in the Los Angeles area. And don’t forget Labor Day is just around the corner!

Summer at the JW Marriott includes:

Tiki Thursdays at The Mixing Room – every Thursday classic tiki cocktails, Polynesian bites along with live entertainment and vintage luau décor. Tiki Thursdays happen every Thursday through Sept. 5th.

Ice Cream Bike – the popular JW Marriott Los Angeles ice cream bike and floral installation returns offering a classic Instagram photo opportunity in the hotel lobby. Guests will enjoy complimentary ice cream samples every Friday, 4-5 pm, starting July 12th.


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