Redding, CA: Shape Up In Shasta Cascade

The breathtaking Shasta Cascade region offers world-class rivers, lakes and trails making it the perfect location to shape up with a plethora of outdoor activities....

Long Beach CA: Hotel Maya

Paying homage to this mysterious culture stands the Hotel Maya along the harbor in Long Beach. Complete with the unique and spectacular architectural style of the stepped pyramids, Hotel Maya welcomes guests into their "village" of modern structures assembled to create this luxurious seaside resort.

Murphys, CA: Murphys Haunted Hotel

When you arrive in the authentic town of Murphys, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, the locals will ask about where you are staying. If your response is Murphys Historic Hotel, expect the response to be, Haunted! That hotel is haunted!

San Diego, CA: The Keating Hotel

Southern California. Italian design. Ferrari. Stainless steel. Maserati. Bang and Olufsen. Rain showerheads. Just one of these by itself is damn sexy. Put them all together, add a king-sized bed, and you have the uber sexy Keating Hotel.

Arrowhead, CA: Mountain Swimming Hole

Nothing beckons the old days of hiking up the mountains to a nearby waterfall and jumping into the water feet first. Local photographer Sam Katz brings us back to those old memories with a look back.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Orange, CA: Spin! Neapolitan Pizza

SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza’s first franchise location is now open in Southern California in the City of Orange near Honda Center and Angels Stadium of Anaheim in Orange County. The restaurant is operated by Hofman Hospitality Group (HHG), which has completed a franchise agreement to open 37 SPIN!® restaurants throughout Southern California. SPIN!’s award-winning, premium fast-casual concept is known for its exceptional artisan food made from fresh ingredients without the gourmet price, its eclectic, affordable premium wines, and its inviting and warm culture and environment.
SPIN!’s first franchisee, HHG, also founded and operates two successful restaurant concepts in the West including 17 Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que locations in California, Arizona and Nevada, and five Hof’s Hut restaurants in Southern California. HHG will open a second SPIN! in early 2014 in Los Alamitos, Calif.
Named a “Breakout Brand” in 2013 by restaurant industry authority Nation’s Restaurant News and honored as one of the “Rest of the 101 Best Restaurants” in the nation by top foodie website, SPIN! serves authentic Neapolitan pizza coupled with the types of salads, sandwiches and sides that appeal to a more healthful and eclectic American palate. One of its more popular pizzas, the Margherita, was crowned one of the best dishes of 2012 by a national restaurant publication, its architecture won Best of Show, and it has been awarded best pizza honors by numerous publications in its hometown of Kansas City.
Unique Distinctions:
SPIN! was founded in 2005 by restaurant industry veterans Gail and Richard Lozoff and Edwin Brownell, who are experienced in large multi-unit expansion, franchising, and operations. The Lozoffs had visited pizzerias across Italy and wanted to create a warm and fun modern dining experience built around the earthy flavors of Italy with a fresh and healthy emphasis. They partnered with James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Smith to create a broadly appealing menu that features authentic Neapolitan pizza with a modern culinary twist. The award-winning concept has five locations in Greater Kansas City with a sixth under construction.
“At SPIN!, our goal is to serve a perfetta (perfect) pizza to every guest and to make each guest feel totally cared for,” said Gail Lozoff. “In Italy, pizza is an important part of the fabric of life, shared almost every day with friends and family. We wanted to bring that casual, delicious experience to the U.S. and are thrilled to have found a like-minded franchise partner like Craig Hofman.”
SPIN! also is recognized for its pioneering hybrid service model, which combines traditional
fast-casual ordering in the restaurant’s lobby with a robust full-service experience at the table. The “premium fast-casual” system is more appealing to diners, such as families and employees on lunch break, who want to control the speed of their meal without sacrificing service.
Craig Hofman, president of HHG, says SPIN! Neapolitan Pizza’s unique service model, authentic Neapolitan pizza, and menu offer a new kind of dining experience in Southern California. “Before I partnered with the founders of SPIN!, I was on a quest to create my own Neapolitan pizza brand. When I first visited SPIN! in Kansas City, the menu and the attention to quality and innovation immediately impressed me. I am convinced that SPIN! will appeal tremendously to pizza and fresh artisan food lovers here in Orange County,” said Hofman.
Lauded by Food Critics and Guests:
SPIN! offers a diverse selection of hand-spun, stone-fired, traditional thin-and-bubbly crust, rustic whole wheat crust, and gluten-free pizzas. SPIN!’s pizza dough is made fresh every day using several types of flour including one imported directly from Italy, and its gluten free crust is renowned for its flavor. SPIN! takes the unique step of roasting all toppings and ingredients in its stone hearth ovens each day, including mushrooms, caramelized onions, artichokes, and even capers, pecans, pineapples, pine nuts, and pancetta. SPIN! offers both traditional Pizza Rossa (red pizzas with crushed Roma tomato sauce) and Pizza Bianca (white pizzas with roasted garlic olive oil glaze), and a variety of hand-grated cheeses.
SPIN! also offers a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, signature Panini and Italian deli sandwiches, and gelato. All of SPIN!’s soups, salad dressings, pizza toppings, and ingredients are prepared fresh daily from fresh produce and meats.
Wine enthusiasts will appreciate SPIN!’s approach, which centers on offering a wide variety of premium wines well below traditional full-service restaurant prices. SPIN! also offers white, red and blood orange sangrias and a selection of craft beers.
SPIN!’s new Orange, Calif. location is at 1623 West Katella. SPIN! also has Missouri locations in Kansas City and Lee’s Summit and Kansas locations in Overland Park, Lenexa, and Olathe. For more information, please visit

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Camarillo, CA: Casa Pacifica Wine and Food Festival

The Casa Pacifica Angels are very excited to present the 20th Anniversary of the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine and Food Festival hosted by the Zarley and Van Huisen families! Twenty years of wonderful history in bringing great food, wines, brews, and entertainment to Ventura County for all to enjoy. Twenty years of expanding from just a few restaurants and wineries to featuring exhibitors from all over California. Twenty years of growing to now offer the largest Silent Auction in Ventura County. Twenty years of providing significant support for vital programs and services of Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families through the event’s proceeds, essentially providing for our community’s most vulnerable children – abused, neglected, and at-risk youth – and their families. Sunday, June 2nd, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm at California State University Channel Islands will be a special day, marking and celebrating the invaluable support of the community for Casa Pacifica in a festive, joyful, and unmatched fun-filled atmosphere!

The Angels are also looking forward to holding the 3rd Annual Yummies Culinary Competition, which will seek out the top chef creations among Festival exhibitors. The Yummies Culinary Competition is an action-packed culinary showdown involving Ventura County’s top restaurants and chefs. Celebrity emcee, television and movie actor, Oded Fehr will welcome top restaurants and chefs to fire up their stations and compete for first, second, or third place in one of two categories: Savory and Sweet.

Yummies winners will be determined by a panel of Celebrity Culinary Judges comprised of television and print media personalities, food editors and columnists based on which chef’s dish they feel is the yummiest. The select panel of celebrity culinary judges includes; Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director at the Playboy Mansion, William S. Bloxsom-Carter; Chef-Host of “Dinner & A Movie,” Claud Mann; and two-time Food Network’s Cupcake Wars Champion and owner of Sweet Arleen’s Cupcakes, Arleen Scavone. Each of these judges, along with the others, will use their expert tasting skills to find the best entry in each category, judged on flavor, presentation, innovation, and quality. Yummies winners will earn bragging rights and receive a prize package sponsored by Gold Coast Broadcasting, LLC, Le Creuset, Cumulus Media, National Association for Catering and Events, 805 with Tom & Sandy, VC Buzz, and For more information about the Yummies competition and past winners, please visit the Wine & Food Festival website at

Entertainment Sponsor, The Patio Restaurant at The Players Casino on Johnson Drive has ensured that festival-goers will once again enjoy a day full of upbeat, dance. Live entertainment includes Boogie Knights, a comedic 1970s disco cover band who will provide a lively backdrop for wining and dining guests. The exclusive V.I.P. Lounge presented by Wells Fargo will feature its own musical fun offered by the band Sound Effect. Bruce Barrios will assist the captivating entertainers as the Master of Ceremonies and Disc Jockey. Guests will also be surprised by a special musical guest!

General Admission and V.I.P tickets can be purchased online at! General Admission tickets are on sale for $125 until sold out. Food and beverages are included in the price of admission. V.I.P tickets are available for $200 each, offering Festival-goers early admission at 12:00 noon. V.I.P. ticket holders will receive V.I.P parking, and exclusive access to the V.I.P. Lounge presented by Wells Fargo. In addition to exclusive entertainment, the Lounge will feature the Anheuser Busch Belgium Beer Garden, Plated Events by Chef Jason, Malibu Family Wines and more! V.I.P. guests will enter through the beautiful and historic CSUCI bell tower where their day will start off being catered to by the world class Mastro’s Steakhouse.

It’s not too late to sign up as an exhibitor or to connect your name or business to this "Can't Miss" event by taking advantage of some great sponsorship opportunities! For sponsorship information, contact Casa Pacifica Event Specialist, Kristin Palos at (805) 366-4014, kpalos(at)casapacifica(dot)org or visit the Festival sponsor page at

Casa Pacifica encourages all Festival-goers to participate responsibly. Roundtrip reservations are available thru the Roadrunner Safe Ride Program by calling (805) 389-8196, or visiting

About Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Families:
Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families is a crisis-care and residential treatment facility for abused, neglected, or at-risk children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The agency is the largest non-profit provider of children’s mental health services in both counties and along with its campus-based programs administers a number of community-based programs which are designed with the intent to strengthen families and keep children in their homes. For more information about Casa Pacifica visit its website or call the Development Department at (805) 445-7800.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pismo Beach, CA: Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge

best western pismo beach
The Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge, in Pismo Beach, CA, has beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. This oceanfront hotel features 100 guest rooms, including six deluxe family suites, remarkable service, unmatched ocean views and well-appointed amenities. They even have a limited number of dog friendly rooms.

Every guest room at the Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge offers scenic ocean views from a private balcony or patio and features pillow top mattresses, a compact refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker with Seattle’s Best Coffee and Bath and Body Works toiletries.

Relaxing sounds and sights of the ocean can be observed from many different look out points on the Pismo Beach hotel’s grounds. You may even catch a glimpse of a swimming dolphin or whale from the hotel.

shore cliff lodgeThe Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge is located just blocks from the Pismo Pier and downtown Pismo Beach in the heart of San Luis Obispo County. Be sure to enjoy the local attractions including championship golf courses, hiking and biking trails, kayaking, Pismo Beach and other area beaches, wine tasting, Hearst Castle, Oceano Dunes and much more in Pismo Beach, California.

One guest said,

"This hotel is one of my top 10 places to go for a relaxing get a way. Love the views! California coast is always beautiful but the Central Coast is an almost sure guarantee for good weather. I will definately be back!"

Whether you long for a romantic getaway, a successful business trip or just need a convenient stop between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge will make your next Pismo Beach vacation unforgettable.

The Best Western Plus Shore Cliff Lodge
2555 Price Street Pismo Beach, CA 93449

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