Lemon Butter: The Third Annual Oscar® Film Week Returns to 'Culina' at 'The Four Seasons' to Benefit the 'Lollipop Theater Network'

Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills will once again feature a Dinner and a Movie or a Pronto Market Lunch and Matinee of the eight 2019 “Best Picture” Oscar®-nominated films in their Third Annual Oscar® Film Week,  from Tuesday, February 19, 2019, through Saturday, February 23, 2019.

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu
The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week at Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, February 9, 2019.

The package includes a very special Culina Three-Course Prix-Fixe Dinner by Chef de Cuisine Luca Moriconi, or the Culina Pronto Market Lunch and matinee, leading up to this year's 91st Academy Awards. Dinner is served in their dining room, where an adjacent private off-patio screening room awaits for the day's scheduled Oscar®-nominated film screening.

The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week at Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills will partially benefit the Lollipop Theater Network, a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to bringing the magic of movies to children confined to hospitals nationwide due to chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

"Working with leading motion picture studios, the Lollipop Theater Network delivers the season's biggest blockbusters while they are still in theaters directly to those children and their families at the hospital, bringing the joy, magic, and momentary escape of the movies to those who need it most."

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu
The Polpo Grigliato of tender charred octopus, smoked potatoes, green beans, watercress, and cauliflower purée frisée Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, February 9, 2019.

With thirty-seven-seats, the unique dining and intimate movie experience combine the luxury of fully reclining leather chairs with a side table for cocktails and snacks, a plush blanket, and old-time fresh machine-popped complimentary popcorn which guests can customize with specialty seasonings. Themed cocktails and wine by the glass or bottle can be ordered from the bar service and movie theater boxed candy is also available for purchase.

The adjacent cozy cocktail patio just outside the theater and dining room, surrounded by lush greens, water wall fountain and warm lamps, or the cocktail bar and lounge of warm woods, red lounge chairs, and gold appointments and wine cellar, make for perfect après film conversation.

Chef Moriconi has created a three-course prix-fixe menu that includes a chose of an Antipasti, such as the Burrata Invernale prepared with beets, mustard greens, red wine vinegar, and duck prosciutto, the Zuppa Ribollita made of Tuscan vegetables, Borlotti beans, garlic, and roasted ciabatta, or the Polpo Grigliato of tender charred octopus, smoked potatoes, green beans, watercress, and cauliflower purée frisée. There is the Secondi course as well, which includes three choices starting with the Nastri al Cinghiale, a rich dish featuring handmade pappardelle, braised wild boar sugo, and pecorino, the Pollo al Marsala accompanied by white asparagus, celery root, potato purée, and marsala jus, or the Branzino Alla Matin-Ara with roasted branzino, fingerling potatoes, artichoke Taggiasca olives, cherry tomatoes, and asparagus. For Dolci, a choice of the Crème Caramel served with citrus lemon sorbet and coconut meringue or the Tiramisu prepared with espresso meringue and chocolate crisp.  The three-course prix-fixe menu is $59 per person, which includes the screening.

Photo by Monique A. LeBleu
The Nastri al Cinghiale, of handmade pappardelle, braised wild boar sugo, and pecorino at Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, February 9, 2019.

Guests attending either of the Saturday Matinee Screenings will enjoy the Culina Pronto Market Lunch which is a specially curated Farmers Market inspired buffet including a selection of salads, cheese, and charcuterie with a choice of protein, along with specialty desserts, fresh fruit and other delectable treats.  The Culina Pronto Market Lunch is $35 per person, which includes the screening.

Notable highlights from the dinner menu, off-prix-fixe, menu items is the Pappardelle Ripiene. Chef Moriconi's own creation of Pappardelle pasta–wide, flat pasta filled with Tuscan Kale and ricotta encased ravioli-style–then tossed in fresh sage butter and topped with a saffron sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano, and crispy Tuscan Kale. The Risotto is served table-side, hot from a cheese wheel with scrapes of cheese from within the wheel. Two of the dishes–the Tortelli Lucchesi of roasted beef with prosciutto stuffed pasta, thyme, braised beef sugo, and the Nastri al Cinghiale, featuring handmade pappardelle, braised wild boar sugo, and Pecorino cheese (the latter included as part of prix-fixe)–are both dishes close to Chef Moriconi's heart and home based on local and family dishes from his native Tuscany. Both of the meat dishes paired beautifully with the 2015 Tenuta di Valgiano Palistorti Colline Lucchesi, Tuscany, suggested.

A crowd-pleaser with its toasted meringue and popular for special occasions for Dolci is the Mango Vanilla Baked Alaska with Grand Marnier Flambé which bursts with the fruit and richness of the liquor. But the "Cococado," with its creamy, light avocado ice cream, vegan brownie, and chocolate avocado mousse, is a star! For the chocolate avocado mousse, bananas are added to create a smooth, truffle-like texture combined with avocado. This vibrantly decorated "Cococado" boasts a mere 295 calories for the entire shareable dessert! Both desserts are also off-prix-fixe menu and on the standard dessert menu.

The 3rd Annual Four Seasons Culina Oscar Film Week Schedule:

Tuesday, February 19, 2019: “A STAR IS BORN

Dinner at 6:00 pm followed by Movie at 8:00 pm

"In “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga fuse their considerable talents to depict the raw and passionate tale of Jack and Ally, two artistic souls coming together, on stage and in life. Theirs is a complex journey through the beauty and the heartbreak of a relationship struggling to survive." - A Star is Born

Wednesday, February 20, 2019: “THE FAVOURITE

Dinner at 6:00 pm followed by Movie at 8:00 pm

"Early 18th century England is at war with the French.  Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving.  A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne's ill health and mercurial temper.  When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.  Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at return to her aristocratic roots.  As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen's companion.  Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way. " - The Favourite

Thursday, February 21, 2019: “VICE

Dinner at 6:00 pm followed by Movie at 8:00 pm

"The story of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), the most powerful Vice President in history, and how his policies changed the world as we know it. VICE explores the epic story about how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world as Vice-President to George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell), reshaping the country and the globe in ways that we still feel today."  - Vice

Friday, February 22, 2019: “BLACKKKLANSMAN

Movie at 5:30 pm followed by Dinner at 8:00 pm

"It's the early 1970s, a time of great social upheaval as the struggle for civil rights rages on. Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) becomes the first African-American detective on the Colorado Springs Police Department, but his arrival is greeted with skepticism and open hostility by the department's rank and file. Undaunted, Stallworth resolves to make a name for himself and a difference in his community. He bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. Posing as a racist extremist, Stallworth contacts the group and soon finds himself invited into its inner circle...cultivates a relationship with the Klan's Grand Wizard, David Duke (Topher Grace) embarking on an "undercover investigation growing ever more complex." - BlacKkKlansman

Friday, February 22, 2019: “BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Dinner at 6:30 pm followed by Movie at 8:30 pm

"Bohemian Rhapsody is an enthralling celebration of Queen, their music, and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek), who defied stereotypes and convention to become one of history's most beloved entertainers. Following Queen's meteoric rise, their revolutionary sound and Freddie's solo career, the film also chronicles the band's reunion, and one of the greatest performances in rock history." - Bohemian Rhapsody

Saturday Matinee, February 23, 2019: “BLACK PANTHER

Lunch at 10:30 am followed by Movie at 12:00 noon

"Marvel Studios' “Black Panther” follows T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda (T'Chaka; John Kani) returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T'Challa's mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life." - Black Panther

Saturday Matinee, February 23, 2019: “ROMA

Lunch at 1:30 pm followed by Movie at 3:00 pm

"The most personal project to date from Academy Award®-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien), ROMA follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) a young domestic worker for a family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma in Mexico City. Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil of the 1970s." - Roma

Saturday, February 23, 2019: “GREEN BOOK

Dinner at 6:00 pm followed by Movie at 8:00 pm

"When Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime. " - Green Book

The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week at Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills is February 19, 2019, through Sunday, February 23, 2019. The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week Dinner and a Movie is $59 per person and The 3rd Annual Oscar Film Week Pronto Market Lunch and Matinee Movie is $35 per person. For more information and to make reservations, please call Culina at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills directly at 310-860-4000.

Featured photo by Monique A. LeBleu
The "Cococado" with chocolate avocado mousse, vegan brownie, and avocado ice cream at Culina at the Four Seasons, Beverly Hills, California, Saturday, February 9, 2019.


Joan's L.A. WEEKEND, A Fantastic Remake, A Visit With Some Very Cool Wolves, An Evening With an Illusionist, and Brunch In Nature's Paradise

This extraordinary film, A Star Is Born, opens on Friday, October 5th and don't walk but run to get your tickets. I saw it last week at a press screening and it is definitely my favorite film of 2018. I predict that the film as well as its stars will get several Oscar nods.

Bradley Cooper not only co-wrote, directed, sings, plays the guitar and stars in the film, but he spent 18 months learning how to play the guitar from Willie Nelson's son. He also worked with a vocal dialect coach to get his voice to sound like a drugged out alcoholic rock star and the dude just killed it. Lady Gaga was excellent portraying her character's vulnerability and sense of wonderment as her life begins to change from struggling songwriter to a huge star. By the way, Bradley and Gaga have serious chemistry.

This is the totally fantastic 'rock and roll' remake of the Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand version.

Two years ago I went to this awesome place called The Wolf Connection located at 29063 Aliso Canyon Rd, Palmdale, CA 93550 and this Saturday I'm returning to this very special sanctuary.

All the wolves here have been rescued. They were victims of a wide variety of horrific situations from abuse and neglect to owners going through hardship and no longer able to care for them.

Whatever the case, these magnificent beings come to The Wolf Connection to find and embody a new purpose - a life of service changing the lives of countless young men and women from all walks of life. Visitors get to meet with these magical creatures in person and even go hiking with them. You can also help with the care of the wolf that touches your heart in a special way by adopting them and enjoying special one on one time with your new special friend.

To arrange a visit call 661-450-8191 or go to their website WolfConnection.org. This is definitely an unforgettable experience. I know I haven't forgotten it and that's why I'm going back.

I absolutely love magic and of course magicians so Saturday evening I will be at the beautiful Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and Performing Arts Center to see Ivan Amodei Secrets & Illusions. Ivan is an international star and his illusions are considered unparalleled. He even fooled Penn & Teller.

Ivan will take you "on a wild ride of mind games, danger and surprise as he journeys through the deserted streets of Paris, to the darkened Louvre Museum where he peels back the paint of the Old Masters to discover the secrets to life one breathtaking illusion at a time" and that's just one part of his dazzling performance.

Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza is located at 2100 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Thousand Oaks, CA. To purchase tickets go to SecretsAndIllusions.com or call 1-800-745-3000. You can also buy them by visiting the box office. Tickets are $55.00-$85.00. The show runs October 6th at 3:30pm and 8:00pm.

Finally I can't think of a more perfect way to end the weekend then to have brunch at Inn Of The Seventh Ray located in my Topanga Canyon neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon.

The Inn of the Seventh Ray is considered one of Los Angeles's most romantic restaurant. If you choose to dine outside, which I highly recommend, you will be surrounded by grand old sycamores, waterfalls along winding brick pathways and two creeks. It's absolutely breathtaking. Oh and the food is absolutely delicious.

Their famous Sunday Champagne Brunch is touted as one of the best in Los Angeles. Their Californian cuisine is made with seasonal organic ingredients and the menu is quite eclectic. There is something for everyone. This is a perfect way to spend a Sunday with a friend, a lover, your wife or husband or someone you want to ask to be your wife.

For reservations call (310) 455-1311 between 10am to 10pm or go to reservations@innoftheseventhray.com

The restaurant is located at 128 Old Topanga Canyon Road, Topanga CA. To check out the menu go to InnoftheSeventhRay.com.

Whatever you choose to do, have a great weekend everyone.