Summer’s over and citrus season is coming! Here’s a great twist on the classic margarita for the fall and winter months – using blood oranges.

Blood oranges are unique in color and rich in fruit flavor, and they sweeten up the drink so you can ditch the simple syrup you normally add to a margarita. Any time I use blood oranges for anything at a party, they are a conversation piece. So here’s a bit of trivia! These beautiful oranges originated in Sicily and the deep color comes from the low temperatures at night in the Mediterranean.

Blood Orange Margarita Recipe

Ingredients (for 2 drinks)

  • 2 oz fresh blood orange juice (about 2-3 blood oranges)
  • 2 oz Triple Sec (or Grand Marnier, Curaçao, Cointreau)
  • 3 oz tequila
  • 1.5 ounces fresh lime juice
  • kosher salt for rimming the glass


  • Pour salt onto a plate. Wet the rim of the glasses with water or lime juice and press the rims into the salt.
  • Add the cocktail ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  • Shake well and strain into the glasses. You can server “up” or with more ice. Garnish with a twist of the orange peel or a slice of the orange.

It’s almost Labor Day weekend! My daughter Jenna, my granddaughter Clover and I whipped up our version of a Chocolate Oreo Cookie & Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich. So fun to be with my girls, making this yummy treat for the upcoming holiday weekend.

Great recipe for homemade Oreos:

And in taste competition after competition, Haagen Dazs wins for best Mint Chip ice cream.


Don’t stop celebrating during COVID. I just created a very small birthday party for Sarah, my client’s sweet 8- year-old daughter. Masks and social distancing were required! The party favor for the day was Sarah’s favorite candy on a stick. This is very easy to assemble and fun for everyone! 


With the 4th of July getting closer and the grilling season upon us we wanted to share some information on grilling so you can get the most out of your barbecue.  One way to insure success with what goes on the grill is to consider using a marinade.  There are four very good reasons to marinade your meat, poultry or fish before it goes on the grill:

Taste: A good marinade can contribute flavors and regional influence to your meal.  Try incorporating fresh ginger, chilies, lemongrass, garlic, specific spices or fresh herbs to bring extra flavor and direction to your meal.

Juiciness: Using oils in your marinade or brushing a steak with oil before hitting the grill helps with juiciness.  Oils are natural emulsifiers and serve to reduce moisture loss during cooking and also helps prevent sticking on the grill. We suggest using lighter oil like canola, soy, grape seed or blended oil that includes olive oil.

Tenderness: The acids (vinegar, wine, citrus, pineapple, papaya, buttermilk & yogurt) in a marinades breakdown the protein chains making the meat tender.  However do not let food sit in marinades for too long or they will become over tenderized. Meats like beef and pork should be marinated the longest, anywhere from an hour to 5 hours depending on the thickness of the cut and the strength of the marinade. Poultry should be marinated anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Fish and seafood should spend no more than 30 minutes in a marinade.

Healthiness: When cooking meats over a direct flame heterocyclic amines (HCA)’s are created. The American Cancer Research Institute claims that marinating in an acidic marinade can reduce these potentially cancer-causing agents. An acidic marinade acts by keeping HCA’s from forming on the proteins when on the grill and include the ones mentioned above.

Putting together a marinade is very easy. In fact one of the simplest solutions is to use your favorite Italian salad dressing that has the perfect balance of acid to oil and herbs and spices.

To make a simple marinade requires taking your oil of choice and add it to an equal part of acid (vinegar, lemon juice, wine, etc.), then throw in whatever seasonings you like, pour the whole thing in a zip-top bag, add the protein and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.

You only need enough marinade to cover the meat completely with a think layer. It is important to make sure that it is completely coated in the marinade so it can work on the entire exposed surface. You also need to keep animal protein of any kind refrigerated and take your food straight from the refrigerator to the grill.

Here are a couple basic recipes for marinades we use all the time, but be adventurous and add your favorite herbs, spices and ingredients, remember that the basic foundation is equal parts of oil to acids.


Jeff Perlman, Executive Chef

Lemon-Caper Fish Marinade ½ cup Oil , ¼ cup White wine,  ¼ cup Lemon juice,  1 tbsp Lemon rind,  1 tsp Capers,  ¼ tsp, Tabasco 4 Tbsp, Chopped herbs (chives, dill, chervil, cilantro, etc.) Kosher salt & crushed black peppercorns to taste
Dijon-Citrus Chicken Marinade ½ cup Oil,  ¼ cup Orange juice,  ¼ cup Lemon juice,  1 Tbsp Dijon mustard,  1 tsp Worcestershire sauce,  2 Tbsp Chopped shallots,  4 Tbsp Chopped herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, etc.)  Kosher salt & crushed black peppercorns to taste
Red Wine-Garlic Beef Marinade ½ cup oil,  ¼ cup sherry or red wine vinegar,  ¼ cup red wine,  2-3 Garlic cloves crushed or minced,  2 Tbsp Chopped red onion, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce,  1 tsp Sugar, 2 Tbsp Chopped herbs (rosemary, oregano, thyme, etc.)  Kosher salt & crushed black peppercorns to taste



Making a menu is really the best part of throwing a party, or at least it should be.  The food at a party is more than food, it’s a conversation piece.  Having a theme will always offer great direction for all aspects of an event – the music, decor, color – but it will especially help you conceive the menu.  Keep it simple and keep it tight.  You’ll always have more ideas than you can execute.  Here are some important tips:

– Before you settle on the menu, decide how you will serve
– Make sure there are vegetarian and even vegan options
– Always offer some fresh items
– Look to create various colors and textures

Here are a few of our favorite menus:


Performance Gourmet Taco Bar
Griddled Flour & Corn tortillas
Grilled & Performance Carved Tequila-Lime Chicken
or Roasted Pacific Mahi Mahi

Gourmet condiments
Sautéed Peppers, Onions & Mushrooms, Shredded Romaine & Red Cabbage, Shredded Cheddar Cheese, Diced Roma Tomatoes, Clay Pot Black Beans, Chopped Cilantro, Spanish Rice, Sour Cream, Diced Onion

Mojito Melon Salsa
Diced watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, cucumber & red onion, tossed with fresh lemon juice & mint

Pico de Gallo
Chopped summer tomatoes, jalapenos, shallots, & cilantro tossed with fresh lime juice, salt & pepper

Mesquite Grilled Jumbo Shrimp Skewer
Rubbed with Latin spices & drizzled with citrus juices

Homemade Masa steamed in corn husks with Anaheim Chile & Roasted Corn

Hearts of Palm Salad
Butter lettuce, hearts of palm, red-yellow watermelon & heirloom tomatoes with Manchego cheese & citrus vinaigrette

Grilled ‘Cesar’ Salad
Grilled hearts of romaine, classic Caesar dressing, diced avocado & cotija cheese


Pulled Brisket Sliders
With apple slaw

Cheddar Cheese Grit Cake
Crispy white cheddar cheese grit cake topped with blackened shrimp coleslaw

Crab Cake
With Remoulade sauce

Petite Chicken Pot Pies
Mini pastry shells with breast of chicken, vegetables & and homemade gravy

Duo of Sausages
Andouille and Boudon Blanc sausages served on Creole rice cake with stone ground bourbon mustard

Baby New Double Stuffed Potatoes
Filled with sour cream, chives and smoked bacon

Chicken & Waffle Skewers
With Maple Glaze Reduction



Chocolate Brownie Pudding
Vanilla Bean Whipped Crème

Red, White, & Blueberry Cobbler
Seasonal berries baked in flaky crust, topped with a cinnamon-brown sugar crumble, served with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Hostess Cupcakes
Chocolate cake with a vanilla buttercream center & topped with chocolate ganache

Raspberry Shortcake
Red Velvet cake layered with fresh raspberries & whipped cream

Limoncello Tiramisu
with fresh boysenberries and red currant compote.

Butter cookie, topped with sanding sugars in red, white & blue

We are definitely fans of great seafood, but its so important these days to also take care of our environment.  Thanks to our friends at Santa Monica Seafood, we worked together in creating this great menu of hors d’oeuvres that features sustainable seafood!


Rich bouillabaisse with bay scallop, mussel & white fish garnished with rouille toast served in a demitasse cup

Ginger Crabcakes

With a mango Mojito salad

Coconut Avocado Gazpacho (Gluten-free/Vegan)

A spicy puree of coconut milk and avocado served in shot glass

Cured Salmon Gaufrette

A crisp potato chip topped with slices of cured salmon and celery root-Fuji apple salad

Grilled Ahi Tuna

Seared ahi tuna on a crispy wonton triangle with cilantro crème fraiche, papaya relish & daikon

Louisiana Ceviche Martinis (Gluten-free)

Redfish marinated with citrus juices, chilies & cilantro with a splash of tequila & garnished with Jicama coleslaw

Crispy Calamari

Fried extra crispy and served in petite cones with chunky lemon remoulade

Crawfish Spoons

Asian spoon, ruby grapefruit, avocado, remoulade, micro herb salad

Baja Yellowtail Trumpets

Crispy cones, yellowtail tartar, Napa cabbage, avocado and wasabi

Hearts of Palm “Ceviche” (Vegan)

Blue corn cups with guacamole and lemon hearts of palm slaw

Kiwi-Ginger Shooter

Topped with a seared bay scallop & candied ginger

Cones of homemade salt & vinegar chips

In celebration of my granddaughter;s recent first birthday, we’re sharing party planning tips and tricks for throwing a stress-free party at your home.

Read on for tips about party design, food, decor, DIY, and more!20170513A_0271One of the most critical aspects of a great party is FOOD! Getting the food right to appease picky children as well as satisfy more refined adult tastes is important for any party you’re planning.20170513A_0075It’s always a good idea to go with what’s simple, yet delicious  – kids and adults alike will go for a cheese and charcuterie board, grilled or raw veggies, and anything seasonal or that’s a family favorite is perfect for the occasion!

A great way to commemorate a special day and moment in your child’s life is by creating a photo album birthday book. Guests can snap a photo with the birthday girl or boy, and write a celebratory message.

Set up a photo album/memory book station with a book, markers and stickers, Polaroid or  disposable cameras, and allow guests to create their own unique memory!20170513A_0318 While we all love and live on social media, nothing replaces a real photo and a handwritten note.20170513A_0360Here’s an obvious, but often overlooked, tip: Even though this is technically a birthday party for “babies,” don’t neglect the parents! We know kids are a lot of work, and having a cocktail or glass of wine ready and waiting for when they have a free moment will make all the difference for your of-age guests. Make sure to be stocked with a mix of under and over-21 beverages to satisfy the little AND big kids.

20170513A_0271Take a page out of our book, and go for a refreshing twist on the classic lemonade by making it strawberry mint!

Don’t forget to consider the space you’re working with when you’re planning the party! Incorporate natural elements to merge the indoor/outdoor vibe, and maximize the area by spacing out the focal points of the party to create an inviting atmosphere and flow.20170513A_0295Offering more than one dessert option for guests to choose from is the easiest way to ensure everyone’s happy – and if you’re trying to plan your party on a budget, you can always bake these yourself. While cake is a birthday celebration signature, cookies are an easy treat for kids to grab and go.

Hopefully these tips make your planning run smoothly and help your party turn out lovely! If you have other ideas or advice to share, do share it in a comment.