Monday, February 13, 2012

New Blog Site

Hi neighbors!

I've mentioned this in previous blog posts  that I would be launching a new blog redesign and it's finally happened.  I've switched over to WordPress and you can find the new blog here.  We'll have some of the regular blog columns you're already familiar with like "Local Stars," "One of a Kind IE," "Tools of the Trade," and "Fun Guides."  But we're also going to have a lot more so we hope you'll join us at our new blog destination:

Thank you for following us this far.  We hope we can continue informing and sharings all things Inland Empire with you.  Let the good times roll!


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

My Dinner at Ra Pour

Hi neighbors -

So I'm really excited about this blog post.  I don't think I've ever reviewed a restaurant on this blog but something about Ra Pour makes me want to share my experience with everyone.  To me Ra Pour is more than just the premiere of upscale dining in the Inland Empire.  To me it represents what we as a community could  show the rest of the world what living is like in the IE.

Right now our community is having a tough time with high unemployment and numerous budget cuts. We are in dire need of a solution that will revitalize our communities.  In my opinion, until our local housing and construction industry returns to its former glory, one option I see is entertainment revenue.

Anyone from any walk of life wants to go out and have a good time.  If we can share with the rest of the world and communicate with our own community what the Inland Empire has to offer I think we can draw in revenue from our surrounding communities like San Gabriel Valley, San Diego county and Los Angeles while also keep local spending  within our community therefore contributing to our own revitalization.  We are already witnessing the fact that the state isn't going to contribute to our growth, so it's up to us.

I suppose I am very reflective on all of this because the redesign for this blog is launching soon and then soon after will come the launch of the website -  A website consisting of Inland Empire dining, shopping and attraction listings - a trustworthy go-to for locals and out-of-towners to use when looking for a good time in the IE.  A project I have been working on for almost eight years which has turned into a small business.  So when I went to Ra Pour and then was impressed I thought back to the site I was building.  This restaurant gives me hope in what can be achieved in the Inland Empire and for our community's future.  I can only hope that can be a hopeful beacon to others as well.

Wow - seriously side tracked.  Let's talk about Ra Pour.  I have been anticipating the opening of Ra Pour since before its opening.  To my limited knowledge I don't think there's another restaurant quite like it in the Inland Empire.  It's an ultra-chic, modern, sexy restaurant serving delicious gourmet dishes.  Oh, and there's live jazz!  You can say I was already expecting great things.  Here are just a few pictures I took from my dinner.  I hope you enjoy them and thanks for bearing with me.  I tend to babble on when I get reflective...and with lack of sleep.  ;-)

Till next time...

At first entrance you're already set to be impressed

Arrived early enough to catch their dinner staff in their last huddle before
it got busy...and boy, did they get busy!
From front to back: Chicken and waffles (about the moistest chicken and waffles
I've ever had), Middle: Mezze Platter (hummus, tzatziki, mouhamarra, eggplant caviar
and very warm pita bread); Back: Lobster pops with lemongrass-coconut sauce.

Paella - which my friend attempted to eat all on her own.  Ambitious!

Planked Loch Duart Salmon (bacon crust, lentils, roasted roots and
kumquat marmalade)

You may have seen this on our Facebook page but I just had to share again.
This is their chocolate ganache plate and homemade whoopie pies.  Yes, they were
as good as they looked.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Inland Empire Valentine's Fun Guide

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Hi neighbors!

In case you weren't already aware from every retail promotion out there that's been repeatedly bonking you over the head with reminders, Valentine's Day is in a couple weeks.  I'm not much for romance but I enjoy any celebration that encourages love (oh and sweet delicious treats)!  I've gathered a list of local Valentine's events, romantic dinner spots, and deals that will get you more in the mood than a chalky heart candy and a baby in a diaper with a bow and arrow will - we hope ;-)  And for those who could care less about hearts and all that jazz, we've got something for you too!

Take a look and let us know if we should add something to our guide.  We'd love to hear from you in our blog comments, Facebook and Twitter.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

image c/o of
1. Let the 66eres mascot Bernie deliver something special to your someone special.  Get a sweetheart bouquet or a special "Bernie Red" rose bouquet with vouchers for an additional date night at Angels Stadium to watch the Halos for $140.  Click the link for more details.

2. Chocolate or candy! - Need a sweet treat for your sweet treat?  So many local places but here are just a few...

image c/o of My Delight Cupcakery

3.  Cupcakes!  The Inland Empire is crazy for cupcakes!  Here are our local stars...

1. Big event happening over in Riverside is "Love in Riverside." First, you can record your Valentine’s message Feb. 7-11 at the Culver Center of Arts from 12-5 p.m. and on Feb. 14 from 12-6 p.m..  On Feb. 11,  2-6 p.m., and Valentine’s Day, 5-7 p.m, watch the broadcasts outside of the Culver Center of Arts on large LED screens, or check out the "Love in Riverside" YouTube channel.  

2. Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley is holding their second annual "You Stole My Heart - Cutest Pet Photo" Contest.  Voting will be based on how many Facebook Likes each picture receives and will conclude on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m.. The winner will be announced at 9 a.m. on Valentine’s Day.  Vote for your favorite!

3. How about pre-Valentine's Day plans?  On Feb 11, you can check out "A Celebration of Love."  Enjoy the greatest love arias from the Italian operatic repertory performed by the Redlands Symphony.  Enjoy classics from Puccini, Verdi and Tchaikovsky.  Can you hear the love in the air?

4. Live music, candlelit dinner, Romeo & Juliet contest and more!  Enjoy some old-fashioned romance at Riley's Farm's St. Valentine's Dinner & Dance on Feb. 11 or Valentine's Day.

5. Want to do good and celebrate Valentine's?  Head to Cuistot Restaurant in Palm Desert for the Hearts Afire Valentine Dinner benefiting the AIDS Assistance Program.

6. If you're looking for something more casual then check out the weekly film series playing at the Dos Lagos Stadium.  They've got movies that will make the ladies' hearts flutter.

7.  Parents!  You can get your kids in on the fun by heading to the Riverside Art Museum on Feb. 11 for a fun Valentine's craft like a treasure box or Valentine's cards.  Fun and best of all - free!

8. This isn't so much Valentine's related but did you know the Inland Empire has a Foie Gras Club in Redlands?  They're having their inaugural event on Feb. 12 from 2-5 p.m.  This could be a cute and something out-of-the-box date night possibility...

Image c/o of Roscoes Famous Deli

1. Maybe V-Day isn't quite for you.  You can join some like-minded folks at Roscoes Famous Deli in Chino Hills for their "Love Sucks" party.  (I couldn't help but add this event to the list - the name alone is hilarious and look at the image to the left...HA!)

2. Don't have a date for the big day?  That's ok!  Check out 99.1 KGGI's "Race for love" speed dating event.  Could be fun...

1. Getaway to Castle Wood Cottages in Big Bear.  Stay 1 night and get 20% off.  Stay 2 nights or more and get 30% off.  Plus you'll get $20 off a Fireside Massage for Two from Mountain Mobile Massage & Spa.

2. Anyone up for a "Massage-a-Trois?"  International Day Spa in Redlands is promoting their Valentine's "Massage-a-Trois" package where you and your loved one can learn massage techniques from their staff and try on each other.  Ooo-la-la

3. Or keep it simple and head to the movies!  Right now Groupon has a stellar deal!  Two AMC tickets for $12 or four AMC tickets for $24.  Hurry because this deal only lasts a couple days!

1. Mario's Place (Riverside)

2. Owen's Bistro (Chino)

3. The Sycamore Inn (Rancho Cucamonga)

4. Hip Kitty Jazz & Fondue (Claremont) - live music, drinks and dark corners...enough said. ;-)

5. Caffe Allegro (Upland & La Verne) - candelight, delicious Italian food...O and the bread.  Don't get me started on the bread!

6. Thornton's Winery's Romantic Rendezvous (Temecula)

7. And everyone's favorite, The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa (Riverside)

Whew...this has turned out to be a very long guide but I'm sure we're still missing a bunch of great romantic spots, deals and events.  Please share any events, discounts, etc. with us on Facebook and Twitter and we'll add to our list.

Till next time...Happy Valentine's!


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