My Malibu Oz…

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I want to “Go to Oz” like Dorothy did and share with the world how I get there. LA Magazine Food Event at Saddle Rock Ranch, home to Malibu Family Wines, was the perfect backdrop for my fantasy (come on guys, you know we all have’ em). I couldn’t wait to indulge myself in killer food and wine. Want in on a little secret? Here’s the story behind the story…

For this Style Spy the real question is how to feed those style hunger pains? Like an addict, it’s a constant struggle. I’m well aware the desire to look especially fly while attending a Food & Wine shindig does not lie deep within the hearts of all wanderers. If you’re the type of blissfully carefree schlep who bolts out the door with flip-flops on for ease of comfort, more power to you. This style spy on the other hand, is not. I attended this event last year, indulged, shot video and blogged. Truth be told, ever since then I’ve been been dreaming about that damn magical carriage on Semler Drive and The Wizard of Oz.  Nestled on a hillside with a white picket fence, can’t you just imagine fortune-teller Professor Marvel hovering over his crystal ball convincing Dorothy to return home to her broken-hearted Auntie Em?

Did you know when the wardrobe department for the film was looking for a coat for Frank Morgan (Professor Marvel / The Wizard), they wanted one that looked like it had once been elegant but had “gone to seed”. They purchased an entire rack of coats from a second-hand store from which Morgan (head of the wardrobe department) and director Victor Fleming chose one they felt gave off the perfect appearance of “shabby gentility”. While on set, Morgan turned out one of the pockets and discovered a label indicating that the coat had been made for L. Frank Baum. Mary Mayer a unit publicist for the film, contacted the tailor and Baum’s widow, who both verified that the coat had been owned by the author of the original “Wizard of Oz” books. After the filming was completed, the coat was presented to Mrs. Baum. Bet you didn’t know that little tidbit. Who knew?

Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain!  The curtain, being a black truck I used to change from cowboy boots to vintage tapestry lace boots faster than you could say “I’m melting”. (Ok, I admit the stocking thing was challenging and the parking lot attendants enjoyed a cheap thrill). You’d think a woman in an Alexander McQueen skirt, YSL blouse and top hat would be noticeable on a ranch full of foodie peeps. Nahhh! People walked by as if to say, “Oh that’s just The Food Stalker doing her thang”. Darn, if only I had a pair of those gorgeous ruby slippers. Had I been in The Wizard of Oz film and a lady said to me “Gimme yo shoes” I would have replied “Hell No Witch, anything but the shoes”!

Once back into my cowgirl gear after the shoot, I headed to the event determined to pop my Italian food cherry. Crisp white Tents on the ranch grounds served up small plates of food from the city’s hottest restaurants at this outdoor grub fest while California’s wineries served thirsty guests. It’s a place where Lama’s and Zebra (no you haven’t had too much strawberry tequila) meet food lovers and wine geeks. (Holy chicken feed, was that a freak’n Bison I just saw?) Demonstration tents and the Conversation Lounge under the billowing red bow were educational and informative.  Dine editor Lesley Bargar Suter hand-picked her favorite restaurants to pass out tastes of the food that’s made them famous in the pages of LA Magazine. Bestia, Bucato, Cook’s County, Black Market Liquor Bar, FarmShop, Crossroads, Maison Giraud, Fig, Petty Cash and Wolfgang Puck at the Hotel Bel Air (the Hamachi ceviche was delish) along with many others participated. Toss in libations from Barrymore Wines, Stella Artois, Cielo Wines and Ketal one to name a few and it was the perfect spot to relax and ride the rubber horse swing for a true escape from the concrete jungle in Los Angeles.

As if for an encore, as I turned down the windy country driveway to head home, I was captivated by the vision of a lush meadow highlighted by a mossy green lake and majestic rock formations. As the sun set we were joined by a beautiful bronze horse and her adorable filly (and some crazy restaurant guys – but that’s a whole different blog people).

Like the Wizard, my PR peeps, tech guys, photographers & stylists are more comfortable behind the curtain, not in front of it. Thanks to my fantastic team for a job well done all year long and to YOU for following my zany adventures.  I know, I know – this isn’t your usual food style blog and that’s just the way we like it. Those who are jaded can just read Travel & Leisure Magazine!

So go ahead, close your eyes, click your heels together three times and think to yourself, there’s no place like Saddlerock Ranch…there’s no place like Saddlerock Ranch….






  1. bhagu

    October 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    WOW!! Sooo Creative and Fun; La dolce Vita. You would look more Fabulous with Serena D’Italia’s exclusive Venetian boots-))

  2. Michelle

    October 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    OMG this is fabulous – not just the event – but your coverage of it! You captured the best of it.

  3. Tonia F. Stout

    November 11, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Sounds delicious . Can’t wait to try it . My husband makes a great seafood chowder and once used Jack Daniels when we were out of brandy was yum .

With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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