Glenfiddich Raises It’s Kilt In The Hollywood Hills…

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Feeling like a Bond girl dressed in black, I arrived at a cool mysterious place. Complete with surreal alluring architecture, rich sensuous Scotch and a band that rocked with incredible stage presence and soul. Who wouldn’t want to spend the evening meeting cool international men of mystery, while dancing and sipping great Scotch at an exotic party? Just the thing for unwinding after a rough day at the office. This Undercover Style Spy (on five extra inches – thank you Givenchy) ended up in the Hollywood Hills attending an event that was better than booze. Stupidly good. Hey, would I blow smoke up your kilt? Now let’s talk whisky. The Scottish type…

Mitch Bechard is a man on a mission. An adventurous one at that. As US Ambassador for Glenfiddich it’s his job to promote the brand which includes; landing in the grand canyon by helicopter, racing a Nascar then jumping on a plane to the top of mountain in Aspen, to driving a Bentley on ice and flying to New York for an event at the Statue of Liberty. Tough job – sorta like mine eh? With the success of shows like Mad Men, highlighting the culture of the 1960s, (minus women in cigarette clad tight skirts serving men) there has been an upward shift in sales of “the brown goods” (whisky, scotch, bourbon).

Glenfiddich’s recent launch of The Orignal took place at the legendary Sheats-Goldstein residence. The reproduction of an introductory ad from 1963, which carried the headline “Sit when you drink Glenfiddich, you may never stand for a blended Scotch again” was worth celebrating – in style! The 51-year-old ad explained what a straight malt was — “Glenfiddich is straight. Unblended. A single malt whisky every drop from the same distillery.”– and described it as “a man’s drink mellowed 10 years.” The original ad concluded with a flourish “Discriminate. Elevate. Grow up to Glenfiddich.” There are three main divisions: single malt, vatted malt, and blended scotch. A single malt is a whisky that comes from one distillery and is made from 100% malted barley. Single malt scotches are considered the purest expression of a distillery’s style(s), and they’re very much in demand these days. Hey, one can learn a lot while chatting with Mitch on a leopard-skin divan overlooking the pool. There’s a quiz at the end of the blog people – so pay attention.

The whisky is consistent and top-notch. For true Stalker Style, take a sip of water, then take a sip of whiskey. That way you don’t over-water your spirit without any going back. Since I need to keep a hand free to grab a flash out of my jacket or a nearby man by the waist for a quick pose, I stick with a straw and progress a few drops at a time until I get where I want to be (perfect for the spy on the go).

All the boys thought I was a secret agent. From the moment I arrived I was 007, a swashbuckling, cocktail-sipping super spy stalking around corners, capturing the moments. The first of which was seeing an insane Bond-like car parked out front. You can’t think of James Bond without thinking of fast cars and sexy women. (For the record, Luciana Paluzzi, Fiona, the rocket-equipped-motorcycle-riding, sex-bomb-bad-girl from Thunderball wins every time. (I had the pleasure of meeting her at Elvis’s old home and she’s still a knock out.)

While slamming back Vespers seems to be one mode of consumption in the white spirits world, whisky drinkers tend to take their time, sipping slowly. Oh to be bottled in Bond, shaken, but not disturbed…ooh la la! But usually I’m drinking like Bond is drinking — socially with a friend, or because I need to calm my nerves before blowing up someone’s rocket base headquarters! Of course, if you’ve never seen a Bond film I’d seriously suggest you rectify that situation. Otherwise we probably can’t be friends.

So who’s the ‘70s rock star vibe Crocodile Dundee dude in the leather pants, zebra skin jacket and crazy hat you ask? This enigmatic and cool gentleman is James Goldstein – mysterious multi-millionaire, ardent basketball fan & fashion follower. He’s the guy you see at every basketball game (I love the athleticism of basketball and James donating $$$ to the sport). His home, the Sheats-Goldstein residence high in the hills of 90210, is one of architect John Lautner’s legendary residential properties and has appeared in numerous movies, photo shoots and music videos (think Snoop Dog, Charlies Angels and Daft Punk). The 1963 John Lautner-designed estate is almost all original, but materials, built-ins, motorized elements (skylights and walls) are all new since the Sheats’ time. Built into a sandstone ledge, the house is a masterpiece of concrete chic. With its masculine, hard-edged lines, high-tech and unapologetically utilitarian flare, caveman modern one might say.

As guests mingled, I found Goldstein resting on his bed, behind a wall of glass. Hundreds of strange people wondering his home didn’t phase him in the least. As guests moved to the tennis courts to hear the band, they walked right by him. In typical stalker style I introduced myself, thanking him for his hospitality. He then looked at my gear and asked, “What’s a food stalker?” Oh no, not again! Perhaps this would be best explained during a one-on-one interview which he gladly gave me his card to schedule. Hat’s off to a man who doesn’t play it safe and to a guy cooler than the architecture. (Damn, he would have loved my white crocodile skin loafers).

With a lead singer that sings and dances like James Brown and belts out tunes like Otis Redding, how can you not want to break out doing the Mashed Potato? Since the release of their debut album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions, Los Angeles-based band Vintage Trouble has gone from playing intimate hometown clubs to opening for The Who, The Stones, Lenny Kravitz and playing sold-out headline shows worldwide. “Like an M-80 in church, Vintage Trouble lands with a hiss and then blows apart what’s come to define modern soul, blues and rock,” observed Paste Magazine. The band aims to produce a sound reminiscent of the days of vinyl records and juke joints, and the essence of the original soul movement. And Lorne Cousins on the bagpipes (toured with Madonna)….I flipped my wig! Bad ass. Epic hanging back stage with these guys.

Color me swank, when it was time to split I cruised down the hill to my car in a vintage Lincoln convertible courtesy of The Premiere Picture Car Company. Sure beats taking the shuttle baby.

At the end of the day, stories are created or they are told, either way the fun is in the creation. For Mitch it’s very much about “Liquid to Lips”, getting people tasting the products and hearing the back stories. Truth be told, sometimes you can’t always be the perfect woman, surviving on power bars and working  till 1:00 in the morning. Here’s to more drinks like Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, single malts on the rocks and a Bond Girl night out on the town.

The name’s Stalker. Food Stalker.


  1. Kyle Roderick

    November 23, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    What a hoot reading about the great spirit (whisky) at such a spirited party.

  2. penelopeshackelford

    November 24, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    What a great, I want to call it, an article. I now know about a great malt, a great architectural site, interesting music info, and you covered it all with that great sassy style that is so Food Stalker. How informative and entertaining. Let’s hear more!

    • thefoodstalker

      November 24, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Penelope, thanks for the inspiration along the way. Love your blog & travel adventures too!

  3. Gregg Cobarr

    November 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    This is the best post ever by the famous Food Stalker – Sandie!! A great time explained in eloquent words and socially appetizing descriptions of the people and the event. After reading about the adventures of Stalker, I felt like I was there every minute of the evening and enjoying it as much as the actual attendees!! Way to go, Sandie, another successful event during your illustrious career. Bon vivant has risen to it’s highest level courtesy of the wonderful, marvelous – Food Stalker!!

    • thefoodstalker

      November 24, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Gregg, There’s my favorite Photography Teacher! I learned so much from your class. Thanks for kudos -gotta see ya soon!

  4. Ruth Yunker

    November 24, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Fab fab fab!!! Don’t know which part I loved best…maybe “…Color me swank!” Because that is what you are! This was a wonderful read, from beginning to end!

    • thefoodstalker

      November 24, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Ruth, glad you enjoyed the adventures to the Hollywood Hills! Had a blast writing this one…:)

  5. sallycoles2013

    November 24, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Wow! Sounds like it was a wonderful night! I’m going to start stalking you! Where you go, I go! But seriously or not so seriously, what fun! Can we all get on the next Glenfiddich guest list?!

    • thefoodstalker

      November 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Stick with me kid, you are indeed my partner in crime for the next one! Or…we could just meet in Scotland to check things out first hand. :)

  6. T

    November 25, 2014 at 3:25 am

    You are the original Bond Girl prototype!

    • thefoodstalker

      November 25, 2014 at 3:46 am

      I’ll take that as a compliment from the original Victoria Secret Girl! xooxox

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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