Posts tagged with "Costa Mesa"

LA Times, 360 MAGAZINE

LA Times The Taste – Costa Mesa Lineup

The Los Angeles Times announced the lineup for its Costa Mesa edition of The TasteFollowing its 10th anniversary on the Paramount Pictures Studios backlot, one of the most popular food and drink festivals is returning to Orange County for its second year to spotlight the vibrant cuisine and award-winning restaurants in the heart of Southern California.

Hosted by The Times’ Food staff, The Taste in Costa Mesa will take place at The MET over three sessions: one on Friday, Oct. 18 and two on Saturday, Oct. 19. Admission to each event includes unlimited samplings from dozens of local restaurants, premium cocktail tastings, plus demonstrations from renowned chefs and wine experts.

Friday, Oct. 18, 7 to 10 p.m.

L.A. Times Cooking Editor Genevieve Ko will host the opening event featuring Syrian pastry chef Maher Nakhal (Le Mirage Pastry) as he reveals the handcrafted artistry behind his authentic Middle Eastern desserts and French pastries. Critically acclaimed chef Ross Pangilinan (Terrace by Mix Mix) will showcase his eclectic style and Euro-Filipino flavors through a demo of one of his signature dishes, hosted by Times Features Writer Gustavo Arellano. Restaurants include: Filomena’s Italian Kitchen, Outpost Kitchen, Puesto, Tackle Box, The Ranch at Laguna Beach and WAVE Gourmet Burgers.

Saturday, Oct. 19, noon to 3 p.m.

Chef Carlos Salgado of Michelin-starred Taco María, will provide a glimpse into his contemporary, Mexican-influenced cooking with L.A. Times Cooking Columnist Ben Mims. Taking the crowd on a wine tour through Monterey County, Rob Baker (Southern Glazer’s) will lead a presentation on Bordeaux-style wine from Carmel Valley’s Bernardus Winery. Restaurants include: Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Mayors Table Pacific Pub & Kitchen, Mesa and Roba Noodle.

 Saturday, Oct. 19, 7 to 10 p.m.

The Taste festivities continue on Saturday night as chef Wing Lam (Wahoo’s Fish Tacos) will cook up his legendary Baja-style fish tacos, while Michelin-starred chef Tony Esnault (Knife Pleat) will demonstrate modern, seasonal interpretations of classic French techniques with Times Senior Food Writer Jenn Harris. Restaurants include: Bluegold, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, CUCINA enoteca, Georgia’s Restaurant, Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar and Toast Kitchen + Bakery.

Travel Costa Mesa has partnered with nearby hotels to offer special packages that include a pair of tickets to The Taste with each night’s stay for a weekend “Eatcation” to explore more of the area’s diverse food and cultural scene.

Photo Courtesy of LA Times The Taste

Victoria Arlen, 360 MAGAZINE, Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), Gala

Free Wheelchair Mission Raises $1.8 million at Miracle of Mobility Gala

Inspirational TV Personality Victoria Arlen Delivers Message of Hope

Guests use VR Glasses to be Transported to Guatemalan Village

An unforgettable evening on July 25th filled with surprises, heartfelt inspiration and the pure joy of giving culminated with Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) receiving over $1.8 million in donations in one night – the most ever at this event and enough to transform the lives of more than 22,500 individuals living with disabilities in under-resourced nations around the world. Already, the humanitarian nonprofit has distributed 1.2 million wheelchairs around the world.

The 600-plus who attended the 16th annual Miracle of Mobility gala at Segerstrom Center of the Arts were treated to a fabulous gala evening PLUS three unique opportunities:

1) listening to television personality and gold medalist Victoria Arlen, whose own story of regaining mobility is incredible

2) journeying virtually to a small Guatemalan village using Oculus VR glasses and feeling like they are on a mission to distribute wheelchairs

3) taking part in an exciting live auction where generous donors bought wheelchairs for individuals living with a disability in an under-resourced nation. Each $80 donation will buy one wheelchair – changing that person’s life forever as he or she begins a life of mobility.

Guests enjoyed an internationally themed cocktail reception with food stations offering global cuisine, a silent auction filled with an eclectic array of gifts and experiences, a performance by Infinite Flow, the first wheelchair dance company in the world, and inspirational remarks from Free Wheelchair Founder and President Don Schoendorfer.

The evening’s special guest, 24-year-old Victoria Arlen, holds impressive credentials: ESPN host, Paralympics gold medalist, Dancing with the Stars semi-finalist, author and most recently, co-host of the NBC TV’s American Ninja Warrior Junior.  Those credentials would be impressive for anyone but considering that Victoria was struck by two rare neurological diseases at the age of 11, causing her to be trapped in her body in a minimally conscious state for four years, it is an incredible turnaround.

Victoria spoke at the gala about her journey, including the four years when doctors doubted that she would ever return and the subsequent several years when she fought back to begin life again. She offered a message of hope and the importance of being thankful for what you have.

“When you focus on what you still have, you will find it changes your perspective, and that change in perspective creates hope. Hope that tomorrow will be just a bit better than today and when you take that hope, and mix in your own hard work, lots and lots of hard work, I believe you will find yourself back on the path to living out your own dreams.”

Victoria credits her parents with the hope that saved her. “Over and over doctors told my parents they needed to accept the very real possibility that I would not survive and, even if I did, the Victoria they once knew was not coming back. And while my family was willing to accept the diagnosis, they refused to throw up their hands and accept that this was all my future had in store. They accepted the diagnosis, but NOT the prognosis,” Victoria related.

“Somehow, they believed I was not a lost cause. I now believe that it was their refusal to accept that prognosis that brought me back to life.”

Following Victoria’s talk, a robust live auction led to the donation of more than 21,900 wheelchairs to be built and distributed in 93 countries around the world. In 2017, Free Wheelchair Mission reached the milestone of one million wheelchairs distributed and now is pursuing its goal of reaching the next million by 2025.

“Tonight’s gala was successful for so many reasons, most notably the many volunteers who help us bring the gift of mobility to people living with disabilities around the world and the many donors who embrace our mission and recognize how even a simple $80 donation can change a life forever, “ said Free Wheelchair Mission CEO Nuka Solomon.

“The gift from Free Wheelchair Mission provides the mobility that allows each recipient to begin a new life – whether it’s taking care of themselves, attending school or working – and we find that the vitality of the entire family and community are changed too,” Solomon added.

Key sponsors of the gala included Transformation Sponsors: Advisors Mortgage Group and The McDonald Family; Freedom Sponsors: The Hummelberg Family, The Morris Family Foundation, Diamond Hill Capital Management, KPMG and PR Construction. The full list of sponsors can be found here.

About Free Wheelchair Mission:Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM) is a humanitarian, faith-based nonprofit based in Irvine, Calif. that designs and manufactures cost-efficient, durable wheelchairs for individuals living with disabilities in under-resourced nations. FWM collaborates with a worldwide network of like-minded partners that facilitate wheelchair distribution in 93 countries. FWM provides renewed dignity, independence and hope through the gift of mobility at no cost to the recipient. Just $80, the cost to manufacture and deliver one wheelchair, can change a person’s life forever. Founded in 2001 by Don Schoendorfer, Ph.D., the organization reached the milestone of distributing one million wheelchairs in 2017. FWM currently intends to distribute the next million wheelchairs by 2025. For information or donations, visit freewheelchairmission.org.

Quality of Sleep is Significant Opportunity for North American Hotels

Fewer Than 30% of Hotel Guests Experience “Better Than Expected” Night’s Sleep

Forget the minibar, sleek lobby and mints on the pillow. If hotels really want to build loyalty and delight their customers with stand-out lodging experiences, they need to focus on the bed. According to the J.D. Power 2019 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study,SM released today, quality of sleep is one of the most important components of a hotel guest experience with the potential to drive overall satisfaction and brand loyalty, but the majority of hotels are not delivering better-than-expected sleeping conditions.

“Delivering a superior sleep experience—from the quality of the bed, linens and pillows to the ambient sound and temperature of the room—is a huge opportunity for hotels to differentiate themselves from the pack and earn significant goodwill with guests,” said Jennifer Corwin, Senior Manager of Consumer Insights for Travel & Hospitality Intelligence at J.D. Power. “Of all the discrete variables of the hotel guest experience we measure, a better-than-expected night’s sleep is the one with the potential to drive the highest levels of overall guest satisfaction for those hotels that can deliver.”

Now in its 23rd year, the North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study was redesigned this year to incorporate much deeper guest profiling information and extended coverage of the full hotel customer journey, including the path to purchase, pre-stay communications and post-stay communications. The study also now includes property-level information throughout North America, updated food and beverage metrics and inclusion of vacation rental utilization metrics.

Following are some key findings of the 2019 study:

  • More zzzs, please: Overall satisfaction scores increase 114 points (on a 1,000-point scale) when hotel guests experience a better-than-expected quality of sleep. However, just 29% of hotel guests had such an experience. Of guests who do experience better-than-expected quality of sleep, 78% say they “definitely will” return to that property and 71% say they “definitely will” return to that brand.
  • The anatomy of a good night’s sleep: The top contributors to quality of sleep and, therefore, higher satisfaction scores, are comfort of bed; quietness of room; comfort/quality of pillows; room temperature; and comfort/quality of linens. Satisfaction scores for quality of sleep are also higher when hotels offer beyond-the-basics items, such as white noise/sound machines, earplugs, robe/slippers and authentic local decor.
  • Quality of sleep directly correlated to price of room: The highest rate of better-than-expected sleep quality is in the luxury hotel segment (42%), followed by the upper upscale (33%), upscale (31%), upper midscale (28%), midscale (28%) and economy (23%) segments.
  • Arrival and check-in experiences present opportunity to shine: The key elements of the check-in experience consistent with high hotel guest satisfaction scores are efficiency (ideally takes five minutes or less); accuracy; and offering a warm welcome. When any of those baseline criteria are not met, satisfaction scores tumble as much as 100 points.

Study Rankings

The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:

Luxury: The Ritz-Carlton (for a fifth consecutive year)
Upper Upscale: Hard Rock Hotel
Upscale: Best Western Premier
Upper Midscale: Drury Hotels (for a 14th consecutive year)
Midscale: Wingate by Wyndham (for a fifth consecutive year)
Economy: Microtel by Wyndham (for a second consecutive year)

The 2019 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study analyzes guest responses to more than 150 questions regarding their overall experiences and includes 85 officially ranked brands in six market segments. This year’s study is based on responses from approximately 44,890 guests who stayed at a hotel between June 2018 and May 2019.

For more information about the 2019 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/resource/jd-power-north-america-hotel-guest-satisfaction-index-study.

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power has offices serving North America, South America, Asia Pacific and Europe.

The Taste Returns

Los Angeles Times’ annual celebration of the Southern California culinary scene returns with events in L.A. and Costa Mesa. The pop-up block parties will take place at the Paramount Pictures Studios backlot over Labor Day weekend (Friday, Aug. 30 through Sunday, Sept. 1) and The MET over two days in October (Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19).

Hosted by The Times’ Food staff, each edition of The Taste will include three individual events. Unlimited tastings from the region’s best restaurants, a variety of wine, beer and seasonal cocktails, plus access to cooking demonstrations and talks by renowned chefs are included with admission. Tickets, ranging from $80 to $115, are on sale now at latimes.com/TheTaste. Early birds can take advantage of $20 off the ticket price with offer code SAVE20.

Photo credit: Courtesy of LA Times The Taste

J.D. Power 2018 Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats that are energy efficient vastly increase customer satisfaction, as well as ease of installation/setup and pricing, according to the J.D. Power 2018 Smart Thermostat Satisfaction Report.

“The boost in customer satisfaction based on energy efficiency shows that consumers are looking for long-term savings and environmentally friendly options when it comes to smart thermostats,” said Ian Greenblatt, Technology, Media & Telecom Practice Lead at J.D. Power. “If manufacturers can continue to turn out products that can satisfy beyond the purchasing and installation process, they will see an increase in customer loyalty, as we found that 94% of satisfied customers are likely to recommend their product to others and 59% are likely to repurchase the product down the road.”

The 2018 Smart Thermostat Satisfaction Report measures overall customer satisfaction with smart thermostat brands among those who purchased a smart thermostat system within the past 12 months. Satisfaction is examined across 10 factors (listed in order of importance): ease of use; ease of install/setup; reliability; energy efficiency; price paid; effectiveness of heating/cooling; internet connectivity; usefulness of app; variety of features; and customer service. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale. The report is based on responses from 952 customers and was fielded in July-August 2018.

Study Rankings

Nest ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction (883), performing particularly well in six of the 10 factors: internet connectivity; variety of features; ease of use; energy efficiency; usefulness of app and ease of install/setup. Honeywell ranks second (877) and Carrier ranks third (861).

Overall satisfaction among smart thermostat customers is 877, up 12 points from 2017.

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. These capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe. J.D. Power is a portfolio company of XIO Group, a global alternative investments and private equity firm headquartered in London, and is led by its four founders: Athene Li, Joseph Pacini, Murphy Qiao and Carsten Geyer.