Sunday, September 30, 2012

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Giveaway #7

It’s the 7th Wilson’s Guide giveaway/contest/competition/drawing!

Saturday, September 22nd marked the first day of fall. That’s right – summer is officially over.

But just because we’re packing up bathing suits and flip-flops doesn’t mean we have to pack up those good ole summertime memories. What was your favorite memory from this summer?

Perhaps it was a much-needed vacay, a beach day, or simply basking in the plentiful sun rays.
Whatever – and wherever – it is, I want to know why it was your favorite!
Be as descriptive as you’d like, and photos, although optional, are always welcomed.

The person with the BEST memory (picked by yours truly) wins a
BRUNCH FOR TWO (value $50) at Luca on Sunset,
a #WilsonsGuide pick that has tasty and healthy brunch selections.

Don’t forget to include your first name and your location. All answers can be submitted to or tweeted to @WilsonsGuide on Twitter.

Contest goes until next Saturday, October 6th, 11:59pm PST. Winner will be announced on the #WilsonsGuide blog on Sunday, October 7th.

A big THANKS to Mr. Luca Giorgetti of Luca on Sunset (pictured below) for donating the brunch!!


· This giveaway/contest/drawing/competition is free and open to anyone over 18 years of age.

· Please note: all entries received may be potentially retweeted and/or posted on at a later date. If an entry is posted and/or retweeted, only the entrant’s first name or Twitter username will be posted in conjunction with the entry.

· Once selected, winner will be given specific instructions on how s/he will receive the gift card.

· By accepting the Luca on Sunset gift card, winner releases Luca on Sunset, Wilson’s “Where To” Guide and Miss Wilson and all of their respective officers, agents and employees from any responsibility or liability in connection with the awarded gift card. Winner also agrees to release Luca on Sunset, Wilson’s “Where To” Guide and Miss Wilson of any injuries, losses, or damages of any kind resulting from acceptance, use, misuse, possession, or loss of the gift card.

· By entering this giveaway, entrants accept and agree to these rules.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Where To Travel: Mama’s Fish House @ Maui, Hawaii

The Destination: Mama’s Fish House, Paia, Maui, Hawaii

The Vibes:
Tropical, relaxing, chill, at the beach, picturesque

Open daily for lunch (11am-2:30pm) and dinner (4:15pm-9pm)

The $ Factor:
$$$ - lunch dishes average about $50

The 4-1-1:
Menu changes daily, depending on the catch of the morning

I’ll Be Back…:
For more seared ahi tuna! 

Last month, I got a pleasant little surprise when an all-expense paid trip to Maui just so happened to land in my lap. Feeling more elated than the ‘Homeland’ cast probably felt at the Emmys last night, I boarded that plane so quickly and set off to enjoy a week in paradise.

I had planned to spend my vacay propped up at the beach, sipping thousands of mai tais and chucking the deuces at all my responsibilities. But lo and behold, one trip to Mama’s Fish House and I knew that wouldn’t be the case. I had to feature this restaurant in a #WilsonsGuide post, so I had to do some investigating, take some notes, snap a few photos, open up my laptop, write a few words…(such hard work, right?)

So what was it about this adorable Polynesian-themed restaurant that caught my attention?

It wasn’t that Mama’s Fish House is pretty much paradise in every sense of the word. Located on a quiet beach dotted with swaying palm trees and a traditional Polynesian canoe, the restaurant has incredible views and an intimate South Pacific décor inside. Sitting by the windows to catch the airy ocean breezes that drifted in was probably one of the most relaxing things I ever did on Maui.

But no, that wasn’t it.

And it wasn’t the fact that the restaurant is literally the epitome of sustainable food sourcing. Each day, the restaurant creates a menu that centers around the fish bought from local fishermen earlier that morning. That means none of the fish in any of the dishes, like my Lobster Guacamole and my Ahi Sashimi both pictured below, is frozen or shipped from faraway shores. And yes, you can notice the difference by how fresh everything tastes.

That was close, but still, no cigar.

And it wasn’t the delectable desserts, such as the Liliko’I Crème Brulee, made with this awesome fruit that's native to Hawaii, or the one-of-a-kind homemade ice cream, which features a new flavor every day.

The real reason? It was the seared ahi tuna. 

Never in my life – not on any of my stops in hundreds of restaurants on the east coast, down in South America, all throughout California – have I tasted ahi tuna that fresh and delightful. In fact, we even went to several other restaurants all over Maui, at five-star hotels and at casual, local places, ordering tons of ahi tuna, but I can still confidently say that nothing else came close to Mama’s Fish House.

Mama’s ahi tuna is perfectly seared to crunchy perfection on the outside, and so buttery and rich on the inside, melting in your mouth. There was a brief second when eating it, that I closed my eyes and murmured to myself: “I never want this moment to end.” In fact, it was so good that we ended up getting two more orders.

So if you ever find yourself on the island of Maui, treat your taste buds to Mama’s Fish House and order the ahi tuna (call in advance to make sure it’s there). If you’re going to go all the way to paradise, then make sure you go all the way. See you there soon!

For more information:
Mama’s Fish House; Facebook 

Views from/of Mama's Fish House:

Sunday, September 16, 2012

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Michael Fererra

Not too long ago, I introduced Michael Fererra on #WilsonsGuide as a guest blogger.

Already an established fashion designer and well known as much for his custom clothing designs as for his charismatic networking skills, Mr. Ferrera’s latest accomplishments include becoming a writer.

He recently published The Perfect Gentleman’s Pocket Guide, a phenomenal read that candidly and sophisticatedly explores precisely what it means to be a true, proper gentleman (fellas, take notes; ladies, know how to pick out a real, bona fide gentleman).

And lucky for us, Mr. Fererra is also sharing his writing skills with us through a guest blog post!

Here is his "Where To" recommendation, worthy for all you dapper fellas – and gentleladies – BOA Steakhouse:

"The Gentleman's View: Great

Go here for: Drinks & Appetizers, Date, after work meet up or Lounge nightlife

Cost: $20-$60 a dish

Meal portion: Small relative to price

Crowd: 28-40s

Attire & Style:
Dress shirt. Jacket recommended. Jeans appropriate.

Noise level:
Loud with guests and music

Parking: Valet Only

If you live in LA you've heard about it, and if you're planning to visit LA you will.

One of the more trendy lounge and dining spots as of recent here in the city of Angels, or technically Hollywood. Just off of the Sunset strip, across the street from major bank buildings and corporate offices, BOA is a great spot for drinks and light appetizers. But don't miss out on the great food, it's actually a steakhouse.

The place is known for its live lounge atmosphere, the beautiful fireplace patio and the often spotting of a few Hollywood celebrities.

Fortunately, I got to enjoy the food without the noise and the crowd with potential clients. On the plate: steak and fries, the classic man's meal. Wonderfully prepared with crispy fries (which is a requirement for me), the food was fantastic. Ladies will not be disappointed either with lighter foods, fish and tapa-style appetizers I noticed on the menu.

The only bad, which is not really a bad, is that BOA is very trendy, popular, and a big deal right now in Los Angeles. The wait might be long but if you're not drastically hungry, it’s worth it. Another way to enjoy the food is to sneak in for lunch with no wait. Opt the sit on the patio by the way. It’s fresh, seriously.

You will for sure enjoy the great food prepared by the chefs at this restaurant BOA. You won't be disappointed with the lounge after six environment or even into the wee hours of the night as well. But be prepared for the Hollywood red-rope delays. Unless of course you have reservations, which I highly recommend. Enjoy!"

Yours truly,
Michael Ferrera

For more information:

Monday, September 10, 2012

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Donnie McClurkin

Ever hear one of those songs that’s so good that whenever you hear it, it kind of paralyzes you, grabs you by the shoulders and grips your spirit?

That’s precisely how I felt when I initially heard gospel singer Donnie McClurkin’s “We Fall Down” single, when it debuted in 2000.

I – along with hundreds of thousands of other fans – have continued to appreciate his contributions to gospel and Christian music, as his nine albums, his popular radio broadcast and his scores of television appearances have created a long, prosperous career spanning sixteen years.

And now, he’s adding The King’s Men Concert Tour presented by Live Nation to his list of accomplishments, which is actually the first major U.S. Gospel Tour. McClurkin along with Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp and Israel Houghton are performing in sixteen cities, starting in Phoenix on Sunday, September 16th, and passing through LA on Thursday, September 20th. 

I had a chance to talk with McClurkin last month during a phone interview* and of course, there were sooooo many questions I wanted to ask him: How did he get into the music industry? How is he preparing for the upcoming tour? What’s his take on some of the current events affecting our country? And of course, where does he “where to” in Los Angeles?

Needless to say, his answers were insightful and quite revealing. 

Check out what Mr. McClurkin had to say below!

Miss Wilson: Hello, good morning! How are you today?
Mr. McClurkin: Amber! How are you?

Miss Wilson: I’m blessed! I’m doing very well, thank you.
Mr. McClurkin: You better be.

Miss Wilson: [Laughs] I’ll go ahead and dive into it. Let’s first start with how you would personally describe your music?
Mr.  McClurkin: My music is therapeutic for me. It’s an outlet, and it’s always been, ever since I was a kid. Once it was given to me and it was developed, it became like – it was never something that was a part of me. It was always appreciated as something that was handed on to me. It was like something I used in order to help escape…A whole lot of background came from that. Once I learned how to express musically, whenever those things hit that were byproducts of that, I would go to my music. Bullied in school and physical deformities and people laughing at you, making fun. I would go to my music, because nobody could bother me then. Nobody could insult me. They couldn’t. My deformities, hands and feet – didn’t matter. That’s how it was therapeutic for me.

Spiritually, it expressed what I believed. And it gave me the strength through faith and through God to really go deeper when I would be depressed, or things go crazy at the home, and family fighting and blah blah blah. Going through your music, can you remember what God promised through the music? So that’s what my music personally means to me.

Miss Wilson: How did you start a career in music?
Mr. McClurkin: You know, I didn’t start a career. It just happened. My goal was never to be an artist. I wasn’t trying to contrive something. It just started happening and holistically, stumbling into events. Stumbling into ordeals that were musical. Being introduced to people by mistake, you know [laughing] and singing and just people hearing it and taking it from there. So I never planned on it; it happened. That’s the reason why I’ve always been really, really cautious with how I handle it. Because it wasn’t something that I ever asked for or really believed. Other people believed more than I did.

Miss Wilson: Aside from the music, you’ve done a lot of other projects, from your own radio show to your own t.v. show, and now you’re even doing voice-overs. Was it all a natural progression in the sense of – again, you never really asked for it – or was this something that you were always interested in, it just was finding the right time to pursue these endeavors?
Mr. McClurkin: Well it was something I was interested in innately. I didn’t understand what the interest was, but it was consuming, but never for a profession…All the rest of the stuff happened and it always caught me off guard – you know the voice-overs and the movies and the television and the radio. All of that stuff happened ancillary, secondary. And when it happened, it always caught me off guard, because I’m saying “but that’s not, you know – that’s not the gospel music.” And I saw it in a one-dimension, not three-dimensions that could branch off into other things. And it’s always caught me off guard, whenever things happen outside of my small expectations. It leaves me in awe that that’s the way God does.

Miss Wilson: Another big upcoming project is the King’s Men Tour and I actually heard you say in a recent video interview with Essence that this tour is going to be historic and groundbreaking. Why is that? What’s going to make this tour stand out from other tours and other gospel tours?
Mr. McClurkin: Well, see, when you put the mind of the mad genius Kirk Franklin with the talents of Kirk Franklin, Israel Houghton, Marvin Sapp and myself, you don’t get a regular concert. Because everything that we do is a little overboard, especially myself and Kirk and Israel.

Kirk Franklin is into production. He is into production – production of music, production of the singers, production of concert tours. That’s Kirk’s expertise.

And my thing is unity. I told Kirk when they brought this to me, that the only way that I’m going to do it is if we do it like we did the Hopeville Tour and we do it co-joined. I don’t want to be on the stage by myself, doing my set. I want to be involved in other people’s sets. And now we’re doing videography. It’s a multi-media event. And there’s going to be videos, interaction with the songs and the whole entire presentation. It’s going to be really state-of-the-art.

Miss Wilson: So I have to ask – who’s going to put on the best performance, out of you four?
Mr. McClurkin: Well, out of all of us, God is going to put on the best performance. I want us to set the stage for God to show off. God to show off in the music that He gave us, God to show off in the vocalities [sic] that He’s given us, God to show off in the creativities that He’s given us, God to show off in the message of the songs that He’s given us. And for us to stand on this stage, utilize the whole of the stage – side to side, front to back – give the best concert, because you have to give a great concert. He’s a great God.

And each of us, we’re not really competitive with one another. We like to complement one another. And really, to hear us all four together? It is ridiculous! Because I’m a fan of everybody, and we’re all fans of each other’s music. And Kirk sits down and really cries when he realizes that I know the words to his songs. Out of all these years, if I jump up onstage with him, he is sitting there crying, “I didn’t know you knew the song!” Are you kidding me? That’s a Kirk Franklin song. Same thing with Israel Houghton, Marvin Sapp. You know I know a Marvin Sapp song! [Donnie McClurkin begins to sing Marvin Sapp’s “The Best in Me”]. Those are easy words.

Miss Wilson: [Laughing] Great. Well I’d actually like to ask your opinion on some serious matters that are currently happening within our country right now, starting with the Colorado movie theater shootings and the Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings. What words of encouragement would you give to the victims and to their families who are struggling with dealing with unforeseen and untimely deaths?
Mr. McClurkin: I could never give any words that would bring any real solace. I could never bring any words that would make sense of this whole debacle. Wicked men with wicked hearts. Demonic agendas that find maniacs to bring them about. They happen. They’ve happened since Cain slew Abel.

But all I can say is that where evil abounds, grace much more – love much more – abounds.

And we’ll never understand the workings of a maniac’s mind. What we can understand in limitation, which is enough to fill our lives, is the love of God. And that’s got to be enough. We’ve got to believe that God’s got nothing to do with this, but this is because men make crazy choices. But then God is always there to heal our hearts in ways that words can never do. So we’ve got to trust the love of God to compensate for the pain of life. We’ve got to trust the love of God to really play a part in the healing of our souls and join together as one human family. We always have to remember that the cure for all of these social and mental ills is the peace of God, and the love of Jesus Christ.

Miss Wilson: Lastly, is there anywhere you go in Los Angeles to find inspiration?
Mr. McClurkin: Oh yes, there is some place that I do go. I go – there are two places that I go to find peace, to find fellowship and camaraderie. I go to West Angeles Church of God in Christ and I go to City of Refuge in Gardena! Those are the two places that I go, when I am here to find escape, relaxation.

Because if I go to West Angeles, ain’t nobody going to bother me there! I’m not Donnie McClurkin there. I’m just Donnie. If I even go to Gardena and I go to Noel Jones’ The City of Refuge, ain’t nobody going to mess and ask to sign no autographs. Because we’re all in there worshiping together. Those are my getaways. It’s not a beach. It’s not a restaurant. It’s not a museum. It’s West Angeles Church of God in Christ and the City of Refuge in Gardena.

Miss Wilson: I actually go to Faithful Central –
Mr. McClurkin: Pastor Ulmer!

Miss Wilson: Exactly! You’ll have to come there one day.
Mr. McClurkin: Come there one day? Girl, I’ve started coming there way before you got there! Those are my folks there. Give him my love when you talk to him.

Miss Wilson: I definitely will. Thank you so much for your time and best of luck with the tour. I’m definitely going to check it out when it’s here in LA.
Mr. McClurkin: You better!

For More Information

* Editor’s note: The interview has also been edited and condensed for reading ease.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Where to Be Merry: Trails, Stairs and Views @ The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

The Merriment: An outdoor playground of switchback trails, killer stairs and incredible vistas that stretch from downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean

The Vibes: You determine your own experience, whether that’s an intense workout, a peaceful moment of solitude or a little bit of both

When-to-Go: 8am to sunset, daily

With-Whom-to-Go: Alone, with workout buddies and friends, the fam and kids, etc.

The $ Factor: FREEEEEE!

The 4-1-1: Disclaimer: please, please please make sure to stretch properly! Even if you're only leisurely walking up or taking a Sunday stroll, still prepare your body for even the slightest bit of physical exertion. Don't be like me and end up with a pulled muscle from not adequately stretching. Or, perhaps you're in better shape than me, so things like "pulled muscles" don’t even affect you.

I’ll Be Back…: To conquer those ridiculously monstrous stairs – they will not get the best of me

Driving down Jefferson Blvd. in Culver City, you might miss it.

Or perhaps you might see the hill, but that’s about it.

Or, if you look closely, you’ll see that the hill is actually swarming with tons of tiny figures, and then that’s all you’ll see.

This hill is the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, with access to some of the best free, outdoor workouts and panoramic views that you could ever ask for in the city.

Tons of tiny dirt trails that lead up to the top are hidden between the sprawling, rugged, rocky terrain. There are parts that are steeper than others, so make sure to wear shoes with a firm grip. It's not that fun to slip and slide all over the place, and yes, I'm speaking from experience.

The trails in total are about a mile to the top and while there is a shorter, quicker way up, you’ve been warned: it ain’t any easier. 282 steps (pictured below) form a stairway leading upwards, but before you say “oh, that’s a piece of cake!” let me break it down for you: these are the most steep, uneven, grueling set of stairs I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. You’ll see people silently huffing and puffing with pained expressions twisting their faces. Seems like everyone’s quiet because they have to focus every ounce of energy onto making it, step by step.

Whether you arrive via trails or via stairs, finally at the top, you’re rewarded with sweeping views of the city below. A lot of people take the time to do lunges and sit-ups and other exercises, while many calmly meditate or simply struggle to catch their breath.

There’s also a Visitor’s Center (pictured below) that displays information about California’s natural climate and environment, even with a few wildlife samples you can touch.

So the next time you’re in the mood to get a breath of fresh air and also sneak in a good workout, I highly recommend planning a trip to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook.

See you there soon!

For more information: