Farewell celebration for Tennis Greats –
The Bryan Brothers






By Barbara Beckley

I was thrilled on behalf of VSM to attend the Farewell Celebration for hometown tennis stars, the Bryan Brothers -- Bob and Mike -- at Imago Galleries in Palm Desert during the prestigious BNP Paribas Open at Indian Well Tennis Gardens (https://bnpparibasopen.com/) last month.   

The most successful doubles team in history was honored for their triumphant 22-year career by fellow tennis stars, friends and long-time fans like me, amid cocktails, live entertainment and a ping pong tourney! No kidding. The twins, who are as fun as they are talented, threw an unbelievable bash. Guests not only played ping pong against some of the world’s top tennis players. We danced to the Bryan Brothers’ band! Yup. Bob on keyboard and Mike on guitar.

And when I wanted a photo with them, but the official Getty Images photog was busy... “No worries. We’ll take a selfie,” said Mike, holding my phone at arm’s length. Voila!  I have this wonderful photo. Much better than any “official” shot. 

Even the cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were unique. Created by co-host Willo (www.willofarm.com), a new-concept personal farm experience, founded by the brothers’ friend and awarded-tennis player Samuel Bertram. Raised indoors, vertically, with no human interaction, the fresh mint in my signature Willo cocktail tasted amazing. Bob and Mike also announced that 50 percent of the evening’s proceeds are going to their non-profit Bryan Brothers’ Foundation (http://bryanbros.com/), supporting deserving children in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.   

Fellow pros cheering the brothers’ send-off included Bethanie Mattek Sands, Robert Lindstedt, Nikola Mektić, Łukasz Kubot, Marcelo Arévalo, Bruno Soares, Rajeev Ram, Jules Rojer, Austin Krajicek, Ivan Dodig, Mate Pavić, Joe Salisbury, Rohan Bopanna, Andrea Mies, Gonzalo Escobar, Kevin Anderson, Jaime Murray and coaches Phil Farmer and David Macpherson.

For more than two decades the 42-year-old twins have been wowing fans. Winning a record-breaking 16 grand slams in 30 finals, 119 doubles titles, ranked No. 1 for 438 weeks, and 10 seasons as the world’s top team. They are also Davis Cup champions and Olympic gold medalists.

This evening was the exact moment of their retirement! The very next morning, October 7, 2021, the Bryan Brothers began their new lives – debuting as commentators on the Tennis Channel! 





By Joshua S. Kushner, Sr.




    Any time I walk into a restaurant that is decorated with fine chandeliers,  elegant pillowed booths, a wine bar stocked to the nine’s and the aroma of fresh and savory cuisine creeping through the air I say to myself, Oh, I’m at the Peasant Wine Bistro in Tarzana.  Seriously, it takes an evocative imagination to put this all together.  That is exactly what restaurateur Greg Woodbury has done.  The eclectic menu is a mixture of styles, tastes and textures that will give you a comfortable selection from the get go. Ranging from small sharable dishes such as the Curry-spiced lamb meatballs in demi-glace, a sweet and spicy sauce, with a touch of Asian, and the velvety texture of the lamb combine nicely, topped with locally grown sprouts which add a cleansing and brightness to the dish. The Salmon belly tartare with tobiko, sticky rice and spicy sweet soy sauce also has a Pacific Rim flare served in the round and has a very light and aromatic presence, combined these two with a bottle of hot Sake for a great start to your experience.  If you are in the mood for a comfort starter, try out Deviled eggs with prosciutto di parma, pesto olive oil and balsamic glaze or the peppered beef carpaccio with wild arugula, capers, shaved parmesan and lemon drizzle.  Add a craft beer selection with any of these and you will be delighted and satisfied.

     The main entrees range from simple to complex much like the small plates. You may select from the pizzas, hand crafted and very interesting such as the Lamb meatballs with olives, feta cheese, mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce, topped with pico de gallo, and menagerie of fresh Mediterranean flavors, or go South West for the Roasted BBQ chicken with red onions, cilantro, burrata, cotija, smoked gouda, mozzarella, and BBQ sauce, an explosion of flavor! They also serve an award worthy Kobe-style burger, with beer braised onions, cheddar cheese, garlic aioli, tomatoes, greens, and shoestring fries on the side.  If you’re going solo and want to catch the game on the big screen, this is a great opportunity to relax at the bar with a beer and enjoy!

     For an elegant night out, I suggest that you ask the server for the special that evening, and expect something engaging and tempting. The main entrees from ranch to sea are individual works of art from the head chef.  The priority at the Peasant Wine Bistro is to provide freshness, seasonal as well as local ingredients, and high quality meats, poultry and seafood.  You may find menu dishes such as filet mignon with truffle fries, cedar planked salmon with honey balsamic glaze, beurre blanc and seasonal vegetables or free range chicken. On this night the chef prepared a savory beef bourguignon prepared rustic style, slow cooked and downright mouthwatering.  The sauce had deep flavor from the wine and herbs and braising liquid along with fresh carrots which added a touch of sweetness and heartiness.  The dish was served along side a homestyle ramican of baked mac and cheese.  Perfectly cooked with tender noodles velvety smooth cheesy sauce and topped with bread crumbs for a nice crisp finish. All menu items are very reasonably priced around $14 -$20, the service is outstanding and the wine list extensive.  The beer selection has also expanded and compliments many of the menu items. Desserts are also Du Jour and always a special surprise, so be sure to make some room for the big finish!  Located at 19100 ventura blvd, N, Tarzana, CA 91356. ph 818.708.7081.Reservations recommended.

It is always exciting when a restaurant exceeds your expectations. I remember visiting a Pizza Cookery in the 80s on Ventura Blvd either in Encino or further out and thinking that the pizza was excellent. But it was a tiny, hole-in-the-wall pizza joint for takeout. There was not enough room to sit down to enjoy a full meal. So this was what I expected June 10 when I visited The Original Pizza Cookery in Woodland Hills. Boy oh boy, was I in for a surprise! When I walked in what I saw was a comfortable sit-down restaurant with a pleasant Italian decor - tiny Christmas lights everywhere - and when I looked at the menu, there was everything on it from soup to nuts - Italian, of course! I suddenly realized I was in for one gigantic treat. As you probably know by now, Italian is my favorite food. Si, Si, con tutti i mezzi (by all means)!

   Owner Jordan Klempner was on hand to welcome us. He told me that this restaurant has been opened for 40 years, and that they just recently added a new lunch menu. Now that's success! 40 years and still thriving! They must be doing something right... the prices are low...and you get good sized portions.

I ordered a fabulous Barbequed Chicken Salad with honey dijon dressing, a half-portion of whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce and a mini pepperoni/ meatball pizza. The salad was so plentiful and delicious, I did manage to eat the pasta, but took the pizza along. My friend Jim had a Caesar Salad, stuffed shells and a mini mushroom/garlic pizza. He raved and raved, as we both savored our lunches like two little kids in a candy store. As I have frequently told most of you, there is always room for dessert. When I heard the menu included spumoni with cookie sticks, I could not resist. I was amazed that such delicious food came at such a reduced cost. I remember eating a year ago at a famous Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills and being disappointed at the small portions served and at such overwhelming prices. Pizza Cookery has every other Italian restaurant beat with a half-portion of pasta - $5.95, and believe me, you get more than enough. My Barbequed Chicken Salad was a mere $7.50, and the pizza cut into 4 slices, with two items, under $14. Amazing!

There is also a special gluten-free menu for pizza, sandwiches, salads, drinks and bakery items - and a vegan menu, for both lunch and dinner, for eating in as well as take out. Pizza Cookery will also cater your next party or social event.

    Some of the specialty items on the menu include: minestrone soup as appetizer, as well as a variety of delicious salads. As far as entrees are concerned, you have a choice of great hero sandwiches that range from tuna to Philly Cheese Steak to grilled chicken to the famous Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, all priced under $12. Pizzas are made available on whole wheat crust as well as regular, and soy mozzarella may be substituted for regular mozzarella. Pizza specials include vegetarian deluxe, southwestern, as well as Greek and Mexican pizzas and a Mediterranean pizza made with olive oil. All pizzas contain the freshest of ingredients including oregano, tomatoes, garlic and cilantro. Combination pizzas range from small at $17 to large at about $25. Pizza Cookery sure wins out over corner pizza stores because Pizza Cookery is high on taste, never skimping on quality. Pasta specials include lasagna, fettuccine alfredo, manicotti, canneloni, chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan, with an extra nice price under $13 and with house salad included, only $18.25.


I should have been born Italian. I eat more Italian food than any other type of cuisine. So, now that I've re-sampled Pizza Cookery - actually tried the Original Pizza Cookery on Topanga Canyon in Woodland Hills. for the first time in 40 years - I've got a lot of catching up to do. I'll be back.

visit them online at:


A  Woodland Hills legend 


The Pizza Cookery 

By Don Grigware





Lusy's Mediterranean Grill

Van Nuys

By Bruce Wildstein



Tucked away in a small strip mall in Valley Glen is Lusy’s Mediterranean Cafe and Grill. It’s small, only around 8 tables, and you could easily miss it unless you knew it was there. The interior is very pleasant however, and everything is color coordinated making for a nice dining experience. This family run business offers a somewhat limited but on-target menu of Mediterranean favorites and specialties. The food is “home-style” in the truest sense of the word. There is nothing on the menu that tries to be trendy or the dish of the month. And that’s a good thing because good Mediterranean food can be a scarce commodity in this part of the Valley. Owner Avo and his wife Lusy have been making their tasty food for the public for 8 years and their recipes have that authentic Mediterranean style. In fact, the recipes were handed down from Lusy’s grandmother. Rest assured that everything from the sauces to salad dressings are made from scratch, nothing is pre-made. The food is clean; they use no MSG and no trans-fats. There are menu items marked with the Red Heart from the American Heart Association that signifies “heart healthy” and there are gluten-free options also available.

    You should know up front that Lusy’s has no liquor license, so you will have to choose from what is available: their delicious Mediterranean Ice Tea, Gazoz, Than Yogurt drink, and various soft drinks. After being seated, flat water is brought to the table in an attractive bottle with Lusy’s own label on it, a nice touch. Soups, salads, and a number of appetizers will get you started. We ordered “Lusy’s Trio Appetizer,” which arrives on a long rectangular plate with generous scoops of hummus, tsatziki, and babaganoush. You get slices of pita bread for dipping, or you can use the small spoons to spread each on your pita. Everything was delightful, from the thick hummus to the pickley tsatziki to the eggplant based babagonoush, and all were freshly made. There is a good amount here so order this for two or three people. We like falafel, so the next thing we ordered was their “Falafel Bites” appetizer. The Falafel is made with crushed garbanzo beans, onions, parsley and herbs. It’s an old tried and true Mediterranean staple. In addition to the falafels, the plate comes with Tahini sauce and tomato to enhance your enjoyment. Again, the falafels were top notch, hot out of the kitchen, having just been prepared. At Lusy’s, everything is cooked to order; nothing is being warmed under heat lamps.

     Entrees at Lusy’s consist mainly of kabobs and combo plates, and they all come with rice, pickled turnips and peppers, hummus, and a small green salad. It’s very affordable; none of them are over $14.00. Beef, steak, and chicken are the meats of choice here. We ordered the Chicken Shawarma plate, which comes with small strips of boneless chicken on rice, with Tahini sauce, chunks of tomato, and parsley. You will love the authentic Mediterranean flavors, freshly cooked over an open flame. The Shawarma dish is also available with beef, and some combos of beef and chicken are available as well.

Lusy’s has some excellent salads, including the Fatoush, Greek, and Chicken Salads. They use Persian cucumbers, Kalamata olives, and Feta Cheese. Soups include a Creamy Chicken with Leeks, Home Style Chicken Soup, and the rarely served Borscht, made with beets, cabbage, onions, potatoes, and carrots, served with the traditional sour cream. The menu is the same for lunch or dinner so if you don’t want a plate you can also order a wrap. Those include the Pesto Chicken, Gyros (beef), Falafel, Shwarama, or Grilled Vegetarian. After dinner enjoy some of their fine Armenian coffee along with Homemade Rice Pudding, Baklava or Napoleons.

    So why not make your way over to Lusy’s, it’s worth the drive. Lusy’s Mediterranean Cafe and Grill is located at 6357 Woodman Ave, Valley Glen, telephone 818-997-4330.