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In LA, Restaurateur Brad Johnson is Creating Contemporary Soul Dishes ‘Without Losing Authenticity’

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Brad Johnson

*Restaurateur Brad Johnson has opened savory hot spots for foodies on both coasts. Considered dinner-club royalty, Brad is the son of New York restaurateur Howard Johnson, who owned the hip Upper West Side restaurant The Cellar in the 70’s.

It was a star-studded spot frequented by the likes of Arthur Ashe, Bill Cosby, Phyllis Hyman, Muhammad Ali, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson, Diahann Carroll, Stevie Wonder, and Miles Davis, who wrote in his book, “Miles, the Autobiography,” that the Cellar had “the best fried chicken in the world.”

Brad said his father was “a trailblazer, he laid the foundation for me to follow in his footsteps. I learned about music, what to wear, how to carry myself, and pride of ownership.”

post & beam (grits & shrimp)

That pride in ownership has allowed Brad to own and/or operate a list of notable restaurants and nightclubs since the 80’s. Today, he’s producing Southern-influenced cuisine at Post & Beam and Willie Jane, both located in Los Angeles.

“The objective is not to skirt tradition but to give it a tuneup, with dishes that show that it can be contemporary without losing the authenticity,” said Johnson in recent interview with the New York Times. In the article, the publication highlights black chefs, black cookbook authors and progressive soul restaurants that are “reinventing, reinterpreting and reinvigorating what’s thought of as African-American food.”

post & beam gumbo

Johnson’s first L.A. opening was the real-life Roxbury, on which the Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan comedy was based, “A Night at the Roxbury.”

“I did that club based on the belief that there wasn’t the nightlife in Los Angeles that I had seen in New York. I came to Los Angeles and we were able to get this great building and do three concepts in one: a nightclub on top, restaurant in the middle and blues club n the first level,” Brad told Vanity Fair.

Longevity in the restaurant business is no easy feat, so what does Johnson attribute as the key to his successful 30+ years in the business? As Black Enterprise notes, it’s all about: 1) choosing the right location, 2) identifying talented partners, 3) having a good concept and 4) landing a vested investor.

“Funding is a big challenge in our business because of the risk factors,” says Johnson. “Rarely is our business attached to a real estate deal, which makes it a little safer to most investors.”

Brad says the biggest obstacle many African American-owned establishments face is the lack of ‘property ownership and access to sufficient capital,’ both vital to ensure longevity.

post & beam (brunch)

post & beram chocolate pecan mess

post & beam collageGovind Armstrong of Willie Jane and Post & Beam apprenticed in Wolfgang Puck’s Spago when he was a teenager, and a review of Post & Beam’s Twitter reveal pics of some of his signature savory dishes, such a creamy shrimp and grits and tender ox tails. As BE notes, Post & Beam utilizes an on-site garden and the South Central Farmers’ Cooperative.

Per NY York Times:

At Willie Jane, in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, and at Post & Beam, in the Baldwin Hills area, Mr. Armstrong, the executive chef, cooks Anson Mills grits until they are creamy, then adds a spice- and bourbon-spiked shrimp paste adapted from an Edna Lewis recipe. Then come shrimp from Baja California, pork belly that has been cured and smoked on site and microgreens from the gardens outside.

If any dish at Willie Jane represents the new wave, it’s Mr. Armstrong’s vegan crab cakes, in which slivers of hearts of palm echo the texture of crab meat. The cakes are paired with a persimmon chutney as well as oven-roasted squash that’s puréed with tahini suffused with homemade berbere, the spice mix associated with North Africa.

Johnson says his long-term vision for the two restaurants is to launch a product line. “Govind has this fantastic all-around spice that he’s perfected over the years, so, we are going to be bottling that along with a couple of other products.”

Read the full NY Times article here.

brad johnson & govind armstrong

Restaurateur Brad Johnson and Chef Govind Armstrong

Post & Beam also boasts a hip jazz brunch on Sunday. The restaurant is located at 3767 Santa Rosalia Drive in Los Angeles, and Willie Jane is located at 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA.

For more info visit Twitter and the Post & Beam website.

post & beam

 

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** FEATURED STORY **

Making People Laugh About the Hardships of Teaching Keeps Eddie B. Going (EUR Exclusive!)

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Eddie B.

*Eddie B. hit the mark when his “Teachers Only Comedy Tour” in 2017 played to sold-out audiences. His later show “I’m Already Professionally Developed Tour” was also a huge success.

With funny and telling commentary about what teachers really think has made Eddie B. a hit with educators and comedy fans around the world. While the former teacher is excited about his success, he takes it all in stride.

“People ask me why am I so humble and I don’t know how to answer that,” Eddie B. told the EUR in a recent phone interview. “The only answer I came up with one time is that the more thankful you are you have no choice but to display humbleness. You have to be thankful for what you have. So being humble and thankful go hand in hand.”

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With COVID-19 rendering comedy-tours practically non-existent, the Houston native keeps the jokes coming and his routines fresh by crashing virtual conferences held by, of course, teachers.

“I’m doing a lot of Zooms,” Eddie B. said. “I’m doing everybody’s meetings and convocations. I’ve been busy, busy, busy. Thank God.”

The consummate “class clown,” he was always the funny one in the room and began making serious moves as a comedian while attending Texas A&M University (Kingsville).

Although he was earning a local name for himself, Eddie B. was not making the kind of money he had hoped. Continuing the comedy club circuit after graduation and taking odd jobs, he began teaching because it was steady pay. He remained a teacher for 13 years while still doing comedy.

“A lot of teachers say, ‘I’ve been wanting to teach my whole life. I was born this way.’ No, you weren’t.” the single father laughed. “I’m a tell you right now 70% of all teachers didn’t want to teach. I guarantee you that. Teaching is a profession you get stuck in. The only reason you get stuck is because of the kids. You know the money’s not keeping us. It’s our relationships with the kids and other teachers too – the camaraderie of it all.”

Eddie B. retired from teaching for a short while during his tenure but soon had to return to pay the bills.

“I’m hearing Steve Harvey and ‘em say, ‘You gotta jump. Take the leap,’ That’s cute,” he added. “But what the hell do you do when you take the jump and you get pulled back? I jumped as high as I could and got snatched back down, which led me to believe that it’s got more to do with timing then jumping.”

Down but not out, Eddie B., who showed off his craft on YouTube, said a voice inside his head told him, “’Hey, why don’t you do a video about (teaching)?’ So, I shot it before the kids got in my (school) room and put it out by lunch time. But I was like I don’t even have teaching in my comedy.”

“A couple of days later on my Instagram I got about 100,000 views,” he continued. “I thought something was wrong. I thought it was a glitch. It was just teachers bouncing it off and that was the magic of it. It kept growing and growing. Millions of views and the video was only sixty seconds. It was called ‘What Teachers Really Want to Say’ and I was like man if they like this I’ve got 13 years of this.”

Now that he was getting traction, he had to figure out a way to keep the momentum going with the newer audience.

“What they (the teachers who liked his videos) didn’t know was that I’m a comedian,” Eddie B. said. “They just thought I’m a funny teacher. I had to take what I knew about teaching and put it in a (comedy) set now.”

But could he do that without alienating those who had supported his regular comedy for so long?

“My comedy wasn’t always clean. I used to curse with every other word. I’m from the neighborhood and a large percent of my audience is Caucasian (white women teachers). They don’t want to hear that language. But I’ve been on tour for almost 4 years now and I’ve toned it down. I had to grow with it and learn on the job. It was like teaching.”

For more on Eddie B., and to find out where he may be next virtually and otherwise, go to his official website here.

You can also buy his book, “I’m Already Professionally Developed: Straight from the Teacher’s Desk,” released last year.

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Eddie B. (Courtesy of Eddie B.)

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JeffCars.com’s Review: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

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Hundai (fror front pAGE)

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited (Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

Highlight:  This year’s model includes a solar control fixed glass roof.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $37,070 (Base Model: $28,725)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: airbags; side airbags; ABS; a radar activated cruise control system; a blindspot collision avoidance assist system; a rear cross traffic alert system; a forward collision alert system; a high beam assist system;  tire pressure monitoring system; a traction control system; a stability control system; a tire repair kit; and a rearview camera

Standard Equipment (Blue): 16-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive; LED headlights; LED Daytime Running Lights; LED taillamps; a push button ignition starter; a keyless lock/unlock system; a hands free trunk; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; dual power folding mirrors; a solar control glass a chrome tip single exhaust; cloth seats; manual control front seats; rear split folding seat with a center armrest; a push button gear control system; an automatic climate control system; steering wheel mounted paddle shifters; and an 8-inch infotainment screen

Standard Equipment (Limited): 17-inch wheels; full LED taillamps; side mirror LED turn signal indicators; dual power heated folding mirrors;  heated body color side mirrors; a rear bumper with parking sensors; laminated front glass; solar glass roof panel; leather seats; power front seats; heated and ventilated front seats; a wireless device charging system; dual charging USB ports; front console mounted rear vents; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a heated steering wheel; a 10-inch infotainment screen; a 12-speaker Bose audio system; a heads up display (HUD); a highway driving assist system; a Hyundai digital key; an electronic automatic rearview mirror; a 360-degree camera; an electronic blindspot monitor; ambient lighting; and front and rear parking sensors.

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2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited (Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: None

Other Trim Levels:

SEL (hybrid)

non hybrid trims

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM/HD with SiriusXM

Apple CarPlay/Android: Yes

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes                

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Hybrid System Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Hybrid Battery Warranty: Lifetime

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/192-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 45-city/51-hwy

What’s New: The eighth-generation Sonata has evolved from a vanilla looking ugly duckling to more like a swan, taking more styling cues from the sixth- generation breakout design, which was a game changer for both the midsize car market as well as the Korean brand.

To continue reading the review, click here.

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(Photo Credit: JeffCars.com)

About The Reviewer: Jeff Fortson is the host of Auto Trends with JeffCars.com, the only syndicated multicultural automotive radio show on the airwaves. The 30-minute weekly show, which airs on SiriusXM 141 and a number of FM radio dials, includes one-on-one conversations with many of today’s pioneers and influencers. The engaging show, which goes beyond traditional car talk, can be heard on your mobile and stationary audio devices, clicking here.

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** FEATURED STORY **

Richard Sherman Tackles ‘Adulting’ The Right Way In New Digital Series / EUR Exclusive – WATCH

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Richard Sherman

*Known for being frugal, NFL star Richard Sherman is handing out financial advice to young people in a new digital series.

Launched in August 2020, “Adulting With Richard Sherman” is a 12-part digital show produced by Million Stories Media. The new media company, a project from the Singleton Foundation for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship, offers programming focusing on career, money, and budgeting matters for millennials and young families.

“Richard Sherman is the perfect choice to headline ‘Adulting,’” said Shelley Miles, CEO of the Singleton Foundation, in a press release. “His personality, personal story and likability will draw in viewers and his passion for financial matters will help get young people interested in their own financial futures. He connects with our foundation mission on so many levels and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him on board.”

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richard sherman 49

Richard Sherman is #25 for the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo: 49ers.com)

Available at no-cost on millionstories.com, viewers can expect no-nonsense talk from the San Francisco 49ers cornerback, who reportedly drove a $30,000 Dodge Challenger until as late as 2018. Topics include handling student loans and staying away from payday loans (see episode here).

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(Photo: Million Stories)

Additionally, Sherman tackles other topics such as building credit and having an emergency fund, which is great advice especially during the pandemic. (See episode here.)

richard sherman emergency fund

Richard Sherman in scene from “Having an Emergency Fund” episode. (Photo: Million Stories)

“Adulting With Richard Sherman” is now streaming on millionstories.com. New episodes are expected to launch soon. For more on Sherman, go here. For more on the Singleton Foundation, go here.

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