Once again, the end-of-year rush of back-to-back celebrations is upon us, as time seems to accelerate from the thrills and chills of Halloween all the way to the glitz and glamor of New Year’s. At the risk of seeming like one of those overachievers who get their holiday cards sent out before Thanksgiving, I want this issue of Toluca Lake Magazine to represent our season’s greetings to you. As the beautiful cover photo promises, it’s full of stories that combine our year-round local love with a twinkle of holiday spirit. I hope it will find a place on your coffee table all season long as an expression of the pride and gratitude we feel for this wonderful community.
In addition to updates on neighborhood festivities past and future, we’re bringing you our annual holiday shopping guide to inspire your gift-giving this season and beyond. Our local businesses contribute so much to Toluca Lake’s character and vitality, and giving them your patronage is a great way to show support for your neighbors and create personal connections — not to mention that they’ve got a lot of tempting treasures in store for the season. (Speaking of showing support, I must mention that a subscription to this magazine — available at TolucaLake.com/subscribe — makes a great gift, too!)
As the days get shorter and the nights grow brisker, our tastes turn toward everything warm and cozy. If you’re looking to curl up with a steaming mug of coffee, don’t miss our story about the signature drinks and welcoming vibes some of our favorite local cafes have to offer this winter. And if a bowl of hot, nourishing soup is what you’re craving, meet the Soup Goddess (also known as Lizzie Meyer), who’s serving up savory concoctions in her Burbank restaurant — including one created exclusively for Toluca Lake Magazine, and we’re bringing you the recipe! She’s made it her mission to provide healthy, affordable and sustainable food to as many people as possible, and her commitment to helping the less fortunate is a perfect expression of the generosity and goodwill at the soul of the holiday season.
Giving back to the community is also a priority for longtime locals Michael and Caroline Cusumano. The Cusumano family are among this area’s most prominent philanthropists, and they’ve been instrumental in shaping the local landscape through both their civic involvement and their real estate developments. In our interview in this issue, Michael and Caroline share their memories of growing up in Burbank and Toluca Lake, what this community means to them, and their favorite local places and traditions — including some iconic holiday rituals (hint: one involves some famous garlic bread).
Another beloved custom they mention, the annual Holiday Open House, is coming up on December 6. Toluca Lake Magazine is one of the sponsors, and I look forward to seeing many of you there — please stop by our table and say hi! This event is always a heartwarming reminder that, beyond all the food and fun, it’s friendship and fellowship that make Toluca Lake and this time of year so very special.
However you celebrate this season, we wish you and yours health, happiness and all of the best this community has to offer.