Dynamite is about to ignite…

With Solvei, a star is born. How remarkable it is for us to come upon such rich talent. When we first saw her perform, we knew we were observing a star in the making.

Solvei comes from a family of musical aptitude. Both her parents are well known opera singers in Norway, so it’s no surprise that this talented young woman with a gift for commanding the stage was recently nominated for the Best Independent Jazz Singer by the Los Angeles Music Awards.

Solvei is one blond, dazzling package and it’s hard to take your eyes off her. Dare we use clichés and say blond bombshell? She chanteuses in a beautiful, full-range voice, dances and simply captivates the stage.

This young woman also sings in myriad of languages.

At The Money Tree, Solvei sings old and classic jazz standards backed by The Cats – a talented trio who are major performers in their own right – who shoot out their own exciting brand of jazz. At other clubs, like La Ve Lee in Studio City, she often resonates with world music, most of which is composed and arranged by her own hand. Mellifluous and melodic!

Solvei performs at The Money Tree on the last Saturday of every month starting at 9 p.m. For her performance schedule, visit her Web site at www.solvei.com.

"The seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them." — Joseph Henry

Speaking of discoveries, we’ve found a new hot spot. While it’s true that The Money Tree in Toluca Lake has been around since 1951, we just found out about it. So it’s a revelation for us!

The Money Tree has been around the block many times, but its latest incarnation happened in 2000 when new owner Francesca took the reins. Francesca has revitalized this classy, warm, traditional nightclub featuring the most astonishing home-style Italian cuisine.

The food at any restaurant is only as good as its chef. At The Money Tree, they are fortunate to have happened upon Chef Vinicio. This man has an artist’s touch when it comes to cooking good food.

Devouring every delicious bite is easy. For starters, try the Shrimp Scampi as an appetizer or have it as an entrée. It’s the best we’ve ever had.

And what the heck does Vinicio use in his sauce? Be sure to dip your bread or your fingers in it so you won’t leave a single drop. Don’t worry about anyone looking at you – they’ll all be doing the same.

Life does afford a difference in pizzas – there’s ordinary, and then there’s extraordinary. Which do you prefer? At The Money Tree, pizzas are made with fresh ingredients and definitely fall in the extraordinary category.

Inviting-looking spaghetti and meatball plates drifted by us with fist-sized meatballs. We also tried the Penne Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage. If you have to fall off your diet cart, please do it with this dish!

The Money Tree offers Italian food, ambiance and a great sense of nostalgia and charm of yesteryear.

For years, celebrities have come into The Money Tree. Picture Sinatra, Dean Martin, Keely Smith and today’s lovers of jazz, to name a few. To this day, they discreetly come in to eat real food and listen to live entertainment.

Every night there are goings-on at The Money Tree with lots of jazz. Come to The Money Tree for the food, for drinks, coffee and dessert, or just to sit and reminisce about life as you take in the terrific musical performances.

The Money Tree is located at 10149 Riverside Blvd., Toluca Lake, (818) 752-8383. Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Lunch is served Monday-Friday, dinner is served every day. Happy hour is from 2:30-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Full bar, no cover.