Monthly Archives: October 2010

"What Love Looks Like" by Kurt Bensworth

Last Saturday I met Kurt Bensworth hawking his first novel, What Love Looks Like, at the Barnes and Noble bookstore in the Amerige Heights Town Center in Fullerton.

Bensworth’s tale of first love is set in Orange County where he grew up and still lives.

“The story fell in my lap several years ago,” he said. “When I explained it to my wife, she told me, ‘Ok, honey, you have a choice. You’ve been talking about writing, and I know you do a little writing here and there, but the truth is, there’s a story here. Either write it or stop talking about it.’ ”

“There are two high school kids in Tustin High School, and I describe places in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. A lot of Orange County people would certainly recognize the places that I speak about in the book.”

It took Bensworth “a good year, a solid year” to write the semi-autobiographical love story.

“It was a very emotion-filled writing year. I think I felt everything all over again. … A lot of nights I started at 10 o’clock and I’m not finished till 2. I’m working on my second book right now, but on my first book there were a lot of late nights.”

Explaining that emotional involvement, he said, “I don’t think love ever dies. If you loved somebody, there’s always going to be that little piece of your heart, even if the relationship ended badly, even if you were divorced or something happens or somebody passes away. It’s part of who you are. It’s part of your general make-up from who you were then and who you will be. It’s all part of you.”

Although Bensworth has done other writing, his previous work was more likely to be educational material about computers and software. Love novels are a new venture. And he’s very specific that his genre is love, not romance.

“It’s a completely different genre. Seriously. There is a difference. They put me in fiction. They won’t put me in romance…. Nicholas Sparks would not be put in romance. They put him in fiction, because that’s just how it’s done.”

Bensworth expects to be at Barnes and Noble again today (Thursday, Oct. 14) from 4  to 7 p.m. for a book signing. People “can sit down and discuss their first loves to me if that’s what they want to talk about, or anything else they’d like to talk about, because, you know what? Everybody has a story.”

You might even want to by a copy of his book. You can visit the bookstore or order from Bensworth’s website.

“If you come down and you pick up the book and you read it, I promise you I’ll strike an emotional chord with you somewhere down the road.”


Barnes and Noble
Amerige Heights Town Center
1923 West Malvern Avenue, Fullerton, CA 92833
(714) 871-9855

Kurt Bensworth

You can also meet Bensworth at monthly meetings he hosts for the Orange County satellite of Independent Writers of Southern California


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Filed under Books, Events, People


Hometown restaurateur John Lascari has opened a new cucina in La Habra’s Westridge Plaza. When I visited the restaurant at the former site of Pasta Bravo a month ago, the signs weren’t up, but Jim and Shirley Pierce, of Whittier, had found the restaurant anyway.

“We just made a trip to Italy in May. All the food we had in Italy, we said one thing: ‘When can we get back to Lascari’s?’ The food (in Italy) is very bland.”

The Pierces are longtime devotees of the Lascari’s chain. They started eating at the first Lascari’s in the 1970’s when it opened on Whittier Boulevard east of Santa Gertrudes. That location now houses the Taco Shack.

La Habra’s new store is part of a major expansion. Jorge Cueva, who’s in charge of opening new restaurants for the chain, told me he was about to open six new locations, two stores a month for three months. “We’re ready to take this business to the next level,” he said. “Next comes franchising.”

The Lascari’s brand includes three styles of restaurant: Full-service, deli, and cucina. The cucinas offer the same great food, but there are no food servers. And, Cueva pointed out, cucinas give a senior discount all day, unlike the full-service restaurants which reduce prices for seniors from 2-5 p.m. only.

“The senior special is great,” Jim said. “We can never finish, and the wine is great.”

“I started at the top (of the menu),” said Jim, “and worked my way down — even the eggplant; and I don’t like eggplant.”

Lascari’s Cucina
1360 S. Beach Blvd
La Habra, CA 90631


Filed under Restaurants