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citrus-grove-distillers

CITRUS GROVE DISTILLERS
A RIOTOUS GOOD TIME IN THE 909

You never know where a good time can be found but it’s safe to say that if you include a bounty of booze, well, your chances for enjoyment are amplified.  So when I made the nearly 40-mile trek from Hollywood to Claremont in the 909, I didn’t really know what to expect but I was hoping for the best. Mission accomplished. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

alice-west-hollywood

ALICE
BOMB BRUNCH AT NEW MARKET PLACE RESTAURANT

I find two of my favorite pastimes to be so relaxing. I’m talking about hotel dining and weekend brunch. Put the two together and you have the perfect recipe for a long, perfect afternoon. Such was the case when I went to brunch at Alice at the posh 1 Hotel West Hollywood on trendy Sunset Boulevard. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886-summer

THE RAYMOND 1886
GROOVIE 70’S SUMMER LOVIN’ TO DRINK TO

‘Summertime and the livin’ is easy.’

Those are of course lyrics to a popular song but also a SoCal mantra as those are words to live by in these parts. And those lyrics definitely rang true to me sipping on an inspired cocktail off the new 70’s Summer Lovin’ menu at The Raymond 1886 where its summertime and the drinkin’ is easy. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

alice-after-work

ALICE AFTER WORK
NOW THIS IS ONE HAPPY HOUR

Who doesn’t love a good happy hour? Any chance to dine and drink discounted always sounds good to me. And now Alice, the chic new market place restaurant at the swanky 1 Hotel West Hollywood is offering its Alice After Work.(Story continued click on picture above)

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highlights-of-2018

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2018

I have to say, I was extremely fortunate to experience wonderful meals, cocktails and just plain damn good times in 2018. While I look forward to see and experience what 2019 has in store, it’s always fun to take a moment and look back. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

dos-hombres

DOS HOMBRES
‘BREAKING BAD’ STARS GO FROM METH TO MEZCAL

One of the most badass TV shows of the last decade was easily Breaking Bad. And in the show nobody cooked better meth than Mr. White and Jesse Pinkman. Now that dynamic duo of actors Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are teaming up again, only this time they’re crafting mezcal in real life. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

national-oyster-day

MONDAY IS NATIONAL OYSTER DAY
CELEBRATE WITH OYSTER DEALS ALL OVER TOWN

In honor of National Oyster Day, which is Monday, August 5, here’s a list of restaurants that will be celebrating all things oysters with great deals to indulge on some tasty treats. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

stairway-to-heaven

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
A TOUR OF SILVER LAKE’S PAINTED STAIRWAYS

Nowadays what can be better than an Instagram-inspired workout? Getting your cardio on in the great outdoors while posting popular social media pics is what it’s all about these days. And taking on the Silver Lake painted stairways is just the way to do it. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

celestino-ristorante-2019

CELESTINO RISTORANTE INTRODUCES
NEW THREE-COURSE POWER LUNCH

One of my very favorite Italian restaurants, Celestino Ristorante in Pasadena, is introducing its new Summer Power Lunch Menu created by Owner and Executive Chef Calogero Drago offering a flavor-packed Three-Course Prix-Fixe Lunch Menu, which also includes a non-alcoholic lunchtime beverage for $32 per person. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

south-city-fried-chicken

SOUTH CITY FRIED CHICKEN
SETS UP LUNCHTIME POP-UP AT PREUX & PROPER

We’ve all heard the saying, everything old becomes new again. Well, that motto is definitely true of the L.A. food scene but most times change is good and life without reinvention gets old fast. And with that notion in mind, the powers that be have relocated South City Fried Chicken down the street to Preux & Proper. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

once-upon-a-time-in-69

ONCE UPON A TIME IN ‘69
EXHIBIT LOOKS IN THE WORLD OF CHARLES MANSON

Once upon a time, fifty years ago this summer in Los Angeles a series of grisly events occurred that drastically shifted culture by ending the hippie era of peace and love and altered the world’s perception of humankind as we know it. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

hotel-maya-music-fiesta-2019

HOTEL MAYA WILL BE SMOKIN’ HOT DURING ITS
‘LATIN AMERICAN MUSIC FIESTA 2019’ AUGUST 2-4

Long Beach’s Hotel Maya is a local favorite for its live entertainment. Its brunches are always a good time combining excellent fare, drink and music, and now its upcoming ‘Latin American Music Fiesta’ taking place August 2, 3 and 4 will feature five live performances in three days at Fuego at the water’s edge. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

health-nut

HEALTH NUT
A HEALTH OBESSED KARDASHIAN FAVORITE

It’s always great when a restaurant has steady regulars—loyal customers. So I can only imagine that it must be a restaurant owner’s dream come true when some of your regulars happen to be world famous. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

michelin-la-bib-gourmand-awards

MICHELIN RELEASES
L.A. BIB GOURMAND AWARDS

The Bib Gourmand awards are a tier below the famed and much sought-after Michelin star system, representing worthwhile restaurants that don’t quite meet the star standards. But these restaurants are still worth checking out in their respective categories and price points. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

culina-and-vinoteca

CULINA & VINOTECA
MODERN TUSCAN CUISINE THAT SOARS

I’ve always been a fan of hotel restaurants, well, great hotel restaurants where the dining experience is akin to vacation life without actually having to get away. Enter a posh hotel and even you, a local, can feel like you’ve escaped from the mundane and the daily rat race. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-broadwater-plunge

THE BROADWATER PLUNGE
PATRICK DUFFY’S FAMILY BAR IS A GEM

Depending on what generation you hail from, you may know actor Patrick Duffy from the juggernaut TV show “Dallas” (1978-1991) where he played the iconic and hunky Bobby Ewing or as one of TV’s favorite dads on the hit sitcom “Step by Step” (1991-1998). (Story continued click on picture above)

 

hatch-yakitori-and-bar

HATCH YAKITORI + BAR
WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER

When talking about a Japanese izakaya restaurant that celebrates yakitori, let’s first make sure that we’re up to speed with the terminology. An izakaya is a casual Japanese pub popular for after-work drinking—think Irish pub or tapas bar. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

national-tequila-day

NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY
COCKTAIL RECIPES THAT WORK YEAR ROUND

Here’s a fun tequila fact that you might not be aware of. Did you know that all tequila is mezcal yet not all mezcal is tequila? Yes, that’s right? (Story continued click on picture above)

 

trejos=coffee-and-donuts

TREJO’S COFFEE & DONUTS
NOW SERVING BREAKFAST

What started off as an immediate booming taco empire quickly morphed as actor and now restaurateur Danny Trejo launched a coffee and donuts outpost, and then founded his own cerveza (beer) to sell to the masses. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

fozzy-tours-with-iron-maiden

FOZZY
HITS THE ROAD WITH IRON MAIDEN

For old school rock purists, it ain’t summer concert season without an Iron Maiden show to go wild out. And this summer, Maiden fans will ‘up the irons’ as the heavy metal heroes set up show at Banc Of California Stadium on Saturday, September 14. And in the middle of the chaos will be WWE legend Chris Jericho and his rock band Fozzy, which will share the bill with the UK greats. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

eataly-la-terra

BRUNCH AT TERRA AT EATALY L.A.
THIS WOOD BURNING ITALIAN GRILL GETS BRUNCH RIGHT

While no one in their right mind would say no to a trip to Italy, it’s not easy or affordable to just get away. Well welcome, to Eataly L.A. where the food, wine, drinks and market are as authentic as possible. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

tuck-room-tavern

TUCK ROOM TAVERN
SUMMER BRUNCH BONANZA

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I do love a nice, long boozy brunch. And one of the best day-drinking brunches in town can be found at Westwood’s Tuck Room Tavern. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

trejos-cerveza-hecho-en-la

TREJO’S CERVEZA
HECHO EN L.A.

Actor and restaurateur Danny Trejo has become a Los Angeles fixture with the runaway success of his business ventures, including Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Cantina, and Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts. New additions include Trejo’s Music (his own record label) and Trejo’s Cerveza. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

art-beyond-the-glass-vlll

ART BEYOND THE GLASS VIII
CELEBRATING 8 YEARS OF COCKTAILS, COMMUNITY & A GREAT CAUSE

Now celebrating its eighth year, Art Beyond the Glass VIII will take place on Sunday, June 23 at Los Globos in Silver Lake. L.A.'s premier cocktail culture festival, Art Beyond the Glass VIII will feature more than 100 top bartenders making cocktails and showcasing their artistry, from painting and sculpture to photography, live music and more, all while raising funds for Beautify Earth! (Story continued click on picture above)

 

trejos-tacos-2019

TREJO’S TACOS
NOW SERVING AT THE ORIGINAL FARMERS MARKET

Danny Trejo is at it again. The movie star who has been making a name for himself most recently as a respected restaurateur with his Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Cantina, and Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts has opened yet another taco shop, this time at the iconic Original Farmers Market. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-hudson-weho

THE HUDSON
WEHO FAVE RELAUNCHES

Celebrating its tenth anniversary, West Hollywood’s The Hudson, a local favorite, has relaunched with a venue upgrade and revamped menu. Ten years in L.A. is a pretty big deal as restaurants and bars come and go so quickly that being able to last a decade in this town where trends don’t last long should be applauded. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

concerto-italian-fusion

CONCERTO
ITALIAN FUSION COMES TO LIFE IN KOREATOWN

You could say that Concerto, formerly Caffé Concerto, in Koreatown feels very homey and that might actually be because it used to be an actual house. Look at the outside and you’ll see a two-story house in K-town. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

khong-ten-cocktails

KHONG TEN
NEW SEASONAL COCKTAILS HIT THE SPOT

Ever since I discovered Khong Ten, a modern Vietnamese restaurant serving exciting California-inspired Vietnamese dishes in West L.A., I feasted at dinner, and indulged at brunch, including a Bánh mì bonanza. And recently I sojourned through the new, seasonal cocktail menu. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

kass-wine-bar-restaurant

KASS WINE BAR + RESTAURANT
MICHELIN STARRED CHEF CHRISTOPHE EME DELIGHTS

The revitalization of La Brea Avenue has been exciting to watch over the last decade as the busy city street once known as the place to buy antique furniture and rugs has morphed into a hub for quality sushi, fine dining and all things brunch. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

ruben-rueda-musso-and-frank

BELOVED MUSSO & FRANK BARTENDER
RUBEN RUEDA DIES AT 67 OF NATURAL CAUSES

Ruben Rueda, who worked his magic as a bartender at Hollywood’s iconic Musso and Frank Grill for a remarkable 52 years, passed away on Friday, April 26 of natural causes at age 67 at Whittier Hospital Medical Center. The announcement was made by Mark Echeverria, the restaurant’s COO/CFO/Proprietor, and a fourth-generation family member/owner.(Story continued click on picture above)

 

georgias-lounge

GEORGIA’S LOUNGE
A SOPHISTICATED SOUTH BAY COCKTAIL LOUNGE

The South Bay, in this case Redondo Beach, is known for its chill atmosphere. It’s all about the laidback beach life where beers tend to run aplenty. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

birds-and-bees

BIRDS & BEES
DOWNTOWN BAR STILL ABUZZ

When Birds & Bees opened back in January 2017, the Downtown L.A. bar was abuzz as a handcraft cocktail speakeasy gem. Now at the ripe old age of two, there’s a new management and bar team in place but the look, feel, and, above all, the drinks still impress—maybe more so than ever. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

roccos-tavern

ROCCO’S TAVERN
A SPORTS BAR THAT SCORES A TOUCHDOWN

When it comes to sports bar, Rocco’s Tavern, which sports locations in Studio City, Culver City, Pasadena and Westwood, aims to be in a league all its own. And ever since it partnered with former L.A. Rams running back and NFL Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson, the result has been a Super Bowl sized good time. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

barnsdall-friday-nights

BARNSDALL FRIDAY NIGHTS 
WINE TASTINGS COME ALIVE THIS SUMMER

This summer, when you need to wind down, you won’t find a better or more chill way than to “wine down” at Barnsdall Art Park's Friday Nights Wine Tasting Fundraiser, which lasts all summer long through September 6. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886-dine

THE RAYMOND 1886
AN OLD FRIEND WELCOMES A NEW FACE

I must admit that I’ve experienced numerous good times at The Raymond 1886, a lovely restaurant and bar tucked neatly along Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena. If you’re not careful, you might just miss the place, which means missing the opportunity to indulge in a fine meal or brilliant cocktail session. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

khong-ten

KHONG TEN
IT’S A BANH MI FEST

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Khong Ten and it’s bold and daring ‘New Vietnamese’ hybrid cuisine. It’s a great spot for dinner and drinks but it’s also a must-visit for lunch and especially weekend brunch where báhn mi sandwiches and day drinking make for a great time. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

porkfolio-korean0bbq

PORKFOLIO KOREAN BBQ
A MIGHTY, MODERN TAKE ON TRADITIONAL KOREAN BBQ

If you’re looking for a mighty and marvelous barbecue experience in the Arcadia area, look no further than Porkfolio Korean BBQ at the Santa Anita Westfield Mall.(Story continued click on picture above)

 

masters-of-taste-fourth-annual

FOURTH ANNUAL MASTERS OF TASTE
WELCOMES HOST CHEF MICHAEL HUNG

Always one of my favorite events of the year, Masters of Taste food festival is turning four this year. Moving from May to April this year, come celebrate and be part of the 4th Annual Masters of Taste, L.A.’s premier outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival taking place on Sunday, April 7 from 3 pm to 7 pm on the field of the iconic Pasadena Rose Bowl. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

khong-ten

KHONG TEN
MODERN VIETNAMESE CUISINE HITS WEST L.A.

Your imagination, not to mention your palate, may conjure certain images and expectations when it comes to Vietnamese cuisine, so you'd be apt to broaden whatever may come to mind when visiting Không Tên, a fantastic New Vietnamese restaurant in West L.A. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

jalapeño-petes

JALAPEÑO PETE’S
WHERE THE FIESTA DOESN’T STOP

Fans of fun, hearty fare and festive libations in the San Fernando Valley need look no further than Jalapeño Pete’s in Studio City. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

totoyama-sushi-ramen

TOTOYAMA SUSHI & RAMEN
SERVING THE BEST RAMEN IN HOLLYWOOD

Hollywood Boulevard is aligned with stars and celebrities where talent shines bright. And a new star on the block of fame is Chef Yukinari Yamamoto whose Totoyama Sushi & Ramen is delighting lovers of fine Japanese cuisine. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

farmhouse

FARMHOUSE
A TRUE FARM TO TABLE GEM

Restaurants love to use the term ‘farm to table’. They’ve been using it for years, implying that their food is as fresh as possible. At Farmhouse at the Beverly Center, it’s not the chef that’s the star, it’s the farmer himself—ensuring the ingredients and the best and freshest possible. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

sur-restaurant-lounge

SUR RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
A STAR-WORTHY BRUNCH

Fans of reality television will be no strangers to posh SUR Restaurant & Lounge in West Hollywood as its part of the popular Vanderpump Rules and Real Housewives universe. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

brera-ristorante

INTRODUCING BRERA RISTORANTE
NEW NAME, SAME GREATNESS

What’s in a name? Sometimes change is good but it’s the tried and true consistent quality that matters. Factory Place Hospitality Group, which also own and operates The Factory Kitchen and sixth+mill pizzeria and bar, has renamed its high end Officine BRERA to BRERA Ristorante as the Downtown LA trattoria has transitioned to a new, simplified and more approachable name. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

stranger-things-parody

‘STRANGER THINGS’ PARODY
BACK AGAIN AT ROCKWELL TABLE & STAGE

Back by popular demand, Rockwell Table & Stage has extended its run of the “Unauthorized Musical Parody of Stranger Things” currently playing four nights a week in February and Thursday and Friday for the first three weeks of March. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

easys-diner

EASY’S
AN ELEVATED NEW AGE DINER

Dining inside an L.A. mall just became a thing to do thanks to celebrity restaurateur Jeremy Fall’s Easy’s inside Beverly Center.  Think new age diner offering high-end culinary eats with an expanded food, drink, and cocktail menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

longship-brewery

LONGSHIP BREWERY
A VIKING ATTITUDE ABOUT BEER

Longship Brewery is, like its Viking namesake, exploring. In this version it is an exploration of the sea of taste that lands on some unique flavors. This exploration of taste is what excites head brewer Charles Nation “This is the first time I have been able to experiment with Commercial equipment “after years of being a home brewer Charles found himself introduced to the owner of  Longship Brewery, Dan Jachimowicz. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886

THE RAYMOND 1886
‘TALL TALES & COCKTAILS’

With the start of a new year and a new winter season, change is upon us at The Raymond 1886. The ever-venerable restaurant and leading bar has been a pillar when it comes to serving quality food and cocktails. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

south-chicken-fried-chicken

SOUTH CITY FRIED CHICKEN
TRAVEL ACROSS THE USA ONE BITE AT A TIME

A foodie favorite these days is a damn good fried chicken sandwich. People will line up for hours for a tasty one. And one of the most satisfying fried chicken sandwich joints, without super long lines, is South City Fried Chicken in Downtown LA. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

joe-and-the-juice

JOE & THE JUICE
JUICE BAR / COFFEE SHOP LANDS IN L.A.

A juice bar and coffee shop beloved around the world with over 200 locations in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, Joe & The Juice has made its way to L.A. landing on trendy Third Street, Melrose Avenue, and South Santa Monica Boulevard.(Story continued click on picture above)

 

bone-kettle

BONE KETTLE
SOUTHEAST ASIAN KITCHEN INSPIRES IN PASADENA

The bold and daring flavors of Southeast Asia come alive in Old Town Pasadena at Bone Kettle, where guests can indulge in rich and comforting flavors that truly define what comfort food is all about. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

los-angeles-athletic-club

LOS ANGELES ATHLETIC CLUB
MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES

For more than 125 years, The Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC) has remained dedicated to its mission of providing for the body, mind and spirit of its members.  A private club that features state-of-the-art athletic and spa facilities, award-winning restaurants, bars, luxury meeting, conference, and hotel rooms, and an array of social, business, and athletic events, membership, indeed, has its perks. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

flappers-comedy-club-restaurant

FLAPPERS COMEDY CLUB & RESTAURANT
HOME OF LAUGHS & GOOD EATS…NO JOKE

Los Angeles can be argued is the center of the entertainment universe, and while that obviously means film, television, sports, and music, let’s not forget the rich history the city has in comedy. Many of the world’s best comedians started off at local comedy clubs. And indeed, that tradition hasn’t changed. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

commerson-dine

COMMERSON
LA BREA AVE DINING GEM TURNS THREE

La Brea Avenue has seen quite the revival over the years, first with Rascal in 2011, then with the addition of chic shops, which replaced the rows of rug and antique stores, followed by posh eateries like République, Sugarfish, Sycamore Kitchen, and Odys + Penelope. And now celebrating its third year, Commerson, a popular neighborhood bistro, is yet another reason to pay a visit to the Mid-Wilshire district. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

byron-blatty-wines

BYRON BLATTY WINES
OPENS TASTING ROOM AT GOOD MEASURE

If you’re looking for something to toast and drink to in this brand new year, well, the husband and wife team of Mark and Jenny Blatty of Byron Blatty Wines have just opened their new wine tasting room at Good Measure restaurant in Atwater Village.(Story continued click on picture above)

 

hotel-maya-presents

HOTEL MAYA PRESENTS
12 MONTHS OF ‘MAYA-ACHIS’

With triumphant trumpets, giant guitars and velvet voices, some of Southern California’s most exciting and popular mariachi bands will be spicing up Sunday Brunch at Hotel Maya in 2019. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

casa-noble-tequila

TALKIN’ TEQUILA
WITH CASA NOBLE’S FOUNDER JOSE “PEPE” HERMOSILLO

Mexico’s Casa Noble has enjoyed a rich and noble tradition as its distillery has been making tequila since 1776.  The brand itself launched in 1990 and quickly earned a reputation for being a high end, fine hand-crafted tequila. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

best-of-2017-dinning

MY FAVORITE EXPERIENCES OF 2017

Looking back at 2017, there were plenty of fine meals and liberating libations had. While I relished trying new restaurants and bars, as well as revisiting venerable favorites, a few special meals stood out among the pack. This is just me looking back so there’s no real ranking among these favorites of mine. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

scissorhands

‘SCISSORHANDS’
HOLIDAY FUN AT ROCKWELL TABLE & STAGE

Get in on this season’s holiday cheer by revisiting a Tim Burton classic with Scissorhands, a fun musical parody of Edward Scissorhands playing through the end of January at Rockwell Table & Stage. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

la-ax-axe-throwing

LA AX
LOS ANGELES’ PREMIER AXE THROWING SOCIAL CLUB

Either while watching The Walking Dead or any number of zombie fun-filled apocalypse action entertainment, the thought of wielding an ax (or axe) has definitely crossed my mind. What would it be like to hurl an ax at the living dead? How heroic or badass would that feeling be? (Story continued click on picture above)

 

christmassy-as

CHRISTMASSY AS F*CK
‘TIS THE SEASON

The fine, festive folks at No More Heroes in West Hollywood (formerly Now Boarding) are definitely in ultra-holiday mode with the launching of their 'Christmassy as F*ck' pop-up. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

casa-noble-tequila

WANT TO SPEND A NIGHT IN A MEXICAN TEQUILA BARREL?

Tequila drinking may result in waking up in some very interesting places, however, a tequila barrel would hardly be a realistic option. But visit the Casa Noble distillery in Tequila, Mexico, located 45 minutes south of Guadalajara, and you can make that a reality. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

celestino-ristorante

CELESTINO RISTORANTE
IT’S MUSHROOM & TRUFFLE TIME!

With fall underway, one of my personal favorite highlights of the season, even beating out most holiday fun, is the onset of “truffle time” at Celestino Ristorante in Pasadena. And that’s because no one, and I mean no one, does truffles better. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

revel-avila

REVEL AVILA

A Mexican spirit made 100% from blue Weber agave, sound familiar?

Produced in the Morelos region of Mexico, the second smallest state in the country, the location means the spirit can’t be identified as mezcal nor tequila. Instead, this new spirit is called avila. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

lunetta-at-night

LUNETTA AT NIGHT
DINING & DRINKS UNDER THE SANTA MONICA MOON

Where there’s sun, the moon follows. When the day is done, it’s night time. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

catalina-island-whats-new

WHAT’S NEW ON CATALINA ISLAND

Consistently named one of the best island getaways, Catalina Island, located just 22 miles off the Southern California cost, is a unique blend of laid back vibe, rich and historic past, features water and land activities to suit any taste and modern-day amenities and services for every budget. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

mild-sauce-la

MILD SAUCE
A CHICAGO FAVE COMES TO L.A.

Sometimes you wonder, how does this taste so good? It must be the sauce, right? Are we talking “secret sauce”? Foodies along busy Olympic Boulevard along the border of Beverly Hills have been talking about sauce, Mild Sauce that is, these days. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

fat-greek-sandwich-back

FAT SAL’S
THE FAT GREEK SANDWICH IS BACK

The folks at Fat Sal’s have brought back a fan favorite for a limited time with the return of The Fat Greek Sandwich. Not as an over-the-top creation as some of the other Fat Sal’s monster sandwiches, The Fat Greek comes across as an oversized tasty gyro. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

rock-house-sliders

ROCK HOUSE SLIDERS
ROCKIN’ SLIDERS, SHAKES & FRIES

The concept behind Rock House Sliders where the burgers are small but are definitely packin’ isn’t too ambitious or grandiose. “Keep it simple” – that’s their motto with a menu that offers sliders, shakes and fries. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-nice-guy

THE NICE GUY
NOW SERVING THE NICEST VEGAN DISHES

For folks who like to hangout where it’s hot and hip, The Nice Guy is no stranger. The upscale lounge from the H.Wood.Group—the hospitality team behind such nightlife staples such as Delilah, Harriet’s Rooftop, Petite Taqueria, and SHOREbar to name a few—offers intimacy and privacy especially with its no photos policy. Sure, it’s chic, but who knew the eats are as impressive as the décor? (Story continued click on picture above)

 

rogers-burgers

ROGER’S BURGERS
THE BIGGER, BETTER BURGER

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, every meal can’t be a white tablecloth, four-star affair. Sometimes we just need fast and simple—but still delicious. Never compromise when it comes to flavor. So, when I stumbled upon Roger’s Burgers, I was stoked to find a damn tasty, bigger, better burger. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

preux-and-proper

PREUX & PROPER
MODERN SOUTHERN CUISINE HITS THE FASHION DISTRICT

The term ‘southern hospitality’ refers to southerners’ particularly warm, sweet and welcoming nature—especially their knack for extending a gracious invite into their homes to weary travelers. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

chalio-mexican-restaurant

CHALIO MEXICAN RESTAURANT
AN MEXICAN ‘EAST LOS’ FAVORITE


Every culture’s cuisine has dishes that are considered staples. Sure, you might think when it comes to Mexican food that they might be tacos or burritos, favorites for sure, but the real defining dishes are the ones that bring back memories of family and holidays and celebrations. Dishes like menudo (beef tripe) and birria (goat stew) are staples and at Chalio Mexican Restaurant in East L.A., they are menu signatures. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

masala-grill-los-angeles

MASALA GRILL
OFFERING FINE INDIAN FUSION

I often think of Indian food as international comfort food. I wasn’t necessarily raised on it but when I discovered Indian cuisine, with its rich, lovely sauces, it felt like I found nirvana. I a fan of burying meats and rice with sauce as I just love the flavors the combination creates. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

frida-mexican-cuisine

FRIDA MEXICAN CUISINE
SUNDAY MARIACHI BRUNCH BUFFET BONANZA

There’s something so pleasing and relaxing about a long and lazy Sunday brunch. It’s just the ultimate in “me time” pleasure possible. Add to the experience a bottomless bar and a boffo buffet and, well, you found the perfect way to cap off your week or start it, depending on your outlook. And the Sunday mariachi brunch buffet at Frida Mexican Cuisine is one of my favorite options to choose from. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

carnival-in-san-diego

CARNIVAL IN SAN DIEGO

The San Diego West Coast Multicultural Carnival & Festival at San Diego’s SDCCU was great fun. Carnival day was Aug 11th. The Festival included an All White Party on the day before, a Carnival after party on Sat night, and the day after events on Sunday. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

cleo-mediterraneo

CLEO MEDITERRANEO
SHARABLE PLATES NEVER TASTED SO GOOD

From the sbe group and its founder Sam Nazarian has come some of L.A.’s most popular eateries such as The Bazaar by José Andrés, Katsuya, and Umami Burger to name just a few. Another of the group’s most popular dining destinations includes Cleo for mighty Mediterranean cuisine. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

frida-mexican-cuisine

FRIDA MEXICAN CUISINE
A GASTRONOMIC JOURNEY THROUGH MEXICO

Taking a grastronomic journey through Mexico isn’t as hard as you might believe, especially in Los Angeles where Mexican cuisine is a staple of our daily diet. Fare from all over Mexico can be found in the City of Angeles.(Story continued click on picture above)

 

petite-taqueria-dine

PETITE TAQUERIA
BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH

Ever since Petite Taqueria opened, it became an immediate hot spot for the posh crowd to dine on Mexican comfort food. The setting is chic and it is located next door to trendy nightclub Poppy, so it was an instant part of the L.A. nightlife scene. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

no-10-restaurant

NO. 10 RESTAURANT
ITALIAN EATERY SCORES A GOAL!

The L.A. Italian restaurant game, especially around the Beverly Center area, just got better with opening of No. 10 Restaurant, impressive Italian eats from former professional soccer player Alessandro Del Piero. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

true-food-kitchen

TRUE FOOD KITCHEN
BETTER FOOD FOR BETTER LIVING

I think it’s a pretty accepted fact that we are what we eat. What we eat sustains us and the better we eat, the better we feel and perform. And the folks at True Food Kitchen believe that better food results in better living. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

8-korean-bbq

8 KOREAN BBQ
WHERE PORK RULES THE ROOST!

Korean barbecue is no longer a fad or a phase or even a hot, trendy concept. No, it’s now fully ingrained into the Los Angeles culinary landscape. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-thirsty-merchant

THE THIRSTY MERCHANT
A VALLEY VILLAGE NEIGHBORHOOD HANG THAT GETS IT RIGHT

Who doesn’t a love a good neighborhood hang? Even if it’s not in your hood, the fun ones are always worth visiting. At The Thirsty Merchant in Valley Village, it’s all about the grub, beer, hooch and games. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

aloha-poke-co

ALOHA POKE CO.
CHICAGO POKE PIONEER HITS L.A.

Not every meal needs to be a gourmet feast. Yes, that’s really true. Sometimes we want quick and easy, but always first rate. And since I’m often craving poke, I was psyched to discover Aloha Pok? Co. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886

THE RAYMOND 1886
‘WEALTH & HELLNESS’ SUMMER COCKTAIL MENU

Summer’s here and the time is right for another new cocktail menu from the mad scientist kids at The Raymond 1886. This season is all about looking inwards, taking in a deep breath to lock into “Wealth and Hellness”, which is the staff’s way to get cheeky with the current fervor of the health movement. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-guest-house

THE GUEST HOUSE
NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS

From restaurateurs Rose and Aram Serobian of Los Feliz and Silverlake’s beloved Home restaurants, which have been feeding east-siders for nearly 20 years, comes The Guest House, a cool and casual spot sporting a dynamic craft cocktail program located next door to Home on Hillhurst Avenue. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

brothers-of-the-wind

BROTHERS OF THE WIND

The U.S. premiere of Epic Pictures "Brothers of the Wind” starring Jean Reno, Manuel Camacho and Tobias Moretti, was well received by the young audiences of the San Ysidro school district. The June 19 showings were at several schools compliments of Epic Pictures. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

montresor-french-bistro

MONTRÉSOR
FRENCH BISTRO SHINES IN STUDIO CITY

The one and only Chef Paul Shoemaker has done it again. One of the hardest working chefs in the L.A. culinary scene, Shoemaker is now running the kitchen at the new French Bistro Montrésor in Studio City while still helming The FLATS in Beverly Hills while prepping the launch of his upcoming restaurant Verse—billed as a discovery of food, drink and entertainment. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

point-five-espresso-bar

POINT FIVE ESPRESSO BAR
ITALIAN ESPRESSO BAR MEETS AUSTRALIAN CAFÉ

I’m a big fan of all-day breakfast—or brunch if you prefer. And at posh Point Five Espresso Bar on Melrose Avenue, Italian espresso bar meets Australian café and the result is hit for seasonally inspired good eats. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

blackbird-pizza-shop

BLACKBIRD PIZZA SHOP
WHERE HEARTY PIES & BEER RULE THE ROOST

I think if you’re good at something, say making pizzas, then you shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel and support a huge menu. Keep it simple. At Blackbird Pizza Shop on trendy Melrose Avenue, the aim is to be a neighborhood hang offering quality pies and beers. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

toms-urban

TOM’S URBAN
YOU POUR. DRINK. EAT. SCREEN.

I’ve previously reviewed Tom’s Urban at L.A. LIVE, an over-the-top bar and restaurant where bigger is better. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

harissa-dine

HARISSA
TASTE THE MEDITERRANEAN

Fans of flavorful food should be familiar with harissa—a hot chili pepper paste that offers a vibrant and wonderful kick to any dish, although it is mostly associated with the cuisine of Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Syria. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

fat-sals-dine

FAT SAL’S
FAT BREAKFAST SANDWICH

The creative minds at Fat Sal’s like to say, “We’re making sandwiches over here” but sometimes I have to wonder if their motto should be “we’re clogging arteries over here” or even “we’re making heart attacks over here.” (Story continued click on picture above)

 

60out-yhe-cartel-room

60OUT ESCAPE ROOM
CAN YOU ESCAPE FROM ‘THE CARTEL’?

I was always somewhat skeptical about escape rooms, that is, until I actually tried it. Then I was hooked. They’re a fun test of wits and it’s fascinating to see how individual personalities come into play—whom rises as team leader; who becomes the dominant player; and who becomes just plain annoying? (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-at-home-bartender

FOR THE AT-HOME BARTENDER
YOU “CAN” DO IT!

Looking to impress friend and family with your at-home cocktails? Well, one big step in wowing folks is in your presentation. While looks can be deceiving, it’s that first impression when you present your cocktail that may make something think, ‘this guy really knows what he (or she) is doing.’ (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-montalban-summer-movie-series

THE MONTALBAN SUMMER MOVIE SERIES
ROOFTOP CINEMA IN THE HEART OF HOLLYWOOD

The Montalbán is once again showing outdoor films on its rooftop this summer. The Montalbán Summer Movie Series carries on the historic venue’s tradition of screening films since 1933. The five-month series will run through Halloween night. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

memphis-barbeque

MEMPHIS BARBECUE
SUMMER TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME FOR MEMPHIS BBQ

Summer has begun! Yes, and that’s reason enough to celebrate. For some that means fun in the sun at the beach, but for others, especially foodies, that means its barbecue time! Sure, it’s pretty much always barbecue weather in sunny Southern California but during the summer you really have to step your BBQ game up. And there’s no better and easier way to be the king of your neighborhood barbecue than by grilling Memphis style. Or grilling meats from Memphis, Tennessee to be exact. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

madre-south-bay

MADRE
A SOUTH BAY MECCA FOR MEZCAL

Some things in life are definitely worth the effort. For me, I’ll make the sojourn for good food and drink so making the haul to the South Bay, Torrance to be exact, to Madre! Oaxacan Restaurant and Mezcaleria from L.A. was completely worthwhile. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-henry-dine

THE HENRY
BILLED AS “THE GREATEST NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT”

Who’s a fan of modesty these days? Do you even want modesty when it comes to your local neighborhood restaurant and bar or do you want bravado—dare I say arrogance?  Well, The Henry, newcomers along trendy Robertson Boulevard, is billing itself as “the greatest neighborhood restaurant.” (Story continued click on picture above)

 

barnsdall-park-wine-tastings

FRIDAY NIGHT WINE TASTINGS
RETURN TO BARNSDALL PARK

With summertime approaching, there’s no better time to relax than by enjoying a glass a wine in the glorious outdoors at Barnsdall Park’s 10th Annual Friday Night Wine Tastings being held May 25 through August 31 every Friday from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

gotta-have-s-more

GOTTA HAVE S’MORE
DESSERT HAVEN OPENS IN FAIRFAX’S LITTLE ETHIOPIA

Because who doesn’t love decadent desserts, the opening of Gotta Have S’more along Fairfax Avenue along Little Ethiopia is a welcome treat. Opening on Thursday, June 7, the shop promises to offer a new take on the campfire classic. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

locali-healthy-convenience

LOCALI
HEALTHY CONVENIENCE NEVER TASTED SO GOOD

Everybody loves a good grab-n-go spot, especially when the eats are fab. But it’s even better when the food is good for you too. Locali, arguably L.A.’s first conscious convenience store with locations in Hollywood, Venice, WeHo, and Downtown opened in 2009 and has steadily expanded providing Angelenos with healthy and hearty food made with organic ingredients and, as they like to say, love. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

beauty-essex-dine

BEAUTY & ESSEX
LUSH & LAVISH

Summer 2017 saw the TAO Group reimagine and rebuilt the Cahuenga Corridor with a slew of hotspots, including TAO and Beauty & Essex, as well as the hipster hotel haven that is the Dream Hollywood.  Gone is sketchy Hollywood and in its place is a new swank and chic area that is nightlife central. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

pink-dot-pinkarita

PINK DOT LAUNCHES
CRAFT COCKTAILS-ON-DEMAND

For over 30 years, Pink Dot has been delivering whatever grocery store items we need directly to us—from sandwiches and snacks to booze, smokes and even condoms. They like to think of themselves as “room service for your home”.  Well, that room service has recently stepped up its game with the offering of craft cocktail kits available on-demand.

 

salt-cocktails-alex-montoya

KURA’S KATSU SANDO
SUNDAY NIGHT POP-UP

In what has been a foodie favorite since launching at the end of 2017, Kura Sushi’s nod to traditional Y?shoku Katsu and its Katsu Sando pop-up is the perfect, chill way to end the weekend. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

domingos-italian-deli

DOMINGO’S ITALIAN DELI
THE ‘LITTLE ITALY’OF THE VALLEY

A family-run mainstay beloved for its handmade sandwiches, sausages, ravioli, sauces and breads in an intimate deli and mini market, Domingo’s Italian Deli is the legit Little Italy of the San Fernando Valley. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

sweet-chick-dine

SWEET CHICK
COMFORT FOOD WITH A SOUTHERN ACCENT

There was a lot of buzz when Sweet Chick first opened on trendy Fairfax Avenue. The Southern chicken joint with four locations in New York, including Brooklyn, Lower East Side, Prospect Heights and Queens, is co-owned by rapper Nas—a hip hop guru—so expectations were high.  Would Sweet Chick be legit?  Would it be all flash and no substance?  And the answer?  Sweet Chick delivers with good eats and tasty drinks. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

chefs-in-training

HIGH SCHOOL CHEFS-IN-TRAINING
TURN FLOUR INTO GOLD

The countdown is on and 36 top culinary finalists representing public high schools from across Greater Los Angeles will compete against the clock. Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) will create the intensity of a real restaurant kitchen for a select group of L.A.’s high school seniors this Friday, May 18. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

danielle-vega-graduation

DANIELLE VEGA
‘GRADUATION DAY’

All good things must come to an end and for the cast and crew of Hulu’s original series East Los High, graduation day came in the form of a Season 5 TV movie (now streaming) that brings closure to the story of the faculty and students at an East L.A. high school. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

salt-cocktails-alex-montoya

COCKTAILS AT SALT
Q&A WITH ALEX MONTOYA

There aren’t that many things better than enjoying a good drink with a killer view and at SALT at Marina Del Rey Hotel, it’s hard to beat a good cocktail in hand while looking out at the beautiful marina view.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

chef-roy-yamaguchi

CHEF ROY YAMAGUCHI
10 QUESTIONS WITH THE FAMOUS HAWAIIAN CHEF

During a casual conversation with James Beard award-winning chef Roy Yamaguchi I noticed that he likes to use the word “aloha”. I know it as Hawaiian for ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ but it also means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. And that’s the vibe he desires his staff to embrace and embody at all his popular restaurants, including his brand new Humble Market Kitchin at Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

chef-mark-gold-salt

Q&A WITH SALT’S
CHEF MARK GOLD

I love dining at hotel restaurants.  I love that feeling that you’re on vacation—living it up while escaping from the mundane.  And dining at SALT at Marina Del Rey Hotel with its killer marina view offers a relaxing spot where you can indulge with a first-rate meal. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

sailor-jerry-spiced-rum

SAILOR JERRY SPICED RUM UNVEILS REDESIGNED BOTTLE
HONORING TATTOO LEGEND NORMAN “SAILOR JERRY” COLLINS

Check this out rum heads, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, created to honor the Father of American old school tattooing, Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, has launched a bold new bottle design with iconography and imagery that further highlights the life and times of Collins. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

best-dining-of-2016

BEST OF 2016

Looking back at 2016, I have to confess that I was fortunate to enjoy some stellar meals—some even more than once.  From high end and pricey to “are you really going to eat that?” to relishing a second-to-none sandwich from a French Quarter hole in the wall, the quality of good eats knows no price tag.  What’s good is good and below are my favorites of 2016. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

Scott Herman virtual trainer

VIRTUAL TRAINER SCOTT HERMAN
WANTS YOU TO BE A ‘10’ IN 2018

An avid workout fiend, Scott Herman first gained attention s a cast member of MTV’s “Real World: Brooklyn.” The show’s ‘fit guy,’ Herman has been a gym rat since the age 12. And now, as a virtual trainer via his very own site, the New Hampshire native is out to get the worldwide web fit. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

monkey-shoulder-debut

MONKEY SHOULDER DEBUTS
“THE MONKEY MIXER”

Monkey Shoulder, the blended malt Scotch whisky, has brought fun back to serious cocktails in a big way, with the introduction of its oversized Monkey Mixer. Drawing cheeky inspiration from a cement truck’s design, the traditional cocktail shaker has been upgraded and transformed into the ultimate cocktail machine.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

catalina-island-two-harbors-vacation

TWO HARBORS
THE OTHER SIDE OF CATALINA ISLAND

For some, escaping to Avalon on Catalina Island is getaway enough; an island vacation from the craziness of life on the busy mainland. However, some people really like to getaway and want remoteness and peace when on vacation, even if it’s just a temporary break. For those travelers, Two Harbors, located on the West End at the island’s Isthmus, is the perfect destination.(Travel story continued click on picture above)

 

cirque-school-mind-and-body

CIRQUE SCHOOL:
PREPARING YOUR MIND & BODY FOR NEW HEIGHTS

Health & Fitness: Tucked very unassumingly on Hollywood Blvd, in a back alley warehouse, Cirque School is like no other gym in town. Actually, founder Aloysia Gavre doesn’t like to use the G-word. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

trejos-cantina-dine

TREJO’S CANTINA
‘MACHETE’ STAR WORLD DOMINATION CONTINUES

You have to hand it to actor Danny Trejo as he just never seems to slow down these days. The former character actor turned leading man turned restauranteur is not so quietly taking over the L.A. landscape with his Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts, and Trejo’s Cantina. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

sunset-vinyl-hollywood

SUNSET & VINYL
A HOLLYWOOD HIDDEN BAR SO WORTH FINDING

I hate to use the term “speak easy” as I think it’s played out these days but every once in a while, a bar comes around that makes you work to find it and the payoff is (or at least should be) absolutely satisfying cocktails. Downtown’s Birds & Bees is such a bar—find the hidden yellow door and enjoy cool craft cocktails—as is Sunset & Vinyl—a cocktail lounge with no visibility or signage tucked neatly above 800 Degrees Pizzeria in Hollywood. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

mom-mexican-cuisine

M|O|M
ORGANIC MEXICAN CUISINE THAT DELIVERS!

It’s a pretty common belief that most things are best when they’re just like Mom made them. It’s what we know and what we love. Now, when you’re referring to your Mexican food as modern organic Mexican, well, that’s just like nobody probably ever said before, but why can’t your Mexican grub have a fresh, modern and organic taste? And that’s exactly where M|O|M steps in. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

twoheys-tavern-dine

TWOHEY’S TAVERN
CLASSIC AMERICAN COMFORT GETS ELEVATED

Foodies may well be familiar with Twohey’s Restaurant, an Alhambra American fare favorite for more than 75 years, which has since relocated to South Pasadena. An elevated version of Twohey’s—Twohey’s Tavern—has also set up shop in Pasadena and is offering a more elevated menu with a fine cocktail program. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

same-same-thai

SAME SAME THAI
CELEBRATE ITS SECOND ANNIVERSARY

In celebration of its two-year anniversary, Silver Lake’s Same Same Thai wine bar is throwing itself a birthday party on Sunday, April 8 with a special in-house event and it is the perfect preview for Songkran (Thai New Year’s festival), which runs from April 13 to April 15. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

uncle-paulies-dine

UNCLE PAULIE’S
NYC-INSPIRED DELI IN THE HEART OF L.A.

As a native of Los Angeles, I grew up a fan of delis. And L.A. has some top ones in Bay Cities, Langer’s, Greenblatt’s, and Canter’s to name a few. But just like pizza, New York City has the rep as of doing it better—justified or not. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-madera-group-toca-madera

THE MADERA GROUP
LEADING THE WAY WITH TOCA MADERA & TOCAYA ORGANICA

Three years ago, entrepreneurs Tosh Berman and Amrou Manaseer and their Madera Group redefined the L.A. dining scene with the opening of Toca Madera, which aimed to reimagine traditional Mexican cuisine by taking a modern approach using locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients paired with bold flavors.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

petite-taqueria-dine

PETITE TAQUERIA
COZY MEXICAN TACO BAR FOR THE POSH CROWD

From the friendly folks at h.wood Group with their finger firmly pressed on the pulse of everything posh in Los Angeles comes Petite Taqueria. Other nightlife venues from the group include Delilah, The Nice Guy, Blind Dragon, The Peppermint Club, and Poppy among others, and Petite Taqueria combines hip hotspot with good eats. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

little-fluffy-head-cafe

LITTLE FLUFFY HEAD CAFE
WHERE CHEESE TEA (YES, CHEESE TEA) IS A THING

In the current foodie, Instagram-crazed world that we live in, daring and eccentric tends to lead the way—especially if it looks good in a photo. So, imagine my surprise when I heard of cheese tea, yes, cheese tea. Who knew? (Story continued click on picture above)

 

ainoko-dine

AINOKO
WHERE MEXICAN OMAKASE COMES TO LIFE

Culinary fusion has been a popular trend for years. Blending cultures to create flavorful dishes is a fine concept—when it works. But lets face it, they often tend to be safe pairings. So, when heard about Ainoko and its Mexican Omakase, well, I was very interested. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

masters-of-taste-2018

MASTERS OF TASTE 2018

The return of Masters of Taste means foodies can once again savor the finer things and be part of L.A.’s premier outdoor, luxury food and beverage festival took place on the field of the historic Pasadena Rose Bowl. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

petite-taqueria-dine

PETITE TAQUERIA
NOW OFFERING ‘MEZCAL MONDAYS’

Our friends at Petite Taqueria have really come up with the cure for “The Mondays” with its latest offering—Mezcal Mondays! (Story continued click on picture above)

 

petite-taqueria-dine

NORTH ITALIA
SANTA MONICA

I always love the notion of ‘getting away without getting away’, a short daytrip respite to recharge and refuel. That can include a day in the mountains, an adventure in wine country or something as simple as a drive to Santa Monica to experience some North Italia cuisine. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

zombie-apocalypse-the-raymond

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!
NEW SCOTCH SPIN ON A TIKI CLASSIC

There’s something to be said about being able to improve on a classic. It’s rarely ever done right as it’s a hard feat to improve on a tried and true favorite. Case in point, the classic Zombie—a rum-based Tiki legend. And this drinking season the dynamic duo of Jesus Gomez and Adam Vaughn at The Raymond 1886 brought to life their Zombie Apocalypse and this scotch Zombie boggles the mind and taste buds. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

jurassic-park-musical-parody

UNAUTHORIZED ‘JURASSIC PARK’ MUSICAL PARODY
A SHOW 65 MILLION YEARS IN THE MAKING

Dinner theater, in my opinion, never brings to mind a quality production of any sort. Personally, I imagine the blue haired set watching a sloppy show eating an early bird dinner. That’s not the case with live entertainment at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz where the eats are solid, the entertainment daring and the energy always high. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

elton-john-oscar-party

ELTON JOHN’S ‘OSCAR’ VIEWING PARTY
WILL FEATURE DINNER FROM CRUMBLE CATERING

Elton John’s Academy Award viewing party has become a beloved tradition in this town. And this year, on Sunday, March 4 at West Hollywood Park in West Hollywood, Crumble Catering will once again prepare over 1,000 five-course meals in a massive undertaking seamlessly executed by some of the top Chefs in the industry. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

katsuya-la-live

KATSUYA L.A. LIVE
SPORTING ITS TEAM SPIRIT(S) LOUD & PROUD

Props to Katsuya L.A. LIVE for proudly showing off its L.A. team spirit by crafting some creative concoctions in support of L.A. teams Lakers, Kings and Clippers. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

fat-sals-dine

THE FAT FUHGETTABOUTIT!
WTF FAT SAL’S?

Our good friends at Fat Sal’s are at again. Never ones to be satisfied with a simple or ordinary sandwich, they definitely believe bigger is better and simple sucks. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

black-angus-steakhouse

BLACK ANGUS STEAKHOUSE
SERVING SOLID STEAKS FOR OVER 50 YEARS

Let’s face it, not every meal is going to be a five-star affair. Our wallets and waistlines couldn’t handle that. Sometimes we just want a solid meal without the need for overindulgence. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

buffalo-wild-wings-ktown

K-TOWN BUFFALO WILD WINGS
BIG SCREEN, BEERS & WINGS!!

I’m not really a sports bar kind of guy as I prefer better quality eats and definitely demand better cocktails than your average run of the mill sports bar can manage. But, every once-in-a-while, I don’t mind watching the big fight or big game in a sports bar setting—you know, ample big screens with grub and suds to go around. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

xo-on-beverly

XO ON BEVERLY
CAL-ASIAN LOCAL EATERY LETS LOVE TAKE OVER

Chef Michael Hung of XO on Beverly believes in letting love take over with his cuisine. Best known as the chef who opened Faith & Flower, Hung’s latest concept offers a California-Asian menu where he likes to muse “food is love”. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

commerson-dine

COMMERSON
DON’T OVERLOOK THIS LA BREA AVENUE BISTRO GEM

La Brea Avenue has seen quite the revival over the years, first with Rascal in 2011, then with the addition of chic shops, which replaced the rows of rug and antique stores. Posh eateries like République, Sugarfish, Sycamore Kitchen, and Odys and Penelope followed. And now celebrating its second year, Commerson, a popular neighborhood bistro, is another reason to pay a visit to the Mid Wilshire district. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

twoheys-original-restaurant

TWOHEY’S ORIGINAL RESTAURANT
TO CLOSE FEBRUARY 1 AFTER 75 YEARS

The new year will start with the closure of tried and true foodie favorite as Twohey’s Restaurant in will close on February 1 after serving family-friendly American fare, including its famous burgers, onion rings, and award-winning soda fountain hot fudge sundaes, for the last 75 years. Sadly, the original Twohey’s Restaurant’s lease was not renewed. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886-winter

THE RAYMOND 1886
‘THE FINAL SOLSTICE’ WINTER MENU

A new year and a new season is upon us and that means that a brand-new cocktail menu is now being served at The Raymond 1886—the boldest and most daring cocktail haven in these drinking parts.  The new winter cocktail menu is aptly titled The Final Solstice and it is 11 drinks strong—from a potent Zombie to a ‘ginny’ liquid science experiment to wintery goodness in a glass.(Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-federal-bar

THE FEDERAL BAR
RINGING IN ‘NYE’ IN STYLE

There are a million ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the City, some grand and some subdued. I sometimes opt for low-key as the rest of the year tends to be at a manic pace but sometimes celebrating with a fine meal is joyous enough. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

non-meat-options

SUSTAINABLE NON-MEAT OPTIONS
BOFFO OR BUST?

There are several different schools of thought by meat eaters when it comes to meatless cuisine. Some are apt to try; some think it’s a healthier option; others scoff or run away; and some just don’t get it. As a food blogger, I’m open to try just about anything and, personally, I’m a fan of a lot of vegan food, although the idea of Tofurky or turkey from a box just sounds wrong. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

bibibop-asian-grill

BIBIBOP ASIAN GRILL
BUILD YOUR OWN HEALTHY BOWLS

Sometimes simple is best. And because not every dining experience can be fine dining, I’m always on the lookout for a good, casual spot to enjoy an affordable meal. Enter BIBIBOP Asian Grill, a Korean style concept offering healthy, sustainable dishes with an Asian twist. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

800-degrees-pizzeria

800 DEGREES PIZZERIA

Pizza is one of those special food items that I grew up with. It was and still is an absolute favorite. It’s also one of the only few dishes that I can think of where I’ve said, you can’t mess up pizza. But I know better that than. Indeed, pizza is not just pizza. There’s good pizza and then there’s off the charts good pizza. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

emporium-thai

EMPORIUM THAI
WESTWOOD THAI CUISINE THAT SOARS

I’m a huge fan of Thai cuisine but I usually tend to stick to my tried and true favorites. But occasionally I will branch out so when I got the call to try Emporium Thai in Westwood, I was game.(Story continued click on picture above)

 

pez-cantina

PEZ CANTINA
WEEKEND BRUNCH WITH NO BOUNDARIES

People who know me well know that I’m a big fan of quality day drinking. Relax, no intervention is necessary, I just like a long, lazy day spent with damn fine cocktails. And when you can combine that favorite pastime of mine with a quality meal, well, now you’re talking about brunch! And one my new favorite Downtown LA brunch spots is Pez Cantina with its bottomless fun. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

madera-kitchen-hollywood

MADERA KITCHEN
COMFORT FOOD IN SWANKY HOLLYWOOD SETTING

I’ve written about Madera Kitchen before, I love its décor and setting and could see that it was on the cutting edge of the revitalization of the Cahuenga Corridor, which has now seen the neighborhood become one of the city’s hottest spots in part thanks to Madera Kitchen and The Running Goose before the TAO Group propelled it to new heights.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

fat-sals-sandwiches

FAT SAL’S
WHERE OVERSIZE SANDWICHES ARE HEROES

I have to admit it’s a little off putting and somewhat scary when a restaurant uses the term “fat” in its name. And we’re talking “fat” not “phat”. It makes me wonder do they know something I don’t? Is this their way of taking no responsibility as you gain immediate poundage or assume no liability when cardiac arrest strikes? Either way, I have to hand it to the creators of Fat Sal’s (Josh Stone and Sal Capek) because their oversize sandwiches are mighty tasty. (Story continued click on picture above

 

catalina-island-vacation-get-away

CATALINA EXPRESS BIDS FOND FAREWELL TO ‘BIRTHDAY RIDE’ PROMOTION
AND GIVES THANKS TO ITS MANY BIRTHDAY ISLAND PARTNERS

On its 30th anniversary in 2012, Catalina Express launched its “Birthday Ride” promotion and its “Birthday Island” partnership. Since then, the ferry company has been proud to continue the promotion for six years, which has resulted in nearly 500,000 registrations and 200,000 round-trip voyages. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

red-o-dining

RED O
MEXICAN DINING DONE RIGHT

Chef Rick Bayless is one of biggest culinary names in the country when it comes to Mexican food. I’m a big fan of his bold and daring Chicago restaurants and have enjoyed meals at his Red O Southern California outposts on Melrose Avenue, which first opened in May 2010, and Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica. Other Red O locations include Newport Beach and La Jolla. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

umami-burger-jaden-smith

JADEN SMITH’S UMAMI BURGER X IMPOSSIBLE LAUNCH
STARS AND FAMILY COME OUT TO SUPPORT AND CELEBRATE

Proving that everybody loves a good burger, celebrity spawn Jaden Smith hosted his Umami Burger Artist Series launch party at The Grove to celebrate his Jaden's Impossible Trio collaboration with Impossible Foods. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

music-tastes-good-2017

MUSIC TASTES GOOD 2017
MUSIC & FOOD FEST DELIGHTS

The second annual Music Tastes Good festival just wrapped up its sophomore effort in the Southern California port city of Long Beach and it was the perfect mix of rock concert meets foodie fest. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

timeout-best-burger-la

TIME OUT LOS ANGELES
NAMES BEST BURGER IN L.A.

Because everyone loves a damn good burger, the folks at Time Out Los Angeles decided to declare the city’s burger king. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

melrose-umbrella-company

MELROSE UMBRELLA COMPANY
VOLUME V…MEET THE NEW BOSS

“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

So sang Roger Daltry on The Who classic “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” That line refers to things changing but not really changing. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

smith-&-Cohen

SMITH & COHEN
SERVING OVERSIZED COMFORT FOOD IN CENTURY CITY

The concept behind Smith & Cohen in Century City is a simple one—serve quality comfort food, combining classic New York deli with all the fun and energy of a modern L.A. bar and grill. The eclectic menu aims to satisfy all taste buds with its offerings of pastrami on double baked rye bread, to burgers, salads, tacos, homemade cheesecake, and breakfast all day. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

john-m-sofio

SHAPING L.A. NIGHTLIFE
ONCE HOTSPOT AT A TIME

Few people have their finger on the pulse of L.A. nightlife the way that John M. Sofio does. That’s probably because Sofio and his design/build firm Built, Inc. actually shape and construct the nightlife landscape having created some of the city’s best and most lavish hotspots, including The Nice Guy, Delilah, Bootsy Bellows, The Peppermint Club, Pink Taco, Blind Dragon, and Trousdale, among many others. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

birds-&-bees-menu

BIRDS & BEES
ABUZZ WITH SOPHOMORE MENU

Sometimes it’s easy to impress with a debut effort. You’re fresh and new or in the case with most artists, you’ve been working all your life for your big break. Often it’s the sophomore effort that will make or break a career. It’s the chance to prove you’re not a fluke or a one-hit wonder. In the case of Birds & Bees Bar Manager Bethany Ham, the bar’s second cocktail menu is her chance to separate herself from mentor Marcos Tello who crafted the impressive original menu and showoff what she’s capable of. Consider this new summer/fall combo menu a winner. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

southern-smoke-bbq-brewhouse

SOUTHERN SMOKE BBQ & BREWHOUSE
BBQ GOODNESS IN THE HEART OF SANTA CLARITA

The Drew Barrymore dark comedy original Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet followed a real estate agent turned zombie who feasted on live, human flesh, but the real Santa Clarita diet is less barbaric, possibly messier and is loaded with guilt free goodness thanks to the first-rate barbeque courtesy of Southern Smoke BBQ & Brewhouse in Newhall. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

delicatessen-by-osawa-dine

DELICATESSEN BY OSAWA
NEW CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE DELI HITS PASADENA

Pasadena foodies have reason to rejoice as Delicatessen by Osawa, a contemporary Japanese style delicatessen, is now offering quality, fresh eats in a casual and affordable setting. Billed as the first contemporary Japanese deli-style restaurant in Los Angeles, the powers that be behind Osawa, owner Sayuri Tachibe and Executive Chef Shigefumi Tachibe, are making it easy to indulge in fine, fresh fare. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

u.s.-veterans-choice-comedy-awards

U.S. VETERANS CHOICE COMEDY AWARDS

It has been said that laughter is the best form of medicine and that mantra was put to the test and passed with flying colors at the first annual U.S. Veterans Choice Comedy Awards, which were held at the Hollywood American Legion Post 43. (Story continued click on picture above - Watch Full Show)

 

taix-french-restaurant

TAIX FRENCH RESTAURANT
CELEBRATING 90 YEARS OF FRENCH COUNTRY CUISINE

Earlier this year I started going out to dinner with some good friends trying to hit up as many of L.A.’s classic restaurants as possible. For our first dining destination, I choose Taix French Restaurant. As an L.A. native, I have seen the Sunset Boulevard French restaurant all my life, yet never ventured in. Over the years, I even heard it sported a great happy hour but still didn’t go. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

hendrick's-gin

HENDRICK’S GIN
GIANT CUCUMBER GARNISHER WOWS

Because everyone loves a good drink and a grand party, Hendrick’s Gin, which is infused with cucumber, unveiled what Ambassador Mark Stoddard describes as “an eye-popping, wondrously strange cucumber slicing device” that made its way across the U.S. over the summer with the sole purpose of offering the most beautifully garnished Hendrick’s Gin cocktails. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-highlight-room

A HOLLYWOOD ‘DREAM’ REALIZED
AT THE HIGHLIGHT ROOM

For anyone well familiar with Hollywood, the revitalization and reimagining of the Cahuenga corridor by the TAO Group is staggering. The one-time seedy corner of Cahuenga and Selma began improving some years back, but now, it has exploded into the hottest and most posh part of town. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

ma's-italian-kitchen

MA’S ITALIAN KITCHEN
FAMILY STYLE HEARTY COMFORT FOOD

It’s always fun when you find a hidden dining gem, let alone a true standout in of all places an oversized Burbank mini mall dominated by a Vons supermarket. In what used to be Frankie’s Italian Kitchen, a local’s favorite, has now become MA’S Italian Kitchen (it’s MA’S and not Ma’s as each letter is named after one of three restaurant owners). A cute and charming family-friendly restaurant, MA’S serves hearty and heavenly Italian comfort food. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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DANNY TREJO
‘MACHETE’ STAR TO TACO BARON & BEYOND

“Life begins at 70!”

That’s what a proud Danny Trejo declared at the grand opening of his Trejo’s Cantina in Pasadena. Since March 2016, the Machete star whose resume includes nearly 300 films, including Heat, Con Air, Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn and Reindeer Games has morphed into quite the restaurateur with his Trejo’s Tacos, Trejo’s Cantina, Trejo’s taco truck (present at every Rams home game) and Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

tao-corporate-chef-marc-marrone

10 QUESTIONS WITH
TAO CORPORATE CHEF MARC MARRONE

Some chefs love subtly in their cooking style while others love to be big and lavish. The art of fine dining is in the little nuances but sometimes bold and daring is what catches the eye’s attention. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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WALKING INTO THE SUNSET
A BELOVED PARK RANGER RETIRES

It’s a rare treat to live out a childhood dream. Ranger Ernie Ybarra did just that. Serving the City Of Los Angeles’ Park Ranger Services for 27 years, Ranger Ernie is now retiring. Having spent most of those years at Griffith Park, Ernie was a public hike guide for the last 15 years, which is something he fought for because of high public demand. The hikes are free and allow early risers, by 7:30am on Sunday mornings, to enjoy a wonderful time in the wilderness by hiking for three to four hours. The day starts at the Ranger Station at Griffith Park where anywhere between 10 to 100 hikers will follow Ernie on a rewarding journey. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

luchini-pizzeria-bar

LUCHINI PIZZERIA & BAR
NY STYLE PIZZA & BAR COMES TO HOLLYWOOD

I grew up saying there were two foods that you couldn’t mess up: pizza and pancakes. And part of my reasoning could have been that I just loved them both so much. While I don’t believe that wholeheartedly anymore, you can definitely make pancakes and especially pizza exceptionally well. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

luis-nava-bar-star

‘BAR STAR’ LUIS NAVA
THIS SUMMER’S COCKTAIL MVP

Everybody loves a Cinderella story—rooting for the little guy. So, when someone starts at the bottom and works their way to the top we just have to cheer them on. But I fear calling Luis Nava a bartending star on the rise is a bit misleading since he’s technically not even a bartender. OK, is that misleading or just missing the mark entirely? Either way, this “bartender” at The Raymond 1886 in Pasadena has made two of the best new cocktails you’ll have this summer in-and-around Los Angeles. So yeah, maybe he is a bartending star on the rise. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

katana-on-the-strip

KATANA
STAR STUDDED FARE ON THE STRIP

There was a lot of buzz back in 2002 when Katana first opened on the Sunset Strip. The space was beautiful and the owners were basking in the success of their three Sushi Rokus. Katana (which means “samurai sword”) was the focal point of the grand Piazza del Sol, a stunning 1920s Mediterranean building on the Strip just down the street from fancy Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian as well as the House of Blues. While those two local landmarks have since closed, Katana is still going strong. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

fuego-brunch-series

FUEGO’S MONTHLY BRUNCH SERIES
JULY’S DESTINATION IS BRAZIL

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of brunch and I’ve been loving the ongoing brunch series at Fuego at Hotel Maya in Long Beach where once a month brunch doesn’t require a passport as you’re transported to a Latin American destination where Executive Chef Victor Juarez takes you on a delicious culinary tour through. Live Latin music accompanies each and every Latin brunch. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

cognac

COGNAC
NOT JUST FOR THE JET SET CROWD

It’s funny how when you get into drinking you often dip a toe or two before diving head first into the stiff waters of various spirits. For some, first it’s beer followed by raiding your parent’s liquor cabinet before falling in love with a few spirits that quickly become your go-to types of booze. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-hideout-los-angeles

THE HIDEOUT
THE ‘IN’ PLACE TO BE THIS SUMMER

Who doesn’t love a cool, swanky, dare I say chic, spot to getaway to? Well, thanks to the folks at STK Los Angeles, the modern steakhouse and lounge at the W Los Angeles in Westwood, their new lounge simply called “The Hideout” is going to be this summer’s go-to spot to chill, beat the heat, and getaway without getting away. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

barnsdall-friday-night

BARNSDALL FRIDAY NIGHT
WINE TASTINGS COME ALIVE THIS SUMMER

This summer, when you need to wind down you won’t find better and more chill way than to “wine down” at Barnsdall Art Park's Friday night Wine Tasting Fundraiser, which lasts all summer long through September 22. (Story continued click on picture above)

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art-beyond-the-glass-v1

ART BEYOND THE GLASS VI
SUPER BOWL OF COCKTAIL EVENTS IS BACK!

There are three things that tell me that summer has damn well started: My birthday happens June 10 and my over-the-top celebrating leaves me exhausted and somewhat guild-ridden; the weather starts getting too damn hot for my liking; and another sensational Art Beyond the Glass (ABTG) extravaganza looms at the end of the month. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

best-fancy-noodles-los-anegeles

BEST ‘FANCY NOODLES’
IN LOS ANGELES

Food trends come and go, and while our obsession with favorites such as burgers, tacos, sushi and pizzas have been long lasting, more recent food crazes include poké, fried chicken sandwiches, spicy fried chicken, and the most recent one I’ve become hip to is noodle dishes. And I’m not talking about regular noodles, no, these are high-end noodles often prepared with lobster or crab or some other fancy ingredient. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

208-rodeo-bh-dine

208 RODEO
COMFORT FOOD THE BEVERLY HILLS WAY

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills may very well be one of the most famous streets in the world. Known for its shopping, glitz and glamour, Rodeo Drive means a lot of things to people—from elegance to excess. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886-looney

THE RAYMOND 1886
SUMMER COCKTAILS ARE LOONEY TUNES!

I always welcome the start of a new season not by the blooming of flowers or change in weather but by the new complex cocktails that come out of the mad scientist kids’ minds at The Raymond 1886. Summer in particular always features a slew of forward thinking and daring array of libations and this new menu, and ode to ‘cartoons and cocktails’, is no exception. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

blind-dragon-sunset-strip

BLIND DRAGON
SEXY & CHIC TIKI BAR ON THE SUNSET STRIP

In this city, most things once hot become hot again. Reinvention and reimagining is what it’s all about so it should be no surprise that Blind Dragon, which was hot a couple of years ago as a hidden, star-studded Asian-inspired nightclub, is back again. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

wine-pairing-202

WINE PAIRING 202

The standards of basic wine pairing 101 were white with fish red with meat. This convention like so many others overtime has changed. I was fortunate enough to speak with Fernando Gaxiola of Baja Wine + Food to ask what has changed in pairing wine with food. Fernando is someone who pairs wine and food as a passion. He was very open and sharing about his process (Story continued click on picture above)

 

avocado-walking-tour-la

AN AVOCADO WALKING TOUR OF L.A.
THE GREEN MACHINE THAT’S GOOD FOR YOU

I grew up with the saying, ‘an apple a day will keep the doctor away’ but now I’ve learned that the same can be said of the avocado. I recently learned that avocados can help people meet the heart-healthy diet goals of the American Heart Association, which include eating a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

food-blogger-jose-martinez

WHEN A FOOD BLOGGER
GOES ON THE WAGON

How is that New Year’s resolution of yours coming along? For most people, the new year began with a commitment to get healthy or at least in better shape. I’m no different. I’m committed to working out but as a food and drink blogger weeknights can often consist of extravagant feasts to review or binge drinking to write about a bar. What happens when a blogger decides to go on the wagon? (Story continued click on picture above)

 

havana-club -rums

RUM WARS
HAVANA CLUB RUMS FROM CUBA & PUERTO RICO SQUARE OFF

Some of my fondest memories of visiting Cuba have to do with drinking the island’s cherished Havana Club Ron or as we call it in the States, rum. Whether it was sitting at the beach or hanging out with friends or while smoking a cigar a gentleman had just rolled for me, doing so while sipping on fine Havana Club Añejo 7 Años neat was as good as it got. And now those good times can continue to roll a whole lot easier. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

chef-hannah-an-10-questions

10 QUESTIONS WITH CHEF HANNAH AN
CHEF TALKS NOODLES AND CRUSTACEAN FAMILY SECRETS

For anyone who grows up in a successful family business there are two usual schools of thoughts—tow the family line or branch out on your own. For Chef Hannah An, the eldest daughter of the famous Crustacean Restaurant's House of An family, the family business has been delighting the palates of diners for years. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

mint-leaf-pasadena

MINT LEAF
INDIAN COMFORT FOOD DONE RIGHT

A good friend of mine lives in Altadena and I knew as soon as he moved there that I wanted to introduce him to Mint Leaf, a comfy and cozy Indian restaurant that serves top notch Indian comfort food. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

pink-taco-dine

PINK TACO
SUNSET STRIP FAVE NOW SERVES WEEKEND BRUNCH

A Sunset Strip go-to spot for drinks and Mexican fare, Pink Taco has been a favorite for revelers and foodies for years. More than just a Mexican restaurant, Pink Taco features an almost club-like energy that’s perfect before or after a night on the town. But now it’s new weekend brunch, although a tad low key, has proven just as fun and satisfying. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-parker-room

THE PARKER ROOM
A HOLLYWOOD CRAFT COCKTAIL BAR WITH HISTORY

Hollywood is filled with lore and great stories of days gone by. Back in the day, stars shined brighter than ever—onscreen and in beloved venues where icons made history. Now, The Parker Room, a new bar and lounge on Vine Street, is channeling the spirit of famed jazz pioneer Charlie Parker and other luminaries. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-salon-cocktails

THE SALON
NOHO’S NEW CRAFT COCKTAIL BAR SOARS

Billed as “a craft cocktail hideaway tucked inside The Federal Bar in NoHo,” The Salon has put North Hollywood into the craft libation game. While I always liked grubbing at The Federal Bar, I’ve never been a fan of its cocktails, let alone craft cocktails, but now things have changed at the popular gastropub. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

spring-dtla-dine

SPRING
THE SOUTH OF FRANCE COMES DTLA

When Chef Tony Esnault took over the kitchen at Church & State, he brought back to life a once vibrant and beloved restaurant.  But when he and his wife Yassmin Sarmadi, who also owns Church & State, opened Spring in downtown the concept and vision was there’s from the get-go. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

church-&-state-bistro-dt

CHURCH & STATE BISTRO
A DOWNTOWN FAVE STILL THRIVES

Sometimes the most buzzed about restaurants never seem to live up to their hype. Downtown's Church & State Bistro was all the rage when it first opened in 2008 and now, nearly ten years later, it still delivers a quality meal. (Story continued click on picture above)

bombay-palace-beverly-hills-dine-review simon-la-dine-review lexington-social-house-dine-review mezze-cuisine-dine-review

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VIVA HOLLYWOOD
A SPICY MAKEOVER CREATES A NEW LA LA LAND HOTSPOT

Like a starlet who has seen better days, reinvention is second nature in Hollywood. Whether it’s a drastic facelift or a slight nip and tuck here and there, a new look builds buzz and creates interest in Tinseltown. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

birds-bees-downtown

BIRDS & BEES
DOWNTOWN’S FABULOUS 50’S INSPIRED BAR

Let me tell you about the Birds & Bees cocktail bar—a forward thinking throwback 1950’s inspired bar that lovingly looks back with nostalgia and runs full throttle straight ahead into a bold world of handcrafted cocktails. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

chef-hannah-an-10-questions

SERAFINA SUNSET
HOTSPOT & GOOD EATS ALONG SUNSET STRIP

This city loves a hot spot and in the case of Serafina Sunset, scandal in the form of a high-profile celebrity divorce as well as stellar eats, has really elevated the profile of a chic spot in demand to be seen on the Sunset Strip. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

la-best-fried-chicken-sandwich

LA’S BEST FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICHES

With Thanksgiving behind us, chances are you’re done with turkey until Christmas so here’s a ‘Best of’ fried chicken sandwich list to keep your foodie cravings running strong. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

orange-county-get-to-know

GET TO KNOW ‘THE O.C.’
AN EATING & DRINKING GUIDE BEHIND THE ORANGE CURTAIN

As a Southern California native and resident, Los Angeles is the center of my universe. Yet some 40 miles to the south is Orange County—another world onto itself as far as I’m concerned. It’s home to Disneyland, conservative politics (they didn’t name their airport after John Wayne for nothing), punk rock (think Social Distortion), and surfing with its own Dick Dale the King of Surf Guitar playing the soundtrack. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

60out-escape-rooms

60OUT ESCAPE ROOMS
CHALLENGE YOURSELF & ESCAPE IF YOU CAN

You find yourself blindfolded and shackled in an unknown room. What do you do? There’s no time for apprehension as you need to find your way out. That’s the world of escape rooms—based on the “escape the room” video games where these life size, real life scenarios force a team to band together to escape from their current captive circumstances. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-hamburger-hamlet-dine

THE HAMBURGER HAMLET
AN OLD FAVORITE ON THE RISE AGAIN

Los Angelenos of a certain age can always wax fantastic about their favorite eateries growing up. There were institutions we all loved that have long since passed. One such beloved L.A. hotspot was The Hamburger Hamlet, which first opened in 1950 on Sunset Boulevard. Immediately it became a Hollywood landmark giving way to locations all over town and eventually the country. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

red-o-santa-monica

RED O SANTA MONICA

Chef Rick Bayless is one of biggest culinary names in the country when it comes to Mexican food. I’m a big fan of his bold and daring Chicago restaurants and have enjoyed meals at his Red O SoCal outposts with locations on Melrose Avenue (which first opened in May 2010), Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica and Fashion Island in Newport Beach for years. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

serafina-sunset-pizza

SERAFINA SUNSET
NOW SERVING RICHEST PIZZA ON THE BLOCK

Where pizza is concerned, there’s often a snobbery by New Yorkers that they have the best pies in the country. Yes, they even refer to their pizzas as pies. Chicago tries to lay claim too but we just know that’s not true—although I am a big fan of its hearty deep dish pizza. Los Angeles often gets a bum rap in the pizza game. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

serafina-sunset-dine

SERAFINA SUNSET
BRUNCH BONANZA ON THE SUNSET STRIP

Los Angeles is never shy of celebrity-driven hot spots where the food delights and the décor is star-studded and loaded with chic swag. Such a spot is Serafina Sunset—a popular New York City restaurant from the lauded Serafina Restaurant Group. Founded by Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato, the duo has opened several successful restaurants in NYC and Serafina Sunset, which also includes co-owners Mel B of Spice Girls fame and Stephen Belafonte, is a SoCal hit. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886-lunch

TRUXTON’S AMERICAN BISTRO
REINVENTING CLASSICS & SERVING CRAVEABLE DISHES

If you’re looking for hearty comfort food on the west side, look no further than Truxton’s American Bistro. Raising the bar when it comes to standard neighborhood American bistro fare, the Truxton locations in Westchester and Santa Monica are neighborhood favorites, beloved for their reinvention of classic dishes at affordable prices. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886-lunch

LUNCH AT THE RAYMOND 1886
A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD FAVORITE

It’s always great to look at an old favorite in a new light as it can offer you an added appreciation for what you love. I didn’t think it was possible to become more of a fan than I already am of The Raymond 1886 in Pasadena but then again, I had never been for lunch. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

catch-la-dine

CATCH L.A.
10 QUESTIONS WITH CHEF ANDREW CARROLL

Superficially speaking, a favorite Los Angeles pastime is stargazing. It’s all about seeing and being seen and the city’s current hotspot is Catch L.A., a globally influenced seafood restaurant with other locations in New York, Dubai and Playa del Carmen. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

robert-lasardo-plays-with-fire

ROBERT LASARDO PLAYS WITH FIRE
AND LIVES TO TELL THE TALE

Our favorite Hollywood villain, actor Robert LaSardo, has once again penned yet another thought provoking book of gut wrenching poems and provocative photos. The follow-up to his stirring Choices: Inside Out, his latest effort, Playing With Fire, is a rousing collection of personal confessions and poetry, paired with gritty images that really bring LaSardo’s prose to life. (Story continued click on picture above.)

 

d'vine-lounge-bar-dine-story

D’VINE LOUNGE BAR
ESCAPE TO A WORLD OF DIVINE WINE

In my opinion, there aren’t too many things more relaxing in life than enjoying a fine glass of wine. No matter the setting, if I find myself with a glass of wine in my hand then my troubles seem to get just a little further away. Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered D'Vine Lounge Bar in Downtown L.A. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

firefly-dine-story

FIREFLY
A VALLEY FAVORITE CONTINUES TO IMPRESS

A valley institution for years, Firefly on Ventura Boulevard is a Studio City go-to place for all things “cool” for people in the know—because if you don’t know it’s there, you’ll pass it without blinking an eye. There’s no signage outside letting you know there’s a restaurant and bar before you. But if you’re hip to the spot, then you know where to get away to a swank and inviting setting where you can relax in style and enjoy a drink or indulge in a great meal in a chic environment. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

wolf-creek-brewery

WOLF CREEK BREWERY
AWARD-WINNING HANDCRAFTED BEER FROM SANTA CLARITA

It’s no secret around town that I’m not the biggest beer fan. In fact, I say it all the time. If I drank beer then I’d really have problems. I have to have some standards that limits my alcohol intake. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely opposed to beer. And when I hung out at Wolf Creek Brewery in Santa Clarita, I had a damn good time. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-tuck-room-tavern-dine

THE TUCK ROOM TAVERN
A WESTSIDE BRUNCH FAVORITE

I’m a big fan of a boozy weekend brunch. There’s nothing better than relaxing during a long daytime meal, hopefully taking in a nice view with good company enjoying great food and drink. And at The Tuck Room Tavern, I found one of the best brunches on the west side. You can even make a whole day out of it by starting with brunch and catching a movie all at the same place. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

1886-raymond-2017

1886
CUTTING-EDGE BAR SALUTES THE GREATS

There’s no better way to start a new year than kicking off the season with a new cocktail menu from 1886—the most daring and innovative bar in town. This new winter cocktail menu is inspired by inventors, innovators and legendary pioneers, which is appropriate considering the mad scientist kids at 1886 are the most innovative mixologists in the L.A. bar scene. (Story continued click on picture above

 

rock-&-reillys-dtla

ROCK & REILLY’S DTLA
AN IRISH TROUBLEMAKING ROCK PUB

Downtown Los Angeles, the heart of the city, is a buzz once again. There’s nightlife action, bars galore, fine dining to be had and sports action to be enjoyed. But it’s not always about fancy eats or even cheap street food, no, sometimes you just want good, hearty comfort food and drink. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

rock-&-reillys-dtla

NIGHTHAWK: BREAKFAST BAR
SERVING BOOZY BREAKFAST ALL NIGHT LONG

I have to hand it to late night guru Jeremy Fall as he knows what people like and he’s persistent in giving it to them. When his late-night bar and restaurant Nighthawk: Breakfast Bar originally opened in Hollywood it was an immediate favorite and hipster hotspot. Serving breakfast at night the concept was a winner. But when the restaurant space closed, Fall didn’t let his idea fall by the wayside, instead he reopened in Venice Beach and the result is a new west side fave. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

power-house-hollywood

POWER HOUSE HOLLYWOOD
A SEEDY FAVE ALL DOLLED UP NOW

Hollywood loves a good reinvention story. Second chances and a facelift are par for the course in this town—from starlets to celebrities to a tried and true watering hole. And located in the heart of Hollywood, at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, is Power House Hollywood, which is now running on its third leg. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

minibar-cocktail-revival

MINIBAR
COCKTAIL REVIVAL COMES TO HOLLYWOOD

I’m a big fan of dining and drinking in hotels. Most of the time they’re swanky hot spots that hip travelers and locals in the know haunt to dine on fine cuisine or drink stellar libations. I wouldn’t necessarily think that a Best Western would be one of those places, but Hollywood, which is all about facades and reinvention, can often be a misleading leading lady. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

good-greek-grill-dine

GOOD GREEK GRILL
MEDITERRANEAN COMFORT FOOD DONE RIGHT

I’m not always looking for fancy eats when I want a good dinner. I always want to it be delicious but sometimes, especially when I’m making a real night of it or I don’t have all the time in the world, I want good fare quick at a fair price. And at Good Greek Grill, with locations in Hollywood and Los Feliz, quality Mediterranean is quick, easy and fair. (Story continued click on picture above

 

wailea-beach-hotel

WAILEA BEACH MARRIOTT RESORT & SPA
$100M RENOVATION REVELAED THIS DECEMBER

If you love to travel in style, especially as winter is coming, you may want to head to Maui and take in the freshly renovated chic digs at Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

toms-urban-la-dine

TOM’S URBAN
AN ADVENTURE IN FOOD, BOOZE & ENTERTAINMENT

While I wouldn’t consider Tom’s Urban a sports bar, it is located at L.A. LIVE across the street from Staples Center and with its 75 flatscreens showcasing some sporting event on most of the sets it does come off as a gastropub with a sports fetish. (Story continued click on picture above

 

hyperion-public-dine

HYPERION PUBLIC
NEIGHBORHOOD FAVES OFFER KILLER COMFORT FARE

A neighborhood favorite in Silver Lake and Studio City, the folks at Hyperion Public like to call themselves a restaurant and pub “by the people, for the people.” Democracy in action, the two locations have a thriving sports bar scene, as well as popular dining rooms that are often packed with guests enjoying generous portions of pleasing comfort food. (Story continued click on picture above

 

ej's-bites-dine-review

EJ’S BITES
CASUAL MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE COMES TO DTLA

With so much going on in Downtown LA, new and exciting dining options are always appreciated. The tried and true will always be favorites but discovering new gems is always a treat. So to my surprise, I was stoked with I discovered EJ’s Bites, a Mediterranean fast food inspired restaurant that delights with traditional flavors from secret family recipes.(Story continued click on picture above)

 

tiki-no-noho-bar-review

TIKI NO
NOHO BAR IS MORE LIKE TIKI ‘YES’!

I love Tiki culture, from its laidback feel to its delicious libations—potent yet often so easy to drink. While Tiki never went away, it’s presence is definitely on the rise with new high profile Tiki bars opening in all parts of town. And while the tried and true Tiki bars flourish, others look to make a name for themselves. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

cousins-maine-lobster-dine-review

COUSINS MAINE LOBSTER
LOBSTER GOODNESS ON WHEELS & IN WEHO

After a trip I took back east to Boston and Maine last year, my appreciation for lobster rolls went through the roof and my pickiness, especially eating them in L.A., hit new levels of snobbery. L.A. lobster rolls tend to be overpriced, skimpy on lobster and more hype than hefty heavenly bites. So thank goodness for Cousins Maine Lobster, with its slew of gourmet food trucks and its cozy restaurant in West Hollywood offering first rate eastern seaboard cuisine, including chowder and lobster rolls. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

roku-sushi-dine-review

ROKU
SATISFYING INNOVATIVE DINING ON SUNSET STRIP

Not to be confused with Sushi Roku, which offers satisfying sushi and then some in Santa Monica and Pasadena, ROKU, another hip dining destination by Innovative Dining Group which also oversees Sushi Roku, BOA, Katana, and Robata Bar, has taken the art of Asian cuisine, including sushi and Teppanyaki, to new heights in its eye-candy filled Sunset Strip location. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

avensole-winery

RESPITE FOR THE SOUL AT AVENSOLE WINERY, TEMECULA, CA

A recent trip to So Cal’s Temecula wine country was a treat worth sharing. We arrived at the Avensole Restaurant parking area to see party goers heading to and from an outdoor patio on the grounds where a “20s” theme party was taking place. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

Extreme Boot Camp Aaron mitchell

EXTREME BOOT CAMP
GETTING YOU FIT FROM SILVER LAKE TO WEST HOLLYWOOD

Are you looking to get fit this summer but you need some extra motivation? Look no further than Extreme Boot Camp to get you there. Wanting to try something new and take my workouts to a new level I decided to take the challenge and give their 6-week boot camp a try. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

q-sushi-dine-review

TREJO’S TACOS
‘MACHETE’ STAR IS WEILDING TACOS FOR ALL

Los Angeles is a celebrity-driven city unlike any other. We just love our stars; from actors to athletes to musicians and chefs. So when a celeb ventures out from one field to another, it’s usually a pretty big deal. Recently, actor Danny Trejo, Machete himself, opened up the first of many Trejo’s Tacos—a taco shop offering something for every taste.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-tuck-room-dine

THE TUCK ROOM TAVERN
A WESTWOOD DRINKING & DINING DEN

Restaurants often try to create unique vibes, from chic to industrial all in hopes of creating an environment that will foster a good time and hopefully a better dining experience. Walk into The Tuck Room Tavern in Westwood and you may feel like you’re entering another dimension or possibly a board game realm. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

bespoke-cycling-studio

BESPOKE PREMIUM CYCLING STUDIO
SPIN TO BETTER HEALTH AT DOWNTOWN L.A. STUDIO

How is your New Years resolution to get in better shape coming along? Are you sticking to the plan or did you already discard it? For me, it’s always a struggle to stay committed to my daily workouts but the guilt will always get the better of me if I slack off too much..(Story continued click on picture above)

 

fogo-de-chao-dine-review

FOGO DE CHÃO
CHURRASCARIA OFFERS UNLIMITED CLASSIC CUTS OF MEAT

Meat lovers with a fine palette are or will be fans of Fogo de Chão—a leading Brazilian steakhouse or churrascaria, which has specialized for more than 36 years in fire-roasting high-quality meats utilizing the centuries-old Southern Brazilian cooking technique of churrasco. Think of Fogo as a buffet featuring a bevy of fine cuts of meats and then some. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

bizzy-bone-inside-a-bizzy-mind

BIZZY BONE PENS AUTOBIOGRAPHY
“INSIDE A BIZZY MIND” NOW AVAILABLE

Rapper Bizzy Bone, a founding member of Bone thugs-n-harmony, has penned his riveting autobiography aptly titled Inside a Bizzy Mind, soon to be available in stores and online. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

izakaya-by-slowfish-dine

IZAKAYA BY SLOWFISH

From the good folks at Slow Fish, which already have restaurants in Miracle Mile and Huntington Beach, comes their latest venture, Izkaya by Slow Fish right in the heart of West Hollywood. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-raymond-1886-dine

THE RAYMOND 1886
A CONSTANT STANDOUT & FAVORITE

Amidst the competitive and cutthroat L.A. food scene, there are clear standouts and favorites. Some restaurants shine because of stature, some for flash and others for just constantly crafting pleasing cuisine. The Raymond 1886 may not be flashy nor one’s first choice if you don’t feel like trekking to Pasadena, but you can always count on it to serve stellar fare. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

slow-fish-dine

EATING ‘LIVE SHRIMP’
“IT’S ALIVE, IT’S ALIVE!”

Those famous words uttered by Dr. Frankenstein, “It’s alive, it’s alive,” echoed in my head at the thought of eating a live shrimp. It all started so innocently. I was having lunch with a good friend of mine at Slow Fish when I noticed a neon sign showcasing the day’s lunch specials. The words “Live Shrimp” immediately caught my eye. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

grandpa-johnsons-dine-review

GRANDPA JOHNSON’S COCKTAIL CLUB
DARING & DYNAMIC DRINKS TO COME CLUBLAND

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of cocktails. While I do love my spirits neat, there’s something extraordinary about sipping on a fine, handcrafted libation. It’s getting harder to find new quality watering holes around town that aren’t all hype; overtly douchey; or just pretentious as all hell. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

tail-o-the-pup-dine-review

TAIL O’ THE PUP
ICONIC HOT DOG BRAND RE-OPENS

Growing up in LA, certain landmarks just stick with you. While it was hardly a culinary measuring stick, the famed Tail O’ the Pup on San Vicente Boulevard just north of the Beverly Center was iconic. It was a hot dog stand in the shape of a hot dog. Kitsch to some, it defined Los Angeles to haters and those passionate of the City of Angels. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

pestaurant-dine-around

EATING BUGS FOR A GOOD CAUSE
AT LA’S FIRST POP-UP ‘PESTAURANT’

For anyone who considers themselves a foodie, what is going “too far” when it comes to eating? I think for most people, it would be eating bugs. No one likes them and most people who run away if they were given a plate of bugs. But at a recent pop-up ‘Pestaurant’ in Santa Monica, folks lined up to eat free beetles and crickets. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

osawa-pasadena-dine-review

PASADENA’S OSAWA TURNS THREE
LEGENDARY SUSHI CHEF ROLLS OUT NEW MENU

Legendary Chef Shigefumi Tachibe’s is celebrating the three-year anniversary of Osawa with a new spring specials menu. I for one find that to be extremely exciting foodie news. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

cocina-condesa-dine-review

COCINA CONDESA
MEXICAN “STREET FOOD” THAT SATISFIES

I’m not really sure what the term Mexican “street food” is supposed to mean, other than small street corner type tacos, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I visited Cocina Condesa in Studio City. I kind of figured that the cocktails would be a wash and that the food would probably be underwhelming. Let’s just say I was happy to be wrong! (Dine story continued click on picture above)

 

the-churchill-dine-review

THE CHURCHILL
POPULAR GASTROPUB WELCOMES NEW CHEF & MENU

Every time a new restaurant opens in Los Angeles the expectations are sky high. Will this place last? Will it become my new go-to spot? But when a restaurant gets a new chef you have to ask if it will be better than before? Were changes necessary and will expectations not only be met but exceeded? (Story continued click on picture above)

 

flame-pizzeria-dine-review

FLAME PIZZERIA
CHEF TO THE STARS NOW SERVES PIZZA TO THE VALLEY

When former celebrity chef Richard Florczak, whose star-studded clients included Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christina Aguilera, and Mel Gibson for a whopping 13 years, fell in love with the art of making pizza, he left his famous patrons behind and eventually opened Flame Pizzeria, a go-to spot for some of the best pizza in the valley. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

wild-poke-dine-review

WILD POKE
SERVING FRESH POKE BOWLS ON VENICE BOARDWALK

Los Angeles is all about trends—most often starting them but it is definitely a devotee of what’s cool. And its food scene is no different. For the last few years, poké, a raw fish salad originally served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, has been all the rage. While some know-it-alls may say that the poké is played out, new spots are popping up all over to the delight of ravenous diners, including Wild Poké on the Venice boardwalk. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

qusqo-bistro-gallery-dine-review

QUSQO BISTRO & GALLERY
PERUVIAN CUISINE & ART JOIN FORCES ON THE WEST SIDE

Growing up in L.A., Latin food has always been a favorite cuisine of mine. Most people will think Los Angeles and associate Mexican food as being the top Latino fare that I have a love affair with you’d be wrong. Sure, it’s the closet to my heart but so is Central American food, both of which make up my ethnicity, but right alongside those two powerhouse cooking styles is the grub of Peru. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

pearl'ss-roof-top-dine-review

PEARL’S ROOF TOP
NOW SERVING KICKASS BRUNCH

Who doesn’t love a rockin’ brunch? And when I say “brunch” it is implied that I mean a boozy brunch as brunch without booze is just lunch or breakfast eaten later in the day. And thanks to the folks at Pearl’s Roof Top, weekend brunch just got better. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

prince-of-venice-dine-review

“PRINCE OF VENICE” FOOD TRUCK
HITS THE STREETS OF LOS ANGELES

The streets of Los Angeles having been getting the Royal treatment Italian style courtesy of Italian Crown Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia and renowned L.A. Chef Mirko Paderno of Officine BRERA since the two combined to launch Prince of Venice—a food truck offering fine handmade pastas fit for, well, you guessed it, royalty. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

fratelli-cafe-dine-review

FRATELLI CAFÉ
MELROSE AVENUE CAFÉ SHINES

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, two pastimes that are quintessential Los Angeles are people-watching and dining al fresco. And on trendy Melrose Avenue you can do both to excess. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-churchill-dine-review

THE CHURCHILL

Certain things define Los Angeles, like dining al fresco or the art of people watching. This city is all about being seen and taking in the sights. On trendy Third Street shopping and dining are as Los Angeles as it gets and getting cozy on the patio at The Churchill at The Orlando Hotel is quintessential L.A. For crying out loud, the chef’s name is Chef Dude. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

bonefish-grill-dine-review

BONEFISH GRILL
HEARTY COMFORT FOOD TO FEAST ON

The folks at Bonefish Grill like to tout that from the moment you walk through their doors “you’ll know you’re in a restaurant like no other.” I don’t know about that. It’s great to have lofty ambitions but the proof is in the pudding, and at Bonefish Grill, with locations in Valencia and Tustin, the fare is all about hearty comfort cuisine and when it’s good it’s great; when it’s not, well, you may wish you were somewhere else. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

burgerim-dine-review

BURGERIM
BRINGING THE ‘2 OR MORE IS BETTER’APPROACH

It’s a pretty much an American standard that two is always better than one when it comes to a good thing, and at Burgerim, an Israeli burger chain that has set up shop in the States, the concept is that there’s always more than one. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

bru-haus-westside

BRÜ HAUS TURNS FIVE!
STILL A WESTSIDE HAVEN FOR GOURMET SAUSAGES & TASTY BREWS

It’s not easy for restaurants and bars to last in Los Angeles. The culture here is always looking for what’s new or, more importantly, what’s next? We love what’s hot but often move onto the next thing making what was hot ice cold before too long. So we have to offer a hearty congrats to our friends at BRÜ Haus for celebrating five years as a go-to place for gourmet sausages and tasty brews on the Westside, especially considering it’s still sandwiched between Cabo Cantina and Q's. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

by-chloe.-dine

BY CHLOE.
AWARD-WINNING VEGAN EATS COMES TO SILVER LAKE

I have to admit that writing a food blog does have its perks as you get to try all kinds of different food, from live shrimp to raw cuisine to even a smorgasbord off meats during a recent burger restaurant opening. Recently I had the pleasure of checking out the new by CHLOE., a vegan fast casual hot-spot new to Los Angeles that is bringing 100% vegan, plant-based cuisine to the heart of Silver Lake. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

my-top-5-meals-2015-dine-review

MY TOP 5 MEALS OF 2015

With 2015 just behind us, it got me thinking of some of my favorite meals of the past year. I was really lucky and was able to enjoy some fantastic, first rate lunches and dinners. I’m still stoked on discovering the East L.A. Corn at Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern (and don’t forget the lovely Roasted Beet Salad). (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

118-degress-dine

118 DEGRESS
EAT WELL…LIVE WELL…BE WELL

I don’t know what the exact definition of a “foodie” is but I’m usually game to try anything at least once. I’m an all-around type of eater and I don’t really fall into any particular type of category, not even carnivore. I embrace the Pescatarian lifestyle and I’m a fan of vegan fare but I’ve had some issue with raw cuisine just because I don’t like cold pasta (I am not a fan of gazpacho either) but I was excited to try the new 118 Degrees raw food restaurant in Tarzana. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

harold-belles-restaurant

HAROLD & BELLE’S RESTAURANT
CREOLE FAVORITE GIVES WAY TO YEAR ROUND MARDI GRAS

For more than 40 years now, Harold & Belle’s Restaurant has been a favorite for Cajun and Creole cuisine, bringing the spice and flare of New Orleans directly to West Jefferson Boulevard. Now a third generation of ownership in Ryan and Jessica Legaux has modernized the neighborhood favorite while still staying true to classic recipes that help maintain a year round Mardi Gras atmosphere. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

art-beyond-the-glass-v--story

ART BEYOND THE GLASS V
LA’S TOP BARTENDERS COME TOGETHER FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Now celebrating its five year anniversary, Art Beyond the Glass (ABTG), or what I like to refer to as the Super Bowl of Los Angeles cocktail events, is gearing up for this firth and biggest cocktail soiree yet, and just announced that it is going national. Taking place on Sunday, June 26 at Resident in Downtown Los Angeles, Art Beyond the Glass V is celebrating its five-year anniversary by expanding to a five-hour event, featuring an impressive lineup of top bartenders from across the L.A. area, mixing cocktails and showcasing their art, music, photography and much more, all while raising funds for Global Inheritance. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

1186-bar-story

1886 BAR
SUMMER FUN HAS BEGUN!

There is always two ways to look at things—on the bright side (or not); glass half full or half empty; or with lofty ambitions. Are you the over thinker with grand ideas or just the plow ahead type that wants to get to the finish line? I think I fall somewhere in between because while I do enjoy a good yarn and can always appreciate someone’s fine craft, when it comes to cocktails, and damn fine ones at that, I want glass in hand and good times abound. (Story continued click on picture above)

 


sol-cocina-dine-review

SOL COCINA
THE SPIRIT OF BAJA THRIVES IN PLAYA VISTA

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m pretty tough critic when it comes to Mexican food. I was raised on wonderfully home cooked Mexican fare, so when I go out for Mexican eats, the bar has already been set pretty high. In the past I wrote that I was a fan of solita Tacos & Margaritas, so when SOL Cocina Playa Vista, another Mexican offshoot by Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, recently opened, I was game for a visit. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

lami-restaurant-dine-review

L’AMI RESTAURANT
FROM SANTA MONICA TO THE SOUTH OF FRANCE

Along the busy Santa Monica / Brentwood border on chic 26th Street, L'Ami Restaurant basks in a relaxing charm that whisks you away from the chaos of the city and attempts to transport you, via a romantic atmosphere, to the South of France. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

the-lincoln-dine-review

THE LINCOLN
GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING

The busy stretch along Lincoln Boulevard near Venice Boulevard in Venice Beach isn’t that scenic, actually, it’s pretty damn industrial and better known for its array of bike shops and auto dealerships. But the area is slowly morphing and helping bring about change in a good way is The Lincoln, a relaxed and swanky bar that’s an ideal spot to chill and imbibe.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

golden-road-dine-review

GOLDEN ROAD DTLA
NEW LOCATION FOR BEERS & PIEROGIS

To the delight of many beer lovers around town, Golden Road Brewery now has a shop at downtown’s Grand Central Market where they’re serving their popular craft beer with fine pierogi (think stuffed dumplings). The Golden Road DTLA booth was an immediate hit serving 20 taps of craft beer brewed in Los Angeles.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

demitasse-dine-review

DEMITASSE ROASTERY & KITCHEN
NOT YOUR TYPICAL COFFEE SHOP

Personally, I’m not a big coffee fan so the idea of another coffee shop opening up in town never sends me over the moon, but the new Demitasse Roastery & Kitchen blew me away with its flagship café component in Hollywood. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

q-sushi-dine-review

Q SUSHI
UNPARALLELED DINING GETS AN “A” ALL THE WAY

There are so many ways to enjoy sushi, especially in Los Angeles, which is considered the second most sushi-obsessed city in the world. When I first tried sushi it was the simple California Roll that I started with. Then I became a fan of all things tempura (you can never go wrong with fried) as well as creative rolls, which I learned later were hardly authentic Japanese sushi. That’s when I adopted the notion that simple is better. Now, I prefer light, fresh and clean-tasting Nigiri (sushi made of thin slices of raw fish over pressed vinegared rice).  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

little-easy-dine-review

LITTLE EASY
MARDI GRAS COMES TO DOWNTOWN L.A.

Celebrating its one year anniversary, the vibe at Little Easy in downtown’s Arts District is that it’s always Mardi Gras at this bayou-like lounge brimming with Southern charm. Anyone who has been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras knows that its chaotic, over the top and one hell of a ride. Time spent at Little Easy is somewhat the same.  (Story continued click on picture above)

 

farmboy-kitchen-dine-review

FARMBOY KITCHEN
HEARTY FARE IN THE HEART OF HOLLYWOOD

Showcasing his Virginia farm roots, Chef Hunter Fox has opened Farmboy Kitchen on the corner of Santa Monica and Vine. Described by Fox as a fresh California deli featuring a menu stocked full of hearty soups, brisket chili, as well as sandwiches of top round beef; fried chicken and kimchi; sausages; and corn beef; everything is sourced from local farmers and made in-house, including the breads and pastries. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

hard-rock-cafe-dine-review

HARD ROCK CAFE
PAIRING BOOZY BURGERS & BEERS

Sure, St. Patrick’s Day is behind us but that just means that drinkers who don’t know any better will have to wait another year to suck down on some lame green beer. Those of us that know better know damn well that Jameson Irish Whiskey and Guinness beer are meant to be enjoyed year round. And the folks at Hard Rock Cafe have combined those two Irish favorites and have created one very tasty burger. (Dine story continued click on picture above)

 

taste-of-the-eastside

TASTE OF THE EASTSIDE 2016
FOOD FEST HIGHLIGHTS EAST SIDE EATS

For music fans, summertime is known as festival season as there are so many music fests going on—it’s not all about Coachella even though this year Guns N’ Roses are back together again. Food festivals seem to be a year round thing but with the beautiful SoCal weather upon us, it just really seems like a great time for foodies to gather en masse to eat and drink together. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

masters-of-taste-la

MASTERS OF TASTE
LA’S TOP TASTEMAKERS HIT THE FIELD AT THE ROSE BOWL

Who doesn’t love a good festival? In this foodie and craft cocktail town there seems to be a fest of some sort every week, not that I’m complaining. At this point in time, I’ve pretty much mapped out my favorite, must-not-miss food and drink events of the year. But now there’s a new fest, the Masters of Taste set to kickoff at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena on  Sunday, April 3. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

bruxie-santa-monica-dine-review

FRANCO ON MELROSE
A HIDDEN DINING GEM

Along busy and trendy Melrose Avenue, tucked neatly between La Brea and Highland Avenues, is an Italian cuisine respite. You may not notice it from the street or you may not think it looks like much from the outside, but Franco on Melrose is legit and offers wonderfully authentic Italian fare. (Dine story continued click on picture above)

 

bruxie-santa-monica-dine-review

BRUXIE SANTA MONICA
NOT YOUR TYPICAL WAFFLE HOUSE

My favorite line from the movie Shrek is when Eddie Murphy’s beloved Donkey declares that in the morning he’s “making waffles!” While it annoyed the hell out of his soon to be ogre buddy, it delighted audiences. Any why not? There’s just something so comforting about waffles. And at Bruxie, the waffle reigns supreme. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

slow-fish-dine-review

SLOW FISH
A PLACE IN MIRACLE MILE FOR ASIAN FUSION DELIGHTS

I have to admit that I am a big fan of Asian fusion cuisine, however, I am also a bit of a purist when it comes to my sushi fare. I used to be all about the tempura rolls and eclectic sushi dishes but now I’m more of a “simple is better” sushi lover, especially after visiting Tokyo where simple sushi is among the best sushi I’ve ever had. So when I dined at Slow Fish in Miracle Mile, where the eats are delicious and somewhat daring, I was slightly conflicted. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

lock-&-key-k-town

LOCK & KEY
K-TOWN SPEAKEASY STILL A HIDDEN GEM

The introduction of a new season always brings about change and not just in climate but in attitude, dress and comfort. The food and drink scene does likewise as restaurants adapt and so do craft cocktail menus when a new season is introduced. At Lock & Key, a sweet speakeasy spot along Vermont Avenue serving first rate libations, a new season means new creative cocktails. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

grilliant-dine-review

GRILLIANT
MEDITERRANEAN FAVORITE OPENS IN CULVER CITY

Every meal can’t be a fine dining experience. Our wallets wouldn’t be able to afford it. But there’s no excuse to compromise on quality. Good eating is good eating, no matter if you’re a self-proclaimed foodie celebrating a milestone event; on the go; or just looking for a bite to keep you going; eat right and you’ll be a lot happier. Described as casual dining, Grilliant serves quality Mediterranean fare that sustains and satisfies in Burbank and now in Culver City. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

the-federal-building-dine-review

THE FEDERAL BAR
NOHO GASTROPUB TURNS INTO WEEKLY ‘POUTINERIE’

I’ve been a fan of The Federal Bar North Hollywood for some time now. It’s a solid spot for eats in NoHo even if its cocktail program is from from stellar—although it is a good place to drink some fine beer on tap, including my go-to Allagash Curieux. And now every Monday and Tuesday starting at 6pm it’s a must-visit for any fan of poutine. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

nighthawk-breakfast-bar-dine-review

NIGHTHAWK BREAKFAST BAR
BOOZY BREAKFAST COMES TO HOLLYWOOD

There’s something really cool about eating breakfast any time of the day or night. It’s familiar comfort food that reminds us of home no matter where we are. So props to nightlife impresario Jeremy Fall for coming up with Nighthawk Breakfast Bar, a hip late night breakfast joint that has set up shop at Sadie Kitchen & Lounge in Hollywood. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

sushi-roku-dine-review

SUSHI ROKU

The folks at Sushi Roku recently welcomed Corporate Executive Chef Tyson Wong into the fold to helm the sushi destination’s three restaurants in West Hollywood, Santa Monica and Pasadena. New menu offerings now include Santa Barbara sourced uni. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

now-boarding-dine-review

NOW BOARDING
VINTAGE COCKTAIL BAR READIES FOR TAKE OFF

I definitely have the travel bug. There’s just nothing better than being able to escape and get away for some much needed R&R. But with travel comes the hassle of packing, dealing with airlines and all the little potential pit falls that can ruin a trip. I was recently trapped in a Central American airport for days and it wasn’t much fun. But the VIP bar lounge was a welcome refuge. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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THE LOST KNIGHT
BRIT GASTROPUB COMES TO ECHO PARK

I don’t know if I would call it a new British Invasion, but the Brits have definitely made their presence known in Echo Park with the opening of The Lost Knight, a vast and charming old school public house that took over the former Barragan’s space on Sunset Boulevard. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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MELROSE UMBRELLA CO.
HANDCRAFTED COCKTAIL BAR TURNS TWO

Avoiding all the pitfalls that are often associated with the “terrible twos” and the “sophomore jinx”, handcrafted cocktail bar Melrose Umbrella Co. didn’t stumble or slow down during its current sprint to be the leading mixology bar in the competitive West Hollywood and Fairfax District area. If you’re looking for a cool watering hole where drinks are king and attitude takes a back seat to craft, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bar. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

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FILMMAKER HEATHER COURTNEY ON
WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM

When documentary filmmaker Heather Courtney visited her Northern Michigan hometown four years ago, she thought about making a film about rural America. She never dreamed she would find herself at war in Afghanistan filming the perils of a Michigan squad. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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TRAINER NICKY HOLENDER
MAKING CELEBRITIES, CEO’S & AVERAGE JOE’S FIT

Trainer Nicky Holender, a former professional soccer player including a stint with the Los Angeles Galaxy, is making a name for himself around town as the ‘in demand’ personal/fitness trainer catering to an elite clientele of celebrity and professional athletes. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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CATALINA ISLAND
GET AWAY WITHOUT GETTING AWAY

There’s nothing like an island getaway but who has the time or money for a vacation to paradise? Lucky for Angelenos, Catalina Island, just 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, is roughly an hour away via Catalina Express from both the Long Beach and San Pedro ports. (Travel story continued click on picture above)

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DAILY DOSE CAFÉ
SERVING DOWNTOWN’S ARTS DISTRICT

It’s funny how time changes perspective. Downtown L.A. is as popular as ever for dining and drinking but I still remember a couple of years ago when I first ventured down to shady Industrial Street for dinner at Church & State, (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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COPA D’ORO
SANTA MONICA COCKTAIL BAR IS SOLID GOLD

From the outside, Copa d’Oro on Broadway near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica does not look like much, even once you walk in you may not be very impressed, but belly up to the bar and spend a few minutes with head barman Vincenzo Marianella and prepare to not only be impressed but blown away. And even if the Boss Man isn’t there, his staff is trained to his high standards, which means you’re in good hands. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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PACKING HOUSE BREWING COMPANY
THINKING OF BEER DIFFERENTLY

Packing House Brewing Company is a microbrewery that embodies the owners’ vision of great crafted beer. This labor of love turned entrepreneurial in 2009 when the first brews were Riley’s and Heritage which were joined by other year round brews that are on the menu today. I discovered that along with the regular brews there are a few specialty/seasonal brews that can only be found in the Packing House tasting room. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA
GET AWAY WITHOUT GETTING AWAY

With summer approaching, the desire for a vacation, even if it’s just a quick getaway, is on most of our minds these days. If you’re looking to travel on the cheap and stay local, sure, places like Santa Barbara or Solvang (a lovely manmade tourist trap) are only two hours away. Las Vegas is always a decadent option, but if you want an easy and refined escape, you may want to consider Carmel-by-the-Sea, a lovely, white-sand beach community that’s a haven for art lovers, and wine and food enthusiasts. (Carmel travel trip continued click on picture above)

 

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POOCH HOTEL OPENS

Having redefined pet boarding options in Chicago by offering unparalleled amenities, environmentally friendly mindset and a level of quality never seen before, Pooch Hotel is now open in Hollywood. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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OAKS AT OJAI
GET AWAY AND RECLAIM YOURSELF

In need of a getaway without really getting away, or are you in need of kick starting a healthy regimen to get back on track? You’ll find both retreat and rejuvenation at The Oaks in nearby Ojai—a mere 90-minute drive north of Los Angeles. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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HACHÉ LA
SILVER LAKE BURGER FAVE TURNS ONE-YEAR-OLD

No matter how fancy we think our foodie tastes may be, there’s something special about a good burger. A damn “tasty burger” as Quinten Tarantino is fond of scribing just hits the spot. It’s the ultimate comfort food when done right. There’s your simple burger and your gourmet eats and they both have their special place in our hearts. Silver Lake upstart Haché LA is a burger stand that just gets it right. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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TIPPLE & BRINE
LEADING VALLEY FAVE GETS UPDATED

It’s no secret that we were highly impressed when Tipple & Brine first shuttered its doors along Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. The food was daring and the drinks were bold; great stuff, especially for the valley. Now new Executive Chef Marc Johnson has upped the ante even further. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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POUR VOUS
HOUSTON....WE HAVE COCKTAILS LIFT OFF!

People in the know are well aware that the Houston Brothers and their groundbreaking company Houston Hospitality practically run this town when it comes to cool spots that you want to hang and drink at. Always making a splash with their latest and greatest new bar and club opening (think Break Room 86 and Good Times at Davey Wayne’s) or their new restaurant Butchers & Barbers, these guys run the hottest spots in Los Angeles. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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INOTHEKE
MEDITERRANEAN FARE COMES TO SANTA MONICA

Amongst the hustle and bustle found in Santa Monica where beach life intermingles with fun in the sun, fine dining and surreal SoCal living is Inotheke, a contemporary new dining destination from Carolos Tomazos that showcases modern Greek cuisine specifically influenced by the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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SANGERS & JOE
PASADENA BRUNCH BONANZA AND THEN SOME

There’s something festive about brunch. It’s usually a weekend meal, and most often includes a lot of booze. That right there will get me in the party spirit every time. But at Sangers & Joe in Old Town Pasadena, it’s the delicious brunch fare that impresses and wholly satisfies. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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SWEET JESUS
A BARTENDING STAR IS BORN

You just have to love an underdog story—a real life ‘little engine’ that not only can chug along but also become a locomotive force to be reckoned with. That’s the story of Jesus Gomez, a shy sweetheart of a guy known to his friends as Chuey, who has gone from rising bartending star to a standout among the best mixologists Los Angeles has to offer. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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ALLEY LOUNGE
GET TO KNOW THIS HIDDEN CULVER CITY SPEAKEASY

It’s always satisfying being in the “know” about something—from the satisfaction of knowing a secret to where to get the best deal in town or where to go for spot-on cocktails in some cool, hidden lounge. That’s the feeling you’ll have once you get to know Culver City’s Alley Lounge. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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EL CONDOR
WHERE DRINKS IN SILVER LAKE SOAR!

On a summer day or night, who doesn’t love saddling up to a bar for a good stiff yet refreshing drink? Have that cocktail along with some Mexican food, or at least some hearty chips, salsa and guacamole to fuel you while you imbide, and good times will follow. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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JACKSON’S FOOD + DRINK
PLEASING COMFORT FOOD IN DOWNTOWN EL SEGUNDO

You have to love a ‘little guy makes it big’ story. You just can’t help rooting for the underdog, especially in the competitive restaurant business. So when Jackson’s Village Bistro thrived for ten years in Hermosa Beach, owner and chef Scott Cooper, a self-taught chef, swung for the fences when he opened the bigger and grander Jackson’s Food + Drink in nearby El Segundo. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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ART BEYOND THE GLASS IV
THE YEAR’S BEST DRINKING EVENT IS BACK

I often say that the month of June is the worst month of the year for me in terms of food, drink and calorie intake. Honestly, it’s way worse than the holidays. June is my birthday month and the month-long celebration really takes a toll—completely worth it mind you. (Story continued click on picture or headline.)

 

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TOCA MADERA
MEXICAN DISHES & DRINKS FOR ALL PALETTES & BUDGETS

It may come as no surprise to anyone that I, a foodie named Jose Martinez, am always on the lookout for great Mexican food. Sorry, it’s just who I am. Does that make me a stereotype? But I’m a tough critic because I grew up with the stuff. It’s hard to beat Mom’s cooking so often times I feel that Mexican restaurant food just falls short. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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ROCKWELL TABLE & STAGE
DINNER THEATER WITH BITE

I’m not sure how you feel about “dinner theater”, but to me it’s an odd concept. I either want a good dinner or a good theater experience, the idea of getting both at the same time is nice but more times than not I fear it will fall short. When it comes to my meals and entertainment time, I want solid quality over convenience. But dinner and a show at Rockwell Table & Stage in Los Feliz proved to be exceptional on both fronts. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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CELESTINO RISTORANTE & BAR
HOLIDAY MUSHROOM & TRUFFLE GOODNESS

The holiday season is upon us and while it is that most wonderful time of the year, it also means it’s time to marvel, cherish and appreciate the Holiday Mushroom and Truffle Menu at Celestino Ristorante & Bar in Pasadena throughout the month of December. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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eLOVate VEGAN KITCHEN & JUICERY
CELEB CHEF TURNED VEGAN BLOOMS IN SANTA MONICA

OK, I’m not a fan of the funny way that vegan restaurant eLOVate Vegan Kitchen & Juicery spells its name…”eLOVate”. It’s not even grammatically correct. And it aims to be too cute, but that’s probably the only fault I find with the restaurant. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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MELROSE UMBRELLA CO.
STANDOUT BAR NOW SERVING BRUNCH

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of drinking and noshing at Melrose Umbrella Co., the little bar on Melrose Avenue that’s known for serving very creative and stellar cocktails. But now it has upped its game and really given imbibers a reason to day drink with the addition of an impressive brunch menu. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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BASANTI TEA BAR
TEA TIME COMES TO BEVERLY HILLS

I’m no stranger when it comes to bellying up to the bar, but I’ve never worked my way through a drink menu at a tea bar, but at the brand new Basanti Tea Bar in Beverly Hills, that’s exactly what I did. (Story continued click on picture or headline.)

 

california-pizza-kitchen-dine-review

CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN
WESTWOOD JOINT GETS NEW LOOK & MENU

Whenever I think of California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), I always think of BBQ Chicken Pizza. A close runner up is their Chinese Chicken Salad. I think those are the only two dishes I’ve had at CPK; that is until the Westwood CPK unveiled its new look and menu. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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SPARE TIRE KITCHEN & TAVERN
MIRACLE MILE KITCHEN RIDES INTO THE WINNER’S CIRCLE

Sometimes you walk into a new restaurant with specific expectations in mind and other times you just don’t know what to expect. Checking out the new Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern in Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard I didn’t know what I’d find. Gastropub fare? A quality local bar? I was looking forward to solid cocktails and the rest would be a complete surprise, although I should have expected quality fare from Chef Isaias Peña after his stint at La Sandia. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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1886 BAR
WINTER IS COMING & THE DRINKS ARE BLOODY KILLER

If bar years are akin to dog years, then 1886 Bar is in the prime of its run having just celebrated its fifth anniversary (that’s like 35 in canine years). I think it’s pretty safe to say that this is no longer the sleepy little bar at The Raymond Restaurant in Pasadena. Now it’s its own drinking destination for anyone who appreciates the fine art of handcrafted cocktails. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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VENICE WHALER
CRAB SHELL BAR TURNS ONE

Who doesn’t like watching a baby take its first steps? And if that baby can provide you with food and drinks, well, that’s all the better! Take that proud parents with your baby pictures! Your baby taking his or her first steps looks like a little drunk. A bar turning one year old, I’m talking to you crab shell bar at Venice Whaler, well, that’s pretty special too. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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SALT RESTAURANT & BAR
GOLD STAR FOR A FRESH TAKE

I’ve always said that I’m a fan of hotel restaurants. Dining in a hotel just makes me feel like I’m on vacation, a feeling I absolutely love. If I can’t be on vacation, well, then the next best thing is feeling like I’m on vacation. So when I had the chance to check out SALT Restaurant & Bar at Marina del Rey Hotel, I jumped at the opportunity. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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OSAWA
THERE’S A NEW CHEF IN THESE PARTS

In the food game, there are certain chefs that stand tall among the pack. Ever since the concept of “celebrity chef” was coined, notable chefs, beloved for their flare and originality, are the reason why food lovers flock to their restaurants. We all know the heavy hitters; they are superstars who are more famous than the restaurants they cook at. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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 THE FACTORY KITCHEN
SERVING SOME OF THE BEST FOOD & DRINKS IN TOWN

It is absolutely no secret that I think downtown’s The Factory Kitchen is one of the best restaurants in town. The Italian trattoria serves some of the finest pasta dishes and don’t even get me started on their cannoli, but ever since it opened in 2013, it’s cocktail program has constantly improved to where it now completely compliments the first rate fare. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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NATALEE THAI
TANTALIZING THAI FOOD REVISITED

Around town, Natalee Thai is often considered as an easy go-to option for solid Thai cuisine. With locations in Culver City and Beverly Hills, it’s been an institution for satisfying, family-style Thai comfort food for 20+ years. After my last Natalee Thai review a while back, I was happy to try different menu items in order to post an updated dining feature. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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LUNCHBOX
INTRODUCING ONIGIRI TO THE MASSES

A good foodie is always on the lookout for something new to taste. In this town, the ‘next big thing’ is always in high demand. Recently, I was introduced to onigiri, think triangular rice balls with various fillings. During a visit to the weekly Farmers Market at Pershing Square, which takes place every Wednesday from 10am to 2pm, I came upon Lunchbox and its delightful onigiri. The Lunchbox folks like to say they’re adding a modern twist by adding innovative fillings such as spicy tuna and beef. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

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CHOMP EATERY & JUICE STATION
GOOD EATS THAT ARE GOOD FOR YOU

I first heard of Santa Monica’s Chomp Eatery & Juice Station in conjunction with a National Milk Chocolate Day promotion. Chomp was touting its Chocolate Wasted concoction, which is actually a delicious dairy free drink that contains raw almonds, cacao and maca for a healthy blend of antioxidants and energy. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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WEEKEND BRUNCH AT TOCA MADERA
CHIC MEXICAN RESTAURANT NAILS IT!

It’s funny how a restaurant can do two things so differently—and we’re talking night and day, literally. While I had mixed feelings about dinner at trendy Toca Madera on Third Street, I must say that they really do a bang-up job at brunch. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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WORKSHOP KITCHEN + BAR
AS GOOD AS IT GETS IN THE DESERT

There are lots of reasons why people like to head to Palm Springs to escape the rat race that is Los Angeles…the sun, the heat (go figure), the cheap deals to be found because of the heat, the pools and don’t forget the lavish pool parties. Palm Springs has always been about fun in the sun but I never really associated it with fine dining, but my how times have changed. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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SPIN THE BOTTLE WINE STUDIO
CHEERS TO TOLUCA LAKE WINE SHOP & BAR

Toluca Lake is an interesting neighborhood. It’s Burbank adjacent yet way more sleepy (if you can imagine something sleepier than Burbank). If you can wrap your mind around Burbank being a busy town—it is home to two major movie studios and celeb heavy—then Toluca Lake comes off like the small town in Pleasantville. And on busy Riverside Drive (think Main Street), beside the scene that takes place at the Bob’s Big Boy, there’s a refined wine shop and bar that locals with a palette for vino have adopted as their own. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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BLUEWATER GRILL
FINE DINING WITH A VIEW

There’s nothing like fine dining with a view. There are just so many picturesque locations in Southern California that a lovely setting only helps to make a meal all that more special. At Bluewater Grill, founded in 1996 in Newport Beach with locations including Redondo Beach and Catalina Island, among others, a great meal is made better by breathtaking harbor and ocean views. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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THE CORNER DOOR
CULVER CITY GEMS SETS THE BAR HIGH

For three years now, The Corner Door has been a great go-to place for drinks in Culver City, but now the cuisine and cocktails are breaking new ground and are equally crowd-pleasing. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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MINT LEAF
INDIAN FARE COMES TO SAN GABRIEL

Located on the border of Altadena and Pasadena, Mint Leaf looks pretty casual from the outside—housed in the former space where a flower shop once stood in an industrial mini mall—but inside it’s charming and serves inspiring Indian fare. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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FIN
NOW OPEN FOR LUNCH

We recently spotlighted dinner at FIN in Culver City, which offers first rate options for sushi and Asian tapas—think the culinary styles of French, American and Latin cooking come together. Well now FIN is serving lunch that equally delights. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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HARLOWE
WEHO BAR TURNS ONE & HITS FULL STRIDE

A year in the life span of a craft cocktail bar is akin to that of dog years. First, if you can even last a full year in this town, well congratulations, that’s a feat. Second, if you can manage to thrive and constantly elevate your game—now we’re talking. Harlowe on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood just celebrated its one-year anniversary and released its new summer cocktail menu and is proving to be one of the best bars in the area. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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HAVING FUN PLAYING SANTA CLAUS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
DELIVERING FOOD, CLOTHING & TOYS TO OUR VETERANS IN NEED

We had a blast redistributing food, clothing and toys this holiday season to our veterans in need. Our friend Allan Espinoza, director of God Provides Food Bank, donated a bunch of small toys for the kids at Almost Home where our female veterans reside. Allan also contributed American flags in all sizes plus a bag of new necklaces made of seashells so we were looking good at Stand Down this past weekend at the LA Convention Center. (Story continued click on picture or headline.)

 

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NEXT DOOR LOUNGE
TINSEL TOWN ‘PROHIBITION ERA’ SPEAKEASY

I’ve been a fan of Next Door Lounge ever since it first opened on Highland Avenue. It’s in my neck of the woods so I was happy to have a Prohibition Era speakeasy open in the area. If you’re not familiar with it, chances are you’ve past it several times along Highland Avenue between Santa Monica Boulevard and Fountain Avenue. It’s the nondescript brick building with a key as its lone signage. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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THE RUNNING GOOSE
HOLLYWOOD EATERY IS OFF AND RUNNING

I’m always game to try a new dining spot. You just never know when you’ll discover a true gem amidst all the possible contenders. Hollywood in particular is a finicky tough sell. The idea of Hollywood is cool and great for visitors but for locals, it means tough to find parking and traffic. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

california-pizza-kitchen-dine-review

FIN
ASIAN TAPAS BAR IS A CULVER CITY CATCH

More and more, Culver City is really starting to become a go-to neighborhood in town. It used to be that all the action was on Culver Boulevard adjacent to Sony Studios, but over the last few years, Washington Boulevard has really stepped up its game. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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BOWLERO
BOWLING, BOOZE AND BOUNTIFUL BITES

When we were in the full swing of National Burger Month I was told about Bowlero, a Texas-sized homage to bowling, booze, burger s and doing things, well, big. The location in Mar Vista is the company’s first foray outside the lone star state and let’s just say they’re making quite an impact. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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SLATER’S 50/50
BURGERS BY DESIGN

Who doesn't love a good burger? It's pretty much the most American of foods, although you would think that championship belt would belong to Thanksgiving turkey dinner. Don't even get me started on Thanksgiving as it is my favorite meal of the year. But back to burgers, they're hearty and filling and just about as red, white and blue as a meal can get. So imagine how stoked I was when I made my way to Pasadena for a burger bonanza at Slater’s 50/50—a Mecca for all things hamburger. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

melrose-umbrella-co-dine-review

MELROSE UMBRELLA CO.
WHERE THE HOUSE SPECIALTY IS COOL, CREATIVE COCKTAILS

The L.A. cocktail culture scene is always changing and morphing. Rarely does the landscape ever stay the same—what with new bars opening and closing and cocktail programs adapting to new seasons and trends. I used to swear by 1886 Bar in Pasadena but its last “greatest hits” drink menu proved nobody is perfect, which gave way to upstarts in my opinion like The Copper Still and Melrose Umbrella Co. to really up ante on the local drinking game. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

del-frisco's-grille-dine-review

CATALINA ISLAND
RIDE FOR FREE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of escaping to Catalina Island for day’s adventure. Last year I managed two sojourns, one to Avalon and one to the more desolate side of Two Harbors. And there’s no better way to enjoy Catalina than on your birthday will you will ride for free on Catalina Express and indulge in a whole day’s worth of free birthday goodies. Due to overwhelming popularity, Catalina Express is continuing the Free Ride on Your Birthday offer through 2015. (Story continued click on picture above)

 

1886-bar-dine-review

1886 BAR
SUMMER DRINK MENU PITS NEW VS OLD SCHOOL

Last winter proved to me that no one is perfect and, sadly, all good things must come to an end, or at least take a break to gather and refocus. I couldn’t believe my taste buds when 1886 Bar at The Raymond released its winter drink menu, finally, the best bar in these parts had come up short. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

giardino-restaurant-dine-review

GIARDINO RESTAURANT
A WESTLAKE VILLAGE GEM FOR ITALIAN FARE

The idea of trekking all the way out to Westlake Village for an Italian dinner isn’t on the top of my to-do list but since the proof is always in the pudding, or in this case in first rate, homemade Italian sauce, the culinary sojourn is well worth the trouble. Consider time spent at Giardino Restaurant in Westlake Village well worth your time for fine fare. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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VERNETTI
FORMERLY GIRASOLE REOPENS ON LARCHMONT

The City of Los Angeles and its inhabitants just love to reinvent and rebrand themselves; from faces and bodies to even restaurants and bars. Girasole, a popular restaurant in trendy Larchmont Village, has been remodeled and rebranded and now serves Italian-American cuisine as Vernetti. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

del-friscos-grille-dine-review

DEL FRISCO'S GRILLE
MODERN, AMERICAN EATERY SPREADS ITS WINGS

Good comfort food is always appreciated and the folks at Del Frisco's Grille, part of a collection of more than 40 restaurants across the country, including Del Frisco's Grille, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, and Sullivan's Steakhouse, prides itself on serving bold and delicious cuisine. During recent visits to the Pasadena and Irvine locations, they proved more hit and miss than surefire. (Dine review continued click on picture above)

 

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