Once again, it's time to look back at some of the people, places and things that made our year memorable here in Los Angeles. You might call these our obsessions of 2014 because we simply could not get enough of them.
Forget those tourist guides. Feast your eyes on these real deals...
BEST RAMEN OBSESSION: Tatsu (7111 Melrose Ave.) - This noodle bar opened its second location just west of La Brea (the original's on Sawtelle on the Westside), and we've been dreaming of its menu ever since we laid our taste buds on the Chashu Rice bowl and Soul Ramen. Walk in, place your order on the iPad menu, and seat yourself at a communal table next to some slurping diners. *We'll accept gift cards as a thank you.
BEST SWEET TOOTH INDULGENCE: BSweet (2005 Sawtelle Blvd.) - This adorable dessert boutique had us at "glazed donut ice cream sandwich."
BEST KEPT SECRET FOR BIBLIOPHILES: Sideshow Rare & Remarkable Books, Art & Curiosities (11323 Idaho Ave.) - Tucked away below Santa Monica Boulevard (not too far from the Nuart Theater), this little shop is for book lovers who may not want to trek all the way downtown to The Last Bookstore for some literary finds.
BEST NEW CRUSH: Payson Lewis - The extraordinarily talented (and apparently ripped) actor-singer is one of the standout players in For The Record, the increasingly popular cabaret-theater troupe that's taken residency at DBA in West Hollywood. You may have recently caught his cover of Taylor Swift's "Out of the Woods" with Rumer Willis on YouTube. You haven't yet? Then what are you waiting for?
BEST WESTSIDE LATTE: Tomo Coffee (11309 Mississippi Ave.) - How could a latte be so creamy and sweet? We ask ourselves this question every time we swing by this adorable hideaway on our morning commute. And don't even get us started on their flavored stuffed homemade pretzels...
BEST SPEAKEASY THAT'S NOT A SPEAKEASY: The Whaling Club (various locations) - It's a "cocktail catering company" founded by the adorable husband-and-wife team Dan Scott and Marie Buck (below) that feels more like an invite-only "club" that gathers every month. He's a killer mixologist, she's an awesome hostess and photographer, and together they've got something special concocted for Los Angeles. Get in on it now.
BEST MOVIE NIGHT: iPic Theaters (10840 Wilshire Blvd.) - Recling seats. Complimentary popcorn (for premium ticketholders). And a full bar loaded with crafted cocktails and mouthwatering appetizers (try the ham and cheddar biscuits). This is one hell of a moviegoing experience. Arclight who?
BEST DIRTY MARTINI: Tanzy (10840 Wilshire Blvd.) - Using olive tapenade, the mixologists at this restaurant have found the best way to dirty up a classic cocktail.
BEST LATE-NIGHT MUNCHIES: Cerveteca (9418 Venice Blvd.) - Get the Drunk Fries, which consist of your meat of choice, melted cheese, guacamole, sour cream and any other condiment you can get your hands on. They're like nachos, only more potato-y.
BEST EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY: The Varsity Gay League - Actually, all are welcome when it comes to the VGL, the city's increasingly popular sporting organization that's all about camaraderie, acceptance, and new friendships. Kickball (check out the horror-loving Scream Queens above), bowling, soccer, beach volleyball...there's something for every guy and gal, no matter what "team" you play for. Plus, you get discount beer at GYM bar in WeHo if you're a player! Join today.
BEST CHEAP TACO SPOT IN THE VALLEY: The Village (12345 Ventura Blvd) This Valley hotspot is not a taco joint, but that doesn't mean you can't find some $2 tacos from Tuesday-Saturday after 9PM --because you can. There are combinations you never thought possible in the taco eating world. The Village lets you have "Taco Tuesday" all week. Not to mention, the small portions won't leave you w/ the need to loosen up a few buttons.
Additional writing by Dio Anthony