The White Collar stud leisurely walked out of the popular burrito eatery here in L.A. carrying an interesting cookbook (The Amazing Acid-Alkaline Cookbook), and all of Hollywood continues to obsess over how he maintains his ridiculous body.
If you think bingo is for old ladies in church halls with tacky sweatsuits and even tackier nails, then you obviously haven't played the game in West Hollywood.
Hamburger Mary's, the place for a good burger and a killer martini, will be the place to be this week as Legendary Bingo (a.k.a. Drag Queen Bingo) celebrates its 15th Anniversary with a bevy of stars from shows like Suburgatory, Smash, and Golden Boy calling out numbers for a festive crowd of players. The three-night celebration continues tonight, and table reservations will be going as fast as the masacara running down a crying queen.
Founder Jeffrey Bowman (pictured above, center) will be on hand, emceeing the night, interacting with some of L.A.'s most famous drag performers, and making sure everyone is having a grand old time.
Join us, won't you? 8288 Santa Monica Boulevard in the 90046.
I have no Irish blood in my body, but having grown up in the Boston area, I like to think I know a thing or two about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. This year I had the opportunity to check out the festivities as a guest of Tam O’Shanter in Atwater Village.
I arrived and immediately noticed the place was bustling with patrons of all ages. An elderly couple was dressed in elaborate costumes and ready to head home just as I was getting started. Children ran around devouring green ice cream cones. I stood in line with my companion for fifteen minutes waiting to check in. The young lady who greeted me was full of smiles as she handed me my four tickets (normally $8 each) that were good for food or beverage. We wandered into a giant tent filled with people dancing and enjoying the Irish music stylings of The Ploughboys.
I walked to the bar to wet my whistle. For $16 (two tickets), I ordered a Guinness and a Jameson on the rocks. I watched as the bartender poured my Guinness into a tiny plastic cup and proceeded to take a tiny little plastic shot glass and measure what would have been a half shot anywhere else. I’ll accept this practice under protest at the Staples Center. However, for an establishment that charges $21 for their cheapest entrée, it is nothing short of tacky.
We were very curious to try the food inside the restaurant, but with the wait being long and the prices being sky high, we opted for the street food. A corned beef sandwich on rye or a roast beef sandwich were priced at $8. For $12 you could get a corned beef and cabbage plate that goes for $26 on their regular menu. We chose to split the corned beef sandwich on rye. The meat was flavorful and tender but by the time we arrived at a table, the cabbage on the side made the rye bread soggy and crumble in our hands.
My plus-one and I decided we would avoid another sandwich fiasco and split another drink with our final golden ticket inside the hot and humid tent. Despite the hot temperature, the band playing onstage made every bead of sweat worth it. Their energetic performance truly dictated the atmosphere of the party. Parents indulged in green beer as children danced in front.
Tam O’Shanter’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Party: County Fair feel at Disneyland prices.
Yes, the Sundance Film Festival is a playground for moviemakers, but indulging in its unique fashion, food, and music events is part of the whole experience.
The largest evening of independent music at Sundance, Koffeehouse Chateau featured fourteen sublime acoustic artists playing before a roaring fireplace in the intimacy of a private manor miles from Park City. One of the performers, American Idol alum, Crystal Bowersox glowed, "I'm so happy to be here. My first Sundance! I just finished my second album (due late March). It has a duet with Jakob Dylan, and all original except for one track (“Here's Where The Story Ends” by The Sundays)."
Kari Feinstein's Style Lounge offered new lifestyle brands for the celebrity set (Katherine Heigl, Courtney Love). Feinstein, now in her 13th year of hosting style lounges, says, "Style is the way you carry yourself and your attitude and the way you feel about yourself. If you feel good about yourself, and have confidence - you have style." Who also showed up? Matthew McConaughey (photo courtesy of KFPR).
Sean John at TR Gifting Suites went the extra mile and donated brand new coats to needy New Yorkers for every coat they gave away at Sundance as part of New York Cares Coat Drive.
OAKLEY LEARN TO RIDE
Oakley Learn To Ride escorted festival-goers up the mountain with Olympic medal winner Danny Kass, and taught them (and celebs Adrian Grenier, and Brazilian supermodel Allesandro Ambrosia) how to snowboard. By night, Oakley's space transformed into Sundance’s own Hyde Lounge.
Snowboarder and rapper, Lil Jon, and pal Octavia Spencer at Oakley Learn To Ride (photo courtesy of Getty Images/Fingerprint Communications):
Then, animal lovers convened on CatDance, a celebration of cats in short films. Adorable celebrity host, AnnaLynne McCord, proud owner of two kitties, cited "What's New Pussycat?" as her favorite 'cat' pop song. Proceeds from the limited edition black and grey cat-inspired hats (seen here on McCord) benefit the ASPCA.
THE PROMONTORY FEAST
The culinary highlight of Sundance was Chef Bill Reilly's exclusive five star Italian feast (inspired by the Sundance winning film, Big Night) at The Promontory, THE luxury community in Park City.
Carlo Mondavi, grandson of Robert, presided over the meal's wine pairing with his 2009 Continuum Cabernet - full of dark chocolate and black cherry accents. Needless to say: Mmmm! If you can find it, check it out!
GREY GOOSE BLUE DOOR
Speaking of alcohol, the Grey Goose Blue Door on Main Street, which also featured a fantastic Sorel boots gifting suite, served my favorite cocktail in all of Sundance: a Hot Apple Pie. Here's the recipe...
1 ½ oz Grey Goose Poir (pear)
½ oz B&B
¾ oz Cinnamon
4 oz Hot Apple Cider
A hot mug and garnish with lemon zest and clove (You're welcome)
Needless to say, we all felt warm and happy with this cocktail. Already looking forward to next year in Park City!
“Would you like to try our
rattlesnake and rabbit sausage?” the lady asked us as we walked up to L.A.’s
famed Wurstkuche booth. Um,
rattlesnake and rabbit? Yes, please! After all, this was The Taste of L.A., a
foodie’s paradise that comes every Labor Day weekend, comprised of
five different food-sampling events spanning three days. Sadly, we could only pick one event this year: Flavors of L.A. Our ticket
included unlimited wine, beer, spirits and food tastings, plus access to all
seminars and presentations featuring California's most well-known chefs and foodie journalists.
Sportos may have the Super Bowl, film geeks may have the Academy Awards, but then there's my kind. The Taste is my Holy Grail for food, and I was
determined to try everything this event had to offer, even if it did include a
sausage that combines rattlesnake and rabbit (for those of you wondering, it
tasted like chicken, grilled to perfection). Braving long lines, the hot sun,
alcohol at every turn, and some of L.A.’s most fabulous, we roamed the Paramount
Studios backlot in search of the city's greatest culinary fare. Of course, stars like Susan Feniger’s STREET, Lukshon, Farmshop, Milo & Olive Milling
Co., the aforementioned Wurstkuche, and The Counter took center stage, but other,
just-as-worthy restaurants had us raving too.
Some of our faves we'll be visiting again soon:
1. Schulzies Bread Pudding - Finding
the names of the eight different flavors as irresistible as the bread pudding
itself (Millie Vanillie, Salted Caramel Sutra, Boom Boom Banana), don’t forget
to add sauce like peanut butter and whisky for a flavorgasm in your mouth. It
made Kaila exclaim, “This was worth the price of admission alone!” ‘Nuff said.
2. Black Market Liquor Bar – A
mysterious punch and dessert were on display, prompted me to ask, “What are you
serving?” Without missing a beat, the cute guy in the booth told me the punch
was, “deliciousness in a cup!” (Pointing to the dessert, what looked like a
fried cake of messy goodness) “And is this deliciousness on a fork?” I asked
excitedly. “No,” he said, looking at me like I’m from Mars, “It’s deliciousness
on a plate.” Duh. (And btw – they weren’t telling anyone about their mysterious
delectables. Kaila and I definitely detected marshmallows, bananas and caramel
in the fried cake of deliciousness – heaven).
3. Picca Peruvian Cantina – Chef
Ricardo Zarate scored high marks last year with his culinary wit in Los Angeles
Magazine (fourth best new restaurant in L.A.), GQ (sixth best new
restaurant in the U.S.) and Traveler Magazine (tenth best new restaurant in the
world). He also became Food and Wine’s best new chef in America. All in 2011. My new culinary hero. That’s a lot to live up to, but when I tried his unagi
casa roll (eel wrapped in yellow mashed potato), Chef Zarate had me
forever and proved his praise is well deserved. Well done sir. Go visit Chef
Zarate at his new location, Mo-Chica, in downtown L.A. and follow them on Twitter @piccaperu.
4. Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches –
This food truck cum ice cream shop had one of the longest lines of the day, but
well worth the wait. Their sammies challenge your palate with flavors like
Brown Butter Candied Bacon ice cream on chocolate chip cookies, Fried Chicken
and Waffles and Pistachio Black Truffle ice cream on Brioche cookies, just to
name a few. You can even eat the wrapper, how eco-friendly is that?!?
5. La Casita Mexicana’s Coconut Agua Fresca - It tasted like
horchata but with a different dimension. For someone who grew up in San Diego (and knows good horchata), I will be back for more
Chaya’s tuna burger
combines teriyaki and guacamole, making the combination a hit and my taste buds
Sweets for the Soul’s unique and tasty honey and lavender cake.
truck Waffles de Liege boasted fresh-baked waffles topped with butter and
caramel, making me want to follow them wherever they go.
And Cake Mamas (below) are back
again this year with cupcake flavors like salted caramel (a growing trend in L.A. no doubt) and my personal fave, churro.
HIH was more than pleased to partake in some post-Cinco de Mayo festivities downtown with the editors of Bello Mag earlier today. And it was the perfect day for a little booze, 90s jams (courtesy of DJ Michaelis), and some catering from Mendicino Farms.
It was a chance to see some friends, meet new ones, and eavesdrop on some industry talk while brushing shoulders with a few Hollywood players from True Blood, Revenge, and Dancing With The Stars.
It has quickly become our favorite destination for dinner whenever we find ourselves escaping to Palm Springs for a weekend.
Trio, run by partners Tony Marchese and Mark Van Laanan (pictured below), occupies the former space of an Old Las Palmas bank, so the space, with its granite walls and mod structure, feels slightly retro but new and chic at the same time.
"Comfort food with a very contemporary flare" is what they're going for, and the taste will have you experiencing a foodgasm of epic proportions.
Speaking of mouth-watering food, our favorite dish is the pot roast (pictured on the right with homemade mashed potatoes and sliced carrots, drenched in a port gravy).
“When you walk in the door its all about comfort, the surroundings and the food,” says Marchese. “Our goal has always been to create a restaurant with a unique energy, where anyone can come dine two to three times a week. We are a proud part of the community in which we love, work, eat and play.”
The menu changes weekly, so every visit is guaranteed to be a unique experience for the taste buds.
And as you can guess, we plan on revisiting Trio in the summer when we make our annual trek to partake in some poolside lounging, cocktail sampling, and much-needed relaxation.
Tell Tony we sent you, and then you can thank us later.
All creative marketing aside, perhaps the best advertising is the most straightforward. This is exemplified by the covertly situated Rockwell VT in Los Feliz. They hung an enormous banner on the side of a building declaring “Premium Liquor, Happy Hour – EVERY DAY 5pm-8pm.” If you’re me, this is akin to a tractor beam. Well played, bar.
Rockwell is the kind of place that seems weirdly out of place at the gateway to the Land Of Deliberately Ramshackle Los Feliz, mere blocks from American Apparel, Figaro Café, and overpriced vintage stores. There’s a speakeasy feel as you climb the hidden stairwell, only accessible via the alley. But inside you’re rewarded with something out of Inception – a massive tree planted squarely in the middle of the “inside-but-you’re-outside-but-you’re-inside” courtyard bar, backlit insect cutouts across the walls, a wood veneer DJ booth from whence coolly hypnotic beats pulse.
The wide selection of cocktails are well-made, if not particularly ground-breaking. I found the Veev-jito particularly delicious (Veev Acai, muddled mint, lime juice, champagne). Despite my profound NY-bred pizza snobbery, the wild mushroom wood-fired offering is decidedly Not Terrible, and it’s hard to go wrong with an enormous mound of fries (seriously, it would feed hipsters for DAYS) for $5.00.
All in all, Rockwell’s shameless hawking of its happy hour with impossible-to-miss banners belies a sleek, hip interior and tasty drinks. Oh, and for those reluctant to venture east of La Brea? You will not, in fact, spontaneously burst into flames – promise.
Happy Hour: Daily 5pm-8pm (that’s including weekends, y’all!)
Are you a frustrated actor? Do you yearn for a safe haven in which you can meet with your fellow unemployed thespians to commiserate and imbibe? If so, then welcome to Los Angeles – your kind populate every watering hole in the county. But the prettier ones can be found at Bodega.
Aesthetics aren’t really my primary concern when considering happy hour, but it’s hard to deny that the ambiance at Boedga’s Sunset Boulevard location (below) is impeccable. It’s sleek and hip without seeming pretentious. As with most wine bars, recommended seating is at the bar so you can avail yourself of the expertise of the surprisingly well-versed staff.
My bartender, like charming Edwin (also likely a frustrated actor, bless him), seemed relieved that I came bearing at least a cursory knowledge of soju – one of the three stripes of adult beverages served at Bodega, along with wine and beer. Being vodka’s smoother, more insidiously powerful cousin, I was intrigued by the selection of soju cocktails (a good bang for your boozy buck at $6/each). Two soju gimlets in, and you might reconsider getting headshots...just because.
Most of the eats are quite good, especially the hummus and pita and roasted potatoes – certainly a bit more posh than the usual bar snacks. It’s a perfect stop before catching an early movie at The Arclight down the street or a great spot for impressing a first date. Just make sure they’re not distracted by the…ahem, scenery.
Happy Hour: every day 5pm-7pm ($3 off wine, $2 off beer, and food under $7).
There are also different specials every night – check 'em out here.
To kick off our Happy Hour series (please accept our apologies for neglecting our Hot Cocktails and Hot Cuisine columns), we've invited guest contributor Sarah Evans to shine a light on where to get some reasonably priced grub here in L.A...
Long considered a quick resolution to the “well-what-do-YOU-want” dining conundrum (they serve…pretty much everything, in one form or another) and a classier fix for late-night cravings, versatile favorite Bossa Nova has yet another incentive – a weekday happy hour.
With food options ranging from $4 to $6, including a tastier-than-average caprese salad (they marinate those tomatoes in…crack, possibly) and the ridiculously delicious chicken brochette (there's bacon and blue cheese sauce...sorry, I might need a minute). In fact, if you’re a gorgonzala fan, consider this your siren call. They’ll put it on everything, if you ask nicely.
While bacon and blue cheese are great and all, on to the really important stuff -- there are, of course, discounts on adult beverages. To be honest, though, Bossa Nova has never been at the top of the game when it comes to cocktails – the sangria is a bit too sacchrine, the fruit a bit too minced. There’s not much to quibble about with the caipirinhas, but then again you’d expect as much from a Brazilian restaurant. So the drink specials aren’t so much an incentive as much as a way to wash down the fried foodstuffs.
All in all, two people can manage to stuff themselves and get a decent buzz for about $30. We consider that the perfect start to an evening that may or may not end back where it began.
Get on it. Now.
Mon-Fri, 3:00pm – 7:00pm. All locations (Includes 30% off select appetizers, ½ price sangria, house wine, margaritas, Caipirinhas)
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