Jazz Up Your Fridays at LACMA With Patina’s Picnic Baskets

The Louis Picnic Basket (minus one serving of chicken)

The sun is out – when June Gloom isn’t in, that is. But when the high of summer arrives, you’ll bet it’ll be time for that picnic. Whether at The Hollywood Bowl, Cinespia or Barnsdall Art Park, picnicking in Los Angeles has become more than a rite of passage. It’s now an act of communal expression, with everyone in the party bringing their own contribution to the portable, potable feast.

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Avalon of Catalina Island, CA: Highlights of a Weekend Trip

View from Casino Ballroom Balcony

Before this year, I had been to Santa Catalina Island but once for a short day trip that hardly did the 22 x 8 mile island justice. It’s easy to dismiss, with just one incorporated city named Avalon – but the trick to a successful trip here is navigating the proper spots to hit up, and when.

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Behind the Scenes Look at LA Opera’s Production of Falstaff

Falstaff Rehearsal, James Conlon, Maestro

Just three more performances of Falstaff at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion remain this year, and if you haven’t seen the brand new production, this is your last chance.

A few days before its opening, I got a chance to go backstage with other media and see the staging, a bit of rehearsal and results of all the effort that goes into the food in the comic opera, which was also Verdi’s last. Yes, the food. A whole turkey is prepared for every single performance of Falstaff – Act II, Scene 1, to be exact – requiring 5 hours of preparation that precede it. Mistress Quickly, played by Ronnita Nicole Miller, also has to deal with taking a bite of a big turkey leg immediately before singing verse.

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Dining at the New Wine Bar at The Hollywood Bowl

The Wine Bar

Anybody who enjoys live music in Los Angeles knows and appreciates that the outside food and drink policy at The Hollywood Bowl is the most liberal – and accessible – in the entire city. Basically, as long as you’re not making a ruckus, it is all allowed to be brought in and enjoyed at your seat. Thus, tons of restaurants offer take-away picnic options specifically designed for Bowl concerts, summer after summer. Concertgoers take advantage by bringing in bottles of booze in coolers and picnic baskets to be enjoyed and discarded on the sacred Hollywood Bowl grounds.

But if you go to The Bowl a lot – and I do, as a proud Hollywood resident – let’s just admit that sometimes we all get a bit lazy. The refusal to pay for $17 stacked parking leads to a small trek to this famous venue set against the Hollywood Hills – and sometimes I just get a little tired of all the lugging.

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Four Los Angeles Food Events in June You Won’t Want to Miss

Picture credits: TOTNLA, @LA_Chefs

Now that it’s summer in Los Angeles, there’s a ton going on all over town. And when it comes to food events, it’s enough to make your head spin. But you want to play it smart with your time and funds, because no one’s got patience for fluff.

Fortunately, I’ve narrowed it down to the best four events you’ll want to attend this month. They’re all on the weekend, so you’ll have enough time to make your trek. Whether it’s raising money to combat childhood hunger, celebrating Fatherhood the best way possible, eating the best tacos in the city or carousing the famous Rose Bowl for the best bites in Los Angeles, June is shaping up to be an exciting time to be in L.A. Let’s get started. Continue reading

This Weekend: Harvest Celebration Barrel Tasting with Temecula Valley Wines

Bacon-wrapped Scallop, Pea Reduction – Leoness Cellars

There’s a little-known wine country close to Los Angeles that I recently had the pleasure of visiting for the first time. It’s a winegrowers community that you’ll find endearing as you get up close to the very families who run the wineries.

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The Red White + Bluezz Sunday Southern Brunch in Pasadena

Stuffed French Toast – Cap’n Crunch crusted brioche, fresh berry mascarpone cream, wild berry sauce, bacon

There are fewer things more iconic in Southern California than a Sunday spent in Pasadena. Whether you’re on your way to The Rose Bowl Flea Market the second Sunday of the month or are in the mood to lazily stroll Old Town Pasadena afterwards, the Red White + Bluezz Sunday Brunch is a southern treat that shouldn’t be missed.

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Tonight: Movember Benefit at The Spare Room With Warpaint & OK Go!

Finalist at World Beard and Moustache Championships, 2005 | Photo courtesy of princess red on Flickr

Well, N Movember is here. Growing a moustache? Watching other people grow moustaches?

You might as well do it for a cause, a cocktail (or two, or…) and live tunes – and you can do that tonight at The Spare Room inside The Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. Your tongue will feast on a special Mo-cocktail, your ears on a performance by Los Angeles girl band Warpaint and a DJ set by OK Go!‘s Tim Nordwind. Actress and Mo-sista Malin Akerman is set to host. Proceeds from sales of the Mo-cocktail and pictures from the state-of-the-art, retro photo booth will go towards Movember and prostate cancer research.

You might as well bowl a few strikes…and spares…while you’re at it (lanes and designer bowling shoe rentals available at $100 per hour, up to 6 people) – just be sure to reserve your hour or two.

I’ll see you at The Spare Room with your handlebars!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

9 PM

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RSVP: reservations[at]spareroomhollywood[dot]com

The Spare Room at The Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
323.769.7296

Today’s LA Beer Week Pick: Musical Beer Crawl

Inside El Prado | Credit to poketo on flickr

LA Beer Week is back and better than ever. Be sure to peep the official site for the full run-down of events. And while this 3rd annual is so exciting because it’s so huge (I’m seeing about 5-10 events every day, all over town!), this makes it hard to decide between all the stellar happenings going on.

It kills me that I won’t be able to go on this tonight (Dine LA is this week, too), but this beer week event is definitely a shoe-in. The Musical Beer Crawl combines not only beer and food, but music too in only the neighborhood that could: Echo Park.

The reasons why you should go:

  • Stone Brewing Co. Norm Stackhouse will be on-hand to talk beer & present a special Stone flight at City Sip (western-most stop). Happy hour will be going on as always (5:30 – 7 PM).
  • $5 show at The Echo w/”super secret” beer keg tapping
  • $1 off beers and no corkage at brand-new Sunset Beer Company
  • 10% off records at Origami Vinyl
  • 10% off at Masa, for Chicago deep dish lovers
  • 15% off beer in pub area at Mohawk Bend
  • 2-for-1 slices at Two Boots
  • Lot 1 Cafe has a keg of Weinhenstephan’s Hopplosion & 4 taps pouring $4 pints. Buzz Bands LA has lined up Joey & Andy Siara of the Henry Clay People and more to play.
  • “Super secret, divine” keg of beer at El Prado. Origami‘s record club will be going on here.
  • The Short Stop will have a special keg at discount for crawlers only, plus $4 drafts 5 – 10 PM. Word has it it’s a big Golden Road Brewing Company debut! Yay! (eastern-most stop)

The night will commence at 5 PM. Just print out your Musical Beer Crawl Passport and bring it with you, tonight. Remember to keep an eye on the respective business hours of each participating venue so you don’t miss out!

Have fun!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

5 PM – ???

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Sunset Boulevard, from Mohawk to Sutherland
Echo Park, CA 90026

Mondrian Sessions Offer (Good) Free Music, Poolside Vibe, Eclectic Crowd

Fool's Gold

Last week, I fortunately caught on Kevin Bronson’s Buzz Bands blog that LA-based Afro-pop group Fool’s Gold was playing at Skybar at The Mondrian for a free show. Sure, Arcade Fire was playing a surprise show the same night – and people had started lining up for tickets the night before – but that whole …shebang… was just not my bag.

It was Skybar and I had no trouble getting in. There were no sexagenarian gentlemen with appletinis and women half their age. In fact, it was a rather mixed crowd with a casual vibe. My Jameson, neat, was still $14 – no surprise – but more a product of The Sunset Strip than the fault of The Mondrian’s. This collaboration with IAmSound could mean that Skybar could be on to something and perhaps even turning a new page.

Fool’s Gold sounded great. With the exception of Surprise Hotel and Poseidon, the 5-piece (for the night, anyway) played all new material for over an hour. I was a wondrous hour filled with electric melodies – and lyrics in Hebrew – floating over African beats and rhythms. Saxophone, flute, bongos, guitar, drums – it really doesn’t get any more “world music” than this. I was surprised well everything was mixed.

So check out the dates for bands to come – including the awesome Dum Dum Girls tomorrow. It’s free – and all you have to do is email [email protected] to RSVP. Word is, the Lykke Li date is practically booked – but if you love her Swedish pop sound enough, it may be worth a try.

Thursday, February 17 – Dum Dum Girls
Saturday, February 19 – Ted Leo (Solo)
Saturday, February 26 – Zola Jesus
Thursday, March 10 – Lykke Li
Saturday, March 12 – Gonzales
Friday, April 8 – Twin Sister

See you poolside!

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Various dates: 8 PM – Midnight

Set time is usually 9 PM

RSVP:
[email protected]

Skybar at The Mondrian
8440 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069