There’s a new cheese shop on the Culver City block, and Westsiders are all the better for it. Now entering its third month of business, Alex Josef’s Wheel House Cheese Shop is making rare cheeses accessible and approachable to all who are curious about the ins and outs of cheese…or who may simply want an expert to curate a cheese board for them and their visitors.
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have already seen my tweets on the matter. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of American Express programs designed to increase their customers’ loyalty – and last summer, they aimed at the social media savvy by partnering up with American Express.
Last Thanksgiving, the Saturday after Black Friday (after Thanksgiving Day), was a day they declared Small Business Saturday. If you spent $25 at a small business, you got $25 statement credit. Fortunately, the program was such a success they decided to extend a $10 statement credit deal to American Express members that are also on Foursquare. Yay!
All you do is sync your Foursquare account with your American Express card, and then start shopping. When you’re searching for venues at which to check in, small businesses participating in this Amex deal will show the orange “Special” tag in its listing, so you know what to look for. Just pay with your American Express and the $10 credit appears on your statement “within 3-5 business days,” according to Foursquare. I’m currently awaiting mine.
I’m not exactly sure when this deal ends, but it was touted as “limited time only,” with my reading word around the web that it could end very soon! Maybe even today? So I’d definitely sync up my card right now and get shopping! The great thing is that small businesses encompass tons of food, retail and services you never even thought of. Just check what Foursquare check-in Amex specials are nearby wherever you are, right now.
The fine print: “Purchase must be made within 24 hours of your check-in.”
The drawback in fine print: “Limit one $10 credit across all participating merchants.” What a waste of so many small business options to choose from, right? I guess at least they’re getting the neighborhood attention they deserve by showing that “Special” tag in their listing.
Happy shopping! And Happy New Year!
I hope everyone’s having a great holiday season! I’m checking back in (with a New Year’s resolution to update regularly come the…you’ve guessed it…new year) since I’m super excited to be live-blogging tonight from Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.
St. Vincent’s famous food truck, Cart for a Cause, has launched a cookbook featuring 40 of Los Angeles’ acclaimed chefs. Four of them – Mark Gold (Eva Restaurant), Alex Becker (NOBU Los Angeles), Bebe Flynn (Miss Lilly’s Trading Company) and Michael Fiorelli (mar’sel at Terranea) – will be on-hand at the VIP reception at 5 PM today. For $25, you’ll get bites straight from the cookbook and get to take home your own signed copy (call 213.484.7128 to RSVP). You’ll be taking home some delicious recipes while knowing that 100% of the proceeds from your cookbook purchase benefits Meals on Wheels.
At 6 PM, tonight, is the main holiday shopping event. You can expect lots of treats! Not only will Cart for a Cause be serving up food at the valet, every sponsor will have something special to offer every attendee. Plus, free Pisco Porton cocktails and glitter tattoos. The Guerlain lash bar will be open as will the Frederic Fekkai counter. Check below for what everyone’s got in store:
- Free glitter tattoos
- Feed with Fashion Social T-shirt from JUNK FOOD CLOTHING
- Longer lashes at the GUERLAIN lash bar
- A hair analysis at FREDERIC FEKKAI
- The 30-second facelift at CELLCOSMET
- Hand and arm massages from LA MER and JO MALONE
- Mini facials at SK-II
- A chance to enter and win a PENHALIGONâ€™S fragrance gift basket, valued at $385.
- Makeovers and artistry from ARMANI, BOBBI BROWN, CHANEL, CLARINS, ESTEE LAUDER, LANCOME, LAURA MERCIER, NARS and YSL
- A special gift with your BOBBI BROWN, CELLCOSMET, CLARINS, DIOR, DOLCE & GABBANA, ESTEE LAUDER, FREDERIC FEKKAI, IOMA, LAURA MERCIER and SK-II purchases.*
- A complimentary makeup sample when you meet with a CLE DE PEAU or SHISEIDO consultant*
- Customization of your ESTEE LAUDER purchase by their engraver*
- With your SISLEY purchase, get your future foretold by renowned psychic Dora Blacman*
*denotes one per purchase
Also, don’t forget to visit me in the Blogger’s Hub! I’ll be live-blogging and tweeting the event.
And, if you decide to do some holiday shopping (for others or yourself, natch), you’ll feel great that during the hours of 6 – 8 PM tonight, 5% will benefit Miss Lilly’s Trading Company, which goes towards feeding pets belonging to homebound seniors, while 5% more will go towards St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, which help feed the seniors themselves.
See you tonight!
Hollywood is a long way from Green Bay. And when beating the cross-stateline rivals, Chicago Bears, was essential to, first, making it into the 2010-2011 playoffs and, second, making it to Super Bowl XLV, I knew I needed a good luck ritual to help my team win the NFC Championships last week. I needed a good luck food.
My lack of planning meant that I forgot to mail-order the Sheboygan brats ahead of time. Instead of going to the supermarket for Johnsonville, I decided to channel my fandom through locally-made sausages, instead. I figured my Wisconsin meat-packing counterparts would understand, since I’d be saving shipping fuel and time. After all, freshness is key, and always has been the priority – even as a matter of spoilage thanks to high fat content in bratwurst, with the earliest recipes dating back to the 1400s.
I stopped in the brand new, brick and mortar sausage shop known asÂ Grindhaus on Hollywood Blvd. to see what was ready in their case. Italian sausage, bockwurst, pickled vegetables were all available, but of course, the bratwurst were sold out. I was lucky in that they were working on another batch. When I asked about their sauerkraut, they were also working on it then – but said it’d be ready and done fermenting in 8 days. I returned 2.5 hours later to get the first of the new batch of brats. They cost a reasonable $6/lb, which yielded 6 sausages for about $10.50. If my experience taught a lesson, phone in if you have specific tastes to see what they have in stock. They are allegedly rolling out their food truck very soon and will be roaming the eastside, so I can’t wait to tasteÂ their prepared food on-the-go.
Since my bratsÂ were completed literally a few minutes beforehand, one of the three friendly Grindhaus guys present advised to leave them in my fridge, uncovered, for a few hours so that the meat would settle and harden a bit inside the fresh casing. Done. And then it was time to start the ritual of marinating them overnight. Below is the marinade recipe I used, which I’m in no way touting as the best out there, nor is the method I used. I have a lot more experimentation to do before I cross that bridge. But these fresh brats from Grindhaus turned out so tasty, I was extremely proud of my somewhat haphazard method. Maybe this method will work for you, too.
(Recipe after the jump.)
Next weekend, you can find a lot of Los Angeles’ local goods downtown in one spot thanks to Artisanal LA. It takes place in The Cooper Building and not only will you be able to shop, you’ll be able to attend live workshops and more.
Saturday, there will be a Sustainable Caviar Cooking Demo and Tasting by Christopher Klapp and Chef Ben Bailly, aÂ Hand Made Egg Cozies Demo by Common Thread Studio, a Growing and Cooking With Artisanal Pumpkins Demo by Peninsula Hotel’s Chef James Overbaugh. On Sunday, Suzanne Griswold and Rachael Narins of Chicks with Knives will be doing a Pickling 101 demostration and tasting as will The Beer Chicks be hosting a Craft Beer Panel (and tasting) featuring brews from Eagle Rock Brewery & Nibble Bit Tabby, the recently opened brewery in town. You can also peep the full vendor list here.
Admission is $10 in advance or $15 at-the-door and includes Honest Tea, Dry Soda, Function and Bonadea drinks; local craft beer and organic spirits tasting (for 21+ only); a tote bag for the first 1000; access to the workshops, demos, arts and crafts; a chance at giveaways;Â unlimited re-entry for the weekend and partial proceeds to the LAUSD Edible School Garden Programs. DJ Bryan Davidson will be spinning the tunes.
So buy your tickets in advance and save yourself $5 – as well as guaranteed entry since the lovely organizers are expecting to have to turn people away at the door. I’m also giving away a couple tickets here on the blog, so simply comment in this post with what you are most looking forward to at Artisanal LA for your chance to win. Entries will close on Wednesday, October 20 and I’ll inform the winner that night.
See you there!
Tonight’s the night!Â Exactly aÂ year ago I was in New York during Fashion Week and had an absolute blast during the first ever Fashion’s Night Out. Goodie bags, champagne, cocktails, discounts, free make-overs, cupcakes – you name it. But we’re doing our best here, in LA, so I thought I’d highlight the events going on around town that I would want to hit up.
For the complete listing, just head on over to the Official LA FNO site, which groups the retailers by neighborhood. You can also check out Mondette’s run-down, which expertly and succinctly lists what each store is doing for tonight’s special occasion. The @FNOlosangeles and @FashionWeekLA twitter accountsÂ are also great resources. And while you’re out there on the town, don’t forget to bring your appetite because the food trucks will certainly be out in full force.
I’ll be elsewhere tonight but if I were to make a night out of succumbing my wallet to temptation (and a portal to get me all over town in a jiff), I’d go here:
Custo Barcelona, Beverly Center
- Free Custo Jelly Bag with $50 purchase. I love Custo’s vibrant designs and mix of fabrics and patterns. Not for gals who are most comfortable with the little black dress.
A Ferris Wheel and surrounding shops, Rodeo Drive
- I’ve never seen a ferris wheel on Rodeo Drive, so maybe this is just a cheap thrill. Still, Rodeo’s the perfect place to be a tourist in my own city since the price points at many of theseÂ shops boutiques shoot my moon. A girl can dream…and canoodle.
Paige Denim on Robertson Blvd.
- I love Paige Jeans. The store in LA will be giving away a prize every hour on the hour starting 7 PM. If you buy a pair of jeans, you’ll get a Carasoin Spa gift. Refreshments and bites will be served.
The Dandy Warhols play Fred Segal, 8100 Melrose
- I can’t really argue with putting music in the mix, especially on an occasion celebrating fashion. The Portland alt rock band will be playing a live set. And while you’re there…
Tired of the mall? Looking for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience? This weekend, you can have access to over 300 independent designers and artists from all over Los Angeles and their goods – and shop for recycled music all in the same place, thanks to Unique LA‘s partnershipÂ this year withÂ Amoeba Records. Independent designers meld with independent music – a match made in heaven. It’s a great way to get your ultra sheik, unique wares while knowing that your support is going back into the community; over 95% of the merchandise featuredÂ is made right here in the USA.
Don’t forget that there’s $10 admission at the door, but with your admission you get the fabulous following:
- Free drinks & a hosted bar (IZZE, Honest Tea, water, beer, UNIQUE cocktails)
- Unlimited re-entry for both days
- Your very own collectible tote bag designed by LA graphic designer Keith Scharwath – exclusive to each show
- Free eco workshops and cool handmade activities all weekend, brought to you by Your Daily Thread and Quayside Publishing
- Family/Kids creativity zone and seating area
- Access to giveaways and door prizes all weekend long
- Souvenir copy of the Vendor Directory + Mini Magazine
- $1 from each admission goes towards Ed Begley, Jr’s GreenWish
Of course, there will be food stands and food trucks galore to keep your stomach happy. And if you love workshops, there are plenty for you to choose from, too – make steampunk jewelry and recycle funny old sweaters. The creative possibilities are endless. You can even take a few pics with your shopping friends in the photo booth. DJ Bryan Davidson will keep the tunes pumping all day.
Saturday – Sunday
April 24 – 25, 2010
11 AM – 6 PM
California Market Center Penthouse
110 East 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90079
Get ready for a short but beautiful road trip. Just head up the 101 to Ojai, whereÂ yes – another shopping benefit – will focus its efforts on raising funds for Share Our Strength (umbrella org over Taste of the Nation) and Help of Ojai. You’ll get to shop – poolside -Â Stella McCartney‘s 2010 Spring & Summer lines while nestled in that Valley Inn 30 minutes south of Santa Barbara.Â A vegetarian lunch is included and you’re encouraged to bring the family.Â Your kids will get to indulge in planned fun activities and a face painter will be on-site.
The best part of your admission to the shopping event is that it comes withÂ a complimentary dayÂ pass to Spa Ojai. So after you shop, you can lay back and relax in some posh amenities – especially if they’re anything like the rest of the resort-hotel (impeccable). Just be sure to mention code “SDSP” to the representative when you call to make your reservation.
What a fun getaway with the girls! Helping end child hunger never needed a better occasion; retail therapy, beautiful scenery, delicious food and a day at the spa come packaged as one.Â
Saturday, April 25, 2010
11 AM – 2 PM
$60 adults, $30 ages 5 – 12, free under age 5
Includes shopping, vegetarian lunch, Ojai Spa day pass (code: SDSP)
Ojai Valley Inn & Spa
905 Country Club Road
Ojai, CA 93023
I’m proud to announce that I’ll be co-hosting a special shopping event at the Los AngelesÂ Tory Burch boutique on Thursday, April 8th along with power fashion and beauty bloggers Dena of Dluxelist and Christina & Stephanie of Paisley Petunia to benefitÂ Share Our Strength!
At the private 6 – 8 PM shopping event, attendees will be able to buy their discounted ticket to the Taste of the Nation culinary event taking place on Sunday, June 6th from 1 – 4 PM in Culver City. Normally, tickets run $100 for regular admission and $150 for VIP, but at our special shopping event, you’ll be able to buy tickets in personÂ for $15 off ($85 and $135, respectively; child tickets remain $25). All proceeds – yes, 100% -Â from ticket sales benefit Share Our Strength’s efforts to end child hunger. It’s a great way to experience the premier Los AngelesÂ chefs and mixologists and taste great wine in one spot for an afternoon in the beautiful California sun while supporting a great cause. If you are one of the first 50 at the event to buy a ticket at the shopping event, you’ll also receive a luxe gift bag full of a ton of beauty products and other goodies, including Pinky Vodka!
And when fashion and food forces combine, the incentives don’t stop. Make this a night out with the girls – champagne and h’ors doeurves will be served, and you’ll be encouraged to shop the Tory Burch Robertson boutique for 10% off all full-priced merchandise while Tory Burch donates another 10% to Share Our Strength. And if you have bought a Taste of the Nation ticket, you’ll be able to take advantage of the full 20% discount and keep it all yourself!
This is a private event (business hours are only until 6 PM)Â and the store is only so big – so be sure to RSVP (rsvp.totnla [at] gmail [dot] com) to secure your spot! I hope toÂ see you there – ready to browse &Â shop Tory’s beautiful designs and prints – and to support a great organization likeÂ Share Our Strength!
Thursday, April 8, 2010
6 – 8 PM
$15 discount ($40 on at-the-door price)Â on TOTNLA tickets
10% off Tory Burch full-priced merchandise or 20% off if you buy TOTNLA ticket
Free gift bag for 1st 50 tickets bought
Tory Burch Boutique
142 N. Robertson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
It’s December in a downward economy so let’s be honest – if you’re shopping you should be doing it at deep discounts. Oh right, and the holidays are coming up so you should be buying for someone other than yourself. Might as well knock off a few presents off that list while you’re at it, right? Good thing you have plenty of options from now through the weekend:
H Lorenzo Tent Sale
Get 50 – 80% off brands like Comme des Garcons, Junya Watanabe, Neil Barrett, DSquared andÂ Raf Simons. This tent sale was actually supposed to end this weekend but fortunately has been extended so be sure to take advantage.
Now until December 13, 2009
Mon – Sat: 10 AM – 7 PM
Sun: 12 PM – 7 PM
8660 Sunset Boulevard (at Sunset Plaza)
West Hollywood, CA 90069
JOIE and Current/Elliott Sample Sale
I love Joie! I love being able to afford Joie even more, actually.Â Remember those silk cargo pants a few years back? Yeah – I still have mine – completeÂ with ties at the bottom. I love their girly designs. Many Joie styles will be featured including a selection of Current/Elliott denim samples, Joie shoes and Petit Joie on sale at discounts!
Friday, December 4th, 2009: 12 PM – 7 PM
Saturday, December 5th, 2009 – 8 AM – 4PM
4599 District Boulevard
Vernon, CA 90058
Fluxus Sample Sale
Fluxus is known forÂ their uber-comfy knits and simple-yet-sassy silhouettes amongst the celebs. So peep the line Jeffrey Sibelia now is head designer for. Enjoy up to 75% off womenâ€™s and menâ€™s clothing at the sample sale.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
9Â AM â€“ 6 PM
6063 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
I’ve actually sworn off shopping (and did a tiny bit of damage at Bloomingdales’ yesterday) so if you like these brands, be sure to take advantage. After all, it’s all about timing! Don’t forget to have a wonderful weekend – shopping, bake sale and all. 🙂