Wheel House Cheese Shop Welcomes Fromage Fanatics to Culver City

All-American Cheese Board

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.

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Nine Noteworthy Upcoming Los Angeles Food & Drink Events

Glimpses of Unmissable Upcoming Events

Let me take this first post in almost one month to deliver some pertinent upcoming event news. It’s now summer and thus, event season, here in sunny Southern California. Now that I’ve somewhat psychologically recovered from a huge picture-data dump from spilling a homemade cocktail all over my non-backed-up laptop, I’m finally ready to move into this crazy part of the year.

So here’s a rebirth of sorts; it’s an intentional start to the summer by tallying up the essential food events continuing into the fall (L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade is in September). One focuses on cocktails. One focuses on tacos. One focuses on ribs. Three are on the same day; thus, yes – I do wish that these were spread out, more. But practically all of them feature world-class chefs. So without further adieu, here’s where you need to be this summer:

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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

Drunken Udder Ice Cream: Artisanal, Booze-Infused Dessert for Adults

Salted Butter Caramel infused with Bourbon

It probably goes without saying that, when ordering ice cream, you’ve never had to worry about showing your ID.

That’s about to change, thanks to The Drunken Udder, an artisanal, mom-and-pop shop ice cream company which sells its deliciously boozy product via wholesale and other storefronts. (It doesn’t quite have the liquor license to sell retail on its own.)

Yesterday, I sampled a few flavors including Salted Butter Caramel infused with Bourbon (boozy, salty-sweet deliciousness), Pumpkin Spiced Praline infused with Maple Liqueur (boozy, crunchy fall on a cone), Raspberry-Orange Sorbet infused with Orange Vodka (fresh, tangy booziness) and Bailey’s Jameson Caramel (especially boozy sweet caramel flavor).
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Celebrating Día de los Muertos in Los Angeles

Credit to Bowerboy on Flickr

I have to say, I’m burnt out on Halloween. I buckle under the pressure of coming up with The Most Original Costume in the World. It stresses me out. My most original and relevant costume to date (an underaged Chinese gymnast) is two years old and even survived my recent move as a souvenir of brilliance, but alas, its 2008 Olympics relevance has ceded long ago. It’s not a costume you can “raise from the dead,” or the confines of my closet.

Costume stresses are cause to look at a different holiday to celebrate – one, perhaps, that entails one theme. Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that occurs on November 2nd every year, the day after Day of the Innocents. Look at it this way: There are less grueling (i.e. not dressing up as a sexy something) ways to celebrate the end of October while honoring our ancestors – and do how Mexicans and Mexican Americans do.

You can start by picking up the November Los Angeles Magazine issue, or The Ultimate Guide to Mexican Food in L.A., featuring the expertise of baja tours extraordinaire Bill Esparza (Street Gourmet LA), L.A. Mag editor Leslie Bargar Suter and critic Patrick Kuh.

And after you emerge from those pages with a new “To Eat” memo in your BlackBerry, you may as well add to that a “To Attend” memo with these Día de los Muertos events happening around town over the weekend and thereafter. Dress code? Calaca, if you dare. (See – I need these things decided for me.) 

  • Novenario Processions (Night Processions) on Olvera Street – Nightly, now through Tuesday, November 2, 2010: 7 PM

Catch the nightly, sightly pre-Columbian parade starting at Olvera Street Gallery entrance. After each procession, free Pan du Muerto (bread of the dead) and Champurrado (warm, thick chocolate drink with masa) will be served. Free. Metro stop: Union Station. Website

  • Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Saturday, October 30, 2010: 12 PM – 2 AM

Enjoy altar exhibits, processionals, Aztec Dancers, art, Ballet Folklorico performances, live music and more in the most appropriate site for a celebration honoring the dead. Guelaguetza will be on-site with their awesome Oaxacan food. La Monarca Bakery will be selling their specialty Pan du Muerto Metro as well as organic Oaxacan coffee, Mexican cookies, and bunuelos (Spanish fritters). $10 admission. Metro stop: Red Line – Hollywood/Vine. Website

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Picks For Fashion’s Night Out Los Angeles

Studio Beauty Mix, Fred Segal Melrose

Tonight’s the night! Exactly a 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 accounts 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 these 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…

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VIP Giveaway to BBM Lounge in the Hollywood Hills: Pre-VMA Edition

View from Hollywood Hills

You may already know that I’m a BlackBerry fan girl, but now it’s time for me – and you – to put our enthusiasm to use! This Saturday, September 11th, there will be a very exclusive event – the 2nd BBM Lounge – yet again at a location to be disclosed at a later time.

First 29 to scan this code and join the e*starLA-Xomad VIP BlackBerry group will be eligible to win

The MTV Video Music Awards are on Sunday, so it’s no coincidence that there are some confirmed A-listers who will be in attendance (sorry – I can’t share who, but even in my opinion they certainly are A-list!) at Xomad’s BBM Lounge. Indeed, there will be very important elbows to rub your own with. What I can share is that Ne-Yo will be performing and it will be in a posh mansion in the Hollywood Hills.

This is where you, hopefully a BlackBerry user, get your chance. The first 29 people to scan this bar code to join my special e*starLA VIP BlackBerry group will be entered into a random drawing to win VIP entry for you and a guest to the BBM lounge on Saturday, the night before the MTV Video Music Awards. You have until midnight TONIGHT (Thursday, September 9, 2010) to enter by joining my BlackBerry group and I will pick the winner by noon, tomorrow (Friday, September 10). I will forward the winner’s info on the right people and they will take care of the rest.

So yes, fortunately or unfortunately this means you need a BlackBerry to enter. Hey – we have our perks, too, right?

Happy bar code scanning – and I will see you in my BlackBerry Messenger chat room, as well as the winner and guest on Saturday night. Good luck!!

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Evening

Location to be disclosed to winner only

Deadline to enter: Midnight, end of Thursday, September 9, 2010
Winner announced: Noon on Friday, September 10, 2010

BlackBerry Goes Hollywood

Bubbles Everywhere | © Xomad

There’s something to be said of Steve Jobs’ hatred of buttons by BlackBerry users. All I know is, there’s no app for the alleviation of frustration caused by a 100% visually dependent phone. Nor is there an iPhone app (or my iPod Touch, for that matter) that provides the tactile experience which enables me to type anywhere near my 115 WPM laptop keyboard rate.

Ordering a drink via BBM

Enough with the geek talk. Because BlackBerry has thankfully become local to me since Xomad, who holds these events, pitched me a couple weeks ago on an exclusive party at a location not to be known until the night of (or in my case, a couple of days prior). VIP entry? Sure, I thought. Let’s give it a shot. I relished the invite since it was specified that perks would be available by adding contacts by scanning bar codes or adding PINs…iPhone users need not apply.

It ended up being at Siren Studios, another studio lot in Hollywood, and I was sent via BlackBerry Messenger an image to show to the valet for comped parking. We walked up to and stood for a few minutes in the “VIP” line, but after a few minutes I found my PR contact and we were escorted inside in high style…unbeknownst to me until later, along with LA Snark.

BBM Lounge and Dance Floor | © Xomad

Nevermind that the drinks I ordered by adding a contact with screen name “Beverage Services” never came to our table – and that it was easier to go straight up to the 1-deep open bar for our libations – the concept was still cool. As VIP, we also had access to the green room where there was another bar and gift bags filled with BlackBerry headphones, T-shirts and holsters.

And so maybe I didn’t order any carne asada (just came from dinner) or get a touch-up on my make-up (I had just applied) but all the same, those options plus a VIP bathroom were available via BBM – thus making us BlackBerry users feel pretty special. The beats were also bumpin’ and bootys got down; it was Hollywood’s clubbiest at the clubby-club-club.

Requesting a Touch-up via BBM | © Xomad

And it wouldn’t be a Hollywood party without the unexpected celebrities dropping by…and my failure to recognize any of them. Apparently Spice Girl Mel B, Quinton Aaron (Blind Side) were there – as were both Mark Salling (Glee) and Vienna Girardi (The Bachelor), despite his adamance on their not being together. What say ye? (Don’t ask me – I’ve never seen the Spice Girls Movie, The Blind Side, Glee or The Bachelor!)

The best part of it all is that this was just the kick-off as far as BlackBerry parties in L.A. (and beyond). Stay tuned for another event which will take place in September, where you guys – my readers – will also get VIP entry. I’ll also be hosting a BlackBerry-related giveaway. And don’t worry, even if you have an iPhone, you’ll still get to enjoy open bar.

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Next BlackBerry party slated for September
Stay tuned for VIP guestlist details
Location to change

Siren Studios
6063 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028-6434