Giveaway: Two Tickets to Le Grand Fooding Pre-Event Dinner on April 25, 2013

Wolvesmouth and Miles Thompson of Allumette at Le Grand Fooding Pre-Event Dinner (Credit: Wolvesmouth, Le Grand Fooding)

You have probably already heard about Le Grand Fooding: Crush, the posse’s upcoming inaugural event in Los Angeles on April 26-27. In fact, tickets went on sale a month ago, and a glance at the event website’s signage would indicate they’ve already sold out the duo of dates.

Therefore, it would be cruel of me to rehash that participants include Nancy Silverton (Mozza), Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec), Josef Centeno (Bäco Mercat, Bar Ama), Roy Choi (Kogi BBQ, Chego, A-Frame, Sunny Spot), Jordan Kahn (Red Medicine) and Carolynn Spence (Chateau Marmont) as well as Parisian chefs such as Inaki Aizpitarte (Le Chateaubriand), Gregory Marchand (Frenchie), Jean-François Piège (Restaurant Jean-François Piège) and for VIPs, Sven Chartier (Saturne). …And yet!

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Taste of Abbot Kinney With VIP Ticket Giveaway + Abbot Kinney Cocktail Clash: October 23, 2011

Tasting Kitchen Interior

That young, Venice-representative food festival called The Taste of Abbot Kinney is back. And this, the third time around, they’ve got a new model to present. As a result of last year’s Taste souring due to food shortages and taste ticket overages, the board had decided to completely revamp the event. To start, they brought one of Abbot Kinney’s most important and veteran proprietors on-board as event chairman: Joe Miller.

The event returns with two ticket levels but with a centralized reception space in the former studio of Charles & Ray Eames. VIPs get early access at 3 PM with a reception hosted by The Food Network’s Adam Gertler; chef demos by Joe Miller himself and Yoshi Shima; appetizers by Primitivo, Joe’s and Gjelina; Calstar Cellar wines poured by Primitivo; Bloody Marys by Tasting Kitchen;  desserts by Crema and even a VIP gift bag.

At 4:30 PM, regular Tasting Tour takers join in with included access to the DJ’ed reception, where they also get to participate in the drawing, which includes hotel and restaurant packages from such destinations as: Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Hotel Wilshire, Hotel Erwin and Terranea Resort and original art by Ellie Riley. Participating restaurants in the Taste of Abbot Kinney also include Hal’s Restaurant & Bar, Lilly’s French Café & Bar, Casa Linda, Lemonade, Otheroom, 3 Square Cafe & Bakery, The General Store/Pop Up Gallery and Abbot’s Habit.

See below to see how you can win one of two pairs of tickets to the VIP reception

And of course, the day of tasting doesn’t just end at 6 PM. Full disclosure: I’m judging this subsequent cocktail competition!

The inaugural Abbot Kinney Cocktail Clash held at Joe’s Restaurant will be held at 7 PM for all who want to attend (free), where Ryan Wainwright of Tasting Kitchen, Dennis Kahn of Hal’s Bar and Grill and Jennifer Zerboni from Joe’s Restaurant will go head-to-head in a cocktail competition.

First round: Each mixologist will be presented with a mystery box of five ingredients that they must use in their cocktail, and will have 10 minutes to create. Potential ingredients include: Portuguese peppers, Persian cucumbers, bacon, lemon verbena, arugula, tomato, passion fruit, cardamom, star anise and huckleberry.

Second round: Each bartender will have 7 minutes to create their own, pre-planned signature cocktail. Wainwright will be making his Navy Sour, Kahn his Sapphire Sunset and Zebroni will be creating her Fisco Pig. Each cocktail will be judged on: best presentation, most original and best overall taste.

Daniel Djang of Thirsty in LA and I will be judges and guests will be able to purchase food from the bar or dinner menu at Joe’s Restaurant.

And now the giveaway…



To enter to win one of two pairs of tickets to the VIP Reception + Tasting Tour of Abbot Kinney, do both of the following:

  1. Tweet: “I want to win VIP tix to @TasteofAK, @estarLA!”
  2. Like e*starLA” on Facebook
  3. Leave a comment below (with your email address, which won’t be shared, so I can contact you) on what you’re most looking forward to at TofAK.

Contest closes Thursday at 5PM! I’ll contact the two winners by 7PM. If I don’t hear back by the end of the day, I’ll pick another winner (or two) on Friday morning. Be on standby at your Inboxes.

See you at Taste of Abbot Kinney!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

VIP Tasting Package: $100

3 – 6:30 PM

Tasting Tour Package: $60

4:30 – 6:30 PM

Taste of Abbot Kinney
901 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

Giveaway: Tickets to Table 20 L.A.’s Best Bartender Competition

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These are the finals you all have been waiting for. After an exhaustive semi-final round, five finalists have emerged in Table 20’s 2nd Annual L.A.’s Best Bartender Competition. Fortunately, this final round is open to the public, and all are invited to take part.

On Sunday, October 9th from 3:30 – 7:30 PM at Elevate Lounge, you’ll get to do all of the following with your discounted (from $25), $20 admission:

And in case you need a reminder, these are the 5 mixologists and their drinks you can look forward to on Sunday. Get ready to taste some of the best cocktails in L.A.:

  • Joe Brooke, Next Door Lounge – People’s Choice
    “The Spicy Stränder”
  • Justin Pike, Tasting Kitchen – Judges’ Selection
    “Su Novia”
  • Brian Summers, Harvard & Stone – Karlsson’s Cocktail Challenge Winner
    “Blues in Orbit”
  • Devon Tarby, The Varnish – Judges’ Selection
    “Waltz #2”
  • Daniel Zacharczuk, Bar | Kitchen – Karlsson’s Cocktail Challenge Winner
    “Faster Young Fruit”

Judging the competition will be none other than Matt Biancaniello, who won the competition last year; Dale Degroff of “The Craft of The Cocktail;” Jessica Gelt of the L.A. Times; Johnny Iuzzini, pastry chef of Jean Georges; Bricia Lopez of Guelaguetza and Marcos Tello of Liquid Assets.  Some serious star power awaits you at this event!

The Master of Ceremonies, Dan Dunn, The Imbiber, will be on hand to guide you through the best cocktail voting process. You’ll each get one token to be used to vote for their favorite finalist cocktail. Each bartender will receive a prize – but who will get the billboard and trip??

Also, admission to the after-party at Villain’s Tavern is included! It comes with 1 drink ticket and live band entertainment. Awesome.


Even better? I’m giving away 3 pairs of tickets to this event. To enter:

  1. Comment with the name of your favorite contending cocktail. Be sure to include your email (which I won’t share) so I can get in touch with you via email and Twitter.
  2. Tweet: “I want to go to @LABestBartender competition, @estarLA!”
  3. “Like”  e*starLA on Facebook

You must do all 3 in order to be eligible. Contest closes at 5 PM on Friday, October 7, 2011. I’ll be contacting you immediately after. No response within 3 hours means I have to pick a new winner or three.

If you’re ready to purchase your tickets, use code “estarlatix” to get $5 off!! Score!!

Good luck!!

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

3:30 – 7:30 PM

Tickets: $25 $20 (code: estarlatix)

Elevate Lounge
811 Wilshire Blvd.
21st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Giveaway: Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival – September 16-18, 2011

Photo credit to lizfairhurst on Flickr

Who loves seafood? Or more specifically, lobster?

Time to celebrate that lobster love at the 13th annual Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival happening next Friday through Sunday, September 16 – 18th, 2011. And while festivals come and go, this particular event takes the crustacean as it currently holds the Guiness Book World Record for most seafood served at an outdoor event. Impressive.

So, what’s the deal before and when you get there? You can buy a First Class (VIP) ticket in advance for $41 per person, whereby you secure your lobster feast, one beverage, a poster by artists in The Uprising Creative and priority in the food and bar lines. There’s even a special dining area for First Class ticket-holders and 1/3rd of these ticket proceeds benefit the Harbor Interfaith Services.

Feeling more like a pay-as-you-go program? Admission to the festival is $10 (be sure to print out the $2 off coupon) and Maine lobster meals are $19 each. Thinking you’ll want more than one lobster? You can “double up” and add an extra lobster to your plate for a total 2.50 lbs for $33. Every meal comes with cole slaw, potatoes, sweet bread, lemon wedges and a buttery dipping sauce.

If you’re vegetarian, the Lobster Festival has a great deal going on with the adjacent Ports O’ Call Restaurant, where you can dine on their 50 item salad bar. Take your receipt to the front desk for free admission to the festival.

And, while you’re there, you might as well stay for the fun. There will be bands (flashback to the ’80s, anyone? Berlin!) and even Taiko drummers to keep you entertained once you’ve devoured your lobster dinner. And as the L.A. festival tradition goes, there will also be food trucks there like The Lobstatruck (of course), Rajun Cajun, Coolhaus and Barbie’s Q.


And if you’d like to enjoy lobster for free and think you’ve got good luck, I’ve got a giveaway for tickets to the Lobsterfest. On the giveaway block are one pair of First Class (VIP) tickets and one pair of General Admission tickets. The winner and runner-up must have a mailing address to give me in order to receive your tickets. To enter, you must do all of the following:

  1. “Like” e*starLA on Facebook (yes, friends, I’ve given in to the beast)
  2. Leave a comment below (with email address field complete; this will not be shared with anyone) detailing your favorite lobster dish in memory. Make me salivate. Include your Twitter handle if you’d like to be announced as the winner on Twitter (and can be notified in a timely manner).
  3. Tweet this: “I want to win tickets to @PoLALobsterfest, @estarLA!”
  4. Be ready to give me your mailing address when I announce the winner at noon on Monday, September 12th and email you. If you don’t respond by 2:30 PM I will be forced to choose another winner and/or runner-up!

I’ll be checking all entries to make sure you’ve done #1, #2 and #3 before I put you in the drawing bucket, so make sure you’re thorough. 😉 Good luck, everyone! And see you next weekend at the Lobsterfest!!

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Friday – Sunday, September 16 – 18, 2011

Friday: 5 – 11 PM
Saturday: 11 AM – 11 PM
Sunday: 11 AM – 7 PM

Free Parking – Cruise Ship Parking Lot

Cash only at the event

Lobsterfest at
The Ports O’ Call Village
1100 Berth
San Pedro, CA 90731
(Harbor Blvd. exit off 110 Fwy)

Sponsored Giveaway: Four One Year-Long L.A. Blackboard Eats Subscriptions

Credit to Mike Lanzetta on Flickr

Hallelujah!! Packers won Super Bowl XLV!!

In celebration and in collaboration with Blackboard Eats, I’m happy to be giving out four one year-long Los Angeles area Blackboard Eats subscriptions (valued at $20 each) to four lucky winners. The winners will be chosen at random from a pool of commenters who correctly answer this question:

What kind of car do I drive?

Whether you know me or not, the correct answer to this question is very easily found somewhere on this blog.

If you’re not familiar with Blackboard Eats, it’s only one of my favorite websites for discounts at restaurants around Los Angeles. Unlike pay-ahead services where the failure to show up is built into the business model, Blackboard Eats will give its subscribers a straight 30% off for using their code – just be sure to tell your server before you close out (and tip based on the pre-discount amount of the check). 

Recently, they started charging $1 per code (or $20 for unlimited codes for a full year, which is what you can win here) to recoop their administrative costs and to encourage those who rush to get the limited-in-supply codes to actually use them. Be sure to check out the upcoming specials on their website.

So, back to my giveaway. In order to be entered to win, put your answer to the above question in comments, while making sure to correctly fill in your email in the comment form (or sign-in via Twitter/Facebook accordingly and check those accounts on Friday) so I can notify you in the case you’ve won! The contest will close on Friday afternoon (February 11, 2011) at 4 PM, when I’ll pick the four winners at random. You must respond to me within the 36 hours thereafter or I will have to pick a runner-up.

Good luck!!

Sponsored Giveaway: Buddy Valastro, The Learning Channel’s Cake Boss, at The Orpheum on November 17, 2010

Buddy Valastro, The Cake Boss (Courtesy of TLC)

New Jersey’s Buddy Valastro, whom you may know as The Cake Boss, just became a New York Times best selling author. He’ll also be appearing live at The Orpheum next Wednesday, November 17th, on the Los Angeles stop of his “Bakin’ With The Boss” tour. It’s going to be a family-friendly evening of stories and cake demonstrations inside one of the most beautiful venues LA has to offer.

So how, exactly, do you get to spend an evening with the Boss of The Learning Channel? You can see about tickets here – and/or enter my giveaway for two tickets (value ~$100). Make sure you do BOTH things below to enter. If I pick your name and you haven’t done both to qualify your entry, I’ll have pick another one:

  1. Leave a comment below (make sure you use an email that you check regularly so I can easily contact you) with your favorite cake flavor in the whole wide world and your Twitter account or Facebook URL (see #2).
  2. Either Tweet the below:

I just entered to win 2 tickets to The Cake Boss @LAOrpheum on 11/17 by @estarLA

or if you prefer Facebook, “like” my blog page on Facebook.

The contest ends Monday (11/15) afternoon at 4PM, when I’ll pick the winner at random. The winner wins two tickets to Bakin’ With The Boss next Wednesday!!

Good luck!!

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Bakin’ With The Boss Tour

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

7 PM

Half-price tickets on Goldstar

Orpheum Theatre
842 S. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Buddy Valastro Store

Giveaway: Tickets To A Fiery Fiesta With Drink Eat Travel

Wednesday, October 27 at LAFD Museum

What better way to support community than attend an event which benefits the Los Angeles Fire Department? Fortunately, the lovely folks over at will be holding a fun event this Wednesday at the LA Fire Department Museum – and it so happens that it’s nearby the station which services my jurisdiction. Chipotle tacos will be served as will brews from Firestone Walker. Proceeds from your $12 admission benefit the Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum.

The evening will also include a raffle with prizes from Luxor Hotel and Casino, Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Hugo’s Restaurant, Improv Hollywood and more. Guests will also enjoy an after-dinner cup o’ joe from Don Francisco, a chocolate tasting from The Chocolate Traveler, snacks from Popchips. DJ JJAquino will be spinning the tunes.

See if you’d like to try your hand at scoring a couple of tickets to this benefit and so you can enjoy free chipotle and beer on Wednesday? Go ahead and leave a comment below and RT this if you have Twitter (leave your Twitter handle in the URL box, e.g. “”):

RT: @estarla I want to win 2 tickets to @DrinkEatTravel’s Fiery Fiesta

Contest is closed tomorrow at 5 PM, which is when I will select the winner and tweet as well as email him/her! Be sure to check your email.

Not so confident in your luck? You can buy tickets, too, and get $2 off with code SPICY. Either way – I’ll see you there!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 – 11 PM
Food served at 7:30 PM

Use code SPICY for $2 off

Los Angeles Fire Department Museum
1355 N. Cahuenga Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028


Giveaway: Tickets to Artisanal LA Featuring Sustainable, Local and Handmade Edibles

11 AM - 6 PM at The Cooper Building

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, a 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; 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!

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Saturday – Sunday

October 23 – 24, 2010

11 AM – 6 PM

Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at-the-door, or comment below to enter giveaway

Artisanal LA
The Cooper Building
860 S. Los Angeles Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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


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

L.A. International Wine & Spirits Giveaway

L.A. International Wine & Spirits Competition

A couple weeks ago I had the privilege of tasting the fruits of labor of those having judged over 4,000 wines for the L.A. International Wine & Spirits competition. Originating at the L.A. County Fair 71 years ago, the competition arose out of awarding medals to the finest California wines. Since then, it’s expanded to not only international wines but liquors and even olive oils. The competition is also symbolic of a love of wine from all different walks of life, including the sports star power of Tommy Lasorda, Mario Andretti and Greg Norman – who are all entrant winemakers. And let’s not forget Francis Ford Coppola and his winery. How very L.A., indeed.

This is where you come in. I’m giving away a “swag bag” with a $75 value. Included are:

  • A variety of winning wine and spirits from this year’s competition
  • A pair of tickets to the upcoming L.A. County Fair
  • Vouchers to the wine-tasting seminars at this year’s Fair

The L.A. County Fair this year is from September 4 – October 3, 2010. So make sure you aren’t out of town during that entire time so you can take advantage of the tickets should you win. I think the most exciting part are the vouchers to the wine-tasting seminars at the Fair. OK – free booze is great, too. 😉 But you might as well learn about what you’re drinking, while you’re at it, right?

To enter, leave a comment below, detailing what you’re most looking forward to at the Fair. You can also enter by Tweeting:

“I entered to win LA Int’l Wine & Spirits swag bag & LA Cty Fair tix at: via @estarLA”

So, you can enter a total of 2 times!  Contest is closed a week from today, July 4, at 4 PM. At that time I’ll pick the winner using a randomizer. Then, I’ll contact you to get address info, and the goodies will be shipped directly to you. Good luck, and have a great weekend!

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Saturday, September 4 – Sunday, October 3, 2010

L.A. County Fair
1101 W. McKinley Ave.
Pomona, CA 91768

Open Labor Day weekend, closed subsequent Mondays & Tuesdays (23 days and nights)