American Express Supports Small Business Via Foursquare With $10 Statement Credit

Foursquare Check-in at The Oaks Gourmet

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!

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Now – ?

Sync Foursquare with Amex

Check in on Foursquare when you shop/eat at small business, load “special” onto card. Pay with AMEX and receive $10 statement credit in 3-5 days.

Small Businesses Everywhere
Los Angeles, CA

Go Pack Go: Same-Day Bratwurst from Grindhaus LA

Beer-Marinated, Grilled Bratwurst

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.

Marinating Bratwursts

I stopped in the brand new, brick and mortar sausage shop known as 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 taste their prepared food on-the-go.

Since my brats 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.)

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Thanksgiving In a Sandwich at simplethings

Thanksgiving Sandwich

Something special is coming to 3rd Street in Mid-City West, and it’s simplethings sandwich and pie shop. Third street is one of Mid-City West’s main treasures, and the store is a nice departure from the hustle and bustle of Joan’s on Third and the scene-y brunch hullabaloo of Toast.

3" Bourbon Pecan Cutie Pie ($2.50)

At simplethings, you’ll get to choose pies from three different sizes (3″, 5″ & 9″) in delicious varieties like Pumpkin, Key Lime, Banofee (banana + toffee = deliciousness), Bourbon Pecan, Orange Creamsicle, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Blueberry. Feelin’ like whoopie? They got plenty of varieties of whoopie pie for your hollerin’.

Or maybe you were feeling like a meal, first. They have specialty sandwiches like the Prime Rib sandwich, with their prime rib made in-house, and a Veggie Sandwich that tastes as hearty as a meat party. They also serve breakfast on the weekends until 2 PM and have fresh salads available all day.

But my favorite bite of the media preview had to be the Thanksgiving Sandwich, made with cranberry chutney and jalapeno stuffing. They also use chunks instead of slices of the bird, which helps keep the turkey meat tender. It’s seasonal, comprehensive and everything I could want since I’ll be on the plane on Thanksgiving Day. I’m celebrating early!

And if you’re craving pies and sandwiches now, today’s your lucky day since simplethings just opened at 11 AM. Call in your order or stop by – its simple decor is a charming set-up for the drop-in.

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Open today (Monday, November 22, 2010) at 11 AM

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simplethings
8310 W. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
323-592-3390

Website

Perishable: Everything’s Popping Up Pickles

Soon, you will do this too | Photo credit to sifu_renka on Flickr

Ohhh, I love pickles. I may even love certain vegetables more after being pickled, depending on my cheek puckering mood. Kraut, beets, peppers, onions, radishes – give ’em all to me. It’s one of the preparations that so many ethnicities share while differing in the processes themselves.

Fortunately, it all doesn’t have to be completely lost on us. Chicks with Knives will be hosting a “Pop-Up Pickle Shop” at the one and only Starry Kitchen in Downtown LA this upcoming Sunday, September 12th in the late morning.

It’ll cost you just $5 for entry, which includes a cooking demo at 11 AM by the gals themselves, and you’ll get the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned. Pickling mix ($2) and pickling kits ($20) will be available for purchase. And if learning to better consume pickles is what it’s about (I’m raising my hand here), there are also a variety of pickles for sale ($6-8).

The complimentary apps and drinks that will be available during the Pop-Up Pickle Shop are reason enough:

  • Pickle-Barrel Martini
  • Golden Beet & Goat Cheese Bites
  • Bacon-Jam Tartlettes
  • Curried Asian Pear & Grilled Chicken Skewers
  • Mini Mac n’ Cheese with Fennel/Flower Pickles

Since there are limited quantities, I recommend getting there early. Just remember: These pickles are indeed “perishable” because these veggies aren’t hot-processed nor canned and should be consumed within 2 weeks. Guess the canning workshop will have to wait.

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

10 AM – 1 PM
11 AM Cooking demo

Entry $5
Jars $6 – 8
Cash only

Complimentary appetizers & drinks

Pickle Site

Starry Kitchen
350 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071