<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Sun, 20 Apr 2014 19:08:02 -0700 Sun, 20 Apr 2014 19:08:02 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Last-Minute Goodies: Easter Eats]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 07:24:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/magnoliavintagecupcakes.jpg

Getting embroiled in the whole "which part of the chocolate bunny should you eat first" debate is an exercise in frustration, misunderstandings, and the ultimate taking of sides. Ears? Feet? A little bowtie, if the bunny comes with a bowtie? 

There's no winning, regardless of the side of the debate you come down on.

But winning is not only possible, but probable, when you rethink Easter treats. Nope, we'd never advocate forgoing chocolate bunnies and eggs -- please, we're not looking to create more candy-based controversy -- but you can arrive at your holiday party bearing something sugar-sweet and springtime-appropriate without too much strife.

Find your quickity-fast rabbit-y edibles at...

Magnolia Bakery: The West Third frosting emporium is going with a serious pastel theme, but it isn't all about the hue. Vintage scenes and animal toppers 'round out some of the Easterly offerings. Call it a new cute way to snack upon your sugared bunny, without deciding ears or feet first.

Joan's on Third: Eggs are in the house down the street from Magnolia, and not just any eggs, but chocolate quail eggs and robin's eggs and eggly candy of several sorts. Which came first, the rabbit or the egg, in terms of Easter candy? That's another debate we won't dip into.

Bottega Louie: Naturally the king of the pastel-sweet macaroon is going to go the holiday sweet route, and this decadent downtownery is no different. Easter goodies are in the high-ceilinged house, though you could pick up two dozen mauve macaroons for your party and still be the holiday hit.

Sprinkles: The ATM-iest cupcake shop in all the land is not only open on Easter proper, but there are tiny bunnies dotting the cake tops, right in the spots where the classic Sprinkles dot typically sits. It's understated, it is edible, and if you need something faster than jelly beans disappear from a basket, swing by Sprinkles on the way to your egg hunt.

Photo Credit: Magnolia Bakery]]>
<![CDATA[Planet Hug: Earth Day Around Southern California]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 10:50:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/earthday_2.jpg

Earth Day marks its 44th year in 2014, though, of course, the holiday's honoree has a few extra years beyond that beneath its capacious belt.

But it was 'round about 1970 when people began to make a concentrated effort to stop, pause, and talk about environmental issues, sustainable living, and sharing the planet with each other and other living things in a conscientious way. A little live-it-up spirit and fun was thrown into the process, and Earth Day caught on, as a major thing, all across its namesake.

Want to honor the day? There are ways, hoo boy, that are both solemn and celebratory.

Make for...

Inglewood: The south lawn of Inglewood City Hall will be rife with demos and activities on Saturday, April 19. Electric vehicle displays? Yep, they'll be there. Zumba dancing? For sure. A Kids' Zone and health classes? All on the schedule.

Topanga Earth Day: Old Canyon Ranch is the new location for this year, but the same info booths, great slate of speakers and workshops'll fill the two-day run (those two days are April 19 and 20). Want to talk hand-spun wool, edible landscapes, and the making of musical instruments from nature? It's all at this come-together fest.

Metro: David Burns and Austin Young of Fallen Fruit'll be taking to the rails to talk "public art and neighborhood history" during a three-hour spin about on Saturday, April 26. Will there be a lemonade stand to spring things up? There will be, urban adventurer.

Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival: The American Riviera has wayback ties to Earth Day, stretching back to its earliest origins, so it makes sense that its annual two-day festival is robust, colorful, and full of bikes. Many, many bikes -- over 1,000 cyclists valeted their wheels last year. Head for Alameda Park on Saturday April 26 and Sunday, April 27.

WorldFest: This mondo party comes a few weeks after Earth Day proper -- Sunday, May 18 is the date -- but plenty of touches of the holiday will be on the Lake Balboa grounds, like info booths covering everything for sustainable gardening to alternative power and beyond. Tunes, speakers, and kid happenings round out the bustling bash.



Photo Credit: Earth]]>
<![CDATA[Vintage Eats, Vintage Venue, Vintage Film, Vintage LA]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:56:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/grandcentralshoppers1.jpg

Surely you know the much-satirized method of pitching a movie to producers, the ol' "it's like ABC Movie meets XYZ Movie, but with more musical numbers!"

Movie mash-ups are nothing new, and some might argue that every movie contains a few earlier movies within. But a true cinematic swirling-together that happens far more often is when a perfect film meets the perfect venue. "The Wizard of Oz" at the Chinese Theatre? Yeah, that's what we're talking about.

That's alchemy is about to happen again, but not just with movie and theatre, but movie and theatre and restaurant and organizer. "Touch of Evil," the kicky Orson Welles double-dealer is the flick, the venue is the storied Million Dollar Theatre, the restaurant is actually the many-restaurant-in-one Grand Central Market, and the people behind it? Those pop culture professors of the past, Vintage Los Angeles.

How's that for a four-way mash-up? Vintage, vintage, vintage, and vintage.

The date's Saturday, April 26, it's the first of Vintage LA's Noir Nights cinema series, and Grand Central Market? It's taking the "noir" part to heart, or at least nighttime, and keeping open hours from 6 to 8 p.m., so lovers of twisty plots and character who might not be all that they seem can get their dinner fill before curtain time.

Four things to say here: 1) You're correct, the film is a Universal picture and was made in 1958. You smartie. 2) This is the one with the mega-long tracking shot at the beginning, which means all tracking-shot-y films that came after owe it a debt. 3) The Million Dollar Theatre celebrates its centennial in three years, meaning it practically came along at the start of moviedom (we said practically, so, yep, we're taking some license.

And 4? It's best to keep an eye on whatever Vintage LA does. Head honcha Alison Martino has led efforts to save gorgeous retro signage and lent enthusiastic support to the revival of beloved icons like Tail o' the Pup.

A movie series from the Vintage LAers is sure to be a terrific (and, yes, tawdry) traipse through yesteryear. This is noir we're talking about, so it should arrive a little worn down and revved up, with a fedora low over one eye.

Photo Credit: Grand Central Market]]>
<![CDATA[WonderCon: Pop Culture Mega Party Ahead]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 13:04:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/wondercon111411623.jpg

The "we're going to a mondo pop culture comic-themed convention" road trip? It's kind of a staple in our modern, entertainment-consuming lives.

So much so a major film was made about this particular rite -- yep, 2011's "Paul" with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost -- and blogs spring up every year, come summertime, lending stop-and-see hints to road-trippers on their way to Comic-Con.

But a whole convention going road-trippin' is a much rarer thing, except in one prominent case: WonderCon. Make that Comic-Con International Presents WonderCon Anaheim, which is the official, says-it-all name.

Why does the name say it all? Well WonderCon, which will unleash a torrent of colorful pop-culture goodness upon the Anaheim Convention Center from Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20, needs "Anaheim" in its name these days, given that it was a Bay Area fixture for a decade and a half.

Its former location, San Francisco's Moscone Center, has been undergoing construction, which meant that the con hopped to Orange County a few years back. Hence the "convention taking a road trip" theme to this essay.

Lucky for SoCalers, WonderCon is hanging around, Anaheim-style, for 2014. This means booths (and booths and booths and booths) of merch covering practically every superhero, horror character, and game icon.

It means oodles of artist appearances -- hello, Sergio Aragones -- and writer appearances -- hello, Mark Evanier.

And reveals about a bouquet of properties, from flicks to graphic novels, tend to be a Thing, capital T.

But what of the "Comic-Con International" in WonderCon's long official handle? Yep, the org behind San Diego's pop-ginormous behemoth is also at the controls of WonderCon. Which sometimes lends it qualifiers like "mini Comic-Con" but, really, there's not too much that's pint-sized about it. (Still, "baby con" is just too cute not to use, now and then.)

And, yep, be inspired by the Comic-Con backing, if you're a cosplayer or just love to rock a costume. Loads of people dress up in the tights and capes and Ghostbuster jumpsuits and Catwoman masks. We'd almost say this is more expected in Anaheim, over San Diego, given that Disneyland is just across the street from the convention center.

Need a schedule? Yeah, you do. Signings, panels, chitchats, and the full complement of con-flavored madness await you, WonderConer.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Landmarks Baked into Cakes]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:47:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cake51088--E041114A-0075.jpg The Getty Villa? The Beverly Hills Hotel? An edible event spotlights great SoCal buildings.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: Easter Around SoCal]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:27:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lazoobigbunnyevent1.jpg

EASTER WEEKEND: There are so many bonnet-y doings afoot over the holidays weekend that it is a bit of a head-scratcher -- we mean an ear-scratcher -- on where to bounce to first. The Los Angeles Zoo is all about Big Bunny's Spring Fling from Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20, while Irvine Park Railroad's Easter Eggstravaganza rolls through Saturday, April 19. For a bigger choo-choo -- much bigger -- make for the Fillmore & Western's Eastern Lunch Train on April 20. And is Pasadena's world-famous Bunny Museum open on Easter Day? You betcha, bunny buffs.

KTOWN NIGHT MARKET: Summer is nigh, or at least it can be seen, just ahead, which means SoCal's out-sized night markets are coming down the pike. Koreatown cooks set up the stalls and food trucks and savory goodies on Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19 at the Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools. Each evening parties right through to midnight, and the food? The food. The. Food. Bowls and noodles and tacos and ice cream and, and, and... And go. Also? Summer, please get here, thank you.

WONDERCON: It's mega. How mega? It's from the people behind Comic-Con. It's pop-culture-y. How pop-culture-y? Artists galore show up, to chat with fans, and booths selling everything from t-shirts to books to toys cram the Anaheim Convention Center. Oh, right: And it's in Orange County again, and not its longtime location of San Francisco. Dates? Friday, April 18 through Sunday, April 20.

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: Time to dress up your Dachshund and go Olvera Street for this sweet 'n furry 'n barky 'n meowy Easter Saturday tradition. Shall Archbishop Jose Gomez do the blessing-giving duties? The archbishop shall. Shall all sorts of beasties show, from cats to turtles to horses? It's a wide array. Should you be at Olvera on April 19 by 2 p.m. for the grand procession? If you're going, you don't want to miss that part.

BEER FLOAT FEST: You like brew? Gotcha. You like ice cream? Yep. Ever pour or plopped one into the other? Nope? Never crossed your mind? Then head for Angel City Brewery on Saturday, April 19. LA Foodie and the craft-foamery'll be scoopin' and sudsin' up the day, putting together fancy brews and fancy flavors in interesting combos. C'mon, if you like both, why not try it? Try it. Then decide.

Photo Credit: LA Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Sidechella: Like Coachella, but in a Car ]]> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 09:05:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sidecarsidechella.jpg

We tend to say certain words more frequently when springtime arrives. Bunnies? Yes. Flowers? For sure. Taxes? That's in there. Chocolate eggs? You bet.

But 'round Southern California, we are also heavily -chella-ing our day-to-day conversations, at least come April. Yep, the massive-mega-music-megalopolis known as Coachella is to thank, but several -chellas have spun off in recent years. Like Brokechella, for example, which rolls, cheaply, with the tunes, on Saturday, April 19 downtown.

The next -chella is up, -chellaists (which is, of course, pronounced very much like "celloists," in case you're wondering). It's from Sidecar, the rideshare app, and, you guessed it, it is indeed called Sidechella.

What's exactly is Sidechella? Some cars toodling around Los Angeles on Friday, April 18 and Saturday, April 19 will be rocking the "full Coachella experience" inside. This means "fun music and swag," the swag being "sunglasses, tank tops, bubbles, wands, etc."

Drivers of Southern California, if someone is blowing soap bubbles out of the car in the next lane, know that you've been -chella'd.

A band or artist is set to show up in one special Sidecar, so you might choose the one with the live tunes. Radio? Pah! Leave that dial to off; you're being entertained along the way by a real live honest-to-goodness musician.

Rides in San Francisco and San Diego shall be -chella'd-out as well. No extra fee required, beyond the Sidecar fee. Just chillaxin' on the road like you might in Indio.

All righty, -chella namers of Southern California. What's next? We're waiting on your creative monikers and ideas. -chella something surprising up for our pleasure.

Photo Credit: Sidecar]]>
<![CDATA[Hoppy Easter: Pasadena's Famous Bunny Museum]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:50:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/bunnymuseum123.jpg The long-eared home-based favorite has over 30,000 rabbit items.

Photo Credit: The Bunny Museum]]>
<![CDATA[Animal Sweetness: Olvera Beastie Blessings]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:21:48 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/blessingdogs73836577.jpg

What's the first thing you do when you enter a new friend's house?

You might nose around their bookshelf or admire the art or nose through bathroom cabinet (always a dubious choice). But a popular choice is to get on the floor and visit with the house's resident animal.

Or animals, more and more. You might have heard the word that people are rather sweet on their pets -- look to the ever-burgeoning boutique shop industry -- and want them to participate in many of the things we do.

Like holiday traditions. And while we can't take our dogs to watch Christmas parades and Halloween costume events -- wait, we totally all do that -- there is something just for our pets come Easter: The Blessing of the Animals.

It's a free happening, year in, year out, it's an Olvera Street to-do, year in, year out, and not just dogs and cats show. A fish bowl with a tiny golden fin-flipper swimming inside it might roll in on a little red wagon, while another human might show with a gekko, a hedgehog, or both.

Archbishop Jose Gomez will be giving the blessings, and the procession? It's one of the sweetest, and most photographed, parts of the day. Dress up you pup or turtle, or decorate their carrier or wheels, in springtime finery and color.

Time's noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, meaning there shall be entertainment and pleasant ways to pass the afternoon. But if you want to hop into the procession (maybe literally, if you're arriving with a rabbit), then be there by 2 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vinyl Boom Boom: Record Store Day]]> Sat, 19 Apr 2014 23:43:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gettyvinyl123.jpg

There was a day, oh, a century or so ago, when the introduction of a fancy, pricey, and oh-so-sparkly phonograph, complete with giant horn, was quite the event in the life of a family.

Neighbors might come from streets away, just to marvel. And everyone wanted to try dropping the needle, just once.

Then record players became ubiquitous and that initial novelty-induced thrill faded, a little.

Big sigh.

The thrill is more than back, though, these days, and that's good news for vinyl enthusiasts everywhere. Thank Record Store Day, in large part, for banging the cause's drum. Of course the celebratory day, which fell on Saturday, April 19 this year, isn't solely about vinyl; CDs and tapes get the love, too, as do all things to do with the mom-and-pop local record-a-terium.

But vinyl's been having its day in the sun, again, over the last decade, meaning that the re-introduction of a phonograph into the family home is once again an event to draw the neighbors. (Which, in this day and age, basically translates into Instagramming the heck out of your new record player.)

A number of Southern California shops participated on April 19, including Factory Records of Costa Mesa, Atomic Records of Burbank, and Gimme Gimme Records of Los Angeles. You can nab the full roster here.

All sorts of convivial events, specials, live performances, local shop-oriented haps went down. The great Wayne Kramer was set to swing by Long Beach's own Fingerprints to gig it up, guitar-style, at 5:30 p.m. on April 19. (He also planned on releasing his first jazz record, too, in honor of the day.)

Excellent, soul-stirring stuff.

Record Store Day is a reminder that these storefronts exist throughout the year, assisting regulars and new customers in their quests for the best tuneage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jay-Z Bringing Music Festival to Downtown LA]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:18:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/jayzgracetti.JPG

Rapper Jay-Z and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced details Wednesday for a two-day music festival set to take place over Labor Day weekend. Garcetti hails the "Budweiser Made in America" music festival, which will take place in downtown LA's Grand Park, as an economic boost for the city.

"On Labor Day weekend we are going to celebrate our golden state of mind right here in LA with a sellout crowd right on the steps of city hall and into Grand Park," Garcetti said. "The "Made in America Festival" will attract 50,000 fans Saturday and Sunday. Fans who will inject millions of dollars into the LA Economy."

The "Budweiser Made in America" music festival began in Philadelphia two years ago and helped generate $10 million for the city. Much of the proceeds from the LA festival will go to the local chapter of the United Way.

The 2013 lineup featured acts that spanned various genres, including Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z himself.

"I had a vision of putting together a music festival that blurred the lines of genres that all walks of life and people could come to," Jay-Z said. "And it's in the city, not in a far off place you can't get to."

The festival has drawn criticism from Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents the downtown Los Angeles neighborhood that will host the event. Huizar has expressed concern about the impact of 50,000 visitors and street closures.

He has called on the city to hold off on issuing permits for the event until the council receives a report on potential public safety issues. The county-owned Grand Park is managed by the Music Center but must obtain street closure permits from the city, according to Huizar's office.

In a motion last month calling for the report, Huizar said "significant public safety and logistical concerns have been raised by various departments."

Grand Park has hosted large events in the past, including a Fourth of July fireworks show and a New Year's Eve party that drew over 20,000 people.

<![CDATA[Jackie Robinson Day: The Dodgers Pay Tribute]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:56:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/JACKIERobinson.jpg

The passage of 67 years can and often does alter a myriad of viewpoints, feelings, and outlook, but a true legend's stature and impact only ever grows and deepens, regardless of the passing decades.

Jackie Robinson lived this, and his legacy furthers it, still. The sports superstar played his first Major League game on April 15, 1947, "breaking baseball's color barrier" in a profound and lasting way. Mr. Robinson went onto to be one of the greats, a Brooklyn Dodger and Hall-of-Famer and a titan of sportsmanship, leadership, and sheer talent and grace, playing in a half dozen World Series.

The Dodgers remember Mr. Robinson -- number #42, of course -- each and every year on Jackie Robinson Day. It isn't merely that the announcer makes a stirring speech, pre-game; rather a full complement of events, workshops, and commemorations round out the moving remembrance.

Tuesday, April 15 started with young people from the ages of 8 to 16, all members of the Challengers Boys & Girls Club of South Los Angeles, joined in a baseball clinic (Dodger alums Derrel Thomas, Al "The Bull" Ferrara, and Kenny Landreaux were at the clinic's helm.)

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation is hosting a stadium tour later in the day for Jackie Robinson Foundation scholars and alumni. And students from UCLA and USC will be on the walk-and-look, too. A stadium-based viewing of the Dodgers game, which is in San Francisco, is also scheduled for guests.

But just because Mr. Robinson is so associated with the Dodgers doesn't mean we're the only team to honor his lasting legacy; teams throughout the Major League pay tribute in various ways, by donning the number 42 or lighting the Empire State Building blue, a nod to the Dodgers.

For more ways to honor the man who changed history on one memorable spring day back in '47, check out the Dodgers site and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Tax Day Deals: Find Your April 15 Pick-Me-Ups]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:57:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/sprinklestaxdaycupcake.jpg

What's the most communal day of the year at the post office?

Many might say the Friday before Christmas, when hordes of relatives descend, laden with packages, to make sure across-the-country tots get the in-demand toy.

But April 15 likely trumps even that special moment, as far as people visiting mailboxes for the Very Same Important Reason.

It can be stressy, in all meanings of the word, no doubt about it. But there are ways to de-knot those shoulders and add a smile to that face, once you've put the checkbook and envelopes and stamps away.  Why not head out for a...

FREE COOKIE: Swinging through the Third Street Promenade? Doubletree by Hilton is handing out gratis cookies in a "friendly competition" between "the nation's two most taxed cities" (the other would be Philadelphia). A sweepstakes, possible free hotel stays, and other potential goodies await.

FREE CURLY FRIES: If you want to talk about on-going tax day traditions of the salty-tastiest kind, start right here. Arby's always goes with the free curly fries giveaway come a certain day in the middle of April, so, yep, potato goodness shall reign after the post office. But do you go Horsey Sauce or ketchup? Decisions. (Oh, and you'll need a coupon, too.)

FREE CUPCAKE: Count on Sprinkles to be atop the timely zeitgeist. Buy one cupcake, whisper "tax day" during the transaction, and bag another. How loudly you want to whisper it, though, is really how much the people near you in line look like they might need a free cupcake, too. Use your discretion.

HALF-PRICE SLUSHIE: Sonic's got this one just right, timing-wise. Not only is the drive-in chain discounting its famous slushies by half in honor of tax day, but isn't the Ides of April kind of sort of the unofficial start of the pre-beginning of summer? Once taxes have wrapped? It all works.

TAX DAY COCKTAIL: A number of restaurants around town, including La Dolce Vita, Border Grill, and Plan Check, have April 15-only specials in the spirits department. That means discounts on beverages, like a dollar martini at La Dolce Vita, so make sure you have a driver to whisk you home (they may well be out at the mailboxes, too).

Photo Credit: Sprinkles]]>
<![CDATA[Griffith Observatory "Blood Moon" Watch]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:27:46 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GriffithbyNight72370594.jpg

If you head up the hill once a month, to Griffith Observatory's free star parties, you know that you'll chat with astronomers and fans of the night sky about nebula, galaxies, clusters, and the glittery vast canopy overhead.

But eclipses are rarer, as is the memorably named "Blood Moon." Our lunar neighbor does not adhere to our terrestrial calendar, of course, and the late-hour April 14 sky show does not coincide with a free Griffith telescope party. 

Happy news, however: The sky-loving landmark kept late hours just the same in honor of the dramatic event.

Very late hours. The eclipse lasted into the wee smalls of Tuesday, April 15, and visitors were able to wander the building and roof to admire it (the Zeiss telescope was also open). The cafe kept late hours, and there were lawn telescopes, so you could score a look-see down on the grassy expanse.

The event wrapped at 2 a.m. so it was truly a late-nighter. And, yep: There was major attendance. How can people not be tempted by something called the Blood Moon? We're Hollywoodized, after all. It sounds like the start of an exciting adventure screenplay (only it's real).

Those who preffered to participate at home? They were able to, crowd-free: Griffith streamed the action through 3:40 a.m.

The penumbral eclipse kicked off at seven minutes to 10 p.m., local time.

Blood Moon! Let's do this, earth, sun, and lunar satellite.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Creamy Meets Foamy: Beer Float Fest]]> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:56:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/icecreamfloat.jpg

The outlandish yet surprisingly toothsome food-on-food mash-up is here to stay these days, fueled by tweets, social media photos, and reviews.

The cronut? The internet gave the donut-meets-croissant plenty of steam. The bacon donut? It's hard to walk into any hip-happy diner in the city without looking into the counter case and spying the meaty treat stacked five-high upon a paper doily.

But few edible mash-ups come bearing the spirited kapow of the beer float. It's a dessert for the adult set only, of course, and one sip reveals why: The brew's bitterness is ultra-present, only tempered slightly by the creamy presence of a scoop of vanilla or chocolate.

LA Foodie and Angel City Brewery & Public House will fete this grown-up summer-ready mash-up over the course of one early evening. That evening is Saturday, April 19, the spot is the Arts District brewery, the beers in the frosty glasses shall be craft, bespoke, and full of body, and the ice cream? It hails from local treat makers Peddler's Creamery, Ice Cream Lab, and Ramekin.

LA Foodie's Float Trip is the to-do's handle and the cost? Not even ten bucks. It's just $9, in fact.

Your own beer float mixing kit is included in the tastings, as well as some other goodies.

So, is this to be your splashy, have-friends-over treat of the summer? We know, we know, you swore adult-style SnoCones would be the theme for summer 2014, but a good beer float just lends a lot body and oomph, overall.

Sorry, bacon donut. You still reign, but other quirky mash-ups are dominating the menus of greater Southern California these days.

<![CDATA[Cheap Bevs: Your Tax Day Cocktails]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 07:30:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/228*120/taxdaycocktails543.jpg

While ornaments might symbolize Christmas and pumpkins Halloween and trees Arbor Day and hearts Valentine's, there's one thing we see oodles of come April 15: dollar signs.

No mystery there: Under-the-wire tax-filers are queuing up at their local mailbox to mail the necessary forms, and payments, if necessary, before the clock tick-tocks to midnight.

Which means that a few local restaurants are at the ready with specials that reflect the Tax Day's deep dive into the dollar sign pool. Find a designated driver -- perhaps friend who wrapped up her taxes at the end of January -- and find your perfect April 15 sip. Deals are on the offer at places like...

La Dolce Vita: It so happens to be the 100th birthday of Beverly Hills this week, and the Italian old-schooler near Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards has a 100th martini to mark the occasion. And to give people who've paid their taxes a break: The drink's a buck. You can buy two, between 6 and 9 p.m., on April 15, if you buys some food, too. 

The Whisper Lounge: The Grove cocktail-y hangout is marking a decade, and, indeed, that translates into 10-cent martinis from 5 to 8 p.m. on April 15. Gotta purchase food, but given that up to two martinis is part of the special, we imagine you'd want to.

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar: If the mailbox you visit happens to be near the Fairfax District or Little Osaka, then make for this eatery next, which is offering a gin-based Income Tax Day Cocktail ($4.15 is the date-perfect price).


Photo Credit: La Dolce Vita]]>
<![CDATA[Images: 2014 Long Beach Grand Prix]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 21:00:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/corvette-Long-Beach-prix-20141.jpg Images from the 2014 Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Lloyd]]>
<![CDATA[Vintage Screens Shine: Last Remaining Seats]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 17:32:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lastremainingseatsorpheum5667.jpg

Remember the old-school movie overture?

The velvet curtains generally remained closed, across the screen, as people hustled into their seats getting popcorn absolutely everywhere (including their neighbors' laps). It was a nice moment, a way to hear the music to come, a pause to think about the film ahead.

We like to think of the LA Conservancy's late winter announcement of Last Remaining Seats, its early summertime cinema spectacular, as analogous to the old-time cinema overture. Yep, the preservation organization is just announcing, not selling tickets, so you have time to soak in the movies to come.

But those tickets just went on sale to the general public, so, in essence, that movie-style overture period has drawn to a close. The credits are rolling, things are happening, and if you want to score a seat for "West Side Story" at The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, act now, act fast, and get on it with a clip clop.

There are other treats in store, including a first-day-of-summer screening of "Back to the Future" at the newly renovated The Theatre at Ace Hotel and Luis Bunuel's el gran calavera at The Palace on June 25. And rounding out the series on June 28, at The Orpheum, is "Citizen Kane.

We think we've heard of that one. Hmm. It'll come to us.

The 8 p.m. screening of "Back to the Future," by the by, is sold out, but matinee seats are available. No joshin', no overture-musical analogies, just straight talk: Many, many people like to see movies in historic movie palaces, which is at the heart of this cinema series, so buy if you're gonna.

You totally want to find out what "Rosebud" is, right? Don't let that eat at you any longer.


Photo Credit: Last Remaining Seats]]>
<![CDATA[$100 Grilled Cheese Makes Debut]]> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 03:40:33 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/deca+grilled+cheese.jpg

Gourmet may be an understatement when talking about this new grilled cheese menu item.

Deca Restaurant + Bar, located inside the Ritz-Carlton Chicago, debuted their own deluxe version of the sandwich staple in honor of National Grilled Cheese Month.

The “Zillion Dollar Grilled Cheese” sandwich features Spanish black iberico ham, Oregon white truffle aioli, heirloom tomatoes lightly drizzled with 100-year-old aged balsamic vinegar, foie gras, a sunny side up duck egg and Wisconsin white cheddar cheese “infused with 24k gold flakes,” according to a release from the restaurant.

It is enveloped in two slices of sourdough bread and served with a skillet of lobster mac.

The $100 sandwich takes “grilled cheese to the next level of decadence,” the company said in the release.

The “Zillion Dollar Grilled Cheese” special will be served at the restaurant through April 30.

Photo Credit: Deca Restaurant + Bar]]>
<![CDATA[Queen Victoria Family Fest at the Getty]]> Sat, 12 Apr 2014 10:01:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/queenvictoriagetty1.jpg

If you hear the words "family" and "festival" arrive together, you're apt to picture an afternoon of general crafts, non-specific activites, maybe some face-painting, maybe some games.

For "family festival" can too often translate into "a few non-descript hours" of unthemed recreation. But what's wonderful about Southern California is the number of incredibly specific and highly themed kid-oriented festivals, covering everything from engineering to live music to Queen Victoria.

Oh yeah, we went and got even more specific there. Or, rather, The Getty Center did. The big travertine museum on the hill in Brentwood is throwing a family festival oriented to the famous queen, or, rather, the arts that reigned in the days she herself reigned. And, yep, it's all happening as a complement to the exhibit A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography, which is on at the center through June 8.

The ye olde family festival unfurls on Saturday, April 12 and it is free. Well, you pay to park at The Getty Center, yep yep, but once you've trammed it up the hill, you may jump into any of the doings, gratis.

British Music Hall Tunes'll sound out, live, in the museum courtyard and musician Ian Whitelaw shall bagpipe it up. And will the Pacific Opera Company take a spin through Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado"? Those two opera icons are so of the Victorian era, so you betcha.

Photos, a workshop on how to be royal (complete with tiara-making), and the LA Opera "performing music popular in Queen Victoria's day" shall round out the posh proceedings.

We do love a very honed-in family festival, one that isn't merely construction paper arts but, rather, a time, era, person, or place. Don't we all use "Victorian" to describe things, frequently? Rather than having our kids ask what we mean by that, we can take them to the museum for a daylong (fun) lesson.



Photo Credit: The Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Yoga at the Chinese Theatre]]> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 19:18:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chinese_756077.jpg

We put our feet to the ground in, well, just about every place we go.

But our hands? Our mitts tend to meet earth less often. Oh, maybe at a handstand convention, or a Twister tournament, or a chalk festival, should you need to outline your fingers for your artwork (we can only imagine you're drawing turkeys, if so).

All that said, Southern California is home to two prominent avenues for hands to spread upon the ground, fingers well-splayed. One? Yoga classes, which are plentiful and varied. And two? The TCL Chinese Theatre forecourt.

Now those two titans of SoCal living shall merge in one offbeat and planet-conscious happening. The forecourt of the Chinese Theatre is transforming into a yoga studio, for one evening only, in honor of Earth Day.

Downward-dogging on the handprints of Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth? It's happening on Tuesday, April 22.

Jahmelia Lindsay will do the instructing duties, Dasani'll do the gift-bagging duties, Lorna Jane is loaning the mats, and you? You just need to reserve a spot at info@chinesetheatres.com.

Cost to participate: free. Levels welcomed? All of 'em, so starters and advanced people, join in.

Two final questions: Whose handprints will your hands be in as you hold a plank? Hope it is a favorite stars. And two: Will yoga unitards outnumber hero costumes on the boulevard for a few hours? That sartorial showdown could be pretty spectacular.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Beyond the Vroom-Vroom: Toyota Grand Prix To-Dos]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 09:18:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/grandprixlbc167107611.jpg

How do you know when you're dealing with a major, major, major event?

First, over 175,000 people just show up. Second, celebrities from all disciplines participate. And third? There are enough happenings outside the main focus to fill up a bustling, variety-brimmed three-day weekend.

Why yes, good guess: We are in fact speaking of the 40th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, which vroom-vrooms and zoom-zooms through the streets of the ocean-close burg from Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13.

Wait -- are three "majors," with one in italics, big enough for the Toyota Grand Prix? Does it need a fourth? Because it is huge. 175,000 people huge. Fast car huge. Huge.

A host of races, with the luminaries of racing and film, are the street-fast centerpieces, but for tag-along friends not into extreme speed, there's oodles to do off the squeal-wheeled course.

Like? The mega, mega, mega Lifestyle Expo, where "more than 270 displays" draw thousands of lookie-loos into the Convention Center Arena. Alternative energy vehicles, an exhibit detailing Four Decades of Racing in the Streets -- yep, it's a look back at huge Grand Prix times and people -- and electric cars for kid-racing'll all be in the house.

Outside of the expo? Tecate throws a free concert on Friday night, April 11, featuring rock-electronica cool group Kinky. The stage? It's Convention Center-adjacent.

And food and beverage shall rule the racing roost. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is hosting the Turn One Club, while other eat-and-watch clubs are springing up at other points along the route.

Truth? Given the major, major, mega, mega nature of the motorized proceedings, you can get down with the race action and give the Lifestyle Expo some love. For all of the race/non-race happenings, eye the always helpful, always pdf, always chock-packed-with-info Grand Prix Fan Guide.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[On Display: Mickey Rooney Movie Car]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:22:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/mickeyrooneyjusticecar.jpg

If you're a film fan and fender fan, both, and you call Southern California home, then you know the pleasures of your pursuits are plentiful.

Vintage movies show on in historic movie palaces, and cars? Collections and museums feature vehicles that have gained fame on tracks and film sets alike.

And when the two combine? It makes for a bit of magic, and certainly when fans are paying tribute to a star who has recently passed. Mickey Rooney died on April 6 at the age of 93, and aficionados of Andy Hardy and his other major roles are finding ways to commemorate the actor.

One stop is The Justice Private Automotive Collection in Duarte. The display features a car Mr. Rooney drove in 1949's "The Big Wheel," so that's pretty nifty, but the vehicle has further LA ties beyond the film.

It "did run as a regular" on the race circuit, says collection representative Courtney Justice. And if you know you're Hollywood racing history, then you can guess where The Charlie Allen special, which is designated as a 1939 Kraft Kurtis Midget, regularly raced: Gilmore Stadium, which was formerly adjacent to Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax.

Tinseltown tire history and ties to Mr. Rooney, both? Definitely worth a look for the car and star fan.

But The Justice Private Automotive Collection has plenty of shiny specimens beyond the racer. "Over 100 cars" are in the stroll-and-admire museum, including a 1932 Ford Phaeton from the Andy Hardy movies. Yep, so Mr. Rooney drove that one as well.

Neato, and a nice way to pause and remember, too.


Photo Credit: The Big Wheel]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: LA Times Festival of Books]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:57:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/whatareyoureadinglatimesbooks1.jpg

LOS ANGELES TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS: How we consume the written word is forever evolving, but our experience with the written word remains human and timeless: We love it, we feel emotions, we think. This gigantatron gathering of readers, authors, book sellers, panelists, artists, and literary experts is one of the best known anywhere, and, also, it's free. More money for more books, totes, books, and more books. Dates? April 12 and 13. Place? The University of Southern California. Authors? T.C. Boyle, Aimee Bender, B.J. Novak, Pico Iyer, Rainbow Rowell, Francesca Lia Block...

AVOCADO FESTIVALS x 2: If you've called Southern California home for a good long while, and you eat guacamole on a weekly -- or daily? -- basis, then Carpinteria is absolutely on your radar. Well, for multiple reasons -- Carp rocks -- but the mondo fall avocado fest is, well, mondo. But springtime holds some creamy surprise, too, elsewhere around the region. Avo-happenings turn up in two spots on Sunday, April 13: Fallbrook and Olvera Street. Fallbrook is the major street fair, so, yep, people. But don't you love being among other guacians like yourself? Long live the green.

DESPICABLE ME MINION MAYHEM: Hello, summertime? Is that you? It seems like it should be, since signs of the funnest season -- yeah, we said "funnest" there -- are ever increasing. One of the biggest? Universal Studios Hollywood is debuting its splashy ride for the warm-weather stretch, and, yes, there shall be Minions, adventure, high jinks, thrills, and more Minions. Did we mention Minions?

DEATH VALLEY FLOWERS: Wait, is this actually a thing this year? A bloom in the desert, following one of the driest winters in recent memory? Even after meteo-experts said, "nope, probably not gonna have a bunch of flowers this time around?" Well hooray hooray. The national park is expecting a much bigger wildflower bloom than expected, right now, this minute, so if you want to see petals in the desert, go, go, go.

SHIPWRECK WEEKEND: You've been to Catalina Island, yes? So you've been to Avalon. But how many times have you been out to Two Harbors, the other burg on the wee ocean crag? It's pretty, it's remote, and it is made for a spirited pirate party. That's happens from April 11 through 13, and there shall be music, there shall be beverage, there shall be tri-cornered hats and costumes. If you want to costume in that manner but can't catch a boat to Catalina, drive to Irwindale, where it's weekend two of Ren Faire.

Photo Credit: LA Times Festival of Books]]>
<![CDATA[Universal Studios: Despicable Me Ride's Big Debut]]> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:35:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/226*120/despicablemehollywooduniversal1.jpg

If you have a movie-loving tot around the house, then you've likely heard that tot say "bee doo" over and over and over and over.

What does it mean? One: Your child is a most excellent mimic, and may have a future in voice-over. And two? The Minions of "Despicable Me" have truly infiltrated in the successful way that Minions do.

That is indeed the Minion's signature sound -- bee doo bee doo bee doo -- and Gru's industrious lemon-hued assistants have indeed infiltrated another front: Universal Studios Hollywood.

"Despicable Me Minion Mayhem" is the theme park's splashy hello-to-summer offering, and it makes its bee doo bee doo bee -- whoops, its big debut -- on Saturday, April 12. 

An "expansive interactive experience" called "Super Silly Fun Land" also makes its bow at the same time.

The new "Despicable Me" attraction lands in the spot occupied by the "Terminator" ride for several years. So, yep, it is an "immersive 3D Ultra HD digital animation adventure" happening inside that venue. No water drops or pitch-black coaster loops, just kid-okay high jinks courtesy of a gaggle of characters that have made quite the bee doo bee doo -- we mean quite the hit with the kidlet set.

Want to take an early peek? James Franco is beating you to it and standing first in line at the ride, because of course he is. 


Photo Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood]]>
<![CDATA[Boysenberry Days: Knott's Pays Tribute]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 17:43:35 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knottsboysenberry87.jpg

One can't quite say that Buena Park was built on the juicy foundation of the boysenberry, but few cities have had the tight relationship between history and foodstuff

The boysenberry is synonymous with Knott's Berry Farm, of course, and with good reason: Walter Knott helped saved the knobbily purple wonder in the earlier part of the last century. A road-close farm stand followed, and following that? Preserves, jams, and jellies made by Cordelia Knott, and then, the world-famous theme park, where the spirit of the succulent treat can be seen throughout, and definitely in the shops.

True, Smuckers is now behind the Knott's jams, and the park has out sized the original stand many times over, but the boysenberry remains king. You can pay homage to its royal sweetness during the theme park's Boysenberry Festival, which happens in the famous Ghost Town area from Saturday, April 12 through Sunday, April 27.

This is a fun factoid, jam enthusiasts: It is the inaugural outing for the Knott's boysenberry-themed celebration. Definitely time, we thinks, to preserve the past.
Yep, we said "preserve." Jelly humor.

"Boysenberry-inspired food" will fill the Ghost Town dance hall during the two-week sticky scene, and "(l)ocal artisans will sell unique boysenberry-inspired wares." And shall there be daily pie eating contests? There shall be.

Oh, and savory food for sale, including ribs and chicken charbroiled with boysenberry glaze. Sorry, but we must pause here, because we've never, ever considered boysenberry glaze before, for meat.


Admission to Knott's Berry Farm gets you over to the Ghost Town goodness. Every big enterprise starts on something small, and it feels right to honor one of the smallest starters for one of the largest enterprises.

Perhaps if you do stick a boysenberry in the ground a theme park'll grow in that spot after a few decades. Right?

Photo Credit: Knott's Berry Farm]]>
<![CDATA[Avocado x 2: Creamy Weekend Fests Ahead]]> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 06:39:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/avocado4.jpg

Fact: There are dozens of fruits you didn't think of this week. The quince? Probably not. The kumquat? Well, maybe, since Southern California trees are bursting with the orange oblong orbs at the moment. Gooseberries? If you're a pie-maker, maybe these crossed your mind. Maybe.

But the avocado? It's a superstar specimen that crosses eaters' paths with a startling and pronounced frequency. Attribute this, in large part, to guacamole, which is both the fruit's main vehicle and a dish that is now popping up on all the menus, whether the restaurant serves traditional Mexican cuisine or not.

The alligator pear can stand on its own legs, or, um, stem. Exhibit A? Not one but two festivals devoted to its royal creaminess are flavoring up the Southern California calendar, and on the same day, too: Sunday, April 13. And, nope, that doesn't even include the mega Carpinteria avo-party, which lands in October.

Want to do both? A bit of driving is involved, but figure guac is at both ends.

Olvera Street is the scene for the Los Angeles Avocado Festival. It's free to get in and avocado salad, hot dogs with guacamole, avocado scallop ceviche, and avocado club sandwiches will be in the house. Or street, rather.

Fallbrook is the other happening spot for green goodness and it will bustle. Tens of thousands of people show up for the mondo Avocado Festival. If you're wondering if avocado ice cream will be a thing, and other offbeat bites, consider this the confirmation you seek.

Avocados, you do hold sway.

As for gooseberries, quinces, and kumquats? May they get the spotlight, in turn, too. Actually, wouldn't they all be good served alongside avocado? Surely some culinary artist is hard at work on new fruit/fruit pairings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Vintage Pins: SoCal's Classic Bowling Alleys]]> Wed, 09 Apr 2014 07:32:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/CovinaBowlCourtesyInternationalBowlingMuseumandHallofFame.jpg

It's a funny commonality we all likely share and never give a second thought. If you're asked to describe Southern California style of the '50s and 1960s, what places or businesses do you cite as prime examples?

Old-school diners, probably. Motels and gas stations, too. Suburban tract homes, sure. And, without fail, people summon the following two words: bowling alleys.

How the bowling alley became synonymous with the cutting-edge mid-century architecture will be considered in the new Architecture and Design Museum exhibit "Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture 1954-1964."

The Miracle Mile museum is lining up the proverbial pins for the show's one-month run, a run that launches on Friday, April 11.

The show considers the "space-age recreation center" that "reinvented the sport of bowling in the 1950s." "(P)hotographs, drawings, and original drawings" will tell the Googie-flavored, neon-whimsical story. And who's at the helm of the curating ship on this one? Mr. Chris Nichols, that maven of LA modernism.

Of course, lively buildings housing bowling lanes haven't fully disappeared from the SoCal landscape, but the wrecking ball has met more than a few. And while the zigzag roofwork and outlandish signage sometimes needs a buff-up here and there, fans of bowling alley arcana can still sense the spirited style of yore.

It hasn't been all gutter balls for iconic bowling architecture, in short. See the show then seek out your favorite alley for a little post-museum recreating.

"Bowlarama: California Bowling Architecture 1954-1964" runs at the A+D Museum from April 11 to May 11.

Photo Credit: Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame]]>
<![CDATA["Ghostbusters": The LA Locations Tour]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 18:49:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/156481765.jpg

In the pantheon of great New York films, "Ghostbusters" stands out, for a few reasons. One? It's different from the grittier greats like "Serpico" and "Dog Day Afternoon," meaning it stands out from the Big Apple pack. And two? The exteriors could not be more New-York-y if a set designer had stuck "I Love NY" stickers all over the place. The local feel is there.

But... Los Angeles? Yeah, that's in this most New-York-ian of films, too. Like, a lot. It's not a little known fact, in any way, but to call "Ghostbusters" a Los Angeles movie is definitely stirring the proverbial pot.

You can take a tour, though, and weigh it in your own mind. The Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles -- yep, GHOULA is their spirited short handle -- will head out on Saturday, April 26 for a trio of tours, over a single day, that takes the local spots where Dr. Peter Venkman, Ray, Winston, and Egon fought phantoms.

And one famous phantom in particular. Yep, downtown LA's own Millennium Biltmore is where Slimer holds creepy court in the film, so the tour will take a look at the haunting side of the hotel.

Oh yes: Real ghost stories shall be discussed during the day, in addition to the scenes filmed in Southern California. Wait, did one of the most celebrated ghost movies of all time shoot among actual wraiths and other-worldlies? Do tell, GHOULA.

Seats are limited, very, and, again, it's a one-day-only thing. And, you're correct, mega "Ghostbusters" maven -- it is the 30th anniversary of the film this year, a film that deftly melded the comedy and scare genres with the sweetest, and most impish, of touches. Flicks made today still feel its funny influence, no?

Tickets to the Ghost-Buster Ghost-Bus-Tour are $35 each.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Largest Outdoor Art Show Ever Conceived]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 12:21:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/lacmaurbanlamps12.jpg

Is the chain of things that art follows life which follows art which follows imagination? Or is that imagination follows art which is inspired by reality which hails from art?

It can befuddle the mind, but one thing is true: Real life and culture impact each other, daily, in all the ways.

Look to the recent photos making the online rounds, the ones that whimsically imagine a world where billboards and advertisements are replaced by artworks. If you love the idea, take heart. Because once again art is following life which is following art via the mondo Art Everywhere U.S. campaign.

It's billed as "The Largest Outdoor Art Show Ever Conceived."

The image-beautiful upshot of the cultural happening? "Approximately 50 recognized masterworks of American art from the museums' collections will appear on as many as 50,000 displays nationwide, including static and digital billboards, subway platforms and trains, buses and bus shelters from August 4 for 4 weeks."

Meaning this: Our late summers are about to get dang artsy, in places we don't expect.

Also meaningful? Five major museums, including our city's own Los Angeles County Museum of Art, are partnering with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America on Art Everywhere U.S.

Right? Major. This isn't a go-it-alone thing, on the museums' behalf. The people behind the ad spaces are on-board.

The final list of 50 artworks to be displayed have not yet been chosen, but you can vote. But vote with care, because you'll likely see the images throughout August.

How refreshing it will be to see a watercolor up on a digital billboard, for a week or two, not saying anything to us but enjoy, think, ponder, and daydream.

Photo Credit: LACMA]]>
<![CDATA[Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day Is Here]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 17:13:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/benandjerrys+ice+cream.jpg

The Ben & Jerry's ice cream HQ in Waterbury, Vt. is beloved for a number of reasons. One is the quickity 30-minute tour, where you can see how all of those quirky flavors the company is known for come together. It also has a gift shop, natch, and perky employees, and other idiosyncratic touches that help make it one of the best known cold-treat brands on the planet.

But we're going to posit that somewhere in that famous factory there's a weather center, and within the weather center are ice cream-fueled meteorologists, wired on Chubby Hubby, predicting when the temperature will be just right for Free Cone Day, the annual Ben & Jerry's queue-up for a gratis goodie.

And, once again, the meteorologists behind the secret wall at Ben & Jerry's HQ have nailed it, at least in terms of Southern California weather: Tuesday, April 8, which is Free Cone Day, will be perrrrfect ice cream weather.

You know we're serious, because we drew out the spelling of "perfect."

High temp is in the low 80s, which means when you line up outside of a participating Ben & Jerry's shop -- there are lines, so bring a friend -- you'll bask in the sunshine. (Question: Why don't people ever bask in the rain? You can, right? Legally?)

The time are noon to 8 p.m. The reason? It's an annual anniversary shindig, woot woot.

There are no other asterisks. Walk into a participating Ben & Jerry's on Tuesday, April 8 and walk out with a free scoop of ice cream.

Isn't it nice when life is simple and free of fine print?



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Movie Love: TCM Classic Film Festival]]> Fri, 11 Apr 2014 13:52:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/219*120/HardDaysNight.jpg

The modern-day Angeleno can be forgiven for thinking of first-run movies and spankin' fresh blockbusters when it comes to a certain stretch of Hollywood Boulevard. Barricades go up frequently, the red carpet goes down, and next week's splashy flick has its starry premiere.

But it is a stretch, and a town, built brick-by-brick -- or make that frame-by-frame -- on the reel canisters of films gone by. And for one long springtime each year, the cinema of yore reigns in the city it raised, in one four-day, actorful, memory-laden blowout.

We do speak of the TCM Classic Film Festival, indeed. It runs from Thursday, April 10 through Sunday, April 13 around Hollywood -- so think the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Egyptian, and such -- and the "TCM" in the name says that the star factor shall be high.

Some highlights? "A world premiere restoration from the original negative" of "A Hard Day's Night" is on the schedule. A tribute to Maureen O'Hara and a Jerry Lewis handprint ceremony in front of the Chinese Theatre. And Richard Dreyfuss will get his career-sweep overview, too.

Oh yeah. And Mel Brooks is going to present "Blazing Saddles." Did you just drop everything and cancel on all your friends? They get it.

The panel discussions are plentiful, as are poolside screenings. We mean, honest now. What's a tony Hollywood yore-sweet to-do without something poolside? Just keep an eye out for TCM leading men Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz around the boulevard, as they'll be popping up and chatting with stars and fans at a bevy of cinematic spots.

Tickets? They're a la carte. See one movie or see ten. It is difficult to stop, though, when Hollywood classics are the thing. Because while we love seeing a new blockbuster open on the boulevard, the word "classic" isn't yet in front of its title.

That takes time, love, and magic.


Photo Credit: A Hard Day's Night]]>
<![CDATA[Free Pollo Campero Empanada Day]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 06:28:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/empanadaapril8.jpg

National food days are a funny lots. Some hold mild interest for the foodie, some lean a little "meh," and some are so ingredient-specific that you almost want to pause, scratch your head, and ask "is that an edible thing that actually exists?"

Then you have the dream team, the comfort food pantheon, those dishes or companies that serve up tasties we'll consume any day of the year, no national-holiday-type prodding required. Two happen to be falling on the very same day -- Tuesday, April 8 -- and we can only compare it to a cosmic alignment of the tastiest order.

Since savory comes before sweet, let's address that first: It's National Empanada Day. Wait, wait, come back! We're fairly certain that just reading the word "empanada" makes anyone run for the nearest empanada, because, well. Empanadas.

Pollo Campero will mark the day at several Southern California locations including spots in Van Nuys and South Gate. How will the holiday be observed at the chain? Free. Chicken. Empanada. Filled with its own exclusive flavor-packed Latin spice mix. And, wait for it: No purchase necessary.

Seriously, how often do you see those words together, in reality? Not your foodie daydreams? Practically never, is our best guess.

The Pollo Campero empanadas are handmade and made daily, so there's that and that, too. And one more that? One free empanada per customer. That's fair. 

And one more celebratory note: The free giveaway is also in celebration of the Guatemala-born company's 43rd birthday, which happens this month.

As for the sweet 'n free side of April 8? It's also Free Cone Day at participating Ben & Jerry's. Oh yeah. Free chicken empanada and a free scoop of something rich and vanilla-y?

Why don't these duo cosmic free food national day alignments happen each and every day? 


Photo Credit: Pollo Campero]]>
<![CDATA[The Million Puppet Parade]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 09:55:58 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/millionpuppetparade34.jpg

If you've been to the Third Street Promenade chances are remarkably high that something sitting on someone's hand, or dangling from strings, has waved at you.

That's because buskery has long reigned in Santa Monica, and outlandish street acts of every sort. Puppets fit right in with that scene, of course. So well that every puppet in Southern California will be packing their little puppet bags and making for the Promenade on Sunday, April 6.

Okay, probably not *every* puppet in all the land -- that would probably mean the 405 would be bumper-to-bumper puppets -- but a whole bunch. The event is called The Million Puppet Parade, after all, so organizers are look for reams and reams of felt to show up.

Well, felt after it has been made into a small figure that can fit on someone's hand or arm, of course. It's not called "The Million Felt Bolt Parade." That's something totally different.

The free-to-watch event -- it starts at 11:30 a.m. -- is part of the larger LA Puppet Fest, which is ongoing, with multiple merry events, through April 13. But, you betcha, puppets out in force on Third Street Promenade is one of the two-week festival's camera-ready showstoppers.

There's a puppet-making workshop ahead of time, at 10 a.m., and a puppet dance off. What? We don't even want to know. We want to be surprised and delighted in the moment.

All puppets are welcome, by the way, if you want to march with your favorite finger puppet or full-body 12-foot wearable cloak figure. Please. Who'd turn any puppet away from such a happy, springtime strut?

Here's what we're thinking about: The first-time-to-LA tourists who show up on the Promenade that day unaware of what's going down. Do we kind of hope they think our city, which has a rep for the outlandish, throws a puppet parade every weekend?

Yeah, we're hoping that. So puppets of SoCal, grab your people and go Santa Monica.

Photo Credit: Million Puppet Parade]]>
<![CDATA[Huzzah: It's Ren Faire Time]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:20:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/JoeFoley2013day1apr6sat431.JPG

Here's the thing about a good ye-olden-time-y festival: The merrymakers who show up in elaborate dresses and clanky knight costumes and ribbon-bedecked hats didn't just throw them together on opening morning.

No ma'am: Renaissance play is a full-on, year-round lifestyle for many people, fantasy-happy revelers who regularly costume up for smaller gatherings and events. It's a Thing, capital T, and thank goodness. Isn't our world lacking in Things that bring total pleasure? More Things, please.

Smaller dress-up occasions abound, but the biggest, the grandest, the joustiest of all the wayback extravaganzas? It's the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire, which bows, like a courtier before a queen, in Irwindale on Saturday, April 5.

Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area, to be exact. We make fond mention of the participants' all-year-long Renaissance devotion because of this principal reason: Their on-going commitment to the period and style brings a ton of flavor to Ren Faire.

A ton. You'll see royals, bards, musicians, masters of various crafts all plying their various trades (or, in the royals' case, swanning about the grounds, royally). In short, the castles-and-quips to-dos are plentiful.

There shall be artisan items for purchase -- you know you want a leather satchel that looks like it time-machined straight outta 1595 -- and games and rides and entertainments galore. Fruit ices and sausages lend some culinary color. And will there be turkey legs, the edible emblem of Renaissance faires everywhere?

Please. We're kind of a little miffed you even asked that.

And let it never be said that a festival devoted to centuries long gone can't swing with the new stuff. There is, indeed, fresh additions, like a beer map. Uh, can we get a huzzah? Right on. Other au courant happenings will dot the tried-and-true goings-on the party is known for.

Oh, and Ren Faire is weekends only, through May 17. Don't show up at Santa Fe Dam in your big ruff and dress on, like a Wednesday afternoon. Or do? It's your choice. We're just saying it'll be closed, so what you choose to do from there, with the remainder of your Wednesday, while rocking your Queen Elizabeth the First gown, is up to you.

Tickets, turkey legs, and revelries are right this way, past-loving person.

Photo Credit: Joe Foley]]>
<![CDATA[LAX Wow: Local Photographer's Snapshot Goes Viral]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 14:42:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/laxmichaelkelley1.jpg

If you've been to or by an airport in your life -- so we'll assume that's probably a "yes" -- you've likely thrilled to a plane taking off, the swell of the big sound, the majesty of flight and motion.

But how do you put that airborne enchantment into words, or, even harder, a single visual moment?

Los Angeles photographer Mike Kelley found the perfect way, along with little Photoshop support, and the result? One very viral snapshot.

"On an unusually clear morning a few days ago, I rushed over to LAX and set up my tripod, photographing every plane from the same location it took off." Mr. Kelley further reports that "this ended up making about 400 images throughout the day and gave me one hell of a sunburn!" 

Creating great art is never without its costs, of course, and sunburns count.

He worked late into the night, composing the final image, which includes 75 shots. And then? And then, the photo, like so many planes in the air, took off with a zoom. LAX is currently using it as its Facebook cover photo, and Discover Los Angeles -- the city's visitor-oriented arm -- is sending it out to its fans.

The photographer pondered the big response. "I"m not 100% sure why the photo has gotten the reaction that it has -- I think there's a lot of international flair in it, which is something people can really identify with, and I also think that it shows something which most people don't think twice about since, let's be honest, flying has become rather mundane lately."

That something he references is flight being captured in "a more exciting and colorful way. It's like 'wow! all that happens at one airport?"

To see more of the local photographers "Beautiful Images for Amazing Spaces" -- and they indeed are -- check out his main site or his print sale gallery.

Photo Credit: Mike Kelley]]>
<![CDATA[Play Locally: SoCal Spring Break]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 10:59:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sunshouldershutterstock.jpg Not hitting a tropical destination? You can get your fun on right here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Summer on the Way: Eat|See|Hear Announced]]> Mon, 07 Apr 2014 14:37:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/eatseehear098.jpg

Film-watching trends come, go, and often stay. Remember full-scale popcorn carts? They showed up in dens, once upon a yore. Screens that rose from the foot of your bed? That happened, too.

And inflatable screens? It's a backyard thing, nowadays, but the key to a fun outdoor film experience is not a lack of rain (although that helps) nor a lack of biting bugs (ditto). You've got to have the communal watching experience.

Eat|See|Hear delivers on both the inflatable screen and communal-viewing thing, with bells on. It's one of the biggies on the Southern California summer cinema landscape, and the 2014 schedule was just revealed.

How biggie? The 52-foot screen is three stories high, for one. That's a whole lot of transportable surface, yep yep.

As for opening night? That's on Saturday, May 10 at Santa Monica High School, with "(500) Days of Summer" to kick things off. Closing night? "The Goonies" on Sept. 13 at Pasadena's Centennial Square.

Ah yes, you can probably tell by those locations that Eat|See|Hear is an outdoor movie thing, as the inflatable, portable, throw-it-in-the-truck screen would indicate.

But it isn't merely an "outdoor movie thing," lest that sound like something you can do in your backyard. Food trucks like Coolhaus and The Grilled Cheese Truck swing by -- probably not a thing in your own yard -- and live bands play -- again, probably an unusual event at a private home.

Occasional pet adoption events and the popular Christmas in July night -- "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is the treat -- shall also be back.

Two quickies: Locations move around for this fest, and there's a new one on the roster: The Autry National Museum. Mountain backdrop, ahoy? And two? Showtime's a presenter.

Let's throw a three in there, for laughs. Or screams: "Jaws" is the Fourth of July film. Well played, Eat|See|Hear. Keepin' the summer traditions -- blankets on lawns, cinema by twilight, fake sharks menacing Independence Day beaches -- in fine fashion.


Photo Credit: Eat|See|Hear]]>
<![CDATA[Craft Is King: LA Beer Fest]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 11:01:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/labeerfest2045.jpg

It's true that winter has decided to make a showing in April, what with the chilling winds and low elevation mountain snow, which inspires us to ask "uh, where were you in January, colder times? What up? Should we talk?"

No matter. The early part of the month before the month when the summer season unofficially begins is all about teasing us with harbingers of the Official Season o' Chillaxing. And one of the tastiest of harbingers arrives on the first weekend of April: LA Beer Festival.

Seriously, LA Beer Festival, are you trying to make us think it is July? With your bands and your taps and your sunshine? You!

Date is Saturday, April 5, there are two distinct sessions you can wrist-band-up for -- one in the early afternoon, one in the evening -- and, as in years past, the location is Hollywoodian. This go-around, the sixth annual for Drink|Eat|Play, lands at Los Angeles Center Studios.

Did you just think "Mad Men"? Yep, the show is pretty synonymous with the downtown location, though you'll be drinking more foam and no Don-Draper-esque cocktails.

As for the swank brews doing the little pour thing? Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Ventura's Surf Brewery, Prohibition Brewing Co., and Gramercy Beverage Co. are just four of the many. "The many," by the by, will cover a swath of the state's premier make-beer houses as well as the majors from elsewhere.

Cost? Forty bucks. You're not far from downtown, nor a major bus line at the studios, so Metro it home.

Nope, it isn't summer yet, but we can pretend. We'll take a few more summery haps before the real thing arrives.

Photo Credit: LA Beer Fest]]>
<![CDATA[Stars Steppin' Out: Aguilera, Celebrities in Paris]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:00:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/485384611.jpg Celebrities are stepping out with style and sensibility on the red carpet.

Photo Credit: Alo Ceballos/GC Images/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Weekend: CicLAvia Returns to Wilshire]]> Thu, 03 Apr 2014 19:18:56 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/ciclaviaonwilshire7.jpg

CicLAvia: Wilshire Boulevard was, in large part, built as a strolling street, at least in spots like Miracle Mile. Strolling sorts will once again reign, and many, many bikes, when CicLAvia returns for another free cycle spectacular on Sunday, April 6. When we say "many, many bikes" what do we mean by "many, many"? Oh, over 100,000 people showed the last go around. Food trucks, entertainment, pedestrian-only zones, and arty happenings shine brightly beyond the spoke-related fun.

¡Taco Madness!: Eaters who dig tacos -- so all eaters, right? Thereabouts? -- know there's no sense in pitting taco maker against taco maker. Wellll, the competition can be fun, and lively -- the Saturday, April 5 event at Grand Park does have the element of "who makes the best tacos" to it, courtesy of a Groupon/LA Taco bracket vote -- but the chomping down is the most important part. You've chomped down on a taco or five before, right? Yeah, we knew it.

Thai Songkran Festival: It's the beautiful celebration of the new year. Make for Hollywood for cooking demos, martial arts, dance, kickboxing, a Heritage Village, food, art, food, and food, and more food. Did we mention the amazing eats? Deliciousness awaits. It's on the boulevard -- traffic is closed for a good portion of Thai Town -- and it happens on Sunday, April 6.

Street Icon Goes Museum: Ever stare completely transfixed at the towering inflatable figures that bend and dance in front of car washes and dealerships? Several will cameo in the courtyard at the Hammer Museum on Saturday, April 5 (and the following Saturday as well). A four-hour avant garde minimalist composition, complete with movement and voice, is the centerpiece of the free happening.

LA Puppet Fest: The strings'll reign through April 13, but if you want to see a bunch of puppets on the march -- er, via their human besties -- make for Third Street Promenade on Sunday, April 6. That's the Million Puppet Parade, and while a million puppets might not show up, you can bet there'll be a mess of zany furry characters sitting over people's arms. Wait, can we say that? You do know that's how puppets talk, right? Or are the puppets actually controlling the humans? Dun dun dun.

Photo Credit: CicLAvia]]>
<![CDATA["The Super Bowl of A Cappella" Mi-Mi-Mis in SoCal]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:57:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/honeywhiskeytrio1.jpg

Voice is frequently called "the first instrument" and to that there can be little dispute: We humans tend to wail and howl from minute one of life.

There's also no disputing that adding instruments as melodic complements to a voice -- guitar, harp, drums -- is a magical thing, indeed. But enjoying that singular instrument, which changes person to person, is a pleasure, and a pleasure at the heart of a cappella.

Singing sans other accompaniment has been around for millenia but it has taken off as a force of nature, and wider popular culture in recent years. Look to the film "Pitch Perfect," the touring groups, and look to the Harmony Sweepstakes which is billed as "The Super Bowl of A Cappella."

The sweepstakes are about to sweep into Southern California. The Hermosa Beach Theater, specifically, and the night? Saturday, April 5.

A handful of harmonizing knit-tight units'll be mi-mi-mi-ing and occupying all the octaves, all in pursuit of a spot at the National Championships. Speaking of those, the 2013 National Champions, Honey Whiskey Trio, will be in the house to host. And on the groups going note-to-note on the competition roster? Arf, Abinante Family Singers, Down 4 The Count, and Overhaul will be at the mics.

Is it only a matter of time before there's a feature film, television special, or book series about making it to the top of the vocal mountain via the Harmony Sweepstakes?

Tickets for the LA Regionals are $25 each. And if you're keen to hit the National Championships, hang tight: They're headed for the Bay Area in May.

Photo Credit: Honey Whiskey Trio]]>
<![CDATA[Old Hollywood Auction: Chasen's Artifacts]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 12:43:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chasenauction134.jpg

If you were part of the Tinseltown swankery any time around the middle of the last century, you likely, at some point, slid into one of the iconic booths at Chasen's, ready to dine on chops, martinis, and some delicious gossip.

The legendary see-be-seen-and-sup spot at 9039 Beverly Boulevard had its ups and ups and downs over its six-decade run, but the fact that it was the primo hangout for Hollywood's elite shall remain forever etched in the annals of entertainment.

Star-studded? No place was studded by stars more than Chasen's, back in the day.

Now a number of Chasen's artifacts are heading for new homes, possibly yours. Julien's Auctions is overseeing several pieces from the restaurant's history, including one that comes with a magical music story attached.

The Hollywood Legends Auction, which includes oodles of artifacts beyond Chasen's, happens on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12.

As for the magical music story? Donna Summer famously was inspired to write "She Works Hard for the Money" inside the Chasen's women's bathroom (attendant Onetta Johnson was the songstress's inspiration). Two restroom doors are in the auction, so surely a big fan of Ms. Summer, and that hit song, will make the bid.

Other pieces in the auction include chairs, sconces, serving items, a Yamaha Piano, and shutters.

What long-ago crooners might have leaned against that piano while belting out an impromptu standard or two? Every singer of the 1930s, '40s, and onward was a Chasen's patron at some point. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but we are dealing with a Hollywood hot spot. How many movies and television shows were first hashed out among its booths?

Chasen's no longer stands, but you can visit it, in a way, by making for the Bristol Farms at Beverly and Doheny.

If you purchase a milk at the market, and serve it in a Chasen's cup, isn't that a little past-meets-present Hollywood-style magic right there?



Photo Credit: Chasen's]]>
<![CDATA[Limited Supply: The Mexican Cola-Inspired Beer]]> Wed, 02 Apr 2014 12:46:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/196*120/mexicancolabeer1.jpg

Recipe contests are funny things. Home cooks and brewers try to dream up the most outlandish concoctions, the strangest toppings, the weirdest hidden ingredients, the most flavorful zings, all in the hope of capturing the top prize.

But sometimes just looking locally, and going back to the roots of what you and your friends like to do, and interpreting that via a drink or dish, is key. That's what Emily Finch did when approaching the "What Would You Brew?" contest last fall.

The directive of the Angel City Brewery contest was a simple one: Create an interesting beer with local flair. So Ms. Finch thought of late nights in Los Angeles, of the fun of being out, and one flavor sprung to mind: Mexican cola.

The "avid home brewer" submitted her "Mexican Cola-inspired beer" to the brewery last fall, and lo and behold: She won. Won over 279 contest applicants, let it be added. Ms. Finch's libation is described as "acidic, a smidge spicy, caramel-y, a tad sweet, and malty" and it is available, on tap, for a limited time, at the downtown brewery.

It's not going to last long, says an Angel City rep.

Ms. Finch talked about her libation inspiration. "When apply for the contest, I thought to myself 'what reminds me of LA?' and I instantly thought of hanging out with my friends and brothers in Downtown. After a late night of pub hopping, our favorite thing to do is grab food from street vendors. And nothing tastes better with street food at 2 a.m. than a nice, cold bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola."

True that.

The first batch debuted at Angel City on April 1; the second will show up during LA Beer Week in September. If you're intrigued by the combo -- and you must be, right? -- best make for the brewery for a potent sweet shot of LA-style flavor.



Photo Credit: Angel City Brewery]]>
<![CDATA[April Fools' Day: Zoos Get Pranky]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:36:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/zoomeerkatslion1.jpg

So was a mob of meerkats actually roaming the lion enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo at just after 2:30 in the morning on April 1?

Wait. April 1. Apriiiil 1. Hey. Just a dang second. LA Zoo! You! You got us. You really did, you sneakies.

While various web properties and companies dip a tentative toe in the April Fools' pool, with little jokes and asides here and there, many of California's most famous zoos and aquariums jump, paws and claws first, into the mischief-minded merrymaking.

The Los Angeles Zoo did indeed post photos to Facebook of some zany meerkats calling upon the big cats in the middle of the night. It makes for a cute pic, but we'll assume the snapshot that says "lion enclosure" in the corner was doctored.

Wait. You can change photos that go on the internet, right? Huh. We think we heard that, somewhere.

San Diego Zoo is also in the silly spirit of the holiday. A post on the zoo's Facebook page reads "Did you know? Pandas, at rest, always point magnetic North. Their fur also turns completely white in the days leading up to an earthquake."

Wow. Who knew that the gorgeous animals also had a promising future in seismology studies?

And Monterey Bay Aquarium, which has been in the swing of winky things in years past -- remember the giant sea monster photo? -- posted a snap of sunset at the Cannery Row landmark. Oh, yep, forgot to mention: Looks like Jupiter and Saturn are dominating the evening sky.

We know the Monterey area is magical, but we had not idea it had the gravitational power needed to summon the distant planets of the Solar System.

Best keep a watch on your favorite site devoted to beasties. People who love and work with animals do tend to keep a special twinkle in their eye, especially around April 1.


Photo Credit: LA Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[The Top Restaurant in the World]]> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:44:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/+Grant+Achatz1.jpg

Chef Grant Achatz has a new feather in his culinary cap.

For the third year in a row, Elite Traveler awarded Chicago's Alinea the top slot in its list of the best 100 restaurant in world.

The list was compiled from a reader survey. New York’s DANIEL restaurant took the second spot and UK restaurant The Fat Duck took third.

The Fat Duck's Heston Blumenthal was awarded Chef of the Year.

London and Paris tied for the most entries on the list, with eight restaurants apiece, and New York and Tokyo each had six.

France had 18 restaurants on the list, and the USA and UK each had 12 restaurants.

Click here to view the entire list.

Photo Credit: Diane Bondareff/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Sweet Strings: LA Puppet Fest ]]> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 18:57:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/169*120/puppetfestMahna_Micky%27s.jpg The two-week spectacular is about puppets, some other puppets, and more puppets. Puppets!

Photo Credit: LA Puppet Fest]]>
<![CDATA[Southbay Bistro Closes its Doors]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 08:30:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cafepierre23.jpg

If you've called Manhattan Beach home at any time over the last four or so decades, you've likely celebrated a new job or good news at Café Pierre. It’s an easygoing restaurant known for its cozy, bistro-style clutch of tables, intimate chatty atmosphere, and France-by-way-of-SoCal eats.

And how many first dates and surprise engagements have gone down at 317 Manhattan Beach Boulevard? Beaucoup, you betcha.

Sady, every restaurant sees le fin, and Café Pierre is no different: After nearly 37 years, owners Guy and Sylvie Gabriele are shuttering the eatery with plans to debut a new meet-and-eat spot called Love and Salt.

Chef Michael Fiorelli, formerly of Terranea's mar'sel, will join the father and daughter team on the venture.

Flicking off the switch, though, isn't a proper goodbye for a neighborhood favorite, however. With that in mind, Café Pierre will feature a Throwback Menu from Sunday, April 6 through Sunday, April 13. It's a way to "pay tribute" to the restaurant over the decades, so fans should be on the lookout for some favorite past dishes.

On the $60 prix fixe supper roster? Four courses, with choices like escargot, Crepe Cordon Bleu, and Filet Dijonnaise. One bite of a beloved dish may zip you, time travel-style, back to 1987. (A fine time to time travel back to, what with the shoulder pads and hair mousse and lack of smart phones sitting on every table.)

Whatever you order, be sure to swing by the spot before the final adieu. Change is très nécessaire in this life, but good food from the longtime Pierre team is a given.

Café Pierre will close its doors for good April 14.

Photo Credit: Cafe Pierre]]>
<![CDATA[Inflatable Street Figures Take Over Museum]]> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 13:38:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/hammersaturdayapril5.JPG

Though they too often garner a snooty rep, museums are not simply about paintings and sculptures and other works portrayed as highbrow and distant from our everyday lives.

On the contrary, great art frequently employs everyday imagery, creating hauntingly familiar scenes that make us think twice about the sights we pass on a daily basis.

Consider those tall inflatable figures that hold frenetic court outside car washes and parking lots. They attract our attention with their sudden movements, sometimes enough so that we'll drive in for a soap-and-shine.

Now picture several of those figures, all together, all madly flapping and bending. Is this a cake-fueled dream you had once? Or is it the Hammer Museum in Westwood on Saturday, April 5 and Saturday, April 12?

Several of the iconic street corner figures'll fill the museum's courtyard as Terry Riley's "seminal minimalist composition 'In C'" is performed. "Singers and musicians" alike will participate in the good-sized performance, "good-sized" meaning four hours long.

It makes sense that the music to which these giant inflatables shimmy and dance be as large as they are. In fact, the bigness of the sizable sound program and the huge figures complement each other quite well.

The spirited and avant garde shows kick off at noon on both days. Look for Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY and INSPIRAVI Chamber Choir to lend beauty, movement, and voice.

We do wonder, though, if after seeing the inflatables in an esteemed institution of art, as part of a grand and mysterious performance, if drivers will see them with fresh eyes back on the street?

Surely yes? It helps to remember that even the everyday has a strong element of the artistic to it, even those flapping, look-at-me-look-at-me figures.

The performances are free.

Photo Credit: Hammer Museum]]>