LA Eats: Local Favorites in LA, the Westside and the Valley

With as many restaurants as there are Bird scooters, we’ve decided to simplify your options of the week by dishing out the best places to grab a bite from power lunches to elegant fare. Read below for our nosh-worthy spots throughout L.A., the Westside, and the Valley of local favorites.

Area: Los Angeles

Soulmate

Location: West Hollywood

Set in the heart of West Hollywood, this modern eatery draws its inspiration from the Spanish Mediterranean. Soulmate and Chef Rudy Lopez utilize SoCal’s best local ingredients set against the backdrop of a live-fire and open-air concept setting. The dishes are as stunning as the restaurant itself, with choices like their Uni Toast and Vegetable Fiduea. Just make sure you end the evening with what is considered one of the best Vodka sodas in WeHo from their hand-crafted cocktail collection and you can’t go wrong.

Big Boi

Location: Sawtelle-Los Angeles

If you are a fan of B Sweet Dessert Bar, then your in for an equally sweet treat with their newest venture Big Boi. The restaurant offers Filipino comfort food by Chef Barb Batiste. While they are currently only offering pick-up, their menu is perfect for a night in. The Chicken Adobo is their most popular dish and rightly so, with its ideal combination of garlic, soy, vinegar marinade. You can also treat yourself to their famous butter selection for a tasty morning spread. Choose from flavors like Ube, Buko Pandan, or Ensaymada. 

Meals by Genet

Location: Little Ethiopia

Rated with a Bib Gourmand by Michelin, Meals by Genet has been a long-standing city gem. The restaurant is perfect for a date night or evening out and offers fare that is ‘stunningly good’ as the Michelin guide suggests. Enjoy the pan-fried freshwater trout or Hirutye’s yebegsiga alitcha, a lamb dish featuring tasty and slightly spicy berbere and awaze paired with spongy injera. With every item on the menu being as delicious as the next, you can do no wrong.

Area: Westside/Beach Communities

Reel Inn Malibu

Location: Malibu

While a far less formal option for dining, the Reel Inn serves up seafood fare that has placed it on the list of local favorites year after year. The restaurant offers a fresh selection of seafood options from Lobster to Mahi Mahi and no shortage of seating in their sprawling seaside eatery. 

Gracias Madre Newport

Location: Newport Beach

Do you love Gracias Madre West Hollywood? Great, because the local favorites Newport Beach location is just as delicious with a slightly different setting. Their Heart of Palm Ceviche Toast is a perfect lunchtime choice for a sunny day, with ingredients like roasted coconut, mango, banana pepper, jicama, cucumber, coconut milk, and fennel. If you prefer something heavier, we suggest the Crab Cake Torta or Mole and Mushroom Tamale. 

Ollo

Location: Malibu

Another perfect local favorites spot for lunch, brunch, or even dinner, Ollo offers dishes using ingredients sourced from various local farms. Opt for one of their delicious artisan pizzas like the Burrata or Wild Mushroom and Spinach. Equally delicious choices also include the Zucchini Pasta or Tandoori Spiced King Salmon. We don’t have favorites because we genuinely love every dish on their menu, and we’re sure you will too!

Area: SFV, Conejo, Santa Clarita

Chick Next Door Hot Chicken

Location: Glendale

Chick Next Door Hot Chicken comes from the mind and skills of award-winning Chef Steven Velichnian. Their Chicken Sliders are some of the best that can be found on the west coast, turning comfort food into a destination for the taste buds. If you’re feeling a little chicken about spicey food, they have other options for you that are equally delectable. You can do no wrong with an order of Cheese Fries as long as you finish everything off with a churro or two. 

Szechuan Place

Location: Northridge

There is something about hidden restaurant gems in strip malls that always deliver, and that is, even more, the case with Szechuan Place. Considered one of the best Chinese restaurants in Northridge, they could easily be called one of the best in the valley. Try the Scallion Pancake or Cumin Beef, and then make it a point to try everything else on their menu because every dish is that good. 

Mizlala

Location: Sherman Oaks

Offering elevated Middle Eastern dishes in a simple modern setting, Mizlala is a vegetarian-friendly neighborhood delight. The restaurant now offers three locations, and it is easy to see why.  Any selection from their range of family-style dishes proves nosh-worthy. The Lamb Shewarma served on mini laffa with harissa, lebane, and tahina is a perfect selection for dinner. If you prefer to share, you can do no wrong with the Greek Grilled Octopus cooked with vinaigrette, capers, yogurt, crispy peewee potato.,

Feu Pho Kitchen

Location: Studio City

Known for serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine, Feu Pho Kitchen is a local favorite and star in Studio City. Specializing in Pho, the restaurant ups their game with ‘highly curated fresh ingredients. The Chilled Papaya and Mango salad make for a perfect starter. We recommend pairing it alongside popular pho dishes like the Ribeye Beef or Jidori Chicken. Either way, you’ll enjoy what you find in cuisine at Feu Pho Kitchen for lunch or dinner.

Firefly

Location: Studio City

Firefly delivers on ambiance, cuisine, and service, making it a must for those seeking the best evening setting. Offering a seamless melding of refined and rustic, vintage and contemporary, Firefly serves delectable dishes for both brunch and dinner. The Mushroom Pappardelle is exquisite, as is the Atlantic Salmon pan seared with summer squash, corn, shiitake mushrooms, edamame, red onion agrodolce, coconut curry broth.

Out & About | Staycation in Solvang

Out & About | Staycation in Solvang

Windmills, delicious pastries, and a charming main street in a picturesque Danish town. You won’t need your passport for a staycation in Solvang. “A little slice of Denmark in Southern California,” the city of Solvang certainly makes for the perfect local getaway. Located in the Santa Ynez Valley, this historic Danish town is perfectly situated in Santa Barbara Wine Country. Depending on where you are driving in from and, of course, LA traffic, you’ll be whisked away by the charm of this city within a 1 ½ to 2-hour drive. So what exactly do you do once you arrive? We’re sharing a few of our favorites ways to stay, eat and play in California’s favorite (and only) Danish village.

Stay Awhile
Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

Located on a 10,000-acre private ranch, the Alisal is ideal for those seeking a dose of western culture. Considered a world-class resort, the hotel is considered one of California’s premier guest ranches. During your stay, you can enjoy horseback riding, (2) 18-hole golf courses, tennis, or even fly fishing. 

Hotel Ynez

If you would like to add a bit of the french countryside to your danish excursion, Hotel Ynez serves as an excellent choice. The hotel, which opened earlier this year, is as tranquil as it is stunning. Located on two private acres, Hotel Ynez is the perfect escape from the urban hustle and bustle/ The property features lush gardens, bonfire pits, a pool, and an inviting outdoor pavilion where you can take in a night under the stars. 

The Landsby

If you prefer accommodations with a modern touch, The Landsby is ideal. This beautiful boutique hotel offers contemporary designs with the ambiance of Scandinavian aesthetics. Moreover, their remodeled guest rooms are bright and open, with comfortable hand-crafted furnishings and breathtaking artwork commissioned by regional artists.

Hotel Corque

A Triple AAA – Four Diamond awarded hotel, Hotel Corque is one of Solvang’s newer properties. The hotel features a modern and rustic design that highlights the relaxed nature of wine country. Hotel Corque is located in downtown Solvang, placing you steps away from all that Santa Ynez Valley has to offer.

Wine Valley Inn & Cottages

Located in the quiet downtown neighborhood, Wine Valley Inn & Cottages offers the quintessential ambiance of Solvang. With 56 spacious guestrooms, 6 charming individual cottages surrounding a private garden, and one grand suite, you have a range of options to enjoy your stay. The inn is also within walking distance of wine tasting rooms and a short drive to Santa Ynez Valley’s best wineries. 

Dine and Sip
Olsen’s Bakery

At one of the two major bakeries in Solvang, you’ll enjoy delicious kringles, cakes, cookies, and breads at Olsen’s. The bakery has been turning out delicious treats since 1970. Just make sure you arrive early if you want to grab a pastry for breakfast. As one of the town’s main attractions, they are known for having lines that stretch around the corner.

Mortensen’s Bakery

One look at the website for Mortensen’s will have you making a drive to Solvang just for their Bear Claws. The other beloved bakery in town (there are over five authentic bakeries), Mortensen’s, is another must. In short, you can’t go wrong with choices like their Pistachio Square or Danish Butter Cookie. 

Actors Corner Cafe

A family-run eatery, the Actors Corner Cafe makes for an ideal evening destination. The charming eatery and boutique wine pairing restaurant serves upscale Italian cuisine made with locally sourced, organic ingredients. Their dishes are seasoned with the flavors and spices of old Europe, and they are open Thursday-Friday only. 

Mad & Vin

If you are staying at The Landsby, you won’t have to go far for Danish dining. Mad & Vin is the hotel’s charming, elegant wood-clad food and wine bar serving a seasonal menu of wine-country-inspired farm-to-table fare prepared with regional ingredients.

Aly’s by Alebru Restaurant

Featuring exquisite wine country cuisine, Aly’s has all that you could want in fine dining. Serving a seasonal menu of market-driven fare, their dishes feature local ingredients such as fresh seafood, prime beef, and housemade pasta with from-scratch sauces. 

Stroll and Play
Shopping

Treat yourself and browse through 150 boutique shops for unique treasures.

Wine Sampling

Enjoy the region’s best and sample wine & beer at 20 downtown tasting rooms offering the products of over 125 area vineyards.

Discover Danish & American Culture

Take in the culture of this quaint Danish town. Explore any of the following local museums: Elverhoj Museum of History & Art, The Wildling Museum of Art & Nature, Hans Christian Andersen, Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, Old Mission Santa Inés, plus Amber Museum & Hall of the Danes.

Home Tips: 10 Spooky Décor Ideas

Your front door is brimming with Halloween décor potential – all you need is a little imagination. Decorating your door requires a bit of creativity, especially if you’re hoping to forge a festive but sophisticated entry display. Here are ten somewhat spooky Halloween front door décor ideas that don’t sacrifice an inch of style.

1. Knock Knock

For a stylish, but a slightly spooky way to greet guests this season? This aged iron owl door knocker will be a real hoot with trick-or-treaters on October 31.

2. Spooky Greeters

A little lighting goes a long way when it comes to decorating your door to Halloween. This bat-clad light-up wreath is composed of rattan branches and features glowing LED lights for added eeriness.

3. Welcome to the Bat Cave

Out your current doormat for a festive style to welcome visitors on Halloween. This spiderweb-inspired half-round mat is mad of black coconut husk bristles so it’s every bit as durable as it is creepy.

4. Bat Attack

For a foolproof way to bring an unexpectedly spooky element to your front door this Halloween? These easy-to-use vinyl bats cling to the glass of windows and mirrors and don’t leave any residue behind.

5. Beetlejuice Inspired Banner

Your Halloween door décor to make a statement? This sleek-but-spooky banner will do the talking for you on your front door this season.

6. Pretty Pumpkins

Said Halloween décor can’t be chic has never seen these hand-punched ceramic pumpkins. Place a couple of these terra-cotta candleholders on your front porch to create a warm, ambient glow on All Hallows Eve.

7. Enter at Your Own Risk

Underestimate the impact of a creepy front door wreath on Halloween. This eye-catching metal wreath is decorated with dozens of individually crafted and welded black bats – with red eyes to boot.

8. Halloween Charm

For a wreath that captures the playfulness of Halloween? This nostalgic wreath made of natural air-dried maple leaves comes clad in vintage-inspired ghosts, candy corn and jack-o-lantern ornaments for added charms.

9. Go with the Classic

You can always count on pumpkin-shaped planters to make a festive statement at your front door on Halloween. These faux pumpkin planters are composed of weatherproof plastic so they’ll look great on your porch all season long.

10. The Witch is in the Details

Spooky scary goblins, spiders and bats aren’t your thing, keep your décor classy with a fun little message for visitors.

Weekend Events: October 11-13

The air is getting chilly, well…for Los Angeles, which means it is nearly sweater weather! Grab a hot pumpkin spice latte,  put on your favorite fall sweater and get ready for a fun filled weekend! We have a list of both indoor and outdoor events, festive and non festive. Scroll down and check out our favorite event picks to help you unwind after a long work week. Enjoy!

Friday October 11th, 2019

Pie Night at 189 by Dominique Ansel

Location: 189 by Dominique Ansel, Fairfax District

Time: 5:30pm-7:00pm or 7:30-9:00pm

The world famous all you can eat pie night is back! With the leaves rupturing into ruby reds and bright orange, Halloween decorations going up, and shorter days. What better time of year to ring in pie season than the crisp autumn days of October? Every ticket includes unlimited slices of 10 different pies, including sweet and savory options from Ansel his 189 by Dominique Ansel team and few other lauded chefs (Wolfgang Puck and BBQ champ Aaron Franklin). Did we mention that there will be ice cream?

“The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China”

Location: LACMA, Miracle Mile

 Time: 10am-7pm

Wu Hang, exhibition organizer from the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum has categorized the creators at the center of “The Allure of Matter”. The 21 featured artists all employ unconventional materials to create their works. For example, Zhang Huan used temple incense ash to form a landscape of field workers or Wang Jin’s imperial robes made from PVC. Unwind after a long week at work with some artistic inspiration from the far east!

Cinema Phantasmagoria

Location: Million Dollar Theater

 Time: Depends on show, see website

What screams Halloween more than Hocus Pocus, Halloween, or Beetlejuice? We’ve got just the right place for you to catching screenings of all your favorite Halloween flicks! Head over to Million Dollar Theater to unwind with one of your favorites. Guests are welcome to bring food from the neighboring Grand Central Market into the theater, and can embark on a backstage ghost tour. There is an early and late screening each evening, what’s more? Your single ticket gets you into both of them!

 

Saturday October 12th, 2019

Halloween Horror Nights

Location: Universal Studios

Time: 6:30pm-2:00am

In the mood to get spooked? Enter a world more terrifying than you can imagine at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, now with more mazes than ever. You can run but there’s no hiding from the screams of five new scare zones, each with spine tingling hair raising monsters and unimaginable horrors. Finish off the evening with watching out of this world moves from the Jabbawockeez.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Location: Griffith Park OLD ZOO

Time: 7:00pm

Your pre-Halloween scare awaits! The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride presents: midnight falls, an eerie and mysterious village set in 1985 where time is at a halt and its always Halloween!  Newly reimagined attractions include Trick or Treat haunted maze, Roadkill Ranch open air maze and Midnight Falls town square!

 

All star comedy night @ The laugh factory 

Location: Laugh Factory

Time: 9:30pm-10:45pm

Got a favorite comedian from Hulu, HBO, Netflix or TV shows and films? Well grab a friend and go see all your favorites at Laugh Factory this Saturday night. Be sure to put your name on the guest list as it closes 15 minutes prior to show time! Saturday Nights line up features  Jay Davis, Dom Irrera, Dean Delray, Orny Adams, Gina Yashere.

Sunday October 13th, 2019

Maple BlocktoberFest 

Location: Maple Block Meat Co. Culver City

Time: 12pm-4pm

Enjoy an all you can eat BBQ, Biergarten featuring four craft breweries (Boulevard Brewing, Ommegang, Boomtown Brewery, and Shiner Beer) pumpkin decorating, music, cornhole, games, a raffle a bounce house for the kids; the ticket includes all of the above including unlimited craft beer tastings from all four breweries (selection of 14-16 beers).

Farmers Market Bakery Pop-Up

Location: Beverly Hills Farmers Market

Time: 10am-2pm

Cater to your sweet tooth after that brunch date. Come and taste some of the best French Pastries in LA! Anyone who RSVP gets a dollar off on anything they purchase from the vendors. Macarons, Eclairs, Opera Cakes, Mille-Feuille just to name a few! They’ve got all your favorite mouth watering pastries!

Sisters in Law at The Wallis 

Location: The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts

Time: 2:30pm & 7:30pm

This new production, based on Linda Hirshman’s New York Times bestseller, celebrates the friendship – and conflict — between two modern-day legends who became the United States Supreme Court’s first female justices. Sisters in law transcends party, religion, and culture with a tale of Democrat Ginsburg and Republican O’Connor, two polar opposites, as they grapple with matters of the law and personal belief.

Perfect Recipes for Fall

Halloween is right around the corner and we’ve got the perfect recipes for your holiday get together! Whether you are having a gathering for the kiddos, friends over for some cocktails, or a more formal three-course meal. With these mouthwatering recipes your guests will leave with a full belly and a smile on their face! We put together a list of appetizers, entrees, drinks, and desserts! Pick and choose or mix and match for a Halloween feast!

Appetizers:

7-Layer Spider Web Dip:

Start your Halloween fiesta with a flavorful chip dip. Perfect for everyone, including the kids! The black olives and sour cream give it that spooky Halloween look.

 Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15 ounces) refried beans
  • A single packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup mild or medium chunky salsa (make sure it’s not watery)
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sour cream, separated
  • 1/2 can drained olives, separated
  • 1 cup prepared guacamole
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 (10-12 inch) round plate, pie tin, or tart dish 
Instructions:  
  • 1 cup mild or medium chunky salsa (make sure it’s not watery)
  • A single packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar or Colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can (15 ounces) refried beans
  • 3-4 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 can drained olives, separated
  • 1 cup prepared guacamole
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 cup sour cream, separated
  • A (10-12 inch) round plate, pie tin, or tart dish

 

 

Charcuterie Board:

Give your guests plenty of options to snack on while dinner is finishing up with a charcuterie board. Make it a colorful autumn mix with cheddar cheese, black grapes, red pepperoni slices, green celery, red meat slices, and a little pumpkin to give it that Halloween pop.

 Ingredients 
  • 8 oz Italian dry salami sliced
  • 4 oz uncured Salame di Parma
  • 6 oz smoked prosciutto
  • 4 oz sliced prosciutto
  • 8 oz Apricot Cherry Cranberry Goat’s Milk Cheese
  • 4 oz pepper jack cheese sliced
  • 8 oz traditional French Brie
  • 11 oz fig butter
  • 8 oz 1000 day hard gouda cheese
  • 5 oz sweet and spicy pecans
  • 4 oz pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 Granny Smith apples sliced
  • 2 Honey Crisp apples sliced
  • 1 bunch Concord grapes
  • 1 bunch Champagne grapes
  • 6 fresh figs sliced in half
  • 10 oz Stone Ground Wheat Crackers
  • 2 11 oz French baguettes sliced
  • 11 oz naturally flavored candy corn
  • fresh lemon juice as needed
Instructions:

 Assemble on a 20 inch round platter.

If assembling ahead of time, brush apples lightly with lemon juice to avoid browning.

Pumpkin Soup:

The perfect way to warm up on a chilly autumn night is with of course, soup! Soups are the perfect appetizer, they are light and fill your tummy up just enough to save your big appetite for the main dish.

Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 leeks
  • 3 large Garlic cloves
  • 2 medium bell peppers
  • 2 1/4 lb. pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh majoram
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 c. frozen corn
  • 6 c. vegetable broth 
Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until very soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Stir in green peppers, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until peppers soften, about 8 more minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.

Main Course:

Cider Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Gouda:

Potatoes are the perfect comfort food. Take one scoop and place it on your plate, take a bite and enjoy the crispy outside and moist inside of the potato, the apple cider adds just the right amount of kick!

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 c. shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 c. shredded Jarlsberg cheese
  • 2 lb. Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes
Instructions:  

Adjust an oven rack to the center position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a 10- by 2-inch round baking dish or a 8- by 12-inch rectangular baking pan; set aside.

Place flour in a medium-heavy saucepan; gradually add milk, whisking until smooth. Whisk in cider, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly. Cook for 1 minute more and remove saucepan from heat; set aside.

In a small bowl, combine Gouda and Jarlsberg cheeses. Arrange half of the sliced potatoes, slightly overlapping, in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture. Arrange remaining potatoes on top. Pour cider mixture over potatoes.

Bake 25 minutes. Remove baking dish from oven. Using a metal spatula, press down on potatoes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture; return to oven. Bake until potatoes are fork-tender and the top is crusted and lightly browned — about 20 minutes more. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

Pumpkin Baked Ziti With Sausage:

Ziti noodles, and baked? Sounds like a mouth watering combination. What’s more, sautéed in garlic, bay leaf, safe leaves, nutmeg, pumpkin puree, and red pepper flakes. Hungry yet? This rich medley of flavors is pretty amazing! Add sausage or go vegetarian!

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound ziti or rigatoni noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 1 pound sage sausage (can substitute for sweet Italian)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like chardonnay)
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350

Brown the sausage in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat until the fat is rendered and the sausage is no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.

In the same skillet, add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the sage leaves, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt / pepper to taste. Cook one more minute.

Add the wine and cook until reduced by half. The heat should remain to medium high. Add the stock and stir in the pumpkin puree. Mix until everything is incorporated. The pumpkin will thicken the sauce.

Stir in the sausage and transfer to a large bowl with the pasta. Mix until combined.

Transfer back to your cast iron skillet (or a baking dish) and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-35 minutes until bubbly.

Garnish with sage and parsley. Fried sage is good too! Enjoy this with a nice glass of white wine, preferably the one you used earlier

 

 Tex-Mex Lasagna:

 This tasty entrée is a great follow up meal to the chip dip appetizer; following the same flow of flavors, this lasagna will send your tastebuds on a savory ride!

 Ingredients:
  •  1 pound of lean ground beef/chicken/vegetarian meat
  • A 1 cup of frozen diced onion red and green bell pepper, and celery
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free chipotle seasoning blend 1 (24-oz.) jar mild salsa
  • 1 (15-oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained 1 (10-oz.) can enchilada sauce
  • 4 cups (16 oz.) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend Toppings: sour cream, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed 16 (6-inch) fajita-size corn tortillas
Instructions:

Cook first 5 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and beef crumbles and is no longer pink.

Stir in salsa and next 3 ingredients. Cook 5 to 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Layer 1 cup beef mixture, 2 tortillas (overlapping edges), and 1/2 cup cheese in a lightly greased 7- x 5- x 1 1/2-inch baking dish. Repeat layers once. Repeat procedure with 3 additional 7- x 5- x 1 1/2-inch baking dishes. Cover dishes with nonstick aluminum foil.

Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 5 more minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with desired toppings.

Note: To use a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish, prepare recipe through Step Omit 4 corn tortillas. Layer one-third beef mixture, 6 tortillas (overlapping edges), and 2 cups cheese. Repeat layers with one-third beef mixture, remaining 6 tortillas, remaining beef mixture, and ending with remaining 2 cups cheese. Bake, covered, at 350° for 40 minutes; uncover and bake 10 more minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

 

Drinks:

Blood Orange Blackberry Rum Punch:

This delicious treat can serve as a dessert, with a tangy kick to finish off your meal if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth. The ruby red blood orange juice, and blackberries give it that dark spooky Halloween feel.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup chilled blood orange juice
  • 4 (12 ounce) chilled natural blackberry sodas
  • 1 cup rum
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1 blood orange thinly sliced
  • pansies to garnish (optional)
Instructions:

In a large pitcher filled with ice combine all of the ingredients. Stir gently to combine.

Add several blackberries and an orange slice to each glass and pour the punch into the glasses. Garnish with a pans if desired and serve immediately.

 

Spiced Warm Cider

What better way to ring in the holidays than with some warm cider on a cold evening? Garnish your drinks with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.

 Ingredients:
  • 64 oz. apple cider
  • 6 chai tea bags
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • Apple sticks, for serving
  • Cinnamon sticks for serving
Instructions:

Combine apple cider, chai tea bags, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean in slow cooker. Cook on low 3 to 4 hours. Discard tea bags; stir in lemon juice. Serve warm with apple slices and cinnamon stick.

Good and Evil Potion

 If you’re in the mood for something cold, go with the good and evil potion. This cocktail is just as pretty as it is delicious!

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. ApplePucker
  • 1 oz. Midori
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 1 handful ice
  • pineapple juice
  • Sierra Mist
  • lemon slice, for garnish
Instructions:

Combine vodka, ApplePucker, Midori, and Triple Sec in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake.

Pour the mixture into a cocktail glass, then top with pineapple juice and Sierra Mist. Garnish with a slice of lemon (optional).

Dessert:

Strawberry Ghosts:

Our most adorable treat on the list are these strawberry ghosts! This treat is as easy to bake as it is to eat! The kiddos will definitely have fun with these precious little treats!

Ingredients:
  • 2 c. strawberries
  • 1 1/2 c. white chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips
  • 1 c. chocolate chips, melted
Instructions:

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine melted white chocolate and coconut oil and stir until combined. Dip strawberries into white chocolate and place two mini chocolate chips on the top half of the strawberries for eyes. Place strawberries on prepared baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to harden, about 10 minutes.

Place melted chocolate chips in a ziploc bag and pipe mouths on the strawberries.

Let cool again in the refrigerator, 5 minutes. Serve.

Pumpkin Spice Cake:

 Nothing screams Halloween more than pumpkin spice, and in a cake?  Yes you read that correctly, a pumpkin spice cake! Alas, your wildest dreams have come to life!

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie filling
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup

Frosting:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp real maple syrup
Instructions:

Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 or 10 x 15 pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray.

Make the cake: In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with electric mixer until just combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add dry mixture to the wet ingredients in 2 additions, mixing well after each. Add the TBSP of maple syrup and mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (It may have some moist crumbs on it – but shouldn’t have wet batter). Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: While the cake bakes, make the frosting. Soften cream cheese and butter together in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. (See note if browning the butter). Cream well with mixer. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and maple syrup and mix until combined.

Serve + Store: Frost the cake when cool. Use the back of a dinner spoon to make swirls in the frosting, if desired. Store leftovers, covered tightly, in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Make ahead tips: The cake can be made a day in advance. Bake as directed, and let it cool completely. Cover well with plastic wrap/foil and leave at room temp. Frosting can be made a day ahead too – cover well and store in the fridge. Let frosting sit out for 10 minutes before frosting so it’s pliable. If the top of the cake tears a little when you try frosting it, cover it and chill in fridge for 15 minutes.

Spider Pumpkin Cake:

This delicious dessert could very well serve as your center piece as it could a delicious finish to your meal.

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. good-quality cocoa
  • 2 tbsp. good-quality cocoa
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. fresh-grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 c. pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting
Instructions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter three 8-inch cake pans and fit each bottom with an 8-inch circle of parchment paper. Lightly butter the parchment paper. Set aside.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, until the mixture is smooth and light. Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, blending well after each addition.

Divide the batter among the pans and bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean — about 35 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan for 20 minutes. Remove cakes and cool. (For cupcakes: Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in standard cupcake tins and fill each with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for 22 minutes.)

Trim each of the layers. Place one layer on a cake plate and top with one third of the frosting. Repeat with the second and third layers. (To ensure that the cake layers do not shift, cut three skewers to 1/4 inch shorter than the full height of the cake and insert them before icing the top layer.) Refrigerate until ready to serve.

                 

LA Eats: March Madness Sports Bars Edition

March is many things. Spring…Leprechauns…and for sports fans March Madness. With the highlight of College Basketball Season kicking off and our brackets breaking down potential winners one question remains. Where does one watch the big game? Read below for LA’s best sports bars to cheer on your team because this round-up is a guaranteed 3-pointer!

Clearman’s Galley

Location: San Gabriel, CA

San Gabriel bar and restaurant Clearman’s Galley is not only offering tons of TVs for catching all the March Madness action, they’re also doing a bracket that customers themselves can enter, with the winner earning a $200 gift certificate to the restaurant.

Rocco’s Tavern

Location: Pasadena, CA

With locations from Westwood to Pasadena, Rocco’s Tavern is obviously doing something right. The Green Street location in Pasadena is small but mighty, and for March Madness is doing limited happy hour deals starting at 9 a.m. Thursday for the early games.

Mr. Furley’s Bar

Location: Glendale, CA

Inexpensive cocktails, comfort food, and lots of TVs make Mr. Furley’s a natural place to catch all the college basketball action in Glendale.

Barney’s Beanery Burbank

Location: Burbank, CA

Barney’s Beanery is a staple mini-chain across Southern California. The places are always bustling with sports fans and casual drinkers just in for a nightcap, and the hearty familiar fare keeps everyone happy.

Common Space Brewery and Tasting Room

Location: Hawthorne, CA

Common Space is one of the more talked-about breweries in Southern California right now. The casual Hawthorne warehouse space is kitted out with lounge seating, communal tables, and a few well-placed TVs for catching the action. Everyone loves the beer too, of course.

The Fields LA

Location: Los Angeles, CA

There may be no better place to catch the NCAA tournament action than at the Fields, attached to LAFC’s Banc of California Stadium just southeast of Downtown. With multiple vendors to choose from, loads of TVs, and the upstairs Free Play restaurant from Tim Hollingsworth, this place has it all.

Hi Tops

Location: West Hollywood, CA

San Francisco export Hi Tops is now in West Hollywood, turning on the TVs for big night games and offering a variety of cocktails and beers in addition to some pretty awesome nachos.

Bludso’s Bar & Que

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Bludso’s is a must for any sports fans. The casual spot for brisket, sausage links, and drinks is wall-to-wall with televisions, and it’s not uncommon to find fans of different teams crowded together around the same tables, yelling at the action on the screens.

Busby’s West

Location: Santa Monica, CA

Busby’s is synonymous with Westside sports watching. The anchor bar has for many years seen fans come to cheer on their squad, especially during the busy March Madness tournament.

Beer Belly Long Beach

Location: Long Beach

Long Beach has really embraced the second location of Beer Belly. The popular comfort food and craft beer corner spot isn’t as rowdy as some other local hangs for watching the games, but the menu and design still make this place a must for locals looking to watch some college basketball.

 

Courtesy of: Eater LA

Fun things to do in LA this March

There’s more to this month then March Madness. With so many fun activities in LA we thought you might need more then the weekend round-up. Read below for a collection of events happening throughout  the month and discover your inner Angeleno!

The Other Art Fair is Coming to Downtown L.A. (March 28-31)

The Other Art Fair Los Angeles returns to Magic Box at The Reef. The Fair takes place March 28-31 for the 3rd edition of its independent artist showcase. See a curated selection of over 140 independent artists and check out thousands of pieces for every budget in one space.  -> More information

The Torrance Cherry Blossom Cultural Festival (March 31)

The Torrance Cherry Blossom Cultural Festival comes to Columbia Park on March 31 for a unique blend of cultural performances with a fun variety of crafts by local artisans, centered around the blooming cherry blossom. -> More information

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Celebrates César Chávez Day (March 31)

This free celebration features a guest speaker from the Cesar Chavez Foundation, Xipe Totec Aztec dancers, live music by Lorenzo and the Carnales, plus art, garden, and culinary workshops -> More information

Courtesy of: WeLikeLA

LA Eats of the Week

With all the hustle and bustle in LA, narrowing down the best places to grab a bite can be tricky. Rather then making your routine stop at Panera Bread, why not try something new. LA has more restaurants then there are Bird scooters. With that in mind we’ve narrowed down the best places to nosh this week.

Breakfast is the most Important meal of the day!

Here’s Looking at You

Location: Koreatown

While most restaurants don’t put too much creativity into their brunch menus,  chef Jonathan Whitener is bringing fresh ideas and energy to the table. Take for instance his coconut waffle with koji, blueberries, ume (Japanese salty plums), and smoked maple syrup.This dish is far more interesting than it needs to be, going above and beyond the brunch-time status quo. Respect the waffle. 

Pikoh

Location: Los Angeles, CA

The menu weaves across the hours with a mix of rethought American classics. From breakfast bowls with activated charcoal or a smoked salmon tartine with yuzu cream cheese. To lighter lunches like grilled tuna salads or hummus and steamed mussels. For dinner there’s a full bar run by lead bartender Jamie Clark and surprises like an all-vegan beet-based bao, or a throwback filet mignon atop wasabi mashed potatoes. Throw in a daily happy hour, and it feels like Pikoh really can do it all.

Lately

Location: Chinatown

Lately’s menu is an all-day savory jaunt, with their breakfast sandwich sporting an organic fried egg, gouda, and oven roasted tomato on an English muffin. They also serve biscuits, a soft scrambled toast, a heaping avocado toast, salads, breakfast bowl, and a country-fried steak sandwich.

Power Lunch

Urban Radish

Location: Arts District

Urban Radish, the healthy-eating oasis in the Arts District is the perfect lunchtime spot. The outdoor grill is hidden behind a row of water-circulating vertical planters brimming with kale and other greens. Look through the foliage to find one man and a stack of tickets. Skirt steak, salmon, chicken; it all hits the hot metal and gets served over healthy grains and greens to a slew of daytime diners. Yum! 

Tacos 1986

Location: Koreatown

 LA’s best new taco stand has landed a highly visible location in Koreatown. Meaning it’s the best time to stop by during weekdays. Ask nicely for the chicharron de queso con hongos, paired with the stand’s excellent mushrooms. The best part about Tacos 1986 is its accessibility, placed right in the heart of Koreatown. Located at a crossroads for anyone traveling to Hollywood or Downtown, South LA, or Mid-City. What’s better than a taco pit stop? 

KazuNori

Location: Los Angeles

With open seating and rapid rounds of sushi hitting plates, KazuNori is the place to find some of the LA’s freshest fishes. It’s not uncommon to find a long line, which can be surprisingly short thanks to the restaurant’s efficiency. Choose from three to six hand rolls, which are made in plain view. The chefs transform the sea bream’s tender flesh and shiny silver skin into an elegant and perfect hand roll. Order a Sapporo and watch the chefs do their magic. 

What’s for dinner?

Tartine Bianco

Location: Los Angeles

Newly opened, Tartine Bianco is a hot ticket dining spot. The chicken liver toast is an early stand out and quite possibly the most thoughtful dish. The base of the matter, a crusty slice of the restaurant’s famous bread, sturdily held onto the pretty pink liver, as well as dollops of kumquat puree and blood orange segments. Balance comes among the varied components, hitting the brightest of notes with just enough richness to bring it home.

Jame Enoteca

Location: El Segundo

Jame Enoteca is well on its way to becoming a new kind of standard for the city of El Segundo. The corner strip mall option makes all of its pastas in-house and keeps a cozy but refined sort of vibe. Of particular noteworthiness (though all of the pastas seem to be pretty delicious) is the off-menu occasional lasagna with assorted foraged mushrooms. Pair it up with some vegetables to start and maybe a glass of wine, and be well on the way to a very full and very relaxed time in the South Bay. 

Atrium

Location: Los Feliz

The chefs at Atrium have whipped up pristine dishes with flavors that are unique and strong, just the way Angelenos like it. The beef carpaccio, inspired by the chef’s love of carne asada, is topped with crispy potato matchsticks, a thick salsa macha, and avocado crema. Those crunchy, salty, and savory layers makes for fun eating, but one plate might not be enough.

 

Your Award-Worthy Recipe Guide

Be the crowd-pleaser this Oscars’s Sunday with our round-up of award-worthy sure to secure you the gold for best host(we know the Oscars need one). With so many tasty and simple options, it would be an Academy travesty if you didn’t opt for the gourmet. So ditch the generic buttered popcorn and champagne set-up for a spread as buzzing as this years best picture nominees.

Bites

Buffalo-Style Snack Mix

Both buttery and spicy, this Buffalo-style snack mix gets a triple buzz from hot sauce, cayenne and freshly ground black pepper.

Click here for the Recipe

Salty Almond Rice Krispie Bites

Work quickly—or better yet—get a few willing hands to help when you’re scooping and rolling this adult version of a Rice Krispie treat; the mixture stiffens slightly as it cools. Click here for the RECIPE.

Miso Caramel Corn

We use microwaved popcorn for our miso-flavored (surprise!) caramel corn but, sure, 9 cups of air-popped or old-school stovetop-popped kernels would work nicely, too. Click here for the RECIPE.

Tequila-Spiked Caramel Corn

More suited to a cocktail party than a baseball game, this riff on Cracker Jack by pastry chef Taria Camerino is sweetened with agave nectar and spiked with tequila. Slow-baking turns the popcorn-nut mix fabulously crunchy. Click here for the RECIPE.

Cheddar Fricos with Salsa Fresca

Elegant entertaining from the microwave? Yup. It transforms shredded white cheddar into these lacy all-cheese crackers—no flour necessary. You will eat several without pausing but, eventually, stop to scoop up some of the juicy tomato salsa. Click here for the RECIPE.

Dark Chocolate Fudge with Candied Ginger and Pistachios

Melting chocolate in the microwave makes the process really easy and quick—no double boiler, no water bath necessary. To prepare this festive fudge, just stir a few flavorings into the melted-chocolate base. We add pistachios, dried cherries and candied ginger but white chocolate chips, dried apricots or chopped walnuts would give it the proper crunch and sweet-tangy notes, too. Click here for the RECIPE.

Pomegranate Mochi

Borrowing a technique from pastry chef Jennifer Yee, these chewy, fruity, jewel-toned mochi are prepared in the microwave with a mix of pomegranate juice and lime juice. We used a 3/4-inch round cutter to make them gumdrop size, but you can also cut the candies into squares (sharpen your knife!) or use another small cookie cutter. Click here for the RECIPE.

Fig-and-Stilton Squares

After these flaky squares of puff pastry bake, they get topped with sweet fig preserves and pungent blue cheese. Click here for the RECIPE.

Ricotta Crostini with Three Toppings

This appetizers uses homemade ultra-creamy ricotta (you can also use store-bought) combined with different toppings. Click here for the RECIPE.

Sips

Citrus, Brandy and Pineapple Punch

This easy brandy cocktail from drinks artisan Chris Harrison is mildly sweet and nicely boozy, with a bit of spice from nutmeg. Click here for the RECIPE.

Italian Spritz Punch

Mixologist Agostino Perrone created this simple sparkling punch. “It would be a great aperitif for a large dinner party,” says Wayne Collins; he recommends serving it in teacups. Click here for the RECIPE.

Looking for Best Picture Themed Cocktails?

Click here for Town and Country’s recipes like The Queen’s Favourite or The Bohemian Spritz!!

Click here for The Official Oscars 2019 Ballot.PDF

Out and About: LA Sports Bars Edition

You don’t have to throw or go to a big Super Bowl bash to enjoy this weekends big game. With so many new sports bars opening up along with the tried and true favorites, this weeks Out and About has you covered. So hang up the apron and throw on your Rams gear as we list off the city’s best sports bar options for Super Bowl LIII!

Spire 73

Location: 900 Wilshire Blvd Fl 73, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Watch the LA Rams take on the Patriots 73 floors high at Spire 73, located in the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown. Beginning at 1 p.m. guest can dine on game-day themed bites like ‘L.A. Rams’ Chips and Salsa, ‘L.A. Rams’ green chili pork sliders and L.A. torta burger. And for you Angeleno’s rooting for the opposing team, they’ll have some Patriots option too! The entry cost is $50 and includes a three beer bucket and after party with a live DJ.

Prank

Location: 1100 S Hope St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

L.A.’s first walk-up bar will be showing the game live on their big screen starting at 11 a.m.. Fans will also score big on deals with $3 to $5 cocktails during commercial breaks, chosen by Prank’s Wheel of Fun. There will also be group party games and Chef Ricardo’s Front Porch BBQ starting at 3 p.m.

Boomtown Brewery

Location: 700 Jackson St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Rams fans will be booming with cheer while they catch the game on Boomtown Brewery’s projection screen and all-day deals. Almost all of their beers will be discounted for the big day along with various food vendors like Republic Craft BBQ and S’moreology.

Hotel Shangri-La

Location: 1301 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Enjoy a poolside feast while rooting for your favorite team at Hotel Shanrgi-La. The game will be shown on their big screen and your $55 entree fee includes a BBQ combo platter with a beer bucket add-on for an additional $20.

Casita del Campo

Location: 1920 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Not really in the mood for game-day BBQ? Casita del Campo has you covered! They’ll be showing the game this Sunday while dishing out your favorite Mexican cuisine and handcrafted margaritas. No worries to brewsky drinkers, there’s a range of ice-cold beer to chose from too!

Baltaire

Location: 11647 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

Talk about timing because the happy hour odds are in your favor this weekend. Baltaire’s newly rolled out Happy Hour menu will feature game day bites, beer and cocktails specials. Catch the game in the lounge and don’t miss out on door prizes!

Baldoria

Location: 243 San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

DTLA’s Baldoria will host a Super Bowl bingo party to shake up your game-routine this Sunday. Happy Hour is all night with prize giveaways and $2 shots every time either team scores a field goal, touchdown, or safety.

33 Taps

Location: 6263 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

If you’re a sports fan—so, you know, most of you—33 Taps is prime seating for watching your favorite game. Plenty of flat screen TVs are available to stare intently at while you choose from one of 33 beers on tap. If you’re feeling peckish, order one of the burgers with a side of their killer sweet potato fries. Watching the big game eastward? There’s also a 33 Taps in Silver Lake.

Baja Sharkeez

Location: 3600 Highland Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

This Southern California chain is all about the kitsch—and the flat-screen TVs. Watch the Sunday’s game from the collection of more than 60 TVs hanging around the Mexican beach-themed bar. Enjoy bar favorite frozen drinks, 22-ounce “schooner” cocktails, beer buckets, shot specials and more.

Barney’s Beanery

Location: 8447 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

The West Hollywood location is the original outpost of this mini-chain, but you can also find one in neighborhoods across L.A.: Pasadena, Westwood, Burbank, Santa Monica and Redondo Beach. You’ll find a crowd of sports bros and ladies all sidling up to the bar, enjoying one of 60 TVs (complete with sports packages galore), and imbibing in an array of beer choices. This sports staple is always a must on any sports bar list!

Blue Dog Beer Tavern

Location: 4524 Saugus Ave, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

You don’t have to be enamoured with canines to appreciate the Blue Dog (although animal lovers may go gaga over the framed dog photos covering the wall). The Sherman Oaks sports bar is located in a 1940s-era bungalow that’s been stripped of the walls, leaving the framing exposed and allowing TVs to be visible from every seat. The beer list isn’t the largest in town, but it might be the best-edited, and come 10am, fans are fully decked out in their favorite team’s gear and all eyes are glued to the TVs.

Super Pup Sunday

Puppies take the field for Puppy Bowl XIV. Animal Planet Discovery Communications Inc DCL Photo Shoot PUPPY BOWL XIV credit: Damian Strohmeyer/Animal Planet

Location: 12005 Bluff Creek Dr, Playa Vista, CA 90094

For our furry friends, the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace is hosting Super Pup Sunday and it’s as cute as it sounds. Both the football game and Puppy bowl will be streamed in the Wag 1 viewing room will complimentary food and refreshments are provided. Dogs are of course welcome, just be sure to read their rules on visiting pets.