At a party at the True offices on Wilshire, three dudes have just finished pitching an app. They look like design students, with black vests and matching haircuts. One of them boasts that the founder had a chance to be the sixth employee at Instagram. But when the founder starts...
Perfect for those looking to stock up for Burning Man, there's the famous Venice Love Shack. With its cool, eclectic, weird, artist-community-meets-thrift-store-meets-yoga-studio vibe that epitomizes Venice Beach, the Love Shack is just one of those places you have to see to believe. Luckily, we took pictures. All photos by Star Foreman.
Ahoy, mateys! Get thee to ye olde Port of Los Angeles for Tall Ships Festival L.A., a five-day boating festival that pays tribute to a time when ports such as ours welcomed not just shipping containers and the occasional cruise ship but also majestic vessels called "tall ships" — classic boats with traditional, complicated rigs. From battleships to schooners to the World's Largest Rubber Duck (yes, really), this year's lineup promises something for everyone. The kid-friendly event includes a Friday-night screening of The Little Mermaid, projected on the sails of the Freda B. Live bands and cannon demonstrations will provide daily entertainment, while those willing to shell out some extra cash can actually ride on one of the museum-quality ships. And because every good captain knows a fed crew is a happy crew, plenty of food trucks, including the Lobsta Truck and Luckdish, will be in attendance. Los Angeles Waterfront, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro; Wed., Aug. 20, noon-8 p.m.; Thu.-Fri., Aug. 21-22, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 23-Sun., Aug. 24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; $7-$85, free viewing for kids under 4. (877) 4FLYTIX, tallshipsfestivalla.com.More
Downtown L.A. and many venues and restaurants around town will host the fourth annual L.A. Food and Wine Festival, a massive event that features many local and national chefs. If you have the time and the cash for the marquee events, there are plenty: cooking demos by Iron Chef Morimoto at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion; wine seminars; a cocktail event by Julian Cox; more demos by Lorena Garcia, Graham Elliot, Scott Conant and many others. Check the website for more information and the long list of what's coming. More
The Women's Center for Creative Work is a cooperative enterprise that's hosting an afternoon doll-making workshop, Women Who Run With the Wolves, with crafting collective Necessary Habits. The event is inspired by the Russian fairy tale "Vasilisa the Beautiful" (also known as Vasilisa the Brave), which begins when a dying mother gives her daughter a doll to console her after she's gone. The doll helps little Vasilisa cope with her subsequently grueling existence, complete with a wicked stepmother and stepsisters à la Cinderella. Just when she thinks all hope is lost, Vasilisa finds her doll pointing her in the right direction. In her 1992 book Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, author and Jungian psychoanalyst Clarissa Pinkola Estés suggests that the narrative is an allegory for women's liberation. Similarly inspired by the piece of Slavic folklore, this workshop interprets the doll as a symbol of feminine intuition and empowerment. Participants are invited to create their own figurines, which they take home at the end, along with a copy of the fairy tale. Echo Chamber Creative Headquarters, 1519 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; Thu., Aug. 21, 6-9 p.m.; $30, $20 for co-op members. email@example.com. Sign up at womenscenterforcreativework.com/workshops (click on blue wolf).More
Even as the latest Step Up movie returns street dance to the screen, this year's installment of the annual J.U.i.C.E. Hip-Hop Festival returns street dance to the stage. The inventive dance organization with the unwieldy name of Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy has the good sense to go by its acronym, and the good sense to keep putting together this summer gathering of local and international street dancers. Now in its sixth year, the festival lineup promises a full evening of street-dance styles, with performers Jacob "Kujo" Lyons, Harry Weston, Breeze Lee, Emiko Sugiyama, Marie Poppins & Pandora, Toogie & Boogie Frantick, The Physical Poets, Lady Cultura, Millennium Dance Complex Tokyo, Open House, Versa-Style Next Generation, and Hok from Quest Crew. The preshow features one-on-one b-boy and b-girl battles at 7 p.m., with the final battle onstage just before curtain (to participate, go to fordtheatres.org/en/about/probreakingtour), as well as DJ Kenzo, host L. Scatterbrain, graffiti and spoken-word artists. Plus, Mari Koda, better known as Jenny Kido from the Step Up movies, will be there for a meet-and-greet. John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hlywd.; Fri., Aug. 22, 8:30 p.m.; $30-$50, $15 students, $12 children. (323) 461-3673, fordtheatres.org.More
fri 7/25 Dierks Bentley GREEK THEATRE For the better part of the past decade, Dierks Bentley has helped usher in a new era of country music. His catalog has spawned seven No. 1 hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs charts and cemented his status as one of mainstream country's superstars...
Visual allure often isn't a virtue we value when chasing obscure flavors in L.A.'s international neighborhoods. In fact, adventurous diners tend to appreciate the opposite: The grungier the location, the more accomplished we feel for having sought it out. Looks be damned — let the fireworks happen on the flavor...
Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles became a ramen paradise over the weekend as part of the Japanese cultural festival Nisei Week. Everything was hot -- from the food, to the weather, to the scene. All photos by Danny Liao.
We've got so many restaurants, you could eat at a different joint every day of the year -- and probably the rest of your life -- and never go to the same place twice. It would be impossible (both physically and financially) to try them all, but luckily, you have us. Check out The Year in L.A. Food (So Far).
The little girl who appears to live at 2300 Silver Lake Blvd. has been playing cowboys and Indians. She's set up an all-out, hand-to-hand battle on the living room floor. Little figurines face each other. Some stereotypically shirtless Native Americans crawl along the carpet. A cowboy stands watching from the...
Opening reception Aug. 22, 7-10 p.m.
"Neckface: Drinking on the Job" is a show a year in the making — and it sounds like one hell of a year. Inspired by the tenaciously seedy bar culture of his new hometown of L.A., this tagger/painter/phenom immersed himself in alcoholism (and related unsavory behaviors) for an extended bender, during which he somehow managed to work furiously on his art. The result: the dark, witty and hilarious pieces created for this much-anticipated installation. Using a method akin to the surrealists' automatic drawings, Neckface basically worked nightly in a fugue state, awoke to discover the surprises he left for himself in the studio the evening before, and then refined and elaborated on them before starting the process all over again. Well, maybe refined is not the word. Neckface is, after all, known for his exceptionally vulgar, sassy and sophomoric yet insightful observations on human nature — and his new barfly compatriots did not skimp on the material. New Image Art Gallery, 7920 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Fri., Aug. 22, 7-10 p.m.; continues Tue.-Sat., 1-6 p.m., through Sept. 13; free. (323) 654-2192, newimageartgallery.com.More
If you know painter Joe Goode, who road-tripped to L.A. from Oklahoma in 1959 to make his go as an artist, you probably know his drawings of torn paper or paintings of blue skies. They're pretty nonchalant and usually modestly sized, so it's surprising to see how big and majestic the new paintings in his "Flat Screen Nature" show at Kohn Gallery are. They're two-tone expanses of color painted on sheets of fiberglass. Even though you could tumble right into those deep blues, Goode's still not taking himself too seriously. Every piece has weirdly ragged edges and the titles are jokes: Honk if You See Jesus for one with a ghostly shape near the bottom, or Coming Attraction for one that looks like a big-screen sunset. 1227 N. Highland Ave., Hlywd.; through Aug. 29. kohngallery.com.More
Pin-up girls, beatnik boys and tiki lovers from L.A. and beyond made a splash at San Diego's Crowne Plaza Hotel, which hosted the annual Tiki Oasis event, this year themed "Beat Tiki" with a groovy "60s beat" thrust. The wild weekender took over the grounds with colorful cocktails, non-stop pool and room parties, fashion shows, seminars, shopping and live entertainment including burlesque, bands and more.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania the Flying Morgans had a Beatle prom this last Friday to celebrate Molly, Bonnie and Gary's Birthday with 400 of their closest friends. All photos by Star Foreman.
Jennifer M. Kroot’s To Be Takei is an affectionate portrait of the hardest-working member of the original cast of Star Trek, George Takei. That’s pronounced tuh-KAY, not tuh-KAI, as so many have misspoken it over the years, including but not limited to William Shatner, whose strained non-relationship with Takei —...
Should grown-ups be spending their time reading young-adult novels, at the risk of missing the supposed riches of fiction written for actual grown-ups? A recent essay in Slate groused about the legions of adults who long ago graduated from the 12th grade but still devour YA fiction at the expense...
Picture a high school civics teacher with a great love for Ken Burns and access to people like Prince Charles and the Dalai Lama -- but no ability to ask them interesting questions -- making his first documentary on a laptop's built-in software.
Martial arts period drama 14 Blades'cartoonish action scenes are so energetic that it's hard to believe they weren't directed by master choreographer Woo-ping Yuen (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Drunken Master).
Vital and vigorous even when its characters feel scraped of vigor/vitality, Philippe Garrel's latest finds boho Parisians facing the ends of marriages, affairs, and the feasibility of bohemian existence itself.
You may have missed seeing them play in real life, but you can visit several jazz and blues greats in their final resting places, at the Inglewood Park Cemetery, including Ray Charles, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, Big Mama Thornton, T-Bone Walker, Billy Preston and Richard Berry.
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Albacore sashimi with salsa and pink peppercorn at Akatora
The faded red awning still says Katsu Sushi, but inside the building at the corner of Highland and Rosencrans in Manhattan Beach, the scene has changed considerably. What once was Katsu Sushi, a beleaguered neighborhood sushi joint, is now Sushi Akatora, a trendy izakaya/sushi restaurant from restaurateur Michael Cardenas.
Cardenas, of course, has an important place in the history of trendy L.A. sushi spots, being a founder of Sushi Roku, the hyper-trendy restaurant that has grown into a swank chain since its inception in 1997. Cardenas grew up in Japan, trained as a teppan chef and worked in many of L.A.'s sushi restaurants, including a stint as general manager at Matsuhisa. Now he's just as well-known for being the owner of the Lazy Ox and other L.A. restaurants.
What makes a wine bar a wine bar? Generally, there has to be a bar, and an emphasis on wine. But is that enough? When is a place a wine bar and when is it a restaurant with a good wine list?
I considered all this during a recent visit to Marvin, the Beverly Grove restaurant that opened in late May and claims to be a wine bar. Yes, there is a bar. And yes, there is a fantastic wine list: European-focused and rife with weird finds that light up the pleasure receptors in the wine geek cortex. There are wines at every price range and in many styles.
What there isn't is a large by-the-glass selection. The by the glass selection is great, with many options being poured from magnums, showcasing wines that are harder to get a taste of given the format. But fewer than 20 wines, all up, including dessert and sparkling options, are available by the glass. Which, to me, makes this a restaurant with a very cool wine program, not a wine bar, any more than smoke.oil.salt or the Hungry Cat or any other small restaurant with a great wine list and barstools are wine bars.
When the sign went up a few months ago for Wood on the corner of Sunset and Silver Lake Boulevard in Silver Lake, the neighborhood chatter was mainly about the incredibly phallic nature of the name and logo. If the name was meant to evoke the wood-burning oven to be employed, and the logo a fat-handled pizza slicer, the combination of the two splayed large on a banner outside the building conjured something else entirely. Now open, the name and logo combo can still be seen together on the restaurant's menu, but outside a neon sign with the name only makes at least the exterior of the building a bit less scandalous.
It turns out that Wood has some notoriety beyond its giggle-worthy signage, which is that it's owned by the Oscars pizza delivery guy. Edgar Martirosyan - who earned 7.5 minutes of fame by delivering pizzas to the Oscars and subsequently being summoned to The Ellen DeGeneres Show to collect his tip - owns Wood, along with his brother Erik. The two have been in the pizza business for years, but this is their first foray into higher-end Neapolitan-style pizza.
Beer, sausages and sunshine. Is there anything in life that goes together better? It's these three components that make up the bulk of the business plan at Picnik, the new restaurant in Pasadena from chef Eduardo Ruiz (also of Corazon y Miel). The restaurant is in partnership with Jack and Karen Huang, the owners of Bar Celona and Sorriso, also in Pasadena.
The property, which sits at the western end of Old Town Pasadena's retail strip, is actually a number of restaurant spaces surrounding a large outdoor patio space. In order to get the most out of this arrangement, Ruiz and crew have come up with an interesting model: to ask other vendors to set up shop in the space Picnik doesn't need.
So around the courtyard, other options are slowly cropping up. Some will be pop-ups, some more permanent. So far there's a Bulgarini Gelato stand (operating on weekends for now), and Zona Rosa Coffee, which began serving over this past weekend. There are also plans for cocktail pop-ups in the small upstairs bar space, beginning in a couple of weeks. The first will bring the bar team from Corazon y Miel on Monday nights for Punch at Picnik, which will feature exotic punch offerings by the glass and bowl. Punch will officially debut in two weeks.
But perhaps most exciting is Ktchn, a breakfast operation from Felix G. Barron, who has been popping up in the Gorbals space on weekends for a couple of years now.
There are few dishes in the universe that could accurately be described as "haunting," but fesenjan, the Persian walnut-and-pomegranate stew, is one such dish. When done right, there's something about it that is almost eerie in its seductive powers. It tastes like some sort of delicious potion that a beautiful witch might consume to keep herself young.
The world (or at least the United States) is riddled with versions that are too sweet, or that hold back on the bitingly bitter walnut edge. So it was gratifying to find a terrific version at Kashcool Kitchen, a Persian restaurant that opened just a few days ago in Woodland Hills.
But if anyone's going to teach us that it's quite possible to have both gimmick and substance, it'll be Fleischman. The first good sign was bringing on chef Robbie Richter, who was the original pitmaster at New York's Fatty Cue. The second good sign is that on first look, the food is pretty damn tasty.
The Mexican pulled pork sandwich at the Torta Company
As a concept for a fast food chain, it's pretty amazing the torta hasn't already been widely commodified. With all the appeal of a sandwich but much of the allure of a burrito, in many ways the torta is a perfect candidate for the drive-thru, or at least the food court. But tortas have thus far remained mainly the purview of small family shops.
You can see the world-domination ambitions behind the Torta Company, the new project from Jimmy and Andrew Shaw. The brothers, who since 2002 have grown their Loteria Grill from one to six locations, have opened the first outpost of the Torta Company at Taste, the food court inside the Fig at 7th shopping center downtown. The Torta Company, which is adjacent to the newest Loteria Grill, began serving to the public last week.
It's been said before, about other restaurants and cafés and stores, but when sitting on the outside patio of the new Ace Hotel's restaurant, L.A. Chapter, there's a real sense of a future downtown L.A. that has yet to fully come to fruition. Located near the corner of Olympic and Broadway, the Ace resides in the old United Artists Theatre, and the restoration of this absolutely stunning piece of architecture gives a glimpse into the treasures that lie behind the boarded-up façades of some of these old downtown buildings, which have gone unused for so many years.
The Ace's interior is by far its greatest asset, but the collection of brass-topped tables and black-and-white chairs on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant space is a great place to marvel at the grungy grandeur of the surrounding buildings. It looks and feels very much like a Paris café but with an L.A. backdrop.
The list of places where you can eat lunch at downtown's Grand Central Market is growing by the day, or so it seems. Apart from the multiple stands that have been serving Chinese, Mexican and Middle Eastern food for years, the new crop of places that signal the market's resurgence continue to open. Horse Thief BBQ and Eggslut are going strong, and Wexler's Deli looks like it will be open any minute.
The most recent great lunch I've found is at DTLA Cheese, the cheese counter that opened in late December. Owned by Lydia and Marnie Clarke, who also own Cheese Cave in Claremont, DTLA Cheese has plenty of picnic supplies, a varied range of domestic and imported cheeses, and all manner of jarred and pickled things to accompany those cheeses. The counter service is exuberantly helpful, and they're happy to let you sample whatever you'd like.
Jeffrey Saad is a chef with a lot of TV time under his belt. He was the host for three seasons of The United Tastes of America on the Cooking Channel. He was the first runner-up on The Next Food Network Star. He came in second place to Marcus Samuelsson on Chopped All-Stars. His website says of him, "Jeffrey Saad is a rising star ready to ignite the globe with his inspirational cuisine." For now, at least, he is hoping to ignite Studio City with his new Mexican restaurant, La Ventura.
La Ventura, which opened in mid-December, is certainly an attractive spot. The light airy space is punctuated by pops of bright color: a yellow wall here, yellow metal barstools, red flowerpots and a huge metal green light fixture hanging over the center of the room. On one of these oddly gorgeous winter afternoons, the patio, which sits along Ventura Boulevard, was a fantastic spot to eat lunch.
Many years later, as Grand Central Market faced the renovations that would once again shift its fortunes, Filomena Eriman remembered the day when she first arrived here, one of this country's oldest and largest public markets. It was 1969, and Eriman had been hired as an accountant for the family...
Have you ever had a seven-minute egg? Wait. Have you ever heard of Nevada County? Well, it’s between Sac and Tahoe, and if you’re up for about a seven-hour road trip and you're willing to believe me that this place is nicer than Tahoe, and about an hour closer, well,...
Sticky Rice Sticky Rice, the vibrant stall serving Thai street food, comes to Grand Central Market courtesy of chef Johnny Lee and partner David Tewasart, the folks behind craft-beer lounge Spirit House Bar in Monterey Park. Sticky Rice was the first of the new class of vendors to move into...