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Yelp Elite Members get wonderful perks like free tickets to Absinthe LA!

These are some of the pictures and videos, but it’s a much better experience in person ūüôā

It’s a bawdy (over 18 only), funny, acrobatic, entertaining show where you will not be bored, but not recommended for anyone easily offended!

 You can park in the West Garage ($10-$30) and just go upstairs, or take Lyft and/or the Metro.

 There was a free photo booth where you could sit and send your picture to social media or email.

 While waiting for the doors to open, I sat down for a pic:)

The theater in the round seats about 500 and in the middle of the week for the early show, 400 came.

 That is a guy on top of 7 levels of chairs!

 These guys were my favorite act!

 A couple worked the silks in a beautiful aerial dance.

 Two acrobats and a metal circle rose and swung in a sensual dance.

 This show is only for 18+ because some acts were definitely not for minors (but fun for adults)!

¬†The “Bodyguard” for the MC had a few unexpected talents.

 Talented cast and crew deserved their standing ovation.

A few of the extraordinary performers in action!

The weather in Los Angeles is one of the many reasons people move here from all over the world. Another reason is that they want to be in the movies. Now for everyone who loves the movies and enjoys the weather here, you can watch Oscar winning movies in Hollywood for only $5 (for students and Academy members it’s only $3) at Oscars Outdoors.

This is as close as we get to having our own outdoor projection screening room; the 20 x 40 foot screen is probably bigger than what you could put up, and being able to bring your own food and drinks, makes this a Friday or Saturday night fiesta. All you need to bring is a blanket or lawn chair, get here by sundown, and enjoy Oscar winners like Casablanca (June 15) or classics like The Princess Bride (July 14).

A classic movie, food, drinks & great company….sounds like a recipe for a spectacular summer evening!

Since I go to Lindy Grundy at least once a week, I had had the pleasure of tasting their addictive sausages, delectable pork chops, tender steaks, and wonderful lamb (see my previous post here). Today I picked up a rabbit and I will be making it into a gumbo with some of their andouille sausage (using Emeril’s recipe) and my friend Robin picked up some short ribs. For those of you who have only eaten short ribs but never cooked them, Lindy & Grundy is teaching a small group of 40 how to they butcher, how to make short ribs, and how to pair wine with them for only $40 (instead of $75) if you reserve in advance here. They will be at the Century City Westfield Mall this Monday, October 24 at 6:30pm in Bloomingdale’s, so get your tickets and get some short ribs!

For those of you who have never seen the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, this Christmas might be the time to go with a 30% TravelZoo discount for the show. Just put code TZ001 into the promotion code box at this link and get your discount. The best prices are available Nov. 11-23 and Nov. 28-Dec. 2 with Orchestra and 1st Mezzanine seats going for $52.50 instead of $75 and an additional $13.75-$17.60 per ticket, please note that full-price tickets are subject to the same additional fees. With the Travelzoo deal you can print your tickets immediately for no extra charge with the “Ticketfast” option.

Since I was attending the French Film Festival COLCOA (City of Light City of Angels) all week, there were times when I could not go further than a few blocks for food in between movies. There is The Counter for burgers across the street, and Veggie Grill for vegans, two blocks away, and Trader Joe’s for ready made food, but I opted for the place I had not yet tried, Pizza Fusion, literally right next door.

It was more attractive simply because they advertised specials for Earth Day, they use organic ingredients, give all their employees who work more than 20 hours a week medical benefits, offer free sustainable classes for kids every month, and they even offer gluten free options for pizza, beer, and brownies; I don’t see either Veggie Grill or Trader Joe’s offering these kind of options and benefits.

On one break, I had a large Fusion Salad ($8.99), made with Arugula, romaine, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, basil, shaved carrots and toasted crostini (all the green items are organic and you can omit the crostini for gluten free diets). I chose the balsamic vinaigrette but it was drowned in Italian when it arrived; they switched it out for another one as soon as I tasted it and asked for a replacement with the dressing on the side. Everything was freshly prepared and had the added “feel good” component of being organic, so I knew no pesticides were in my plate of greens.

Because this is after all a pizza place, I had to come back for a pizza, so I opted for personal sized ($8.99) a multi grain crust (you can also choose an organic white) made with sauteed spinach, roasted portobello mushrooms, goat cheese, and Italian sausage (which was hormone & preservative free). They offer several cheese options, from organic Mozzarella to Daiya vegan.The tomato sauce is organic and very tasty and although this is not a classic pizza, I enjoyed the thin crispy crust and the flavors I combined. I would order this again as an alternative to the traditional American “pizza” any day.

I saw the stuffed mushrooms ($6.99) on the appetizer menu and had to try them. They are criminis (mini portobellos) stuffed with sausage, goat cheese, and herbs and they were my favorite of all the things I tried here. They would be perfect paired with a glass of the Malbec ($8) and during happy hour from 4-7pm they offer specials on either their beers (they offer flights of beers), wines, or appetizers.

Convenience is always a good reason to try something, but when it is combined with ethical actions that combine healthy food with happy employees in the community, that is a reason to come back.

Pizza Fusion on Urbanspoon

I’ve been to Stevie’s Creole Cafe for lunch, but that was a year and a half ago (see my previous post here), and since I haven’t had a chance to go back to New Orleans this year, it was time to go back to Stevie’s for my Creole food fix. They are even more enticing now because they just added Chicken and Waffles to their extensive menu of Southern comfort food.

So on a cold and rainy night I met up with my Southern eating partner for some stick to your ribs hearty fare. We were greeted with hospitality and warmth by everyone in the place. As soon as we ordered, a piping hot basket of cornbread was delivered and devoured as we waited for our food.

I had to get the seafood gumbo again because it was such a stand out last time and it still packs the same gastronomic punch, packed with crab, shrimp, andouille sausage, chicken and rice, a cup of this hearty spicy concoction will warm your heart and your body. The wonderful sauce was so good that I wanted a cup of it to drink, but I settled for using a spoon to scoop into my mouth.

We decided to split the oxtails and the chicken and waffles so we could both have tastes of everything. The oxtails came with two sides, so my Southerner ordered the fried okra and collard greens. The okra was light and tasty, with just the right amount of spice in the crisp batter. The collard greens had a nice flavor, but needed some punch, so either some bites of the spicy pepper served with it, or some hot sauce sprinkled on it made it perfect. The oxtails were falling of the bone tender, served on a bed of rice, and the brown gravy covering them was fabulously rich accompaniment. A very nice version of oxtails.

The Chicken and Waffles was great! I have not yet been to Roscoes, so I can’t compare, but the chicken was moist, the crust on the batter was crisp and perfectly seasoned. The waffles were better than the version most breakfast places serve, and there are TWO on the plate, served with three scoops of butter (I used one and scraped off the rest) and two sides of maple syrup. I don’t see how anyone could finish this dish by themselves unless they are playing sports professionally.

We paid less than $60 for both our meals, including tax and tip and we were so full after eating that we simply lay back on the bench against the cushions and nearly fell asleep from the joy of a happy belly.

If you haven’t been to New Orleans, go eat at Stevie’s and you will want to go; if you have been, go to Stevie’s to get your fix of soulfully delicious Creole in the San Fernando Valley anytime you want without having to go through LAX.

They also have live music, a happy hour, and a full bar, so even if you just stop in for some fun, go and enjoy this friendly casual cafe.

Stevie's Creole Cafe and Bar on Urbanspoon

When my friend and I were at the Westfield Mall in the San Fernando Valley, I saw a storefront that had a sign “Rack” and said to my friend, “Look there’s a Rack here, let’s go”, thinking it was Nordstrom’s Rack instead of The Rack restaurant. She told me it was a bar, so we were going to skip it, until we walked past and saw their menu with options ranging from burgers and sandwiches to ribs and fresh fish. Since we were both hungry and their menu included sides like collard greens and garlic fries, we figured it had to be better than the fast food inside the mall, so we sat down for lunch. Since they advertise that they serve the best Bloody Mary in the valley, I had to try one. It was not the best IMHO, but it was decent.

My friend ordered the cheese burger with guacamole and bacon (they forgot the bacon on the burger, but our waitress gave her an entire plateful once she told them). She ordered the collard greens and garlic fries as her two sides. The burger was huge and even though it was difficult to eat, she somehow managed to finish it. It was also nice to find that it was cooked to order exactly as she had specified (medium rare).

I chose the BLT with Turkey, (basically a club sandwich), also with collard greens and garlic fries. The collard greens tasted more like turnip greens, with a slightly bitter flavor, but they were nicely done with some spice and very tender. I loved the garlic fries which were crispy, and loaded with chopped garlic. The turkey was moist, and the tomatoes and lettuce were fresh, so this was a very good rendition of a club sandwich, even though it was so big I don’t see how anyone could finish it unless they are a pro sports player!

Sometimes a mistaken identity can lead to a surprising find; we were happy to find The Rack was a restaurant that served very decent food at very moderate prices (our entire meal with drinks was only $40 for both of us). Service was very efficient and friendly, and if you come at night they have entertainment. We found out the reason the restaurant is named the Rack is because there are Pool Tables inside (we sat on the covered patio), so you can play a game of pool to work off your meal.

Rack at Westfield Promenade on Urbanspoon

Although I traveled to Santorini alone, it is a wonderful place for lovers with the dramatic vistas, easy island way of life, and warm people. I saw a total of three wedding in the 11 days I was on the island. Apparently Santorini is a wedding destination for many couples and there are wedding specialists who will help you arrange a ceremony at the venue of your choice. The first wedding I saw was in Oia, the picturesque town in the Northern part of the island; I caught this photo of the bride and groom as they were exchanging vows during sunset.

Santorini is also known for the vineyards and wine produced on this unique volcanic island. The most well known varieties are Assyrtiko, Nykteri, and Vinsanto.

Vineyards here are unlike those anywhere else in the world, as they literally make the vines into baskets to protect them from the winds and to help them get moisture in this very dry land with no ground water.

Many vineyards are open to the public for tastings and tours, so one thing I did was go to a wine tasting on the Caldera at Santo Wines.

There was also a wedding going on here when I was wine tasting.

I can see why people choose this as a place to get married, with views like this.

Another very Greek and fun thing to do is attend the outdoor cinemas in the summer.

They show film under the stars while serving drinks (alcoholic and not) and snacks. As you can see there are side tables for your food and drinks, and they even include an intermission in the film so you can use the bathroom or replenish your supplies midway through the film.

Cost is 7 Euros ($10), so the same as we pay in the states to watch a film in a stuffy cinema, and since the films are all shown in the original language with Greek subtitles, this is a perfect way to spend a warm summer evening.

Birds make music as they sing for us, so isn’t it about time we pay them back? The wildlife in the Gulf has been very badly affected by the oil spill (even with containment, there has already been horrendous damage done). The Audubon Society will receive 100% of the money raised by the $40 tickets for relief at the Drink Eat Play benefit tonight at The Music Box at Fonda Theater. The place will be jamming with cover bands like Hollywood U2, 80s All Starz, and Petty Cash (a tribute to Johnny Cash and Tom Petty), starting at 9:00pm TONIGHT.

Go out tonight and party like it’s 1999 (when we all thought the worst oil spill in history had already happened) and help make 2099 a year when we still have wildlife in the wild.

There are a few pleasures in Los Angeles that make living here close to being in Heaven; finding easy parking, eating fabulous food without having to fight for a table, and enjoying a poolside lounge on the shore. What if you could have all three? Would that make Los Angeles the utopia that everyone sees in the movies?

There are many places I don’t even bother going because of the lack of parking, and that goes for events too, especially when there is a sold out event at Staples Center or the Nokia Theater. Park Whiz now has a lot downtown which guarantees you a prime parking spot for $20, and you don’t have to worry about having cash or finding a free spot. You reserve your space online for the date you want, print out the receipt and show up at the structure with your prepaid proof. It is nice to know in advance you have a space and that it is already prepaid; it just makes it so much more enjoyable to attend any event downtown.

Getting good food is easy, but can be pricey and time consuming, especially if you are trying to lose some weight and eat properly. Z.E.N. (Zero Effort Nutrition) is a food delivery service that provides breakfast, lunch, a snack, and dinner delivered to you for whatever your dietary desires dictate (say that three times fast). You can choose to lose weight, gain weight, avoid certain foods because of allergies, stabilize your blood sugar, or lower your cholesterol. It all costs about $50 a day and they offer discounts for mutiple day packages ranging from 5-90 days. The beauty of this service is that it is tailored for your needs and tastes (is you hate beans, there will not be any in the meals) and they provide fresh and tasty meals that are delivered so you don’t have to fight traffic to get your food. Considering that dinner and lunch out could easily cost $50, this deal not only provides more food (breakfast and a snack), but food that is designed with your body’s needs in mind.

People come to Los Angeles all year around because the weather is so good, after all, where else can you sunbathe on the beach in December? Casa Del Mar is the restored bath house on Santa Monica Beach which is now home to a hotel with a pool. How fitting that locals can now buy pool passes for a year of use (no blackout dates) through Club Casa De Mar. You also get access to the fitness center, 25% discount off spa services, and one night in the Penthouse with breakfast and 2 massages. All this luxury is yours for $2,500 a year, which is less than $7 a day, and you probably spend more than that on your vente soy lattes.

Have you ever wanted to hang out and party on the backlot of a movie studio? Well you get a chance to party like a star on July 31 from 3pm-7pm with unlimited beer, food, and music.

All this is brought to you by Drink Eat Play the event organizers who are throwing a “block party” on the New York Lot (of course, where else would you hold a block party?) on the Paramount Studios back lot. Not only do you get beers ranging from name brands like Fat Tire and Stella Artois, but there will be gourmet food trucks galore, tribute bands playing live music and DJ’s to keep you dancing. You can also get discounted tickets to the event through Goldstar until July 10 (11am PDT) for only $30 (+$5.50 fee) instead of the at door admission price of $50.

Go party in “New York City” without going through airport scanners, lugging bags, or having to see graffiti, but just like in NYC, you may want to take a cab home.




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