Local Festivals (Venice and Culver City)

This weekend we are celebrating two of our favorite communities in Los Angeles – Venice and Culver City – with the 32nd Annual Abbot Kinney Festival and Culver City Centennial Celebration (say that 10 times fast)! If you’re feeling conflicted … Continue reading

Day 67: dineLA’s Restaurant Week! (All over LA)

DineLA’s Restaurant Week is a biannual showcase of LA’s most delicious dining destinations, presented by the LA Tourism and Convention Board. All food lovers should rejoice that this two-week-long event normalizes the French prix fixe and Spanish menú del día … Continue reading

Day 53: Bao Dim Sum House (Beverly Grove)

It’s Sunday! Now that school is out for our house, Sunday doesn’t bring the same feeling of despair about the weekend coming to a close as it did last week, but we are extra happy because Sunday usually means Dim Sum Day for us! The best way to describe dim sum is kind of like Cantonese tapas served for weekend breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea with the family: small, individually-sized bites that are (sometimes) pre-prepared and meant to be shared family-style, accompanied by a big pot of oolong or jasmine tea. The most common are dumplings and buns and noodles, served steamed or fried, and egg tarts, mango pudding, or sweet buns for dessert. We especially love dumplings; some might even call us dumpling fiends!

Clockwise, from top: an empty basket of shrimp balls, bok choy with oyster sauce, har gow (shrimp in rice dumplings).

Clockwise, from top: an empty basket of shrimp balls, bok choy with oyster sauce, har gow (shrimp in rice dumplings).

Grandpa and Grandma Marfori with my dad, Mike.

Grandpa and Grandma Marfori with my dad, Mike.

Before I continue, I have to acknowledge my paternal grandfather, Grandpa Marfori. He came from the Philippines with essentiallynothing, and worked his way up to become a colonel in the US Army. He was small but intense, almost always super serious, and was a “foodie” before the term was even a twinkle in former New York magazine food critic Gael Greene’s eye. Because his job required him to travel all over the world, my grandpa acquainted himself with the best of what a country’s cuisine had to offer: torronechorizo, and jamón ibérico from Spain, shrimp paste from the Philippines to smear on mangos (I know – icky, but he liked it), Chinese sausage.. And he had to have these specific sourdough rolls every night with his dinner from the old Pioneer Bakery down on Rose Ave back when you did not want to get out of your car to pick up dinner rolls on Rose Ave. He was the one who would organize family celebrations at VIP Seafood (now The Palace Seafood & Dim Sum) and once everybody sat down, the food would just start coming because he had already pre-ordered the whole thing. Grandpa Marfori was a huge influence in my love of food, and for that I will always be grateful.

The last soupy dumpling. Who wants to thumb wrestle for it?

The last soupy dumpling. Who wants to thumb wrestle for it?

Now, enter Bao Dim Sum House. What makes Bao a little different is that it is made-to-order instead of being served from a heated trolley. You notice this in dishes like their siu mai – you can really taste the shrimp flavor (which can sometimes get lost with all the pork), and their cha siu bao has plenty of sauce mixed in with the honey bbq pork. While they are by no means the only restaurant in the LA area to serve dim sum this way, Bao is relatively close compared to the stars of the San Gabriel Valley. One of our only criticisms is the price points – the cost is significantly more expensive than your typical dim sum spot, but the trade-off is that they are close, have xiao long bao (we call it soupy dumplings), and have milk buns. As MC Hammer once said, “don’t want none unless you got buns, hon” – although, I’m not sure he was talking about the same thing as we are today…..

So, if you don’t want to drive out to SGV on a Sunday morning only to wait two hours to be seated, this is your place!

You can view the complete menu on their website, and reservations can be made online using Open Table. Happy eating!

Day 32: Superbowl Sunday in LA

This year how about something different? Instead of crowds of people in your house breaking things and spilling their refreshments. Rather than cooking and preparing all that food, some of which will go to waste. How about taking the party out this year? For those of us that want to hit the town for the big game here are a few options.  We found this incredible write up on Marpop, take a look:

Super Bowl Sunday in LA

Super Bowl Sunday in LA

Football’s biggest game of the year is here. And you know what that means: Party time! Forget staying at home with a bag of chips and six pack of beer. There are dozens of places all over LA to watch the Super Bowl on February 3. Whether you want a raucous restaurant with cheap drinks, a hidden bar by the beach or some tasty vegan action, here’s a list of where to watch the Super Bowl in Los Angeles and beyond. I’ll be updating this list regularly, so check back to find even more places where you can celebrate Game Day!

The Parish – Downtown LA
Starting at 3pm on Super Bowl Sunday, this cool foodie destination is where you can watch the game on the restaurant’s 80-inch flatscreen while enjoying some of the best food in LA ranging from buttermilk fried chicken to the Gridiron Special ($40) that comes with 20 stout-glazed chicken wings, a growler (half gallon jug) of ESP Noble Ale, housemaid pork rinds and fried olives.

Tony’s Darts Away – Burbank
Did somebody say Vegan Super Bowl?? Yes, folks. This little bar in the Valley is perfect for those who don’t know what to do with that friend who likes watching the pigskin tossed but doesn’t want to actually eat the pig. Guests can enjoy All-You-Can-Drink Beer for $20, complimentary light bar snacks and specials like vegan nachos, vegan BBQ sandwiches with pulled jackfruit, slaw & pickles, TDA’s signature Brussels sprouts made with agave, sriracha and toasted cumin seeds. You can also reserve a table by emailing alex@tonys.la 

Mohawk Bend – Echo Park
Listen up, sports fans! Mohawk Bend is offering All-You-Can-Drink Beer AND All-You-Can-Eat Pizza during the game for $30. Six pizzas will be on rotation throughout the game (three vegan and three non-vegan options) and all the brews on tap that you can handle. You can reserve tables with the best views of the screens by emailing reservations@mohawk.la

The Mixing Room at JW Marriott L.A. LIVE – Downtown LA
The “Big Game Tailgate” invites football fans to go the whole nine yards with a $25 all-you-can-eat buffet, plus drink specials from kick-off to final whistle. Enjoy tailgate grub with a twist like smoked baby back ribs & half chicken while watching the game on 50-inch HD screens, both indoors and out on the patio. There’ll even be a post-game DJ to help you celebrate or commiserate with your fellow sports fans.

Duplex on Third – Mid City Los Angeles
This fabulously spacious newcomer on West Third is bringing in extra big-screen televisions for Super Bowl Sunday, plus offering specialty cocktails and a tailgating menu with all sorts of tasty eats including Italian sausage hoagies, lobster rolls, short rib sliders, fish tacos and homemade pretzels with pale ale white cheddar sauce and spicy mustard.

Golden Road Brewery – Glendale
Beer and the Big Game, it’s the perfect pair. And you can celebrate with both at the pub at Golden Road Brewery, which is offering all-you-can-drink Golden Road Beer for $25 during the game. Light snacks will also be provided free of charge. Score!

Hanging at the Pub @ Golden Road Brewery

Calle Tacos – Hollywood

If you’re having your own at-home Super Bowl party but don’t want to do the same old burger and hot dog routine, check out Calle Tacos. This permanently-parked food truck on Hollywood Boulevard has an entire catering menu dedicated to the Big Game with all sorts of packages (tacos, taquitos, burritos, quesadillas, salad and more) that ring in at less than $10 per person.

Tom Bergin’s Tavern – Mid-City Los Angeles     
For the big game, Tom Bergin’s Tavern is serving up a “Go for Two” special with $2 Miller High Life draft and $2 housemade pretzels with mustard. The “Two Minute Drill” special will offer the fish & chips and cottage pie for $2 during the two minutes following a successful two-point conversion. And for those hungry for a hearty breakfast, brunch will be available until 4pm.

Public Kitchen & Bar – Hollywood
The restaurant is hosting a Super Bowl party in the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with the game projected on a 15-foot screen, cool cocktails and loads of snacks from the eclectic American menu including a Bucket of Beck’s Sapphire and 12 wings for $39.

The Market on Holly – Pasadena
The gourmet food and specialty store is offering a special Super Bowl To-Go menu. From spicy hot buffalo wings to onion dip and Jim’s famous cheese balls, this is a one-stop shop for a no-muss, no-fuss party. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance. To order call 626. 844.8811.

Street – Hollywood-ish
If you want to veg out this Super Bowl Sunday you might want to order Street’s all-vegan to-go menu for Super Bowl Sunday. Dishes include the spicy black bean vegan burger, three-bean vegan chili dogs, 7-layer dip, tomaillo avocado salsa with tortilla chips and vegan jalapeno poppers with ranch dip. Call 323.203.0500 to place your order at least two days in advance.

Bru Haus  – Brentwood-ish
This local hangout along Wilshire Boulevard is all about the Big Game on Sunday with plenty of food and drink specials starting at noon. Try the chicken schnitzel or Bru burger that tastes so good with a side of fries and beetchup (yes, as in homemade beet ketchup). Tables fill up fast at this place, so reserving a table is highly recommended. Call 310.473.2337.

Baltimore Ravens vs. San Francisco 49ers

Nick & Stef’s – Downtown LA
This downtown steakhouse is once again celebrating Super Bowl Sunday from 2:30pm to 8:30pm with a $39 Endless Tailgate buffet featuring sliders, hot wings, chili, oven-fired pizza and more + $5 well drinks and $15 pitchers of beer. And don’t forget the projection, big-screen TVs and giveaways each quarter. FYI, if you’re a DTLA resident all you gotta do is show your ID to get 15% off your bill.

Clancy’s Bar & Grill – Anaheim
If you’re the kind of football fan who postpones bathroom breaks for fear of missing a single pass or possible touchdown, it’s time to say hello to your new best friend: Clancy’s Bar & Grill. This sporty spot has 36 plasma TVs including a few in the bathroom, so you won’t miss a minute of the action. The Super Bowl Sunday party starts at 1:30pm with 50+ menu items under $10, drink specials and of course, those infamous hot wings. Reservations recommended by calling 714.750.7500.

Sharkeez – Multiple locations in OC & South Bay
This crazy sports bar chain in the South Bay and OC is an obvious choice to watch the big game considering it’s a total party zone with dozens upon dozens of HD TVs with surround sound. Sharkeez Super Sunday celebration starts at 12pm with 64-oz beer pitchers starting at $13, flaming fajitas, and free Super Raffles with more than $5,000 in prizes.

Rush Street – Culver City
If you want to join the “biggest Super Bowl party on the Westside,” check out this two-story bar in Culver City that’s showing the big game on 15 flat screens and serving up brunch, lunch and dinner specials all day and team-themed drink deals. Doors open at 10am with pre-game coverage starting at noon. No cover charge but seating fills up fast, so call 310.837.9546.

The Churchill – Mid-City Los Angeles
This popular gastropub along West Third Street is the perfect spot to catch the big game with friends. With a total of six TVs upstairs and downstairs, you can watch the Super Bowl action while enjoying all beers on tap for $4 and gourmet pub grub like chipotle cider glazed wings, hand cut fries, duck fat popcorn, pork meatballs, vegan burgers and, of course, those delicious pizzas.

The Churchill burger - Photo by Michael Jackson

Saint Rocke – Hermosa Beach
This South Bay bar and music venue is hosting its annual Super Bowl Sunday party starting at 2:30pm broadcasting all the action on their brand-new 20-foot projector screen and 60-inch TVs.  Expect drink specials, tailgate trivia and the Boozy Bee competition (aka drunk spelling bee) for a chance to win a FREE trip to Hawaii! No cover charge, but call  310.372.0035 for reservations.

Napa Valley Grille – Westwood
Did someone say 25-cent chicken wings?! In addition to those sweet chili-glazed wings, this huge Westwood Village restaurant will have big screens located throughout the spacious bar area and outdoor patio tuned in to the game on Sunday, February 3. There will be plenty of other dining deals during the game and $2 Pabst Blue Ribbons all day long

Orochon – Burbank
Forget burgers and pizza. How about doing Super Bowl Sunday with oodles of noodles? Orochon Ramen in Burbank is broadcasting the big game with lots of yummy food (sushi and chicken teriyaki, too), beer, wine, and yes, free parking in the rear.

Mendocino Farms – West Hollywood, Marina Del Rey, DTLA, 3rd & Fairfax
If you want to watch the game at home but don’t want to pig out on greasy food, Mendocino Farms is a great option. The gourmet sandwich shop offers plenty of filling, fresh fare like steak BLTS and vegan BLTs, “not-so-fried-chicken” sandwiches and other customize-able platters as long as you order 24 hours in advance. Prices start at $65 for 5-7 people. Delivery is also an option within the immediate area, so call ahead of time to coordinate.

Magnolia Bakery – Mid-City Los Angeles
No matter which team you’re rooting for, you can sweeten your Super Bowl party with Magnolia Bakery’s classic cupcakes in vanilla or chocolate, decorated in your team’s colors and topped with Super Bowl XLVII decorations. Cupcakes are $3.50 each and are available in store, just make sure to place orders early.

Day 28: Milo & Olive


There really are perks to being the early bird…  We went to the newly opened Milo & Olive this morning to celebrate my Dad’s birthday (breakfast is his favorite meal).  These are the same people who brought us Huckleberry, Sweet Rose Creamery, and Rustic Canyon. In other words YUM!  While waiting for our Baked Farm Egg’s and Prosciutto and Gruyere Quiche’s (both delicious), the co-owner Josh Loeb brought us over some samples from the bakery section.   Among the baked goods we tasted, which were all sublime, there was a butternut, rosemary and fleur de sal flatbread cake that was a stand-out.  My advice, go now before the crowds find out they’re open and forget about not eating carbs, there are times when you just have to surrender!

Day 25: Royal/T


In the mood to look at some art, have a meal and do a little shopping?  Hop on down to Royal/T in Culver City…  This cafe/gallery/store is a playful mix of all three and bills itself as L.A.’s first Japanese style cosplay cafe’.  Meaning, there are adorable young asian waitresses in full French maid regalia.  It would be worth one stop just to see it, but the food is so yummy and reasonably priced, we go all the time.  The contemporary art rotates which also makes for an element of surprise each visit.  And for those who want to party but can’t stand the thought of sweaty bodies rubbing up against you?  Step into this Porta Party complete with disco ball and iPod jack.  Party for one please!

Day 24: The Getty Villa


Not in the mood to fight the Mother’s Day brunch crowds today?  Why not postpone your celebration for this Thursday, May 12th and take her up to The Getty Villa in Malibu for some Tea by the Sea? 

According to The Getty Website. “Tea by the Sea is a special dining experience inspired by the Mediterranean herbs, vegetables, and fruits that grow at the Villa. Feast on a Mediterranean-inspired menu of sweet and savory sandwiches and pastries, along with fruits, cheeses, and a varied selection of teas. After tea, you can tour the Villa’s authentically re-created first-century Roman gardens with knowledgeable docents, then spend the rest of the afternoon savoring the Villa’s exhibitions and permanent collection.”

$36 per person.
Thursdays from 1:00-3:00
Please reserve in advance. Call (310) 440-7300 or get tickets online.