Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's Snowing in LA!

Well, sort of.

Holiday decorations have been put up at the Grove for awhile, including tons of twinkle lights, a two story Santa's Cottage, and a Christmas tree that's reportedly the largest public tree in Los Angeles (even bigger than the Rockefeller tree in NY). The area is both kid and pet friendly and the central fountain has water shows set to music.

And until New Year's Day, snow will fall twice a day at 7pm and 8pm. Snow!!

Regardless of the holiday decorations, the Grove is always a nice place to do some shopping, catch a movie, or grab a bite to eat over at the great Farmer's Market next door (I always get the hot pastrami sandwich when I'm there).

With that said, happy New Year's Eve!

-Sarah Koo, ExperienceLA Arts/Cultural Marketing Intern

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hijinks and Shopping at Hollywood/Highland

Recently, I did some holiday shopping at Hollywood/Highland (very convenient to the Hollywood/Highland Metro Red Line Stop). I spent a few hours browsing through its many stores, grabbed a quick bite of cream puffs and coffee at Beard Papa's, and encountered all the great street performers that line up on Hollywood Blvd (as pictured to the right).

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Downtown Burbank: Come Out & Play

Downtown Burbank is a great place for quick bites, lengthy and talkative dinners with friends, holiday shopping at cozy stores and retail giants alike, and movie-watching. I recently experienced LA here with my friends Serena and Jonathan. We had dinner at Black Angus and watched The Holiday at the AMC-16 movie theatre (and we've frequented the area before for similar adventures).
The area's slogan is "Come Out & Play" and at this destination on the edge of the San Fernando Valley, home to 34-blocks of retail, office, residential and entertainment places that includes more than 200 shops and 80 restaurants, living out this slogan is a fairly easy goal.
Downtown Burbank is easily accessible from the Burbank Metrolink Station where trains run until 9:30 Monday-Saturday.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Hungry Cat is Expanding

There is a big new sign plastered on the window of The Hungry Cat restaurant: "The Hungry Cat Raw Bar Spring 2007." I asked David Lentz owner/chef, as to whether he was finally expanding into the adjacent vacated Schwab's restaurant space. David, just before taking over the grill, indicated that the plans have now been finalized in which The Hungry Cat will expand resulting in more indoor and outdoor seating. But the best part will be a Raw Bar featuring oysters, caviar, and raw fish. Previously, back in August 2006, I wrote about eating at The Hungry Cat, and I will refrain from talking about another wonderful brunch after visiting the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market.

David Lentz, having grown up in Maryland, has been influenced by the Chesapeake Bay seafood culture. In fact, Judson, a former employee told me about, the times that The Hungry Cat brought out a large shipment of Maryland Blue Crabs and set out the hammers. The first time they did not sell out, and I think it was all you could eat at one price. But when David Lentz did it a second time, word had gotten out, that this was a real Maryland crab feast, in which large quanities were being offered. And if you have ever eaten blue crab with a true Marylander, you will know how fast and how many crabs can be consumed. The crabs were gone in no time, leaving the later arrivals with no crabs. Judson said that they would probably limit the number of crabs the next time.

A great small wine list that pairs well with the seafood centric menu is another great feature at The Hungry Cat. I mentioned visiting a Heritage Turkey Farm in Sparks, Maryland not that far from where David Lentz grew up. I told him how the Springfield Farms Heritage Turkeys were so good, that Robert Parker who lived down the street would FedEx these birds on dry ice for holiday gifts. David then told me how he used to do wine tastings with Robert Parker. Now we know, David Lentz trained under one of the best in the business.

Experiencing LA in Another County

So while Charity was watching the Lakers in Downtown LA, I went to watch college basketball teams play at the John Wooden Classic at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Granted, it wasn't in LA, but I like to think of it as a bit of LA in Orange County (or the LA fans collectively migrating to one location and probably causing traffic on a Saturday morning).

The line up for the tournament was UCLA vs. Texas A&M and USC vs. George Washington. Pretending to be a Bruin for a day with my UCLA friends, it was as though I was making up for the kind of college experience I missed out on while holed up in a studio completing my thesis, yay. ^___^ UCLA won, of course... they're ranked number one for a reason. And like Charity, the hot dogs definitely capped the experience for me. Can't wait to do it again when they play against Washington on New Years Eve at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion.

So channel your inner college kid (because you know you want to display your "spirit fingers" during free throws) and go watch the UCLA basketball team at their home games in Westwood. And pick up some Diddy Riese while you're at it.

-Sarah Koo, ExperienceLA Arts/Cultural Marketing Intern

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Staples Center: LA Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks

My friends Jason and Grace had an extra ticket for the LA Lakers game against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night. Though I've been in the Downtown area for nearly six years now, it was my first time at the Staples Center, home of LA Lakers basketball games and LA Kings Hockey games. It was definitely a fun experience - sports on television is all well and good, but nothing beats actually watching the game at the stadium. Not to mention, nothing beats the smell of bacon and onions on an open skillet as street vendors make delicious hot dogs too!

The Staples Center is a short walk from the 7th/Metro station and is near the Blue Line Pico Station.

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Pershing Square: Holidays

Sunday I headed out to Downtown LA's Historic Core to see LA Conservancy's holiday matinee screening of Miracle on 34th Street at the historic Palace Theatre. The event was reminiscent of the Conservancy's summer series, Last Remaining Seats where they also screened films in historic theatres. It was lovely to see a classic film in such a beautiful historic theatre and the event opened up with a terrific barbershop quartet.

After the film I headed off to meet friends for ice skating at Pershing Square (very convenient to the Pershing Square Red Line Stop!), just missing the Swingin' Sundays event (one of the many live concert events happening at Pershing Square during the holiday season). We had a great time out on the ice!

Don't miss all the great holiday happenings at Pershing Square during this holiday season including live bands, glide-in movies, and a winter festival! For more information visit the Pershing Square profile on ExperienceLA!

-Charity Tran, ExperienceLA Web Coordinator