Hey, remember that opening scene from Saving Private Ryan? Of course you do. Don’t act like you don’t. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you remember the scene. It’s that iconic sequence of death and artillery as Spielberg re-creates the D-Day Landing in Normandy. Bombs go off, body parts go flying, and we’re more or less stuck in an assault on the senses that’s so gripping and real that we can’t help but just go somewhere quiet and pass out.
Well, imagine swapping out the soldiers with croissants and the bombs with French toast, and then you might be able to understand what it was like to attend the LA Times ‘The Taste’ preview event earlier this evening. If you’re still confused about what the heck I’m talking about, let me explain: this Labor Day weekend, The Los Angeles Times is once again hosting a food celebration of Southern California cuisine titled “The Taste,” and in an effort to stoke the fires of curiosity, the newspaper invited various food writers and similarly lauded members of society to sample some of the goods that will be on display. One might call this a taste of the Taste (you can steal that for next year, Los Angeles Times).
Anyway, a major event at this food festival will be a Sunday Brunch co-hosted by Thomas Keller (yes, THE Thomas Keller), and so what better way to tease The Taste than by bandying about some of the brunch items we might encounter during said event?
Pictures of the [super delicious] carb-fest after the jump…
Continue reading “LA Times ‘The Taste’ Returns — Swankier Than Ever”
For years and years, I have been an avid fan of Food Network Star — going all the way back to its genial, awkward first season which saw two party planner guys take home the inaugural crown. Since then, we’ve witnessed many dubious winners claim the big prize (ahem, Big Daddy’s House) while more deserving runners-up go home empty-handed. Well, sort of empty handed. Some near-misses have found success with Food Network despite premature ejection from their star path. Kelsey Nixon and Adam Gertler have had post-Food Network Star runs, and so has Jeffrey Saad, whose season five loss was parlayed into hosting gigs for Spice Smuggler and later United Tastes of America.
Saad, it should be noted, also helms his very own restaurant, La Ventura, here in Los Angeles, and last week, I was invited to a media-comped dinner at the establishment. FINALLY — I would be able to sample the cooking of a Food Network star. It’s what I’ve always dreamed of.
(And yes, I’m fully aware that I could just traipse over to any of Guy Fieri’s dining establishments, but I do like to maintain a certain level of dignity.) …… (Full disclosure, I’m typing this unshowered in my underwear.)
Continue reading “THINGS I ATE: New Mexican Cuisine at Jeffrey Saad’s La Ventura”
I have great news — at least for people in Los Angeles (sorry, rest of the world). There’s a new ride sharing app that’s hurling itself into the marketplace, which means that when Über is on “Surge” mode and a Lyft is nowhere to be found, you have a whole brand new option! Introducing Opoli, which is sort of like Über meets Priceline meets Taxi Magic meets whatever. Basically, users looking to get somewhere fire up the app, enter in their location and destination, and then decide how much they want to pay for the voyage. Then various drivers bid for the job — so I guess it’s like TaskRabbit also… before TaskRabbit started doing hourly rates and became annoying. According to Opoli, this is what sets the app apart from the competition — the ability to name your fare and know exactly how much you’ll be paying for the ride (goodbye traffic anxiety).
Now, why am I sitting here writing what basically sounds like a commercial? Well, first of all, shame on you. It’s not a commercial. I am merely describing the purpose of the app. And why am I doing that? Because Opoli gave me a promo code to share with my readers. So it is a commercial after all! Yay! Kind of.
Okay, here’s the important stuff. If you enter in the promo code BSIDEBLOG, you get a $50 dollar credit. That’s $50! Now you can put that money towards booze instead of transport. (Don’t drink and drive, kids. Seriously).
Here’s the deal:
Download the Opoli app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/opoli/id872133514?ls=1&mt=8 or visit Opoli online, click BOOK SERVICES. Then enter promo code BSIDEBLOG for a $50 credit. You must enter the promo code prior to accepting a bid.
Oh, and there is one catch — you knew it was coming, didn’t you? This code is good for only 20 first-time riders. So if you want to cash in on this, do it soon because if you’re the 21st person to use the code, you are out of luck. BOOYAH.
(For some reason I feel I should note that Opoli gave me a promo code to try out the service, but I haven’t used it yet; so I can’t vouch for anything. But I intend to try it out!)
Brunch. It’s more than just a portmanteau. It’s a way of life. And in Los Angeles, I’m always on the lookout for new brunch options. There simply are not enough in this town, and any time a decent place pops up, it’s only a matter of time before it’s saddled with a 45 minute wait.
Nevertheless, when I was invited to a media-comped brunch at Sonny’s Hideaway this past week, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to go. Perhaps I’d have a new destination to add to my ever expanding brunch list.
Did the restaurant deliver the goods? Pics and commentary after the jump…
Continue reading “THINGS I ATE: Brunch Foods at Sonny’s Hideaway”
We are in the throes of summer, and what better way to celebrate it by drinking (unless you’re sober, in which case that is a TERRIBLE IDEA). Conveniently, Grey Goose has just debuted a new melon variety of its much lauded vodka, and to celebrate this joyous occasion, Urban Daddy threw a party earlier this week fit for a king. Well, a Los Angeles king. And I don’t mean a hockey player.
Yes, Grey Goose LE MELON (as it’s called) derives its flavor from the cavaillon melon, a melon so prized that kings have bartered away their most valuable possessions for just a taste — at least according to the press release, and as we all know, press releases never lie. Anyway, the Grey Goose people took a hold of the whole “king” thing and ran with it, inviting Vine superstar KingBach to host the shindig at the Sixty Hotel in Beverly Hills. Yours truly was also in attendance, and I’m proud to announce that I neither fell in the pool nor fell down any staircases. This is a major win for my cool cred.
Pics from the event after the jump…
Continue reading “Inside The Grey Goose Le Melon Party”
Is there anything more fun than watching a youth-oriented broadcast and slowly realizing you are not the plucky 22-year-old you still fancy yourself to be? Such was the case last night when I found myself viewing the iHeart Radio Ultimate Pool Party courtesy of The CW network. Now, to be fair, this wasn’t a totally accidental occurrence. I did receive compensation to watch the show, which of course sounds shady, but daddy’s gotta earn some money! It’s all good though because just as Jewel’s hands are small but still her own, so are my thoughts about this daffy concert.
Now, in case you weren’t part of the .82 million people who watched the show last night, fear not. I’m happy to fill you in on everything you missed. Soon, you too will feel as if you were right there — (and by right there, I mean sitting on my couch, watching this show at midnight while you battle a taco-induced food coma).
Continue reading “iHeart Radio Puts On The Ultimate Pool Party, Minus The Pool”
A few weeks ago, Los Angeles endured a brutal heat wave with temperatures reaching 100 degrees or more. It was the sort of weather that left me listless and sweating; although, to be fair, most temperatures leave me listless and sweating. When the heat goes up, most people gravitate towards light fare — salads, cold soups, shellfish — but as luck would have it, I had a media-comped meal scheduled at L’Assiette Steak Frites, a new restaurant on Melrose Avenue that serves one thing and one thing only: steak frites. Hence, the name. I can’t say a heavy meal of meat and potatoes was exactly what I was in the mood for during that steamy period of Los Angeles weather, but I am a proud soldier of the blogosphere. I will brave the difficulties of this job for you, the dear reader, even if it means I must eat cold weather food IN WARM WEATHER.
You’re welcome, people. Please, no applause. Stay in your seats. An ovation is not necessary! Continue reading “THINGS I ATE: Steak Frites at L’Assiette”
Once again, I’m on a health kick: low carb, high protein, reduced fat. So naturally I wound up at a pizza place. To be fair, I was invited for a media-comped lunch at Settebello, the regional pizza chain that boasts pies that are VPN certified. What’s VPN, you ask? Well, it has nothing to do with Virtual Private Networks. VPN, when it comes to pizza, stands for Vera Pizza Napoletana — which basically means that the ingredients, the ovens, and the processes are up to Naples’ approval. It’s like being kosher for pizza.
Well, who am I to deny pizza, let alone CERTIFIED pizza? So off I trekked to Settebello on Cinco De Mayo (I enjoy playing against type on international holidays). Pictures of the pizza party after the jump…
Continue reading “THINGS I ATE: Soft Pizza At Settebello”
Exciting news: not only is today the birthday of Kathy Ireland, but it’s also the launch date of a new feature on this blog: Wednesday Night Supper Club. One part Adventures in Domesticity and one part Things I Ate, the Wednesday Night Supper Club will detail the latest meals of my Wednesday night dining crew, also known as — you guessed it — the Wednesday Night Supper Club.
A little bit of backstory: Continue reading “WEDNESDAY NIGHT SUPPER CLUB: Irish Potluck Edition”
With the Super Bowl marking the end of football season two weeks ago, I made a pledge to eat healthy for a month and forgo all those carby, fatty meals that had littered my January and February. Dare I say it — I even declared that I would try paleo. Yes, paleo: that utterly annoying eat-like-a-caveman diet that everyone seems to do and love/hate. This was going to be the newer, Stone Age-ier Ben, and with any luck, I might even develop the early tracings of an ab or two.
Naturally, none of this happened.
That’s probably a good thing because otherwise I would have had to have declined the invitation for a media-comped lunch at the newly opened DeSano Pizza Bakery in East Hollywood. With pizza, calzones, gelato, and cannoli on the menu, I can assure you that this burgeoning eatery is not the destination for dieters hoping to embrace their inner Australopithecus. (And whoa, “Australopithecus” wasn’t flagged by spell check. But cannoli was. I don’t understand this world).
After the jump, check out pics of lunch at DeSano Pizza Bakery.
Continue reading “THINGS I ATE: Pizza, Cannoli, and Other Decadent Things at DeSano Pizza Bakery”