Thirsty Thursday: FOUR at Checkers & Chef Todd FTW!

We have written about Checkers and their Thursday happy hour called FOUR for a long time, but it is truly our favorite weekly deal. The man on the left, Tyler, takes care of the drinks and the man on the right, Chef Todd, handles the food. They have fine-dining expertise and skill that is made affordable so you can easily indulge to your belly’s content. They offer four plates and four drinks for four hours (from 4p-8p) on Thursday for $4 each. It is the deal of the century. Last week after John Kelly Chocolates and before the Sexy Singles Soiree 2.0 we sampled all four of the dishes.

Last week the theme for FOUR was “Best of FOUR” paying homage to people’s favorite bites and drinks. The food served was calamari salad, braised beef shortribs with risotto, halibut fish tacos, and a roasted red pepper and tomato soup. The drinks ranged from, my favorite, the Secret Garden to an Old Cuban. I know what you are thinking, why am I telling you about all of the delicious things you missed? There are a couple of reasons: 1. I am mean. 2. It featured edamame beans in the new ways that Chef Todd was interviewed about. 3. To make you go today and discover more FOUR deliciousness.

Here is what is on today’s FOUR Menu (all items are $4 from 4p-8pm):

2007 SANTA BARBARA SAUVIGNON BLANC – A gold medal recipient at the West Coast Wine Fair, this is a lively and bright example of the varietal, with lush flavors and a clean finish!
2008 SANTA BARBARA CHARDONNAY – Creamy on the palate with pear and citrus notes, this chardonnay is well-balanced and expressive.
2007 SANTA BARBARA PINOT NOIR – a great little pinot with hints of earth and cigar, foiled by ripe blackberry and lively acidity.  91+ PTS, WINE & SPIRITS MAGAZINE
2007 SANTA BARBARA COUNTY CABERNET SAUVIGNON – Deep and rich, with a velvety texture.  An ideal pairing with the Sonoma duck!

CALEDONIA PRAWN SCAMPI – beautiful large prawns with stewed tomatoes, tarragon, and house-made herb fettuccini!
CANNELLINI BEAN STEW – with charred Spanish chorizo and fresh lemon and basil…
MAITAKE MUSHROOM TOAST – served on grilled sourdough with a mushroom butter.
PAN-SEARED SONOMA DUCK BREAST – paired with caramelized cauliflower, spring onion and Medjool dates; spectacular!>

As someone that is from the Central Coast, I love that they are partnering with Summerland Winery this Thursday for FOUR. I don’t know if it is from my childhood dream of owning my own boutique hotel or my love of good quality cocktails and well prepared food but I just love Checkers. If you are unable to enjoy it tonight…shoot for next Thursday. Also, I just heard that Checkers will be giving away Mother’s Day gifts for all of the moms out there. Here are all the details:

MOM EATS FREE BRUNCH

The a-la-carte brunch will be served on Sunday, May 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Checkers Downtown’s newly renovated dining room replete with style and artwork evoking the hotel’s 1920’s origins. Checkers’ Executive Chef Todd Allison has culled a menu certain to sate the desires of the most finicky of mothers. For the traditionalists there are Checkers’ Buttermilk Pancakes filled with strawberries, blueberries or bananas and walnuts, or for the more adventurous there is the Open-Faced Fried Egg Sandwich on grilled sourdough with prosciutto, stewed tomatoes and arugula. But, if she is the elegant-at-all-times type, she’ll certainly enjoy the Maine Lobster Risotto, the Seared Maine Diver Scallops with Moro blood orange, fork mashed fingerling potato and pomegranate glaze or the Grilled Colorado Lamb Loin with Rancho Gordo heirloom bean ragout and natural jus. Whatever her tastes are, mom will dine in style – and the host will save enough to buy her some flowers too.

The “Mom Eats Free” offer is valid up to $30 in value and does not include alcohol, tax or gratuity. Certain conditions and restrictions apply. Prices range from $9 to $30 and the full Mother’s Day brunch menu can be viewed at http://www.hiltoncheckers.com/files/mothers_day_menu.pdf. Reservations can be made by calling 213-624-0000 or online at http://www.opentable.com/checkers-downtown?rid=276.

Times are tough and Checkers is making things easier for you. Whether it is by offering you four plates and four drinks for $4 on Thursdays or  by giving your mom a Mother’s Day meal, they have won our UG hearts! I don’t want to get in trouble with the other UG….but one of the UGs is working on winning Chef Todd’s heart! Hint: It isn’t me.

P.S. If you wanna know how Checkers makes the UGs feel, then order the plate of gooey chcolate chip cookies…yup, it’s kind of like that!

A New Line of Coke…Bottles

Josie and I both went to B school and are fascinated by branding and the study of strategic planning of corporations. We study mission statements and vision statements for days and prefer that to figuring out how we are going to make money, which may be responsible for why we have brought in $0 dollars. Anyway, not the point, one company that has always particularly intrigued us was Coca-Cola and their mission statement is the absolute best we have ever seen.

  • To refresh the world…
  • To inspire moments of optimism and happiness…
  • To create value and make a difference.

Josie and I attended a party at Hotel Erwin introducing Coke’s new aluminum bottles. The benefits of these new bottles is that they are resealable, unbreakable, stay colder longer, environmental and, more importantly, they look super cool. In fact, in an upcoming post you can see we that we used them to make a Warhol inspired table for a tabletop decorating contest last night. It was a great evening and one that pushed the bounds of what we thought we already knew and experienced. We were fortunate enough to have already been sent the bottles a few months ago, but the drinks served that night included a UGs favorite, alcohol. Josie is a classic Coca-Cola so she got her drink with rum, grenadine, and sugar. I, Carina, am a Diet Coke head and my coke cocktail had vodka and lemonade. We spent the night on the roof, talking to other bloggers, drinking coke cocktails that they mixed and put back in the aluminum bottles and eating yummy food. Another way the evening pushed the bounds of what I already thought I knew is that I am from the Bay Area and am very familiar with the Joie de Vivre hotels but this was my first time in the Hotel Erwin and I loved the space. In the same way that the alcohol added a little extra to the coke, Venice Beach offered something a little extra to the Joie de Vivre hotel experience.

They were serving meatballs with a Coca-Cola bbq sauce and mini corndogs with a Coca-Cola ketchup. Both were awesome, but leave it to us to be completely uncouth. Right after arriving we ran into are blogger friend Christina of Hot Pink Manolos and as I grabbed tuna tartare on a wonton, Josie was talking, hit my arm, and all of my tuna and guac fell to the ground. Uncouth! I am pretty sure Christina expects these types of shenanigans from us because she just laughs and says, “The UG girls have arrived” and tweets the story for all to see.

It was a great night and we want to thank Hotel Erwin, Formula PR -Kat, in particular, Coca-Cola LA, and this one lady who works at High lounge on the rooftop of the hotel and let Josie and I take more than our fair share of food. She came straight to us and when we politely (unbelievable, I know) only took one dog, ball, or crostini she always let us know that it was ok to take as many as we wanted. We were getting three balls and dogs at a time and were very grateful! Way to go, Coke! You accomplished your mission: we were refreshed, optimistic, happy and were touched by the experience!

***By the way, watch out for when the UG Girls take on Coke Vs. Diet Coke coming to a UG YouTube channel near you…think: Mac vs. PC

“Dating Drought-But a Laker Win” Weekend

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So the weekend started off early for the rowdy UG girls-Wednesday to be exact. Who does that…every week? We started it off right and headed to downtown to watch and root for our favorite home team in the finals, The Lakers. After a nightmarish parking situation, we headed to Casey’s for a quick drink. We watched the game there for a bit, but decided to try up an old place we’ve heard a lot about, but had yet to explore.

The Library Bar was packed with cute boys and better yet, a selection of edible goodies in a price range our pocketbooks could sustain. There must’ve been something in the air because Carina was fancying something she almost never orders, a burger! And ironically, I ordered something I seldom order-a salad! That should’ve been an ominous sign for the weekend, but we decided to test our fortune and stay with the lively locals. Carina was very impressed by her burger’s delectability and I was impressed by the light and well-seasoned salad that nourished my famished bones. In truth, I had a large lunch and was hesitant to try anything at all, but as you all know-the UG ladies are never ones to turn down a new food adventure. It’s gluttony over common sense any day. Plus, the UG’s don’t know shit about balance anyways. The food fared well and we were very happy with the crowd. Carina was just happy because she loves pickles, the girl is a pickle addict. I just heard a funny pun on the subject: Women who love pickles on sandwiches…really love dilled dough. At any rate, despite the small quarters, the Library Bar, was apparently THE place to be. The floor was so packed that a single trip to the bar proved to be an arduous endeavor.

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The uncouth moment of the night: Carina and I sat on the only empty couch in the packed house. We were amazed at the nature of our good luck. In total oblivion, we brushed it off as just luck and thanked our good UG fortune (God’s gift to me is my “princess parking”). A few minutes later, the people next to us asked what movie we were in. Confused and nervous we responded with, “um…pardon me?” They told us that the area was reserved for some LA Film Festival party. We gave them a blank stare *insert cricket noise AND awkward turtle motion here*. The Italian actor laughed and told us we were welcome there regardless of our acting aptitude. We all laughed and they took us into their family like the adopted red-headed orphan Annies’ that we are. We asked the Italian actor why he was drinking water and without a beat (actor terminology) he said, “I am only into drugs”. We made small chat, but mostly rooted for our victorious Laker team! Let me tell you, Laker fans are the most passionate and unruly people ever!

Nonetheless, I am amazed at the conviction displayed by my fellow Angelenos. Contrary to my previous post, our fellowship among this sport is proof that we are a conglomerate to be scared of (esp, during riots). But remember what Kobe, my boyfriend, says, “celebrate with dignity LA.” 🙂

***BTW, glad the City of LA is not paying for the parade (you know, if you don’t take into account the price of what it will take to keep order on the streets).

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Friday started off late and we decided to claim another piece of the city, Hollywood (or as the UG’s refer to it-Hollyweird). We were all set on going to a Lesbian disco that Carina heard about on Twitter. Will someone please propose a new empty pastime for Carina? The girl is addicted. But given our “dating drought,” I called Carina and said, “maybe going to a Lesbian disco would be a step backwards for us!” She laughed and quickly agreed. We were on a mission to meet boys and have fun! We picked up our friend, Meg and braved a bigger world of lights, camera, and pseudo actors! Meg is the funniest cat you’ve ever heard. For instance, here is her latest FB status update, “Meg’s favorite band has been The Cure for 18 years straight. Bet anyone who has said she/he has commitment issues is feeling pretty silly right now”. Needless to say, she keeps the laughs coming. Below is a collage of some of our misadventures through Citizen Smith, Beauty Bar, and the night’s favorite, Big Wangs. Who needs a photobooth when you have three girls and a camera? It’s no wonder we can’t get dates… We exploit any ounce of fun we can out of any given situation. I bet people are turned off by our collective shenanigans. As the old adage says, “Girls just a wanna have fun!” Or was that Cindy Lauper? 🙂

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By the end of the night, we were karoke’ing it up with ketchup bottles, harassing poor drunk boys, dancing to Rhianna’s “Umbrella” by making umbrellas with our arms, and eating the best freakin’ chicken wings ever! Some very funny drunk boy even puked all over the floor next to Carina’s purse and jacket! No harm though; he missed by an inch! The same drunk boy, or “puke boy” as we called him, came up to us earlier and started rambling incoherent jabber. And while he was talking to us earlier that night, his brother approached our table and said, “hey, dude, mom’s waiting outside”. That got the first laughter of the night going.

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On our way home, we got to talking about how we hadn’t had a date in weeks (and for one of us-months) and coincidentally how the number of hits on the blog were dropping. I turned around and told Carina, “we are not getting laid, therefore we are not getting hits!” She agreed. We have too much fun together and at the end of the day, I’d rather have friends than dates (although come back dates and hits…we miss you). Are we just having a few bad weeks? Or is it that we really aren’t fit for dating? I’ve been on a few fleeting dates with a bunch of assholes who have evidently been way too into themselves to even pick up a phone. Can I get an injunction to arrest these men for lying? Legal assistance, please! Meanwhile, the wife has had no luck on J Date We are hopeless! I’m starting to think we were made for each other! Maybe it’s us? Or perhaps, it is that we have so much more to learn about men? Regardless, we are exhausted! On the bright side, here’s a little perspective, Carina and I do have:

1. An education

2. A fabulous job with good career trajectory

3. Great apartments

4. And each other

Truthfully, we shouldn’t be sulking. We have it all.

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A giant urinal in Hollywood? Not weird?! Hello, we’re conservative Pasadena girls! We couldn’t resist a picture.

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The final night of our journey ended with the Mayor (or Mr. Arun, to be exact). If you live in Los Angeles, I am sure you know someone that knows someone who knows Arun. He’s like the Kevin Bacon of LA. Annnnywayyyyys….He had told me about Bar Chloe in Santa Monica a few nights before and being the butterflies that we are, we followed him to yet another side of town, the Westside. We got there fashionably early and joked about how we are too easy (no, not that kind of easy-if we did we’d have hits), but the kind of easy that we never say no to any friendly invitation. Arun says we need to play a little harder to get and be less available. If we were dating, this is when he would’ve broken up with us. And sadly for us, he’d be doing the right thing:) We partied down with Veronica, Erin, John, and Arun.

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Bar Chloe proved to be too couth for us. It is a quaint French lounge inhabited with a wealthy, but mellow crowd. Carina and I didn’t know what to do with ourselves because we are neither wealthy, nor mellow. We stuck around for a few drinks and headed off to The W Hotel in Westwood to meet up with our friend, Nora. Everything was perfect at the W. We got princess parking (after all I was driving), got right in, and partied down until 2AM.

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We ended the night at Lucky Boy in Pasadena. You have to remember, these UG Girls don’t know anything about balance. And the UG’s had, of course, the most phallic things on the menu. I had a breakfast burrito and Carina had a corn dog! Truly symptomatic of a lack of dating. We don’t plan these things, I swear! They just seem to happen to us. On a side note, it has always been my dream of having a website called, GirlsEatingBurritos.com.

Awkward Turtle/Funny Moment: The most truly unbelievable thing happened at Lucky Boy; we were beyond unlucky girls. At night Lucky Boy’s closes their indoor dining area and you can only order at the outside window and sit at the tables on the patio. We grabbed the only free table and it was gross, salsa was everywhere, but we are uncouth so sat down no problem. There was a rose on the bench I was sitting on so I thought it was a good sign. I picked it up and pretended that it was from my secret admirer. Carina played along acting jealous that she didn’t have one. All of the sudden I got a tap on my shoulder from the guy at the next table who said, “Excuse me, do you happen to have a rose at your table?” I nodded and said, “Yes, it was from my boyfriend.” He was trying to be kind and diplomatic and responded by saying, “You are very beautiful so I can believe that but that rose is actually mine for my girlfriend, can I have it back?” I was mortified as I handed it over. His girlfriend was glaring. And Carina was in hysterics saying, “That happened on the Bachelor, when during the rose ceremony he gave the rose to the wrong girl and had to get it back”

We had a good weekend. The UG girls live in a world where friends are everything and the men are disposable.

As an end to a fabulous weekend, on Sunday, we ate great at Taste of the Nation LA and then the Lakers claimed victory over the Orlando Magic in our very own hometown. Go LAL! We had no doubt you’d come through.

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