Thursday is the New Friday: Round-Up

I once wore a makeshift tee to My Last Bite’s party that read, “Broke is the New Black” but now I am coining, “Thursday is the New Friday.” What has come of the world? Commoners, like us, are now partying like rock stars during the week?! Sadly, with the unemployment rate at over 9% nationally and over 12% in California, there are quite a few unemployed folks out and about spending their money on booze. Did you know that during a recession, alcohol is one of only a few goods that experiences a rise in sales?! And with “Happy hour being the new dinner,”  (Carina’s  line) you just can’t resist shaking your chonies and forgetting about the present economic climate. When in Rome…

Here’s a few things that the UG Girls will be up to this Thursday:

1. Checker’s happy hour: Because it’s the “best happy hour you didn’t know about” and because the food always exceeds our expectations, we continue to frequent it almost weekly. It’s in our favorite neighborhood, downtown, and at $4 a plate and $4 for drinks, it’s really a deal you can’t resist. The only drawback is that service is a bit slow. But think about it: The food and drinks are far beyond your expectations, which logically, will take longer and you’re in a classy spot. Go in and entertain yourself with friends, order a drink, and have fun. If you’re bothered by the amount of time it takes to get your food and drink, then maybe you should consider your company. Chances are, if you’re bored, that’s probably why. Below are this week’s menu themes. We’ll be there early so join our digital entourage and join us out for a drink. Let’s celebrate my (Josie) newly unemployed status – well, in two weeks. Unemployed that is, by choice!

Below is the menu:

Cocktails will feature VOX VODKA (www.voxvodka.com/).  Meticulously crafted in The Netherlands from the finest wheat grain selected for its subtle undertones, VOX is distilled five times to ensure ultimate smoothness, and there is an undeniable cleanness to the finish.

This week’s featured cocktails will be:

  • LIMONCELLO BRAMBLE – A martini of Vox Vodka, Limoncello, blackberry puree, and fresh lemon juice.  From the mind of our own bartender, Violet!
  • RED CHECKER – Vox Vodka, St Germain elderflower liqueur, muddled raspberries, and lemon juice, with a hint of orange bitters
  • MOSCOW MULE – Vox Vodka, fresh lime juice, fresh ginger juice, and ginger beer.  “Moscow” for the vodka; “Mule” for the kick of ginger!
  • VESPER MARTINI – James Bond’s change-of-pace: Tanqueray Gin, Vox Vodka, Golden Lillet, and a twist of lemon.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesper_cocktail)

Of course, no FOUR event would be complete without the palate-pleasing creations of Chef Todd Allison – and this week is no exception!  This week’s featured dishes are:

  • VICHYSSOISE with house-made taro chips
  • OLIVE OIL POACHED AHI, with cannelloni bean and basil pesto ragout, and red onion pickles
  • SHORTRIB GRILLED CHEESE with sautéed onion, baby arugula, and a stone-ground mustard sauce
  • CONFIT OF ARTICHOKE HEARTS, with lemon zest and shaved mizithra cheese

2. Drago Centro happy hour: At some point in the night, I am having cocktails with a friend at Drago. We can stop in anytime because the Drago happy hour menu lasts ALL day! The staff goes out of their way to be accommodating and if there at the right hour, you can catch many downtown singles in the bar area.

3. Surly Goat: Carina has it in her mind that along with being Yelp Elite she also wants to be a Citysearch Dictator. Therefore she will be hitting up the first CitysearchLA event at L.A.’s newest premier beer bar.

4. Roller Derby at the Echoplex: I may or may not attend the roller derby shindig but you’ll surely see Carina there because she loves it; she pleads me to go every month. I’m not a good skater so I’m a little intimidated by the rough gals who can not only kick the crap out of me, but will be drinking as well. Below are specifics. And if you’re lucky, you may just catch a couple UG girls there.

DOWN AND DERBY ROLLER SKATING ROLLER DISCO AT THE ECHOPLEX THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH

Featuring, SKATING DRINKING, DANCING

DONT FORGET TO RSVP FOR REDUCED ADMISSION!!

Disco Tunes provided by: THEE MIKE B & MORSE CODE

21+ (big kids only)
9pm-2am
$5 with RSVP, $10 at the door
To RSVP, please visit www.downandderby.org.

$5 skate rental, or bring your own.

The Echoplex is located at 1154 Glendale Blvd in Los Angeles, California (main entrance is through the alley).

DRESS CODE: BE CREATIVE
GUYS: knee high tube socks, neon tanktops, headbands, wristbands, fros and flat tops
GIRLS: thighs of steel on two inch wheels with short shorts to seal the deal

Advertisements

Happy February 14th!

Photo Credit to jo9ce4line0 on Flickr

Ok, so yes, today is Valentine’s Day but it’s not that bad….

-It is also the Chinese New Year and it is the Year of The Tiger (I, Carina, am a Tiger) Rawr!

-If you watched 30 Rock this week or you know a lot about Women’s Suffrage then you can also say, “Happy Anne Howard Shaw Day!”

So how did I celebrate all of this: dumplings for lunch, a giant bowl of Taiwanese shaved iced that melted in seconds, and I decided not to bring a date to the Valentine’s Day dinner party I am having tomorrow. I think I got it all in there. Oh, and tonight I am going to a house party that has this in the description.

It will ONLY be the smartest, funniest and most smolderin’ sexy people we can find, crammed into one joint. Imagine the mix–your besties, loaded testies, propped up chesties–low investies $$$

Hope you are all having a fantastic February 14th, and make sure to celebrate at least one of these holidays!

Stir It Up: Help for Haiti

If you saw our February event calendar, we overlooked one important event that has just been brought to our attention. Josie and I often proclaim that we are women of charity, but the truth of the matter is that we always have the feeling that we want to do more and that we can’t do enough. This event that we heard of is called Stir It 28 and it is alliance of food bloggers trying to bring relief to Haiti. I got several pleads from my Jewish mother to adopt a Haitian baby but helping in this way seems far more logical and realistic. Here are all of the fantastic details and simple way that you can help:

STIR IT 28 is 3-part fund-raising effort to help in the relief of Haiti’s devastating earthquake, leaving thousands dead. 3 food bloggers have come together to bring awareness and raise money for the island! On Feb. 21st, 4 cities will host an evening of culinary adventures, featuring food from chefs, restaurants and food bloggers in each city!

100% of money raised goes directly to YELE & Share Our Strength. They have accepted our campaign & are helping us get the word out!

Part I. Feb. 21st Culinary Evening Celebrating Life & Hope

Atlanta: Space Atlanta – Eat Drink Enjoy
1310 White Street, Atlanta, GA 30310. 4-7 pm. DJ Rev Lee spins music and special surprise guest appearance by local performer that will electrify you! Complimentary wine by Montaluce Winery. Cash bar. $30 in advance; $40 at the door.

LA: Private LA Residence located at
6602 Cahuenga Terrace, Los Angeles, CA, 90068. 4-7 pm. Complimentary Valet parking to 1st 50 guests. $30 in advance; $35 at the door.

Chicago: Three Peas Art Lounge
75 E. 16th Street (Between Michigan and Wabash)
Chicago, IL 60616. 4-7 pm. $30 in advance; $35 at the door.
*cash bar & delicious cupcakes for sale

Houston: Private Residence in Walden on Lake Houston
8810 Rolling Rapids Road, Humble, Texas 77346. 4-7pm. $30 in advance. No tickets sold at the door.
Houston Artist Shae will drop in to sing a song and other surprise guest performances, including Bound 4 Glory Records Recording Artists

Wash. DC: Event details coming soon!

Part II. Month-Long Donations!

If you can’t participate or attend the Feb. 21st event, consider donating in any denomination. Donations are being accepted all month long, beginning Feb. 21st. Paypal donation to stirit28@gmail.com.

Part III. One. Comment. One Eats.

If you’re a food blogger, we’re inviting you to participate in Bren’s hunger campaign called “Hunger Lives No More: One Comment. One Eats.” For each comment left on the 1st post of February, we ask that you donate ONE food item to Share Our Strength. We are coordinating with SOS on getting all donated food to Haiti. If you participate, email bren at flanboyanteats dot com and you will receive a badge to place on your blog indicating that “You Gave.”

Let’s STIR IT!!!

We will be participating in the event and if you are interested in helping out, our L.A. contact person is Chrystal of Duo Dishes. If you would like to purchase tickets in advance  (highly recommended)  visit either Flanboyant Eats or Coco Cooks and click the Stir It 28 logo at the top of their pages.  It will take you straight to the Paypal site to purchase the $30 space.

I want to give a huge shout out to Greg of SippitySup for offering his house for the event. The devastion in Haiti is massive but this is a small, easy, and tasty way that you can help. I am not a big Bob Marley fan, probably because I am from Santa Cruz and it seems like everyone I grew up with idolizes him with the initiation of their first joint. Anyway, I love Wyclef and if he loves Bob Marley, well then Bob is good enough for me…Plus I love the Stir It Up message.

Food Ballin’: Reminiscing on my Elite Days

I know the Super Bowl is coming up and normally my feminist response to that is always, “Oh, you mean the day with the highest rate of domestic violence.” Sure, I am a buzz kill but I just don’t get football, what I do understand is being a food baller. I believe this whole concept began on New Years Eve when A.K. told her hubby, Chuck, that we were carb-loading in preparation for the last night of 2009. He was puzzled and said, “What do you guys think you are a football team?” It was at that point when we decided we are a food balling team. We have eating marathon and can drink enormous quantities due to our properly padded tummies. Anyway, to continue on with the metaphor, last Thursday was a big game day. The line-up was insane there were many plays to be had. Okay, I really don’t know any more sports terminology or references to keep this up, sorry. First on the list, I had lunch with Minty at Church & State. This meal was then to be followed by dinner and drinks at Oinkster and last on the list was a Yelp Elite event at Little Cave. I am a strong believer that if you want strong bones than you must eat bone marrow.

We began with more than just bone marrow, we also had the brussel spouts with dates, and the mac n cheese. Now, let me start by saying, I have been to Church & State several times but normally sit at the bar and have a few cocktails and order a couple of plates. This was my first time to have a whole actual meal and also there were three of us at the table just so you know that the Minty and I weren’t the only ones throwing down. The bone marrow was fatty deliciousness. Had I been more uncouth and not sharing with two other ladies, I would  have grabbed it with my hands and gnawed the rest off with my teeth. I have had the mac n cheese several times before and it was as good (read: buttery) as I remembered. However, it was the brussel sprouts that stole the show. I feel like I say it in every post but I love fruit in almost every dish and the dates added so much to the dish (that’s what people say about me. Relax, I kid). On Thursday is when I started my seafood weekend by ordering the Loup de Mer, which was Sea Bass, chanterelle mushrooms, red flame and Thompson seedless grapes. I ordered the full order, which was good because in this small serving I needed both pieces of fish. Anyone knowing me and seeing grapes on the menu, would know this is what I’d order. It was delicious and a total Carina dish. Minty had the Bouillabaisse (full order, of course, she was on game day) and the other lady in our party had the small order of Steak Frites.

It was nice to have my first real meal at C & S. The lunch crowd rush was massive and loud but the whole time I felt like I was in New York. Things then mellowed out and I remembered I was in LA when we realized that the guy next to us was Duff from Ace of Cakes and he later was talking to Chef Walter. By the way, Josie proclaims that every time she is at C & S she sees someone famous. I am not sure I believe her but I know we did once see Mrs. Elvis (Priscilla Presley) at the bar next to us. Oh and the best part of the meal was Minty had a 30% off coupon from BBE. After lunch, I headed back to Pasadena and disgustingly grabbed a cupcake, because I was already so stuffed, and ended up detouring to my house for a nap. It was now 3:30 and I had dinner at 6:30 at the Oinkster, so appropriate I know. We were planning on doing a pitcher of Solidarity from our boys at Eagle Rock Brewery but they were sold out. I was “good” and instead got a burger, chili cheese fries, and a Telegraph White. I had a few bites of ClimbinChiro piggy fries (their version of In-n-Out’s animal fries) and the pastrami. I also had the most uncouth moment by shaking the bbq sauce, which turned out to be the thinner Carolina BBQ sauce that then flew out and landed all over the seat and table of our lounge neighbors. I called it the lounge because it is the low square Ikea tables as opposed to the normal height tables on the other side. The food was really good and I sure felt like a piggy.

Our last stop of the night was the Yelp Elite party. The theme for the night was B.Y.O.S. (Bring Your Own Sombrero). You may have heard I am sad that I don’t have Elite status in 2010. I know the solution, I must write more reviews, but it seems exhausting. Minty knows I am sad with my new position (or lack there of) so she let me be her +1. Why are Yelp Elite Events great? Free food, free booze, and you get to see somewhat awkward foodies and internet creepers get wasted. That is like all of my favorite things. We got to Little Cave on time, you have to for these events because food always go fast. I was sombrero-less for the night but don’t worry I kept myself busy. Jarritos was one of their sponsors so I had several drinks of that mixed with tequila. I ran into a ton of old friends, people I’ve dated, and one guy I just walked up to and  said, “I’ve been to a party at your house in Echo Park.” Since Dawson is no longer with Yelp LA I have been kind of anti, but the truth of the matter is that I really like Yelpers. I love the drama, I love food talkin, and I love the events. There were perfect Mexican chocolate cupcakes from Cakified and tacos from Ricos Tacos that serve every Thursday at Little Cave. I met the new CM Katie B., got my Yelp lunch box, took way too many lollipops, and had a great time. Mark my words, I will be back to my Elite Status sometime in 2010 so I can be a stronger Food Baller….I am first string material…you saw how much I just ate.

International Wine Fest: Hollywood Style

There are times when I simply love my job: bringing this blog to you. Last Saturday was one of these days. After my Sri Lankan food crawl with friends, I decided to venture out of traffic on the 101 and head into Hollywood. I got my nails painted and paid double what I normally pay ($8 instead of $4). It was on Melrose so I endured the street mark-up. Plus they offered me a beer and perhaps the longest time since a nail has chipped, so it was worth it. After this indulgent day, I gave my leftover Sri Lankan food to a homeless man because of that annoying new Kesha song, “‘Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back.” I knew it would be awhile before that food hit a fridge. I stayed in Hollywood and went to the International Wine Fest thrown by Drink:Eat:Play. Since I was without Josie I hit the wine extra hard until running into some of Dan’s (the event thrower) friends that I met at his Party Bus Birthday. If you know how to throw a great birthday then you know how to throw great events, which is why we try and make it to all of Dan’s shindigs. One of Dan’s friends, Louise, made sure I made the switch from white to red and was my party companion from the night. So, what wines were great?

The one that we all loved and were entering the name into our cell phones, as to not let our drunk selves forget, was Calcu. It was a Chilean blend made of 65% Cab. If there is one thing in life I truly love, it is a fab cab. This was it. Another wine that I enjoyed, but didn’t have the masses behind was a wine called Festivo, an Argentinian Malbec. It was so mild and perfect. No strong aftertaste. It was funny because my makeshift date for the night was Louise, who is quite the fireball. She was loving the spiciest and peppery wines and I was doing something I never thought I, a UG, would do. I was drinking and dumping. I finally understand, if you want to taste, sample, and critique as many wines as possible then you can’t be that drunk. The best thing about Dan’s events is that he always plans ahead. He had K & L Wine Merchants who had more than 4 tables brings wine. What does this mean? It means anything you like you can easily buy only a few blocks away.

Aside from the regular Renaissance Hollywood Hotel food spread there were some unexpected treats. One thing I loved were these delicious one bites from our new friend Adam at Viva La Foodies and some sweets from Bittersweet Treats.

Just like Sake Fest and the Speakeasy that came before, this event was a complete win.

After the event ended I was feeling a little tipsy and hung around with Dan passing out flyers for free cover and a drink at the exclusive Boulevard 3 on Sunset. Dan and I grabbed a bite at Lucky Devils and I consumed my first sloppy joe in probably 15 years. It was bomb. Dan, who has hosted the Gourmet 5 Year Old party with lobster mac n cheese, has a special appreciation for comfort food done right.

We were serenaded to a great rap song on Hollywood Blvd. while we waited for the car and met up with Josie at Boulevard 3 where Dan had the hook-up.

Truth has it, neither Josie or I are Hollywood club girls. Sure we have been to Le Deux but we stay away from such places on weekends. Boulevard 3 was without question our best club experience in Hollywood. We were escorted to our (Dan’s) table and treated completely like VIPs (unusual for us UGs). We had some free drink flyers but forget about that, everyone (including the commoners, us on a regular night) gets free tacos and chocolate fondue all night. Plus there were dancers on the stage that we could all watch. Not just cute girls but men…hot men with incredible bodies. This lead all of us ladies to ask the question: Why don’t more clubs do this?

A huge thanks to Dan and Boulevard 3 for expanding our palates, whether it be with wine or the Hollywood club experience, and for making us feel like VIPs instead of UGs, even if just for a night!

My Time at the First Annual Tasty Awards

Josie and I were thrilled to be part of the process of the 1st annual Tasty Awards, as we both acted as judges. At the last minute Josie made the tough decision to honor a work commitment rather than attend the Tasty Awards with moi. I completely understood but I found myself dateless. 20 minutes before leaving for NorCal I quickly wrote a post and asked on Twitter if any SF/Bay Area foodies/bloggers wanted to accompany me to the award show and after party. In typical UG fashion, I wasn’t overwhelmed by a plethora of date options but a nice girl who goes by Smashed Potatoe was interested. Smashed Potatoe (Ashley) and I communicated via Twitter on my drive up north to my hometown of Santa Cruz. I arrived late at night, read books with my bro, and had to wake up at 7A because my favorite hair stylist Tommy-tito was sweet enough to squeeze me in on his busiest week for cut and color. He opened the Parlor, just for me, and darkened my hair and gave me bangs. I left in the late afternoon off to meet my new friend and have an adventure in San Francisco. The recommended attire was black tie but I noticed that some were in ball gowns and tuxes and some were in jeans and sandals. It reaffirmed why I love San Francisco and first annual events so much. It is the unexpected, the surprises, and all the awkward turtle and uncouth moments that make life grand. The show was hosted by the very sexy and zany Zane Lambrey of Three Sheets. I wasn’t all that familiar with him but my date Ashley was and said he was someone we definitely had to get a drink with after the show. Since you have already seen the first picture you know we made this dream a reality.

The award show began with their person of the year, Anthony Bourdain. Unfortunately, he was not there but he made a video acceptance speech and his executive producers came up and said that he asked them to tell dick and fart jokes. This is how the award show started and more uncouth and awkward turtle moments followed and caused me and my date for the evening to bond in looks and laughs. Some funny lines of the night came from the Cooking for the Clueless and her producer husband that admitted to sleeping with the talent. We were seated in the second row and had the honor of being only a few seats down from the lovely Debbie Mazar who we discovered was starting a web show called Under the Tuscan Gun. We also were both gawking at the “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” guys who won the award for best animated food related movie, of course they were the only nominees but we loved them..too bad they had dates.

There was quite a lot of talk during the night from presenters and winners talking about wanting to go to the party to eat and/or drink. Ashley was making me laugh by adding in comments like, “I have seen his/her show and they need a cocktail”. It was in walking the few blocks to the after party at New People that the whole evening really loosened up. People didn’t know what the awards ceremony would be like but we all knew how to have a party. The space of the After Party was a gallery, store, and cafe. The whole event took place in Japan Town so the party was equipped with Harajuku style girls and it was funny seeing everyone get loose when alcohol and food were finally added to the mix.

One of my favorite people of the award show was the Queen of the Trailer Park, Miss Jolene Sugarbaker, who won the award for Best Comedy Series. She was a kick and was in character all night. The other award winners I thoroughly enjoyed was Average Betty and Leslie from Check, Please! Bay Area. These Tasty winners were complete UGs, as they both ended up using their awards as drink holders. Hilarious, and all women I aspire to become!

The awards show was fresh and had a laid back attitude that is unusual in such a setting. The after party was like a maze of finding all of the interesting characters of the night and searching for wine and chocolate. Ashley was a perfect date and I was thrilled to learn we both like food, booze, and have elephant tattoos. Anyway, a big thanks to all for giving me a great night and making the Tasty Awards as tasty as can be!

Birthday Dinner at Japon Bistro

Josie celebrated her birthday in “Carina style” this year with multiple parties, meals, and all-around gluttony. Josie was responsible for both parts of my birthday last year, including a 5-course dinner she made. I wanted to return the favor but in a less labor intensive way. I got us  a hotel in San Diego and left it up to more talented and skilled people to do the hard work for my bestie’s birthday. We drove back from our girls weekend in Man Diego last Sunday on Josie’s actually birthday. We arrived back in Pasadena at around 4P and despite being hungover, full from a big breakfast, and spending more than 24 inseparable hours together, we still found it necessary to grab dinner together. Most places weren’t yet open for dinner and Josie suggested we go to her favorite chicken place in Little Tokyo. I was tired from the drive and suggested Japon Bistro in Pasadena, somewhere we had both never been. I have been wanting to go for years after learning on Yelp that it is where all the hot Cal Tech guys hangout. I am an avid Big Bang Theory watcher and dream of finding my own Wolowitz. Actually, I have a funny story. I once went on a JDate with a guy that was an astrophysicist at Cal Tech and it took him upwards of 15 min to parallel park despite having an extra 3 feet on each side of the car. It was unbelievable, I need a one shot parker kind of a man. Anyway, we walked in to Japon Bistro and found no hot scientists but a ton of great food.

Josie amazes me because despite being allergic to seafood this girl can still order the hell out of any Japanese restaurant’s menu. She got fried marinated chicken,  pan fried tofu, beef skewers, a cucumber roll, and, of course, a giant bowl of rice. I swear to you, rice is her favorite food. I ordered a tamago roll, tsukemono (mixed Japanese pickles), various sashimi, and yellowtail carpaccio with jalapenos on top.

We were really impressed by the food. Josie loved her chicken and I loved that yellowtail. Our waiter also just had a birthday and rooted for us in the ordering of a beer (we aren’t that hard to convince) and brought us a sparkling sake later. I also ordered Josie black sesame ice cream with fried banana and we were both amazed by how many scoops we got and the candle on top. We both can’t wait to go back, remember we weren’t even THAT hungry that night. We may not have our brilliant scientist boyfriends yet to take us to hotels or buy us extravagant dinners, but we have so much more. The values of the Uncouth Gourmands are: Fun, Food, and Friendship and this birthday weekend we had the trifecta in full form and it was fantastic!