25 Fun Places to Spoil Mom on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 13. Here are 20 dining adventures around Los Angeles.

BEACHSIDE BRUNCH

Stick It To The Man – School of Rock

It’s been a while since I’ve walked out of a theatre humming a song from a musical. After seeing School of Rock on opening night, I found myself not only humming, but singing “Stick it to the Man” while driving home. The next day, I sang it again while doing chores around the house. Not only is this song catchy, it had the audience up and out of their seats at the end of the show.

The original score by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and clever lyrics by Glenn Slater were inspired by Julian Fellowes book.Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s high-octane Broadway and West End show is a hit at the Pantages Theatre. It was a thrill to see Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber himself, walking the red carpet and posing with some of the young and talented cast before taking a seat to see his show.

My review of School of Rock is featured on OnStage Blog –http://www.onstageblog.com/reviews/2018/5/7/review-school-of-rock-is-now-in-session?rq=School%20of%20Rock

Blues in the Night at The Wallis

Listening to some of the best jazz and blues music from the 1920’s and 30’s, Blues in the Night features four exquisite singers and six soulful musicians transporting the audience on a historical journey while performing 27 songs by the great Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Benny Goodman and Johnny Mercer.

I was happy to see Sheldon Epps name in the program for Blues in the Night. He was the artistic director for the Pasadena Playhouse for 20 years and put on some excellent theatrical productions. Back in 1980, Epps conceived and directed this musical in New York with a brief run on Broadway in 1982. This show even scored a Tony nomination for Best Musical.

Here’s my review of a sensational Jazz and Blues show at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills – http://www.onstageblog.com/reviews/2018/5/7/review-singing-about-the-blues-in-the-night-at-the-wallis-annenberg-center-for-the-performing-arts?rq=Blues%20in%20the%20Night

Kentucky Derby Parties around Los Angeles

Not only is it Cinco de Mayo, but it’s also the Kentucky Derby today. Find your finest Derby hat (you just might win a contest) and head over to these three venues for a Mint Julep and Hot Brown sandwich while watching one of the most famous horse races in the world.

  1. Kentucky Derby at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills – On May 5, participate in the traditions and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby with a fun-filled brunch and viewing party at the Polo Lounge.  Wear your most stylish hat from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. while enjoying a three-course themed meal and watching the race inside the Polo Lounge or outside on the garden patio. Brunch is priced at $115 per person and includes one Kentucky Derby-themed cocktail. The bar is making mint watermelon juleps, old fashioneds, Manhattans, Kentucky bucks and bourbon lemonade slushies. The afternoon festivities include a best hat contest with the lucky winner receiving brunch for two in the Polo Lounge at a future date. 9641 Sunset Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310)273-1912. IMG_1580
  2. Baltaire’s Kentucky Derby party – Starting at 1 p.m. on May 5, come to a special viewing party at Baltaire Restaurant in your finest derby attire. Be sure to enter the derby hat contest before 2 p.m. There are raffles and special derby-inspired dishes prepared by executive chef Travis Strickland. He is known for his elevated take on the race’s classic Hot Brown sandwich. It pairs nicely with a mint julep. A portion of the proceeds goes to No Kid Hungry. 11647 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (424)273-1660.
  3. Derby viewing at Horse Thief – Grab a beer and some tacos at Horse Thief BBQ at Grand Central Market and watch the Kentucky Derby on the outdoor patio on May 5. Since it’s also Cinco de Mayo, breakfast tacos will be served all day long. Enjoy house-made red or green micheladas for $8, or sip on a refreshing Dos Equis draft beer for $5. 324 S. Hill St., Los Angeles, (213)625-0341.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo in LA

Here are 7 fun spots to celebrate Cinco de Mayo around Los Angeles:

  1. Jalapeno Pete’s – They make a really good house margarita with Maestro Dobel Tequila, lime agave and Damiana Liqueur. Formerly Cocina Condesa, this Studio City hot spot along Ventura Blvd serves Mexican Munchies (guacamole, jalapeno poppers & ceviche), Terrific Tacos (Butternut Squash, Asada & fried avocado) and Antojitos (short ribs braised in red wine taquitos & chicken flautas). There are 15 televisions throughout and fun games (Backgammon, JENGA and Connect 4) on the tables to play.  11618 Ventura Blvd. Studio City – (818)579-4264 – https://www.jalapenopetesla.comIMG_2932
  2. Antonio’s Mexican Restaurant on Melrose –  Mariachis will perform, while the tequila girls entertain guests starting at 7 a.m. The special menu on May 5 includes traditional fare such as tacos, beef tamales, and chicken mole to enjoy with cervezas and margaritas, as well as specialty drinks and cocktails. includes beef tamales and tacos de carne asada. Antonio will be pouring from his own label a variety of tequilas. 7470 Melrose Ave. (323)658-9060 – antoniosonmelrose.com.
  3. Tallula’s first Cinco de Mayo – Hang out at the beach and then walk across to Tallula’s at 2 p.m. to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with blood orange margaritas and palomas. Snacks include organic chicken wings, nachos sencillo and a special Cinco de Mayo XL taco. On Wednesday, May 9, enjoy the restaurant’s one-year anniversary with a mariachi band during dinner, as well as with some fun food and drink specials. 118 Entrada Drive, Santa Monica, (310)526-0027.
  4. Cinco De Mayo pub crawl in Hollywood – From 11 a.m. to midnight, grab your friends and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with drink specials at various bars around Hollywood Boulevard. Check in before 4 p.m. at the Rusty Mullet to receive a free welcome shot, wristband and map of the participating venues. The first 100 people to check in will receive a small Cinco de Mayo-themed gift. Other bars participating include Wood & Vine, Station 1640, Calle Tacos and Jameson’s. Visit laepiclosangeles.com/parties. 1708 N. Las Palmas Ave. Los Angeles, (323)533-0765.
  5. Party at El Torito – Enjoy a taco station in the cantina starting at 2 p.m. There are specials on margaritas, shots and beer. This year El Torito offers the “Mariachi Me,” a website where Cinco de Mayo fans can make a custom music video to share with friends and family. This digital platform gives people the opportunity to turn themselves into the most entertaining mariachi band on the internet. Visit mariachime.eltorito.com. 3360 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, (310)450-8665. 13715 Fiji Way, Marina Del Rey, (310)823-8941. 14433 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818)990-5860.IMG_2918
  6. Cinco de Mayo at Chevys – Celebrate one of the biggest parties on May 5 with special margaritas featuring 1800 Tequila Reposado. There are beer and shot specials too, all while enjoying fresh Mexican fare. 701 N. San Fernando Blvd., Burbank, (818)846-6999.
  7. Cinco de Mayo at Casa Vega – In the evening of Cinco de Mayo, enjoy music from a live mariachi band and festive Mexican décor at Casa Vega. Drink specials throughout the day and night include $7 Casa Vega margaritas. The restaurant will also be serving a Pink Señorita cocktail for one day only, made with Patron Silver, fresh grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and garnished with fresh mint. 13301 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818)788-4868.

Enjoying Happy Place at L.A. Live

Just when you think the world needs a little more happiness, Jared Paul created a multi-sensory Happy Place pop-up experience to encourage Los Angelenos to smile, laugh and enjoy some whimsical fun.

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It’s a colorful place filled with 13 uniquely decorated rooms. Yellow is a predominant color, since it is also a happy-cheerful color. There are yellow and white gum balls lining two walls, and giant yellow shoes to slip into. Another nook has rubber duckies next to a yellow bathtub filled with yellow bubble balls.

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Bright yellow flowers are a fun exhibit to take a photo, as is the optical illusion bedroom, and rainbow where you can jump into a pot of gold. There are two confetti rooms.

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Sample tastes and treats of happiness along the way including white and yellow M & M’s with happy faces on the outside, and cake pops.

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After exploring the exhibit, hang out with friends in the “Backyard” filled with fun games, a Happy Place retail store and dining opportunities.

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Happy Food Vendors include Unicorn or Green Tea Sundaes by Yellow Business; Unicorn or Glow Cotton Candy or Rainbow Popcorn. My World On A Plate makes an ooey-gooey Rainbow Grilled Cheese sandwich. When you purchase a Iced Cold Lemonade at the Happy Lemonade Stand a percentage is donated to various carefully selected charities.

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THIS IS A TIMED ENTRY EVENT – It takes about one hour to explore.
Arrive 20 minutes before the half hour time slot you purchased (eg. arrive at 3:10 p.m. for a 3:30 – 4:00 p.m. Ticket) and no later than 20 minutes after the beginning of your time slot (eg. No later than 3:50pm for a 3:30-4:00pm Ticket). Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable.

Check out https://www.happyplace.me/faq/ for answers to frequently asked questions which will help to enhance and make your experience more memorable.

Address: 1005 Chick Hearn Ct. Los Angeles CA 90015.
Entrance will be located at the corner of Georgia St and West Rd.

 

Food for All at The Henry in West Hollywood

Driving down Robertson Blvd., the former Newsroom is now The Henry restaurant. Outside, the classic black and white color scheme has a large gold “H” displayed on greenery boxes. Inside the warm and inviting dining room offers blues and golds with a cozy lounge area near the bar. Chairs and couches surround flower petal tables. High communal tables are set with high back bar stools near a built-in wall unit filled with magazines, plants and tchotchkes. Booths with thick wood tables are set for six guests.IMG_0115

The owner is James Beard nominee Sam Fox. He knows a lot about restaurants creating 16 concepts and 55 restaurants nationwide. I met Fox at the opening of The Henry last month and discussed his newest Los Angeles restaurant. “My vision of The Henry is for locals to grab a coffee, some lunch, after-work cocktails or dinner in the classic open-dining space,” said Fox. “I love the energy of this West Hollywood location and Southern California. We have nine other restaurants here (North Italia and Flower Child) and it’s a second home to my family. When the opportunity came to build a second The Henry location (first one is in Phoenix, AZ) at Robertson Plaza, we knew it was a perfect fit.” IMG_0140

Besides a full service dining room, there is a coffee bar making speciality hot and cold drinks, and a large indoor cocktail bar with trendy, white globe lighting hanging down and comfortable bar stools to sit around. The mixologists make a good Gin & Tonic, Drunken Panda and Strawberry Sidecar. The bar also offers California red and white wines, beers on draught and 9 different bottles and cans of beer. The outside patio bar is a fun people watching spot as locals, designers and tourists walk up and down Robertson Blvd.IMG_0145

The night we dined, we ordered Almost Naked Margaritas made with Casamigos Blanco, lime juice, Contreau and honey. Looking over the menu, we notice the creative fare appeals to just about everyone including omnivores, vegetarians, those who are gluten-free and vegans.IMG_0126

To start we ordered the spring vegetable crudités with whipped tahini, orange and a peppery vinaigrette.The avocado hummus was served with pickled carrot, radish, harissa, and crunchy pumpkin seeds. Grilled pita bread accompanied this dish to dip and spread on top. IMG_0127

Next we had some of the most popular shareable plates including the short rib potstickers dusted with toasted sesame seeds. They arrived floating in a mizuna (Japanese mustard green) and ponzu broth. Another favorite was the pan fried potato hash browns (similar to latkes), topped with dollops of creamy white creme fraiche and ribbon slices of pink smoked Norwegian salmon with tiny sliced chives and an arugula leaf.

There is a rotisserie section on the menu offering Creekstone Prime Rib, a French Dip plate and Jidori half chicken. We skipped those and ordered three entrees to share, including the Ora King salmon, Wagyu diner-style burger with a special Henry sauce and black truffle risotto. IMG_0134

As our server Angela delivered the dishes, she touted to us, “The Henry as the greatest neighborhood restaurant, because it’s homey, yet elegant.” The salmon was served with Chioggia beets, also known as candy cane beets. Chefs like these beets because, they are especially sweet in flavor and don’t ‘bleed’ as much as regular beets, so that bright red beet juice doesn’t stain fingers and clothing as much. What made this dish extra special were the toasted grains and Marcona almond pesto.

The risotto has a poached egg on top. When broken open, the savoriness of the yolk bathed the baby asparagus and fried sunchokes. The thick and juicy burger was served with thick and crispy fries.IMG_0136

Saving room for dessert, the warm croissant bread pudding looked appealing. As server Kaitlin brought it to our table, she told us, “I could sit alone and eat this entire dessert all by myself. It’s that good.” There were toasted chopped pecans, whiskey soaked plump raisins and a scoop of caramel ice cream. We also splurged and ordered a second dessert that arrived on a round dish with two blueberry hand pies, perfectly pinched around the edges and topped with lemon mascarpone and a scoop of cornbread ice cream. Another winner.IMG_0116.JPG

Before leaving, we learned that during brunch, the “craveable menu” includes a quinoa breakfast burrito, Little Gem and asparagus Caesar salad, Korean style skirt steak, and salted caramel rolls.

The Henry is kid-friendly and offer a special menu for little ones that is under $10. The restaurant opens at 7 a.m. daily. $$ 120 N. Robertson Blvd. (424)204-1595.

Another review of The Henry is featured in Beverly Press.

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