Lunar New Year So Cal Celebrations

Were you born during the years 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007? Those years and 2019 are The Year of the Pig. In terms of yin and yang, the Pig is yin. In the Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth.

Here are some fun spots to celebrate your wealth this Lunar New Year:


Universal Studios Hollywood ushers in the “Year of the Pig” with festive decorations, specialty dishes and live entertainment at the movie-based theme park. Walk under a curtain of customary red Chinese lanterns, and write and hang a wish at the stunning plum blossom Wishing Trees. Guests will discover which of the 12 zodiac animal signs they fall under, accompanied by their symbolic attributes. Beloved global pop icon Hello Kitty is celebrating, as is DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda masters Po and Tigress. They encourage young guests to come up onstage to perform. A Mandarin-speaking Transformer’s MEGATRON welcomes guests into a special Lunar New Year pavilion, and foodie Mr. Ping talks to guests about healthy food choices, and serves noodles, dumplings and bao at his nearby food cart. This special event inside Universal Studios is now through Monday, February 18, 2019.


Year of the Pig at Disneyland – Disney California Adventure Park will observe Lunar New Year daily through Sunday, Feb. 17. Guests can enjoy a multicultural menu of traditional treats and drinks with the 2019 Lunar New Year Sip and Savor Pass. The celebrations will also include live entertainment and musical performances such as the updated Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession. Visit the arts and crafts area for beautiful décor ideas and shop themed merchandise for the whole family. 1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, (714)781-4636.


TAO Hollywood Special Lunar New Year Dinner – Chef/Partner Ralph Scamardella and his culinary team, comprised of Executive Chef Yoshi Kojima (formerly of Morimoto, Oahu and Jai by Wolfgang Puck) prepare a special menu on Feb. 5 to usher in good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity for the new year. Start with fluffy sesame scallion bread cut in fours and topped with juicy, thin-glazed pork belly and roasted sesame dipping sauce. The next course includes three red-colored soup dumplings filled with spicy pork. Kojima used beet juice to give the dumplings their red color, which signifies happiness and good fortune in Chinese culture. Each was then topped with thinly shaved black truffle, adding a slightly garlicky flavor to the dish. Cantonese pork belly with chow fun noodles was served next to represent longevity. The combination was a winner – the caramelized pork was tender, and the noodles featured a tangy and pleasing blood orange essence. Finish with one of the most beautiful desserts, a cheesecake shaped as a mandarin orange. Presented on a chocolate mochi cake, the sweet treat also included little chocolate beads for a nice crunch. This Year of the Pig four-course, prix-fixe meal is $85 per person. An à la carte menu will also be available. TAO is open daily from 6 p.m. to midnight Tuesday through Friday. It’s open from 5 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, from 5 to 11 p.m. on Sunday and from 6 to 11 p.m. on Monday. $$$ 6421 Selma Ave., (323)593-7888.


On February 22 beginning at 6:30 p.m. WP24 by Wolfgang Puck at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles will host a sky-high night market dinner to celebrate The Year of the Pig. Wolfgang Puck draws upon Chinese traditions with a specialty cocktail served alongside a rotation of celebrated dishes presented throughout live cooking stations. Experiences will include a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, Chinese calligraphy tutorials, a red envelope giveaway, and lion dance performances. The lively street market atmosphere will feature seven live culinary stations offering savory Steamed Bao Buns with Pork Belly, Jian Bing with Scallops, Whole Roasted Peking Duck with Red Cooked Golden Pineapple. For dessert, Wolfgang Puck’s signature Mochi Waffle Dessert topped with Harry’s Berries Strawberries and Milk Tea Ice Cream. Tea experts from Art of Tea will share the history of a traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony while calligraphy specialists will showcase the artistic expression of human language. Lion dancers will combine fundamental Chinese martial arts into a fluid routine to offer good fortune. Each guest will be issued a customary red envelope giveaway. Reservations can be made online and by calling 213-743-8824; tickets available for $65 per person not including tax or gratuity.


Chinese New Year at Barton G. LA – Starting on Feb. 5 for one week during the Lunar New Year, the whimsical culinary destination offers a multi-sensory dining experience with over-the-top comfort food creations from around the globe. Celebrate Chinese New Year with a crispy Maine two pound lobster special for two. What makes this dish unique are four-foot chopsticks. Eating Lobster on the holiday is known to symbolize a prosperous year of wealth ahead. This one-of-a-kind dish includes Chinese fried rice, housemade Lap Cheong sausage, and shiso chili vinegar.  861 N. La Cienega Blvd. (310)388-1888.

Thanksgiving Dining specials

For those who enjoy spending free time outside or doing something else other than spending your entire day in a kitchen cooking a Thanksgiving feast, here are 16 dining destinations open on Thanksgiving Day. Check out some spots to pick up a pie to bring to a family or friend’s home.

  1. Merry Thanksgiving at Mari – On Thursday, Nov. 22, enjoy a prix-fixe dinner menu for $55 per person from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Meet family and friends staying at the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City in the lobby’s Copper Lounge for a special cocktail before dinner at Mari. Diners get a choice of either roasted kabocha squash soup or roasted Bosc pear and endive salad. Entrées include slow-roasted turkey with trimmings or herb-crusted, slow-roasted prime rib with horseradish-whipped potatoes, charred broccolini, rosemary demi-glace or salt-baked salmon with beet risotto and a roasted fennel purée. Finish with either a pumpkin tart with pear sorbet or a chocolate hazelnut flourless cake with caramel, orange and praline. 2151 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, (310)284-6536.
  2. Veggie Grill Plant-based Thanksgiving – The healthy, fast-casual brand makes celebrating with family easy by offering festive dishes in store. For a simpler Thanksgiving with all the flavors, the chefs are making a $11.50 Thanksgiving sandwich made with layers of rosemary chicken with cornbread dressing, creamy mushroom gravy, cranberry sauce and Vegenaise, an egg-free mayonnaise, on a hearty roll and served with mashed yams. Veggie Grill is open on Thanksgiving from noon to 11 p.m. 6374 Sunset Blvd., Ste. A, Los Angeles, (323)962-3354, and from noon to 8 p.m. at 110 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323)933-3997.
  3.  Hassle-free Turkey Day at Del Frisco’s Grille – Head to the beach to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings on Nov. 22 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. This ocean side restaurant overlooking the Santa Monica Pier is offering a three-course traditional turkey dinner, with no clean up afterward. Family style signature fall items include roasted butternut squash bisque, herb and citrus butter roasted turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce, and pumpkin cheesecake. 1551 Ocean Ave. Suite 105 (310)395-7333.
  4. Thanksgiving at Barton G – This whimsical dining destination is serving a three-course, prix-fixe Thanksgiving dinner. The restaurant’s unique presentations will be prepared with classic Thanksgiving ingredients. A roasted acorn squash salad is served before the herb-roasted turkey breast with confit leg and cranberry-walnut stuffing, maple-roasted root vegetable with crumbled cornbread, whipped celery root and Yukon Gold potatoes, and a brown butter and Frangelico sweet potato casserole. Finish with pumpkin and apple beignets served with  cranberry jam, pumpkin butter and orange anglaise. $75 per person. 861 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)388-1888.
  5.  Hotel Shangri-La Thanksgiving Feast – Join others for the annual Thanksgiving buffet at Hotel Shangri-La. Take the elevator up to The Penthouse for unobstructed ocean views with indoor or outdoor seating. There are over 20 culinary offerings including herb butter slow cooked turkey, spiced boneless rib eye, brown butter poached salmon with root vegetables, cold seafood display, and green beans almondine. Executive Chef Jessica Bedolla will also be serving pumpkin pie, homemade bread pudding, and chocolate cake from 12 to 6 p.m. Following the festive meal, diners are invited to enjoy a digestif across the hall at ONYX, Santa Monica’s first indoor/outdoor rooftop bar. The price is $79 for adults and $45 for children 6 – 12 years old. 1301 Ocean Ave. (310)394-2791.
  6. Thanksgiving at Barton G – This whimsical dining destination is serving a three-course, prix-fixe Thanksgiving dinner. The restaurant’s unique presentations will be prepared with classic Thanksgiving ingredients. A roasted acorn squash salad is served before the herb-roasted turkey breast with confit leg and cranberry-walnut stuffing, maple-roasted root vegetable with crumbled cornbread, whipped celery root and Yukon Gold potatoes, and a brown butter and Frangelico sweet potato casserole. Finish with pumpkin and apple beignets served with  cranberry jam, pumpkin butter and orange anglaise. $75 per person. 861 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)388-1888.
  7. Granville Gives Back To Fire Fighters – Granville is offering free meals for any rescue workers, law enforcement officers and fire fighters now through Friday, Nov. 23. While at Granville be sure to order a Medicina cocktail. Granville is also donating 100% of proceeds of every Medicina ordered to the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) Disaster Relief Fund until Friday, Nov. 23. 8701 Beverly Blvd. (424)522-5161, 12345 Ventura Blvd. (818)506-7050, 807 Americana Way (818)550-0472 and 121 N. San Fernando Blvd. (818)848-4726.
  8. Viviane Beverly Hills’ Thanksgiving – Chef Michael Reed will prepare a poolside Thanksgiving prix-fixe menu for those looking to dine out on the holiday. For $65 per person, guests can enjoy a three-course menu highlighting Thanksgiving classics such as butternut squash soup, garlic mashed potatoes, traditional brioche bread stuffing and roasted Brussels sprouts with dates and pumpkin seeds. For the main course, guests can choose from slow-roasted turkey, roast beef or stuffed portobello mushroom. Dessert options include a mini pumpkin pie or mini Granny Smith apple pie. The menu will be available from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. alongside a limited selection of à la carte dishes from the regular Viviane menu. Guests are encouraged to make reservations in advance. 9400 W. Olympic Blvd., (310)277-5221.
  9. ‘Season to Soar’ at the InterContinental – Enjoy a Dekkadance buffet and bottomless sparkling rosé or mimosas on Thanksgiving from noon to 6 p.m. The meal is $95 for adults and $45 for children ages 5 to 12. Afterwards, an à la carte menu will be offered from 6 to 10 p.m. Additionally, “Season to Soar” is back at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown with hotel-wide specials on select menu items. Enjoy s’mores with homemade marshmallows, graham crackers and milk chocolate bars at Spire 73, and a portion of the $18 dessert will be donated to support Alzheimer’s Association Southland Chapter throughout November and December. The November “Season to Soar” cocktail, Winter is Coming, is made with Eagle Rare bourbon, Amaro Montenegro, apple juice, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice, garnished with nutmeg and dried apple. It’s available at Spire 73, La Boucherie, Lobby Lounge, Dekkadance and Sora. Pick up pre-ordered, house-made pumpkin or pecan pie, assorted truffles and macarons now through Dec. 30. Two-day advanced notice are required for truffles and macarons, and three-day advanced notice are required for pies. 900 Wilshire Blvd., (213)688-7777.
  10.  Family-style holiday prix-fixe at Craft – Craft Los Angeles will offer a prix-fixe feast from chef de cuisine Denis Crutchfield who will blend traditional holiday plates with Craft favorites. Guests begin with seasonally driven starters, such as pork belly with celery root, and then can choose from roasted organic free-range turkey, Angus beef short ribs, seafood or pasta dishes. An assortment of sides such as sausage and raisin stuffing, and Brussels sprouts will also be available. Pastry chef Shannon Swindle is baking classic and reimagined fall desserts, including a pumpkin pecan cheesecake and apple sticky pudding. The cost is $145 per person with an additional $65 for an optional wine pairing. Reservations will be available for 1 to 8 p.m. 10100 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)279-4180.
  11.  Lawry’s The Prime Rib to-go – This Thanksgiving, bring Lawry’s traditional prime rib and turkey dinners home. The turkey holiday feast includes classic Lawry’s sides such as creamed corn, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, along with stuffing and cranberry sauce. Prime rib dinners to-go will also be available with signature side offerings and Yorkshire pudding batter to bake fresh at home. Desserts available à la carte include apple and pumpkin pies, as well as C.C. Brown’s hot fudge sauce so diners can recreate the famous sundae at home. To place an order, visit 100 La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills, (310)652-2827.
  12. NoMad Thanksgiving – NoMad Los Angeles in downtown will offer a $59 holiday prix-fixe menu alongside its regular à la carte menu for dine-in guests only. The set menu begins with the choice of butternut squash soup or puntarelle salad, followed by roasted turkey breast or the famous NoMad whole-roasted chicken with black truffle. Family-style sides, including stuffing, potato purée, crispy Brussels sprouts and cranberry sauce will be offered as well. An apple cobbler with brown sugar crumble and vanilla ice cream brings the meal to a sweet close. For reservations, visit 649 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, (213)358-0000.
  13. Thanksgiving with all the trimmings from Du-par’s – Sit back and spend time with your family instead of cooking on Thanksgiving. Order an individual meal with turkey and trimmings or a feast for up to 10 people. For those who prefer to cook their own turkey, pick up the trimmings, sides and a pie or two for dessert. 6333 W. Third St., Los Angeles, (323)933-8446.
  14.  Huckleberry Bakery & Café is having a Pop-up on Nov. 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pick up your catering order and Esters will be there with a sidewalk sale selling some wine for your Thanksgiving table. There will be Champagne, Riesling, Beaujolais and more to pair perfectly with turkey and the fixings. Esters Wine Shop & Bar will have pre-packaged boxes for last-minute host gifts. On Black Friday until Cyber Monday, enjoy 20% off all Esters Wine Club Memberships. From Savvy Sipper to Adventurer to Collector, there’s a club for any budget. 1014 Wilshire Blvd. 
  15. Winston Pies for Thanksgiving – Special holiday pie flavors at Winston Pies include harvest apple, fall pumpkin, classic southern pecan, Twix and a very original cranberry orange chess pie. They also offer gluten-free and vegan options. The pies are 11 inches, perfect for larger gatherings. The shop also makes five-inch mini pies, and small PieBites are available for $20 a dozen. Place your order online and pick it up at the West Hollywood location by Wednesday, Nov. 21, or the Brentwood location by noon on Thursday, Nov. 22. 8366 W. Third St., Los Angeles, (323)925-4743. 11678 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, (310)207-5743.
  16. Homeboy Bakery pies – Enjoy handmade, nine-inch pies made by the dedicated homeboys and homegirls of the Homeboy Industries Bakery for your Thanksgiving feast. Choose from pumpkin, apple or pecan. The pies are made to order and baked in a small-batch kitchen in downtown Los Angeles with an all-butter crust and high-quality ingredients. To place an order, visit Pickup at Homegirl Cafe by Nov. 21. The social programs by Homeboy Industries help provide jobs to people wishing to change their lives. 130 Bruno St., (888)341-1422.This was also featured in the Beverly Press on Nov. 15, 2018

Fun Birthday Venues in Los Angeles

Planning a birthday is easy in LA. The city has so many fun celebratory venues for brunch, roof top soirees and festive dinner affairs.

When friends ask for my advice about a fun birthday destination, I always give them a list of three. Now my list has grown. Here are my favorite restaurants to celebrate with family and loved ones.

1. BARTON G. for over the top FUN – This is truly a one-of-a-kind, birthday experience nothing short of amazing. As servers bring artistic culinary presentations from the kitchen to the table, the cause the birthday party to ooh and ah. Every diner enjoys a glamorous and unique evening of avant-garde dishes complete with vaporizing cocktails.

2. Melody is casual French in Virgil Village near Silverlake. IMG_6958

  • Atmosphere: Set in a decades-old bungalow with breezy indoor/outdoor vibes.
  • Fun: There is a DJ area near the bar. Guests can rent out an interior back room that fits up to 30 people with the option to play your own music (records or compact disks are preferred but not required). Rather dine al fresco on the patio? Two large tables are available for up to 24 people.
  • Chef: Justin Abram (a favorite)
  • Food: Innovative “Lazy French” warm French baguettes, mussels, housemade agnolotti, oysters, wine bar and craft beer.
  • Price: $$
  • Brunch Hours on Saturday and Sunday (10am-4pm) open for dinner starting at 5 pm.

Reservation: via Opentable or call (323) 922-6037. For events and buyouts, email Website: Melody

3. Salazar
– Fun for families, dogs and millennials sipping mezcal cocktails. Created by Billy Silverman and Mexicali Taco co-founder Esdras Ochoa, Salazar occupies a former auto body shop near Silver Lake, the Golden State Freeway and Glendale Boulevard. 

  • Location: Frogtown
  • Chef: Jonathan Aviles
  • Brunch Hours: Saturday-Sunday are from 10am-3pm
  • Food: Sonoran-style BBQ chops, street tacos and killer guacamole. Terrific tequila and mezcal cocktails, craft beer and boozy slushies in the summer.
  • Reservations: Salazar does not offer reservations, but weekend brunch waits tend to be much shorter than dinner.
  • Price: $$
  • Read my review –
  • Address: 2490 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles.IMG_1560
4. Baltaire specializes in elegant dishes in a fancy, steakhouse setting.
  • Food: The classic brunch fare includes Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast, Harissa Spiced Lamb and Eggs, and Prime Filet Benedict. This summer, Baltaire also offers a special “Toast to Rosé” menu, which pairs seasonal toast dishes with a special rosé – think Black Label Prosciutto De Parma toast with goat milk ricotta and baby squash paired with a pink Spanish Txakolina.
  • Chef: Travis Strickland (a favorite)
  • Price: $$-$$$ – Location: Brentwood – – Birthday Brunch Hours: Saturday & Sunday (11am-2:30pm).
  • Address: 11647 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles (424)273-1660.
  • Read my review .

  • 5. Jewel – Enjoy a birthday celebration inside the light and bright dining area with a jukebox or out on the cozy patio. This is ideal for a vegan and vegetarian birthday celebration.
  • Location: Virgil Village near Silver Lake.
  • Chef: Jasmine Shimoda
  • Hours: Open daily from 9am-4:30pm.
  • Price: $$
  • Food: Smoky Beet Pastrami, Avocado Toast, housemade vegan donuts, and chia pudding. There’s something for every dietary restriction or picky eater. Jewel doesn’t serve alcohol, so just BYOB or walk to the Vinovore wine shop. Here’s my review –

6. Hollywood Rooftop Fun for brunch at Filifera. Take the elevator up 22 floors up to open to stunning views of Griffith Park, Capitol Records, and the Hollywood Sign. Skip the lines and the crowds.

  • Chef: James Wilschke
  • Brunch Hours: Saturday & Sunday (12pm-3pm)
  • Reservation:  Resy 
  • Food: Enjoy house-made sangria, fresh pressed mimosas, and dishes like Prosciutto Eggs Benedict. For events and buyouts, email IMG_2917

7. El Torito – Anyone celebrating their birthday not only receives a party hat, but also a birthday dessert.

  • Menu: Lively Mexican cuisine – tacos, tamales, burritos, enchiladas
  • Unique: Staff Ready to serenade “Happy Birthday” at your table
  • Setting: Hacienda style setting
  •  For more information and locations, visit

8. SOCA is located in Sherman Oaks for Valley birthday celebrations. Guests will enjoy globally inspired dishes with tiki-inspired cocktails. During brunch larger groups can enjoy SOCA’s front patio for a secluded, yet light-filled space to celebrate.

  • Food: The Baller Brunch includes a 32 oz 30-day dry-aged Prime Creekstone Tomahawk ribeye, 6 fried eggs, sautéed onions and arugula, béarnaise for $145. Price: $$
  • Location: Sherman Oaks – Chef: Aaron Robins – Brunch Hours: Saturday (10am-3pm), Sunday (10am-3pm). Dinner opens at 4 p.m.
  • Address: 14015 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 – Phone: (818) 301-4300. Menu and reservations:,

 9. Beverly Hills by the pool celebration at Viviane

  • Location: Inside the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, birthday parties can be reserved in the colorful cabanas with seating for up to 10 guests. Enjoy  chic California cuisine in the heart of Beverly Hills from new Chef Michael Reed.
  • Hours: Breakfast starts at 7 am., brunch on Saturday-Sunday 7am-3pm and dinner follows.
  • Read my review of the former chef

11 Days & Cocktails Before Christmas

(Photo Courtesy of Girasol)
(Photo Courtesy of Girasol)

Tis the time to celebrate the 11 days left before Christmas with 11 innovative holiday cocktails at some of Los Angeles’ Best Bars and Dining Destinations. It’s a great way to get into a festive mood before or after shopping for holiday presents.

  1. GIRASOL –

Entering Girasol for a cocktail and dinner reminds me of the popular children’s book “James and the Giant Peach,” by Roald Dahl. Inside one feels as if they are dining inside  a giant sunflower. Order a frosty, tall aluminum tumbler filled with a slightly sweet guava cocktail, similar in presentation to a Moscow mule, though it was called the J. Swizzle. It goes nicely with a plate of house-baked bread with toasted lovage leaves. 11334 Moorpark St. Studio City, (818)924-2323 – Girasol Restaurant

(El's Nog - Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bar Mattachine)
(El’s Nog – Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bar Mattachine)


Eggnog does not get much better than Partner Garrett McKechnie twist on Egg Nog. It’s a New England signature recipe of creamy eggnog crafted by McKechnie’s friend and colleague Eloise Humphrey – Proprietor of El Camino Cantina in Brunswick, Maine. This one has cognac, Jamaican rum and rye. Bar Mattachine will be open on Christmas Eve, Thursday Dec. 24 and Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25th from 5 pm to 2 am. – 221 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014; (213)278-0471 –

(Photo by Barton G.)
(Photo by Barton G.)


This theatrical dining destination offers a luxurious Cotton Candy Martini specialty liquid nitrogen drink. It magically smokes and melts at your table, right before your eyes.  The cotton candy-filled martini glass is brought to the table, then a penguin shaker of Citrus Vodka, Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, Orange Juice, and Cointreau is poured over the bubblegum-flavored house-spun floss. The cotton candy instantly vanishes into a cloud of sweet smoke to finish the cocktail. A fun fact – A batch of cotton candy contains less sugar than a regular can of soda and is fat free. 861 N La Cienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90069 – (310)388-1888 – Barton G. The Restaurant

(Red Wine Sangria Photo Credit: Courtesy of HACHÉ LA)
(spiced chocolate chip ‘n’ fig Bear Republic stout float) Photo Credit: Courtesy of HACHÉ LA)


There are two tasty treats. The spiced chocolate chip ‘n’ fig Bear Republic stout float created by Michael “Mick” Schepers. It’s a  mixture of velvety Bear Republic Black Stout poured over creamy spiced chocolate chip and fig frozen custard. It’s an ideal  indulgence to toast to the holiday season. Another pretty drink is the red wine Sangria. Michael makes it with fresh winter citrus and tops with fresh-cut fruit. It’s served over ice in a wine glass with a bright citrus garnish. HACHÉ LA will be open on Christmas Eve, Thursday Dec. 24 from 11:30 am to 10 pm and closed on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25 –  3319 West Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026 (323)928-2963

(Red Wine Sangria - Photo by HACHE' LA)
(Red Wine Sangria – Photo by HACHE’ LA)


In ancient Greek mythology, Hades deceived a beautiful Greek goddess into becoming the Queen of the Underworld with the offer of luscious red pomegranate seeds. Just as tempting, the Persephone created by Carolos Tomazos, is a fizzy cocktail made with Champagne, pomegranate juice, lemon and fresh thyme. Inotheke will be open on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 for Lunch from noon to 2 pm and Dinner from 5:30 pm to 9 pm and closed on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25 – 606 Broadway Ave. Suite 101, Santa Monica, CA 90401 – (310)458-3366 –

(Photo Credit: Magnolia House)
(Photo Credit: Magnolia House)


For a supple and hearty warm-up during the holiday season, there is no better remedy than the Oaxacan Blood Winter, created by Brian Klemm with a floating garnish of star anise. He also makes a creamy elixir of rum, Ancho chili, cinnamon, cream, and coffee with a Holland red chili garnish that is shaken up tableside in a silver thermos. Magnolia House will be open on Christmas Eve, Thursday Dec. 24 from 4 pm to midnight and closed on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25. 492 S. Lake Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101; (626)584-1121 –

(Photo by Spare Tire Kitchen and Bar)
(Photo by Spare Tire Kitchen and Bar)


The Executive chef of Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern – Isaias  Peña makes an Apple Strudel Dessert Martini made with muddled apples, Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum, Rum Chata, pineapple juice and served in a martini glass dusted with a cinnamon-sugar rim for $12.00. It’s so good, it could be a dessert. Spare Tire Kitchen & Tavern will be closed on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 and closed on Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25, but will be open and offering the day after Christmas specials on Saturday, Dec. 26 from 11:30 am to 1:00 am and Sunday, December 27th from 11:30 am to midnight. 5370 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036; (323)525-2618 –


Enjoy a Horchata cocktail with a kick by Bar Director Colin Pflugradt. It’s a spiced libation that is shaken up with Agavales blanco tequila, 1921 Crema De Tequila, and freshly ground cinnamon. Solita Tacos & Margaritas Valencia will be open on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 from 11 am to 10 pm, with the bar remaining open until midnight. It’s closed on Christmas Day, Friday, December 25. 24201 Valencia Boulevard, Suite 3470, Valencia, CA 91355; (661)291-1399 –

(Photo Credit - The Raymond)
(Photo Credit – The Raymond)


In Pasadena there is a delectable liquid treat that is getting quite a buzz – The Donner’s Dash by Barman Peter Lloyd-Jones. It’s made with Cognac, rye, all-spice, homemade honey syrup and coffee infused with cream and cinnamon. He also makes Kafka On The Shore with Pastry Chef Eliot Pardo. It’s a cocktail plus cookie. The cocktail is crafted with Japanese pear-infused Tito’s vodka, almond avocado milk, lime, simple syrup and egg whites. The cookie is a gin-gerbread cookie. The Raymond 1886 is open on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 for Lunch from 11:30 am to 2 pm and Christmas Eve Dinner reservations will be taken from 4 pm to 7:30 pm. It’s closed on Christmas Day. A credit card will be required for all Christmas Eve Dinner reservations with a 48 hour cancellation policy. 1250 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91105 – (626)441-3136 –


Bar Manager AJ Korchak playfully creates a Mo-Fashion crafted with Dickel rye whiskey, triple bitters blend, Maraschino Liqueur, lemon and an orange twist. It’s a delicious twist on and Old Fashion. Tipple & Brine will be open on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 from 4 pm to 10 pm. It’s closed on Christmas Day. 14633 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, CA, 91403 – (818)528-2580. TippleandBrine


Bar Director Anthony Settecase marries classic Christmas flavors of eggnog and a hot toddy with the delightful Noggy Toddy. The creamy mixture of Atlantico reserve rum, allspice, honey syrup, whole egg and cinnamon, offers a good source of protein. The Venice Whaler is open on Christmas Eve, Thursday, Dec. 24 from 11 am to 2 am and Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25 from 9 am to 2 am. 10 West Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292 –  (310)821-8737. Venice Whaler


Thanksgiving Dining-Out Guide

Here are some holiday dining events around Los Angeles before and during Thanksgiving. Why cook and clean? Go out and enjoy a memorable meal with family and friends.

(Photo courtesy of Tam O'Shanter)
(Photo courtesy of Tam O’Shanter)

Tam O’Shanter Dickens dinner
Tam O’Shanter is offering a special menu and Dickensian entertainment for its Dickens dinners on Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Nov. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 28 at 1 p.m. The Nov. 23 and 24 dinners are $96 per adult and $69 for children; the matinee dinners on Nov. 22 and Nov. 28 are $89 per adult and $59 for children. The interactive dining extravaganza features an acting troupe performing a family-friendly version of the Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol.” The actors wear 19th century Victorian costumes and are joined by carolers with stovepipe hats and long-tailed coats. The Tam transforms into a yuletide wonderland with a Christmas tree, candy-red poinsettias, glittery wreaths, a brick fireplace and festive decorations. The four-course meal includes hors d’oeuvres followed by mixed greens salads with pecans, butternut squash, pomegranate seeds and cognac dressing. Entrée options include prime rib, roasted goose, salmon with parsnip puree, beluga lentils and bordelaise sauce, and vegetarian winter squash with goat cheese mousse. Desserts include mincemeat made with figs, raisins and dates and vanilla ice cream with bourbon caramel sauce. 2980 Los Feliz Blvd., (323)664-0228. OpenTable.


(Photo courtesy of The Redbury - Cleo)
(Photo courtesy of The Redbury – Cleo)

Cleo Thanksgiving Fit For a Queen
Cleo in the Redbury Hotel is hosting its annual Cleopatra’s feast with a Mediterranean twist on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26. Curated by award-winning chef Danny Elmaleh, the holiday menu will feature mezzes served family style, a choice of specialty salad, entrée and dessert. Raise a glass to family and friends while enjoying persimmon and pomegranate salad, sauerkraut and parsnip latkes with apple butter, and slow roasted spiced Colorado lamb shoulder. Desserts include pumpkin-maple donuts, and pecan and pear baklava with Greek yogurt gelato. Seatings are available at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. for $65 per person. 1717 Vine St., (323)962-1717. OpenTable.

Avalon-Bay-feels-a-million-miles-from-homeSanta Catalina Thanksgiving
Take a quick boat on the Catalina Express to Catherine’s Terrace at the Descanso Beach Club. Enjoy a Thanksgiving buffet on the beach that includes carving stations with all the usual fixings on Nov. 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The feast is $39 for adults and $19 for children. 1 St. Catherine Way, Avalon (800)481-3470.

(Desserts at The Montage- Photo by The Montage)
(Desserts at The Montage- Photo by The Montage)

Thanksgiving at the Montage Beverly Hills
The hotel’s fine-dining restaurant Scarpetta with celebrity chef Scott Conant offers a Thanksgiving Day buffet with herb roasted turkey and the traditional trimmings. Begin with a complement of West Coast oysters, chilled shrimp, citrus cured salmon or snow crab legs and a mélange of extraordinary desserts from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Rooftop is more casual featuring pumpkin soup, butternut squash flatbread, a roasted turkey sandwich and pumpkin gingerbread trifle.The Rooftop will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for guests to order from the á la carte menu with views of Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills as a backdrop. 225 N. Canon Drive (310)860-7990.

12250058_886314264770920_1057785638761827865_nBar Mattachine
Ring in Thanksgiving at a bar where everyone is thankful. Bar Mattachine, Downtown L.A.’s welcoming gay craft cocktail bar, is celebrating Turkey Day with lavish libations. Owner Garrett McKechnie is shaking up the Cape Coddah cocktail with vodka, fresh muddled cranberries and homemade lime cordial poured over crushed ice. The Indian Summer is a icy mixture of Olmeca Los Altos tequila, agave, fresh watermelon, lime juice, jalapeño and cilantro. Kick back on the outdoor patio, cozy up in the upstairs lounge, or dance underneath the shimmering disco ball this holiday. The motto at Mattachine is “Come with us, whether you are or not. Or do whatever you would like.” Bar Mattachine is open on Nov. 26 from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. 221 W. 7th St.(213)278-0471.

(Photo courtesy of Mastro's)
(Photo courtesy of Mastro’s)

Mastro’s Malibu Thanksgiving
Ocean Club sitting right on the cliff of PCH, offers the perfect atmosphere, comfort and elegance for holiday events and dining. Open for Thanksgiving, the dining menus can be customized to include Mastro’s signature dishes – the seafood tower, petite filet, lobster mashed potatoes and the warm butter cake. A wider selection includes fresh seafood, sushi, and celebrated cuts of steaks. Guests can enjoy live entertainment and dancing nightly in the piano bar lounge. 18412 Pacific Coast Highway (310)454-4357.

(Photo courtesy of Viviane)
(Photo courtesy of Viviane)

Viviane’s First Thanksgiving
The newly opened Beverly Hills restaurant from restaurateur Stephane Bombet and Executive Chef Michael Hung will present an all-day feast on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dine in style at L.A.’s most contemporary indoor/outdoor dining destination, while enjoying technique-driven French dishes that include Galatine of Diestel Farms turkey with rosemary and sage gravy; roasted sugar pumpkin with bourbon honey glaze; brioche with wild mushrooms and truffle stuffing; and caramel pear tartine with ice cream and pomegranate reduction. Sip spiced mulled cider with rum or one of the specialty Thanksgiving cocktails from Bar Manager Ryan Wainwright. Managing Partner and Wine Director Francois Renaud and General Manager Emmanuel Faure will be on hand to provide artfully paired wine suggestions that blend with Hung’s offerings. This holiday meal is $68 for adults and $25 for children ages three to 12 years old. 9400 W. Olympic Blvd. (310)407-7791.


(Photo courtesy of Wally's )
(Photo courtesy of Wally’s )

Thanksgiving from Wally’s Beverly Hills
Executive chef David Feau of Wally’s Beverly Hills is preparing a festive feast to take home for Thanksgiving. The meal serves up to 12 people and includes one 16 to 18 pound turkey with green bean ragout, truffle mashed potatoes, pumpkin gratin, choice of vegetarian or meat stuffing, pan roasted Brussels sprout salad, gravy and cranberry sauce for $300. Patrons can also order the meal with an eight- to nine-pound turkey that serves up to six people for $180. Feau will prepare only 50 turkeys and the meals are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The meals should be ordered at least 48 hours before Thanksgiving and can be picked up on Thursday, Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 447 N. Canon Drive, (310)475-3540.

(Photo courtesy of Tanzy's)
(Photo courtesy of Tanzy’s)

Thanksgiving in Westwood
Tanzy in Westwood is serving a three-course Thanksgiving meal for $40 per adult and $20 for children 12 and under. The first course includes parsnip and apple soup or endive and arugula salad, followed by herb roasted turkey with cranberry and quince bread pudding, sautéed green beans, sweet potato, confit chestnuts, turkey gravy, cranberry compote and fresh baked Parker House rolls. Finish with three pumpkin pie with chantilly cream and pumpkin mousse and pink lady apple crisp with candied pecans and maple gelato. 10840 Wilshire Blvd., (310)307-7004. OpenTable

(Photo courtesy of Brite Spot)
(Photo courtesy of Brite Spot)

Thanksgiving in Echo Park
Brite Spot in Echo Park is offering a Thanksgiving meal for $19.95 per person, plus tax. The meal includes a fresh roasted, hormone and anitbiotic free farm raised Mary’s turkey breast with Yukon gold mashed potatoes, baked yams, housemade turkey gravy, housemade traditional dressing, housemade fresh cranberry sauce, fresh baked Parker House rolls and a slice of freshly baked pumpkin pie. A cup of coffee or soda is included. Brite Spot will also offer whole pies and cheesecakes to go with 48-hour advanced orders. Whole apple pies and pumpkin cheesecakes are $40. The meal is available for take out and must be pre-ordered 48 hours in advance. 1918 W. Sunset Blvd., (213)484-9800.

Doma Kitchen Thanksgiving
Doma Kitchen will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. and will offer a special Thanksgiving menu by chef Kristina Miksyte. Some of Miksyte’s unique creations have an Eastern European culinary theme. 3562 N. Sepulveda Blvd. (310)647-3157.

(Photo Courtesy of Barton G.)
(Photo Courtesy of Barton G.)

Barton G. LA Thanksgiving
L.A.’s “culinary theatery” Barton G. LA will showcase seasonal pumpkin and turkey-inspired creations with an elevated twist on Thursday, Nov. 26. Three-course holiday meals include shareable pumpkin spice donuts and pumpkin soup. The menu also includes fall garden salads, herb roasted turkey breast with confit leg, and pumpkin donuts with cranberry compote, pumpkin butter, spiced warm chocolate and cinnamon anglaise. The cost is $65 per person and reservations are required. 861 N. La Cienega Blvd., (310)388-1888.

(Photo Courtesy of Patina)
(Photo Courtesy of Patina)

Patina’s Descanso Gardens Thanksgiving
Have a carefree Thanksgiving with an annual buffet prepared by Patina chefs with all the trimmings, including vegetarian options, on Thursday, Nov. 26 at Descanso Gardens. Seatings are available at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Cranberry orange cheesecake and pumpkin pie tarts are an ideal finish. After the meal, guests can walk in the gardens. Seating is limited and reservations are required by Thursday, Nov. 19. The Thanksgiving brunch buffet is $74.56 for Descanso Gardens members and $31.39 for their children, and $86.33 for non-members and $36.62 for their children. 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada, (818)790-3663.

(Photo Courtesy of M Cafe)
(Photo Courtesy of M Cafe)

Healthy Thanksgiving to go at M Café
M Café, Los Angeles’ contemporary macrobiotic café, is serving cuisine free of dairy, red meat, refined sugars, eggs and poultry, and offers a veg-friendly, meat-free Thanksgiving feast to go that is tailored for dietary needs and requires no cooking. The M Café’s Thanksgiving Feast includes a choice of entrée, holiday soup, salad and choice of two additional accompaniments. The price is $75 for a two-person feast and $145 for a four-person feast. Locations include Brentwood, Melrose Avenue and Beverly Hills. For information and orders, call Kristel Kim at (213)500-7220, or email


(Photo courtesy of Circa 55)
(Photo courtesy of Circa 55)

Beverly Hills Thanksgiving
Circa 55 in the Beverly Hilton is serving a modern brunch and California dinner menu for Thanksgiving with market-fresh dishes that are 95 percent locally sourced. Thanksgiving brunch includes carved citrus-brined roasted turkey with breakfast favorites like eggs Benedict and Belgian waffles. The dinner includes roasted turkey with giblet gravy and sage stuffing, and wood grilled fish with spaghetti squash herb butter. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. The brunch price is $79 per adult and $36 for children; $60 per person for dinner. 9876 Wilshire Blvd., (310)887-6055.

Santa Monica Thanksgiving
The oceanfront 1 Pico at Shutters on the Beach features a market-fresh menu that showcases seasonal Southern California ingredients and seafood. The prix fixe menu allows guests to choose from poached farm egg and duck prosciutto and seared scallops. Entrées include free-range Mary’s turkey, American red snapper and scallop potato and black truffle gratin. Finish with pumpkin tarts and butterscotch and caramelized pear trifles. The price is $90 per person. 1 Pico Blvd., (310)587-1717. OpenTable


(Photo courtesy of Umami Burger)
(Photo courtesy of Umami Burger)

Umami Burger’s Holiday Bird
Umami Burger’s Holiday Bird is an entire holiday meal with Umami’s signature turkey patty, a cornbread stuffing patty, house-made turkey gravy, fresh ginger-cranberry chutney, spiced Japanese yams and Umami-dusted fried sage. For every Holiday Bird dinner sold, $1 will be donated to Meals on Wheels America to help seniors in need. 189 The Grove Drive, Ste. C-10, (323)954-8626; 4655 Hollywood Blvd., (323)669-3922; 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd., (323)469-3100.

These destinations were featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea Newspapers on Nov. 19 and Nov. 26, 2015.

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