Egg House is LA’s newest Instagram worthy pop-up

I guarantee you will smile while exploring West Hollywood’s egg-themed pop-up – The Egg House. It’s a multi-sensory “Eggventure” by female founder Biubiu Xu and a team of “eggcellent” creators, designers, and artists. It first debuted in the Lower East Side of NYC in 2018 and has since traveled to Shanghai, China and now Los Angeles.

Pink-colored walls and floors greet you when you step into the the two story space off Melrose Place and Croft Ave.  A staff member asks if you would like to have your photo taken with a bigger-than-life egg carton filled with brown and white (styrofoam) eggs.

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Each location has different theme rooms inspired by the city.  Since Los Angeles is known as a fun brunch destination, there is a low ceiling brunch room with poached egg chairs and an egg table with miniature wooden food, silverware and plates. “Brunch Babes” is illuminated in pink neon lights.

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Another room has two swivel cracked egg chairs and a Hollywood-style movie clapboard for fun photo opportunities. There is also a black and white Route 66 room that pops with color depending on what you are wearing.

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Have fun swinging in a blue padded room with a yellow yolk floor.

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Be sure to jump into the “Last One In Is A Rotten Egg” yellow and white plastic ball pit. Throw a bunch up in the air for a fun Boomerang post.

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There are complimentary mini chocolate covered eggs and gummy eggs for a sweet treat.

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Three miniature pink and yellow shopping carts filled with white and pink eggs occupy a room. On the yellow floor, the words “Avo Eggcellent Day” is in bold pink colors. It’s whimsical, colorful and fun.

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A staff member walks around with a handheld removable tattoo machine and will happily apply a sunny side up egg, avocado or piece of toast on your forearm.

Before leaving check out the Egg House merchandise that includes three different types of adorable egg earrings. Egg House merchandise is available for purchase with a credit card only.

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Tickets must be purchased in advance and range from $20 to $34 depending on the time and day of the week. For tickets go to Egg House LA. Your ticket includes entrance and numerous Instagrammable photo opportunities. Children age two and under do not need a ticket. Location – 708 North Croft Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

29 Rooms of Immersive Fun in DTLA

It was an ideal day to be indoors with the rain storm in Southern California. My daughter and I played inside Refinery29’s Immersive World of Creativity & Cultural. It’s a pop-up exhibit inside The Reef.

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Refinery29 is a digital-media and entertainment company for young women with an audience of over 550 million across all platforms. Participants step away from downtown LA and into a dream world created by the makers behind Refinery29. They have collaborated with visionaries and brands in the fields of arts, activism, style, and technology to build 29 uniques spaces that are relevant today and promote hope for tomorrow. Through multi-sensory installations, performances, and workshops, participants keep an  open mind, while exhibiting a playful spirit, while playing in an artistic wonderland.

Some of my favorite experiences include Rooms 3 & 4 – Sonic Sanctuary & Sonic Shadow – 

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In Light of You was a collaboration with Jose’ A. Roda where guests bathe in light illuminating individuality.

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Hello Beautiful is in partnership with BIRCHBOX at Walgreens. Guests can apply makeup and even get a liquid glittery eyeshadow.

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Room 6 was one of my favorites- Blind Date with Destiny. Learn about your life line, head line, heart line and relationship line in an unexpected way.

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Room 10 Know! Your! Rights! is a collaboration with the ACLU.

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Room 11 Star Matter in collaboration with Nicole Richie allows guests to step inside orbit with one another and don a starry cape.

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In Room 14 Money Mantras is in collaboration with Refinery29’s Money Diaries offering valuable tips and advice on how to get rich and afford life in the meantime.

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Room 15 is The Value Stand in collaboration with The R29 Editorial Design Team that shows when women work together, the result is strong, stunning and carries a compelling message.

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There are two different ticket types and prices:

General Admission ticket is $39.99 for three hours of exploring, plus, a portion of all ticket proceeds go to s nonprofit partner. The 29Rooms Party After Dark ticket is $69.99 for three hours with smaller crowds, so you have more space, 2 drink tickets, with additional cash bar and food for purchase, exclusive pop-up performances, VIP guests and R29 insiders, DJs and dancing, and live art-making. Participants must be 21+

Thursday December 6th

  • 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • 3–6 p.m.
  • 7–10 p.m. **Party After Dark**

Friday December 7th

  • 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • 3–6 p.m.
  • 7–10 p.m. **Party After Dark**

Saturday December 8th

  • 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • 3–6 p.m.
  • 7–10 p.m. **Party After Dark**

Sunday December 9th

  • 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
  • 3–6 p.m.
  • 7–10 p.m.

Buy tickets at Eventbrite – 

10 Ways to Enjoy The Museum of Selfies

Why do people take selfies? Is it vanity? Pride? Posing with a celebrity? Over a million selfies are uploaded to social media every day. Why? The roots of documenting a feeling, accomplishment or event to share with others dates back thousands of years ago.

Created by Tair Mamedov (stand-up comedian, writer, director, and game designer) Tommy Honton (writer, game designer, and narrative experience creator known best for the escape rooms at Stash House in Koreatown) and produced by Abylay Zhakashov (investor, entrepreneur, and film producer), Honton was kind to give me and my family a tour of The Museum of Selfies in Glendale, CA.

Honton shared how “Selfies are not a new phenomenon – it’s something that people have been doing for 4,000 years.” This museum is an immersive, fun venue that enlightens participants through art, history, technology, and culture. It’s also a super cool place to take selfies in over 10 different interactive installations.

  1. Start at the entrance and drop a marble in either the “love” selfies or the “hate” selfies hole. At the end, if you were a hater, you might see selfies a different way and want to change your opinion. IMG_12202. #Timeline – Learn about the beginning of selfies along the gallery wall time line, starting 13.8 billion years ago during the Big Bang. Admiring various pieces of art on the wall, we learned that during 25,000 BCE, a realistic representation of a human face of The Venus of Brassempouy was carved in France. Wall drawings and paintings of people were discovered as early as 10,000 BCE in Brazil, and in the Cumberland Vallley Caves in Tennessee, USA. Honton showed us examples of self portraits drawn and painted in the 1400s. In the 1600s Rembrandt drew his earliest self portrait made in his early 20s.

    The Museum of Selfies also curates works from modern artists exploring the art of selfies. Whimsical portraits include Mona Lisa, American Gothic and Vincent van Gogh holding out a smartphone are hung on the walls.IMG_12413. Step into one of the best-loved Vincent van Gogh’s paintings – The Bedroom. It was painted in October 1888, when the artist was living in the Yellow House in Arles. The museum replicated The Bedroom to every detail.IMG_12474. Step into a Black and White Photo Studio and put on hats to replicate a 1920s photo studio for a dramatic selfie.IMG_13255. Do more women or men take selfies? #Selfiecity displays the results of a research project of 120,000 photos from 5 cities that were randomly selected. They discovered that WOMEN WIN! 1.3 times more in Bangkok with 55.2%, 1.9 times more in Berlin and 82% in Moscow. Bangkok and San Paulo selfie takers smile the most, while Moscow selfie takers smile the least. Most people were young, with Bangkok having 21 years old the average median age. New York City had the oldest average age of 25.3 years old. One interesting finding is Men’s average age is higher at 30+ when posting selfies on Instagram.IMG_13026. Walking into the #Food Selfies area with extra large food props. Eating is one of the most primal and universal aspects of being human. Break bread or broccoli with friends and family. A beautiful plate of food can be visually-stunning and a work of art. Food selfies are the most polarizing of all selfies.

    7. The “Narcissist” survey tallies the number of deaths from selfie-related accidents. Have fun in the exhibit highlighting reports of museum visitors who damage priceless works of art while trying to take the perfect selfie. That’s why selfie sticks are forbidden in most museums, but encouraged at The Museum of Selfies.IMG_13148. Where is the best-known selfie location? The Bathroom. Taking a photo in a bathroom mirror used to be a quick solution to snap a selfie. Now smartphones  features wider-angle lenses and front-facing screens with the touch of a button. Walk into the #Bathroom Selfie exhibit offers a creative illusion.IMG_13239. Another popular selfie wall is #Finish Line Selfies. Learn why people take selfies to share an accomplishment, share joy and connect with others. Don DeLeon shares his photos with The Museum of Selfies.

    10. Play in the visual artist #Darel Carey installation made with black tape for eye-popping selfies. normal visit should take about 60-90 minutes.

The Pop-Up museum opened on April 1st and closes on May 31st. It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours to explore. The Museum of Selfies is closed to the public on Mondays.

Admission is $25 and free for children ages 0-4

211 N Brand Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91203

Limited Engagement

Once – Better Than A 10!

Writer with
Writer with Executive Chef Ricardo Zarate

Following chef Ricardo Zarate, one of my favorite Los Angeles chefs, has been an exhilarating culinary adventure. I first met the three-time James Beard Foundation award nominee at his spirited, urban Peruvian restaurant, Mo-Chica. He followed that success by opening Picca, near Century City, and Paiche, in Marina del Rey, introducing pleasing South American cuisine with a touch of Asian and European flavors.

I also followed him to Santa Barbara to experience his Blue Tavern restaurant, featuring Californian cuisine with a Peruvian flair in hand-tossed pizzas, pasta and grilled meats. Sadly, it all came to an end when he disappeared from the L.A. restaurant scene.
While dining at different restaurants in Los Angeles, I recognized a few of his loyal servers and whispered, “Where is Ricardo Zarate?” Quietly, a few told me, “He is coming back, and he will make a sensation when he does.” I held onto those words.

Last month, I learned Zarate is back. He opened a pop-up in Santa Monica at Santino’s on Lincoln Boulevard. Many of his previous employees wanted to work with the kind and gentle chef again, especially his Paiche crew.

Naming his new pop-up Once (pronounced on-seh) made perfect sense, since in Spanish it means number 11, and Zarate is the 11th of 12 children in his family. Growing up in Lima, he was in charge of cooking for his family at a young age.IMG_7385

I eagerly made a reservation to reunite with my old friend and experience his new venture. The interior of Santino’s is dark, with lots of wood and light fixtures with designs made from wine corks.

I sat at a table for two and noticed the pleasing scent of grilled vegetables and meats. Zarate’s son was assisting him at the grill. The tables are close together letting guests see the different dishes being delivered in the dining room.

Feisser Stone, known as a superstar mixologist at Hinoki and the Bird helms the bar at the back of the restaurant. Guests may order beer, wine and low-proof cocktails including the Mint To Be made with sherry, lime, cucumber and garnished with mint. It was very refreshing on a warm summer night. I also ordered a Passion Fruit Brut made with champagne, aperol and a small passion fruit popsicle. The bubbles of the brut slowly melted the popsicle.

The menu features 11 a la carte dishes that change weekly based on ingredients Zarate finds at farmers’ markets. His goal is to create dishes that people are eager to share with others at their table.

IMG_7390My favorite starter was the Peruvian causa in a mason jar. Causa is a popular layered Peruvian potato dish served cold. Zarate starts with a base of Peruvian black botija olive aioli, layers it with smooth avocado and mashed yellow potatoes, and tops it with a beautiful, thick, eggplant stew with pieces of the dark purple skin. It’s served with thinly sliced grilled bread brushed with oil. Causa has the consistency of budino, and is an exquisite spread on the toasted bread.

We were also thrilled with the smoky barbecued figs paired brilliantly with peppery arugula and crisp pepitas dusted with Parmesan. The dish was drizzled with savory balsamic rocoto chile pepper dressing.

Zarate offers seafood dishes including one of his famous ceviches, which are packed with heat. Paella is grilled on the back patio, and charcuterie plates include octopus and cured meats.

After a plate of deep-fried, crispy Japanese mackerel sprinkled with sea salt arrived, I passed the plate to an inquisitive man at a FullSizeRender-22nearby table. He closed his eyes and smiled after he tasted the crispy fish dipped in a lovely citrus aioli. When Zarate’s wood fire-grilled Peruvian paella was brought to his table in a large, black skillet, the guest urged me to try the fried rice mixed with amarillo aioli, black tiger prawns, juicy and sweet Hokkaido scallops and Chinese lachang sausage.

Three meat options on the menu include a small rib-eye plate and a much larger rib-eye dish served with cipollini onions and grilled tomatoes. We ordered the filet mignon sliced and served in a black skillet with roasted tomatoes, braised cipollini onions, red onions, grilled green onions and sliced fingerling potatoes. Zarate uses Kimlan soy dressing to make savory gravy, and serves a sunny-side-up egg on top, making the dish spectacular.

Zarate also offers three desserts each week including panna cotta, and chocolate and picarones. We ordered the chocolate mousse with lucuma – a Peruvian fruit with maple and sweet potato flavors – and topped with Chantilly cream. The couple seated next to us loved the sweet potato beignets served with a cup of fig syrup. Glasses of sherry, vermouth, Moscato D’Asti, Cardamaro, Bonal and Byrhh – an aromatized apéritif made of red wine – are available for guests craving after-dinner drinks.

Zarate twice walked into the dining room to greet some of his familiar guests. A few diners stood up to shake his hand and pat him on the back. I rose to give him an appreciative hug and congratulated him on his new endeavor. Zarate is back and better than ever.

Reservations are available Thursday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. until October for tables for two, four or six guests. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance by visiting https://www.table8.com/v/once-by-ricardo-zarate.

A limited number of tables are available on a first come, first served basis. If seats are available at the bar, walk-in guests are welcome to sit and watch Zarate do what he does best – cook amazing Peruvian plates.

3021 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica. http://www.eatonce.com.

This article was featured in the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News on September 10, 2015.