Katsuya Studio City: FAIL

Now before I get to the piece-de resistance of my weekend (aka. George Clooney) I want to talk about where I went after the NoHo Arts Festival. Four friends and I made reservations at Katsuya (Studio City) for dinner at 7:30p on Saturday night. They called to confirm the reservations on Saturday, and yes we confirmed out 7:30p reservations. I get it, 5 people is an odd number to accommodate but they were 100% forewarned. We arrived at 7:30p expecting a little wait (it was Saturday night at a tiny well-known restaurant). My sister and our friend Grace had been there before, so while we waited we discussed the dishes we had to order… we were ready to drop some serious cash.

They have all the reservations for the night listed on a board so you can see who still needs to be seated. And as you can imagine, this board was filled with names when we arrived and at 7:30p and when this photo was taken it was 9pm. The most iritiating part was the lousy customer service. The host apologised when we checked in with them after an hour of waiting, and said that the table we were waiting on was eating dessert and then we could be seated. Around 9pm I went up again and questioned a different hostest and pointed to our future table, who had JUST got their dessert.. which means the hostess mislead us before. It would clearly be another 30 minutes, because they needed to eat the giant dessert and pay their fare. I also need to point out that the hostess told us that we had to sit at that specific table because we are a group of 5, and that is all that is allowed. If this was truly the case, why were there currently only 3 people seated at the only table for 5? Based on when they were getting their dessert, they must have been seated at the table around 7pm. Now tell me this, why would you take a reservation for 7:30 for 5, when the only table that could fit 5 has someone being seated their at 7p?

Now here is when it gets really good. We decide we can’t keep waiting, we will split into a table of 3 and 2 so that at some point this evening, food could enter our mouths. We tell the hostess, we will split up. She has the gaul to come over to us and tell us a table for 4 was ready and that 1 person was going to have to eat alone. WHAT?! That’s when we said, “Hell No” and walked out.

Thankfully our evening was rectified when we walked down the street to find a very cool Tapas/Italian restaurant called La Loggia. We had planned on sharing sushi, so it seems only natural to do tapas and try several things. The service was great. When we asked if they had a table for 5, it was like the clouds opened up and light shone down on a table for 5 all set for us. We had all stared ourselves for the nights meal, so when we had to wait an additional hour and half, we were ready to eat anything he handed us. We order whatever the waiter recommended and it was amazing. We topped off the meal by sharing a banana/caramel pastry (so good, and I don’t normally like banana) and chocolate lava cake (OMG so good). It saved our night. Thank you La Loggia for giving us the great food and especially great service that Katsuya was unable to provide. I won’t be returning to Katsuya in Studio City, they just lost a customer who spends a lot of money on sushi. Their loss.

Halloween Recap

Halloween 2011 was spread out over 4 events for me: a costume party at Ambers on Friday night (which I’ve talked about), the Long Beach Zombie Parade (Saturday evening), The Nightmare Before Christmas (late Saturday night), and walking Toluca Lake on Halloween. So needless to say, I’m a little Halloween’ed out.

The Long Beach Zombie Walk IV was a lot of fun. To get there I decided to take the metro down to Long Beach and assumed that others on the metro would be in costume and boy was I incorrect in that assumption. The blue line down to Long Beach is not one I would recommend taking at night or alone. I did get to see the Watt Towers from the metro, but I also saw people getting arrested. I was also accosted for money many times along my journey to Long Beach. After an hour and a half I was in Long Beach and heading to a small gathering before the parade. The couple throwing the pre-zombie party went all out. They made Dracula fangs out of chocolate, carved a loaf of bread into a coffin/spinach dip holder, and baked delicious red velvet cupcakes with “bloody knives”. After snacks and Halloween themed beer (pumpkin spice!) we set out on our walk. Unfortunately, we went to the location where the walk was held in 2010, which was not where it was being held this year. As Nancy Drew, I put my detective skills to work and became suspicious when zombie bicyclists were headed the opposite direction. When we realized the error we headed to the promenade where it was being held this year.. in a way we crated our own Zombie Parade!

The Zombie Walk featured local bands playing on a stage and vendors selling tee-shirts and other zombie paraphanalia. We walked as a part of the parade and then planted ourselves to watch the other zombie costumes. People get REALLY into their zombie characters and take their zombie-ing very seriously.

Around 9p, we decided to head up to Hollywood to the El Capitan Theater to see The Nightmare Before Christmas in 4D! I’ve never been to this theater before and had a really great experience. I screwed up and bought tickets for Friday night and they happily swapped them for Saturday night without any additional charge. This was not only my first 4D movie but also my first 3D film. They gave us the glasses and we picked out our seats in a theater, which looked like an old opera house. They had a man playing the organ on stage while people were finding seats. When a manager came out to introduce the movie they even raffled off LACMA tickets to their Tim Burton Exhibit. The film itself is a classic, so no surprises there but the 4D effects were really fun. When the film is in Christmas town you could smell the gingerbread and we felt every gust of wind and even the snow falling at the end of the film. It was just a really fun activity and only $12 tickets on Goldstar. Score.

The Golden Girls!

On Monday, of course I came to work as Nancy Drew because cool people dress up at work. Of course I was one of the only people on the lot dressed up, oh well. At night I drove right to Toluca Lake to experience the madness! There were 1000’s of children running around… cars parked illegally which created single lane roads. It was truly madness. Candy lines stretched down blocks. One guy was walking around with a chainsaw scaring people. Toluca Estates had several big attractions and the entire street was covered with people. Mark Cherry had a spooky television themed display set-up. He had many female comedic characters as skeletons with soundbites playing on stereos (like the Golden Girls, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and Luclie Ball). Another house had a life sized pirate ship on their front yard,  it looked like a movie set. We even got to see Steve Carell (who lives in the area) which was cool.

Eventually, it was all too much (so many people and kids hopped up on sugar) so we escaped to Tony’s. Tony’s Darts Away was having a 2 for 1 deal for everyone in costume and also a costume competition. Our group snagged a booth and spent the night playing Apples to Apples. It was a really fun night. The winner of the costume contest was “Weird Al” who really did fit the part.

What did you do to celebrate the holiday? Is there a different neighborhood I should check out in 2012? Well this sums up my Halloween 2011 adventures and now on to bigger and better holidays (aka Thanksgiving in Denver!).

Monday Funday

What did you end up doing this weekend? Leave a comment if you did something we should all know about… especially if it was a fun reoccurring event.

Last week was so crazy (adjusting back to the work schedule and all) so I allowed myself Friday night to vegg-out, watch some TV and hit the hay. It was fantastic and we all deserve a night like that.

On Saturday I got a text from the lovely Amber that she was available for a nighttime excursion so we decided to attend the grand opening event at Sunset Beer Company. They had a food truck out front and a wall of fridges filled with cold beer you can get to-go or purchase and enjoy on one of their couches. Amber is a beer expert, so she gave me the rundown of what I should get. They had a DJ spinning tunes from 8-9p and then a live band started up around 9-10p. The entire place consists of 2 rooms, one for buying beer to-go and the other with a small bar and lounge style seating. The event had a great turn out. Did you go? What did you think? They seemed unprepared for the number of attendees. There was one place to purchase beer, which meant long lines and once you purchased the beer you had to get in another line to get them to open the bottle and get you a glass (quite a process). But once you maneuvered the lines there was a fair amount of room to snag a spot to watch the band. It was a very fun free (except for the cost of the beer) event. Overall, I really enjoyed myself and recommend checking this place out.

From there we crossed the street to check out the opening of Villainy General Store, a cute little shop along Sunset. They had good prices on hipstery gifts ranging from artwork and ponchos to old school candy cigarettes and soaps. The highlight for me were the break-up greeting cards (example: “God wants me to see other people. Correction: God wants me to stop seeing you”). They also had a nice food spread to celebrate the opening. At this point it was just after 10pm and we decided to walk up Sunset to Tony’s Darts Away sister restaurant: Mohawk Bend.

A visit to Mohawk Bend is a long time in the works for me. I love Tony’s Darts Away, so when I heard they were opening a sister restaurant in Echo Park I was dying to check it out. Unfortunately, every time I was scheduled to go something would always come up.

Thankfully, the stars aligned on Saturday night and Amber and I had a great visit. We got there pretty late in the night which meant the 20 minute wait we were told to expect was more like a 5 minute wait (just enough time to grab a Coffee Citizen beer by Cismontane). Just like Tony’s, their beer list was about 3 pages long. Once seated we wrestled with what to order (as all of it sounded fantastic). We decided on the Bittersweet Symphony pizza (radicchio, sweet peppers, and smoked mozzarella) to share (perfect for 2) with a side of rosemary seasoned fries. The food bill came out to under $20. Great food, great beer, great prices. I can promise you Amber and I will be back.

Other deals in the area to be aware of: Barragan’s offers Wednesday night margaritta deals. Get there early and snag a spot on their rooftop patio. After that head to Gold Room next door for their cheap shots and free tacos. If you’re in the mood to dance, Short Stop has a dance floor without the creepiness that comes with a nightclub and they are located a little east along Sunset. Across from Short Stop on the inside corner of the strip mall is Sunset Beer Company, which as I learned this weekend, is a great place to get unique bottled beer for a good price. From there head back west on Sunset for about 5/10 minutes and hit Mohawk Bend on the north side of the street for a great meal. I don’t recommend all of these places in one night, but plan your night around hitting a few of these spots and you won’t be disappointed.

Addition to the Weekend Guide

Some Saturday events have come to my attention that you should all know about:

The Independent Shakespeare Co. is doing a performance of Two Men From Verona at 5pm and 8pm. It says tickets are $20, but if you mention the word crabs when buying them, you can get $10 tickets! Cocktails and men dressed as women, go and enjoy! Get tickets HERE.

If Shakespeare isn’t your thing, the Sunset Beer Company has their grand opening tonight from 6-10p. Tunes will be spun by Mr.Cocoon. Here’s the INFO.

Well, now I’ve given you 2 more cheap options that will get you off your butt! No excuses, get out there!

Weekend Guide Oct. 14+15+16

So it’s already that day of the week, FRIDAY! Do you have any fun weekend plans? Tell me what you’re up to. Let the world know about the fun things your up to, because they will want to join and make it awesomer (that’s a word, right?).

Next weekend I’ll be in Milwaukee, blogging to you from a wedding with dear friends that I’ve actually never met in person. It’s wild how in the digital age, good friends never even have to meet face to face. That awesome story will unfold in 7 days, count’em. This weekend will involve some shopping to prep for it (invest wisely, because company stocks will rise based on everything I still need to buy).

FRIDAY: Let’s start with plans for tonight. Are you free? UCB is hosting A Dead Author Reading where Paul F Thompkins (or PFT as comedy nerds know him) will play H.G.Wells. Tickets are $5 and it goes to support 826LA (a charity that helps children with reading and writing). Brian Stack, who writes for Conan, will also be there. It’s at 6:30p tonight, so get tickets now!

Also, tonight at the Largo Jeff Garlin will be leading a conversation with Judd Apatow to discuss his new book. Tickets to that are $30, and that also starts at 6:30p tonight. PFT also has a show here on Saturday night. Check out Largo’s schedule for cool upcoming shows.

SATURDAY: I haven’t been alerted to any special events this Saturday night (crazy, right?) but there are plenty of on going events that are worth checking out. For example, Oktoberfest is happening in the Southland. There are many going on, but the one I hear the most good things about is Oktoberfest at Alpine Village. Tickets are $10, and as there are only 8 more days left, I suggest you get there now. If I remember correctly bring cash and tickets, anything to avoid the monster line that could form. Bring a group of friends an have an awesome night.

As Halloween is rapidly approaching, you should check out some of the haunting events around LA to get you in the spirit. Universal Studios has discounted tickets to their Fright Nights. Old Town Haunt is a haunted house in Pasadena which will cost you $15, 7p-12am. The Haunted Hayride is happening right now in Griffith Park in the Old Zoo, but will set you back $25 a head (but I hear great things). Or what about the Queen Mary, which is supposed to be haunted on a normal day, but extra haunted around Halloween. Tickets are $20 and it also runs 7pm-12a.

SUNDAY: The Nerdist Panel’s are back. Check out Meltdown comics on Sunday at 5pm for a discussion with many television writers and how they got where they are. Tickets are $15 and you can get them here.

If writing and comedy aren’t your thing, the owners of my favorite bar Tony’s Dart Away (see my post about them HERE) are opening a brewery called Golden Rod Brewery in the valley. Tickets to the grand opening are $20 + $3 service fee and you can get them HERE. That will make for a glorious Sunday afternoon.

Weekend Guide! Oct 7+8+9

It’s been a crazy day and I have to get ready for my camping extravaganza this weekend. That’s right, no air-mattress on this one, this is real camping. In the meantime I have to tell you about the awesome things happening this weekend:

Events:

826LA (an awesome charity in Echo Park) is hosting FILTER Culture Collide Festival in Echo Park ALL weekend. Cool people. Cool bands. As part of this event there is a Block Party on Sunday from 3-10p. Wristbands are $20, the money goes to charity AND you get an awesome weekend. Win Win.

Post No Bills in Venice is hosting Ron English’s “English 101” solo exhibit in their gallery for all of October. You’ll recognize his stuff. If you’re walking the boardwalk, check it out!

If live music and gallery openings aren’t your cup of tea, Silverlake Art Craft + Vintage is hosting their monthly “I heart Vintage” craft event on Saturday, where local venders come and sell homemade goods. If you’re trying to save money, just go take a peak and be inspired. While you’re there, take a walk along Sunset and check out the local shops. Oh yeah, and food trucks!

If you’re dying to do something a little more main stream, at 8:30p on October 10th at the Orpheum Theater Joseph Gordon-Levitt is hosting the Fall Formal with his collaborative production company, hitRECord.com. Not only is Joseph adorable and talented but he’s doing a great service to the artistic community. Check out his page.

Food+ Drink:

One of my favorite places to have a fancy dinner (Luna Park) and one of my favorite board game-themed bars (Henry’s Hat) happen to be sister restaurants and this Saturday if you go into either place and say “Weekday Brunch” to your waiter, you’ll get 50% off all food! What an awesome deal.

Thrillist is offering pizza and 90 minutes of unlimited craft brews  for $18 each! Such a good deal and it ends in 6 days. Check out the link and hit GET IT!

Per usual, if you are looking for bar game nights this weekend, Little Bar has a lively trivia night starting at 7:30p on Saturday. They do not serve food which means you can bring in whatever you want. Luna Park happens to be located across the street (check out the details above to get 50% off), maybe grab some grub and then head over to the Little Bar to test out the ol’ noggin. They also offer a Sunday dart tournament. On Sunday Bigfoot Lounge should be doing their Sunday night bingo! Call ahead to confirm the times.

Okay, I have supplied you with PLENTY to do this weekend. I didn’t even include all the plays and other (more costly, but still awesome) cultural events happening around LA this weekend. If you’re still struggling with what to do this weekend here’s an awesome idea: throw a boxed-wine tasting party. It sounds lame, but friends of mine did it once and it was SO much fun. Everyone invited brings a unique boxed-wine and the host provides tacky cheeses and crackers (ie. cut up string cheese on a ritz cracker). The tackier the better! Everyone does a tasting and the winner is whoever brought the best boxed-wine (come up with some super tacky prize). It’ll be memorable, for sure.