Monday, February 28, 2011

Advance Notice. Dodgers tickets.

Play ball! The 2011 season of Major League Baseball is kicking off here in Los Angeles in just a month (!) on March 31, with the Dodgers' opening day against those dirty rivals, the San Francisco Giants. And even if you didn't splurge for season tickets, single game tickets for all season are now available. Check out the schedule here, and start counting down the days 'til you're scarfing down Dodger Dogs and just enjoying a beautiful game at the ballpark.

-- Chau Tu

Drink It. Sightglass Coffee.

Sometimes morning coffee at home is the simplest, most satisfying, and overall best way to start the week.

I recently bought a bag of classic Central American beans from San Francisco's Sightglass Coffee. It was roasted just days before it arrived in my mailbox, and the few cups I've enjoyed so far have been nothing short of delicious. I like to heat some milk in a ceramic mug first, then fill it up with steaming freshly brewed coffee.

Other favorites for home brewing:

next up:

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Friday, February 25, 2011

Advance Notice. Palm Springs film noir festival.

Heading out to the desert for a film noir festival sounds like an excellent quick weekend getaway.

Coming up in May, the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival will be held in Palm Springs, with 12 classic black and whites on the agenda.

The festival takes place from May 13-16 (kind of a long weekend), and among the films in the festival are "New York Confidential" and "The Big Night."

There are also five appearances by actor and actresses (or their grandchildren) scheduled for a discussion of the films, one or two talks scheduled everyday of the festival. Among those appearing are Kirk Douglas, Don Murray, Ann Robinson, June Lockhart, and Julie Garfield (John Garfield's granddaughter).

Tickets to the event go on sale April 9th. For information about accommodations in Palm Springs, visit the event's website, which has a list of film sponsoring hotels where people from nearby L.A. and Orange County can stay.

The festival is will be held at Camelot Theaters, 2300 E. Baristo Road in Palm Springs.

-- Lauren Williams

Check It. Jeremy Scott Swatch watches.

Fashion Week has come and gone, and now it's time to buy, buy, buy. One of my longtime favorite designers is Jeremy Scott, and this year, he's done a beautiful thing: offer me something I can actually afford!

Ah yes, behold Jeremy Scott's Swatch collection. The three styles offered cut nothing away from Scott's signature style (the wings!), and yet are super affordable at $70 each. Seriously, $70 for some legit Scott swag. And how can you go wrong with such an awesome watch? Get yours now here.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do It. James Franco and Gus Van Sant's "Unfinished".

Beverly Hills' Gagosian Gallery has an exciting new exhibition: "Unfinished", by James Franco and Gus Van Sant. Between acting in several films a year, going to graduate school, and co-hosting the Oscars, it's impressive Franco has time for anything else at all--let alone an awesome art show.

The exhibit features two films, Endless Idaho, and My Own Private River. While working together on 2008's Milk, Van Sant showed Franco unused footage from his 1991 film My Own Private Idaho, and Franco had the idea to use it to make two new films (the titles of these new works are an homage to the original film).

Eight art works on paper by Van Sant (who studied painting and cinema at RISDE) accompany the films.

February 26 - April 9

456 North Camden Drive in Beverly Hills. Info: (310) 271-9400,

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Eat Out. 30 burgers in 30 days.

Okay, we're not really telling you to eat out with 30 burgers in 30 days. That would be pretty crazy. But LA Weekly's Elina Shatkin has taken on such a challenge -- or at least is writing about it in that amount of time. More than halfway through, she's already proven all the awesome burger options L.A. has to offer, from the well-known Counter and Apple Pan to a spot in Koreatown.

Divulge in the gluttony here -- a true indication of the pains through which journalists suffer for the sake of good reporting, if you will.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: LA Weekly

Eat In. White bean hummus.

The classic white bean hummus dip. This is another easy recipe that is incredibly quick and tasty.

What you'll need:

--One can of white beans
--One lemon, for juice and zest
--Fresh rosemary
--olive oil, add until smooth
--One clove of garlic

Zest and juice the lemon, set aside. Chop 1 tbsp worth of rosemary. Also set aside.

In a food processor or blender add all the ingredients, gradually adding olive oil until the blend is smooth.

I love this recipe. It incorporates more fibrous beans into your diet, and it's so fast that the clean up actually takes longer then the actual cooking.


-- Lauren Williams

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eat In. Oat clusters.

The gorgeous oat clusters pictured above were a Friday experiment of mine. I saw the recipe on ReadyMade magazine, and had been looking for a healthy snack to take to work.

Instead a happy mistake with a little too much peanut butter and chocolate, and I'm sort of ashamed to say these clusters didn't survive the weekend, let alone make it all the way through the work week.

This is probably the easiest no-bake recipe out there.

What you'll need:

1 tbsp. of butter
2 tbsp. of honey/agave syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter
chocolate chips
raisins or dried cranberries, to taste
1/2 cup rolled oats
rice crisp (optional)

Melt the honey and butter in a pan, mixing well. Mix in the peanut butter until homogeneous and smooth. Then just add in all dry ingredients.

Take a spoon and plop onto a cookie sheet to form perfect balls, and leave in the fridge until they set (about 30 minutes).

That's it! It took about 15 minutes total, not including clean up time.

Honestly though, I kind of curse the person who wrote about these cookies. They're addictive.

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Sign Steve Jobs' get well card.

Technology and culture in the world today have a lot to thank Steve Jobs for. If you're reading this blog on an iPhone, iPad or Mac, or you've been listening to tunes on your iPod or iTunes all day, you really have a lot to thank him for. And even if you don't own any Apple product, the influence Jobs has had on the world of fast-moving, innovative technology is undeniable.

So sign the guy's get well card, yeah? It's his birthday tomorrow. He probably makes more money than you could ever think of, but everyone needs a little compassion every once in a while, and rumor has it, Jobs' health isn't helping him out so much. Sign here!

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Drink It. National Margarita Day.

It's almost five o'clock, and today is National Margarita Day 2011.

A rundown of our favorites in town:

El Carmen (best blend)

Malo (and now Más Malo too)

Lares (their fruit flavors--like peach--are natural and delicious)

Las Perlas (happy hour 7-8pm Tuesday through Friday)

at home (with the right tools and ingredients)

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Do It. Help GOOD magazine figure out what to fix in L.A.

I'm a big fan of GOOD magazine, a publication aimed at finding the, well, good things in the world and solutions to problems within society. And it just so happens that they're focusing their next issue on us: Los Angeles.

Senior editor Patrick James is reaching out and asking Angelenos (and non-Angelenos) to 1) help pinpoint people or organizations who are helping better the city through their work and/or 2) bring attention to a problem within the city that needs a solution (you don't even have to have a solution in mind).

The GOOD team will take it from there. So speak up and let people know the good and the bad in the city, and hopefully you'll help take this city one step closer to perfection.

Pass along your ideas to GOOD by commenting on their page here.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: GOOD/Flickr user radworld

Monday, February 21, 2011

Etc. Happy Presidents' Day.

Happy Presidents' Day!

(an easy and consistent style guideline is "would Jackie wear it?")

Enjoy the day off.

-- the BEAT

Photo credit:

Check It. Radiohead's "Lotus Flower" [The Monday Download].

So Radiohead surprised us all again by releasing their newest album, King of Limbs, a day earlier than expected. So if you haven't had the record on repeat all weekend, it's time to start. Download for $9 (a steal! -- it's Radiohead, after all) here.

And be sure not to miss out on this ever-mesmerizing video for first single, "Lotus Flower." Thom Yorke never ceases to amaze.

...And if you have seen that already, check out this special (hilarious) twist.

-- Chau Tu

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eat Out. Ludo Truck.

When I spotted Chef Ludo Lefebvre's truck on Melrose Avenue on Saturday morning, I knew we had to stop. Having never been to this particular food truck before--nor any of the super popular Ludo Bites pop up spots, there was no way I'd pass up the opportunity when lunchtime was approaching.

Jonathan Gold named Ludo's fried chicken one of the 99 things you should eat in L.A. before you die. Is it really that good? In a word, yes.

The chicken was really delicious--hot, flavorful white meat strips--my favorite. The honey lavender biscuit was different than I expected (sort of dense - definitely not your typical fluffy biscuit) but was nevertheless quite tasty. The cole slaw was pretty good too--crisp and fresh, but nothing to write home about. A thirst-quenching basil blood orange agua fresca rounded out the quick roadside meal perfectly.


-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credits: the BEAT

Friday, February 18, 2011

Make It. Müsli.

Everyday one of my Swiss coworkers brings this to work as breakfast, and I finally sampled and made my own. The results: delicious!

Müsli is a Swiss-German word for mess, and this is basically the casserole of breakfast foods. You just add basically anything. Some of the combinations: banana, apple, blueberries, yogurt OR condensed milk, rolled oats, seeds, raisins, nuts. The list goes on.

Started by Swiss physician Maximilian Bircher-Benner nearly a century ago when he started feeding his patients this mix, this recipe has gone beyond hospital food and is commonly eaten in the mornings.

It's also great as an afternoon snack (as I had it) and a bit of flaxseed makes it a bit nuttier and adds even more fiber.


-- Lauren Williams

Do It. Scion "Installation 7" art show.

I've talked about my admiration for the work of artist David Choe here on the BEAT before, and if you so happened to have sadly missed that show, you've got another chance to see Choe's work in person.

He'll be part of Scion's "Installation 7" art show coming around to Culver City this month. It's the 7th time around for this national art tour, which features emerging artists from all over the country in effort to push for artistic expression and raise money for art-related charities. The line-up this time, even besides Choe, is pretty amazing: Cheryl Dunn, Franki Chan, Gluekit, Mackie Osborne, Matt Goldman, and The London Police. There's even a small twist -- all the work is in video format, something for which many of the participating artists are not known for.

Which such diverse artists combined with this video challenge, the show will definitely be eclectic and fun. And the opening reception this Saturday, too, will not disappoint. RSVP for the free party (the art show itself is free too) here, and get out and enjoy some awesome art!

"Installation 7" will be taking place Feb. 19-March 12 at Scion International LA, located at 3521 Helms Ave. in Culver City.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Advance Notice. Get to the Greek for Florence + The Machine.

Florence and the Machine is a band I'd like to get more into, so I'm thinking of going to this show even though it's on a Monday night.

Hailing from England (land of historically good music), they're steadily gaining popularity here in the states. With a Spin magazine cover (for Artist of the Year) and a 'Best New Artist' 2011 Grammy nomination already under their belt, they're clearly heading toward great success.

Tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. tickets go on sale (through ticketmaster, $35) for their Monday June 13 show at the Greek Theatre.

Mid-June should be lovely for an outdoor concert in Los Feliz.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Do It. Save NPR, PBS and other public broadcasting.

We here at the BEAT are big public broadcasting fans, and it's no wonder, considering L.A. has so many great public broadcasting offerings, from KCRW to KPCC to NPR and PBS. But right now there's some legislation about to hit Congress that really threatens the government funding for public broadcasting across the country, and therefore, its survival.

The issue has become political, mainly because the legislation is being introduced and supported by the Republican Party. And some argue that operations like NPR are liberal-leaning, and therefore the people's taxes shouldn't be paying to support someone else's political affiliations.

But it's important to remember that the point of public broadcasting, and its government funding, is to provide content for everyone, because that's its audience -- everyone. And sure, public broadcasting isn't perfect, but that doesn't mean it can't and shouldn't improve. Public broadcasting is a major part of the media landscape -- 170 million Americans connect to it -- and to lose it would mean eliminating an ever-needed neutral and balanced voice in the media.

Check out this great piece by the L.A. Times' Robert Lloyd on the issue, and please do your part and support public broadcasting by signing the petition here.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: NPR

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Do It. A great manicure.

Finding a reliable place for a decent manicure is no easy task. Yesterday evening, after just over a week of dark (when in New York ... ) nails, I wanted it off, and a fresh application of a more comfortable pretty pale pink.

I ended up getting one of the best manicures I've ever had (and I've had quite a few in my day) at Express Nails on Robertson, just below Gregory Way in Beverly Hills. For $11.

If you live in West L.A./Beverly Hills/West Hollywood/Hollywood, or even if you don't, I highly recommend it. They have a wide selection of colors, and I went with Essie's creamy pale pink "Adore-a-Ball" (pictured above) after briefly considering the slightly more clear "Mademoiselle".

Other nail salon recommendations:

Deluxe Nail Bar and Spa (2913 Main Street in Santa Monica)

Montana Nails (1411 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica)

Jessica's Nail Clinic (8627 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood; appointment only)

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. Howie's Ranch Market [Guest Post].

Remnants of Americana culture sounds like something few and far between to the rest of the Los Angeles County, but look no further -- aside from the all-American ice cream shoppe, the local grocer has still survived the test of time.

Howie's Ranch Market, a small grocery store located on the central street of San Gabriel Boulevard, provides choice cuts of beef from Alexander's meats -- potential idea for a nice homemade dinner for two -- baked goods from Lisa's bakery, as well as high quality produce. Though it is small, it provides shoppers all they need for their grocery lists. Howie's has everything that can remind many of 1950s nostalgia. What's missing is the milkman.

Though the prices are slightly higher than say, the more corporate high end markets (Whole Foods or Gelson's), it is definitely worth the splurge for the quality and the service.

Howie's Ranch Market is located at 6580 N. San Gabriel Blvd. in San Gabriel.

Muriel Nacar

Photo credit:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Check It. Preorder Radiohead's new album "The King of Limbs."

Well, they've done it again. Besides being quite arguably one of the best bands in the world, Radiohead has really taken the cake in turning the music industry on top of its head. First, there was the pay-what-you-want model for In Rainbows. And now it's the "newspaper album" The King of Limbs, which is offering fans a collectible product and a wholly worthwhile reason to buy music again.

The album is effectively in pre-order status right now, and people who purchase the newspaper album will be receiving two vinyl records, a CD, and 625+ (!) pieces of artwork on May 9th. But they'll also receive a digital copy of the album, which will be delivered this Saturday. It'll cost a pretty penny at $48 for mp3s and $53 for WAVs, but considering what you're getting, it's surely worth it.

If you can't necessarily pony up for the special stuff, you can still show some love by purchasing the digital album only, for a mere $9 for mp3s and $14 for WAVs, also to be delivered this Saturday, Feb. 19.

There's no doubt that the release will be interesting, and probably, as per usual with Radiohead, pretty mind-blowing. (It also was at least partly recorded or worked on out here in L.A., if you wanted to know an interesting fact.) It's great thinking that a band has the ability to control their music themselves, and catering directly to fans, without any annoying marketing or record label middle man. You don't want to miss out on this. Support music for what it can and should be.

Get more info on The King of Limbs here.

-- Chau Tu

Check It. Esperanza Spalding on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts.

If you were one of the many people who didn't recognize the gorgeous bassist who won the Best New Artist award at the Grammys Sunday, below is a clip of her performing for NPR.

The Tiny Desk Concert series are great mini concerts held at NPR offices, and they definitely feel more impromptu and genuine then any other radio show where artists are invited to perform, I've noticed.

But back to Spalding: Her instrument of choice, a stand up bass and huge 'fro combine both a beautiful and unique sound and strong stagemanship and presence. Watching the below video, it's not hard to see how she beat Bieber in this year's Grammys.

-- Lauren Williams

Monday, February 14, 2011

Etc. Happy Valentine's Day.

Happy Valentine's Day, readers!

if you're eating in tonight, we recommend classic, always-romantic Italian - smoky fusilli perhaps

with some pinot noir

or napa brut rosé if you're feeling festive

and a good DVD


-- the BEAT

Photo credit: Sweet Bee Cottage

Check It. Sephora by OPI's Urban Ballerina set.

Ballet style has been gaining in popularity since Natalie Portman's Oscar-worthy performance in Black Swan. This month, a new line of nail polishes from Sephora by OPI are inspired by the ballerina life.

The full line has six shades (which go for $9.50 each), including Leotard Optional (pinky/mauve/beige, far left) and Break A Leg-Warmer (gray, far right), but there's a set of minis available for $18. I never use a full bottle of nail polish, and they don't really age well, so mini bottles of of-the-minute shades seem like the best bet.

Available at, or from Sephora retail locations - such as Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade or Hollywood & Highland.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. A rare look inside Pixar Studios [The Monday Download].

The Oscars are coming up in a few short weeks, and so it is time to consider all the great films of the past year. If you need some help, the New York Times (as per usual) has got your back. The Carpetbagger's turned her camera on and featuring some great Oscar-themed videos.

My favorite one so far is this rare behind-the-scenes look at Pixar Studios. This looks like such an amazing place to work! And it's great to see how much it seems that everyone is in love with their work.

Be sure to check out other Carpetbagger videos here.

The Oscars air on Sunday, February 27 at 5pm on ABC.

-- Chau Tu

Do It. Books for Valentine's Day.

If you're looking for something to read to give you that warm, fuzzy feeling on The Day of Love, I have read no book that makes me that happy feeling more then "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Although not touching upon romantic love in anyway, the deep love between Oscar and his father and the parallel story between his grandmother and grandfather reflects a love so intense it's hard to believe these people are fictional characters.

The book is written in a unique blend of photos, images, blank pages, and uses a play on kerning that creates a very unique, quirky narrative, much like the interesting, three-dimensional characters that you don't want to let go of at the end of the book.

This is absolutely one of my favorite books, and I couldn't think of a better read on Valentine's Day.

-- Lauren Williams

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do It. Slake pre-Valentine's celebration at Vroman's.

I never did pick up the first issue of Slake, but I just may get Volume 2. Plus their current cover goes along with our apparent black and white theme of the day.

On Sunday, Vroman's is hosting a pre-Valentine's celebration of love, and of Charles Bukowski. Slake editors Laurie Ochoa (former editor-in-chief of LA Weekly, and wife of Jonathan Gold) and Joe Donnelly will be there, as well as writers Geoff Nicholson, Victoria Patterson, Sam Slovick, and more.

Sunday February 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Vroman's is located at 695 E Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Check It. The Beatles' first U.S. concert.

Simply said, there will never be another Beatles. There will never be another Beatlemania (don't be fooled by the Bieber Fever), there will never be another Lennon/McCartney. And so we must cherish that which it was.

The best way to do that? Celebrate the 47th (!) anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in America by checking out a screening of their first U.S. concert, something that hasn't been shown since it happened. The concert took place in Washington D.C. back in 1964, and was broadcast in movie theaters two days after the show. Now, thanks to the American Cinematheque, you'll get to see history being made, a musical revolution coming together, all in its glory. You'll even get to catch the openers -- just some little band called The Beach Boys (Lesley Gore was also an opener).

One screening's already sold out, so don't miss the other! Buy your tickets now.

The Beatles' First Complete American Concert is screening tonight at 11pm at the Egyptian Theatre, located at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: American Cinematheque

Do It. Jane Fonda series at LACMA.

Until the end of February, LACMA will be hosting a series of movies starring Jane Fonda, including "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?," "Coming Home," "Barefoot in the Park," "On Golden Pond," and "Julia."

The Times' Betsy Sharkey recently wrote about the film fest for "24 Frames".

About "They Shoot Horses" from Sharkey:

"If nothing else, the film captures the human condition and its historical context in a way typical of so many Fonda films. ... Fonda plays a worn-down Hollywood hopeful paired with a dreamy farm boy, the wonderfully enigmatic Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin ... Fonda, certain this is her last chance to get her life right; and Gig Young in his Oscar-winning turn as the master of ceremonies, orchestrating the conflicts and crashes with an eye to what will keep the seats filled and the crowds entertained."

LACMA is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd.

-- Lauren Williams

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Do It. Arclight's Valentine/Anti-Valentine Celebration.

You either hate Valentine's Day or you love it. The Arclight is letting you celebrate both, through film, of course. Check out special series this weekend that'll surely satisfy you whichever way you feel:

ArcLight Hollywood:
Once OR Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Sunday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 14 at 8pm

ArcLight Sherman Oaks:
From Here to Eternity
Sunday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 14 at 7:30pm OR
500 Days of Summer
Sunday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 14 at 8pm

ArcLight Pasadena:
The Notebook OR Breakfast at Tiffany's
Sunday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 14 at 8pm

ArcLight Beach Cities:
Sunday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 14 at 7:30pm OR
Legends of the Fall
Sunday, Feb. 13 and Monday, Feb. 14 at 8pm

Click here for tickets and more info.

-- Chau Tu

Do It. The Decemberists at the Wiltern.

The Decemberists are playing the Wiltern this Saturday night. I've seen them a few times, and can confirm they put on a good show. This one's sold out, but there are plenty of listings on Craigslist, and I imagine some scalpers will be outside the venue.

Their latest album, The King is Dead, was released in January with great reviews.

December 12 at 8:00 p.m. The Wiltern is located at 3790 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eat Out. All You Can Eat Valentine's Day at Mas Malo.

If you don't have plans for Valentine's Day yet -- or even if you do -- this should be it. We here at the BEAT are obviously big fans of Malo, and having just visited the new Mas Malo downtown, I was just as impressed. The new venue is beautiful, and a great and fun setting for all your Malo favorites -- plus a few extras (Ensenada bacon wrapped shrimp, anyone? Maybe with a Pinata Smash?).

It's definitely a perfect spot for a date, or just a party with friends...even on Valentine's Day. And that's because they're holding "X+O Ladies and Bros V-Day Soiree," meaning $20 at the door gets you all you can eat, cash bar and a DJ. All you can eat. Yes. Even these. And how best to break the ice than with a spicy cucumber margarita right? Love at first taco. It happens.

Here's your info

Mas Malo is located at 517 W. 7th Street in downtown.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: the BEAT

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Advance Notice. Radiolab Live: Symmetry.

A couple months ago, I posted about the amazingly fun public radio show Radiolab, a sort of science and philosophy sibling of This American Life. If you've already become a hardcore fan like I have (and if you haven't -- start listening now!), then it's time to get your wallets out!

Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich are hitting the road, and of course, we lucky Angelenos are one of the three stops. The two hosts will be performing an episode live, and the subject already sounds amazing: "symmetry, and how it shapes our very existence—from the origin of the universe, to what we see when we look in the mirror." It's going to be really fascinating to see how this plays out in person.

If you want to check out some cool science, buy your tickets now. The show is taking place March 23rd at UCLA, and tickets just went on sale yesterday, but are definitely going quick. It's a little pricey, but sure to be an eye-opening experience.

Get more info here.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: WNYC

Monday, February 7, 2011

Check It. The White Stripes [The Monday Download].

In case you didn't hear, The White Stripes have called it quits. A letter was posted on their website last week, stating that the band has officially ended, and there are no plans for further new recordings or plans to play live.

In their 13-years-or-so run, Jack and Meg surely made their mark on the music scene. Time to reminisce on the greatness of their art:

What are some of your favorite White Stripes memories?

-- Chau Tu

Eat Out. The Veggie Grill.

We like a good vegetarian restaurant here at the BEAT--even though we're not all vegetarians! Veggie Grill is actually vegan (Kind Diet friendly) and really delicious. Their Grillin' Chickin' sandwich (with avocado, tomato, red onion, cilantro pesto, and chipotle ranch on a wheat roll) and seasoned "Sweetheart" sweet potato fries are my favorites, and they have a good bean chili too.

I stopped by the West Hollywood location to pick up a weeknight dinner last week, and the service was extremely fast and very friendly.

The Veggie Grill is located at 8000 Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood (Sunset 5 structure at Crescent Heights). Other locations in Santa Monica, El Segundo, and Irvine. Info:

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Friday, February 4, 2011

Eat Out. Lotería Farmers Market.

I'd been wanting to try the Farmers Market Lotería for a long time, and finally did on Wednesday night for a colleague's going-away party. I had a potato and cheese quesadilla and cantaloupe agua fresca. And then I went back for lunch on Thursday and got shredded beef tacos (photo above). It's so fresh and flavorful--really great Mexican food. The setting is open-air and really casual, perfect for meeting friends after work or for a quick lunch alone.

Last fall, I wrote about brunch at Hollywood's Lotería Grill.

6333 West Third Street in Los Angeles. Info:, (323) 930-2211

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Check It. Dogtooth at the Sunset Laemmle 5.

Last month, the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre did an unprecedented thing: book one new film to play for one full week. Cinefamily usually sticks to one-off screenings of older and less readily available movies, but they said this one film was just special enough to break the routine. That movie was Dogtooth.

And a special movie it is. As evidenced by the trailer above, this Greek film doesn't easily fit within any regular genre, and it isn't necessarily for the more conservative of minds. Without spoiling anything, a lot of strange and pretty mentally disturbing things happen in the world of Dogtooth. There's a lot of shock value, and viewers aren't expected to necessarily feel comfortable watching. But you also can't take your eyes off the screen, and with the right sense of humor and an open mind, you'll be able to chuckle along for some parts. It's an engaging film, and one to get you thinking. And hey, it's also up for an Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film).

See what the buzz is all about -- it's sure to become a sort of cult film in the future. Dogtooth will be screening this weekend at the Sunset Laemmle 5, and don't wait, it won't stay there for long.

The Sunset Laemmle 5 is located at 8000 W. Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. Check here for showtimes.

-- Chau Tu

Do It. Celebrate the Lunar New Year.

Happy Year of the Rabbit/Cat! I'm Vietnamese (and for us, it's the year of the cat, while for the Chinese it's the year of the rabbit), which means my family and I celebrated the Lunar New Year this week. It's a pretty fun event full of family, food and money, with a lot of hopeful and optimistic thinking for the upcoming year.

And hey, even if you aren't Chinese or Vietnamese, you can join in on the fun. Here's the L.A. Times' round-up for festivities from the Valley to Orange County, and LAist has some more L.A.-centric fun for you here. Chuc mung nam moi!

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Drink It. Pisco Sour Day [Thirsty Thursdays!].

So apparently Feb. 5th is Pisco Sour Day in Peru. As if you needed an excuse. But here's another: Discover Pisco is giving away coupons for a complimentary Gran Sierpe pisco sour at participating L.A. restaurants Red Medicine, Big Bar at Alcove, Buffalo Club and Rivera. Enjoy! The pisco sour is basically considered the iconic cocktail for Peru and Chile, and pisco happens to be one of Lauren's favorites.

Get your coupon here!

-- Chau Tu

Advance Notice. Autobiography of Mark Twain Celebration at the Hammer.

Last fall, 100 years after Mark Twain's death, the first of three volumes of his complete and unexpurgated autobiography was released, and immediately became a smash hit.

So many great books came out last year, and I haven't had a chance to read all the ones I'm interested in (I'm way behind the crowd, and still on Freedom). My boyfriend is currently powering through Keith Richards' autobiography, and I'm hoping he'll read Twain's after that so I can grab it when he's done.

Next Tuesday, UCLA's Hammer museum is having a celebration of the book with Twain scholars and even a band--The Americans--performing renditions of classic American rockabilly and folk blues. Awesome.

February 8 at 7:00 p.m. Free. Info:, (310) 443-7000

The Hammer is located at 10899 Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Check It. Martha Stewart Collection at Macy's.

We enjoy some time in the kitchen here at 'the BEAT' - and part of cooking being fun is having the right tools. Some quality brands can get pricey, but Martha Stewart's line is classic, chic, and affordable.

Last time I was in the Sherman Oaks Macy's, I was speed walking around the home department looking for the restroom, and the Martha Stewart Collection caught my eye. They have an especially wide selection there. The colors are great--creamy teals, deep blues, perfect reds. It's classic with a modern twist, and somehow has an element of kitsch while remaining pretty sleek.

Favorites: the enameled cast iron cookware (that looks quite a bit like Le Creuset but is a fraction of the price), the recipe cocktail shaker (my very similar one is Pottery Barn, but Martha's is actually a more attractive design), and the recipe box (shown above; now available in red).

Los Angeles-area Macy's include: Beverly Center, downtown L.A., and Century City.


-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Southern Baker via

Advance Notice. Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser in Conversation at USC.

If you've ever thought in-depth about where the food we eat comes from and why, and considered how the industrialization of the food industry has affected people's health and the environment, you've probably been influenced in part by either Michael Pollan or Eric Schlosser. Pollan is the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, primarily writing about food in its natural state, and how food and culture intersect. Schlosser is the author of Fast Food Nation, which went behind the scenes of how food is processed for wider consumption.

In terms of personal health and the environment, it's important to try and remind ourselves of such issues. To get a primer, head out to
USC for an event featuring these two well-respected voices, and hear their take on the things we eat. They'll be joined by Evan Kleiman, the host of KCRW's "Good Food" and the owner and chef at Melrose's Angeli Caffe. It's sure to make you think twice before hitting the drive-thru at McDonald's, and your health and stomach is sure to be grateful for it.

Food, Inc., Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser in Conversation is occurring Wednesday, Feb. 9 at 7pm at USC's Bovard Auditorium, located at 3551 Trousdale Parkway near downtown. The event is free for everyone, but you should make reservations by clicking here.

-- Chau Tu

Check It. The editors of 'The Onion' at UCLAlive.

The same editors who brought us such headlines as "Rich Guy Feeling Left Out of Recession," and Kim Jong-Il Privately Doubting He's Crazy Enough To Run North Korea" are scheduled to appear at a UCLAlive event next Thursday.

From UCLA's website:

"Join current Onion editor Joe Randazzo and fellow staffers for a multimedia discussion on the state of media, politics and pop culture as they offer up insight into how the paper’s culture-skewering stories and hilarious headlines are created."

The event is set to take place at UCLA's Royce Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are between $28-$48.

-- Lauren Williams

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Check It. The New Yorker's 'DVD of the Week' column.

If you ever find yourself wondering what interesting, artsy, foreign, or vintage film to add to your NetFlix queue, The New Yorker has an excellent "DVD of the Week" column. Unlike the stories within the mag, with word counts that could give Jonathan Franzen a run for his money, these are short, sweet, and to the point.

Clips of the movie are in each blog post. Last week's film, the French "À Nos Amours" ("To Our Loves" -- clip below).

-- Lauren Williams

Do It. The 1000 Journals Project at the Skirball.

Who hasn't ever wanted to read someone else's diary? A journal can be the most honest and revealing portrait of one's self, a keeper of secrets and unexpressed thoughts, a trough of memories.

You may not know any of the people who have contributed to the 1000 Journals Project, but their revealed diaries are still highly intriguing, and they may even touch you emotionally -- making you laugh or cry. The project began with a San Francisco designer named Brian Singer, who sent out 1000 journals all over the world, asking people to contribute whatever they wanted to the blank pages and covers. Then they were asked to pass that journal on to someone else, and the process was repeated over and over. The website now tries to keep track of all the journals, and posts images of people's works.

It's definitely a website to bookmark and follow, as more and more journal pages get posted. But it won't really be the same as actually seeing one of these journals in real life, seeing how people decorated the pages and what the journals have become. So head on over to the Skirball, where 12 of the original journals are on display. It's also an interactive feature where you might be able to contribute your own page and continue on in this fun, imaginative experiment.

For more information on The 1000 Journals Project, click here. The exhibit will be on view until Feb. 13 at the Skirball Cultural Center, located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in West L.A.

-- Chau Tu

Image credit: Courtesy of The 1000 Journals Project