Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Monthly BEAT: Venice. The Dude's house.

For the last in our series of Venice posts, we're featuring a special piece of real estate.

If you enjoy the 1998 Coen brothers masterpiece The Big Lebowski as much as I do, you'll be interested to know that The Dude's house is up for sale.

The recently renovated Venice, Calif. bungalows (six one-bedroom cottages, being sold as a group) are close to Abbot Kinney and the beach. The asking price for the compound is $2,295,000.

Stopping by for a photo op sounds like fun to me, then maybe ducking into a local bar for a White Russian, or Lemonade for lunch.

Info: 606-608 Venezia Avenue in Venice, Calif.,

Related post: Eat Out. Lemonade.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Bulldog Realtors

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Check It. Coral pedicure.

Deciding what color to get for a summer pedi? Coral. It's an ideal compliment to gladiator sandals! Carey Mulligan was picture perfect on the Comic-Con red carpet last weekend, with Essie (our favorite) shades of Capri on her toes, and sheer Blushing Bride on her fingernails.

Other great shades of coral:

Girls Just Want To Have Fun, by Deborah Lippmann

Tart Deco, by Essie

Mango Bango, by Essie

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: via mml pr

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Do It. Miranda July's 'Eleven Heavy Things.'

Have you gotten enough of Miranda July yet? The actress/artist/author/filmmaker has been all over L.A. recently, promoting her new film The Future, and it seems she hasn't quite tired of our city quite yet.

This weekend was the opening of her art installation Eleven Heavy Things. I remember hearing about this last year before heading to New York City, and being really bummed about missing it. But it's here now, and until October 23, at the MOCA Pacific Design Center. Just as you might expect from the July, the sculptural exhibit is cute and twee, but with a genuine sweetness. And you can't deny you'll have a lot of fun interacting with it. Check out pictures from the New York installation here.

Eleven Heavy Things is showing until Oct. 23rd at the MOCA Pacific Design Center, located at 8687 Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood.

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Drink It. Ritual Roasters coffee.

After being for the most part a drip coffee drinker throughout all my coffee-drinking years (twelve and counting), this summer I've gotten into using a French press. And my most recent bag of beans from San Francisco's Ritual Roasters couldn't be tastier.

The flavor description words bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate made my choice of the Monte Rey Pradera from El Salvador an easy one, and there's also the all-important "Roasted On" date stamp. Even though I bought my coffee north of the border, at Montreal's fantastic Cafe Myriade, the coffee had been roasted just days before my purchase.

I enjoy a steamy Grande cup of Starbucks' Pike Place roast as much as the next girl (ok, maybe a little more), but at a time when there's so much exploring to be done in the world of coffee (different brewing methods, beans, roasting styles), why not?

Info:, for French presses

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Monday, July 25, 2011

Check It. LBD: An Homage to 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s.'

There's nothing quite as iconic in fashion as the LBD: the Little Black Dress. And possibly the most famous of them all? Audrey Hepburn's classic from Breakfast at Tiffany's, of course.

Both are being honored in the new exhibit at FIDM, "LBD (Little Black Dress): An Homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s." It's the 50th anniversary of the film this year, and to celebrate, Givenchy has created a line-for-line replica of Hepburn's dress, now on display at FIDM. The exhibit is also showing other important LBDs throughout history, including those by Chanel, Christian Dior and Monique Lhuillier; and those worn in film and TV like Alias and True Lies.

Holly Golightly would approve.

LBD (Little Black Dress): An Homage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s is showing until Aug. 13 at the FIDM Museum & Galleries, located at 919 S. Grand Ave. in downtown. Admission is free.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: FIDM

Friday, July 22, 2011

the monthly BEAT: Venice. 3 Square Cafe.

Hans Röckenwagner is kind of a rockstar when it comes to cafes and bakeries. His 3 Square cafe in Venice comes as no exception to his reputation.

The light-filled, airy space offers a great setting for his expansive case of mouthwatering baked goods, like doughnuts and rolls and breads. And then you've got the actual food, which is light but full of fresh flavor. His burgers are said to be delectable, but the sandwiches I've had there surely satisfy as well, topped off by fresh-baked bread you'll definitely need to get a whole loaf of to take home. Seating is sparse, but worth the battle to take the time and enjoy every little bite. And with portions just the right size, you'll definitely (thankfully) have room for dessert.

3 Square is located at 1121 Abbot Kinney in Venice.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Rockenwagner

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Do It. Bloomfest LA.

If you love exploring downtown Los Angeles as much as we do, check out Bloomfest LA this weekend.

The music, street art, and food festival is a tribute to the late Joel Bloom, community activist and owner of the now-closed arts district Bloom's General Store.

With official partners like KCRW, LA Weekly, Honest Tea, American Apparel, and Whole Foods (among others), this is bound to be a success. There will be food trucks including Coolhaus and LudoTruck too.

Related post--Read about my LudoTruck experience here.

Saturday July 23, 2:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. at 3rd Street and Traction Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. Admission is free.


-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Bloomfest LA

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Check It. 30 Scoops in 30 Days.

We featured LA Weekly's Elina Shatkin's ambitious feat of writing about 30 burgers in 30 days back in the day, but alas, she's done it again. This time, it's season- and weather-appropriate: 30 Scoops in 30 Days.

That's right: she's got the lowdown on all the big ice cream, gelato and frozen yogurt spots all over town, and it'll probably help you decide on where to indulge in that icy goodness next. It's perfect timing, really. Check out her nifty map and guide here. Happy scooping!

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: LA Weekly

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Eat In. Easy egg salad.

Homemade egg salad makes for a great simple lunch or snack. I made a batch using six eggs last Friday, and it turned out really well, with Hellmann's mayonnaise, French's classic yellow mustard (I considered buying Dijon but decided to just go with what I had), and a handful of green olives.

After hard-boiling the eggs, I cooled them in a big bowl of cold water, then peeled and chopped them, tossing a few yolks away in the process. I also included some chopped pimento-stuffed green olives from the supermarket's olive bar.

In a large bowl, I put a good few tablespoons of mayonnaise, and a generous squirt of mustard, then mixed in the chopped eggs and olives, stirred it all up, and it came together really well.

Served on toast, with juicy tomato slices on top, and plenty of salt and pepper, it made a great late lunch, with a mug of PG Tips tea. And there was plenty leftover for Saturday.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: the BEAT

Monday, July 18, 2011

Do It. Also I Like to Rock at the Hammer.

Now that Carmaggeddon has come and gone, it's time to try and venture out to the westside again, if you so dare. Also I Like to Rock, the summer music concert series at the Hammer Museum, is worth the trouble.

The series is already halfway through, but you've still got great performances ahead of you: Grouplove this Thursday, and the Henry Clay People the next. Put on by one of my favorite local bloggers, Kevin Bronson at BuzzBandsLA, and KCRW, you know you're getting a look into what's next and what's good in the indie music scene. And an extra plus: the concert and the museum are both free! A great way to enjoy a summer night.

Also I Like to Rock takes place Thursdays in July beginning at 7pm at the Hammer Museum, located at 10899 Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood.

-- Chau Tu
Photo credit: Laurie Scavo

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Monthly BEAT: Venice. Coffee shops.

I found out just how seriously Intelligentsia takes coffee when I wrote an Archetype piece for Los Angeles Magazine on Intelligentsia (Silver Lake) barista Rachelle Tews.

One of the Chicago-based company's west coast locations is on the very cool Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, an area that's home to plenty of good beans.

Intelligentsia's Venice Coffeebar is worth checking out for the impressive modern industrial space alone, but you'll surely want to grab an espresso drink, and maybe a pastry, while there.

Other notable Venice-area coffee spots:

Abbot's Habit - a very neighborhood-y sort of hippie-style cafe that serves great coffee. An early morning favorite of mine during my LMU (Birkenstock-wearing) days.

Rose Cafe - reliable coffee, delicious fresh food, and a cute gift shop.

Urth Caffé - you cannot go wrong at Urth. Coffee, tea, breakfast, salad, soup, panini, chocolate cake, it's all spot-on. Technically this is in Santa Monica, not Venice, but it is on Main Street, which is just around the corner from Abbot Kinney.

Bring a newspaper to Venice this weekend and stop by one of these places for a relaxing morning and a stroll down Abbot Kinney and/or Main Street!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: LA Weekly

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Do It. Renegade Craft Fair.

Don't let Carmeggedon threaten all your fun this weekend! Instead, indulge in some cool crafts, courtesy of the Renegade Craft Fair this Saturday and Sunday. Taking place at the Los Angeles State Historic Park in downtown near Chinatown -- meaning you'll be far and away from the closed 405 and close to easy access to public transportation -- the event is one of the largest outdoor marketplaces for handmade goods, a spinoff from the Chicago original. Now in it's third year, the fair will feature more than 200 artists, interactive workshops and even a swap-o-rama. Look for a photo booth, the Amoeba booth, a bar and food trucks galore. And the whole event is free, so you're welcome to explore and enjoy freely.

No better way to escape the madness than with some great homemade goods!

Renegade Craft Fair takes place this weekend from 11am to 7pm each day at the L.A. State Historic Park in downtown.

-- Chau Tu

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Advance Notice. 826LA's Everything You Know is Pong.

826LA is known for their fantastic charity events. An evening of summer fun is coming up, featuring Spike Jonze, Miranda July, and Ping Pong! What's not to love?

Everything You Know is Pong: Tournament of Champions will take place next Tuesday night at the Echoplex. There are options to join an existing team, create a team, or sign up as an individual player.

The Echoplex is located at 1154 Glendale Boulevard in Echo Park. Spectator tickets $10, donations also welcome. Info: &, to register:

Related post--Check out this beautiful rehearsal video of my all-time favorite singer Ryan Adams (and his wife, the multitalented Mandy Moore), for an 826LA event last fall.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: 826LA

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eat Out. Canter's 80th anniversary.

Canter's is undoubtedly one of L.A.'s most classic restaurants. And today, you can celebrate their 80th (!!!) anniversary with them by enjoying their infamous corned beef sandwich, potato salad, pickle and chocolate rugelach-- all for just 80 cents! Really! Just stop by their Fairfax spot between 4pm and 12am today and get your grub on.

If you can't make it to the restaurant today -- or if you want another chance at an amazing 80-cent meal -- get to following the Canter's food truck this week. They'll be giving away special VIP Anniversary Vouchers that can be used anytime after today. Only 80 are given out each day, so good luck! Here are the locations.

Canter's is located at 419 North Fairfax Ave. in Mid-City.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Canter's

Monday, July 11, 2011

Check It. Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter.

You know when a product smells so good you just want to eat it? That is definitely the case with Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter. I got a teeny sample jar of it earlier this year, and have been majorly enjoying it occasionally on freshly shaven legs (and some on my arms (not shaven) too).

This is a fluffier and more delicious (not literally) version of the Kiehl's Creme de Corps longtime cult classic body moisturizer, which has gained even more fame recently thanks to Equinox.

An 8 oz. tub of Kiehl's whipped body butter is $35

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Kiehl's

Friday, July 8, 2011

the monthly BEAT: Abbot Kinney. Gjelina Take Away.

Gjelina got a lot of press recently for its "changes and modifications politely declined" policy when Victoria Beckham tried to make such a request and was stubbornly refused. Right or wrong, the scenario was just an example of how Gjelina is a place that takes its food and ingredients very seriously, and for good reason.

Because the food there is absolutely mouthwatering, and that happens to apply for its new take out sector, Gjelina Take Away, too. Mostly because it's not much different from its mother restaurant, besides not forcing you into reservations weeks in advance. And though the prices can be almost as high (pizzas and sandwiches are about $12-$14), the quality is right up to par with chef Travis Lett's admirable reputation. He's been called a food artist and a produce obsessive, and it's all true. The food is fresh and intricately assembled. You may not get to enjoy the lovely patio of the full restaurant if you order from GTA, but you'll be too distracted by your delicious food anyway. A great chance to grab a bite and keep on with your day on Abbot Kinney.

Gjelina Take Away is located at 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice. It is only open 7am-4pm.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: Eater LA

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Eat In. Pasta with green vegetables.

I had a delicious pasta dish (Tagliatelle alla Primavera) on Saturday at Gemma in NYC. By Tuesday night, I was trying (and pretty successfully at that) to recreate it in my own kitchen.

Ingredients: Barilla fettuccine, one small squash, half a bunch of asparagus, one clove of fresh garlic, Colavita extra virgin olive oil, butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.

Cook pasta according to package instructions (usually about 11 minutes in boiling water). I put a few chunks of butter in the bottom of a large bowl, to toss the pasta with when it finished cooking and was drained.

I cut off the bottoms of the asparagus, then chopped the stalks into about 2-inch sections. With the squash, I cut the ends off, but waited until it was parboiled to slice it into disks.

After the vegetables had cooked (in a saucepan of boiling water) for just a few minutes to slightly tenderize, I drained them and put them in a pan to sauté with the olive oil and chopped garlic. I didn't really time it, but probably something like 5-10 minutes, until they looked cooked, added a little Parmesan, salt, and pepper while the veggies were still in the pan, then added that whole mix atop the lightly buttered pasta, and tossed.

A great thing about this dish is you can use whatever green vegetables you like--peas, broccoli, artichoke, etc.

This version served two, but could easily be altered for any number of people.

If you like the sound of this dish, check out my (also vegetarian) version of Pane e Vino's Fusilli con Melanzane e Scamorza here.

Buon Appetito!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credits: the BEAT

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Do It. TwentyWonder: A Carnival of the Mind.

If there's one "L.A." thing I'm still dying to do, it's to see the L.A. Derby Dolls in action. The rollerskating badasses play about twice a month, but tickets usually sell out pretty quickly, and can sometimes be pricey.

This month, though, they'll be playing for an extra special cause, as part of Twentywonder, a one-night-only benefit raising money for the Down Syndrome Association Of Los Angeles. Also on deck for the night: live performances by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Exene Cervenka (of X), Axis of Awesome, Funny or Die and more. Expect cirque performers and even the original Batmobile, as well as chances to a Fender guitar signed by Trent Reznor and a lunch for four hosted by Sam Simon (co-creator of The Simpsons).

Tickets go for $40 for general admission -- the usual top price for a Derby Dolls match. So not only can you see them play, you'll get to enjoy all these other amazing acts -- and all for charity. Get your tickets now.

TwentyWonder: A Carnival of the Mind takes place this Saturday, July 9 at 8pm at the Doll Factory, located at 1910 W. Temple St. in Filipinotown.

-- Chau Tu

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Check It. Gladiator sandals.

This summer, everyone and their mother are wearing gladiator-style sandals. I've been a big fan since a classic H by Tommy Hilfiger brown leather pair I got in college. Today there are countless variations, but I still gravitate toward the simple ones.

A few favorites:

Bernardo (Mistral Sandal shown above, their Mojo Sandal is great too.)

J. Crew (lots of options here. I'm loving my Salinas in black.)

Steve Madden (if you're not looking to spend big on this trend.)

Happy trails, and don't forget a pre-sandal pedicure!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Bernardo

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth!

Happy 4th of July!

Celebration suggestions:

Drink cold beer

Watch fireworks (from the beach, if possible)

Thank you, as always, reading.

-- the BEAT

Photo credit:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Monthly BEAT: Venice. Wabi-Sabi.

This month's weekend focus city is Venice, California!

Abbot Kinney is one of Venice's (in fact all of L.A.'s) trendiest, most pleasant, cute, pedestrian-friendly streets. It has tons of great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques.

Wabi-Sabi has been a favorite sushi restaurant of mine for years. The space is cool, modern, and clean, while being comfortable (cozy even) at the same time. The servers are always pleasant and attractive--and the food is spot-on. The crunchy shrimp roll is the one dish I am crazy for. It's a spicy platter of a cut shrimp tempura roll that is one of my favorite very favorite meals. It is made with soy paper (which I usually request for any roll) and all kinds of delicious sauces (one of which I think is Sriracha) on the plate for dipping.

The miso soup is really flavorful and always hot, the cocktails are interesting, well-made, and strong, and the fish is fresh. There are also plenty of hot dishes (small and large), for the non-sushi lover in your life, and some great dessert options too.

There is a very good Happy Hour for select food and drinks from 5:30 p.m. (when they open) to 6:30 p.m. daily.

Wabi-Sabi is located at 1637 Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, Calif. Info: (310) 314-2229,

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Open Table