Tuesday, February 28, 2012

the BEAT of the week: Plan Check Kitchen + Bar.

We here at the BEAT are huge fans of Umami Burger, so when news came that a new restaurant was coming from former corporate executive chef of Umami, Ernesto Uchimura, we knew we had to try it.

And indeed, there was little disappointment to be had. Situated on the westside, in the enclave off of Pico and Sawtelle otherwise known as Little Osaka, Plan Check Kitchen + Bar aims at being a friendly "neighborhood restaurant." So far, with a cozy decor inspired by architects and engineers (our table even had a tiny jar filled with metal screws), and a nice small patio out front, they're working toward their goal very well.

Plan Check describes their servings as American "small plates," but with a little bit of sharing of sides, you'll easily get your fill. The Blueprint Burger, with its blue cheese and candied bacon, was my favorite item of the night -- not surprising, considering the Umami background. Pair it with the veggie chips, which come in a fun paper bag and include sweet potato and taro. The Smokey Fried Chicken was pleasant (though I would have loved a little spicy kick in there somewhere) and the yam preserves that came with was sweet but refreshingly bright. Definitely, definitely end your meal with the Cruller donuts -- perfectly crispy and soft at the same time, and plated with delectable bananas and cream.The drinks list was fun as well -- I was intrigued by the possibility of Hitachino white ale on tap, but was swayed by the neighborhoody Little Osaka Sour, and thankfully so. Just enough sweetness, just enough bourbon kick. The Spaghetti Western is an exciting (read: spicy!) try for Bloody Mary fans, while the Tropic Thunder plays well with a jalapeno infused vodka. It's clear Plan Check isn't afraid to get adventurous in the cocktail department -- so neither should you.

And so, a little bit of reliability paired with a little bit of adventure -- sure sounds like a great addition to the neighborhood.

Plan Check Kitchen + Bar officially opened last week and is located at 1800 Sawtelle Blvd. in West L.A.

-- Chau Tu

Photo credit: the BEAT

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Click It. BEAT picks of the week.

Photos from the entire Marni for H&M line (out March 8) have been released. Time to create a wish list!

Some snack ideas for watching the Oscars red carpet tomorrow --

The Barefoot Contessa's Baked Brie

Cinnamon-dusted Almonds & Marinated Green Olives

I love a good pair of slippers - check out these travel options from the WSJ.

A really sweet book of love stories.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: H&M

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the BEAT of the week: LA Weekly's Gold Standard.

Well, the rumors are true: LA Weekly's beloved food critic/expert Jonathan Gold will soon be leaving the publication for the L.A. Times.

So this is your very last chance to enjoy such a major foodie paradise -- otherwise known as the Gold Standard -- in this incarnation, at least. And it'll surely be a blowout of a last event. Gold's invited his favorite foodmakers from all over the city to this event, where you can finally get a taste of all of the action. Animal, Mozza, Short Order, ink., Street, Jitlada and so many more will all be in attendance, as well as a long list of wine and beer and spirit providers. For $75 general admission, for all-you-can-eat of L.A.'s best (you have four hours of pure eating!), you really can't beat it.

Happy eating!

The 4th Annual Gold Standard takes place Sunday, March 5 from 1pm-5pm at the Petersen Auto Museum, located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. in Mid-City.

-- Chau Tu

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Click It. BEAT picks of the week.

If you haven't had a chance to get your eyebrows in their best shape for 2012 yet, make an appointment for a brow wax at Anastasia Beverly Hills. They keep your brows as full as possible, while making them a flattering shape that really makes your entire face look better.

Kim Kardashian, an Anastasia devotee, is Allure magazine's March cover girl, and she shares a few other favorite beauty buys: Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Surabaya, Neutrogena Makeup Remove Night Calming Wipes, and MAC Zoom Lash, among others.

At the ArcLight Hollywood tonight, there will be a Q&A with Pina 3D director Wim Wenders after the 7:35 p.m. screening.

The Gap is having a great President's Day weekend sale, with 40% off select styles!

After signing up months ago, then taking a long pause, this week I have been loving Pinterest.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit: Anastasia Beverly Hills

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the BEAT of the week: L.A. Zine Fest

In this day and age of blogs and Twitters, Tumblrs and Pinterest boards, there's still nothing more D.I.Y. than the classic 'zine. "A broad form, zines can contain anything and are not limited to text or graphics. In Los Angeles in the 1940s, zines contained the writings of science-fiction fans and recorded essential elements of the early days of the culture; in the 1970s and 80s, punk zines like Flipside and Slash reviewed records, shows, and told stories of the punk scene from Hollywood and the South Bay to East L.A."

That's a description given by the L.A. Zine Fest, a new event created in order to celebrate the beloved form. Taking place at The Last Bookstore (what an appropriate name) this Sunday, the fest will feature a number of zinemakers and artists, showing off works that are old and new. There will also be panels that'll explore the culture and history of the zines, like Meltdown Comics giving a talk on making and selling minicomics in 'Meltdown University' and the Machine Project discussing how to create your own D.I.Y. space. The ever-entertaining Henry Rollins will also be on hand to interview documentarian V. Vale.

Being surrounded by all this D.I.Y. energy is enough to get anyone inspired. Who knows what you might be able to create yourself? Long live the zine!

The L.A. Zine Fest takes place this Sunday, Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the second floor or the Spring Arts Tower and in The Last Bookstore, located at 453 S. Spring St. in downtown. The entire event is free.

-- Chau Tu

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Click It. BEAT picks of the week - Valentine's edition.

Nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day!" like chocolate and flowers.

Favorite picks for chocolate gift-giving:

Chocolove bars if you're keeping it simple (Toffee & Almonds in milk chocolate is my favorite)

Theo Chocolate caramels (above), sprinkled with Himalayan pink sea salt

Good flower choices:





Or, ask a florist to help create a special bouquet!

And a few girly items for the big (Tues)day: red nail polish for a fresh mani/pedi, a bottle of bubbly, a soundtrack, and something sexy to wear to bed!

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

Photo credit:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

the BEAT of the week: Oscar-nominated shorts at the Nuart.

Ah, Oscar season is upon us once again. I, admittedly, have some reservations about the nominees among this year's pack, but I still have faith in one category: the shorts.

They're often overlooked and forgotten within the short span of a minute and a half (or however long they give you for a speech), but the quick spurts of passionate cinematic work are usually quite fun and moving. They're perfect for the short attention span. They might even clue you in to filmmakers to watch. And if anything, they'll surely help your Oscar party ballot.

So here's your chance to check them out for yourself! The Nuart will be screening the animated and live-action nominees up to the Oscars themselves. Have a gander and let me know what you think (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is quite beautiful, yes?)!

The Oscar Nominated Short Films of 2012 will screen beginning this Friday, Feb. 10 at the Nuart Theatre, located at 11272 Santa Monica Blvd. in West L.A.

-- Chau Tu

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Click It. BEAT picks of the week.

I can't stop making these St-Germain cocktails!

Drive just came out on DVD.

I'm looking forward to reading the new Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair this weekend on the plane to LA! Maybe my boyfriend will lend me his copy of 740 Park for the ride back to NYC.

The much-anticipated Jason Wu for Target collection hits stores Sunday.

Lana Del Rey is going to be at Amoeba Hollywood for a free in-store performance on Tuesday (February 7).

If you're thinking up Valentine's day date ideas, The Philadelphia Story is screening at Amoeba Hollywood next weekend.

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins