Monday, August 2, 2010

The Woods


I just went here for the first time tonight. I really like the vibe. All natural materials (wood, stone, antler chandeliers) and it wasn't crowded at all (which is a huge plus for me, on account of I hate people). And you can sip your drink under a faux starry sky. The place itself is inside a really skeezy shopping mall, which gives it a little more charm in my book. Also charming is the door guy...

Door guy: What's in your bag?
Me: DVDs. (I was returning them to a friend)
Door guy: Oh. I thought it might be cookies.

But what really sells me on this place is that the happy hour is from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. So, drink up my pretties. Drink. Up.

The Woods
1533 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 876-6612

The Other Side.


The Other Side is the piano bar on "the other side" of the Flying Leap Cafe. Only go here if you:

a) Are a gay male (preferably old)
b) Love musical theatre

Since I am neither of the above, this place only gets 2.5 Smiles from me. If you are one of the aforementioned things, this place goes up to, like, 5 Smiles.

I went on a Friday (Open Mic Night) and had a decent time with my friends, but had to leave when a slew of straight college girls swarmed in with their own gig books. Even three whiskeys in, that's a lot for a girl to take.

The Other Side
2538 Hyperion Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027-3305

Medieval Times


Ohmigosh, I have so much Los Angeles to catch up on!

Ok, so, Medieval Times. Only go to this with children or with alcohol. Or maybe both. I take a youth group every year and it's hysterical. I mostly spend the time thinking about all the money and work that has to go into the training and keeping the horses and wondering how they stay in business. Ticket price includes a paper crown, a meal of soup, garlic bread, chicken, a rib, a potato, and an apple turnover. It's actually pretty good.

My favourite part is always the conversations I have during the event, like this one:

Me: Aww, he's bald and he works at Medieval Times.
My Friend: It could be worse, he could be obese.

Know before you go:

  1. Goldstar events often have tickets at a hefty discount. For God's sakes, don't pay full price to go.

  2. They do sell alcohol there.

  3. They sell swords there. Real ones. Bring your Benjamins if that's the kind of thing you're into.

Medieval Times
7662 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park, CA 90620
(866) 543-9637

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Panini Garden


I have to make this quick, because I've spent all evening walking the streets of Silver Lake to get to a Dodger game and so now it's late and I need to get some good sleep in because I'm going to a Robyn concert right after work tomorrow. What can I say, I live a very busy life. But I wanted to take a minute to tell you about the Panini Garden, because it's one of the best sandwiches you'll ever have.

I used to go there all the time when I worked in Santa Monica, and it always made my day. I went there again on Saturday and remembered all over again why I love it. After I was done, I felt a little drunk. It was just that damn good.

If you choose to eat in, they have a really cute setting in the back that's like a little secret hippie garden. They have a wide selection of paninis and they are all delicious.

My favourite is called the Tacchino. Which is basically a turkey sandwich. I'm also a really big fan of the goat cheese/walnut one. My old co-workers swear by the tuna melt.

Bottom line - give it a shot. You won't be disappointed.

Know before you go:

  1. You have a choice of bread: Rustico, Tramezzino, or Al Forno. Always choose Rustico. It's just so much better, and you can't beat that crunch as you chomp down on your sammie.

  2. If you call in for a pick up, they often get the order wrong, so check it before you leave.

  3. Parking can be a bitch on the weekends, so try to go on a weekday if you can. If not, it's totally worth whatever you pay in parking to get that sandwich.


2715 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405-4007
(310) 399-9939

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Gold Room


The Gold Room is my favourite place for an after work cocktail. Painted a dark, matte black and nestled snug in the ghetto, the Gold Room is easy to miss. It's a little black hole that your eyes skip right over, but you should be sure to keep those eyes peeled for this fun, cheap dive bar.

The thing I like to do is go to the Gold Room when it's still early and really sunny outside. It really adds to the "I'm being swallowed into a dark pit" feeling you get when you walk inside. Because not only is the whole outside painted black, but it's super dark inside as well. When you first walk in, I can almost guarantee that your first thoughts are going to be, "Oh my God, it's so dark," and "It smells like a swimming pool in here."

Yes, it smells like a swimming pool, and the room is oddly decorated in a cosmic theme, but take a seat up by the bar, order a drink, and get some free peanuts. Or some free tacos. Yes I said free tacos.

The bartenders are all bosomy Mexican women, but my favourite is Rosalita. I don't actually know her name, but in my mind she's Rosalita and she's fantastic. (Yeah, I'm a little racist). Rosalita is older, has dyed blonde hair, and barely speaks English. But she can sure make a hell of a michelada. Which is the drink I would suggest that you, dear reader, go and get as soon as you can. I'm not going to tell you what's in it, or you wouldn't order it, but trust me it's delicious. I get mine with Bud Light, because I like my beer to taste like water, but order any kind you like and throw it in the concoction she gives you. It's delicious, filling, and will leave your lips all atingle. And it will only set you back $4.

Or, if you want to be all hipster dive bar douchebag, go ahead and order the Gold Room Special - a beer and a shot of tequila. This is also only $4.

When you're ready for a smoke, head out back to the scary little hallway, where you're sure to run into some fun characters. So far I've talked with a man who came to the Gold Room to celebrate his 70th birthday (He sung me songs in Spanish and talked about the highlights of his 70 years - graduating from Hollywood High and getting Social Security benefits); saw a skinny girl wander around and knock on various windows - I think in search of drugs; and talked with a gaggle of gay hipsters, which, to be honest, was a little weird. I feel like gay boys know better than to look gritty and poor.

And a special treat - even though the Gold Room is most definitely a dive bar, the bathrooms are clean and bright, which is more than I can say for most regular bars.

The crowd will change depending on when you go. If you go after work, you will most likely be drinking alongside older Mexican men (who may or may not strike up a friendly conversation with you). Actually, I think whenever you go you'll be drinking alongside older Mexican men. And there will always be a smattering of hipster to go around. And I recently went on a Saturday afternoon and my friend Ben looked around and said, "I didn't know the Gold Room was a gay bar." I don't know if Saturdays are normally gay days or if there was something going on that I didn't know about, but personally, I like the mix of gays and old Mexicans drinking and watching Telemundo and I Love Lucy on mute together. It gives me hope for our country.

Know before you go:

  1. You have to ask for the free tacos. I personally like to stick with just the free peanuts (which they will put in front of you upon arrival), but if you're a bit peckish just tell them how many you want.

  2. Parking can be a bit of a bitch, but there is a yellow loading only spot out front. A little secret - you can park in these spots after 6:00 pm unless the sign says otherwise. Be warned - you're only allowed to do this in the yellow loading zones. The white ones are still off limits.


Yeah, that's a homeless dude sitting out front.

The Gold Room
1558 West Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026-3332
Open Weekdays 11am-2am; Weekends 8am-2am

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Hour.


I just got a tip on a great website on Happy Hour deals. This should help you wade through the millions of choices.

My personal choice for a Friday afternoon is The Gold Room in Echo Park. Their special is a shot of tequila and a Pabst for $4, but I get the incredibly delicious micheladas (also only $4). But more on the Gold Room later...

Now go get your drink on!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

k9 Connection


So I just got a bad ass photograph of Santa Monica beach from 1932. I won it at the k9 Connection Softball fundraiser. Go me!

This would not be the first thing I've gotten from volunteering. I mean technically I paid for this, because I bought raffle tickets to win it, but over the years I've gotten more free food than I could begin to weigh, tons of free alcohol, an iPod touch, a giant flat screen television, conversations with Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, and Sally Field, a dance and a rose from Grey's Anatomy's Dr. Korev, even a trip to Chicago - all free, all from volunteering. If Richard Simmons is the best kept secret in LA, volunteering is the best kept secret in life. Organizations often have to beg people to help, when really, they should be turning people away due to overflow.

Take for instance k9 Connection. My favourite nonprofit. In their own words:

    k9 connection brings the magic of dogs and kids together. At-risk teens ages 14 to 18, train homeless shelter dogs in basic obedience, assisting the dogs to develop the skills to become adoptable.

    k9 connection empowers at-risk teenagers to apply the lessons they teach the dogs to their own lives: to develop an awareness of the risks of uncontrolled and impulsive behavior, and to believe in the power of positive reinforcement as an alternative to force and violence.

    k9 connection aids teenagers in becoming responsible community members by focusing on goal setting, personal accountability, and personal motivation.

My personal commitment to k9 has really just been raising money for them each year. But they have lots more volunteer opportunities. What they usually need is for people to walk the dogs. There are several reasons volunteering at k9 will enrich your life:

  1. Your standard warm and fuzzy "I'm helping" feelings.

  2. Dudes. Trust me when I say this. Dogs are chick magnets. We cannot stay away from them. I guarantee if you take one of these dogs out to a park, at least one hot chick will come and talk to you. AND, you already have a built-in conversation starter, because the dogs wear these ridiculously cute orange vests that say "Adopt Me" and you can tell the hot chicks how you're sensitive and caring and you help homeless dogs. If you're at least halfway decent looking and a have a dash of hutzpah somewhere in your bones, I bet you could get at least one date per dog walking experience.

  3. Sometimes they have other events. Like this one time I volunteered and ended up spending the evening in one of those really cool and expensive houses right on the beach in Santa Monica that I never would have gotten the opportunity to see otherwise. I drank free wine and ate free gourmet hors' d'oeuvres and got a millionaires view of the ocean. Pretty sweet.

  4. The annual softball fundraiser. I like to go all out and get money and pay to be a player and buy raffle tickets and such, but if you don't want to do that, $20 will get you a seat at a game, the best frickin' tacos ever (I should mention this is UNLIMITED tacos. Unlimited tacos!), unlimited drinks and dessert, and tons of cute dogs to fawn over.

  5. You can take the dogs to training classes (free to you) and learn mad skillz. These could be used for a dog you already have, a future dog, or maybe to embellish your resume to get that dog walking gig in Beverly Hills.

  6. New friends! Tired of meeting people at bars? Meeting people who are volunteering automatically pushes you past that awkward "I don't know anything about you, you could be a serial killer" phase, and into the slightly less awkward and much less dangerous,"Hey, I don't know much about you, but I know you're out doing good in the world, and you're working for a cause that we both believe in" phase. I'm not saying serial killers don't volunteer, or that everyone you meet will be well-adjusted. The bat-shit crazy are out and about too. I'm just saying you're chances are better.

And that's just one organization. Los Angeles is full of places to volunteer! Find something you're interested in, and go donate your time to a worthy cause. You will get so much more out of it than you put into it.

For more information on k9 Connection, click here.

For more information about volunteering, and finding a good match for you, try Volunteer Match or Idealist.

And to see what my fav organization is all about, watch this: