Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book of Mormon

If I had to sum up The Book of Mormon in one word, it would be HILARIOUS! Next would be offensive, and explicit (it's even printed on the ticket!), but always hilarious.

If you don't know the story, it is a religious satire musical with two Mormon missionaries going to Uganda, where conversion is the least of the villagers' concerns. The song lyrics are hysterical - you definitely have to pay close attention to the words. Yes, they did say that! Some of my faves were "You and Me (But Mostly Me)," "Hasa Diga Eebowai" (a blasphemous riff on The Lion King's "Hakuna Matata"), and "Baptize Me."

The story, songs and book were written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park fame (click here for Denver post), and musical co-creator Robert Lopez, who was the co-composer/co-lyricist for Avenue Q (click here for post). With that bunch, you know it'll be a wild ride!

Book of Mormon is playing at the gorgeous Pantages Theater in Hollywood through May 11. Just go!!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuning Fork

Tonight is the final hurrah for birthday 2014. I'm celebrating at Tuning Fork in Studio City with a co-Aquarian from work. We started with the mac and cheese pops (battered and deep fried!) and truffle fries with parmesan cheese sprinkled throughout. WOW!!

We then split these two amazing entrees. Upfront, that's the Smokestack Lightning spicy pulled pork with slaw, and behind is grilled salmon with warm red quinoa, sautéed kale and white bean salad. Both were amazingly flavorful in very different ways!

We didn't dabble in the very tempting dessert selections. There was another birthday gathering at the next table, and we were offered slices of their cake! I'll look forward to poking a fork in the apple cinnamon bread pudding next time.

Tuning Fork is on Ventura Place triangle, by Laurel Canyon and Ventura Boulevard. It's a gastropub, and it was quite busy for a Tuesday night. Find your way over there before it becomes impossible to get a table.

Click here for Tuning Fork's Web site.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Valley Relics

More Nudie suits! (Click here for the Sparkle & Twang post.) These are courtesy of Valley Relics, a new museum in Chatsworth focusing on San Fernando Valley history and institutions that aren't around anymore. Yes, there's lots of THERE there!

Love's Wood Pit Barbecue was one of the relics I recognized. I went to the Pico Boulevard location between 1994 and 1997, when I worked in Century City. This neon sign totally took me back to the Love's table with their incredible baked beans!

As I salivated over this long-gone menu, other guests viewed postcards, ads, catalogs, signs, banners, cars (a few of Nudie's!), Sting-Ray bikes, a farming wagon, a giant Thomas Brothers grid map, plus Animaniacs and Manny, Moe and Jack models, and a Bob's Big Boy. While I was there, a gentlemen brought in a menu that his grandmother stole and donated it to the collection; it has been in their family for more than 50 years. 

Then, when I was leaving, eight Model T-ish vintage cars pulled up, and the joyriders came inside. I'm sure they would have been a fun bunch!! In short, this is a really cool place, and it seems to have tapped a real nostalgic nerve for the SFV. They are only open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., so plan your visit accordingly.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cirque du Soleil Totem

It's been more than a year since my last Cirque du Soleil post (click here to read it). That one, Iris, was indoors at the Kodak Theater. Now Totem is back to Cirque's roots under the big top at the Santa Monica Pier.

Totem is "a fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind" told Cirque-style with acrobats, jugglers, unicyclists, and tumblers, plus music and cool lighting effects, for a completely magical experience.

I'll TRY to describe one of the acts: five female unicyclists roll on the stage. After a round or two of the stage, each places a bowl on her extended foot and tosses it to the top of her head. Oh, and it was synchronized so they are all doing the same thing at the same time. Then one gets in the center and the other four form a circle. The center one tosses bowls with her foot to each of the other's heads. Now, let's get the four moving and the center unicycler tosses the bowl over her own head to the moving cycler's head behind her. Incredible, and that was just one of the performances!

Totem plays through March 16. Don't miss it!!

Click here for Totem's Web site.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Pizza Studio

It's Presidents' Day, and I'm heading to the Natural History Museum to revisit the Nature Garden (click here for post) with a friend. We need some food first, and recommendations were high for The Pizza Studio on Figueroa at Exposition.

The Pizza Studio is one of those "build your own pie" kind of places, with multiple crust, sauce, cheese and toppings options, with a side of Subway and Quiznos thrown in. You can also choose a Starving Artist Selection, so you don't have to make a gazillion decisions. Either way, you get to see your selected crust rolled out, then toppings added Subway-style, then baked in the quickie-Quiznos oven. What you see here is the classic Starving Artist margherita, with cracker-thin traditional crust, tomato sauce, roma tomatoes, mozzarella and garlic oil. YUM!!

The Pizza Studio has good food and good business practices. They showcase various pieces of art on the walls, which can be purchased with no commission charged. They are also committed to feeding hungry families across America in two ways: food product not utilized will be donated to local food banks and other charitable organizations, and for every $20 spent by a guest, they donate a meal to Feeding America. Nice, and now I'll be recommending them!!

Click here for The Pizza Studio's Web site.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Summerland Beach Cafe

On a whim, I'm heading to Santa Barbara with one of my besties to check out Jonathan Winters estate sale. I know!! Although I didn't buy anything, the lookie-loo value far surpassed the time investment.

On the drive back, we stopped at Summerland Beach Cafe for late lunch. We are having a cool Los Angeles winter day, so the outdoor porch was not open. Next time! It smelled wonderful inside, and the other diners' plates were spilling over with delectable dishes. I had to order the Jonathan Winters Gone Fishin' tuna sandwich and curly fries. Delish! I totally understand why Jonathan frequented Summerland for this sandwich.

Powered up, we're off to the Camarillo Outlets. We will pass right by them, afterall!

Click here for Summerland Beach Cafe's Web site.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

SK's Donuts & Croissants

I've tried several maple bacon donuts around town, and this one from SK's Donuts & Croissants is the best! Something about their fluffy donut, sweet maple glaze and savory crisp bacon chunks trifecta surpasses all competition!

And, they're open 24 hours. Since the shop is midcity, location is super convenient, too. Oh, and if anyone wants to put their favorite maple bacon donut in a head-to-head competition with this one, I'll happily take the challenge!

SK's doesn't have a Web site. Street address is 5850 W. Third Street, LA 90036. Phone is 323-935-2409.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Red Ribbon Bakeshop

Birthday celebrations continue, and I'm not even to THE DAY yet! This amethyst birthstone purple cake is courtesy of Red Ribbon Bakeshop, and it was "light, moist and heavenly" as promised.

The purple comes from ube, which is a yam. Think of it as a vegetable serving, so it's fine to have two or more delicious cuts of the cake. I learned about Red Ribbon's ube cake from my Filipino friends many years ago, and the cake has shown up on my table at celebrations many times. Trust me, it is as tasty as it is beautiful!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Don Chow Tacos

It's Sunday of my birthday weekend, I'm off work, and I'm stalking Lusterware at the PCC flea market. It can be exhausting. Wandering the aisles on high alert for the creamy orange glassware, while visualizing and inventorying what's already in the cupboards takes a lot of energy.

That's when Don Chow Tacos saved the day! This month, they were stationed in one of the parking lots. The aromas from the food truck were undeniably wonderful. Don Chow masterfully fuses Chinese-Mexican flavors, such as this Chimale with Chinese BBQ pork stuffed in the masa. DEEELISH!! My friend ordered soy tacos, which came with huge slabs of avocado. He was practically purring over the flavors. We both told hesitant patrons that they HAD to try this food! Now, I'll be stalking Don Chow in addition to my Lusteware!

Click here for Don Chow's Web site.