Monday, December 29, 2014

Dog Haus

I'm back to Lake Hollywood Reservoir for another loop with one of my besties. Afterward, we needed some food, and Dog Haus in Burbank near the Warner Brothers studio was the perfect spot. You really can't miss it. It's the place with the line wrapped around the side on West Olive.

And I know why! They have some awesome hot dogs! This is my Old Town Dog: smoked bacon-wrapped dog, caramelized onions, roasted jalapeƱos, chipotle mayo and cotija cheese on three King's Hawaiian rolls, with perfect tater tots on the side and a yummy Boylan's root beer. Wow!!

I think it's a hoot that they play up the "wurst" factor, like "The Absolute Wurst" on the neon sign, and "Prepare for the Wurst" out in the parking lot. Although Dog Haus is a franchise, I'm cool with supporting it. They have hot dogs, sausages and burgers, with vegetarian options, and it was great fun examining other guests' orders and finding out what they were having. There are several others I want to try, so who's with me?

Click here to go to their website.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mission Inn's Festival of Lights

Feeling bah humbug with Christmas right around the corner? Make the drive to downtown Riverside for the Mission Inn's Festival of Lights, and I guarantee you'll get the Christmas spirit!

The Mission Inn is a historic hotel, and it takes up a full city block. The current evolution dates back to 1931, and it has a history of Presidential stays starting with Teddy Roosevelt in 1903. The Inn's balconies, roofs, trees, and fences - virtually every surface - are covered with brilliant lights; their website says four MILLION lights!

While all this wonderment is going on, the City of Riverside has coordinated an outdoor ice skating rink, reindeer, Cinderella carriage rides (the line was sooooo long, but I'll know for next year!), artisans selling their creations, and vendors offering hot chocolate and mini donuts (deeelish!!).

This looks like a new holiday tradition. Who wants to join me?!

Click here for the Mission Inn's website.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bangkok Palace

After Bob Baker's Nutcracker show, my chum and I walked a few blocks north to Bangkok Palace for some lunch and to verbalize the awesomeness of what we just experienced.

And this is the next round of astonishment: my standard Thai benchmark spicy mint chicken taken up a few notches. Wow, I might go out on a limb and say this is the best yet! Mouth-on-fire chiles definitely spiced  up the minty-deliciousness. Yummy, plate was licked clean with both happy brain and tummy!!

Click here for Bangkok Palace's website.

Bob Baker's Nutcracker

Two years ago, I saw Bob Baker's Halloween Hoop-De-Doo and said I would see his Nutcracker that year. Welllll, better late than never, I guess. As you may know, Bob passed away just a few weeks ago at the age of 90, so seeing this show now was especially important to me. It was as special and spectacular as ever!

Bob's crew continues to tell the classic tale in his own unique way, utilizing 100 or so handmade shadow puppets, marionettes and props to make the story come alive. The orchestra players and their instruments actually moved!

This dragon puppet from Clara's dreamy travels was my favorite, and the kids in the audience were mesmerized by the magical performance, including this big kid!!

PLEASE help keep Bob's Theater alive! The Nutcracker runs through Sunday, February 1, so continue the holidays going long after the stockings and ornaments are tucked away.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight at Pasadena Playhouse

Last year, I posted on Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty with vampires and puppets in his ballet adaptation. This year, Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight at the Pasadena Playhouse weaves in "Eye of the Tiger," a drag queen, Lucy Lawless and Patrick Cassidy, and some fabulous kiddie dancers. Yes, same story, but this time it is panto-style!

Panto is interactive theater, where you are encouraged to hiss and boo at the baddies, and cheer for the good ones. Not only is the fourth wall broken, it doesn't even exist. Characters speak directly to the audience and invite ticket holders to become participants in the fun. Lucy Lawless as Carabosse joked about always wanting to be a princess; Patrick Cassidy shared that Florence Henderson is actually the ideal TV mom.

Pop music keeps the story moving forward, and the audience was invited to sing along to "Happy," "Footloose," and "Best Day of My Life," to name a few. Lucy Lawless totally had the audience in her hand with "One Way or Another." Fun, fun, fun!

Our drag queen - Nanny Tickle, to be precise - was hysterical. The kiddie dancers were amazing, and switched costumes several times to entertain the packed audience.

Go see it!! Like most of the special holiday performances, this one closes January 4.

Click here for Pasadena Playhouse's website.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Modan Artisanal Ramen

I got my mani/pedi fix at my fave South Pas Nail Lounge (see February 2012 post), and, feeling human again, I noticed a new shop in the strip: Modan Artisanal Ramen. Time to go all Cruise Director and give my new neighbor a try.

Artisanal ramen, you ask? This is their namesake dish, with slabs of chashu (braised pork belly), green onion, wood mushrooms, seaweed paper (on the back side of the bowl), half a hardboiled egg, and black garlic truffle oil. Certainly not the 10 for $1 ramen noodles of our hard-times years, but you can decide what would be artisanal to your palate! It can tell you it was delicious!!

I also had an appie order of tempura green beans with garlic aioli dipping sauce that still has been bleary eyed with happiness.

When you go, be advised that the space is small, with fewer than 10 tables and a couple of seats at the bar. The joint was bustling with take-out orders the night I was there. And, you can get your nails done if you have to wait for a table!

Modan does not have a website. Their address is 700 Fair Oaks Avenue, Suite G, South Pasadena. Their phone is 626-799-2878.