Browsing Tag

restaurant

Food

Our 5 Favorite BIPOC-Owned L.A. Restaurants to Support Through Black History Month and Beyond

February 18, 2021

It’s Black History Month—and based on where we live, it’s important to acknowledge the people, places and things that have made a cultural imprint among the City of Angels’ BIPOC community. A great place to start? The best BIPOC-owned restaurants in LA.

Los Angeles is rich with culture in the kitchen. From vegan and vegetarian options, to worldwide cuisine, this melting pot has something for everyone. Whether it’s plant-based, too-good-to-be-true bowls and wood-fire pizzas, to slow-cooked barbecue and Insta-worthy gumbo, there are plenty of mouthwatering bites around L.A. to choose from. Therefore, highlighting the influence the Black community has made on the city’s culinary landscape in an absolute must.

(via Georgia’s Restaurant)

The very first BIPOC-owned restaurant that we truly connected with is Georgia’s! The flavors and texture the restaurant uses in its dishes are simply otherworldly. Whether you’re doing the cooking at home, using the best products on the market (like THIS wet batter created by Chef Jay) or dining out, this city has plenty to offer.

Don’t take our word for it—check out this insane spreadsheet, inspired by food journalist Kat Hong, which lists more than 100 African-American food businesses across the city!

But to help you narrow it down, keep reading for our personal list of the five best BIPOC-owned restaurants in LA to support through Black History Month and beyond.

1. Bludso’s BBQ

A list of the best BIPOC-owned restaurants in LA wouldn’t be complete without this mention. The BBQ joint is well-known, and for good reason: It’s solid! Be sure to place an order ahead as there’s always a wait and items do sell out. Here you can get pulled pork, dry-rubbed chicken, or crave-worthy handmade sausage links. Of course, staples including the brisket are worth a stop at this establishment alone, and it just so happens to be an unspoken favorite. You’ll also want to be sure not to skimp on the desserts! The Peach Cobbler is mind-blowing. It even gives Patti LaBelle’s pies a run for their money. If cooking at home is your jam, you can even order a frozen rack of ribs or frozen Texas hot links, vacuum-sealed to grill at home.

609 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

2. Meals by Genet

Not every restaurant has the pleasure of making it onto the late Jonathan Gold’s List of 101 Best Restaurants. This establishment makes the cut on his prestige list and many others, including the Michelin Guide’s California Family Meal. This fine dining destination merges many flavors to the fore-front at once. From a slow-cooked chicken dish (that takes three days to make) to its renowned vegan-friendly sides and the most perfect flatbreads, this restaurant boasts a strong variety in addition to a general appeasing of the palette. Currently they’re only open from Thurs. – Sun., so get your fix while you can.

1053 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

3. Undergrind Café

Located in a relaxed neighborhood, Undregrind Café is not your average coffee shop. The menu spans from unique lattes and pressed juices to impressive breakfast items which are infused with Cajun flavors. The Bayou Burrito for example is composed of scrambled eggs, shrimp, Cajun sausage, red and green roasted peppers, white onion, hash browns and cheddar cheese. Whatever you order, be sure to try out the sweet cream pancakes!

2713 S Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

4. Dulan’s on Crenshaw

Dulan’s is a second-generation soul restaurant that’s been serving the community for nearly 50 years! One of their mottos is “Serving you, as you support us.” The menu is chock-full of true Southern gems such as smothered chicken, fried chicken and collard greens which are the backbone of this beloved soul food establishment. This is also one of the few places that does oxtails right! Whatever you order on the menu, know that it’ll be of highest quality. Order online from this local favorite and be sure to save room for the sugar-dusted peach cobbler. 

4859 Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90043

5. Louisiana Charlie’s

This hidden gem in Long Beach serves some of the best Cajun foods you’ll find on the West Coast. The explorative menu thrives off Louisiana staples, including alligator, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée and gumbo. Meanwhile, they don’t ignore Southern classics including tri-tip and mesquite BBQ slowly smoked to perfection. With a prime waterfront location, you’ll feel like you’re right back in the New Orleans bayou!

429 Shoreline Village Dr. Ste H. Long Beach, CA 90802

Looking for even more ways to support the BIPOC community in L.A.? Click HERE!

Food

Get to Know Fairfax’s New Plant-Based Eatery, Extra Market, Inc.

October 23, 2020

Launching a business amid a pandemic is obviously hard enough. Doing so during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and its accompanying riots… in the thick of the chaos? Sounds impossible.

Skateboarder and $ clothing designer Jamie Story was on the verge of opening his plant-based eatery Extra Market, Inc. Then the unthinkable hit the Fairfax District of where his spot is based. Following a new plan, the multifaceted artist is well into fall with a successful new business under his belt.

Jamie spoke to skyelyfe about his challenging launch experience and how Extra Market, Inc. stands out from the slew of other vegan dining establishments in L.A.

Photo Credit: @sdj

skyelyfe: What was your experience initially launching a new business at the height of rioting on Fairfax?

Jamie Story: I’m not sure any experience could prepare anyone to open amid whatever was or is happening now. When the protests were happening here it was more fear of possible destruction of what we’d been building over the past year. My friend hit me at 1 p.m. Saturday and said I should check my spot and they were going to march up Fairfax. I was totally unaware they started at noon. I rushed down and had to seal up a ceiling door. When I came out, the protests were heading up the back alley. We were lucky, though many of our neighbors were not. It made an already difficult time much rougher. The whole neighborhood came together to rebuild, and some are still working to get open. Foot traffic is slowly picking up every day.

Photo credit: Benjamin Story

SL: What made you decide to open your restaurant in the area you chose?

JS: Fairfax is a familiar neighborhood. I’ve worked with many of the brands on the block over the years.

SL: How does Extra Market differ from other popular vegan eateries in L.A.? 

JS: Extra Market is more of a conceptual project that will be collaborating with other restaurants, brands, artists and more. Once things get back to whatever the new normal is, we’ll be able to utilize our back space for galleries, events and pop-ups. 

SL: What are the restaurant’s specialties?

JS: That would be up to the customer. We’re excited about the burgers and people are excited about our pickles. More and more people are ordering a burger with a salad as opposed to burger, fries and soda. We offer the balance of indulgence and health. You can have Chili-Cheese Fries and a Broccoli Salad so you can have a little less guilt. Also everything is plant-based, and offering items like pressed juice and ginger shots brings healthier options to the block. 

Photo credit: Jamie Story / Extra Market, Inc.
Photo credit: Jamie Story / Extra Market, Inc.

SL: How did this project come to be?

I’d been looking to open a restaurant, but only if it was kind of the right space and time. This just felt right, being able to balance my creative and culinary sides. I’ve been making many of the dishes you see on the menu for my family and friends for years, and I grew up working in kitchens in New York. I was initially nervous, but I’m really proud of what I’ve built, and the feedback has been amazing.

SL: Who are some of your influences in the foodie/restaurateur space?

JS: Anthony Bourdain.

If you’re looking to explore more spots unique to the City of Angels, then you’ll appreciate THIS list of L.A. shopping gems a tourist wouldn’t know!

Food

I Surprisingly Left Guilt-Free After Indulging at 3rd. St. Italian Spot No. 10

January 7, 2019

Ah, January…

The month you’ll see no one anywhere because everyone (at least in L.A.) is trying to be healthy and basically refuses to leave the house. But hey, date nights still happen, and I was totally shocked to find out you can actually do Italian and leave without unbuttoning your pants.

I was recently invited to a tasting at new(ish) restaurant No. 10 on 3rd St., and I went into the experience a little nervous because I started my new year’s health resolution a couple months prior to Jan. 1, so holiday season overindulgence wasn’t something I really anticipated. That said, I’d worked really hard on my commitment to eating healthy leading up to mid-Dec., so I figured a one-meal splurge was not only deserving, but also wouldn’t kill me.

When I sat down with a friend of mine at the dim-lit establishment, I noticed various groups of people. There were obviously the duos on dates, but there were also groups of friends and even people there for work holiday parties. Also, given the prime 3rd. St. location, it’s definitely set up to attract a younger, trendier clientele, but a bit less sceney than its neighbor Toca Madera (but rest assured, this spot has a photo booth).

When it came time to order, I was immediately impressed with how easy it was to spot relatively healthy options (amid indulgent ones, too, if that’s what you came for!)—even without having to make substitutions. Over the last year, octopus has become my go-to dish, and it’s made me quite particular about its taste. I’ve got to say, No. 10’s version (Polpo: charred mediterranean octopus, broccoli, grapefruit, yogurt, crispy chickpeas) just might have Viale dei Romani’s beat! Topped off with one of the light side salads, this was the perfect appetizer combo to tide me over before the main course, without filling me up too much.

Next up during the guilt-free dining experience was the main dish (Galletto: organic brick chicken with acorn squash, king oyster mushroom, marinated kale, salsa verde). As we all know, variations of even the whitest meat can rack up the calorie count based on sauces or sides. I was truly shocked when my plate arrived looking truly as described on the menu. I finished my full plate and still left room for a sweet nibble.

When it comes to desserts, go big or go home. While I want the rest of the meal to be on the healthy side, if I’m going to dive into something sweet, it better be indulgent. And that’s just what I got when my friend and I split the apple tart.

All in all, No. 10 really has something for everyone. And though its ambiance sets the tone for date night, I’ve gotta say I had the perfectly enjoyable outing with just my friend.

Food

I Tried Everything on the Menu at The h.wood Group’s New Rooftop Lounge Harriet’s

October 8, 2018

Edit Post

Preview(opens in a new tab)Add titleI Tried Everything on the Menu at The h.wood Group’s New Rooftop Lounge Harriet’s

Harriet’s is West Hollywood’s fall gift.

Serving the public since Sept. 26, the John Sofio-designed rooftop lounge—which sits atop the upcoming 1 Hotel West Hollywood—boasts the best panoramic view of the city since Soho House opened years ago, just a few blocks West. But while you don’t need a membership at Harriet’s, unlike the aforementioned hotspot, you’ll still need to slip past a velvet rope in order to take in the picturesque scenery.

Yes, much like most of The h.wood Group‘s predecessors, including The Nice Guy and Delilah, you won’t get a glimpse of the ambiance without a hard-to-come-by reservation. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled to recently be invited to a chef’s tasting at the upscale establishment, where I had a chance to nibble and sip on literally the entire menu, created by Chef Lord Maynard Llera (bites) and Justin Campbell (beverages).

The menu is short, but very sweet (pun intended)—as the specialty cocktails are incredibly fruity and flavorful. The bites are light but filling—the perfect combo for the quintessential Angeleno seeking just enough fuel to make it through a boozy night out, without consuming food coma-inducing portions.

My personal favorite of the cocktails is the Garden Party, a refreshing Belvedere vodka-based beverage, that also includes St-Germain, cucumber and fresh lime juice. As for the bites, the Salmon Flatbread—with its heavenly whipped mascarpone— won me over overall, but the magical, Horseradish Crema that accompanies the shrimp in the Laughing Bird Shrimp Cocktail, is like nothing I’ve ever tried prior.

And although the location is technically a bar/lounge, this is no place to go if you’re looking for an order of chicken wings!

Harriet’s

8490 West Sunset Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Open Daily 5 p.m. – close

Use this image:


Recommended size: 1200x630px

Use this description:

If this field is not filled, the description will be generated from the excerpt, if it exists, or from the content

Harriet’s is West Hollywood’s fall gift.

Serving the public since Sept. 26, the John Sofio-designed rooftop lounge—which sits atop the upcoming 1 Hotel West Hollywood—boasts the best panoramic view of the city since Soho House opened years ago, just a few blocks West. But while you don’t need a membership at Harriet’s, unlike the aforementioned hotspot, you’ll still need to slip past a velvet rope in order to take in the picturesque scenery.

Yes, much like most of The h.wood Group‘s predecessors, including The Nice Guy and Delilah, you won’t get a glimpse of the ambiance without a hard-to-come-by reservation. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled to recently be invited to a chef’s tasting at the upscale establishment, where I had a chance to nibble and sip on literally the entire menu, created by Chef Lord Maynard Llera (bites) and Justin Campbell (beverages).

The menu is short, but very sweet (pun intended)—as the specialty cocktails are incredibly fruity and flavorful. The bites are light but filling—the perfect combo for the quintessential Angeleno seeking just enough fuel to make it through a boozy night out, without consuming food coma-inducing portions.

My personal favorite of the cocktails is the Garden Party, a refreshing Belvedere vodka-based beverage, that also includes St-Germain, cucumber and fresh lime juice. As for the bites, the Salmon Flatbread—with its heavenly whipped mascarpone— won me over overall, but the magical, Horseradish Crema that accompanies the shrimp in the Laughing Bird Shrimp Cocktail, is like nothing I’ve ever tried prior.

And although the location is technically a bar/lounge, this is no place to go if you’re looking for an order of chicken wings!

Harriet’s

8490 West Sunset Blvd.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Open Daily 5 p.m. – close

 

Food Featured

I Tried Rare Japanese Tsukemen at Brand New Chinatown Eatery Okiboru

September 16, 2018

Last month, I got myself into a very messy situation—at the dinner table that is.

Not that this should come as a surprise, seeing as I’m not always the daintiest diner, but this meal was me at my sloppiest (and for good reason). I was invited to be one of the first to check out Chinatown’s latest addition Okiboru, a casual eatery that serves up famed Japanese Tsukemen, a ramen-like noodle dish that’s a true rarity in Los Angeles.

I honestly had no idea what to expect, with the exception of a carb-heavy meal. I’ve never been big on ordering ramen, though I do love a good Japanese meal.

The difference between traditional ramen and Tsukemen is the latter is a “dipping ramen,” one that’s noodles (served cold and thicker) are accompanied by varying hot broths. My friend and I were served the chicken-pork broth and the vegan broth made from puréed grilled mushrooms and other vegetables. While both items packed plenty of flavor, we were both especially taken by the vegan option. We were shocked when Chef Hyun “Sean” Park told us there was no cream or flour in the concoction, as it definitely had that taste and consistency. It’s apparently made up of just the pureed veggies. No way!

Additional ingredients used in the dish are typically served atop or on the side within the dish of noodles. Toppings at Okiboru range from chashu pork ribs—which brine for a day before getting braised for four hours and are then grilled—to a simple soft-boiled egg with house-pickled radish.

The noodles were very slippery, and getting them on the serving spoon, dipping them into the broth and then making them into our mouths was no seamless process. We definitely went through at least 10 napkins each, and I joked to my friend that thank goodness we’re so comfortable around each other and not like on a date or something, because all my table manners went out the door. But hey, I think that’s part of the fun, and I think experienced ramen diners are aware it comes with the territory (it was just a little new to me). All of that said, we both licked our shared bowls clean and left extremely full.

While I was a little bummed that the spot doesn’t serve any alcohol—a refreshing beer or bottle of sake would have been icing on the cake to this delicious meal—they did offer a wide variety of specialty sodas, something I don’t see elsewhere often.

An additional added bonus? Okiboru is the first ramen shop in the U.S. to use handmade noodles for the dish. To get a behind-the-scenes peek of the noodle-making process, check out my Instagram video below!

[divider_flat]

635 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, Ca 90012
(213) 988-7212

Food Featured

We Discovered the Most Instagram-Worthy Taco in Los Angeles!

May 30, 2018

We were recently invited for margaritas, tacos and a mean game of Jenga (if we chose to take that route) at Jalapeño Pete’s taqueria and bar in Studio City. Yes, we know… it can be a slightly nutty idea to go over the hill for dinner on a Friday night, but hey, we were feeling adventurous.

When we made our way to the cozy spot, we were greeted by incredibly friendly servers, and the first thing we noticed was that aforementioned Jenga set waiting for us at our table. While we didn’t up taking part, we did immediately think this would actually be a great location for a game night (I mean, look how much fun the table below is having!). And with a generous happy hour Sunday – Friday from 3-7 p.m., there’s some added incentive.

Our meal started off with Mexican munchies that included chips, a deliciously well-balanced smoky red salsa, and guacamole. We sipped on the restaurant’s popular spicy mango margarita and signature vodka drink. Both were delicious, paired perfectly with the bites, and weren’t too sweet or spicy.

Then came our main courses! We sampled quite a few things, but the grilled shrimp taco and carne asada fries stood out—oh, and how can we forget the decadent waffle-banana dessert?! Regardless of what you order, plates are pretty filling, so come hungry.

Part of our party had dietary restrictions, and we were very appreciative of the restaurant being super flexible with our modifications. In fact, they have an inclusive menu for all, so whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, or a hardcore carnivore, you’ll find something on their list.

But if we’re really getting down to business here, let it be known that this eatery has the most Instagrammable taco in town! Yes, this spot boasts a 12-inch taco, which happens to only be on their secret menu! It’s a crispy taco within another gigantic taco shell, oozing with cheese, beans, sour cream and guac. If you want in on this hidden gem, just tell them that your gals at skyelyfe sent you, and make sure to tag @skyelyfela when you post your photo. We’d love to see if anyone actually finishes the whole thing!

Insane taco aside, we had a fun night and a great meal. Jalapeno Pete’s is the place to challenge your mind with a game of Jenga, watch the basketball finals and kick back with a beer or spicy marg. And it probably goes without saying, but their prime night is Taco Tuesday (of course).

Location + Hours:
11618 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA. 91604
Mon. – Fri. 4pm – 2am
Sat. 12pm – 2am
Sun. 9:30am – 2am

Food Featured

This Is the L.A. Restaurant You Should Eat at, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

May 15, 2018

Photo Credit: unsplash.com / @brookelark

Deciding where and what to eat in L.A. is tough, especially because there’s a plethora of unique restaurants to check out, with new ones opening up every single day.

We don’t know about you, but we always find it difficult to keep up. With so many options in such a wonderful city, we can’t help but turn to the stars (literal ones, not celebs) for constant guidance regarding all of our major and minor life decisions—food included!

After careful consideration, we’ve found the perfect L.A.-based joint for you, based on your zodiac sign. Dive in and whet your appetite below!

Aries (March 21 – April 19): Eataly

You live the most fast-paced lifestyle, Aries. You always have a million and one things to do, so you’re always on the go. Rarely will you ever be seen doing nothing of importance, which is why you spend what little free time you have wisely. As far as restaurants go, you need something quick. You generally always order your same, go-to dish, because you know what you want. For you, Eataly is the place to be. This Italian-themed food hall offers up everything from pizza and pasta to gelato and coffee. You can load up on carbs and caffeine, which are pretty much the only things someone like you needs.

Instagram / @eatalyla

Taurus (April 20 – May 20): La Boucherie

Oh, you fancy, huh, Taurus? Your life is basically bad and boujee without the bad. You treat yourself whenever you can, because you work ridiculously hard to support your lavish lifestyle. You do you! Obviously, you need to visit a restaurant that lives up to your high standards. That would be none other than five-star steakhouse La Boucherie. You’ll have a grand ol’ time feasting like royalty on steak, seafood or whatever lavish dish your little heart desires. Just be sure to save room for dessert.

Instagram / @drvahe

Gemini (May 21 – June 20): Rose Cafe

Curious and adaptable Gemini, you’re always ready to accept all life has to offer. You know there’s so much out there, which is why you’re always exploring and have a long list of things you love. The same goes for food. While you’re willing to try new things, you’ve got a laundry list of favorite dishes that instantly come to mind. A place like Rose Cafe is perfect for you. It has quite the extensive menu with a variety of items to choose from. You’ll want to try one of everything, but always remember that you can visit as many times as you’d like. Not to mention, the scenery is more than perfect for someone as creative as you.

Instagram / @therosevenice

Cancer (June 21 – July 22): HomeState

Comfort is what you crave most in life, Cancer. Though you have a tough exterior, you’re more sensitive than you’d like to admit. At any given moment, there’s always something that’s bothering you. This is why you seek solace in things that make you feel at ease. Comfort foods is just one of those things, so HomeState is right up your alley. A Texas-style kitchen in L.A., you’ll feel right at home with the Tex-Mex menu. Be sure to wear your stretchiest sweats on your visit.

Instagram / @homestate

Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22): Yami Yaki

Being the center of attention isn’t for everyone, but it certainly suits you quite nicely, Leo. The second you waltz into a room, everyone’s eyes drift in your direction. It’s safe to say you know a thing or two about being popular. But when you don’t get your way, you’re not the happiest camper. Control is something you so desperately need in your life, and you’ll do anything to have it. You like things a certain way, and naturally, the same goes with your food choices. This is why you should check out Yami Yaki. You’ll have all the control you want, when it comes to throwing together your teriyaki bowl, that is. Pick your meat, veggies and more, then the kind employees will mix it all together for you and serve it to you on a silver platter. No, they won’t, but you get it.

Instagram / @cookwithcourt

Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22): Matsuhisa

Simplicity is your middle name, Virgo. While some may shake their tail feathers for anyone who’s willing to watch, you prefer to stay secluded in the background. You don’t need attention or praise to live a happy life, because you know better than anyone that there’s excess in moderation. Sushi is a food you tend to opt for more often than not, so Matsuhisa is perfect for you. Though the restaurant is innovative and sleek, the chefs let their food do the talking. While they tend to get creative, they also stick with what they know. You’re bound to find a new hand roll to love at this classy establishment.

Instagram / @matsuhisabeverlyhills

Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22): Ramen Hood

You’re what many would refer to as a “people-pleaser,” Libra. Some are quick to scoff at your ways, but there’s really no harm in you wanting to be a friend to all. You’re simply doing your part to make the world a better place, so disregard those haters. With your food choices, you also like things to appease not only you, but whoever you’re with. Ramen is one of those dishes everyone likes, including yourself. Vegan spot Ramen Hood is the next joint you should hit up. Both your vegan and non-vegan friends will find something to devour on the menu, giving you the ability to make sure everyone gets what they want.

Instagram / @ramenhood

Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21): Howlin’ Ray’s

You’re a tough one to figure out, but you sure as heck enjoy leaving people guessing. It’s more than thrilling watching others try to uncover all that lies beneath you, mysterious Scorpio. To say you’re fiery would be an understatement. That’s probably why you’re a fan of spicy foods, and Howlin’ Ray’s makes for your best restaurant. This Nashville-style hot chicken joint speaks to your soul. There are some pretty spicy meats on their menu, but someone like you is sure to enjoy the heat without so much as breaking a sweat.

Instagram / @howlinrays

Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21): E.P. & L.P.

The most adventurous spirit in the zodiac, you always have your passport and a packed overnight bag ready to go. If one of your friends wants to go on an adventure, you’re more than ready to leave at a moment’s notice. You constantly need to feel like you’re traveling somewhere new, even when you’re not actually leaving the comfort of your own home. For you, E.P. & L.P. is right up your alley. A restaurant and rooftop bar, you’ll be transported to Asia with their blend of Chinese, Fijian and Vietnamese food. And you can take in the stunning sites of West Hollywood from their scenic rooftop. The best of both worlds!

Instagram / @eplosangeles

Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19): Pirolo’s Panino

You’re hardworking as they come, never letting anything or anyone get in the way of achieving the mountain of goals you’ve set for yourself. Fun has its place in your life, but it’s very minimal. What you’re more concerned with is convenience—same goes for food. You’re a busy person with a lot on your plate… metaphorically, of course. You’re a huge fan of sandwiches for this reason. Clearly, sub shop Priolo’s Panino was made for you. With a menu full of delicious and savory sammies, you’re sure to find something you like.

Instagram / @pirolos

Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18): Scratch Bar & Kitchen

There’s no one else out there quite like you, Aquarius. You march to the beat of a far different drum than everyone else, always standing out loud and proud from the crowd. Try saying that three times fast. Your uniqueness translates to the foods you eat, as well. Scratch Bar & Kitchen is the only restaurant that can provide such a fun and different dining experience for someone as eclectic as yourself. Everything on their menu is made from, well, scratch. No two dishes are ever the same.

Instagram / @scratchbarkitchen

Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20): Firefly

You’re someone who simply loves love. Everything about it leaves you feeling all sorts of giddy inside and out, so it’s no surprise that you’re known as the hopeless romantic of the zodiac. When it comes to your dining experience, you want things to be as amorous as possible. It’s not about the food, so much as it’s about the atmosphere. Firefly’s intimate location will provide you with the perfect backdrop for all of your date nights to come. Book your reservation now.

Instagram / @fireflystudiocity

Food

This Cozy Restaurant’s Revamp Will Have You Dashing to South Pasadena ASAP

March 12, 2018

Instagram / @gordon.b.nasty

South Pasadena is personally my favorite Los Angeles gem. I mean, it’s the location of my favorite hotel, after all.

But really, this historic town, nestled away in the West San Gabriel Valley, is truly the perfect picturesque getaway for anyone (me!) who regularly deals with the hustle and bustle of the busier parts of the city.

Mission Street, in particular, is a strip of chic boutiques, private fitness studios and dining establishments, including Crossings, a cozy Patrick Kitchen-owned restaurant that’s been around since 2013. The spot recently underwent a revamp, including the introduction of new executive chef, Kevin Malone, who hails from Mattei’s Tavern near Santa Barbara, and the former Gargantua in Santa Monica.

Skyelyfe was invited to an exclusive chef’s tasting last week, where we consumed highlights (including delicious wine pairings and specialty cocktails) from Kevin’s newly launched menu (as seen below). The dim-lit venue boasts two spacious stories with plenty of bar space. Whether for date night or otherwise, Crossings offers an inviting (and scrumptious) vibe for all.

MENU

Roasted Sunchokes

orange glaze, habanero

Hamachi Collar Pibil

tangerine, crème fraîche, fresno chili, tortilla

Hamachi Verde  

snap pea agua chile, kaffir lime, cucumber, serrano

Wagyu Naval  

ash, charcoal potatoes, soubise, burnt leek

Pot de Creme

ancho chili, espresso, rice and almond flavored horchata foam, puffed rice

Crossings

1010 Mission St.

South Pasadena, Ca 91030

626.799.7001

Food Angelenos Featured

5 L.A. Gems a Tourist Wouldn’t Know

February 21, 2017

I love a good Nordstrom browse at The Grove, a trek up Runyon Canyon (yes, I am one of the few who actually considers it a legitimate “trek”) or a night of sipping unjustifiably overpriced cocktails at SLS–but one of the best parts about L.A. is the endless potential to find under-the-radar establishments.

Whether it’s a metaphysical shop in Highland Park or a renowned Mexican restaurant in Boyle Heights, there’s always more to be uncovered in the City of Angels.

Pop TV’s This Just In star Elizabeth Stanton is an L.A. native (Hollywood proper, to be exact), and she’s providing my readers with a list of some of her favorite lesser-known spots in town. And as someone who has lived in L.A. for 10 years, I can personally say she came up with some excellent out-of-the-box places to go (in fact, she even had me stumped on a couple).

“It’s been fun growing up here because I’ve felt like I’m always in the center of everything,” the 21-year-old—who was recently listed as one of Popstar! magazine’s top 10 actresses of the year—tells skyelyfe. “Now that I’m older, I basically live in the same area, and everything’s around me—all the new, happening spots. I feel like Hollywood is a happening area to be in right now. I can’t imagine living anywhere else but L.A. I especially love the weather [laughs]. Even if people don’t want to be around the main parts of Hollywood, there are always the beach areas and smaller communities people don’t really know about.”

And with that, I dug into five L.A. gems Liz insists you must encounter if you haven’t already:

1. For the Late-Night-Nosher: Crispy Pork Gang

Open until 4:00 a.m., this Thai Town eatery’s selling point may not be its overpacked strip mall parking lot, but it does give its visitors a mouthful (a good one, that is). And like the name suggests, the standout item here is indeed crispy pork. As Jonathan Gold pointed out back in 2011, there is no shortage of its usage on the menu.

A classic soup dish at Crispy Pork Gang in Thai Town

Photo Credit: @einna_sirisack

2. For the Gamer Who Likes to Drink: EightyTwo

Umm, hello childhood! This DTLA spot is a little throwback to the days of arcade games. And pinball lovers in particular, prepare to empty out your piggy banks, because your quarters are about to go to use! But rest assured this joint has you covered in the beverage department as well. With a full bar featuring craft cocktails and 10 draft beers, there will be no dry mouths in the building.

The classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game at EightyTwo in DTLA

Photo Credit: @eightytwola

3. For the Outdoorsy Individual Who Wants to Avoid the ‘Scene’: L.A. Abandoned Zoo

Love to hike, but without the Runyon-esque mayhem? Los Feliz’ former home to wild animals is loaded with beautiful visuals and photo opps aplenty.

a group poses at the L.A. Abandoned Zoo

Photo Credit: @hoey_jeinen

4. For the Foodie Who Came Seriously Just for the Food: Papilles

There’s no fancy-schmancy shebang here. Chef Jordan Rosas brings the casual Paris-inspired bistronomique movement to a Hollywood strip mall. With a set course menu that changes daily (check their website for each day’s offerings), there’s no messing around at this spot.

A perfectly arranged dish from Papilles French restaurant in Hollywood

Photo Credit: @papillesbistro

5. For the Artsy, Avid Reader: The Last Bookstore

This DTLA dwelling has come a long way since launching in a loft in 2005. It is now the largest new and used bookstore in all of California. They also sell a slew of vintage records, they host various events and even get celebs (hi, BJ Novak) to come in to speak (or read).

couple poses at The Last Bookstore in DTLA

Photo Credit: @dom_gy

Beauty Angelenos

DWTS’ Peta Murgatroyd Performs a Shimmy While Hosting Joico’s Hair Shake Launch Party in L.A.

May 5, 2015

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Joico put on quite the hair affair Thursday night at The District by Hannah An, a new upscale Vietnamese eatery located at 8722 W. 3rd St. in L.A.

Dancing with the StarsPeta Murgatroyd hosted the event, which celebrated the launch of Joico’s new liquid-to-powder Hair Shake texturizing product. She was joined by the line’s celebrity hairstylist spokesperson Paul Norton of West Hollywood’s Sally Hershberger salon.

Guests at the fete noshed on delicious appetizers (I couldn’t stop stuffing myself with chicken skewers and other such delights), sipped on signature “Shaketini” cocktails, created slow motion hair-whipping videos and took in a hair demonstration by Paul. But the highlight of the bash was certainly the private shimmy attendees got to witness from Peta (you can view it on my Instagram right here). Everyone left the event with a bag of goodies, including (obviously) the brand new product!

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

Photo credit: Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Joico

[divider_flat]

Food Angelenos

Ryan Phillippe, Jhene Aiko, Ed Westwick & More Stars Attend Toca Madera Mexican Restaurant’s Packed Grand Opening in L.A.

May 5, 2015

Photo credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Photo credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Thursday night was a who’s who of industry elite and tastemakers at the grand opening of EveryDay Life (EDL)’s modern organic Mexican restaurant and lounge, Toca Madera in L.A.

Taking over what was formerly St. Nick’s Pub, the 8450 W. 3rd St. space has been transformed into an upscale, dim-lit, Dia de los Muertos-themed eatery owned by Tosh Berman and Amrou Manaseer.

Guests at the packed event (including Jhene Aiko, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Ed Westwick, Michael B. Jordan, Emanuelle Chriqui, Cheryl Burke and a very casually clad Ryan Phillippe with girlfriend Paulina Slagter) sipped on red wine and margaritas, while noshing on signature appetizers from the main and vegan menus cooked up by Executive Chef Raymond Alvarez (I highly recommend the mixed mushroom and sweet corn tacos and churro ice cream sandwich!)

Complete with characters roaming around on stilts, women covered in body paint and tunes spun by Ruexx, the evening certainly did not go without entertainment!

Photo credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Photo credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Photo credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Photo credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

EDL's Grand Opening Party For Toca Madera

Photo credit: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Beauty Food Featured

Pamper, Shop & Eat in Malibu During 2015 at Three Brand New Hotspots!

December 17, 2014

Even if you live on the westside, Malibu is still a trek. So coming from where I hail in West Hollywood is no hop, skip and a jump from the sunny skies that rest over L.A.’s most upscale beach city. But I recently headed that direction (twice in one week!) to check out some new spots that just opened.

Here’s the thing: During the fall and winter, you don’t get the traffic you would during those hellish summer trips, so aside from the distance itself, the drive is pretty much smooth sailing. And add in the fact that many people are away on holiday break, you kind of get the city to yourself! I love Malibu during holiday season. Everything is lit up and the town is chillier than usual. There are so many adorable shops filled with fun, friendly people bundled up and frolicking along with their families. Quite cozy! So when I checked out a new salon, boutique and restaurant in the area recently, I had such an enjoyable experience.

So grab a pal, take a little road trip west and experience the city the same way I did!

GET PAMPERED!

Located at the trendy Malibu Country Mart, Cie Sparks salon recently opened its doors, courtesy of stylist Michael Sparks and colorist Heather Cie, proteges of Jennifer Aniston‘s stylist Chris McMillan. Formerly McMillan Canale Salon, the renovated space is located next door to Mr. Chow.

ciesparks

Earlier this month, the salon hosted a VIP styling day to celebrate its October launch. With an endless flow of champagne and an assortment of sweet treats to nosh on, guests were offered cuts, blowouts and other lavish treatments. I opted for a wavy blowout from stylist Ricky Reyes, who had my hair looking good as new! I even walked away with a little gift – a set of their Inphenom superior treatment shampoo + conditioner. No lie, this is the first shampoo and conditioner combo that has worked for me from home in a long time!

Malibu5

Malibu7

Malibu6

Cie Sparks Salon

3835 Cross Creek Road #22

Malibu, CA 90265

(310) 456-2300

SHOP

With your hair in check, head a little more west to the continuously expanding Trancas Country Market, which just opened this past summer.

Already home to Drill Surf & Skate, Sea Lily and Pritchett-Rapf realty, the space recently welcomed a new addition: Malibu Beach House boutique. The homey spot, owned by married couple Doug and Laura Burdge, carries everything from Bed Head PJs, to Nest fragrances.

Malibu2

The location also boasts its own signature line of Bloody Mary mix and candles – two things I so graciously walked away with as gifts when I attended an intimate launch event earlier this month at the shop. The Bloody Mary mix went perfectly with my tomato-flavored Belvedere vodka I’d been trying to use for months. And the candles are a must! They come in eight different ocean-themed aromas, including Point Dume, Zuma and Malibu’s 90265 zip code. I like the candles so much that I included them in skyelyfe’s holiday gift guide.

SGGMalibuBeachHouseCandles

Doug designed not only this store, but also the entire market as a part of Burdge & Associates Architects. Known as Malibu’s signature architect, Doug is recognized for his Spanish Mediterranean, “Rustic-Modern” and cutting-edge contemporary styles.

Malibu Beach House

30745 Pacific Coast Highway

Building R, Suite #3

Malibu, CA 90265

310.457.5600

EAT

After a long day of pampering and shopping, a relaxing meal (and a glass of wine!) seems the next logical step. Located directly next door to Malibu Beach House is Mangia, another new addition to Trancas Country Market. I had the luxury of indulging in a decadent tasting of some of the eatery’s finest wines and dishes, including a rich Tartufo risotto, simmering meat lasagna, carbonara pasta and various pizzas (I’m stuffed just thinking about it). The restaurant, which includes a full bar and patio overlooking the hills of Malibu, was founded by Antonio Alessi and Tarcisio Mosconi, the owners of local Tra di Noi.

Malibu8

Malibu3

Malibu4

Malibu9

Mangia Italian Countryside Eatery

30745 Pacific Coast Highway

Building R, Suite #4

310.457.4500

[divider_flat]

Beauty Music Food Angelenos

Three Completely Different Events – One Incredible Evening! From Santa Monica to East Hollywood, L.A. Had One Very Thirsty Thursday!

November 12, 2014

Hmm, maybe I’m still in recovery mode, which is why it has taken me almost a week to write about last Thursday. But nevertheless, I guess it was worth the wait, because for one of the first nights in a while, I made it to everything I wanted to go to – and all across town – and each was worth attending.

That said, I think I definitely need to acknowledge all three events on Oct. 6:

10 Years, 10 Cheers! – Obica Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina Celebrated a Decade In Existence with Wine and Food Galore!

An Italian restaurant anniversary celebration probably isn’t the best place to start a night out. So much food, so much wine – how is a person expected to make it through the rest of the evening? Well, I managed … barely. Either way, I did have a blast at Obica Mozzarella Bar Pizza e Cucina. Located in Century City’s Westfield shopping area, you really don’t get that mall vibe at the intimate eatery. On this particular night, my guests and I had the luxury of noshing on everything from risotto gamberi e asparagi (shrimp, asparagus and Prosecco risotto) to freshly made burrata. I typically steer clear from dairy products, but at an Italian restaurant, you kind of have to indulge, right? In-between bites and seemingly endless wine sips, I enjoyed sitting on the restaurant’s patio, taking in the sexy electric guitar sounds of Patrick Abbatte. In honor of the spot’s monumental occasion, they launched a whole new menu, which I can’t wait to check out more closely on my next visit!

Obica3

Obica2

Obica1

ASOS’ Colour Control Event Was the Stylish Spot of the Night! 

Anna Lunoe and ASOS brought music together with fashion at the next stop of the outing. No, the trek from Century City all the way to Mack Sennett Studios past East Hollywood wasn’t short, but it was absolutely worth it, when upon entry, I immediately spotted two of my favorite musical performers, Zoe and Adam from ASTR. As delightful in person as their music, it was quite the joyous run-in. And speaking of musical performers, I was beyond stoked to find that Anna Lunoe, of all people, was one of the DJs at this event. I did not know this beforehand, so it was a pleasant surprise. She is one of my favs! The gathering was in celebration of the launch of ASOS’ Colour Control, an interactive music video, featuring a visual presentation of five shades full of AW14 endless looks. Guests had a blast in the photo booth, mixing and matching colors and styles on the screen while sipping on vodka cocktails.

ASOS Colour Control produced by dFm - photographed by Steven Meiers, November 6 2014 at Mack Sennett Studios

Photo credit: Steven Meiers / Toasty Cakes

ASOS Colour Control produced by dFm - photographed by Steven Meiers, November 6 2014 at Mack Sennett Studios

Photo credit: Steven Meiers / Toasty Cakes

ASOS Colour Control produced by dFm - photographed by Steven Meiers, November 6 2014 at Mack Sennett Studios

Photo credit: Steven Meiers / Toasty Cakes

ASOS5

Mercedes Benz Evolution Tour Took Over Barker Hangar Airport

Whew, from Mack Sennett Studios all the way back to the westside – but this time much farther than Century City. The Mercedes Benz Evolution Tour took over Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar airport, and it definitely made use of the space. The place was totally packed with not only general eventgoers, but also a handful of musical performers and celebrities: Julianne Hough, Michael B. Jordan, Ricki Lake, Alabama Shakes, Young the Giant and DJ Ruckus. The indoor area was filled with music performances and the latest Mercedes models on full display. But I must say, the highlight for me, personally, was the slew of food options. We only caught the tail end of the event, which meant no more booze, but plenty to eat – which at this point in the evening, this was a huge plus. Inside you had buckets (literally) stacked and stacked with Popchips and Kind bars of all different flavors. Then outside you had a slew of food trucks and even a Keurig coffee stand. Amen!

Mercedes-Benz Evolution Tour

Photo credit: Getty

Mercedes-Benz Evolution Tour

Photo credit: Getty

Mercedes-Benz Evolution Tour

Photo credit: Getty

Food

Ocean Prime: Beverly Hills Welcomes Upscale Fish Spot

October 23, 2014

**This post I wrote was originally featured on SoCal Life magazine’s website

Upon entry inside new Beverly Hills eatery Ocean Prime, it’s impossible to tell that this is the same dining space that used to be home to longtime El Torito Grille, located on 9595 Wilshire Blvd., at the apex of Wilshire, Dayton Way and Camden Drive.

The redesigned space, which can fit hundreds of patrons and has a private VIP dining area, is now home to what general manager Stephen Cook hopes diners will consider Beverly Hills’ premier spot to feast on fish (even though meat and poultry dishes are indeed menu options). The restaurant, which has the vibe of an upscale steakhouse, specializes in its lobster tails, which Cook, the former GM of nearby Bouchon, calls “unique,” guaranteeing this dish is “the best lobster you’ve tasted.”

At a recent tasting, I had the opportunity to try approximately 20 dishes, including the iceberg wedge salad with bacon and bleu cheese; scallops served over braised short ribs and mashed potatoes; sea bass; and a delightful lobster bisque.

But the menu is not limited to formal fare. Complete with a sushi bar and a slew of sushi dishes, Cook wants to ensure people who eat fish have a variety of options at Ocean Prime because Beverly Hills is generally “very underserved” when it comes to that type of food, he says.

The new establishment, which opens to the public on Oct. 28, is quite delicious, but not for the lite-bite-craving consumer. Many of the dishes are rich with cream sauces and the portions and quite filling. That’s not to say the occasional healthy side does not exist (we really enjoyed the steamed broccoli!), but this is definitely a place to go with the desire to indulge.