INTERVIEW: DAYDREAMING WITH BABY ALPACA

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Our first lesson of the day is – if you are having a bad day, just google “Baby Alpaca.” We dare you. Ahhh, there. See? Feel better already? Nothing makes you more warm and fuzzy inside than those alien-looking lambs, right?

Second lesson is that there is also a band named Baby Alpaca–and they are worth adding to your internal musical line-up and blasting while you are cruising in your old-school Lincoln, top-down, on PCH.

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Baby Alpaca first entered our musical vocabulary at the launch party of Mack Sennett, a rad space in Los Feliz that used to be a silent movie studio but has been recently transformed into a state-of-the-art film and photo studio. In between dancing our pants off and watching Dita Von Teese dance her pants off, we heard some moody, ethereal jams that floated from the stage and stopped us in our tracks.

Lead singer, Chris Kittrell is iconically statuesque and boasts a light, operatic voice at once familiar and yet amorphous…(We heard whispers in the audience, “Shh…who does he sound like? A bit Morrissey?”) Team it with the delicate yet deliberate reverb of guitarist  Zach McMillan and you’re reminded of a happier, poppier version of The XX. Add drummer Ben Lecourt and cellist Ethan Philbrick (yes, cellist) and you drift off into a modern lullaby. (Appropriately, they’ve got a single called “Sea of Dreams.”) We spent the day in Silverlake with the charmers, lying lazily by the pool and playing with our own shadows, as Chris answered some quick questions below:

LA CANVAS: What’s your spirit animal?

CK: A Tiger
LAC: your TOP, I-die-if-I-were-to-see-them-in-live-or-in-a-public-restroom music inspirations from the 70s, 80s and then 90s?

CK: 70s: The Doors; 80s: The Police; 90s: TLC

LAC: Favorite music video that is not your own?

CK: El Guincho – Bombay

El Guincho – Bombay from CANADA on Vimeo.

LAC: Where do you see Baby Alpaca in four years this same time in the summer?

CK: Playing concerts at the beach with a drive-in movie like stage setup. Towels instead of cars.

LAC: When you think of LA, you think of…

CK: Riding in the hills on a Harley swaying like palm trees

Baby Alpaca live:

Wed 7/24: Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre (info HERE)

Sat 7/27: Palm Springs, CA @ ACE Hotel “Summerschool”

Wed 7/31: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios (info HERE)

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{ Photo + Text: Faith-Ann Young }

FOOD SCOOPS: IZAKAYA FU-GA

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Like any penny pinching Angeleno, LAC is on the constant hunt for the best happy hour deals in town. In a city with countless dining options, the task of choosing the perfect in-between meal can be daunting, but that’s why we’re here, right? Your pals at LA CANVAS do the work so you don’t have to, highlighting some of LA’s finest to make your life a little easier. Izakaya Fu-Ga might just be the hidden gem of our dreams.

Fu-Ga is nestled beneath street level on San Pedro in the heart of Little Tokyo. The atmosphere is dim yet inviting as we make our way down the staircase to the restaurant, the faint sound of jazz growing louder. We take our place at the bar. Fu-Ga boasts traditional Japanese Izakaya with a twist. Traditional Japanese izakaya is a type of drinking establishment that will also serve you food but mostly just to keep your drink company.  Essentially, they are for 9-5ers who want a casual after-work hang out to take the edge off. Fu-Ga brings traditional izakaya food and makes it different by fusing it with other types of cuisines to give you some pretty delicious options for a very reasonable price.

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Happy Hour at Fu-Ga is Monday-Friday from 2-6pm and they set us up with a little sample of what they have to offer. Might I say, it is tantalizing and I’m not just talking about the blueberry mojito. Repeat, blueberry mojito. Speaking of Fu-Ga’s drink specials, they’re offering half off draft beer, including Sapporo, plus $2 off cocktails. The cocktails are made with care, as seen when Johan the bartender began hand-crushing the ice for my mojito. Nice touch. The margarita was made with jalapeno infused tequila and garnished with cilantro, which happened to go perfectly with my Japanese pork rib taco.

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The happy hour food menu is tactfully curated to offer Fu-Ga’s patrons a variety of fried finger food along with savory fusion dishes for $2-$3 off regular prices. We also tried the beef kushiyaki, and weren’t disappointed. The lightly seasoned filet mignon was cooked to a perfect medium-well and served with a tangy ponzu sauce on the side. Next were the furikake flavored garlic fries. The golden-brown dream weavers were lightly dusted with just the right amount of salty green seaweed and garlic butter. The combination of the two was like a Japanese-style steak frites.

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Also worth mentioning is their unique selection of Japanese whiskey including Suntory, because, for relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

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All of this and you’re looking at spending under $30 for two people even if you were to add another drink or two/splurge for a non-happy hour item. As if they need to further sweeten the deal, Fu-Ga offers free parking with validation in their lot upstairs plus half-off desserts for Ladies Night on Tuesdays. Done.