BRINGING BEACH VIBES TO A CONCRETE JUNGLE: ALCHEMY WORKS

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Raan Parton, founder and creative director of Apolis, along with his wife Lindsay Parton, recently opened Alchemy Works – a stylish multipurpose garage-like retail store, art gallery, and event space. The large, bright, open studio with its high ceiling and burnish concrete floor was designed to reflect Raan’s hometown of breezy Santa Barbara. He wanted to bring cool beach vibes to the industrial-chic area known as the Art District, asserting that even downtown L.A. will have endless summers.

For it’s launch, Alchemy Works is selling its centerpiece, a neatly polished dark blue 1959 Fiat Abarth Spyder convertible, the only one in the U.S. yet somehow perfectly designed for a sunset drive down PCH. And fret not ladies, although the shop may look like a man’s dream garage, not everything in the store is for guys, there are some well-selected items for women as well.

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Almost all of the items in the store, including the art pieces, are made in California. Much like the art, everything in the store will be rotated in an effort to continue to provide a platform to showcase as many designers, photographers, and all around creatives that live in our city. Stop by frequently – there’ll always be something new to check out.

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. 

 

 

FIGAT7TH: DOWNTOWN GETS FESTIVE

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FIGat7th is going through a massive facelift. Not only does it now house a Target and a gourmet food-court called Taste, it will soon have a Zara (like we needed more excuses to go shopping on our lunch breaks). Even though those projects are set in the future, it hasn’t stopped downtown’s newest shopping center from celebrating early. Each Friday this summer they’re providing the city with a free summer festival that includes music, film, art, and theater.

This past Friday they set up a stage in their Plaza area, which if you haven’t already been, is located above the commercial hub, allowing a beautiful pink and purple gradient sunset to be the backdrop for three of LA’s buzz-bands to perform in front of.

 

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First up was Gothic Tropic. The LA trio played dreamy pop-infused summer tunes that quickly gave the indie-kids a reason to get off the lawn and head to the front of the stage where they proceeded to dance, as in slowly swaying side to side, because, you know, they’re cool like that.

 

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Gothic Tropic provided the perfect soundtrack for the sun to set to and for the skyscrapers that surround FIGat7th to drape the night sky with their office lights. The band’s performance was well received and would set the mood for a fun night to be had.

 

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Next was perhaps the most entertaining band to watch, Prince Rama. They made a grand entrance to the stage as they sat on the shoulders of men. The audience quickly got to their feet, some with expectant anticipation, some with intrigue.

 

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For a band consisting of only two ladies, their colorful sound and wild stage performance was at times difficult to follow. At one point the girls got off the stage and into the crowd, getting lost amid the audience only to re-appear “dancing,” making swimming motions with their arms. Was this a band or a performance art group? Either way, they were a lot of fun to witness.

 

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Headlining the night was Allah-Las, a three piece rock band that was formed in 2008 by a group of employees from Amoeba Music. The band jumped right into their first song, kicking off a set consisting of psychedelic garage rock. Stoked fans of theirs followed each song with loud cheers, at times shouting the name of songs they wanted to hear.

 

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They closed off their set just as loudly as they had made their entrance. The event was then moved to the after-party location, at the basin floor of FIGat7th – two stories below street level but with a wide open sky as a backdrop.

 

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Deejaying the after-party was the adorable outfit-matching duo, Honey Power. It was an all-vinyl set consisting of awesome vintage rock. Every one was casually hanging out, listening to music and ordering drinks from the bar set up by Sapporo . The night was still young, and as the event winded down, most of the attendees ventured off, energized and ready to explore more of downtown.