Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before: LA doesn’t have winters and for Angelenos, the idea of cold falls somewhere at about 60 degrees. Beanies and layering may not be a necessity, but don’t count us out for winter-appropriate-slash-festive activities. Check out how we at LA CANVAS enjoy our city this season with the classics, holiday booze, quality scenes and choice people to indulge with — true Angeleno style.
SKYBAR’S BOOZY HOT CHOCOLATE
WHAT: Liquor in our hot chocolate isn’t usually our norm, but it’s about time we moved on from the powdered version to a more refined one. Our favorite is out of the Mondrian Hotel’s open-air lounge’s new winter-themed cocktails. Skybar’s boozy hot chocolate adds a kick to a classic, with Don Julio Anejo tequila and Grand Marnier but doesn’t shy away from the creamy, chocolatey goodness that we crave on these “chilly” LA winter nights. While you’re at it, try the other lodge-inspired cocktails — the Spiced Apple Cider and Irish Coffee — on your next visit. Nothing warms us up like a little alcohol | More Info
WHERE: Skybar | 8440 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069
LA DOWNTOWN ON ICE
WHAT: Let’s keep it real, going ice-skating is probably the closest we’ll get to having a real winter in Los Angeles – nothing freezes (outdoors) in downtown. While it’s not exactly be Rockefeller Square, you’ll be beneath the city’s skyscrapers. Our concrete jungle mixed in with a little ice is actually quite magical. | More Info
WHEN: November 14th – January 18th
WHERE: Pershing Square | 532 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014
WHAT: As much as day trips to the snow, hot chocolate, and ice skating are part of the winter holidays, so is giving back, and the notion always was: ‘giving is more rewarding than receiving.’ There are a number of ways to give back to the community, whether it’s donating money, goods or your time, volunteering at your local shelter is always rewarding. | More Info
WHERE: Fred Jordan Missions | 445 Towne Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90013
HOT TODDIES AT DOMINICK’S
WHAT: Lodi dodi, we like to party… and stay warm simultaneously. Perhaps next to the boozy hot chocolate, our other favorite hot cocktail is a hot toddy — think of your favorite tea, add some honey, lemon, cinnamon, and your favorite whiskey and voila! We particularly like the toddies conjured up at Dominick’s in West Hollywood, and with this drink in hand next to a fireplace, you have a “cold” night that is complete | More Info
WHERE: 8715 Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90048
LIGHT DISPLAYS ON RODEO DRIVE
WHAT: During the holiday season, our fair city’s beauty is magnified two-fold by the amount of light displays that go up: from the big tree at The Grove, the beach display in Long Beach, to the Tunnel of Lights in Reseda. Our recommended display are the lights on Rodeo Drive. Not like Rodeo isn’t a vision all year around, but the lights make spending your hard earned cash on others that much more cheerful. The other upside to these lights are they make Angelenos actually appear merry and bright. | More Info
WHEN: November 24th – Mid January
WHERE: Rodeo Drive, between Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards
BIG BEAR DAY TRIP
WHAT: Truth be told, Los Angeles weather is a gift and a curse — actually, it’s more of a gift than anything and the only curse is that those who enjoy having seasons, miss out. Luckily, for those that revel in anything other than beach weather, your white powder is only a two hour drive north. The peak is prime for skiing and hikers, and has several lodges for visitors to claim home for a weekend getaway | More Info
WHERE: 43101 Goldmine Dr., Big Bear Lake, CA 92305
KOREAN DAY SPA
WHAT: Really, who is going to argue a day at the spa? The traditional Korean day spas — otherwise known as jjimjilbangs — takes guests through a thorough soaking, scrubbing and series of specific health-benefit treatments that include mineral saunas that contain natural elements and wellness properties. We know you have treated everyone around you, so what better way to treat yo’self than a day at the spa | More Info
WHERE: Wi Spa | 2700 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90057
Ahh, the French fry. Always second place when it came to mealtime, they stood faithfully by our sandwiches and hot dogs, the trusty sidekick Robin to our Burger-Batman. For many of us, fries are a nostalgia food. When we were kids, our french fries came from greasy fast food chains. We ate them greedily, and as we got older, we got creative and dipped them in our soft serve, stuffed them into our burgers and burritos, and patted ourselves on our backs for our innovative gluttony. But let’s be real, now that we’re adults it’s time to indulge in fries that truly reflect the diversity of our refined palate–kimchee, duck confit, lamb neck, and all. If you’re ready to move beyond Mickey D’s, read on to get the scoop on some french fried fanciness.
Chicken Tikka Poutine
Where: Badmaash | 108 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
What: Combine the LA’s diversity and innovative inhabitants and you get Badmaash. From what we understand it is the country’s first Indian gastropub. The restaurant offers a mix of Bombay street food, Indian fusion cuisine and traditional Indian favorites –like butter chicken, saag paneer and lamb vindaloo. Their take on poutine earned them a spot on our list by taking their masala fries — crispy fries tossed in Indian spices — and throwing gravy, cheese curds and tikka masala chicken on top. Savory, creamy, crispy and spicy all at the same time. You just can’t lose with this one.
Duck Fat Fries
Where: Sixth Street Tavern | 630 West Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017
What: Zagat named Sixth Street Tavern’s duck confit cheese fries the best thing they ate… and we’d have to agree. The fries by themselves are superb — the right amount of crispy and golden and thick, perfect to pair with a beer. But to kick it up a notch — not to get all Emeril — the tavern added smoked gouda, a garlicky cheese sauce and salty, shredded duck confit goodness to boot.
Banh Mi Fries
Where: The Gorbals | 501 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
What: Thrice cooked fries, gravy, steak, sharp cheddar, garlic aioli, Sriracha, fried jalapenos, and pickles – what more can I say? It’s everything you like in a Vietnamese steak banh mi sandwich on top of fries — sour pickles, heat from the jalapenos and Sriracha, then you throw in some hoisin gravy and cheddar cheese to add the extra oomph! Of course, let’s not forget the backbone of the dish, the fries, which are perfect for sopping up all the leftover juices.
Lamb Neck Poutine
Where: Ink | 8360 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90069
What: Lamb Neck Poutine. The name doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue, but trust us when we say that Ink’s version of the French stew-y goodness is just another one of Michael Voltaggio’s genius. The poutine holds true to itself — rich, thick and creamy, but takes on a bolder flavor coming from the slow-cooked lamb neck. While the gamey neck flavor can be strong for the pallet, Voltaggio balances out that notion with chopped chives, forest chives gel and tangy yogurt curd. The fries themselves are not made of the standard potato, but out of fried tubular chick peas that are light enough to not weigh down your stomach, but can hold its own under the poutine.
Where: Fresh Fries Truck | All over LA
What: Another food truck yes, but these fries will conquer that sweet tooth. The much celebrated Nutella, mixed with its old school colleague, peanut butter, and the already sweet but now crispy sweet potato, makes for an easily picked at dessert mixture.
Where: Frysmith | All over LA
What: We actually had a dilemma trying to pick one. It’s common knowledge that LA’s food truck game is ridiculously on point, so how could we not feature French fry truck extraordinaire, Frysmith. But which French fry offering do we choose, the kimchi fries or the Rajas fries? Clearly the kimchi fries came out the victor. Why, you ask? Simply because who would’ve thought that kimchi, Korean pork and cheddar cheese would be so delicious. The marriage between the spicy, sour kimchi and the sweet, tangy pork was obvious, but the American cheddar cheese threw us a curveball that Frysmith knocked out of the park.
Carne Asada Fries
Where: Las Anitas | 26 Olvera Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
What: Carne asada fries may be the obvious, maybe even carne asada fries via Olvera Street, but it isn’t our fault that that is where genius lay. The carne asada, sour cream, guac, and salsa are scattered atop a mountain of waffle fries. Imagine, each waffle fry as mini, edible plates carrying all the fixings straight into your mouth. You can skip worrying that your skinny fry will weigh less than even the tiniest piece of carne asada, ultimately resulting in dropped topping and a stained tee.
Though we’ve sung our praises of donuts before, it may be time to move on to a more elegant body of baked goods for your office-bad-habit. Besides, there’s only one month left of summer, and if your summer diet hasn’t worked by now, you might as well wallow in miracle-diet-failure by devouring a warm, flaky croissant.
We kid, but really, who can deny an expertly baked croissant that’s got hours of French lovin’ massaged into its buttery layers? We’ve taken the liberty of eating our way through LA to help you discover your new favorite ways to indulge in sugar, butter and otherwise carb-tastic, diet-cursing goods. See our list below to get started on your own baked delight scavenger hunt.
Bacon Nutella Croissant | Photo Credit: Aya T.
The Chimney | 1100 N Main St, Ste B, Los Angeles, CA 90012
What to get: Bacon Nutella Croissant
This hole-in-the-wall coffee shop is hidden away in a non-descript Thai plaza which houses a wholesale Thai food market, law offices, and a Thai Dessert shop. While The Chimney makes a great cup of joe, their pastries also delight. The Bacon Nutella Croissant combines a trifecta of sinful pleasures: lard (bacon), chocolate (nutella), and butter (croissant). The results are as expected: divine.
Maison Giraud | 1032 Swarthmore Ave, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
What to get: Croissant “au Beurre”
Croissants reign supreme at Maison Giraud, and for good reason. After all, what’s more symbolic of French dominance in baking than the humble croissant? in a world of poor imitations a-la-Costco (overly soft and greasy), a good croissant is often a rare find. An expert croissant is flaky and will have a crunch to its exterior, with a rich and buttery, slightly sweet interior. The folks at Maison Giraud have it down to a science, and pastry lovers across Los Angeles agree–they often run out so come early to cure your butter croissant #FOMO.
Kouign-Amann | Photo Credit: Serious Eats
Bouchon Bakery | 235 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
What to get: Kouign-Amann
All hail the celestial process of caramelization! Bouchon Bakery, an outpost of Thomas Keller’s, bakes up a mean Kouign-Amann. This pastry is *gasp* not French, but Breton. A majestic marriage of butter, sugar, salt and flour, the sweet-and-salty Kouign-Amman is filled with layers and layers of salted butter and sugar and finished with a perfectly caramelized crust. If you love butter, we may have found your pastry-soulmate.
Salted Caramel Pecan Babka | Photo Credit: Kristin Guy, Refinery29
The Sycamore Kitchen | 143 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
What to get: Salted Caramel Pecan Babka
Get the babka in our bellies, pronto! The salted caramel pecan babka is the thing to order at Quinn and Karen Hatfield’s Sycamore Kitchen, a more accessible breakfast-lunch offshoot of their higher-end restaurant, Hatfield’s. The babka appears as a moist rendition of a cinnamon roll, except devoid of cloying saccharine excess and instead a perfect balance of moist, sweet, light, and nutty, with a not-overpowering hint of salt.
St. Honore Pastry | Photo Credit: Discover LA
Gorge | 8917 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
What to get: St. Honore
Yes, the kooky French have a patron saint just for pastries. Which begs the question: do we Americans have one for burgers? We digress. The St. Honore pastry, named after the French patron saint, is made with cream-filled choux puffs, topped with chantilly and set on puff pastry. Paris-trained pastry chef Uyen Nguyen works her magic into five seasonal flavors that are all worth biting into: Classic Vanilla, Chocolate Banana, Lemon Meringue, Pistachio, and Granny Smith Apple. The Granny Smith sounds especially intriguing, with apple compote, vanilla choux, confit apple, and creme fraiche chantilly.
Copenhagen Pastry | 11113 W Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90232
What to get: Spandauer Pastry
This Culver City Bakery boasts authentic Danish recipes and traditional baking methods, along with a smorgasbord of light and flaky pastries to choose from. A window offers customers a peek into the baking process, as Copenhagen bakes throughout the day “as demand dictates,” making it a fun field trip of sorts where customers can watch the busy-ness of the work floor. Our favorite pastry here is the Spandauer, a flaky pastry filled with almond paste and creamy custard, topped with a sprinkle of almond flakes.
By now, you must know that there are about a bajillion places in LA showcasing outdoor movies this summer. And while we are totally on board with the array of flicks being presented, we’re getting a little bogged down with just how many places there actually are to get your outdoor movie fix in. From Cinespia to the LA River’s Bike-In Movies, the city is blossoming with everything a cinephile’s heart could want.
In lieu of presenting you with another all-encompassing list of every damn movie there ever was all summer (that are predominantly sold out already), we at LA CANVAS decided to compile our own list of our favorite flicks and picks for your outdoor viewing pleasure.
Silver Linings Playbook
Street Food Cinema – August 3rd
Don’t be fooled, this isn’t your average rom com. So boys, pack that blanket, grab that bottle of Fireball, and make your girlfriends happy by taking her out for a film you’ll both actually enjoy. A plethora of grub trucks are on deck to take care of all your food cravings.
Silver Lake Picture Show – August 8th
The one and only movie we can stand Renee Zellwegger in. And with a spot right off Sunset, it’s impossible to miss. Just make sure to get there early as space is limited (and drinking rules are pretty lax, so we hear).
Street Food Cinema – August 17th
We’ll admit, the idea of an action-packed 007 movie sounds a bit underwhelming from a park lawn and a blow-up movie screen. But given our experience with Street Food Cinema and their sound quality, we are willing to risk it. Catch Daniel Craig whooping ass and exploding through the screen for this fun thrill ride (Ed. Note: He does not actually explode).
Friday Night Flicks – August 26th
“WWWAAALLL-EEEE” Finally, the one night a week Pershing square isn’t run amock with our favorite vagabonds. Instead, Robots take center stage for this epic outer-space adventure. Not only are these screenings free, but pets are welcome too (and we’ll bet they might find it just as entertaining as you do).
Electric Dusk Drive In – August 31st
Hitchcock on the big screen? On a roof? With a skyline? We are soooooo in. But that’s not even the best part! This truly retro experience is the only drive-in in LA. Which means you don’t even have to worry about parking.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Movies in the Park – September 7th
Grand Park has partnered with Street Food Cinema this year for a collection of family-friendly movies. Family or not, ET totally brings us back to our childhood and we’re happy to reminisce.
Movies in the Park– September 14th
Remember the scene where Tim and Lex, the two kids of the film, get caught by a couple of raptors in the park’s kitchen and your seven-year-old self is screaming inside your head out of sheer fright? Yep, it’s still as scary this time around too. Especially when you’re in an open park watching a park full of dinosaurs.
Friday Night Flicks – September 27th
Cher, we will always love you. Even when you nearly ran that bicyclist off the road during your driving test. Or when you tried to squash Tai and Travis’ love in an effort to popularize your new project. Or when you were too self-obsessed to realize Christian was gay. Like, obviously. Nevertheless, we will be there, front row and center, to watch your cult-classic and clueless antics all over again. Picnic baskets are welcome, but there’s also food for purchase in the square as well.
The Hunger Games
Front Porch Cinema at The Pier – October 5th
Ok, ok, we’re jumping the gun a bit here. It may seem like October’s a long way off, but you’re gonna want to get first dibs on this one. Unwind on the Santa Monica Pier, LA’s ultimate front porch, after a long week, and catch one of the biggest movies of 2012 (In case you were the only one on the planet who missed it the first time around). Movies are free, and there are even old-timey lawn chairs for rent.