The city of San Gabriel held their 1st Annual San Gabriel Dumpling & Beer Fest last week on Thursday night. Taking place at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, this event represents the San Gabriel Valley’s spin on Oktoberfest by combining the festivities of a traditional Oktoberfest with the culture of the San Gabriel Valley, a predominantly Chinese-American region. The organizers closed off S Mission Dr directly in front of the playhouse to set up booths for the food vendors all serving up hot dumplings. Visitors of all ages could enter this area for free to line up for dumplings from the food booths and food trucks. A fenced off area directly in front of the playhouse held a beer fest, where nine breweries (Stone, Golden Road, Hangar 24, Firestone, Deschutes, Bootlegger’s, Ballast Point, Tap It, Angel City) all brought a small keg to pour for those who bought the wristband to receive beer pours until the kegs blew. In addition, this fenced off area had a stage for live music throughout the night. While this all sounds fine and dandy, the fun stopped there.

For a first time holding this event, perhaps the organizers bit off more than they could chew. Perhaps they marketed the event too well, reaching thousands of people that all swarmed to this event as if expecting free handouts. Counting the number of food vendors, they had six dumpling booths, two dessert booths, and two food trucks. Despite this, every vendor clearly had hundreds of people in line for a few dumplings since the vendors started to run low on food quite early in the night. Though this event only lasted three hours, standing in line for one of the booths took up to 90 minutes from getting in line to waiting for the food to come out. This already consumed half of the event’s duration, not to mention the exorbitant prices for dumplings. I mean, who would think of paying $5 for three bite-size dumplings? The last time I waited in a line this long for food, I spent 4.5 hours for the Grilled Cheese Truck back in 2011.

As for the beer, I could do without it. Who thinks of holding a beer fest with unlimited pours on a weeknight? None of the breweries sent a rep to this event, so nobody could talk to someone directly from a brewery or ask about the brewery. The breweries only brought their basic beers, compared to other bigger beer festivals where breweries often bring something rare or strong for the people to remember. Despite a $25 price tag for these unlimited beer tastings, the beer felt like a side pairing for all the dumplings, if anyone could even get any dumplings before time ran out or the vendors ran out.

While dozens of people have made complaints about the event not having enough food vendors, the organizers have done a great job at deleting all negative posts and masking it with thank-you posts and other testimonial posts. Sadly this means that San Gabriel intends to bring this event back next year. Does this mean that they will fix the mistakes of this year’s event in time for next year? Or does this mean that they will simply rehash the event and allow it irritate many visitors once again? Visit the event’s Facebook album and leave a comment letting them know what you think. Do note that they will delete your comment very soon after you post it, but at least you let someone else know how you feel!

Many people all over the world tend to take variety for granted. Variety equals the spark of life because many people start to get bored with the same routine day after day. Sure the notion of sticking with something safe exists, but doing the same thing over and over again and expecting something different equals the very definition of insanity. While we can do the same thing over and over to get through life, we would get bored very easily. For example, dog food has all the nutrients necessary to live, but to eat the exact same food everyday for life sounds terrible. Humans thrive on variety because we have grown up with varied things in life, unlike most pets. People love to eat different foods instead of the same things all the time, and restaurant owners and chefs recognize that by featuring seasonal, monthly, weekly, or even daily menus. One such restaurant, Grill ‘Em All, has a featured monthly item that usually pushes the boundaries of familiar foods.

Not one to shy away from making people think of what will come out next, Grill ‘Em All continues to innovate and churn out incredible burgers that no one could possibly comprehend. These guys rose to fame when they won the first season of Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, the show that helped spark the rise of the gourmet food truck fad. With Grill ‘Em All’s surging popularity came the emergence of their brick & mortar restaurant a few years later. While they kept the original truck for catering purposes, the restaurant draws all the public attention with all sorts of events and specials, such as special guest appearances, tap takeovers, food specials, music launch parties, and more. Nowadays, Grill ‘Em All still delivers killer food from their standard menu plus their rotating burger of the month. For the month of October 2015, they have something called the Screaming For Vengeance A.K.A. The Gobbledy Gooker. Named after a Judas Priest album and a former WWE superstar, this burger contains three different types of meat in it: a half-pound all-beef patty, bacon, and chipotle honey chicken strips. To go along with all this, the burger also has bleu cheese on top and jalapeño cream cheese on bottom in hopes of trying to quell the burger’s spiciness. While it seems that this burger looks like it would fall apart easily in hand, the burger held up quite well with all the ingredients staying in place except for some drips of the cheeses.

Do you love meat? If so, you owe it to yourself to trek on over to Grill ‘Em All in Alhambra sometime this month to take on the Screaming For Vengeance A.K.A. The Gobbledy Gooker. For all this meat, this burger will only set you back $12. Enjoy a cold beer while dining here, since Grill ‘Em All has expanded their craft beer lineup to include a greater variety of beers. For more news and updates from the Grill ‘Em All camp, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

H.R. of Bad Brains @ The Whisky A Go Go
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, October 5
Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood

H.R. of legendary punk band Bad Brains will headline an all-ages show at the Whisky A Go Go tonight. Tickets to this show cost $15.

Beachwood Sour Fest 2015
October 6-11
Beachwood Brewing, Long Beach

All this week, Beachwood Brewing will have a number of sour beer events between their Long Beach and Seal Beach locations. Each day will have a different event at a different location, each with its own beer list and admission. Check the Beachwood BBQ website or Facebook for full details of each day.

A Wilhelm Scream: Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, October 6, Soda Bar, Normal Heights, San Diego
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 7, Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Punk band A Wilhelm Scream will headline two shows in Southern California this week. Tickets to the San Diego show cost $12/$15 presale/at the door, while the Long Beach show costs $8/$10 presale/at the door. No one under 21 may enter either show.

Long Beach Indie Film Festival
October 7-11
Pacific Theaters, Lakewood

Showcasing global diversity through film, television, and digital media, this international film festival takes place all this week in Downtown Long Beach. Screening more than 100 international & domestic films, this event brings together established & aspiring filmmakers, scholars, creative professionals, and movie lovers from around the globe.

Los Angeles Fashion Week
October 7-11
All over Los Angeles

The latest in fashion goes public this week in Los Angeles. Check the website for a list of all fashion events all over Los Angeles going on this week.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – First Wednesdays @ The Copper Door
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm, October 7
The Copper Door, Downtown Santa Ana

Get your fill of burlesque every first Wednesday of the month at The Copper Door in Downtown Santa Ana, for free! Guests can park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may enter.

Modern Times Night @ Select Beer Store
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 8
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach

Modern Times will take over the taps at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach this Thursday evening. No admission required – simply show up, and enjoy a cold one.

Business & Beer @ El Segundo Brewing
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, October 8
El Segundo Brewing, El Segundo

This monthly networking event for small business owners visits a South Bay brewery every second Thursday of the month. This week, they will hit up El Segundo Brewing in El Segundo. If you have involvement with a small business, love craft beer, or both, then stop by this Thursday night.

Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk (Second Thursdays)
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 8
Downtown Los Angeles

This free monthly event takes place over many blocks in Downtown Los Angeles. Many galleries will open late, and some parking lots will contain more art, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and more. Unless you know business owners, free parking barely exists in Downtown LA, although some meters only operate until 8pm. First-time visitors should attend with someone who has gone here prior.

Horror Film Trivia
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, October 8
Phantom Carriage Brewery, Carson

Sharpen up your horror film knowledge in time for Halloween at this trivia event this Thursday night at the Phantom Carriage tasting room in Carson. It costs $5 to buy in to the trivia game.

Sham 69 @ Til-Two Club
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, October 8
Til-Two Club, San Diego

Old school punk band Sham 69 will headline a show in San Diego this Thursday night. Tickets to this show cost $12 presale or $14 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

Ontario Harvest Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, October 9-11
Ontario Convention Center, Ontario

Shop thousands of handmade American arts & crafts in hundreds of booths over the weekend. Find beautiful jewelry, clothing, specialty foods, photography, hand-turned wood, ceramics, and more. Admission costs $9 for Adults, $7 for Seniors, $4 for Youth, and 12 & under get in free.

11th Annual Ocean Beach Oktoberfest
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 9
9:00 am – 10:00 pm, October 10
Ocean Beach Pier, San Diego

Enjoy Oktoberfest on the beach this weekend with this two-day Oktoberfest celebration. For just $3 admission, gain access to this event filled with beer, pretzels, sausages, and other typical Oktoberfest festivities.

16th Annual Taste of La Verne
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, October 9
Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center, Pomona

Sample food and drinks from dozens of restaurants and bars from La Verne this Friday night in Pomona. General admission costs $40 while VIP admission costs $65 and comes with preferred parking and a reserved table. All attendees receive unlimited food and drink samples from all the vendors while supplies last.

Art Night Pasadena
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 9
Old Town Pasadena, Pasadena

This free festival celebrates local art with art exhibits, live music, entertainment, and more as Pasadena’s local artists open up their studios to the public. For free street parking, check Corson Street.

Burger’s 21st at The Doll Hut
7:00 pm – 1:30 am, October 9
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

Get your weekly dose of punk rock this Friday night at the Doll Hut in Anaheim. The cover for this show costs only $5. No one under 21 may enter.

Strung Out: Live at Borderline Bar & Grill
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, October 9
Borderline Bar & Grill, Thousand Oaks

Punk band Strung Out will headline a show in Thousand Oaks this Friday night. Tickets to this show cost $20. No one under 18 may enter.

Conflict @ Til-Two Club
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, October 9
Til-Two Club, San Diego

Rock out to some local punk rock this Friday night in San Diego. Tickets to this show cost $20. No one under 21 may enter.

The Dickies @ Alex’s Bar
9:00 pm – 1:30 am, October 9
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Legendary punk band The Dickies will headline a show at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach this Friday night. Tickets to this show cost $10 presale or $12 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

The Color Run 5k – San Diego
7:00 am – 1:00 pm, October 10
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

The color run that started it all returns to Qualcomm Stadium this Saturday morning. This fun run takes the racing out of a 5k or 10k, and places participants in a running course where they will get showered with bright colors. All runners should wear white for this run, as they run through the course and absorb all the colors flying through the air. Registration for this color run costs $50 per solo participant, or $45 per person if registering as a team of four or more. Waves of runners will start at 9am and launch every few minutes following that for up to two hours, so do not fret about getting there on time.

Aquarium of the Pacific 5k Run/Walk
7:30 am – 11:30 am, October 10
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

Go on a nice 5k run down on the beach this Sunday morning starting at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. All participants who register prior to race day will receive a t-shirt, goodie bag, and a ticket to the aquarium with registration. Registration costs $44 for children, and $52 for adults. Aquarium members can save $12 on registration. Bring cash for parking in the aquarium parking structure.

2015 CarBQue At The Lakes
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, October 10
Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve, Santee

This Saturday, come and check out over 200 hot rods, classic cars, motorcycles and muscle cars all available for your viewing pleasure, absolutely free of charge. This all-ages event allows visitors to gaze upon all of the classic cars and browse through the hundreds of food vendors and merchandise booths. Live music, a beer garden, and a carnival area will keep everyone entertained all day.

International Tiki Market Place
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, October 10
Don The Beachcomber, Sunset Beach

For $10 admission gain access to a plethora of tiki-themed vendors in Sunset Beach this Saturday afternoon. Admission comes with a $10 voucher for food & drink, so technically you get in for free!

Glitterfest Fall 2015
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, October 10
Business Expo Center, Anaheim

For $7, gain access to this all-ages vendor fair with mixed media art, jewelry, papier-mâché, sculptures, vintage home decor, and more.

2015 Westwood Village Fine Art Festival
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 10-11
Westwood Village, West Los Angeles

This free and all-ages outdoor festival will feature accomplished artists from throughout the Western United States presenting their original work in all mediums of two and three dimensional fine art, including paintings in acrylic, oils & watercolors, photography, etchings, sculpture in clay, glass, metal, stone, wood, and more. Meet the artists themselves, and even purchase some to take home.

7th Annual La Jolla Art & Wine Festival
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, October 10-11
Girard Ave, La Jolla

This free and all-ages street fair takes over the streets in La Jolla. Visitors will find hundreds of booths containing artists, merchandise, vendors, food & drinks, arts & crafts, live entertainment, and more.

FitCon LA
10:30 am – 6:00 pm, October 10-11
Fairplex, Pomona

Check out all things fitness, health, and sports at this convention this weekend at the Fairplex in Pomona. FitCon will cover a broad range of fitness, from gymnastics to dance to weightlifting to sports and more. A handful of celebrity athletes will also make an appearance for autograph sessions, such as Arianny Celeste. Tickets cost $20 per day, $30 for both days, or $50 for a VIP pass that comes with front-of-line pass and a goodie bag.

Taste of South Lake 2015
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 10
Corporate Center Pasadena, Pasadena

At this free outdoor festival, enjoy mouth-watering offerings from over 25 South Lake Avenue restaurants, live cooking demos with celebrity chefs, music performances by internationally known bands, a vendor village, and more.

10th Annual Pasadena Artwalk
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 10
Colorado & El Molino, Pasadena

This free all-ages event highlights Southern California’s aspiring artists looking to make an impact with their creations. Artwork will include paintings, sculptures, watercolors, photography, mixed media, ceramics, jewelry, drawings, printmaking, and more.

Fall 2015 Artisanal LA
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, October 10-11
LA Mart, Los Angeles

Find the latest trends in food, drinks, fashion, accessories, and more at this designer fair this weekend. See dozens of artists, chefs, bakers, designers, and more from across the world showcasing their goods and selling their wonderful products. Admission to this all-ages event costs $12 presale and $15 at the door. Parking at the venue costs $15 per vehicle, but visitors can either search for other parking lots or street meters, or take public transportation to save on commute costs.

2015 Dana Point Oktoberfest
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, October 10
Sea Terrace Park, Dana Point

South Orange County gets their own free & all-ages Oktoberfest celebration this weekend. Expect to find all of the typical Oktoberfest festivities here: chicken dancing, German music, stein holding, beer chugging, sausages, pretzels, normal bar beers, and more.

Ooze Fest – Southern California’s Premier Cheese Festival
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, October 10
Parking lot in front of Yost Theater, Santa Ana

Get cheesed out at this festival celebrating all things cheese this Saturday in Downtown Santa Ana. Admission includes unlimited food and beer while supplies last, split up into two sessions: afternoon and evening. The first session will feature a building of the world’s largest grilled cheese sandwich, while the second session will feature a grilled cheese eating contest. General admission costs $50 while VIP admission costs $75 and comes with an hour early entry, t-shirt, and souvenir glass. Use promo code 100eats to save $10 off admission.

It’s Not Dead Fest 2015
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 10
San Manuel Amphitheater Festival Grounds, San Bernardino

Punk rock never died, and this concert will prove just that. Check out this all-day all-ages punk rock concert featuring some of the biggest names in punk rock this Saturday in San Bernardino. Tickets cost $42.50 and provides access to all music stages in the venue.

6th Annual BAM Fest: Beer, Art, Music
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, October 10
18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica

The legendary BAM Festival returns this Saturday. BAM stands for Beer, Art, and Music – exactly what this fest celebrates. In addition, guests will find wine samples, food trucks, live DJ’s, dancing, and more. Tickets cost $45 presale or $50 at the door and comes with a souvenir glass and unlimited beer pours. Guests can find free street parking in the neighborhood on the other side of the freeway by crossing over on 17th Street.

Downtown Covina Thunderfest & Music Festival
1:00 pm – 8:00 pm, October 10
Citrus Avenue, Downtown Covina

Check out this free and all-ages car show this Saturday afternoon in Covina. Each October, the streets of Downtown Covina roar to life with classic cars, hot rods, live music, food, shopping, and more.

Festival Supreme 2015
1:00 pm – 9:00 pm, October 10
Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles

This music & comedy festival will feature some of the industry’s greatest acts all in one venue this Saturday. General admission costs $99, while VIP admission costs $250 and includes a handful of perks such as special entry, parking, seating, lounges, and more.

Re:Imagine Garden Grove
3:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 10
Streets of Downtown Garden Grove

Explore nearly three miles of car-free streets in Downtown Garden Grove for walking, biking, skating, and playing. Visitors will find food, music, art, workshops, and more at this free and all-ages street fair.

Hangar 24 Oktoberfest & Beer Festival
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 10
Inland Empire 66ers Stadium, San Bernardino

Celebrate Oktoberfest like how a brewery should celebrate a beer festival! This seasonal beer fest brings out over 30 breweries, over 10 food vendors, and a handful of cultural music acts representative of the Oktoberfest background. General admission costs $40 and provides unlimited beer pours from 4pm to 7pm. After 7pm, anyone can enter for free, but all guests must purchase beers at cost.

Anaheim Brewery’s Oktoberfest
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 10
Anaheim Brewery, Anaheim

Anaheim Brewery will celebrate Oktoberfest with two Saturdays full of Oktoberfest activities, such as live music, freshly-prepared sausages on-site, German-style beers, and more. No admission required – simply show up, paid for beers as you go, and have fun.

7th Annual Taste of Italy
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 10
Italian American Museum, Los Angeles

Sample the best of Italian in Los Angeles at this tasting gala this Saturday evening in Downtown Los Angeles. Samples food & drinks from dozens of restaurants & wineries, enjoy the live entertainment, and more. General admission tickets cost $55, while children 12 and under get in for $25.

The Photography of Edward Colver + The Subtitles
5:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 10
Blacklight District Lounge, Long Beach

Check out this unveiling of never-before-seen images of old punk bands like Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Youth Brigade, and more this Saturday evening in Long Beach. Following the art show, some local punk bands will perform until from 9pm the end of the night. Tickets to this event cost $10 presale or $12 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

3rd Annual Promenade Beer & Wine Festival
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 10
The Promenade, Downtown Long Beach

Following last year’s success, Downtown Long Beach brings back their beer & wine festival this weekend, complete with lots of drinks, local food, and live music. For $30 presale or $40 at the gate, guests will receive unlimited 3oz beer or wine tastings, 10 food tastings, and a souvenir glass. No one under 21 may enter.

Off With Their Heads @ The Roxy
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 10
The Roxy Theatre, West Hollywood

Check out some funky punk music this Saturday night at The Roxy in West Hollywood. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15.

2015 Long Beach Marathon
6:00 am – 3:00 pm, October 11
Shoreline Village, Long Beach

The annual Long Beach Marathon takes place this Sunday. Please note the street closures for that day, and adjust your day accordingly.

Little Italy FESTA!
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, October 11
Little Italy, San Diego

Bring out your friends and family to this free and all-ages event taking place on the streets of Little Italy in San Diego this Sunday afternoon. Visitors will find Italian food, live music, cooking demos, arts & crafts, games, vendors, and more.

10th Annual Dia De Los Muertos Art & Music Festival + Car Tribute Show
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, October 11
Casita Del Pueblo, Whittier

Check out this free and all-ages cultural art, music, and car show this Sunday afternoon in Whittier. This event will have artists, arts & crafts, live entertainment, hundreds of classic cars, vendors, merchandise, and more.

3rd Annual Good Food Community Fair
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, October 11
Quartyard, Downtown San Diego

Learn about a sustainable and delicious future at this free and all-ages awareness event this Sunday afternoon in San Diego. Visitors will find food, drinks, cooking demos, art, live music, seminars, and more.

Tony Hawk’s 12th Annual Stand Up For Skateparks
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, October 11
Green Acres Estate, Beverly Hills

Come to Green Acres Estate in Beverly Hills this Sunday for an afternoon of action sports thrills. Visitors will find action sports demos, music from live DJ’s, games, food, arts & crafts, vendors, a silent auction, and more. Individual tickets cost $550 each, while a family package costs $2750 and includes an autographed skateboard by Tony Hawk.

6th Annual Redondo Beach Taste of the Pier
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, October 11
Redondo Beach Pier, Redondo Beach

This food fest will include food tastings, bands, balloons, face painting, arts & crafts, and more. Enjoy a variety of small bites, live music, and fun while you tour the pier. Each restaurant will feature a different menu item and non-food retailers will offer other discounts and items in support of the Cancer Support Community and Redondo Beach Educational Foundation. Free to attend, tasting tickets cost $1 each.

CJ Ramone @ Alex’s Bar
9:00 pm – 1:30 am, October 11
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Enjoy some local punk rock at this show at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach this Sunday night. Tickets to this show cost $12 presale or $15 at the door. No one under 21 may enter.

The age of the domestic beer monopoly in the United States shrinks with each passing day. The beer industry around the world dominates the alcoholic beverage industry, as consumers drink 3,500 bottles of beer for every one glass of wine – that makes 8,000 times more beer consumed by the liter. Annually, consumers worldwide drink 189 billion liters of beer, but only 24 million liters of wine. While drinking habits may peak during certain times of the year such as holidays, the consumption of beverages remains fairly consistent and rarely makes huge changes in consumption from one day to the next. The changing seasons do have a great effect on the types and styles of beers consumed, as more people start to prefer full-bodied beers. While fall should tune the weather down a bit, Southern California remains hot as ever. Tons of pumpkin beers start to surface around this time, and perhaps the people have gotten tired of seeing pumpkin beers everywhere. However, some breweries continue to brew new pumpkin beers, reimagining how we will perceive these fall-style beers. If you still have room for pumpkin beer in your system, read on for five fall beers that I recommend trying this season, all of which you can find at your local bottle shop throughout Southern California.

5. Elysian Brewing‘s Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale

This past year, a series of “sellouts” have rocked America’s craft beer industry, as the big companies start to fear the rising power of microbreweries. Craft beer has reached an all-time high as far as popularity and sales go, and the big companies view craft beer as a threat, and has started to buy out (or partially buy) some of the more popular microbreweries. Though these sellouts routinely occur year to year, perhaps the role of the catalyst for this year’s tumble belongs to Elysian Brewing. I remember visiting one of Elysian’s locations in Seattle two years ago, and I instantly fell in love with their tasting room and brew selection. Now just because they now belong to a large corporation does not mean I like their beers any less. Elysian still produces some amazing beers, such as their Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale. At only 5.0% abv, this brew carries aromas of coffee, light pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spices with notes of toasty malts that join the flavor chorus of Stumptown coffee and pumpkin. Seattle breweries love their pumpkin beer, and Seattleites love their coffee, so why not combine the two?

4. Anderson Valley‘s Pinchy Jeek Barl

As much as I love craft beer, I do not possess a wealth of knowledge about the history of it. While I cannot explain the origins of aging beer in barrels, I along with countless others appreciate whomever discovered the process of barrel-aging beers. With this process, the majority of breweries around the world now have at least one barrel in their brewery holding a brew that will turn out mature, tasty, and stronger. If you intend to try a barrel-aged beer this season, look towards Anderson Valley. I always underestimate Anderson Valley because, like another known brewery, they tend to stay in the middle of the fray instead of trying to stand out. Perhaps they do this on purpose to avoid controversy by making good beers without getting the attention of the big companies. This means that Anderson Valley can continue to churn out beers such as Pinchy Jeek Barl. Barrel-aged for six months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels, this 8.5% pumpkin ale delivers a silky body and sweet caramel flavors with additions of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice complementing hints of coconut, bourbon, and vanilla imparted by oak aging. Following a wallop of a body, this brew finishes smooth and creamy. I strongly suggest sharing this bottle with a friend or two – finishing an entire bottle in one sitting will give you an early night.

3. Epic Brewing‘s Fermentation Without Representation

Ever since I discovered Epic Brewing‘s Exponential Series, I have yet to experience disappointment with any of their beers. Epic Brewing truly lives up to their name with the beers that they continually push out, and other breweries recognize the quality behind Epic. For this year’s batch of Fermentation Without Representation, Epic Brewing collaborated with DC Brau to brew this bold 8.0% abv beer with loads of seasonal spices & flavors with a delicate balance of malts, hops, and pumpkin. This beer explodes with aromas of sweet spices giving way to chocolate, roasted malt, fresh-cut pumpkin, clove, fresh Madagascar vanilla beans, nutmeg, and allspice. Not for the faint of heart, Fermentation Without Representation goes all-in with its flavor, leaving nothing to the imagination. If you seek something bold to close your night, look no further than Epic Brewing’s Fermentation Without Representation.

2. Stone Brewing Co.‘s Vertical Epic 08.08.08

Approaching two decades in the industry, Stone Brewing shows no signs of waning, despite co-founder Greg Koch stepping down from the CEO position. To commemorate 20 years in the craft beer industry, Stone Brewing will launch their 20th Anniversary Encore Series, a lineup of beers that celebrate Stone Brewing’s amazing history and their incredible lineup of memorable beers that have since retired. To kick off this series, Stone Brewing has brought Vertical Epic 08.08.08 out of retirement to once again tackle our taste buds. This 8.9% Belgian-style IPA uses a Belgian yeast strain during fermentation to provide a complex aroma of clove, pepper, and tropical fruits to generate a flavor profile composed of banana, spice, and citrus. Just like many did in 2008, you can enjoy this brew fresh or cellar it to enjoy a smoother and more mature flavor – I suggest not exceeding three years with this one. Keep an eye on Stone Brewing during this next year as they release other anniversary ales and collaboration ales on the road to the 20th anniversary celebration in August next year.

1. Howe Sound Brewing‘s Pumpkineater

Just because the United States has just exceeded 4,000 breweries does not mean that other countries cannot enjoy the fun as well. A handful of European countries thrive with their precious beers, and even Canada loves their beer. Up in British Columbia not too far past the Washington state border lies the Howe Sound, and at the far end in the area known as Squamish lies a local brewery & inn called Howe Sound Brewing. Basically a bed & breakfast (BnB), this brewery and inn in one allows visitors to come enjoy all the brews offered by Howe Sound Brewing, and stay the night to avoid any drunken mishaps at the end of the day. Howe Sound Brewing delivers a solid lineup of brews typical of any microbrewery, plus some unique seasonal brews, such as their fall seasonal imperial pumpkin ale, the Pumpkineater. Howe Sound Brewing brews this high-gravity pumpkin ale with barley, fresh-roasted pumpkin, hops, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise, resulting in an 8.0% abv beer low in IBUs. Sold in 33.8oz bottles, each bottle can serve two to four people. If you need a craft beer to serve to a party this season, make sure you grab some Pumpkineater from your local bottle shop.

Everybody eats out of necessity, and not always just for the luxury. Basic meals come and go, as they simply provide fuel to make it to the next meal. But do most people simply consume their food and continue with their day, or do they stop to enjoy the sweeter things in life? Ask yourself this: do you eat to live, or live to eat? Nobody can honestly consider after-meal desserts a necessity in life, even if they possess a sweet tooth. Despite this, nature causes all creatures to prefer sweets over anything else. Should you have dessert with every meal? Not always. Can you have dessert any time you want, regardless of other factors like time and weather? Of course! Despite the increasingly cold weather approaching, one should never sacrifice desserts for uncontrollable reasons. By that notion, continue reading to see five warm desserts in the Greater Los Angeles area that I highly recommend consuming to warm up this fall.

5. The Pie Hole‘s Chocolate Crostada

When someone from across the world has heard of it, you can bet it has a huge following. Some businesses can take a while to gain momentum from the day they open. Others can really take off due to the people they know. When you know the right people, they spread the word, and you gain instant fame overnight. Leave it to The Pie Hole to gain so much notoriety that people from the eastern hemisphere have heard of it and travel to Los Angeles for the sole purpose of visiting them. Okay well perhaps people come to Los Angeles for other reasons too such as In N Out, but when out-of-towners have heard of The Pie Hole while locals have not, you can bet they have the goods. As their name suggests, The Pie Hole specializes in pies, both the sweet and savory kinds. While they also have beverages to accompany the pies such as coffee and tea, the people routinely come back for the pies, such as the Chocolate Crostada. For $5 a slice, you can get chocolate wasted with this decadent chocolate pie topped with sea salt and caramel. As a bonus, ask your server for a heated slice instead of right out of the cooler for a softer, heartier treat. When heated, it goes from a firm fudge texture to a soft cheesecake texture. Think your taste buds can handle this much chocolate? If so, continue reading…

4. Scott’s Restaurant & Bar‘s Chocolate Soufflé

An unwritten rule about Orange County exists: the further south you go, the richer the people appear. Orange County has no shortage of upscale pricey restaurants and other businesses, but as long as people remember the word “moderation,” then anyone can afford to dine at any of these fancy restaurants. If the occasion calls for it, go enjoy that fancy dinner with family, friends, or a significant other at a place like Scott’s Restaurant & Bar in Costa Mesa. Located across the street from the South Coast Plaza shopping center, Scott’s Restaurant represents the typical upscale American steak & seafood restaurant. With a menu stocked with various meats and seafood, Scott’s Restaurant presents succulent dishes with fresh local ingredients delivered daily. In addition to all the wonderful food found at Scott’s Restaurant, they have their own pastry chef that delicately crafts the dessert menu to include meal closers such as their Chocolate Soufflé. While this does not do anything different from the typical Chocolate Soufflé, this one does take a long time to slow bake, so order this early in the meal to give the kitchen ample time to prepare it. If you do so, you will discover the true joys of a properly prepared Chocolate Soufflé complete with hot chocolate sauce. The slow preparation of it gives it a warm and soft melt-in-your-mouth texture sure to give you a comforting feeling as you coat your tastebuds with all that chocolate goodness. Anyone dining at Scott’s Restaurant simply must make room for a Chocolate Soufflé at the end of the meal.

3. K.C. Branaghans‘ Bread Pudding

While people around the world recognize the concept of food, regional differences will cause certain foods and drinks to taste differently from one person to another. For example, something as simple as water can taste different to someone from the west coast compared to someone from the east coast. Areas with warmer climates may prefer cooler, refreshing treats such as ice cream, iced beverages, or citrus flavors. Areas with cooler climates may prefer warmer, heartier treats such as baked pastries, hot beverages, or “dark” flavors such as cocoa. The climate of Ireland represents a cooler climate, so we can expect warmer, heartier cuisines from them, something that K.C. Branaghan’s does well. For over seven years now, K.C. Branaghan’s has delighted both locals and travelers with their family-friendly Irish pub on Naples Island in Long Beach. Their menu offers Irish faire with an American twist, and they have customer favorites as well, such as their Bread Pudding. Very gooey, very moist, and very warm, this bread pudding has all the sweetness and melt-in-your-mouth texture that one would expect of any bread pudding. This bread pudding does not have raisins, allowing you to savor the soft bread pudding without having to worry about chewing or choking on raisins. Enjoy in moderation or share this with someone, because its richness cannot do much wonders for your belly.

2. The Olde Ship‘s Sticky Toffee Pudding

Cooler climates lend well to warm treats. When the weather outside gets chilly, people head indoors and seek out something warm to eat or drink to help their body warm up. Traditionally, people drank hot beverages like hot chocolate or tea, or ate hot foods like soups, stews, or warm desserts. As a country further north from the equator than the United States, England’s cool climate means that foreigners often consume warm food and drinks more often to acclimate to the temperature difference, while locals have already gotten used to the climate. This probably has little to do with the cuisine of England, but luckily England does have some delicious and unique foods, which you can find at The Olde Ship. This British pub brings a taste of the motherland to the west with their interior pub-like design, British menu, and traditional British spirits. Visitors love the food at The Olde Ship such as the Fish & Chips, Bangers, Corned Beef, and various pies. However, nearly all visitors cap off their meals with some Sticky Toffee Pudding. The photo does not do this dessert justice because of the vanilla custard cover. A steamed piece of a very moist sponge cake gets drizzled with toffee sauce, then smothered with vanilla custard. The consistency will then resemble American pudding because of how the cake absorbs the custard. You might end up devouring this so quickly that you will want to order a second. Refrain from ordering more, as one of these can fill you up really quick!

1. Peter’s Gourmade Grill‘s Sweet Potato Gooey’s

How do you get the word out about your business if you do not do any marketing? You have to deliver something so good that the customers will spread the word about you. In this modern time of internet marketing and social media, all business owners need to utilize all available tools to get the word out about their businesses. Consider that many of these marketing tools have no cost to using them other than time to set up the information. Once set up, the people will do the work as long as you provide something that the people will want to come back for, such as the memorable food at Peter’s Gourmade Grill in Tustin. As a hole-in-the-wall that many people can easily drive by without ever noticing it, Peter’s Gourmade Grill only focuses on what they do best: grilling up foods with a twist, and each twist varies between each menu item. Perhaps the people continually return to Peter’s for these twists, since not many other places have the same combinations that Peter’s offers. Take, for example, their Sweet Potato Gooey’s. Originally intended as a shared dessert, this massive pile of sweet potato fries gets dressed up with brown sugar, maple syrup, and toasted marshmallows. Has anyone else ever thought of this combination? Perhaps so, but definitely nowhere else in Southern California can you find something like this. At $7.25, this can treat an entire family, as I cannot conceive any sole person devouring an entire order in one sitting.

When the seasons change, many more things change than just the weather. Looking at the weather alone, Southern California currently experiences a massive heat wave that may make you believe that the seasons had not turned yet. The pharmaceutical industry has come under heavy scrutiny. Scientists have discovered flowing water on Mars. A drought threatens the inhabitation of California. As a society, we cannot accurately predict what radical event will change the world next, but we can brace ourselves for anything, as we always have in the past as an enduring society. We can also fall back on what we typically associate with this time of the year. Fall, as we know it, indicates pumpkins, red wine, NFL, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the fall harvest, especially the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, giving us a reason to gorge on Mooncakes. Looking at all these opportunities to feast on favorable foods, we should not overlook outdoor grilling, nor the foods prepared that way. Though the winds will chill the air more so than in the summer, many folks will still utilize the grill up through Thanksgiving. In homage of the veritable fall feast, take a look at these five burgers in the Greater Los Angeles Area that I highly recommend seeking out this season.

5. Pie ‘n Burger‘s Cheeseburger

Two major archetypes of people exist: the adventurous and the safe. By human nature, people prefer the familiar – after all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This explains why corporate products can survive for so long because they continue to serve the exact same product that people grew up with. Because something has never changed over time, that must mean that people love it, right? For something traditional that the people always go back to, look no further than Pie ‘n Burger. This little diner in Pasadena has withstood the test of time with their simplistic approach to traditional diner foods in burgers, milkshakes, and pies. Pie ‘n Burger not only makes food that all customers recognize, but they make them delicious as well that rivals corporate equivalents. Pie ‘n Burger’s basic Cheeseburger may remind some people of other famous fast food burgers because of its cheddar, thousand island sauce, pickles, and lettuce. However, something about Pie ‘n Burger’s old-fashioned cheeseburger just makes it so much better than fast food. Pair this cheeseburger with a milkshake or a fresh slice of pie, and you have a terrific meal that may remind you of your childhood.

4. The Blind Pig‘s Bison Burger

Fancy hip gastropubs have surfaced greatly over the past handful of years. The new wave of millennials crave something new and unique, unlike the previous generations that prefer to stick with the familiar. The days of family restaurants have passed, and smaller intimate restaurants have grown in popularity with the customers getting closer to their servers and mixologists. The dining experience should encompass more than just the food – it should involve atmosphere, community, and interactivity, and you can experience all of that at The Blind Pig Kitchen & Bar. Nestled away in a shopping center in Rancho Santa Margarita, The Blind Pig’s smaller dining area seats groups of two to four and allows customers to feel closer to their servers and mixologists. While they boast an extensive offering of cocktails, The Blind Pig also serves some mighty fine cuisine, including their Bison Burger. This burger with a 100% ground bison patty comes with arugula, caramelized onions, cheddar, and spicy aioli, served with fries. Bison typically has less fat than beef and has a gamier taste, giving a different approach to the typical burger. You can savor this burger at The Blind Pig for $15.

3. True Food Kitchen‘s Bison Burger

With the widespread use of the internet came all the exposures of bad food industry practices. From the inhumane treatment of animals to all the fillers in food, people started to demand better food quality, and most food companies had to oblige or risk losing business. While the corporate businesses struggled to change their ways, local businesses started fresh and adopted a wholesome and healthy approach to their menus, something that True Food Kitchen accomplished right off the bat. Best known for their anti-inflammatory ingredients, True Food Kitchen truly delivers good good-for-you food. Their menu covers all types of diets, from vegan to gluten-free and more. For those without dietary restrictions, True Food Kitchen still has an expansive menu that includes savory dishes such as their Bison Burger. Using a 100% ground bison patty, this delicious yet healthy burger gets topped with mushrooms, onions, mayonnaise, watercress, and parmesan cheese on a flax seed bun. For your side, you can choose Sweet Potato Hash, Kale Salad, or half of each. I typically do not enjoy mushrooms, but I made the exception just so I could savor this burger’s true essence, and I have no regrets. Every ingredient plays an important role towards the full picture of this burger. Experience health and flavor all in one bite with the Bison Burger at True Food Kitchen for $16.

2. Village Idiot‘s Griddle Burger

With all these newfangled restaurants popping up everywhere, sometimes it helps to exhibit a little modesty. Young adults want to visit the trendiest, hippest restaurants and/or bars because of interaction and mingling with others of similar age and personality. With so many of these new places around, some restaurants or bars just want to resemble the go-to place away from all the hustle of noisy places. Enter the Village Idiot in West Hollywood as your go-to place to relax. The Village Idiot looks like your typical neighborhood restaurant with no frills or anything fancy inside. They have an old-fashioned bar with plenty of seating in the dining area, perfect for parties of all sizes. With a wide array of food and drink options, Village Idiot will have something for everyone. For something familiar yet scrumptious, go with their Griddle Burger. This simple yet effective $15 burger carries two patties along with dijon spread and a heaping serving of caramelized onions, with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and fries on the side. Accessorize your burger with cheese or a fried egg at an additional cost. Available throughout the day, this burger will help you get away from the bustle of daily life momentarily while you savor this local flavor.

1. Wagyu Chuck‘s BBQ Bacon Burger

A corporate fast food business recently released a commercial where they pushed the phrase “Go big or go home” constantly throughout the ad. The notion of “all or nothing” greatly applies to all aspects of life. Why half-ass something when you can go full-ass into something? If you do not go all-in, that shows lack of commitment. When you go out to eat, you can either eat healthy or you can eat something full of flavor that can ruin your health. State fairs have things like deep-fried twinkie bars because YOLO. But if you intend to think YOLO with your food, you might as well seek the best foods that fit that archetype, so trek on over to Wagyu Chuck for your fill. One of many food stands in Downtown Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market, Wagyu Chuck makes burgers and only burgers. They specialize in burgers, and will not offer you anything else… except maybe a side of fried potatoes. The standard menu contains a single, double, or triple burger, but occasionally they will have burger specials, such as the BBQ Bacon Burger. While the name itself sounds amazing, I hope that you do not have a diet plan if you intend to conquer this. Greasy, oily, and salty, the combination of bacon, fried onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce all on top of a wagyu beef patty leaves a profound effect on your tastebuds and your stomach. Savor this burger with small bites, as you will not ever want this burger to end. As a burger special, Wagyu Chuck may not carry this on their menu forever, so travel to Wagyu Chuck as soon as possible and see what a true burger should taste like.

This past Saturday, Long Beach’s 4th Street Retro Row hosted their first annual Four on 4th event, an opportunity for visitors to stroll up and down Retro Row while sampling local food and drinks. Visitors paid for a wristband and glass ($25 presale or $30 on the day of the event), which allowed the visitors to receive beer and wine samples at participating businesses along Retro Row. Visitors started at one of two check-in spots (Art Du Vin and Restauration), and from there could walk to all the different participants’ locations, or ride in a complimentary trolley to get from one end to the other. While all the retail and services businesses served free drinks to visitors, the participating restaurants merely had specials, so visitors had to pay additional money to sample anything from the restaurants, albeit at a discounted rate. For example, Long Beach United Boxing Club poured Stone Brewing‘s beers, but Lola’s Mexican Cuisine only had specials. A few breweries sent actual reps to this event for representation: Ballast Point, Uinta Brewing, and Firestone Walker each sent a rep to man a beer-pouring station inside a different business each. I spotted Bell’s Brewery and Knee Deep Brewing without a rep, but I never found Drake’s Brewing.

Just like Los Angeles, within the city of Long Beach lies numerous different neighborhoods each uniquely defined by its constituents. From the bustling Belmont Shore to the luxurious Naples Island to the family-friendly Bixby Knolls to Little Cambodia (the largest Cambodian population outside of Cambodia), Long Beach has a neighborhood fitting for everyone. Many of these neighborhoods occasionally host “Taste Of ____” events that allow visitors to sample food and drinks from the local businesses, including neighborhoods such as Belmont Shore’s Stroll & Savor, Taste of Downtown Long Beach, and Bixby Knolls First Fridays. 4th Street’s Retro Row used to have Last Saturdays where the local shops would have specials, but that monthly event stopped occurring years ago. Perhaps they can bring back some extra visitors to Retro Row with an annual event in Four on 4th. Coincidentally, Four on 4th took place on a Last Saturday!

For an event running for the first time, this did not run completely smooth without hiccups. Less than a few hundred people attended this event, perhaps due to poor marketing of this event. Any advertising of this event did not disclose enough information, but luckily I arrived early enough to find out the mechanics of this event. While I originally arrived in the middle of Retro Row, I did not know that I had to check in at the far ends of Art Du Vin or Restauration. I also did not know that admission provided NO food at all – I expected to receive some food samples, but discovered that we had to pay for any food at all. I do anticipate that, despite a few beginner’s mistakes, Retro Row will bring back Four on 4th next year. See what else goes on at Retro Row by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.