Archive for December, 2012

Punk Rock NYE @ The Doll Hut
1:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 31
The Doll Hut, Anaheim

A $5 cover lasts all day for this 21 & over all-day punk rock show!

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 4
Various locations
Long Beach:

This monthly artwalk occurs on the first Friday of every month. Each location offers different activities, but most will contain food & drink specials, art exhibits & displays, street performers, and more. Venice and Long Beach have the two largest gatherings of all First Fridays. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations cost nothing to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars 21+ only).

Nique Ta Mère – Flash Art Mob
9:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 4
Pershing Square, Downtown Los Angeles

Welcome to a pop-up art exhibit, flash-mob style. During this one-hour spree, artists set up their work on the subway train as a moving art show. After completing a round trip from LA to Hollywood displaying art through the train windows, participants get to hang out and party at Pershing Square!

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 4
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Occurring on every month’s first Friday, this 60’s night at Alex’s Bar will play all vinyl music of motown, northern soul, boogaloo, 60’s pop, and more. Feel free to dress up too, as the bar staff will hold costume contests and dance contests.

Health & Wellness Day
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, January 5
The OC Mix, Costa Mesa

Every first Saturday, people of all ages can visit this free experience at the OC Mart Mix. Visitors will enjoy the weekly farmer’s market, mini seminars from fitness trainers, yoga, cooking demos, olive oil demos & tastings, and more.

Reel Big Fish with The Pilfers and Dan P from MU330 @ House of Blues Anaheim
7:30 pm – 11:30 am, January 5
House of Blues, Anaheim

Get your skanking on this Saturday night with Reel Big Fish at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Tickets cost $23.50 presale and $26.50 at the door.

Free Blues Concert w/ Chris Cain
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 6
Buster’s Beach House, Long Beach

Check out this blues concert on Sunday night at Buster’s Beach House. No one under 21 may enter, as Buster’s enforces a two-drink minimum in exchange for no cover charge.

Concert For Cancer
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 5
The Glass House, Pomona

The ticket sales to this charity concert assists families affected by cancer. In addition to raising cancer awareness to the community, this concert will feature prize raffles, while local vendors will sell their food, drinks, and merchandise here.

Spring Street Farm’s Sunday Supper
5:30 pm – 9:30 pm, January 6
Expo Arts Center, Bixby Knolls, Long Beach

For $100, guests get treated to a local & seasonal fundraiser dinner prepared by local chefs, including wine pairings.

Want to attend Indulge LA or Sugar Lounge tomorrow, but still have not purchased tickets? Mention “One Punk Army” at the door to save $5 off admission! Read my preview for more details about the events.

Doing business with the public comes with great social responsibility. In 2012, many new businesses commenced, each with their own backing and marketing. “Survival of the fittest” never shone brighter, as mainly the strongest businesses survived the year, while those without a proper business plan closed. Entrepreneurs can seek out help from third parties, who usually would not hesitate if they receive some benefit in return. In order to garner more publicity to these businesses, event planners hold festivals for the public that contain multiple similar businesses. Some of these fests turn out well, while some others fall hard. When some people do not like the event purely because it does not fit their likings, those reviews can slide by. But when an event causes problems for lots of potential attendees, you have a social issue at hand. While 2012 saw many terrific public events, 2012 also saw a handful of events that did not live up to the expectations of the guests of the respective event. As an event-based marketer, I narrowed down my catalog to a semi-top 5 list of fests that flopped this year. These fests did not only affect me – they affected other guests too, taking into consideration how many others felt the same way I did. On a side note, none of these events carry an associated Twitter account.

5. TIE: Taste of West Orange County and Harvest Moon Festival

Both of these events clock in at number five for the same reason: putting corporates before the mom & pop shops. The Taste of West Orange County originally claimed to boast over 40 of the finest local restaurants for a $30 admission. They ended up only carrying nine different vendors, mostly consisting of corporate businesses like Chick-Fil-A, Starbucks, and Sam’s Club. The Harvest Moon Festival also promised to feature plenty of local shops at their fest. I had to plow through the long lines of people at booths for McDonald’s, Starbucks, Hyundai, Toyota, Wells Fargo, Verizon, and more before I discovered the so-called local businesses tucked away at the back, where few people even realized those booths existed. Why host a fest to grant marketing privileges to established corporate companies? The people already have heard of these companies, and most have gone to or consumed from one. For anyone hosting a fest like this, pay attention to the local businesses, and give less attention to corporates, since the corporates have a plan and know what to do to continue their success.

4. Long Beach Sea Feast-ival

How the mighty have fallen… Here you see an example of what happens when progress goes south. The Long Beach Sea Feast-ival originally started two years ago as a food fest for all of Long Beach. Many local food businesses in Long Beach set up at this fest on the pier and sampled their food to guests for free. Although the tickets cost $50 per person, they proudly held the title as the official Long Beach Food Fest. Fast forward to this year, and their decision to overhaul the fest has downsized the fest by leagues, as the extent of the fest reduced to only the end of the pier. Admission decreased to $20 per person, but in exchange, all guests still had to pay for food. Speaking of food, no longer about Long Beach local businesses, a local fisherman provided all the seafood for the day: lobster, crab, shrimp, scallops, and more. Unfortunately, the exorbitant food prices coupled with the bad quality made for an uneasy trip to the restroom afterwards. What happened to servicing the local restaurants of Long Beach? The original food fest setup worked wonderfully – why change to this tiny little “fest” that essentially marketed just one guy? Follow the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and you shall succeed with your goals.

3. The Chocolate & Art Show (Experience)

Every event promoter needs marketing to have a successful event. Unfortunately to the public, you cannot always identify the legitimacy of marketing sometimes. The organizers behind the Chocolate & Art Show (Experience) marketed more than they delivered. If you use ALL CAPS to market something, one should expect to clearly witness such a thing at the event, correct? From their event website, they claimed these in ALL CAPS: DJ’s & bands all night, gourmet artisanal chocolate, nude body painting, and tons of art. We can already get the art out of the way, since this took place at an art gallery anyways. As for the music, only one band played the entire night, and they had to take occasional breaks, leading to periods of silence throughout the gallery sans the expected chatter among the guests. I hate the word gourmet as much as I hate the word foodie because of the desensitization of the definition. I mean, to some people, they can call mini Snickers and Three Musketeers gourmet chocolate. But if you ask me, I would NEVER consider mass-produced candy as gourmet. Did the organizers really believe they could get away with giving away Halloween candy as their “gourmet chocolates”? Lastly, if you market nude body painting, I expect to see real naked bodies in the flesh. I expected to see women, but even men would have fulfilled their promise to feature nude body painting. I did not expect to see just paintings of nude people. Sadly, it appears that event organizers can get away with marketing something grander than reality. Heck I could even inform someone “You won a brand new car!” and give that person an unwrapped Hot Wheels car, as that qualifies my statement as true.

2. Manhattan Beach Beer Fest

When one man complains about something, most would simply discredit him. When hundreds of people complain, they may hold a valid argument. Entering the Manhattan Beach Beer Fest, guests immediately saw the problem. The fest itself ran fine, but entering the fest caused many headaches and swollen veins. The organizers decided to allow only a single file line to enter, but the entire time, only one security guard checked ID’s, and he started doing so at 3pm when the fest started. Because all guests could only purchase will-call tickets, the volunteer at the will-call table had to check ID’s once more. In addition, only one person worked the will-call table. Did they just not have enough volunteers? This food fest also hosted some food trucks, including the infamous Grilled Cheese Truck. However, some local business provided free food for the first hour. Gather all of this information together, and you will spot the frustration shared among hundreds of guests. For a beer fest lasting only three hours, the organizers ought to maximize the guests’ time within the fest, not waste their time checking them in. Also, why invite food trucks when someone else provides free food, and why provide it for only the first hour if it took longer than an hour to check everyone in? To avoid amateur mistakes, event organizers need to attend similar events to learn from them. Event organizers should never operate solely on research without real experiences – these real experiences teach infinitely more than research ever can.

1. Color Mob

No, I do not even have my own picture of the event because I simply never made it, as did thousands of ticket holders. The organizers of Color Mob perhaps got a little too excited to throw their first event that they overlooked one exceedingly important factor: transportation. They picked a venue far in the mountains away from civilization due to the nature of a color run – fine, we get that. However, know that only one road leads to that location, which stretches for miles before entering a city again. Also consider that the location could hold no more than 3,000 cars, excluding camper vans, motor homes, trucks, and other large vehicles. Why would you still sell over 10,000 tickets? Did you honestly expect all tens of thousands of ticket holders to carpool to this remote location, a place that has no cell phone reception because of its far proximity from the city? For selling that many tickets, they still only ran one start time instead of staggering it – if they had a few thousand per hour, traffic would not have frustrated so many people as it did. And apparently many people did carpool, as I witnessed many people leaving their cars to run to the venue. As many of them passed, I shouted at them to demand refunds, which I eventually discovered that many had done, but to no avail – the Color Mob organizers firmly stated all sales final, no matter what happened. Enraged, hundreds of ticket holders ranted on their Facebook page. Showing lack of professionalism and social responsibility, instead of acknowledging this issue, they chose to never address it and delete all negative comments from their Facebook wall. They also somehow removed their tag from my post about them a few weeks ago. Nobody should ever have to tolerate or give money to a group as irresponsible as this. I humbly bestow Color Mob the 2012 Badge of Shame.

Another year comes to a close, and with that comes all the year-end reviews. 2012 marked a terrific year for breakout businesses in many industries. Capitalism favors entrepreneurism, and America holds some of the lowest barriers to entry in the world. These entrepreneurs require intense marketing and PR to get their names out to the public in a positive light. When self-marketing yields less than auspicious results, they turn to external parties to generate buzz about the business. Many of these third parties include the social media market, others in the business, and event planners.

In the craft beer industry, event planners hold beer festivals to generate buzz about many different types of beers to the guests that attend. At a beer fest, guests typically pay an entry fee and enter an area where guests can freely roam and drink, usually in some public area where people cannot drink on normal days. Some beer fests require drink tickets to receive beers, while others provide all-you-can-drink beer. Attendees often find amazing beers that they have never heard of or ever imagined drinking, and the breweries sometimes bring their rare brews in order to sample to select guests. California caters well to the craft beer industry, and as such host many beer fests throughout the year. I attend beer fests regularly, and I have decided on the five best beer fests in Southern California for 2012. Anyone wanting to get into craft beers ought to attend one of these beer fests in the upcoming year, as those not only provide a terrific learning curve, but host some of the most successful breweries in the United States.

5. San Diego Brew Fest

From the organizers behind other large beer fests like OC Beer Fest and Septemberfest, the San Diego Brew Fest hosted nearly every San Diego brewery open at the time. Taking place at a large grassy park in Liberty Station, this beer fest made every step imaginable to provide the cleanest and most enjoyable experience for the guests. First off, no guest had to pay for parking, as nearby businesses simply allowed the guests to park there. Second, the fest took place on mostly grass, which means fewer broken glasses, and easy places to dump unwanted beer. Third, the massive space could easily accommodate for much more than the amount of tickets sold. Fourth, the organizers invited more than enough food trucks to feed the drinking guests. Fifth, guests received unlimited beer pours during the fest. Last but not least, guests could find every main category of beer here. I would not expect less from event planners that regularly hold beer fests throughout the year, so if you have the opportunity, attend one of their beer fests near you in the upcoming year.

4. Taste of Brews – Long Beach

Started in 2011, Taste of Brews – Long Beach showed no signs of amateurism as they hosted their second annual installment of their beer fest. Taste of Brews followed the principle of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – they rolled with almost the exact same setup as last year. The few changes included the switch to providing drink tickets for beer, food trucks to feed guests, the removal of the VIP area, and the removal of live bands. Very few beer fests take place right at the ocean, and while Lighthouse Park has no actual beach, guests could sit on the edge of the fest area and gaze out to the ocean. The location and time of year makes for the most pleasant experience for guests, as the weather feels neither hot nor cold, but just right because of the proximity to the ocean. With each Taste of Brews, the organizers learn from potential problems, and continue to improve their successful series of beer fests. 2012 saw three installments of Taste of Brews – I hope they decide to host more next year!

3. Stone Brewery 16th Anniversary Celebration

When a single brewery hosts a beer fests that trumps almost all other beer fests in the area in terms of sheer size, you know this brewery reigns as a strong industry mover & shaker. Stone Brewery’s 16th Anniversary Celebration proves why anyone in the craft beer industry wants to reckon with them. This annual craft beer celebration takes place on the gorgeous campus of Cal State San Marcos, and spans more than 50% of the campus. Sadly, the handicapped may feel intimidated with navigating all areas of this fest, as it covers multiple floors of the campus, not to mention the treacherous trek from the parking lot to the fest entrance. Once you get past all the stair-climbing, Stone Brewery rewards guests with a massive adult amusement park filled with beer, food, beer, cake, beer, ice cream, and more beer. Stone sampled beer cheese, beer onion rings, beer barbeque sauce, beer cupcakes, beer ice cream, and numerous more foods with beer in it. For those unable to drink, Stone provided unlimited craft sodas of varying flavors. Anyone craving the full experience should purchase the VIP package that allows guests to not only enter both sessions of the celebration, but also to attend the special industry seminar that takes place the night prior. Do not miss out on this grandiose celebration next year!

2. Los Angeles Oktoberfest

When asked about Oktoberfest, Southern California residents will most likely respond with Old World Huntington Beach or Alpine Village Torrance. I call these the poor man’s Oktoberfest, since those cost the least and feature the least. But hey, you get what you pay for. I opt to seek out the more upscale Oktoberfests, which led me to discover Los Angeles Oktoberfest. Lasting only two days this year, LA Oktoberfest put all other Oktoberfests to shame. Despite lasting only four hours each day, guests enjoyed those four hours much more than they would at any lesser Oktoberfest. Featuring tons of authentic German and Austrian beers, LA Oktoberfest delighted and entertained crowds with more than just a live band. The lovely ladies in their lederhosen teased many a guest, while some even delivered a free dance show. Lots of delicious food kept guests full, including the legendary Pink’s Hot Dogs, while guests could enjoy hand-rolled Cuban cigars outside in the patio. Besides the beer, vendors served up wine, wine coolers, spirits, coconut water, and other goodies, providing variety in a setting that guests would not expect to find. The organizers host similar events throughout the year, so stay tuned to this blog to find out when the next similar event arrives.

1. Orange County Brew Ha Ha & Brew Ho Ho

How pretentious can someone or something act when they claim to hold the title as the best of anything? Sadly when anyone asserts such a claim, they usually can get away with it without any backing or testimonials. When the folks at Orange County Brew Ha Ha claim their title as Southern California’s best beer festival, I assure you that they can walk the walk. A smart person once had a dream of hosting the most successful beer fest ever. Today, that dream has flourished into a dazzling reality. With over 40 breweries, plenty of food, free fountain drinks, games, live entertainment, merchandise, and more all within a massive space, OC Brew Ha Ha proved to the competition not to mess with them. Their popularity soared so much that they decided to host an additional beer fest in December called Orange County Brew Ho Ho, a mini holiday version of OC Brew Ha Ha. The organizers actually set a ticket limit on all their beer fests. By limiting the amount of guests, the venue can focus on greater service, thus pleasing both the vendors and the guests, and allowing guests ample parking spots instead of running out of parking. Surprisingly, they even managed to allow guests to park for free! Have I mentioned that guests receive unlimited beer pours at these beer fests? Who says that corporations carry the best product? One man devised this idea, which has blossomed into a full force still manned by a small group of people. Beer fest organizers take note – you can learn a lot from OC Brew Ha Ha, but no one will usurp them as the best beer fest.

The end of 2012 approaches, and 2012 marked a year of progress and innovation. As time moves forward, the human population always seek to expand and absorb new things around the world, because one cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. For this matter, humans need to keep an open mind about trying new things, but sometimes they lack the necessary outlet to do so. When it comes to new foods, plenty of food fests provide just that opportunity for the public to try new things. Around the world, new restaurants, pubs, bars, food trucks, and more open daily, but if those start serving new foods that the public may not accept immediately accept, then the business tanks. These food fests provide the perfect outlet for new food businesses to sample their foods to the public, and to begin building a strong clientele. The Greater Los Angeles Area houses an abundance of food businesses and large venues to hold large-scale food fests. With this comes the responsibility to ensure the proper hosting of a food fest to please both the vendors and the guests. I have compiled a list of five food fests in the Greater Los Angeles Area from 2012 that I believe all other event organizers can learn from. Many other food fests have occurred this year not on this list, and some succeeded while some others let the vendors and/or guests down. This list should clear up the successes from the failures.

5. Belmont Shore Stroll & Savor

The Belmont Shore Stroll & Savor in Long Beach consists of four two-evening food fests that run on the third Wednesday and the following Thursday from May through August. Unlike most food fests that require a paid admission and usually charge for parking, guests in Belmont Shore can park for free and roam the area for free. Only the customers that want to participate have to buy the ticket books to sample food & drinks from the restaurants, and even then all the businesses still operate under normal business hours for customers that want to dine out and not necessary partake in Stroll & Savor. Stroll & Savor follow a pay-as-you-go system, where guests can buy as few or as many ticket books as they like, lifting any limits for the guests. Because of this flexibility and minimal cost to the consumer, Stroll & Savor reigns as the top open-to-the-public food fest.

4. Taste of Orange County

The Taste of Orange County takes place on Father’s Day weekend at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine. Guests pay a flat rate to enter, which guests can circumvent with various coupons or vouchers from local media or businesses. Admission does not include food tickets – the organizers follow a pay-as-you-go system, so guests can buy as many tickets as they like. At first, all these costs plus the parking fee appears as a wallet-drainer, but once you step inside, you realize the value of everything you just threw your money at. Featuring a plethora of Orange County’s finest restaurants, wine bars, and breweries, the Taste of OC truly highlights the best of food in this county. The value of the restaurants present and the food they served surpass the cost of the entry fee and food tickets, not to mention the few vendors providing free items, including Hangar 24 Brewery providing free beer samples. In addition, some of OC’s most renowned chefs provided free cooking demos for guests. Because of the sheer value, the more people in your party, the more you save, and the more food you all can samples if you all share your food.

3. Decadence – A Celebration of the Senses

While OC Weekly may have made a mistake or two with Decadence – A Celebration of the Senses, the content of this fest nullifies all that. Covering both indoors and outdoors, this upscale food fest included more than just restaurants – this event included bars, clubs, breweries, other event promoters, and food trucks. The ballroom featured breweries, most of the restaurants, and specialty spirits. The outside area contained the clubs, open bars, food trucks, and a few restaurants that needed to grill outside. A small party could take all four hours of the event just to get through all the food, and many of the vendors had run out of supply by the final hour. For those less interested in food, the breweries, specialty spirits, open bars, and clubs outside provided enough distractions that anyone could easily forget about food over. Perhaps next year, OC Weekly will remember to invite artists to show guests their work.

2. Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival

The Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival had grown so much in the past years that not only did the organizers move to a new venue, but they expanded the fest to a two-day fest. Honestly, a small party could not even sample food & drinks from every vendor present in just these two days, especially since some vendors only appeared for one of the days. Taking place on the top floor of a parking structure at the Mercedes-Benz of Calabasas, this food fest contained more than enough food vendors and wine vendors, plus the occasional breweries, to fill up every guest. The organizers laid it all out as simple as possible too – all the food vendors lined the perimeter of the area, while all the drink vendors served from the center. In addition to all the eating and drinking, the Dirty Little Secrets performed their burlesque routine each day, entertaining and delighting guests with their presence. For just the entrance fee, guests receive unlimited food & drinks, and a free burlesque show. Who could complain about that?

1. Los Angeles Epicurean Festival

Los Angeles Epicurean Festival represents the pinnacle of all food fests. Only the highest quality food & drinks make an appearance here at Epicurean. The entrance fee covers unlimited food & drink tastes for the guests, and guests will find items of such a high quality that they may leave spoiled. After sampling everything here, you may never look at food the same way again. From the highest quality desserts to the aged wines to the best meats to the finest spirits, Epicurean truly opens up a brand new world of food & drinks to guests. Besides all the goodies to sample, organizers also host cooking demos, an Iron Chef style competition, and a mixology battle. DJ’s provide live music between programs, while pastry chefs sculpt beautiful sugar sculptures for viewing pleasure. The largest crowd gathered outdoors, where a vendor served the elusive Foie Gras to all guests. No food fest could ever simply serve food that rare and expensive like that! All things considered, anyone wanting to host a food fest needs to learn from Epicurean, as they have food fests down to an art.

Returning for their 17th year, The Vandals brought back their annual Christmas Formal show this past weekend at House of Blues in Anaheim and Hollywood. As one of the few punk bands to record an entire album based on Christmas music, it only feels natural to host a show around Christmas time and play Christmas music. This annual tradition now draws crowds from far and wide to partake in the merry festivities of a Vandals show, mosh pit and all.

This year, the show ran two consecutive nights, each with a different set of opening bands. I attended Friday night, where Indian School (formerly Audio Karate) and The Gears opened the show, while The Implants and Angry Samoans opened on Saturday night.

Indian School kicked off the show first with their 30-minute set. Formerly called Audio Karate, they recently changed their band name for reasons unknown. Since I found out about Audio Karate, I had not heard anything from them in many years until now. Indian School seems to have mellowed out a lot from their older faster songs. However, they still know how to rock the stage, and kept the momentum up the entire time.

The Gears set off next in the night, playing their classic fast-paced punk rock music. The Gears represent living proof of “Once a punk, always a punk,” showing that age means nothing when it comes to rocking out.

When the venue finally opened the curtains for The Vandals, the entire room rushed forward to greet them. The Vandals performed their entire Christmas album from start to finish for this show. The utter chaos in the pit meant little as The Vandals went on with their totally unrehearsed show. Each band member got at least one turn on the mic for a song, but no one expected to see Stan Freese, drummer Josh Freese’s father, walk out on stage as a tuba-playing punk rock Santa Claus. Forget banjos and whistles – only one band would ever dare to bring out the tuba and call it punk rock, and yes he actually played punk music on that tuba. At the end of their set, they all returned for a jam session encore while Warren, the guitarist in red, contemplated life and the so-called end of the world, just to fill the time until just before midnight when they finally took their bow and closed the night.

The Vandals prove once again that punk rock does not have only one sound. Their style of unrehearsed madness translated well into the punk rock culture, and has remained iconic in the punk rock world. Stay tuned for the next Vandals show by following them on Facebook or Twitter, and you will not regret the show you will go to see!

Indulge LA & Sugar Lounge
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, December 29
The Olympic Collection, West Los Angeles

Come to Indulge LA, an all-ages expo where guests will experience the best of chocolates, wines, and champagnes from around the world. The $45 admission covers unlimited chocolates, pastries, food, wine, champagne, spirits, and other goodies, such as a souvenir glass. In addition, guests 21 and up may also purchase a ticket to Sugar Lounge for $30, where they can enjoy beers, bourbon, more food, more sweet treats, an ice luge, and sultry burlesque dancers. VIP Hour begins at 1pm, while general admission enters at 2pm. The Olympic Collection charges for its own parking, which ranges from $5 to $10. I advise against parking in the neighborhood, which requires a permit that only locals carry.

Reverend Horton Heat, Jello Biafra, and Tijuana Panthers @ House of Blues Anaheim
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 29
House of Blues, Anaheim

Come see The Reverend Horton Heat and the legendary Jello Biafra perform a show this Saturday night. Tickets cost $25 presale, and $27.50 at the door.

29th Annual Vintage Clothing & Textile Show
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, December 30
The Pickwick Gardens, Burbank

This expo features over 65 vendors selling their antique textiles, vintage clothes, accessories, and more for attendees to exhibit and purchase. Admission costs $7 per person and comes with free parking.

Ska Luau III
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 30
House of Blues, Anaheim

Time to skank! This Sunday night, get all ska’d out with Starpool with Code Name Rocky, Paul Schiada of the Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe, The B-Sharps, and The Skank Agents. Tickets cost $12.50 presale and $15 at the door.

What does a typical person seek in a dessert? Does dessert have to taste sweet? Can that dessert come in liquid form? Does dessert automatically exclude some ingredients? Depending on the palate, people define a dessert in an endless amount of ways. Many people prefer a traditional sweet and solid dessert, such as cake or pie. Some prefer a liquid dessert, such as a milkshake, coffee, wine, or even beer. Would you ever consider a dessert that contains components found in the main course of the meal? Chefs and cooks have toyed around with this idea for the past few years, often adding meat or other odd ingredients to their desserts – sometimes it works, often times it does not. In the case of the former, I have discovered a restaurant that struck gold playing with this notion – adding bacon and liquor to dessert. One can find this interesting dessert at Chapter One: The Modern Local in Downtown Santa Ana.

Chapter One: The Modern Local cuts no corners when it comes to quality; in fact, they shave it down to a perfect 90° angle. Using the best in local and seasonal ingredients, they craft each plate and drink with remarkable precision. Their food menu can leave anyone overwhelmed at the choices of amazing dishes to select, but the dessert menu can leave anyone bewildered. Dessert at Chapter One consists primarily of donuts with the Chapter One twist. Customers can witness this twist best in their Bourbon Bacon Banana Donut. This banana doughnut gets a heaping coating of bourbon maple frosting, marmalade, and cocoa nibs. A brûléed banana half sits on top of this doughnut, covered with candied bacon bits. It goes without saying that anyone ordering this has to get a little of everything in each bite. Take some of the banana and bacon, and dive into the doughnut, scooping some of the marmalade along the way.

Who said meat only belongs on the entrée? Any willing diners can obtain this Bourbon Bacon Banana Donut at Chapter One in Downtown Santa Ana for just $6. Head on over there and tantalize your taste buds with this superior take on bacon donuts.

Ricky Fitness of The Aquabats covers Your Love by The Outfield at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, CA. Filmed on August 30, 2012.

When most people around the world think about beer, they think about a fizzy transparent yellow liquid that men like to drink out of a can. This conception draws from the power of money, that large corporations can continually shell out massive quantities of such a low quality product because of the money thrown into marketing and advertising. When 1% controls 99% of the market, one can afford to dupe the blind customers into consuming any product and believe in the hype. Luckily I see through their foils and seek the producers of quality products. When it comes to beer, I carry high standards and adhere to certain rules, such as not drinking any beer that I can see through. I have no need to worry about the latter when I drink any beer from Hangar 24 Brewery.

What started as a group of friends meeting in an empty hangar for drinks has expanded into a growing legacy of craft beer. Located in Redlands next to the Redlands Municipal Airport (hence the name of the brewery), Hangar 24 Brewery creates some of the finest craft beers on the market today. Hangar 24 features a lineup of amazing and unique beers such as Orange Wheat, their flagship beer. In addition, Hangar 24 deploys seasonal series of beers all year round based on what ties the series of beer together. Hangar 24’s most elusive series, the Barrel Roll series, consists of only barrel-aged beers in small batches made once a year, meaning they tend to sell out fast. I managed to taste their latest Barrel Roll release, the Pugachev’s Cobra. Hangar 24 ages this Russian Imperial Stout in bourbon barrels for at least eight months, resulting in an ABV of 15.8%. This incredibly dark beer smells and tastes like pure candy, so pure that you could taste the alcohol deriving from the candy. The overlaying chocolate flavor encapsulates the vanilla, oak, bourbon, licorice, dark fruits, plum, sweet malt, bourbon, roasted coffee, and maple syrup in every sip. Thanks to the aging process, an unopened bottle of Pugachev’s Cobra bears a long shelf life, and aging it this way actually enhances the flavor by allowing the alcohol to extract from the sugars and syrup, resulting in an ABV greater than the stated 15.8%.

You had better go find a bottle fast. With only 6,000 bottles released on December 8th a few weeks ago, expect to no longer see it for sale anywhere after Christmas. Follow Hangar 24 on Facebook and/or Twitter to find out where you can obtain a bottle of Pugachev’s Cobra locally. If you have the time, head on over to the brewery in Redlands for a great experience, and fill up a growler of any of their amazing beers.