Archive for February, 2013

An old quote goes “Behind every great man lies a great woman.” Perhaps back in the day, this quote held absolute meaning, since men used to typically dominate the home and work environment. Today, this quote has more-or-less dissolved in meaning, and can now apply to more than just two people. Have you ever heard anyone say “Behind every great meal lies a great person (chef/cook/etc)”? When one consumes an outstanding meal, generally an astute person prepared that meal. Many people live through life with little regard to the people behind the food. Sometimes, you just have to know the people behind the food, and as another saying goes, “Knowing is half the battle.” That said, we shall turn our attentions to the curator behind a Southern California legacy known as Slater’s 50/50.

A renowned Southern Californian institution, Slater’s 50/50 continually pushes the bar when it comes to reinventing the wheel of food. Discontent with maintaining a boring, routine menu filled with standard restaurant faire, founder Scott Slater sought to experiment with food to generate the “perfect mess.” With a background and story as epic as their burgers, Slater’s 50/50 hosted a small, private gathering where select lucky guests could sample some of the menu items and partake in a Q&A session with Scott and Executive Chef Brad.

As the night began, servers gradually brought out appetizers for the guests to munch on: Fried Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese Balls, Beer Cheese Fries, and Slater’s Vampire Dip. With all this came a mini Mint Chocolate Shake. Afterwards, servers brought out three burgers to sample: the standard 50/50 Burger, the B’ B’ B’ Bacon Burger, and the Peanut Butter Jellousy Burger (a la mode on the side). This entire time, all guests could walk around freely and mingle with others, including Scott Slater himself, Chef Brad, Erika & Brooke from marketing, and more. Once servers brought out the Bacon Brownies for dessert, Scott and Brad began their presentation of the March Burger-of-the-Month: the Drunken Steak Sandwich (yeah, not exactly a burger).

I do not recall the full list of ingredients on this sandwich, but I do know it contains an unsliced 8oz New York Steak, peppered arugula, Jameson-marinated tomato, provolone cheese, red peppers, and some white sauce that contained Guinness. All five Slater’s 50/50 locations will serve this sandwich throughout the month of March.

Following one final sample of this sandwich from the servers, Nancy Luna of the OC Register began moderation of the Q&A session with Scott and Brad. Neither Scott nor Brad revealed any surprising information – they arrived at their current location in life in a traditional way, in stark contrast to the anti-traditional items found on their current menu. Tailgating at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego prompted Scott to one day use ground bacon as burger patties, and his idea received so much praise that he eventually got into business, but decided to mix in ground beef to tone down the intensity of the 100% bacon burger. Scott did not consider any other names for the restaurant besides simply Slater’s 50/50; thankfully, it worked out, as he now owns the trademark to the 50/50 burger. Prior to the bacon burger discovery at the tailgate in San Diego, Scott ran a food cart in Northern California. After a string of profitable days, Scott opened more food carts in multiple states once he realized his knack and proficiency in the food industry. After that, Scott and Brad answered general interest questions, such as what beer they like to drink and what else they like to eat.

Got anymore questions for Scott? If you do not see him within a month from now, you can meet him and his excellent team at the 4th Annual Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Festival in San Diego on Sunday, March 24th. Grab your tickets quick, because they sold out early last year! Until then, visit your local Slater’s 50/50, order their Drunken Steak Sandwich, and revel in the magnificence of Slater’s 50/50.

Remember back in the day, when people followed norms and conformed to traditions set by society? World history has taught us that rebel/anarchist groups have caused the most trouble throughout the world, seeking to overthrow law and justice. Historically, these types of groups have rarely instigated good upon the world, and always end up leaving a trail of blood and burned bridges in their wake. Can theorists rationalize the reasoning and motives behind these groups? While the general public believe they intend to cause harm, members of those rebel groups believe what they do brings good. Intrinsic value indicates a greater good for the greatest amount of people, though the concept of intrinsic value varies between people. As time progressed, people started to grasp the concept of intrinsic value more and more, while the so-called “1%” of the world continue to live on in greed and corrupt politics. Fast forward to today, where rebel groups now attempt to right wrongs using extremely unorthodox methods. Enter Rebel Bingo.

A smashing phenomenon in the UK, Rebel Bingo combines the interactivity of bingo with the energy of a nightclub. Some whackjobs in London developed Rebel Bingo one drunken night, and the rest turned into history. Their website explains it best, but I shall attempt to describe the night in my words. Upon first arriving at the venue, guests will experience a normal nightclub scene – dark, lines at the bar, and a DJ on stage. As the 11th hour approaches, a 10-minute countdown starts, giving the crowd ample time to make their way down to the main floor.

Once the clock strikes zero, the emcee slowly struts up to the mic to make a somber introduction. After a few words explaining the series of events that led to the night…

All hell breaks loose, as gals that appeared as go-go dancers arrived on the scene and the lights started strobing profusely, marking the start of Rebel Bingo. In a nutshell, the night comprises of two sets of two games. The first game requires one line of bingo, while the second game requires two lines. The entire time, the DJ plays typical club music, while the go-go gals call out the numbers in lewd, sexual ways. Prior to calling out the number, the gal would make a comment about sex or sin, or some combination of the two among others. During a game, I heard more moans than a porno. When an audience member has fulfilled the requirement, that person must run onto the stage and hug the emcee. This continues until two people have climbed onto the stage and hugged the emcee. Once this happens, the two guests play a minigame to win some odd prize. These prizes either meant little, such as a panda plush doll or tiger animal suit, or held high value, like a disco ball or iPod Speaker. Once all games had ended, the venue returned to normal nightclub operations.

Does Rebel Bingo sound crazy to you? Imagine going to a show, but instead of a band or only the DJ, the audience gets to participate in the night other than just dance. If anything, do not see this as a gambling event or some competition to win a prize. Just tell yourself and your friends that you bought a ticket to go see a show, and that they should go too to see something unusual that you may never see again. With no future dates currently announced, only time will tell if Rebel Bingo players will emerge from the darkness to spread the word again here in the United States.

Ever stop to think that music genres belong to certain age groups? While many of today’s popular music genres certainly fit some age groups better than others, if you think punk rock only belongs to the young generation, think again. Last Friday night, The Angry Samoans, JFA, and some more of punk rock’s older bands occupied the stage at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Impressively, not only did the show start on time, but with the exception of the first band of the night, every band played a lengthy set, clocking in at roughly 40-50 minutes per band. The majority of the night’s audience had arrived by the second band, due mainly to the night’s amazing lineup.

Social Task opened the show with their 30-minute set. For reasons unknown to me, their set lasted the shortest of all bands in the night. Having seen them at shows over the past few years, I recognized them immediately once they arrived on stage. They truly know their craft, so going first came as a surprise to me, as Social Task deserves a greater crowd than the crowd that slowly trickled in during their set. Regardless, Social Task put on a great show, and everyone who arrived on time enjoyed the music.

Whitekaps played next in the night with their skate-punk music. They market themselves as a skate/surf ‘humorcore’ band, which only came out as the lead singer making lewd and debaucherous comments between songs, and even in some songs. At one point, a female singer appeared after the main singer motioned for all guys to leave the pit so the gals could freely mosh. A combination of their raunchy jokes and harder sound led to the start of the rest of the night’s pit.

Up next, Naked Aggression rocked out on the stage. A handful of people did not know this band, which strikes me down, since the band started in the early 90’s. For those who do not recognize Naked Aggression, a female plays bass, and a female does vocals. Furthermore, their bassist possesses the rare ability to scream. Their anarchistic music maintained the energy in the room the entire time during their set.

Luicidal took to the stage next. Featuring a former bassist and drummer of Suicidal Tendencies, Luicidal displayed the same energy that Suicidal Tendencies did in the past. With a harder sound closer to hardcore, they even played some classic Suicidal Tendencies songs, eventually ending their set with Institutionalized.

The first headliner of the night Jodie Foster’s Army (JFA) played after Luicidal. As one of the most prominent skate-punk bands of all time, the audience never allowed a slow moment in. The pit remained intense, even when JFA played non-fast songs. JFA played hits like Johnny D and Beach Blanket Bongout, and covered classic songs such as the Peanuts theme and Lowrider. Following their set, vocalist Brian Brannon jumped down for a meet & greet. I got to shake hands with him, and I introduced myself as Johnny D, which prompted him to tell me the story of how they came up with the song. Totally rad!

Closing out the night, the Angry Samoans decided to include giveaways during their set. They threw out t-shirts, CD’s, stickers, and posters throughout their set. As an older punk band, I had high hopes for them. Unfortunately, it appeared that they had some problems with their sound at the beginning. The vocals worked fine, but they started out with no bass. After a few songs, they fixed the bass, but then lost some of the guitar sound. Once that got fixed, they lost some of the drums. I wanted to see them put on a great show, but the crowd had run out of energy, and their non-functional sound did not keep the energy up for long.

Looking for punk rock music in Southern California? Check my blog weekly for upcoming events, which may include some shows in your area!

Orange County Restaurant Week
Now through March 2
Various restaurants in Orange County

For one week, numerous restaurants in Orange County will offer prix-fixe multi-course meals, ranging from $10-20 for lunch and $20-40 for dinner.

2013 OC Music Awards Showcase Series Finals
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, February 26
House of Blues, Anaheim

This free and all-ages show will feature some of the nominated musicians for the OC Music Awards. Five different local artists will perform and compete for the title of Best Live Band awarded at the OC Music Awards in March. Come see the best of the 7-week series duke it out one last time.

Mustard Plug, Los Kung Fu Monkeys, Matamoska, Just Like Before, and more @ DiPiazzas
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 28
DiPiazzas, Long Beach

Ready for this ska show? Mustard Plug rarely plays on the west coast, so you do not want to miss out on this, plus the reunion of Just Like Before. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $10 presale and $13 at the door.

2013 Long Beach Health Freedom Expo
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, March 1-3
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

Seek out information about fresh, natural, and healthy living at this expo this weekend in Long Beach. Whereas other expos focus on sales and pushing products onto guests, this expo deals more with information and seminars, educating guests about a natural and healthy lifestyle. Tickets cost $20 for one day or $35 for the entire weekend pass. Parking costs $10, so I suggest parking in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Ave, or taking public transportation.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 1
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).

Noche de Estrellas
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm, March 1
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

This all-ages Latin-themed party celebrates the sea stars of the aquarium. Live bands, DJ’s, dancers, and more will keep the Latin music going all throughout the night. Entry into this party comes with the cost of admission into the aquarium.

Beer Savage Art Show
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, March 1
Noble Ale Works, Anaheim

Independent artists from across the country fly in for one night to exhibit their work at Noble Ale Works this Friday night. Free to attend, this event will also feature a live DJ, food trucks, and a special beer release.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, March 1
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.

Bake ‘N Buy Fundraiser + Bake Sale
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, March 2
Jones Coffee, Pasadena

Buy delicious treats from various chefs and bakers from around Los Angeles, or fill yourself up from the Grilled Cheese Truck at this fundraiser this Saturday in Pasadena.

Grand Park Downtown BookFest
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, March 2
Grand Park, Downtown Los Angeles

Book lovers rejoice! Readers of all ages can enjoy this free gathering that brings together the joys of books and more. Live DJ’s will keep music on the entire time, and food trucks will keep hungry guests fed.

12th Annual Lantern Festival
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, March 2
Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

This free and all-ages festival celebrates Chinese tradition with recreations of street fairs filled with illuminating lanterns, music, lion dance, interactive arts & crafts, and more, all culminating with a glow-in-the-dark dragon dance at the end of the day. Local food businesses will sell authentic Chinese food and drinks as well.

Gastropubs have risen significantly in population and popularity over the past few years. What once existed as a foreign concept now flourishes in a modern setting, where people seeking high quality food & drinks at affordable prices actively research gastropubs to visit. When you break it down to the bare bone, a typical gastropub menu contains bar-adapted appetizers, entrée salads, thick burgers, simplified yet improved desserts, and a decent selection of craft beers. Some aspiring chefs have taken a different approach to the menu by reengineering the gastropub perception and focusing the menu on a particular type of cuisine or food. Some gastropubs may focus on pizza or flatbreads. A few may focus on sausages and applications of sausages. Others may just like to experiment with whatever comes their way, and if it ends up tasting good, they run it as a special for their customers to try. In the case of The Factory Gastrobar, they tested out their renditions of chili to pair with their selection of craft beers.

Located in the heart of the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach, The Factory Gastrobar hails as one of Long Beach’s first modern gastropubs. Reinventing classic foods since 2009, The Factory has gone through countless kegs of beer while serving up an ever-changing menu. Every month, they hold special events for different purposes, such as wine, beer, or food. Sometimes, they like to combine occasions to garner a larger turnout. Last night, in conjunction with the tap takeover of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, The Factory also concocted four versions of chili for a chili-extravaganza. Customers could order chili as an entrée, or all four as a flight paired with respective Figueroa beer. The four chilis with their beer pairings from left to right:

  • Bavarian Bratwurst (Paradise Rd Pilsner) – grass-fed beef bratwurst, bacon, Davy Brown ale, smoked tetilla cheese, spiced yogurt crema
  • Fire Roasted (Danish Red) – seasonal vegetables, roasted red peppers, shaved cabbage, avocado
  • Green Pork (Pale Ale) – pinto beans, shishito, serrano, poblano, pasilla, tomatillo, mango salsa, radish, mozzarella curds
  • Creamy Chicken (Hoppy Poppy IPA) – free-range Shelton chicken, white beans, corn salsa, pepper jack, avocado relish

The entrée versions included either bread or a pretzel.

Just like their last similar night of a food night and tap takeover, The Factory plans to retain the popular choices on their menu, pending a few tweaks to perfect the recipe. If you missed all the chili last night, fret not – they will feature one, some, or all of these on their menu very soon. They appreciate feedback, so if you love chili and want to see it on their menu, drop on in and inform them. Until then, visit them anyways and try some of their delicious food and refreshing beers on tap.

Did you enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day last week? If not, you should have spent your Saturday night watching the Dirty Little Secrets perform their first official burlesque show of 2013. Returning to the stage after a winter break full of dancing and rehearsing, these darling vixens showed no signs that the holiday break wore them out. The audience enjoyed a sexy show, complete with sultry dance moves, raunchy naughtiness, and plenty of pasty-covered boobs. With a full troupe ready to rip and roar, the Dirty Little Secrets plan to perform more shows in the near future. Perhaps you would like to see them perform very soon? Catch them performing a FREE show this Sunday night at TRiP in Santa Monica. No one under 21 may enter.

What more can I say that pictures cannot? Enjoy these highlights from Saturday night’s show:

The 20th Annual Queen Mary ScotsFest returned this past weekend to Long Beach. This Scottish cultural festival celebrated everything that makes Scotland so memorable today. From the bagpipes to the kilts to the haggis to the highland games, anyone who has not experienced Scottish culture surely needed to check out this festival. The Scots built the Queen Mary many decades ago, so naturally they get to host this festival. Largely remaining unchanged from previous years, visitors attending for the first time will enjoy everything this festival has to offer. Guests attending again following previous years will not see much in the way of new things, besides new people and new tangible goods. But how often can groups prance around wearing kilts and grunting in Scottish accents?

The shepherding demo moved to the front of the venue area, providing more room for the highland games to take place at. The vendor village also expanded, albeit the expansion only made more room for weapons. Those Scots sure do love their weapons.

Within the Queen Mary, the main banquet room hosted piping contests and dancing contests. Eventually, all the piping moved outside to give room for the girls to dance in the competitions.

Just below that, a dart tournament took place, allowing anyone who registered online to test their skill at this pub game.

A nearby vendor sold imported European treats and other goods.

Speaking of food, you cannot attend a cultural fest without trying the food of that culture. Thus, I opted to order the Haggis, and I added a Pork Pie. Sadly, this year did not measure up to last year, as they did not provide brown sauce (such as HP Sauce), and they kept the pork pies in a cooler. I do not usually eat meat pies cold, and after I discovered that the filling resembled ground pork, I immediately thought of a pâté chaud, which I could buy hot for just a dollar at markets in Westminster. To anyone instantly turning away from the haggis, do not knock it until you have tried it. It does not taste as bad as many people believe, as it simply tastes and feels like salty meatloaf.

If you go to a Scottish festival, you will hear bagpipes guaranteed. Throughout the fest, numerous piping groups marched around the Queen Mary and competed to win best in show and other prizes.

The Highland Games took center stage as the main event of the fest, drawing in the largest crowds. Something about burly men in kilts tends to attract many people, men and women, old and young. I suppose in ancient Scotland times, someone picked up a heavy object, threw it, and his comrades decided to turn that into a competition, thus giving birth to the highland games. Purely speculating, all games involved throwing some object, usually with no technology involved; thus, the Highland Games.

Every year, ScotsFest hosts a single-malt scotch whisky tasting for the adult crowd. This year, they added a craft beer tasting class, hosted by Deschutes Brewery. A $10 entry ($11.75 after fees) provided any guest with five tasters of Deschutes beers. As each taster amounted to about one ounce each, each person received the equivalent of about half a can of beer. Paying $11.75 for this little beer sounds terrible, but it sure beats the $8 Bud Lights served throughout the fest.

For a two-day fest, the Queen Mary can pack a lot into ScotsFest. Both days followed a very similar schedule, which happens to follow similar schedules of previous years. Sad to say, to anyone who has attended ScotsFest in the past, you did not miss much. Everyone else who has not attended should consider attending next year. Consider donning a kilt and the rest of a Scottish outfit if attending. Getting into the Scottish spirit not only amps your enthusiasm up, but will likely make guests treat you more jovially.

All around the world, people find different reasons to go out to eat. Many eat simply for necessity, while others eat based on preference. When you break down the preferences, what reasons may you come across? Value? Quality? Location? Atmosphere? Regardless of the reason, we can all agree that going out to eat has turned into a staple in our lives, despite the notion that one can live an entire life without ever going out to eat. Once in a long while, you discover something that meets all the aforementioned criteria. When something sounds too good to exist, it usually comes with a drawback. This time, the drawback simply relates to time. While The Globe Dine Bar will last for a while, their monthly will fade away soon.

More than your typical gastropub, The Globe Dine Bar sets an international precedence in a local setting. Combining world flavors with terrific imported drinks, The Globe truly represents its namesake by bringing together cuisine from other countries to a small Southern Californian community. Every month, the chef travels to another country in search of inspiration for The Globe’s monthly special. February’s specials revolve around Chinese New Year, welcoming the year of the snake with three Asian-inspired dishes. Out of their monthly specials, their Beef Rib Nasi Goreng stands out the most. For $18, this massive plate comes with charred beef short ribs with a sesame, soy, and ginger glaze (Gedo-Gado) on a bed of Nasi Goreng, served with a side of vegetable salad with sweet chili dressing. Enough to feed 2-3 people, The Globe serves a generous portion of Korean-style on-the-bone beef short ribs, along with stringy vegetables with sweet chili sauce. On the other side of the plate lies a pile of Nasi Goreng, or Indonesian fried rice, which includes chicken, shrimp, and bacon lardons. Oh, and they top this off with a fried egg and include puff chips. From one corner to the other, this plate easily reaches two feet across. It boggles my mind how they can serve so much food for such a low price relative to how much food one would receive off this plate. Sadly, as a monthly special, this dish will not stay around for much longer. You have less than 10 days to head over to The Globe in Garden Grove to order this mammoth meal!

Pliny the Younger @ Haven Gastropub
11:00 am, February 18-19
Haven Gastropub, Pasadena, Orange

Get your chance at drinking this extremely rare and sought-after beer today and tomorrow at Haven Gastropub. An 8oz glass will cost $8 on a first-come first-served basis. Expect this to resemble Black Friday, as you will see people line up outside the restaurant for hours prior to the tapping. Pliny the Younger gets tapped at Pasadena today at 11am, and in Orange tomorrow at 11am.

2013 OC Music Awards Showcase Series Night 7
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, February 19
Yost Theater, Santa Ana

This free and all-ages show will feature some of the nominated musicians for the OC Music Awards. Each night features five different local artists performing and competing for the title of Best Live Band awarded at the OC Music Awards in March. This series of free shows occurs every Tuesday night all the way through the finals on February 26.

Figueroa Mountain Tap Takeover + Chili Night @ The Factory Gastrobar
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, February 21
The Factory Gastrobar, Bixby Knolls, Long Beach

The folks from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. will visit The Factory and stock all of the taps with their refreshing brews. In addition, the kitchen will prep a special menu featuring five different chilis, each with a beer to pair with.

2013 South Bay Home & Garden Show
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, February 22
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, February 23
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, February 24
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

This free and all-ages expo will showcase the latest in home improvement, remodeling, interior-design, decorating, landscaping, and more. Parking starts at $5, but parking the neighborhood east of Alamitos can bypass any parking fees.

The Angry Samoans, JFA, Naked Aggression, Luicidal, Whitekaps, and Social Task @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 22
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Friday means punk rock night, so check out this awesome punk rock show at The Observatory this Friday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $12.

CJ Ramone @ Alex’s Bar
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 22
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Come to this punk rock show headlined by CJ Ramone, which features Steve Soto of Agent Orange and Adolescents fame. Tickets cost $12 at the door, and $10 presale. No one under 21 may enter.

2013 LA Chinatown Firecracker 5/10K Run
7:30 am – 4:00 pm, February 23
6:00 am – 12:00 pm, February 24
Chinatown, Los Angeles

Start off the new (Chinese) year right with this 5/10K Run/Bike race this weekend in Chinatown. The bike race takes place on Saturday, while the run takes place on Sunday. All races cost $40 to enter. Various festivities will also take place in the Chinatown Central Plaza for most of the day.

African-American Festival
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, February 23-24
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

Celebrate Black History Month at the Aquarium of the Pacific this weekend. For the cost of general admission into the aquarium, guests will get to partake in live entertainment, arts & crafts, food, dancers, music, storytellers, and more.

Inland Empire Brewing Company 4th Anniversary Beer & Food Festival
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 23
Inland Empire Brewing Company, Riverside

The IEBC will celebrate their 4th anniversary this weekend just like they did last year – with a massive festival at their brewery. Featuring over 30 breweries, plenty of food trucks, and live music, this festival will please any beer drinker. General admission costs $40, begins at 1pm, and includes 15 beer tasters. VIP admission costs $50, starts at 12pm, comes with 20 beer tasters, and allows access to the VIP area.

Rebel Bingo
7:00 pm – 10:30 pm, February 23
Yost Theater, Santa Ana

If you think you know bingo, think again. This psychedelic interactive party takes bingo to extremes. Expect loud music, alcohol, dancing, intoxication, almost-naked people, and much more that you would not tell your grandparents about.

Brewfest 2013
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 24
Newport Beach Brewing Company, Newport Beach

Newport Beach Brewing Co. will host their annual Brewfest this Sunday at their brewery. $25 gets you 12 beer tasters, while guests may purchase more tasters for $1 each. The brewery’s restaurant will remain open for anyone wanting to eat.

Orange County Restaurant Week
February 24 – March 2
Various restaurants in Orange County

For one week, numerous restaurants in Orange County will offer prix-fixe multi-course meals, ranging from $10-20 for lunch and $20-40 for dinner.

This Saturday and Sunday, The Queen Mary in Long Beach gets immersed in a sea of Scottish culture at their 20th Annual ScotsFest. This cultural festival celebrates the Scottish heritage of the Queen Mary from the time of its construction in Clydebank, Scotland. Open to all ages, ScotsFest allows attendees to experience Scottish music, bagpipes, kilts, dancing, athletic competitions, food, drinks, single-malt scotch whiskey tastings, dart contests, and much more. Depending on the package, ticket prices will vary. A one-day ticket costs $18 for adults and $8 for children, and parking costs $15 per vehicle. Scottish clans from all over the world gather here for one weekend to proudly display their background and heritage as well.

Within the halls of the Queen Mary, a Dart Competition allows all guests to test their mettle in this glorified classic pub game. Anyone wishing to participate must fill out and submit an entry form found on their website, linked above.

When you think of Scotland, you cannot forget about the bagpipes. As Scotland’s most well-known symbol and sound, groups will play bagpipes throughout the fest, both as show and as competition. Multiple categories of piping will come into play, such as solo, ensemble, full band, and more.

Following the Celtic tradition, the Highland Games will test all participants’ strength and finesse. Both men and women can compete in competitions such as throwing stones, throwing hammers, weightlifting, and more.

For those who prefer not to get physical, plenty of other activities exist that will keep attendees occupied. Dozens of vendors will set up to sell various Scottish apparel, accessories, merchandise, treats, ingredients, and even weapons.

Any cultural festival will always serve the food of the respective culture, and ScotsFest delivers on the authentic Scottish food. Enjoy some meat pies, pastries, stews, and the elusive Haggis.

For the children, an entire kids’ zone will include bounce houses, face-painting, a petting zoo, and more. A sheepherding demo will take place regularly throughout the fest as well.

More activities include a parade at noon, and single-malt scotch whiskey tastings for the adult crowd, which requires an additional fee to partake in. Following the main fest on Saturday, the Queen Mary will extend the festivities with the Rock Yer Kilt Concert, featuring local Scottish, Gaelic, and Celtic bands. Guests that attended ScotsFest that day can receive $5 off admission to this concert. For a fest that lasts two days, a small group could experience everything in one full day. Consider that parking costs $15 per vehicle, so small groups may opt to take the FREE Passport bus that drives from downtown to the Queen Mary. This fest takes place mostly outdoors, so apply sunscreen and take some with you to the fest. Also have cash available, as many vendors only accept cash, and on-site ATM’s will charge ridiculous fees. Lastly, remember to have fun, keep an open mind, and participate in as many activities as possible to maximize your visit.