Archive for November, 2013

Ask anyone about the three most important things about a particular place, and he or she will answer Location, Location, and Location. The location of any establishment ultimately determines the fate of the tenant. A location’s desirability takes into account more than just foot or vehicle traffic. Some places will see thousands of cars and pedestrians pass by daily, yet rarely see actual customers. For example, one of my favorite local establishments Shortnin’ Bread closed earlier this year, and in the span of just five months, that location has changed ownership twice. No matter how much love fans and locals will throw at a place, if said establishment exists in an inauspicious spot, the place may eventually fall. When we discover great businesses in less than desirable places, we naturally spread the word to friends and family about the place in hopes of driving business to the place to keep them in business. When I first discovered Beer Belly Deli tucked away behind an already popular restaurant, I knew I had to get the word out about this place.

Located at the back of a small strip mall behind the locally popular Eureka Burger, Beer Belly Deli takes a deli, a sports bar, a restaurant, and a gastropub, and mixes them all into one to form this modern deli restaurant. Like a deli, Beer Belly Deli serves the typical cold sandwiches, hot sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more, but with some modified ingredients to give this menu a more unique feel than standard delis. Guests can either order at the counter, or receive full service with a host and server. Beer Belly Deli also features a bar that not only has some televisions on the wall for the guests’ viewing pleasures, but stocks a grand selection of craft beer and wines. Servers here will not shy away from attempting to pair a craft beer with your meal, depending on what meal you order. For example, if you order the Double Whammy, a server may pair it with a pale ale. The Double Whammy sandwich costs $11.95, and consists simply of a heaping scoop of slow-roasted pulled pork & sliced mild Italian sausages, smothered with tangy BBQ sauce. All sandwiches, burgers, and wraps come with a side, which include chili, baked beans, sweet potato tots, and more.

If you seek comfort food in Claremont at its freshest, look no further than Beer Belly Deli. Remember to enter the building via the hall in the middle, and walk towards the back of Eureka Burger on the right. Although Beer Belly Deli serves beer and wine, guests of all ages may dine here, and Beer Belly Deli even has a kids’ menu, where every item costs $6.95. Beer Belly Deli may have landed an awkward location, but its wide dining area allows for private parties and for local musicians to play here. Check out Beer Belly Deli, and discover what small-town charm can do.

Lindsey Stirling performing Transcendence at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on November 5, 2012.

The 2013 Long Beach Comic & Horror Con wrapped up this past weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. This two-day expo of comics, video games, anime, manga, and toys brought together fans, artists, designers, and more. With plenty of speakers and workshops, the expo ensured that any attendee would find something to stay occupied. Occasionally, some dynamic event would break out for all attendees to spectate, such as Elvis singing or a duel between two individuals. The main floor consisted of merchandise on the sides and artists in the center. This year added some new vendors from last year, a result of expanding the space and adding more aisles for visitors to browse through.

What comic convention can rightfully call themselves a Comic Con without cosplay? Hundreds of attendees displayed their creativity and craftsmanship with the various costumes donned to this expo. Sure the majority wore costumes less original than anticipated (such as Star Wars characters – sorry Slave Leia fans), but for those who put on something new or different, I ensured that I would obtain a photo. Check out some of the good costumes from Sunday afternoon:

Did you attend this year? Remember that the Long Beach Comic Con occurs twice a year, so if you cannot attend the San Diego Comic Con, Long Beach also has a great turnout. Never underestimate an event similar to a big one, as Long Beach proves each year that the people truly love this expo.

The 2nd Annual Machinima Interactive Film Festival took off this past weekend at the iam8bit gallery in Echo Park. This free and all-ages event displayed short films and film trailers of independent film enthusiasts from around the world. Hundreds of film hopefuls have submitted their work to hoping to make the finals, with 40 videos making it to the final voting round. Although all of these original films fit into many different categories, most of the films revolved around geek culture – video games, comics, sci-fi, etc. To see all of this year’s entrants into the film festival, click here for the YouTube playlist, which includes some videos not shown at the actual festival.

An opening night reception took place Friday night, complete with complimentary food and drinks from local food trucks plus Lucky Buddha Beer. This reception would see the bulk of the entire weekend’s attendees, filling up the entire venue to capacity. Attendees also did not shy away from posting tons of pictures of drinking the free beer, showing the packed crowd of the reception night. I did not attend the reception, but attending the following day revealed that not many more people went back to the venue following the Friday night reception. Still, this meant that I could watch the various films peacefully without much exterior noise or distractions.

By clicking on the YouTube playlist linked above, you can watch all of the film submissions at your leisure. I watched a handful while at the festival, and I personally enjoyed these videos, in no particular order:

Of particular note, I truly enjoyed Controller. This Japanese film trailer depicts a girl who has absolute control over everything in the world via her mind, her struggle to want to live a normal life with her boyfriend, and the corporation who wants to seize her for their own malicious plans. If this film ever gets westernized, I can foresee a large anticipation for such a movie.

Interested in the results of the voting? Like Machinima on Facebook for the latest in their film festival, and to hear about the results first-hand when they report it. Make sure you save this weekend on your schedule for next year too, when returns for their third year of film submissions.

Pints For Presents
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, November 26
The Factory Gastrobar, Long Beach

Donate an unwrapped unopened toy worth $10 or more and receive a 12oz pour of any beer from Crazy Mountain Brewing, which will do a partial tap takeover this Tuesday.

Vegan Thanksgiving
5:30 pm – 9:30 pm, November 27
Claremont Craft Ales, Claremont

For $26, enjoy a vegan pre-Thanksgiving dinner at Claremont Craft Ales. For $6 more, receive a gluten-free meal instead.

Polar Bear Club @ Chain Reaction
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, November 27
Chain Reaction, Anaheim

Polar Bear Club just released a new album and currently tours throughout the nation playing shows, and that tour swings through Southern California this week. Tickets to their all-ages Orange County show this Wednesday night cost $12 presale and $14 at the door. Guests can find free street parking on S Loara St.

Skacore Night in Hollywood
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 27
Hollywood Anti-Social Club, Los Angeles

For just $5, ring in Thanksgiving at this skacore show in Hollywood. No one under 21 may enter.

CH3 @ Alex’s Bar
9:00 pm – 1:30 am, November 27
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Original punk band CH3 headlines a show this Wednesday night at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. Tickets to this show cost just $7. No one under 21 may enter. Guests should park on Orizaba or the neighborhood across the street.

Guttermouth @ Character’s in Pomona
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, November 27
Character’s Sports Bar, Pomona

Guttermouth headlines this pre-Thanksgiving show in Pomona this Wednesday. Presale tickets cost $13, while tickets at the door cost $15. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking nearby.

Long Beach Turkey Trot 5k/10k Run/Walk
6:00 am – 11:00 am, November 28
Belmont Olympic Pool, Long Beach

This fun run takes place on Thanksgiving morning. Participants should pick up their bib and packet from Belmont Olympic Pool prior to that morning – see the site for schedules. Four different runs start at 7am, 8am, 9am, and 10am. The registration fee now costs $40 per person for any run. As a fun run, participants do not receive any actual prizes – only bragging rights. Participants may park in nearby beach parking lots for free until the end of the event, upon which officials will enforce the parking meters.

Dana Point Turkey Trot
6:00 am – 11:00 am, November 28
Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point

Another Thanksgiving fun run takes place in Dana Point. Registration costs $40 per person. As with any fun run, participants do not receive prizes for winning.

Santa Monica Gobble Wobble
6:30 am – 11:00 am, November 28
Emerson Reed Park, Santa Monica

Combining a fair with a race, the Gobble Wobble adds to the main run with a costume contest, turkey calling contest, potato sack races, and other fair-themed activities. Registration currently costs $35, but will increase to $40 starting Thursday.

OC Psycho Punk Fest #2
5:00 pm – 12:00 am, November 29
Mirror Image Studios, Anaheim

19 local bands will play across two stages at this all-ages punk rock fest in Orange County this Friday night. Tickets cost only $5 presale and $7 at the door. Guests can park for free on the street.

Piss N’ Blood @ Detroit Bar
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 29
Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa

$5 gets you into this punk/indie show in Costa Mesa. No one under 21 may enter.

Suicidal Tendencies @ The Observatory
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 29
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Suicidal Tendencies headline an all-ages show this Friday night at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets to this show cost $25. Arrive early to find parking in the venue’s parking lot. Arrive too late, and park down the street for $10 per vehicle.

3rd Annual We Heart Eagle Rock Block Party
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, November 30
Eagle Rock Blvd & Colorado Blvd, Eagle Rock

Several shops in Eagle Rock will participate in this local Small Business Saturday celebration with sidewalk sales and other specials. Every shop will host their own specials, and some will have public activities, such as bounce houses or arts & crafts.

Bottle Share #9
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, November 30
38 Degrees Ale House, Alhambra

Brew your own beer? Got an interesting craft beer to share? Bring it to 38 Degrees’ monthly bottle share event, taking place this Saturday afternoon, and discover other great beers too. Free to attend, guests should bring approximately 40-50 ounce’s worth of beer. The restaurant has its own free parking lot.

Free Show @ Regal Inn
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, November 30
Regal Inn, Lakewood

Catch a FREE show with some local bands this Saturday night. No one under 21 may enter.

Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, December 1
2nd & Sycamore, Santa Ana

This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at four different locations: Phoenix, Long Beach, Oakland, and Santa Ana. As with any typical arts & crafts fair, Patchwork will feature many traditional forms of art and merchandise, but also mixes in alternative art – thinking outside the box, or Rebel Art. Those who have attended Renegade Craft Fair will view Patchwork as a hybrid of that and a traditional art fair. Featuring clothing, accessories, home goods, jewelry, pet items, and more, this FREE fest caters to a wide & diverse crowd. Food trucks will serve guests during the fest. Always remember to carry cash, since most vendors only accept cash. Guests should park in the neighborhood south of the festival.

San Diego Indie Craft Market
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, December 1
Queen Bee’s Art & Cultural Center, North Park, San Diego

Check out lots of local indie arts & crafts at this free and all-ages event this Sunday afternoon in North Park.

The Fall 2013 Long Beach Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival wrapped up this past Sunday at Marine Stadium in Long Beach. This semi-annual arts & crafts fair consists of a series of Sunday fests at four different locations: Culver City, Long Beach, Oakland, and Santa Ana. To envision Patchwork Fest, imagine an arts & crafts fair, but catered to a modern trendy crowd. As I describe it to others, imagine an art fair full of hipsters. Many locals set up their booths here, selling their wares, merchandise, apparel, accessories, foods, desserts, music, and so on. Patchwork Fest emphasizes supporting the local community, a perfect precursor to Small Business Saturday coming soon next week.

Does Patchwork Fest look fun to you? You have another chance to catch this FREE fest coming up next week. Patchwork Fest hits Downtown Santa Ana the Sunday after Thanksgiving. In addition to new foods to try, you may find some great holiday gifts for your friends & family. For a free fest, what have you got to lose?

Some big names in punk rock came to Southern California this past weekend, as The Misfits toured their way through Los Angeles and Orange County. As one of the most influential bands in punk rock, The Misfits always generate buzz wherever they roam, as thousands of fans will do whatever it takes to see them live. Although mainstream media does not pick them up, many of today’s popular rock bands credit The Misfits as an inspiration for starting a band. Along with some other great punk bands, The Misfits played two shows last weekend on consecutive nights, leaving the countless fans drained of energy yet full of pride. Although I made it to both shows, this post will cover just the Orange County show since I made it to that show on time.

The Attack started off the night strong with their 30-minute set. As the only band touring with The Misfits for the entire tour, for The Attack to play first boggles my mind, as a band at that level normally plays just prior to the headliner. Nevertheless, The Attack carried on, playing hardly like an opening band. They gave it everything, making it appear that some other band had gone on prior to them. With this much intensity starting the night, the pit would just get crazier by the minute.

The big punk names kept coming, as D.I. played next. Their set list has not changed from previous shows this year, so if you have seen D.I. at all this year, you know what songs to expect. Typical for D.I., vocalist Casey Royer talks about the most random things between songs. I did not even remember anything he said because he just went on about irrelevant subjects that did not relate to each other. Fans all stick around for the memorable performances and catchy songs, giving D.I. a strong fan base that will not dissipate any time soon.

Up next, The Dickies arrived on stage for their turn to play. Anyone who has seen The Dickies recently would recognize the set list as nearly identical to previous shows. This classic punk band makes use of various props to emphasize the points in some songs. Vocalist Leonard Graves Phillips utilizes these props, as well as dances in an eccentric and bouncy manner. The combination of his antics plus the exuberance of the rest of the band has kept The Dickies relevant all the way up to 2013 and beyond. Long live The Dickies.

After a dark lighting display paired with an eerie musical introduction, The Misfits calmly took their spots on stage to a sea of raging fans. Wasting no time with their 75-minute set, they dove right into their songs and played back-to-back with little to no downtime between songs. Silent moments did not last very long, as The Misfits transitioned to the next song at the end of each song. As the room had filled up by now, the pit had also filled up, turning into a giant glob of moving bodies. Following their completed set plus an encore, vocalist Jerry Only jumped down to the media row in front of the stage to sign autographs and take photos.

Miss out on The Misfits this past weekend? They continue to tour across the United States, and will embark on an international tour next year. Check their website for a full list of tour dates to see which show will swing by near you.

Last week, Seal Beach has its first ever Restaurant Week, starting on Tuesday and lasting through Saturday, culminating in a chili cook off involving local restaurants. Seal Beach bears a lot of history, especially down on Main Street. This small town hangs onto tradition with the many small shops and restaurants all representing an old-town feel. With plenty of fantastic local food & drink spots, Southern Californians regard Seal Beach as a place that will not change, but will always stick around as a go-to spot for what Seal Beach currently has.

With all this going on, you would think that Seal Beach needed their own Restaurant Week instead of just tagging along with Long Beach or West Orange County. At last, Seal Beach finally has one, and they also ended their week with a Chili Cook Off. Taking place this past Saturday afternoon at Hennessey’s Grill, ten Seal Beach restaurants prepared their best renditions of chili to serve to visitors. Costing just $10 to enter, visitors could sample all the chili they could eat, and vote for their favorite chili by the end of the day. In addition, all visitors received a raffle ticket with admission to win prizes from local businesses. The ten participants:

All of the chili tasted fantastic, but only one could win. Beachwood BBQ did a great job with their deconstructed pig chili, full of varied textures and meaty flavor; however, their chili landed them in second place. 320 Main would come out on top as the winner with their chili. I did not catch all of the ingredients, but I do recall that they used prunes to sweeten their chili. The Irisher took third place with their chili verde. Personally, I also liked The Hangout’s chili for the absolutely tender meat used in their stew. Overall, all of the participating restaurants delivered a fun and tasty afternoon, albeit not every restaurant in Seal Beach participated. While Seal Beach Restaurant Week will likely return again next year, you should not wait for that week to start checking out the restaurants. Head on down to Seal Beach soon and explore the many local restaurants and shops down there to experience a true old-town feel.

All good things must come to an end eventually. Although nothing can last forever, some things can persist in many circumstances. For example, did you know that honey, a naturally-occurring ingredient, never spoils? Other than that, everything moves around in seasons based on the time of year. Much like how fashion varies depending on the season, so too does food vary with the seasons. Different fruits and vegetables grow during different times of the year. As we now move into late fall and early winter, people around the world can enjoy the bountiful harvest of truffles during this truffle season. Chefs the world over seek this rare delicacy for its immense flavor profile that gives nearly any dish a major boost in umami flavor, and when the season comes around, many chefs come up with ways to utilize the truffles. If you want to get in on the season’s harvest, head over to Eden Burger Bar in Glendale to check out their limited-time specials.

Eden Burger Bar observes the traditional take on an American Burger Bar or Gastrobar, and narrows down the focus. In other words, instead of creating many bland dishes, they focus on a limited amount of dishes, but care greatly for the quality and presentation. With a solid selection of craft beer from around the world, the folks at Eden Burger Bar can surely pair the right beer with your meal. Speaking of meals, Eden Burger Bar jumped into truffle season quite early year this, having started in October. Last month, they featured their Black Label Burger as the burger-of-the-month for October. This heavyweight burger comes with roasted garlic aioli, onion confit, black truffles, black truffle cheese, & crispy potatoes. If you want to overload your senses further, add in some Parmesan Truffle Onion Rings – onion rings dusted with Parmesan cheese and drizzled with truffle oil. No ordinary human should ever consume this much truffle in one sitting, as the sensory overload of all that truffle can cause involuntary Truffle Shuffling. Should you decide to brave the truffle elements, I suggest pairing this meal with a nice, refreshing IPA – Eden Burger Bar currently pours Uinta Brewing‘s Hop Notch IPA, and I would choose no other beer than that.

Get on over to Eden Burger Bar quick and order these before the season ends! Eden Burger Bar plans to remove these items within the next two weeks, so go and order it today or tomorrow. You will not want to miss this final opportunity to taste truffles used in such an exquisite preparation.

A Colossal Party for Two Mid-Size Champions
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, November 20
Beachwood BBQ, Long Beach

Catch some amazing rare beers at Beachwood Brewing this Wednesday night. Expect to see some rare beers from Beachwood Brewing as well as Firestone Walker.

2nd Annual Machinima Interactive Film Festival
November 22-24
Iam8bit, Los Angeles

Watch tons of independently-made video game short films at this film festival this weekend. The website does not mention anything else, such as entry fees, parking, age limits, times, etc.

Run or Dye – Orange County
9:00 am – 12:00 pm, November 23
Orange County Great Park, Irvine

Color runs have surged in popularity recently. This all-ages run takes place this Saturday morning at Orange County Great Park in Irvine. As with any color run, runners should wear all white to absorb the most color by the end of the run. Registration costs $50 per person in a team, or $55 for an individual, and the race starts at 9am. Take warning: thousands of runners all start at one time. Do not get caught in traffic & parking nightmare – arrive at least an hour early.

28th Annual Elves’ Faire
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, November 23
Pasadena Waldorf School, Altadena

This FREE and all-ages fair will allow visitors to enjoy medieval activities, games, live music, food, entertainment, and more.

Long Beach Comic & Horror Con
10:00 am, November 23-24
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

Come to the Long Beach Comic Con this weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. Fans of comic books, pop culture, cartoons, media, anime/manga, and more will find lots to do, see, and buy at this expo. Taking place the weekend after Halloween, expect to see tie-ins with Halloween, as this expo will feature a Horror theme. Saturday costs $25, while Sunday costs $20. Downtown Long Beach contains very few free parking, so either park in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Ave, or take public transportation from elsewhere.

Zebrahead, Versus The World, Nations Afire, Sederra, and Safe Haven
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, November 23
House of Blues, Anaheim

Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15 presale and $20 at the door. Guests can park for free for up to five hours, so plan your arrival accordingly.

D.I., Battalion of Saints, Naked Aggression, Stop Breathing, Somali Pirates, Glue Gun in Ventura
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, November 23
Ventura Theater, Ventura

Get punked up this Saturday in Ventura, as D.I. headlines a show with lots of other great local punk rock bands. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15 presale and $17 at the door.

Graffiti Run – Los Angeles
8:00 am – 12:00 pm, November 24
Fairplex, Pomona

Love color runs? The Graffiti Run takes place this Sunday at the Fairplex in Pomona. Runners should wear white worn to absorb the most color during the run. These types of runs emphasize color and having fun as opposed to actually racing to compete, so a participant’s age or physical status does not matter. The first race starts at 9am, and heats of 500 runners take off every 20 minutes afterwards. Registration costs $55, and $60 the day of.

23rd Annual Encinitas Fall Street Fair
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, November 24
South Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas

This FREE street fair takes place this Sunday in Encinitas. Featuring 450 unique food, arts & crafts vendors, five music stages, rides & games, and a beer garden hosted by Stone Brewing and Port Brewing, people of all ages will enjoy this street fair. Due to the compact nature of this area, parking can get extremely difficult to locate. Arrive early, or take public transportation to arrive safely.