Archive for September, 2014

This past Saturday evening, the Fullerton Arborteum hosted their 2014 Fullerton Uncorked, a festival celebrating local food and wine. This tasting event brought out many of the local restaurants, wineries, and breweries to sample their goods to everyone in attendance. The $65 admission fee provided full access to all booths, allowing attendees to eat and drink as much as they could until the vendors ran out. The format followed that of another similar event that takes place here, Blues Brews N’ BBQ. Unlike that event, Uncorked had many more participating vendors, and covered more area of the Arboretum as a result. Attendance also appeared significantly higher than the aforementioned event, as not only did many of the vendors run out of product before the event came close to ending, but you seriously had to elbow your way through the crowds to get anywhere.

As one of the greater draws of Uncorked, attendees could sample as much of the food and drinks as they possibly could until the vendors ran out. Though many of the vendors ran out of food or drinks within a few hours into the event, a sole person could get full after visiting a handful of booths, as the vendors served hefty tastings. Sure they look small, but these hearty samples filled a person up quickly. Most of the wine vendors remained in place throughout the night, though I cannot say the same about the beer vendors, who all tapped out within two hours into the event. Perhaps the preference for craft beer has significantly increased since last year’s Uncorked! To put things into perspective, last year Hangar 24 finished one keg within two hours. This year, they ran through two kegs within 80 minutes. Considering that all beer vendors ran out in under two hours, and the wine remained pouring all night, this indicates one of two possible outcomes: that the majority of the attendees truly sought craft beer as opposed to wine, or that all the beer vendors simply did not bring enough for the party. Considering that Uncorked invited only the truly established breweries to this party who all know how to operate a tasting event, I would deny the latter claim.

Considering that I attended this annual event for the first time this past weekend, I held zero expectations for this event coming into this weekend. The amount of attendees showed that the organizers underestimated the amount of food and drinks required to keep the event going the entire time. I mean, a vendor that originally served sliders ended up served the meat over a bed of greens since they ran out of buns (last photo). Also consider that all the beer ran out within two hours out of a four-hour event. I hope the organizers take a good look at their attendance numbers and redesign the event based on that for next year’s Uncorked.

Interested in more events like this? The Arboretum routinely holds food and/or beverage events like Uncorked, so Like their Facebook page for updates regarding upcoming events.

Against Me! @ The Observatory
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, September 29
The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana!

Against Me! will headline a small show tonight at The O in Santa Ana. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $25. Arrive early enough to park at The O’s parking lot for free. Arrive too late, and end up parking in a lot down the street for $10.

Reagan Youth – On Tour
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 30, Billy O’s Restaurant & Saloon, Ventura
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 1, Brick By Brick, Linda Vista, San Diego
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, October 4, The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana
1:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 5, Gringos Cantina, Montebello

Legendary punk band Reagan Youth ends their national tour this week in Southern California, complete with four headlining shows. Ticket prices and age restrictions vary with the show, so click on each link for individual details.

Taste of Laguna & Business Expo 2014
4:30 pm – 9:00 pm, October 1
Festival of the Arts, Laguna Beach

Gather in Laguna Beach this Wednesday night for a mixer of food and local businesses. General admission costs $60 and starts at 5:30, while VIP admission costs $80, starts at 4:30, and includes one parking spot.

Stone Brewing: Beer Pairing @ Parker’s Lighthouse
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, October 1
Parker’s Lighthouse, Long Beach

Enjoy a five-course dinner complete with craft beer pairings courtesy of Stone Brewing this Wednesday night at Parker’s Lighthouse in Long Beach. This dinner costs $65 per person plus gratuity, and nobody under 21 may participate in this dinner.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – First Wednesdays @ The Copper Door
9:30 pm – 11:00 pm, October 1
The Copper Door, Downtown Santa Ana

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

Orange County International Auto Show
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 2
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 3
9:00 am – 10:00 pm, Ocotber 4
9:00 am – 7:00 pm, October 5
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim

For $12 entry, guests can check out the newest and latest cars, trucks, exotics, and more. Seniors and active military personnel can enter for $10. Guests looking for free street parking should locate Casa Vista St, west of the convention center, by Denny’s.

Ska Night in Riverside
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, October 2
Riverside Municipal Auditorium, Riverside

Reel Big Fish will headline a ska show in Riverside this Thursday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $29.

Sham 69 – Southern California Shows
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 2, Cobalt Cafe, Canoga Park
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, Octber 3, The Airliner, Los Angeles
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, October 4, Tiki Bar, Costa Mesa

Legendary UK punk band Sham 69 will headline various shows in Southern California this week. Each show had different ticket prices and age minimums, so check each link for more information.

57th Annual Tustin Tiller Days
4:00 pm – 11:00 pm, October 3
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, October 4
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, October 5
Columbus Tustin Park, Tustin

Bring the family out to this all-ages city fair this weekend. Free to attend, this fair has everything that a family can enjoy, from the rides and games for kids, to the entertainment and vendors for adults. Remember to check out all the fair food, drinks, and dessert too, since buying food here supports local organizations and businesses. On Sunday afternoon, the park will host a small beer fest with some local breweries. Guests interested in the beer fest can purchase five tasters for $12, or ten tasters for $20. Guests can find free street parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 3
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).

Dark Nights at LA Live
5:00 pm – 12:00 am, October 3
LA Live, Downtown Los Angeles

Enjoy a night in Downtown LA without the fuss of overpriced parking and overpriced food & drinks. Gain all-night parking for just $5, and enjoy $5 specials from local restaurants and bars.

Taste of North Park Kickoff Movie Night
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 3
North Park Theatre’s Parking Lot, North Park, San Diego

Just a week prior to the actual Taste of North Park, the organizers will host a free and all-ages movie screening this Friday night in North Park. In addition to the movie, visitors will find a beer garden, local food booths, a live DJ, a craft cocktail competition, and more.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 3
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.

Walnut Tree Festival
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, October 4
Roadside Rest Park, Whittier

Enjoy family-friendly fun this Saturday at the Walnut Tree Festival in Whittier. Free to attend, participate in a walnut cookie baking contest, or check out all the art, shopping, food trucks, and more.

OrangeCon 2014
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 4
Pavilion at the University Conference Center, Cal State Fullerton, Fullerton

The name of this event does not describe it at all. This all-ages exhibit showcases miniature models of airplanes and other types of vehicles, mostly military in theme. Admission to this viewing costs $5.

2nd Annual Discover East Long Beach
9:30 am – 4:30 pm, October 4
Farmers & Merchants Bank, Anaheim & Obispo, Long Beach

At this scavenger hunt of sorts, participants will scour East Long Beach for certain businesses that hold prizes and/or raffle tickets to win bigger prizes. Participation for this scavenger hunt costs $15.

2014 Dana Point State BBQ Championships
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 4
Sea Terrace Park, Dana Point

Over 100 teams of grill masters will gather from around the country to serve up their finest BBQ and compete for cash, prizes, and titles. Free to attend for all ages, visitors can purchase sample tickets for $2, and use those tickets to exchange for samples from any of the participants. For the adults, catch the craft beer & wine garden, featuring some of the country’s favorite breweries and wineries. Small 4oz beer pours will cost $2 each, while large 12oz beer pours will cost $6, and visitors can walk freely around the festival with drinks in hand. Visitors may park for free at the Salt Creek Beach parking lot located within PCH and Ritz Carlton Dr, despite signs saying that parking requires a fee. Otherwise, park at Dana Hills High School, and take the free shuttle service to the park.

42nd Annual Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, October 4-5
Live Oak Park South Field, Manhattan Beach

This free fair for all ages makes its annual return this weekend, featuring games, arts & crafts, food, beer & wine gardens, live entertainment, and more. The city will provide free parking and shuttle transportation at the Northrop Grumman Building at 15092 Aviation Blvd near the intersection of Aviation Blvd and Marine Street in Manhattan Beach.

23rd Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, October 4-5
Grand Park, Downtown Los Angeles

This all-ages Filipino festival will have food, drinks, arts & crafts, music, dance, merchandise, and more. New this year, visitors can now enter for FREE. Do take into consideration the commute and parking for the new location in Downtown LA.

1st Annual Artesia International Street Fair & Diversity Festival
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, October 4
Pioneer & 183rd, Artesia

At this free and all-ages street fair this Saturday, visitors will find food, music, dance, live entertainment, arts & crafts, games, rides, vendors, and more.

Hangar 24 Brewery’s Falling Leaf Launch & Gourdgeous Release
11:00 am – 12:00 am, October 4
Hangar 24 Brewery, Redlands

This Saturday, Hangar 24 will release two beers on the same day. As they do every year, their pumpkin porter Gourdgeous comes out starting this Saturday. In addition, check out the latest addition to the roster, Falling Leaf, their Gourdgeous aged in bourbon barrels. Visitors to the tasting room can sip on Falling Leaf from draft, as well as take bottles home for $20 each. Throughout the day, visitors can enjoy live music, as well as food from the local mobile eatery.

1st Annual Vegan Oktoberfest
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, October 4
Beach Park 1, Santa Monica

A first time exists for everything, right? If you love Oktoberfest but follow the vegan plan, then you will fit right in at this one-of-a-kind Oktoberfest. All the typical Oktoberfest festivities will keep everyone occupied, while everyone gets full on vegan food and vegan beer. General admission costs $45, starts at 1pm, and includes one stein glass with unlimited beer pours. VIP admission costs $65, starts at 12pm, and also provides access to a VIP area with food samples.

16th Annual Eagle Rock Music Festival
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 4
Colorado Blvd & Eagle Rock Blvd, Eagle Rock

Take over the streets of Eagle Rock with this FREE and all-ages music festival this Saturday evening. With six stages all providing different genres of music, surely something exists for everyone here. In addition to all the music, check out the food trucks, local food, arts & crafts, vendors, and more.

2nd Annual San Diego Night Market
4:00 pm – 12:00 am, October 4
Engineer Rd, Kearny Mesa, San Diego

Following the massive success of last year’s event, the San Diego Night Market returns to a new location in Kearny Mesa this Saturday evening. Deriving from Asian cultures, this night market brings a taste of Asian nightlife to the streets of San Diego with Asian food, culture, live entertainment, arts & crafts, vendors, and more. Admission only costs $2 for adults, while children can enter for free! Please refer to the website for details regarding free parking and shuttles.

9:00 am – 4:00 pm, October 5
Downtown Los Angeles

The streets of Downtown Los Angeles close to bikers this Sunday afternoon. Cars may not enter the designated areas during this time – only bikers and pedestrians may roam the streets.

The first ever World Foodie Fair came to Culver City this past Saturday evening. At this all-ages tasting event, ten hopeful restauranteurs all served their cuisine that would represent the menu of their dream restaurant. All ten participants do not currently own a restaurant, but want to use this pop-up event to test the waters and get a feel for the experience of running a full business. Each $6 ticket provided $7 worth of food, and attendees voted for their favorite foods at the end of the event. Four one-hour sessions took place starting at 5pm in order to spread out the flow of attendees, and interested attendees could purchase tickets for this event ONLY online so that the organizers could cap each session due to capacity limits.

For a first-time event, I expected some hiccups along the way. As the most glaring issue that affected everybody, the organizers did not open the doors to the public until 6pm, an hour later. Everyone involved in this project simply underestimated the amount of time it took to get everything ready. I will not speak much on this, as all attendees that had to wait an hour all openly voiced their discontent. Another issue involved the spacing, as this took place at a small cafe that could comfortably hold no more than 50 guests at a time. The organizers attempted to circumvent this by capping the amount of tickets sold per hourly session. One problem that troubled me and a handful of other attendees revolved around the ticket costs. Since nobody could use one ticket anywhere, many attendees ended up with one ticket and ended up losing that ticket because they did not want to pay for another batch of tickets. Aside from these problems, the only other real problems lie in the quality of the food, which I will now cover.

Green curry duck tamales – Mexican Thai style Bangkok green curry duck tamales & herb chili sauce
I wanted to taste more duck in these tamales. The curry sauce drowned out the duck flavor. If they can tone down the curry sauce, it would help to highlight the duck, a meat not often used in tamales.

Vietnamese summer rolls – served with spicy peanut dipping sauce
This spring roll contained nothing unique. It tasted just like any other spring roll.

Beef Empanadas – served with chimichurri verde
Although this took the longest to wait for due to the long line, I liked this the most. Of course, frying anything will make it taste better.

Mustards & Sausages – Italian & herb chicken sausage, caramelized sun-dried tomato mustard
I really did not enjoy the sausage with its rubbery casing that I could not bite through. The bread also made it very dry.

Asian BBQ Pork Belly Slider – Asian BBQ pork belly slider with slaw and wasabi mayo
On paper, this sounds delicious. The thinly-sliced pork belly quickly gets drowned in everything else on top of it.

Beef Cheek Cream Puff – French pastry filled with Bordelaise-braised beef cheeks & blue cheese potato mash, served with leaf rocket, topped with horseradish cream and grated Parmesan
Honestly I dug straight in to the meat, as I expected that everything else would mask the flavor of the beef. They did not lie – they braised this beef to the point that it melts in your mouth.

LA-Style Hawaiian Spam Musubi – seared spam & spiced sushi rice, shredded mustard greens, tropical soy vinaigrette
It tasted like normal spam musubi to me. I craved more of the seaweed-essence present in spam musubi elsewhere.

Truffles & Fruit Pâté
Finally, dessert. The truffles contained dark chocolate, which caused a strong lingering aftertaste. I loved the fruit pâté so much that I took a bag home. Honestly, I wanted to take all the bags home. It only consists of puréed fruits and sugar, but it tastes like bliss.

Nothing special to see here folks – just eclairs with a cream filling topped with chocolate and chocolate crisps.

Basically, the comp’d item for making the 5pm attendees wait an hour. Some of these tasted overly sweet, but eat just one, and it will taste just fine.

Although they did end up starting an hour later, I still think the organizers did all in their power to ensure that this event would run smoothly. They certainly have an ambitious goal in helping these restauranteurs get moving towards their dreams. In recent years, anyone wanting to get into the restaurant business would typically look to open a food truck to test the market. Pop-up tastings like this have gone on for many years, but since they only occur sporadically, people rarely hear about them, as opposed to food trucks that persist even after a dinner shift ends. Would you like to attend a pop-up tasting event like this? Check on my blog every Monday for a list of the week’s upcoming events, as I plan to stay in touch with the organizers of the World Foodie Fair.

The 2014 Long Beach Comic Con returns to the Long Beach Convention Center this upcoming weekend. This two-day all-ages expo of comics, video games, anime, manga, and toys brings together fans, artists, designers, and more from around the world to meet with like minds and share interests. With plenty of speakers and workshops, the expo ensures that any attendee would find something to stay occupied. This year’s convention will not feature the Horror theme that it had two years ago, and will focus solely on the comics aspect of it all. Click here for a FULL schedule of all of this weekend’s activities.

The convention runs on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, starting at 10am, and ending at 7pm on Saturday, or 5pm on Sunday. Purchase your admission by 5pm this Friday to gain access to the convention an hour earlier, starting at 9am on both days. Presale admission costs $30 to attend on Saturday, $20 to attend on Sunday, or $45 for the entire weekend. Admission passes at the door will cost $5 extra. Parking at the convention center costs $10 per vehicle. Those looking for free parking will not find much in Downtown Long Beach, so either park in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Ave, or take public transportation from elsewhere. This expo takes place mainly indoors, so most visitors will not have to worry about sunlight or excess heat; however, anyone intending to remain outside for prolonged periods for photographs should apply sunscreen just in case.

What comic convention can rightfully call themselves a Comic Con without cosplay? Hundreds of attendees always display their creativity and craftsmanship with the various costumes donned to this expo. Sure the majority wear 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 salute them all. Check out some of the better costumes from last 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 2014 Cerritos Taste of the Region & Business Expo returned to the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts last Thursday night. Open to all ages, this food fest, colloquially known as the Taste of Cerritos, allows all attendees to sample food, drinks, and dessert from various restaurants from the Cerritos region. Participating restaurants and caterers, which contained more corporate businesses than local businesses, hailed from neighboring cities such as Artesia, Norwalk, and Whittier. At first, this sounds less likely of a taste of the region if attendees mostly sample food from restaurants found nationwide. However, this event focuses on all businesses in the area, corporate or not.

Times change, and sometimes times change for the worse. Last year, the tasting event cost only $5 to enter, and boasted an equal share of food vendors and business vendors. This year, the organizers doubled the price to enter the event, claiming to have double the features. Sure the Taste of the Region allows attendees to eat & drink all they want until the participating businesses run out of food or drinks, but now that admission has gone up to $10, I expect to find twice as much food as last year. Sadly, the amount of food remained the same as last year, but the amount of non-food vendors increased. It appears that with each year, they shift more towards the business expo while shifting away from the restaurants, and I even stated last year that the ratio of non-food vendors to food vendors would increase. Sooner or later, they may scrap the tasting altogether, god forbid, and focus solely on the business expo!

Downtown Long Beach‘s series of tasting events moved down to the waterfront for an evening of sampling eats on the pier last week. The Taste of Downtown Long Beach invites many of area’s restaurants, bars, and other food businesses to come together to serve samples to all visitors looking to explore what Downtown Long Beach has to offer. Due to Long Beach’s structure of regional neighborhoods, a sole Taste of Long Beach would require too much work, and would come up to a loss rather than profit. With Belmont Shore running theirs in the summer, and Naples Island running theirs once a year, Downtown Long Beach runs their series of tasting events approximately three-four times per year, each in a different location. Participating businesses remain largely consistent between each event, with a few changes to accommodate for new businesses and others that could not or did not want to return. With each event, the location moves around from place to place within Downtown Long Beach, from the East Village Arts District to the bustling Pine Avenue on a busy weeknight. Last week, the taste moved down to Rainbow Harbor for an evening of feasting on the pier.

Unlike previous Tastes of Downtown Long Beach, this one did not feature as many participants. In fact, this one contained the fewest amount of participants out of all the events of the year. Many of the standard businesses made an appearance, while some others could not bring a setup out to the pier, such as Federal Bar or Beachwood BBQ.

The Sky Room‘s Chorizo Potato Taco and Apricot Creme Brûlée

Gladstone’s Lobster Mac & Cheese and Chocolate Ganache Mini Martini

Michael’s Pizzeria‘s Polpete al Forno

HootersBoneless Hot Wings

Visitors to this Taste of Downtown Long Beach could receive 90 minutes of free parking at The Pike’s parking structure. However, the website only mentioned this once, and very few of the visitors knew about this, and either resorted to paying for parking or took some other means to arriving that usually associated a cost or physical effort. I find this the fault of both sides – the website did not make parking an important point, and visitors must not have read the website thoroughly. Regardless, all visitors enjoyed tasting these fine eats out on the waterfront, despite the weather warmer than usual. Things will cool down by the next Taste of Downtown Long Beach which should occur in the winter.

6th Annual Los Angeles Beer Week
September 20-28
Greater Los Angeles Area

This 9-day beer celebration covers Los Angeles through Orange County, culminating in a beer fest on the last day in Downtown Los Angeles. During this period, virtually every restaurant, bar, gastropub, and any other craft beer establishment will host some sort of beer event. Literally hundreds of beer events will take place over 11 days in the Greater Los Angeles Area, so for an abridged list, visit the website linked above. Even the website cannot contain every single event! Check with your local favorite brewpub to find out how they will participate. For the purposes of condensing this list, I will not include any event that directly relates to LA Beer Week, as their website will list them all.

San Diego Restaurant Week
September 21-26
Various Restaurants, San Diego County

For six full days, various restaurants all over San Diego County will participate in this special week, where they will offer special prix-fixe meals that highlight their unique cuisine. Use this chance to explore and discover new restaurants in the area!

Sip LBC – Long Beach Wine, Beer & Spirits Week
September 21-27
Various Restaurants, Long Beach

Various restaurants, bars, lounges, pubs, clubs, hotels, and more will have drink specials all this week in Long Beach.

2014 Taste of Arcadia
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, September 22
Los Angeles County Arboretum, Arcadia

The annual Taste of Arcadia returns TONIGHT, so for those planning to go, buy the $60 presale tickets now, or pay $70 at the door. More than 40 food vendors will serve samples, while over 30 other vendors will keep guests occupied between eats.

Authority Zero: Rise To The Fall Tour 2014
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, September 23, M15 Concert Bar & Grill, Corona
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 25, The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 26, Soda Bar, Normal Heights, San Diego

Authority Zero currently tours across the nation, and their tour strolls through Southern California this week. Tickets to these all-ages show range from $13 to $15.

Heart of Pacific Beach Restaurant Walk
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, September 24
Downtown Pacific Beach, San Diego

Experience the variety Pacific Beach has to offer at this all-inclusive restaurant walk this Wednesday night! For $20, all attendees will get to sample food from 19 local restaurants, as well as craft beer sampling. Anyone can come and join in on the feasting, but only those 21 and over may receive beer tasters.

Meeting Of The Guilds – Tap Takeover
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, September 26
Mohawk Bend, Echo Park

Three Californian brewers’ guilds unite to take over the taps of Mohawk Bend in Echo Park this Thursday night. Come celebrate LA Beer Weer in style by indulging on all sorts of beers.

Feast of San Gennaro
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, September 26-28
Hollywood & Highland, West Hollywood

Hosted by Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel, the Feast of San Gennaro makes its annual return this weekend just south of Hollywood & Highland. This street festival celebrates Italian culture in America, and will feature Italian food, desserts, drinks, music, entertainment, and more. Admission costs $5, while parking will vary.

19th Annual Redondo Beach Lobster Fest
6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, September 26
12:00 am – 11:00 pm, September 27
12:00 am – 8:00 pm, September 28
Seaside Lagoon, Redondo Beach

Three weekend lobster fests in a row! Following Long Beach and Los Angeles, Redondo Beach now has a Lobster Fest going on this weekend, which will have lots of fresh lobster for guests to eat. In addition, guests can enjoy dancing, games, rides, music, arts & crafts, and more. The $15 admission includes parking and entry into the fest, while all food comes separate, so anyone wanting to eat will have to bring extra cash. Purchase presale tickets online to save $2, or search their website for additional meal packages, such as surf & turf and more.

6th Annual Surf City Surf Dog Weekend
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, September 26
9:00 am – 12:30 pm, September 27
8:00 am – 2:30 pm, September 28
Huntington Dog Beach, Huntington Beach

Catch a weekend of surfing and dogs this weekend in Huntington Beach. On Friday, visit the Shorebreak Hotel for an opening reception and a dog fashion show. On Saturday, participate in a dog yoga class in the morning, spectate various dog contests, and visit the Canine Expo at The Strand on 5th. The expo lasts until Sunday, when the Surfing Dog contest also takes place. Events vary in price, so check the website for a price for each individual event.

Brewers Karaoke
8:00 pm – 1:30 am, September 26
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

LA Beer Week needed one of these. Free to attend, brewers from breweries around Los Angeles County will grace Alex’s Bar with their presence and their attempted singing vocals. Come for the beer, stay for the karaoke. No one under 21 may enter. Guests should park on Orizaba or the neighborhood across the street.

Captain Wheels Benefit Show
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, September 26
Characters Sports Bar, Pomona

Get your weekly Friday fill of punk rock at this benefit show in Pomona this Friday night. Tickets to this show cost $5 presale or $8 at the door. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking around the area, and can avoid paying to park in the adjacent parking lot.

Centerfield Ska Night 5
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 29
Centerfield Sports Bar, Huntington Beach

Enjoy a FREE ska show this Friday night in Orange County with some fun local ska bands. No one under 21 may enter.

15th Annual Cruisin’ For A Cure Car Show
7:00 am – 3:00 pm, September 27
OC Fair & Events Center, Costa Mesa

This all-ages charity car show returns to the OC Fair this Saturday morning. Admission costs $15, and includes free prostate testing for men. Parking costs $7 for general and $10 for preferred parking.

2014 Long Beach Comic & Horror Con
9:00 am – 7:00 pm, September 27
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, September 28
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 $30, 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.

13th Annual Irvine Global Village Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, September 27
Bill Barber Park, Irvine

This international cultural festival occurs this Saturday in Irvine at Bill Barber Park. Free to park and enter for all ages, this multicultural fest features international cuisine, live entertainment, a kids village with crafts & activities, cultural & religious exhibits, and an international marketplace.

33rd Annual Adams Avenue Street Fair
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, September 27-28
Adams Avenue between 32nd & 35th Street, Normal Heights, San Diego

This FREE and all-ages music festival takes place over two days this weekend on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, between the 805 and 15 freeways. Ten blocks will close to traffic to make way for over 90 music acts on seven stages and over 350 vendor booths. Guests should take public transportation to Adams Avenue, as traffic will remain heavily congested all weekend, and parking will not exist in high numbers here.

8th Annual International Chocolate Salon
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, September 27
The Pasadena Center, Pasadena

Chocolate lovers will want to attend the International Chocolate Salon this Sunday afternoon in Pasadena for an all-you-can-eat chocolate bonanza. Admission costs $20 presale and $25 at the door, while children can get in for $10.

2014 Long Beach Folk Revival Festival
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, September 27
Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach

This all-ages event will showcase over 20 folk and roots music acts. Other highlights include the Port of Long Beach Kids Pumpkin Patch, Polly’s Pies pie-eating contest, and the LB Beard Advocates mustache/beard contest. Local craft breweries and a variety of food trucks will serve food & drinks to attendees. Tickets cost $15 presale or $20 at the door.

Ales & Tails – Pet Adoption Fair
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, September 27
Alosta Brewing, Covina

Free to attend, Alosta Brewing will host a pet adoption fair this Saturday at their tasting room in Covina.

The Crazy Last Will of Dr. Mad
3:30 pm – 10:30 pm, September 27
1:00 pm – 8:00 pm, September 28
The Glass House, Pomona

Join teams of six and put your brains together to solve an extremely challenging puzzle. Use your intuition, street smarts, and logic to solve the puzzles and discover the complete solution. Registration to this all-ages event costs $25 presale or $30 at the door.

2014 Fullerton Uncorked
5:00 pm – 8:30 pm, September 27
Fullerton Arboretum, Fullerton

At this food & wine tasting, find food samples from local restaurants, dozens of wine & craft beer tastings, live music, raffle prizes, and more. Tickets to this event cost $62 presale or $65 at the door, and include unlimited food and drinks while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Ultimate Flight Night V
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, September 27
38 Degrees, Alhambra

Filed under LA Beer Week events, 38 Degrees will receive some rare and highly sought-after beers this Saturday to serve as flights to customers.

Neon Dash – Los Angeles
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, September 27
StubHub Center, Carson

Run, jog, or walk your way through a brightly lit course at night with the Neon Dash 5k. This all-ages fun run combines the spectrum of a color run with the brilliance of a glow run with specially formulated glow-in-the-dark glow. Throughout the 5k course, live music will pump up the runners while course staff and volunteers will spray participants with the magical glow to give them that special something that lights them up in the night. Following the run, all participants can stay for the after party that goes on all night. Registration costs $60 and includes an event t-shirt. As a color run, all participants should wear white during the race to absorb the most color possible, and have spare clothes to change into when going home. Parking will range from $5 to $10, but since spectators can enter for free, feel free to bring friends & family to watch the run. Note that the race will start at 8pm, and with thousands of participants, I highly suggest arriving at least an hour early to circumvent traffic.

Naked Aggression in Baldwin Park
6:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 27
American Legion Post 241, Baldwin Park

A handful of local punk rock bands will head to Baldwin Park this Saturday to play one heck of a show. The cover for this all-ages show cost $8.

Isolated Victims @ Comic Book Hideout
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, September 27
Comic Book Hideout, Fullerton

Ska, punk, and hardcore collide at this all-ages show this Saturday night in Fullerton. The cover for this show costs $5.

La Infinita – CD Release Show
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, September 27
Dipiazzas, Long Beach

Enjoy a night of ska punk in Long Beach this Saturday night. The cover for this all-ages show costs $7.

FEAR & T.S.O.L. @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 27
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Punk rock legends FEAR and T.S.O.L. will headline a show at The O this Saturday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $20. Arrive early and park for free at the venue’s parking lot. Arrive later, and end up parking at a parking lot down the street for $10.

16th Annual Wiggle Waggle Walk
7:30 am – 1:00 pm, September 28
Brookside Park, Pasadena

Join hundreds of dog lovers as they all walk with their dogs this Sunday morning in Pasadena. Walk along with your dog, or join a team and walk together. After the walk, stick around for a pet expo, complete with vendors, pet adoptions, pet services, food, drinks, arts & crafts, and more.

11th Annual Orange County Children’s Book Festival
9:30 am – 4:30 pm, September 28
Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa

This FREE all-ages fair caters to families as it presents thousands of children’s book available to read or buy. The fair will also host multiple stages complete with family-friendly entertainment.

6th Annual Orange County Accordion Festival + The Samuel Adams Oktoberfest Experience
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, September 28
Orange County Market Place, Costa Mesa

Sam Adams hosts an Oktoberfest event this Sunday in Costa Mesa, full of random shenanigans. Admission costs $25 presale or $35 at the door, and comes with four 12oz beer pours, a bratwurst, and a pretzel. Typical Oktoberfest entertainment will take place, such as a stein-holding contest, accordion musicians, and more. Attendees gain access to a variety of gourmet food trucks, plus the Orange County Market Place that takes place there every weekend.

30th Annual Abbot Kinney Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, September 28
Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice

This free all-ages street fair showcases the best of local businesses in food, drinks, merchandise, apparel, accessories, art, crafts, local music, and more. Abbot Kinney will close to traffic to allow the thousands of visitors to freely roam the streets and explore all the vendors.

Whittier ARTcrawl Fest
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, September 28
Greenleaf Avenue, Uptown Whittier

At this FREE and all-ages art walk, find art, music, food, entertainment, and more. For those 21 or over, join in on a Tasting Crawl, where visitors can receive food & drink specials at participating restaurants.

Strong Ales & Jerky
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, September 28
The Factory, Bixby Knolls, Long Beach

Enjoy FREE jerky samples this Sunday afternoon at The Factory in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach. In addition, The Factory will have a handful of strong ales on tap for you to try.

Gaslight Anthem & Against Me! @ Hollywood Palladium
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, September 28
Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood

Gaslight Anthem and Against Me! will perform at the Palladium this Sunday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost about $50.

The Descendents @ Fox Theater
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, September 28
Fox Theater, Pomona

Legendary punk band Descendents will headline a show in Pomona this Sunday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $30.

The annual Belmont Shore Stroll & Savor of Long Beach concluded just last night. This “Taste of Belmont Shore” occurs every year from May through September on the third Wednesday, and the Thursday immediately following. Guests may purchase booklets containing 12 tickets that get redeemed at participating businesses along 2nd Street in Belmont Shore. The products offered by participating businesses range from appetizers to drinks to desserts to even full plates of food. Ticket prices vary based on the location, with some offering more than the value of the tickets, and many offering less than the value of the tickets. The chance to sample what Belmont Shore has to offer makes the value of the tickets negligible, seeing that Belmont Shore does have amazing eats.

Domenico’s has remained one of the few historical restaurants of Belmont Shore, and for good reason. One bite into their signature Ground Pepperoni Pizza will hook you in. Just take care not to over-indulge – each slice basically contains a day’s worth of sodium.

Pandor Bakery participated for the first time this year. They served these rather dry pastries which definitely does not represent what they actually sell inside their shop.

Known for their Danish-style ice cream, Paradis always delights visitors, especially on hot days. They always have a cooler outside where they serve four or five of their popular flavors during Stroll & Savor.

Locally popular dive bar Acapulco Inn (A.I.) occasionally participates in Stroll & Savor, usually serving small bar food bites that does not appear on their menu, such as a Corned Beef Slider or Al Pastor Taco.

Belmont Shore newcomer Pho-Nomenon started participating in Stroll & Savor this year, offering a variety of “safe” options to visitors. For example, they have Frog Legs available, but did not have it available for Stroll & Savor.

Due to the extreme heat, I had to hydrate myself with an iced tea from the local Starbucks, who also participates in Stroll & Savor.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory sometimes has a Stroll & Savor menu up, but rarely makes any spectacle about it to drive visitors in to try their goods. Rather, RMCF focuses on actual sales instead of Stroll & Savor items.

Sweet Jill’s remains a favorite during Stroll & Savor because of their full-sized items that cost just three tickets. That said, they participate nearly every single time and offer almost the exact same things each time.

La Creperie Café participates once in a blue moon, and when they do, they stick with a safe option. For example, they served one of their standard items from previous Stroll & Savor years – their Chicken Carbonara Crepe.

If Yen Sushi feels like opening a stand for Stroll & Savor, they use the exact same list of offerings each time.

Nick’s On 2nd always serves up something new with every Stroll & Savor. From the Hickory Burger to the Prime Rib Dip Sandwich to the Breakfast Burrito, for only three tickets each, Nick’s delivered a standout tasting each time.

Frosted Cupcakery typically serves the same two items: Mini Cupcakes and Hi-Tops, or inverse cupcakes. Each time, they switch up the flavors of either the cake or the frosting. Each unit costs one ticket, making for a great closer to the evening.

Within the last year or two, Aroma di Roma closed their former location and moved down the street. They still serve wonderful espresso, paninis, and gelato, of which they served a collection of the latter during Stroll & Savor.

La Strada participates in every Stroll & Savor as one of the foundation restaurants of the event. New visitors definitely should check them out. However, as they never change their offerings at all, returning visitors will have already seen what they have to offer.

Although Thai Gourmet By Sri Maya represents one of multiple Thai restaurants in Belmont Shore, they do nothing different for Thai cuisine. When you come here, you will get exactly a Thai restaurant and nothing different.

Newcomer Gallo’s Italian Deli participated in their first-ever Stroll & Savor this year, serving up traditional deli-style sandwiches.

Tavern On 2 has generated tons of momentum this year, especially after their airing of Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives. In regards to Stroll & Savor, they only participated in the first month, then went dark from that point on. They cited that Stroll & Savor does not reel in new customers, and requires more resources to participate than the event would cover for, not to mention that the food sample does not even appear on their menu.

2nd Street newcomer Eat Shabu whipped out something different this year: ice cream freshly churned on the spot with liquid nitrogen. I seem to see a lot of this around lately. Perhaps this will turn into some sort of hipster trend?

One of my personal favorite ways to end a Stroll & Savor evening, Powell’s Sweet Shoppe serves their classic mini cones that only cost one ticket. Flavors vary each time, and range from ice cream to sorbet to gelato.

New Japanese restaurant Sushi AI started participating in Stroll & Savor this year, and they do it right by offering new items each time, such as their Popcorn Lobster.

One of the other major Thai restaurants of Belmont Shore, Phuket Thai, generally keeps things the same every time Stroll & Savor comes around. They do participate in every single one, and never appear to change the offerings, albeit they have to rewrite the menu each time.

Last but not least, perhaps the most famous of all restaurants during Stroll & Savor, George’s Greek Cafe brings forward the greatest value of Stroll & Savor – a full meal on a plate for just four tickets. This plate contains hummus, tzatziki, pita bread, salad, spanakopita, and gyro meat. No one else on 2nd Street offers so much food for so little tickets, and everyone else agrees. The line for George’s Greek Cafe typically wraps around the corner past Dog’s Bar, so if you have never tried this plate, I urge you to visit George’s early while the line has not had a chance to stretch out far.

Besides all the food & drinks, as an event that attracts thousands of visitors, local music acts would not pass up the chance to perform for tips during Stroll & Savor.

Do not miss out your chance to taste the best of local flavor in Long Beach! If you missed Stroll & Savor, keep in mind that it occurs five times a year from May through September. Even if you cannot wait for Stroll & Savor to return, head on down to Belmont Shore anyways and dine at any place that piques your interest!

Events crop up all the time, either spontaneously or over time but with lack of advertising. This past Saturday, old town Yorba Linda saw the arrival of the 1st Annual Celebrate Yorba Linda Street Fair, a FREE and all-ages street fair with something for everyone. Although small geographically, this small street housed just enough to carry a little of everything to appeal to anyone visiting, from the vendors to the food to the music to the beer garden and more. I had discovered this event only a couple of days prior to it, and an internet search yielded little to no results, other than their stark website and a Facebook page that I discovered after I had left the event. Still, I had grossly underestimated this event, as it snowballed into something big by the day’s end.

To summarize what a visitor could find at this street fair, we have:

  • Free entry for all ages
  • A farmer’s market on the south end
  • Various local vendors
  • Food booths ran by local establishments
  • Free soft drinks courtesy of Diabolo
  • A kids’ zone
  • A local craft beer garden
  • Live music
  • Food trucks
  • An artists’ village

I arrived in the morning and departed in the afternoon, and I barely saw much action the entire time. Based on inquiring from those who stayed at the event until the end, this street fair picked up in volume later on, as the sun set and the weather cooled down. For an event with little to no internet presence, they did a good job at rallying the local community to visit this street fair and liven up an event that otherwise could have ended in a flop.

For a community based on strong traditional principles, Yorba Linda has slowly turned into a destination spot. Through events like this and the Taste of Yorba Linda, this quiet community can one day turn into a bustling city-life spot.

After MUCH anticipation from craft beer fans throughout Southern California, Dudes’ Brewing in Torrance finally opened their doors to the public this past weekend. For over a year, Dudes’ Brewing has graced Southern California with their presence at multiple beer festivals, such as Bock Fest or Drink Good Beer Fest. Most, if not all, people who have encountered Dudes’ Brewing will recall the Grandma’s Pecan and/or the Kölschtal Eddy beers, as these two essentially represent the flagship beers of Dudes’ Brewing. With the opening of their doors this past weekend, Dudes’ Brewing marks yet another entry into the South Bay craft beer scene.

Their tasting room has just what it needs to feel homely for any dude or dudette entering the premises. An open space gives way to some tables, a wall ledge between the front door and the garage door, two televisions, Lebowski stickers & references everywhere, and of course the bar when the beertenders serve up their brews. The rest of the tasting room gives way to the production area, which not only includes their canning line, but the five tanks bearing the letters in the word DUDES’.

For the grand opening, Dudes’ Brewing did not celebrate alone. Pretzel Crisps and Tribe Hummus brought free samples for all guests to snack on. Food trucks also showed up right outside to serve up hot food to any hungry guest that needed more sustenance than just pretzel snacks.

For as long as they have brewed beer, one would expect them to have a full grasp on the grand opening of a tasting room. Unfortunately, some issues did arise right from the start. Perhaps what irked guests the most involved the beer servings. Not only did Dudes’ Brewing not fill growlers, but they did not have beer flights available, only opting to serve pints or half pints. Although Dudes’ Brewing originally advertised 13 taps, they started off with only nine brews available. Not only that, but their credit card swiping device did not function at the start, so they remained on a cash-only basis for quite some time. To make matters worse, the city police department set up checkpoints on both sides of Western Avenue early on Friday evening. Although I wanted to stick around longer to try more of the brews, I knew that lingering would get me into trouble, so I left before anything bad could go down.

Regardless of the rocky first weekend, Dudes’ Brewing had already stomped their foot down on the Southern California craft beer scene, and the opening of their tasting room only solidifies their position as a stronghold. Keep up with the happenings at Dudes’ Brewing by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter. Let me know in the comments section below what you think about Dudes’ Brewing if you attended the grand opening weekend, or after you have visited the tasting room.