Archive for June, 2015

The 2015 Anime Expo returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center starting this Thursday and running through Sunday. This annual 4-day expo for all things Anime & Manga attracts exhibitors and fans from across the globe for the largest gathering of its kind in the world. What started as a simple expo for those in the Anime industry has grown to encompass anything remotely related to the art of Japanese art & animation. Today, this large expo now hosts artists, designers, vendors, video game companies, technicians, actors/actresses, voice actors, models, musicians, singers, cosplayers, and much more to spread their work out to the public as well as interact with the fans. With so much to do, so many people to see, and so many people wanting to get in (tens of thousands of visitors on the first day!), naturally the organizers had to make this expo cover a span of four days every year.

As the current world’s largest expo of its kind, one can expect sheer overflow of people in the area for miles. Road traffic does not face as much of a problem, save for the exuberant parking prices that reaches upwards of $40 per vehicle. Pedestrian traffic causes the most headaches, from the uncontrolled crosswalks to the endless line of jaywalkers. If anything definitely terrorizes attendees, the line to enter the expo causes the most grief. From getting in line to getting into the building, the wait on the morning of the 4th of July usually takes hours to enter. Strangely, very few attendees complain about this, as if they accept this year after year. For a first-time attendee like myself, I speak for many other first-time attendees when I say that this expo NEEDS an attendance limit. Comic Con follows an attendance limit, yet still sells out in under a minute every year. Upon questioning some attendees from previous years, they mention that at least a hundred attendees camp overnight, and that entering the line at 8am when the expo opens still takes over an hour to get in. They also mention that the first day always sees the most amount of attendees, which sounds reasonable. Lesson learned: if attending Anime Expo, either attend extremely early on the first day, or attend on the second and/or third day.

The actual expo covers the entire span on the convention center, both the South Hall and the West Hall. The main expo occurs in the South Hall, while the West Hall houses the miscellaneous activities, such as workshops, video game competitions, cosplay contests, and more. The expo simply has too much going on, so I understand why most attendees purchase either the two or four day pass rather than just a single day. The expo contains different sections based on the content; for example, attendees would find the artist booths at the back, the autographs at the right, the merchandise in the middle, and celebrity/actor appearances at the front.

For any type of expo or convention of this nature, sure we may want to pay attention to the exhibitors, but at the heart of any gathering of this kind, our attention instantly turns to the cosplayers. Attendees love to dress up as their favorite character to show their pride and/or craftsmanship, while some simply slap together a lazy costume just to blend in somehow, such as the hundreds of attendees with a Teemo hat. For Anime Expo, the world’s largest expo of its kind, attendees either go all in or go nothing. Observe some of the fun costumes from the 2013 Anime Expo:

As an added bonus, my cousin also took a handful of photos, and you may now observe Anime Expo from his point of view too:

If you feel that you cannot attend Anime Expo this year, fear not – Anime California comes to Orange County on the weekend of August 28-30. At $45 for the entire weekend, expect to see nearly the same things at Anime Expo. If you desire the massive crowds and content that Anime Expo offers, keep this weekend open for the 2014 Anime Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. If you have a costume, wear it proudly and show it off to everyone!

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – First Wednesdays @ The Copper Door
9:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 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.

2015 Anime Expo
8:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 2-4
8:00 am – 2:00 pm, July 5
Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles

The nation’s largest expo & convention for anime & manga returns to Downtown LA this 4th of July weekend. Complete with hundreds of artist & vendor booths, this convention allows attendees to get interactive via the masquerade ball, music videos, concerts, battle of the bands, fashion shows, dancing, video games, karaoke, cosplay gatherings & contests, and much more. Admission varies by the number of days attending – 4 days cost $80, while one day costs $39. Children 6-12 get in for a flat rate of $25, while children 5 and under get in free with a paid adult admission. Some of the special events, such as concerts and maid cafés, requires an additional ticket to get into. Parking at the convention center costs $15, so bring cash for that plus any of the vendors and food inside the convention center. Optionally, park in outdoor third party lots in the surrounding blocks for a lower rate, or take public transportation.

7th Annual Cars & Stripes Forever! Car Show
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 2
World Cruise Center, San Pedro

At this free and all-ages event this Thursday night, check out cars, local bands, and fireworks.

Viernes 13 @ The Whisky A Go Go
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 2
The Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood

Rock out to some local skacore this Thursday night in West Hollywood. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $12.

111th Huntington Beach 4th of July Celebration
10:00 am – 9:00 pm, July 3
7:00 am – 10:00 pm, July 4
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, July 5
Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach

Celebrate Independence Day with a plethora of things to see and do in Huntington Beach this weekend. Activities include a pancake breakfast, 5k run, fitness expo, a parade, fireworks, live music, exhibitors, food vendors, family activities, and much more. See the website for a full list and schedule of what to expect.

626 Night Market
4:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 3-5
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia

The largest Asian night market in America returns to Santa Anita Park this weekend. For just $3 to enter, this flea market of sorts will host tons of vendors selling Asian wares, merchandise, apparel, appliances, food, drinks, and more.

3rd Annual Ballast Point Independence Party
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 3
Select Beer Store, Redondo Beach

Ballast Point will take over the taps at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach this Friday night. No admission required – simply show up, and pay for beer as you go.

America Stands For Freedom – Independence Eve Show & Revue
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 3
Glass House, Pomona

Legendary punk band The Vandals will headline this show at the Glass House in Pomona this Friday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $17.76.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 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. No one under 21 may enter.

Independence Day
July 4
United States

Plenty of holiday events will take place this weekend, so check with your local favorite hangout spot to see if they have anything going on. Have a FUN and SAFE holiday weekend.

4th of July Party on the Pier
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, July 4
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 5
Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach

Party at the beach this Independence Day in Long Beach. Admission costs $10 for adults and free for kids, and includes all-day reentry, one BBQ plate plus a soft drink, and access to the kids’ play area. Plenty of live bands, a beer garden, boat rides, and more will keep guests entertained all day. Metered parking lots remain enforced in the lots nearby; for long-term parking, I recommend parking in the neighborhoods beyond Ocean Blvd.

OC Block Party July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, July 4
Angel Stadium, Anaheim

From the organizers behind Ktown Night Market comes the OC Block Party, a 4th of July extravaganza taking place at Angel Stadium this Saturday. It costs $7 to attend this all-ages celebration, complete with fireworks, live music, food, drinks, vendors, a car show, and more. Bring lots of extra cash with you for parking and other things you may purchase in the event area.

Up to no good like always, pirates will swarm all over Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier in Long Beach this weekend for the 2015 Pirate Invasion of Belmont Pier. This free and all-ages event caters to families and kids with the costumed pirates and activities mainly geared towards entertaining children. Many attendees dress up as pirates, and many get into character for the entire duration of their visit. The fair zone includes many vendors, pirate swag, a pirate stage, and ship battles. Down on the dunes, the actual kids area and performance stages makes for a mini fun zone. The main fair zone consists of the entire pier, from start to end. All the primary pirates (actors hired to portray pirates here) mingle throughout the area, occasionally stopping for photos and to pester the attendees with mindless pirate gibberish. The vendors range from selling actual pirate equipment & clothing to the typical commercial vendors like KROQ and Coors Light. Festivities begin at 10am on Saturday and Sunday, and run until 9pm on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday. The beach parking lots all have paid meters, but street parking costs nothing, so you may opt to search for neighborhood parking to alleviate parking costs.

If you cannot make it out to the pier this weekend, Alfredo’s Beach Club, the company that organizes the pirate fest, holds TWO pirate fests annually. This one at Belmont Pier always takes place at the beginning of summer and costs nothing to attend. The second one at the end of September at Marina Green by Shoreline Village has a fee to enter.

The 9th Annual Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival returns this weekend to the Calabasas Country Club. This gala of food, wine, beer, desserts, celebrity chefs, cars, music, burlesque, and more brings together people from all over to sample the best of Calabasas, Malibu, and select vendors from the Greater Los Angeles Area. General admission costs $100 and starts at 8pm, while VIP tickets cost $150, starts at 7pm, and includes a souvenir wine glass to take home. On-site valet parking costs $20. No one under 21 may attend. For more media regarding this event, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages. Check out some photos from a previous year’s festival:

An Orange County original, the 2015 Punk Rock Picnic returns this Saturday to Marina Green in Long Beach after a catastrophe in 2013 and taking 2014 off. Featuring over 60 bands across six stages and extreme sports athletes, this all-day all-ages concert will show that punk rock never died, and lives stronger than ever. As for the reason why they took two years off, basically the organizer bit off more than he could chew in 2013, and the event completely fell apart, leaving hundreds of people concert-less with a $40 piece of paper. Since then, the event received terrible publicity, and many did not expect to ever see anything come back out of it. Luckily, that unexpected day will return this Saturday.

Regular admission costs $45, while children 12 and under get in for $25. This event does not allow ins & outs, so make sure that you can endure the sunny weather for the entire day. This time, the concert features a more realistic lineup of bands, many of which hail from Southern California, such as Agent Orange, Angry Samoans, Yeastie Boys, Ill Repute, Agression, The Gears, Shattered Faith, and many more. Of the bands not from Southern California, definitely check out Cockney Rejects, Discharge, and The Meatmen. Personally, I look forward to seeing Amerikan Made, One Less Zero, Whitekaps, Hollywood Hate, and any other band I can squeeze into my day. Regardless of the bands listed here, everyone should really check out as many bands as possible to support the local music scene. I will admit that I have my doubts about returning to this event, but I will give it a second chance to see if they can truly escape the hole that they fell into two years ago, and you should give it a chance too.

This past Saturday, the Crossing Foursquare Church in Whittier held their inaugural car show for the ninth year in a row. Free to attend for all ages, this small display of classic cars took over the street and parking lot of this local church, allowing people to freely walk around and gaze upon the classic works of art. In addition to all the cars, local vendors set up to sell food, apparel, trinkets, accessories, car parts, and more. Car enthusiasts would love events like this, despite its small size for a car show. This event made for a great precursor to the Uptown Whittier Car Show that takes place annually in mid-August. If you like cars, remember to check out the Cross Foursquare Church next year, and bookmark August 15th this year for the Uptown Whittier Car Show, also free to attend for all ages.

7th Annual Los Angeles Beer Week
June 20-28
Greater Los Angeles Area

This 9-day beer celebration covers Los Angeles through Orange County, starting with a beer fest at Exposition Park. 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 cannot include every event that directly relates to LA Beer Week, as their website will list them all. Read here for a sample of the beer events to expect this week:

Slaughter & The Dogs @ The Whisky
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 22
Whisky A Go Go, West Hollywood

Punk band Slaughter & The Dogs will perform in West Hollywood tonight. The cover for this show costs $15. No one under 21 may enter.

7th Annual Fountain Valley Summerfest
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 25
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, June 26
7:00 am – 11:00 pm, June 27
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 28
Fountain Valley Recreation & Sports Park, Fountain Valley

This free and all-ages 4-day celebration will include rides, food, drinks, games, entertainment, vendors, live music, beer/wine garden, sports, a car show on Saturday, and a dog show on Sunday.

4th Street Market Culinary Crawl
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 25
4th Street Market, Santa Ana

Come play with rich people and tour through 4th Street Market while enjoying samples from every vendor inside. This event costs $85 and includes gratuity.

2nd Annual Chefs & Shakers Mash-up
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, June 25
Saltbox, San Diego

Enjoy an elegant evening of food and drink pairings at this upscale event that costs $30 to attend.

Take Your Dog To Work Day
All day, June 26

As the name suggests, this holiday celebrates man’s best friend by granting a day where pet lovers can bring their darling dog(s) to work. Please consult with your boss/manager/supervisor if you can bring a dog to work!

37th Annual Taste of Greece
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 26
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 27
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 28
St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, Irvine

This weekend-long all-ages festival celebrates Greek culture with food, drinks, desserts, live music, dancing, games, rides, and more. Admission to the fair costs $3, but print the flyer below to enter for free!

9th Annual Calabasas Malibu Wine & Food Festival
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, June 26-27
Calabasas Country Club, Calabasas

A grand two-night food & wine festival returns to Calabasas this weekend. This gala of food, wine, beer, desserts, celebrity chefs, cars, music, burlesque, and more brings together people from all over to sample the best of Calabasas, Malibu, and select vendors from the Greater Los Angeles Area. General admission costs $150 and starts at 7pm, while VIP tickets cost $300 and starts at 6pm.

Ignite @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 26
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Join Ignite and other great local bands for an intense show this Friday night at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15. Arrive early to park for free at the venue. Arrive too late, and end up parking at a lot down the street for $10.

O.C. Crust Stock Vol. 3
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 26
5:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 27
The Music Hall, Anaheim

Check out some local crust punk bands this weekend at Mirror Image Studios in Anaheim. Tickets to this all-ages concert vary in price, starting at $21.

Tartar Control @ The World Famous Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 26
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

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

Bad Acid Trip @ Blacklight District Lounge
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 26
Blacklight District Lounge, Long Beach

Rock out at this local show this Friday night in Long Beach. The cover for this show costs $7. No one under 21 may enter.

The Aquabats! Super Show! Season 1 Screening
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 27
The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana

Enjoy a marathon of the first season of The Aquabats! Super Show! this Saturday at The Frida Cinema in Santa Ana. Admission to this screening costs $25.

Riviera Village Summer Fest
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, June 27-28
Riviera Village, Redondo Beach

This FREE and all-ages annual street fair occurs in the Riviera Village neighborhood of Redondo Beach. Numerous vendors, arts & crafts, food & drinks, carnival rides, entertainment, and more will take over the streets, as visitors stroll through all the roads gazing at all the wonderful booths. Do not attempt to park nearby – instead, park at South High, right off of Calle Mayor and Pacific Coast Highway, and take the free shuttle. The festival takes place entirely outdoors, so keep sunscreen handy.

36th Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-off
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, June 27
Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Have some fun in the sun in Ocean Beach this Saturday at their annual street fair and chili cookoff. At this free and all-ages street fair, tens of thousands of people will stroll through Ocean Beach to check out all the art, live entertainment, vendors, and of course, the chili. Attendees may purchase chili tastings on the day of the event. This area gets extremely crowded with traffic, so plan alternate routes on arriving, and prepare to walk long distances to reach the street fair.

Pirate Invasion of Belmont Pier
10:00 am – 9:00 pm, June 28
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 29
Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach

Come see and act like pirates at the beach! Visitors may choose to dress as a pirate or arrive in normal clothes. Many others will fully dress up to play their parts. Expect to see pirate shows, vendors, music, a (mock) ship fight, and cannon blank shots fired at the pier. This FREE and all-ages event runs on Saturday & Sunday starting at 10am both days. If you plan to stay for a while, note that this takes place entirely outdoors, so have sunscreen available. Guests can find free street parking in the neighborhood across Ocean Blvd.

2nd Annual Euro Bierfest
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, June 27
Alpine Village, Torrance

A bunch of European beers will arrive at Alpine Village this Saturday for your tasting pleasure. Admission to this beer tasting event costs $45 and includes a souvenir glass and unlimited beer samples from over 60 different varieties while supplies last. Bring cash for other products, such as food and non-alcoholic beverages. No one under 21 may attend.

3rd Annual Make Music Downey
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, June 27
Downtown Downey

This free and all-ages outdoor event will feature over 70 music acts, food trucks, arts & crafts, merchandise vendors, and more.

2015 Punk Rock Picnic
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, June 27
Marina Green, Long Beach

After a catastrophe in 2013 and taking 2014 off, Punk Rock Picnic returns this Saturday to Marina Green in Long Beach. Featuring over 60 bands across six stages and extreme sports athletes, this all-day all-ages concert will show that punk rock never died, and lives stronger than ever. Regular admission costs $45, while children 12 and under get in for $25. This event does not allow ins & outs, so make sure that you can endure the sunny weather for the entire day.

Hangar 24 Summer Sour Release
11:00 am – 12:00 am, June 27
Hangar 24 Brewery, Redlands

Hangar 24 gets sour this weekend with the release of not one, but TWO different sour beers. Stop on by to taste these sours, or even take home a bottle or two. Throughout the day, enjoy live local music, and stick around at 5pm for the announcement of the homebrew competition winners.

3rd Annual Dana Point Food, Wine & Music Festival
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 27
Sea Terrace Park, Dana Point

Taste the local flavor of Dana Point and neighboring cities this Saturday afternoon in Dana Point. Free to attend, visitors can freely roam and browse the attending businesses, and pay for the food as they go. All vendors will have food and/or drinks available at their own price, so all visitors should bring cash in order to receive food or drinks. Guests can park for free at Dana Point High School, and take the shuttle from there to arrive at the location.

38 Degrees Ale House 6th Anniversary Celebration
12:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 27
38 Degrees Ale House, Alhambra

To celebrate turning six, 38 Degrees will tap some limited releases, archived beers, barrel aged beers, sours, local brews, and more. This event requires no admission or reservations – simply show up and order what you like. You can park for free in the parking lot behind the restaurant, or in the structure across from 1st Street.

Twisted Manzanita Ales & Spirits 5th Anniversary
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 27
SILO in Makers Quarter, San Diego

Twisted Manzanita turns five years old this week, and to celebrate, they will have a tasting event in Downtown San Diego this Saturday night. For $40 general admission, receive unlimited samples of beer while supplies last, and received select samples of their craft spirits. No one under 21 may attend.

6th Annual Claremont Village Blues & Brews Craft Beer Walk
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, June 27
Streets of Claremont Village, Claremont

Exhibit the local businesses of Claremont while sipping on craft beers and local food at this annual music and beer fest on the streets of Claremont Village. Over 30 of the local businesses will serve as sites where attendees to this fest can pick up some food or beer as they continue to stroll through Claremont Village to enjoy the live music and the goods & services offered by the local businesses. Admission costs $45 presale and $50 at the gate, and includes free parking and 12 beer tasting tickets. The site does not mention if admission includes food, so if you plan to eat, have some cash available. No one under 21 may attend.

720° Pine
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, June 27
Pine Avenue, Downtown Long Beach

Enjoy some nightlife music for free at this all-ages outdoor concert this Saturday night in Downtown Long Beach.

Chinatown Summer Nights
5:00 pm – 12:00 am, June 27
Chinatown, Downtown Los Angeles

Have a fun time this summer at Chinatownin Downtown Los Angeles. Free to attend for all ages, this nighttime festival brings together food, music, art, and beer in a multicultural setting. Expect to see food trucks, merchandise, arts & crafts, live music, live DJ’s, a dance floor, a beer garden hosted by Eagle Rock Brewery, and more. Guests can find free street parking on Spring St and the side streets connected to Spring, including College St.

Smut Peddlers @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 27
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Legendary punk band Smut Peddlers will headline a show at The Observatory in Santa Ana this Saturday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $10. Arrive early to park for free at the venue. Arrive too late, and end up parking at a lot down the street for $10.

15th Annual Los Angeles River Ride
7:00 am – 1:00 pm, June 28
Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Join thousands of bike riders and enjoy a day of riding, a fair, food, raffles, music, and more. Choose from any of eight different rides (two of them start from Shoreline Village in Long Beach) and head out. Registration costs will vary depending on the ride chosen, ranging from $50 to $65.

San Diego Vintage Flea Market
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, June 28
The Observatory Parking Lot, North Park, San Diego

At this free all-ages outdoor market, visitors will find modern to vintage inspired clothing, housewares, furniture, smalls, and more for sale from the various local vendors.

Stone Sour Fest 2015
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, June 28
Stone Brewing, Escondido

Pucker up for this sour beer tasting event this Sunday morning at Stone Brewing in Escondido. For $49 admission, receive a souvenir glass and 15 3oz tasters from over a hundred different sour beers available. Bring extra cash for purchasing food on the premises. No one under 21 may attend.

15th Annual Taste of Adams Avenue
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, June 28
Adams Avenue, Normal Heights, San Diego

30 restaurants, 30 tastes. Taste the local flavor of Adams Avenue this Sunday afternoon, as you stroll up and down Adams Avenue checking out all the local restaurants in the area. A ticket bundle costs $35 presale and $40 on the day of the event, and provides guests with 30 taster tickets. Park in the neighborhood, and pick up your tickets from Smitty’s Auto on the day of the event if you purchased presale.

I Love Poke Festival
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 28
Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach

Sample the best in island cuisine at this tasting event tonight in Huntington Beach. Over 20 different chefs/restaurants will attend to serve food samples to attendees, while ten local chefs will compete in a poke competition, allowing attendees to sample their food too. Tickets to this all-ages tasting event cost $65, which includes unlimited food samples while supplies last. All attendees must take care of their own parking and transportation.

Barley Forge Tap Takeover, Pig Roast, and Crawfish Boil
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm, June 28
Tender Greens, Irvine

For $30, gain access to this pigout of a night with Barley Forge beer and all sorts of food. Admission costs the same for everyone, even those under 21.

Skaussie Aussie Aussie
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 28
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Get your skanking on this Sunday night at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $10. Arrive early to park for free at the venue. Arrive too late, and end up parking at a lot down the street for $10.

Black Flag performing Rise Above at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on July 12, 2013.

People’s preference for food has changed drastically over the last few years, with a greater shift towards healthier, more natural food. However, the prevalence of chain restaurants has never quite diminished, and chain restaurants continue to endure in almost every corner of the globe. With this much exposure comes the inevitable backlash from the people, including those who work or used to work at a chain restaurant. A public survey asked chain restaurant employees about what customers should never order from their menus, which received a plethora of answers: some good, some bad, and some ugly. Read on to discover the five highest-rated suggestions about what not to order, as told by the people that work at chain restaurants.

5. Domino’s (during busy times)

When operated correctly, everything works fine at Domino’s. However, every franchise location operates differently, so one location may fare better than another. In order to tell, one must inspect the kitchen area upon arrival. Do the ovens appear clean? Do the pizza screens/trays appear clean? Do the employees wash their hands before & after handling any food? Basic cleanliness makes a big difference between a good Domino’s and a bad one.

4. Oriental Chicken Salad from Applebee’s

Like many American chain restaurants, Applebee’s does not exactly fit the bill of healthy food. If you somehow find yourself ending up at an Applebee’s, refrain from order the Oriental Chicken Salad. The dressing that comes with it basically consists of sugar and chicken fat. Sure you can get a different dressing instead, but honestly try to avoid Applebee’s at all cost if you value your health at all.

3. Chicken Salad from Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A prepares most of their food fresh daily. However, the chicken salad mixture not only contains meat of questionable age, but a bunch of other ingredients that may have arrived at that store many months ago. Due to the mixed nature of chicken salad, it may consist of batches of chicken salad of various ages. Chicken salad also lends itself to freezing and reheating, something that they cannot do with the freshly fried or grilled chicken. Stick with sandwiches or salads with fried or grilled chicken.

2. Milkshakes (during busy times)

Many fast food restaurants fall into this category, but Sonic abuses this the most. During busy times, fast food workers would forego cleanliness, and start making shakes without first cleaning the machine. This means that people who order milkshakes would get a little bit of the shakes that people ordered prior. Avoid ordering milkshakes during busy times, or at least inspect the kitchen area when you arrive. If the mixing machine looks dirty, or the staff looks busy, do not order milkshakes.

1. Veggie Burgers

I never understood the concept of vegetable burgers. They try to mimic real burgers, but never can taste as good. They almost always require getting chipped out of the freezer and microwaved to defrost. Worst off, these patties then get thrown onto the same grill used for regular meat. Usually, vegetarians and vegans know better than to eat from fast food restaurants. However, those that do may find themselves accidentally developing an unexpected taste for meat.

Noteworthy entries that missed the top five:

  • Fish filets or grilled chicken from McDonald’s, unless immediately after the breakfast switch – they sit there premade
  • Cheez-Wiz from any place that carries it – it never expires
  • Raisins from Cold Stone – it never gets changed
  • Cheese quesadilla from anywhere – it has very little cheese for the price
  • Soups and pastries from Panera Bread – it comes to the store frozen

Prohibition represented a dark time in American history. The government taking away something that the people desire only sounds like a plot one would hear of in a movie or television series. During that time, underground/hidden bars cropped up known as speakeasies, representing bars stealthily hidden from the public view, known only to people with connections. When Prohibition got repealed, the need for speakeasies diminished. However, the concept of speakeasies persisted, and patrons who appreciated the theme kept them intact. Nowadays, speakeasies have no reason to exist aside from nostalgia and theming, so places that resembles them receive praise for keeping an old tradition alive, such as Speakeasy Ales & Lagers.

As they approach their 18th anniversary, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers keeps the old speakeasy tradition alive by sticking with the theme. Based in San Francisco, locals revere this brewery for not only standing the test of time, but for delivering quality goods to our hands and mouths. Speakeasy has an amazing lineup of brews, all complete with their own art and theme with a story, such as their Payback Porter. Fans of dark beer will love this robust porter, which sits at 7.5% abv. American hops and dark imported malts give this brew its robust strength. Additional flavors in this brew come from English chocolate malts and rolled oats, which yield a dark brown color, roasted malt aroma, strong coffee flavor, and a smooth finish. A solid brew like this drinks well on its own, but for those enjoying Payback Porter with food, it pairs well with sweet flavors, such as barbecue, caramelized onions, or chocolate.

If you cannot make it to their 18th anniversary celebration this weekend, honor them by enjoying a cold Speakeasy brew at home. You can acquire their beers at your local bottle shop, such as Total Wine & More. See what they have in store for the craft beer community by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.