Archive for July, 2015

People get finicky over trivial things because of how “viral” those things get. For example, the world goes into an uproar over the death of one lion, yet hundreds of people get murdered on a daily basis. According to human nature, people get deeply involved with things that have no direct impact on their lives. A few years ago, California voted to ban the sale of foie gras due to the inhumane method of procuring it. That ban lifted earlier this year, but all the negative propaganda the past few years means that many restaurants still fear serving it. Little by little, Californian restaurants have slowly integrated foie gras back into their menus, and by now, people can savor this delectable delight in select places, such as at Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori in Gardena.

Southern Californian food fans swear by the name Shin-Sen-Gumi. Heralded as one of the premier Japanese restaurants of Southern California, Shin-Sen-Gumi does not follow American norms in terms of in-house dining. All of the staff at any Shin-Sen-Gumi live by the traditional eastern culture, as apparent by the shouting of the staff inside. At a normal restaurant, staff communicate face-to-face. At Shin-Sen-Gumi, staff shout their orders overhead for EVERYONE in the restaurant to hear – you can kind of hear it in this video. Shin-Sen-Gumi restaurants fall into a number of different categories based on what they serve. This post focuses on their Yakitori restaurants, a category that focuses on small eats A.K.A. tapas style. Three of these exist in Southern California: Gardena, Monterey Park, and Fountain Valley. I recently visited the Gardena location and discovered that they do indeed serve seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras from their Specials menu. I had not savored foie gras in years, so having this opportunity presented in front of me again meant I had to brace myself for the incoming wave of meaty goodness about to attack my face.

Sure it costs $14.50 for a small piece of this seared piece of animal fat, but how often do people get to treat themselves like this? I obtained this from the Gardena location, so I do not know if the Monterey Park or Fountain Valley locations carry this.

Not one to shy away from anything food-related (and free), I decided to visit the 2nd Annual Vegan Faire at Center Street Promenade in Downtown Anaheim this past Saturday afternoon. Hosted by The Healthy Junk, this free and all-ages outdoor event brought the vegan community together for a day of vegan eats, vegan drinks, music, activities, and more. Visitors could snag samples of various things, especially drinks. Visitors could also view demos of crossfit, karate, and zumba. Other than that, this fair mainly set out to spread the vegan propaganda, what with the signs attempting to dispel myths about veganism. Non-vegan visitors would likely not find much to do here, other than try all the samples around. While a Vegan Faire has all the right tools to end up a successful hit, it falls short with lack of content.

Corgi lovers and Corgi owners united this past Saturday afternoon for a dog day at the beach at the SoCal Corgi Nation‘s Summer Corgi Beach Day. At this free and all-ages event, thousands of passionate Corgi owners gathered for a fun & fur-filled day on the sandy dunes of Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach – it had to move from its original home of Huntington Beach due to the US Open of Surfing taking place in Huntington Beach at the same time. Over 600 Corgis appeared to play, mingle, and enjoy this special day for them. Activities primarily included an Instagram photo meet-up and a limbo contest. Other than that, the day consisted of mingling, chatting, and playing with all the cute pups.

Looking forward to the next Corgi Beach Day? Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 24th, back in Huntington Beach. In the meantime, check out some of the photos from this past Saturday at the Summer Corgi Beach Day.

The Big Bite Bacon Fest returns for its second year running at the Queen Mary in Long Beach this upcoming weekend. Pulling together some of Southern California’s bacon-centric businesses plus microbreweries, this fest brings on all forms of pork to serve to all willing attendees. Admission varies based on when you enter and if you will include the beer package, ranging from $40 to $70. Parking costs $10, so bring cash for that. Admission includes unlimited food tastings until the food runs out (which it will), while guests that purchase a beer package with admission can receive some beer tasters.

Those who have never attended ANY bacon festival in Southern California should do ample research before jumping the gun and buying tickets. In my experiences, every bacon festival in Southern California has had major issues that prevented people from thoroughly enjoying it. For example, all these reviews from last year’s Bacon Fest do not lie – it really did not live up to expectations. First off, when you look at the price compared to other food fests, most people clearly did not receive $40’s worth of food. When you factor in the long lines and the vendors running out of food, most attendees received only about $20’s worth of food. Children do not appreciate certain foods as much as adults, so bringing children to a bacon fest that has beer in it too wastes the admission’s value. Speaking of food, those who did not attend did not miss anything special that they could find regularly on the restaurant’s menu. A majority of the vendors did not cook the food enough, such as:

  • A potato, egg, cheese, and bacon mix had rubbery bacon in it
  • The bacon waffles tasted like dough and wet batter
  • Slater’s 50/50 did not cook their burgers consistently – they ranged from rare all the way to well done
  • The BBQ chicken came out pink and slimy, a sign of not getting cooked long enough
  • Red in the center of a bacon-wrapped meatball

Other problems include not keeping the food warm, meager sample portions, no seconds allowed, beer volunteers that did not know about the beers they poured, inefficient lines, and significantly less booths than the website advertised. How does a vendor serve cold food an hour after the fest starts? With such long lines, why do attendees receive only one small sample? For an event that does not limit the ticket sales, vendors should prepare more than enough food to meet the demands. This could potentially alleviate long lines, and increase marketing exposure to those who did not yet earn a chance to try the food.

Since last year, the organizers have claimed that they will improve the way they run the event. What can one expect this time? Read up for some tips on how to make your festival experience enjoyable:

  • Prepare yourself for the weather. This festival takes place mostly outdoors with limited shade. Apply ample sunscreen (security will not confiscate sunscreen upon entry), and dress for hot weather.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. This sounds counterproductive, but the fact remains that you will only receive SAMPLES at this event, not full meals. Also all that bacon cannot do well for your body, so make sure you get your proper daily nutrients before splurging.
  • The VIP hour makes or breaks the day. Overall the VIP hour makes for an enjoyable experience. However, once the floodgates open to general admission, expect all to go to the pits.
  • Stay hydrated. Salty foods like bacon quickly dehydrate your body. Beer also quickly dehydrates your body. Drink plenty of water before you arrive here, and stay hydrated throughout the festival.
  • Fully charge your phone before arriving. Do not expect to find any outlets to charge your phone during the festival.
  • Bring cash. The Queen Mary charges a fortune to park there, and some vendors at the festival may only accept cash. Consider taking the FREE bus from Downtown Long Beach to save on parking fees.
  • Arrive early. All vendors WILL run out of food within an hour or two. Late arrivals will miss out on the best food samples.
  • Have patience. Expect LONG lines at every booth, and expect to wait a while to receive your bacon sample. Knowing the Queen Mary’s track record, they will not cap tickets either, so do not expect the event to sell out. For best results, split your party up to multiple lines, and have each person bring a handful of food samples back so you can all share the bacon goodness.

Still planning to attend this bacon festival? Take a look at these bacon eats from previous festivals:

US Open of Surfing
July 25 – August 2
Huntington Beach, south of the pier

This week-long competition takes place on the shore south of Huntington Beach Pier. Come see professional and amateur surfers compete to take a spot for the ASP World Tour. Visitors will also find skateboarding demos and live music all week. Completely free to attend, this weekend will see thousands of spectators on the beach for the US Open. Expect heavy traffic all week. Try to find parking in the neighborhoods, but prepare to walk a long distance if choosing to park in neighborhoods, since the neighborhoods closer to the beach will remain full all week.

Roller Derby Day @ Disneyland
7:00 am – 11:00 pm, July 28
Disneyland Resort, Anaheim

Roller Derby will not actually happen at Disneyland, but you can meet hundreds of roller derby athletes as they enjoy a day of fun at the Disneyland Resort this Tuesday.

2015 International Surf Festival
9:00 am – 10:00 pm, July 30-31
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 1
7:30 am – 3:00 pm, August 2
Various beaches, Hermosa/Manhattan/Redondo Beach

Celebrate beach life with the 2015 International Surf Festival that spans five days starting Wednesday morning. The festival comes chock-full of events and activities – see the website for a complete schedule. Actual surfing competitions start Saturday morning, while visitors can catch other activities on all the other times, such as beach volleyball, lifeguard demos, beach runs, and more.

13th Annual Taste of the Pacific Islands
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, July 30
Bali Hai Restaurant, San Diego

Get a taste of Islander cuisine this Thursday night near Liberty Station. Admission to this all-ages tasting costs $30 presale and $40 at the door, and includes all food, non-alcoholic drinks, access to a silent auction, arts & crafts vendors, live entertainment, and more.

Stone Brewing Tap Takeover
5:30 pm – 10:30 pm, July 30
Michael’s Pizzeria, Downtown Long Beach

Stone Brewing will take over the taps at Michael’s Pizzeria’s Downtown Long Beach location this Thursday night. No admission necessary – simply have a seat and order away.

Cider Symposium
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 30
Phantom Carriage Brewery, Carson

Cider enthusiasts will want to check out Phantom Carriage in Carson this Thursday night for a cider tasting plus Q&A panel with cider makers. No admission required – simply show up, and pay for food and drinks as you go.

4th Annual LUCKYRICE Feast
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 30
Create Nightclub, Hollywood

Join in on this night of Asian-style food tastings and cocktail sips this Thursday night in Hollywood. General admission costs $88 and starts at 8pm, while early admission costs $150 and starts at 7pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and cocktail tastings while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Stiff Little Fingers – Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 30, Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach
7:30 pm – 12:30 am, July 31, House of Blues, West Hollywood
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, August 1, House of Blues, Anaheim

Legendary punk band Stiff Little Fingers will headline three shows in Southern California this week before they head back to Europe. Each show has different ticket prices and age limits, so click on a show’s link for more information.

The Aggrolites – Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 30, The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, July 31, Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, August 1, Casa Escobar, Malibu

Catch The Aggrolites as they headline three shows in Southern California this week. Each show has different ticket prices and age limits, so click on a show’s link for more information.

25th Annual Taste of Yorba Linda
6:00 pm – 10:30 pm, July 31
Yorba Linda Community Center, Yorba Linda

Sample the best of food & drinks in Yorba Linda this Friday evening. For $45 presale or $55 at the door, guests get treated to a night of unlimited food tastings plus two drink tickets good for beer or wine. Guests may reserve a table for ten for $100.

Grilled Cheese & Beer Night
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm, July 31
Andrew’s Cheese Shop, Santa Monica

Enjoy a six-course dinner with beer pairings for $100 at this local cheese shop in Santa Monica this Friday night.

Rikk Agnew Band @ Loaded Hollywood
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 31
Loaded Hollywood, Hollywood

Enjoy some local punk rock music in Hollywood this Friday night. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

Bear Fight @ The World Famous Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, July 31
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.

26th Annual Clairemont Family Day
8:00 am – 5:00 pm, August 1
South Clairemont Park, San Diego

Bring the entire family over to the park this Saturday for a FREE fair at the park. This fair will feature a pancake breakfast, arts & crafts, live entertainment, food, drinks, games, rides, a car show, and more. Visitors can swim for FREE in the park’s pool from 12pm until 3pm.

Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival 2015
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, August 1
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, August 2
The Reef, Los Angeles

Check out this Japanese cultural event going on this weekend in Los Angeles. This all-ages event features music, entertainment, fashion, vendors, cosplay, and more Japanese things. One-day admission costs $10 presale or $12 at the door. Two-day admission costs $18 presale or $20 at the door.

4th Annual Los Angeles Clitoral Mass
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, August 1
Grand Park, Downtown Los Angeles

Participate in a communal bike ride starting in Downtown Los Angeles this Saturday afternoon. Mix and mingle with the various diverse women joining in on this bike ride.

2nd Annual Big Bite Bacon Fest Long Beach
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, August 1
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, August 2
The Queen Mary, Long Beach

Get your pork on this weekend down at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Pig out on bacon eats & treats from some of Southern California’s finest chefs and restaurants, and for the adults, sample brews from Southern California’s multitude of micro breweries. As you munch and sip your way through the fest, test your mettle at pig pong, pork ladder toss, bacon bags, dunk a swine, and more games. Admission varies based on when you enter and if you will include the beer package, starting at $40. Parking costs $10, so bring cash for that. This festival takes place outdoors, so dress appropriately, and apply sunscreen.

Anaheim Packing District & Farmers Park Market One-Year Anniversary
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, August 1, Packing District, Anaheim
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, August 2, Farmers Park, Anaheim

A year ago, Anaheim launched a local attraction that has drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors since then. This weekend, they celebrate the past year with free and all-ages festivities that include games, arts & crafts, live music, entertainment, food specials, and more. As always, no cameras allowed inside the building.

HARD Summer Music Festival
12:00 pm – 12:00 am, August 1-2
Fairplex, Pomona

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) has always remained a popular genre in our recent history. Since the early 1990’s, people have jammed and danced to EDM through various forms, such as rave, techno, trance, dubstep, and more. Due to this genre’s lack of lyrics, EDM sounds the same to everyone around the world. This international appeal reaches every corner in the world, especially at Electric Daisy Carnival. This weekend, Los Angeles will see its own EDM concert with Hard Summer, a two-day outdoor concert taking place at the Fairplex in Pomona. Tickets sold out a while ago, but you may still find after-market tickets for sale. No one under 18 may attend.

4th Annual Downtown Burbank Car Classic
3:00 pm – 9:00 pm, August 1
San Fernando Blvd b/t Magnolia & Angeleno, Burbank

Car enthusiasts will want to make their way over to Downtown Burbank this Saturday afternoon for a day full of classic cars, customs, and more, free to attend for all ages.

Taste of San Pedro
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 1
CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro

Explore cuisine from over 20 restaurants in San Pedro this Saturday evening. In addition to all the food and drinks, enjoy live music, live entertainment, and special beverage samples. General admission costs $55 and comes with five food tasters and three drink tasters. VIP admission costs $85 and comes with ten food tasters and five drink tasters. Attendees may purchase additional food and beverages at cost at the event.

Twisted At The Pike
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 1
Rainbow Harbor, Long Beach

Immerse yourself into the world of weird this Saturday night in Long Beach. Free to attend for all ages, this twisted carnival has live music, dance, magic performers, a beer garden hosted by Auld Dubliner, local food vendors, and more.

I-15 Brew Festival
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 1
Galway Downs Equestrian Center, Temecula

Taste the best of the Inland Empire at this beer tasting event out in Temecula this Saturday evening. This event will feature over 60 breweries, 30 home brewers, live music, live entertainment, and more. General admission costs $50 presale or $60 at the door, starts at 7pm, and includes a souvenir glass with unlimited beer tasters. VIP admission costs $70 presale, and starts at 6pm. No one under 21 may attend.

Green Jellÿ @ The World Famous Doll Hut
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, August 1
The World Famous Doll Hut, Anaheim

Release some aggression at this local show this Saturday night at the Doll Hut in Anaheim. The cover for this show costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

Lakewood Family Sunday Funday Ride
9:30 am – 1:00 pm, August 2
Del Valle Park, Lakewood

Bring out your family for a bike ride around Lakewood and Long Beach. The course runs up to 18 miles, but participants may choose to ride for a lesser duration.

19th Annual Chula Vista Lemon Festival
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, August 2
Third Avenue Village, Chula Vista

This street fair in Chula Vista will have food, arts & crafts, live music, dance, entertainment, and lemons everywhere. Completely free to attend for all ages, visitors should park in the neighborhoods south of 3rd Avenue.

Art lovers rejoice – Orange County got their very own Zine Fest this past Sunday afternoon. Taking place at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in Santa Ana, this free and all-ages event featured dozens of local and/or independent authors and publishers sharing their magazines, comics, and other DIY material. To engage guests, some of the artists held demos and workshops at their tables, allowing attendees to take part in or observe live art. However, due to the limited space of the venue plus limited parking in the area, this event saw mainly ins & outs all day in regards to guests.

The OC Zine Fest makes occasional pop-ups at events throughout Orange County. Stay up to date with things going on with the OC Zine Fest by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter.

The 2015 Idea World Fitness Convention & Expo returned this past weekend to it new location at the Los Angeles Convention Center. As one of the world’s largest fitness conferences, visitors from all over the world traveled to Los Angeles within the past week to check out this convention, full of workshops, speakers, demos, competitions, vendors, and more. From Wednesday through Sunday of last week, various seminars, sessions, workshops, and demos took place that attendees could participate in and gain valuable knowledge, or further their athletic career. From Thursday through Saturday, the Fitness & Nutrition Expo opened up to the public, and anyone who registered online for that expo could enter for free. This expo contained numerous vendors all exhibiting the latest in sports equipment, wellness services, new technology in sports, and food trends.

Those in the fitness or wellness industry definitely should have registered for the full conference, gaining immense benefits towards their business, or towards their training. For everyone else, attending the free expo yielded great returns in terms of content, networking opportunities, and all the free samples of protein goodies. Compared to last year’s convention, about half of the vendors returned, while the other half consisted of new vendors. The Idea World Fitness Expo focuses more on health and wellness, whereas another big fitness expo that takes place in Southern California (coming next month) focuses more on training and athletics. Regardless, numerous demos and exercises took place, ranging from dance to cross-training to controlled movements and more.

The Idea World Fitness Expo opens their doors to all demographics of all ages, not just those in the industry or those who work out frequently. Fit people love this expo because they can keep up with latest trends and news in the fitness industry. Casual visitors like this expo because they can learn the right ways to get fit, as well as feel motivated after seeing all the fit people around. When an expo like this comes your way, consider attending to see what it truly takes to stay fit, and gain first-hand experience from people who know how to stay fit.