Archive for March, 2016

Some of California’s strongest athletes competed in a strongman competition this past Saturday morning in Huntington Beach as part of the 14th Annual California’s Strongest Man Contest. Taking place in a parking lot just east of Jack’s Concession Stand at Huntington State Beach, this competition allowed visitors of all ages to spectate these weightlifting feats for free, as the competitors exhibited their strength and finesse among five different lifting rounds. While most of the competitors represented various lifting and/or barbell clubs or organizations, the contest still allowed independent competitors to compete. Competitors exhibited their athletic ability in the following events:

  1. Axle/log clean & press: a power clean followed by a press/jerk using a log, barbell, and dumbbell
  2. Complex: seated arm over arm, keg carry, and sled push
  3. Conan’s Wheel: underarm lifting a weighted pole and moving it around a circle (shown below)
  4. Complex: farmer’s carry, tire flip, and sled-anchor chain drag
  5. Atlas Stones: picking up a heavy Atlas Stone and lifting it over a hurdle

Both men and women competed and gave their all, proving that fitness does not discriminate. The announcer even said that one of the women competitors weighs “one hundred and nothing” and she still could move Conan’s Wheel one cycle at well over 200 pounds. One can never start lifting weights too late, so if you feel motivated to get strong like these competitors, search locally for a weightlifting gym or a barbell/lifting club or organization. Try to avoid mass “fitness centers” such as Planet Fitness that deter heavy lifting – those do not provide proper training, and will usually trap you in convoluted contracts that you cannot easily escape without an attorney. For best results, search for actual weightlifting gyms or CrossFit gyms with a lifting program. Not all CrossFit gyms have dedicated lifting space, so do some research on these gyms to see if they allow a lifting-only membership without the CrossFit workout shenanigans.

The first Taste of Downtown Long Beach of 2016 occurred last week on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Free to attend for all ages, numerous businesses in Downtown Long Beach set up booths in the East Village Arts District to serve food & drinks to guests who purchased food tickets. Guests could purchase 12 tickets for $10 online, or one ticket for $1 each at the event. The restaurants that served at this event ranged from the many restaurants around the East Village to those along Pine Avenue to the handful of restaurants in Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor. In addition to all the food, local bands played music throughout the night, and local artists and vendors set up to sell their merchandise and other work.

Missed out on this food fest? The Downtown Long Beach Association will host the taste once again in early June and late August. For a simple method to sample what Downtown Long Beach has to offer, you do not want to miss the next taste or two.

The VinDiego Wine & Food Festival returns for its fourth year this weekend at Liberty Station in San Diego. This two-day event allows wine enthusiasts to immerse themselves in wine culture, whether at a seminar, a small-scale tasting, or at the grand tasting festival. Friday will see smaller events with low limits to keep things intimate with the attendees, while the Saturday event will see thousands of attendees sipping and savoring all afternoon. The Saturday tasting event provides attendees with three hours (four with VIP upgrade) of unlimited wine pours and food samples from the participating businesses. As wine tends to have a larger consumer base than craft beer, this festival covers much more ground than a typical beer fest. General admission presale costs $105 and allows entry at 4pm, while VIP admission costs $135 and allows entry at 3pm. The festival ends promptly at 7pm. No one under 21 may attend the event. The surrounding areas have free parking lots, but these fill up fast, so I suggest carpooling plus arriving early to secure a parking spot.

The entire festival grounds at NTC Liberty Station spans the outside courtyard area, plus the interior of the event center. Starting off with the event center building, a variety of exhibitors usually set up at the tables inside. The exhibitors include a handful of wineries, plenty of non-hot food samples, a few non-alcoholic drinks, and merchandise vendors.

The majority of the attendees tend to remain outside in the courtyard area, where most of the wineries set up. Along with the few hot food vendors out here serving hot food, all the wineries group up by region. Each individual row of wineries comes from a different region, most of which derives from the west coast. For example, one row of wineries would represent Napa Valley, while another row would contain wineries from Oregon. Throughout the day, attendees can enjoy live local music that they can all dance to.

The VinDiego Festival markets this event as a wine & food festival. In the past, they did not appear to have enough food to satiate all the attendees. The hot food vendors saw endless lines of people waiting for food, and many of them ran out of food long before the event ended. The last time I attended VinDiego, I never had to wait for any wine, but I did not obtain much food due to the long lines that moved rather slowly. As a result, I stuck with the food vendors inside the event center, opting to not receive any hot food. Hopefully VinDiego will invite some more food vendors to the festival this time.

The wines flow all day, never appearing to run out. With enough wine to fill a football stadium, VinDiego does not slack off with the wine. This event does not utilize volunteers to pour the drinks – the representatives from the wineries themselves pour the wines. This allows them to better describe the wines as they poured, a notion that greatly assists those with less knowledge about wine, like me.

While San Diego represents the craft beer capital of the west coast, VinDiego proves that San Diego has a strong wine presence as well. Craft beer still has yet to curb a large portion of consumer purchases worldwide, while wine already sits up there as one of the most purchased consumer goods annually. Whether you have as much knowledge as a sommelier or would like to get started with wine, VinDiego makes a great event to check out for all your wine resources. Like their Facebook page and Follow them on Twitter for event updates and information regarding any future events.

San Diego Steampunk March Meeetup
6:30 pm – 9:30 pm, March 28
Fuddruckers, Mira Mesa, San Diego
http://www.sdsteampunk.com/

Mix and mingle with other steampunk enthusiasts tonight in Mira Mesa.

Avery Brewing Night @ Far Bar
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, March 29
Far Bar, Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.farbarla.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1723947904486830/

Little Tokyo’s Far Bar will have a bunch of Avery Brewing beers on tap this Tuesday night. Stop on by and enjoy a cold one or two.

Epic Brewing Tap Takeover
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 30
Blue Palms Brewhouse, Hollywood
http://www.bluepalmsbrewhouse.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/190006874713410/

Epic Brewing will take over the taps at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood this Wednesday evening. This event has no cover charge – simply show up, and enjoy a few cold ones.

2nd Annual SOCO Uncorked
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, March 31
South Coast Collection, Costa Mesa
http://southcoastcollection.com/soco-uncorked/

Enjoy small bites, wine sips, and live music this Thursday evening at the SOCO Mix Mart in Costa Mesa. General admission costs $75 presale or $95 at the door, and starts at 6pm. VIP admission costs $100, and starts at 5pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and drink samples while supplies last.

Ragnar Relay So Cal 2016
5:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 1-2
Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach
http://www.runragnar.com/event-detail/relay/southerncalifornia

Take part in an epic overnight relay race that stretches from Orange County down to San Diego this weekend starting Friday morning. Grab a team, grab supplies, and make the trek from point A to point B, finally finishing at Crown Point in Pacific Beach.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, April 1
Various locations
Long Beach: http://firstfridayslongbeach.com/
Venice: http://www.abbotkinney1stfridays.com/

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).

4th Annual VinDiego – San Diego Wine & Food Festival
6:00 pm – 8:30 pm, April 1
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 2
NTC Liberty Station, San Diego
http://www.vindiego.com/

VinDiego returns this year, bigger and better! On Friday, select small tastings and seminars will take place to allow guests to taste and learn about different wines. On Saturday afternoon at Liberty Station, enjoy tastings of over 75 different wines from California’s top wineries, and delicious eats from many of San Diego’s top restaurants and chefs. General admission presale costs $105 and allows entry at 4pm, while VIP admission costs $135 and allows entry at 3pm.

Hardcore Punk Night @ Characters Sports Bar
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 1
Characters Sports Bar, Pomona
http://www.gonzopresents.com/event/243003

Release some inner aggression at this hardcore punk night this Friday night in Pomona. The cover for this show costs $5. No one under 21 may enter. Guests can find plenty of free street parking in the area, and can avoid paying to park in the adjacent lot.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, April 1
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/1133197-secret-affair-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.

2016 Formula E Long Beach ePrix
7:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 2
Long Beach Grand Prix Track, Long Beach
http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/calendar/2016-long-beach.aspx

Check out the world’s first fully-electric racing series this Saturday on the same track as the Long Beach Grand Prix. This Saturday will represent round six of the year-long racing tournament. General admission costs $30 for adults or $20 for children and seniors.

BeerFit San Diego 2016
9:00 am – 2:00 pm, April 2
Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego
http://runbeerfit.com/event/san-diego/

Run a 5k while drinking beer. If you think you can handle this, registration starts at $50.

21st Annual Uptown Whittier Spring Antique Street Faire
9:00 am – 3:00 pm, April 2
Greenleaf Avenue, Uptown Whittier
http://whittieruptown.org/faire/

Check out over 90 vendors selling collectibles, jewelry, art, furniture, glassware, and more at this street fair this Saturday. Free to attend for all ages, guests will find many rare merchandise from local businesses and home vendors. Guests can dine at any of the local establishments, which will remain open under their normal business hours. Guests can park for free on the street in adjacent neighborhoods.

24th Annual Riverside Airshow
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 2
Riverside Airport, Riverside
http://www.riversideairshow.com/

See all things aviation at this FREE and all-ages air show at the Riverside Airport this Saturday.

A Current Affair: Pop-Up Vintage Marketplace
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 2-3
Cooper Design Space, Downtown Los Angeles
http://itsacurrentaffair.com/

Check out over 40 vendors selling vintage apparel and accessories this Saturday in Downtown Los Angeles. Regular admission costs $12 and starts at 12pm, while early entry for 10am costs $20.

6th Annual Brew With A View
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 2
Packinghouse Brewing, Riverside
http://www.pbbeer.com/

Watch the Riverside Airshow from Packinghouse Brewing this Saturday, free of charge. They will have mobile food vendors, live music, and of course, lots of beer.

Long Beachland
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, April 2
Art Theatre Long Beach, Retro Row, Long Beach
http://www.arttheatrelongbeach.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1671099253179679/

Enjoy a local comedy slide show this Saturday in Long Beach. Admission costs $29.

5th Annual Winners’ Circle BBQ Championship
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, April 2
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://santaanitabbq.com/

Enjoy some traditional BBQ meats this Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia. Admission to this all-ages food fest costs $5 per person, and once inside, tasting tickets cost $1 each. Each vendor takes a varying amount of tickets depending on the item offered.

Spring 2016 Brewery Art Walk
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, April 2-3
Brewery Art Association, Los Angeles
http://breweryartwalk.com/

This FREE semiannual art walk features hundreds of residents artists showcasing their finest work. Guests may even purchase art they like from the artists. Free to park and enter for all ages, the facility even includes an in-house restaurant, so bring your friends and family to look at some great art.

San Diego Craft Beer Relay
11:00 am – 8:00 pm, April 2
Bates Nut Farm, Valley Center
http://www.craftbeerrelay.com/

Basically, a four-person relay team takes on a 5k obstacle course while sampling craft beer along the way. If you think you have a group that can handle this, registration costs $289 per team.

2016 San Diego Uncorked Wine Festival
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 2
Embarcadero Marina Park North, San Diego
http://uncorkedwinefestivals.com/san-diego-wine-festival/

Enjoy a wine festival with over 60 different wines, food trucks, live music, and more. General admission costs $55 and starts at 2pm, while VIP admission costs $65 and starts at 1pm. All attendees receive unlimited wine tastings while supplies last. Food comes at a separate cost, so bring cash for food. No one under 21 may attend.

Meet The Brewer: Good Beer Company
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 2
Stateside Crafts, Long Beach
http://www.statesidecrafts.com/
http://www.facebook.com/events/1779973905558798/

This Saturday in Long Beach, meet the brewers from Good Beer Company, and try a flight of their beers as well for $7.

King Harbor Brewing 2nd Anniversary Celebration
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, April 2
King Harbor Brewing, Redondo Beach
http://kingharborbrewing.com/event/2nd-anniversary/

Redondo Beach’s King Harbor Brewing turns two years old this week, and to celebrate, they will hold a beer tasting event this Saturday at their tasting room. General admission costs $30 and comes with a souvenir glass, unlimited beer pours, and access to the dessert bar. VIP admission costs $40, and also includes a bottle of their anniversary brew.

2016 World Pillow Fight Day
3:00 pm – 6:00 pm, April 2
Worldwide
http://pillowfightday.com/

Ever participate in a flash mob? No, not the kind of flash mob where everyone breaks out in dance. I speak of the infamous pillow fight flash mob. On April 2nd, communities around the world will gather to unleash a fray feather-fueled frenzy on unsuspecting combatants. Due to the unorganized nature of a flash mob, no one can control what occurs, so anyone can join in, yet anything goes. Note that most locations take place in dense areas, so prepare to pay for parking. At the time, nobody has announced any Southern Californian events. Check the website for confirmed locations throughout the world.

Night Nation Run – Orange County
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, April 2
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.nightnationrun.com/orange-county-2016/

People always seem to want to find any way possible to make running less boring. Introducing Night Nation Run, a glow run that now involves EDM. Run a course complete with lights, glow sticks, lasers, EDM, and more. Registration costs $30 presale or $60 once presale registration runs out, and includes a t-shirt, a glow necklace, a goodie bag, and access to the after-party with more EDM.

Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 3
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana
http://www.bowers.org/index.php/education-programs/family-programs/event/161-japanese-cherry-blossom-festival

Celebrate this traditional cultural springtime festival this Sunday afternoon in Santa Ana. With just the price of admission into the museum, visitors get access to arts & crafts, live entertainment, cultural food & drinks, and more.

5th Annual Chocolate Festival
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, April 3
Maritime Museum, San Diego
http://sdmaritime.org/visit/public-events/chocolate-festival/

This Sunday, guests of all ages can enjoy plenty of chocolate to eat, demos, arts & crafts, and more. Museum admission includes access to the chocolate area, which costs $17 for adults, with discounts applicable to seniors, military, and children.

Montrose Brew Fest 2016
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, April 3
Benitoite, Montrose, Glendale
http://www.montrosebrewfest.org/

A beer and food tasting event comes to Glendale this Sunday afternoon. General admission costs $35 and starts at 1pm, while VIP admission costs $45 and starts at 12pm. All attendees receive unlimited food and beer samples while supplies last. No one under 21 may attend.

Coronado Brewing Can Launch Pool Party
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, April 3
Lafayette Hotel Swim Club & Bungalows, North Park, San Diego
http://coronadobrewing.com/cans

Coronado Brewing will start distributing their canned beverages, and to celebrate this start, they will have a free pool party this Sunday in North Park. Guests can enjoy the live music, take a dip in the pool, enjoy some cold ones, and savor some local food. While this event costs nothing to get into, guests should bring cash to buy food and drinks.

Masters Of Taste 2016
3:00 pm – 7:00 pm, April 3
Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena
http://mastersoftastela.com/

Sample food and drinks from some of Los Angeles County’s top chefs and experts this Sunday afternoon in Pasadena. General admission costs $125, starts at 4pm, and provides unlimited food and drink samples while supplies last. VIP admission costs $225, starts at 3pm, and also includes access to a VIP area.

As a connected community, today’s society have gotten used to generally accepted styles of food. For the most part, we see a lot of a certain type of food based on the region. To no one’s surprise, the greatest concentration of a particular style of cuisine resides in its locale of origin. However, many modern communities appreciate the diversity and variety of carrying different types of food places around. This has paved the way for the various types of restaurants to crop up all over. From Latin restaurants to Asian restaurants to sub-genres of food such as barbecue or noodle restaurants, we have seen a restaurant for virtually anything consumable. But even when a restaurant specializes in one particular thing, they can always break the mold and introduce something a little bit off the charts. For that, we turn to Súp Noodle Bar.

Nestled in a Korean shopping center in Buena Park, Súp Noodle Bar delivers noodle bowls so delicious that they usually have a full house every night. Specializing in phô, this Vietnamese restaurant puts their own unique flavor into every curated entrée on their menu. At first glance, their food may appear alike any other ordinary restaurant’s food. Ask the locals about Súp, and they will attest to the unbelievable flavor profile of every item here. In addition to their wondrous noodle bowls, Súp has also gained notoriety with their Shaken House Fries. This massive plate of fries comes with truffle oil, marinated short rib, minced garlic, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, and spicy tartar sauce. This plate that can easily feed a party of four contains a savory punch that will leave your taste buds seeing stars. Although listed as an appetizer, one or two people can easily consider this an entrée.

For more about what Súp Noodle Bar has to offer, visit their Facebook and Twitter page, and check them out in North Buena Park on the northwestern corner of Beach Blvd and La Mirada Blvd.

With Spring now underway, the weather starts to warm up, and the daily daylight starts to extend, providing even greater incentive to get out there and explore the world. Events around town occur regularly, and most people understand the basics of most of these events, such as 5k runs, art shows, or beer fests. But what happens when a traditional event comes up with a spin? Enter Firkfest, a beer festival celebrating the wonders of cask ales. Traditional beer fests see breweries or home brewers bringing in their brews to sample to the large crowd of attendees over a short period of time. This past Saturday at Farmers Park in Anaheim, Firkfest did that same thing, except the participating breweries brought only casks to this party. A one-of-a-kind festival, cask ales rarely get this type of exposure, largely due to the portability of it. As a result, only cask ales from breweries on the west coast could survive the trip here. Aside from the drinks featured here, Firkfest operated largely like most other beer festivals. Admission to this festival cost $55, and included unlimited beer tastings from all the participating breweries from noon to 3:45pm, plus free parking. Around this small area, other activities included live music and some recreational games, like bocce ball, cornhole, Jenga, and more. For the majority of the beers, the alcohol percentage ranged from six to eight percent, with a few going above or below that. I managed to try something from every brewery since none of the breweries held any timed releases like some have in the past – all attendees could receive any beer right from the start.

Now in its third year, Firkfest has solidified itself as one of the staple Orange County beer festivals for craft beer fans to attend. Last year, the organizers also incorporated a chili cookoff into the event, allowing local businesses to enter their best rendition of chili to a contest, while also allowing attendees to sample the chili. This year, they appear to have ditched that idea, intending to focus solely on the brews at hand. As a persistent problem since their first year, the staff clearly could have handled the entrance line a lot better. The front gate volunteers did not start checking tickets and handing out wristbands until 12pm on the dot, losing valuable time for the attendees way at the back of the line. To mitigate this issue, they could have ran two lines: one line to check in & receive a wristband, and another line for the express entrance with just showing the wristband. As a notable experience, the attendance remained below average for a beer fest. Some of the larger beer festivals have you standing shoulder to shoulder with other people, waiting in long lines for generic beer that may even include macro beers like Shock Top. Those “drunk fests” do not emphasize the quality of the beer – they focus on quantity and getting people as drunk as the next person. Firkfest got the quality beers for a fest with a manageable attendance, keeping things slightly more intimate and allowing greater interactions with the attendees and the representatives from the breweries. The organizers also resolved parking by allowing guests to park for free in a parking structure that normally would not allow so many people to park in for so long. The venue worked out great for the wide space, and the weather made it even better. With nothing outstanding to complain about, I foresee Firkfest standing strong for many years.

The 6th Annual Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Festival returns to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego this Saturday afternoon. This mega tasting festival provides more than just the best of local craft beer – this fest combines a beer fest with gourmet food from local chefs and restaurants. In addition to unlimited beer pours, all attendees can sample all the delicious food they can handle until the vendors run out of food, and the food flies out fast as indicated at previous years of this fest. Do not expect any corporate or chain businesses here – MVCBF only invites the best in local cuisine to the party. With an eye for great quality food comes an eye for great quality craft beer. MVCBF ensures that guests would sample only the best beer that they can find, so expect all the breweries to bring their A-game. Beer enthusiasts regard San Diego as the home of the West Coast IPA, so in order to provide variety to the guests, MVCBF will highlight all the diverse styles of beer among every brewery invited. From blueberry ales to coffee stouts to strong ales to cask beers, guests will truly find a beer of almost every type available. VIP admission costs $85, comes with a t-shirt, and allows entry at 12pm. General admission costs $50 and starts at 1:30pm. The festival will end promptly at 5pm, with last call occurring at 4:45pm. With free parking, local bands, and a vast area with plenty of seating, this fest has all grounds covered.