Archive for December, 2016

The Mad Caddies (FB / TW) performing Souls For Sale at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on October 24, 2013.

Craft beer has long passed its introductory phase, and has made it into the mainstream of today’s society and culture. While mass media will still portray the macro beers in commercials and ads, most avid beer drinkers will know to steer clear away from the macro beers in favor of the local microbreweries. With the high popularity of microbreweries, nearly every populated area has some form of brewery, whether a full production facility or a small-town brewpub. Some local breweries may go into other products, such as coffees, teas, and soft drinks. Other breweries may derive from an existing business, such as with the case of REV Brewing Co.

If you have never gone to REV Brewing Co., you may never know how to find it. Hidden away in an industrial office space in Covina, REV Brewing got their start over a decade ago as a winery. Times change, and REV eventually expanded to start brewing beer. However, their original plan of producing only organic products has not changed. To this day, REV Brewing still churns out only organic wines and beers out of that little production facility they have in Covina. Speaking of which, while they do have a tasting room, if one has never visited them before, it may take some effort to locate REV Brewing. They lie beyond a closed gate, and to gain access, visitors must first call REV Brewing to ask to open the gate. Only then can you get past the gate and to park by REV Brewing. Once you do though, you will discover a comfy cozy tasting room with fresh beers and wines available for you to taste. If you intend to drink for a bit, consider bringing food to munch on while you get your suds on.

While REV Brewing surely does not reside on the minds of many Southern Californian beer drinkers, they still have a fair presence in restaurants, bars, and bottle shops. See what REV Brewing has going on by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

A fact of nature exists that all living creatures, humans included, desire sweets. When it comes to how things taste, nearly everything prefers the sweet flavor over anything else. Traditionally, people ended their meals with a dessert, or otherwise saved a sweet treat for after a main course. Desserts exist in many forms, from cold to warm, from handheld to needing utensils, from solid to liquid, and more. Dessert has made it into mass media as well, and we even have a fictional character based on a dessert: the Cookie Monster. Many people love cookies, and cookies have taken on so many different forms, from traditional flat round cookies to cookie dough ice cream to cookie shot cups and more. While we can enjoy cookies in many forms now, nothing beats the classic cookie, especially when it comes in so many different flavors now, such as the variety of cookie flavors offered at Cookie Good.

If you want a lot of ordinary cookies, you go to your local grocery store. If you want top-shelf one-of-a-kind cookies, you go to Cookie Good in Santa Monica. When one thinks of specialty baked desserts, most people immediately think of cupcake shops. Cookie Good has taken that notion and reinvented it with a gourmet cookie shop. Much like how cupcake shops have a variety of flavored cupcakes ready for sale, Cookie Good has a wide assortment of cookies available for customers to take home. More than just any ordinary cookie, Cookie Good appeals to both traditionalists and modernists. For the traditionalists, Cookie Good serves up good old flavors like Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Raisin, and Snickerdoodle. For the modernists, Cookie Good goes the extra mile with unique cookies such as Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chunk, Birthday Cake, Red Velvet, Cookies & Cream, and more. In addition to cookies, Cookie Good serves a handful of brownies. While just as good as the cookies, most customers visit Cookie Good for their namesake, the cookies.

Cookie Good routinely rotates their flavors out to keep up with the seasons, and to stay fresh with the ever-changing crowd. Visit Cookie Good in Santa Monica on Monday through Saturday afternoons to get your cookie fix, and check out Cookie Good on Facebook and Twitter for updates on flavors and more.

When people go to dine out or enjoy some drinks, they often seek the complete experience more than simply going out. Going out represents an experience in itself, not just going to fulfill a hunger or thirst. Experiences vary between people, depending on what they deem as interesting versus others who deem things by how much they fulfill. For example, a plain dive bar or simple fast-food restaurant may satisfy some people, while others may prefer a more lively place to enjoy some time. Some of these places have themes that give the place a different ambiance; for example, a Tiki Bar often has islander themed beverages, along with food to go with the theme. In addition to the products, a Tiki Bar may also decorate the place appropriately. If you seek a place that does all of this right, look no further than Hatch.

Despite its short and nondescript name, Hatch contains a lot within a small space. Located in a back corner of the Union Market in Tustin, Hatch delivers a full Tiki Bar experience with a wide assortment of delicious beverages along great food that both serve as a meal or as a pairing with their beverages. On the beverage side, Hatch follows the craft beer industry by rotating beers continuously, also keeping their taps fresh and current with the season. In homage to the Tiki Bar experience, Hatch boasts a full lineup of exotic rums from around the world, lending to some incredible cocktails that one cannot find easily anywhere else. Besides the drinks, Hatch offers a great selection of gourmet sliders and sides. For $14 (price subject to change in the future), you select two sliders plus a side of your choice. The menu currently contains at least 15 slider varieties, which includes some vegetarian varieties. I have yet to try all of their sliders, but so far I have eaten the following:

  • The Hatch: all-beef patty, fried onions, hatch sauce, cheddar hat
  • Fried Soft Shell Crab: fried crab, tomato, greens togarashi aioli
  • Rum Braised Pork: pulled pork, roasted garlic aioli, pineapple chutney, cilantro
  • Duck: duck patty, Asian slaw, cilantro, barbecue sauce

Hatch opens their doors to the public seven days a week inside the Union Market in Tustin, which offers free self-parking as well as (not-free) valet parking. Head on over and check out their wonderful menu for both their sliders and their drinks. Check out Hatch on Facebook to see what else they have cooking up.

The HatchSoft Shell CrabRum Braised PorkDuck

Ska-Xing Day
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 26
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Time to skank! Get all ska’d out with Starpool, The Aggrolites, and more at this all-ages show at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets to this show cost $15.

OFF! Live in Southern California
8:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 27, The Observatory, Santa Ana
8:30 pm – 12:30 am, December 28, The Casbah, Middletown, San Diego

Cap off your 2016 with some punk rock this week with OFF! and these two shows that they will headline. The age limit and ticket prices vary with each show, so click on a show’s link for details.

MDB Holiday Benefit Show
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 28
4th Street Vine, Long Beach

Enjoy a complimentary music benefit show this Wednesday night in Long Beach.

The Final Ska Show of the Year
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, December 30
The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana

Get your skanking on at this skacore show this Friday night at The Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15.

7th Annual Crash In the New Year
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, December 31
The Rinks, Huntington Beach

If you ever wanted to try roller derby, you have a chance this Saturday in Huntington Beach. Registration costs $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Anyone may participate, but should bring their own clothing and gear.

Various New Year’s Eve Dinners/Parties
Nighttime, December 31

Anywhere you go on New Year’s Eve, you will find a dinner or party of some sort. Please party responsibly and commute safely. Minimize your time on the road if possible. Some examples of events taking place on this night:

Punk Rock New Year’s Eve
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, December 31
Cafe NELA, Los Angeles

Spend New Year’s Eve with local punk rock bands at this low-cost gig in Los Angeles featuring The Gears and more. Entry to this show costs only $10. No one under 21 may enter.

The Mad Caddies (FB / TW) performing Tired Bones at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on October 24, 2013.

How does one discover the best of local food spots? They ask the locals, of course. When one travels, they still need to eat. What will they choose to eat at their new destination? Will they stick to corporate chains that they have familiarity with? Or will they explore the local places to savor the local flavor? How would they find these local places? Will they search their smartphones for them? Not all places will appear in searches, however. Some hole-in-the-wall places do not have an internet presence, so digitally searching for some of the better places may not work out. It takes word-of-mouth from the locals to spread the information of such places, such as a little food stand simply called Melt.

When it comes to Melt, word-of-mouth has never applied so much before. Tiny does not describe Melt, as they simply exist as a food counter in a supermarket, kind of like a mall’s food court. In Diamond Bar, a local H Mart houses its own food court with a plethora of unique food counters, ranging from unique desserts to traditional Korean food to all the fusion, which leads us to Melt. From a distance, glancing over at the Melt counter makes them appear like some ordinary burger counter, with hamburgers and fries shown on their menu. However, upon closer inspection, you will discover that Melt does the fusion thing here, and they do it well. They cross Korean cuisine over to the world of burgers and fries, such as with their Bulgogi Cheese Fries. Though it appears small, this makes for the perfect side dish portioned perfectly, as Melt tops a side order of fries with melted cheddar cheese, marinated ribeye beef, bulgogi aioli sauce, chopped green onions, jalapeños, and housemade Melt sauce. Although you cannot share this due to its size, it costs so little that anyone can enjoy their own order of Bulgogi Cheese Fries for $4.75 each.

Interested in tasting this creative creation of fusion? Head on over to the H Mart in Diamond Bar, and locate the food court within to discover Melt. Melt has no method of marketing other than word-of-mouth, not even a website or social media. If you like what you encounter, help them out by telling friends and family about Melt!

Craft beer continues to get big across the world. The establishment of local microbreweries shows no signs of slowing down. Some regions show greater growth of craft beer than others for a handful of different reasons. One particular reason could involve the local community’s preference towards craft beer. Another particular reason could involve a city’s enthusiasm to house microbreweries. Regardless, microbreweries tend to exist in regional clusters. When you look at states with a prevalent craft beer following, you will notice groups of microbreweries very close to each other. For example, Los Angeles County has the South Bay where a bunch of microbreweries exist close to each other. I had already covered multiple breweries in the South Bay in the past, but new breweries continue to pop up over time. In addition to all the microbreweries, additional craft beer experiences exist, such as a little brewpub known as HopSaint Brewing Company.

Residing on the border of Torrance and Redondo Beach, HopSaint Brewing Company brings another craft beer presence to the South Bay. Although listed as located in Torrance, you can get to King Harbor Brewing rather easily from HopSaint, plus HopSaint resides closer to Redondo Beach (the physical beach, not just the city). Like many of the big breweries in Southern California, HopSaint had a lot of publicity and hype prior to opening their doors to the public because of their marketing and presence at local beer festivals, restaurants, and bars. Their popularity carried over to their facility in Torrance/Redondo Beach, as evident in the full capacity their facility consistently sees. Speaking of facility, HopSaint does more than just a tasting room – HopSaint exists as a full restaurant, serving both food and beverages. This also lends to the popularity of HopSaint, and why they usually have a packed place. If you want to check out their brews, I suggest visiting HopSaint during lunch hours or off-peak hours. Check them out on Facebook too to see if they have any food or beer specials.

This past Saturday, Burger Boss officially opened the doors to their fourth (unconfirmed?) location in Cypress right next to Cypress High School. This location used to hold an old strip mall with small shops, which included the former Furnace Skate Shop location. This center has since then undergone reconstruction into new shops, possibly gentrifying the area to better attract locals to the area, especially teenagers of the nearby Cypress High School. Residing alongside popular businesses such as 85°C Bakery and Pieology, Burger Boss has come to deliver good food and good-for-you food with their local and sustainable ingredients. Burger Boss allows customers to build their own burger from the base up by selecting all of the ingredients that go into their sandwich. Starting with the bun and protein, customers then choose the cheese(s), sauce(s), and toppings. This concept also applies to the fries at Burger Boss, where customers can select the sauce(s) and toppings that go with the fries. As far as the full menu goes, it ends there for Burger Boss, as they do not offer much else aside from fountain drinks. While a lot of other burger joints provide milkshakes, Burger Boss foregoes that to opt for a healthier approach to dining, since milkshakes go against healthy dining. The presentation of the food in those steel baskets greatly resembles other well-known burger joints, such as Smashburger and The Habit Burger Grill.

Burger Boss has other locations in Riverside/Moreno Valley, Lake Forest, and Mission Viejo, with more locations planned for Tustin and Newport Beach (which may have already opened by the time you read this post). All locations boast the same menu, so stop on in and experience the all-natural flavor that food should taste like. Check out what Burger Boss has going on, including updates for their upcoming locations, by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

6th Annual Tovarish Release
11:30 am – 10:00 pm, December 22
Beachwood Brewing, Long Beach

Beachwood Brewing will release the sixth edition of their Tovarish stout this Thursday at their Seal Beach and Long Beach locations. In addition, they will have all of the previous years’ versions on tap for you to try. This event requires no reservations or admission fee – simply show up, enjoy a tasting on the spot, and/or pay for bottles to go.

Ugly Sweater Party
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, December 22
Meat Up BBQ, Placentia

Instead of their monthly pint nite this Thursday night, Placentia’s Meat Up BBQ will have a Christmas party with food and drink specials. This event costs nothing to attend – simply show up, and pay as you go.

The Vandals 21st Annual Christmas Formal
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 23
City National Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim

The Vandals headline their annual all-ages Christmas show at The Grove in Anaheim this Friday night. Tickets cost $20. Remember to bring cash for parking.

Harry Potter Burlesque, Chamber of the Dirty Little Secrets
9:00 pm – 12:00 am, December 23
Harvelle’s, Downtown Long Beach

Enjoy a themed burlesque show this Friday night in Downtown Long Beach. Tickets to this show cost $12. No one under 21 may enter.

December 25

Spend the holidays with your friends & family, and remember to have fun and stay safe.