Posts Tagged ‘Downtown’

For as much as Los Angeles pushes their local culture and mom & pop shops, the majority of the locals still believe in mass media and prefer big brands. When it comes to beer selection, much of Los Angeles still prefer their Corona, Heineken, and Budweiser. Local microbreweries may do what they can, but businesses appear based on the preferences of the local community, which partially explains the lack of microbreweries in Los Angeles. Trends have changed recently, leading to the establishment of a handful of breweries in Downtown LA’s Arts District. Once you expand beyond Downtown, you go back to the trend of preferring macro beers, especially if you venture eastward. In order to reach out to new grounds, one much take one step at a time, which Dry River Brewing has done.

Adding something a little bit different to the Downtown Los Angeles’ craft beer scene, Dry River Brewing officially opened their doors to the public at the beginning of July with their own approach to brewing. Located just off the 101 freeway in Boyle Heights just past the Arts District, over at Dry River Brewing, they believe in slow beer, something that traditionalists frown upon. The folks at Dry River Brewing like to experiment with allowing beer to sit and allow nature to take its course. As such, visitors can expect to find primarily wild ales and sour ales on tap at Dry River Brewing. Due to the nature of how they produce their brews, Dry River Brewing’s selection may cost more than the typical brewery, so keep that in mind if you intend to visit the tasting room. Speaking of the tasting room, Dry River Brewing only opens their doors on the first and third Saturdays of each month, so do not think you can just waltz over there any random day!

For more information and future updates, check out Dry River Brewing on Facebook and Twitter.

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.

The popularity of craft beer continues to remain ever strong. The current times feel like the peak of the trend, with third parties attempting to capitalize on the popularity. Take the gourmet food truck trend for example. In the first year or two, we saw lots of great food trucks with actual good food. Afterwards, event organizers started to try to take advantage of this by charging exorbitant amounts to get into to food truck festivals. As the trend started to fade away, we saw a lot of gimmicky food trucks with less than stellar food. All of that appears to happen right now to microbreweries, as lots of bad beer festivals exist to take advantage of the fact that people will pay lots of money for a few hours of drinking. Throughout all of this, local entrepreneurs still desire to enter the microbrewery business to deliver a quality experience, as opposed to the ones just looking to turn a quick profit. It takes some careful searching to discover hidden gems, such as a fresh young microbrewery in Los Angeles County, Angry Horse Brewing.

Located in Downtown Montebello, Angry Horse Brewing opened just a few months ago sometime in March. They have not even had an official grand opening yet. Regardless, Angry Horse Brewing has managed to gain quite a solid following in such a little time. Like most of Southern California’s breweries, Angry Horse Brewing does not specialize in a particular style of beer – they brew it all. I did not spot any fermenters in the back – only a handful of brite tanks. This allows them to carry a lot of different beers, from IPA’s to Belgian beers to stouts and more. All of the beers that I tried have an approachable feel to them – not too strong in any particular note, and with familiar flavors that anyone can enjoy.

Despite still operating in a “soft opening” phase, Angry Horse Brewing already has a lot of fans, evident by having a full house late on a Saturday afternoon. Support this local microbrewery and stay updated with what goes on here by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The 8th Annual Los Angeles Renegade Craft Fair returned for its semi-annual Summer Market this past weekend at its original home of the LA State Historic Park outside of Downtown Los Angeles. This free and all-ages event sees thousands of visitors all coming to see over 250 select independent artists, crafters, and vendors all exhibiting and selling their wares. Among all the possible merchandise, visitors could purchase anything from clothing, accessories, home goods (candles, soap, wind chimes, etc), kitchen supplies, artisanal eats (candy, preserves, etc), music records, pet supplies, and so much more. What makes Renegade Craft appealing revolves around every single vendor, all independently crafting their own handmade goods as opposed to manufacturing them in a factory. In addition to the multitude of aisles filled with vendors, Renegade Craft also offers various hands-on workshops, art installations, live DJ’s, a photo booth, gourmet food trucks, and more.

With the change in location came a change in the lineup of vendors. This past weekend’s event appeared to have fewer amount of vendors compared to the past couple of years at Grand Park. This does not denote a bad thing, as the organizers had to deal with a smaller area this time, despite returning to its original location. Renegade Craft exists to introduce the locals to new vendors that they would have never heard of, and this past weekend’s event certainly did that for me.

If you attended Renegade LA this past weekend, I would love to know what you purchased. Please share your items by commenting on this post, or by posting on my Facebook page. Keep in mind that Renegade runs twice a year in Los Angeles – the holiday show will occur on the weekend of December 9-10 later this year. As a free event open to the public that lasts two days, Renegade Craft Fair can easily fit into anyone’s schedule. Shop local, and support local business – doing so drives the local economy and greatly benefits your local community. Support Renegade Craft Fair by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

The 2nd Annual Latin Salsa Festival took place this past weekend in Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles. Free to attend for all ages, this event contained dozens of food vendors all selling their Latin-inspired foods to visitors. In addition, a music stage housed a handful of bands and musicians all playing Latin dance music. Nothing else out of the ordinary occurred – you just have a weekend of food vendors and live music. Southern California has gone through a heat wave recently, and on this weekend, the weather went well over 100 degrees, making for a hot event in more ways than one. Despite that, this event still managed to attract hundreds of visitors over the weekend. I anticipate that this event will return again next year, so keep an eye out for it in early July next year when it will return.

The 2017 Anime Expo returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center starting this Saturday and running through Tuesday. 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 in the mornings usually takes hours to enter. Strangely, very few attendees complain about this, as if they accept this year after 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.

The 9th Annual Global Reddit Meetup Day took place this past Saturday. The Los Angeles region met up at Grand Park in Downtown LA, with an afternoon filled with food and games. This free and all-ages event invited Reddit users to come mix and mingle to meet new friends and share ideas and fun. Operating like a potluck, many of the attendees brought snacks and treats, while some others brought things to do, such as games, piñatas, and sporting goods such as balls and frisbees. While stereotypes of Reddit users revolve around shut-ins who stay on their computers and/or smartphones, this event proved otherwise. In fact, no one ever truly witnessed anyone else buried away on their smartphone. Virtually all of the attendees had a good time meeting others and chatting the day away. Many others felt the same way – during my walk towards the location, I encountered a few others looking for the event, and they too had their skepticism about the types of people that we would encounter. Fortunately, everyone exhibited a friendly vibe, and I felt sad to leave so soon because I had 2-hour parking only and wanted to stay longer.

For more information about this meetup event, check out the Los Angeles section of Reddit for recent posts. Check out that page from time to time for updates from around LA County, as well as information about future events and meetups.

This past Saturday, Orange County food event planners 100eats returned to the streets of Downtown Santa Ana to bring back a food festival experience to an up & coming area. Called Pub & Grub: A Culinary Crawl, this tasting event brought out over a dozen of Orange County restaurants and gourmet food trucks to serve up their best street food samples to the hundreds of attendees. In addition, a handful of Southern California’s microbreweries set up to serve some refreshing brews to pair with all the food going around. The event covered 5th Street between Main Street and Spurgeon Street, as well as Bush Street down to 4th Street, the entrance to the event. Folks who have attended one of their previous events, Ooze Festival, will recognize how they set up Pub & Grub. The general admission method involves pay-as-you-go. The event took place on Saturday opening at 12pm and closing at 11pm. Pub & Grub operated continuously during that time, with a cost $10 to enter. Once inside, attendees would then have to pay for any food they wish to consume. This works best for those who did not plan to eat as much, or wanted to selectively choose what to eat or drink. The VIP admission method involved a traditional food fest operation. This took place in one of two three-hour sessions: 2pm-5pm and 6pm-9pm, and for $40 presale or $60 at the gate, any attendee received unlimited food & drink samples for this duration.

As I attended the night session, I eventually encountered the downfalls of this event. Two major issues arose by the halfway point of this event. Not only did the VIP vendors start running out of food and/or drinks by then, but the entire event had so much empty space. The VIP section had one liquor booth, three breweries, four food booths, and one dessert booth. The general section had three food trucks, one dessert truck, and one snack booth. Overall, this made for a LOT of open space that the organizers could have easily filled with more vendors. Did food vendors drop out of the event? In any case, this led to long lines in the VIP section and VIP vendors running out early. All of these issues would dissolve with more vendors. Unfortunately, this weekend contained a lot of other events, such as the LA Food Fest, so getting an adequate amount of vendors to this event resembled bidding on vendors.

When it comes to adding flavor to foods, nothing can boss the sauce. At its base, sauce contains sugar, salt, pepper, or any combination of those plus additional ingredients. Some foods contain flavor within itself, such as meats that have seasonings and herbs that help bring out the meat’s natural flavor. Most of the time, people add sauces or condiments to their foods to add flavor. For the most part, sauces bring a sweet component to the table, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, steak sauce, or teriyaki sauce. Many other sauces can add flavor components from sour to salty to spicy and more. However, when it comes to enhancing the flavors of the original dish, nothing can beat hot sauce. The capsaicin in hot sauces helps to open up our taste buds, allowing us to detect and absorb more flavors. For those that cannot take the heat, just a little bit helps to greatly enhance the flavor of the dish, something you can do at Slide Bar as of this week.

Downtown Fullerton has its fair share of restaurants, and businesses come and go every year. However, Slide Bar has endured the test of time. While some smaller restaurants may not make it past the first year, the Slide Bar has never relented. During the early years of the Slide Bar, most locals viewed the Slide Bar as a bar and concert lounge, a place to spend weekend nights at. Around 2014, the folks at the Slide Bar conducted an overhaul of their kitchen and started serving up better food. Sure they maintained themselves as a bar and concert lounge, but at least now one can consider the Slide Bar as a destination for lunch and/or dinner, where they can snag something such as the Cali Bandito Tacos. Essentially a California Burrito in taco form, this order of tacos comes with three made-to-order corn tortillas, each filled with carne asada marinated in Gringo Bandito hot sauce, French fries, cheddar cheese, an avocado slice, and sour cream. These three tacos come with a side of tortilla chips and a bean dip. These tacos have just the right amount of spiciness to not overwhelm your palate, but still give enough kick to allow you to fully enjoy the natural flavor of the carne asada.

The Slide Bar does more than just host bands and sling drinks – they have a full kitchen with a menu worth checking out. Check out what they have cooking up in their kitchen by liking them on Facebook and following them on Twitter.

Food business means serious business. In any given 24-hour period, over a billion dollars circulate in the economy that pertain to food sales, both prepared foods and food ingredients. As such, this makes the food & beverage industry a vast world to explore, proposing little barriers to entry but a long climb to the top to remain successful in a large industry. Any daring entrepreneur can step into the food industry, but remaining in the industry poses an entirely different challenge. Catering has remained a less popular aspect of the industry, as most people prefer to do their own choosing and selecting when it comes to food. However, an organization hopes to change that perspective with their ezFoodFest, an event aimed at showcasing the best of local food.

Hosted by ezCater, the ezFoodFest represents a gathering of dozens of local restaurants and food businesses under one roof, all sampling their goods to the hundreds of attendees throughout the night. The ezFoodFest started in Boston, and the Los Angeles event took place last Thursday night on the first floor of the California Market Center in Downtown Los Angeles. So what makes ezFoodFest stand out among the rest of the multitude of food festivals that take place in the greater Los Angeles area? One word: FREE. Indeed, it costs zero for interested attendees to come on in, check out the event, and stuff themselves full on this night. Even better, attendees received TWO drink tickets good for any drink at the bars, including straight liquor on the rocks. Of course, this meant that anyone under 21 could not attend. According to one of the organizers of the event, they make their ezFoodFest events free as a means of paying it forward, hoping that attendees would not only give their business to the participating restaurants, but also use the ezCater service.

Interested in checking out what ezCater has to offer? They will hold two more ezFoodFest events this year – one in Atlanta later this month, and one back in Boston later this year. Check out ezCater’s website linked above, and also take a look at their Facebook and Twitter pages to see what neat things they have in store.