Posts Tagged ‘HopScotch’

When the seasons change, many more things change than just the weather. Looking at the weather alone, Southern California has experienced a massive heat wave late in Summer, then suddenly dropped to the type of weather where you wear a jacket or sweater in the morning and a tank top in the afternoon. Just recently, America’s federal government shut down all nonessential functions. Towards the end of summer, Miley Cyrus shocked the world with her attention-grabbing MTV performance. As a society, we cannot accurately predict what radical event will change the world next, but we can brace ourselves for anything, as we always have in the past as an enduring society. We can also fall back on what we typically associate with this time of the year. Fall, as we know it, indicates pumpkins, red wine, NFL, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the fall harvest, especially the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, giving us a reason to gorge on Mooncakes. Looking at all these opportunities to feast on favorable foods, we should not overlook outdoor grilling, nor the foods prepared that way. Though the winds will chill the air more so than in the summer, many folks will still utilize the grill up through Thanksgiving. In homage of the veritable fall feast, take a look at these five burgers in the Greater Los Angeles Area that I highly recommend seeking out this season.

5. Burger Lounge‘s Lounge Burger

Today’s food trends revolve around ingredient details and the source/origins of said ingredients. These days, everyone conscious about their food (and everyone should feel conscious about what they put in their bodies) desires to know where the ingredients used in their food come from. Growing up, whenever I heard the word organic, I immediately thought it cost more but tasted the same. I now realize that organic products mean more to our health than how the general public perceives it. Increasing my intake of organic foods has introduced me to sustainable food and its nutritional value to the human body. When I heard about Burger Lounge and their pledge to serve local, sustainable foods, I had to locate one to sink my teeth into one of their burgers. As humans, we deserve to eat better foods than, as Burger Lounge puts it, the “processed, artificial, chemical patties from cows feeding on who knows what” that fast food joints batch up. Can you honestly say that a mass-produced item will not contain any fillers, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients? You will not find any of that nonsense at Burger Lounge, where you can order their namesake Lounge Burger. Utilizing a 100% fresh, single-sourced American grass-fed beef patty, Burger Lounge serves this trademark burger with your choice of organic cheese (American or White Cheddar; I recommend the latter), fresh or grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and house-made 1000 island sauce. For just $7.95, you can savor and appreciate this sustainable burger at any of Burger Lounge’s locations in Los Angeles or San Diego County.

4. Burger Parlor‘s The Lasorda

Sometimes, you just need a little push to get some momentum building to start rolling down the road. Sometimes, you can get momentum without an external push if you push yourself enough to accomplish your goal. Once you have that momentum, you must continue to roll forward, as gravity and friction will eventually slow you down to a stop. Luckily, Burger Parlor‘s momentum never came to a stop, and after a a year in business, they have snowballed into a massive wrecking ball in Downtown Fullerton. Having just celebrated their first anniversary this past weekend, Burger Parlor thanked their customers with special craft beers on tap, free raffle prizes, and t-shirt giveaways. This weekend-long celebration did not distract their staff from operating like they normally do, and they continue to roll out freshly-prepared meals using ingredients from local farms and beers from local micro breweries. Customers can see their commitment to excellence in the aptly-named The Lasorda, and like Tommy Lasorda himself, one cannot accurately duplicate this unique concoction. This “burger” consists of a pork sausage patty topped with a fried mozzarella block, all sitting on top of oregano and roasted bell peppers. The combination of the pork patty and the fried mozzarella yields a texture unlike no other out there, as the cheese gives a crispy crunchy feel upon biting, while cheese oozes out after the first bite. To complete this meal, add an order of their beer-battered onion rings. They say that if a food business can stay alive for two years, they have a shot at lasting a long time in the industry. Having just reached their second year in business, I foresee Burger Parlor sticking around for a long time.

3. Slater’s 50/50‘s 50/50 Breakfast Sandwich

Every major metropolitan area has at least one local chain of restaurants or food business that the locals rave about. While in Seattle a few weeks ago, I discovered that Elysian Brewing and Bluebird Microcreamery & Brewery had more than one location. In Southern California, multiple Burger Lounge locations exist in Los Angeles and San Diego County, as mentioned above. Eureka Burger and Haven Gastropub exists as multiples as well. If you ask any Southern California local about great places to grab a bite & a drink, hang out with friends, and make new friends, the locals will unanimously agree on Slater’s 50/50. This monumental institution has set the bar extremely high for restaurants of its kind, from the eclectic food to the vast drink selection to the atmosphere that caters to adults yet can easily care for families. Their trademark 50/50 burger consists of a burger patty composed of 50% Sterling Silver beef and 50% ground bacon. This groundbreaking food creation has made food headline news worldwide, and sits at the same level as the Cronut, Ramen Burger, or Frozen S’mores as trending foods of the world. Every month, Slater’s 50/50 pushes the limits with their Burger-of-the-Month creations, from a Kangaroo burger to a Chimichanga burger to a burger composed entirely of bacon to a burger so spicy that it requires gloves and a signed liability waiver. Every year, Slater’s 50/50 releases their breakfast menu during NFL season, which they serve only on weekends during football season. Last year, they dabbled with Doughnut Burgers, which once again made national headlines. This year, they retained the Doughnut Burger, but have added the 50/50 Breakfast Sandwich, a messy build comprised of a patty of 50% chorizo and 50% ground bacon, cheddar cheese, two sunny-side up eggs, bacon, and two deep-fried waffles, all smothered with an overflow of maple syrup. For a true Slater’s experience, pick this up with your bare hands and dive right into it. You may have to improvise on napkins, as you will go through many napkins and glasses of water during the course of devouring this. Feeling bold? Pair this burger with a sour beer, or their famous Bacon Bloody Mary. Come see why locals love Slater’s 50/50, and what makes them a legendary Southern California staple (until they expand further!).

2. Hopscotch Tavern‘s Bradley Burger

As a sign of the changing seasons, the many different ingredients will change during this time as well. Due to the change in available ingredients, some restaurants employ seasonal menus based on what the local markets offer. By configuring seasonal menus, this exhibits a particular restaurant’s use of fresh and local ingredients, as certain ingredients cannot last at certain times of the year. If I see a restaurant using an ingredient out of season, I would immediately question its source. People tend to want to stick with familiar things. At the same time, we must all realize that all good things must come to an end. When a restaurant converts to a new season’s menu, we must learn to adapt to those changes as well, and explore what the season has to offer. Specifically, Fall has treated Hopscotch Tavern fairly well with this year’s ingredients. With a new Fall menu not yet reflected on their website, Hopscotch aims to turn up the heat in a season expected to cool down significantly than previous years. Their menu changes quite often thanks for Chef Cody Shorts’ whimsical nature, so if you see something on their menu one day, it could disappear as early as the next day. That said, head over to Hopscotch soon and scout out their Bradley Burger. Served medium by default (can request medium rare), the Pork Belly Bacon makes this burger truly stand out from the crowd, as it provides a thicker, juicier, fatter bite than regular bacon could ever provide. Hopscotch accompanies these two co-starring meats with house sweet pickles, dried tomatoes, crispy onion strings, fried cheddar, garlic aioli, and house ketchup. This burger comes with a side of house fries with house ketchup, a milder, fruitier version of the normal high fructose corn syrup ketchup. For the perfect pairing, drink an IPA with this burger, as the bitterness will balance the savoriness of this burger. As Burger Parlor recently celebrated their first anniversary, Hopscotch will celebrate their first anniversary very soon, so pay close attention to their activity, as they may have something special in the works.

1. Pono Burger‘s Sassy Wahine

Although the Southern Californian food industry speaks of local and sustainable often, we must not forget its prevalence around the world. Across the nation, countless chefs pledge to utilize organic and farm-fresh ingredients in their cooking for a tasty and guilt-free meal. The same goes on in other countries as well, as they use local ingredients that reflect their location/region in their cooking. These organic and sustainable ingredients will never contain hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics, so we do not have to worry about putting foreign substances in our bodies. Sure you could attempt to search for restaurants that use local, organic, sustainable ingredients, but even if they claim that, they still have to prove the sources. I can honestly tell you that the proof lies in the pudding at Pono Burger in Santa Monica. Founded on integrity, this small burger shack serves burgers using certified organic grass-fed never-frozen beef patties, free of hormones and antibiotics. The renovated military silo-turned dining room reminds us that, for a new business, the organic/sustainable movement has existed for a long time, but has recently gained notoriety thanks to all the exposures of the corrupt practices of the major fast food corporations around the world. Pono Burger stands by their creations, especially their Sassy Wahine, a cheese-less burger served medium rare by default, topped with house-made wasabi mayo, pickled ginger, organic avocado, house-made Okinawan sweet potato chips, organic pea shoots, and a house-made sesame ponzu dressing. A burger unlike any other, Japanese meets Pacific Islander in this fusion of a burger. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, the beef patty holds so much juice and flavor that you would not need so many toppings to accompany it. Thankfully, all the ingredients that contribute to the Sassy Wahine all serve to accept the beef patty. Each ingredient adds a spicy, tart, creamy, crispy, or sweet taste, covering all of the four main taste buds, plus the savory taste bud – the fifth taste, also known as umami. How fitting that we can accurately use the word umami to describe this burger, because rarely does one find a burger that can hit every single taste bud on the human palate. If you find yourself in Santa Monica, you owe it to yourself to track down Pono Burger, and experience umami for yourself. Visitors traveling by car can park for free in the underground parking garage, so what have you got to lose?

30th On 30th
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, September 30
30th & University, North Park, San Diego
http://30thstreet.org/

The monthly 30th On 30th event takes place on 30th Street in the North Park community of San Diego on the 30th of every month, with the exception of February, when this event turns into 30th On 28th (or 29th). On the 30th of each month, many restaurants, bars, and shops on & near 30th Street offer specials, often in mini sizes so that visitors can check out multiple locations. Many locations start their specials in the evening, while some offer it during the day. Specials range from food samples to drink specials, and sometimes even free food!

HopScotch Tavern & Bootlegger’s Brewery Pairing Dinner
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 2
HopScotch Tavern, Downtown Fullerton
http://www.facebook.com/events/234299760053762/

Indulge in a five-course dinner complete with Brash Brewing beer and beer cocktail pairings this Wednesday night at Hopscotch Tavern in Downtown Fullerton. Interested guests must RSVP by phone, and provided payment information for the dinner fee (unspecified, but past dinners cost $75), plus a 20% non-refundable deposit. Guests can find plenty of free parking options nearby, so avoid parking at street meters. No one under 21 may attend this dinner.

Orange County International Auto Show
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 3
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 4
9:00 am – 10:00 pm, Ocotber 5
9:00 am – 7:00 pm, October 6
Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim
http://www.motortrendautoshows.com/Orange_County/

For $12 entry, guests can check out the newest and latest cars, trucks, exotics, and more. Seniors and active military personnel can enter for $10. Guests looking for free street parking should locate Casa Vista St, west of the convention center, by Denny’s.

2nd Annual San Diego Comic Fest
9:00 am – 11:00 pm, October 4-5
9:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 6
Town & Country Resort & Convention Center, Mission Valley, San Diego
http://www.sdcomicfest.org/

Much smaller and more intimate than the San Diego Comic Con, this weekend expo will feature artists, writers, actors, models, screenings, speakers, autograph sessions, merchandise, apparel, accessories, and more. Admission on Friday or Saturday costs $25 for adults, $12.50 for students, and free for children. Admission for Sunday costs $15 for adults, $7.50 for students, and still free for children. Parking costs $4 per vehicle per day.

56th Annual Tustin Tiller Days
4:00 pm – 11:00 pm, October 4
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, October 5
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, October 6
Columbus Tustin Park, Tustin
http://www.tustintillerdays.org/

Bring the family out to this all-ages city fair this weekend. Free to attend, this fair has everything that a family can enjoy, from the rides and games for kids, to the entertainment and vendors for adults. Remember to check out all the fair food, drinks, and dessert too, since buying food here supports local organizations and businesses. Guests can find free street parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, October 4
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).

The Queers & Teenage Bottlerocket @ The Observatory
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 4
The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://www.observatoryoc.com/events/the-queers

Get your weekly dosage of punk rock with The Queers, Teenage Bottlerocket, The Copyrights, and more this Friday night at The Observatory. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15. Arrive early to park in the venue’s parking lot. Arrive too late, and pay to park in neighboring parking lots.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, October 4
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/148115

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.

Walnut Tree Festival
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, October 5
Paradox Hybrid Walnut Tree, Whittier
http://www.facebook.com/events/510124089070354/

Enjoy family-friendly fun this Saturday at the Walnut Tree Festival in Whittier. Free to attend, participate in a walnut cookie baking contest, or check out all the art, shopping, food trucks, and more.

2013 Dana Point State BBQ Championships
9:00 am – 6:00 pm, October 5
Sea Terrace Park, Dana Point
http://www.danapointbbqchampionships.com/

Over 100 teams of grill masters will gather from around the country to serve up their finest BBQ and compete for cash, prizes, and titles. Free to attend for all ages, visitors can purchase sample tickets for $2, and use those tickets to exchange for samples from any of the participants. For the adults, catch the craft beer & wine garden, featuring some of the country’s favorite breweries and wineries. Small 4oz beer pours will cost $2 each, while large 12oz beer pours will cost $6, and visitors can walk freely around the festival with drinks in hand. Visitors may park for free at the Salt Creek Beach parking lot located within PCH and Ritz Carlton Dr, despite signs saying that parking requires a fee.

Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, October 5-6
Live Oak Park South Field, Manhattan Beach
http://www.mbfair.org/

This free fair for all ages makes its annual return this weekend, featuring games, arts & crafts, food, beer & wine gardens, live entertainment, and more. The city will provide free parking and shuttle transportation at the Northrop Grumman Building at 15092 Aviation Blvd near the intersection of Aviation Blvd and Marine Street in Manhattan Beach.

5th Annual Taste of North Park
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, October 5
30th & University, North Park, San Diego
http://www.tastenorthpark.com/

Explore the many restaurants, pubs, and bars in North Park this Saturday afternoon at the 5th Annual Taste of North Park. Presale admission costs $35, while admission on the day of the event costs $40, and admission comes with unlimited tastings of food and drinks from all participating businesses until they run out, so arrive early to get the most out of the taste! No one under 21 may receive any alcoholic drink.

L.A.F.D. Fire Hogs Annual Hogs Breath BBQ & Biker Games
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, October 5
Long Beach Police Officers Association Park, Long Beach
http://www.firehogs.org/

Support your local firefighters at this all-ages charity BBQ this Saturday. $40 gets you in to this fundraiser, complete with BBQ, live music, beer, and more. Guests should park on the back side of the nearby Walmart, closest to the actual park.

Patchwork Indie Arts & Crafts Festival – Edible Edition
11:00 am – 8:00 pm, October 5
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 6
SoCo Collection, Costa Mesa
http://patchworkshow.com/craft-fair-locations/costa-mesa-food-events-edible-edition/

From the creative minds behind Patchwork Fest comes this food edition of their popular indie arts & crafts fair. This two-day food summit brings together Southern California’s top sustainable chefs, restaurants, caterers, bakers, food trucks, bars, mixologists, and more for an outdoor weekend of food, arts & crafts, vendors, music, cooking demos, hands-on workshops, speakers, and more. Always all-ages to attend, guests may park and enter the fair for FREE, so find your favorite time to visit the SoCo Collection this weekend and explore the local food & beverage scene.

BAM Fest: Beer, Art, Music
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, October 5
18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica
http://18thstreet.org/events/the-4th-annual-bam-beer-art-music-fest

The legendary BAM Festival returns this Saturday. BAM stands for Beer, Art, and Music – exactly what this fest celebrates. In addition, guests will find wine samples, food trucks, live DJ’s, dancing, and more. Tickets cost $50 and comes with a souvenir glass and unlimited beer pours. Guests can find free street parking in the neighborhood on the other side of the freeway by crossing over on 17th Street.

Los Angeles Burning Man Decompression Arts and Music Festival
1:00 pm – 7:00 am [sic], October 5
LA State Historic Park, Los Angeles
http://laburningman.com/

Los Angeles’ version of Burning Man, this event starts in the afternoon and continues until morning the next day. Experience 18 nonstop hours of music, dance, rituals, live DJ’s, theme camps, art cars, green technology, puppetry, circus, marching bands, and more all in the name of FIRE. Entry starts at $20 and actually rises as the event progresses.

Blacklight Run – Los Angeles
4:00 pm – 12:00 am, October 6
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.blacklightrun.com/blacklight-run—los-angeles/cu5j#!blacklight-run—los-angeles/cu5j

At 96% sold out at the time of this post, this event looks to fill up very soon! The fun run madness continues with this nightly run through the Fairplex in Pomona. This run takes place at night, and requires participants to wear all white while getting splattered with neon powder throughout the blacklight-filled course. By the end of the run, all participants will glow with many different colors and enjoy seeing a sea of glowing runners at the afterparty. Registration costs $35 by Wednesday and $55 afterwards, and comes with an event t-shirt, a glow pack to throw at other runners AFTER you have crossed the finish line, and a goodie bag full of items from the event sponsors.

Zombie Fashion Show & Creature Art Exhibit
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, October 5
Lot 613, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/560192427337465/

It returns! Dozens of Hollywood makeup artists will transform models into the undead at this Saturday night fashion & art show. While the models strut their deathly stuff, attendees can check out zombie-themed artwork from dozens artists from all over the country. The $10 admission grants access to all these exhibits, plus all-you-can-eat pancakes courtesy of the Pancakes & Booze Art Show that just occurred last week. No one under 21 may enter.

CicLAvia
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, October 6
Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.ciclavia.org/

The streets of Downtown Los Angeles close to bikers this Sunday afternoon. Cars may not enter the designated areas during this time – only bikers and pedestrians may roam the streets.

7th Annual International Chocolate Salon
11:00 am – 5:00 pm, October 6
The Pasadena Center, Pasadena
http://www.lachocolatesalon.com/

Chocolate lovers will want to attend the International Chocolate Salon this Sunday afternoon in Pasadena for an all-you-can-eat chocolate bonanza. Admission costs $20 presale and $30 at the door, while children can get in for $10.

San Diego Restaurant Week
September 15-20
Various Restaurants, San Diego County
http://www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com/

For six full days, various restaurants all over San Diego County will participate in this special week, where they will offer special prix-fixe meals that highlight their unique cuisine. Use this chance to explore and discover new restaurants in the area!

22nd Annual Taste of Old Pasadena
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, September 17
Old Town Pasadena
http://www.pfarcf.org/tasteofoldpasadena/

The Taste of Old Pasadena returns tomorrow to Old Town Pasadena. Over 30 diverse restaurants will sample their food & drinks for just $30 per person. Maps and signs will guide all attendees to find the food.

Fall Cocktail Preview
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, September 18
Hopscotch Tavern, Fullerton
http://hopscotchfall2013cocktailpreview.eventbrite.com/

Hopscotch Tavern’s new fall cocktail menu debuts on Sunday, but you can order any of these at happy hour prices this Wednesday evening. RSVP using the provided link, where each RSVP works for the registrant plus one.

Belmont Shore Stroll & Savor
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, September 18-19
Along 2nd Street, Belmont Shore
http://www.belmontshore.org/events.html

This “Taste of Belmont Shore” occurs during the summer months annually from May through August on the third Wednesday and the Thursday immediately after. Attendees may purchase booklets of 12 tickets for $10, and redeem these tickets for food & drink samples from various restaurants along 2nd Street. Buy tickets presale now at Olives Gourmet, La Strada, We Olive, Mail Boxes etc. & Sweet Jill’s, or purchase tickets in front of CHASE BANK during the event.

Rubber City Rebels, Dime Runner, White Murder, Bombon @ Alex’s Bar
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 18
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/148202

Catch this indie/punk show this Wednesday night at Alex’s Bar for just $5. No one under 21 may enter.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day
September 19
Everywhere
http://www.talklikeapirate.com/

As the name suggests, feel free to talk like a pirate this Wednesday all day. Just do not get in trouble for it. Yarr~

Mitsuwa Hokkaido Fair
9:00 am – 8:00 pm, September 19-22
Mitsuwa Marketplace, all SoCal locations
http://mitsuwa.com/event/eevent.php?e=42

Much like the Mitsuwa Summer Fest, this FREE festival at all Mitsuwa Marketplaces now celebrates North Japan culture. Experience food, drinks, desserts, dance, music, games, and more from Northern Japanese culture.

LA Beer Week
September 19-29
Greater Los Angeles Area
http://www.labeerweek.com/

This 11-day beer celebration covers Los Angeles through Orange County, culminating in a beer fest on the last day in Downtown Los Angeles. 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 will not include any event that directly relates to LA Beer Week, as their website will list them all.

Special C @ The Volcano Room
8:30 pm – 1:00 am, September 19
Friendly Hills Bowling Alley, Whittier
http://www.facebook.com/events/162541820608515/

This ska/reggae show only costs $3 to attend. No one under 21 may enter.

2013 International Food Blogger Conference
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, September 20
7:00 am – 10:00 pm, September 21
6:00 am – 12:00 pm, September 22
W Hotel, Downtown Seattle
http://www.foodista.com/ifbc2013

The nation’s top conference for food bloggers moves from Portland to Seattle this year. This highly-acclaimed conference fills up fast every year, and this year, I have the privilege of attending for the first time! This conference covers a broad diversity of topics, and each attendee may choose their own program of sessions to attend. During any downtime I can freely roam the city, so if you have any suggestions of places to visit, please do send me your suggestions! I plan to do some writing while there, so keep an eye out for my post this weekend.

Redondo Beach Lobster Fest
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, September 20
12:00 am – 11:00 pm, September 21
12:00 am – 8:00 pm, September 22
Seaside Lagoon, Redondo Beach
http://lobsterfestival.com/

Three weekend lobster fests in a row! Following Long Beach and Los Angeles, Redondo Beach now has a Lobster Fest going on this weekend, which will have lots of fresh lobster for guests to eat. In addition, guests can enjoy dancing, games, rides, music, arts & crafts, and more. The $10 admission includes parking and entry into the fest, while all food comes separate, so anyone wanting to eat will have to bring extra cash. Purchase presale tickets online to save $2, or search their website for additional meal packages, such as surf & turf and more.

Pasadena Greek Fest
5:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 20
12:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 21
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, September 22
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://pasadenagreekfest.org/

$5 admission gets you into this all-ages Greek festival, which includes food, drinks, desserts, music, dancers, games, rides, and more. The race track charges $4 for parking per vehicle.

No Edge Night
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, September 20
The Airliner, East Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/176784919175370/

This all-night party will have local punk bands, live DJ’s between bands, full bars, vendors, and more. Guests get in free before 9:30, $3 by 11pm, and $4 afterwards. No one under 21 may enter.

The Slackers – Pan-Pacific Tour
8:00 pm – 1:30 am, September 20, El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles http://www.theelrey.com/view-details.php?event_id=242535
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 21, The Observatory, Santa Ana http://www.observatoryoc.com/events/the-slackers

Get your ska on this weekend with The Slackers at these all-ages shows! Tickets cost $20 for the El Rey show and $16 for the Observatory show.

OC Fest of Ales & Beer Run 5K
9:00 am – 3:30 pm, September 22
Center Street Promenade, Downtown Anaheim
http://ocfestofales.bksites.net/

This two-in-one fest combines a 5K run/walk with a beer fest immediately following. The 5K begins at 9am, while the main beer fest begins at 11:30am. Situated on the streets of Downtown Anaheim, the beer fest will feature over 100 different beers, a food truck food challenge, food & beer pairings, live music & entertainment, and more. As with any beer fest, no one under 21 can enter. Plenty of street parking surround Downtown Anaheim; otherwise, you can pay to park in one of the nearby structures.

Red Bull Flugtag
10:00 am – 4:00 pm, September 21
Rainbow Harbor, Long Beach
http://redbullflugtagusa.com/page/cities/city/5/longbeach

Everyone’s favorite annual day of construction destruction returns to Long Beach this Saturday. This FREE and all-ages gala will see thousands of travelers gathering to see who can create the greatest spectacle while gracefully diving into the drink and simultaneously destroying their crafted vessel. Come see what the entire world talks about every year, then stick around for a beer fest just a block away later that night!

2013 Asian Pacific Festival
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, September 21-22
Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina, Newport Beach
http://www.asianpacificfestival.com/

This festival celebrates the culture of various Asian countries, from India up to Japan, to the islands of the Pacific. Attendees will find cultural exhibits, art, folk dances, fashion shows, music, entertainment, martial arts, cooking challenges, alcohol garden, and plenty of authentic food. General admission costs $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

Homeless One: Punk Rock Fest 2013
10:00 am – 11:30 pm, September 21
Norwalk Moose Lodge, Whittier
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/443149

A full day of punk rock hits Whittier this Saturday, complete with two stages, food & drinks, and plenty of parking. This all-ages show costs $15 to attend.

6th Annual Orange County Pacific Islander Festival
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, September 21-22
Central Library Park, Huntington Beach
http://pacificislanderfestivaloc.com/

Immerse yourself in Pacific Islander culture at this FREE and all-ages festival this weekend in Huntington Beach. Visitors will find food, live music, entertainment, merchandise, activities, and more.

Venice Beach Music Fest 8
11:00 am – 7:00 pm, September 21
Windward Plaza, Venice
http://venicebeachmusicfest.com/

Experience local music, art, and dance at this free and all-ages music festival this Saturday.

2013 Auto Gallery Car Show
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, September 21
Huntington State Beach, Huntington Beach
http://autogallerycarshow.com/

Check out this car show on the beach, showcasing the nation’s best builds and models. Admission costs $15 per person, but use a coupon code from your favorite participating model to save $5 off admission.

11th Annual Tarfest Music & Art Festival
2:00 pm – 8:00 pm, September 21
La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles
http://www.tarfest.com/

This music & art festival returns this Saturday to the La Brea Tar Pits in West LA. Free to attend and open to all ages, guests will experience live music, live painting, beer & wine garden, food trucks, and more.

Feed Your Eyes
4:00 pm – 11:00 pm, September 21
RiT Gallery, La Puente
http://www.facebook.com/events/167593623415933/

This free and all-ages art show takes food art to the next level. Come to see art based on food, and art made with food, as your feed your hunger with your eyes.

Promenade Beer & Wine Festival
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, September 21
The Promenade, Downtown Long Beach
http://www.downtownlongbeach.org/Latest-News-Detail/Promenade-Beer-Wine-Festival-Downtown-Long-Beach?id=65423

Downtown Long Beach hosts their first official beer & wine festival this weekend, complete with lots of drinks, local food, and live music. For $25 presale or $30 at the gate, guests will receive unlimited 3oz beer or wine tastings, 10 food tastings, and a souvenir glass. No one under 21 may enter.

75th Annual LA Chinatown Moon Festival
5:00 pm – 11:00 pm, September 21
Chinatown, Los Angeles
http://www.chinatownla.com/calendar.php?eventcategoryId=4&eventId=421

Chinese Thanksgiving celebrations continue this Saturday in Chinatown with their annual Moon (Cake) Festival. Free to attend for all ages, participants celebrate by eating mooncakes, mini pastries that may contain up to 2,000 calories each. In addition, guests can see kung fu demos, lion dancers, live music, food trucks, ping pong tournaments, and more. Guests can find free street parking beyond Spring St. or close to LA State Historic Park.

LivingSocial’s Glow-in-the-Dark 5K Dance Party
7:15 pm – 1:45 am, September 21
LA State Historic Park, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.livingsocial.com/events/5kdanceparty

When you combine raves with 5k runs, you get glow runs, and LivingSocial will host one this Saturday night in Downtown Los Angeles. Participants must wear all black and run through this 5k course complete with glow sticks that anyone can use as bracelets, necklaces, crowns/circlets, anklets, and more. Registration costs $45 online and $55 at the gate. Following the run, all participants may stay for the after-party, full of live DJ’s, drinks, food, and more. Anyone may skip the run and attend this after-party for just $19.

LA Beer Week 5th Anniversary Opening Gala
11:00 am – 3:00 pm, September 22
Union Station, Los Angeles
http://www.labeerweek.com/unionStation.php

LA Beer Week kicks off its 2013 run with its annual beer fest this Sunday, unlike previous years where they close the week with the fest. In addition to the over 70 breweries present to serve beer, multiple food trucks will pair their foods (sold separately) with the beers. The $70 admission comes with UNLIMITED pours, so prepare your body to handle this!

Dr. Know & Decry @ Los Globos
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, September 22
Los Globos, Silverlake, Los Angeles
http://www.clublosglobos.com/event/362409-dr-know-decry-los-angeles/

Old school punk rock returns to Los Globos this Sunday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $12.

Taste of Downtown Long Beach
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, August 28-29
Pine Avenue Pier, Downtown Long Beach
http://www.downtownlongbeach.org/Latest-News-Detail/Taste-of-Downtown-Waterfront?id=65374

Sample food from local restaurants in Downtown Long Beach at this two-night tasting, or enjoy some brews at the beer garden sponsored by Beachwood BBQ. Each sample costs varying amounts of tickets, which cost $1 each. Purchase tickets online to receive two free tickets for every $10 spent. Guests can park for free for up to two hours in the parking structure between 3rd, 4th, and Pine.

HopScotch Tavern & Bootlegger’s Brewery Pairing Dinner
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 28
HopScotch Tavern, Downtown Fullerton
http://www.facebook.com/events/368499229944424/

Indulge in a five-course dinner complete with Bootlegger’s beer and beer cocktail pairings this Wednesday night at Hopscotch Tavern in Downtown Fullerton. Interested guests must RSVP by phone, and provided payment information for the $75 ticket fee, plus a 20% non-refundable deposit. Guests can find plenty of free parking options nearby, so avoid parking at street meters. No one under 21 may attend this dinner.

The Originalites @ House of Blues Anaheim
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, August 28
House of Blues, Anaheim
http://www.houseofblues.com/tickets/eventdetail.php?eventid=82680

Get your skanking on this Wednesday night at the House of Blues at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, as The Originalites headline this local ska show. Admission to this show costs $15. No one under 18 may attend. Attendees may park for free for up to five hours using the wristband from this as validation, so plan your arrival accordingly.

The Dirty Little Secrets – Rock Burlesque
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm, August 28
One-Eyed Gypsy, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/186946694822905/

Catch a free sexy burlesque show this Wednesday night in Downtown Los Angeles, dedicated to women on film. Guests may park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may attend.

LA County Fair – Opening Day
3:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 30
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.lacountyfair.com/

Your local fair will open this Friday at the Fairplex in Pomona. If you missed the OC Fair, you will not want to miss the LA County Fair. Ticket prices range from free up to $17, but stores like Walgreens and Costco sell discounted ticket packages.

Los Angeles Times: The TASTE
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, August 30 – September 1
Paramount Pictures Studios, Hollywood
http://events.latimes.com/taste/

Los Angeles Times presents The TASTE, a series of food-based events at Paramount Pictures Studios. Each event will feature unlimited food & drink tastings from over 40 of LA’s top restaurants, along with live cooking & mixology demonstrations, wine seminars, and panel discussions. Presale tickets sell for $65, while tickets will cost $75 at the door.

2013 E Hula Mau
12:00 pm – 12:00 am, August 30
8:00 am – 12:00 am, August 31 – September 1
Terrace Theater @ the Long Beach Convention Center
http://www.ehulamau.org/

The annual E Hula Mau returns to Long Beach to exhibit various Pacific Islander performances, arts & crafts, food, vendors, and more. The actual fest requires no admission, while spectating the competitions requires a ticket purchase. Nearby parking structures east of Pine Avenue between 3rd & 6th Streets provide free parking for up to two hours.

30th On 30th
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 30
30th Street, North Park, San Diego
http://30thstreet.org/

The monthly 30th On 30th event takes place on 30th Street in the North Park community of San Diego on the 30th of every month, with the exception of February, when this event turns into 30th On 28th (or 29th). On the 30th of each month, many restaurants, bars, and shops on & near 30th Street offer specials, often in mini sizes so that visitors can check out multiple locations. Many locations start their specials in the evening, while some offer it during the day. Specials range from food samples to drink specials, and sometimes even free food!

Orange International Street Fair
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 30
10:00 am – 10:00 pm, August 31 – September 1
Streets of Old Town Orange
http://www.orangestreetfair.org/

One of the grandest events to grace Orange County, the annual OISF returns this weekend to the streets of Old Town Orange. Completely free to attend and open to all ages, the OISF brings together regions of the world and their food, drinks, merchandise, dance, music, and so much more. The four roads radiating from the Orange Circle each contain 3-4 themed “Streets” based on a region of the world. For example, the east road usually contains Old American, New American, and Mexican Streets. But we all go to the OISF every year for one reason: Irish Street. Located at the end of the southern road, immediately in front of Haven Gastropub houses the Guinness truck and the Irish music stage, of which bands like The American Wake entertain crowds all evening. You have never seen a street party this huge – trust me.

Wild in the Streets of South Central
6:00 pm – 1:00 am, August 30
8116 S Central Ave, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/207028072796143/

Backyard & street punk rock show in South Central LA – if you think you know punk rock, you have never seen anything like this before. Experience the true nature of punk rock at this no-holds-barred outdoor show not sanctioned by any business. Girls get in free before 7:30, or for $2 afterwards; guys get in for $3.

Smut Peddlers @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, August 30
The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://www.observatoryoc.com/events/smut-peddlers-2013

Catch legendary punk band Smut Peddlers at this show as they celebrate 20 years in the industry with other bands, including Bonecrusher. This all-ages show costs $15 to attend. Arrive early to find free parking at the venue, for if you arrive too late, you may have to park in neighboring lots, which will charge parking fees.

JFA CD Release Show
7:00 pm – 2:00 am, August 30
The Joint, West Los Angeles
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/415737

JFA has a new tribute album out, and they play absolutely nothing on it as other famous bands cover their songs. To celebrate this release, JFA will play some CD Release shows. This Friday night in West LA, guests may see this show for $10 presale or $12 at the door. The first band starts at 8pm. No one under 18 may attend.

Banner Pilot, The Bombpops, and More in Downtown Los Angeles
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, August 30
Five Star Bar, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/275521095924993/

Punk rock comes to Downtown Los Angeles this Friday night with Banner Pilot, The Bomb Pops, and more. This show costs $10 to enter. No one under 21 may attend. Guests may park on the street for free after 8pm.

Agent Orange in San Diego
8:30 pm – 1:30 am, August 30
The Casbah, San Diego
http://www.casbahmusic.com/event/4286/

Legendary punk band Agent Orange will play a small show this Friday night. Admission costs $13 presale and $15 at the door. No one under 21 may attend.

Awesome Fest 7
8:30 pm – 2:00 am, August 30
3:00 pm – 2:00 am, August 31 – September 1
Four different venues, San Diego
http://awesomefest7.com/

Three days + four venues + 65 bands = one awesome weekend of punk rock. This three-day concert has sold out of tickets; however, you can still find after-market tickets for sale on sites like StubHub or Craigslist.

Fiesta Hermosa
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, August 31 – September 2
Downtown Hermosa Beach
http://fiestahermosa.net/

Fiesta Hermosa returns to the streets of Downtown Hermosa Beach this weekend. Free to park and attend, this street fair will have food, drinks, music, arts & crafts, games, rides, vendors, and more. You cannot park AT the event – for those driving, you must park at the Northrop Grumman Building at Marine & Aviation in Redondo Beach, and a free shuttle will carry you to and from the fest and parking lot.

Stagecoach Days: A Taste of the Past
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, August 31
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, San Diego
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/432494

Peer into the days of Old Town San Diego and taste what civilians ate in the past. Catch cooking demos, tastings, a cook-off, and activities for the entire family. Admission to this all-ages event costs $15.

Long Beach Greek Festival
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, August 31 – September 2
Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, Long Beach
http://www.lbgreekfest.org/

At this Greek Festival, you will find Greek foods & desserts, drinks, dancers, music, games, rides, arts & crafts, vendors, exhibits, and more. CSULB provides free parking and shuttle rides. Print the voucher from the website to waive the admission fee.

San Diego Bacon Fest
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, August 31
NTC Park – Preble Field, Liberty Station, San Diego
http://www.sdbaconfest.com/

Simply put, you can eat all the bacon and drink all the drinks you can at this festival dedicated to bacon. General admission costs $60 and starts at 2pm. VIP admission costs $100, starts at 1pm, and comes with a beer caddy to hold your beer tasting cup. All admissions include unlimited food and drinks until 5pm. No one under 21 may attend. This fest takes place outdoors, so apply sunscreen prior to arriving, and stay hydrated.

Bottle Share #7
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, August 31
38 Degrees Ale House, Alhambra
http://www.facebook.com/events/511814368899131/

Brew your own beer? Got an interested craft beer to share? Bring it to 38 Degrees’ monthly bottle share event, taking place this Saturday afternoon, and discover other great beers too. Free to attend, guests should bring approximately 40-50 ounce’s worth of beer. The restaurant has its own free parking lot.

Zombie Walk’n
4:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 31
“The Tunnel” (Whittier), Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/624596614226224/

Get your zombie walking on this Saturday evening. Wear your best zombie clothes and makeup, and stroll over to East LA where this zombie walk will start. Free for all ages, this walk will have music and vendors around the starting area too.

626 Night Market
4:00 pm – 1:00 am, August 31 – September 1
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://www.626nightmarket.com/

The largest Asian night market in America moves to Santa Anita Park this weekend. This flea market of sorts will host tons of vendors selling Asian wares, merchandise, apparel, appliances, food, drinks, and more. Admission costs $2 before 6pm, and $3 afterwards. Guests may now park here for free during the event.

For What Ales Ya
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 31
Upland Women’s Club, Upland
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/340777

$25 gets you admission to this bottle share party, complete with a souvenir glass, complimentary taco bar, live music, and more. All attendees must bring at least one bottle of craft beer to participate in the beer drinking, as per the rules of any bottle share. No one under 21 may enter. See their website for a map of where attendees may park.

D.I.Y. Music & Fashion Fest 2013
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 31
The Glass House, Pomona
http://bricktoyaface.com/

Check out this all-ages music & art fest this Saturday night in Pomona. Admission costs $10 presale and $15 at the door.

End of Summer Blowout 2
6:00 pm – 2:00 am, August 31
The Airliner, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/288379434633411/

Check out this massive punk rock show with over 20 bands scheduled to play! Tickets to this show cost $6 presale and $8 at the door. No one under 18 may attend. Guests should park in the neighborhood across the street, past the Bank of America.

Motive Presents: Atlantis
6:00 pm – 4:00 am, August 31
Belasco Theater, Los Angeles
http://www.motiveevents.com/atlantis/

Think of this all-night EDM party like a rave, as it will include many DJ’s, lights & lasers, lots of drinks, and lots of bad decisions. General admission costs $35. No one under 18 may attend.

The Seed – Art Exhibit
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm, August 31
Chevy Chase Baptist Church, Glendale
http://www.facebook.com/events/168775406628649/

Catch live music, art, poetry, photography, food, and more at this free and all-ages art exhibit.

Battle of the Breweries – Saint Archer vs. Stone Brewing
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 31
House of Blues, San Diego
http://www.houseofblues.com/tickets/eventdetail.php?eventid=83344

Old meets new in this special event, where the pupil will challenge the master to see who truly has brewed the best. Although free to attend, no one under 21 may attend.

The All Stars of Tease – A Burlesque Extravaganza
7:00 pm – 12:00 am, August 31
Yost Theater, Santa Ana
http://www.yosttheater.com/calendar/2013/the-all-stars-of-tease-a-burlesque-extravaganza/

Catch this sexy burlesque show featuring a mixed cast of beautiful performers from all over. General admission costs $25, while reserved seating costs $40. No one under 18 may attend.

2013 International Surf Festival
9:00 am – 12:00 pm, July 31
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, August 1
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 2
6:45 am – 10:00 pm, August 3
7:30 am – 3:00 pm, August 4
Various beaches, Hermosa/Manhattan/Redondo Beach
http://www.surffestival.org/

Celebrate beach life with the 2013 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.

Hopscotch Inaugural Pairing Dinner
7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, July 31
Hopscotch Tavern, Fullerton
http://www.facebook.com/events/187137448117796/

Indulge in a five-course dinner complete with drink pairings this Wednesday night at Hopscotch Tavern in Downtown Fullerton. Interested guests must RSVP by phone, and provided payment information for the $85 ticket fee, plus a 20% non-refundable deposit. Guests can find plenty of free parking options nearby, so avoid parking at street meters. No one under 21 may attend this dinner.

The Dirty Little Secrets – Girls On Film
9:00 pm – 10:30 pm, July 31
One-Eyed Gypsy, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/189536131208458/

Catch a sexy burlesque show this Wednesday night in Downtown Los Angeles, dedicated to women on film. Have cash available for parking and a potential cover charge. No one under 21 may attend.

X Games 2013 – Los Angeles
11:00 am – 10:30 pm, August 1
12:00 pm – 1:30 am, August 2
11:00 am – 10:30 pm, August 3
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, August 4
Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles
http://xgames.espn.go.com/events/2013/los-angeles/schedule/

This year’s X Games marks the last Los Angeles games indefinitely, as X Games has gone global. Admission to X Games varies depending on the event, but all of the LA Convention Center, Staples Center, and LA Live will turn into a massive festival and expo for all things extreme sports. After the competitions end each day, stick around for live music from bands such as AWOLNATION and Pepper.

2013 International Quilt Festival – Long Beach
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, August 1
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, August 2-3
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, August 4
Long Beach Convention Center, Downtown Long Beach
http://www.quilts.com/home/shows/viewer.php?page=SummerFestival

See all things quilts this weekend in Long Beach at the International Quilt Festival. This expo showcases anything connected to the quilting industry, and showcases everything for the quilting hobbyist. A full weekend pass costs $25, while a one-day admission costs $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Children 10 and under get in free with paid adult or senior admission. Parking at the convention center ranges from $5 to $10, so have cash available for parking. Otherwise, attendees can park in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Avenue.

Rx Bandits @ The Glass House
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, August 1
The Glass House, Pomona
http://www.theglasshouse.us/event/269865-rx-bandits-pomona/

Ska band Rx Bandits ends their tour by returning to Southern California this week, stopping by the Glass House this Thursday night. This all-ages show has already sold out, but you may still find some after-market tickets available.

60th Annual Kids Fishing Rodeo
8:00 am – 12:00 pm, August 2
Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach
http://www.alfredosbeachclub.com/seafest-fishing.html

This FREE kids’ fishing contest will provide a safe environment for kids to learn how to fish, about fishing equipment, and about the environment. All participants must supply their own rod and reel – the event will provide bait and tackle.

Wilmore 9 Summer Festival
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 2
11:00 am – 10:00 pm, August 3-4
Pine Avenue b/t 6th & 8th, Long Beach
http://www.wilmore9.com/

The Wilmore 9 Festival debuts in Long Beach this weekend. This festival of music, film, and art will celebrate the best of the arts, from the local community all the way to international headliners. In addition to the arts, Wilmore 9 will throw everything imaginable to attendees, such as skateboarding, comedy, food trucks, a beer & wine garden, hands-on activities, dodge ball, kick ball, and more. Tickets to this all-ages festival range from $10 all the way to $70, depending on the method of attendance.

SGMHS Summer Family Festival
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 2
San Gabriel Mission High School, San Gabriel
http://www.facebook.com/events/609186219099417/

Catch a family-fun street fair this Friday night in the San Gabriel Valley. Costing just $5 for adults and free for kids 12 and under, this street fair will bring vendors, arts, crafts, kids’ activities, food trucks, live entertainment, a beer garden, and more.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 2
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).

65th Annual La Habra Corn Festival
5:30 pm – 11:00 pm, August 2
11:00 am – 11:00 pm, August 3
12:00 pm – 9:00 pm, August 4
El Centro Park, La Habra
http://lahabracornfestival.com/

This city fair celebrates corn with food, rides, games, drinks, vendors, merchandise, raffles, entertainment, and more. This fair will have a parade on Saturday afternoon too. Free to attend for all ages, visitors can also participate in a corn-eating contest, cutest baby contest, dog costume contest, apple pie contest, and more.

Agent Orange in Baldwin Park
6:00 pm – 1:00 am, August 2
American Legion Post 241, Baldwin Park
http://www.poortownshows.com/event/141661

Legendary punk band Agent Orange will headline a night of punk rock in Baldwin Park this Friday night along with eight other bands, including Whitekaps. Entry to this all-ages show costs $10. Guests can park for free in the venue’s parking lot.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, August 2
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach
http://www.alexsbar.com/event/141364

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.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque @ The Pike Bar
10:30 pm – 12:00 am, August 2
The Pike Bar & Grill, Long Beach
http://www.facebook.com/events/474048376023085/

The sexy ladies from the Dirty Little Secrets have a free treat for you this Friday night, and it involves a lot of debauchery and sensual music. Enjoy two free burlesque shows this Friday night at The Pike Bar in Long Beach. Guests can park for free in the surrounding neighborhoods. No one under 21 may enter.

Splash Dash 5K – Los Angeles
7:00 am – 12:00 pm, August 3
Fairplex, Pomona
http://splashdash5k.com/locations/ca-losangeles/

Most runners run outdoors on clear days. Few runners dare to run in the rain. Challenge yourself to run in invariably wet conditions this Saturday morning with the Splash Dash 5K, taking place at the Fairplex in Pomona. Unlike most other 5K runs of this nature, the Splash Dash does not fit into the category of a fun run, as this race actually grants awards to top finishers. Prepare to run a 5k course while getting pelted with water balloons, water guns, water slides, waterfalls, and more water-filled contraptions. Registration for the 5k costs $45 presale and $55 on the day of the race. Registration for the 1k costs $25 presale and $30 on the day of the race. All participants receive a t-shirt and access to the after-party, filled with music and treats. No one under the age of 5 may run in this race. As this race only features one start time, I suggest arriving at least an hour early to find parking and to prepare for the race. Bring cash for parking, which will range from $5 to $10. Wear whatever you feel comfortable running in, or wear a costume – you choose how to represent yourself. Bring a spare set of clothes and plenty of towels for the drive home.

24th Annual Clairemont Family Day
8:00 am – 4:00 pm, August 3
South Clairemont Park, San Diego
http://www.clairemontfamilyday.com/

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.

2013 Lucas Oil Long Beach Sprint Nationals
8:00 am – 5:00 pm, August 3-4
Marine Stadium, Long Beach
http://www.scscracing.com/

Powerboat racers from across the country will congregate in Long Beach this weekend for this annual competition. Admission costs $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

20th Annual Long Beach Crawfish Festival
12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 3
12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 4
Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach
http://www.longbeachcrawfishfestival.com/

Indulge in crawfish, beignets, drinks, and other New Orleans eats this weekend in Long Beach. In addition to all the food, attendees will find a TV lounge, dance contests, live music, souvenir photos, and more. Entry to this all-ages festival cost $13 presale and $15 at the gate for adults, while kids 12 and under get in free with a paid adult admission. Adding a two-pound crawfish feast will cost $28 presale and $38 at the gate. Adding a three-pound crawfish feast will cost $35 presale and $48 at the gate. The parking lots across the street charge for use – park for free in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Avenue.

HARD Summer Music Festival
12:00 pm – 12:00 am, August 3-4
LA State Historic Park, Downtown Los Angeles
http://www.hardsummer.com/

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 LA State Historic Park in Downtown Los Angeles. Complete with some of the more recognizable EDM artists, such as Flux Pavilion, Justice, and Bassnectar, Hard Summer will also feature some rappers, like 2 Chainz. Hard Summer runs from 12pm to 12am on August 3rd and 4th. Tickets start at $85 for one-day general admission, and go up as high as $270 for a two-day VIP pass. No one under 18 may attend.

Downtown Riverside Summer Street Jam
2:00 pm – 9:00 pm, August 3
University Avenue b/t Orange & Lemon, Riverside
http://www.riversidedowntown.org/2013/07/23/summer-street-jam/

Check out this FREE all-ages outdoor music festival on the streets of Downtown Riverside this Saturday afternoon. The actual event does not serve food, but visitors can stop at any of the local businesses to dine at. The music lineup contains some punk, ska, and reggae bands, including The Aggrolites.

The All Stars Tour 2013 with Every Time I Die
2:00 pm – 10:00 pm, August 2-3
August 2: House of Blues, West Hollywood http://www.houseofblues.com/tickets/eventdetail.php?eventid=81169
August 3: The Observatory, Santa Ana http://www.observatoryoc.com/events/all-stars-tour

Rip your hair out to intense post-hardcore music this weekend with Every Time I Die and more. Tickets to these all-ages shows cost $22.50; tickets to the House of Blues show cost $25 if purchased on the day of the show.

BrewFest Encinitas 2013
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, August 3
MiraCosta College, Encinitas
http://www.brewfestencinitas.com/

San Diego loves their beer, and they keep rolling out beer fests to celebrate their love for beer! BrewFest Encinitas 2013 will feature 15 breweries, a few food trucks, free parking, live entertainment, and more. General admission costs $40 and comes with a souvenir glass and 10 beer tasters. VIP admission costs $75 and allows access to a VIP area, complete with exclusive beer and food. Always remember – when going to a beer fest, bring your ID! No one under 21 may attend.

626 Night Market
4:00 pm – 1:00 am, August 3
4:00 pm – 11:00 pm, August 4
Santa Anita Park, Arcadia
http://www.626nightmarket.com/

The largest Asian night market in America moves to Santa Anita Park this weekend. This flea market of sorts will host tons of vendors selling Asian wares, merchandise, apparel, appliances, food, drinks, and more. Admission costs $2 before 6pm, and $3 afterwards. Guests may now park here for free during the event.

The Gears @ The Vex LA
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, August 3
The Vex, Los Angeles
http://www.voiceplaces.com/los-angeles/the-stains-the-gears-symbol-six-hollywood-hate-the-screws-why-things-burn-2117337-e

Catch punk bands The Gears, The Stains, Hollywood Hate, Symbol Six, The Screws, and Why Things Burn this Saturday night at The Vex in Los Angeles, just a few miles east of Downtown. Entry to this all-ages show costs $10. Guests can find parking behind the building, but avoid parking too deep, as you may get blocked in by other cars.

Naked Aggression @ The Social Bar Lounge
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, August 3
The Social Bar Lounge, Hacienda Heights
http://www.facebook.com/events/1390125667866083/

Catch punk bands Naked Aggression, The Voids, Urban Decay, Corrupted Youth, and Baldwin Park Disasters this Saturday in Hacienda Heights. Entry to this show costs $10. No one under 21 may attend this show.

OC Fair Fun Run 5K
8:00 am – 12:00 pm, August 4
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa
http://www.ocfair5k.com/

The OC Fair hosts a 5K at the fairgrounds this Sunday morning. Registration costs $40 presale and $45 on the day of the race, if any spots remain. Children ages 6-12 register for $25 presale and $30 on the day of the race, if any spots remain. Online registration closes this Thursday. All participants receive a goodie bag, which includes a T-shirt, a medal for participating, and one admission into the OC Fair.

Summer Cement Craft Block
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, August 4
Birch Theater, North Park, San Diego
http://www.sandiegonorthparkcraftmafia.com/SCS/SCS-summer.html

This free all-ages event will host over 50 local arts & crafts vendors for visitors to peruse through.

Meat eaters around the world have this unexplainable fascination with bacon. This little strip of pork drives millions around the world crazy for that one special piece. If you ask random people why they like bacon, I assure you that the answers follow no sort of consistency. From portion size to the crisp texture to the salty goodness, everyone has a different reason for loving this thin strip of pork. Some producers and manufacturers have capitalized on this by selling bulk bacon with added ingredients. This results in cheap bacon circulating the markets, where the common package of bacon no longer only contains meat, but now contains other ingredients that 99% of bacon consumers cannot even pronounce. To alleviate this problem, consumers should purchase bacon not in bulk, since that comes pre-sliced and contains additives, but as a full slab of bacon. Many chefs and restaurant owners love slab bacon for the ability to control portion size, but many do not realize that pork belly also comes in this form. In America, nearly every form of bacon derives from pork belly, while in the rest of the world, people prepare pork belly as they would forms of pork, such as shredded, diced, or as one entire piece. Anyone who loves bacon should learn to also love pork belly, as you obtain more bacon goodness than just strips of it. Want to get into pork belly? Check out these five places in the Greater Los Angeles Area that serves pork belly in simple yet delicious forms.

5. Vizzi Truck‘s Pork Belly Taco

Since its inauguration in 2009, the gourmet food truck community has risen from one man’s ambition to the global empire as it stands now around the world. Thanks to numerous media outlets, especially Food Network, citizens worldwide now seek out these food trucks not only for novelty, but for the street food depicted in the media. As the hometown of gourmet food trucks, Los Angeles has provided a home to some of today’s top food trucks, and has proved a battleground for newer ones or others that simply could not keep up with the strenuous work of operating a food truck. Luckily, the bad ones fall out quick, while the good ones remain to serve. One can determine the quality of a food truck by its age – the longer a food truck has remained open, the more they know about the industry. Trust in Vizzi Truck, a gourmet food truck that opened back in 2009 as the first generation of gourmet food trucks. Their penchant for Coastal Cuisine appeals to a wide diversity of consumers by utilizing French cooking techniques and mixing different styles of cuisine. For example, take a look at their Pork Belly Taco. This taco takes a Vietnamese approach to pork belly and applies it to Mexican street food logic by grilling pork belly, inserting it in small street taco-size flour tortillas, then topping it off with cucumbers, pickled carrots & daikon, cilantro, and Gochujang sauce, a Korean sauce that tastes salty with a kick of spice. The veggies give the taco a tart taste to balance the savoriness of the pork belly, while the sauce helps to open up your palate to better absorb the pork belly’s flavor. Although it appears small, this taco can fill you up, not to mention that Vizzi Truck serves this taco on a bed of truck-made popcorn. If you track down Vizzi Truck, you can snag this taco for $4. Vizzi Truck employs a seasonal menu, so track them down quick before they remove the Pork Belly Taco!

4. Flying Pig Café‘s Pork Belly Buns

As a food truck owner, you would not want to stay in that realm for too long. For the most part, entrepreneurs and/or chefs enter the food truck industry as a means to get their feet wet, learn the ropes of the industry, invest some capital, and then apply the acquired knowledge towards opening a brick & mortar business. In some cases, the entrepreneur can continue to operate the food truck, but due to the uncertainty of profit on a food truck, at least it will operate under the safety bubble of the brick & mortar business. While a few of today’s food trucks derived from a brick & mortar business, a great number of food truck owners have made the step up into establishing a brick & mortar business. Flying Pig Café, one such business that started from a food truck and still operates that food truck, now calls Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles their home. Flying Pig Café still serves many of the items from the truck that many fans will recognize, but they now also serve plated entrées, such as fried rice or Loco Moco, and alcoholic drinks such as wine and craft beer. Luckily, the fan favorite Pork Belly Buns still remains on this menu. They braise pork belly and place it on a steamed bao bun with red onion escabeche (similar to pickled red onions), pickled sesamé cucumbers, and death sauce, their signature spicy sauce. These ingredients work well to bring out the flavor of the pork belly, as the death sauce opens up your palate, while the tart veggies provide balance to the meat to support the savoriness. If, for some reason, you still have doubts about this, check out their Happy Hour that runs from 5pm to closing Monday through Thursday, where all customers can not only receive $4 beers (including Allagash Curieux!), but also order 2-for-1 buns, meaning TWO Pork Belly Buns for just $4! Come here much? Park in the Arts District a few blocks away, where the street meters only run until either 4pm or 6pm, depending on the street.

3. Hopscotch Tavern‘s Pork Belly Rillettes

As time marches on, things cannot remain the same forever. Over time, everything has to change as part of human nature. Our way to living has provided us with the necessary means to adapt to change and fit in to new lifestyles quickly, while those who take longer to adapt tend to suffer setbacks or misfortunes in some areas. Many people may swear by old standards and traditions, but eventually these traditions will meld with the present. This explains the need for some restaurants to change their menu every so often. While some simply employ a seasonal menu based on product availability, few others may completely overhaul their menu. Hopscotch Tavern in Downtown Fullerton recently completely redesigned their menu after roughly 7-8 months in business. With a half year’s worth of experience under the table, the crew at Hopscotch decided to carefully examine the menu and revamp everything. They did away with the previous Low & Slow moniker, and now serve up gastropub faire, such as fried duck, chilaquiles, blue crab tots, pig ears, and their new Pork Belly Rillettes. The Hopscotch crew concocts the rillettes with pulled pork belly, fills a mason jar with it, and tops it off with an apple & lemon salad. On the side, you receive toasted baguette slices and a scoop of Bacon Onion Jam. If you have never had rillettes before, you eat this like a spread – spread some of the jam on a baguette slice, then lather the pork belly on the slice. Pro Tip: spread everything on every slice prior to eating – this allows you to control how much each slice receives as well as attempt to balance the jam and the rillettes. If sharing this plate, inform your party of allocating the spread if you intend to do so, so they know that each slice will have similar amounts of the jam and rillettes. Looking for a craft beer pairing? Go for an IPA to cut through the saltiness of the rillettes. Personally, I usually order whatever they have on nitro. Truthfully, you cannot go wrong with whatever you order here. Despite a completely brand new menu, Hopscotch remains a true gem nestled in a town of club-goers.

2. Red Table Restaurant‘s Grilled Pork Belly

Thinking about marketing and public relations, who honestly uses it the most? What levels of business utilize strong marketing versus free marketing? Everybody can benefit from free marketing media, such as Facebook and Twitter – those only require time for research and generating content. Who would you say utilizes paid marketing? I can tell you right now that those at the top do not pay for marketing. Entities at the top already possess the best position, and thus do not need to market. Those at the bottom do not pay for marketing, as they cannot yet afford it. Those in the middle, or the second-best, will pay for marketing, as they already have a decent position in the industry, but need that extra boost to usurp the leading individual, group, or company. When you have a product or service so great that consumers constantly crave it, your consumers turn into your free marketing material, as they will market for you via word of mouth. Red Table Restaurant has come a long way with their worldly gastropub cuisine. Since their inception in 2011, Red Table has traveled a long way to get to the status that they sit at right now. Masked by a Trader Joe’s and tucked away behind the respective shopping center, Red Table needed something to get the word out about their strange location out to the general public. Needless to say, Chef Louie Jocson’s international epicurean experience has received international media attention, using just his unbelievable food to garner a solid following with the associated word of mouth that slips around from ear to ear. Although Red Table displays daily/weekly specials, their regular menu contains plenty of unforgettable dishes, such as their Grilled Pork Belly appetizer. This $9 plate comes with four thick slices of grilled pork belly with crispy skin, drenched in soy vinegar, and topped with pickled onions & herbs. A perfect portion for parties of two to four, each bite seems to get better than the last with the soy vinegar sauce building in intensity, not to mention the tartness from the pickled onions resetting the salty flavor from the combination of the pork belly and the sauce. For a craft beer pairing, you definitely want to go with an Imperial IPA if Red Table carries it; otherwise, go for a regular IPA. Feel daring about the pork belly? Red Table offers an entrée with pork belly – the Pork & Beans, which I will cover in a future post. Until then, get over to Red Table in West Huntington Beach, located behind Trader Joe’s once you find it. With its proximity to the beach, how can you not want to go to Red Table this summer?

1. Fickle Restaurant‘s Molasses Pork Belly

Three cheers for fresh faces, who we always welcome into the industry for bringing on new challenges and new ideas. Whenever faced with a new person, such as a new kid in school or a new co-worker, we welcome them for bringing on a new face to break monotony, plus any of their ideas and intellect that they can bring to the table. Although far from the hivemind concept, pooling together knowledge generally leads to improved outcomes for the setting, from the classroom to the workplace and further than that. New people will also face challenges adapting to the new setting, and will require time to acclimate with everything going on around. Sometimes, the new people will have to pair up and work together to solve problems and make progress. Other times, a sole new person will come up with multiple ideas, and will need to somehow combine them to work out for the greater good. So when building space opened up in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles, the genius behind Fickle Restaurant swooped in to claim the space. However, Fickle only came out as one of the many concepts for this space. In the end, travelers can now find two different businesses in the same space. By day, this place operates as The Sandwich Smith, of which I will review one of their sandwiches in a future post. At night, this space transforms into Fickle, a restaurant with a menu that can unpredictably change at any given time based on the chef’s whim. Whereas many other restaurants change their menu based on season and availability of ingredients, the folks at Fickle simply change the menu whenever they want, in addition to the available supply of ingredients. As such, customers can only truly find an accurate menu by visiting the restaurant to read a menu in person, as opposed to looking up their website, which they have not updated since late June. Luckily, Fickle does keep some of the fan favorites on the menu for a longer duration, such as their Molasses Pork Belly. They sear a giant slab of pork belly, and place it on top of charred savoy cabbage and pumpkin purée. They then sprinkle lime pepitas around the plate before drizzling a balsamic sauce around the plate. Pork belly lovers rejoice – you now can have your pork fat and eat it too! Very few places will serve a slab of pork belly this large, let alone for the reasonable price of $18. Good luck getting through this dish, as most ordinary people cannot get through half of this pork belly due to the overwhelming pork fat presence. If you can stomach it, you will taste this pork in your mouth for days, on a similar degree to foie gras. Got a hankering for craft beer? If you feel the need to tone down the intensity of this dish, order an IPA, which they usually carry on tap. If you want to intensify the pork flavor, order any Belgian beer, which Fickle currently carries in bottles. If you find yourself visiting often, note that you can likely park in the Arts District, located just a few blocks southeast from here, on the street for free, as the street parking meters stop running after 4pm or 6pm, depending on the street. Parking meters also do not go into effect on Sundays all day. Who knows when Fickle will decide to take this off their menu? Just like the definition of the word, this menu changes on a whim, so if you go in one time, do not expect to observe the same menu on your next visit.

Free Chocolate Tasting
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 18
Blackmarket Bakery, Costa Mesa
http://www.facebook.com/events/274577442689182/

Love chocolate? Sample some artisanal chocolate treats this Tuesday night at the Blackmarket Bakery at The Camp in Costa Mesa, free of charge.

Summer Cocktail Preview
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 19
Hopscotch Tavern, Fullerton
http://hopscotchsummercocktailpreview.eventbrite.com/

Hopscotch Tavern’s new summer cocktail menu debuts Friday, but you can order any of these at happy hour prices this Wednesday evening. RSVP using the provided link, where each RSVP works for the registrant plus one.

Taste of Little Italy
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 19
Little Italy, Downtown San Diego
http://www.tasteoflittleitalysd.com/

Sample the local flavor of Little Italy this Wednesday night, as attendees stroll through Little Italy and sample food directly in each participating business. Attendees pay for a stamp card with boxes representing each participating business. After receiving a sample, that business will stamp their corresponding box. Two different stamp cards exist for a north route and a south route, and each route’s stamp card costs $28 each, while purchasing both costs $42.

Belmont Shore Stroll & Savor
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, June 19-20
Along 2nd Street, Belmont Shore
http://www.belmontshore.org/events.html

This “Taste of Belmont Shore” occurs during the summer months annually from May through August on the third Wednesday and the Thursday immediately after. Attendees may purchase booklets of 12 tickets for $10, and redeem these tickets for food & drink samples from various restaurants along 2nd Street. Buy tickets presale now at Olives Gourmet, La Strada, We Olive, Mail Boxes etc. & Sweet Jill’s, or purchase tickets in front of CHASE BANK during the event.

Dom’s Favorite Burgers
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 19
West Elm South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa
http://domsfavoriteburgers.com/

Snag some free burgers, and take pictures with pin-up models on the red carpet at this blogger’s summer kickoff party.

Take Your Dog To Work Day
All day, June 21
Worldwide
http://www.takeyourdog.com/

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!

Jack Bradshaw Dog Show
8:00 am – 5:00 pm, June 21-23
Queen Mary, Long Beach
http://www.jbradshaw.com/

Watch multiple dog shows and competitions this and next weekend in Long Beach. Free to attend for all ages, breeds will compete in show and athletic contests throughout the weekend. Expect parking to cost $15. Take public transportation (free on the Passport bus) or ride a bike to circumvent the hefty parking fee.

San Diego International Beer Festival
Various times, June 21-23
Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar
http://www.sdfair.com/index.php?fuseaction=festivals.beer_festival

The San Diego County Fair will import over 400 beers from around the world for a weekend of beer at the fairgrounds. Over the weekend, the fairgrounds will host five different four-hour sessions of unlimited tastings, and each session will feature different seminars and presentations. General admission costs $55, and includes admission to the rest of the fair plus the souvenir cup. Parking on-site costs $10, while off-site parking with shuttles costs nothing. Although the beer fest takes place in the arena under a roof, the rest of the fair takes place outdoors, so prepare for sunny weather if you choose to venture outside. I highly recommend arriving as early as possible, as each session tends to run out of beer an hour before a session ends.

To Kristen With Love
6:00 pm – 2:00 am, June 21
Old Towne Pub, Pasadena
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/377604

A punk show, art show, and film premiere take over this small pub this Friday night in Pasadena. For just $10 entry, guests will see lots of local punk rock bands, art, and a film premiere by Seraph Films. The bar will serve drink specials all night, as well as free nachos. You will find the entrance to Old Towne Pub at the end of an alley on Holly St right next to Cafe Linda. Although free parking almost does not exist in this area, a few spots on Corson St have no meters. No one under 21 may enter.

A Wilhelm Scream & The Flatliners @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 21
The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://www.observatoryoc.com/events/wilhelm-scream-flatliners

A Wilhelm Scream and The Flatliners will start a tour soon, and that tour sweeps through California this week. Catch these two bands plus local openers at this all-ages show for only $13. The venue contains a free parking lot, but late arrivals may need to park in neighboring lots, which require a parking fee.

Steampunk Los Angeles
8:00 pm – 12:30 am, June 21
The Vex, Los Angeles
http://www.facebook.com/events/484900361582946/

Art, merchandise, food, music, gadgets, live tattooing, body painting, and more will grace The Vex with their presence this Friday night. For just $20 admission, guests can explore a night of steampunk music and art. Guests under 18 must attend with an adult. Guests can park behind the building, but should take care not to park too deep or risk getting blocked by other cars.

2013 Rental Car Rally – Los Angeles
9:00 pm – 3:00 pm, June 21
Location TBA, Los Angeles
http://www.rentalcarrally.com/

What do you get when you mix Halloween with Mario Kart? You get the Rental Car Rally! This race abandons all conventional means by pitting themed teams against each other as they drive from point A to point B overnight. Instead of which team arrives first, winners reach the destination with the fewest miles traveled while hitting every single checkpoint along the way. Along the way, teams may attempt to interfere with other teams, using methods such as water balloons, water guns, powdered balloons, and other wacky ways that you would normally see in a video game. Words cannot accurately describe the mayhem behind a Rental Car Rally. To understand this, one must commit to competing in this wacky ride.

2nd Annual Long Beach Art in the Park
10:00 am – 3:00 pm, June 22
Bixby Park, Long Beach
https://sites.google.com/site/bixbyparkpreservation/home

Enjoy an afternoon of plenty of family activities, arts & crafts, live music, food trucks, and more, free for all ages.

34th Annual Ocean Beach Street Fair & Chili Cook-off
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, June 22
Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach, San Diego
http://www.oceanbeachsandiego.com/special-event/street-fair-chili-cookoff-festival

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.

27th Annual Long Beach Bayou & Blues Festival
11:00 am – 9:30 pm, June 22
11:00 am – 8:00 pm, June 23
Rainbow Lagoon Park, Long Beach
http://longbeachfestival.com/

Enjoy a weekend of Blues & Jazz music, specialty Cajun & Creole food, a Mardi Gras parade, dancing, kids’ activities, and more. Ticket prices vary, with general admission costing $25 presale, and discounts available for seniors and students. This fest takes place outdoors with very little shade, so dress for the warm weather, and prepare sunscreen.

2013 Tomato Assault – Los Angeles
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, June 22
Fairplex, Pomona
http://www.tomatoassault.com/

Time to get down and dirty! Tens of thousands of pounds of tomatoes will fly through the air at this glorified tomato fight. Tomato Assault brings together live music, inflatable objects, a beer garden, food trucks, costume contests, and more all for the love of smacking other people with tomatoes. Registration costs $60, and no one under 21 may attend. Attendees must print, sign, and bring a waiver, found on the website, to the event in order to participate.

Balls For Balls 2013
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm, June 22
Nirvana Bar & Grill, Los Angeles
http://www.ballsforballs.philanthroproductions.org/

In a nutshell, gather a team to competitively eat meatballs for charity. The winning team does take a cash prize home. A team of four enters for $60, while individuals enter for $20 and get placed in a random team as a filler. Spectators may enter and watch for free.

Bite Flite
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 22
Bar & Garden, Culver City
http://www.eventbrite.com/event/7012846613/efbbt

Sample burgers, beers, and desserts at this food pairing dinner this Saturday in Culver City. The $22 admission includes a 4-beer flight, a choice of one of four sliders ($3.50 for each additional), and desserts from Mwokaji Cakery. Guests can find free street parking on nearby streets. No one under 21 may attend.

Nekromantix @ The Observatory
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, June 22
The Observatory, Santa Ana
http://www.observatoryoc.com/events/nekromantix

Catch a psychobilly show this Saturday night in Santa Ana, as Nekromantix headlines a show with Graveyard Johnny’s, Dragstrip Demons, Black Rose Phantoms, Crash Cadillacs, and Butchery Boys. The first band starts at 8pm. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $18. The venue contains a free parking lot, but late arrivals may need to park in neighboring lots, which require a parking fee.

CicLAvia – Iconic Wilshire Boulevard
9:00 am – 4:00 pm, June 23
Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
http://www.ciclavia.org/

Wilshire Blvd from Downtown LA to Miracle Mile will close to bikers this Sunday. Cars may not enter the designated areas during this time – only bikers and pedestrians may roam the streets.

4th Annual Summer Solstice Festival & International Taco Festival
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, June 23
Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton
http://themuck.org/june-23-summer-solstice-festival-fullerton-sister-city-associations-international-taco-fest/

Sample worldly cuisine in a tortilla at this taco fest this Sunday afternoon at The Muck in Fullerton. The Summer Solstice Festival, which contains live music, arts & crafts, merchandise, and more, occurs the entire time, and costs nothing to attend for all ages. The Taco Fest starts at 1pm, lasts two hours, and requires an entry fee, which guests pay for at the gate. No one under 21 may attend the Taco Fest, as it also comes with complimentary beer tastings from Bootlegger’s Brewery. Guests may park for free at the venue.

1st Annual Tacolandia
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, June 23
Hollywood Palladium Parking Lot, Los Angeles
http://microapp.laweekly.com/tacolandia/

Gorge out on tacos from over 30 chefs from around Southern California and some from Baja at this taco fest in a parking lot. General admission costs $20 and includes unlimited food until it runs out, while VIP admission costs $40 and also includes a hosted bar. Guests of all ages may attend, but adults must have ID to drink.

Santa Monica Wine Festival
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm, June 23
Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
http://drinkeatplay.com/winefest/

Sample wines from over 50 wineries on the pier this Sunday evening. General admission costs $50 and starts at 6pm, while VIP admission costs $60 and starts at 5pm. Food comes at a separate cost here. Both admissions include access to Pacific Park, the mini amusement park on the pier. Bring extra cash for parking. Dress for chilly weather, as this takes place at night near the ocean.

As we enter April, we enter the start of Q2 2013. The start of Q2 indicates the turn of a new season, and with the turn of a new season comes renovation and innovation. When people quote the phrase “reinventing the wheel,” the wheel in this case can represent practically anything. What approach can one use to identify an existing item or concept, and reconfigure it with typically improved performance? Sometimes, in order to progress and move forward, one has to regress back to the ground level, and decipher a new path to climb the tree. At the very core, what constitutes the foundation? Any tree starts with a seed. On that same train of thought, any good burger starts with the right patty. If you arrive at a restaurant that serves a well done burger by default, you should question the quality of the meat. The best chefs intend to cook burgers medium rare, as that cooks the outside of the patty while sealing the juices and flavor inside to create a full pink color that should run all the way to the ends of the patty. Very rarely do restaurants cook medium rare burgers as they should, but a small handful understand the craft of cooking a hamburger. For the upcoming season, seek out the following five burgers to understand the depth and quality that a medium rare burgers brings to the table. Also keep in mind for the locations that allow customization – judge them on their actual burger, not the additions you selected.

5. Hole In The Wall Burger Joint‘s Pretzel Bun Burger

More often than not, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves better food than large corporate restaurants. Local mom & pop hole-in-the-wall places focus more on authenticity and preserving their culture first over capitalizing on the popularity of food. Once in a while, a chef will play the sly card and open a place with a tricky name that forces unforced double takes. If you ever find yourself at the DMV in Santa Monica, you may have noticed a small strip mall of food places across the street, of which one of the spaces bears the name Hole In The Wall Burger Joint. Fans already know that the place existed elsewhere prior to moving to this new location. The charm of a basic design allows this business to fit in virtually anywhere, and serve a small variety that could satisfy anyone’s hunger. At Hole In The Wall, customers can fully customize their meal using their menu notepad that you can strip off and fill out to hand to the cashier. Customers select the patty, bread, spread, cheese, veggies, and extra additions. Also take a look at their specials that rotate weekly, as that features the burger-of-the-week and salad-of-the-week. First-time visitors should immediately go for the beef burger (medium rare, of course) paired with the pretzel bun. Out of all the breads, the pretzel bun does the best job at retaining the burger’s juices; however, this says much, as Hole In The Wall unapologetically cooks the burgers in such a way that they ooze with juices. Avoid piling on too many extras, as you want to savor the burger for the first time. Once you understand the flavors and juices behind this burger, you can then start throwing on your precious extras.

4. Silver Trumpet‘s Burger

Although hole-in-the-wall places tend to carry more authentic food, this does not mean that fancier places do not cook their food well. Even for a place that touts themselves as a bar & lounge, Silver Trumpet dishes out some amazing bar-like food. Located within the Wyndham Costa Mesa complex, Silver Trumpet serves your typical American cuisine – steaks, seafood, chicken, pasta, etc. However, slide on over to the bar & lounge area for an entirely new hip vibe not present in the main dining area. Here at the bar, you can order goodies like Lobster Corn Dogs, Crab Cakes, or Surf & Turf (Scallops & Pulled Pork, Carnitas style), while still ordering from the full bar and gazing at the TV if they show any games at the time. For the ultimate bar snack, you can order The Burger and slightly customize it with extras. This burger comes with cheddar, fried onions, lettuce, tomato, and a caper aioli. The aioli alone tastes wonderful and pairs well with any meat, not just the burger. Customers may choose to add bacon, avocado, a fried egg, caramelized onions, and/or sautéed mushrooms to their burger. Take care when selecting extras, as this burger already has a lot going on, especially with their aioli. However, nothing shall stop you from going extras crazy and adding them all, so… more power to you.

3. Slater’s 50/50‘s Peanut Butter & Jellousy A La Mode

We move from the hole-in-the-wall to the fancy, and now we venture into the eccentric. If you ask a random person on the street what they like on a burger, any item they mention not a vegetable will relate to some sort of salty or savory taste. People love their cheeses, bacon, sauces, and anything else as long as they can fulfill their sodium cravings. What about those bearing a sweet tooth? Sweet burgers do exist, but so few and far in-between that anyone seeking such a rare treat likely requires a guide. Luckily, I can say right now that Slater’s 50/50, with their dashingly sharp minds, has concocted strange creations involving flavors not typically associated with burgers, and their creations have landed a permanent spot on their menus. By now, most people have heard of a burger with peanut butter, jelly, and bacon, thanks to a few strong burger places in Southern California. Slater’s 50/50 would like to take that concept a step beyond by throwing in a scoop of ice cream to generate the Peanut Butter & Jellousy A La Mode. A spin on an existing menu item, customers can choose between a beef patty or the 50/50 patty, and that receives bacon, peanut butter, strawberry jam, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Every time I mentioned this burger, people always ask “Why though?” Truthfully, like their Donut Burger in the past, the vanilla ice cream does a great job at synchronizing the salty and the sweet, and brings it all together quite nicely. Whereas the original burger pitted salt versus sweet, the vanilla ice cream calms the two sides down so that they can embrace in the middle of the burger. This burger hides no tricks – as soon as you receive it, consume it immediately before the ice cream melts. While you chew your way through this burger, you can ask yourself what will Slater’s think of next.

2. Hopscotch Tavern‘s The Duke

Throughout all the restaurants in the world, few dedicate themselves to the art of grilling burgers. In today’s society where restaurants strive to serve the tastiest and most unique entrées, often times food items deemed as kids’ food get left behind, especially the burger. Thanks to the gastropub movement, the popularity of burgers has revitalized, so patrons understand that gastropubs will carry amazing burgers. Even if a gastropub follows a specialty, such as how Hopscotch Tavern specializes in slow-cooked foods, they will incorporate a burger on the menu somehow. Hopscotch carries burgers in a small section of their menu, but one particular burger deserves a space of its own rather than sharing a small room on the menu. Dubbed The Duke, this behemoth burger consists of a custom grind stuffed with cheddar cheese. This patty gets topped with pulled pork, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, and American cheese. Consider this burger a modified double bacon cheeseburger, as it contains twice the amount of normal cheese, bacon strips, and a custom patty that contains more beef than their other burgers. Oh, and they threw in some pulled pork… just to call it something else besides a bacon cheeseburger. Bite through to the middle to get to the best part, where the cheese and juices of the burger slowly ooze out. Remember to get a little of everything on this burger in every bite, including the pulled pork. You must get messy while eating this burger to absorb the full experience of this burger.

1. Kings Row Gastropub‘s King’s Burger

Ever since an unmentioned chef developed his legendary burger, many others have crafted their own version of that hit burger. Some quote about imitation and flattery applies here, but sometimes the imitation bears the necessary means to surpass the original. Of all the burgers in this same category of burgers, Kings Row Gastropub has secured a bullseye in crafting a burger so scrumptious that customers return over and over just for it. If you ever find yourself in Pasadena, stroll into Kings Row and order their King’s Burger, cooked medium rare as always. This patty of 21-day dry-aged beef receives a generous helping of St. Agur Bleu Cheese, duck fat onions, and arugula, while aioli and white cheddar finish off the burger. The clashing flavors of the onions and cheese opens the palate, allowing customers to take in all the glory of the beef patty. Praise whoever discovered that combination – although the flavors clash, they still taste amazing together, likely due to their properties of opening the palate. I say they clash thanks to the massive up-front flavor rush from the duck fat and the overwhelming scent of the bleu cheese. Some customers cannot handle this burger due to both the duck fat and bleu cheese – to them I say hold your nose and just bite through it. If you want a great burger, you have to find them at a gastropub, and Kings Row has the burger you need in your life and in your belly.

People love to go out to eat all the time. More often than not, time plays an important limitation on the ability to seek out a place to go eat. Time also plays an important role when eating at home, as that involves prep, cooking, and cleaning time. As an element not to squander, everyone should consider time an intangible measure of money. When considering food, do you also consider the time necessary to cook the food? While fast food takes little time to make, the quality comes nowhere close to restaurant quality. Even at restaurants, people act impatient when food takes longer than 15 minutes to arrive at the table. They do not realize that great quality food requires time to prepare and cook. If plausible, food should cook slowly over a period of a handful of hours. Crock pots exist for the home cook, but what do you do if you go out to a restaurant? Most servers bear a commitment to serve guests in a timely manner, meaning food cannot take too long to cook. Slow-cooked foods absorb the most flavor and end up at the perfect texture, and the folks at Hopscotch Tavern have honed in on that concept and delivered it in individual plates.

Nestled in historic Downtown Fullerton, Hopscotch Tavern recently opened as a craft beer & whisky bar emphasizing slow-cooked foods. With a wide selection of craft beers and whiskys from around the world, Hopscotch caters not only to the after-dark crowd, but those seeking a wonderful meal as if cooked in a crock pot at home. The food menu includes appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, entrées, and desserts, but their BBQ takes the place as the centerpiece of the menu. BBQ items consist of St. Louis Ribs, Pulled Pork, and Brisket. Ordered as 1/2 rack/pound or full rack/one pound, these BBQ meats come served a la carte, simply with house pickles, crispy onions, and house BBQ sauce. The nature of these slow-cooked meats gives it an incredibly tender texture and juicy meaty flavor. If you order the Brisket, eat it immediately to preserve the tenderness of the meat. Allowing it to sit a few minutes allows the outer pieces to cool down, losing its tenderness, while the deeper pieces remain tender. Because they come a la carte, I suggest ordering an appetizer or side to go along with the Brisket, of which I recommend trying the White Hominy Cheesy Grits. Really though, you cannot go wrong with anything you order from Hopscotch. Their slow-cooked foods will remind you of home-cooked food, like mom made it. Come on in and taste what comfort feels like.