Posts Tagged ‘January 2014’

When you consider the people behind a beer fest, what type of people come to mind? Do you picture tough men drinking nonstop? Do you envision Irishmen drinking all day at the pub? Perhaps you think of Germans celebrating Oktoberfest. Contrary to what many believe, certain nationalities do not need a holiday or occasion to drink. Who said the Irish clamor over St. Patrick’s Day? Who believes Germans only drink prior to Oktoberfest? Each nation delivers more than the stereotypical beer that people know them for. Take the Germans for example – what else do they drink other than Oktoberfest beers? Have you heard of Bocks? This winter equivalent of the Oktoberfest brew deserves more attention than they currently do not receive. Luckily, Southern California holds an annual beer fest celebrating the wonderful world of Bock beers, and holding true to its location, Bock Fest brings more than just the beer – it also brings more booze and some sultry burlesque babes.

Taking place at the Olympic Collection in West Los Angeles, the 2014 Bock Fest holds true to its roots as the beer fest that celebrates the lesser-known of German beers. Similar in style to Oktoberfest brews, Bocks appear darker and taste bolder, but can range from the paleness of a pilsner to the darkness of a stout. Although this fest focuses on Bocks and other German beers, many other microbreweries served their amazing craft beers as well. Popular breweries such as Figueroa Mountain, Fireman’s Brew, Spaten, and Lagunitas made an appearance, with the latter two taking home the Beer Champion and People’s Choice award for Bock Fest, respectively. Rotating live music, food vendors, wines & spirits, cigar rolling, and more kept all guests occupied as they guzzled their brews.

In addition to the multitude of breweries, wineries, and vendors, we must pay tribute to the people who made this fest possible. From the live DJ to the importers to the brewers to the event staff, without the people, this fest would never have occurred.

Bock Fest employs select judges to elect the best brewery of the fest, while the organizers also provide attendees the opportunity to vote for their favorite brewery present. As mentioned above, the judges selected Spaten as their favorite, while the crowd voted Lagunitas as their favorite.

Saving the best for last, the Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque made a special appearance to perform not one, but TWO shows to all the lucky attendees. These lovely ladies do a great job of not just performing, but also with crowd interaction, leaving everyone craving more. Below shows only a glimpse of their performance – if you like what you see, check out their shows! Like their page on Facebook for news about their upcoming shows, such as their residency First Wednesday show TONIGHT at the Copper Door in Downtown Santa Ana.

Missed Bock Fest? Want to go to another beer fest just like it? I heard they plan to host a St. Patrick’s Fest. I currently have no details about such a fest, but perhaps I shall soon. For the latest in beer fests in Southern California, follow my blog for my weekly events post!

Two big names in punk rock came to Orange County last Friday night, as Guttermouth and Authority Zero teamed up to co-headline a $5 all-ages show at The Observatory in Santa Ana. As the first stop in a brief two-week tour across the nation, Authority Zero tours in support of their most recent album release, while Guttermouth tours just because they can. Regardless of their purpose of touring, all attendees enjoyed seeing these bands at the low price of just $5. Due to all of the antics of the audience, this show also poses the question: what makes people do crazy things?

The Final Upset opened the night, starting right on time as scheduled. This local Orange County punk rock band started strong, inciting a circle pit from the get-go. Many opening bands like to banter with the crowd, but The Final Upset cut the chit-chat out, opting just to play music for everyone present. When you take away the vocals, you may hear instrumentals that resemble music heard in some Guttermouth songs. Concerning vocals, he does not sound like anyone else out there, as he has a nasal voice almost like The Dickies, yet not quite. Certainly, I look forward to seeing more of these guys soon.

Up next came the Bad Samaritans. Last time I saw these guys, they delivered an underwhelming set. This time, they have stepped up their game. Embracing their roots in Oxnard, they put out a hybrid hardcore punk and nardcore set for the floor to slam to. Unlike the first band, the Bad Samaritans did partake in the usual opening band banter with the audience. This made for a disconnected set, as they felt the need to speak to the audience between each song. Nevertheless, the crowd loved the set, and I could see that everyone enjoyed the rich sound coming from this opening band.

Despite a show with two headliners, this next band qualifies as a sub-headliner. Meet Piñata Protest from San Antonio, Texas, a Mexican-influenced punk rock band. Officially on the tour with Guttermouth and Authority Zero, they fulfill their own niche with their unique usage of an accordion in the band. What does Piñata Protest sound like? Imagine if Left Alone merged with Manic Hispanic – as a result, you get Piñata Protest. Many of their songs had some mariachi influences, creating for some interesting moves in the pit, like a heavy metal mosh pit in tight quarters. They even played their rendition of La Cucaracha, which involved a piccolo trumpet just for that one song. A handful of the audience attended this show mainly to see Piñata Protest. Given the demographics of Southern California, I see no surprises there, and I hope they come back for more shows soon.

The highly-anticipated headliners would soon start, as the audience chanted “Zero! Zero!” while Authority Zero made their way onto the stage. As one of the bigger names in modern punk rock, it goes without saying that a majority of the audience came to see Authority Zero, and got Guttermouth as a bonus. Remember: Guttermouth resides in Orange County, so locals already recognize the taste of Guttermouth. Bear a loose mind when I mention punk rock here, because Authority Zero does not follow the sound of traditional punk rock, like Minor Threat or Black Flag. Rather, they have their own sound which borrows tones from reggae and ska to formulate their own style of music. Their 70-minute set included many fan favorites, such as No Regrets, A Passage In Time, Libereduction, Over Seasons, and more. At the end, as much as everyone wanted an encore, Authority Zero bid their farewells as they left for Guttermouth to set up on stage.

Taking almost twice as long to set up as all other bands of the night, Guttermouth finally entered the stage to close out the night. Vocalist Mark had some stuff to say to the impatient crowd, and of course, the band always wins. As they state themselves on their bio, you either love Guttermouth or you hate them. When you look at the big picture, they come off as so offensive that you cannot help but love what they do – deliver a show so intense that everyone wakes up sore the following morning. Sometimes, a show like this makes you wonder – why do people do such crazy things? What compels people to purposely get hurt by jumping off the stage, running into the walls, hitting other people, etc? Anyways, the band’s 75-minute set followed no particular order, as they never follow the order of their set list, which contained songs like Bruce Lee Vs The Kiss Army, Chicken Box, I’m Destroying The World, and more. They ended their set abruptly with no tell of an encore, leaving the crowd to wander out with clothes soaked in spit, sweat, and blood.

You can catch Guttermouth, Authority Zero, and Piñata Protest on tour for the next two weeks across the country. Like each band’s Facebook pages for more information about upcoming shows, and check them out if they stop by your area!

The Fit Expo Los Angeles returned for its 11th year running this past weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Taking place over the course of two days in the South Hall, this massive expo showcases all forms of fitness and athletics with live competitions, demos, workshops, seminars, and more. Visitors could view various forms of fitness and non-arena sports, such as CrossFit, weightlifting, Zumba, Parkour, wrestling, (mixed) martial arts, and more. The massive expo hall contained enough vendors to fill multiple swap meets, but once visitors got past all the vendors, they found the various demo areas strewn about the expo hall. For example, on the far east side of the hall (left from entrance), an actual CrossFit competition took place:

Elsewhere near the entrance, a Zumba fitness demo went underway, allowing visitors to actually take part in this demo.

Near the back, visitors could spectate a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition.

The MMA Pavilion featured a variety of demos, such as the “adult jungle gym” shown at the top of this post, as well as some bars pictured below.

On the west end of the hall (right from the entrance), a power-lifting competition took place.

The multitude of vendors varied in their goods or services offered. Some offered some sort of service, such as training or consulting. Most others offered merchandise, which included apparel, accessories, equipment, supplements, and more.

Unbeknownst to me, this expo also exhibited a handful of food & beverage vendors. None of these vendors offered stereotypical health foods – they focus on what matters, such as all-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free, low-carb, and full of nutrients, especially protein. In today’s culture, people slowly learn more and more about their food, and an expo like this would smoothly educate visitors about the right food to eat to stay fit.

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

Any punk rock fan living in Southern California would immediately recognize the significance of all the bands that played at Skate Punk Fest 2014. This all-ages concert took place at the Glass House in Downtown Pomona last Saturday night, and cost a paltry $15 to enter. Featuring a lineup of some of Southern California’s most popular independent (not on a major record label) punk rock bands, this show brought out fans from all over to rock out to the best Southern California has to offer, with some fans traveling from Europe as well. Many of the bands paid homage to the late Showcase Theatre, a nearby venue infamous for some of the craziest punk rock shows of its time. The enthusiasm in the crowd carried strong all night, even transferring well between sets, as a large portion of the pit continued their pit to house music between sets. This show also proved that if a venue does not staff enough security, the punks will play.

Kicking off the night, Destruction Made Simple arrived with a new 2014 set. A lot has changed since the last time I saw these guys, as they now played with only four band members, with Andy and Adrian switching off between guitar and bass throughout their set. Their set also changed with the songs they played, as they now mainly focused on new content from their latest release. During their set, vocalist Raul mentioned that by the end of the night, the circle pit would stretch from wall to wall within the venue, a vision that would come into fruition later on in the night. Normally a fan favorite, Destruction Made Simple strangely did not perform 21 Year Plan, one of their most recognizable songs. Their latest album does deviate away from their original hardcore punk sound, carrying some elements of ska and metal – a sign of the progression of Destruction Made Simple. What direction will the band head in from here? They play again next week, so perhaps you can obtain a (free) CD from them at that show!

The night progressed forward when Whitekaps took to the stage. I like to attribute Whitekaps as an acquired taste, as you have to attend some of their shows to get to know them. Upon first seeing them live, one may feel put off by their lewd & crude demeanor. Once you listen to their lyrics, everybody can relate to them. In a nutshell, Whitekaps would like everyone to respect the women in their life. Songs like American Dream and Girl In The Pit highlight respecting women and valuing their presence in men’s lives, not necessarily empowering them like Beyoncé does with her songs. In the end, everyone can all agree – a Whitekaps performance will lead to a fun time indeed.

With the next band, we wondered why they would play so early in the night. Narcoleptic Youth carries a huge following and often headlines their own shows, so to see them perform this early feels unknown. This meant little to the band, as they started their set strong without relinquishing any setbacks. They teased us during their sound check by covering We Are 138 by The Misfits, a move that turned Destruction Made Simple’s vocalist Raul’s declaration into a reality – a wall-to-wall circle pit. Once that got going, Narcoleptic Youth jumped right into their set with Is This Punk, a classic that they usually start with. Narcoleptic Youth wasted little time with their set, quickly transitioning from song to song with hits like McAnarchy, Classified, and Mini Van Soccer Mom, closing out their set as they always do with Bitch Needs A Muzzle. Of course the crowd wanted more by the end of the set, by the band adhered well to the schedule, leaving the crowd hungry for more as the crowd continued the circle pit even into the setup time for the next band.

So much mayhem had already transpired in the pit, and the night had only reached the halfway point! Naked Aggression would test the energy of the pit, and inject some life back into anyone who stepped out. If you ever wanted to see an angry band, look no further than Naked Aggression. With songs like Why Do They Fuck Up My World, Lies, and Bitter Youth, teenage angst wafted all over the venue. Everything came into place when they played their When Life Gives Me Shit I Fuck Shit Up song (whose title slips out of my mind at the moment), and some guys in the crowd attempted to jump onto the stage. At least for now, the few security staff present could wrangle the rowdy punks, but the staff would greatly underestimate the crowd during the next band.

At last, the big moment of the night arrived when JFA appeared on stage. In fact, albeit JFA did not play last in the night, the majority of the audience attended primarily to see JFA. They started with We Know You Suck, and from there, chaos ensued as the venue’s security could not maintain the crowd any longer. One by one, fans jumped over the railing, onto the stage, then jumped back into the crowd, kicking any unaware fans in the front, including me. Other songs in their set included Lowrider, Johnny D, Skateboard Anarchy, Walk Don’t Run, and Beach Blanket Bongout. After about half an hour of getting pressed into the front railing and getting kicked by crowd surfers, I stepped out to the side, so I missed most of the remaining action. I remained put for the next band, but pondered how the rest of the crowd still had anything in them.

After a slow setup, the Angry Samoans finally started their set to close the night. Playing the exact same set that they play at all of their shows, the Angry Samoans did not pull off any tricks or anything different – they just performed like they know how to. Prior to their set, some of the audience members mentioned having a copy of their set list, indicating that they have the set list saved and that they print it for every show they perform at. The long set included fan favorites like Right Side Of My Mind, Steak Knife, and Lights Out, which many fans yelled out during the set. I always enjoy seeing the Angry Samoans, but sometimes a little variety would go a long way.

Remember to LIKE all of the bands’ individual Facebook pages to stay updated on the news of the bands and where they will perform next. You do not get an epic lineup like this often, so check back weekly for news on upcoming shows! In the meantime, check out this awesome preview video for Skate Punk Fest 2014 released a few weeks prior:

Many businesses tend to open during the first quarter of the year, meaning that many businesses also throw anniversary celebrations or specials around this time. This past weekend, Blackmarket Bakery celebrated their first anniversary at their current home in The Camp in Costa Mesa. Having moved from their old location in an industrial building across the 405 freeway from John Wayne Airport, Blackmarket Bakery has substantially grown as a business and in popularity ever since moving to The Camp. Now in an easily-accessible area, customers visit Blackmarket Bakery and find delicious baked goods using a short list of all-natural ingredients without anything fancy. You will not find fancy words or complex ingredients here – you will only find ingredients that we all grew up to love, such as flour, eggs, milk, sugar, and more.

For this first anniversary celebration, Blackmarket Bakery rolled out a handful of specials. As customers walked in, High Tide Derby greeted and passed out various samples or both old and new products.

Once inside, customers could purchase t-shirts on sale for $10. For all other breads, pastries, and other baked goods, customers would receive 15% off.

As a special treat for attending customers, Blackmarket Bakery hosted a cakewalk. This event combines musical chairs with a lottery, where participants would walk a path with numbered papers on the ground to the music. When the music stops, each participant occupies a number, and awaits a Blackmarket Bakery staff to call out a number they randomly drew prior to the walk. The participant occupying the corresponding drawn number then receives a free small cake from the bakery.

Although appearing minor, this celebration follows the model that Blackmarket Bakery adheres by – do a lot with a little. They follow simple ingredient lists with their products, using just all-natural ingredients without the need to continually add more ingredients. As a result, you get tasty items with a familiar taste presented in a contemporary fashion. This event did not require bells and whistles to proclaim their excitement over their anniversary, and all the attendees appreciated the simple things put forth on this day. Experience for yourself how delicious that simple can taste by visiting Blackmarket Bakery soon, and do not forget a loyalty card! Buy 12 items, and receive one free!

Los Angeles Restaurant Week
January 20-31
Various locations

This dining event showcases the best in food Los Angeles has to offer. All participating restaurants will feature prix-fixe menus for locals and visitors alike. Lunches range from $15-25, while dinners range from $25-45.

2014 OC Music Awards Showcase Series Night 4
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, January 28
Slide Bar, Fullerton

This free and all-ages show will feature some of the nominated musicians for the OC Music Awards. Each night features five different local artists performing and competing for the title of Best Live Band awarded at the OC Music Awards in March. This series of free shows occurs every Tuesday night all the way through the finals on February 25.

Avery Brewing – Tap Takeover @ The Factory
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 29
The Factory, Bixby Knolls, Long Beach

Come try some Maharaja or any other of Avery’s beers as they take over the taps at The Factory this Wednesday night.

Chili-Infused Beer Dinner
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm, January 29
The Grill at Torrey Pines, San Diego

Five San Diego breweries will pair their beers with various chili dishes from The Grill at Torrey Pines this Wednesday night. The $80 admission includes food, beer pairings, valet parking, tax, and gratuity. No one under 21 may attend.

Dirty Little Secrets Rock Burlesque – Last Thursdays @ One Eyed Gypsy
9:00 pm – 11:30 pm, January 30
One Eyed Gypsy, Downtown Los Angeles

Get your fill of burlesque every last Thursday of the month at One Eyed Gypsy in Downtown Los Angeles, for free! Guests can park on the street for free after 8pm. No one under 21 may enter.

World’s Worst Ska Competition
8:00 pm – 1:00 am January 31
House of Blues, Anaheim

Come see some local and not local ska bands as they perform this ska-tastic show this Friday night. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $10 presale and $12.50 at the door. Contact one of the bands, such as The Maxies, and they may give you a discount, or even give you tickets for free!

Guttermouth & Authority Zero @ The Observatory
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 31
The Observatory, Santa Ana

Two heavy-hitters in punk rock play a show this Friday night, as Guttermouth and Authority Zero co-headline this value of an all-ages show. At $5 per ticket, this show will likely sell out by Friday night, so go get your tickets fast!

Southern California Pet Expo
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, February 1
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

This FREE all-ages expo for all things pet-related takes place this Saturday at the Long Beach Convention Center. Open to all types of pets (with proof of vaccination), visitors can experience agility demos, prize giveaways, pet adoptions, free grooming, training sessions, and more.

Hangar 24 California Spring Beer Release Celebration
11:00 am – 12:00 am, February 1
Hangar 24 Brewery, Redlands

Hangar 24 will celebrate an early Spring this year with an extra early release of their spring seasonal beer this weekend. Visitors can fill up growlers of this seasonal beer starting this Saturday, and can also enjoy live music starting in the afternoon.

2014 Bock Fest
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm, February 1
The Olympic Collection, West Los Angeles

A unique beer fest of its kind, this winter fest celebrates the tasty brews of wintertime in a premiere setting. Primarily brewed in cold seasons, bocks originate in Germany, where the Germans love to brew beer full of flavor and alcohol while minimizing the alcoholic taste. These strong lagers appear darker than most beers, ranging from pale yellow like a pilsner to dark brown like a brown ale. Although this fest focuses on bocks and other German beers, many other microbrews will serve their amazing craft beers as well, such as Lagunitas, Fireman’s Brew, Weihenstephan, Affligem, and more. Local food businesses, such as Pink’s Hot Dogs, will serve food to those wanting to eat between or during beers. For just $29 admission, attendees receive three hours of UNLIMITED beer pours, plus a souvenir glass to take home. Upgrading to the $85 VIP admission allows entry an hour earlier, plus access to the return of Sugar Lounge for more entertainment and drinks.

115th Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival
12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, February 1
12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, February 2
Chinatown, Downtown Los Angeles

Celebrate the Lunar New Year this weekend in Downtown LA’s historic Chinatown at this free all-ages festival. All weekend, visitors will find arts & crafts, cultural merchandise, food trucks, live entertainment, a beer garden, and more. On Saturday early afternoon, a parade will roll through the area, closing off most streets around Chinatown to through-traffic. Guests can find plenty of free street parking up Spring Street or anywhere eastward.

The Menzingers @ The Constellation Room
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 1
The Observatory’s Constellation Room, Santa Ana

The Menzingers currently tour across the country, and that tour stop by Southern California this weekend. Tickets to the all-ages show at The Observatory this Saturday night cost $13.

Guttermouth @ Brick By Brick
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, February 1
Brick By Brick, San Diego

Guttermouth headlines a show in San Diego this Saturday night, complete with other great local bands. Tickets to this show cost $17 presale and $20 at the door. No one under 21 may attend.

The 2014 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo returned to the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas this past weekend. Now in its 16th year running, this trade show for the adult entertainment industry brings together tens of thousands of people from around the world, including those in the industry and all the fans. Traditionally, only those in the industry could attend the first day or two, designated as trade days. Fans could attend the latter of the days of the expo, with the AVN Awards taking place on Saturday, which required a separate ticket to attend. The entirety of the expo covered three ballrooms. The first room, called The Joint, contained the Fan Fest, which featured a large portion of meet & greets for fans to obtain autographs, photos, and other memorabilia. This room also featured the stage for occasional interviews and other performances, such as an aerialist act. The second room, called The Muse Hall, contained the general expo, where most of the companies and exhibitors set up. The third room, called The Artist Hall, contained the Novelty Expo, open only to industry attendees.

Anyways, plenty of information exists on the official website and countless other third-party sites. Although I did not take as many photos as I had hoped to take, I still took my fair share. I had arrived late on Friday, so I missed the expo, but I still made it on time to a meet & greet with Violet and Jenn (not pictured). Lucy also hung out for a while for these photos:

Starting from The Joint, this hall contained the most amount of people, making for slow navigation of the narrow walkways.

Many of the stars made an appearance for fans to meet. Although not as many showed up as on Friday, this room remained busy the entire time.

At one point, an aerialist act started in the middle of the room.

Moving on to The Muse Hall, fans could find some of the stars here as well. As the room that contained exhibitors, plenty of other action occurred here as opposed to The Joint. Nothing explicit ever occurred, but some of the action definitely turned heads without thought.

The friskiest action occurred at the MyFreeCams section. These girls let everything loose and did not adhere to any professional standards. If any of the fans wanted to see action up close, they would find themselves here at the MyFreeCams section.

And of course, I could not help but take a few photos for myself.

No one can predict the future of the industry. While the Adult Entertainment Expo will not leave Las Vegas any time soon, other similar expos may not face the same outcome. While Exxxotica has found its place away from the west coast, Adultcon appears to struggle on the west coast. The industry has seen a slow decline in the greater Los Angeles area over the past few years, and the passing of Measure B has only steepened that decline. The advent of new technology may also shift the face of the industry in an entirely new direction, much like how social media does for anybody and anything. What can we expect to see occur in the adult entertainment industry this year? With this much volatility, no one can truly predict an outcome.

As a wise man once said, “In volatile market, only stable investment is porn!”

Although not as large as other prevalent areas, a punk rock scene does exist in Las Vegas. Last Saturday night, The Dwarves headlined a small local show at the Las Vegas Country Saloon in Downtown Las Vegas. On a cold, dry night, not many people showed up to this show, but for those that did, they got to enjoy a fresh set from The Dwarves a night before they would come to play in Long Beach. Although originally scheduled for six bands, Lambs To Lions had to unexpectedly drop out of the show, resulting in a five-band show that cost $17 to enter – quite pricey, but many things cost more in Las Vegas.

Local band The CG’s opened the show with their 30-minute punk set. At this early point in the night, the venue contained no more than ten people, but The CG’s paid no mind to the emptiness. This group of kids has yet to reach their own unique sound, as they still sound like your typical garage band, albeit with a hint of ska thanks to the way their guitar sounds, and that all three band members equally do vocals. If they want to grow, they will need to grow beyond Las Vegas to find a larger punk crowd.

The People’s Whiskey started off next after a quick setup. For another local band, this one impressed me quite a bit. Their sound resembles that of Time Again, but with a slight folk/country sound to it. They had their fast songs, but also toned things down in the middle of their set. The People’s Whiskey split the vocals between the main vocalist and their bearded bassist. They have something going for them, and could possibly get a big break at a high-profile event such as Punk Rock Bowling.

After a delayed intermission, Since We Were Kids finally started their set. Once I saw them, I immediately recognized them as the opening band from a Narcoleptic Youth show back in September, finally pinning a name to them. Since then, their sound has not deviated much from the hardcore punk sound of that show. Without a unique sound of their own, Since We Were Kids resembled a combination of a garage punk band with an east coast punk vocalist. Now I can at least place a name to the faces, and with the knowledge that they come from Southern California, I can expect to see them at more shows soon.

The sub-headliner came on next, as local band IDFI (pronounced I Defy) played an extended 45-minute set. Similar to The Misfits, IDFI plays a variation of horror punk that incorporates heavy metal into their music. By now, a handful of audience members had arrived, and could properly get a pit going. The music of IDFI fit perfectly for the pit, as the speed and intensity of the music drove the bodies around and around. Nobody exhibited signs of fatigue all throughout the 45-minute set, despite the headlining band coming next.

Playing much earlier than anticipated, The Dwarves started their set that would end up lasting only an hour. Glancing at their set list, you will see that their songs mainly talk about sex and drugs – the true rock & roll life. The Dwarves even boast the attitude to back it up, as they proudly proclaimed their significance in the history of music and rock & roll. Their set included fan favorites like I Will Deny, Dominator, and There Better Be Women. I personally wanted to hear Johnny On The Spot, but alas they did not play it, nor did they at Ink-N-Iron. After their last song, they abruptly left the venue, leaving signs that they would return for an encore; however, they never did, and simply left everyone wanting more at such an early point in the night. After all, the fun in Las Vegas should start right after midnight!

Did you get a chance to see The Dwarves in Long Beach this past Sunday? Less than a day after this Las Vegas show, The Dwarves came down to Southern California to play another show. If you missed that one as well, make sure you Like their Facebook page to receive updates about where they will play next.

Three weeks of 2014 have passed – how have you progressed with your new year’s resolutions if you made any? A majority of all resolutions revolve around more traditional objectives, like losing weight. On the other side of the spectrum, some people resolved to try new things. This resolution contains too many open ends, defined differently by each person. A person can simply drive a different route to work, and call that something new. But for those out there that definitely want to boldly try something new, they have to step out of their comfort zone. Some people already do that with food, especially trying new ingredients. How does one discover where to find new food or drinks to try? Many places offer ever-changing menus, but to find the place that started the rotating beers system, head to Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach.

Back at it again for their first dinner event of 2014, Beachwood BBQ brought back a classic in their list of returning events – the Build Your Own Mac N’ Cheese Night last Thursday night. Accompanied by a board of beers filled with a variety of choices, including many Belgian-style beers, this small restaurant filled up quickly from the get-go. Across the United States, craft beer fans agreeably credit Beachwood BBQ as the first to introduce the rotating tap system into mainstream bars and restaurants. In this system, instead of continually replacing tapped-out kegs with the same beer, a brand new beer comes in to replace the spot, meaning that if a customer did not get to try the previous beer, that customer missed out. Along with having amazing beers on tap, Beachwood BBQ dishes out incredible food with critical acclaim, even earning them a spot in the Top Nine Mac & Cheese Entrées in Los Angeles. Special dinner nights occasionally hosted by Beachwood BBQ allow them to step out beyond their normal menu to experiment with new ingredients. With this past Build Your Own Mac N’ Cheese Night, guests could select the pasta, cheese, herbs, vegetables, and meats. Observe the list below, which includes my choices:

  • Pasta: Black Pepper Rotelli, Garlic Rigatoni, Square Macaroni
  • Cheese: Gruyère, Pepper Jack, Truffle Velveeta
  • Herbs: Basil, Cilantro, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme
  • Vegetables: Ginger, Green Onions, Roasted Garlic, Wing Sauce, Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions, Corn, Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Fennel, Peas, Portabello Mushrooms, Roasted Jalapeños, Smoked Cheddar, Smoked Chilis, Spinach, Sundried Tomatoes
  • Meats: Bacon, Fried Egg, Andouille Sausage, Chicken, Chopped Brisket, Diced Ham, Pulled Pork, Crab, Crawfish, Duck Confit, Lamb Sausage, Pork Chili, Scallops, Shrimp, Camel

Yes, you read that right: Camel. I never would expect to see camel meat served like this. A meat that exotic should come on its own, not as part of another dish. For that reason, I opted not to take the camel meat. When eating something so unique and exotic like that, you want to savor it for its original flavor, not when muddled under other ingredients. Had I spotted the camel option sooner, I would have built my mac & cheese around that instead of picking strong flavors. Some other random thoughts about this menu and my choices:

  • Difficult to taste the garlic in the rigatoni, primarily due to everything else overpowering it
  • Creamy gruyère cheese always goes great in a dish like mac & cheese. However, Beachwood BBQ already uses gruyère by default in their standard mac & cheese. Also, truffles.
  • Cilantro and rosemary have strong aromas that did not necessarily mesh well with the rest of this dish
  • Roasted garlic felt mushy and tasted sweet, slightly reminding my taste buds of sweet potatoes. Sundried tomatoes added a necessary tart kick to an otherwise extremely savory dish. Saw the butternut squash and caramelized onions, but could not taste due to other flavors present. Looking back, I would sub those two out for smoked cheddar and spinach for some greens.
  • Picked three shredded meats, so initially difficult to identify the meats upon sight. Duck confit truly stood out with its unique duck fat flavor. Should have ordered a different texture meat over the pulled pork, such as the ham, scallops, or andouille. Brisket did not come out as tender as expected. As aforementioned, did not choose camel because the rest of the dish would have overpowered the flavor of it, preventing me from savoring its true taste.

Did you order a mac & cheese with camel in it? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts about it, so please comment below or reply on Facebook. Who knows – the team from Beachwood BBQ may even read your post!


Newport Beach Restaurant Week
January 17-26
Participating restaurants in Newport Beach

This 10-day period of restaurant specials takes place at participating restaurants in Newport Beach. Many restaurants will serve special prix-fixe three-course meals ranging from as low as $10 to as high as $40, or more for a few select locations.

10th Annual San Diego Restaurant Week
January 19-24
Participating restaurants in San Diego

Select restaurants throughout San Diego County will offer prix-fixe meal deals during this 6-day period. Lunches range from $10 to $20, while dinners range from $25 to $45.

Downtown Long Beach Pepper Week
January 20-26
Participating restaurants in Downtown Long Beach

Pepper lovers will want to check out Downtown Long Beach this week, as over a dozen restaurants will serve special pepper courses/plates.

Los Angeles Restaurant Week
January 20-31
Various locations

This dining event showcases the best in food Los Angeles has to offer. All participating restaurants will feature prix-fixe menus for locals and visitors alike. Lunches range from $15-25, while dinners range from $25-45.

Epic Brewing – Meet & Greet @ Beachwood BBQ
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 21
Beachwood BBQ, Seal Beach

Meet the team from Epic Brewing Company, and enjoy some of their uncommon beers this Tuesday night at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach.

2014 OC Music Awards Showcase Series Night 3
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, January 21
Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa

This free and all-ages show will feature some of the nominated musicians for the OC Music Awards. Each night features five different local artists performing and competing for the title of Best Live Band awarded at the OC Music Awards in March. This series of free shows occurs every Tuesday night all the way through the finals on February 25.

False Confession @ Billy O’s in Ventura
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 23
Billy O’s Restaurant & Saloon, Ventura

Catch False Confession, RF7, Anti-You, and The Loads at this punk rock show this Thursday night. Admission costs $5. No one under 21 may enter.

The Adolescents & Pulley @ Borderline Bar & Grill
7:30 pm – 1:30 am, January 24
Borderline Bar & Grill, Thousand Oaks

Big names in punk rock come to Thousand Oaks this Friday night, as The Adolescents and Pulley co-headline this small show. Tickets to this show cost $13 presale and $15 at the door. No one under 18 may enter.

Alex’s Bar 14th Anniversary Party
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, January 24
9:00 pm – 2:00 am, January 25
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Alex’s Bar in Long Beach celebrates their 14th anniversary this week with some mixed back-to-back shows, featuring punk rock bands such as Final Conflict, Bl’Ast, Swingin’ Utters, and more between Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets to either night costs $15 presale and $17 at the door. No one under 21 may attend.

Into The Wild – Black Star Canyon
8:00 am – 11:00 am, January 25
Black Star Canyon, Silverado, Irvine

Seeking a challenging run through the wilderness? Check out Into The Wild, a 9.2k course running through trails of rocks, dirt, and more uneven ground. Registration costs $40 presale, and $45 on the day of the race.

Los Angeles Fitness Expo
10:00 am – 5:00 pm, January 25-26
Los Angeles Convention Center, Downtown Los Angeles

Experience everything related to fitness at this expo coming this weekend. Single day admission costs $20, while the weekend combo only costs $30. All attendees receive access the entire exhibit floor, competitions, seminars, demos, autograph sessions, free samples, and more.

Monterey Park 2014 Lunar New Year Festival
10:00 am – 6:00 pm, January 25-26
Garvey Avenue between Garfield & Alhambra, Downtown Monterey Park

Celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year at this free all-ages festival in Downtown Monterey Park. Visitors will find food, drinks, arts & crafts, specialty merchandise, live entertainment, rides, games, and more. This festival sees tens of thousands of visitors annually, so plan your arrival and commute accordingly.

Blackmarket Bakery’s 1st Anniversary Party
11:00 am – 2:00 pm, January 25
Blackmarket Bakery, Costa Mesa

Celebrate a year with Blackmarket Bakery as they throw a party for their customers, free to the public. Enjoy free samples, receive 15% off all breads & pastries, check out the new line of products, and more all this Saturday afternoon.

Bottle Share #11
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, January 25
38 Degrees Ale House, Alhambra

Brew your own beer? Got an interesting 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.

Downtown Sounds
6:00 pm – 10:00 pm, January 25
Center Street Promenade, Anaheim

This FREE and ALL-AGES event takes place on Center Street in Downtown Anaheim. Over a dozen local bands will play their music, while Anaheim Brewery will host beer tents to serve guests.

Skate Punk Fest 2014
6:00 pm – 12:00 am, January 25
The Glass House, Pomona

An all-star lineup of SoCal punk rock will tear up Pomona this Saturday night, as Angry Samoans, JFA, Naked Aggression, Narcoleptic Youth, Whitekaps, and Destruction Made Simple all will play under one roof. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $15. Plenty of free parking exists in the area, so avoid paying for parking if possible.

CH3 @ Royal Dive Bar
8:00 pm – 1:00 am, January 25
Royal Dive Bar, Oceanside

Enjoy some local punk rock in Oceanside this Saturday night. Entry costs $10. No one under 21 may enter.

Bl’Ast!, Final Conflict, Systematic Abuse & Evacuate @ Brick By Brick
8:00 pm – 2:00 am, January 25
Brick By Brick, San Diego

San Diego gets a dose of original hardcore punk this Saturday night. Tickets to this show cost $12 presale and $15 at the door. No one under 21 may attend.

Eagle Rock Brewery 4th Anniversary Party
12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, January 26
Eagle Rock Brewery, Eagle Rock

Eagle Rock Brewery turns four this weekend, and to celebrate, the brewery will celebrate in style right at home at the tasting room. Guests pay $20 to receive four drinks and a souvenir glass for this occasion. In addition, a handful of food trucks will stop by to serve the masses.