Posts Tagged ‘June 2013’

The Gears performing Baby Runaround at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on June 28, 2013.

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Agent Orange performing The Last Goodbye at The Juke Joint in Anaheim, CA. Filmed on June 15, 2013.

The Dead Kennedys performing Holiday In Cambodia at the 2013 Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on June 8, 2013.

The Dead Kennedys performing California Über Alles at the 2013 Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on June 8, 2013.

The city of Fountain Valley hosted the 2nd Annual Dog Day Afternoon at the Fountain Valley Recreation & Sports Park this past Sunday. This completely FREE and all-ages event brought together dog-lovers from all over to the park to witness all sorts of dogs doing dog things, and encouraged everyone to bring their prized pooch. All around the field, visitors could find booths set up for multiple purposes, such as merchandise sales, accessories sales, pet care services, athletic services, special events, competitive training, pet adoptions, and much more. The center of the field featured fenced off areas for agility courses, police K-9 demos, training corrals, frisbee games, and other acts requiring a large space. As part of the 5th Annual Fountain Valley Summerfest, all visitors could enter the Summerfest area for free, complete with food, a beer & wine garden, vendors, games, rides, and other forms of entertainment for the entire family.

Anyone who loves pets, especially dogs, would not want to miss this event. Visitors could see and interact with dogs of many breeds in a controlled setting. An event like this can easily quell any trace of cynophobia in any visitor, or at least ease any negative feelings towards dogs. As a child, I greatly feared dogs, but eventually grew to love them. At the Dog Day Afternoon, I witnessed many kids fearlessly approach many of the dogs to pet them, including extra large dogs like a great dane I saw. Even for those with no fear, any visitor without a dog would love to attend this, and this may convince them to adopt a dog as well. Luckily, with all the pet adoption services available, owning a dog does not require a wait, as you can have a pet as early as the next day. Believe me – having a dog in your household will complete your life.

This past Saturday, Packinghouse Brewing Company hosted their 1st Annual BrewGrass Craft Beer & Music Festival at their facility in Riverside. This beer fest combines the unlimited beer drinking nature of a typical beer fest and adds traditional American bluegrass music to entertain the attendees. Though unintended, this event landed on quite possibly the hottest day of the year in Southern California, as temperatures hit 114 degrees Fahrenheit at one point. Although the majority of this fest took place outdoors, Packinghouse opened their tasting room and brewing facility for the attendees to walk through and stay cool in the shade. Packinghouse not only invited a couple of cooling vendors (mist sprayers, etc), but also provided plenty of mist fans strewn throughout the fest area. Most of the attendees did not appear to mind the heat, as they all exhibited joy for all the beer and all the bluegrass.

The Packinghouse BrewGrass Fest lasted over five hours, an hour more than the standard beer fest, which gave Packinghouse plenty of time and space to pack a lot of content into this fest. Originally slotted for 1pm to 6pm, the gate staff allowed guests in as early as 12pm, albeit guests could not do anything at that time except sit or stand around. As a neat convenience, guests could bring their own outdoor furniture, such as chairs, tables, and stand umbrellas. Most of these attendees set up near the stage, while others set up randomly around the fest. The indoors area of the brewery served as a shaded haven for overheated guests, as no booths existed inside. Most of the action took place outside, where guests would find the stage, all the beer, and the three food trucks. Wait, three? As you may expect, the three food trucks maintained persistently long lines the entire festival. As a rule of thumb, invite one food truck for every 200 expected guests. This beer fest clearly oversold tickets (more on this later), so why only bring on three food trucks? I spent 20 minutes in line, then another 40 minutes waiting for the actual food. At a beer fest, nobody should accept this sort of wait. But enough about food – on to the beer!

Packinghouse proved they have many friends in the craft beer industry with this beer fest. The original lineup contained a massive 27 guest breweries in attendance, plus Packinghouse! I may not have seen the complete set of breweries while at the beer fest, because I had tasted every single beer present by 5pm. Either not all 27 breweries attended, or most breweries brought session-ish beers. Due to the extreme heat, most breweries decided not to bring anything strong to prevent dehydration via excess alcohol. As a result, I had difficulty selecting the strongest beer of the fest. After sifting through all the breweries, Valiant Brewing comes out on top with the strongest beer of Packinghouse’s 1st Annual BrewGrass Craft Beer & Music Festival.

For a beer fest that oversold tickets, things did not go as bad as overselling tickets would conspire. For Packinghouse’s first attempt at this type of fest, they fared rather well, yet still hit a couple of speed bumps. The overflow of guests caused parking problems for those that arrived after the start time of 1pm. Most of these late guests parked in a parking lot belonging to an industrial building around the corner from the brewery. Luckily, that building does not operate on weekends, so no automobile got ticketed or towed. They also did not invite enough food vendors to cover every guest. Whether food truck or food booth, for every 200 guests in attendance, an event organizer should invite one food vendor. Expecting a thousand guests? Invite five vendors in any combination, such as three trucks and two booths. Besides the three food trucks, guests could purchase desserts or sauces, but those hardly count as actual food when drinking mass quantities of beer. Other than that, everything ran smooth for a first run. The fest itself never felt crowded – just the parking lot and the wait for food felt like a crowd. Attendees not into bluegrass music simply tuned it out or did not pay attention to it. After the first ten minutes of music, I phased it out in my head, and never noticed the music again until I left. For a beer fest hosted by a brewery, I held high expectations, since as history taught us, beer fests held by a brewery tend to outperform beer fests from a non-brewery organizer. Suffice to say, this does not rule out non-brewery organized beer fests altogether, as some of the better beer fests also come from a non-brewery organizer. Always follow/like breweries in your area, as they may have special events from time to time. Some of these events can host hundreds of people like a beer fest, while most of the events will take place with a few dozen guests.

1980’s punk rock returned to Long Beach last Friday night as CH3 (Channel 3) headlined a show at Alex’s Bar. Local punk rock legends CH3 still rocks on as hard as ever, not allowing age to get them down. On this warm summer night, all of the bands played to a packed room, where Alex’s Bar doled out tasty drinks from cocktails to craft beer from the new taps they now stock, plus their hosted taco stand out in the patio. Along with CH3, the rest of the night’s lineup brought the old school punk rock vibe to rock the audience all night.

The Shag Rats kicked off the night with their indie rock set. As the night’s “black sheep,” Shag Rats played more indie music than straight punk rock. Imagine the sounds of The Mooney Suzuki combined with the music of Cursive, and you get The Shag Rats. They played a nice continuous set that lasted half an hour with no interruptions or breaks. This mellow start to a punk rock night would ease the transition from calm drinking crowd to the eventual uncontrolled push pit.

Up next, White Flag took to the stage and opened their set with a cover of Black Flag‘s Nervous Breakdown. Albeit they started with this song and their name resembles it, White Flag does not extensively cover Black Flag songs, unlike how UNDead Kennedys covers mainly Dead Kennedys songs. As a band, they started back in the early 1980’s with their own material, and have continued to make new music ever since. Their fan base remains strong, as evident by the hecklers in the audience. Well, they did not heckle as bad as the term suggests, and the band at least acknowledged their presence at this show.

The night of old school punk rock continued with The Gears. After last seeing them half a year ago, I eagerly awaited this show from The Gears. Vocalist Axxel even kindly held up their set list so I could obtain a photo of it. The Gears take punk rock, rockabilly, and surf rock, and churn them all together to create fast-paced music that anyone can dance to, in or out of the pit. Their music makes people want to get up on their feet, while at the same time maintaining the punk rock attitude and intensity. The band members sport plenty of attitude and love to interact with the audience. Axxel even jumped into the pit twice during the set, using me as a crutch at one point! If you seek great 1980’s punk rock, you owe it to yourselves to catch a show from The Gears very soon.

The night’s music gets even more old school with the arrival of The Simpletones to the stage. Clearly The Simpletones attracted the most amount of people to this show, as the room filled to near capacity as the time of their performance approached, and for good reason. When listening to The Simpletones, you can feel like actually listening in the 1980’s, as they did not play as fast-paced or loud as the other bands. I attribute this performance to The Ramones, as The Simpletones played catchy music to dance to and sing along with. For some of their hit songs, such as California, some of the audience ran up to the stage to sing on the mics. The Simpletones rarely play a show all together nowadays, so when you see them on a lineup, make sure you block out your schedule to attend that show!

CH3 reminded us all of the nature of the night – 1980’s punk rock music. Thus, they brought us back to the reality of the intensity and physicality of a 1980’s punk rock show. It did not take long for the crowd to escalate into a full pushing pit – no circles involved here. The women in or near the pit expecting not to get hit or pushed cracked me up. Anyways, what started as a few guys mucking around during the first song of the set gradually grew in size and participants as CH3 progressed their set. By around the fourth or fifth song, a good half of the entire venue got involved with all the push & shove somehow. CH3 wasted little time during their set, playing hits like I’ve Got A Gun with little downtime between songs. For a set that lasted over 50 minutes, CH3 showed no signs of exhaustion, but continued expressing their limitless energy all the way til the end of the night beyond the stage. As the first band to even show up to the venue earlier in the day, this shows how much they can accomplish on their own. Based on this, who know how long they will continue to play shows? I hope they stick around for a long time, as the new generation of kids deserve to hear epic 1980’s punk rock like that of CH3.

Want to see CH3 again? You can catch them again this Sunday at the Gaslamp in Long Beach, where Agent Orange will headline an early punk rock show full of many other great bands such as Amerikan Made and Whitekaps. Plenty of other great punk rock shows will go on all summer – check my blog weekly for the week’s list of events and shows.

“Out with the old, in with the new,” an age-old phrase that reverberates throughout history. As nature dictates, while some things can last a long time, nothing lasts forever, and thus the old must fade away to provide a clear path to the new. History has taught us that the successor does not necessarily improve upon the former, and can lead to some inauspicious feedback. In general, the new kids tend to bring something new to the table, something that usually improves an older situation. The automotive industry represents this notion best, as most new cars arrive with more features than models from previous years. As time progresses, new things crop up constantly in every industry. Due to some trends, certain industries may see an influx of new entities in a short given period of time. In 2012, the craft beer industry grew the most in history, relative to the rate of growth in the past. Of all the breweries that remain in business today, some remain open on beginner’s luck, while many others use existing knowledge to maintain the business. No matter what, we can thank these new breweries for stepping up to open a new business in this tough capitalistic society, and we praise the ones that stand the test of time by remaining in business after the first year or two. We now have a method to celebrate these new breweries thanks to the New Kids On The Block 2 Beer Fest.

From the organizers behind the Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Festival comes NKOTB2, a festival of beer and food featuring breweries, brewpubs, and restaurants that opened less than two years ago. Just like the Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Fest, NKOTB2 took place at the Handlery Hotel in Mission Valley of San Diego, but in the back garden terrace area rather than the front parking lot. At this beer fest, all attendees paid one admission fee for a wristband to gain access to unlimited tastings of beer and food while it lasted, plus reentry into the fest should any attendee need to leave the area. The fest area started from the hall at the back of the hotel, and covered all of the area going back towards the garden terrace, with a mix of food, beer, and sponsors scattered throughout the entire area.

To keep the attendees fed as they guzzled beer, the hotel’s kitchen provided a majority of the food. Attendees of the Mission Valley Craft Beer & Food Fest will recognize some of this food, especially the Wild Boar Ribs. Stone also made a guest appearance at this fest to serve pulled pork in a mini bread bowl. Although Stone remains one of San Diego’s oldest breweries, their bistro at Liberty Station recently opened, thus they secured a spot in NKOTB2 under the moniker of the Liberty Station location. PubCakes also made a guest appearance to serve their moist & delicious Gooey Butter Beer Bars.

For the live entertainment, the event organizers booked a local reggae band to play all night.

If you attend a beer fest, then clearly you attend for the beer, if not the wonderful food and for the love of local business. Featuring over 15 breweries from San Diego County and Riverside County, this little beer fest packed a punch when it came to beer. Factor in that this event’s ticket limit set in at 300, and you have a huge excess of beer when doing the math. However, the math proved wrong, as many of the breweries tended to run out of beer closer to the end of the night. This mattered little, as most of the 300 attendees arrived early enough to try all of the beers before any of the breweries ran out, especially when some of the breweries brought something strong. Wet ‘N Reckless Brewery wins the prize from bringing the strongest beer at this beer fest with their Honey Badger Don’t Care American Strong Ale.

The team over at Handlery Hotel has set a precedence for beer fests in San Diego with their series of ever-improving festivals of beer. Beer purists will swear by their standard beer fests, such as the San Diego Beer Week Brewer’s Guild Festival. Large festivals like those merit their own crowd, and thus can generate their own marketing and buzz with that many people. Bear in mind that the organizers behind NKOTB2 limited ticket sales to 300 attendees. They aimed to focus more on the quality of the event rather than raking in profit. By keeping the attendance down and maintaining the level of content, the organizers ensure that the attendees receive the best possible experience without the hassle of large crowds and lines to receive beers. In fact, the only line that ever existed all night started prior to the fest simply to enter it. People should always pay attention to an event’s attendance limit if any exists. If an event does not have a limit, guests will need to arrive early to beat traffic, deal with lines, move through crowds. and wait in longer lines for restrooms. In some cases, no limit will severely impact the experience of many guests such that they end up with a terrible experience altogether. We have already seen a mammoth disaster of an event occur within the past year, with many more to come. If event organizers can just attend events to do research first before jumping into the fray, we would all have better events to look forward to. Non-brewery beer fest organizers really should take a look at what OC Brew Ha Ha and Handlery Hotel do to make their events such a success. By discovering the right balance of attendance and content, event organizers can have their beers and drink them too!

Looking forward to the next event at Handlery Hotel? Click here to learn more about their Fall Pig Out, a pork and beer pairing dinner. Only 75 tickets priced at $125 each will ever see the light of day. The price seems extravagant, but at only 75 attendees, the intimacy of this event combined with the incredible quality of food and beer more than make up for the price.

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton hosted their 4th Annual Summer Solstice Festival & International Taco Festival this past Sunday. This two-in-one festival combines an international cuisine taco fest with an arts & crafts fair for all ages. The Summer Solstice Festival requires no admission fee, as guests could simply park for free and walk into the cultural center area, where guests would find plenty of arts & crafts booths, activities, games, and live music on the stage. Inside the cultural center, various acts performed in the center room, such as storytelling and cultural dancing.

The International Taco Festival occurred inside the summer fest. This small food fest featured booths hosted by various businesses, groups, organizations, and charities from around Orange County. Each booth prepared tacos using a particular cuisine from around the world. Some of the international tacos included Tex-Mex, Kenyan, Swiss, German, Greek, Somalian, Moroccan, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Singaporean, and many more. Basically, each booth used some sort of tortilla or other holder, and added meat from the booth’s respective cuisine. For example, the fest featured Chomp Chomp Nation as one of the booths, and they served a Singaporean taco by taking their Singapore Sloppy Joe and placing it in a fried wonton shell instead of a bun. A Kenyan booth simply used Kenyan-style beef in a normal tortilla. A taco more common to today’s community included BBQ tacos using pulled pork and tri-tip.

This small festival provided a treat to the local community. On the first Sunday of summer, families arrived all ready to enjoy a day together while enjoying some delicious food in small portions and exploring the cultural center and all the arts & crafts booths. The original ad mentioned Bootlegger’s Brewery and tequila at the taco fest; however, I never found any alcohol at the event. This did not deter the event from prospering, as the lack of alcohol meant that families could truly enjoy the day without worrying about the endangerment of the children. The Muckenthaler Cultural Center plans to hold plenty more events throughout the rest of the year, including a luau in a couple of weeks. If you seek something to do with the family, check out the Muckenthaler’s calendar of events to discover something different and unique to expand your cultural knowledge.

What happens when you combine two dudes hungry for sliders, beer, and cake? You can cross ‘really bad sitcom’ off the list of guesses, because I refer to Ben & Drew, the two food dudes behind the group L.A. Foodie. Always in search for Los Angeles’ great hidden gems, L.A. Foodie ventures out around Los Angeles County weekly for that perfect bite. In addition to these adventures, they also record a podcast a few times a month, which you can find on their Soundcloud channel. These gentlemen also find time to organize monthly dinner events such as Get Porked, which occurred last month. This month, they returned to a previous event that they host every two months: Bite Flite in Culver City.

Welcome to Bite Flite, a craft beer and gourmet slider pairing dinner at Bar & Garden in Culver City, with endless desserts provided by Mwokaji Cakery. Unlike Get Porked last month, Bite Flite does not follow any structured schedule. Guests simply show up anytime during the event hours, and receive their food and drinks at their leisure. The $22 admission includes one slider, four craft beer tastings, and unlimited desserts. Upon arriving, guests receive tickets good for whatever the ticket says on it: one slider of choice, and four different craft beer tastings to pair with the sliders. Optionally, guests could purchase additional sliders at cost as specified by the vendor.

Vagabond Grillyard provided the food for the night with their mobile grill stand. This mobile catering company crafts gourmet sliders with quality ingredients and find cooking techniques to rival that of official restaurants. Rarely does one find a slider cooked perfectly medium-rare due to the size of the patty, yet Vagabond Grillyard has perfected a perfectly pinkish medium-rare slider patty. They only brought four sliders to serve off their menu, which included:

  • The Signature: grass-fed dry-aged beef, homemade garlic cilantro aioli, sweet onion marmalade, sharp cheddar, wild baby arugula, brioche bun
  • Bacon Bleu: grass-fed dry-aged beef, homemade garlic aioli, caramelized onions, bleu cheese, thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon, wild baby arugula, brioche bun
  • Pulled Pork: 12-hour roasted pork shoulder, fried onions, sriracha-poppyseed coleslaw, BBQ sauce, brioche bun
  • Grilled Cheese: American cheese, buttered brioche toast

A local artist even featured some work at Bar & Garden during the event. I did not obtain any contact information, however.

Missed out on Bite Flite? Fear not, as L.A. Foodie runs Bite Flite every other month. Check back again in early August for the announcement of the next Bite Flite, which will likely occur at Bar & Garden again on a Saturday night. Make sure to like L.A. Foodie on Facebook and follow them on Twitter to stay up-to-date with all the latest on food & drinks in Los Angeles County!