Posts Tagged ‘Top 5’

Video games have undergone some substantial changes over the past few years. Those who grew up in the 1990’s era of video games desire nostalgia, and a lot of old-school style games have made a comeback. With all the new programs, software, and technology available today, virtually anyone can now develop their own video games and get it distributed to the public via the internet. Today’s video games ranged from classic 8-bit or 16-bit style games to rich, beautiful games with tons of graphics and objects. Beyond the standard video games, we now have virtual reality games to further immerse players into the games that they play. With all of the big games and new technology out, sometimes the lesser known games get filtered out fast. Check out these five games of PC that I recommend taking a look at this season.

5. Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (Steam link)

We start off the list with a game not suitable for children. The hack & slash genre usually employs ridiculous mechanics of one versus the world, where a sole person takes out hundreds of foes in one battle. Dynasty Warriors perfected that formula, but that series lacked something. When you take hack & slash and combine it with fanservice, you get the Senran Kagura series. The Senran Kagura series revolves around dozens of high school girls with shinobi powers. Armed with a variety of weapons, these girls can beat up hordes of baddies, and when the going gets tough, like in many anime series, they can transform into one of two more powerful forms. As for the fanservice part, when the girls take too much damage, their clothes rip off. The series has a handful of games, but this post focuses on Senran Kagura: Estival Versus. Essentially part two of the second timeline (the first timeline started on the Nintendo 3DS), Estival improves a lot of gameplay from the first game and adds new characters and modes. The base game released for the PC in mid March and costs $39.99 with additional DLC sold separately, which includes new characters and extra costumes. Keep in mind that this game will spoil some of the story from the first game, so if you want to learn more about the lore of Senran Kagura, I highly suggest looking at the first game, Shinovi Versus.

4. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Those who have played the Ace Attorney (Phoenix Wright) games will not want to miss out on the Danganronpa series. While both games have an anime art style, Ace Attorney focus on courtrooms and attorneys, while Danganronpa focuses on high school teenagers. However, gameplay in the Danganronpa series remains similar to the Ace Attorney games – you spend time investigating for clues and evidence to solve murder cases, then you go to trial with your found evidence to solve the case while disputing lies and inconsistencies told by the others. These games really test your mental capacity to spot even the minor details where something does not match up or someone said one word wrong. The first game in the series, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, comes to you for $29.99. The first game does not have as many mechanics as the later games, but serves as a backdrop for the setting of the Danganronpa universe, explaining why things work the way they do in their world. By completing the first game, you avoid spoilers if you decide to play the later games.

3. Master X Master

Out of the most popular video games across the globe today, League of Legends remains one of the top games. Consistently in the top 5 watched games, League of Legends has set a benchmark for the MOBA genre for others to compete with. Other MOBA games such as DOTA 2, Heroes of the Storm, Smite, and Vain Glory still have a decent audience, but simply cannot compete with the juggernaut known as League of Legends. However, a new challenger appears with the hopes of gaining as much popularity as the aforementioned games. Enter Master X Master (MXM), a different approach to the standard MOBA game. Developed by NCSoft, MXM represents an Action MOBA, a step in a different direction than the rest. The game plays in a top-down isometric view similar to League of Legends, but uses WASD to move instead of click-to-move that the other games have. Players uses the mouse to aim and attack, not move (unless a skill causes movement). This provides a unique spin to the genre, and sits in a nice medium between a MOBA and an ARPG (Diablo, Path of Exlie, etc). MXM currently operates in Beta this month, and as such will close their servers on April 27th. Check out their website to register to play right now, and keep an eye out for its official release, which should occur later this year.

2. Hollow Knight

Independent game developers often face troubles getting their game up and running. Obstacles include marketing, funding development, programming, and much more. Often times, it makes sense to crowdsource, or ask for small donations from the public in order to get going. Some crowdsourcing can fall flat, while others can garner lots of attention. Luckily in the case of Hollow Knight, their crowdsourcing efforts paid off, and Hollow Knight represents one of the highest crowdsourced games in existence, if not the highest. Also luckily, the developers followed through on their promise to deliver a rich, immersive, fun, and difficult game all at the same time. Released in late February, this 2D action-platformer game carries elements of traditional Metroid and Castlevania games, where the protagonist explores a large world to obtain upgrades to further explore the world. Players have fallen in love with Hollow Knight’s art style and high difficulty that tests a player’s true gaming skill. $14.99 gets you a great experience that will provide countless hours of entertainment.

1. Giga Wrecker (Steam link)

Sometimes a company makes one product so popular that the general public recognizes that company for one product, even if that company has many other products. For example, in the beer world, when one mentions Hangar 24, most people will immediately think of their Orange Wheat beer. In video games, this occurs quite often, especially with a little company called Game Freak. When people hear Game Freak, they immediately think of Pokémon. However, Game Freak makes many more video games than just Pokémon. They make a lot of singular games without a series, which kind of sets Game Freak as an indie developer. One of their games includes Giga Wrecker, a charming throwback to 16-bit era games. Those who have played Mega Man, Metroid, or Castlevania games will know what to do in Giga Wrecker, a puzzle-platformer with some action elements. Many of the maps have puzzles that make use of gravity and physics in order to reach an item, switch, or door. Some of these puzzles can greatly frustrate players, but the satisfaction of finally solving a room means so much. Players will also encounter eight boss fights throughout the game that take place in a single room similar to Mega Man. Giga Wrecker released in mid-February, costs $19.99, and includes a level builder/creator that you can share online for others to try.

The age of the domestic beer monopoly in the United States shrinks with each passing day. The beer industry around the world dominates the alcoholic beverage industry, as consumers drink 3,500 bottles of beer for every one glass of wine – that makes 8,000 times more beer consumed by the liter. Annually, consumers worldwide drink 189 billion liters of beer, but only 24 million liters of wine. While drinking habits may peak during certain times of the year such as holidays, the consumption of beverages remains fairly consistent and rarely makes huge changes in consumption from one day to the next. The changing seasons do have a great effect on the types and styles of beers consumed, as more people start to prefer beers not as rich as some of the winter-style brews. In this transitional season between winter and summer, the unpredictable weather means that we can still enjoy the richer beers typically consumed during colder weather while starting to explore the refreshment of summer-style beers. For the right kind of beer to enjoy until summer kicks in after Memorial Day, check out these five beers each with a unique flavor profile of its own.

5. Surf Brewery‘s Blueberry Wahine Wheat

With the arrival of spring comes the rebirth of many natural objects. Flowers start to bloom, animals start to bustle with activity, and fresh fruits start to appear. The arrival of spring also brings about a change in the weather, which starts to heat up and bring about more daylight hours. This makes the beach a great place to start visiting more often, and this makes more refreshing drinks more desirable. Enter Surf Brewery, who knows that both of the aforementioned go great together when springtime rolls around annually. The beach and alcoholic drinks go well together, albeit one cannot legally drink in public. However, if you get the chance to, make sure you enjoy the Blueberry Wahine Wheat at the beach. At a sessionable 5.0%, blueberries give this witbier a refreshingly slightly fruity flavor and aroma. The light tartness and light body does not attack the palate, so you can enjoy this on its own or with light foods such as fish tacos.

4. Belching Beaver Brewery‘s Horchata Imperial Stout

Almost every brewery has some flagship beer that people everywhere recognize the brewery for. For example, Sam Adams has their Boston Lager, New Belgium has their Fat Tire, Stone Brewing has their IPA, and Hangar 24 has their Orange Wheat. If you ask any craft beer enthusiast about Belching Beaver Brewery, they will rave about the brewery’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout, partially because it tastes more like a dessert than a beer. Like the aforementioned breweries, Belching Beaver delivers a lot more than just their most popular beer. Sometimes, they even make a slight variation of it where the end product tastes completely different, such as their Horchata Imperial Stout. Fans of the Peanut Butter Milk Stout would love this horchata-flavored brew, as it basically tastes like a roasted version of horchata. This 9.0% abv imperial stout contains vanilla, cinnamon, and rice malt just like horchata, only now it has alcohol in it. For a fancy treat, serve this beer with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. With Cinco de Mayo coming up, your friends and family would love you for serving this to them to celebrate in style.

3. The Pike Brewing Company‘s Octopus Ink Black IPA

Many breweries have some sort of theme to not only their beers, but their entire lifestyle. For example, Unsung Brewing has a comic book theme, and Florida Keys Brewing has a fishing theme. Sometimes these themes get them more popularity from unrelated industries, sometimes these themes can get you in legal trouble. For those who stick with their theme, it makes for a more interesting experience to indulge in and share, plus it also gives people something to talk about. If you visit the famous Pike Place Market in Seattle, no doubt one will encounter The Pike Brewing Company. This local legend started as the local watering hole, and has since turned into a known name across the country. Pike Brewing gives back to the local community that has supported them for many years in the form of their Octopus Ink Black IPA. A deep, dark brown ale with a dense tan head, this 8.3% American black ale contains bold aromas of citrus, pine, and floral notes with coffee and cocoa in the background. It tastes of a sweet dark malt with a creamy, roasty finish. A portion of every Pike Octopus Ink Black IPA sale benefits Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, so drink up!

2. Anderson Valley Brewing Company‘s Horse Tongue Wheat

Sour ales have risen in popularity alongside standard ales, and they have grown so much that sour ales have their own categories by now. In fact, some breweries grow their sour line of ales so much that they need to open a separate facility in order to increase their production of sour ales. Some of these “blenderies” exist in Southern California, such as Beachwood Blendery or Bruery Terreux. Lots of other breweries out there that do not specialize in sour ales do in fact produce a sour ale, such as Anderson Valley Brewing Company. I always underestimate Anderson Valley because, like another known brewery, they tend to stay in the middle of the fray instead of trying to stand out. Perhaps they do this on purpose to avoid controversy by making good beers without getting the attention of the big companies. This means that Anderson Valley can continue to churn out beers such as Horse Tongue Wheat. Coined as a 5.3% American wild ale, Anderson Valley takes a Belgian wheat beer and ages it in white wine barrels to give it a very slightly sour taste. Although not totally tart, this represents a good gateway beer to segway into the more tart sour ales.

1. High Water Brewing‘s Boom Boom Out Gose The Lights

With all the hype over craft beer in the past few years, some millenials want something different to stay ahead of the trends. Some may think that they enjoyed craft beer before it became popular, and thus they seek something else to try. Perhaps craft cider can come into the limelight? How about lesser known styles of beer? If you want a type of beer not often touched on, High Water Brewing has just the answer. Based in California’s Bay Area, High Water Brewing has made lots of waves up in Northern California, from San Jose to Chico to Sacramento to Alameda and more. Though one cannot easily pinpoint their exact location, High Water Brewing has their beers pretty much everywhere by now, including their Boom Boom Out Gose The Lights. Brewed as a gose-inspired style ale, this 7.30% brew primarily contains apple juice, galangal root, and pink Himalayan sea salt. This brew represents a traditional sour mash with less-than traditional ingredients. This refreshing champagne-like beer gose great with any celebratory purposes for its similarity to other toasting beverages.

Perception never falls into the simple categorization of black versus white. Perception falls anywhere within a boundless spectrum of antipodes. The problem lies with people’s ability to conceive perceptions beyond their scope. You can ask a person what type of music they love the most, while the next person may loathe that type of music. Most people claim to not like country music, yet the truth reveals that they simply have no preference for it; however, few people actually get adamant about the music. Going beyond preferences commonly exists in food and beverages. Where one person may call something “the best,” another will claim something else as better. For example, my father swears by the $2 wine from Trader Joe’s, unable to accept that pricier fine wines taste better. Some people say that no other burger can top a common burger from corporate fast food or corporate restaurants. People truly get attached to their fast food burgers and refuse to believe that better burgers exist out there. Whether or not you claim to know about the best burger in the world, I encourage you to seek out these five burgers in the greater Los Angeles area this season and give them a try. Who knows – maybe you will alter your opinions after one bite!

5. Eat Chow‘s Chow BBQ Burger

Portion size means a lot to the typical person who goes out to eat. Fine-dining restaurants focus on quality over quantity, so while fine-dining entrées appear small, it makes up for it with outstanding flavor. Generally, people want that happy medium between fine-dining and fast food, a restaurant that serves high-quality yet affordable food, something that Eat Chow specializes in. Now with three locations in Orange County, Eat Chow does not boast too much, perhaps because their foods speaks for itself. Eat Chow takes common foods and makes them well, from their burgers to the sandwiches to the entrées and more. Clearly a lot of care has gone into the dishes, evident by how much of the food’s natural flavor one can taste. In addition to the heightened food quality, Eat Chow doles up generous portion sizes too, such as in their Chow BBQ Burger. This grass-fed chuck patty comes topped with housemade barbecue sauce, smoked gouda cheese, crispy onion strings, bacon, mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, and tomatoes on a brioche bun. You can take on this huge burger for just $13.

4. Ocean Diner‘s Kiss Me Kate Burger

Different ingredients yield different flavors to the palate. Some ingredients have mild flavors, while some ingredients have extreme flavors. Some of the extreme-flavored ingredients may come with inauspicious side effects, such as spicy foods attacking the taste buds or foods invoking halitosis, or bad breath. Some of the latter ingredients taste so good that people often endure the side effects, such as garlic. For a calamity of ingredients that can cause bad breath, Ocean Diner has found just the combination. From the outside, Ocean Diner looks like your typical small-town American diner. However, Ocean Diner truly has some amazing things going on in here, such as their Kiss Me Kate Burger. This specialty burger comes with bacon-roasted garlic puree, grilled onions, and goat cheese. This $11.95 comes served with French fries, mashed potatoes, brown rice, coleslaw, or cottage cheese. As a special menu item, it will not last forever, so head over to Ocean Diner fast before this burger leaves their menu!

3. green2Go‘s Grass-Fed Bison Burger

A simple human truth states that people desire control in their lives. When someone lacks control over a situation, they may start to feel stress or panic. Give someone control, and they feel a lot more comfortable over their situation. This applies to all walks of life, including food, and green2Go gives you that control over your food. green2Go uses only the freshest all-natural ingredients to ensure pure flavor and nutrition. While you may certainly order any of their items as the menu describes, green2Go proudly offers a Build-Your-Own section where you get to dress up your favorite menu items, such as their Grass-Fed Bison Burger. This bison patty comes on your choice of brioche or squaw bread, or a lettuce-wrap, organic lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a dill pickle. From there, you can select up to four add-ons to accompany your plate, which you can pick by walking up to the BYO bar to the left of the front counter. For $16, this burger comes to you with your choice of a side salad or roasted mini potatoes.

2. Abricott‘s Lemongrass Chicken Burger

Who says that a burger must contain a ground beef patty? Not all burgers must contain beef.  We have seen multiple different types of burgers, such as turkey burgers, salmon burgers, and even vegetarian patty burgers. We rarely ever see a chicken burger, much less a chicken burger done right. Abricott would like to turn that perception around. Known for their French-Asian cuisine, Abricott remains a staple in local Pasadena food, and has attracted the attention of locals and travelers alike. Pasadena brings in huge amounts of travelers between the convention center and the Rose Bowl, and travelers often want to savor the local flavor. Abricott’s menu covers multiple forms of food, including their Lemongrass Chicken Burger. Not just any old burger, this burger contains a ground chicken patty seasoned with lemongrass, topped with tomato, onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise served on a bun with coconut tamarind sauce. At $10.95, you can taste this unique burger that few other places can match in flavor.

1. Gus’s Barbecue‘s Brisket Burnt End Burger

When one orders a burger, one can typically expect a ground beef patty supported by various toppings, correct? The beef patty usually stars as the protagonist in the story known as the burger, but once in a while a burger may feature more than one co-protagonist. For a story featuring more than one star, we turn to Gus’s Barbecue in South Pasadena. A local barbecue legend, Gus’s Barbecue has done barbecue right for such a long time that they know exactly how to apply their prized meats to other forms of food. For example, take their Brisket Burnt End Burger. This beef burger comes topped with beef brisket burnt ends, cheese sauce, pickled jalapeños, and mustard on a toasted pretzel bun. All burgers come with your choice of French fries, sweet potato fries, potato salad, cole slaw, or BBQ baked beans. You can pound this mound of meat at Gus’s Barbecue for $13.95.

Technology constantly changes and evolves, bringing about new products that seek to either invent or reinvent ways to utilize hardware. Companies can reinvent by releasing new and improved versions of existing items, such as new keyboards or new mice. On the other hand, companies can invent by introducing brand new products that can solve a task in a more efficient manner than existing items can, such as a touchpad to replace a computer mouse. Regardless of the purpose of a particular computer peripheral, thanks to the limitless ways to interact with computers, any user will have a completely customized experience when using a PC. One user can simply use a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Some users may also have speakers, a microphone, and a camera. Other users may use a wireless headset and more input methods, like a gamepad. In general, something good a year ago may remain just as good today, but many companies release peripherals annually, so read on to check out five new computer peripherals worth checking out.

Logitech‘s G533 Wireless Gaming Headset

A huge market for PC gaming exists, and with that huge market comes a slew of gaming-related peripherals. A basic setup simply involves a monitor or two along with standalone speakers (as opposed to speakers in the monitor). For those who desire a more immersive gaming experience, gaming headsets exist to provide better audio while shutting out external noise, and Logitech has just the solution. Logitech carries a vast lineup or computer peripherals, and they always release something new to add to their already favorable catalog, such as the new G533 Wireless Gaming Headset. This headset delivers exquisite audio quality previously found only in high-end speakers with 7.1 surround-sound technology. Logitech has improved the battery life on this headset compared to previous headsets, allowing for extended play and minimal interruptions due to power loss. For a true immersive gaming experience, pick up the G533 Wireless Gaming Headset from Logitech.

Corsair‘s MM800 Polaris RGB Mouse Pad

Never underestimate a good mouse pad. While you certainly can use a mouse without a mouse pad, a mouse pad brings about multiple benefits to both the mouse and the user. On a bare surface, a mouse will likely get dirty faster than without a mouse pad. Some laser or optical mice also may not track on a bare surface, and needs a mouse pad’s surface to track properly. Even still, cheap mouse pads may not provide adequate tracking due to its poor design. Luckily, Corsair does not skimp on quality in their products. Corsair has released almost every imaginable computer part, from computer cases to USB sticks to internal components to peripherals, and more. If it has to do with computers, Corsair surely has made it, and that includes mouse pads, such as the MM800 Polaris RGB Mouse Pad. Extremely durable, this mouse pad not only provides excellent tracking, but allows for customization of the LED lights that line the mouse pad. The mouse pad also comes with a USB port for your mouse, so the mouse pad will not consume an additional USB slot on your PC. If you want to use a mouse with style, pick up this mouse pad from Corsair.

SteelSeries‘ Rival 500 Gaming Mouse

The term “sports” does not only refer to feats of physical prowess. Sports has grown to encompass forms of competition beyond that of having muscles and/or agility. Racing never required one to remain in tip-top shape to compete. Poker has also seen itself featured on sports media. In recent years, eSports has come into the spotlight to highlight competitive video gaming, with huge cash prizes going to the winners of big competitions. While eSports can involve multiple gaming genres, the most popular eSports competitions revolve around the MOBA genre, and SteelSeries has embraced that genre. SteelSeries specializes in gaming peripherals, paving the way for such products as their Rival 500 Gaming Mouse. SteelSeries designed the Rival 500 with the MOBA player in mind, leading to the creation of this multi-button mouse. The ergonomic design contours well to the player’s thumb and hand movements to bolster mouse efficiency, accuracy, and performance. Competitive MOBA players will want to get their hand on this mouse – for a more general gaming mouse, check out the next product.

Mionix‘s Naos QG Mouse

As one of the most important parts of a computer, one cannot overlook the quality of the mouse. Nearly every computer requires either a mouse or a touchpad of some sort to control the cursor or to interact with objects on the screen far more efficiently than a keyboard only. As such, many cheap mice exist for sale that get the basic job done. However, as a peripheral that will have the most contact with your body, you will want a mouse that feels right (as everyone holds a mouse differently), and Mionix makes plenty of mice that feel right at home in your hand. While Mionix makes plenty of peripherals, consumers recognize Mionix best for their mice, such as the new Naos QG. Designed for right-handed users, this comfortable mouse boasts excellent mouse precision with a near-flawless sensor and very high DPI. The Naos QG also contains a unique feature: a heart rate sensor. The Naos QG can track your heart rate and display it on your monitor using an overlay that can appear even during fullscreen gaming. While not everyone may find this feature useful, it always helps to practice good health behaviors, and monitoring your heart rate can lead to better everyday life.

ZOWIE‘s XL2540 Monitor

When it comes to computer peripherals, nothing matters more than the monitor. Like a windshield to a car, one cannot properly operate a computer without a monitor. Like mice, many monitors exist for sale of varying prices and qualities. Since users often spend a long time looking at a monitor, it helps to have a monitor easy on the eyes to preserve eye health and prevent gradual eye damage. With today’s technology, you can have a fantastic monitor with great specs that will not cause eye strain, especially if you consider monitors from ZOWIE. The ZOWIE brand from BenQ has always focused on the gaming community, and now plays a huge role in the competitive eSports scene. ZOWIE product prices typically reside on the higher end as far as peripherals go because they do not skimp on quality. If you look at their XL2540 Monitor, you will see the fruits of their effort. The XL2540 brings increased smoothness and responsiveness to games with its native 240Hz refresh rate. The monitor comes with built-in side shield “wings” to help you focus on the game and prevent external light from tampering with the display. Other features include a darkness equalizer to brighten dark areas without affecting other colors, color vibrance adjustment, a display settings switch, and plenty more features to optimize your gaming experience.

The internet has blessed the world as a wonderful tool of vast resources. Thanks to the advent of the internet, many of the ways of living of the 1990’s and earlier have had to adapt to this new platform. Much of television and movies have gone digital, including sites that offer subscription services to watch programs. Video gaming now utilizes an online account to keep track of games, and you can now download them in addition to buying a physical copy of the game. Social media has made networking, communicating, and sharing things a daily facet of life. Education even has multiple uses with new technology replacing outdated methods of learning and teaching. With so much available on the internet, sometimes people lose track of the neat things you can find. While sites may try to bog you down with prices for services (such as Hulu), many others provide services for free. Read on for a brief list of free software available online that college and university students ought to check out.

5. Zotero

For writing essays and reports, check out Zotero. Zotero catalogues your research and manages your citations. Other neat features of Zotero include note-taking, a web extension to collect sources easily, and reading/translating foreign languages. Other citations-organizing software exist, and each of them has their own unique UI. Some people like Zotero for its UI, while others will prefer the other software. Give Zotero a try since it costs nothing, and see how it can help you organize your research and citations for your paper.

4. LaTeX

Any student can write any typical report or essay. However, if aesthetics matter, always go to LaTeX for typesetting documents. LaTeX can format any document with ease, especially technical documents that follow a stylesheet. Many templates already exist online, as well as offshoots of LaTeX and extensions of it. LaTeX also knows how to handle citations, in case you want to combine it with software that manages your citations. Traditionally, students used word-processing software to do things like this. Now with LaTeX’s superiority in formatting, students ought to learn and use LaTeX for all their papers.

3. Mendeley

When students write reports or essays, they must cite where they obtained their research and information from, known as citations. For students with difficulty managing their citations, look to Mendeley to manage research. Similar to the aforementioned Zotero, Mendeley organizes and manages all referencing and bibliographies in many different notations. Mendeley works by storing your articles & references, and then sorting it for you by whatever order you choose. While similar to Zotero, many students prefer the UI and look of Mendeley, as many reviews cite Mendeley as very user-friendly. Mendeley also comes with a handful of other functions, so check out how Mendeley can help you out today.

2. Symbolab

Wolfram Alpha has endured as one of the most popular mathematics solutions software for many years. Many similar software have appeared over time, but finally we have a top competitor in Symbolab. This free step-by-step math solver can show you the steps of all of your equations and math problems, including derivatives, integrals, and other mathematical processes. While Symbolab may not contain as many additional functions and features as its top competitor Wolfram Alpha, Symbolab shows you all you need to do in order to accomplish your mathematics needs, and at least you can use Symbolab for free.

1. Anki

When studying for a test, many students often rely on flashcards to help with memorization and recalling. Students now have a better tool for preparing for exams in the form of Anki. Anki represents the best way to memorize large amounts of information and makes recalling data easier than ever with intelligent digital flashcards. Based on the concept of spaced learning, Anki will quiz you before you forget the item. While simple to set up, Anki takes a little time to work out the intricacies. Once you learn how to make good flashcards though, you can start studying to ace that exam. Between formulas, obscure names, or random statistics you need to learn, Anki makes it a breeze.

Everybody eats out of necessity, and not always just for the luxury. Basic meals come and go, as they simply provide fuel to make it to the next meal. But do most people simply consume their food and continue with their day, or do they stop to enjoy the sweeter things in life? Ask yourself this: do you eat to live, or live to eat? Nobody can honestly consider after-meal desserts a necessity in life, even if they possess a sweet tooth. Despite this, nature causes all creatures to prefer sweets over anything else. Should you have dessert with every meal? Not always. Can you have dessert any time you want, regardless of other factors like time and weather? Of course! Despite the increasingly cold weather approaching, one should never sacrifice desserts for uncontrollable reasons. By that notion, continue reading to see five desserts in the Greater Los Angeles area that I highly recommend consuming this winter.

5. The Loop Handcrafted Churros‘ Glazed Churro

We live in an age of technology, the internet, social media, and smartphones. The days of face-to-face interaction have died with the past, as most people spend their time in public with their faces buried in their smartphones. People use this as their means of interacting with others, and social media provides an outlet for that. Social media has also paved the way for one-upmanship, or posting something to gain more attention than the previous person – basically, “Oh yeah? Well check this out!” Especially today, we have Instagram food – basic foods made to look pretty so that customers will share it online. Plenty of Instagram food exists, such as at The Loop: Handcrafted Churros. Oddly located in a heavy Vietnamese area of Westminster, The Loop takes the basic churro and fancies it up for customers to snap away at it. Sure you could go to, say, a Costco and get a simple churro for a dollar, or you could spring $4.50 for one of The Loop’s Glazed Churro. The Loop takes one of their ready-made churros, dips about half of it in a glaze of your choice, and coats that part with a topping of your choice. It just looks so cute and fancy that you will want to share this with the digital world before you actually bite into it!

4. Pie ‘n Burger‘s Peanut Butter Meringue

Two major archetypes of people exist: the adventurous and the safe. By human nature, people prefer the familiar – after all, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This explains why corporate products can survive for so long because they continue to serve the exact same product that people grew up with. Because something has never changed over time, that must mean that people love it, right? For something traditional that the people always go back to, look no further than Pie ‘n Burger. This little diner in Pasadena has withstood the test of time with their simplistic approach to traditional diner foods in burgers, milkshakes, and pies. Pie ‘n Burger not only makes food that all customers recognize, but they make them delicious as well that rivals corporate equivalents. When it comes to pies, their Peanut Butter Meringue sets the bar high. Very few places make peanut butter pies like this, and Pie ‘n Burger does it right with just the right amount of peanut butter without making this slice feel too heavy. While the $4.50 price tag per slice feels steep, each slice more than holds its weight up.

3. Confetti Italian Ice‘s Parfait

Everyone loves sweets, but no one can deny that teenagers represent the worst demographic for controlling dessert habits. Teenagers usually have money to buy whatever they want (as long as they can afford it), and they have not grown up enough to make sensible spending decisions. As such, lots of places take advantage of that by introducing desirable foods priced just within reach that young customers will want to come back to, especially cold treats. Starbucks does this well with their blended drinks, as do some Italian Ice places. Take a stroll over to Confetti Italian Ice and you will see that they value quality in their treats instead of simply catering to as many customers as possible. Tightly nestled in a strip mall in Costa Mesa near the Orange County Fairgrounds, Confetti Italian Ice may resemble another popular Southern Californian place that does something similar, but Confetti has vastly unique flavors in their Parfait. Many places do something like this already: Italian Ice combined with soft-serve ice cream or custard. While the competition sticks to common flavors, Confetti aims for a more unique experience with flavors such as Cookie Batter, Chocolate Brownie, Cookie Dough, Birthday Cake, and more. You can get a Parfait for $3.75 for a small, $4.25 for a medium, or $5.25 for a large.

2. My Delight Cupcakery‘s Breakfast Cupcake

For over seven years now, My Delight Cupcakery has doled out some of the best cupcakes this side of the Mississippi. During their early years, I recall that they only had their mobile food truck to serve their scrumptious cupcakes out of. Since I discovered My Delight, they have since opened as storefront in a corner of Ontario close to Upland and Montclair. My Delight utilizes organic and all-natural ingredients to give their cupcakes the texture, moisture, and sweetness that makes a cupcake worth it. Prominently, their frosting does not taste overwhelmingly of butter, which many other cupcakeries seem to not pay any attention to. This allows their cupcakes to portray more of the true flavors of the cupcakes rather than the richness found in most other frostings elsewhere. My Delight rotates the flavors of their cupcakes monthly, but they will always carry their standard lineup of cupcakes, such as their popular Breakfast Cupcake: a light & fluffy buttermilk-based cupcake with bits of applewood-smoked bacon, iced with a light & buttery maple frosting, topped with more bacon, and drizzled with maple syrup. You can enjoy breakfast for dessert for $3.25 for a regular-size cupcake or $1.75 for a mini cupcake.

1. Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern‘s Old School

If you seek classic American cuisine with an artisanal touch, look no further than Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (JFAT). Reinventing traditional restaurant faire, JFAT covers many grounds of cuisine familiar to many with their high-quality approach to cooking. Currently boasting four locations between Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County, and with a fifth location opening soon, JFAT takes what you know about traditional American restaurants and turns it up to eleven. Between brunch, lunch, dinner, and a full bar, any time of the day makes for a great time to stop on by JFAT and enjoy a bite or sip or more. Their beverage offering alone always stays current with the seasons, as they routinely rotate out their craft beer offerings as well as their fine wines. People also love the cocktails at JFAT, as the drinks here range from sweet to spicy, mild to bold, and more. On the food side, JFAT pays close attention to not only the quality, but the portions of their dishes, especially in their desserts such as the Old School. In a large glass goblet, JFAT combines warm chocolate chip cookies, vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and roasted peanuts. This massive dessert that can feed at least two people costs only $12. Of course, if you have a huge sweet tooth like I do, you will want this entire bowl of indulgence to yourself. The classics never go out of style at JFAT, so check them out soon and get your dessert on.

2017 has arrived, and we welcome this new year with the reinvention and reintroduction of traditional world events. While the world will welcome the Summer Olympics and the United States will welcome a new president, the notion of bringing back something familiar spreads to other subjects as well. When something goes away for a while and returns much later, we refer to those things as classic. Some people say that the classics never go out of style, but eventually, all good things must come to an end, and classics do too. For that purpose, millennials must continually search for ways to improve or adapt methods in all aspects of life. Today’s culture revolves around two types of people: the safe, and the risk-takers. Safe people will find something they recognize and stick with it, preferring not to deviate away from the norm. Risk-takers feel adventurous and love to try new things. In general, safe people live a bland, boring life, while risk-takers live an exciting spontaneous life. Excitement gets your adrenaline pumping, so add some spontaneity to your life by seeking out these five burgers in the greater Los Angeles area this season.

5. The Black Plate‘s Kobe Beef Bacon Jam Sliders

It appears that The Black Plate cannot make up its mind. It feels like every month, they operate as something else. Something here changes every month, such as the owner or the name of the restaurant. Perhaps its terrible location right off the freeway in Westminster lends to the inconsistency here. Thankfully, through it all, their food has remained consistently memorable. The Black Plate may carry a variety of foods, from sausages to hot dogs to sliders to phô to seafood to classic entrées and more. However, I always come back to the Kobe Beef Bacon Jam Sliders. The Black Plate does not serve full burgers. Instead, they have these premium Kobe beef sliders served with spicy maple jalapeño bacon jam and melted sharp cheddar on brioche slider buns. You get three to a plate for $11. You ought to hurry over to The Black Plate to try these, or they might go through some other transformation into another restaurant.

4. Ohana Burger‘s The Daniel-San

Asian food has remained under the spotlight for quite a long time, and still remains a favorite food choice for many people. Even better, people go crazy for the food when it contains an element of fusion in it. So when people discover an Asian fusion restaurant, naturally they all flock to it, such as Ohana Burger in West LA. Located in Little Osaka replacing the previous Bachi Burger, Ohana Burger brings Japanese and island flavors to the west by introducing them to a form that Americans easily recognize: burgers. Visitors can savor this fusion best in The Daniel-San. Ohana Burger takes a marinated Angus beef patty and tops it with chili mayonnaise, a fried egg, furikake, caramelized bacon, and crispy onion rings – basically, an Asian version of the western bacon cheeseburger. Anyone who loves Asian food will fall in love with this burger, as it basically represents Asian-style BBQ in a burger. Sadly, burgers do not come with any side, but once you sink your teeth into this $13 burger, you will not require a side, as you will want to prolong this experience as long as you can.

3. Little Bear‘s Liege Waffle Burger

Breakfast: the most important meal of the day. Traditionally, breakfast restricted our first daily meals to a select few types of foods, such as eggs, meat (bacon/ham/sausage), and some bread (muffin/toast/pancakes/waffles/etc). While we used to eat these with a knife and fork, why not combine it all in one plate? The folks over at Little Bear in Downtown LA have done that already. While one can easily spot Little Bear out in the open, not too many people drive down this street, so they often miss this fun little Belgian pub. As a Belgian pub, you can expect lots of Belgian beers and Belgian foods, including Belgian Waffles, which you can eat with the Liege Waffle Burger. Served only during brunch hours, Little Bear takes a fresh-ground Angus beef patty and tops it with sharp cheddar, bacon, and a fried egg. But to give it that Little Bear twist, instead of regular buns, Little Bear uses Liege Waffles as the buns, which they serve with a side of maple syrup. With the maple syrup, I suggest using a knife and fork. However, for the true burger experience, just pick it up and dive right in. You can start off your day the Little Bear way for $16.

2. VaKA Burger Express‘ El Porky

In a condensed city such as Los Angeles, hidden gems and hole-in-the-wall places exist in every nook & cranny. If you discover or someone tells you about VaKA Burger Express and you decide to go look for them, you may require more than one try to actually locate them. If you simply drive to the address, you may completely pass by them, as they have virtually no signage visible from the street. You have to actually enter Boyle Heights’ Ramirez Liquor and make your way to the back left corner to find the counter for VaKA Burger Express. Once there, you will discover a mini burger paradise with some of the best hidden burgers this side of Los Angeles, such as their El Porky. Blitz your taste buds with this burger that features provolone cheese, crispy pork belly, six-hour braised onions: French-onion soup-style, and housemade smoked barbecue sauce. Do note that they store their barbecue sauce cold, so the first few bites may feel like a blend of hot and cold. For $14 for this burger, you will never taste another burger like this again.

1. Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern‘s Jimmy Burger

If you seek classic American cuisine with an artisanal touch, look no further than Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern (JFAT). Reinventing traditional restaurant faire, JFAT covers many grounds of cuisine familiar to many with their high-quality approach to cooking. Currently boasting four locations between Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County, and with a fifth location opening soon, JFAT takes what you know about traditional American restaurants and turns it up to eleven. Between brunch, lunch, dinner, and a full bar, any time of the day makes for a great time to stop on by JFAT and enjoy a bite or sip or more. Their beverage offering alone always stays current with the seasons, as they routinely rotate out their craft beer offerings as well as their fine wines. People also love the cocktails at JFAT, as the drinks here range from sweet to spicy, mild to bold, and more. On the food side, JFAT pays close attention to not only the quality, but the portions of their dishes. For a traditional pub entrée, go with a burger, such as their Jimmy Burger. This $18 burger comes with applewood-smoked bacon, spicy jalapeño jam, and southern pimento cheese. Although more sweet and hearty than spicy, a little bit of heat kicks in at the end, giving a full spectrum of flavor in each bite. While the menu and food at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern looks and sounds familiar, one cannot judge a book by its cover. You cannot appreciate the flavor until you try it for yourself. Head on over to Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern at Point Loma (San Diego), Dana Point, Brea, Woodland Hills, or Santa Monica to savor American cuisine at its finest.