For the past 3 months, I've been working on a half hour music show for Lexus called "Lexus: Music Uncovered" airing on CBS. We've been running around LA finding the best up and coming bands, and some of the coolest venues they are playing in (like Ham & Eggs Tavern as pictured). Not only have I met some gifted (and nice!!) musicians like The Ceremonies, The Royal Concept, and Run River North, but I've also had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing photographer Brantley Gutierrez who has photographed the likes of U2, Paul McCartney, Rhianna, Arcade Fire and countless others. I also had a chance to visit Project Gallery where Serj Tankian's interactive art exhibit DISARMING TIME and the new app "Eye for Sound" came together in one of the most unique art-meets-music experiences. I feel so lucky to have met such phenomenal and talented people who remind me why Los Angeles is one of the greatest cities in which to live...we're constantly surrounded by creativity here and what could be more inspiring?
You can check out our labor of love Lexus: Music Uncovered this Saturday, January 25th. Local listings are below:
NEW YORK (WCBS) 1/25 SAT 1135pm
LOS ANGELES (KCBS) 1/25 SAT 430pm
CHICAGO (WBBM) 1/26 SUN 1030am
PHILADELPHIA (KYW) 1/26 SUN 1130am
DALLAS (KTVT) 1/25 SAT 5pm
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) 1/25 SAT 5pm
BOSTON (WBZ) 1/25 SAT 7pm
WASH DC (WUSA) 1/25 SAT 7pm
HOUSTON (KHOU) 1/25 SAT 5pm
MIAMI (WFOR) 1/25 SAT 7pm
The corner of Moorpark and Bakman in Studio City has been home to many restaurants, none of which could get a following to sustain itself until, quite possibly, now. Top Chef’s CJ Jacobson opened up Girasol last month to mostly great reviews; some issues with perhaps a green waitstaff and lean wine cellar, but let’s chalk that up to growing pains.
Girasol is the Spanish word for sunflower, and the building itself has been transformed into a modern sunflower motif in varying shades of gray. The walls, windows and table design depict abstract sunflower petals, and the food is as welcoming as a sunflower itself. The showstopper is the whole fried snapper sitting proudly on its bed of greens, but my favorites veer to the small plates – the perfectly cooked smoky, sweet and acidic octopus salad, stone fruit salad with burrata and crispy lentils (watch your teeth though, they are really crispy!), and pork satay that has been thinly sliced, marinated, pushed together on a skewer to mimic cubed pieces of meat, then grilled and sauced.
The meatballs are a great go-to for the more traditional eater - moist and lightly packed so they don’t end up feeling like bricks in your belly. The Hamachi is beautifully presented and delicately seasoned so as not to overpower the fish, but if you’re not used to fine French plating, it may seem like you’re missing some food on the large white plate.
And great news for those of you who haven’t read anything you want to try, Chef Jacobson is basing his menu on hyper-seasonal products so in a few weeks you’ll have something completely new to try.
We forgive the missteps at mediocre restaurants because our expectations are lowered, so any nitpicking in this article is simply because at such a high quality level, we’re bound to scrutinize the details. And the details make this restaurant a MUST to visit, even if you do have to get on the 405.
--Article from cbsLA.com/InsideSoCal under "Erica's Picks: Chef Jacobson’s Girasol"
Last year, Vitello’s of Studio City went through a complete facelift, and rightly so. Vitello’s had been plagued with the memory of murder for over a decade when Robert Blake’s wife was shot to death outside the restaurant.
Gone are the dark days! Vitello’s gutted the inside and opened it up for a great indoor/outdoor vibe perfect for late spring, early summer days. Enjoy jazz upstairs and now downstairs on select nights, plus great specials like ½ off wine bottles on Monday, and Wednesday Wine Tastings for $30 which includes appetizers.
The dinner menu has something for everyone, from classic dishes like Lasagna served in the perfect proportion – no big sloppy mess here – to hit-the-spot appetizers like fresh Burrata Caprese and bite-size Eggplant Parmesan Rollatini. If you opt for a fish dish, I highly recommend the Branzino. With a crispy skin on the bottom, almond crusting on top, all over a bed of zucchini tossed with Sicilian pesto, this light dish will actually fill you up.
If you were hoping to sit in the booth where ex-murder suspect Blake ate with his wife that fateful night in 2001, sorry to say the booth was removed to rid the place of bad energy. It was reportedly going on eBay for $1000.
Last Tuesday, April 23rd marked the 56th Annual Genii Awards presented by my near and dear non-profit organization, the Alliance for Women in Media, Southern California. Thanks to Cloris Leachman, Wendie Malick, Felicity Huffman, Nancy O'Dell, Alison Sweeney, Mark Steines and so many others, it really was a star-studded event celebrating women in the entertainment industry and our deserving scholarship recipients! (Check out photos here - http://awmsocal.org)
This year I was acting President for AWM SoCal and though I titled this article "Oh What a Night," I'd like to tell you that I almost titled it "Why it's important to do things that nearly kill you mentally and physically." Yes, yes, that's a little over the top but I truly think that anyone who has ever volunteered in serious doses or committed to an organization for a significant period of time, has wondered why they ever got involved and later realized because simply, they can and should. That is what I've taken from this experience...
If you have a natural ability to lead, a desire to help others, and enough organizational skills to keep yourself on track, you can and should volunteer for something you believe in. It's so gratifying and can teach you so much. In times of stress, you'll learn to cope because someone is relying on you. In times of joy, you'll learn to share because everyone deserves a little piece of the happiness pie. And in times of fear, you'll learn to be brave because you just don't have a choice since your term isn't up yet. So go get involved with a group, a community, an organization and learn just how great it can feel to be part of something.
My thanks to all of the AWM SoCal Board of Directors for making this year's Genii Awards a HUGE success! Oh what a Night!
There’s a twist on the taco downtown, and worth every bite. The taco, er, “baco” is a signature flatbread sandwich developed by Chef Josef Centeno, owner of Baco Mercat in downtown Los Angeles. The baco is gourmet comfort food - decadent, warming and delicious. Order the “original” and bite into mouthfuls of pork, beef carnitas, and salbitxada, nestled into a naan-like bread folded over; or go spicy and rich with “el pesco” filled with creamy sriracha coated crispy shrimp.
Baco Mercat’s menu is varied but not overwhelming, lots of simple dishes with complex flavor spanning Western- and Easter-Mediterranean influences. They may be small plates, but about 4 dishes will fill the heartiest appetite. The fried chicken ‘n biscuit, though seemingly odd on this menu, is a great option if you haven’t already had one too many bacos. Caramelized romanesco would convert any child to loving vegetables, and the roasted yams with marshmallow bring out the kid in each of us.
The setting is cozy and few tables, but the high ceilings give it some breathing room and a small patio offers a few more tables. Be prepared to wait or sit at the bar if you don’t have a reservation. The bartenders are tops (and seemingly know it) so order away from the specialty drinks and be prepared to have a culinary drinking experience. Try the “Dutchman” made with bols genever (whiskey-like spirit), ginger syrup, grapefruit, and boston bittahs (citrus and chamomile). It’s refreshing and potent so be glad it’s served in a smaller glass.
Newly opened in Studio City is the next hot spot on Ventura Blvd, The Village. Frank Leon took his former Bokado space and made it an open-aired gastropub, thanks to a retractable roof over the main dining room. No reservation needed, but expect to cozy up next to strangers at the bar while you wait since the word is out that this spot is the next great thing in the Valley.
The menu offers small bites, mini pizzas and a mozzarella bar. Don’t miss out on the brussels sprouts sautéed with a sweet cider glaze, or the burrata caprese which is fresh and tangy. The truffle jalapeno mac and cheese packs a punch, though knocks out the truffle flavor; and the aglio-olio pizza could be amazing but the garlic overwhelms the lovely sottocenere cheese with black truffle, perhaps just some growing pains on a very busy Saturday night. For a twist on the slider, try the beef/lamb mini burgers; the bun is small and delicate, and the meat is rich making these minis perfectly decadent and easy to eat. Consider them the first date-proof burgers.
From the cocktail list, enjoy libations that give homage to famous authors. Not only have they concocted drinks toasting the likes of Hemmingway, Booker T. Washington and Samuel Clemens, but the menu includes a mini history lesson for each cocktail. Who knew a cocktail could make you smarter? Well, maybe Hemmingway did.
Yes, that would be me holding a bag of rice. No, I wasn't making dinner for friends ala Barefoot Contessa stye (I'm obsessed with that woman). Instead, I was packing kits of food for those in need at the LA Regional Food Bank with my fellow Alliance for Women in Media members.!
Why is it this time of year that we all can't help but want to do so much more? Why doesn't January give me the bug to do all I can for my fellow peers? I'm going to put that on the top of my list for New Year's resolutions...help ALL OF THE TIME. It feeds the soul, ignites unity and is just the right thing to do.
So here's a photo from last weekend's efforts...we filled almost 2,700 kits for those in need. The LA Regional Food Bank could use your help too! Every Saturday you can donate your time to assemble kits, or donate online. Feed the soul people!!!
So apparently it does rain in the desert...
Coachella Weekend 1 peeps, expect some rain on Friday but should clear up by Saturday. And never fear, Opening Ceremony has rain-chic umbrellas to keep you dry and fashionable. My personal fave is Jean Paul Gaultier's Flash 2 brellas: http://www.openingceremony.us/products.asp?menuid=2&catid=14&subcatid=1249
Weekend one-ers you are in luck! Advertisers of the branded parties (Lacoste, H&M, etc) are looking to go BIG this weekend while everyone is fresh. Here are a few musts to put on your list (and get on their list):
Lacoste - last year Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Alex Skarsgard, Kellan Lutz and Busy Phillips were spotted. This year won't dissappoint. And though you'll feel like you've been transported to Nantucket, collared polos aren't required.
DETAILS magazine has partnered with Hennessy V*S for DETAILS@Midnight. It's the Coachella After-Party for those still going strong. Rumor has it there will be a surprise performance by Asher Roth at Midnight.
KROQ is the pre-show to the Coachella stage. Last year Mumford & Sons were up close and personal to the few hundred that got into the party. Expect more great music this year, set times to be released soon.
Hard Rock Hotel is going to convert the Bermuda Dunes spread that was the PopChips house in years past into the HRH Music Mansion. They're hitting the concert scene lately, coming from SXSW just one month earlier.
Mulberry brings their English luxury fashion to the private party held at the Parker Palm Springs...it's where posh meets posh. Expect celebs galore!
Ok, I admit, I had high hopes about getting this great blog off the ground. 5 months later, here I am on post #2.
Better late than never??? I'm going with that.
Soooo, what is is on everyone's mind other than COACHELLA!?!?
Next weeknd marks the first of 2 sun-filled, music-lovin, celeb-spotting weekends in Indio, California. And let me tell you, people have been preparing for MONTHS for this festival.
I myself have been scouring LA boutiques to make sure my Coachella outfits are as cool as the bands themselves. Why you ask do I care about what I'm wearing at an outdoor music fest? Well, that's just how it goes being a female living in LA. Storefronts are donning the hip fashions and we LA girls just open our wallets.
So ladies, here is the list of boutiques and web sites to get your Coachella Fashion on!
FROCK - Studio City boutique, Ventura Blvd - http://shopfrockla.com/
WhoWhatWear website - feature on music festival fashion - http://www.whowhatwear.com/website/full-article/www-picks-music-festival-fashion-6012/
Refinery29 website - feature on Coachella trending swimsuits - http://www.refinery29.com/swimsuit-trends-for-music-festivals
Hat Attack - perfect sunburn prevention (and cute!) hats - http://www.hatattack.com/
Planet Blue - Malibu boutique off of the PCH - http://shopplanetblue.com/
Next up...the best Coachella pre-parties in Palm Springs!
Welcome to my blog “About Town” where I scour Los Angeles on a weekly basis to find fun things to do, see, eat, buy, and blog about.
So, why did I start this blog?
There are some things I’m not so great at…dieting, for example, or gardening sadly enough. But what I’ve found to be VERY good at is continually finding exciting new things to do, see, eat, and buy in LA. (The fact that I moved from Hastings, Nebraska to the big city a few years back might explain why I was aching for entertainment!)
Since Los Angeles is a melting pot of people, dining, activities and art, why not start a dialogue for those of you who have similar taste and passions!
Here are things I love and plan to share:
Wine – Why can’t every hour be a happy hour? Yeah, I’m a wino.
Food/Restaurants - Did I mention I was a terrible dieter? Welcome all foodies!
Art exhibits – From LACMA to pop-ups in Silver Lake, eye candy is abound.
Culture - No shortage of that in LA
Music – Love it all! Let’s check out Coachella, Dudamel, Jazz on the Terrace, Concerts on the Pier and more!
Fashion – Fashion week? Let’s go! Sale? I’m in.
Museums - So many Picassos so little time
Travel - SoCal, NorCal, photography trips with my father across the US, and international explorations!
You get the idea. Are you in? Ready to hit the town? Then here we go…
Erica Olsen loves running "about town" In LA and all over the world finding cool restaurants, shops, events, exhibits & more!