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Friday, May 25, 2012

Love Happy Hour - The Kibitz Room (Canter's Deli) - Happy Hour - West Hollywood Happy Hours - LA Happy Hours, Dear Love

Love Happy Hour - The Kibitz Room (Canter's Deli) - Happy Hour - West Hollywood Happy Hours - LA Happy Hours, Dear Love

Dear Love,

I have definitely curbed my Groupon/LivingSocial purchase habits recently, but when I saw the Canter's Deli notice on my app, I had to press the purchase button. Canter's Deli on Fairfax was one of the first Los Angeles landmarks I discovered after a wrong turn off the freeway during my Arizona to California pilgramige. I was in search of new land and a new apartment, and that wrong turn determined my West Hollywood fate.

The crazy part is, I never actually made it into Canter's that day, and it took me until last week to hit up the neighborhood delicatessan. So Groupon in hand, my friend and I headed to the old school spot for a legitimate Hollywood experience. Ever since Silver Spoon had closed on Santa Monica Boulevard, I had been grieving the loss of the best Rueben I had ever eaten. Therefore, if a Rueben was on the Canter's menu, it was all mine.

The classic "Rueben" was lettered in bold and the two of us had to have it. The pleasant and elderly waitress serving us offered a Corned Beef or Pastrami option, so naturally we opted for one of each. Before we were served our sandwiches, house made pickles (extra sour) graced the table. Our meaty lunch arrived and was paired with potato chips - salty heaven. Sauerkraut, swiss cheese, rye bread and Russian dressing piled with cured meat made the sandwiches look as big as the billboards all over town. Conclusion: delicious.

As we prepared to leave we noticed a happy hour sign inside for The Kibitz Room. Apparently, Canter's had an adjacent bar?! Ok, now it was my duty to check it out. We crossed through to the next room and sat down at the bar. The atmosphere was dark and cool, and the bar stools were strewn with beer mugs, bar napkins and "regulars." I imagined that the same people we sat next to had been there for years, possibly having engraved initials on the wood that supported their cocktails. The daily 4pm - 7pm happy hour specials included $2 tap beer (Coors), $3 domestic beer and well drinks, $3.50 imported beer, $4 call drinks and $5 top shelf. For noshing, you could order a limited food menu of onion rings, fries (regular or sweet potato), cheese quesadillas, chicken tenders, and or a grilled cheese sandwich ranging from $3 - $6.50.

I was still overly stuffed from our massive Rueben indulgence, so I only nipped at the complimentary chips and salsa provided by the bartender. Something tells me that he's worked there as long as most of the other staff. And as I was snapping photos, a nearby patron asked what the fuss was about. Yes, I'm a glorified happy hour writer. "Try the onion rings, they're the best in town," he commented. Next time, I promised - when I had an appetite. The Kibitz Room has that old Hollywood bar feel and it's a great spot to hear live music. As my friend mentioned, it's like the Rainbow Room of delis. It's cheap, it's low-key and it has Canter's. No complaints here.



Happy Hour Breakdown:
Daily, 4 – 7 PM
$2 - 5 Drinks
$3 - 6.50 Appetizers

The Kibitz Room (Canter's Deli)
419 North Fairfax Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90036
(323) 651-2030

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Love Happy Hour - JFC Sake Expo 2012 - Intercontinental Hotel - Century City, CA

Love Happy Hour - JFC Sake Expo 2012 - Intercontinental Hotel - Century City, CA

JFC Sake Expo 2012
by Maren Swanson

The Annual JFC Sake Expo is an event I look forward to every year. The main celebrity, sake, is showcased and free-flowing. Having worked in food industry (particularly Japanese cuisine) for 6 plus years, I was ready to test my deteriorating sake knowledge and enjoy some spectacular samplers as well.

In addition to sake, beer samples and Asian inspired appetizers were catered to tasters and businesses last Saturday, May 19th at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City. Spicy tuna filled cones along with salmon and caviar topped toasts were a couple of the tasty tapas that were passed to the hungry crowds of sippers.

The Osakaya Chobei bottle first caught my attention and I headed over to meet and greet the brewers. Osakaya Chobei is from the Ozeki brewery (you may recognize them from Ozeki Nigori - unfiltered sake) and is a daiginjo, meaning 50% or more of the rice is polished away. Generally speaking, the more the rice is polished, the more refined the flavor will be. After tasting the Chobei, the brewer prepared me another sample from a bottle I did not recognize. "Taru, do you know?" he questioned. I blanked for a second and then suddenly blurted out, "sake from Cedar barrels?!"
Hai! I was right. He seemed very pleased at my sake knowledge and the friendly pair behind the table proceeded to pour on.

Before I left, I was determined to check out some of my favorite sakes on the market: daiginjos. They happen to be more expensive, I know. They are also superb. So it was time for Moriko (image with the number 50), another daiginjo with flavors of jasmine flowers, plums and pears - elegant. And on my last round, I stopped to try the superstar itself, Gensai. Gensai can cost you anywhere from $200 and above at Japanese restaurants, so it was a real treat to taste yet a different daiginjo from Fukushima, and its cousin, Ken (both from Suehiro Sake Brewery Co.) The Gensai bottle boasts a regal label, with a higher alcohol content, aroma of ripe fruits and a slightly dry finish.

Whether you are a first time sake drinker or a sommelier, the JFC Sake Expo is an excellent opportunity to LEARN. We all have to start somewhere, so why not start with sake sampling at a swanky hotel? To learn more about JFC and future events, you can check out their website. Kanpai!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Love Happy Hour - 32nd Annual Picnic des Chefs - Club Culinaire - Agoura Hills, CA

This Sunday, May 20th, Club Culinaire will host its 32nd Annual Picnic des Chefs at Vasa Park in Agoura Hills. LA's top chefs will cook French cuisine with over 700 lbs of meat, poultry and fish, 500 lbs of vegetables and 200 lbs of cheese and 500 baguettes. If that doesn't already have your tastebuds excited, the event will include over 50 wineries pouring samples to picnicgoers.

Games will also be in abudance for both adults and kids with activities including badminton (watch out - I played on the Varsity squad), volleyball, as well as giant water slides, a rock climbing wall and a moon bounce paradise. If games aren't your thing, raffle prizes and a French DJ will also entertain you throughout the day.

So bring a blanket, your friends and family, or just the "kid" in you for some great food and wine, company and an exceptional time. Festivities begin at 11:30am and end at 4:30pm. For tickets and more information, visit the Club Culinaire website. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Concern Foundation and the HOPE Program at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Vasa Park
2854 Triunfo Canyon Road
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Love Happy Hour - Cinco de Mayo - Los Angeles - 2012

Love Happy Hour - Cinco de Mayo - Los Angeles - 2012

Cinco de Mayo Los Angeles 2012 - May 2nd, 2012
by Maren Swanson

This year, (and by year, I mean more specifically WEEK) I'm a very happy camper. Not only does my birthday fall on the celebratory Cinco de Mayo, it's on a Saturday this year and so is the Kentucky Derby. Can a girl ask for more? Yes, as long as you don't let me ask for any more tequila - we know how that ends. So it's with great pleasure that I've compiled a list of great venues to celebreate Cinco de "Maren," I mean "Mayo" at, and there is no shortage of specials either. Have a drink for the Battle of Puebla, the beatiful horses and for me, and remember to party responsibly!


Lola's on Fairfax will have "bottomless" drink specials including: $18 Sauza Margaritas (Grapefruit, Regular, Strawberry, Watermelon) and $18 Micheladas (Corona beer, fresh lime juice & a roasted jalapeno pepper,
loads of ice & a salt rim ). Oh, and did we mention happy hour too?! From 4pm - 7pm, drinks are 50% off, in addition to $6 Sauza Margaritas, $4 Corona Beer, $3 Tacos (chicken, beef & pulled pork) specials offered all night.

Lola's (323) 654-5652
945 North Fairfax Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90046

El Chavo - Get your Cinco de Drinko on at El Chavo (aka El Chavito), where DJs will be spinning, "cinco" ($5) priced margaritas will be shaking and people will be swinging their hips to the latin beats of salsa and cumbia. This Silver Lake party will commence at 4pm and run until 2am with no cover and free giveaways. You can also grab a taco trio deal for only $10 that includes 3 soft tacos, beans and rice and your choice of a beer or margarita. Oh, si!

El Chavo (323) 664-0871
4441 West Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Pink Taco (Sunset Strip) - The new Pink Taco will have its grand opening this Saturday, May 5th for a huge Cinco de Mayo extravaganza.Tickets can be purchased at the door. DJs, drink specials and fun will be flowing all day long.

Pink Taco (310) 360-1003
8225 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90046

Red O - One of the most striking restaurants on Melrose, Red O, will be hosting a Street Food Social Hour from 3pm – 6pm, with food specials on ceviche, taquitos, quesadillas, tamales and other Latin-themed dishes. To wash all that delicioso food down, pay only $5 for craft beer, $7 for selected wines and $8 for specialty cocktails (Topolo Margarita, Alacran Margarita, Market Margarita, Beso del Diablo Mojito, and Vodka Gimlet).

Red O (323) 655-5079
8155 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046

Mercado - The new Mexican restaurant Mercado, by owner Jesse Gomez, opened yesterday, May 1st, in Santa Monica and is already preparing for a Cinco de Mayo smash! The restaurant's doors will open at 4pm and serve up $3 beers and $6 margaritas.

Mercado (310) 526-7121
1416 Fourth Street
Santa Monica, California 90401

The Hudson - Off Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights you will find the uniquely nestled restaurant/bar called The Hudson. On Cinco de Mayo you can purchase $5 Peligroso Tequila shots and $6 house margaritas.

The Hudson (323) 654-6686
1114 N Crescent Heights Blvd
West Hollywood, CA