Tag Archives: cocktails

Tipsy Tuesdays: Best Cocktails in Los Angeles

4 Jun

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Single girls in Los Angeles can agree that the longest and best relationship we’ve had is our love affair with cocktails. Sad, I know. We have laughed and cried with them, swore them off forever after a rough night, and always end up crawling back to feel it kiss our lips just once more.

With Mixology bars being the cool kids in school right now, Los Angeles hot spots are competing to have the biggest ice cubes, craziest ingredients, and spiciest chili salt rims for their crafted cocktails… and I’m a kid in a candy store trying them all on for size.

What the hell is “Mixology”, you ask? One heck of a fancy word for what’s going on in the head of a bartender who knows their sh*t. No artificial flavors. No pre-packaged mixers. No disgusting AMFs. It’s the art (and to some, a science) of creating a perfectly well-balanced drink with fresh ingredients.  Basically, it’s thinking outside the box while emulating pre-prohibition simplicity.

So, where’s the best place to down some liquid courage on a first date or a late-night rendezvous with your special someone? Here’s a list of my favorite places to enjoy the most luscious libations.

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Cheers! Salud! L’Chayyim! –Or whatever you say before you get wasted.

 

 

1. Red O Restaurant

8155 Melrose Ave.

Los Angeles, CA. 90046

323.655.5009

My boyfriend and I took our friend, Mauro, visiting from Italy to our favorite restaurant-- RED O! Favorites: La Dama Cocktail and Mojito Trio

My boyfriend and I took our friend, Mauro, visiting from Italy to our favorite restaurant– RED O! My Favorites: La Dama Cocktail and Mojito Trio

 

 

2. Ray’s & Stark Bar at LACMA

5905 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA. 90036

323.857.6180

Favorite: Owl & The Pussycat Cocktail

My Favorite: Owl & The Pussycat Cocktail

 

Come for the famous cocktails & Stanley Kubrick exhibit, stay for the delicious cuisine. Enjoy the huge slabs of crispy pork belly and a generous portion of the squid ink pasta. You won't regret it.

Come for the famous cocktails & Stanley Kubrick exhibit, stay for the delicious cuisine. Enjoy the huge slabs of crispy pork belly and a generous portion of the squid ink pasta. You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

3. 1886 Bar at the Raymond Restaurant

1250 S. Fair Oaks Ave.

Pasadena, CA. 91105

626.441.3136

Favorite: The Bank Heist Cocktail. Tell the master mixologist, Brady Weise, I sent you and he'll carefully craft a little taste of perfection for you.

My Favorite: The Bank Heist Cocktail. Tell the master mixologist, Brady Weise, I sent you and he’ll carefully craft a little taste of perfection for you.

 

 

 

4. Rivera

1050 S. Flower St. Suite 102

Los Angeles, CA. 90015

213.749.1460

The famous (and my favorite) Barbacoa cocktail garnished with smoky beef jerky.

The famous (and my favorite) Barbacoa cocktail garnished with smoky beef jerky.

A small glimpse into the innovative cocktail menu at Rivera

A small glimpse into the innovative cocktail menu at Rivera

Because only highlighting their drinks would be sinful. Mussels swimming in amarillo butter.

Because only highlighting their drinks would be sinful. Mussels swimming in amarillo butter.

Stuffed Peppers. Insane.

Stuffed Peppers. Insane.

No caption necessary.

No caption necessary.

 

 

 

5. The Tap Room at the Langham Huntington Hotel

1401 S. Oak Knoll Ave.

Pasadena, CA. 91106

626.568.3900

The Langham Huntington Lobby

The Langham Huntington Lobby

The Tap Room

The Tap Room

Best place to get a well done classic cocktail. My favorite: Pimm's Cup.

Best place to get a well done classic cocktail. My favorite: Pimm’s Cup.

 

 

 

6. Public School 310

9411 Culver Blvd.

Culver City, CA. 90232

310.558.0414

My favorite: Moscow Mules served in copper mugs. #proper

My favorite: Moscow Mules served in copper mugs. #proper

 

 

 

7. Trattoria Neapolis

336 S. Lake Ave.

Pasadena, CA. 91101

626.792.3000

Ken, the bar manager, makes a mean Old Fashioned.

Ken, the bar manager, makes a mean Old Fashioned.

My Favorite: Proper Whiskey Sours shaken with an egg white for a frothy cocktail.

My Favorite: Proper Whiskey Sours shaken with an egg white for a frothy cocktail.

Grab a quick bite with your cocktail. One of the best octopus dishes I've ever had.

Grab a quick bite with your cocktail. One of the best octopus dishes I’ve ever had.

 

Can’t get enough of Live & Love in LA’s date night suggestions? Stay tuned for more Tipsy Tuesdays and Foodie Fridays features to come! But here’s a great website to hold you over until then…

Giftioni has the ultimate date night discounts for all you lovebirds. If you’re stumped on how to wow your main squeeze for their birthday or what to do for an anniversary, click on www.giftioni.com and browse through tons of unique gift packages that do all the special planning for you. You can surprise your fashionista girlfriend by revamping her wardrobe with her own personal stylist or even rent a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder for your car-fanatic beau and cruise the coast of Malibu for a day. Now that’s no boring dinner-and-a-movie date night! The cherry on top to sweeten the deal? Enter the coupon code “livelovela” at checkout and receive $15 off your gift! Offer expires June 17th.

A blog that answers all your dating dilemmas AND saves you $$$– does it get better than that? 😉

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The Bright Side To Being Single

27 Mar

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Everyone has that friend who doesn’t know the right thing to say when you’re down and out. My favorite panic-mode sympathy line is, “Well, look on the bright side….” Then, they proceed to tell you a bunch of lame reasons you should be happy in a shitty situation.

Well, this blog post is not going to be that. Sure, it’s a look-on-the-bright-side theme but it’s a list of actually awesome reasons why staying single in Los Angeles really IS something to be celebrated.

I turned to two of my best single girlfriends, Chanel and Rachel, for some input on why being a 20-something single girl is flirty and fabulous!

1. You didn’t settle. Be thankful you’re alone rather than being like your girlfriend who’s miserably with her broke, rude or cheating boyfriend who she can’t seem to break up with.

2. YOU TIME. Your weekends aren’t shared with anyone unless you want them to be. You can pick and choose when you want to be around your friends, go on a date, or just take a bubble bath at home on a Friday night. No obligations.

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3. You learn independence. All women, single and taken, need to learn how to fend for themselves.

4. Ladies Night! Being single gives you ample time to spend with the people who understand you the most, your girls. When you have a boyfriend, it’s inevitable to disappear a little in your little cloud of love. As a taken woman, my occasional girls’ nights are such a breath of fresh air. I love my relationship but there’s nothing like a little girl talk over a glass of wine.

5. You don’t have to shave your legs if you don’t feel like it (the best reason, in my opinion—by Rachel).

6. You save money. Having a boyfriend can get expensive on birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Being single has you spending only on family, SOME friends, but mostly yourself.

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7. Guilt-free flirting. There’s something about not having anyone to report to. You can go out, talk to as many guys as your little heart desires and give out your number as many times as you want.

8. Nobody is judging you. I’d be lying to say I do whatever I want when I want while being in a relationship. My boyfriend gives me the evil eye when my weekly online shopping packages arrive. Whenever he comes around while I’m browsing the Hautelook iPhone app, I quickly press the button to the homepage and pretend I’m just checking my e-mails. This doesn’t happen when you’re single.

9.  You don’t have a mother-in-law.

10. You can do weird things with no one looking. Come on, girls, we all have strange rituals we like to keep to ourselves.  I purposely watch reruns of Full House while my boyfriend is at work. Shhh! #dontjudgeme

11. Your decision to go to a wild weekend in Vegas with the girls doesn’t start with, “Babe… I was wondering… if maybe… I could possibly…”

12. Giving your heart a break. The ups and down of romance are sometimes just too much to endure. Flying solo= no fights, no bickering, no heartbreak.

13. No one is counting your cocktails. During a night on the town you don’t have the constant whisper, “Is that your third Cosmo?”  You’re single and you’ll get shitfaced if you want to!

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14. It’s more fun to laugh at couples’ dramatic Facebook posts or Tweets when they’re fighting if you’re single. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s pretty entertaining regardless!

15. Finally, the most important upside to being single is learning to love yourself. I’m a firm believer that you can’t fully love someone until you truly love yourself; who you are, what you stand for, what you love to do and how you treat others. Self-love is something no man can ever fulfill.

So, while you wait for your knight in shining BMW, learn to appreciate all that single life has to offer. It’s pretty fun and fabulous!

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The Blind Date Blues

8 Dec

I was at the airport in Eugene, Oregon coming back to Los Angeles from visiting my ex-boyfriend at the University of Oregon where he went to school. We weren’t a couple during my visit but he was that one ex that I always found my way back to whenever I was single. This ex was my high school sweetheart and our on-again-off-again romance lasted many years—but we’ll save more about him and our tumultuous relationship for a later post. Anyways, while waiting to board my plane, an insanely handsome man caught my eye.

photo credit: ~Oryctes~ via photopin cc

photo credit: ~Oryctes~ via photopin cc

This guy looked as though he literally walked right out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, except he was fully clothed—6-foot-something, blonde, built and bright blue eyes. I caught myself staring and immediately looked away but I felt him staring back. Every time I’d look up from pretending to read my book he’d be looking right at me and smiling. As you can imagine, the second I saw in my peripheral vision that he got up and was walking towards me, I was silently freaking out. The next thing I heard was, “Excuse me, Miss?”

photo credit: André-Batista via photopin cc

photo credit: André-Batista via photopin cc

It felt like a hazy dream as the next thing to come out of his mouth was, “I apologize for interrupting your reading but I just had to tell you how beautiful you are.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! DOES THIS SHIT HAPPEN OUTSIDE OF ROMANTIC COMEDIES?? I stuttered to say thank you and babbled some nonsense and then the hazy dream snapped back to reality. He then tells me, “I have this friend back home in L.A. who would absolutely love to meet you.”

Ummmmm…. Come again!? Let me get this straight… Hot guy who caught me drooling over him came over to tell me I’m beautiful and DOESN’T want to take me out? Awesome. Not.

He sells me on this friend who is a restaurateur, young, available and looking for love. I figured super hot guys hang out with other super hot guys, right? So I gave him my number and permission to have his friend call me. His friend called and we talked and texted for a week before actually meeting up. I was so skeptical of blind dates that I tried to put it off as long as possible but the day finally came.

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My blind date, Christian, asked me to meet him at the restaurant he owns at 8pm. I arrived a little early so I went straight to the bar to liquor myself up and mentally prepare myself for this mystery man. The bartender asked if I was Joyce—apparently Christian prepped the staff for my arrival. He escorted me over to our table and made small talk to keep me company. The bartender’s first question was, “So, you’ve never seen Christian?” I thought that was odd. Should I be worried?

Too late to turn back now. Christian arrives and he is…. the… exact… opposite… of super sexy airport guy. Again, does this shit actually happen outside of chick flicks? Yes, it does– to me anyways. I was a good sport about it and enjoyed a two-hour six-course meal with him and listened to his descriptions of the bitter tannins in our Cabernet Sauvignon and the intricate preparation of the tender foie gras. It felt like I was in a bad porno that starts with the food connoisseur sexually describing the pleasure of his taste buds—except our date ended in a hug… not a tug.

photo credit: ulterior epicure via photopin cc

photo credit: ulterior epicure via photopin cc

TIPS TO AVOID A BAD BLIND DATE:
— Be careful about who is setting you up. If someone isn’t a good friend of yours, they probably don’t know the type of guys you’re interested in.
— Don’t let it be a “blind” date. With today’s social media it seems like everyone has at least one picture that is easily accessible by a touch of an iPhone. Ask whoever is setting you up or even your date to send you a photo first. Let’s face it, as much as you don’t want to admit you are shallow, NOBODY wants to go out with someone they aren’t physically attracted to.
— Don’t let them pick you up! Always meet a blind date wherever you guys are having dinner or drinks. The last thing you want is to be at the mercy of a guy you don’t like in order to get back home—or just bring cash for a cab!

photo credit: Sylvain_Latouche via photopin cc

photo credit: Sylvain_Latouche via photopin cc

My one blind date experience didn’t go exactly as planned but I don’t regret it! I’m glad to be able to say I’ve tried it once and it’s not for me. Although, I believe there is something to be said about taking a chance on the unknown. As much of a control freak as I am about knowing what’s coming next, I enjoy the thrill of the dating world’s uncertainty. Not everyone has to be Mr. Right or nothing at all. Going on dates is a good way to make new friends and have more connections. As most Los Angeles natives know, networking is key to success in this city. My blind date, Christian, and I are still acquaintances two years later. He sends me e-mails every now and then to see how I’m doing and if I have any new yummy cocktail recipes to send him. I text him whenever I plan to eat at any trendy L.A. spots since he’s a great person to name-drop if you want the 8:00pm reservation at those impossible-to-get-a-decent-time restaurants.

Blind date or not, if you’re single and looking, keep putting yourself out there and be open to meeting new people! You never know where a blind date will lead.

5 Signs Of a Bad First Date

25 Nov

One thing many women struggle with while on a first date is being able to tell if the date is going well. We obviously can’t read our date’s mind (although that would be awesome) so we are forced to draw our own conclusions based on some subtle hints. It’s especially important to pick up on the not-so-subtle giveaways that the date is heading downhill. These five red flags are indicators that your date is either an a**hole, he doesn’t believe in chivalry or he’s not really into you—regardless, don’t plan for a second date.

1. Shallow Hal

If your date only shows interest in bragging about himself— HIS job, HIS car, HIS hobbies, HIS penis (just kidding) then he’s a jerk. If your date does not show any interest in getting to know you—he’s a jerk. Need I say more? Yes? Okay. So if a guy really digs you, he wants to size you up. Guys love getting to know more about women for the same reason we want to know more about them—they want to make sure you’re fun enough, interesting enough, smart enough, and nice enough to visualize being in a relationship with you. So if your date is totally disinterested in your life and what you do, it’s most likely because he isn’t feeling a connection to you or only wants to sleep with you so he could care less about your favorite Saturday morning yoga class.

2.  The Case of the Ex

Talking about past relationships is inevitable during a first date. Both parties want to know when your last relationship was, how long it lasted, and why it ended. Standard first date material. However, some unusual behavior and definitely a red flag is if a guy continuously brings up his ex-girlfriend… especially if you didn’t ask. Example: “You should get a Grey Goose Cosmopolitan. My ex, Ashley, drank those all the time.” This could be a sign that he’s not over the relationship or he has word vomit—either way, it’s weird.

photo credit: Enterprise Hotel via photopin cc

3. No Future Plans

If your date doesn’t mention any plans to see you again or ask when your second date will be, it’s not a good sign. This isn’t the end-all of the relationship but if a guy likes you, he’ll usually casually mention some fun activity or great new restaurant you guys should try the next time you see each other.

photo credit: pnoeric via photopin cc

4. Cheap Skate

Ladies, I don’t know how many times I’ll have to say this: YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PAYING ON YOUR FIRST DATE. I do not care what anyone says to defend the opposite, they’re wrong. A guy that lets you pay on a first date is a loser. Whether he can’t afford it or if he’s just socially incompetent, there’s just no excuse. I know I’ll get some heat for saying this but I stand by the fact that men should properly court a woman by paying for her with no hesitation on a FIRST DATE. It’s not for me to say who should pay on a regular basis after that, although girls who always pay for guys on dates are a phenomenon I’ll never understand, but men treating women on their first outing together is a principle of basic chivalry. If a guy does not pay the bill or has you “go dutch” with him and pay your half, he’s not only not into you but he’s a jerk! Now this doesn’t mean a girl should pick BOA Steakhouse and order a $75 Filet Mignon; be reasonable, girls! But if you’re reading this and thinking how shallow, you are in denial. Every girl, and I mean every single girl, wants to be treated to a nice first date. The girls who have paid for you before were settling and probably turned around and told their girlfriends how lame the date ended.

5. Shortcut

If your date is trying to cut the night short by rushing dinner or declining your offer to come in for a drink (which I don’t recommend doing), this COULD BE a sign he’s not feelin’ it. Yes, he could have work at 7am tomorrow but what guy do you know would turn down an opportunity to get a little cozy with you after dinner? My boyfriend wondered why I was rushing off after our first dinner and asked if I wanted to come to his house to “chit-chat” over a drink or two. Are you kidding me?! Everything about that sentence screamed SEX! Guys want sex. They love sex. They don’t care about a 3-date rule… heck, they don’t believe in a 3-hour rule! So, if your date wants nothing to do with a cocktail-filled you, let’s just say it’s not good.