Inside Hyatt Regency Irvine’s $55M Transformation

Inside Hyatt Regency Irvine’s $55M Transformation

Cowritten by Anthony C. Stafford

The Hyatt Regency Irvine may be known by many for what it was previously, and that old image is also a great way to remember hotels of yesteryear. But a three-year closure has birthed what can only be described as a new hotel standard that improves upon nearly every aspect of what guests expect from their stay. From the lobby’s first impression to market experiences, Hyatt Regency Irvine brings renewed excitement to the travel experience for adults and kids alike, whether coming from nearby or afar.

Photo Credit: Logan Pratt / Hyatt Regency Irvine

Hyatt Regency Irvine General Area Manager Sid Ramani spoke with us, answered questions, and provided deep insight into what goes into a transformation of this magnitude. While it may seem a $55 million grand reveal may only truly be appreciated by those who witnessed the original look, the faces, reactions, and expressions of newcomers — ourselves includes — said otherwise. Upon entering, Hyatt Regency Irvine delivers a refreshing take on America’s hospitality sector. Pulling inspiration from regional neighbors and international highlights, the lobby wows with its vast spaciousness, high ceilings, intricate details, massive screens, and purposeful design. Surprise, awe, and excitement set in, as we likened what we saw to a luxury hotel in Tokyo. A plethora of seating options decorate the first floor to suit any lounger’s mood, whether reading, eating, waiting, watching, or chatting, there’s something for everyone. A warm, inviting lobby is surrounded by contemporary common areas, and an expansive 56,000 square feet of fresh event space to ensure a beautiful blend of urban sophistication, comfort, and functionality.

A Market For All

The Marketplace is possibly one of the only things we disagreed with during our time at the property – solely because it’s something much more than just a market! Instead, it is rather a place to get lost in for a while with its expansive, open-faced presentation. Offering a neatly stocked wall of beverages, spirits, snacks, hot, cold, healthy, and exciting food options, Hyatt Regency Irvine even pushes the envelope further and rightfully so, with numerous international snacks. For example, South Korean banana milk, and Japanese Ramune sodas make an appearance, among many more specialty items worth experiencing. Upon first glance, it strikes disbelief that a hotel could have such a wide variety of options, but it is a welcome feature that international travelers could always use more of to feel “at home” and domestic travelers for an opportunity to have a culinary escape.

From grueling business travel to exhausting vacations, sometimes guests need an “easy” option – and that easy option would be a place like the market to stash up on snacks, drinks, pastries, pizza, and more – while taking advantage of the fact that many items are also made right there in the kitchen! If you’re feeling adventurous, even the healthy dishes have great twists to them, like the veggie salads located next to the pastry window.

Of course, breakfast is also provided at The Market, with freshly made hot plates on the menu, but there’s even more. One of the highlights about The Market is that they also have featured menu items each day for breakfast and dinner, so keep an eye out for those to add some excitement to your own journey. Even more impressive is the commitment to supporting local businesses and artists, as seen through strategic and useful product placement throughout the hotel.

Designed With Purpose and Intention

The property boasts a total of 516 guest rooms and suites, each completely transformed with modern, thoughtfully designed interiors. These rooms not only feature distinct artwork, innovative light fixtures, and curated layouts tailored to accommodate various travel groups and lifestyles, but they are also designed with intention at the forefront. No corner goes forgotten, as thoughtful choices give purpose to even the most odd or small spaces.

Specialty suites include expansive hospitality suites with private kitchenettes, extended-stay suites with full kitchens, family-friendly layouts with bunk beds and adjoining rooms, and more, ensuring a comfortable and versatile stay for all guests. During our visit, we witnessed sports teams, families, and business people, check in, and after seeing each suite with details from Mr. Ramani, we couldn’t agree more that there is something for everyone. It is worth noting that the bunk bed suites are good enough to stir envy — even in us adults!

Zooming into the details, guests may notice fixtures that have a promising future – from technological installments that improve accessibility during their stay, to subtle and plentiful placements of outlets for the battery guzzlers in todays technology-plugged age. From the outside, the Hyatt Regency Irvine stands tall and distinctly, while its reimagined interior backs up its dominant posture.

Extras, Amenities, and More

For the guests who want to feel even more at home while reaping great benefits, the Hyatt Regency Irvine recently launched their new Regency Club, which grants access to exclusive amenities and private indoor/outdoor lounges. This includes fire pits, comfortable lounge seating, a sophisticated bar, and daily full-service dining.

Photo Credit: Logan Pratt / Hyatt Regency Irvine

The 24-hour gym is equipped with Peloton® Bikes, Life Fitness cardio equipment, free weights, and various weight machines. Guests can also benefit from exclusive access to private on-demand trainers through a collaboration with Future, tailored specifically for Hyatt Regency Irvine’s fitness center and equipment. Finally, located just two miles from John Wayne Airport and a short drive from major attractions like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, South Coast Plaza, and Southern California’s renowned beaches, Hyatt Regency Irvine serves as the ideal home base for exploring the area’s many offerings. It’s a great destination for those breaking away from the Disney Resort bubble and looking to achieve more exploration of the surrounding areas.

Innovation on the Horizon

Amazingly, there is even more to come as the property nears completion. A unique and elevated pool experience with dual waterslides, and an outdoor lounge space inclusive of a pool bar, cabanas, and massive LED TV screen to view sports games, movies, and more are on the way, and due to open in June. Just in time for summer, there are some great plans in store that will undoubtedly be a bow on the gift of travel for many guests.

And then there’s Warehouse 72 – a place where art and creativity are celebrated. This fine dining establishment will feature a modern bistro and bar to bring people together in a family-style atmosphere. Located on the first floor, it will ultimately enhance the openness of the property, while also breathing additional life that is sure to complement every guests first impression.

The Hyatt Regency Irvine is a marvel to appreciate in the hospitality landscape. Its reimagining is a welcome one in a world where we find ourselves plugged in more than ever, yearning to disconnect, and replug ourselves in new and different ways. In what could possibly set an example for other hotels, the property sets out to reach a new standard for guest experiences and expectations — doing so outstandingly. In a city with a massive and diverse population, plus attracting millions internationally on a yearly basis, Hyatt Regency Irvine successfully stands as a home away from home for everyone.

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Grocery Shopping is More Expensive

Grocery Shopping is More Expensive

For most of the last three years, American consumers have been grappling with greater financial pressure from increased prices throughout the economy.

Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has fallen since its June 2022 peak of 9.1%, but current levels of inflation still sit above the Fed’s preferred target rate of 2%. Additionally, CPI data released in April exceeded forecasts, showing year-over-year price increases of 3.5% and month-to-month increases of 0.4%. These figures present a challenge to the Federal Reserve’s earlier indications of potential interest rate cuts in 2024.

While several economic indicators, such as wage growth and unemployment rates, exhibit resilience, public sentiment towards the economy is significantly impacted by inflation rates. As prices escalate in key expenditure categories, Americans across the nation feel a tighter squeeze on their finances. One of the spending categories where consumers have faced the greatest pressure from price increases is groceries.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, food prices have surged at their fastest rate since the 1970s, rising by an astonishing 13.5% from August 2021 to August 2022 alone. While the pace of increase has moderated since then, grocery prices remain at historically high levels, adding considerable strain to household budgets. This upward trend in food costs is particularly concerning for families on tight budgets, as food expenses represent a non-negotiable necessity. Unlike discretionary spending, which can be trimmed in times of financial strain, expenditures on groceries are essential and cannot easily be reduced.

From March 2020 to March 2024, the CPI for food at home—a category that includes foods and nonalcoholic beverages meant for off premises consumption—has risen by 24.7%, outpacing the 20.3% increase observed across other CPI categories. This equates to a roughly 25% overall increase in the cost of grocery store items compared to just four years ago.

While grocery prices are up nearly 25% overall since the beginning of the pandemic, certain items have seen more significant upticks. Since March 2020, the cost of eggs has increased by 50%, while beef roasts, flour, and sugar have each risen by over one-third. Other items with large price increases over the same time period include carbonated beverages (up 32.1%) and canned fruits and vegetables (up +31.6%).

More recently, beef products have witnessed considerable price hikes, claiming the top three spots in year-over-year increases. Since last March, the cost of beef roasts has risen by 11.2%, steaks by 7.2%, and ground beef by 6.2%. Notably, sugar, carbonated beverages, and canned produce, which saw significant price increases since 2020, are also among the items with the largest year-over-year price hikes.

to read the full report: https://www.traceone.com/resources/plm-compliance-blog/grocery-store-items-that-have-increased-most-in-price

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A Death in the Family

A Death in the Family

Sam Rubin,  a notable figure in the world of entertainment journalism, particularly recognized for his long-standing role as an entertainment reporter for KTLA Morning News in Los Angeles has died. His career, which spanned several decades, made him a familiar face to anyone keen on Hollywood news and celebrity interviews.

His expertise was in in his deep understanding of the entertainment industry and his ability to engage with celebrities in a manner that elicited both informative and personal responses. His interviews would often go beyond the surface, exploring the nuances of an actor’s experience on set or the creative process behind a musician’s latest album.

What set Sam Rubin apart was his genuine enthusiasm for the arts, which was evident in his lively and insightful discussions. Known for his professionalism and his respectful approach to journalism, traits that have earned him the trust and respect of many in Hollywood. Rubin’s work not only informed his audience about the latest in entertainment but also enriched their understanding of the artistry involved in creating film, television, and music.

A fixture at local news channel KTLA 5, he was the kind of personality that you took for granted—he was always there—jovial, fun and indeed completely in the moment with his guests, he sudden death of a heart attack at 64 came as shock to the community.

 

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The Ultimate Spring 2024 Holiday and Event Guide

The Ultimate Spring 2024 Holiday and Event Guide

Cowritten by Anthony C. Stafford

Bugs and flowers aren’t the only things coming out now that the weather is warming up. That’s right, people are hitting the trails, roads, shops, and finest dining establishments as we march forward and eventually reach the Summer months. With so much happening across the region, we thought it might be helpful to see a roundup of all the activities, events, offers, and more happening during this season. Whether it’s brunch and drinks to take advantage of the nice weather, celebrating PRIDE, or solid plans to impress Mom and Dad for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, it’s all here. All you have to do is make a move!

Mother’s Day & Father’s Day

MON AMI

MON AMI just celebrated their 1st-year anniversary, complete with a special event on Cinco de Mayo to toast their first year of memories. Nestled along the picturesque Ocean Avenue strip in Santa Monica, MON AMI presents a captivating fusion of Mediterranean flavors and ambiance.

Credit: Jakob Layman

With Mother’s Day around the corner, MON AMI makes a great destination, and if you’re one to beat the crowds – or wait until they’ve left – Mon Ami is always looking at ways to up the ante and immerse its guests with unforgettable and unique culinary immersions. On Sunday, May 12, MON AMI will hold a Mother’s Day pop-up brunch, making it a hot destination to deliver only the best for mom.

 

The Viv Hotel, Top of the V Mother’s Day Brunch: May 12, 10 am – 4 pm

Celebrate the extraordinary women in your life with a special Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet at Top of the V Rooftop Restaurant!

Courtesy of Top of the V

Menu items feature a Smoked Salmon Platter, Torrijas Spanish Style French Toast, Seafood Paella, a Dessert Station, among other delicious offerings. Buffet Price of $75 per person and Bottomless Mimosas and Sangria, paid at restaurant. Guests can add a floral bouquet to their reservation for an additional $50.

Reserve your table here.

 

Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows

Afternoon High Tea
For those looking to celebrate their mother in style, the hotel will be offering two specialty Mother’s Day tea services on Sunday, May 12 at 12pm and 3:30pm in on the enchanting outdoor Ocean Terrace. Spend the afternoon sipping and swirling via the whimsical three-course menu, featuring an elegant spread of sumptuous scones, exquisite pastries, and finger sandwiches designed to pair with a vast selection of freshly brewed Lot 35 loose-leaf teas from Fairmont Miramar’s exclusive luxury tea collection, served on brand-new garden-inspired Bernardaud porcelain. A complimentary glass of champagne & a special chef dessert are also included. Tickets ($120 per person) are required and can be purchased via Resy.

Photo Credit: Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows

FIG Restaurant
Helmed by Executive Chef Damon Gordon, FIG Restaurant’s ultra-seasonal and locally sourced ingredient-driven restaurant featuring heritage-inspired dishes will offer regular weekend brunch from 11:30am-3:00pm, in addition to new seasonally-driven specials including:

      • Caramelized French Toast with passion fruit curd, warm vanilla orange syrup ($26)
      • King Crab Avocado Toast with charred shishito peppers, furikake ($36)
      • Wood-Fired Roasted King Salmon with spiced edamame hummus, preserved lemon gremolata ($46)
      • Local Berry Pavlova soft meringue, crème Chantilly ($18)

 Reservations can be made via Resy.

 

Transportive Italian Experience at L’antica Pizzeria da Michele (Hollywood and Long Beach)

For an immersive brunch experience, L’antica Pizzeria da Michele will transport diners tastebuds straight to Naples, Italy. Largely recognized as the pizzeria from the cult classic ‘Eat Pray Love’, the 3,000 square foot Hollywood location—the first of four U.S. outposts—has two large patios and a secret garden where patrons can enjoy Italian classics and handcrafted cocktails, such as their iconic Italian Omelette ($23) made with eggs, Italian ham, sausage, Guanciale, burrata, tomato and onion, paired with the refreshing LA Sunset ($18)featuring watermelon and basil infused Grey Goose Vodka, lime, and watermelon juice.

Photo Credit: L’antica

Honoring age-old cooking traditions & techniques with their use of imported Italian ingredients, diners can expect an array of special Mother’s Day Italian brunch items with highlights including:

  • Risotto Alla Barbabietola with red beet risotto, peas, asparagus, spinach, tomino piesmontese cheese
  • Pizza Puttanesca with tomato sauce, fior di latte, basil, anchovies, olives, capers, stracciatella
  • Halibut con Polenta e Funghi with Alaskan Halibut, crispy white polenta, fume’ broth, mixed mushroom tempura

 

Family-Friendly New England Haven, Connie and Ted’s

With an expansive outdoor patio, Connie and Ted’s has been the go-to spot for hearty New England-inspired seafood perfect for families and larger groups for over a decade. Inspired by Michelin-Starred chef-owner, Michael Cimarusti’s cherished memories of his beloved grandparents, Connie and Ted, the restaurant pays homage to their story, love of family, and the good times spent fishing and preparing the day’s catch together.

Photo Credit: Robiee Ziegler

The robust flavor-packed daytime menu includes comfort classics with an East Coast spin such as the Shrimp Chilaquiles ($24), Crab & Lobster Omelette ($35), and the ultimate hangover cure – a killer Maine Lobster Croque “Connie” ($38) made with gruyere, figaro sauce, and a sunny side up egg. For those wanting to start their morning on the sweeter side, Pastry Chef Daphane DeLone is baking up her beloved Monkey Bread ($12), featuring sweet and sticky cinnamon bread and cream cheese icing all made in-house from scratch.

Angelenos can revel in one of the city’s best seafood-centric brunch contenders from 11:30am – 3:00pm, in addition to a selection of Mother’s Day specialties:

  • “Sweet Escape” Cocktail – Strawberry Lemon Bellini ($15)
  • “Sunday PTO” Cocktail – Sotal Hibiscus Cocktail ($15)
  • ½ dozen Chefs Choice Oysters & a glass of Prosecco ($18)
  • Lobster Risotto – aged carnaroli rice, lemon, chives (Market Price)
  • Strawberries and Cream Cookie sandwich – FREE for Moms with entrée purchase

Reservations can be made via OpenTable.

Temecula Valley Wineries

The headline above pretty much says all you need to know, right? Treat mom to all of her wine-loving desires with this assortment of options from Temecula Valley Wineries. From yoga to buffets, there are more than enough options to make mom’s day, or her entire weekend.
Akash Winery
Mother’s Day Yoga on the Vineyard Patio – Sunday, May 12, 9 a.m.
Session includes yoga + one glass of wine | Reserve your mat space here!
Mother’s Day Floral Design Atelier – Sunday, May 12, 12 – 2 p.m.
Settle into the private vineyard patio and enjoy a hands-on floral design class from Light & Well. You’ll be greeted with a glass of sparkling wine, and light charcuterie, then dive into a world of flowers and greens | One additional glass of wine is also included in your ticket. Purchase your seat here.
Cougar Vineyards & Winery
Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet – Sunday, May 12 | Seatings at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Guests can enjoy a pasta bar with spring vegetable medly, along with a ham entree, assorted bread and biscotti, ceaser salad, and so much more. The dessert station will also include Carter Estate’s famous Estate Lemon loaf with lemon glaze.
$69.95, $59.95 members, $19.95 12-under | Add bottomless blood orange or regular orange mimosas for $15pp
A full menu and tickets are available to purchase at: www.cougarwinery.com.
Masia de la Vinya Winery
Bubbles and Bows Mother’s Day Soirée – Saturday, May 11, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Indulge in a luxurious picnic arranged by Temecula Picnic Company with a sparkling wine greeting, artisanal charcuterie boxes, wine specials, and picturesque flower wall to capture your most precious memories.
$75 member, $95 non-member
Miramonte Winery
Bites & Delights: A Mother’s Day Charcuterie Workshop – Sunday, May 12, 11 a.m.
Join us and our friends at Grazing Theory to craft your very own personalized charcuterie board. The experience includes a fresh handcrafted mimosa, guided charcuterie workshop, and all charcuterie supplies, along with meats, cheeses, fruits, Belgian Pearl waffles, and freshly baked mini-croissants
$100 member, $110 non-member
For more information visit: https://www.miramontewinery.com.
South Coast Winery & Resort
Mother’s Day Buffet at The Vineyard Rose Restaurant – Sunday May 12, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Enjoy an assortment of delicious appetizer displays, refreshing salads, delectable entreés like eggs benedict, french toast, an omelette station, alongside a mouthwatering carving station, a decedent dessert display and so much more! $75 adults, $35 children
For reservations and more information:  https://www.southcoastwinery.com/dining/vineyard-rose

 

Zippo

This Mother’s Day, celebrate the extraordinary woman in your life with a sophisticated gift from Zippo. Whether she’s swapped out the wine for cannabis, or is simply a candle lover, Zippo has you covered with their range of products sure to make sparks fly in her heart.

For the “Canna-mom”
In an era where more mothers are swapping wine for cannabis, Zippo’s 20th of April Collection stands as a sophisticated companion for those seeking relaxation and tranquility. As revealed by a survey from Eaze, one in five self-identified marijuana users are parents. Furthermore, according to insights shared on SheKnows, an impressive 67% of parental cannabis users attest that incorporating weed into their lives has enhanced their parenting journey. Choose from four refined styles, each set in lustrous High Polish Brass, available here.

Courtesy: Zippo

For the Candle Aficionado
Elevate the art of candle lighting with Zippo’s chic Rechargeable Candle Lighter. Its flexible neck ensures a hassle-free experience, delivering the perfect touch of ambiance every time.

Timeless Elegance
Express your affection with Zippo’s exquisite high polish rose gold, graceful wavy flower design, or classic matte pink lighters. Explore their full range of options here.

 

Emyla Tequila

If Dad appreciates fine spirits, it’s a gift he can enjoy over time, adding a bit of pleasure into his everyday life, not just on celebratory occasions.

This year, gift him the thoughtful luxury of an exceptional, aged tequila. Emyla Tequila’s new premium añejo is crafted with care and precision, stunningly designed, and the high quality Dad deserves. A small batch, limited product made with 100% Blue Weber agave sourced from both the Highlands and the Lowlands of Jalisco and aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, Emyla creates a one-of-a-kind smooth taste and superior flavor profile.

Credit: Emyla Tequila

Whether sipped neat, on the rocks, or in Dad’s favorite cocktail, every sip of Emyla is an experience to be savored. Available for $130 in-store and online.

 

LazySaxs

The perfect game for summer — and the “most exciting sitting game ever”!

LazySaxs combines all of your favorite backyard, beach, party, picnic and tailgating games with the incredible benefit of sitting down. You simply set up the game and chairs (not supplied) and toss four sacks at the LazySaxs game while following the supplied point rules (if you feel like it). Your goal is to toss the sack into the funnel — the first player to reach 15 points wins.

LazySaxs is available online.

 

Play Henry Pickle Ball Paddles

Has pickleball become mom and/or dad’s new obsession? Meet Play Henry, where aesthetic meets athletics. It’s for the pickleball player who wants a competitive game but loves the social aspect of playing. They go from court to drinks and want a paddle that does the same. Play Henry paddles look fabulous yet are for serious play.

Credit: Play Henry

Play Henry features a sand-blasted fiberglass paddle with an elongated handle, which offers comfortable maneuverability and facilitates a seamless two-handed backhand. Custom options are also available, with a minimum order number of five.

 

Activities and Events

Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows: Lobby Lounge Live

Starting Friday, May 17 from 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Santa Monica’s iconic Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows invites locals and guests alike to experience the debut of Lobby Lounge Live, where the heart of the hotel will come alive every Friday evening with unparalleled enchantment with renowned master pianist Jason Pelsey taking center stage, captivating audiences of all stripes with brilliant melodies in an unrivaled ambiance.

Courtesy: Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows

From hits to timeless classics, musically inclined guests can be a part of the show, joining Pelsey at the piano, transforming their evening into a symphony of shared melodies and unforgettable moments paired best with hand-crafted cocktails & delectable bites.

The newest tradition at Fairmont Miramar is available for walk-ins only on a first come, first serve basis, available every Friday from 7:00pm – 10:00pm.

 

MON AMI: First Class Dinner Series

On Friday, May 17, guests can enjoy the beginning of MON AMI’s new First Class Dinner series with a “visit” to Barcelona. The evening will star a four-course Spanish meal with two curated cocktails, live Catalan music, and Flamenco dancers, while guests can frequent Jamon and Sangria stations. And to make the experience all the more memorable, guests will leave with a “passport” to commemorate their “trip.”

The inaugural dinner event, is priced at $189 per person, and attendees can anticipate indulging in a meticulously crafted four-course meal complemented by two expertly concocted craft cocktails. Mon Ami’s chefs have designed the menu to highlight the diverse flavors and rich culinary traditions of the region, ensuring a culinary journey like no other. Each month for one night only, MON AMI will offer an experience centered around a city Europe, from the food and cocktails to live music and activations. Guests can expect “passports” for every “trip” this summer.

Learn more about MON AMI here, and book reservations at Resy.

Horse Soldier Whiskey & War Stories Dinner at Top of The V: May 21, 6-10 p.m.

In honor of Memorial Day, U.S. Army Retired Sergeant Major & Horse Soldier Partner, Vince Makela will lead a whiskey tasting with Horse Soldier Whiskey paired with a three-course dinner. Hear firsthand accounts from brave soldiers while enjoying a gourmet dinner in a stunning setting at the rooftop restaurant at The Viv Hotel.

Courtesy of Top of the V

In honor of Memorial Day, 10% of every ticket sold and any bottles purchased this evening to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation which was founded in honor of firefighter Steven Gerard Siller who raced through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on foot in full gear to the twin towers on 9/11 where he gave up his life saving others. To learn more about this wonderful charity please visit: Tunnel to Towers Foundation. $200 ticket price is inclusive of the dinner/pairing price of $157 plus tax and 18% gratuity. Purchase tickets here.

 

LA’s Hottest Brunch Bunch

It wouldn’t be LA without brunch (or booze)! Below our some of the hottest destinations to get your boozy brunch on, and just in time as the weather heats up. These three top-notch restaurants promise to elevate the brunch game with irresistible cocktails and vibrant atmospheres.

Videre LA
Perched within the city skyline, Videre LA offers brunch with a view at their stunning rooftop, poolside restaurant & bar. Their build-your-own Bloody Mary cart sets them apart fromany other rooftop in the city. For just $20, guests can unleash their creativity and concoct the perfect Bloody Mary, tailored to their taste buds. With an array of premium spirits, house-made mixers, and a variety of garnishes, the possibilities are endless at Videre. Order the house French Toast with local berries to go with it.

Credit: Videre LA

Prima Donna
Groups of friends can head to Prima Donna for a brunch experience like no other. Indulge in their delightful mimosa package, in which a bottle of top-shelf Prosecco paired with a selection of fresh juices is served table side for $60. Whether guests prefer classic orange juice or adventurous flavors like blood orange or passion fruit, Prima Donna has something to please every palate. Toast to friendship and fun with this picture-perfect brunch option, which pairs perfectly with their cacio de pepe eggs.

Credit: Prima Donna

Tatel Beverly Hills
Tatel Beverly Hills is serving up authentic bottomless sangria from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday and Sunday for $23. Sip and savor this refreshing Spanish libation while soaking up the elegant ambiance of Tatel’s chic Beverly Hills location. With its upscale vibe and irresistible flavors, Tatel promises a brunch experience that’s both sophisticated and satisfying. The foot-long Jamon & Manchego sandwich compliments the wine effortlessly.

Credit: Patel Beverly Hills

 

The Beverly Bar
Sometimes you just have to add a little razzle-dazzle to your outings in order to impress friends, strangers, or only yourself! Beverly Bar is able to help do just that with their new Bar Menu and $49 Mr. Beverly’s Martini! This one-of-a-kind martini is made with saffron infused Grey Goose and 24k gold. Perfect for those glitzy brunches, right?

Indulge in the extraordinary by starting your brunch experience with the mouthwatering chocolate hazelnut waffles. Made from scratch using only the finest ingredients, these delectable waffles are drizzled with rich chocolate sauce and topped with a generous serving of hazelnuts. It’s a heavenly treat that is guaranteed to make your taste buds dance with joy.

Photo Credit: Beverly Bar

The one-year-old restaurant’s new brunch menu promises to be a culinary experience like no other. Whether you’re looking for something sweet or savory, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Beverly Bar’s Brunch is available from 11:30 am – 3 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations can be made on Resy and walk-ins are welcomed.

 

Cutwater’s Tasting Room: Agave Season Experience: May 16, May 23

If you’re looking to up your booze game ahead of summer, Cutwater’s got just the activity for you to hone in on your bartending skills.

Credit: Cutwater

Cutwater Tequila Cocktail Class ($35)
Join Beverage Ambassador Laura Price as she teaches you how to perfect a classic Margarita, and guides you through how you can then personalize it to your own taste. Inclusive of specialty cocktails, education, tasting, and Cantarito Cutwater mug. Enroll here.

Cutwater Mezcal Cocktail Class ($35)
Join Cutwater Bartender Hayley Wilcox, as she guides you through how to create a signature Cutwater Mezcal cocktail. Inclusive of specialty cocktails, education, tasting, and Cantarito Cutwater mug. Sign up for this lesson here.

 

Archer Pilates’ New Class Combining Pickleball and Pilates: Tuesdays @ 1:30 pm

Summer is coming and getting your body right is about to become a little easier. In a city where fitness trends emerge as quickly as the setting sun, Archer Pilates is leading the charge by merging two of LA’s most popular activities into one dynamic class. Taking place each Tuesday at 1:30 pm, Archer Pilates’ exclusive “Pilates for Pickleballers” reformer class offers one-on-one training with an instructor to enhance the performance and longevity of pickleball enthusiasts through specialized stretching, alignment, and strength training.

“Pilates and pickleball go hand-in-hand,” says Melanie Archer, certified Pilates instructor and owner of Archer Pilates. “As an avid pickleball enthusiast myself, I have tailored this new class to specifically complement pickleball players’ training and injury prevention routines.”

Unlike the typical multi-chain Pilates studios that dot the Los Angeles landscape, Archer Pilates prides itself on its private ownership and expert management, promising a unique, personalized fitness journey. Their new offering taps into the growing trend of pickleball, combining it with the transformative power of Pilates. This class is designed to help athletes of all levels improve their game by focusing on core strength, flexibility, and overall physical alignment — essential components for mastering the sport of pickleball.

Tighten up your pickleball game each Tuesday at 1:30pm with the expert instructors at Archer Pilates. Experience firsthand why combining Pilates with pickleball is not just a workout — it’s a transformative practice that heals, tones, and strengthens one client at a time.

 

FREE PickleBall Clinics, Courtesy of Nature Made and Pickle Pop

Nature Made is hosting FREE pickleball clinics throughout the month of May to spread the love of pickleball to people of all ages in LA!

Nature Made is partnering with Pickle Pop, a fun facility on the Santa Monica Promenade to teach you to play America’s fastest-growing sport! You also may go home with FREE products! As the Official Vitamin of USA Pickleball, Nature Made aims to provide simple ways for consumers to support their everyday wellness journeys- through pickleball and taking vitamins!

FREE Clinic dates/times available:

Sat 5/4 10am – 12pm
Sat 5/11 10am – 12pm
Sat 5/25 10am – 12pm
Sat 6/1 10am – 12pm

Sign up, here. For additional details, visit NatureMade.com.

 

Pick Up a Bowlero Season Pass

Maybe Pickleball is a bit too involved for your activity requirements. If so, bowling is also on the table! Bowlero is offering a summer season pass this year. Guests can choose between the basic and premium pass offerings outlined below. Plus, save 10% with pre-sale purchases made before May 15th. Passes can be purchased here.
  1. Basic Summer Season Pass: Includes 2 games of bowling and shoe rental per day. Valid only at the center of purchase.
  2. Premium Summer Season Pass: Includes 2 games of bowling and shoe rental per day, a $5 Arcade Card reload per day, 15% off food and beverage per transaction, and use at any participating center.

Learn more about Bowlero’s season passes here.

 

Join Alicia Silverstone at Westfield Topanga for Top Sustainability Tips: May 18 @ 3 pm

On Saturday, May 18, at 3pm, head to Westfield Topanga to catch a talk with Clueless star Alicia Silverstone as she dives into integrating sustainable practices into your daily life, consumption, healthy habits, shopping routine & much more. Stop by and join the ultimate shopping icon to revisit 90s mall culture and get a chance to ask her questions – whether you’re looking for Cher-esque fashion advice or tips on being more green!

From fashion and beauty to protecting the planet, Alicia is on a journey to share her expertise and constant learning to create a more sustainable future. VIP ticket sales ($25) will be donated to RE-volv to support clean energy, or you can reserve General Admission for free, here! The event is a part of Westfield’s Good Festival – the annual event taking place across Westfield Centers that brings together retailers, partner brands, and local stakeholders who are making positive steps towards the environment.

 

Garfield Movie Mural x Popchips: May 3 – May 26

Starting May 3 and leading up to the premiere of The Garfield Movie, Angelenos can get in on the fun by viewing the larger-than-life orange Popchips wall located at 8201 Melrose Ave in Los Angeles. The bold mural wall features a hungry Garfield with a knife and fork peering over a colossal Popchips Nacho bag, ready to dig in. Orange paw prints on the sidewalk lead viewers to the purr-fect spot to strike a pose alongside the mural.

Credit: Popchips / fmarin

Plus, don’t miss out on LTO Nacho Popchips, swag, and more, courtesy of the Popchips street team on May 4, 5, 11, and 12! For an extra treat, scan the QR code on the mural to transport into the Popchips chip bag to become Garfield’s favorite snack via an augmented reality filter on Instagram.

The Popchips x Garfield mural will be live from 5/3 – 5/26.

 

PRIDE & Travel

Pride Month Deals from Hotels Across the U.S. and Mexico

Culver City: The Shay Hotel
The Shay invites guests to celebrate pride during the month of June. Guests will receive 15% off their stay when they use the code PRIDE on the website when booking between now through the end of June. Enjoy the laid-back poolside ambiance overlooking the city at Canopy Club or savor culinary delights downstairs at the newly opened Prima Donna. Adjacent to Ivy Station, this transit-oriented development offers additional dining and shopping options in a vibrant urban oasis–only 7 miles away from the beach. Strategically located, The Shay provides effortless access to Culver City’s dynamic cultural scene. Explore local art galleries, indulge in vibrant nightlife, and take leisurely strolls through the contemporary neighborhood. With Ivy Station’s transit hub, Culver City becomes a perfect walkable haven, eliminating the need for a car and ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable Spring Break experience in the heart of this dynamic urban landscape. For booking, visit here.

Credit: The Shay Hotel

WeHo: Andaz West Hollywood
With it’s robust LGBTQ+ community, West Hollywood is known as the heart of Pride celebrations in Los Angeles and as the first hotel on the iconic Sunset Strip, Andaz West Hollywood will be celebrating all month long! From May 30th to June 30th, Andaz West Hollywood will have a bookable Pride Package with complimentary welcome drinks, access to Pride-themed pool parties on the hotel’s rooftop pool, late check out and up to two drink tickets (one per guest). Additionally, during West Hollywood Pride Weekend May 31st to June 2nd and Los Angeles Pride Weekend from June 7th to June 9th, the hotel will have a rainbow cake for sale at its Riot House Restaurant and an Absolut Vodka Pride drink and dessert available for purchase. Guests looking to celebrate can do so without even having to leave the property. On West Hollywood Pride weekend, Andaz West Hollywood will be hosting a Pride Happy Hour at Riot House Restaurant from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on May 31st and a Rooftop Pool Party on June 1st. On Los Angeles Pride weekend, the hotel will be hosting a Master Beat Party with DJ Jace M on June 8th and a Reverb DayClub Pool Party with sounds by DJ Matt Suave on June 9th. For booking, visit here.

Credit: Andaz West Hollywood

San Francisco: Hyatt Regency San Francisco
San Francisco’s Pride Parade is known for its massive celebration of love, equality, and expression. This year, Grammy, Emmy, and two-time Tony Award winner Billy Porter will be hosting the festivities that are set to take place on June 30. For those looking to stay waterside in the iconic Embarcadero District where the parade starts and partake in the exciting season, Hyatt Regency San Francisco will be providing 10% off room bookings for the month of June with the code PRIDE. With its newly launched happy hour and the recently announced rotation of the property’s Regency Club for World of Hyatt members and guests who book the Regency Club package, there is no better place to celebrate love in the city than at Hyatt Regency San Francisco.  For booking, visit here.

Credit: Hyatt Regency San Francisco

Chicago: Hotel Zachary
Celebrate Pride Month at Alma, nestled within Chicago’s Hotel Zachary, with their exclusive Pride cocktail, the “Stonewall Sour.” Crafted with bourbon, fresh orange juice, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white, garnished with Tiki Bitters, this delightful concoction is served in a stylish coup glass for $16. Throughout June, 25% of the proceeds from each Stonewall Sour will be donated to Center on Halsted, supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Alma, now boasting enhanced seating, a dedicated DJ booth, and modern décor beckons guests into its inviting space reminiscent of Chicago’s golden era. With its Terrace offering unparalleled views of Wrigley Field and Gallagher Way, Alma provides the perfect setting to celebrate pride, enjoy refreshing libations, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of Lakeview. For an even more immersive experience, consider opting for an overnight stay at Hotel Zachary, conveniently located steps away from the Chicago Pride Festival. Book a reservation at Alma here and a stay at Hotel Zachary here.

Credit: Hotel Zachary

Atlanta: Grand Hyatt Atlanta
Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead celebrates Pride this June and beyond by offering guests a special offer. Guests will receive 20% off their stay when they use the code PRIDE when used on the website to book. Making Grand Hyatt Atlanta the perfect place to book while enjoying Pride in Atlanta. Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead is at the heart of the neighborhood and situated closet the best restaurants and shopping in the city to enjoy the start of the summer and Pride month. The hotel is home to 439 plush luxury guest rooms and 21 suites, with two fine dining restaurants, room-service, a coffee bar, an outdoor pool and peaceful Japanese Zen Garden to enjoy during your stay. For booking, visit here.

Credit: Grand Hyatt Atlanta

Mexico: Fairmont Mayakoba – Riviera Maya  

What better way to celebrate Pride month than in the lush, gated community of Mayakoba in Riviera Maya. Fairmont Mayakoba, a AAA Five Diamond resort set on 45 acres within a private, luxury community, is throwing an exclusive Pride in Paradise party on Saturday, June 15, featuring performances by Turbulence and Burrita Burrona, two iconic drag queens from Mexico. The resort will offer special Pride month amenities for guests to enjoy, along with this unique beachfront celebration. Check out their All-Inclusive Package for the best value and convenience with unlimited dining and premium beverage services throughout the property for a Pride getaway unlike any other. Even more, Fairmont Mayakoba’s Pride festivities can be enjoyed by the whole family, with special summer programming for kids to enjoy while adults celebrate love and inclusivity in paradise. For booking, visit here.

Credit: Fairmont Mayakoba

 

Rosewood Sand Hill

Perfectly timed to the Spring and Summer, Rosewood Sand Hill has launched both their Cycling Concierge Program and Summer Pool Menu in partnership with award-winning Chef, Ravi Kapur. Check out what’s in store below:

Summer Pool Menu
In partnership with award-winning Chef, Ravi Kapur, Rosewood Sand Hill has launched the resort’s highly anticipated summer poolside menu, available exclusively at the property’s pool from April until October. A nod to the hotel’s sister property, Kona Village, A Rosewood Resort, the pool menu will offer Hawaiian-inspired fare accompanied by a selection of refreshing signature cocktails, both crafted by Ravi himself.

Drawing from Ravi’s Hawaiian heritage and the property’s sustainable culinary ethos, the poolside menu will feature a variety of mouthwatering dishes including hiramasa ceviche, coconut turmeric crispy chicken bites, crushed avocado, and chili crisp dip all complemented by refreshing cocktails with highlights such as the Pickled Mango Margarita and the Lihing Paloma.

Cycling Concierge Program
The property has also launched their Cycling Concierge program, designed to immerse guests into the destination’s well known cycling routes. Tapping into the expertise of cycling enthusiast and Managing Director, Philip Meyer, the Cycling Concierge program offers guests both personalized route planning, local insights on scenic locales and expert recommendations for hidden gems along the way, coupled with bike rental information, local bike shop recommendations, secret water stops, an on-site mobile bike service option, local group ride insights and nutrition advice from the property’s Culinary Director, Chef Seamus Mullen.

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Meet MON AMI: A 1-Year Old Mediterranean Treasure Trove in Santa Monica

Meet MON AMI: A 1-Year Old Mediterranean Treasure Trove in Santa Monica

Los Angeles has its sights, sounds, and tastes with so many top locations and scenes to choose from peppered across the region. However, there is one fairly recent addition located near one of the most famous icons of this sprawling city, and it happens to be a thriving venue for Mediterranean classics, favorites, and unique twists.

MON AMI just celebrated their 1st-year anniversary, complete with a special event on Cinco de Mayo to toast their first year of memories. Nestled along the picturesque Ocean Avenue strip in Santa Monica, MON AMI presents a captivating fusion of Mediterranean flavors and ambiance. Stepping through its doors, guests are greeted with the French phrase “mon ami,” setting the tone for an enchanting journey reminiscent of the cobblestone streets and sun-kissed beaches of the Mediterranean region.

Under the guidance of Nas Negahban from Pacific Coast Group (PCG), a seasoned traveler with a passion for authentic culinary experiences, MON AMI strives to mirror the richness of Mediterranean cultures in every aspect. Born and raised in Santa Monica, Nas is committed to elevating his hometown’s hospitality scene to reflect the sophistication of beachside cities he has encountered abroad. This is present in every aspect of MON AMI’s ambiance, from its lush indoor-outdoor seating surrounded by greenery, to its late-night live entertainment and picture-perfect cocktails. MON AMI is meticulously curated to enchant and immerse guests.

Speaking on his inspiration and MON AMI’s concept, Nas explains, “I’ve always had a passion for building new concepts and brands across various industries. We currently have a few restaurants in Spain and other countries but Santa Monica is home. If you go to any other city in the world or even just the United States, the epicenter of hospitality is by the water – PCH Group’s goal is to do the same with Santa Monica here in Los Angeles.”

In addition to its ambiance and mesmerizing live entertainment, the culinary escape offers impeccable cocktails and dishes from its kitchen helmed by Chef Daniel Ulrich. The kitchen sources fresh, local ingredients from farmers’ markets to infuse traditional Mediterranean recipes with a touch of California flair. Chef Daniel, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, credits Wally’s Beverly Hills for his experience, and his dedication to understanding the cultural and geographical significance of each ingredient ensures an authentic culinary experience.

Guests are encouraged to begin their meal with a customizable mezze platter, a modern take on charcuterie featuring options like Prosciutto Wrapped Tomatoes and Whipped Feta with house-made flatbread. For mains, dishes like the 7 Spice Jidori Chicken and saffron-infused Lobster pasta offer generous portions meant for sharing, while being irresistible enough to enjoy solo. Complementing the culinary offerings, MON AMI’s experienced bartending team crafts cocktails that are nothing short of extraordinary. Each drink is a carefully balanced masterpiece, showcasing innovative combinations and premium ingredients. From the refreshing El Rey to the intriguing Caprese-inspired concoction, MON AMI’s cocktail menu promises an unforgettable experience for discerning palates.

You’re Invited: First Class Dinner Series

With Mother’s Day around the corner, MON AMI makes a great destination, and if you’re one to beat the crowds – or wait until they’ve left – MON AMI is always looking at ways to up the ante and immerse its guests with unforgettable and unique culinary immersions. On Sunday, May 12, MON AMI will hold a Mother’s Day pop-up brunch, making it a hot destination to deliver only the best for mom.

Then, on Friday, May 17, guests can enjoy the beginning of MON AMI’s new First Class Dinner series with a “visit” to Barcelona. The evening will star a four-course Spanish meal with two curated cocktails, live Catalan music, and Flamenco dancers, while guests can frequent Jamon and Sangria stations. And to make the experience all the more memorable, guests will leave with a “passport” to commemorate their “trip.”

Credit: MON AMI

Providing some background on the idea behind the First Class Series and future occasions, Nas hints, “We are doing some pretty cool activations and partnerships for the Summer that we are very excited about. We are also launching our First Class Series – which is an immersive, experiential dining experience that I’ve only really seen in Europe. We think this will bring a lot of eyes and allure to Mon Ami this summer.”  This surely makes it an exciting time to stop in, whether you’re a local, or just visiting from out of town!

With its evocative ambiance, delectable cuisine, and exceptional hospitality, MON AMI invites guests to embark on a sensory voyage through the Mediterranean without ever leaving the magnetic shores of Santa Monica. Learn more about MON AMI here, and book reservations at Resy. Follow MON AMI on Instagram, here.

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ICONIC WINE TASTING SERIES RETURNS TO BARNSDALL PARK FOR SUMMER

ICONIC WINE TASTING SERIES RETURNS TO BARNSDALL PARK FOR SUMMER

The Highly Anticipated, Quintessential LA Event Kicks Off on May 31

Barnsdall Art Park Foundation is excited to announce the return of its popular fundraiser, Barnsdall Fridays Wine Tasting, which after a hiatus since 2019, is back in full swing for 2024. The event, which has always attracted sell-out crowds, takes place on the West Lawn of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, Los Angeles’ only UNESCO World Heritage site, every Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day (May 31 to August 30) from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm. The opening event is already selling out quickly, and guests are encouraged to bring blankets for maximum comfort!

Marking its 15th season, the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation’s signature fundraising event supports the Park, its arts programing and landscaping, which includes the recent restoration of the historic Olive Grove, which dates back to the 1890s. With green spaces being more important than ever, Barnsdall Park welcomes all Angelenos to the Park. For wine tastings, the gated area on the West Lawn will be designated to those 21 years and older to sip wine, picnic, enjoy panoramic views, and watch the sunset for another not-to-be-missed season at this iconic cultural destination, which features Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, a world-class art gallery, art center, and theater on its campus.

Ongoing partner Silverlake Wine will curate their fine selection of boutique artisanal wines and rotating food trucks will be on offer from popular LA haunts, including Triple Beam Pizza and Ardi’s Eats & Sweets. Popular DJs will feature over the course of the series, including DJ edma2z and Dougee Dimensional, a founding member and vocalist of electronic lounge group, The Gentle People. Through July 20, guests can also visit the COLA exhibition on view at DCA’s Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG), which is the culminating presentation of the recipients of the City of Los Angeles Independent Master Artist Project grant program for visual arts and design.

As part of the series, a limited number of tours of the interior of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House will be available for a premium ticket price throughout the evening.

Guests who book the tours will get to view Ravi GuneWardena: Ikebana for Hollyhock House. The installation, which runs through fall, features striking new ikebana by GuneWardena, which reanimate the interiors of the Frank Lloyd Wright-described “garden house” through the Japanese art of flower arranging, further showcasing the influence of Japanese art and design on the site — built simultaneously with Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), in collaboration with the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation (BAPF) and the Los Angeles Parks Foundation (LAPF) recently installed showcase native plantings at Hollyhock House, which wine tasting guests will see onsite. The new native gardens designed by landscape-design studio TERREMOTO celebrate the beauty and sustainability of native plants, featuring nearly 500 native plants.

Wine-tasting tickets cost $45 and $70 with a guided tour of Hollyhock House. Designated Driver tickets available for $15 with entry only and wine tasting not included. Purchase tickets to be a part of this unforgettable comeback celebration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/barnsdall-art-park-foundation-presents-friday-night-wine-tasting-21-tickets-59078739099

The Park is located at 4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Parking is very limited; rideshare and public transportation are highly encouraged. Please tag us at #BarnsdallFridays.

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The Train to Las Vegas

The Train to Las Vegas

Excitement builds as Brightline prepares to revolutionize travel between Southern California and Las Vegas with its new high-speed train service. This innovative route promises to transform the way Southern Californians visit the Entertainment Capital of the World, offering a fast, comfortable, and efficient alternative to the traditional car or plane journey. Anticipated to launch in2028, this service will connect the bustling communities of Southern California directly to the heart of Las Vegas. It is estimated that it will take two hours to complete the trip.

Background on Brightline

Brightline, known for its successful high-speed rail services in Florida, is expanding its expertise to the West Coast. The company has made a name for itself by providing reliable, fast, and luxurious train services, significantly enhancing regional connectivity. With routes that seamlessly connect major cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, Brightline is now poised to bring its innovative travel solutions to Southern California, promising a similar level of comfort and efficiency.

Route Details

The planned route will start in Apple Valley, California, and make its way through the desert landscape, providing picturesque views before arriving in Las Vegas, Nevada. The project is currently in the advanced stages of planning, with construction starting last week. The completion of the route is eagerly anticipated by 2027, aiming to serve millions of passengers annually and offering a travel time of approximately two hours—significantly quicker than driving.

The railway project, dubbed Brightline West, will transport passengers the 218 miles between Rancho Cucamonga and Sin City in two hours, which is half (or one-third, depending on traffic) of the time it currently takes by car. The zero-emission, fully electric trains will be able to reach speeds of up to 200 mph and will travel mostly along the center median of Interstate Highway 15 (aka I-15).

Impact on Southern California

The introduction of the Brightline train is expected to have a substantial positive impact on Southern Californians. It will not only reduce the travel time to Las Vegas but also alleviate traffic congestion and decrease carbon emissions. Economically, the project will spur job creation in both construction and operational phases and boost tourism in both regions. This route is a game-changer for local economies, promising a new era of intercity travel that benefits both commuters and leisure travelers.

The upcoming Brightline train service to Las Vegas stands as a beacon of modern transportation, promising to enhance the way people travel between Southern California and Las Vegas. With its commitment to speed, comfort, and efficiency, Brightline is set to elevate the travel experience, providing an attractive alternative to the conventional options. Keep an eye on this exciting development, as it promises to make your future trips to Las Vegas faster and more enjoyable than ever before.

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Idyllwild Arts Presents Student Exhibition Reception

Idyllwild Arts Presents Student Exhibition Reception

on May 3 at Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery

Idyllwild Arts Academy debuts its spring 2024 off-site student exhibition with a reception on Friday, May 3. The students are excited to show their work once again to the desert audience in a reception that will be held at Melissa Morgan Fine Art Gallery (73-660 El Paseo, Palm Desert), a prestigious contemporary gallery, on Friday, May 3 from 4-7 p.m. At 6 p.m., songwriting students from Idyllwild Arts Academy will perform their original compositions at a free concert in the gallery’s sculpture garden down the block.

The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, will also be on view on Saturday, May 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will feature the year’s best visual works from the pioneering arts high school that has been changing lives through the transformative power of art for more than 70 years. With the popularity increasing over the years, the exhibition now takes up the main section of the gallery with an expanded breadth and quantity of art works than in year’s past.

With the extraordinary generosity of Melissa Morgan Fine Art, all of the artwork in the exhibition will be for sale, including a selection of unframed prints for buyers to take home, with 100% of the proceeds going to the artist and to the Visual Arts Department at Idyllwild Arts.

For more information: https://www.idyllwildartsgallery.org/2024-va-showcase

 

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This Week

This Week

Southern California has an exciting lineup of events scheduled for the week of April 22, 2024, offering something for everyone, from music and TV enthusiasts to foodies and outdoor adventurers.

  1. PaleyFest 2024 – Taking place at the Dolby Theatre from April 12-21, PaleyFest is a must for TV show fans, featuring panel discussions with the creators and cast members of popular shows like “The Morning Show”, “Loki”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, and more​ (Time Out Worldwide)​.
  2. Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – The iconic music festival continues in Indio through April 21. This year’s headliners include Lana Del Rey, Tyler the Creator, and Doja Cat, among others, offering a vibrant blend of musical performances​ (Discover Los Angeles)​.
  3. Masters of Taste – On April 7, head to the Rose Bowl Stadium for a gourmet experience with tastings from top chefs and restaurants, along with craft cocktails and local breweries. This event is ideal for food enthusiasts​ (Experism)​.
  4. L.A. Times Festival of Books – Taking place on April 20-21 at the University of Southern California, this festival is perfect for book lovers, featuring a large array of exhibitors, author readings, and panels​ (Time Out Worldwide)​.
  5. Renaissance Faire in Irwindale – Running until May 9, this event recreates a 1574 spring day with games, arts and crafts, music, and dance, complete with costumed performers and artisans​ (Daytrippen.com)​.
  6. Bob Baker Day – On April 21, the Los Angeles State Historic Park will host a celebration in honor of the late Bob Baker, featuring puppet performances and various crafts and activities for families​ (Time Out Worldwide)​.
  7. CicLAvia: Venice Blvd – On April 21, this event will transform parts of Venice Blvd into a car-free zone, promoting bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly activities and providing a unique way to experience the city​ (Time Out Worldwide)​.
  8. Pizza City Fest – Scheduled for April 27-28, this festival at L.A. Live celebrates all things pizza, with over 40 vendors, live dough demonstrations, and talks from pizza experts​ (Experism)​.
  9. Wildflowers & Wine – On April 7, enjoy wine tasting complemented by views of blooming wildflowers in Amador County, with live music and food experiences​ (Visit California)​.
  10. Team Taiko Drum Classes – These classes are part of a spring session teaching Taiko drumming, an energetic and impactful form of Japanese drumming, taking place at the Grand Annex at Grand Vision on April 23​ (Discover Los Angeles)​.
  11. The Boy Who Cried Wolf – This theatre production will be shown at the Lisa Smith Wengler Center For the Arts on April 23, offering a fresh take on the classic fable​ (Discover Los Angeles)​.
  12. Mr. Parker at Palm Springs Woman’s Club – Catch the play “Mr. Parker” on April 20 and 21 in Palm Springs, exploring themes of personal discovery and change​ (Palm Springs )​.
  13. Readings at Sunset ~ An Afternoon of Queer Poetry – Enjoy an afternoon of queer poetry at the Pieter Performance Space in Los Angeles on April 28. This event promises a serene environment where poets share their work with the community. https://www.pieterpasd.com/
  14. Countdown to Pride – As the Pride season approaches, participate in the “Countdown to Pride” event on April 27 at 6250 Hollywood Blvd. This event is set to build excitement and community spirit leading up to the larger Pride celebrations. https://lapride.org
  15. SECOND PUBERTY 6: TRASHY Y2K — A Trans-Led, Queer Y2K Party!!! – Also on April 28, experience a unique Y2K-themed party led by and celebrating the trans community at Little Joy Cocktails in Los Angeles. https://littlejoy.la/
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Andaz West Hollywood Announces New Solo Art Exhibit with Fernanda Lavera

Andaz West Hollywood Announces New Solo Art Exhibit with Fernanda Lavera

The highly anticipated art exhibition will showcase Lavera’s artworks from her collection called “I’m not a robot” from April 4 to June 28, 2024

Andaz West Hollywood, located on the legendary Sunset Strip, has partnered with Buenos-Aires-born, artist Fernanda Lavera to unveil her highly-anticipated solo art exhibition in Los Angeles. The visiting exhibition at the registered art gallery in Andaz West Hollywood is showcasing Lavera’s artworks from her acclaimed collection called “I’m not a robot,” over a three-month period from April 4 to June 28, 2024. On Thursday, April 18th, Andaz West Hollywood held a special launch party to celebrate the beginning of the exhibit, where Lavera attended and spoke to attendees. Those in attendance included media, influencers, artists, hotel guests, and the general public.

Credit: Chelsea Patricia

A natural fit for Andaz West Hollywood, known for its rich history as an eclectic gateway to West Hollywood, Lavera’s vibrant artworks are marked by eccentric shapes and vivid colors that draw on inspiration from Lavera’s daily life. The idea for the, “I’m not a robot,” collection was sparked when the artist encountered an obstacle attempting to log in to her computer, a system requesting verification of her humanity through a test involving identifying objects in images. “I’m at the computer filling out some online forms, and once again, a series of urban images and symbols appear on the screen, drawing my full attention: bicycles, traffic lights, signs, and signals that I have to accept. I’m not a robot,” states Lavera.

This experience ignited an internal protest within Lavera: “Why must I prove my humanity when I am unquestionably human and an artist?” As a result, “I’m not a robot,” is a series of four paintings that invite individuals to slow down despite living in a society filled with automatic consumption.

Distinct from her usual format which typically employs larger canvases, “I’m not a robot,”will showcase four smaller paintings presented collectively in the form of a puzzle. Utilizing resources such as pixelation, QR codes, puzzles, and verifications, the exhibition incorporates and blends these technological facets of modernity, forging the creation of a protest with space for amusement, engagement, and human connection. Whether viewed digitally or experienced in person, the art encourages audiences to connect with the artist on a human level and join this protest.

Credit: Chelsea Patricia

Lavera believes in pushing the boundaries that exist in the world. Unique and revolutionary, the artist emerges from the masses holding strong convictions, her brushes, and vision. Lavera communicates a message that will make individuals think and question themselves, leaving them wanting more.

Lavera’s exciting rise to fame began when Greg Schriefer and Clive Davis stumbled upon her work during their trip to Buenos Aires. Enamored by her artistic technique and message, both were deeply impressed, and Greg decided to take on the role of managing her career.

For more information about Andaz West Hollywood, please visit: www.andazwesthollywood.com. Andaz West Hollywood’s registered art gallery rotates quarterly, featuring the work of local and international artists. QR codes are displayed throughout the gallery with their respective art pieces for purchasing and browsing of artists’ other works.

About Andaz West Hollywood:

“With its iconic history as the first hotel on the Sunset Strip, Andaz West Hollywood offers guests the rare opportunity to trace the footsteps of a long list of legendary rockers who frequented the property throughout the 60s and 70s and earned it the nickname “Riot House,” including The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, The Doors and more. The historic property experienced past lives as Hyatt on Sunset and Hyatt West Hollywood, before rebranding as Andaz West Hollywood in Hyatt’s boutique lifestyle collection in 2009. The modernized hotel features 240 stylish guest rooms including 21 suites with chic aesthetics, coveted views of the Hollywood Hills and Sunset Boulevard, a rotating art gallery exhibition, and the highest rooftop pool in Los Angeles. An eclectic and fashionable destination, Andaz West Hollywood provides the ultimate LA experience with elevated comforts and amenities for guests to unleash their inner celebrity and indulge like no one, or everyone, is watching.”

Nestled at the heart of the renowned Sunset Strip, Andaz West Hollywood epitomizes the vibrant spirit of WeHo, alongside its acclaimed neighbors, like The Comedy Store and iconic Saddle Ranch Chop House. Its prime location in West Hollywood makes exploring the area on foot a breeze, with the hotel itself offering exceptional accommodations and top-notch hospitality. In addition, its proximity to both Bob Hope Airport (BUR) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) makes travel convenient, with BUR just 10 miles away and LAX only 16 miles away.

The hotel features a recently-renovated rooftop pool features a pool bar, glamorous views, private cabanas, day beds, and lounge chairs – all available to hotel guests and non-hotel guests via a reservation.

About Fernanda Lavera:

Fernanda Lavera is a Buenos Aires-based contemporary artist. At a young age, she discovered her fascination for art and painting through an aunt and has since had a passion for sketching and textures. Neo-expressionist art is notorious in Lavera’s monumental and vibrant artworks. From each, eccentric shapes and vivid colors of contrasting expressions escape, providing a glimpse into her unconscious imagination. Lavera’s art includes symbols, objects, and everyday forms that align closely with the style of Pop Art. Psychedelic cartoons, rabid cats, race cars, tables, and blurred faces, are some of the heterogeneous elements that are presented. For further information, visit laverart.com.

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A Spring Dining Destination to Savor: White Elephant

A Spring Dining Destination to Savor: White Elephant

Traveling may not be friendly on the wallet these days, but food is always a great way to take your tongue on an international adventure. If you’re looking for an escape this Spring, White Elephant is calling your name.
This modern Thai concept is serving up traditional and globally-inspired cuisine, and conveniently located in two SoCal areas: Downtown Los Angeles and Anaheim, at the infamous Anaheim Packing House.

Credit: Jasveer Sidhu

If you’re unfamiliar, White Elephant (@whiteelephant_thai) is a family-owned restaurant specializing in elevated, yet approachable Thai dishes with fresh twists. Whether you’re a classic Thai food enthusiast or seeking something new, White Elephant’s menu is packed with offerings that will satisfy every craving, while enticing you to come back again and again.
Some menu highlights include:
  • Delectable Salmon Belly Tartare and Basil Chicken Wings.
  • Timeless Thai staples like Pad Thai, Thai Fried Rice, and Tom Kha.
  • New flavors in White Elephant’s signature dishes like the Crispy Branzino, Imperial Crab Curry, and Braised A5 Panang or the customizable contemporary platters including the Crying Tiger Steak, Honey Pork Belly and Coconut Milk Fried Chicken.
With two locations in Southern California, White Elephant’s menu remains true to Thailand roots while also featuring ingredients and recipes influenced by the region, such as seafood, plant-based ingredients, and alternative meats. This allows diners to feel right at home in a warm and lively atmosphere while exploring authentic Thai fare.

A Special Earth Day Celebration

In addition to being an exceptional experience any day of the year, White Elephant is making Earth Day week, even more spectacular with a special menu!

 

This limited-time menu highlights plant-based offerings and alternative meat choices for the week of Earth Day (4/21 – 4/27). Additionally, all food waste from the week will also be donated to LA Compost to help local ecosystems thrive.

 

The briefly available menu includes:

  • Basil Puffy Tofu, with marinated tofu, miso tofu cream, fried garlic, crispy basil, and sweet and spicy sauce
  • Roasted Miso Cabbage, with miso tofu cream, miso honey glaze, Chunk shreds, crispy onions, and chives.

And light menu items offer a mix of seafood and chicken paired with fresh vegetables including:

  • Salmon Belly Tartare
  • Papaya Salad
  • Pad Thai Seafood
  • Turmeric Grilled Chicken
  • and Chilean Seabass.
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A New Restaurant Pops Up at The Shay: Meet Prima Donna

A New Restaurant Pops Up at The Shay: Meet Prima Donna

Cowritten by Anthony C. Stafford

Last year, we covered our experience after an overnight stay at The Shay Hotel. During that time, we had a complete blast seeing the uniqueness that makes The Shay what it is: a platform and incubator for small and local businesses and artists, while also a thriving scene for guests to stay in comfort, style, and excitement. In addition, we highlighted a restaurant that helped put the cherry on top of our stay — though that restaurant has closed and an entirely new concept has sprung up in its place!

Credit: The Shay Hotel

We recently had the opportunity to revisit the hotel, and were introduced to the newest restaurant to grace the ground floor of The Shay: Prima Donna.

Familiar, Yet Fresh: Prima Donna

Prima Donna is in many ways a sigh of relief, and in other ways, an exciting addition to look forward to.

Officially opened in January of this year, Prima Donna is an elevated Italian restaurant, featuring everything from pizzas to pastas cooked in the iconic hearth and brick oven that so many recognize. They also recently began live music on Friday nights, making the evening atmosphere that much more energetic and memorable.

We were surprised to find familiarity in Prima Donna, with the overall experience being upbeat, lively, and playful. We recognized some of the same friendly faces that graced the previous establishment returned at Prima Donna — like the impressionable Kelly, who knows the dishes inside and out while giving the best descriptions of them. We learned that The Shay helped take care of the team after the previous restaurant’s departure, which smoothly transition them into this new chapter with Prima Donna. The crowds flocked in soon after the restaurant opened, proving that the love lives on.

Prima Donna Menu

If you’re comparing Prima Donna to what existed before, don’t. Instead, think about your favorite Italian dishes, and how they can possibly be any better. The Prima Donna team came in with their own vision and you can rest assured that you’re in for a familiar, yet new and elevated experience with many options to look forward to. For example, Prima Donna’s lamb meatballs with garlic bread rang bells in our memories, but packed an incredible punch – a reminder that this is a new restaurant with its own identity. The crispy-soft garlic bread stood out on its own, decorated with mouthwatering flakes of salt and the pungent burst of buttery garlic flavor. It deserved to be its own plate and still paired perfectly with the tender and juicy lamb meatballs wading in tomato sauce.

We chowed through Grilled Prawns bathed in fennel pollen, burnt lemon, and a subtle smoky oil, a White Lotus Pizza (fennel sausage, white sauce, caciocavallo, crispy potato, and red onion), and Rigatoni Pasta as the heavier selections for the evening. And a notable mention we just couldn’t get enough of remains the Crispy Brussels, complete with farro and sitting delicately atop a cloud of lemon-yogurt bagna cauda and golden raisins. Finally, the Lemon Pistachio Cake and Magic Sundae were both incredible. Tangy, lemony sweetness of cake alongside the smooth, creamy and crunchy sundae made for a perfect ending to our evening.

According to Mosaic, Prima Donna will be around until at least June 2024, but given the popularity and immediate embrace from the community, they’ll likely and hopefully be around for years to come.

Comfort, Style, and Excitement: The Shay

In regard to The Shay itself, not much has changed, as it continues to lift its small business community up high and periodically hosts events of all types for these businesses and artists to gain exposure. This time around, there were no events during our visit, but still ongoing support of the community, with the lobby’s Gallery Shop bursting with products just waiting to be bought. From shirts and dresses, to spa goods and essentials, there’s almost no stone unturned when it comes to what you can expect to find at The Shay’s Gallery Shop. In fact, it beckons you to come back from time to time to see what’s new in stock.

Next up, rather than a room with a view of the Hollywood Sign and DTLA, we enjoyed a larger space thanks to a private and spacious patio on the inward-facing side of the building. This allowed for fresh, cool air during the night hours, and even a space to sit out for a drink, a book, or editing. But even then, you’ve got the rooftop where the pool and Canopy Club await for unique views, more irresistible dishes and cocktails, and exclusive lounging.

We can’t recommend The Shay enough, as it lies in the heart of Culver City’s Arts District with more than enough going on to never get bored. Plentiful shopping, nightlife, fine dining, and small business & local artist support all in one place gives the hotel an advantage that others should be hungry for. Having the opportunity to visit The Shay once again feels like a return to home. Some things have changed, but enough has stayed the same, even with the addition of Prima Donna. It’s nice to not feel like a stranger and know that you can count on consistency from The Shay Hotel.

Read our previous coverage of The Shay Hotel and their Mercado y Más event, here.

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