Monday, December 5, 2016

And Where Do You “Where To?”: Singer & Songwriter CymcoLé

I absolutely love discovering amazing new artists and this past Sunday, I had the pleasure to meet one talented lady in particular who you should definitely keep on your radar, CymcoLé.

Pronounced sem-cole-LAY, this 19-year-old singer and songwriter is making waves with a strong, clear voice and a smooth, silky sound that’s reminiscent of New Age R&B — think Drake, The Weeknd, Sevyn Streeter. Recently, she’s been the opening act on Marc E. Bassy’s Groovy People Tour, a three-week, 18-stop national trek that wraps with its last two shows in Cali later this week.

With a brief break from being on the road, CymcoLé and her team hosted The Shdws Brunch at Spear Steak and Seafood in downtown L.A. over the weekend to celebrate the upcoming release of her Shdws EP. A group of us, including peeps from The Jasmine Brand, Universal Pictures and Live Nation, packed into a private room to having inspiring conversations with one another, chow down on some spectacular breakfast goodies (including Ricotta-stuffed French Toast and Blueberry Pancakes!), and of course, to hear more from CymcoLé herself.

Dressed unassumingly in a black-and-white Aaliyah shirt, ripped jeans and a black choker and a gold chain, she was like an open book, sharing everything from how she co-wrote all of EP’s songs to how she’s been able to truly find herself onstage during the tour. 

One detail in particular that stood out was how close she was to her family. She jokingly coined her father — who just happens to be former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin — as a “dad-ager” and her sister is also her make-up stylist and creative director. And, it looks like she might not be the only musical one in her fam; she mentioned that her brother Shane Larkin who plays pro ball overseas may also be looking to get into the music industry, some time down the road, too.

But hands down, the best part of the day was getting a chance to hear six out of the eight songs off her upcoming EP. “Fix It” was my fave, featuring a catchy, subtly sexy Caribbean vibe. “Gun Play” was a close runner-up, boasting a swagged out, R&B feel. We saw two music videos with two very different vibes as well. The video for “Bombs Away,” which has already been released, shows CymcoLé fiercely dancing in an industrial warehouse while “Shdws” is a somberly sweet ballad set to beautiful black-and-white nature scenes.

The day concluded with a glimpse at her Tour Diary video, a surprise champagne toast and everyone receiving gift backs with some Shdws swag.

CymcoLé’s Shdws EP will drop in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, you can check out a few of her songs on SoundCloud.

Here are a few more links where you can find more info on her as well!

First photo credit:

Monday, November 28, 2016

Each year around the Thanksgiving holiday, I feature fellow bloggers, creatives and trailblazers who share the places that they're thankful for in the city, whether it's a restaurant, a swanky lounge or a hole-in-the-wall dive bar. 

For 2016, I reached out to three phenomenal ladies living in L.A. -- author Kia Smith, actor Michelle Mink and blogger / music label exec Tina Singleton -- to find out their top recommendations of where we all need to head to next.

Check their responses out below! 

"I love the Savoy Entertainment Center in Inglewood, CA! It never let's me down. I love how they show the games during football and basketball season yet can have hip hop or reggae to dance the night away on the weekends. Taco Tuesday has the best food and drink specials and different celebrities come to display their talent on the main stage. It offers inside and outside space and the opportunity to have the best time of your life."

- Kia Smith

"I highly recommend Yamashiro Hollywood in Hollywood, CA. This restauraunt provides a spectacular view of Los Angeles. The food is great. From appetizers to the entrees and desserts every course is worth ordering. Whether you are sightseeing or just spending a day out on the town, make time for this incredible place."

- Michelle Mink

"My favorite place to have a cocktail and relax is "The Social" located at 23329 Lyons Ave, Santa Clarita, CA 91355. This restaurant/bar is tucked away in a strip mall but it boasts over 100 different martinis.  The best bartender is Ashley."

- Tina Singleton

Monday, November 14, 2016

Where to Eat: A Southern Soul Food Breakfast @ The Flavor Table

The Eats: Large portions of hearty soul food breakfast favorites like Smothered Porkchops and Grits

The Location: South Los Angeles

The Vibes: Down-to-earth, chill

Good for: Couples, families, small groups

When-To-Go: Daily, 6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (closed Mondays)

The $$ Factor:
Entrees, $13 – $17

The Names behind the scenes: Chef / Restaurateur Marilyn “RED” Wallace

The 4-1-1: Reservations aren’t accepted; walk-ins only

Parking Situation: Free nearby street parking

I’ll Be Back…: For the Peach Cobbler French Toast!

The wait for a table may sometimes be excruciatingly long and mimosas may not be in tow, but The Flavor Table still has a southern soul food breakfast that’s totally worth your patronage.

Popular Southern and American dishes — like omelets and the Smothered Pork Chops and Grits pictured below — are scrumptious and massively proportioned. And I do mean massive (I was chomping on these pork chops literally for the next three days).

The menu itself is broken down into four sections:
  1. Breakfast combinations: A selection of meats like turkey sausage patty or Louisiana hot links with two eggs, a biscuit and grits or country potatoes. 
  2. Omelets: Omelets with an array of veggies, seafood and meat fillings, with a biscuit and grits or country potatoes. 
  3. The Crossover…A Southern Flair: Either Smothered Pork Chops, Short Ribs or Shrimp, all served with grits.
  4. Delights: Sweeter options, like the Peach Cobbler French Toast, pictured below. This choice in particular includes four sizeable half slices of French Toast bathed in powdered sugar along with sweet, warm cinnamon peaches and smooth whipped cream. 

To note: It’s so hard to decide which is better — grits or the country potatoes — so save yourself the hassle, and order a side of each.

Almost all meals start off with amazing warm biscuits, complete with honey, butter and jams. They’re so fluffy! 

One of the most popular entrees is the Shrimp & Grits. It comes with a generous portion of sautéed shrimps, drenched in a thick étouffée, all topped with colorful bell peppers and chives.

Also, you can’t go wrong with the Fried Catfish Breakfast Combination, which has heaping amounts of both country potatoes and golden fried catfish. Seasoned well, the catfish is flaky on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside.

Lastly, an honorable mention must go to the beverages. The Lemonade is so sweet and sugary, and the Sweet Tea makes you feel like you’re down South. There’s also a drink called the Sunrise with Passion, pictured below. It’s a mixture of passion fruit and orange juices, with frozen cranberry juice at the bottom, which eventually floats up to the top. Hence the name, Sunrise. 

And while The Flavor Table doesn’t serve alcoholic libations, I was advised by staff that you can still bring in your own alcohol.

So the next time you’re looking for a really, really filling breakfast in a casual, chill environment, head over to The Flavor Table. See you there soon!

For more information: