Friday, May 28, 2010

Where to Drink: Extended Happy Hour Bliss @ The Well

The Well could serve squid ink cosmopolitans, and it would still be one of my favorite watering holes. My irrational and blind loyalty to this Hollywood hideout stems from a love story: a good friend of mine actually met her future husband here one random night. And seven years later, I’m watching these two love birds live out the quintessential American dream, with a dog, a cute kid, an SUV and a white-picket fenced house in the Valley.

Romantic notions of finding my own personal Romeo may have propelled me into The Well, but the cheap, potent cocktails have summoned me back again and again. I love stopping by during the daily 5-9 p.m. happy hour when well drinks, house wines and delightful martinis are only $4. Ever so often, I’ll even splurge and order one of the specialty cocktails – like the $5 mango martini. With so many nearby establishments shamelessly charging $12 for cocktail, I look forward to spending less than ten bucks for two tasty drinks.

I’m also a fan of The Well’s ambiance: it’s chill, it’s relaxed, it’s modestly hip. In fact, reminds me of a cross between a cozy lounge and a down-to-earth dive bar, with dim lighting, sleek black booths and intimate hide-ways. This windowless, square-shaped bar is a welcomed relief to the surrounding saturation of overpriced, cookie-cutter, touristy traps that clutter the blocks of Tinseltown.

I’ve seen The Well in the afternoon, just before the crowds filter in and I’ve seen it when it’s been packed on Friday nights. I’ve seen love connections made here and really hot men in flannel shirts. But, the real question at hand is…will I see you there soon? Hope so!

Pictured below: The $5 Mango Martini: think less fruity, more alcoholic

Pictured below: Darkly handsome and rich in varying shades of browns…is how I’d describe The Well’s décor

Pictured below: Appetizers are competitively priced during happy hour as well, like this $5 basket of French fries.
Pictured below: Don’t forget to make a request on the jukebox! Tucked away in a corner by the entrance, it’s almost easy to overlook, but there’s a killer selection of songs from the 50s to present.
For More Information:
The Well  

1536 Argyle Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Where to be Merry: Networking @ Urbane Renewal Mixer

Give me an extra dirty martini with three glistening olives, slightly stirred, and you’ve made my day. Now give me a smolderingly handsome gentleman in a well-made suit with an impeccable smile and a knack for starting engaging conversations, and you’ve made my week. And if I can have both at the same time, then you’ve truly made my year, which is exactly what happened when I went to The Lifestyle Loft's Urbane Renewal Mixer last month.

Underneath the cool evening skies by Trader Vic’s Poolside Lounge at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, I ran into a dapper group of professionals gathering to network, socialize and unwind after the workday. I have to admit – I was impressed at the crowd that came out. Not only did everyone look the part, but these sophisticated, hip urbanites were serious about making valuable connections: all through the night, they smoothly interacted with one another, swapping business cards and filling the warm night air with intonations of colorful conversations.

The event also offered a casually upscale ambiance, with a vigilant DJ setting the tone through a soulful blend of R&B and hip-hop hits. Trader Vic’s piped out its infamous libations and yummy appetizers at extended happy hour pricings, and to my delight, there was plenty of comfy seating scattered amongst vibrant palm trees within the bar and near the poolside to rest my 4-inch-stiletto-wearing feet.

With such a high regard for the last event, I must say that I’m looking forward to the next Urbane Renewal Mixer, which takes place this upcoming Thursday, May 20th. I hope to see you there at this monthly function, making those connections as well!

PICTURED BELOW: It’s game time – grab that stack of business cards, a glass of wine (or a martini) and get ready to network!

PICTURED BELOW: Aside from just networking, guests enjoyed raffle drawings, free gift bags and other giveaways.

PICTURED BELOW: From l. to r. – Dr. Tony Maddox, Taj Tashombe and Michael Ferrera, a few of the friendly hosts of the Urbane Renewal Mixer that I met. For more information about their events, visit their website:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Where to Eat: Super Salads to Go @ The Crenshaw Farmer's Market

If you’ve been to one farmer’s market, you’ve been to them all. Or so you think. Yes, you can find a selection of fresh fruits and veggies, hard-to-find foods and specialty services at almost any farmer’s market. But you won’t find ethnic trinkets for sale, a DJ spinning R&B grooves or shoppers giddily doing the Cupid Shuffle at just anywhere. In fact, you’ll only find that at The Crenshaw Farmer’s Market.

While it may have moved from Leimert Park to the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Shopping Center, this vibrant farmer's market did not lose its joie de vivre in the change of locations. It also didn’t lose one of its best vendors, Super Salads to Go. With fourteen unique – and very delicious – salads on the menu, owner Synovia Jones and her team makes eating greens fun, enjoyable and addicting. Their enormous salads, all made on the spot, playfully combine fruits, nuts, herbs and vegetables to create memorable meals that will ensure that you return again and again.

I first stumbled upon Synovia’s booth back in Leimert Park. I had never been much of a salad person, so I wanted to find out if her salads went beyond bland lettuce and stale croutons to go where no other salad had gone before: to being healthy and edible. In intense anticipation, I ordered the Mandarin Chicken Salad, watching as she tenderly tossed plump chicken slices with herbs, lettuce, cashews, wontons and corn.

The salad was a hit. It tasted fresh, as if the ingredients had been carefully selected from a garden. It was flavorful, bursting with bright colors and zesty spices. And, it was huge – that salad lasted for two meals. I also tried the Gingerade, a tangy yet refreshing blend of ginger and lemonade.

Now, whenever I crave a salad, I grab my dancing shoes and head down to the Crenshaw Farmer’s Market for a Super Salad. I eat it there (after doing the electric slide), or I take it with me (if the little kids start doing "the jerk" - I'm too old - can't get that low anymore).

And whether you can dance around me in circles or you have two left feet, I hope to see you there, eating a salad with me!

Pictured Below: The Kale salad. It is the most popular salad, with kale, cranberries, pinenuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and red peppers. And no salad is complete without a lemonade blend! Choose from ginger, pineapple, pineapple-strawberry, berry or watermelon.

Pictured Below: The Crenshaw Farmer’s Market is a social gathering for the entire community.

Pictured Below: Synovia Jones, the owner herself. If you absolutely can’t make it to The Crenshaw Farmer’s Market, you can also find her at three other locations: Culver City Farmer’s Market, City Hall Farmer’s Market and Atwater Village Farmer’s Market.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Where to be Merry: Cinco de Mayo @ Pink Taco

I don’t care if you’re from Moreno Valley, Minnesota, Malaysia or anywhere else. If you are now residing in the Los Angeles area, then Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that must be celebrated, and it must be celebrated properly. Tequila shots and margaritas will get you off to a nice start, but that’s not good enough. You need bikini-clad models and midget mariachi bands. You need platters of tequila shots and Mexican food that taste so good it hurts. You need a dope DJ, rambunctious crowds and a photo booth to capture all of the night’s memories. In other words, you need Pink Taco.

Already a destination for Century City’s young, elite business crowd on any given day, Pink Taco draws even more people into its bright, festive ambiance for Cinco de Mayo. On this day, attractive twenty- and thirty-something moguls-in-training casually mix with locals, tourists and curious bystanders. Underneath the glow of eccentric decorations and a colorful collage of pinks, oranges and purples, large groups tightly pack the place, creating a restless energy that permeates throughout the space.

Excitement sizzles in the air, and quite honestly, it’s kind of hard not to be stoked about $5 beers, $5 shots and $5 margaritas. The drink specials run all day and all night long, so no need to leave work early, unless of course, you just really want to.

Even if you can’t make it to this trendy Mexican restaurant for the holiday festivities, stop by whenever you can. A good time to go is in the evening after work to enjoy its killer happy hour featuring ½-off drinks and $6 selected appetizers (Personally, I also enjoy winking at the men in suits seated at the bar). Time and time again, Pink Taco has proven that it’s more than a restaurant; it’s a social hot spot that’s always buzzing. Whether it’s a holiday fiesta or a Cigar and Tequila tasting, there’s always a reason to wander in and enjoy drinks and appetizers. !Hasta la próxima vez!

Pictured below: Try one of the infamous margaritas. Strong, sweet and super big, they come in a variety of flavors, from the signature Pink Taco Margarita to the Honeydew Margarita.

Pictured below: Finding a seat on Cinco de Mayo is about as easy as finding a native Angeleno in Hollywood. Ladies, make sure to wear cute, comfy flats, because they will come in handy. You may have to stand a while.

Pictured below: The outdoor bar area is the perfect place to soak up some springtime sunshine on any evening.

(Top photo credit: Alen Len)