Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Where to Be Merry: Lounging @ The Falls

What makes the perfect lounge?

In my humble opinion, the perfect lounge shrewdly takes the best elements from bars, restaurants and nightclubs, and seamlessly blends them together to create a magical, wonderful place to enjoy friendly crowds, quality cocktails and awesome music.

And, in my humble opinion, The Falls in downtown Los Angeles is truly one of the best lounges out there. It has the sophistication of a classy restaurant, without its snootiness…the laid-back soul of a dive bar, sans its decrepit appearance…a sizeable area to dance like in a nightclub, minus the uber annoying, rambunctious partygoers. Plus there’s ample seating, both indoors and outdoors. After teetering around in my 6-inch stilettos for like, 20 minutes, I am beyond grateful that I have multiple seating options: at the bar, at a booth (pictured below, to the right), at one of the numerous high-top tables that line the walls, on the patio.

The patrons help make this place great as well. It’s so diverse. You’ll find every kind of Angeleno here, sipping on The Rustic cocktail and dancing to the infectious music blaring from the speakers: blacks, whites, Latinos and Asians; dudes with designer suits, baggy jeans and hipster skinnys; chicks with stilettos, flip-flops and boots; business owners, hustlers, playboys and 9-to-5 white collar workers. But most importantly, everyone here is surprisingly friendly. I’ve met so many interesting, comical characters here who have randomly approached me and we've turned out to have amazing, hilariously entertaining conversations.

I recommend The Falls when you're looking for a chill yet classy place that embodies the essence of what a lounge is all about. Come with friends, or come alone because trust me, you’ll make friends by the end of the night, without a doubt.

See you there soon!

Miss Wilson’s Tips:
- When to go: Each night features different genres of music. I’ve been on Thursdays with 93.5 KDAY’s DJ Prophet and on Funk/Soul/Breaks/House/Love Saturdays. Both nights are good, but Thursday night is my fave!
- When to Drink (for cheap): The weekday Happy Hour starts at 6pm, and features select $6 cocktails, $5 well drinks and $4 beers. There’s also a “$5 beer and shot” special.
- What to order:
The signature cocktails are soooo strong and soooo delicious. Don't waste empty calories on a well drink here. Go for the big boys – like The Horseshoe or the Mai Tai.

For more information:
The Falls

626 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014



Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where to Drink: Sunday Happy Hours @ Nirvana Beverly Hills

Is Los Angeles seriously serious right now?

The city’s unemployment rate is pushing 13%. Gas prices are threatening to hit $5 per gallon. Sales tax is pretty much 10%. In times like these, I need every single monetary break I can get. So, I religiously shop at The 99 Cents Store and stalk sample sales, and I’m definitely not embarrassed to admit that I am a happy hour fanatic. Happy hours = good food, good drinks and good discounts, and getting all three at the same time makes me ecstatic.

But I don’t appreciate that most happy hours are only on weekdays. Don’t these restaurants know I want to be happy on the weekend as well? It appears that Nirvana Beverly Hills must have gotten my memos, because recently, this posh Indian restaurant-lounge expanded its version of happy hour – Bliss Hour – to Sundays.

From 5-7 p.m., martinis and appetizers are only $6. A stellar deal, considering that entrĂ©es and cocktails are normally in the $25 and $12 range, respectively. Appetizers like the plump Vegetable Samosas and the scrumptious Gilafi Kebab are notably delicious, but the real celebrities at Nirvana are the signature martinis. They’re filled with fresh fruits (like ripe strawberries in the Karma Sutra) and they’re extremely potent (as in how the pomegranate liqueur playfully and deceptively hides the tequila flavor in the Perfect Bliss). Each martini – and yes, I’ve tried almost all of them – has its own unique character and are also quite gorgeous to admire. Very easy on the eyes and the palate.

Another highlight of this restaurant is the interior itself. With its intricate art pieces – like a massive 700-pound Cambodian head statue – and a waterfall that quietly drops into a stream embedded into the floor, Nirvana offers a divinely serene oasis. There are white beds to lounge on, subtle references of Karma Sutra in artwork to muse over and many great places – from the front outdoor patio to the dining area and everywhere in between – to settle into.

At least for now, Sundays are tranquilly quiet and intimate. The serene calmness that fills this space is truly the perfect backdrop for Indian food and cocktails. So the next time you’re itching to survive this "post-recession" era with a phenomenal Sunday happy hour, you now where to turn.

See you there soon!

Miss Wilson’s Tips:
- Three most popular cocktails: the Nirvana, a smooth, citrus blend of vodka, mint and shaven lime pieces; the Mango mojito, a refreshing concoction of mango rum, mint leaves and sugar, topped off with a spritz of soda; and the Karma Sutra, a robustly strong mix of vodka, pomegranate liqueur and fresh fruit.
- My favorite: the Perfect Bliss. Tastes like a Jolly Rancher.

For more information:
Nirvana Beverly Hills

8689 Wilshire Blvd.

Beverly Hills, CA 90211



*A big shout out to the Stomach Life crew for taking such great photos! Be sure to check out their website as well.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where to Eat: Mulitas @ La Taquiza

When I dotingly reminisce about my college experience, many fond memories come to mind…tailgating at 8 in the morning, rowdy frat parties, last-minute all-nighters in the library…mulitas


I’m sure we can all rattle off 500 joints that serve hearty, authentic Mexican food. But there’s only ONE place in the city that makes a mean mulita, and that would be La Taquiza, the Mexican fast food restaurant near the University of Southern California campus.

So what is a mulita?

It’s not a taco, not an enchilada, not a quesadilla.

Aside from being only my most favorite, most craved snack in the world, it’s basically two small, flat corn tortillas filled with a sprinkle of cheese, fresh guacamole and grilled meat (chicken, shrimp or beef), tossed for a few seconds on a lightly oiled grill. The cheese isn’t completely melted as it is in a quesadilla, and the tortilla itself isn’t crispy – it’s slightly toasted. My personal favorites are the chicken and the shrimp; the tender chicken is marinated so well and the shrimp is so juicy and succulent. You can never ever go wrong with these two options. And definitely add a few condiments to spice it up – a few onions here, some freshly squeezed lemon juice there, and don’t forget about those zesty, spicy carrots.

In addition to being the “home of the mulita,” La Taquiza serves a plethora of other Mexican cuisine favorites, from an enormous platter of nachos to massive wet burritos and tasty tacos. I highly recommend coming here whenever you’re in the USC neighborhood, before or after heading to a nearby sports game or a night out in downtown.

See you there soon!

For more information:
La Taquiza
3009 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90007

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

And Where Do You "Where To?": BRKN RBTZ

Last month when I covered the Brian McKnight concert at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub, I discovered that music truly runs in the McKnight family. His two sons Nico, 19, and Brian Jr. (BJ), 21, collectively known as BRKN RBTZ, graced the stage with their father to sing some seriously moving R&B songs. With their charismatic banter back and forth, natural good looks and seductive three-octave range capabilities, I became hooked and couldn’t wait to see more of what these two had to offer.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait too long. My girl Tulani and I had the pleasure of hearing them once again when they opened a special showcase for up-and-coming artists at The Roxy two Sundays ago on March 27th.

As their first official live show ever, BRKN RBTZ (pronounced "broken robots") took a departure from the previous R&B style they delivered at the Avalon. They seamlessly blended a good dose of enthused rock with light pop and heart-stopping soul. Accompanied by a drummer and two bass guitarists, BJ held down the lead vocals while Nico did backup vocals and also played the guitar (pictured below to the right). They performed a total of four songs, making sure to include a few about love.

“We always want to tell a story and we just picked the songs that told that story – the old-fashioned love story,” BJ explained to me after the concert in an exclusive interview. “You meet a girl, you’re not sure if you like her, if you have a crush – all that.”

And while these two have toured the world as backup singers for Brian McKnight, this past show was their first solo appearance under BRKN RBTZ. So I was curious: how did they feel about it all?

“I felt awesome,” BJ beamed. “It being our first show and having a bunch of our friends and family out here, and just being able to rock for the first time, it was awesome. I can’t explain it!”

“I was nervous,” Nico admitted, as BJ nodded his head in agreement. “I was way more nervous than him, only because I’m very cautious. And being that this is our first show and we’ve only had a week and a half to get it all done, it’s just crazy. For the deadline to be right now, I’m happy it was as good as it was because of how nervous I was.”

Well it was a job well done - they seriously rocked the house. And in true Wilson’s Guide form, you know I had to sneak in a question about their favorite place to “where to”:

“Do you all have a favorite place to go out?” I asked.

“The bowling alley,” Nico said.

“Canoga Bowl, 24 hours,” BJ replied. “You pay for an hour, bowl all you want.”

“We’ll be in the studio until 4 in the morning,” Nico said. “And we’ll be like –”

“We’ll be awake and go bowling,” BJ affirmed. “We bowl and eat. We bowl and eat and make music.”

“‘Til 7 in the morning,” Nico summed it up. “Then we come back to the house and make more music.”

Looks like bowling in the early morning is the thing to do.

But seriously, these guys are awesome. Look out for BRKN RBTZ because they will be at venues around Los Angeles in April and will then open for Brian McKnight on a multi-city tour that starts in May. Perhaps I’ll see you at their next concert!

For more information:

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/BRKNRBTZ

Twitter - @brknrbtz