Saturday, November 9, 2013

Where to Drink: Happy Hour @ Five0Four Hollywood

The Drinks: Authentic New Orleans libations and eats

The Location: Hollywood

The Vibes: Outdoor, vibrant, spirited

Good for: When you’re looking for an animated ambiance to kick back a few shots/cocktails

When-To-Go: Mon.-Fri., 4 p.m. – 2 a.m., Sat. & Sun. 11 – 2 a.m. anytime of the week; there’s tons of specials depending on the day

With-Whom-To-Go: Great for groups

The $ Factor: $; Many good deals so you won’t have to pay too much for anything

I’ll Be Back…: For more of the daiquiris in those white Styrofoam cups

One thing I absolutely love about New Orleans is how vibrant and festive the French Quarter is. It fascinates me that I can walk around with two daiquiris in my hand, at 2 a.m., along with thousands of my new-found friends and no one so much as blinks an eye.

One bar in particular that transports me back to the hustle and bustle of New Orleans is FiveOFour Hollywood, a bar that looks like it’s been picked up directly from the French Quarter and dropped right smack in the middle of Hollywood.

Aside from the authentic New Orleans d├ęcor—the wrought iron gates, hanging plants and open-air patio—FiveOFour has true authenticity when it comes to the city's food and beverages.

A must to order is at least one Daiquiri, served in NoLa’s style in Styrofoam cups, which come in many flavors that you can mix and match together. My favorite is the watermelon, pictured below.

Another one that’s quite tasty that I haven’t seen in many other places is the Bellini flavor. You can also opt to add an extra shot, as my friend did, pictured below.

I can’t forget to mention the food, which has a Southern flair, like the BBQ pork po’boy, smothered in a tangy BBQ sauce, served on a crisp French roll.

Other menu options also have their own unique identity, like the chips with three dipping sauces, pictured below. A great happy hour snack to munch on.

FiveOFour Hollywood has been going strong for the past three years, and it’s no surprise, especially when there’s literally something going on every day of the week, ranging from happy hour, $1 food specials and 2 for 1 drinks. Definitely check out the Facebook page for different specials to see what’s happening on any given day.

So the next time you find yourself longing for the joie de vivre of New Orleans but don’t necessarily want to hop on a plane to get there, I highly recommend heading to Five0Four Hollywood. Grab an infamous Daiquiri, munch on a po’boy and I guarantee you’ll feel like you’re there in no time.

See you there soon!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Where To Be Merry: Totem @ Cirque du Soleil

The Merriment: Another Cirque du Soleil production

The Location: Southbay

The Vibes: Daring, intense

Good for: Nonstop entertainment, from start to finish

When-to-Go: Friday, October 11 to Sunday, November 10, 2013

With-Whom-to-Go: Dates, friends, etc.

The $ Factor: $$$ ($45+ per ticket); There are so many different ticket options to choose from, ranging from regular seats to group and corporate seats.

The 4-1-1: The Totem website has a great explanation of all of the scenes. Definitely worth reading before or after you see the show.

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a weeknight show for the Cirque du Soleil’s latest production, Totem, at The Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro. Having already seen two Cirque productions—Iris in 2011 and OVO in 2012—I was pretty sure that I knew what to expect: lots of daring, mind-boggling stunts that test the human ability to defy gravity, fatigue and body-bending capabilities.

And this time around, it was no different, but still so much fun to watch.

From the moment it begins, Totem grabs your attention, with “amphibians” jumping and exuding their strength and prowess on a giant “turtle.” According to its website, Totem is the story that is “a fascinating journey into the evolution of mankind.” And while I wouldn’t say that the plot precisely follows the chronological evolutionary timeline of man starting from amphibian to current smart phone junkie, it does pay nod to the various significant milestones throughout our history as humans on this earth, including contributions to science, and man’s desire to go beyond the boundaries of his home planet.

What sets Totem apart from other Cirque productions that I’ve seen is that the entire atmosphere is a little more subdued. Compared to the dazzling lights of the Hollywood & Highland Center for Iris or the striking beach background for OVO, the San Pedro port area is a lot calmer, darker and more silent. Though the atmosphere may not be as over the top, that’s not to take away from the visuals inside the chapiteau. Everything from the costumes to the lighting and the stage looked magnificent. Quite honestly, probably some of the best visuals I’ve seen. And these were some of the most daring acts that were pulled off without any sort of glitch. There was one roller skating act where a man skated on a tiny circular platform, spinning round and round and round, with a woman hanging from his neck, her body projected as a straight line in the air.

And, there were so many other acts like that, that pushed the envelop and left you wondering, “did they really just do that?!”

So yes, Totem is entertainment in its purest form. The next time you’re in the mood to be highly amused, turn off the television, get off the blogs and instead, head down to San Pedro to see Totem. But don’t wait too long; the last performance is Sunday, Nov. 10.

See you at the next show soon!

For more information:

 ** Roller skating photo taken from Totem website