Monday, April 29, 2013

Where To Eat: Spooning After Dark @ The Serving Spoon

The Eats: Late night/early morning soul food

The Location: Inglewood

The Vibes: Lively – it’s like the party continues from the club into this restaurant

Good for: Those times when after functioning all night long, you need some quality food that will hit the spot

When-To-Go: While it’s open normal hours daily, Fridays and Saturdays, special hours are 10 p.m.- 5 a.m.

The $ Factor: $; Entrees average about $10

I’ll Be Back…:
For the wings, fried to perfection

Drive by The Serving Spoon on any given Sunday, around 1pm, just after church let out, and you will see everybody and their aunties/cousins/grandmamas/friends/other family members in line, waiting to squeeze into the doors for its spectacular Sunday brunch. True, many may have heard about how good this quaint Inglewood eatery is for brunch, but I'm here to talk about how good it is for those late night, after-the-club cravings!

I’m sure you’ve experienced it before. There's nothing like being forced to evacuate a nightclub at 1:30/2 a.m., and then thinking about nothing more than grabbing food ASAP.

And while Jack in the Box and McDonald's definitely are viable options, they most certainly don't have anything on The Serving Spoon's late night menu!

In the wee hours of the morning, The Serving Spoon still features its widely popular, heart-warming soul food. Both breakfast and lunch options are available, and they taste just as good at 2 a.m. as they would at 2 p.m. The omelets are big and fluffy, and the fried wings – I’ve never had any like them – they’re delicious. And, I can't fail to mention how fantastic the fried catfish is, pictured below.

But it's not just The Serving Spoon's late night access that makes it noteworthy: it's also the very lively rambunctious environment. It seriously feels like you never left the club in the first place. It’s packed with a whole lot of interesting characters to spark conversations with, even at 3:30 a.m.

So the next time you find yourself in dire need of soul food in the wee hours of the morning, I highly recommend The Serving Spoon. It has great food and an even better ambiance. See you there soon!

For more information:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Where To Be Merry: Karaoke @ The Backstage

The Merriment: Karaoke Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights

The Location: Culver City

The Vibes: A very down-to-earth, dive bar

Good for: A lively place just to hang out, with inexpensive booze and appetizers and great entertainment

When-To-Go: Happy hour 4-7pm daily; Karaoke Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; Trivia World Sundays; $5 Burgers and Fries Mondays; Taco Tuesdays; and live music on Wednesdays

The $ Factor: $; Drinks are $3-$9 and food during happy hour is $3-$5

The Menu: See drink menu here

I’ll Be Back…: To watch the karaoke performances, which vary from love ballads to hard rock, rap, 80s pop and Top 40 hits

The 4-1-1: Directly across from Sony Studios, this neighborhood bar has been around for more than 75 years

Why it’s on #WilsonsGuide:

The Backstage is one of those bars that’s great to go to no matter what day of the week it is. Many elements add to the wonderfulness of this place – the fact that it’s never a hassle to get in, the strong libations, the satisfying food, the many activities to do (pool, trivia games, karaoke) and last but not least, the dapper crowd – an eclectic, energetic mix of Angelenos who are always down for a good time.

For the karaoke. The karaoke, by far, is the best aspect of Backstage, in my opinion. You never know who’s going to take the stage next, but you know it’s going to be a good performance. We’ve all been to karaoke joints where the performers are either absolutely horrible or they take themselves way too seriously. But here, singers have the right balance of talent and carefree swag. I’ve found myself sometimes laughing, sometimes clapping along, sometimes staring and thinking “what is going on,” and always, always, always extremely amused and entertained.

For the appetizers. At any given dive bar, you’d expect greasy, over-salted food to be the norm, but here, while they still serve standard bar snacks, everything just taste like it’s golden fried to perfection. Some of my favorites include the spicy buffalo wings and beer battered onion rings, and you absolutely have to get a side of garlic fries.

For the cheap cocktails. Backstage’s cocktails are very reasonably priced, especially for how strong they are. I also appreciate the creative names, i.e., the Culver City Slut, Absolutely F**king Fabulous and Day of the Dead. But, of course, most importantly, they’re strong and cheap. Plus, they’re always having specials of the night and some sort of chilled shots.

So the next time you’re in the mood for a little karaoke and a lot of fun, I highly recommend this Culver City hangout destination. See you there soon!

For more information:
The Backstage; Facebook; @BackstageCC


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Where To Drink: Happy Hour @ Tortilla Republic

The Drinks: Margaritas and 40+ tequilas

The Location: West Hollywood

The Vibes (for the patio): Airy, vibrant and lively, but calm

Good for: Spending not a lot of money to get top-notch, sophisticated and refined Mexican food and margaritas

When-To-Go: Happy hour: Monday 5-7pm, Tuesdays-Sundays 3-7pm

The $ Factor:
$; Food items are $2-$6 and drinks are $4-$6 during happy hour; select appetizers are normal prices.

The Menu: See menu here

I’ll Be Back…: For the Cucumber Lavender margarita, with a house-made lavender syrup and muddled cucumbers.

The 4-1-1: Opened in March 2012 by the owners of another great restaurant, Taste on Melrose (John Halter, Morten Kaag, Mina Azami)

Why it’s on #WilsonsGuide: 

For the margaritas. Tortilla Republic
margaritas have a great balance of taste, visual aesthetics and tequila. The $6 House Margarita is the perfect blend of sweet and sour, and is refreshing and light, leaving you feeling in quite a pleasant mood after the last drop. Bartenders also seem to be flexible and accommodating; one time a friend and I wanted to share a few different margaritas, and our bartender proactively offered to split our two margaritas into four glasses, so we didn't have to make a sloppy mess trying to do it at our table. We appreciated that!

For the tortillas. OK, yes, I know it’s named “Tortilla” Republic, I get it. But I was still pleasantly surprised to find that all of their tortillas have distinct tastes! The light and crispy tortilla chips in the $2 Salsa Tasting are distinctly different than the tortillas in the $6 Nachos, which are thicker and crunchier, and are dusted with spices – completely distinct from the soft, flour tortillas in the $6 Quesadilla BBQ Chicken (pictured below). I highly recommend picking a few different appetizers, simply to sample and compare tortillas.

All in all, Tortilla Republic has the perfect balance of hospitable customer service, stellar Mexican food, a refined but welcoming ambiance and most importantly, delicious margaritas. I love that the restaurant puts so much care into the details, whether that means preparing hundreds of tortillas in unique, distinct ways, or adding colorful garnishes to the margaritas. I also can’t forget to mention that the quality of food is phenomenal. The tastes, the seasonings, the presentation…this isn’t greasy Mexican food that will leave you in a food coma; it’s as fresh as it is vibrantly colorful and beautiful to look at.

So the next time you find yourself in West Hollywood on any given evening, hungry and in the mood for a margarita, I think you should head to the patio at Tortilla Republic. See you there soon!

For more information: